“Everything Auto” Blog – You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers

Our focus is to keep you and your family safe on the road. We employ the most qualified people who will accurately determine your needs, clearly communicate the best solutions and execute all work with integrity.

When you have questions, please use us as a trusted resource for honest information. We will provide high-quality auto repair work and trusted pre-owned auto sales, we love this stuff so much we even want to blog about it!

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State Inspections for Our Community: Almost to Our Goal!

APA_State_Inpections_Comm_Logo_Three Versions_V2Through our State Inspections for Our Community program, American Pride has devoted the past few months to supporting an amazing local organization, Hospice House and Support Care of Williamsburg with state inspection fee proceeds. Our “Community Star” through the end of 2014 (so close!), Hospice House provides end of life care to those with terminal illnesses in a “home-away-from-home” environment at no cost to the patients’ families and caregivers.

At the beginning of our partnership with Hospice House, we set a $6,000 donation goal, with $5 of every state inspection fee going straight to meeting this goal. As of December 2nd, thanks to our loyal customers and their referrals, we’ve raised $5,565. We are confident that by December 31st, we will have exceeded that $6,000 goal, but we’re not there yet!

When you choose American Pride for a state inspection, you aren’t paying more than you would anywhere else, but you are doing your part to help the local community and bring joy to others. Help us reach that $6,000 mark by bringing your vehicle into American Pride for inspection or by telling your friends and family about the program. Schedule an appointment today.  Again, thank you for your incredible support!

 

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December Sales Special: $200 Off YOUR Best Negotiated Price

 

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Think of the people in your life who deserve the surprise of a new-to-them car or truck. Whether it’s your spouse, your favorite college student home on winter break or even a gift for yourself, American Pride can help you find and buy the perfect pre-owned vehicle. And it turns out that the holiday season is the perfect time to purchase a used car from our inventory because for the month of December, American Pride wants to take $200 off your negotiated price!

Let our automotive professionals assist you in finding the best vehicle for your needs (get started now by checking out our used car inventory or using the Find My Car tool), negotiate an affordable price, and we will be happy to take an additional $200 off. Just print this coupon and present it to the American Pride sales consultant to take advantage of the special offer. Some restrictions may apply.

new-dec-specialWhen shopping for a used car at American Pride, we recommend calling ahead to the  location that is most convenient to you so we can make sure that the car(s) you are interested in are on the right lot and ready for you! In the American Pride tradition, you can expect more out of your car buying experience when you shop with us. Call today to speak to a service consultant.

 

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December Only: $50 Off a Transmission Flush!

 

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A car’s transmission is one of its most essential components. In an automatic vehicle, the transmission keeps the engine running in pace with the wheels with no need for the driver to change gears based on speed. Put simply, the transmission transfers motor energy to the wheels with the aid of lubricating transmission fluid. This is a big job, and over time, the fluid oxidizes and becomes dirty, gritty and ultimately harmful to the transmission system and engine. (Curious as to what color healthy transmission fluid should be? Check out our color chart!)

 

Since a working transmission is such an integral part of engine health and the condition of a vehicle overall, it is important to maintain it according to manufacturer specifications. One aspect of the recommended maintenance schedule is a transmission flush, in which we drain the transmission fluid, clean the whole system, and add fresh fluid and premium conditioners. In December, American Pride is excited to offer a $50 discount on transmission flushes to our great customers.

 

If it has been more than 30,000 miles since your last transmission flush, don’t wait until you start experiencing costly transmission problems to service your vehicle. Take advantage of this special offer this month by scheduling an appointment today and feel confident that your car is in great shape for the New Year.

 Expect More Than Transmission Service

Remember, flushing your transmission is only part of what we do here at American Pride. Our bigger goal is to lower your overall cost per mile of driving with well-planned, affordable maintenance. We approach all repairs with integrity and a core concern for the customer, their family and the vehicles they drive. With this in mind, American Pride backs up all repairs with a minimum of a 2 year, 24,000 mile guarantee.  This approach to vehicle service is all about encouraging our customers to expect more from us as a company and as people. This means “extra-mile” customer service and an enthusiastic commitment to improving the lives of our customers and the community.

 

We sincerely appreciate your business and referrals of friends, family and co-workers. It is your loyalty to American Pride that allows us to support the community we share. One of the ways we get involved is through our State Inspections for the Community Program. Through the end of the 2014, we are donating $5 of every state inspection to Hospice House and Support Care of Williamsburg. See what’s happening with Hospice House here.

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Get Your Car Ready for Winter

Does anyone remember the snow, sleet and ice brought to us by last year’s “polar vortex?” The forecast for winter 2015 doesn’t look too much different, and that means that car owners like you must prepare for the worst, especially if you plan to travel.

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What should you do to get your vehicle ready for winter? It has everything to do with staying on top of routine maintenance and outfitting the car with appropriate cold weather gear where necessary.

Think About Cold Weather Battery Care

We can think of few things less pleasant than trying to start the car on a chilly winter morning and realizing that the battery is dead. Avoid this situation now by getting your battery tested and checking all connections for dirt and corrosion. Extreme temperatures are tough on vehicle batteries so you want to make sure that yours is in good condition from the get-go. Remember: Never try to jumpstart a frozen battery. How do you know if the battery is frozen? If temperatures have been in single digits for a number of days, if ice is forming around terminal connections, or if the vehicle won’t crank at all, there is a chance of that it is frozen. Attempting to jumpstart can result in a dangerous explosion. Instead, bring the battery inside for a a day or two to let it warm up and try again from there.

Make Sure All Lights and Signals are Functional

Though your vehicle’s dash light will likely alert you in the event of a fully burnt out bulb, it’s smart to check that all lights and signals are operating properly and to clean all headlights. Darker days and dangerous driving conditions mean that drivers must make every effort to maximize visibility. Another important tip to this end: replace old wiper blades.

Test the Heater and Defroster

It is uncomfortable and in some cases downright dangerous to have a malfunctioning car heater in the winter time. Reasons for a broken heater are generally related to the health of the cooling system and include low coolant, a plugged heater core, or a damaged thermostat. If the heat isn’t working, it is vital that you get your vehicle to a professional who specializes in engine repair, as it is often a signal of bigger engine problems.

Since it is a secondary function of a car’s AC system, issues with the defroster often come along with heater problems.  A windshield that won’t defrost is extremely unsafe.

Check Tire Tread

It seems like we mention this once a blog post, but proper tire maintenance is ESSENTIAL for safe winter driving. Tires that are thread bare will slip and slide on ice. Remember: if you do the “Penny Test” by placing a penny head down into several places on the tire tread and see Lincoln’s head…you need new tires.

Drive Smartly and Be Prepared

In addition to having an ice scraper or two on hand, we suggest that all families keep an emergency kit in the trunk that includes plenty of bottled water, non perishable food, a flashlight, extra medications, blankets, and flares.

When it comes to winter driving, one should always take care to accelerate and brake slowly and observe all posted speed limits (especially in inclement weather).

If you can, try to keep your gas tank at least half full when weather is below freezing. Failure to do so can cause the fuel lines to freeze.

Be mindful of exhaust. In the event of snow, be sure to keep your exhaust pipe free of snow, as a blocked pipe can filter carbon monoxide into the vehicle’s cabin.

Is your vehicle ready for winter and holiday road trips? Bring it into any of our 3 American Pride locations during the month of November and we will make sure it is with a free Travel Safe Checkup. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.

 

 

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November Special: FREE Travel Safe Checkup

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November and December are two of the most heavily traveled months of the year. Between holiday visiting, students going back and forth between college and shopping, your vehicle goes through a lot this time of year.

This month, take advantage of our FREE Travel Safe Checkup — a preventative look at your car before you hit the road this season.  We’ll check your tire pressure and tread life, check all fluid levels, and look at, listen to and smell your engine for any obvious signs of issues or concerns.  If needed, we’ll even take a short test drive if we spot any concerns that need additional investigation.*

All for FREE.  There is no catch — we simply find this is a great way to introduce people to the service, quality and integrity found at American Pride Automotive.  Of course we hope you’ll consider us in the future when you need an auto repair, state inspection, oil change or even a new vehicle.

Call us today to find out the best time to get your free Travel Safe Checkup.  The checkup takes less than 30 minutes and you’ll have peace of mind when you and your loved ones travel this holiday season.

 

*Note, the Travel Safe Checkup is not a substitute for a full diagnostic check for identified issues.

 

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6 Habits of Responsible Car Owners

The child in a safety seat near to mother who sits on forward siAt American Pride Automotive, we believe that owning a well-maintained vehicle is more  than handling the technical stuff like regular service and repairs. It is also about encouraging smart driving practices. These 6 habits of responsible car owners go far for keeping your vehicle running smoothy and your family safe.

1. Pay Attention to Tire Condition

You should check your tires for wear once a month and before and after road trips. In addition to a basic visual inspection, try the penny test on each tire to ensure that the tread is deep enough. What’s the penny test,  you ask? Stick a penny in the tread of each tire with Lincoln’s head facing down. If you can see all of his head, it’s time to get new tires.

It is also important to examine each tire for nails or other punctures and to check tire pressure once a month when the tires are cold. Never drive on over inflated or under inflated tires.  Taking these steps will help ensure safe driving with no blow outs, flat tires or other avoidable issues.

2. Drive carefully.

Accelerating and braking slowly, going the speed limit, and using one’s turn signals contribute to keeping a vehicle in good condition by putting less stress on mechanical components and reducing the risk of accidents.

3. Avoid emotional driving.

Along the same lines, remember that driving when upset or tired is never a good idea. Pull over, ask someone else to drive, or just stay put until you feel 100%. Tired drivers tend to have slower response times and emotional drivers are apt to road rage and aggression. Both of these can cause traffic accidents.

4. Follow the recommended maintenance schedule for your vehicle.

Check the owner’s manual or the internet for the recommended service schedule for your make and model. Manufacturers generally specify certain mileage checkpoints for important service procedures that will keep your car running smoothly for the long term.

5. Always get the car checked by a professional before heading out on a long road trip.

We mentioned the need to examine tires before and after a long trip, but it’s also smart to give the whole vehicle a once over before hitting the road. Make sure all fluids are full, the battery charged, and the brakes aren’t worn down. It’s best to get a automotive service professional to do a road trip check because they are well-equipped to pinpoint hidden issues that might leave you stranded on the interstate. If you have any doubts about the condition of your vehicle, repair any possible problems or rent a car. (More on this next week)

6. Model good driving habits.

Driving safely and taking care of your vehicle is the best way to set your children on the path to responsible car ownership. If you refrain from distracted driving and service your vehicles regularly, your kids are likely to emulate you.

We at American Pride Automotive put your family first, just like you do. Let us be your automotive repair and service shop. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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Get Your Car Inspected for a Good Cause!

Update: As of October 1,  we have raised $1,855 of the $6,000 fundraising goal for Hospice House and Support Care of Williamsburg through our State Inspections for our Community initiative. Thank you to all who have come out to one of our locations to have their vehicles inspected. It is always amazing to see people in the community gather together to help each other and at American Pride Automotive, we are passionate about making opportunities to do so happen.

Not familiar with our State Inspections for the Community program? Periodically, American Pride chooses a charity or esteemed organization to which we donate a portion of state inspection proceeds.

state-inspections-for-our-community-200px Until the end of 2014, that organization (our “Community Star”)  is Hospice House and Support Care of Williamsburg. Hospice House provides end-of-life care to terminally ill people at no cost to caregivers. Their mission is to enhance the quality of life for terminally ill people and their families in an environment that feels more like a home than a medical facility.

When you bring your vehicle in for an inspection until December 31, 2014, $5 of the inspection fee goes to supporting Hospice House and the families they help.

Does your windshield have a 10/14 on it? Have one of our locations perform your State Inspection and you will be supporting a very worthy cause!

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October Special: Half-Off Wheel Alignments

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Everyday wear and tear, poor road conditions, fender benders and hitting the curb while parallel parking can all knock a vehicle’s wheels out of alignment. Poor wheel alignment puts unnecessary wear on even the highest quality tires and unnecessary stress on the whole vehicle. Too many people elect to not have their wheels aligned when they come in for a service visit and are then surprised when at their next visit the technician recommends tire replacement due to uneven wear! We here at American Pride don’t want that to happen to any of our customers, and that’s why we are offering half-priced wheel alignments throughout the month of October!

Some signs that your vehicle may need a wheel alignment include visible tire wear, the car “pulling” to one side of the road, and a shaky steering wheel. Still, it is important to keep in mind that often there are no obvious or visible signs of poorly aligned wheels until the vehicle is up on a lift. That is why it is vital for car owners to have their tires and suspension systems inspected and their wheels aligned regularly—especially after replacing tires or getting into an accident.

Don’t put off your next wheel alignment! Schedule an appointment at American Pride in October to get this critical service performed and save money doing it.

Along with our wheel alignment special, there’s a lot going on at American Pride during the month of October! Through the State Inspections for the Community Program, $5 of every state inspection through the end of 2014 goes to our Community Star, Hospice House and Support Care of Williamsburg. So, if your car is due for inspection within the next few months, visit American Pride for a state inspection you can feel good about. Learn more about our State Inspections for the Community Program here.

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What to Do When a Car Overheats

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You’re on the road and suddenly you notice the little red engine temperature needle climbing into dangerous territory. You may even see smoke or steam wafting up from under the hood. The engine is overheating. What do you do? What could cause this to happen?

First things first: Don’t panic. Your engine isn’t likely to blow up (though if you do notice smoke or steam, pull over immediately). If it seems to be overheating just slightly, turn off the air conditioner to take some strain off of the engine and turn on the heat to draw heat away from the engine.

If turning off the A/C and blasting the heat brings the needle back down, try your best to make it home or to the nearest auto repair shop if those places are within a quarter mile. If not, pull over and turn the engine off. When a vehicle overheats in heavy traffic, avoid using the brakes too frequently and do your best to get off the road as soon as possible. From there, either call a tow truck or, if you’re comfortable with the inner workings of your vehicle (and have coolant, water and basic auto repair tools on hand), prepare to find the source of the problem.

Once the engine has cooled after about half an hour, carefully pop the hood and find the coolant tank. The initial thing to look for is a coolant leak. If the tank is empty or if coolant is low and there is an obvious crack, a leak is probable. In this case you will need to have the coolant tank replaced eventually, but in the meantime you should add coolant to the radiator. SAFETY NOTE: Wait until the engine is completely cool before opening the radiator cap. Failing to do so can lead to serious burns from pressurized fluid.

From there, add the correct ratio of coolant and water, replace the cap, close the hood and make your way to an auto repair shop.

If both the coolant reservoir and radiator have the correct levels of coolant, a number of other mechanical issues could be causing the overheating:

  • incorrect coolant to water ratio
  • a malfunctioning thermostat
  • a broken radiator or radiator fan
  • a cracked or broken hoses
  • a bad water pump
  • a broken fan belt
  • a clogged radiator
  • extremely hot weather

If you find that your engine gets a little too hot a little too often or experience a major overheating episode, bring the vehicle into American Pride. We specialize in cooling system and engine repair and our ASE-certified technicians are well-versed in fixing the problems that lead an engine to overheat. Call or contact American Pride today to schedule an appointment.

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State Inspections for Our Community: Hospice House and Support Care of Williamsburg

Close your eyes and imagine being genuinely excited about your annual state vehicle inspection. Does that scenario seem unrealistic? Well, with American Pride Automotive’s State Inspections for Our Community Program, it’s a very real possibility!

Periodically, we choose a organization in the area with an admirable mission and donate a portion of all state inspection fees to their cause. Past beneficiaries include the Peninsula SPCA, March of Dimes, Heritage Humane Society and more.

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From September till the end of 2014, American Pride is proud to partner with Hospice House and Support Care of Williamsburg. $5 of every state inspection we perform will be donated directly to Hospice House, a one-of-a-kind fixture in our community that provides end-of-life care to terminal patients at no cost to families. By enhancing the patient’s quality of life and giving support to their caregivers, Hospice House offers an invaluable service.

Learn more about Hospice House and our State Inspections for the Community program here.

Getting your car inspected can feel like a hassle, but when you get the inspection done at American Pride, you can feel good about two things: 1) making sure your vehicle is safe and legal to drive, and 2) doing good for your neighbors. The best part? You don’t pay any more to have a vehicle inspected at American Pride than you would anywhere else–the money just goes to those who need it most.

If your registration expires soon, be sure to schedule a Virginia state inspection appointment. Our certified technicians are ready and waiting to get you on the road safely.

 

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