Friday, July 27, 2012

Five Easy Steps to Changing a Tire

If you have gone your entire life without changing a tire, consider yourself lucky. However, if you are like most of us, this nuisance of this task has crossed your path at least one time. Here are few easy steps to help eliminate the stress of changing a tire:

Step 1 – Gather the tools you’ll need. If your car came with a spare tire, most car manufactures will also place the essential tools you will need to change that tire next to it under the trunk floor. Upon lifting the flooring, you should find a spare tire, diamond jack, and tire iron.

Step 2 – Loosen lug nuts. The lug nuts holding the wheel to the hub will need to be loosened before you beginning using the diamond jack to lift the car. Use the tire iron and some elbow grease to loosen the lug nuts. Be careful not to round off the edges with all that force or you won’t be able to get them off yourself. Do not remove the lug nuts all the way, just to the point where you will be able to use your hands to unscrew them the rest of the way.

Step 3 – Crank the car up. Now it’s time to use the jack. The jack needs to be located under the vehicle so that it pushed up on the frame in order to raise the car correctly. Typically car frames will have a notch next to each tire where the top of the jack will fit. After placing the jack under this slot, twist the lever to start opening the jack and the car should start rising.

Step 4 – Welcome new tire. Use your hands to unscrew the lug nuts the rest of the way. Remove the flat tire by pulling it straight off and make the new tire match up with the holes on the rim with the bolts on the car. Lift the spare tire up and hold it in place as you tighten the lug nuts by hand. When the lug nuts are as tight as you can get them by hand, lower the car slowly with the jack.

Step 5 – Tighten lug nuts. When the car is safely back on level ground, finish tightening the lug nuts with the tire iron. Be sure to tighten lug nuts in a diagonal pattern (ie: after tightening the first one, go to the lug nut diagonally across from it).

To help you feel more comfortable, there is no harm in practicing these steps in the safety of your driveway before you actually have to use them on the road. Practice makes perfect and in doing so you’ll have the confidence you need to change your own tire the next time it is necessary.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Tips and Techniques for Driving in Rain

Rain on the roadways is often underestimated, and always a real danger. With a cautious attitude and the following rainy day driving tips, you can stay safe and dry no matter what the storm brings.

Before you hit the road, make sure that your car has been maintained for optimal performance in all weather. Tires and windshield wipers are easy parts to check at home. Tires should have the proper pressure and the tread should be in good condition. Windshield wipers should be regularly checked  for effectiveness. Take your car in for service to have the brakes and defroster functions regularly maintained. When you know there is a storm coming, allow for extra travel time so that you are never rushed down a rainy highway.

While traveling through stormy weather, let caution be your guide. Maintain a safe distance behind the car in front of you, especially large buses and trucks that throw a lot of water off their wheels. To help your visibility in a downpour, turn on the defroster to defog the windows. Switching on the headlights or fog lamps can also maximize visibility, but don’t turn on the high beams; the extra light will only further obscure your vision against the rain.

In the event of an emergency, you should be prepared with an emergency kit that includes at least the basics like road flares, a flashlight, jumper cables, a quart of oil, a first aid kit, multipurpose tool and extra fuses. Hydroplaning can be a serious threat on slick roads. If you do hydroplane, don’t hit the brakes; steadily steer the car as it glides, maintaining your trajectory until the tires can gain traction.

With a bit of preparation and careful driving, you can be road-ready when a storm hits. Maintain your car, take your time, and stay cautious if you find yourself caught in the rain.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Pros and Cons of Leasing and Buying

As with any financial decision, the choice to lease or buy your next car is solely dependent on what you need to fit your lifestyle. Both buying and leasing have perks and pitfalls, so let’s weigh the options to see which choice is right for you.

Buying is a process that is readily understood by the first-time car consumer. You want the car, they sell the car, you buy the car. Easy, right? The car you purchase is yours to own until the day you choose to sell it. Ownership can be very economical, with the reward of resale value at the end of your run. With any luck, you’ll be driving the same car for years to come.

But this model doesn’t fit everyone’s tastes. After three years of ownership, the ride can get stale. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a brand new car again? The technology and style of cars changes so quickly, it’s tempting to trade in that purchased car for the latest model. That can be a difficult choice if you’ve already put a hefty down-payment on a purchased car.

With leasing, a new car can be had every few years, giving you the option of driving the latest and greatest the automotive industry has to offer, time and time again. Leasing can avoid the pain of scraping together the down payment for a new car, or hassling over the resale value of your current vehicle. With a lease, you can often get a better equipped car with more bells and whistles than you could buy outright. Down payments on leased cars are usually low.

However, just like buying a car, leasing isn’t perfect. Interest rates on leased cars are often higher than those of equivalent loans, so you’ll be paying more per time spent driving the car, even though lease payments tend to be lower per-month. There will also be limited mileage on your car, with a lease allowing an average of just 13,000 miles per year.  Limited mileage can be a source of stress, as you tally up your distance every day. Overage miles typically cost from 10 to 25 cents each.

Ask yourself what you want out of a car as you consider the pros and cons of leasing and buying. Each is a good option, depending on the demands of your lifestyle.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Nimnicht Buick GMC Hosts Jacksonville Roasters Semi-Annual Meeting

On June 16th, Nimnicht Buick GMC hosted the Jacksonville Roadsters for their semi-annual business and activity planning meeting.

The Jacksonville Roadsters is a Jacksonville based car club that consists of proud owners of the Pontiac Solstice and Saturn Sky.  The club was established for members to be able to get together once a month for rides to enjoy food, friendship, and beautiful cars. This group has taken their ‘Roadsters’ on outings to State Parks for picnics, drives down A1A, and even for a lap around the Daytona 500 speedway. All Solstice and Sky owners are welcome to join the club.

Nimnicht Buick GMC is honored to be a part of this amazing group. Some group members even purchased their treasured Roaster vehicle from us back in 2006. We are proud to host their functions and value their continued patronage to our Service Center.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Tips to Extend the Life of Your Car

You’ve worked hard, saved diligently, and have now purchased your new car! To help ensure your purchase was money well spent, car care and maintenance are necessary to prolong the life of your vehicle. We’ve put together a few great tips to help you extend the life of your car.

·         Run your car’s A/C in winter

Run the A/C a few times throughout the winter to prevent moving parts in the compressor from seizing. Circulating the refrigerant will also help keep the seals soft and pliant.

·         Patience is key during the break-in period

Typically during the first 1,000 miles, or break-in period- of a new car, car manufactures suggest you keep speeds under 55 miles per hour.

·         Don’t fill up your gas tank while the tanker is at the station

Come back another day or go to a different gas station if you see a gasoline tanker filling the tanks when you need a fill-up. As the tanks are being filled underground, sediment can be stirred up into the gas and can clog fuel filters and fuel injectors, causing poor performance from your vehicle.

·         Clean the inside of the car every time you clean the outside

Particles of dirt are abrasive and liquid spills, such as soda, can be corrosive. Vacuum and sponge interior surfaces clean every time the outside of your car gets a bath.

·         Take excess weight off your keychain

 The weight several objects on your keychain, combined with bouncing while you drive, can wear out the tumblers inside the ignition and may eventually lead to ignition switch failure. To help ensure your ignition switch works properly, shed some weight off your keychain.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Fuel Efficiency Can be Maximized with Air Conditioning and Windows

A hot car can be remedied quickly by using the modern marvel of air conditioning, but is it more fuel efficient to roll the windows down instead? The answer to this question depends on the speed of your car. We have collected the following advice for drivers who want to cool down their car and save on gas.

When the car is already cool, the air conditioner doesn’t have to work as hard. Car temperatures can quickly rise to over 140 degrees on a hot day. Parking in the shade or in a garage can help reduce the workload placed on the air conditioner. Window shades placed on the inside of the windshield can also help to deflect the sun’s rays. If a car is hot before it is time to go, drivers should open their doors to let the hot air out before cranking up the air conditioning.

When considering whether to ride with the windows down or the air conditioning on, the speed of the car will determine the savings on fuel. A car traveling as speeds over 40 miles-per-hour meets a fair amount of resistance, or drag, from the air moving around it. Like a parachute opening, the drag is increased when the windows of the car are rolled down. More resistance means the car has to work harder to get down the road. In these instances, it is better to ride with the windows up and the air conditioning on.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Simple Tips to Maximize Your Fuel-Efficiency

With price of gas constantly increasing, many drivers are trying to find ways to help their gas tanks stay above empty for as long as possible. Your vehicle knowledge and driving habits will be the main factors in determining how decent the fuel economy will be.

Here are a few tips to help you maximize fuel-efficiency when buying a new or used vehicle:

1. Be Smart, Buy for your Lifestyle – Keep in mind that a vehicle’s weight, power, and displacement (4, 6, or 8 cylinders) will be a big influence on its fuel consumption. If you’re not hauling a whole football team around town or don’t have a trailer to tow, then don’t buy a large, gas-guzzling SUV.

2. Choose the Right Transmission - As a general rule, a manual transmission is about 5-10% more fuel-efficient than an automatic, assuming you shift properly. For a typical driver, proper use of a manual transmission can save at least 100 liters of fuel annually. With an automatic transmission the vehicle becomes more fuel-efficient with a greater number of gears (for example 6 vs 4). This is because the extra gears are better able to keep the engine running at or near its most efficient level.

3. Be Careful of the Add-On Options - Using a remote starter allows for unnecessary idling, which wastes fuel and increases greenhouse gas emissions. A roofrack (loaded or not) increases aerodynamic drag, putting extra strain on fuel-efficiency. Additionally, the more available options you choose can weigh down your vehicle and make it use more fuel.

4. Fuel-Efficient Options - There are a few add-on options you can choose to help your vehicle in fuel economy. Some of these options are lightweight aluminum wheels, cruise control, and trip computers, which can simply help you understand how much fuel you use.

Not ready to buy? No problem! You can help stretch your dollar at the pump by following these tips with your current vehicle:

1. Keeping Maintenance Up-To-Date – Becoming familiar with your vehicle’s maintenance schedule and having the necessary work and repairs performed can help maximize your fuel economy.

2. Adopt Good Driving Habits – Implementing good driving habits, such as avoiding hard and fast accelerations, using cruise control, and shutting the engine off while waiting on someone, can really make a difference in the long run.