How Regular Maintenance Saves You Money

Are you the type of car owner who uses the oil change reminder sticker as a rough guide versus maintenance gospel? Well, you’re not alone. When it comes to regular vehicle maintenance many drivers decide to opt for the wait and see approach rather than keeping on top of it. Unfortunately, putting off those routine repairs can set your checkbook back in the future. Ignoring your car’s maintenance schedule may seem harmless at the time, but as the days, weeks and months pass by, the wear and tear can harm your car’s performance and decrease its life. Here are three ways regular maintenance can save you money in the short and long term.

Improves gas mileage and performance

If you haven’t made a trip to your local garage in a while, you may notice your car is falling short of its previous performance. Ignoring your car’s regular maintenance schedule can leave your car feeling sluggish and worse yet, cost you more at the pump. How can you avoid this issue? Quite easily by following the prescribed maintenance schedule in your vehicle’s manual. From oil changes to tune ups to rotating tires, there’s a reason your car’s manufacturer recommends these maintenance tasks.

Avoid catastrophic repairs

Something as simple as a worn belt can cost you dearly if you ignore changing it. In some cases, a broken timing belt can end up destroying your car’s engine. A great example of how a relatively inexpensive item can cause a major repair. Speaking of engine issues, if you decide to ignore the oil change sticker, you are playing a serious game of chance with your car’s power plant. Why? Old oil becomes less effective in protecting an engine’s parts from the extreme heat that occurs when your car is operating. Putting off an oil change for too long will once again lead to engine failure. And no one wants that.

Extends your vehicle’s life

You want your car to be a reliable form of transportation for many years, but if you ignore routine maintenance, the chances this will come to fruition drops dramatically. There are many vital parts in your car that need to be routinely checked and, in some cases, replaced. Failure to act early during this repair cycle can significantly reduce your car’s effectiveness and life expectancy. Repairs can be costly enough but replacing an entire vehicle can cause extreme financial duress. No matter how insignificant a repair may seem, don’t put it off.

You now understand that regular maintenance is vital in keeping your car running in tip-top shape. Saving you money now and in the future. So, what are you waiting for? Schedule your vehicle’s next maintenance appointment and give your checking account a break.

How NOT to Drive (Tips for the Road)

One of the most memorable moments in a teenager’s life is receiving a passing grade on the driver license exam. It’s when hours of practice pay off with a ticket to freedom. Unfortunately, just because someone passes a driving test it doesn’t mean they can handle a vehicle properly. Once they hit the open road a series of bad habits begin to form and before you know it, they are wreaking havoc on the highways and local side roads. If you are trying to determine if you are one of those drivers here is a list of ways not to drive.

Driving slow in the left lane

You know this driver. The speed limit is 70 but the left lane slowpoke decides to hold up traffic by attempting to match the top speeds of a horse and carriage. It’s not only frustrating it’s also dangerous. In 2014, Georgia enacted the “Slowpoke Law” that requires left lane travelers to kick the slow as molasses driving to the curb for good. The law specifically targets the leisurely left lane drivers who are holding up faster approaching vehicles. So be on notice other states are considering this same law.

Being allergic to using a blinker

One of the most impactful automobile-centric inventions was the blinker. A cool device that allows drivers to signal which way they are about to turn. There is one caveat though, it actually has to be used to work properly. According the Society of Automotive Engineers, failing to use a turn signal leads to 2 million accidents annually. Remember, your fellow drivers aren’t telepathic. A single up or down hand motion on a lever is all it takes.

Tailgating

Not the social gathering at a sporting event where people enjoy grilled foods and adult beverages, but the act of driving too closely in which you don’t provide a safe distance to stop. You know when the car behind you is practically in your trunk. So, how can you avoid being a tailgater? Follow a simple rule: leave at least 3 seconds between you and the next car. When you are driving in inclement weather double the rule to 6 seconds.

Sending texts

Smartphones are handy inventions, but they aren’t very cool when they are being used by someone operating a vehicle. A driver distracted by his smartphone usually weaves side to side almost as if traversing a maneuverability course that no one else can see. Don’t be this person. No text or email is that important. Wait until you are safely parked and then access your smartphone.

A driver license may feel like a ticket to freedom, especially when you are 16. But remember with that freedom comes great responsibility. Do your duty by not becoming a bad driver and please stay out of the left lane when you are driving slowly. It really is annoying.

New Year, New Car Care: Goals for 2020

You have most likely heard the saying “new year, new you” that motivates millions to make important changes when January 1st arrives. From losing weight to kicking a bad habit to the curb, countless resolutions are crafted to improve health and increase happiness. But what about car care? Yes, the new year is also a great time to dedicate yourself to ensuring your vehicle is running optimally and looking its best. Here are four car care inspired resolutions for 2020.

Keep up with car maintenance

Hopefully you kept your car well-maintained in 2019, but if you didn’t, make 2020 the year you stick to your car’s recommended maintenance schedule. That includes oil changes, tire and brake inspections and tune ups. If your car is reaching a milestone such as 30,000,60,000 or 90,000 miles, make sure you schedule an appointment to have your car’s systems thoroughly checked. And even if you are mechanically inclined, opting for a professional mechanic is always a wise decision. An experienced, well-trained mechanic can find and fix issues that a layman will often miss.

Detail and keep your car clean

Give your car some much needed TLC by cleaning it inside and out. The exterior should be thoroughly washed, dried and waxed. The interior, which usually needs the most work, should have any debris or trash removed, the seats and floors should be vacuumed, and windows cleaned for improved visibility. If you don’t feel up to the task opt for a professional detailing service (especially if you haven’t cleaned your car for an extended period). Once clean try to keep it that way by scheduling a regular time of the week to detail your car.

Add accessories

Make your car more comfortable, convenient and organized by accessorizing. If your floor mats are old and worn replace them with new ones. Add an organizer to keep clutter at bay in the front and a cargo net in the back or trunk to hold groceries and other items in their place. A new holder to keep your phone in a safe easily viewable location is also a great way to add convenience. And for your own comfort consider a back-support cushion to make those long commutes a little more tolerable.

Commit to safe driving

The best way to take care of your car is to take care of yourself. Make a commitment to drive safely in 2020. Most importantly never text and drive but texting isn’t the only distraction for modern drivers. Any activity that takes your eyes away from the road can cause an accident and that includes eating and drinking, doing make up or changing the channel on your radio. Those activities can wait until you are safely parked. Make 2020 the year you end distracted driving.

With these tips your car will cruise through 2020 and into 2021 in style. All it takes is a little work and commitment and your car will look and run great the entire year.

Are You Following the “Slowpoke Law” When Driving in Georgia?

Driving is something that we all do, and at one point or another, we find ourselves in the midst of rush hour traffic, flying down the freeway. You are in the middle lane, traveling a smidge faster than the vehicle in front of you, so you swing into the next available spot in the left lane. You’re feeling pretty good about this decision, and decide to camp out and drive smoothly forward. That’s when you notice the line of cars slowly forming behind you, and before you know it, you see flashing blue lights.
You’ve been pulled over, and are receiving a ticket. But what for?

It’s called the “Slowpoke Law” in Georgia, and can land you a pretty hefty fine.

Basically, if you are in the left lane, and there are cars speeding up behind you, then you’re impeding the flow of traffic, and it is a form of reckless driving. A lot of other states have also adopted variations of the slowpoke law, and they believe that, with it, they can cut down on a lot of traffic accidents. Studies have shown that there are more collisions when “slow” vehicles are in the “fast” lane and holding up the flow of traffic than from just speeding alone. Not to say that speeding is safe – it’s certainly not a smart decision – but it is safer to keep up with the fast traveling vehicles than go slightly quicker than the cars in the slow lane.

Remember, the distance between you and the car in front of you should be at least 2 (and ideally several) seconds. The same goes for cars behind you. If multiple cars (and not simply one reckless speeder) are responsibly moving speedily in the left lane and staying at an appropriate distance, you are supposed to keep the flow of traffic by maintaining this as well.

So, what can you do? If you’re uncomfortable with driving with the flow of left side traffic, drive in the middle or right lane and only use the left lane for the purpose of passing, if you must. Remember to keep the left side free for speeding vehicles and other traffic, especially if you want to avoid that punishment: $1,000 fine, up to 12 months in jail, three points on your license, AND increased insurance premiums! Better slow than sorry!

Best Gifts for Auto Enthusiasts

Gift giving can be one of the most stressful things during the holidays, and when you throw all the shopping that needs to be done (often last minute, if we’re honest) onto parties and decorating and work chaos… Yikes! What’s even more stressful is when the person you would like to give a gift to doesn’t have a list of wants or needs for said gift, and you’re left screaming into the abyss of endless possibilities. The good news is that, should you find yourself shopping for an avid auto enthusiast, then we’re here to help! Check out this list of gift ideas for any car-lover.

1. Drop Wipes.

These might sound funny, but have you ever rolled out of a car wash with your vehicle looking brand spanking new? It’s a good feeling. Then all of a sudden, as if there were a target painted on the top of your car, a vengeful bird drops one. That’s where these wipes come in handy! They clean up the mess without leaving water marks or damaging the finish.

2. Jump Starter Packs.

These go by different names, but the foundation is all the same: it’s a compact battery with enough juice to rev up your dead engine. They come with the regular red and black cables for easy hook up, and they also come with different amps of power for bigger vehicles.

3. Car Organizer.

These can be small, with only a single net bag, or can be larger with multiple pockets that hang on the back of the front driver or passenger seats, and can hold anything from snacks to cleaning supplies to toys for kiddos.

4. Books.

Ironically enough, a book could be a great gift for an auto-adoree; there are books on hidden wonders in your county, state, and country — perfect for road trips. There are photo books of tricked out, freshly painted, brand new, beautiful cars, and there are photo books of cars that have been used and sometimes even abused, which have an eerily beautiful appeal. Even history books on favorite vehicles! There is no real limit.

5. Electronic accessories.

These can be anything from a backup camera for vehicles built before these cameras were federally mandated, a magnetic dash mount for your phone, or a bluetooth adapter for long road trips! All three of these things are great to have on any regular basis, so keep your eyes peeled for what the person you’re shopping for might already have.

Here’s to hoping that this eases some of that holiday stress. Be safe, and Happy Holidays!

Have any other ideas? Let us know in the comments.

Best Winter Road Trips to Take in Georgia

Thanks to Georgia’s fairly mild winters (most of the time!), the air is crisp enough for a jacket, but not bad enough to keep you locked indoors. With the fresh breeze of cold after a colorful autumn, winter is a perfect opportunity to slip out and go on an adventure! Here are several road trip suggestions:

Lake Oconee, Greensboro, Georgia
While it may be too cold to swim, you will be welcomed by a beautiful view and quaint lodging experiences. While there is a lot to do at the lake during the warmer months, you’ll mostly be left alone to go hiking and maybe even lounge around a campfire in peace.

Chattahoochee National Forest, Dawsonville, Georgia
Smack dab in the middle of the forest is Len Foote Hike Inn, which may not sound uniquely exciting right off the bat, but the trick is: you have to hike five miles to get to this secluded, eco-friendly, anti-cell phone lodge. There are more trails to hike, board games, musical instruments, and books available to keep you entertained, and the meals are served the old-fashioned family style way. So, if you’re ready to road trip to the gorgeous forest and stay a night or two, give it a go!

Fantasy in Lights at Callaway Resorts and Gardens, Pine Mountain, Georgia
This is a seasonal event, but you know if it involves holiday lights and trees, it’s going to be breathtaking. The lights are just across the street from F.D. Roosevelt State Park, and within a close driving distance is the Wild Animal Safari, National Infantry Museum and Soldier Center, the Hills and Dales Estate, and the Biblical History Museum for everyone to explore. The Fantasy in Lights is only open November 15th through January 4th, so be sure to get your tickets and lodgings quickly!

Stone Mountain Park, Stone Mountain, Georgia
With over 3,200 acres, this is one of Georgia’s most visited attractions. It has a variety of attractions and events, including a laser show, a history center, a scenic railroad trip, a hike through the trees (you read that right!), and in the winter time, there is Snow Mountain, which runs from the beginning of November to mid-February with artificially created snow for hours of tubing and sledding.

Georgia is a gorgeous state with lots of history and an abundance of different things to do. Enjoy the scenery, the wild, a hot beverage, a party – anything fun and comforting with family and friends. Hop in your car and make sure you’ve packed all of your road trip essentials.

How to Get Your Driver’s License in Georgia

Driving is a pretty important aspect of our lives as young adults and “adult” adults. Some people in bustling city areas can just get by with a bicycle, but the majority of us require access to a vehicle for work, school, errands as well as for visiting friends and family. So, how does one go about this in Georgia?

If you’re under the age of 18, you’ll need to…

First, apply for your instructional permit (learner’s permit). To do that, you’ll have to:
1. Fill out an application form either in person at the Customer Service Center, or online before you go to the DDS. Either way, your parent or guardian must be present with you at the time of your application submission.
2. Bring your Social Security Number, proof of U.S. citizenship (or your legal presence in the U.S. if you’re not an official citizen), as well as proof of residency.
3. Verify that you go or have gone to school. This is only because there are specific programs for teenagers in school. Bring a document signed by a school official, proof of enrollment, or a diploma or GED.
4. Pass a vision test. If you test below 20/60 and have less than 140 degrees field of vision, you’ll be asked to see an eye doctor before you can come back.
5. Pay a $10 fee. You will have to repay the money should you fail the knowledge test.
6. Pass the knowledge test. There are plenty of practice tests online for you to prepare with.
7. Have your picture taken and printed onto an instructional permit, which will be mailed to you within 30 days of you doing all of this.

Once you have your instructional permit, you will have two years to learn your way around the road and a car before you either have to re-apply for a permit, or get your license.

If you are under 17, and already have had your permit for at least a year, you will need to do the following in order for you to get something called a Provisional Driver’s Permit, which is a valid driver’s license, with some restrictions:

1. Complete a Driver’s Education course.
2. Practice driving. You will need at least 40 documented hours of driving.
3. Complete an Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program (ADAP) class at your high school. This class can be completed online ONLY if you missed the in-class one.
4. Complete the application form, and bring all requested forms of identification with you when you head to the Customer Service Center.
5. You will, again, be asked to complete a vision test and pay the $10 fee.
6. Pass a driving test
7. Surrender your learner’s permit and replace it with a driver’s license!

These Provisional licenses are good for about five years, but they suggest replacing it once you turn 18. If you are 18 and over, you can skip all of the educational courses and just do steps 4-7, so long as you have proof that you’ve practiced driving! To learn more, visit the Georgia Department of Driver Services website.

Your Pre-Winter Car Checklist

Your Pre-Winter Car Checklist

Right now, the weather is still fairly nice – that perfect autumn feeling – but soon the temperature will drop and the snow will start to fly. Like the old saying goes “make hay while the sun shines.” Or in this case, winterize your car before it starts feeling colder than a metal seat in Siberia. You know you have to prepare your vehicle for a long winter but where do you start? Here are a few items you should have on your checklist to get your car ready for the coldest season of the year.

Check your car’s battery

Unfortunately, when the temperature drops battery power goes with it. An old battery won’t only hurt your car’s starting performance it can die leaving you stranded. Not ideal when it’s 20 degrees outside and there’s a foot of snow on the ground. If you need a new battery this is the time to get one.

Check your car’s tires and switch to winter tires if necessary

Check your treads and air pressure. If your treads are worn and cracked purchase new tires. You want optimum tire performance when navigating the tricky driving conditions winter presents. If you live in a particularly snowy area, consider switching to winter tires for the season. Snow tires are designed to handle the worst winter throws at you.

Check your vehicle’s brakes

Driving can be challenging enough during winter but if your brakes are subpar that only makes for a more difficult and dangerous situation. If you have experience you can check your brakes yourself but having a seasoned professional perform the inspection is the best choice. Regardless, ensure your brakes are ready for winter weather.

Check windshield wipers and wiper fluid

You want clear windshields when you are traveling during tough winter conditions and if your wipers are on their last legs this won’t be possible. Don’t even chance somewhat worn windshield wipers when preparing for winter. You’ll thank yourself when the snow is falling and the ice is accumulating. Additionally, while you are checking your wipers fill your wiper fluid. You’ll have to do this frequently throughout the season if there are multiple snow events. Storms tend to deplete fluid.

Finally, prepare emergency supplies

Being prepared in case the worst-case scenario happens is vital. Collect items like blankets, jumper cables, first aid kid, phone chargers, road flares and even non-perishable food. Also consider a small shovel to help dig your car out of deep snow. You most likely will never have to use most of these items but having them ready can save your life.

One thing is certain, you can’t stop the weather from being cold, but you can prepare your car for this chilly time of year. Take the time now to prepare so when old man winter arrives you won’t be surprised.

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF IGNITION FAILURE

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF IGNITION FAILURE

In this article we’ll explore the key components of a standard Ignition system and some of the reasons things stop working.

A vehicle’s ignition system is responsible for activating the reactions in an internal combustion engine or more simply put, it turns the car on

This is accomplished by a series of parts known as ignition components that work with one another. These components vary by the type of ignition system inside the vehicle.

Most cars, trucks, and SUVs will have one of three types of ignition system. Either Distributor-based, Distributor-less, or Coil-on-plug.

Battery and coil ignition systems rely on mechanical parts to pass a high current through a coil which then causes the ignition. Electronic ignition systems use a similar method, except there are no mechanical components in use and instead rely on sensors to activate the coil.

Despite the differences, the following components are usually evident in both systems:

  • Coil
  • Spark plugs
  • Spark plug wires
  • Ignition module
  • Distributor rotor

When one or more of the components is faulty, or begins to fail, the car’s entire ignition system is affected. These effects look different and will depend on the component that has failed. There are signs you can look for that can point to one or more component failures in your vehicle’s ignition system.

IGNITION LOCK CYLINDER

The ignition lock cylinder is the first component of an ignition system that is activated since it does so when your key is inserted and turned. Signs of a failed ignition lock cylinder include failure to start the car and trouble using your car keys. You may even experience some grinding when turning the key or the key not turning.

BAD IGNITION COIL

A coil takes the battery voltage and amplifies it to a voltage that is high enough to jump a gap. A coil that has gone bad will not be able to convert energy from your car’s battery into the voltage it needs to ignite the engine. A spark plug not receiving enough voltage could be a sign of a faulty coil, along with engine misfiring, difficulty accelerating, and poorer fuel performance than usual can also mean the coil has gone bad.

FAILING DISTRIBUTOR ROTOR AND CAP

The distributor rotor and accompanying cap orders the voltage to go to the right spark plug in the right order. The ordering of the voltage is a metal on metal connection and does wear over time. When this part fails it makes the car impossible to start or causes the engine to misfire. Drivers may also notice strange noises coming from under the hood, since parts of the engine will not get enough voltage to continue the chain of ignition.

SPARK PLUGS

Spark plugs do just what their name implies, they ignite a spark that then creates the reaction inside your engine. Spark plugs that are dirty will cause misfiring, low gas mileage, and shaky idling. Broken or damaged plugs will lead to hard engine starts and poor acceleration, so drivers should never let their vehicle pass the 30,000 mile mark without giving them a look.

SEE SOMETHING, DO SOMETHING

Ignition systems should be visually inspected every year, and if any of the above symptoms begin to arise in your car then don’t wait to get them checked out. Since your vehicle’s engine is completely dependent on the ignition system, ignoring problems now can lead to even more serious, and therefore expensive, repairs in the future.

Getting something like an ignition coil replaced for anywhere between $300-$500, which is nothing compared to the costs of replacing your engine. As long as you pay attention to your vehicle’s behavior, and make an effort to get it inspected annually, you have a good chance of catching a big problem while it’s still small.

6 SIGNS YOUR CAR NEEDS AN ALIGNMENT

CAR 6 SIGNS YOUR CAR NEEDS AN ALIGNMENT

You may know the basic maintenance your car requires – such as when your gas tank runs low, but do you know when your car needs an alignment? Once you know, the signs can be easy to catch and are as simple as using your senses. Don’t ignore any of these signs – you don’t want to be drifting off the road on your next drive! Pay close attention so you can identify any of these symptoms of a misalignment.

Why Choose Chloe’s Auto Repair?

– Car Pulling in One Direction
The most obvious sign that it’s time to get an alignment is if your vehicle starts to pull to one side of the road while driving. If you let go of the steering wheel and your car pulls into one lane or the other, you may need to get your wheels aligned.

– Uneven Tire Wear
Check the pattern of the wear on your front tires and your back tires. If the wear seems to be the same, you’re good to go. If the wear on the tires seems inconsistent, you may need to get your vehicle checked for misalignment. Next time you bring your vehicle in for service, have the mechanics check for any inconsistencies.

– Crooked Steering Wheel
Test letting go of your wheel (when you’re parked safely at a red light, for example). If it’s crooked or steering one way over another, your tires are likely not aligned correctly. Your wheel should be almost completely straight. Pay attention to if you are subconsciously correcting your steering wheel as you drive.

– Squealing Tires
Squealing tires can also be a sign of a misalignment. If you notice your tires are noisier than usual despite driving at normal speed, get your tires checked. Of course, they might squeal if you floor it at a red light, but they definitely shouldn’t – as you should be driving the speed limit, right?

– Vibration
Steering wheel vibration can be caused by various car problems, including a misalignment. If you notice that your steering wheel is vibrating as you drive, there is likely an underlying problem. Take your car in to have a mechanic check to see what may be causing the issue.

– Loose Steering Wheel
A loose steering wheel is another – especially dangerous – sign of a misalignment. If your car feels generally “wrong” while driving around a corner or even while switching lanes in the road, bring your car in for a checkup.

If you feel your vehicle has any or multiple of these symptoms, you likely need to get your tires aligned. Luckily, it can be easily done when you bring your car in for your next oil change. Be sure to tell the mechanics all of the symptoms so they can properly diagnose the problem and fix what is necessary on your vehicle.