Extending the Life of Your Brakes

Changing your brakes is inevitable. The grinding or squeaking sound your brakes give off is a clear indicator that you need to change them. But let’s try to keep them from making that sound as long as possible.

Here are a few tips and tricks to extend the life of your brakes from SouthTowne Motors, your Newnan car dealer.

Speeding destroys your brakes

Stopping hard from high speeds is the number one killer of brakes. Even speeding just a little will shorten the lifespan of your brakes. Braking at high speeds forces the brakes to dissipate one-third more energy, which causes heat due to friction when applied. This can drastically reduce the life of your brake pads. The extreme clamping force needed for a last second brake can also crack your braking pads. Simply being mindful of your speed can add months to the lifespan of your brakes.

Don’t ride the brakes

Avoid riding the brakes, especially when coasting down hills. This could possibly be the worst thing to do when trying to expand the life of your brakes. The best method is to alternate between coasting and braking, giving the brakes a chance to cool off so they won’t over heat and cause faster deterioration of the brake pads. The more coasting you do, the longer your friction materials are going to last.

Get them flushed

The brake fluids need to be changed periodically. Most mechanics call it bleeding and flushing. This can be extremely beneficial if you have an older vehicle, or if you purchased one used. By flushing the brake fluids, it will make the internal components last longer and the brakes function better. The older the brake fluid is, the higher the moisture content is within the fluid. Old brake fluid can result in failure of the wheel cylinders and brake calipers.

Get inspected

Everything wears over time and your brakes are no exception. Having a regular brake inspection performed will make it easier to note problems before they develop. The brakes will be able to tell you a lot about your car, for instance if your wheel alignment is off. It is important to get on a regular maintenance schedule with your car.

If it is time, however, for your Chevy brakes to be replaced or inspected, head south of Atlanta and come see us at SouthTowne Motors!

Atlanta Car Dealer: You Think You Have A Small Garage

So, you think your garage is small? Check out this garage: 60 inches wide to fit a car that is 58 inches wide! I guess all of us, even those of use here at your Atlanta car dealer, Southtowne, who have complained at one time or another about the amount of space we need to house our vehicles need watch this video. The best part is how the guy has to get out of his vehicle once he is actually in his garage.

I don’t know about you, but this certainly helps me appreciate the amount of space we afford to our vehicles at our homes. I don’t think I’ll ever complain again about not having enough space around my place. That guy has us all beat. Did anyone notice his age by chance? He’s 87. Remarkable.

If you have any odd car related video or stories you’d like to share with your Atlanta car dealer, the Southtowne General Motors Superstore, please do. We’re always interested in stories like this. The really shed light on how good our driving lives really are.

Are The Tires On Your Atlanta Buick, GMC, Cadillac Or Chevrolet Costing You Gas

It’s no secret. The tires you choose to put on your Atlanta Buick, GMC, Cadillac or Chevrolet could be affecting your fuel economy. Larger rims, low pressure tires, it doesn’t matter, if your tires aren’t inflated to the proper PSI, you’re just burning fuel and ruining your tires.

Spending big bucks on your tires? You should take as good of care of them as your can, right?

Your car’s tires can play an important role in helping you get the best gas mileage and save money at the pump. Checking tire pressure regularly is one step toward optimum fuel economy, but your choice of tires can also help.

Consumer Reports recently tested a few all-season tire models with low rolling resistance and found that those tires can improve fuel economy by an additional one or two mpg. The reward for replacing a less-optimum tire can be a payback covering most of the cost of the new tires over their lifetime in fuel savings. Moreover, you generally don’t have to pay more to get a tire with better rolling resistance.

Here are some additional tips for getting the most fuel economy from your tires:

  • Keep your tires properly inflated. (A label on the driver’s doorjamb tells you the correct pressures to use.)
  • Check inflation pressure at least monthly; do this when the tires are cool.
  • If you were happy with the tires that came with the car when it was new, consider replacing them with an identical set. Low rolling resistance is a common trait of original-equipment tires.
  • Before buying replacement tires, check Consumer Reports’ Ratings for tires that excel in overall performance and use rolling resistance as tie-breaker

If you ever have any questions regarding your tires, or more importantly, “the feel” of your car, call your Atlanta Buick, Cadillac, GMC dealer, The Southtowne General Motors Superstore and we’ll be happy to assist you.

Atlanta Cars: Cleaning Your Leather Seats

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If you own an Atlanta Buick, GMC, Cadillac or Chevrolet with leather seating, you are going to want to watch the video below. At your Atlanta car dealer, the Southtowne General Motors Superstore, we’ve seen a lot of really poorly maintained leather seats: dusty, dirty, cracked, unconditioned leather that devalues the car both monetarily and visually.

If you are opting for the luxury of a leather interior in your new Atlanta car, then you are also opting in to maintain and treat that leather in such a way as to not develop damage over the life of your vehicle. The fact of the matter is that, leather is very, very easy to take car of and that’s why it’s almost mind boggling don’t start paying attention to their leather upholstery until the later years of owning their vehicle.

Here are the steps to maintaining your leather car seats for quick reference: {source wikihow}

  1. Clean your seats. Before you can recondition your leather upholstery, you must clean off all the dirt and oils that have accumulated since the last clean. You may use a microfiber towel, a very soft bristled brush or a regular cloth-the less lint the better. Some leathers are more sensitive to scrubbing than others. You may use a store-bought seat cleaner or simply use a two-to-one water and general household cleaner mixture (i.e. Pine Sol or Mr. Clean).
  2. Wipe off the cleaner. Use any sort of damp cloth to remove the residue left by whichever cleaning solution you used. Dry the slightly wet seats off with another cloth. Make sure the seats are dry before applying any upholstery conditioner. If the seats are wet at all, it will be more difficult to rub the conditioner in, and they will likely not maintain their detail for as long a time.
  3. Choose your conditioner. There are a wide variety of conditioners available, and the price you pay for a bottle of conditioner usually corresponds to the quality of that conditioner. No brand is necessarily better than another, but there can be a quality disparity between standard and premium conditioners. No matter which conditioner you choose, the method is the same.
  4. Condition your seats. The process is similar to applying sunscreen. Use a regular kitchen sponge and apply liberally to the entire leather upholstery. Try to make it as even as possible, and be sure to rub the conditioner all the way in. Though you may use a lot of conditioner, do not leave it exposed by not rubbing it into the surface of the leather. The more you rub the conditioner in, the longer it will last and keep your leather seats protected.
  5. Park your car in the shade or in your garage overnight. Give the conditioner some time out of the sun so it has a chance to set in without the bombardment of UV light. The next day use a cloth to gently give the seats one last buffer before you hit the road.

Really people, taking care of your leather car seats really isn’t that difficult. In just a few simple steps, you save yourself the disappointment of getting less for your vehicle due to the condition of your interior seating when you opt to sell, or trade your Atlanta Buick, GMC, Cadillac or Chevrolet. Having a well conditioned interior could add a sizable amount of money to your trade value, or asking price. After all, when a buyer is looking for leather seating, they don’t mean dry, cracked or torn seats. They want plush, soft pliable leather fit for a king. Trust us, your Atlanta car dealer, Southtowne knows a little something about leather interiors.

Atlanta Chevrolet Dealer: How NOT To Void Your Warranty

At your Atlanta Chevrolet Dealer, The Southtowne General Motors Superstore, we’ve seen warranties on new cars getting much better over years. In fact, they are adding many more years and mileage to the warranty coverage than ever before. You can deduce that since those warranties are offered for longer, that the product has also become higher quality as well.

So, with all of these great warranties out there, you want to be sure to not void the warranty before it is set to expire. Here are some tips on how to avoid voiding you vehicle’s warranty: {Source Automotive.com}

1. Read all of the fine print – sure this may seems like a daunting task, but you want to know what you are getting yourself into and how to protect yourself and the warranty.

2. Salvage title – if you get into an accident and your vehicle is estimated at a total loss and you are then given a salvage title, the new title unfortunately voids the warranty. This is true if even all of the recommend repairs are made.  So, as always, drive carefully!

3.  Aftermarket Modifications – you are protected by law. Even though a customer did do an aftermarket modification on the vehicle, that the dealer must prove that the aftermarket part led to any car problems in order for it to void the warranty. If it’s not clear whether or not the aftermarket part caused the failure, the dealer has to run a diagnosis.  If you do some performance modifications, some may become suspicious of there being a possibility of racing which can also be deemed reckless driving as described next and possibly void the warranty.

4. Reckless Driving – this can be anything from off-roading to racing to even over-loading your vehicle. So make sure you carefully read your warranty to make sure you are driving the vehicle correctly. Even if you have a sporty car or an off-roading SUV or truck doing these types of driving can possibly void your warranty.

5. Maintenance – make sure that you get all of your recommended maintenance done otherwise if your engine fails due to oil buildup, for example, then it won’t be covered due to a lack of oil changes. Also, it’s best to save all of your maintenance and service receipts. Get detailed invoices if possible.

6. Damages by the Environment – Mother Nature will do her thing and unfortunately it won’t be covered by your warranty. Should you have something like hail damage, contact your automotive insurance agency.  Damage by fires, floods and earthquakes are also not covered either.

The Owner’s Manual that comes along with the car will contain a section listing everything you should not do. Obviously, you should service the car regularly as recommended by the Manual. If you somehow still find yourself in a sticky situation where you believe the warranty company is trying to rip you off, then you can report them to the Federal Trade Commission. More information is available at their website.

The best way to avoid voiding your vehicle’s warranty is to read and understand what is in the warranty contract. Should you have any questions about your warranty just come by your Atlanta Chevrolet Dealer, the Southtowne General Motors Superstore and we will be glad to help you thought it.

Atlanta Car Dealer Recomendation For Improved Performance

If you are like every American driver, you are looking for ways to improve your cars performance and gas mileage. Your Atlanta car dealer, the Southtowne General Motors Superstore, wants to remind you that one of the easiest things you can do to increase performance is to change your intake air filter. The air filter is an important part of the intake system in your vehicle as it is what helps your engine “breathe.”  Your engine runs on an exact mixture of air and fuel, but before it is combined it runs through the filter first. This is to get out all of the dirt and foreign particles which could possibly damage the engine.  A dirty air filter affect your vehicles performance.

Another important reason to have a clean air filter is that it will help with gas mileage. And with gas prices higher than we would like, it’s a great reason to check your air filter to make sure it is clean. Usually once a year, preferably twice is good to change your air filter, however if you live in highly polluted area then you should check and change it more often.  Air filters can also be checked during your routine oil change.

If you would like to check and change your own air filter it is a fairly easy process.  Open up the hood and locate a large plastic tube that leads away from the top of the engine. Follow this to a large box that maybe metal or plastic, round or square, depending on your vehicle.  This is the air filter box which contains the air filter. Pop off the top and locate the filter. If the filter is brown or black, then it is restricting the passage of air and should be replaced immediately.

It’s important to check and replace your air filter to maintain your vehicle’s performance and extended the life of it. You could set up an alert in your phone to remind you to check it every 3 to 6 months.  Or if you’d like help, just bring it on by to our service department at you Atlanta Buick, Cadillac GMC, Chevrolet dealer, the Southtowne General Motors Superstore.

Atlanta Car Dealer: Memorial Day Tribute

The saying goes, “the only thing harder than being a soldier is loving one”. Take the time this Memorial Day Weekend to imagine one of your loved ones over seas fighting for Democracy, Truth and Freedom. Then imagine them not making it back. That is what Memorial Day is really like for thousands of families across the United States who have lost their soldiers in battle.Your Atlanta car dealer, The Southtowne General Motors Superstore salutes every soldier’s service.

I wish a simple “Thank You” could express the immense gratitude our Southtowne Family feels. Your bravery and heroism has not gone unnoticed and will not be forgotten.

Debunking Atlanta Car Maintainance Myths

If you’ve kept up with Atlanta GMC Dealer, the Southtowne General Motors Superstore, you already know that we like to give a lot of education when it comes to maintaining your cars.  I’ve started, I want to share my favorite cars myths of all –maintenance myths. I think these are my favorite because they are the most common. They’re also the most important because you may think you are doing what’s best for your car when in reality, you might be compromising your safety and your wallet. That being said, let’s not waste anytime.

Myth: Engine oil should be changed every 3,000 miles.
Reality: Despite what oil companies and quick-lube shops often claim, it’s usually not necessary. Stick to the service intervals in your car’s owner’s manual. Under normal driving conditions, most vehicles are designed to go 7,500 miles or more between oil changes. Changing oil more often doesn’t hurt the engine, but it can cost you a lot of extra money. Automakers often recommend 3,000-mile intervals for severe driving conditions, such as constant stop-and-go driving, frequent trailer-towing, mountainous terrain, or dusty conditions.

Myth: Inflate tires to the pressure shown on the tire’s sidewall.
Reality: The pounds-per-square-inch figure on the side of the tire is the maximum pressure that the tire can safely hold, not the automaker’s recommended pressure, which provides the best balance of braking, handling, gas mileage, and ride comfort. That figure is usually found on a doorjamb sticker, in the glove box, or on the fuel-filler door. Perform a monthly pressure check when tires are cold or after the car has been parked for a few hours.

Myth: If the brake fluid is low, topping it off will fix the problem.
Reality: As brake pads wear, the level in the brake-fluid reservoir drops a bit. That helps you monitor brake wear. If the fluid level drops to or below the Low mark on the reservoir, then either your brakes are worn out or fluid is leaking. Either way, get the brake system serviced immediately. You should also get a routine brake inspection when you rotate the tires, about every 6,000 to 7,000 miles.

Myth: Flush the coolant with every oil change.
Reality: Radiator coolant doesn’t need to be replaced very often. Most owner’s manuals recommend changing the coolant every five years or 60,000 miles. Of course, if the level in the coolant reservoir is chronically low, check for a leak and get service as soon as possible.

Myth: After a jump-start, your car will soon recharge the battery.
Reality: It could take hours of driving to restore a battery’s full charge, especially in the winter. That’s because power accessories, such as heated seats, draw so much electricity that in some cars the alternator has little left over to recharge a run-down battery. A “load test” at a service station can determine whether the battery can still hold a charge. If so, some hours on a battery charger might be needed to revive the battery to its full potential.

Myth: Let your engine warm up for several minutes before driving.
Reality: That might have been good advice for yesteryear’s cars but is less so today. Modern engines warm up more quickly when they’re driven. And the sooner they warm up, the sooner they reach maximum efficiency and deliver the best fuel economy and performance. But don’t rev the engine high over the first few miles while it’s warming up.

Myth: Dish washing and laundry detergents make a good car wash.
Reality: Detergent can strip off a car’s wax finish. Instead, use a car-wash liquid, which is formulated to clean without removing wax.

Source: Consumer Reports

Heard of at least one of these before? I knew it. I’m sure some of you may be in shock right now realizing that all of you’ve known about DIY car maintenance has been wrong, but don’t fret the Southtowne General Motors Superstore has you totally covered. You should never hesitate to give us a call with any car maintenance questions or any questions about cars in general. After all, we want to ensure your car lives the longest and healthiest life that it can.

Atlanta Car Dealer: Kids And Hot Cars Don’t Mix

I write about this topic once a year, usually at the beginning of summer I don’t think that this topic is talked about enough actually and should probably get in the habit of writing another one in 6 months. Being an Atlanta Car Dealer, the Southtowne General Motors Superstore, I, for obvious reasons, have a connection to the automotive world that most people do not have. My days and nights are consumed with cars, new technology, the automotive industry and wondering if I turned off the lights at the dealership after I leave. So it pains me when I read stories about forgetful, or neglectful parents leaving their children in hot cars. Look, I understand that sometimes things happen, but this is one of those things that just can’t, not even for a minute.

Just take a look at this video to see why it’s dangerous and get a tip on how to prevent you from forgetting your child:

The video was an eye opener, showing  that babies heat up 3 to 5 times faster than adults, and how large a gap there  is between the outside and the inside temperature of a vehicle.  So please, the next time you want to run in for a quick coffee purchase and leave your baby in the back seat, don’t do it.  It might be a death trap.  To learn more, check out kidsandcars.org for other kids & cars related safety tips.

Also, I know how tricky those car seats are, so if you’re by Southtowne and would like us to demonstrate how to properly install the car seat, we’d be more than happy to help.  A secure car seat can help prevent injury among children involved in car accidents.

Atlanta Used Car Dealer: You can Learn A Lot From A Used Car Test Drive

Test driving a USED car is one of the fastest ways to learn about the car itself, don’t you think? There is no doubt that your Atlanta Used Car Dealer, the Southtowne General Motors Superstore recommends taking the Atlanta used car you are looking at for a little spin before you make an offer. You can quickly determine if the car is worth your time to check out mechanically in the first few moments after you turn the engine over.

There are of course a few common problems that you need to look for when test driving a car. I found a pretty good checklist from cartips.com to study before you test drive that used car around New Jersey.

Test all of the functions of the car:

You need to test the head lights, heater, A/C, radio, interior lights, mirrors, brake lights, turn signals, defrost, safety belts, windshield wipers and seats for how they function.

Plus, you want to check out any additional options like electronic seats, seat warmers, GPS etc.

Starting the car:

Before you start the car, be sure to check if the car is already warm. If it is, the owner may have pre-heated the engine before you arrived so that the car will start easier… if this is the case, be aware that the car may have cold start problems.

Open the hood before starting the car. Check to see if there are any wet parts of the engine, this will tell you if there are any leaks.

Start the car and pay attention to whether the engine strains at all when starting. This may mean the battery or electrical system is on it’s way out.

Once the car has been started, go back to the engine compartment and check again for any wet engine parts. Some engines will leak only when running.

Put your hand on the fender of the vehicle to check if you feel any harsh vibrations. The car should run fairly smooth and not shake the vehicle.

Finally, if the car has power steering, make sure that the steering wheel can be moved smoothly back and forth and there are no strange noises when you do this. If there is a loud whine when you move the steering wheel this may mean the power steering pump is fried.

Test Driving the Car:

Finally it’s time to take this car on the road! Through the entire test drive process, be aware of the sounds of the car. Does the brake pedal make noise? Does the engine make a strange noise at a certain speed? Does steering the car make a strange noise? These are questions to be asking yourself the entire time you are test driving the car.

The first thing you want to notice about the car is how the transmission shifts:

If you’re test driving an automatic car, you should almost not even feel the shift when driving slowly. If the shifting takes longer than 3 or 4 seconds this is a major problem.

If you’re test driving a standard car, the shifts should be smooth and easy. If the car grinds into the next gear, then your synchros are probably in need of repair.

While driving down a quiet street, take your foot off the gas and let go of the steering wheel (CAREFULLY!). If the car pulls one way or the other, there is most likely an alignment problem. Also, push the brake lightly and if the car pulls left or right under braking there is most likely a problem with the braking system.

Make sure you take the car both up and down hills. Does the car shake when braking down a hill? If so, the brakes need service. Does the car handle accelerating up a hill? Or does it cough and lose power? This could mean a number of engine problems that need to be checked out.

Finally, you need to take the test drive to the freeway:

This step is really important. Any major problems with the car are going to be very apparent when riding on the freeway.

Here are some things to look out for:

  • Does the car pull to the left or right?
  • The brakes pulsing or shaking when applied.
  • Excessive wind noise when all of the windows are closed.
  • Does the car seem to “float” around? There may be suspension problems.
  • Does the engine sound normal?
  • If you stomp on the gas pedal does the car cough or hesitate before accelerating?

Now, if you decide to make the used car buying process much easier just see your Atlanta Used Car Dealer, The Southtowne General Motors Superstore first take all of the guesswork out of buying a used car.