How to Prepare Your Kids for a New School Year

When it’s time for the kids to go back to school, whether you have grade school, middle school or high school kids, you’ll need a shopping list for the things that they need for the first semester. Create a list based on your children’s ages, preferably a separate list for each child unless they are close in age. And, if you need to upgrade to a larger sedan or an SUV, stop by SouthTowne Motors to test drive your next new vehicle.

Grade School Children

If your child is in grade school, he or she may need crayons, markers, scissors, triple-line writing paper, regular paper, construction paper for homework projects and glue.

Middle and High School Children

Middle and high school age children usually have a different class for each subject. They’ll need a notebook for each subject, stapler, tape, extra paper, folders, pens and pencils.

All Ages

All children will need a backpack to hold their things. If you pack a lunch, get the younger kids lunch boxes; get the older kids a small soft cooler that holds ice packs.

Clothing and Other Items

When choosing clothing for your children, check the school’s dress policy. Some may require that the children wear the same color and/or style pants and shirts. Some may just require a certain dress code that doesn’t include shorts a certain length, tank tops and other types of clothing.

Also, be sure that your children have the proper clothing for gym class, whether it’s shorts, sneakers or a bathing suit if the school has a pool.

Some students may need a tablet or a computer for school. If you do have to buy something, check with the school to be sure that you purchase the right electronics. Some schools may recommend a reader and some may recommend a full tablet.

Visit SouthTowne Motors

Stop by SouthTowne Motors to test drive a new vehicle, or, if you prefer to keep your current vehicle, call our service department to schedule an appointment for maintenance.

Summer Road Trip Essentials

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If you are planning a road trip, you’ll have to pack some essentials – and these are for emergencies. However, one other essential is a vehicle that is reliable. If you are in the market for new vehicle, stop by SouthTowne Motors to pick up a new sedan or SUV. And, if you are not ready for a new car this year, be sure you call us for a service appointment even if it is to just check your vehicle before you leave. If we find something that is going to wear out or something that could break on your trip, we’ll let you know so that you can have it repaired before you leave.

First Aid Kit and Other Medical

Be sure you have an extensive first aid kit and that none of the items are out of date. Also, if you used items on your last trip, those should be replaced before you leave, especially if you are traveling with children or a spouse that is on the clumsy side.

If anyone traveling with you is on medications, be sure you have at least a week’s worth of extra medication with you. If you planned a week-long trip but get stranded for a couple of days, you’ll need that extra medication so that you can enjoy the full vacation plus the extra days you were stranded.

Food, Water and Clothing

Even during the summer you should have extra high-energy food, extra bottles of water and an extra change of clothing with you. You could still get stranded and if you happen to get stranded where someone can’t reach you right away, you’ll be glad you have the extra food. And, even in the summer, some nights in certain places can get cool, so you’ll want some cool-weather clothing in case you have to spend a night outside or in your vehicle.

Even if you are only stuck for an hour, but have to get out in the rain to change a tire, you’ll be glad you have a change of clothing.

Visit SouthTowne Motors

Stop by SouthTowne Motors to have your vehicle checked or serviced, or to pick up a new vehicle. You’ll lower your chances of getting stranded if your vehicle is in good working order.

Summer Vacation Planning

Beautiful Highway

For many, school is either out or will be out soon. Families all over are gearing up for one of the biggest and most anticipated seasons of the year — summer. Planning for summer vacation is exciting, but can be overwhelming at times. Don’t let the stress get to you this year. There are several ways you can help this process go smoother. Here at SouthTowne Motors, we’ve compiled a short list of ways that you can plan your summer full of fun more easily.

First and foremost, create a budget for your trip. No matter what, stick to this. You don’t want to run yourself broke from overspending on hotel rooms or those fancy souvenirs. Keep it modest and simple if needs be. Choose where you will go based on what you can afford. Keep the age of all going in mind in case you have children or young relatives going with you. You can usually find great deals online or through a travel agent. There are several websites that have specials on rental cars, hotel room and even airfare.

If flying, when choosing an airline, decide on one that has experience in dealing with families or large groups. Sadly, not all airlines are created equal and, therefore, some may treat you better than others. If you have the choice, go with something that will keep the kids entertained during the flight. This is also a good time to figure out just how many seats you might need. Figure out how many people are going and if you will need someone who can watch the children should you need to go out.

There are infinite choices when deciding where to stay. There are, naturally, hotel rooms that have adjoining rooms for a large party. You can also rent apartments or condos if you’re not visiting relatives who you can stay with. Another great option, which is kind of off the beaten path, is renting an RV or motorhome. That way you have both your hotel and vehicle in one. It is also a good idea to pre-plan your activities and events with your children before you head out. Let them help in the decisions and do their own research if possible.

Visit SouthTowne Motors

Stop by SouthTowne Motors this summer before you hit the road on any trips. We’ll make sure that your car is in good shape or we can help set you up with a new vehicle that’s road trip ready!

Spring Cleaning Tips for Your Vehicle

Young man cleaning car interior

Now that spring is here and it’s warm outside, it’s comfortable enough to spend the time spring cleaning your vehicle.

The Exterior

Clean underneath the vehicle. You’ll want to get any salt residue off the undercarriage. The easiest way to do this is to go to a car wash that sprays the undercarriage. Washing and waxing the rest of the interior ensures that salt, grime, bird droppings and bug guts are all off your vehicle. Waxing provides a temporary barrier between Mother Nature and the paint.

Make sure the drain for the air conditioning doesn’t have any leaves in it. It’s usually accesses through the grill over the firewall. If you don’t have an air tank to blow the drain out, have our service techs do it when you bring your vehicle in for service.

The Interior

Dust and clean the dash and the seats. Don’t forget to vacuum the seat crevices. Vacuum the carpets and the floor mats. If the floor mats are stained, take them out to wash them. Remove rubber floor mats and rinse them outside. Vacuum the HVAC ducts. Often when your vehicle has a musty smell, it’s coming from the ducts.

Once you have anything done that creates dust, you’re ready to detail the rest of the interior. Clean out storage compartments and vacuum them if necessary. Clean the upholstery with the appropriate cleaner for the type of upholstery you have – leather, vinyl or cloth. Wipe down the door panels, especially in areas where you rest your arms.

The Engine Compartment

Using a degreaser, clean the engine compartment and the engine. Be careful that you don’t get water on any electronics. If you keep your engine compartment clean, it makes it cleaner to work on and allows you or a technician to find leaks easier.

Visit SouthTowne Motors

If your spring cleaning involves some much needed spring maintenance, stop by SouthTowne Motors to schedule a visit with a certified technician. You can also shop for a new or used vehicle if it’s time to upgrade.

Why You Need a Remote Starter

A hand holding car keys and a remote control for key entry

Many of the newer vehicles at SouthTowne Motors have remote vehicle start if they are equipped with automatic transmissions; however, if you are interested in a vehicle without remote start, you can add a remote starter by upgrading to another trim level, adding an “available option” or having the dealership install a remote starter at a later date.

Vehicles That Can Use a Remote Starter

As long as your vehicle has an automatic transmission you should be able to have a remote starter installed. Whether you have a truck, sedan, coupe, SUV or minivan, you can use a remote start especially if you live in an area that gets cold during the winter months.

Benefits of a Remote Starter

A remote starter allows you to warm your vehicle up before you go out to get in it. This is especially useful in the winter. Remote starters will automatically lock the doors when the vehicle starts. In some cases, the function will turn the defroster on for you. If you have a vehicle that has remote start but does not feature automatic heat/defrost upon start, just remember to leave the defroster on when you shut the vehicle off.

You can even use the remote starter in the summer months when it’s ultra hot outside. Start it about 5 minutes before you go out to cool the interior. Just remember to leave the air conditioning on if you don’t have the auto-on feature with the remote start.

Problems with Remote Starters

Generally, remote starters do not have any issues. However, be mindful of how long you let your vehicle run in hot weather. If you have a cooling system problem, your vehicle could overheat and you wouldn’t know it, thus the recommendation that you start it only 5 minutes before you go out. Air conditioning doesn’t take as long as heat to adjust the temperature to a comfortable level.

Even during the winter months, you could have an overheating problem if you do not realize that there is a problem with the cooling system. Always keep your eye on your vehicle and make sure your cooling system is working before using the remote start function.

Visit SouthTowne Motors

Visit SouthTowne Motors to test drive a new vehicle with remote start or to have a remote starter installed on your current vehicle.

Tips for Taking a Test Drive

Men's hand presses on the remote control car alarm systems

Buying a new car is an exciting part of life. No matter if it’s brand new or has some age, it is new to you. Before you roll off the lot in your new ride, you will undoubtedly want to take it for a test drive. To most people, this is their favorite part. You may test drive a few vehicles before you find that certain one. A very few percentage of people will take a vehicle without a test drive but that is not recommended. Here are some things you will want to remember before, during and after your test drive.

Prepare all of your documents for taking a test drive.

Most dealerships, including SouthTowne Motors, will require a driver’s license and proof of insurance before they let you get into the driver’s seat. If there is a specific vehicle you want to see, call the dealership ahead of time and talk to the sales manager to be sure the one you want to drive is on the lot. It’s a good idea at this point to go ahead and make an appointment if they have it.

When you arrive at the dealership for your test drive, only drive the vehicles you want.

There’s no point in wasting time with an SUV if you are looking for a convertible. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for demonstrations. If you are looking at a vehicle with newer technology features, ask how they work. Be sure to locate where the spare tire is, check under the hood, you have the cargo space required and have ample head and leg room.

When you get out on the road, make sure you drive in conditions you might normally drive in.

Take your time to really get the feel for the car. While you are out driving, turn the music down and really listen to the sounds, if any, the vehicle makes. Take notice of the transmission, acceleration, braking and steering. These areas could be a deal breaker if work is needed or it isn’t up to par for your needs.

Visit SouthTowne Motors

When you’re ready, remember to schedule a test drive for your next vehicle with your Newnan Chevrolet dealership.

Safe Travel Tips for those Holiday Road Trips!

The road in the winter mountains in the background

Even with a quality vehicle from SouthTowne Motors, you should prepare yourself for holiday road trips. Remember, even a new car that is running perfectly doesn’t save you from Mother Nature, nor does it save you from others on the road.

Why Holiday Driving is Dangerous

Any time traffic increases, whether because of a holiday or special event, the chances of having an accident increases. More people are on the road, which means that tempers could be running short. Also, more people are out celebrating at night – and some of those people may not have the good sense to find someone else to drive after they’ve imbibed just a tad too much.

Safe Travel Tips

Regardless of the time of night or day, you should always keep your eye out for erratic drivers. Watching at least 100 feet in front of you helps you to see someone coming at you – possibly in the wrong lane – a little quicker, which may give you those few extra seconds you need to get out of the way.

When following someone, even on the highway, stay at least three or four car lengths behind. On surface roads, you should stay at least one car length for every 10 mph behind the person in front of you. If someone has to stop fast or swerves to miss someone or something in the road, you’ll ram right into them if you are too close. While it’s tempting to try to “rush” the person in front of you, especially when he or she may be doing under the speed limit, be patient until it’s safe to pass.

If the weather is bad – whether it’s rain, fog, a mix of precipitation, or snow, drive slower. That means leaving earlier so that you reach your destination safe and on time. Even rain decreases the distance you can see in front of you. Furthermore, roads are slippery when they are wet – and in case where it’s near freezing, can ice over with “black ice,” a sheet of ice that is clear. You can’t tell that from non-iced roads.

Stop by SouthTowne Motors and Be Safe

Stop by SouthTowne Motors to have your vehicle checked before you head out on a road trip, especially on a holiday week or weekend.

Top 5 Questions to Ask Before Buying a New Car

Dealer Vehicles in Stock

Before you head out to buy a car, you need to determine whether you want new or just new to you. Whichever you decide, make sure you go to a reputable dealership, like SouthTowne Motors, so you know that you’re getting a vehicle that’s in good shape.

How Much Can You Spend?

Determine what your upper limit is and stick to it. Make sure it’s something you can afford – you don’t want to set yourself a limit then get excited about a certain model only to find out you can’t afford it. Determining your upper limit will also help you determine whether you will buy new or used.

What Kind of Vehicle Do You Want?

This plays in with the previous question. If you want to upgrade to something on the lower end of luxury or if you want to go luxury, your only option may be used. You can find some great deals on pre-owned luxury vehicles at places such as SouthTowne Motors. Many of the vehicles are only a few years old, so you will still have lots of the newer bells and whistles.

Consider the Cost to Own Your New Vehicle.

You might be able to afford the payment on an SUV or a luxury sedan, but can you afford the service, maintenance, repairs and gas? The cost of gas could be a deal-breaker. If you want something that has a 25-gallon tank, runs on premium and gets 17 mpg in the city, you have to be able to afford that – or your vehicle will just sit in the driveway waiting for you.

Do You Need Utility, Luxury or Reliability?

While most vehicles, even pre-owned are reliable, you still have to make a choice between utility, luxury or money. Usually, sedans and coupes get better gas mileage than utility vehicles. While you might want that SUV, you may have to settle with a reliable sedan to get yourself back and forth to work. Determining what you want helps you determine whether the vehicle falls into your price range. It definitely determines whether you are going to buy pre-owned or new.

Where Should You Buy?

Choosing a dealership will ensure that you get a reliable vehicle – and gives you more choices for vehicles. Head to SouthTowne Motors today to test drive any vehicle on the lot.

Holiday Shopping Tips

Young woman doing Xmas shopping online

Whether you plan to shop this Black Friday or not, you have to admit that there are some really good deals available. If you do plan to brave the stores and malls the Friday after Thanksgiving (or avoid all the fuss and just shop online), here are some tips to keep in mind for holiday shopping that everyone should subscribe to.

Save Early and Know Your Budget

Though it’s a bit late to start saving if you haven’t been, it’s still a tip to keep in mind for next year. What you can do right now is figure out your budget. This helps to ensure that you spend only what you’re willing to spend and lets you know how much money is going to go towards purchases for each person on your list. This will help you narrow your gift search to items within that particular price range.

Do Your Research

Once you decide what to get someone, or once you know the budget for that person at least, you can begin to research gifts within that range and can look for the best deal. Whether shopping in store or online, it pays to do some research to make sure you’re not paying the full amount.

Have a Plan on Black Friday

Check out catalogs, advertisements, and mail offers and know where you want to shop. Make sure your top shopping destination is your first stop on Friday morning in order to maximize your chances of snagging the best deals there. Don’t oversleep the morning of (the turkey will have probably done its job knocking you out) and make sure you prepare the night before so you’re not looking for your keys at the last second.

Visit SouthTowne Motors

If you’re looking to really surprise someone this holiday season, it’s hard to beat a new car. Stop by SouthTowne Motors to shop our inventory of new and pre-owned vehicles. View our inventory online for your convenience.

Hand-held Soup for the Car

Vacuum flask and cup

The weather is cooling off finally, which means that a cup of hot soup may be sounding good soon. Instead of spending lots of money on hand-held soups to go, you can make your own. In addition to the soup ingredients, you’ll need a thermos for each person in the vehicle. Then, you can either stop at a rest area so the driver can also enjoy soup with the family or you can eat the soup on the go – and it will stay nice and warm.

Pack up your SouthTowne Buick, Cadillac, GMC or Chevrolet, plus your favorite soup, and head out on that road trip you’ve been planning.

Hearty Beef Stew

  • 2 pounds beef tips or sirloin cut into bite-size pieces
  • 2 slices slab bacon, cut into quarters
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cubes beef bullion
  • 4 medium potatoes, large diced
  • 4 medium carrots, large diced
  • 2 medium onions, large diced
  • 2 tablespoons pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Liquid Smoke (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 tablespoon Redfish seasoning (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf

Set the crock pot to medium or 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Saute the bacon in the bottom of the crock pot until it is translucent. Add the beef and lightly brown on all sides. Mix the flour and water until there are no lumps. Pour it over the beef. Add the bullion and spices. Reduce heat to 250 degrees Fahrenheit or medium low. Cook for 4 hours. Add vegetables and cook for 2-3 more hours or until beef pulls apart with a fork.

This recipe serves four, but can be frozen if you want to double it or if you have only two people. Once hot, ladle it into thermoses. If you freeze it, thaw it when you’re ready to use it, heat it in the microwave, and then ladle it into thermoses.

Vegetable Version

Use the same recipe except omit the beef and the beef bullion. Add chicken bullion for some “body.” You can also add chicken if you don’t want to go completely vegetarian.

Visit SouthTowne Motors

Before you head out on a road trip, be sure to have your vehicle serviced at SouthTowne Motors. If you are in the market for a new vehicle, stop by to test drive your next vehicle before you take a road trip.