Thanksgiving Travel Tips on the Road

Choosing to forgo costly airline tickets by hitting the road with your family instead? You’re not alone. It’s estimated that more families are choosing to road trip for the holidays in 2017 than ever before. In order to avoid all that traffic and stay sane and safe, here’s some Thanksgiving travel tips.

 

Avoid Driving on Wednesday

Tuesday and Wednesday are the busiest days for travel, with Wednesday between 3 and 7 PM being peak traffic time. Avoid the rush by leaving before or after; if you can get there early or late, it’s your best bet for beating traffic.

 

Bring Activities for the Kids

This goes for any road trip. If you want to avoid the monotonous calls asking if you’re there yet, bring along plenty of entertainment for the ride, from gaming devices to books to music. This is sure to keep everyone happy and prevent backseat squabbling.

 

Stay Full

Never underestimate the power of keeping everyone happily full. Instead of packing grab-’n’-go snacks, feed the family filling sandwiches to assuage their attitudes. The same goes for your ride: keep it full on gas to avoid unwanted stops along the way.

 

Use Apps for the Trip

Apps like GasBuddy and Waze crowd-source information about the trip so you can get cheaper gas and always find the shortest route. What’s more, Waze will help you avoid traffic should a sudden buildup occur.

 

Avoid Highways

Many GPS devices allow you to avoid highways, which can help you fly past Thanksgiving congestion. It may take a bit longer, but the scenic route may be the most tranquil and successful bet.

 

With these Thanksgiving travel tips, your trip to see your relatives will be more stress-free than ever, and you can keep your family content in the car, too.

Thanksgiving travel tips

Auto Service Basics: Importance of Tire Rotation

VW TireThe tires are one of the most important parts of a vehicle, seeing as how they keep you rolling along the road. Taking care of your tires is easier than you might think and can be done every time you get your oil changed. Rotating your tires is one of the simplest ways to extend the life of your tires. Here’s everything you need to know about the importance of tire rotation from us here at Gossett VW!

Rotating your tires prevents them from wearing out faster than they should. The front tires take on the weight of the engine and transmission. They also lead the car around corners, which means they wear significantly faster than the rear tires.

The act of rotating your tires is quite simple. Simply move the front tires diagonally and replace them with the rear tires. The front driver’s side tire, for example, should move to the rear driver’s side and be replaced by the rear passenger’s side tire. The front passenger’s side tire should move to the rear and be replaced by the rear driver’s side tire.

Don’t include your spare tire in tire rotations, as it’s for emergency use only. Make sure your vehicles aren’t asymmetric or uni-directional either; otherwise, rotating them the wrong way could cause problems.

What Do Your Vehicle Warnings Indicators Mean?

check engineWe’ve all been there. You’re driving along, ABBA’s greatest hits blaring from your stereo, without a care in the world, and then all the sudden, one of the Vehicle Warning Indicators lights up on your dash.

Now you have a couple of options. You could place a small square electrical tape over the icon. Out of sight, out of mind. But then you’d be ignoring a really great preventative maintenance tool from workings its magic. Instead, why not learn what all they mean?

  • Service Engine – This light indicates that a routine maintenance task is due. It could also indicate an urgent issue with your engine.
  • Tire Pressure – One or more of your tires are low. Find a safe place to pull over and check the tires.
  • Battery – This light means that your battery may be dead or your alternator might be faulty. Take your vehicle to a car parts store. Most will check your battery for free.
  • Coolant Temperature Warning – If your coolant temperature is rising, it might mean a faulty thermostat. It likely means a coolant leak, like from a ruptured hose.
  • Oil Pressure Warning – Your engine has low oil pressure. This is likely due to the fact that you’ve burnt off a significant amount of oil or there is a leak. Check the oil level immediately.

What to Do If Your Car Gets Towed

parking garageIt’s pretty scary to go outside and find that your car isn’t where you left it, but getting it back can be a simple process. Just follow these steps for what to do when your car gets towed.

Before you do anything, check around the area for “no parking” signs and tow-away zone signs; if you think you may have been wrongly towed, take pictures of the area. If you do see a tow-away zone sign, call the number listed on it, or call the local police department if there isn’t a number. They’ll direct you to the lot where your vehicle’s located.

Next, you need to get to the lot, so call a friend to come pick you up or, worse comes to worse, call a taxi or Uber.

Once you arrive at the impound lot, make sure you read over the documents they give you and understand why you were towed before you pay the fees.

If you think it was wrongful, you can request a hearing. Your car may have been towed for various reasons besides being in a no parking zone, like blocking a fire hydrant or having unpaid parking violations, so keep these in mind.

Spring Car Maintenance Tips

oil changeNow that spring is here, it’s time to help your car shake off the effects of winter. Follow these spring car maintenance tips to keep it in tip top shape.

Get oil changes and tire rotations when the manual says to! The end of winter is a great time to clean your car up, remove any built-up salt and slush from the undercarriage, check your fluids, inflate your tires, and get new windshield wipers if it’s been more than six months. Winter is harsh, so give your car some TLC.

When it comes to car maintenance, you want to make sure you’re following the guidelines in your owner’s manual for oil changes, tire rotations, and so on. If you notice your car acting strangely, like having trouble starting, take it to a technician quickly so you can take care of it before the weather gets hotter. Heat can be just as rough on your car as cold!

Have your car inspected and check to make sure the battery is working and your belts are in good shape. Now is the time to get these things fixed, before the problems get worse!

If you need a spring inspection done to prepare your car for spring, bring it to Gossett VW of Germantown’s renowned service department.

4 Weird Tennessee Travel Destinations

roadThe point of taking a road trip is to make memories, and what better way to do that than to visit these weird Tennessee travel destinations?

# 1 – International Towing and Recovery Hall of Fame and Museum – Chattanooga

Chattanooga has come to be known over the years for being the one place a person can go and celebrate the tow truck. Not only is the largest tow truck factory in the world located here, but they’ve built a museum too!

# 2 – Giant Skinny Indian – Kingsport

It is really is just that: a giant, skinny Indian. He stands 30 feet tall in front of Pratt’s Restaurant and has done so for that last 40 years.

# 3 – Burgers Cooked in the World’s Oldest Grease – Memphis

Dyer’s Burgers has been using the same grease to fry its burgers for over a hundred years. They have to add new grease from time to time but it’s the same batch they’ve been using since 1912!

# 4 – World’s Shortest Highway Tunnel – Shady Valley

When a lumber company wanted a shorter route to town, they did what anyone would do: they blew a hole in a giant rock. That hole is now the World’s Shortest Highway Tunnel. To find it, take Highway 133 through Shady Valley. Pay attention though; it’s only a few feet wide.

Things to Keep in Mind When Test Driving a Car

test driveThe test drive can make or break your decision to buy a car, especially if it’s used. Strange noises, rough handling—if you notice anything that feels off, it’s probably best to keep looking. Here are some things to keep an eye out for when test driving a car.

First, have the salesman demonstrate the vehicle’s features for you, partly to see what the car can do and partly to make sure everything is working right (again, this is especially important with used cars). Make sure you’re test driving the car you want with the engine and transmission you want!

Check under the hood and look at the spare tire, making sure everything is easily accessible; then make sure the car is a good fit for you. Sit in it, get in and out of it to make sure it’s comfortable, and check the cargo space so you know there’s enough room for things you regularly transport back and forth.

Don’t listen to the radio when you’re test driving to ensure you can hear any noises, and really test the car. Take it over bumps so you can make sure the shocks work, for instance.

Good luck!

Volkswagen Safety Technologies: Keeping You Safe Behind the Wheel

2016 VW Safety TechnologiesVolkswagen has invested in some innovative safety technologies to make sure you’re always safe and sound behind the wheel. Most new models feature active and passive systems, and you have the option to upgrade to the latest high-tech components on the market when you buy Volkswagen.

According to Volkswagen, some of the most recent and advanced Volkswagen safety technologies are Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Area View, Blind Spot Sensor, and City Emergency Braking among others.

  • Adaptive Cruise Control automatically adjusts your speed to the vehicle in front of you and keeps the distance you set.
  • Area View uses monitors to monitor spaces around you, a technology that is especially handy in tight areas.
  • Blind Spot Sensor uses sensors to make backing out of parking spots and changing lanes safer by monitoring areas you can’t see as well.
  • Finally, City Emergency Braking automatically applies the brakes as you approach obstacles, reducing damage or avoiding accidents in general.

Other innovative safety systems include the Driver Alert System, Emergency Assist, Front Assist, Lane Assist, Park Assist, Park Pilot, Light Assist System, Multi Collision Brake, and Road Works Assistant to name a few.

Changing Your Brakes: When Should You Replace Them?

brake repairBrake maintenance is one of the most important aspects of vehicle ownership. Not only will replacing the pads make other brake components—including rotors—last longer, but it also reduces stress on your car. In the long run, regular maintenance can actually increase resale value, especially if documented by a site like CARFAX.

Changing your brakes can be easily performed by any mechanic; however, knowing when to take the vehicle in is vital. According to Cars.com, the life of your brakes varies depending on usage and where you are located. In urban areas, stop and go traffic means a shorter life. In town, 8,000 miles is a rough estimate of when to replace brakes, and in rural areas, you may go up to 25,000 miles. Unfortunately, there is no clear rule of thumb; however, a mechanic can check the thickness of brake pads and for wear or warping.

Many brakes have built-in sensors that scrape against the disc when they need replaced. This sounds like an annoying screeching sound. You should also listen for grinding and other squeaks that indicate your brakes are bad. Also, if your brake pedal pulses when you apply the brakes, it may be a sign that your rotors are warped.

What happens if you don’t replace your brakes? Aside from the obvious dangers that go along with greater stopping distance, taking care of your brakes early can prevent catastrophic damage. For example, letting your pads go too long will ruin rotors. Let rotors go, and shoes and linings can be easily damaged as well.

If you need brake work done on your car, bring it to Gossett VW!

Car Maintenance Tips: Signs Your Tires Are Bad

tireEspecially now that it’s starting to get cold and having tires with good traction is more important than ever, it’s time to start looking for signs your tires are bad or worn out.

Take a good look at your tires. There shouldn’t be any bulges, cracks, or gauges in the rubber; it’s a good idea to take it to your dealer to check for leaks. These are usually a sign of low tire pressure, which could indicate an air leak or just deflation.

An important thing to check is your tire tread. When it gets cold, you are definitely going to want tires with good tread! Not only do tires firm up more in the cold weather, which makes it harder for them to grip the ground, but tires with low tread are slicker on wet/icy roads as well.

Check your tire pressure regularly when it’s cold. Cold air reduces tire pressure, which reduces traction, so fill your tires up with more air whenever they need it. This is also important because driving on underinflated tires actually makes them wear faster.

Do yourself a favor and check your tires, folks!