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Cars Get Cold Too

How To Check Your Antifreeze

It may not cross most people's minds, but checking your car's antifreeze protection level is an important part of regular maintenance. Anti-freeze helps protect your car from damage caused by cold weather, and keeping it at the proper level could save you from costly repairs down the road. In this article, we will show you how to check your car's antifreeze protection level and what to do if it needs to be adjusted.

What You Need

Before you begin, there are a few items you need for the job:

  • An anti-freeze tester: These are usually sold for just a few dollars at any auto parts store.

  • Paper towel or rag: This will help keep the anti-freeze off of surfaces like paint that could get damaged.

  • Ziplock bag: This will help keep dirt out of your anti-freeze tester while you’re not using it.


Step 1: Locate The Reservoir

The first step is to locate the reservoir where your car’s anti-freeze is stored. This is usually in the engine compartment, and it looks like a plastic container with a lid on top (as seen in Figure 1). There should also be a warning label telling you not to open the lid while the fluid is hot – so always make sure that your car has been sitting idle for at least two hours before proceeding! 

Step 2: Testing The Anti-Freeze

Now that you have located the reservoir, insert the end of your tester into the fluid (you may have to use a straw attached to the bottom of the tester). Then pump up and down until about half of the fluid has been drawn up into the glass chamber on top (Figure 2). Now look at how many “balls” are floating on top of the fluid; this number tells you how well protected your car is against extreme cold temperatures (see Table 1 below). Once done testing, pour any remaining liquid into its original container, then wipe off any residue with paper towel or rag. 


Step 3: Storing The Tester

After testing, take a ziplock bag and store your anti-freeze tester in it until its next use. This will help keep dust and dirt off of it when it’s not in use! And don't forget - always remember that antifreeze is poisonous so make sure none gets on any surfaces outside of its original container!   


Checking your car's antifreeze protection level doesn't have to be difficult or complicated; with these simple steps anyone can do it themselves! With regular testing every few months, you'll know exactly how well protected against extreme cold temperatures your vehicle really is - potentially saving yourself hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs down the line!


What are the best mods for Jeep Wranglers

When it first comes off the assembly line, a Jeep’s potential is still yet to be reached. There’s so many different options for what you can add or take away to make a Jeep your own personal creation, but without proper guidance, how can you know what’s worth adding to your Jeep and what doesn’t affect things enough to make it worth it? Jeep Wrangler modification can be an undertaking, and Jeep Wrangler mods can vary in price, scale, scope, functionality and more. Jeep Gladiators can take most of the same modifications that a Jeep Wrangler can, so Jeep Gladiator mods, as a whole, tend to be lumped under Jeep Wrangler modifications, so the information contained is mostly still accurate. Be sure to check before you purchase anything to ensure that it will work with your year and model.

Let us tell you some of our favorites and explain what they’re for, so you can decide if your Jeep needs something similar! Most modifications are for the purpose of making the Jeep more off-road ready, but you’ll be surprised what some enterprising Jeep owners have done to their prized vehicles! You can turn a Jeep into the perfect vehicle for just about any need you may have, it’s all about knowing your vehicle and understanding where improvements can be made.

BUMPERS

While Jeeps, like every other make of vehicle, come equipped with front and rear bumpers, the vast majority of Jeep owners replace these first and foremost. While the stock bumper looks correct on the vehicle, it doesn’t offer nearly the protection that you can get with modified Jeep bumpers. What makes this process easier is that many different aftermarket manufacturers exist specifically for Jeep body parts, and bumpers are no exception. Almost all aftermarket manufacturers offer options for strength, accessories, different design styles and materials, so feel free to browse until you find the bumper that fits your needs. The nice thing about changing bumpers is that, since the bumpers are made specifically for Jeeps, the process of switching out the stock one with the new one should be simple and easy, since it’s specifically designed to fit the vehicle in question, saving you time and money when it comes to labor costs.

DOOR ENTRY GUARDS

If your Jeep gets even a taste of the elements, getting door entry guards is a very good choice. Rain and moisture can start rust in a place you’d never expect, right below your feet, due to the exposed metal at the bottom of the door, that the driver and passengers will step over every time they enter or exit the vehicle. Dripping water from your shoes will further erode this part of the vehicle, meaning that the more often you get in and out of the Jeep, the faster this damage will accelerate. This is a really cheap fix to make, as most door entry guards will have fasteners or an adhesive included, installation is as simple as placing it where you want it and letting the adhesive set, if applicable. It can also enhance the interior by complimenting the color of the interior upholstery, and with a negligible price for doing so, this is one of the most strongly recommended Jeep Wrangler modifications we can direct you towards.

FLOOR LINERS

We’d recommend these for the exact same reason we’d recommend the door entry guards. The more moisture a vehicle is exposed to, the faster rust will set in, and that’s not even factoring in the dirt and grime that can accompany said moisture. There’s a few different options when it comes to floor liners, we’d recommend something rubberized, or at very least, just not carpet. Carpet lets moisture sit in the vehicle’s interior for longer, plus it requires extra care when cleaning to get deep-set stains out. Most manufacturers offer several different choices when it comes to the material of the floor liners, and while they have their differences, we’d point you towards something on the water-resistant side. If you live in the Northern half of the United States, salt is also a contributing factor towards the rusting and depreciation of the vehicle, making floor liners even more important to get. This is also the lowest effort Jeep Wrangler mod to install, as you'll literally just have to pull out the old ones and put in the new ones, no tools or techniques required.

GRAB BARS

While most vehicles have handles attached to the ceiling inside of the vehicle to help passengers get in and out of the vehicle, as well as keeping passengers stable while going through rough terrain or sharp turns, the removable roof on most Jeeps make that option far less feasible. To replace the standard ceiling-mounted ones, some aftermarket Jeep accessory manufacturers offer handles that attach to the A-frame pillars, which offer the same utility, just in a slightly different form. These aren’t strictly necessary, but we would still strongly recommend them, as you never know who you’ll have to drive around! While we wouldn’t make this the first modification you should make to your new Jeep, if you plan on lifting the Jeep, the grab bars will be even more important in helping you and your passengers safely and comfortably get in and out of the vehicle.

HOOD LATCHES

There’s nothing wrong with the hood latches that come standard on Jeeps, but if you’ve ever driven a Jeep Wrangler on the highway, you’ll know the noise that accompanies the use of them. The rubber latches that come standard on Jeeps very rarely fail, but the wobbliness of the hood in addition to the visual shaking can scare drivers that aren’t used to the sensation. For this very reason, a lot of manufacturers offer replacements for the stock rubber latches that are generally made of much firmer materials, like hard plastics and polyurethane. Some even offer locking systems, in case you’re worried about people stealing some of the accessories you’ve put into the engine bay! One of the main differences between Jeep Wranglers and most other vehicles is that there is not an internal latch to unlock the hood, so if security is a concern, we'd recommend getting the locking latches in the name of safety.

LED LIGHTS

This one isn’t even specific to Jeep! LED lights have been seeing a massive increase in popularity in the past few years, for good reason! In addition to making visibility a much smaller issue than standard factory headlights, they also use less power to do so. This does come with the upfront cost being higher than standard headlights, but you’ll be able to see a world of difference between the stock lights and the LED replacements. The light of an LED headlight is a lot whiter than the yellowish hue created by standard lightbulbs, and the light itself will generally spread further, more evenly, giving you a much better field of view overall. If you do a lot of night driving, this one is a must-have!

RECOVERY/TOWING GEAR

Half of the fun of a Jeep is where you can take it, but what do you do when it turns out the trail is a little bit more than your Jeep can handle? Make sure to get your recovery kit ready before you take on the great outdoors. As you drive your Jeep more often, you’ll get a better understanding of what all the Jeep is capable of handling, and furthermore, what happens when your Jeep gets stuck. Towing straps are one of the cheapest but best investments to make in this area, as having another Jeep pull you out is generally how one of those situations gets resolved. In addition, those same towing straps may be what ends up helping out another stuck Jeep, should the time come. Many Jeep owners and enthusiasts will swear by installing a winch, which can be useful in several situations, but winch kits are expensive, and if you don’t need one, it’s probably not worth it for you to get one. In addition, most modern Jeeps come with tow hooks in the bumper, but if yours doesn’t, we’d definitely recommend installing them. When you’re stuck in a foot of mud, and getting under the vehicle to attach a chain/strap becomes impossible, you’ll be very glad you sprung to get the tow hooks. Many Jeep owners swear by their own techniques for getting out of deep mud and sludge, some opt to carry small ramps or bits of wood to get traction, some carry shovels so they can dig out a little bit of space in front of the wheels to build momentum. Finally, we'd recommend getting a Hi-Lift Jack. Generally, these are used on Jeeps for two reasons: They're compact enough to be comfortably concealed on the Jeep in designated spots, but are also efficient enough to lift the entire Jeep, if need be. We'd recommend buying one direct from Hi-Lift, which you can do here.

SEAT COVERS

One of the reasons you bought your Jeep was to take the top off, right? This means that your seats are exposed to the elements far more than a regular vehicle’s seats would be. You have a bounty of options when it comes to seat covers, as they’re a lot cheaper to manufacture, and hence, a lot cheaper to buy, than most other Jeep accessories. A durable set of seat covers can save you down the road, as consistent weather exposure can destroy the seats of a vehicle unless those seats are properly covered. There’s a ton of options for the material and style of the seat covers, so go with whichever speaks to you most, but make sure it’s water-resistant at the very least.

STORAGE/SECURITY

While the factory interior console has a lock on it, many Jeep owners don’t feel like this makes the vehicle secure enough, between the soft-top which can be cut open and the general lack of cargo room in a standard Jeep Wrangler. Hence, several manufacturers have started producing lockable console options that can be installed for extra security, in addition to organizational mods that give you more options for your cargo, adding storage space by more efficiently using the space available. You’d be amazed how many spaces you can add storage capacity to, including the tailgate, soundbar, rollcage, footwells, dashboard and more!

SOFT/HARD TOPS

There’s viable reasons to switch in either direction when it comes to your Jeep’s roof. While most Jeeps are manufactured with hard tops, and some come with the optional factory soft top, both have pros and cons that should be considered. A hard top makes the ride quieter, and certainly feels more stable, but the soft top allows you to experience the elements like only Jeep lets you do. Some Jeeps, particularly in the past few model years, do have the options for both, but there’s lots of manufacturers that’ll help you decide on which roof is right for you. However, a soft top usually only has a lifespan of 3 to 5 years, so you may need to replace it sooner than you think anyways. It’s in your best interest to pick out a roof that works for you. Since Jeeps are all about customization, the roof is a key component to customization on your Jeep, given how much impact it has on the feel and sound of taking that Jeep out on the road. Realistically, it’s probably best to have one of each on hand, as your needs may vary, so your roof should do the same to match your needs.

LIGHTING

Beyond the headlights, there’s a lot of places that you can add light to your Jeep! Fog lights, underglow, and light bars are all viable options, each of which comes with its own pros and cons. Fog lights will help you, as you can imagine, in foggy or otherwise inclement weather, lighting the way ahead of you without reflecting too much light back into the cabin. Underglow is more of an aesthetic choice, having no real utility value, but sometimes it can be what makes a Jeep stand out amongst all the others, really letting it become yours alone. Light bars are also a really popular addition to Jeep Wranglers, as it can provide a lot more light than regular headlights can, but be sure to verify that it’s legal in your state to drive with the light bar on, as it varies state by state.

WHEELS AND TIRES

Very few things on a vehicle are as important to ride quality as your wheels and tires, and when we’re discussing off-road vehicles, their importance only grows. Since you’ll eventually have to replace your tires anyways, many Jeep owners see it fit to modify the wheels and tires right off the lot, which is generally done for the purpose of making it more off-road worthy. Keep in mind, however, that these decisions are not made in a vacuum, and you may have to adjust other parts of the vehicle due to the change, including suspension, fenders, or steering to ensure that no other parts of the Jeep are damaged by this adjustments. You may also need to get wheel spacers, if you were to get wider tires/wheels, so the tires won’t rub against the wheel wells when driving.

LIFT KITS

One of the most popular modifications to make, lift kits are synonymous with Jeep, and for good reason! Besides aesthetics, many Jeep owners make this change to get extra clearance, allowing them to drive over taller obstacles that would hamper shorter vehicles. While it’s possible to lift a Jeep without purchasing an actual lift kit, it will make the process a lot easier, as the kit is designed to work as a unit, instead of having to separately purchase shocks, hardware, etc.

SNORKELS

This one is iconic! Generally found alongside a lift kit, Jeep snorkels change where your Jeep pulls air from, generally by making the intake of air start above the hood instead of the front of the grille. This means that the vehicle will continue to function while partially submerged, allowing you to clear much deeper water/mud without worrying about your Jeep’s air intake. It also filters the air better than the standard air intake does, and allows the air coming into the engine to be cooler, meaning that the engine should perform better even entirely on dry land. This means that the snorkel combines what would be several accessories on most vehicles into one piece to install, which is one of the best reasons to get the snorkel installed.

Now that you know all about what you can do to your Jeep, it’s time to get excited and get started! If we’ve forgotten any, shoot us a message and let us know, we want to ensure all of our customers are as well informed as they possibly can be! If you’re dreaming about getting the Jeep you want to modify, check out our selection and see if any of our Jeeps match your needs! We’re always here to provide vehicles and expertise, and we hope to hear from you soon!

7 Tips to Get Your Car Ready for Winter

One of the greatest things about living in the climate we do is the distinct difference from season to season. One of the biggest downsides, however, is also the distinct difference from season to season. If you’re not used to driving your vehicle in the snow, or if you’ve gotten a different vehicle since the last snow was on the ground, it can be pretty crucial to ensure that your vehicle is ready for winter, as every one of them handles differently when road conditions. 

Some vehicles, namely trucks and SUVs, are generally better suited to the snow, as they have more weight, meaning more traction, as the treads are pushed down harder to the road’s surface by the weight of the vehicle. That being said, this doesn’t mean they don’t also require appropriate maintenance and care as winter approaches. No vehicle is ice-proof, so make sure your vehicle is ready! Proper preparation can be the difference between arriving on time and not arriving at all, so make sure to take the following tips in mind as temperatures drop.

  1. Change your oil!
    While every vehicle needs its oil changed periodically, the dropping temperatures may mean that your vehicle needs a different type of oil from what you normally use throughout the summer. When buying oil, it will be measured by weight or viscosity, which essentially mean the same thing. For example, a pretty standard type of oil is 5W-20, The W stands for Winter, so you can imagine how important this step is for winterizing your car. Preparing a vehicle for winter is important overall, though oil might be the most important step other than tires. The temperature of operation for the oil, both due to the internal workings of the engine plus the outside temperature. The higher the number, the thicker the oil. The lower the number, the thinner. Most engines are designed to take a specific type of oil, and if you’re unfamiliar, you can look up what your vehicle would work best with. From there, there’s also the choice of what composition of oil to get, whether it be conventional, synthetic, or a blend of both. Consult your owners manual for the most accurate listing, though most oil change places and mechanic’s shops will have this information readily available as well.

  2. Check your tires for tread.
    While all-season tires can get you through winter, we’d strongly recommend getting winter tires if you haven’t already. If your tires are on the older side, make sure to check the tread of the tire, either using a coin or a tire tread depth gauge. Preparing a vehicle for winter isn’t complete until you’ve at least checked out the tires. Technically, you’re still legal to drive if you have more than 2/32” of tread, but the more tread you have, the more prepared you are, especially when ice and snow are involved. There’s a lot of places where you can save money on a vehicle, but the investment in good tires will pay off in benefits, and from the first time your start sliding, you’ll understand the importance of your tires. Ice and snow are more than happy to have you sliding off the road, make sure you’re ready with a good set of tires.
    Link:
    https://www.castlecarcompany.com/bdp/14458/DrivingandMaintenance/AllSeasonvsWinterTires%2cWhat%e2%80%99stheDifference

  3. Check your battery.
    Even more important than stopping is ensuring that your car can start to begin with. Leaving a vehicle sitting for too long can lead to a dead battery, and when you’ve just broken the ice off your car to get inside, an inability to start the car is going to ruin your day. Your entire electrical system should be checked, but the battery is generally the part that will need to be switched out. However, if your vehicle isn’t starting, it may not be that the battery is dead, just that the connection between battery and electrical system isn’t connecting, which may just require you to clean the terminals on the battery. Use a stiff wire brush, clean the posts, and try again. If this doesn’t work, and you don’t have a voltmeter to check the current, it may be time for a new battery. When it comes to winterizing your car, your battery is what starts the entire mechanical/chemical process of getting your engine running, and cold weather requires even more power to get started. Getting stuck in a car that won’t start in the cold makes for a bad time, check your battery soon.
     

  4. Check/understand your 4WD/AWD situation.
    There’s a surprising amount of difference between 4WD and AWD, and while both of them can be super helpful in icy situations, they can handle quite differently, especially should you find yourself in a ditch. Knowing the difference between the two can be the difference between getting out of a ditch and further damaging the vehicle in your attempt to save it. The primary difference is that 4WD is something you choose, whereas AWD is generally always on. Each manufacturer has different systems for enabling 4WD, but the theory is consistent across all makes. There are some exceptions, with some vehicles that automatically turn on 4WD when it detects the need for it, generally by picking up when there’s a discrepancy between your vehicle’s speed and the speed that the wheels are turning. The most important part is knowing which one your vehicle is, and how it’ll affect your immediate driving conditions when trying to get a vehicle unstuck. Keep in mind, neither 4WD nor AWD will help you stop if you’re already sliding, both systems are entirely about getting the vehicle moving in the direction you want. Stopping is still entirely the purview of the braking system and tires.

  5. Keep your gas tank at least half-full.
    This is a tip that’s been around forever, but it bears repeating. Vehicles with a metal tank to hold the fuel run the risk of freezing over and cracking, meaning you’ll be leaking fuel everywhere you go, and drastically affecting your fuel economy. Keeping the fuel level above half-full means your vehicle will be far less likely to have this damage occur, as the fuel prevents the frost from fully setting in and damaging the wall of the fuel tank. In addition, your vehicle will generally get better mileage on gas while the tank is over half-full, so there’s plenty of reasons to make sure that tank is as topped off as you can get it! Get the most out of your gas and make sure you’re not losing any in the process.

  6. Get an emergency kit ready.

When the time comes that you inevitably get your vehicle stuck in the snow somewhere, it can’t be overstated how important an emergency kit can be. Emergency kits tend to focus on either getting your car out of the snow, or keeping you comfortable while waiting for assistance in doing so. The NHTSA says that approximately 1800 people per year die of snowy and icy conditions, though it’s hard to say how many of those were immediate vs. after waiting for help. If your car is stuck, neither you nor the car are going anywhere, so you might as well be comfortable. As far as what to include in the kit, we’d recommend the following:

Spare tire w/ necessary supplies to change tire (jack, wrench, etc.)

Tool Kit / MultiTool

Jumper Cables

Flashlight
First Aid Kit

Snacks and Water
High-Viz Vest, should you need to walk somewhere for help

Fire Extinguisher

Duct Tape

Rain Poncho

Blankets, Gloves, other cold weather gear


  1. Get your snow/ice clearing supplies ready.
    One of everyone’s least favorite things about winter is the need to clear the snow and ice off your car in the morning before you leave for work. While everyone dreads having to do it, having the right equipment to do so can make an annoying chore much easier and faster to do. We’d recommend this one, as the design and production quality make snow clearing much faster and easier than the cheap ones you usually get from a Walmart or Dollar General: https://www.nytimes.com/wirecutter/reviews/best-ice-scraper/

In addition, having a good snow shovel will take away some of the hassle of freeing your car from the snow in the morning, as a good snow shovel will make the process a lot easier than a cheaper-made or older shovel. While this isn’t necessarily linked to your vehicle, any way that you can make your snow-laden morning routine less tedious is a welcome change of pace. 


With all these in mind, you should be a lot better equipped to handle the challenges that winter can bring if you live in a snowy region. From our home base near Pittsburgh, PA, we know the struggles of dealing with feet of snow, and we’ve got the expertise to make sure the vehicle you drive off with is one that’ll handle your snow and ice needs without fail. Take a look at our inventory here and send us a message if you like what you see! We’re always here to set you up with the car that’ll leave you satisfied! 

How to Tell When It’s Time to Replace Your Brakes

While your car’s potential is gauged by how far it can take you, an important part of your car to consider is how well it can come to a stop. Moisture, both ice and water, vehicle speed, vehicle weight, the type of braking system on the vehicle and the vehicle’s tire tread all factor into how long it will take your car to come to a complete stop, and when you’re rapidly approaching another vehicle, your reflexes might not be fast enough to prevent an accident, especially if any of those factors within your control have not been properly managed.


When you press down on your brake pedal, a series of mechanical systems press on the wheels of the car, creating friction that will slow the wheels down to a complete stop with enough pressure and time. Without these systems working correctly, any number of issues can arise, including a lack of braking, uneven braking, additional brake wear, and wheel/rotor damage. 


The two most popular systems for braking on modern cars are disc brakes and drum brakes, the difference between the two being that drum brakes fully surround the rotor of the wheel and squeeze around the rotor itself to slow the car, whereas disc brakes clamp down on either side of the rotor to create pressure in one specific area that the rotor rotates through. On most modern vehicles, both will be in effect, with disc brakes on the front of the vehicle and drum brakes on the rear wheels.Contrary to what you might think, disc brakes tend to be more effective overall, as all elements of a drum brake system are housed within the drum, as the name implies. By housing all elements within the same drum, heat spreads across all elements, and the hotter the braking system gets, the less effective it becomes, an effect known as “brake fade.” Disc brakes tend to dissipate the heat more effectively, meaning that there’s less fading in the effectiveness of the brakes, only the brake pads themselves get heat, but their positioning means that it’s free to cool via the air rushing over the pads while driving.


In either system, having properly maintained brakes will mean more effective slowing and stopping, and knowing when to replace the parts is important. If you’re not sure when exactly to change and replace the parts in question, read on to find out!


As a general rule, brake pads on a disc braking system should be replaced every 10 to 20,000 miles, but defects within the brake pads or excessive use may necessitate them being changed earlier. On most vehicles, you can check the brake pads without even taking the wheel off, though you’ll have to find the right angle to do so. If the brake pad looks thin, less than a ¼ inch or about 6.5mm, it should be replaced at the nearest possible opportunity. This is not the only time they should be replaced, but it’s a good way to check whether or not they’re due soon. Besides the pads being thin, you also need to change them if you’re hearing squeaking/grinding when you press down on the brake pedal, if it feels like you have to push further down on the brake pedal to apply the brakes, or if it seems like the brakes are taking longer to stop the car than usual. In addition, some newer vehicles also have an indicator light, which simplifies the process quite a bit. Driving regularly will help you discover when this sort of issue arises, as you’ll become more familiar with the vehicle in question over time. It’s important to be tuned into your vehicle, make sure to occasionally drive with the radio off for a little bit so you can listen for any noises that could indicate a problem. 


In drum brake systems, the pieces that squeeze on the rotor to slow the vehicle are called brake shoes, and they should be replaced every 40,000 miles, with the drum itself needing to be replaced every 150,000 miles or so. Most of the same signs of replacement apply to drum brakes as well, especially a scraping noise, and generally, if you’re driving without music playing, you’ll be able to hear/feel the same signs when they arise. 


It can’t be overstated how important the brakes are to your driving experience, both in terms of drive quality as well as your own safety. Generally, it’ll cost between $150-300 per wheel that brakes are getting replaced on, with the parts themselves costing between $35 and $150 based on what material the brake pads are made with. Brake pads can be made with several different materials, which vary in cost, generally lumped into three categories: organic, ceramic, and semi-metallic. Organic brake pads are generally the lowest-cost option, followed by semi-metallic, then ceramic. These can vary quite a bit, however, as the general category doesn’t always tell you what specific materials that they’re made of, so be sure to ask about the specifics of each type when you go to purchase new brake pads. Brake shoes, on the other hand, are generally categorized more by the manufacturer than the material, so we’d recommend asking your technician or parts store representative for their particular recommendations, as they will have more specific, tailored information about what your vehicle needs. 


With all this in mind, pay attention to your vehicle next time you go for a drive. You may find out that your brakes are in significantly worse shape than you might think they are, and it may warrant your time and money to replace them at your nearest convenience. This may or may not be covered by your warranty, as these policies can vary heavily in what’s actually covered. 

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!

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