Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Gateway Christmas

We wanted to post some of our Christmas decorations! We have decked out a 1966 Volkswagen Bus in Gateway's showroom, and it is loaded with gifts and ready to head to Grandma's house! Hope everyone is making the best of this rainy day!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Things to Remember When Driving on Halloween

Help protect trick-or-treaters by following these driving safety tips on Halloween, or on the night your community hosts Halloween activities. Be especially careful between 4 and 8 p.m., when most severe vehicle/young pedestrian collisions happen.
Drive slowly, and don't pass stopped vehicles. The driver might be dropping off children.
Park your mobile phone. Avoid distractions by waiting until you've stopped to call, text, or surf. 
Watch for children darting into the street. Kids can cross the street anywhere, and most young pedestrian deaths happen at spots other than intersections.
Yield to young pedestrians. Children might not stop, either because they don't see your vehicle approaching or don't know how to safely cross the street.
Communicate with other drivers. Always use your turn signals. And if you have to pull over to drop off or pick up your kids, turn on your hazard lights.
From Progressive Insurance's website

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

How to Not Ruin Your Holiday Celebrations with a Car Accident

This is a great article to read in preparation of the upcoming season! Stay safe out there folks!

Sure, it's lovely out -- but be aware of the dangers of driving in autumn's quick-changing conditions
By Nigel Knowlton, from iCARumba
When most drivers think of fall driving, they conjure up a near-idyllic driving experience complete with colorful fall foliage, empty highways and clear, cool days. Many fall days indeed live up to this classic description, but those picture-perfect days have a way of changing quickly during autumn. 
Fall weather is often unpredictable and driving conditions can change from perfect to miserable within minutes. Additionally, during fall decreased daylight brought on by a return to Standard Time from Daylight Savings Time means that many of us will be commuting to and from work in darkness. Instead of being one of the better times of the year for driving, fall is actually one of the more treacherous times of the year to be on the highway. Vigilance is required if safety is to be maintained -- and the first place to start is in the driveway, before you hit the road.
Before starting on any trip, it is always a good idea to give your vehicle a pre-drive inspection. Make sure the tires are properly inflated and show plenty of tread, check to see all lights and turn indicators are working properly and make sure the engine has the correct fluid levels.
If you park your car outside, you’ve probably noticed that a warm body entering a cold car interior causes the windows to fog up. Clear all windows before you leave the driveway by running the defroster on high or wiping off the glass. Clean windows are essential for safety; even a small, fogged quarter window can severely limit visibility, especially when backing out into the street. Fog also tends to form on the exterior mirrors, so  wipe those off while the other windows are clearing.
Once out on the highway, it is imperative to pay attention to weather and road conditions. Frosty patches, fog, black ice, rain, hail, sleet and falling leaves all present hazards to the unwary. Here’s a checklist of fall driving hazards:
  • Bridges freeze first – During fall and winter months, bridges can be very dangerous. Because they are exposed to weather on both top and bottom, they will freeze over before the rest of the road, and you may not be able to tell until it is too late. Use caution when transiting from the pavement to a bridge surface by steering smoothly, staying off the throttle and braking gingerly.
  • Frost – When Jack Frost visits your living room window the effect can be magical. When he visits a shady patch of highway around a blind corner, the effects are often deadly. Use caution if your driving route takes you over bridges, down tree-lined streets, or anywhere else shadows cross dew-laden highways.
  • Black ice – It’s called black ice because it is invisible, as the black pavement underneath shows through and looks as dry as the rest of the road. Black ice usually forms below overpasses, on bridges, in shaded areas and where there is water running across the pavement. Because black ice in invisible, it is exceptionally dangerous and a driver who has been driving on clear pavement will be caught unaware. If you live in an area where frost occurs, black ice is always a possibility. Use extreme caution when driving on cold mornings where there is evidence of frozen moisture on the roadway.
  • Rain – Fall rainstorms often tend to be sudden and heavy. Early fall storms are the worst from a driving perspective because highways that have a summer’s worth of oil and rubber buildup from traffic become extremely slick when suddenly soaked. It usually takes a couple of really good downpours to wash this buildup away and in the interim the roadway is especially hazardous. 
  • Hydroplaning -- Hydroplaning happens when excessive water buildup on the highway causes a vehicle to "float" on a layer of water. It occurs because the water buildup on the road is greater than the amount of water the tread channels can clear at a given moment. Usually, the hydroplaning lasts only a second or two as the vehicle is passing through a shallow puddle, but during heavy downpours the condition can be endemic. Because a hydroplaning vehicle has no direct contact with the road surface, it is difficult to impossible to steer and brake. In such conditions, slow down and avoid sudden movements of the wheel and quick stabs of the brake that can make your vehicle spin out of control. If you feel a floating feeling while driving on wet roads, steer straight and gently back off the throttle until you feel the tires make contact with road surface. In an especially heavy downpour, pull off the road and wait it out.
  • Fog -- Usually found in low places or areas surrounded by trees, hills or mountains, fog is statistically the single most dangerous condition a driver can encounter. It can severely limit visibility and change your perception of distance. When encountering fog, even just a small foggy patch in a hollow, slow down. There may be a stalled or slow vehicle hidden behind that wall of white. It is also smart to turn on your headlamps (low beam) or fog lamps to increase your visibility and your chances of being seen by other motorists. Most accidents happen in fog because the driver was going too fast for conditions and rear-ended the vehicle ahead. Slow down to a crawl if necessary, keep your lights on and use extreme caution. 
  • Leaves – As the fall season progresses, deciduous trees lose leaves that end up covering residential streets and country roads. While it is fun to blast through those colored leaves layering the highway, bear in mind that leaves can be slippery, especially when wet. Hard acceleration or braking, and sudden turns should be avoided when running over a pile of leaves, as they can lead to skidding. Additionally, like water, leaves often accumulate in low places. There may be a dip, pothole or other road hazard hiding under those leaves covering the roadway.
Nigel Knowlton has been writing on automotive topics for more than 20 years.

So stay safe out there friends! Also, look out for those little trick-or-treaters this week!

If the unforeseen occurs and you do get in an accident, give us a call at Lawson Collision Repair Center for your body related repairs. Call Bryan at 423-783-7955 for your free estimate!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Blow up or blow out

Good gracious folks! Check the air in your tires!!!!! Do you not understand? Your tires are the only connection your car has to the road. Would you try to ski on a pair of two-by-fours? Would you try to play tennis with a baseball bat? Whatever contacts the road is the most important thing...everything else comes second. Your tires will lose 2-3 PSI (pounds per square inch) every month (unless they are filled with pure nitrogen--which I highly recommend). If you have a small leak, they lose even more. After 2 months, your tires start to wear out prematurely. After 4 months, you lose a considerable amount of control of your car--steering, brakes and power transfer is diminished. Heat build-up and excessive contact makes the car handle poorly, reducing your ability to avoid an accident. Need I say more....OK, just a little more. A new set of tires can cost from $700-1500. Keeping up with tire pressure and rotations can add YEARS to the life of your set. One of my favorite sayings: the only thing common about common sense is that it ain't very common. Now you have no excuse!! Go my friend, Share the wealth and educate someone you love about Air in the tires. 

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Autumn-izing your Car

The leaves are about to fall, and the football games are already on. Winter is just around the corner (yikes!) so it's a good idea to remember some tips for driving in these changing weather conditions. This great article by Peter duPre highlights some things to remember for the upcoming season. 

"Shorter fall days and cooler weather may have brought relief from summer heat but they are also a signal that it is time for some extra driving caution. As we go through fall and head into winter, the days will get shorter yet, and many of us will start and end our commutes in total darkness. Visibility in the dark is never all that good, and when you throw in an autumn rain, sleet or snow storm, it can drop to almost nothing. 

All of which means that autumn requires a change in your driving habits. Follow these tips for safer driving this fall:

  • School's in session -- With the fall semester in full swing, children are out on the streets earlier than during the summer. Some almost never look for traffic and have a bad habit of bolting out from between parked cars. Keep your eyes peeled and slow down. School zones have reduced speed limits and most police won't allow any speed leeway in these areas.
  • Allow more travel time -- You should always drive slower when it is dark and visibility is reduced. That means your traveling time is increased, especially during inclement weather. Leave a few minutes earlier in the morning and increase your following distance by about a second. 
  • Inclement weather -- Indian summers, clear skies and cooler weather may lull you into a false sense of security but fall weather conditions can change abruptly. Thunder storms, sleet, hail and even snow are not that unusual. Roads covered with a summer's worth of grease become slick when wet or covered with early morning frost, so anticipate those conditions.
  • Check the lights -- In Sweden, Norway and Canada, where fall driving conditions are similar to much of the U.S., there are mandatory-lights laws -- and not coincidentally, a lower accident rate. See and be seen. Drive with your headlamps on, even if it's not dark. Before starting out on any trip, walk around the car and make sure your taillights, parking lights, stop lights, directionals, emergency flashers and headlights are all working properly. Have your mechanic aim and adjust your headlights. New cars are equipped with bright-burning halogen headlights that increase visibility. If you own an older vehicle with standard sealed-beam headlamps, consider converting to halogen lamps. The cost is more than offset by improved visibility and safety.
  • Change the wiper blades -- Safety experts say wiper blades should be changed every 5,000 to 6,000 miles, or twice a year. Most of us don't change the blades even once a year. Check front and rear wipers. Examine the rubber; it should be flexible, without any missing chunks and should clear the glass without leaving any streaks. If the blades aren't performing perfectly, replace them.
  • Check the brakes and tires -- If tires and brakes aren't in good condition, you won't be able to stop on slick roadways. Tires should have plenty of tread on them; if the wear bars are showing, it's time for new rubber. Most tire and brake shops will inspect your tires and brakes for free.  
  • Heater and defroster check -- Fogged-up windows limit visibility and are a safety hazard. Make sure both front and rear defrosters are working properly. Front blower hoses sometimes get knocked off the defroster vents and the electric wire in the rear defogger can break. Most auto parts stores sell special kits to repair these breaks. While you are at it, have your heating system inspected. A cold car is uncomfortable, and a distraction to safe driving.
  • Look under the hood -- Don't get stranded in the dark. Have your mechanic check the condition of the coolant, belts and hoses. Get the chassis lubed, air filter replaced, oil and filter changed and battery inspected. A little work now can save a big towing bill later. You can make an appointment for a fall vehicle inspection right now with our Quicklane.
  • Wash and wax -- A vehicle's first line of defense against the elements is a good wash and wax job to protect the metal surfaces from pitting and corroding, and keeps your car looking its best. Get rid of that summer grime and apply a thick coat of protective wax.
  • Relax -- This may seem like a lot to get done before the Monday morning commute, but it really adds up to just a few minutes for the self-inspection, and to make an appointment with your shop if needed. For safety sake, check lights first, then do the tires, brakes, and wiper blades. And in general, simply begin your day 10 minutes earlier, have that second cup of coffee (decaf, please!) and start your commute in a relaxed a state as possible -- good advice at any time of year."
         By Peter D. duPre (Peter du Pre is iCARumba content editor.)
       Article from www.iCARumba.com 

So enjoy the tailgating, the football games, the falling leaves, and time spent with family. Remember to visit us at Gateway Ford Lincoln Mazda in Greeneville for all of your new and pre-owned car shopping needs. Also, stop by our Napa Auto Care Center or Quicklane for your vehicle servicing needs!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Counting Idiots

     We've all been there. Some idiot pulls out in front of you, doesn't know how to use the median correctly, goes 20 in a 40 zone, or weaves in an out of traffic with blatant disregard to other drivers. Your blood starts to boil. Steam starts coming out of your ears. Your hands instinctively reach for the horn or attempt to expose a particular finger to the road terrorist that is ruining your commute. 
     It is unfortunate that in those instances, while you are yelling and blessing out the offender, you only look like an idiot yourself, screaming and losing your temper and possibly putting your own life in danger. Maybe times like those call for taking the scenic route instead. Copied below is a great article by Leonard Holmes about what he recommends you do in those moments of blind rage. Instead of screaming and cursing the other driver, write him off as an idiot and carry on. Herewith, Mr. Holmes' tips.

"Reports of road rage incidents are becoming more common as commutes become longer and highways become more congested. My own commute of 45 minutes to work each way can be stressful. I’ve reduced the stress that I experience in at least three ways:

  • I carpool one day a week.
  • I listen to audiobooks (from audible.com and other sources).
  • I count idiots.
This article will focus on the third technique, since not much has been written about it.
I’m sure that you’ve encountered drivers whose driving puts others at risk. Drivers who tailgate or who speed and weave in and out of lanes are examples of this. Road rage sometimes gets out-of-hand when other drivers react to this behavior. I’ve worked with clients who have followed discourteous drivers to their destination and started a fist fight with them.
Cognitive techniques for managing anger and other emotions usually includes modifying one’s expectations of others. If I have the expectation that “Everyone should drive defensively” then I am likely to get upset when I encounter drivers who don’t drive defensively. If I can soften my expectation, then my reaction will also soften. A more reasonable expectation might be along the lines of "It’s good to drive defensively, but I know that there are some idiots out there."
This is where "counting idiots" comes in. If you have a problem with road rage, try this technique when you drive:
1. Remind yourself of the expectation "It’s good to drive defensively, but I know that there are some idiots out there."
2. Keep a running count in your head of how many idiots you encounter on that trip.
3. Once you’ve labeled a driver as an idiot (along the lines of “There goes idiot number four.”) switch gears mentally and focus on the road ahead, the book you are listening to, the radio, or your passenger.
Labeling can be a powerful tool. Once we’ve labeled a thought we are no longer thinking it. We have stepped back a step. It’s much easier to let go at that point and to focus on other things. Try this simple but powerful technique to make your commute less stressful."

Stay safe out there, friends. Remember there are idiots everywhere, but that doesn't mean they have to ruin your commute. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Let's Take This Baby for a Spin

 Since buying a car is an expensive proposition and you live with that decision for at least a couple years, it is important to start right. That includes doing a proper evaluation of the car with a thorough feature review and a complete test-drive: Here is a list of things to check:
1. Interior comfort: is the vehicle easy to get in and out of (front and back doors)? Do you bump into anything? Do the seat controls allow you to get comfortable? Is there a lumbar support? Is it adequate? Can you easily reach the pedals and still maintain a safe distance from the steering wheel (and air bag)? Sit in all seats--are they all comfortable?
2. Storage space: will the cupholders hold what you want them to hold? If you haul around a lot of stuff, will your stuff fit? is there room to store the items you use (in the console, glovebox, etc.)? What about storage for golf clubs, strollers, pet carriers, etc? Remember, it's easier to buy the right car than it is to change your habits!!
3. Touch everything: are the materials on the dash, door panels and seats of high quality or cheap and flimsy? Does the console and charging ports work for your personal electronics habits? Turn the radio knobs or try out the touch screens--are you going to like the way they work?
4. Take a test drive: go to a shopping center parking lot and park among other cars. When you try to get out, can you easily see oncoming cars? How are the blind spots? Are the mirrors adequate? If the vehicle has a back-up camera, check it for clarity and scope. Does it have a wide field of view and reference marks for showing approximate distances to objects? Make a u-turn. Is the turning radius acceptable? Accelerate hard and brake hard--make sure the engine power and the stopping power are acceptable to you and your family. Ride over hard bumps and speed breakers to see how well the vehicle absorbs impacts to the suspension. Get up to highway speeds to check for road and wind noise with the radio OFF. Then listen to the sound system to insure it meets your standards. Finally, check the lighting system (inside and outside the car). If you don't like orange, red or blue gauges, now is the time to find out. And headlights vary from car to car--test them at night to make sure they work for you.

I realize that is a lot of things to check, but it is really only a partial list. The key is not to get in such a hurry that you skip important steps and abandon all reasoning ability due to your excitement. It has happened to all of us, but now that you know, you have no more excuses for buying the wrong car even if the price is great.

Call us at Gateway Ford to schedule a test drive and see what you think about what Ford, Lincoln, and Mazda have to offer!

Protect Your Bed--- And Not from Bedbugs, Either

Since so many people still buy pick-up trucks, the market for some form of bed protection is hot--plastic bed-liners, spray-in liners and bed mats are the choices. Some people don't care about scratching up a bed, but I'm not one of those people. We sold a new F150 to a man a few weeks ago and the first thing he did was unload a huge piece of metal (a rear end assembly) and slid it into the bed of his new truck. As the rusty metal ground into that freshly painted, pristine bed floor, I thought I was going to throw up! He just said "well @#*&, that won't be the last scratch it gits". I have no doubt about that. I used to be a plastic bed liner fan--simple installation and less than $150.00, but stuff tends to slide around too much on the slick plastic surface and moisture builds up between the liner and the bed. Bed mats are great but they don't protect the sides. Spray-in liners are the way to go. All spray-in liners are not equal. We have been very happy with the Toff installations we have seen. They are affordable and look and feel like they should. We just started spraying our own liners at my dealership, with the material coming from Ford. We did our research, received the required training and began spraying liners in October 2010. The key, just like in painting cars, is in the preparation. Prepare the surface right, and the product will outlast the truck. Do it wrong, and eventually you will be seeing black flakes of bedliner flying out of your bed. Is that a form of littering? I hope this helps all you truckers out there! We all have to stick together to protect our truck beds.....it's the American thing to do.

Backing Up a Trailer Doesn't Take a Genius

I can chew gum and walk at the same time. I can juggle three tennis balls. I used to be able to stand on my head, but now I pass out. But it took some practice to learn how to back up with a trailer attached to my truck. The shorter the trailer, the harder it was. Physics experts understand that stuff, but I sucked at Physics. The good news is that I am now an expert at backing a trailer and I was just a high "B" student in school. Here are the secrets:
1. Make sure the trailer is properly attached to your truck (very basic, I know)
2. Decide which way you want the trailer to go
3. Turn the steering wheel the opposite way you want the trailer to go and start to back up (slowly)
4. Watch the trailer......as it starts to turn towards your target it is time to go against human nature......now turn the wheel in the same direction you want the trailer to go as you continue to back up (slowly). This is where most people screw up: they wait too long to turn in the same direction or they do it too soon and the trailer straightens up, causing you to miss your target and look like a fool to friends and family.
That is really all there is to it. There are plenty of bent trailer hitches, trailer tongues and tailgates that could have been saved if the owners had just had this valuable advice from the guru before they tried to back up a trailer. Now they have no excuse.

Check out our great deals on all truck, Jeep, and car accessories over at Greene County Customs!

Technician Terminology

A friend just informed me that she watched one of my videos and I used a term she was unfamiliar with (I call it Tech-talk), but she is right. "Car Guys" and technicians use terminology that customers don't always understand. When it comes to communicating with a service advisor or technician, it helps when you speak the same language. Examples:
Consumer: my brakes feel squishy!
Tech-talk: you have a "soft pedal"
Consumer: my brake pedal vibrates or pulsates!
Tech-talk: you are getting "feedback" through the pedal
Consumer: You guys have a crappy service department!
Tech-talk: Customer has a bad attitude.
That last one is a joke, but my main point is this. If an advisor, salesperson, mechanic...anybody uses terminology you don't understand. Politely tell them to stop and rephrase in terminology you do understand. A good, simple description (in laymans terms) of a mechanical problem is OK, but it should always be followed up with a test drive to insure that the technician is solving the issue you want solved. Also, keep in mind that some car issues, that may seem to be a problem, are actually a characteristic of that vehicle. But if the symptom is new and never occurred before, don't let the tech person pass it off as a "characteristic". If you have been driving your vehicle for months or years, you know when something isn't right--so trust your instincts. Finally, if the shop won't listen to you, go somewhere else. If they treat you like an idiot, take your money elsewhere. I guarantee there is someone out there who wants your business and will work hard to make you happy--which includes communicating with you on any level you need them to.

Read more at My Car Guru and visit The Guru at Gateway Ford Lincoln Mazda in Greeneville, Tennessee!