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Car Culture

Car Owner Do's & Don'ts: Buying a Car!

May 3, 2017
Buying a car, new or used, can be a super exciting time, but also just as stressful. If you are a first time car buyer, there are so many questions you may have, and things you may not know. Believe it or not, there are do’s and don’ts when it comes to buying a car. Here are some do’s and don’ts that will help you during the process of your next car purchase: DO: Research cars before you even visit a dealership. Take a look at your finances and figure out what you can afford. DON’T: Try to buy a luxury vehicle if you cannot afford it! DO: Test drive a vehicle before you purchase it. DON’T: Be suckered or pressured into purchasing a car if you do not feel 100% about it. It’s okay to wait especially when it comes to making a big purchase like this. Being able to test drive the vehicle you’ve been eyeing is a great way to see if it is really the right one for you. DO: Calculate if you’re financing to make sure that the terms match the amount you’ve agreed to finance. DON’T: Purchase unnecessary extras (such as fabric protection and paint sealant), especially if you are on a strict budget. These services are usually still available to you later on. DO: Research dealerships before you go. Find a place that has great reviews and a good reputation so that you know when you visit it will be a smooth process. DON’T: Buy from questionable used car lots and/or buy a car that you see for sale on the side of the road. DO: Check the CarFax of each vehicle you are considering purchasing. DON’T: Just assume that you are getting every detail from a salesperson. You want to make sure you can ask him or her questions about the vehicle you are interested in, especially if it had a previous owner. Are you looking to buy a new car? One of the McCarthy Auto Group dealerships has what you need! Visit the website here.
Car Culture

Car Owner Do’s & Don’ts: With Your Brand New Car!

April 30, 2017
  You just drove home in a brand new car! Congratulations! Whether it’s pre-owned or you’re the first one to drive it, it’s still new to you, and that is something to celebrate! Maybe you’re in that honeymoon phase with your new ride, or maybe you’re overcome with nerves that you might wreck it. Whatever your feelings are towards this ride, there are some simple do’s and don’ts you can follow to help with your new vehicle! DO: Familiarize yourself with your new car! Whether you’re driving a different model than you used to, or just an updated version of your last car, you have some learning to do. Getting used to where the controls are, how the steering wheel feels, and how the brakes react can take some time, but stay observant and it will start to feel normal! DON’T: Forget about maintenance. When you get a brand new car, it’s easy to think that it’s already in perfect shape. Hopefully, it is! But, go ahead and take note of the tire’s tread, air pressure, fuel levels, etc. Just like when you’re renting a new apartment, do a walk around to make note of how the condition is when you get it. Make a mental note to do monthly maintenance checks of your car, and that will help prolong that new car feeling!   DO: Make adjustments to your liking. You paid for this new car, so you deserve for it to fit you just right! I’ve encountered so many people who have driven their car for years being annoyed at the height of their steering wheel or other pesky details. These features should all be adjustable! Don’t think that you have to keep it the way it is, take some time to figure out how to adjust your vehicle’s features to maximize your comfort. DON’T: Let that new car smell fade away! It seems like once this smell fades away, that new car owner excitement does too. So, I have some tips to help you prolong this feeling! This smell that is loved by so many can actually come from the chemicals used to keep your seats and floors soft. Keeping your car well maintained and cleaned is the first step you can take to keep that new car smell going. Also, heat can dry out those chemicals pretty quickly, so beware of the sun! Park in the shade, crack your windows, and use sun shades on your windshield! Not only will these habits help keep the inside of your new car smelling fresh, but it will help prolong the life of your car’s exterior, too!
Car Culture

Car Owner Do’s & Don’ts: For Test Driving!

April 28, 2017
  Imagine going wedding dress shopping and never actually trying on the dress before you buy it. That doesn’t make a lot of sense, does it? You’d be taking a gamble with your hard earned money before you even knew if the dress was the right fit! This same rationale rolls over onto car-buying. Don’t buy a car until you know that it’s the perfect fit for you! This is where test driving comes in. Now that you understand the importance of a test drive, here are some simple tips to help you out! DO: Come prepared! Show up to the dealership knowing what models you’re interested in and what exactly it is that you’re looking for. Do some homework on the cars you want to drive first. That way, your test drive can just confirm or deny your interest! DON’T: Get distracted. Go into your test drive with a goal, and complete it. Try to eliminate as many distractions as possible. For you, maybe this means driving alone without your entire family chattering in the back seat. Or, maybe bringing a confidant with you to help observe your test drive can help you to stay on track! Stay focused so you can get the most out of your drive! DO: Inspect the interior AND exterior of the vehicle. More often than not, shoppers get so excited to finally get behind the wheel that they completely bypass inspecting the exterior of the car. Once you’ve inspected the outside, be sure to stay observant of the inside. Make a list ahead of time of what is most important to you, and be sure to take note of it on your drive! Maybe you care about having tons of headroom, or maybe the size of the cupholders is important to you–whatever it is, be sure to inspect it and stay observant throughout your test drive! DON’T: Rush your test drive. Maybe you talk fast when you get nervous, or perhaps the salesperson is on a tighter timetable than you. This is your hard-earned money you’re gearing up to spend, so take your time! From testing out varying speeds to driving on different terrains, take your time during the drive, and take time to reflect on it. These do’s and don’ts seem simple, but they are imperative to getting the most out of your test drive! I hope these little tips and tricks help increase your confidence in your car-buying process.
Car Culture

Car Owner Do’s & Don’ts: Trading In Your Vehicle

April 26, 2017
  You’ve been driving around that car of yours for years now, and you think it’s time for a new one. You have a couple options of how you can get rid of your old ride. Nowadays, dealers have put so much effort into making the trade-in process as easy and quick as possible. Don’t be intimidated by this process! Your car has trade-in value no matter what year, make, model, mileage or history it has seen–trust me! I’m here to share with you some do’s and don’ts when gearing up to trade in your vehicle. Out with the old, and in with the new! DO: Your research! This is the first and easiest step you can take, and you can complete it by simply sitting on your couch–so why not?! Figure out how much your car is worth. There are plenty of online tools that can help you estimate your vehicle’s value. Click here to try one out! DON’T: Just walk into this process blindly, doing research beforehand is key. Dealers are your friends, they are there to help you, but make sure you know what you’re talking about! Once you decide where you’d like to trade in your vehicle, go online to the dealer’s website and check out their trade-in tools and deals they are currently offering! I guarantee you almost every dealer out there has some sort of online information to help you begin your trade-in process. See for yourself–check out McCarthy Auto Group’s free online trade-in appraisal tool! DO: Clean your car. You want to get the most out of your trade-in, so have your ride looking its best! Get the exterior a good wash and wax. For the interior, remove all of your personal items and vacuum out the whole thing. DON’T: Feel like you have to make your old car look shiny and new. If you want to get it detailed, go right ahead! Dealers always say they can “see through the dirt,” so it isn’t imperative that your car is squeaky clean, but it doesn’t hurt to make a good impression! DO: Fix small issues on your car yourself (or hire someone to do so). Check all of your car’s lights inside and out, and replace any that might be out. And, top off the fluid levels. These are simple steps you can take to add to that good impression you’re going for! DON’T: Fix major issues. If there’s damage, what’s done is done. You can’t hide it, so leave that for the dealer to fix! You don’t want to spend a fortune having your car repaired, and the dealer can fix it for much less than what it would cost you. If there are more serious issues with your car, it lowers your vehicle’s value anyway, so leave that to be someone else’s problem.
Car Culture

Car Owner Do’s & Don’ts: For Tires!

April 23, 2017
  Tires are one of the most important components of your car for many reasons. They are the single connection from your car to the road–essential to you and your car’s safety! Understanding how to know what kind of tires are best for your car and how to maintain them is imperative for any car owner. So, follow these do’s and stay away from the don’ts! When buying new tires: DO: Shop around! Your car’s OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) has suggested tires for your car, but don’t assume those are the best fit for you! Your tire’s effectiveness is dependent on many factors. Analyze what type of weather and terrain you most commonly drive in, and let that factor into what type of tires you choose. You want them to be the best fit for your car and where you drive it! Do some research on different deals happening in your area, hence, shop around! Don’t limit yourself to your usual maintenance shop. I promise, you might just save some money this way! DON’T: Spend too little, or too much! Find that sweet spot in the middle and you’ll find yourself some perfect new tires! If a deal seems too good to be true, that might just be the case. While buying cheap tires is a good temporary fix, you’ll pay for it in the long run. But, don’t feel like buying expensive name brand tires is the other route you have to take. Yes, you’ll probably get higher quality with higher costs, but take into consideration those tires in the middle of the spectrum. There are great, not as well known tire brands that will give you excellent product for a much lower cost–right in that sweet spot I was telling you to find! Once you have those new tires, maintain them! DO: Rotate them! It is recommended that tires be rotated, on average, about every six months or every 3,000 – 6,000 miles driven. Rotating your tires is an essential part of their maintenance. Making sure they all wear as evenly as possible helps prolong their life. Do you need more information on the importance of rotating your tires? Don’t worry, I have another blog post here to help you out. DON’T: Ignore them! Tire neglect can become a huge safety hazard. If a tire alert light pops up on your dash, listen to it. How many times have you seen a blown out tire on the side of the road and become worried that the same accident could spontaneously happen to you? Here’s a good rule of thumb to remember: every time you get your oil changed, consider getting your tires rotated! If you have to ask yourself when the last time was that your tires have had maintenance, the answer is, it’s probably time. DO: Perform routine tire checks. Don’t count on waiting for the mechanic to do this. Check your tire pressure and tread regularly–at least once a month! A simple trick you can perform during your checks is the penny test! Stick a penny head first into your tire’s tread. If you can still see Abe’s head, it’s time to start shopping for new tires! DON’T: Forget about the spare tire! Getting a flat tire is miserable. Discovering that your spare tire is also flat, is even worse. No, you’re not having to constantly monitor the tread on your spare, but occasionally checking on it can be beneficial over time. Hopefully you never have to use it, but on the chance that you might need it, you want it to be functioning and dependable! When you check your tires pressure, go ahead and also check the spares. Do you have more questions about your tires? Learn more here!
Car Culture

Car Owner Do’s & Don’ts: DIY Maintenance

April 21, 2017
As we all know, it is important to make sure your vehicle is properly maintained while under your care. If you want your car to last as long as possible, you have to make sure that it is being serviced and checked regularly. The good thing about car maintenance is that you can save money by doing some of it yourself. Here are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to DIY car maintenance:

Washing Your Car

DON’T: Use dishwashing liquid and/or shampoo for cleaning! DO: Buy a car-wash product that is specifically made to be used against automotive paint. These washes are typically milder and won’t strip off protective wax. It is also good to use a soft cloth or sponge for cleaning.

Changing a Tire

DON’T: Change a tire on unstable ground, in poor weather conditions, and if your equipment isn’t in good condition. And NEVER, crawl under the car while it’s on a jack. DO: Make sure you are in a location that is safe and has stable ground. Turning your parking brake on helps to keep your vehicle from rolling away. Make sure the lug nuts are screwed on tightly once you are finished replacing the tires. Most importantly, do call for help if the conditions you are faced with are too challenging. Getting professional help is better than saving a few bucks and risking either injuring yourself or damaging your vehicle even more.

Changing Your Oil

DON’T: Use the wrong oil! It doesn’t matter if the motor oil is the most or least expensive, if it isn’t the type of oil that is recommended in your car’s owner manual, you should follow that recommendation. DO: Properly dispose of your car’s used oil. Used motor oil is highly toxic and harmful to the environment. A safe way you can dispose of the used oil is transferring it into a sealed container and delivering it to a nearby gas station that accepts oil oil for recycling.

Jumping Your Car

DON’T: Try to jump a car if the batter is cracked or leaking! This could cause an explosion. DO: Make sure the headlights, radios, hazard lights, and turn signals of both cars are turned off. Make sure both cars are either in park or neutral with the parking brake on. If you ever find yourself stuck trying to do car maintenance yourself, you’re always welcome to stop by one of McCarthy Auto Group’s service centers! Schedule your next appointment here.
Car Culture

Car Owner Do’s and Don’ts: Car Repair

April 19, 2017
When it comes to getting your car repaired, there are many things to factor in. You have to know your vehicle. Could the squeaky noise it’s making mean there’s something wrong, or is it normal? How much should a certain repair cost? How long can it wait to be repaired before there are serious damages? There can be so many questions. Luckily, I know a little bit about cars and am willing to pass along some of my knowledge. Here are a few simple do’s and don’ts when it comes to getting your vehicle repaired.

When Something Seems to Be Wrong

DON’T: Just assume it’s something really bad or nothing at all. If you are hearing a loud noise or if your car seems to be doing something weird and unusual, do not try to diagnose or fix it if you are not sure what’s exactly wrong with it. DO: Schedule a service appointment for your vehicle to have it checked out.  

If Something Is Wrong and It Is Worse Than You Expected

DON’T: Jump right into getting the problem fixed. It is okay to wait and get another opinion. DO: Ask what the time sensitivity is on the car repair, and take it somewhere else to get another opinion. You always want to make sure the issue is exactly what was told to you before you waste money on getting the wrong thing fixed.  

After Your Car Has Been Repaired

DON’T: Be so quick to jump back into your old driving habits, especially if it was the cause of your car needing to be repaired. DO: Pay attention to your car. Learn to recognize how it drives when it is in perfect condition versus when it is in poor condition. Make sure to get routine oil changes and check ups. Take the best care of your car so that you won’t have to run into getting repairs often.   Do you need your vehicle repaired? Bring your car by one of the McCarthy Auto Group dealership service centers!
Car Culture

What Kind of Car Am I? SUV!

April 18, 2017
  Every person has a story to tell, and so does your car. Let’s talk about SUVs! Do you like versatility? Do you need a third row of seats? Are you used to driving in challenging weather? Then an SUV is for you! Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) are known for their versatility. In recent years, they’ve skyrocketed to the top of the market in popularity among Americans. They come with tons of options, and that’s what people love! From having the option to have extra seating capacity and towing capabilities to increased vehicle safety, SUVs are capable of a wide range of functions! Whether you have a large family that you’re hauling around or you drive in a lot of snow–people love SUVs for all sorts of reasons! What is your reason? If you’ve been keeping up with my series, you’ve made your list of goals and priorities with what you want out of your new car. If I was a betting woman, I’d bet that fuel economy is on that priority list of yours. Don’t be turned away from getting an SUV just because some don’t get the best gas mileage on the market. Fortunately, there are plenty of SUVs out there that have that room and versatility you love without being gas guzzlers. You’d be surprised, many get better gas mileage than even some luxury cars! Take a look at this consumer report–the Toyota RAV4 is topping the charts with 24 mpg! But wait, there’s more! SUVs have increased vehicle handling capabilities due to the weight that comes with them. Many feature an all wheel drive option which is popular among buyers, especially those that encounter more challenging road and weather conditions. SUVs also boast a higher seating position, which contributes to increased visibility among the vehicle. With increased vehicle handling and visibility comes increased safety–just another factor into why SUVs have become so popular! With all of these benefits that come along with an SUV, of course there are some cons–just like there are with any vehicle. Maintenance and repair costs may be a tad higher than other models, but costs like these are dependent upon what kind of make and model you choose. For many buyers, they are willing to overlook these smaller cons because of all of the benefits that are packed into this vehicle style. Perhaps these people have a more glass-half-full mentality, are you one of them? Whether you are needing to tote around your ski equipment at the base of a mountain, or you simply like having more room and visibility, you are an SUV! Let this vehicle add to your story.
Car Culture

What To Do If Your Car Is Stolen

March 26, 2017
Having my car stolen or broken into is a constant fear sitting in the back of my mind. While I hope this never happens to any of you, there are things you can do to try and prevent theft. This way,in the unfortunate event that your car does actually get stolen, you’ll know what to do next! Prevent your car from theft by considering these helpful tips:  
  • Park in a garage when possible. Car thieves are more likely to steal cars on the street.
  • Maintain your car. If your car looks like it is in good shape and well-maintained, the idea that your car has working alarms goes along with it, making carjackers less likely to go for your vehicle.
  • Don’t leave your valuables in sight. Here is where the “lock, take, hide” motto comes into place. Listen to it.
  • Park in well-lit areas. The more visible your car is, the less likely it is to get broken into.
If you believe your car has been stolen, try and stay calm. You’ve just experienced a traumatic event, and it can be difficult to think clearly. Try and take a deep breath to determine what to do next. Keep the following things in mind:
  • Make sure your car has actually been stolen. It’s easy to forget where one parked, so retrace your steps and double, triple check that this empty spot was actually where you last left your car.
  • Make sure your car hasn’t just been towed. Look around to see if you see any warning signs about towing that you might have missed when you originally parked. If you see any nearby signs, call the number for more information. If you don’t see a towing number, call the police. Most towing facilities report the towed vehicle so it doesn’t get presumed to be stolen.
  • If you have double checked these things, it’s time to call the police. The sooner you call, the more likely your potentially stolen car is to be recovered.
  • Now that you’ve alerted the police, notify your insurance carrier and report your stolen car. Regardless of what policy you have, your insurance provider needs to know that you aren’t currently in possession of your vehicle.
  • Report your stolen vehicle to the local DMV. The DMV keeps a database of stolen cars and often works with the police department to help you recover your car.
  • If you still have had no luck in locating your vehicle, keep your eye online. Check sites such as Craigslist and other selling or pawning sites. While this isn’t always the case,  you just might find your stolen car online.
Car Culture

How Often Should I Wash My Car?

March 20, 2017
We’ve all spaced out during our morning commute to ask ourselves the question, “When was the last time I washed my car?” If you ever answered the question with, “I don’t know”, it’s time to drive your car through a power wash once—maybe even twice! I recommend you avoid the question of whether you can remember the last time you washed your car by creating a carwash calendar! Before you do, consider this: the point of washing your car is to preserve the pearly paint that lies below Mother Nature’s torment, so wash your car weekly or monthly depending on the season, weather and activity! If you’re like me and love a good road trip, I recommend you wash bugs and bird droppings off your car during the expedition rather than facing the woes of caked on bug juice a week later. Not only will it be easier to remove the grime when it’s fresh, it will also spare your paint job some damage as the bugs are likely to take some paint with them. Wash your car after snowstorms. The salt used to melt icy roads can damage the paint job of your car. During this time of year, I like to get the undercarriage of my vehicle washed as the slush and snow can push muck in hard to reach areas! This feature is offered at most automatic car washes for a small additional fee. If you’re taking your car off-roading, I recommend washing your car in between rides—even if it’s just a quick rinse. It will go a long way in preventing dirt build-up. Taking your car to the automated car wash is definitely the easy way to go, but who said the easy route would be fun? Washing your car by hand can be a great way to become familiar with its aerodynamic curves and bumps that have given you stories to tell. Bear in mind that washing your car by hand takes dedication. You’ll need to use products that are dedicated to keeping your car clean without leaving a scratch! Household cleaners will not do. After I’ve spent the time to wash my car, I like to give it a polish with a coat of wax twice a year. This helps my car maintain its shine for months to come. After reading this blog, I hope you can answer the question, “When was the last time I washed my car?” with more than an “I don’t know”!