How Not To Get A Ticket

Image courtesy of carinsurance.org

When’s the last time you got pulled over for running a stop sign? Maybe you were caught going a few miles over the speed limit, or forgot to put your seat belt on when you went to the convenience store. Getting pulled over for minor infractions is always a stressful undertaking and no one looks forward to it. When you do get pulled over, how you handle yourself and your attitude towards the police, can possibly get you out of a ticket!

1. Don’t lie.

When you’re nervous, you tend to tell fibs and police officers can tell when you’re lying. As a police officer, they are lied to on a daily basis and would appreciate the truth without having to ask you 100 questions.

2. Pull over when it’s safe.

Don’t stop in the middle of the road. Just because you see the flashing lights in your rear-view mirror doesn’t mean you have to pull over immediately. If there is no safe place to pull over and get out of traffic, then acknowledge to the officer that you are being pulled over and continue driving until you find a suitable spot. The officer will likely thank you for keeping traffic flowing and not causing a logjam.

3. Treat them with respect.

Whether or not you agree with me, the police are there for your safety and it takes a special kind of person to put themselves in the line of fire on a daily basis. Saying “yes, sir” or “yes, ma’am” is always appropriate. No back-talking or rude comments. If you do, you’ll likely find yourself with a ticket in hand.

4. Don’t make any sudden movements.

Police officers are killed during traffic stops at an alarming rate and it likely they are just as nervous or leery as you are. If you must open a glove compartment or search through your purse or backpack for your wallet, notify the officer so they know what to expect, don’t just reach back and grab something in your bag.

Getting pulled over is inevitable, we all do it. If you follow these tips, you may be able to drive away without a ticket.

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Would You Buy a Driverless Car?

Remember back when you were a kid and you would read about the not-so-distant future? I remember comic books that had cars that drove themselves. I remember thinking that would be amazing! Well, as the technology has gotten better, that has now become a reality! California, Florida and Nevada have all passed legislation to allow driverless cars to hit the road. Google has been testing a driverless car for years and it has driven over 500,000 miles without an accident! That is a great statistic when you consider most drivers have a significant accident every 200,000-300,000 miles.

Driverless cars have thousands of sensors in the car and also use satellite guidance systems to navigate our busy streets. Just imagine the impact it could have on our drunk driving statistics. You could go into a bar and have a few too many, then safely make it home WITHOUT having to depend on someone else to drive you. Not only is it safer for you, it’s also safer for the innocent bystanders who happen to be on the road when you are.

Driverless cars also address another growing problem: elderly drivers. We are all going to be forced to make a decision to take away our parents driver’s license one day. With the advent of a car with no driver, the elderly will be able to go to the grocery store and wherever they wish to go!

There are plenty of legal problems to get through before we will start seeing them on our streets though. For example, who is at fault when there is an accident? The passenger? The owner? Will there always have to be a driver in the car who can take over in emergency situation? What are the age restrictions for riding alone in the car?
What do you think of driverless cars? Would you buy one?

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Happy New Year!

Hey guys and gals! I just wanted to say “Happy New Year!” Did you make any new year’s resolutions? Eating healthy? Working out? Losing weight? What about resolutions for your car? I’ve got a couple of ideas for mine!

1. Take a road trip!

When’s the last time you took a road trip for pleasure? Have you seen the Grand Canyon? South Padre during spring break? Your car is designed to take you places, use it!

2. Put the phone down.

In 2011, 23% of all accidents that happened involved cell phones. That’s a disturbing number and surely, within the past 2 years, that number has gone up. Make it a point to keep your phone in your pocket or in a place that is out of reach while you’re driving. Paying attention while you’re behind the wheel is the best possible thing you could do to avoid an accident.

3. Keep your car maintained.

Changing the fluids in your car and keeping it maintained is the key to getting the longest life possible out of your car. Is your car well-maintained enough to hit 300,000 miles? Get the full value of your car and start keeping a log book of the maintenance that has been performed to make sure you don’t miss a scheduled oil change or have to pay up for repairs that could have been avoided.

4. Get that headlight fixed!

There are plenty of cars out on the road that need a little TLC. A blown-out light bulb can get you a ticket, bald tires will stop you from getting your car inspected, a busted out window increases the chance of someone breaking into your car (again!).  If there’s only a handful of things stopping you from be safe on the road, get them fixed and let’s start off the new year as safely as possible.

What about you? What are your new year’s resolutions?

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3 Gift Ideas for Your Loved Ones

With Christmas just around the corner, I wanted to take a moment and talk about a few great things to have in yours and everyone’s car and make for great gifts! In case of an emergency, these products can be helpful and can even save yours or the life of someone else. We hope you never have to use any of these items, but in any event, it’s always better to have them handy and ready to be used.

1. A well stocked first aid kit.

These come in handy whether or not it’s an auto-related accident. Band-aids, gauze, hydrogen peroxide, some even have aspirin for those pesky headaches on long drives. Having a good first aid kit in your car at all times stops your from having to run to CVS or Walgreen’s when you have a minor mishap and need to stop a cut from bleeding. If you have kids, one of these is essential. Kids are always getting scrapes and cuts and the quicker you can address it, the less chances they have of getting an infection.

2. A jumpstart battery

These have been priceless in my experience. I tend to leave my lights on and the next morning, I have a dead battery. To resolve that issue, I keep a jumpstart battery in my trunk just in case, I do it again. These batteries can keep a charge over long periods of time and can even come in handy when you go camping. Most jumpstart batteries have a plug where you can charge your cell phone or any other device.

3. The Lifehammer

This one little device is recommended by law enforcement departments across the country and can very possibly save your life in the case of a major accident. This ingenious product has a double-sided hammer head with steel tipped points that can break a window in case of being trapped in your vehicle. On the other end of it is a shielded razor blade that is designed to cut through seat belts.

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In-Cabin Air Filters Need Replacing Too!

We see it all the time. People trade in their cars and when we open the vents or turn on the air conditioning. It hits us like a ton of bricks. It’s the smell coming from your vents. It can smell like mold, garbage, or the worst I’ve ever smelled, old eggs. I’ve even heard stories of people who have traded in, or sold their car because they couldn’t escape that smell. It’s a common problem, but if you don’t take action and nip it in the bud, it could make you want to stop driving altogether. The air that comes in from outside is run through a filter to cut down on the amount of pollution you breathe. That filter is prone to getting wet and causing a mold problem or getting clogged and causing your air conditioner to perform less efficiently.

So how do you know when you need to replace your cabin’s air filter? A couple of different tests you can perform while sitting in your driveway will give you the scoop. The first one is pretty self-explanatory, turn on your air conditioner and take a good deep breath. If it’s stinky and smells of mold, that’s a pretty good sign. Also, if you turn your A/C to the high position and it’s not noticeable from the different settings (high, medium, low), your filter may be clogged, preventing the air from getting to you.

Most cabin air filters are located under or behind the glove compartment and only require a few clip snaps to access it. Some newer models have upwards of 3 filters! Those are a little but harder to access, as some of them are actually under the hood. Most auto manufacturers recommend replacing them every 12-15,000 miles. Of course, if you have any trouble finding yours or can’t find the filter, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

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The 2015 GMC Yukon Denali Is Coming!

The 2015 Yukon Denali is a machine that you have to drive to understand why the people who own them, love them. What makes a Denali, a Denali? GMC has taken the Yukon and added a touch of luxury and comfort to the existing vehicle, making it one of the most sought after luxury cars in the world. Additions such as a heated, wood-grain steering wheel and a 10-speaker Bose sound system are only just a few of the improvements. When it’s frigid outside, there’s nothing better than driving around with heated seats. On the flip side, during the hot summer months, a cool seat to sit in while you’re driving around town, would make your journey much more enjoyable. With the Denali package, you can have the best of both worlds. The front seats in your Yukon have the ability to be heated or cooled at the hit of a button. For your passengers in the 2nd row, even they can enjoy the comfort of a warm seat. With the combination of wood-grain tones and chrome accents, the instrument panel is a sight to behold. GMC has re-organized their instrument panel and produced a stylish interior command center.

The exterior of the Yukon Denali is one of the most noticeable and recognizable features of the car. 20″ chrome wheels, the signature Denali grille, plus the smooth, sleek lines of the Yukon make the Denali one for the ages. Try finding a better looking luxury SUV. Accessibility improvements, such as Power Rear Liftgate and Power Retractable Assist Steps, help you get in and out of your vehicle especially when you’ve got your hands full. Technology has come along way since the first year the Yukon was produced. Now with the Denali addition, you’ve got a wealth of technological advancements at your fingertips. A touch-screen control panel with access to turn-by-turn navigation, SiriusXM radio, 30GB of music storage, a rear-vision camera system, and optional DVD controls for the kids in the back seats. With these SUVs, safety is always a concern. Worry less with the Yukon Denali’s safety enhancements. 6 air bags create a 360 degree layer of protection. In addition, the Stabilitrak with Proactive Roll Avoidance helps keep you upright and on your way. A side blind zone alert notifies you of a car in your blind spots. If you can’t see it, the 2015 Yukon Denali can! I can write all day about the new features and the improvements they’ve made, but the best thing to do is come out and see it for yourself. Come see me and we’ll take a 2014 for a drive! The 2015 Yukon Denalis will be available to order in January!

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Fluid Replacement Guide

Our cars are machines. Those machines are dependent on the fluids we put in it. Oftentimes, we neglect to check or change fluids when needed. On average, our cars have 9 different types of fluid that is required for our cars to continue running at its optimal output. I’ve put together a handy guide as a reminder to check these fluids. These are all averages, not every car is the same, so be sure and check your owner’s manual for specifics regarding your vehicle. If you cannot find your owner’s manual, I have found a resource that will allow you to download it for free! So now you have no reason not to! 2 out of every 3 cars operate in “severe service” conditions that makes the fluids work harder than normal. Examples of severe service conditions include lots of short trips, stop-and-go driving, hauling heavy loads, operating in extreme temperatures (Yes, our Texas summers count as extreme), prolonged idling or driving in dusty conditions. These severe driving conditions make the need for checking our fluids more important than ever for getting the most out of your car.

Brake Fluid – 2 years or 30,000 miles
Clutch Hydraulic Oil – Check every 6 months
Differential/ Transaxle oil – 2 years or 30,000 miles
Distilled water for non-sealed battery – Check at every oil change
Extended life coolant – 4 years or 60,000 miles
Manual Transmission oil – Check annually
Motor oil – 3,000 to 7,500 miles
Power steering fluid – Check annually
Radiator coolant – 2 years or 30,000 miles
Transmission fluid – 30,000 to 60,000 miles
Washer fluid – Check monthly
Wheel bearing lubricant – 24,000 to 36,000 miles

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Potholes Really Are the Pits!

Winter is the season for the holidays. Families getting together and enjoying each other’s company is a common theme throughout the winter season. Unfortunately, so are potholes. Snow, cold temperatures, and rain all contribute to these unsightly and dangerous road hazards. They may not look like much, but those craters in the roadway are dangerous, not only to your driving, but to your car. How many times have you driven over a monster pothole and though to yourself, “Something just broke on my car!”? Next time you ask yourself that, remember these warning signs to see if something actually DID break.

  • Loss of tire pressure. Potholes are taxing on tires and if you hit one just right, you may puncture even the newest tires. Even if you don’t puncture it, you might notice a bulge or a blister on the tire. If so, have your tire guys check it out to make sure there is no internal damage.
  • Pulling to the right or left. This means you’ve got an alignment problem. Hitting a pothole can cause and worsen any alignment problem you may have. If your car is noticeably pulling in one direction, it’ll only get worse and potholes will offer no help.
  • Loss of control, swaying, bottoming out. These are indicators that your steering or suspension may have been damaged. If you notice a considerable change in the way your car is steering or the ride, have your car checked by a professional. Struts, shocks and ball joints (plus countless others) are all very important components of controlling your vehicle while it is in motion. If one of them is damaged or broken, you’re putting yourself and others at risk.

Potholes will happen. Until there is a new breakthrough in the way our roads are designed, the winter season will bring on a number of new ones. Here in Texas, we can go to our Department of Transportation website and report a pothole to make its existence aware to the state so they can assign a contractor to fill them in. If you’re outside of Texas, check with your state’s DOT and let them know about any new potholes you come across. If you need to get your car checked out after running over a massive pothole, don’t hesitate to bring it in, we’ll take a look.

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‘Tis the Season For Long Drives

Long drives are stressful on your car. With the holidays a few days away, it’s time to check your vehicle and make sure it can handle a long road trip. Taking car of a few minor maintenance issues before you head out to your parent’s, or any other family member’s, house, can save you from being stuck on the side of the road or at a gas station.

1. Check your fluids.


Transmission, brake, windshield, antifreeze. All of these are vital fluids (Well, ok, maybe the windshield fluid isn’t vital, but it’s still necessary!) that ensure your car is functioning properly.

2. Check your tires’ air pressure.

Low air pressure causes the engine to work harder to turn the wheels. Making sure your tires are at the manufacturer’s recommended pressure helps your engine run as efficiently as possible, helping your gas mileage in the process.

3. Wash your windows.

Your visibility depends on your ability to see out of your car’s windows. If you have dirty, bug splattered windows, that affects your ability to see what’s coming.

4. Change your oil.

If it’s getting close to time to change your oil, go ahead and do it before you leave. Long hours on the road are taxing on an engine. If it’s not close to time, check the oil levels to make sure you aren’t a quart or 2 low.

5. Check your air filter.

A plentiful supply of fresh air is vital to your engine’s efficiency. If it’s time for a new air filter, don’t wait until you get back, go ahead and get a new one.

6. Check your lights.

You definitely don’t want to be out at night with a headlight or a brake light out, for a multitude of reasons. Police will give you a ticket if they spot you and it hampers your ability to see where you are going and for other drivers to see you.

We’re coming up on 2 of the biggest travel holidays of the year, Thanksgiving and Christmas. I hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season. As always, find us on Facebook and tell us your car tips for long drives.

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10 Things You Should Know Before Bringing Your Car In For Repairs

Having your car repaired is a stressful process. No one wants to admit that their car needs to be repaired, costing money that they never intended on spending. Accidents happen, we are all aware of that fact. Freeman Grapevine strives to maintain a level of excellence with all of our customers, previous and future. As a member of the business community, we subscribe to a Code of Ethics, our pledge to you of honesty, safety, and integrity. If you have any questions during the estimating or repair process, don’t hesitate to contact me or anyone else who is on duty and we can answer your questions or guide you in the right direction. With that being said, here are the ten things to keep in mind when bringing your car in for repairs.

1. Your vehicle is a major investment, preserve its value by having it repaired by certified professionals.

2. Some insurance companies will want you to visit their drive-in claims center before having your car repaired. You can do this, or you may leave your car at our shop and ask that the insurance company inspect the car here.

3. Never drive a car that is unsafe due to damages or repairs that need to be made.

4. Contrary to popular belief, there is no law requiring you to obtain more than one appraisal or estimate.

5. You have the right to go to the repair shop of your choice. Your insurance company cannot require you to go to a particular shop.

6. Choose a shop that has certified ASE  certified technicians.

7. Differences in repair quotes are common. A lower estimate may not include all necessary work. If you’re not sure why one estimate is different from another, please ask us.

8. Ask if the shop will be using genuine manufacturer (OEM) replacement parts.

9. Ask if the shop offers a repair warranty.

10. Let us help you negotiate your claim with the insurance company.

 

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