2914 Wilmington Rd. New Castle, PA 16105 724-657-1551 matt@castlecarcompany.com

How Many Miles Is Considered Good For A Used Car

When it comes to the purchase and sale of used cars, one of the most important factors that will be discussed is the mileage of the vehicle itself. As you can imagine, the more miles that are on the odometer, the more likely that something will need to be repaired/replaced due to wear and tear, but that’s certainly not the entirety of the story.

Wear and tear increases on a vehicle whether or not the vehicle is in use, as weather and the elements take a toll on a vehicle, but even a vehicle kept in a garage or something similar degrades over time. Without driving the vehicle periodically, there’s a few different problems that can arise when you go to start the vehicle again.

On a vehicle left unattended long enough, tires will go flat, the battery can die, rust can start to form in a number of places, the brakes and fuel pump being particularly prone to this problem, and that’s before you consider the possibility of animal/insect infestations that can occur when a vehicle is left outside for a length of time and the way that weather can affect the integrity of the vehicle. Rain, sleet, snow, ice, salt and more can vastly increase the rate at which rust eats away at a vehicle, plus the heat and humidity of an area can affect how the engine runs from a long-term perspective.

It’s best for a vehicle to be moved at least a few miles at a rate of once every two weeks, ideally on a short drive in which you can make the vehicle go above 50mph for at least a minute. This helps to ensure that everything internal to the engine is moving as it should, and will let you discover any problems that may have occurred in the time since your last drive. The reason to specifically try to reach highway speed is to ensure that the higher transmission gears are working correctly, and they won’t be reached unless you hit that sort of speed, as well as engaging features that only activate when the vehicle is at high speed or high revs. When a vehicle has been sitting for a while, the only way to make sure these features work without tearing the car apart and visually inspecting it is to drive it. It doesn’t even necessarily need to be that far, but you do need to get miles on the odometer. Leaving the car idle will not help prevent most of the problems that arise from having a vehicle sitting in place for quite some time, it simply wastes gas without fixing the issue.

However, when buying a vehicle, it’s just about impossible to know what conditions a vehicle was kept in prior to your purchase of it. Dealerships have every incentive to ensure that their vehicles are kept in the best shape possible once they receive it, but prior to that point, the private owner of the vehicle might have done any number of things with it. It could’ve been kept out of the elements and only ever used occasionally, or it could’ve been someone’s daily driver, and you never know what their commute was like. It’s hard to tell from a visual perspective what has actually happened to the car, other than tell-tale signs of damage. This makes it all the more important to know what a good mileage for a used car is.

With all this in mind, how many miles is considered “good” for a used car? What is a good car mileage? A good rule of thumb that we use is to assume that a vehicle will usually accumulate about 12,000 miles of use per year that it’s owned. For example, as this is being written in 2022, and assuming you were looking at a 2019 model year vehicle, you’d hope for a vehicle around or slightly under 36,000 miles. (12,000 miles x 3 years).

Generally, the lower the mileage, the better, but a suspiciously low mileage might indicate that it’s been sitting for most of its life, which should clue you in that you should look for some of the defects and problems mentioned earlier in this post. Keep the 12,000 mile per year rule in mind to get an idea of where the mileage should reasonably be sitting, and you’ll generally be getting the best version of the make, model, and year that you’re purchasing.

A good mileage for a used car can also vary by the make and model of a vehicle. On most newer vehicles, the manufacturer recommends a multitude of maintenance work to be done at 100k miles, so buying near this mileage point can mean that you’ll need to put that maintenance work in as well.

Check your timing belt, change your oil, coolant, transmission fluid, brake and power steering fluid. Essentially, all the fluids will need to be drained and replaced, plus a few mechanical things. There’s no guarantee that the vehicle will NEED these repairs, but the life of the vehicle will be much longer if you do this.

Be sure to ask your dealer whether these actions have already been done, as dealerships will generally make these fixes part of the new inventory intake process, but you won’t know this unless you ask.

In addition, some vehicles are known for the repairs you’ll have to make at certain points. For example, Subarus, somewhat unfairly, are known for blowing out head gaskets, which is not a cheap fix to make, generally costing somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 dollars to replace. Ford sedans/hatchbacks are known for having unreliable transmissions in otherwise reliable vehicles, Chevrolet commonly has fuel pump issues, and so on.

Almost every vehicle manufacturer has one common defect you should probably ask about, but the mileage at which this occurs can vary even between two different vehicles of the same make, model, and year. Know what problems you’ll be looking for, then consider age and mileage. Any information you can get about the vehicle in question is going to help you out in some way, shape, or form, so don’t hesitate to ask any questions you might have.

Ultimately, age and mileage are both important, but neither is the end-all, be-all figure to keep in mind. Both matter, but nothing is as important as the actual condition of the vehicle. An exceedingly high age or mileage can be a red flag, whereas a very low number for either of these can be a green flag, but keep in mind what those actually mean.

If a vehicle is only a few years old but has 100’s of thousands of miles on it, you can safely assume those years were probably fairly rough on the vehicle. It may have been used as a delivery vehicle, especially given how common DoorDash and other delivery services have become, or been used as a service vehicle for any number of businesses.

Inversely, a very old vehicle with strangely low miles can indicate a vehicle that was either meticulously kept by someone who didn’t drive it all that often, or a vehicle that simply sat in a driveway or parking lot for years. Be sure, as always, to take a careful look at the vehicle before you commit to any decisions. It’s entirely possible to get a very good deal on a vehicle simply because other buyers overlooked it, due to age or mileage. Keep an open mind, but know what red flags to be on the lookout for.

For low mileage used cars, we’d strongly recommend checking out our inventory, as we specialize in used cars from the most recent model years with low mileage. Mileage and age go hand in hand, just like Castle Car Company goes hand-in-hand with quality, reliability, and a stress-free sales process. We sell more Jeep vehicles than any other dealer in our area, and our wide selection is sure to meet any needs you may have.

6 Car Buying Tips from a Life-Long Used Car Dealer

When it comes to the world of making automotive purchases, we’re entering a new era in terms of information that can be known in advance to the consumer. Customers have more opportunities than ever to learn all about a vehicle before they ever set foot on a lot, and that information can be worth a fortune to a dealership with the correct vehicle to sell them. To ensure that a customer has all the information that they need, it’s quite common for a dealership to post their vehicles in a wide variety of places, both physically and digitally, as there’s no telling where that particular customer will come from. Customers are willing to drive farther than ever to get a deal on the car they want, especially given that market conditions are making deals happen faster, as there’s no guarantee that the vehicle you want will still be available in a week. “Used cars near me” means both less and more than it used to, especially if you’re looking for something in particular. 


It’s a dealer’s market, but as a savvy consumer, it’s best to know how this will impact you should you be interested in buying a vehicle. As a dealership that has been around for longer than many of the platforms we use to advertise our inventory, we feel it would be good to highlight the critical similarities and differences between buying in today’s market vs buying a vehicle 10-20 years ago. The internet plays a huge role in this, of course, but market conditions have made even more changes to the way dealerships do business than one would expect from outside of the industry. Knowing how to buy used cars is critical, but how can you use this to your advantage? Read on to find out!


  1. Before buying, check all platforms the vehicle is listed on.

While it used to be as simple as stocking the vehicle and listing it on your eBay/Craigslist account, a wide variety of platforms have arisen specifically for vehicle sales, including AutoTrader, eBay Motors, CarGurus, TrueCar, Craigslist, Carvana, Vroom, CarMax and more. All of them have a valid appeal to a dealership, as the way they handle advertisements is different from one another. Some platforms focus more on finding a vehicle that’s closer to you, others are more focused on finding a specific vehicle that you’re looking for, others yet take on approaches that are harder to explain due to the complexity of their algorithms. Some work better for smaller dealerships, others work better for big dealerships, but as a consumer, what’s important to you is this: A vehicle is almost certainly listed on a handful of those platforms, as well as a combination of others that you wouldn’t know unless you were to work at the dealership. When it’s time to buy a used car, make sure to check through all of them.


Let’s say you were looking for a Jeep Wrangler, and you were to search “Jeep Wrangler for sale near me.” You’ll most likely receive a few links to vehicle-buying platforms, which may surprise you, as you’d expect the dealerships near you to occupy the top spots in the search. However, that dealership who listed the Jeep in question probably has that Jeep listed on other platforms, plus their own website, plus Facebook or Instagram, maybe even Nextdoor. We’d recommend that you try to find that same vehicle from the same dealership on a separate platform, as different platforms may show slightly different prices due to the way taxes are calculated and you may be able to find a better deal on the exact same vehicle just by doing your due diligence. Check the price on those platforms against what’s displayed on the website itself, you may find yourself a better deal just by looking and examining the price differences. More often than not, the dealership will have very similar prices on the vehicle, but finding it steeply discounted somewhere else might save you a few hundred or even thousand dollars! 


  1. Do your vehicle research!

It’s always hard to discern what exactly about a vehicle makes it appealing, as the reasons for buying a car might be wildly different from what the actual intention of the vehicle was. Almost every vehicle gets marketed for reliability and dependability, but consumer reports and reviews can give you valuable insight into whether or not the vehicle actually holds up to those attributes. Every manufacturer would like to make the most reliable vehicle, but in reality, the most profitable decision will almost universally be the choice that is made. If they can make a part cheaply, they will, and if it hurts the long-term dependability of the car, manufacturers will generally view it as a trade-off of being cheap to fix. 


With that in mind, you may find out that a vehicle you never would’ve guessed would be the perfect vehicle for you.


  1. Think outside the box!

One example of this would be the Scion xB, which was originally marketed towards millennials, trying to make the vehicle come off as quirky, new and different from other offerings under the Toyota umbrella of manufacturers. However, the primary target demographic of the vehicle ended up being the elderly, as the xB’s ride height made it ideal for those with limited hip mobility, since they didn’t really have to climb up nor sit down to comfortably get in the driver’s seat. You’d never know this based on the commercials, but it makes a genuine difference in whether or not a vehicle continues to get made. Scion is now defunct, but across automotive history, you’ll find a lot of similar stories since the journey of a vehicle from concept to manufacturing goes through a lot of separate hands, each with their own ideas about what the car should be. 


Another key example is the Pontiac Aztek, originally conceived as an all-purposes camping vehicle, an SUV genuinely made for the off-road, but as the market would have it, it was also co-opted by the older market, much for the same reason as the Scion xB. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone, whether it be the make, model, or year of car, just be sure to do your research in advance so as to not be let down by gimmicky features or the image of the vehicle over what it’s actually worth. Why buy a used car based on what it’s meant for, if you know that it’ll suit your needs perfectly regardless of what the marketing says? 


  1. Go over the car carefully! 

Depending on your area of the country, the way you take care of your vehicle can make all the difference when it comes time to sell the vehicle. Those of us from the northern side of the country know how devastating the combination of salt and ice can be on a vehicle, rotting away the frame and body of the car with rust much, much faster than would normally happen, especially in a hotter climate. 


Given that there’s no way to undo rust other than replacing the parts of the vehicle that are rusty, unmanaged rust can be destructive on every bit of the vehicle. That’s why it’s crucial, if vehicle shopping, to inspect the entire vehicle for any signs of rust damage, as well as shoddy repair work. Look for patches of discoloration in the paint, bubbling/bulging out of paint, misaligned panels in the body, misaligned bumpers on either end, water leaks, and if the vehicle has a frame, make sure to inspect that thoroughly. All of these can be signs of damage, which isn’t necessarily a dealbreaker, but make sure that the damage isn’t extensive, at the very least. A well-repaired vehicle should be functionally indistinguishable from its original counterpart, which should also hold up under measurements. See if you can get frame specs for the vehicle, then compare your own measurements with what it should be. Frame damage in particular can be a death sentence for a vehicle, as it generally makes the vehicle not even worth fixing, as it’s not cost-effective to literally disassemble the entire vehicle from one frame and put it on another.  The frame is essentially the skeleton of the car, it can be fixed, but it can’t be replaced.


  1. Read reviews!

A bad review doesn’t always necessarily mean a bad car, but if there’s a bevy of reviews that all mention a critical failure of the car, or common problems that continually reappear throughout the reviews, keep that in mind. If almost everyone that buys the vehicle you’re looking at complains about the transmission, consider setting money aside to get it fixed when that inevitably breaks. Cars can only be so reliable for so long, buying newer will generally help you avoid some of these headaches, but it’s certainly not unprecedented to have a vehicle that sucks right out of the gate. There’s a thousand magazines out there reviewing vehicles, plus all of the customers who are currently experiencing their daily drive with the vehicle in question. Save yourself the headache of being surprised by a common problem, make sure to read reviews before you even start looking to buy.


  1. Understand your warranty!

There’s a lot to understand about a warranty when it comes with the vehicle you’re purchasing. Both the manufacturer and the dealer may offer warranties, and these warranties may have different terms and conditions. It may be only a powertrain warranty, so only an engine, transmission, driveshaft, axles, and differential will be covered for breakage. That would be of very little consolation if you were to have, say, an electrical issue, a sensor issue, any kind of creature comfort feature failing would be left uncovered by this. A bumper-to-bumper warranty, on the other hand, covers a lot more, but still will generally not cover everything, with some exceptions including body damage, accident damage, and any sort of fixes that are routine maintenance, like tire and brake replacement. In premium used car dealers, they may have a balance of factory warranty, which is generally the case for vehicles that are used but still within a couple of years of manufacture. If the vehicle has a warranty for the first 30,000 miles, and it only has 20,000 miles on the odometer, you’re still covered for the next 10,000 miles under the balance of factory warranty. This balance can bring some additional value to the car, as you’re guaranteed some repairs within that time frame, but you should consider the likelihood of actually needing that warranty within the timeframe left on the balance. 


With all these tips in mind, you should be far more confident and comfortable going to buy a used car from any respectable dealership. If you happen to be in the market for a Jeep, like our example earlier, you’d be doing yourself a favor to check out our inventory!


What the truck Understanding F-150 Trim Packages

Whether you’re buying your first truck or your twentieth, buying a truck is a huge purchase, and one you should make with all available information to you. Unless you’re super familiar with a particular brand, you’ll probably be a bit lost when it comes to determining what features and specifications will come with your newly owned truck. Trim packages vary by manufacturer, by year, by model and more, so before you buy, it’s important to know what features and details are present on each version of the truck you’re looking at. 


Ford is generally one of the more complicated manufacturers when it comes to the differences in trim levels, so we decided to write up a little guide to help explain the differences and similarities between trucks. We’ll focus on the F-series trucks, as the packages for all of the F-series trucks tend to overlap with one another in some ways. We’ll start from the most basic, and work our way up to the most feature-heavy truck as we go. All F-150s provide power, reliability, durability and a comfortable ride, but beyond that, you may be interested to know about what features each version of the truck comes with. From the XL, the most basic Ford F-150, to the King Ranch and Raptor editions of the truck, make sure you get the one that best fits your needs.



Ford F-150 XL

Starting with the most basic Ford F-150, the F-150 XL still comes with some basic assistance features, like lane keeping and backup camera, but many of the creature comfort features are not available on the F-150 XL. The driver assist features are quite handy to have, but if you’re driving your truck all day every day, you may want to splurge on something a little bit further up the scale. As a truck, it handles admirably, with towing capacity of up to 11,000 pounds, good steering, and a comfortable ride. If you’re used to a vehicle with lots of creature comfort features, it may be a bit barebones for your taste, but if you’re only interested in the truck for its work potential, Ford F-150 XL for sale might be your best option. It can generally be acquired cheaper than other versions of the F-150, as the relative lack of features means lower overhead cost for both yourself as well as the dealership. It generally comes with the regular cab, which has the lowest seating capacity of the Ford F-150’s, but it still fits three people comfortably. 


Ford F-150 XLT

The F-150 XLT expands on the features of the F-150 XL, including adding trim features to the exterior of the vehicle, Wi-Fi hotspot, alloy wheels, Ford Sync3 system, and a choice of bench or bucket seats, with a choice for heating the seats as well. It makes the vehicle more comfortable in some ways, and expands its work potential as a base of operations for a small business or contractor. Having the mobile connectivity to pull up blueprints and documents while on a jobsite could revolutionize how a small business completes their work. Bench seats are a throwback to yesteryear, but make no mistake, this certainly doesn’t feel like an old truck! The trim features on the exterior provide a point of interest as well, it makes the body shape stand out even more than the XL, which might be the point that convinces you this is the truck you need. In addition, the XLT provides additional security, with a power-locking tailgate to make sure your valuable cargo is kept safe and secure.


Ford F-150 Lariat

The Ford F-150 Lariat is the perfect middle ground between economy and luxury, which is why it’s become one of the most popular trim packages for the Ford F-150. It adds a PowerBoost engine to the F-150 equation, as well as leather seating, dual-zone climate control, a larger central touchscreen, and a premium sound system. Most reviews of the F-150 Lariat indicate that it’s a great balance of features and affordability, being a great option for your daily truck if it’s something you’ll be using often. If you’re planning on taking your truck on any longer trips, the Lariat will make said trips a lot more comfortably. Between the improved strength, speed and comfort, it’s hard to argue with the benefits that the Ford F-150 Lariat package provides. This is compounded by the fact


Ford F-150 King Ranch

Building off of the Lariat, the F-150 King Ranch comes with standard heated and ventilated seats, heated leather steering wheel, ambient interior lighting, genuine wood accents, rain sensing windshield wipers, evasive steering assist and more. The King Ranch is where you start to blur the line between work truck and luxury truck, which only makes your workday that much more comfortable.All Ford F-150 King Ranch trucks come with a suite of luxury options, but make sure to get a walkthrough of what features the model you’re looking at comes with. With the number of possible options for King Ranch trucks, it’s best to know exactly what you’re getting so you don’t pay for features you won’t use, or worse, don’t even know about. 


Ford F-150 Platinum

Building further from the F-150 King Ranch, the F-150 Platinum comes with even more driver assist and safety features, including power-deployable running boards, chrome exterior accents, mirror-integrated LED spotlights, multicontour front seats with massage option, LED fog lights, aluminum 20inch wheels, and BoxLink, which is a set of integrated plates in the truck’s bed that helps make tying down your payload much easier. It makes the hauling of cargo much more manageable, as well as giving you storage and utility options for attachments, like tool racks, loading ramps, bed dividers and more. We really like the BoxLink system, which seriously improves the utility you can get out of the bed. It also comes with more safety features than any of the lower trim levels, so if safety is a concern, either the Ford F-150 Platinum or the Ford F-150 Limited may be what you’re looking for. 


Ford F-150 Limited

This is one of the most luxurious trucks you can buy, and the list of standard features only highlights this fact. That includes a dual-panel sunroof, leather upholstery, premium B&O sound system, LED cargo bed lighting, carbon fiber interior accents, 360 degree camera, active park assist, adaptive steering and smart hitch! Even better yet, the Limited can also act as a generator, with Pro Power Onboard, allowing you to plug in tools/accessories to run off of the truck’s power, with an outlet near the tailgate in the bed. If you’re looking for a no-worries truck to tackle everything you need done on the jobsite, look no further. This is a dream truck to drive, and we at Castle Car Company always get that “wow” factor when we get one of these in!


Ford F-150 Raptor

This one is a bit out of place, as the options for the Ford F-150 Raptor are more focused on sheer power than luxury or comfort features. Different models of the Raptor may include most of the amenities that the other upper-end models include, with the exception of ambient lighting and automatic temperature control, but what they do bring to the table is a much more powerful engine, Terrain Management System, and Torque-On-Demand transfer case. 


If you know what features you’re specifically looking for, this guide should make your next truck purchase much easier as far as decision-making goes. Prices on all of these models will vary from dealership to dealership, in addition to the effects that your location and time of year will have on the final price of your transaction. 


Conclusion

Any variation of the F-150 makes for a beloved truck, as it’s been one of the best selling trucks in America since its inception in 1975, building on a legacy of well-loved trucks that started with the original F-series back in the late 1940’s to early 1950’s. After the official changeover from the F-100 series to the F-150 in 1983, praise and love for the F-series trucks have only continued to grow, as generation after generation gets their work done in a Ford truck. The F-series of trucks has gained innumerable awards from consumers and critics, including MotorTrend’s truck of the year time after time. Going forward, we expect to see continued growth and improvements on the F-150 in particular, as the benchmark quality of the F-150 is a standard that other truck manufacturers are always striving to reach. The F-150 will also be a metric of success when it comes to the deployment of all-electric trucks, as the Ford F-150 Lightning has been released as an all-electric vehicle. Early reviews are positive, but the story of a vehicle’s reliability often takes a few years before a comprehensive view can be given on how the vehicle performs both coming off the lot and once it’s been used for a few years.


Here at Castle Car Company, we have lots of choices where trucks are concerned, including a bevy of different Ford F-150s, as well as GMC Sierras, Chevrolet Colorados, Jeep Gladiators, RAM 1500s, Rivian R1Ts and more! Click here to check out our whole inventory!

All-Season vs. Winter Tires, What’s the Difference

As the part of the car that holds you to the road, the importance of tires to your ride quality can’t be overstated. It’s crucial to make sure you get a nice set of tires, with good tread, good ride quality, and hopefully with a minimal amount of noise. However, if you’re unfamiliar with the tire-buying process, it can be a bit confusing when it comes to the difference between all-season and winter tires.

Technically, you can use either all-season or winter tires at any given time, but as you can imagine, the winter tires are much better suited for winter conditions. However, you might be confused as to what exactly the difference is between the two types. Depending on your budget, and to what degree the climate affects your neck of the woods, you may be wondering whether it’s too early to buy winter tires.

If it’s definitely time to get new tires, but you’re not sure exactly what to buy, read on and we’ll fill you in on everything you need to know! Read on to find out when to get new tires, when to buy new tires, whether or not to buy all-season tires or buy winter tires, and furthermore, the best time of year to buy winter tires.

If you do live in a particularly wintry climate, you may be considering the idea of buying only winter tires and running them year-round, and while that sounds great in theory, the reality is that it can be costlier than simply switching out tires as weather and climate demand. Winter tires are meant for, of course, winter conditions, and without having that ice and snow to dig into, the tread on a winter tire may feel uncomfortable when driving on clean, dry pavement.

The heat also plays a part in the decreased performance of tread in a winter tire, as it makes the softer rubber tread of a winter tire disintegrate faster than it would under normal winter driving conditions. In addition, the pattern of wear will be different than what you’d expect in regards to speed and location of tread wear.

Given how quickly these treads will wear away in a warmer climate, it’s best to swap out tires seasonally. All other seasons, as you can imagine, are served quite well by all-season tires. The tread is generally made for grip on pavement, but you can ask for tires that are purpose-made for different tasks, like off-road performance, road comfort and noise reduction, general purpose driving, highway comfort, and more.

Tires may need to be swapped out more or less often depending on how much you drive, but regardless, it’s best to have the correct tires for the situation. Many drivers don’t notice the little details of their drive on their daily commute, but new tires can make a world of difference. Make sure to actually check your tires out about once a month, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends. The last thing you’d want is to find out while driving at high speed is that your tire treads don’t have enough tread to give you the ability to stop when you need it.

If you’ve never checked your tires’ tread, there’s a simple way to do it for free. Take a standard penny, and with Lincoln upside down, put the coin down into the tread of the tire. If you can see his whole face without tire tread blocking your view of him, your tire tread is too worn away, so you’ll need to replace them soon. You can also use a quarter, the same general principle applies. If your tires have any sort of bubbles or irregularities, they need to be changed immediately.

In addition, even if the tire has a lot of remaining tread, it may need changed if the tires have worn in a certain way, like if one side of the tire has far more tread than the other. Uneven wear can be corrected by rotating and balancing your tires, as well as adjusting the alignment of your wheels on the car, but if the tread wear is too extreme, you may have to simply replace the tires. If there are metallic threads emerging from the side of the tire, you should not drive the vehicle until the tire is replaced. With bald tires, which are tires that have been worn down to the point of no remaining tread, the slightest bit of water can lead to your car losing traction, potentially costing you your life if you’re not careful.

While it varies by areas, you’re generally going to get the best deal buying tires in April and October. Tires generally tend to go on sale around these times, as tire shops and dealers want to encourage the purchase of winter tires before the winter season has actually arrived, when getting the tires will not wear away that much tread due to colder conditions before winter arrives, and in April, the warmer weather gets people thinking about joyrides and road trips, both of which are good reasons to buy tires. Both car dealers and tire salespeople have to be aware of these changing weather conditions, as ride quality is one of the main metrics people are concerned about when they drive, especially long-distance.

Another point of consideration when it comes to buying tires is that there are two major types of winter tires: studded and non-studded. Studded winter tires come with metal spikes that are integrated into the tread of the tire, which provide extra gripping force when applied to the icy and snowy conditions. However, many states have laws and regulations surrounding the time of year that you can use studded tires out on the road, as the metal spikes are a lot rougher on standard pavement, both for the tire and the roadway itself, and some states ban their use entirely. The only states where studded tires don’t have a time window that you can use them are Colorado, Kentucky, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Vermont, and Wyoming, whereas Alabama, Texas, Florida, Maryland (with the exception of five mountain counties), Louisiana, Hawaii, Illinois, Minnesota, Mississippi and Wisconsin. Before buying, make sure to do your research to ensure that you’re within the law by putting those tires on your car given the timeframe you’re going to be using them.

There is also a type of tire known as “studdable” tires, which have holes drilled in the tread for you to insert the studs as needed. With these, you can add or remove the studs as needed, which should keep you well within the law. However, make sure to remove the studs when the weather clears up. Most tires have anywhere between 80-120 studs per tire, so it may take you a little while to get them installed or removed. Besides the legal side of things, studded tires on a road without snow and ice create a very shaky drive feel, and you’ll actually have far less traction than you would with standard tires, whether they be winter or all-season tires. Without the snow and ice, you can imagine how metal shards being pushed into the road with every rotation could be disadvantageous for both the roadway and your own traction. Studded tires damage the pavement surface, which is why they’re reserved for winter conditions only.

Technically, if you could only get one set of tires per year, all-season tires would be your better bet, as all-seasons still generally have a good tread pattern and enough tread to get you through the winter assuming that it’s not a particularly snow-heavy winter. However, we’d recommend getting two sets of tires per year, one towards the end of winter, the other when winter is approaching. This will keep your cost of tires relatively low, while still giving you the optimal traction for weather conditions in each season.

With all this in mind, you should be well on your way to ensuring that you always have the right tire for the situation. If you live in our area, click here to schedule service to get your tires installed! We also have a wide variety of used vehicles for sale, including Ford, Jeep, Chevrolet, Acura, BMW, Lexus, Porsche and more, click here to see our inventory!

Everything to Know About Bluetooth in Cars

If you’ve never been one to play around in your phone’s settings, you may be overlooking a huge feature in your vehicle. Bluetooth integration has come a long way since the early days of Bluetooth connectivity, and infotainment features have become more and more widely available across all makes, models, and types of vehicles.

It can be surprisingly useful towards safe driving, as you can safely handle simple tasks involving your phone without having to take your hands off the wheel, including answering/rejecting phone calls, skipping tracks while listening to music, changing volume settings, and making phone calls.

If your vehicle doesn’t come with integrated Bluetooth, there are many models of Bluetooth car adapter that will help you with some of these features, but they will usually not provide the same level of interactivity and information that an integrated Bluetooth system will provide.

Read on to find out more about how to use your car’s Bluetooth, what features can be accessed by Bluetooth in cars, the difference between a factory Bluetooth system and a Bluetooth car adapter, and fixes for common Bluetooth problems.

Pairing your phone

To make the most of your Bluetooth connection with your car, you first have to ensure that your phone is Bluetooth compatible. If you have a smartphone, it’s just about guaranteed that it has Bluetooth capability, and even most flip phones will have some sort of Bluetooth connectivity, for headphones, earpieces and the like.

You’ll first want to go into your phone’s settings, ensure that Bluetooth is turned on, and hit “Add New Device.” It may be tricky, as every vehicle manufacturer has their own system for connecting to your phone, but in most cases, it will go as such: You’ll go into the car’s settings with buttons either on the steering wheel or the dash itself to navigate through your settings to reach the Bluetooth settings. It may be an option under system settings, or under something like connectivity features.

Once in this menu, you’ll also find an option to add a new device. Press it as well, and the vehicle’s screen will display a PIN number. When your phone first connects to the vehicle’s Bluetooth system, it will ask you to input that PIN number into your phone. This is a security step to ensure that the driver/passenger using Bluetooth is actually someone inside the vehicle. Once you have this PIN entered into your phone and press accept, the two should be paired.

Your vehicle’s screens may also ask questions about whether you want to use certain features the first time you pair your phone, including asking for request to your phone’s contact list in case you want to make calls, whether to enable the automatic call for 911 when your vehicle detects that you’ve been in an accident, whether you want to be able to receive calls through your car’s sound system, and so on. However, once this is completed for the first time, it generally won’t make you go through these questions again.

One key question it will most likely ask about is whether you’d like 911 assistance, or whatever version of this service that your vehicle manufacturer offers. We’d recommend leaving this turned on, if only because your vehicle’s sound system will prompt you every time you get in the car, reminding you that the service is disabled should you choose to disable it.

Another detail to note is that, once your phone is paired, your phone should connect automatically once the car is started and you’re near the car. Bluetooth generally has a range of approximately 30 feet, so even being near the car will maintain the connection as long as you have Bluetooth turned on.

Bluetooth-related Features

While every integrated Bluetooth system is different, there are a few key features that are almost universal as far as car-to-phone pairing goes. It will let you receive calls through the sound system, generally giving you the option to answer or reject the call with buttons on the steering wheel or dashboard. It will also generally let you access your contact list for the purpose of making outgoing phone calls, as well as alerting you to notifications in regards to your phone, including incoming text messages, voicemails, app alerts and more.

Beyond that, it will also allow you media control over your phone, allowing you to change the volume, change music tracks, and with voice control, it will generally let you pick new music to listen to without taking your hands off the wheel. This is a great help in ensuring that your ride quality is as high as it can be, while maintaining safety by making sure your eyes and hands never have to leave the road and wheel, respectively.

Integrated Bluetooth vs Bluetooth car adapters

If your vehicle is on the older or more basic side, there’s a valid chance that your vehicle doesn’t come with integrated Bluetooth. However, this doesn’t mean you can’t have Bluetooth access in your car anyways! Many different electronics retailers sell varying styles of Bluetooth car adapters, one of which is almost certain to work for your vehicle.

Generally, these will work one of two ways: Either the adapter will put off a powerful but short-ranged radio wave on a frequency that can be changed, so tuning your radio to the same frequency will let you channel Bluetooth audio through your car’s speakers by broadcasting it by way of the adapter. The other style of Bluetooth car adapter will generally plug into an auxiliary port on the vehicle’s sound system, connected to the phone by way of Bluetooth. While these options work great as far as phone calls and music/audio, they will not have the same adaptability and features that integrated Bluetooth comes with.

If your vehicle doesn’t come with integrated Bluetooth, it most likely won’t even have the buttons that would be used for such an operation, so you’ll still be confined to using your phone mostly as normal.

Fixes for common Bluetooth Problems

If your phone is already paired, or there seems to be a severe drop in audio quality while your phone is playing via Bluetooth, this can be concerning if you’re unfamiliar with the technology. However, like most technological problems, it can generally be fixed by simply shutting things off and turning them back on. In this case, simply turn off Bluetooth on your phone, wait between 30 seconds and a minute, and turn it back on. Generally, this will restore the connection in full. If this doesn’t work, it may be in your best interest to ensure that there’s nothing causing interference between the phone and the vehicle’s Bluetooth system.

One thing that can cause this interference is having too many Bluetooth devices in the same area. There’s a limited amount of space within the Bluetooth bandwidth, and while it does take quite a few devices to cause any sort of interference, it’s one of the most common issues that arises with Bluetooth.

Anything that emits electromagnetic waves can theoretically cause interference as well, including radios, microwaves, some types of electric lighting, baby monitors, smoke detectors and more. However, given the way that Bluetooth ensures a safe connection, it’s more than likely that your Bluetooth connection will automatically adapt as needed. In fairness, it’s mostly unlikely that you’ll run into any of these interference issues, but should one arise, any of these can be the culprit. Try resetting Bluetooth, and more often than not, that should fix the issue.

Conclusion

If you’ve never used Bluetooth before, it can certainly be a little bit daunting to try for the first time. With that being said, it’s an incredibly useful tool that can make your driving experience a lot more safe, fun, and engaging. If you’re sick of always hunting down music you like through the radio, Bluetooth can provide all the music and podcasts you’ve got on your phone right through your vehicle’s sound system, let you answer calls without being distracted, and more.

If you’re ready for a vehicle that already has Bluetooth installed, so you can skip the hassle of installing a Bluetooth car adapter, check out our inventory today! We have a wide range of premium, late model year, low mileage vehicles with more features than you’ll know what to do with!

Why August is the Perfect Month to Buy A Car

As a savvy consumer, you know that there’s better or worse circumstances to make big purchases, like a car or a house. Larger overall factors like interest rates are important to consider, as well as personal factors including your own budget. No matter the circumstances, you're more than likely looking to get the best deal you possibly can, so it’s in your interest to make sure you make the purchase at a time that works for your budget and schedule, but you may not have considered how timing affects the dealership you’re buying from. Dealers go through ups and downs like any other business does, and it’s fairly common knowledge that dealers are willing to sell for slightly less towards the end of the month. However, that’s nowhere near the end of factors that can influence how much you end up paying, and as an informed consumer, you’d probably like to know what else to keep in mind when you’re looking to buy a car. When is the best time to buy a car? Let us enlighten you! Read on to find out more.

What’s the best month to buy a car? This is the first key question to ask, as weather and climate play a significant role in how willing people are to purchase a vehicle, and by proxy, how much a dealership NEEDS to make a sale. On a traditional lot, a majority of the initial selling experience happens outside, so a continued string of bad weather can be devastating for a car dealer's bottom line. In addition, new model year vehicles release in September, so dealerships of both used and new cars are likely to make room on their lots for newer vehicles, as new vehicles replace used vehicles, and those vehicles get sent to lots that specialize in selling off those used vehicles. This domino effect can save you money, as car lots may be more ready to take a deal on a car simply to get it off their lot, making room for a newer model year to replace it. If you're buying from a strictly used car dealer, you're still likely to feel the savings as an after-effect, since the new cars coming out will often either be sold back relatively quickly, or people buying the new vehicles sell their used cars to a used car dealership instead of trading it to the place they're buying their new car. No matter where you go, this time of year will have a significant effect on buying a car.

This makes the best time to buy a car during the month of August, as this is when dealers are anticipating the new model year approaching. That being said, the chip shortage that has taken over news of the auto industry means that vehicles may be released at a different frequency and pattern as time goes on, especially if the chip shortage will continue for the foreseeable future. Not all vehicles are being affected to the same degree, with some makes and models being hit particularly hard by the chip shortage, so your mileage may vary when it comes to the perfect time to buy a car. That being said, in general, August is a solid pick for the best time to buy a car.

However, this raises another question: If the month in which you buy doesn’t necessarily always get you a better deal, is there a better day of the week or time of day that you can buy a car to save money? Given conditions this year, if you find a car you really like and need, it’s best to just buy it, as inventory is lower across the board than average by quite a bit, but assuming you have the time to wait, think, and negotiate, studies show that Tuesdays and Sundays are generally your best days to buy a vehicle. Thursdays are generally the worst day of the week to buy, though this is commonly associated with the trend of offering promotions and deals on a Friday, meaning you miss these specials by a day. If you have no reason to believe that the dealer you're purchasing from will be offering a special or a discount on Friday, there's functionally no difference between these last two days of the week when it comes to car purchasing.

However, we find it necessary to point out a common misconception that’s come up in our research on the topic. Less scrupulous buyers might intuitively understand that buying towards the end of the day might be profitable, the idea being that the dealer will not want to spend the extra time at the end of the day negotiating. Having heard from many people that have tried this technique, the vast majority of car dealers will simply put up their “Closed” sign and continue negotiating. Their entire business rides on the ability to make a profitable deal, most dealers will not hesitate to negotiate for as long as it takes to make the sale, anything short of sleeping at the dealership and starting the negotiation again in the morning is fair game for a car dealer. If you’re looking to buy a car, you’re best off starting the buying process near when the dealership opens, so you’ll have enough time to be out the door before closing and actually get to enjoy your vehicle on that first day of ownership. In fact, you may actually get a better deal this way, as it commonly takes a car salesman an entire day, or the majority of a day, to make a sale. If you can be in and out before the end of the afternoon, a dealer may even offer a little bit of a lower price given that they know you're planning on making the purchase now without wasting the dealer's time or your own.

Another great time to buy a vehicle, one you might not have thought of, is three-day weekends. Any Federal holiday weekend is a great time to make your purchase, as dealers expect to be making a lot of deals given that people have the extra time, and most will offer some sort of special to celebrate. Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President's Day, Labor Day, and Indigenous People's Day are all times where dealers are likely to offer specials, incentives, or special promotions that can save you a lot of money. If you can wait until an event like this, it's most optimal for your car-buying experience, but otherwise, the end of the month is generally a good time to buy. However, not all dealers are held to the same principles of timing, so you can't expect a guaranteed lower price on the vehicle just because it's the end of the month, especially if the dealership has had a good month in sales up until that point.

To summarize, your best time to buy is late in the month, with August being the best month, early in the day. If you're in need of a vehicle now, it's probably not in your best interest to wait until August, but given that this is being written during August, time is certainly on your side if you're looking to buy a vehicle this month.

Overall, time of day and time of month can both factor in significantly to the final ending price of a vehicle. You can't necessarily expect huge savings off of either or both, but keeping these timeframes in mind may lead to your car-buying experience being faster, more efficient, and most importantly, the cheapest it can be. Don't forget to ask about financing through the dealership, as they may be able to get you approved for a deal faster than other methods, given that they're also incentivized to help you get approved so the deal can go through. You can apply for financing through us here! To see our whole inventory, click here!

What You Need to Know About Driving in Heavy Rain

With torrential rain on the forecast for the near future here on the east coast, it's important to know how best to navigate the situations that can arise due to bad weather. Rain in particular can be severely dangerous, as it obstructs your visibility, reduces the friction your tires have with the road's surface, makes it harder to hear what's going on outside of the car, and more. It's important that both you and your vehicle are equipped to handle the situation, as weather conditions are one of the top reasons that car accidents happen, especially to those who are inexperienced with handling the particular weather that accompanies any climate. For example, if you'd recently moved here from Arizona, you'd simply have less familiarity with handling road conditions that arise here in Pennsylvania, as the climate is simply entirely different. At Castle Car Company, we want to make sure you get the most out of your vehicle, so in light of the incipient rain, we've decided to write a guide on how to handle driving in a few situations that Pennsylvania drivers are all too familiar with. Make sure to read to the end, as a lot of this information may be things that you already know, we aim to provide some tips and tricks that even the most experienced driver will be able to apply next time things get bad outside.

1. Windshield wipers are critical!

Rain, snow, sleet and hail can occur quickly, with very little warning. When this happens, your windshield wipers may be the only thing keeping you safe. When windshield wipers start to degrade, it's best to get them replaced immediately. On the plus side, windshield wipers are generally quite cheap to replace, generally the entire cost of the repair will be less than $40, with between 8 and 15 of that going towards labor. If you do it yourself, you can save those few extra dollars, though be warned that windshield wipers can be SURPRISINGLY hard to replace. It really depends on the specific setup that your vehicle uses, and while it shouldn't require the use of any tools you don't have, they're often finicky to install at best. Leaving it up to a professional isn't a bad idea, but your own mechanical skills will play a role in how well they stay attached to the arm that holds them. Windshield wipers that have gone too long without replacement can leave streaks, making visibility even worse given how much precipitation can obstruct your vision to begin with, making bad weather driving much worse. In addition, wipers that have been left on for MUCH too long can start to lose the rubber along the surface that actually cleans the windshield, leaving scratches and creating pools of water where normal wipers would simply clear the area. Old windshield wipers can also make chattering and squeaking noises, which are annoying on their own, but indicate a deeper need to replace the parts. Simply put, if they're not 100% effective, it's time to replace them.

2. Maintain speed control!

While everyone is aware of the present danger snow can present on the road, rain can be every bit as dangerous, and the apex of this danger isn't when you'd intuitively think it would be. Hydroplaning is something to keep in mind, for which speed control is essential, but the most dangerous part of a rainstorm when it comes to driving is actually when the rain first starts to fall. The first 10-20 minutes of driving on newly wet roads is the most dangerous, the explanation for which is that the vehicles passing over the road drip oil and other car fluids onto the roadway. Usually, they'll simply dry up and remain on the surface of the road for as long as conditions remain dry. When the rain starts, however, oil and other substances rise to the top of the water, meaning that this oily slick is the first thing your tire is touching when it rolls over that portion of road. This means that those first few minutes of a rainstorm can create areas of roadway that are entirely oily, and as you can imagine, your tires' friction against these surfaces drops exponentially. This doesn't mean that you should slow your vehicle to a crawl, however, as this makes you a danger to other drivers who are maintaining a higher speed. As always, your best bet is to try to keep with the flow of traffic, but if it feels like you're losing traction, it's best to lower your speed incrementally so as not to alert other drivers, giving them time to adjust to your new speed. While you're more responsible as a person for slowing down, this will not help you if you get hit by a car that wasn't paying attention, so be sure that you're paying attention to the speed of other drivers around you.

3. Bad weather? Headlights on.

Even if it was bright and sunny moments ago, be sure that you turn your headlights on when the rain starts. Gray and white cars are more common and popular than ever before, and given the lighting conditions in your average rainstorm, your car can pretty easily blend in with the roadway if a driver is glancing your direction. Nothing else looks like a set of headlights, and while they're also for improving your vision, a key feature of the headlights is that other drivers are more easily able to see you. Many, many accidents could have been prevented if a driver had their headlights on, so make sure to keep yourself off that list by doing what those drivers didn't.

4. Make sure your tires are the best they can be.

We've talked a lot about how road conditions can affect your tires, but it's equally important to know how the tread of your tires affects your time on the road. There's no replacement for having good tires, and while this can be a surprisingly costly expense, the safety and ride quality that new tires can provide definitely justify the expense. Besides the fact that you can receive a ticket for your tires not having enough tread on them, even a little bit of moisture on the road can be devastating for vehicles with no tread. If your tires are well worn enough, your tires can even spin on entirely dry roads, meaning you have a lot less control even under ideal conditions. Rain and snow only make this worse, and while experienced, careful driving techniques can counteract this to a point, simply put, you need good tires with good tread. Tires can be made for a wide variety of different focuses, whether it be grip, noise reduction, ride comfort, speed or cornering, all of those have significant advantages over a tire without tread. If your tires are worn enough, even an extremely cheap set of new tires will be better than your current ones, so be sure to get those changed out before the season with the most severe road conditions.

5. Understanding hydroplaning.

We mentioned it earlier in this guide, but hydroplaning deserves some explanation. Under normal circumstances, when you encounter a puddle on the road, your tire will push most of the water out of the way as your treads make contact with the road. However, if the water is deeper than 1/10th of an inch, and you're going too fast, generally above 35mph, your tires will instead skid across the top of the water, the surface tension of the water keeping your vehicle "afloat" for a moment as you maintain speed. This is extremely dangerous for a number of reasons, the most significant of which being that you lose the ability to turn during this time. When your tire passes over the puddle, the most dangerous part of the process is actually when you regain traction. While you're hydroplaning, turning the wheel can be dangerous, as you won't actually readjust the direction of the vehicle, just the wheels. When you regain traction, your car will suddenly shift in the direction the tires are pointing. If you've turned too far, this can lead to sliding, drifting, or even a rollover. When you start to hydroplane, which you'll definitely be able to feel, make sure that you take your foot off the gas, but don't hit the brakes. Braking will only complicate the situation without slowing you down. Keep your wheels as straight as you can, and if you must turn, turn the wheel only about halfway as far as you normally would. Assuming it's not a huge puddle, the jolt of regaining traction won't throw your car off too far, meaning you'll be able to bring it back under control before any issues arise.

6. Some final tips.

When the elements have taken over the roadway, it's important to ensure you have enough distance between yourself and the next driver. As things get worse, it's advisable to double or triple the distance you'd normally put between yourself and the next driver in front of you and behind you. Keep in mind that even if your driving is textbook perfection, it only takes one other driver making one mistake to cause an accident, and the closer you are to that other driver, the more likely your insurance company is going to have to hear about it. When merging, take extra steps to ensure that you're clear before you merge, as other drivers may not have their lights on, and given visibility, it may be more difficult to see them. Turn signals are also a huge help, so make sure you're using them during bad weather, though you should be using them at all times anyways. Finally, if conditions get too bad for your driving experience level or your vehicle itself, it can be advisable to simply pull over. You may be late for something, but late is always better than dead or injured, and nature does not adhere to your timetable. Take the time you need, wait for conditions to get better, then get back on the road. If you are going to pull over, make sure you get entirely out of the roadway, and turn off all lights. Many accidents have occurred due to one car pulling over to wait out conditions but leaving their lights on, so another driver with bad visibility simply follows the red lights of the car in front of them, leading to a car that's entirely off the roadway being hit by a well-meaning driver. If you're going to pull over, pull the whole way over and make it clear that you're no longer driving.

With all these in mind, you should be much better prepared to take on the elements, no matter what they may be for your area and climate. If you're looking for something that's a bit better suited to bad weather, we've got quite the variety of off-road and reliable vehicles on our lot, and would be happy to put you in any of them! Check out our inventory and give us a call at 724-657-1551 if you'd like more information about any of them!

What You Need to Know About Hybrid Cars

The automotive world is always changing, and here at Castle Car Company, we aim to keep you informed of as much of it as we can. Given that hybrid and full-electric vehicles have been experiencing a surge of popularity in the past few years, we find it fit to give you an in-depth look at the history of electric vehicles, their current state in the market and in the world, as well as the future of hybrid and electric vehicles. Hybrid cars have gained a small, but viable, share of the market, and industry trends predict that they will become more and more common as time goes on.

History

While internal combustion engines, or ICEs, have been around since 1886, and have primarily held the massive majority of market share in the automobile market, electric vehicles have been around almost as long! The first electric vehicle was built and produced in 1832, but was expensive and not particularly viable as a means of daily or long-distance transportation. They weren’t refined to the point that they could be marketed to the masses until the 1880’s, just a few years before the rise of ICEs. Gasoline was accepted as a viable fuel in 1892, so a world of electric vehicles isn’t necessarily that far out of the question, given that it was almost the case from the very beginning of the car industry. As a brief historic note, diesel first gained acceptance and popularity in 1893, so most common fuel sources on today’s vehicles emerged in the same general time period.

While electric vehicles did experience an initial surge of popularity, the low cost of fossil fuels meant that ICEs ultimately became the industry standard for vehicles of all types. In recent years, the hybrid vehicle has also become an industry standard, starting with the Toyota Prius in 1997 in Japan, being released to the rest of the world in 1999. They’ve garnered a strong response from people all over the world, though they’re generally seen as less powerful than a standard gasoline engine.

Current Market

While it may not be everyone’s cup of tea, there’s a few indisputable good traits about hybrid cars at large. They are environmentally friendly, and reduce your emissions overall. They burn less gas than a standard gasoline engine, though you’ll still have to stop for fuel every now and then. Given the price of gas, saving money on fuel is going to be a concern for anyone that’s in the market for a different vehicle. Hybrid vehicles tend to be quieter than others, as electric motors and batteries both make less noise than their gas-powered counterparts.

They often require less maintenance than their gas or diesel, given that the ICE part of the powertrain is in use less often due to the battery providing power when needed.

Though it’s not all sunshine and rainbows when it comes to hybrid cars. Though you might be paying less in fuel and maintenance in the long run, the upfront cost of purchasing the car is likely to be higher. When maintenance is needed, it’s likely to be more expensive, and you may need a specialty mechanic, as the garages in your area may not have the tools or experience needed to work on a hybrid. They still do create fossil fuel emissions, just less so than a regular engine. It also varies quite a bit by make and model, but hybrids tend to be slower than standard ICE powered engines. Your average American ICE vehicle will go from 0 to 60 in about 6 seconds, whereas your average American hybrid vehicle will do the same in approximately 10 seconds. Toyota Prius in particular has a bit of a reputation for being slow, but when you're saving a ton on fuel costs, a little extra time spent on the commute can be well worth it.

Future

As industry trends grow and develop, it's hard to predict where the market will take things. As the market share for hybrids and electrics grows each year, it's easy to assume that this trend will continue, but many different factors could change the rate of development. Gasoline powered engines tend to get more efficient with each passing model year, and new forms of hybrid technology grow and improve at the same rate. We're seeing more electric cars on the road than ever before, due primarily to Tesla, but bolstered by industry standards like Ford and Chevrolet. It would be reasonable to assume that both will continue for the foreseeable future, and beyond that, but there's always the chance of a new idea rising. Before the rise of the motor-powered car, it would've been hard to predict exactly how much impact it would have on the way we live and do business, and that same problem remains to this day. Concept vehicles have been produced that run on ethanol, solar power, wind power, grain alcohol, kitchen grease and more, and while they may seem to be outlandish changes from the standard model, revolutionary technology tends to look that way before it takes over.

We feel that the current paradigm will continue for at least another 10 years or so, but in the meantime, you're going to need a vehicle of your own, so check out our inventory! We generally carry a few hybrid models at any given time, and would be happy to give you any information you need on any of the vehicles on our lot.

What's the best used Jeep for sale in 2022

If you're looking for a Jeep, you're in the right place! Castle Car Company specializes in Jeep products, including the Jeep Wrangler, Jeep Gladiator, Jeep Grand Cherokee and more, and our history with Jeep vehicles gives us insight into which Jeep would be best for you. Jeep has an impressive selection of vehicles to choose from, and at this point, there's so many trim levels and packages that it's enough to make your head spin! To keep things a bit clearer for our customers and the community at large, we've written this guide into Jeep models and trim levels, so you can be better informed when it's time to buy a Jeep.

We'll start with the various models of Jeep available, and discuss how they can be discerned from one another. When it comes to Jeep, all of their vehicles have distinctive body outlines, so you should easily be able to tell the difference between them at a distance. The trim level entails features and functions of the vehicle, and while most auto manufacturers give the trim levels names that indicate their trim level with intuitive names, like "Sport" vs. "Premium," Jeep's distinctive trim levels are a bit more in-depth than that. However, they'll almost universally come with a badge or decal that indicates what trim level it is.

Starting off with the most popular model of Jeep on the market, the Jeep Wrangler has a distinctive, boxy body design. It's got the iconic round headlamps, a rectangular cab, squared off wheel wells, and a look that screams "off-road potential." It's long been a favorite of campers, outdoorsmen, people with jobs that take them into the backcountry, farmers, ranchers, families and more. It offers a surprising amount of cargo space given its size, there's two rows of seating for anyone you'd like to bring with you, it's an solid all-around pick for anything that calls for you going off-road. More than likely, the Jeep Wrangler is exactly what you're looking for!

The Jeep Gladiator is a newer Jeep offering that serves the role of a pickup truck. It essentially looks like someone attached a truck bed to the back of a Jeep Wrangler, and while it is its own distinct vehicle, it's an easy way to distinguish the two. It's the only convertible truck available on the market, no other manufacturer offers a convertible pickup as of the time of writing this. There's nothing else like it! The bed is spacious and useful, especially with a bedliner, which improves the durability of the bed greatly, as well as making the bed easier to wash when it's dirty from a long day of work. It's a respectable off-road vehicle in its own right, but some trim packages make it even more off-road ready! We'll cover which ones that entails when we get to trim levels.

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is the most traditional-looking among Jeep vehicles. While it does have distinct styling that Jeep is known for, with a boxy frame overall, it's more rounded than other Jeep offerings. They're commonly used as police cruisers, which says a lot about their durability, as police cars are expected to last 200,000 miles before being retired. The headlamps are more box-shaped, generally with driving lights underneath to provide additional contouring to its frame under nighttime conditions. It's just as off-road capable, but it has the appearance of a daily driver, with additional interior cargo space that can be expanded by folding the seats down. Some Grand Cherokees even offer a 3rd row of seating! They're often confused with the Jeep Compass, which has a similar shape and size.

There's also the Jeep Renegade, which is far easier to distinguish, as its brake lights have a distinct X shape in the middle. It's also an SUV, though it's more fit for road-based traveling than off-roading. It's a very nice SUV, just not built to be taken off-road. You can modify them to do that, of course, but it's not the primary focus of the vehicle. It stands out in any parking lot, so if you want to spend less time hunting down your vehicle in crowded lots, here's your pick!

Now that we've covered the vast majority of Jeep's models, it's time to discuss trim packages. We'll start from the most basic, and work our way up to the most well-fitted trim levels.

Sport is the base model for Jeep Wranglers and Gladiators, it comes with the fewest features that Jeep offers. It still comes with a good engine, suspension, backup camera and more. Basic isn't a bad thing, especially when it comes to Jeep, but if you're looking for something you won't have to modify to take off-road, you might have to go up a level or two.

Sport S is the next package up, which is mostly identical to the Sport, except for the direct-injection Turbo engine. This brings about a significant savings when it comes to fuel efficiency, as well as power.

Altitude is the next package in line, which boasts a few cosmetic details including fender badges and headlamp inserts. It also comes with the hardtop convertible top, which allows you to go topless on hot days.

Sahara, above Altitude, offers Selec-Trac 4X4 capability, and an upgraded touchscreen infotainment system.

This is where it starts getting a little confusing. The Sahara Altitude, not to be confused with the Sahara or the Altitude, combines the best features of both the Sahara and Altitude, all cosmetic and off-road features from both are included, as well as a few small extras.

If you want to be able to buy the vehicle and drive it straight down a trail, you're going to want to get a Rubicon or better. The Rubicon comes with an even better 4X4 setup, the Rock-Trac 4X4, plus a powered convertible top that operates at the push of a button. It also comes with an electronic differential, which means that the vehicle will be able to sense where wheels are getting traction and send power there accordingly. It's the perfect vehicle for low-speed rock crawling, as it can get up and over just about anything!

Above that, there's the MOAB, which combines the off-road capability of the Rubicon with the styling and creature comforts from the Sahara. It's arguably the best Wrangler on the market for all purposes.

However, with all this in mind, Jeeps are a very commonly modified vehicle, so it's not like you can't buy a lower trim level and upgrade it for whichever purposes best suit your needs, but here at Castle Car Company, we work to make the car buying process the easiest it can be. Stop in today, tell us all about what you're looking for, and we'll put you in the perfect vehicle! Click here to check out our inventory!

Beat The Heat! 7 Tips for Summer Car Maintenance

When it comes to your car, it’s impossible to overstate how much the weather can impact it. While everyone is familiar with the pitfalls of winter driving, ensuring you have adequate tread on your tires to handle slippery conditions and starting your car early to defrost, summer car maintenance has a slightly different rulebook when prioritizing what to take care of and what can wait.

Let us guide you through some of the key points you should focus on when you’re looking to keep your car nice during the summer. Take care of these 7 things, and you should have no problems at all until winter rolls around!

1. Test the AC!

You know just what a relief it can be to get into a properly cooled-off car after some work out in the sun, so before the really hot days come around, make sure to test your air conditioning! If your car is older, or you’re simply a heavy user of the air conditioning, there’s a chance you’ll need to refill the refrigerant in the AC system. You can purchase a can of this refrigerant for between $30 and $50, and this is more than likely going to fix the problem, or at very least, make sure that the AC you’re getting is as cool as it can be. Further AC problems may need a mechanic’s touch to diagnose and repair, but taking this step early means that you’ll have the necessary knowledge to make sure you get that cool breeze flowing through your car at all times. Car maintenance isn't always fun, but it's always rewarding!

2. Check your tires’ air pressure.

The shift from cool air to hot air and vice versa can have a surprisingly large impact on your ride quality, gas mileage, and alignment of your steering. Make sure to check all 4 of your tires, ensuring they’re filled to the optimal level without being overfilled. Don’t forget to check your emergency spare tire as well, as you’ll never know when you might need it! Keeping a car nice requires work from time to time, but at least this one is free at most gas stations, and only takes a minute! As far as how to keep a car nice, this is one of the easiest, fastest ways to improve ride quality.

3. Check your antifreeze/coolant level.

Keeping your car’s engine cool in the summer is every bit as important as keeping it warm in the winter. Overheating can lead to a wide variety of engine problems, none of which you’ll be excited about. Engine repairs can be expensive and lengthy procedures, whereas antifreeze generally only costs a few dollars a bottle. Save yourself the headache down the line, top off the coolant and make sure you don’t have any leaks, drive it around a little bit after filling it to make sure you’re not losing any fluid from the engine’s standard operation. To keep a car nice, you have to make sure the car itself works, and a lack of coolant is one of the fastest ways to ruin a car.

4. Replace your windshield wipers.

Visibility is key when it comes to driving, as you can only take action in response to what you see. Not seeing deer, for example, has lead to the deaths of many deer and the infuriation of many a driver. Winter conditions are particularly harsh on windshield wipers, due to ice buildup on both the windshield itself and the wipers, which are usually kept dormant at the bottom of the windshield when not in use. The worst way to find out your wiper blades aren’t cutting it is when you’re about to hit something, get them changed if you’ve had the same set since winter.

5. Rotate your tires!

While making sure you have the correct amount of air in your tires is critical, tires don’t wear at the same rate. Whether you have 4WD, RWD, FWD or AWD, it will affect the rate at which your tires’ tread wears away, in addition to all your regular driving habits. If the wheels’ alignment is off, this can also lead to one side of the tire wearing down much faster than the other. Regular rotation of tires can help to balance this out, most mechanics recommend rotating the tires every 3 to 5 thousand miles. Improper tire tread wear can lead to more fuel spent per mile, a lot more road noise, the steering of the vehicle pulling to one side, there’s a lot of issues that can arise from it. Make sure to get them rotated, your car will thank you!

6. Clean/replace air filters.

There’s two critical air filters to keep in mind when it comes to your vehicle. The main one in regards to your vehicle itself is the engine air filter, which purifies air before it processes through the engine itself. How often to change it is dependent on the type of vehicle, as well as the conditions in which you drive. If you’re in dusty conditions, for example, you’ll need to change it out more often. Failing to change it as needed can lead to poor ride quality, the engine might start to chug more often, as it’s essentially suffocating. Engine air filters are generally fairly cheap to change, and it can also improve your fuel efficiency, so don’t put it off. The cabin air filter is part of your heating/cooling system, and as you might imagine, it filters the air that flows into the cabin itself. It only needs to be changed every 15 to 45 thousand miles, but if you’ve never done it before, you’ll definitely notice the difference once you do.

7. Test your brakes.

Last but not least, don’t forget to check those brakes! Salt, ice, and a lot of other winter factors can cause your brakes to be less effective, though brakes need to be changed out approximately every 10 to 20 thousand miles regardless. If your brakes are feeling a little bit squishy, or are making a grinding/rubbing noise when you brake, you almost certainly need new brake pads. As long as you have a jack, it’s possible to do it yourself, though if you have a warranty you might as well have a garage do it. It should be a fairly cheap job, regardless, but without good brakes, even a really nice vehicle could be dangerous. Between tires and brakes, there’s a lot that can go wrong, and we want to make sure you don’t risk your life or your ride over something you can take care of at relatively low cost.

With all these in mind, you should be free and clear to drive all summer! Make sure to get out there and enjoy the driving weather while it lasts! If you're in the market for a car, don't forget to check out our inventory here!

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