Spark plugs are a critical component to your vehicle’s internal combustion engine. Without a spark, your fuel couldn’t ignite in the combustion chamber. When running smoothly, spark plugs will burn fuel efficiently. However, faulty, bad, failing, or misfiring spark plugs can be the result of many different causes. Let’s unpack a few of these potential damaging causes and symptoms to look for: Slow Acceleration Similar to your vehicle’s air filters and oil, your spark plugs require routine maintenance. Every vehicle requires a specific type of spark plug made up of unique materials. Sometimes these materials can simply wear out, reducing the effectiveness of your spark plugs, leading to symptoms such as slow acceleration. If you start to notice your car running sluggishly, and it’s not accelerating as quickly as it used to, don’t just brush these observations off. This is a symptom that can indicate failing spark plugs (or other potential issues). Poor Fuel Economy Another common symptom that can allude to failing spark plugs is a decrease in your car’s fuel economy. What causes this decrease? Often, this is because the gap between the spark plug electrodes is either too far apart or too close, or your spark plug might just be worn out. If you notice your car’s fuel economy decreasing, or you are experiencing higher fuel consumption, have a mechanic examine your spark plugs and adjust the gap before possibly having to replace them entirely. Engine Misfires If your engine misfires, it’s typically because of an issue with the ignition system. However, sometimes this issue can be traced back to the spark plugs. If the wire or tip of the spark plug has been damaged, this can lead to ultimate spark plug failure. If you notice your vehicle making sputtering sounds or intermittent stumbling from the engine, have this checked as soon as possible. Regardless of the cause, it is inevitable that your spark plugs will eventually wear out. That’s why regular maintenance on your spark plugs is necessary. Stay observant of how your car is acting and reacting to things, and remember to look for the common symptoms associated with spark plug failure!
Especially in the summer heat, we rely on our vehicle’s air conditioning to provide a refreshing breeze on our drives. Stepping into your car that has been parked in the sun only to find that your A/C has quit out on you is something I wouldn’t wish upon anyone! Here are some common reasons that can lead to A/C failure, and actions you can take to prevent this nightmare from happening: Faulty Fuse or Circuit Breaker In the event that your air conditioning fails, one of the first things you should check is your circuit breaker and fuse. Many fuses use a strip of wire that can melt or break if the amount of current passing through it exceeds its capacity. Your car’s fuses are installed in line of specific circuits, in order to protect the circuits from overloading. If you notice that your vehicle’s accessories, such as the wipers, radio, power locks, etc, suddenly start weakening or cease to function, this can indicate a faulty, broken, or dying fuse. Look for these signs, so you can catch the problem early before it affects your air conditioning system! Refrigerant Leak If your vehicle’s refrigerant (a chemical your car uses for cooling) is not at the proper level, this can harm your A/C’s ability to function properly and lead to A/C failure. A/C systems are sealed and don’t require a top-off of refrigerant, therefore if the level is low, you have a leak that needs to be addressed immediately by a certified service technician. These leaks are trickier to notice. Symptoms can include an oily residue on or around the A/C hose units, connections, or potentially on any components of your air conditioning system. Worn Out Compressor The compressor is essentially the heart of your vehicle’s air conditioning system. It circulates the refrigerant and removes heat from your vehicle’s cabin. The compressor can simply just wear out over time, which can lead to issues with your A/C. However, there are some preventative measures you can take to prolong its life. Whenever you are getting maintenance done on your car, have the technician do a simple compressor inspection. Take matters into your own hands and run your compressor for about ten minutes once a month, regardless of the temperature outside. If you start to feel warm air blowing through your vehicle’s A/C system, that is a good indication that something is damaging your air conditioning. Whether it’s one of these common issues listed above, or another A/C damaging culprit, keep an eye out for the symptoms so you can avoid complete A/C failure!
Your vehicle’s transmission is one of the most important components of your car. If transmission problems arise, they can boast a hefty price tag to repair. Here are some common reasons that lead to transmission failure, and steps you can take to prevent these issues from occurring! Low Fluid Levels or Leaks. This is one of the most common transmission problems that I’ve seen. If you have low fluid levels, that is usually caused by leaks in the transmission system. Leaks can be caused by multiple different things, such as the seals in the transmission becoming faulty. Keep an eye out for low fluid levels or leaks in your transmission by looking for these symptoms: gear slippage or slow shifting. In the event that you find a transmission fluid related issue, you may need the fluid changed or transmission completely flushed and refilled. Torque Converter Problems Your vehicle’s torque converter pressurizes automatic transmission fluid. One of the most common problems that I’ve seen associated with the torque converter are worn or damaged needle bearings. Symptoms to look for here: when your vehicle is in a driving gear, you hear grinding sounds. This can affect your vehicle’s ability to properly operate, and ultimately lead to transmission failure. Overheating Overheating can be caused by multiple different factors, common ones being low fluid or a heavy tow load. If your car becomes overheated, this can cause your transmission to seize and often leads to the need for a total replacement. This is something you want to avoid at all costs. Stay aware of your vehicle’s fluid levels, and don’t over-work your vehicle. Solenoid Problems The solenoid in your vehicle controls the flow of fluid throughout your transmission. The solenoid can become damaged due to low fluid levels or various electronic related issues. Problems with the solenoid are often mistaken for low fluid levels or leaks, so if you are noticing gear slippage or slow shifting, and there are no leaks, the solenoid should be the next component you check. Driving Habits Your driving style has a direct correlation to how well your car performs. Improper shifting, aggressive driving, and general neglect of your vehicle can lead to transmission failure. For example, never shift a car into reverse while it’s moving forward! These are just a few of the many common factors that can lead to transmission failure! Take note of the symptoms you should look out for, and simply drive smart! If you are noticing any of these issues, schedule a service appointment now.
Over the past five years, McCarthy Auto Group has had the thrill of putting on their annual sales race, setting out to sell 2,000 vehicles in two months. As if this isn’t impressive enough, they donate $20,000 of the proceeds to wonderful local organizations! This is one of the many reasons why I love McCarthy Auto Group. They truly care about supporting our community in any way they can. The current sales race is underway, with the dealerships boasting their lowest prices of the year now through August 31st! This year, the majority of the McCarthy dealerships are supporting the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Kansas City during the sales race. McCarthy Toyota of Sedalia is supporting the Boys & Girls Clubs of West Central Missouri, and McCarthy Chevrolet-Buick-GMC is supporting the Salt Fork YMCA in Marshall! All of these organizations are so well-deserving, and I am so happy to support them all through this exciting time! The Boys & Girls Clubs simply inspire our youth to live out their dreams. They are the premier, affordable youth development programming organization in Kansas City, working in some of our community’s toughest neighborhoods. This organization allows kids to participate and learn activities that they might not get the opportunity to otherwise–like swimming! Between baseball games, swimming lessons, private tutors, art classes, field trips, and more, the kids involved in the clubs always have something exciting to take part in! For more than 100 years, the Boys & Girls Clubs have been making futures brighter for kids in our community, in our state, and nationwide. The achievements the Clubs have reached are extensive, and they remain committed to expanding their services to reach more children. Here are some noteworthy achievements:
- 80% of youth in the Clubs took part in at least one community service activity each month
- 82% of involved youth showed an improved attitude towards learning
- 90% of parents surveyed reported that their children’s participation in the Clubs have helped keep their children off, and away from drugs
- 91% of youth involved in the Clubs’ computer classes showed increased knowledge and problem-solving skills
Saving money is a goal everyone has, especially when it comes to saving on their car. Whether you drive a gas guzzler or an innovative hybrid, everyone loves to save a little money when it comes to fueling their vehicle. Aside from finding the best deals on gasoline in your city, there are some simple things you can do to make your dollar go farther at the gas station! Read on to see how you can start saving some Benjamins by conserving your fuel. Your driving habits have a direct impact on your vehicle’s fuel consumption. Thus, unsafe driving isn’t just dangerous, it’s expensive. Do you always have to be the first one out of the gate at stoplights? Maybe you like to test your car’s 0-60 time every now and then. If this is you, you’re not only endangering those around you, but you’re wasting hard earned money. When you accelerate too quickly you are making your vehicle work harder than it needs to, causing your car to use more fuel. It is fine if you like to live life in the fast lane, just take your time getting there. Smoothly accelerate while following the present speed limit. Simply lightening up on the pedal will improve your gas mileage. Another common gas guzzling cause is idling. This means that your car’s engine is on but you are parked and not moving. Whether you’re warming up your car in the winter, waiting in the school pickup line, or waiting in the car while your loved one is shopping, idling is almost inevitable for most. Idling your vehicle is wasting gas. So, if you find yourself stuck in your car and not moving, put your vehicle into neutral or turn it off. This simple action will help save gas and the environment! Make your car as aerodynamic as it can be. Your car is designed to be aerodynamic, but maximizing this quality will help you conserve fuel. Try to keep your windows rolled up and refrain from blasting the air conditioning and you’ll begin to see an improvement in your gas mileage! Other car accessories such as bike racks or luggage rails can add unnecessary weight and put a drag on your vehicle. Only use accessories when necessary, and remove any extra weight from your vehicle to help your fuel go farther! Another simple step you can take to conserve fuel is to check your tire pressure regularly. The lower the tire pressure, the more gas your car needs to move it. So, staying on top of your car’s maintenance will not only prolong the life of your vehicle, but conserve fuel and make your dollar go farther! Are you guilty of any of these gas guzzling causes? If so, start becoming aware of these habits and remember the steps you can take to improve them. Do you have any gas saving tips you’ve found to be beneficial? Share them with me in the comments below!
If you’re like me, you love some good ol’ Kansas City barbecue. However, with all of the delicious restaurants that make up our city, it’s easy to forget about those food goals we all make for ourselves. But I have good news! You don’t have to sacrifice eating out just to try and stay healthy. Here are some of my favorite healthier restaurants I’ve found around our city that really hit the spot! Unforked. This restaurant prides itself on providing honest, local, fresh ingredients in all of their dishes. Their love for natural ingredients sets the pace for their clean menu! Their goal is to to help you feel better so you can live healthier–how can you not love that?! From gazpacho to burgers, the natural take on their menu is truly tasty. You have to try it! Cafe Gratitude. The name itself is inviting. They support local farmers, sustainable agriculture, and environmentally friendly products. Between their sustainability efforts, cleanse programs, and plant-based menu, you’ve hit the clean jackpot here! When you walk into the restaurant, you immediately just feel the love put into this place. The menu is intriguing, delicious, and 100% organic. Next time you go, I suggest you try the spaghetti squash alfredo! From their bowls to their pasta, there is something for every tastebud to enjoy! Protein House. This restaurant was created with the fitness and health conscious community in mind. Morning, noon, or night, the doors are open for you to rejuvenate and relax with a clean meal. This is truly a unique place that adjusts to everyone’s specific needs. Their friendly staff will greet you and you’ll receive your order soon after that. From their signature pancakes to their delicious wraps, there’s something for you to enjoy every hour of the day! When you eat good, you feel good. So start working these healthier restaurants into your nights out and you won’t feel guilty about your meal! Do you have a favorite healthier restaurant in KC? Tell me about it so I can try it out!
Independence Day in Kansas City is jam-packed with exciting events sure to make your holiday sparkle! From spectacular firework shows to exciting concerts, there is a way everyone can celebrate their American spirit! I’ve put together a few of my favorite ways to let freedom ring this year: KC Riverfest: This is the premiere Independence Day celebration in our city. From KC’s tastiest food trucks to multiple music stages, this is a party you don’t want to miss. Entertainment will start around 4:00 p.m., so be sure to bring your own lawn chairs or blankets to settle down with! Located along the beautiful Missouri Riverfront, this event exceeds my expectations every year. Close out this fun-filled day with the largest fireworks show in the Midwest! Your night is sure to end with a bang! Fireworks & Salute To The Union: For my friends that live more on the Kansas side, the Salute at the Union is the event for you! Live entertainment starts at 4:00 p.m. and the fun just continues from there. Located by Merritt Lake, this free event is fun for the whole family! Fireworks will go off at dusk, giving you the perfect ending to a patriotic day. Legacy Blast Fireworks Extravaganza: Start your patriotic party a day early in Lee’s Summit! On July 3rd starting at 6:00 p.m.. Food vendors, local entertainers and inflatables will fill Legacy Park! This is the perfect family-friendly event to celebrate the holiday. Bring blankets to cozy up under the stars and enjoy the firework display choreographed to music! Star Spangled Spectacular: Thousands of spectators flock to this event in Overland Park each year. Held at the Corporate Woods, this event is packed with live music, food, and fireworks! Proceeds from sales on-site go to benefit local charities while saluting our nation’s veterans. Summer Fireworks at Kauffman Stadium: While our boys in blue are away on July Fourth, Kauffman Stadium will be gearing up for their next spectacular Summer Fireworks show on Friday, July 14th! Maybe you’ll be out of town or preoccupied on the actual holiday, so celebrating July Fourth on the 14th is the perfect way to continue celebrating the land of the free! And as if this night couldn’t get better, it’s also Buck Night during the game! $1 hot dogs and peanuts paired with a night of fireworks… sounds like the perfect night to me! How are you planning on celebrating the Fourth of July in KC? Let me know about it in the comments below!
Did you know that the Chevy Malibu is manufactured locally, right here in Kansas City? That’s just one of the many reasons why I love this vehicle! If you’re looking for a stylish, affordable, midsize sedan, then the Chevy Malibu is for you! Read on to hear my musings on why I think this car is one of the best sedans on the market! The numerous awards the Malibu has won builds an impressive resume for this sedan. It is the 2017 winner of the best midsize car for families and is ranked as #1 in midsized cars by Car and Driver, awarded best buy for a midsized car by Consumer Guide Automotive, and more! Let’s unpack the details of this award-winning vehicle, though. (As if this wasn’t already enough to woo you.) To put it simply, the Malibu is safe and reliable. It gets a whopping five-star overall NHTSA safety rating along with a five-star rating in frontal and side crash tests! Its safety features that help contribute to these astounding ratings include forward collision alert, rearview camera, front and rear park assist, blind spot monitoring, front automatic braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, pedestrian detection, and more! If you have a teen driver in the family, you can also take advantage of Chevy’s available Teen Driver system that lets you set speed limits and radio volume in the vehicle. When it comes to reliability, the Malibu also earned high reliability ratings among midsize cars from J.D. Power: 4.5 out of five stars–which is way more than what the Malibu’s rivals can speak for! The 2017 Chevy Malibu is offered in four trim options: L, LS, LT, and Premier. Overall, this vehicle boasts a quiet, comfortable ride in whatever trim you choose. You’ll experience a smooth drive, even when you hit some occasional rough patches. The Malibu simply holds its composure well through different terrains. One of my favorite things about the Malibu is that you can customize it to your liking. If you go just one trim level up from the base model, there are many available packages and a la carte items for you to choose from, so your vehicle can be equipped just to your liking! If you are currently shopping for a sedan, the Chevrolet Malibu should be on your consideration list. Don’t just take my word for it, though. Go out and give the Malibu a test drive and I guarantee you’ll want to drive away in it!
The Nissan Rogue pulls you in with its enticing price tag, but the perks of this striking SUV continue to surpass expectations! When I hear “SUV”, the Rogue is one of the first vehicles I picture. It is simply just a good, sturdy, dependable car. Read more about why this Nissan is my current featured favorite: The Rogue gets an impressive EPA estimated 29 combined mpg in city/highway. It is as efficient as it is stylish. It is the only true 3-row compact SUV topping the charts with its fuel efficiency. So, if the fuel economy of a vehicle is your #1 priority, then you should be sold by now! Amazingly the benefits of this vehicle don’t stop there. There are many notable additions to the new 2017 Rogue that raise the bar from this vehicle in its previous years. It boasts an updated refreshing, sleek interior and exterior, new adaptive cruise control, pedestrian detection and an optional emergency braking system. The most talked about commodity of the Rogue, however, is its ample cargo space. When seeing the Rogue for the first time, folks tend to be surprised by the amount of space available inside the vehicle. Its large cargo capacity features an innovative storage system, along with the option of having a third row, which is a definite plus. When it comes to space, the Rogue has plenty to offer. Overall, this Nissan offers a comfortable ride. The Rogue offers three main trim levels: S, SV, and SL. Even in their most basic trim, this vehicle packs in a remarkable amount of features, including a rearview camera, 5-inch display screen, bluetooth phone and streaming audio system, four-speaker CD player with USB input, and satellite radio. There are also plenty of add-on options for you to customize your vehicle to your liking. From lane keeping assist and forward collision mitigation to a panoramic sunroof, the available features for the Rogue contribute to make this a top SUV contender. If you’re looking for a reliable, comfortable ride with an expansive interior, you’ve met your match! Go out and test drive a Nissan Rogue, and it will soon become your favorite too!
Recently the Hyundai Elantra was fully redesigned, so it has a fresh new look for 2017! The new Elantra boasts a classy, sleek look alongside impressive tech features, making it one of my favorite cars this year! It is more refined than ever before. Take a look at why it’s gaining so much popularity: This four-door, compact sedan packs a lot into a smaller package! The 2017 model offers three new engines and four trim options: SE, Eco, Limited, and Sport. Regardless of what trim you choose, the Elantra is equipped with stable, dependable road handling and an impressive suspension, contributing to the car’s comfortable ride. The interior is accommodating, comfortable, and spacious–which is more than many of its competitors can say! I definitely think the Elantra’s interior is one of its biggest selling points. The overall fit and finish is of high quality, and the window designs offer maximum visibility. The Elantra isn’t loved just for its looks, though. This sedan also prides itself on its safety features! It received an excellent Top Safety Pick+ award from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Between its abounding airbags, lane departure warning system, blind spot monitor, rollover protection system, and more, the Elantra has got you covered. If you’re still not sold on this favorite of mine, there’s more! This Hyundai packs in a surprising amount of advanced tech features, setting itself apart from other sedans on the market. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard capabilities on all trims except the base model. You’ll also find a seven inch touch screen, eight-speaker Infinity audio system, HID headlights, heated seats, and more inside the Elantra! I could go on and on about why I love this sedan so much, but I want you to see it for yourself! Test drive one today from McCarthy Auto Group. You might just drive away in a new car!