Items You Should Have in Your Car to be Ready for Any Situation

You should have an emergency kit in your vehicle during all seasons so you are ready for any situation. This means more than a small first aid kit. As a matter of fact, the smaller first aid kits are not enough – you should have a larger kit with supplies to handle most minor emergencies including stitches. Even if you just bought a new vehicle from SouthTowne Motors or had your vehicle serviced and feel confident that it won’t break down, you should have emergency supplies. You never know when someone could cause an accident involving you.

First Aid Kit

The first aid kit should have several different sized bandages, bandage tape, an Ace bandage, antibacterial cream, eyewash, a needle and thread, safety pins, glue, tweezers, burn cream, alcohol pads, cotton balls and wipes at a minimum. Add a clean towel and washcloth or a couple of smaller towels so you can clean wounds or use them as compresses to stop bleeding.

Extra Clothing

In the winter, you should have extra coats, gloves and hats for everyone. During all seasons, you should have blankets for everyone, though it is more important to have them during the cooler months in the event you get stranded and help isn’t near by. You’ll eventually run out of gas and the extra blankets and jackets will help keep everyone warm.

Food

Always keep high energy, non-perishable food in the vehicle. Granola bars, chocolate bars in the winter, trail mix or anything else that won’t go bad for a month or so in the vehicle should be packed. Rotate the food stores every month or two, depending on what you are keeping. You should also keep enough bottled water so that each person has two bottles in the vehicle. Rotate the water every month so that it stays fresh.

Other Items

Keep a fire starting kit in your vehicle. Don’t rely on a lighter or matches as those can get wet. If you do get stranded in the woods, you’ll be able to make a fire for warmth or to signal for help. If you often travel in uninhabited places, a tarp to use as protection and to keep things dry will also be handy. A knife will always be handy — just be sure it’s a good, sharp knife.

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Call or stop by SouthTowne Motors to make a service appointment for your vehicle so that you lessen the chances of being stranded in the middle of nowhere.

The Importance of Maintaining Brakes

Brake maintenance is one of the things that is the least thought about on your vehicle – until the brakes start making noise. Even then, people often wait until a while before bringing their vehicles in to a certified service department like SouthTowne Motors for brake service – and that can be a huge problem: Not only for your safety but for the safety of others and the expense it could cause you in repairs.

Brake Basics

While there is a lot to a vehicle’s brake system, suffice to know that the system is made of a power booster if you have power brakes, a master cylinder that holds the brake fluid, hydraulic lines that go from the cylinder to the brakes, calipers or wheel cylinders, pads or shoes, and rotors or drums. The wheel cylinders and drums work with shoes and are becoming rare on most vehicles. The vehicles that do have them use that combination on the rear brakes. When the braking material gets too low on shoes, you’ll hear a grinding noise.

Brake pads have a metal tab on the pad itself. Once the braking material gets too low, the metal tab will scrape the rotor and make a squeaking noise to alert you that it’s time to change the pads.

Brake System Issues

The most common brake repair is to replace the pads or shoes. A technician will turn the rotors to give them a smooth surface if they are thick enough. If not, the rotors also need to be replaced. Other brake issues include:

  • Worn calipers;
  • Broken, cracked or dry-rotted brake hoses;
  • Cracked brake lines (not common as they are metal);
  • A bad master cylinders;
  • Thin, pitted, warped or grooved rotors;
  • A bad master cylinder; and/or
  • A bad power booster.

Any one of these problems poses a danger to you, others around you and the rest of the braking system. If you don’t have your worn brake pads or shoes changed as soon as you hear the squeaking – or before if you regularly have your brakes checked, you will risk an over-extending the calipers and you will definitely damage the rotors, usually to the point where they can’t be turned and need to be replaced.

You could also cause damage to the master cylinder, the brake lines and the power booster, though you’d have to drive quite a few miles to do this – in most cases.

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Because letting your brakes go without maintenance does cause additional damage to the system, it is very important that you bring your vehicle in to our service department at SouthTowne Motors as soon as you are told the pads are low or as soon as you hear the metal tab squeaking against the rotor.

Tips to Make Thanksgiving Easier

Hosting a Thanksgiving get-together can be overwhelming, especially when you’re the one that’s hosting it. Use these simple tips for throwing the perfect Thanksgiving celebration in your home this year for your friends and family.

1. Plan Ahead

Thanksgiving’s position after Halloween and before Christmas means the holiday seems to appear out of nowhere. Decide which dishes you’ll be making ahead of time, so you can start the process of gathering all of the supplies you’ll need.

2. Start Cooking Early

You don’t have to wait until Thanksgiving Day to start the cooking process. Prepare your sides the day before Thanksgiving, so you just have to pop them in the oven when your guests arrive.

3. Try Something New

Use your station as the host as a chance to try something new. Consider deep-frying your turkey outside instead of roasting it indoors.

4. Find Decorations at the Campsite

Use sticks, leaves, pine cones and pine needles from around the campsite for festive and free table decorations.

5. Consider Buying Your Desserts

Shop at a local bakery for delectable Thanksgiving desserts that your friends will love just as much as the homemade versions.

6. Create Fun Placecards

Placecards are a fun part of every festivity, but you can make them even more enjoyable by printing out funny Facebook photos of your friends instead.

7. Label Your Dishes

Make your party welcoming for your friends with dietary restrictions by labeling your dishes with their name and what’s inside.

8. Don’t Forget the Kids’ Table

Creating a fun kids’ table will ensure your little guests stay occupied, so the adults can have more fun. Cover the kids’ table with craft paper and give them plenty of crayons to decorate it as they please.

Visit SouthTowne Motors

Don’t forget to stop and see us at SouthTowne Motors to shop for a more comfortable vehicle for all of your holiday festivities, especially if you plan to head out of town.

Fall Maintenance Tips for Your Vehicle

Fall is officially here, which means that it’s time for some fall maintenance whether you have a vehicle that you’re keeping or you just bought or leased a new vehicle from SouthTowne Motors. Fall is a funky season since the weather could turn at the drop of a hat. While you expect the weather to be cooler, it could get crazy enough to snow, especially later in the fall. Thus, you’ll need to get your vehicle ready for fall – and maybe a touch of winter.

Oil Change

When you change the oil and filter this fall, check your owner’s manual to see if the manufacturer recommends a different weight oil for the winter. If you do a lot of driving and change the oil frequently, you could fit one more change in before you switch to a different weight, but by November you should switch pursuant to the manufacturer’s recommendations.

Belts and Hoses

While you are still seeing days that are warm enough for the air conditioning, you’ll be turning the heat on before you know it. Have our service department check all radiator and heater hoses to ensure that they are not dry rotted. The last thing you need is to turn on the heat or the defroster and have a hose pop.

You should also check your vehicle’s belts. Your vehicle could have one serpentine belt that drives all of the accessories; it could have two or more serpentine belts; V-belts or a combination of serpentine and V-belts. All of them should be checked for wear and tear and dry rotting.

Additionally, your vehicle may have a timing belt. Your owner’s manual will tell you when the timing belt should be changed, if applicable to your vehicle. Some vehicles may have a timing chain or even a gear drive that do not need to be changed as often, though the most common is a timing belt.

Other Things to Check

Be sure to have your brakes and tires checked when you bring your vehicle in for service. If your ABS light is on, that should be repaired so you have the full benefit of the computer helping you in tricky braking situations.

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Stop by SouthTowne Motors to test drive a new vehicle or give our service department a call to schedule a service appointment.

Schedule a Test Drive Today

When you find that perfect vehicle at SouthTowne Motors of Newnan, whether you find it online or because you stopped by the showroom, you should take a test drive. Taking a test drive prevents buyer’s remorse for many reasons, including comfort while driving or riding and features available for various models and trim levels.

Dimensions

While you might like a vehicle’s looks, you should take a test drive to ensure that it’s a good fit. If you are a taller person, some vehicles may not have enough legroom or headroom. If you are shorter, the seats may not move forward enough so that you can comfortably reach the petals.

And, if you have a larger family and love to take road trips; or plan on carpooling, you’ll definitely want to ensure that the rear and third row seats have plenty of room for adults or teens, not just smaller children. Without a test drive, you won’t know until it’s too late – then you won’t be happy with your purchase.

Ride Comfort

Even though the vehicle you fall in love with looks great and has plenty of space, you might not like the ride. Many new vehicles have settings for steering and the transmission, though some don’t and you might not like how the vehicle rides. Also, you may not find that the seats are comfortable enough for you. Taking a test drive allows you to evaluate whether you are comfortable with the ride.

Features

While everything might be what you want – fit, comfort, ride – if you buy a vehicle without test driving it, you may later learn that the model does not have certain features you need; or that it might have features you don’t want. While many features are listed on our web site and in our blog posts, not every features is always listed on vehicles. Taking a test drive allows you to look for and test certain features.

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Stop by SouthTowne Motors of Newnan today to test drive the vehicle or vehicles you have in mind so that you can make the best choice for your wants and needs.

The Importance of Changing Your Filters

You need to be aware of the maintenance schedule for your vehicle — especially for filter changes. Many people do not think of changing the filters on their vehicles and often do not take the vehicle in for service at the appropriate times. Ignoring your vehicle’s filters is asking for trouble.

Air Filter

You should check the condition of your air filter every 3,000 miles or three months. If it is dirty — pull it out and check both sides — replace the filter. The air filter keeps dust and debris from entering the engine. When it gets too dirty, the engine cannot breathe properly, which could cause problems with running and could affect fuel mileage.

Fuel Filter

The fuel filter is not a filter you can easily check yourself. Some vehicles have two fuel filters — on under the car on near the frame and one in the engine compartment, usually near the firewall. Your owner’s manual will tell you when you should change the fuel filter. The fuel filter makes sure anything that gets into the gas tank doesn’t end up in the injectors. The fuel injectors have a very small nozzle that sprays fuel into the cylinders. If the nozzle gets clogged, the engine will not run properly or may not run at all.

Oil Filter

You should change the oil filter every time you change the oil. Most vehicles recommend changing the oil and oil filter every 3,000 miles or three months, whichever comes first. Some vehicle manufacturers have extended the time to change the oil, but it is still a good idea to change the oil at the 3,000-mile mark. Dirty oil could cause oil sludge to form in the oil galleys. When that happens, the oil cannot lubricate essential parts and your engine could freeze up.

Transmission Filter

This is another filter that you cannot easily change yourself. It is inside the transmission pan. Transmission service requirements vary widely from vehicle to vehicle. Check your owner’s manual for the transmission service timeframe. A clogged transmission filter could affect the way your vehicle shifts, which could also affect fuel mileage. If left dirty long enough, you could damage the transmission.

Cabin Air Filters

Cabin air filters are usually found behind the glove box if your vehicle has them. Your owner’s manual will tell you when you should change them. These help keep the air inside the vehicle clean.

Visit SouthTowne Motors in Newnan

If you do not know when you should change your filters, a service technician at SouthTowne Motors will be able to tell you when to bring your vehicle in for service. When you call, have the year, make, model and engine size ready for the technician so that he can look up the proper timeframes for your vehicle.

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.