Road Trip Hacks

School’s out for the summer! Do you hear the road calling your name? Before you pack the family into your US Auto Sales minivan to visit that perfect hiking destination six hours away, there are a few things we can tell you that will take your travel know-how from fine to fantastic!

Don’t be a road trip newbie: these tips can help you travel in a much better way.

  1. Tunes

We know, the radio is free! But haven’t you ever driven that long stretch of road so remote that the only station you pick up seems to be playing the song “Static” featuring Random Bursts From Satellites? It’s not as good a jam as you may think! Maintain that vital link to music through thick and thin. Maybe you have satellite radio, a Bluetooth connection, Android Auto, or Apple CarPlay.  Maybe you go retro and pack some CDs full of early 2000s nostalgia. No way is wrong here! Just keep the music playing!

  1. Sunscreen

You know that moment three hours into your ride, when you’re enjoying the wind in your hair with your arm out the window? The last thing you want is to pull your arm back in and notice the telltale signs of sunburn.  Not on our watch! Put some sunscreen on (especially for that window arm!) and start your vacation on the right note (not a red one!)

  1. Prepare for Trouble

Problems don’t disappear during vacations! We know: how rude. It’s always best to plan ahead for emergencies. Keeping a first-aid kit in your trunk will be undoubtedly convenient in the future. A few other things you might want to pack include water bottles, batteries, and flashlights. Who knows what the elements might bring?

  1. Roadside Assistance

This ties in with the previous point. If you know you won’t be able to fix a tire in the middle of nowhere, someone is going to have to do it! If your insurance doesn’t offer roadside assistance, make sure you have access to programs like AAA to get you help when you need it most.

  1. Entertainment

Trust us, the kiddos are great and all, but we all need some downtime. Plan for group activities including car games and family chats, but also be prepared with books, tablets, and other games that will keep every member of the family happy. Pro tip for young kids: Go to your local dollar store. Buy a $1 toy for each hour of your drive. Every hour toss a new toy into those little hands. Between anticipation and actually playing with the new stuff, they’ll be amused the entire time.

Happy driving!

How To Keep Your Car Cool For The Summer

Cue up that legendary Demi Lovato hit and break out the fan. Spring is officially behind us, and we’re already daydreaming about days at the beach and trips to the park for cookouts. Now your summer wouldn’t be complete without those activities, but if you don’t pay attention to the rising temperature, your car could pay the price.

We’re here to help your hands from sizzling on a red-hot steering wheel as you keep your car cool for the summer.

#1. Get a Sunshade

No, it’s not a massive pair of sunglasses you can fit over your car (is there a market for that yet?) These have been on the market for quite a while, and they can be functional and stylish! These shades can run the gamut on prices but pay attention to those of thicker material and better quality. There’s no regret greater than buying something for an explicit purpose and then having to re-order it at a higher price later.

#2. Pay Attention to Environmental Factors

Is your car parked near a tree? How about in a parking deck? These are two major ways to keep the sun from beating down on its exterior surfaces and heating it to an uncomfortable degree while you’re at work or running errands.

#3. Invest in a Cooling Seat

It exists! Never doubt Amazon for selling products with a niche purpose. These removable seats are relatively cheap (approximately $50, from a brief perusal), but their impact is incalculable. No more car blankets, dispensable fans, or wishing for the best. This simple investment can be the answer to your summer blues.

What tricks have you used to keep your US Auto Sales car cool? The simpler it is, the more likely it’s the right answer.

When To Know To Go To The Shop

A vehicle service contract can cover major repairs

You fancy yourself a car guru, but sometimes life takes your car know-how and turns it on its head. Why is that light popping up? What is that weird sound? Don’t waste your awesome US Auto Sales vehicle; get it to the shop!

Here are some key indicators that you may be beyond your car knowledge depth.

  1. You ignore the car manufacturer’s advice

Whoa, whoa, whoa, hold up there! Who knows your car better than the person who made it? We promise, the advice in your car manual is not a rip-off; you really should take it in and get your car examined at their recommendation. No one knows you better than you, but no one knows your car better than them.

  1. Any and all.

Your car is never just “letting off a little steam.” We hope it’s fairly obvious, but as soon as you notice a plume of something coming your hood or pouring out of your exhaust, it’s time to consult some professionals.

  1. That droning sound from your wheels

You swear that sound only happens when you hit the highway, and that it’s normal. Not so, amigo: any repeated noise coming from your wheels is a recipe for disaster if left unchecked.

  1. Shaking

Much like yourself, your car is telling you its sick if it makes a rumbling noise or shakes. Treat your vehicle like it’s a member of the family and take it to someone to make it better (hint: a certified technician).

  1. Smells

Take a deep breath the next time you’re behind the wheel. Are you smelling what you should? The takeout you left in the passenger seat aside, if you smell anything sweet or strange, you could be identifying a serious issue with your car. Coolant and engine belt issues have been identified in this Sherlock-ian manner.

Paint Vs. Vinyl Wraps: Pick Your Side

Have you heard about this massive vinyl trend to deck out your car? Vinyl wraps are versatile ways to maximize your car’s fashion sense and the life of your car decoration itself. With just a simple adhesion process (from a certified professional, of course), you can add a graphic or decal to your car in various textures. Anything from matte, gloss, and crushed can be options to show off your personal style.

But where do you fall in this fad? Are you pro or con? Let us help you decide.

Pro

  1. Can you say “unique?” The options for car wraps are limited only to your budget. The technology is there to give you your dream exterior!
  2. Low cost—at least compared to your average paint job. And given its easy removal process, you can switch up the design every few years and drive away with what feels like a brand-new car.
  3. Less time. A new paint job requires taking off the old layers and applying the new: a process that is not only tedious but takes time. Vinyl wraps, on the other hand, vinyl wraps only require a thorough washing before application, and the time in the shop (and away from you!) decreases dramatically.

Cons

  1. Your bad paint job will show through the wrap. If the paint on your car is in bad condition, it will still be visible through your average vinyl wrap. In severe cases it may be best to start from scratch and invest in a quality paint.
  2. I know, it’s a bit of a double-edged sword here. But the general rule of thumb for vinyl wraps is that you get what you pay for. It may be cheaper than a new coat of paint, but it’s still not a negligible cost. Take the time to research what would be the best option for your vehicle before doling out the money.
  3. You’ll have to contact your insurance company. It’s a mere technicality, but hey, we’re talking about cons here! We know your time is precious, so we want to make sure you’re getting the best advice out there.

So where do you fall? Pro or con?

Can’t Miss Car Moments

Safety is important for teenage drivers.

Let’s travel through time for a second. Remember when you were fifteen years old and your license was just out of reach? You were practicing in the high school parking lot with your parents whenever you could convince them to suffer a small heart attack with the idea of you behind the wheel, but you were so excited about your first taste of freedom.

When was the last time you fully appreciated just how happy your car makes you? We’ve accumulated our version of “Can’t Miss” car moments.

  1. The First Solo Drive

Ah, sweet freedom! The road stretched out ahead of you, the gas tank was moderately full, and you finally had the chance to make real, visible choices for your destination. Would you go to the mall? A friend’s house? Even a trip around the block was exciting back then!

  1. Your First Long Car Ride

This is where the best memories get made. Traffic may be dull (although I do know a certain Auto Sales blog where you can find tips to combat that!) but gathering a group of friends together and going on a car ride starts the vacation as soon as you leave the driveway.

  1. The First Major Change

Remember when tax season rolled around and you had a little extra change in your pocket, so you decided to invest in your car? Finding the quality speakers or special decorative touch is what made your car really yours. It wasn’t just any vehicle that rolled off the lot: your flashy decals made your car unique.

  1. Your Second Major Change

Who put that car seat back there? Life comes at you fast but realizing just how much time has changed can be seen just in the layout of your car’s interior. It’s a visual marker of not only where you’ve been, but where you’re going.

  1. Your Great Goodbye

It’s a bitter-sweet moment, the time you part with your car. You two have had a long life together, but maybe your car can start a new journey with another bright-eyed fifteen-year-old. You just have to remove that car seat first!

The Ultimate Road Trip Playlist

Cruise around listening to this summer playlist!

Let’s automatically get rid of your unconscious bias towards putting “Life is a Highway” on repeat. You may be on the highway, but it’s time to get some new tunes to spice up the first road trip of the summer! Let us guide you through the bops that will take your playlist from plain to perfect.

  1. “No Roots” by Alice Merton

Is it too soon to be putting a song from 2016 in the “timeless” category? Alice Merton’s bouncy hit is a perfect way to encapsulate how you feel about being on the road—you’ve got no roots, baby!

  1. “7 Rings” by Ariana Grande

What pop song does a better job of giving us wish fulfillment? Ariana’s sassy song fills our heads (and the inside of our car) with talk of diamonds, lashes, and a bottomless bank account. We can dream!

  1. “Bad Guy” by Billie Eilish

This is probably not the first time you’ve heard this seventeen-year-old’s name, and for good reason! Billie is a fresh new voice with a Lana Del Rey-esque timbre and a truly unmatched artistry. (Plus you don’t need to be classically trained to sing along to her tunes.)

  1. “Echame la Culpa” by Luis Fonsi, featuring Demi Lovato

Brush up your advanced Spanish skills with this 2019 song! Luis Fonsi and Demi Lovato collaborated on an upbeat song that blends Spanish and English for this romantic ballad. See if your other half can keep up with their side of the lyrics!

  1. “Old Town Road” by Lil Nas X, featuring Billy Ray Cyrus

But only if you want to be mercilessly made fun of.

What jams are on your playlist this summer? Be warned, “Life is a Highway” is still not an applicable answer!

Little Ways to Increase Your Car’s Longevity

As a used car dealer, it’s our belief that a good quality car doesn’t have to be the latest model. We also know that you want to keep your US Auto Sales car in top shape! In the interest of keeping your car running smoothly for a long time, we have compiled a few tips and tricks to keep your engine running—both literally and metaphorically.

  1. Complete your service appointments religiously

Our lives can get busy. Six months can pass in the blink of an eye, and suddenly taking your competent car back to the shop to get checked just doesn’t seem as important. Your car can take a few long breaks between services, right? Wrong! The service appointments (as outlined by the people who made your car) are meant to be followed. They know your car inside and out, so they know what it needs to keep it going in the long-term.

  1. Keep your fluids topped up

Oil changes can be completed with your regular service appointments, but its also integral to keep the other fluids in your car at the proper levels for good function. We’re talking brake fluid, power steering fluid, transmission fluids: these less well-known aspects of your car are just as necessary as oil. Treat them accordingly.

  1. Keep your tires inflated and rotated

If you are a person who travels long distances for work or pleasure, tire maintenance is one thing that can’t be overlooked. Simply rotating your tires gives you a longer time span to enjoy between replacements, since your tires won’t be worn down in the same places around your vehicle.

There are lots of other ways to make sure that your U.S. Auto Sales car lasts  you a while, but these three are simple to do and create real impact!

Car tuneups are still important aspects of proper vehicle care.

How To Stay Sane In Traffic: Game Edition

Ah, the first signs of summer are here! All over the US the weather is warming up, and we’re kicking off the last signs of our winter hibernation. The perfect way to do that? A road trip, of course!But when the thousands of other spring breakers hit the same highways as you and your family, car time can get a little rough. There are only a few ways to keep you or children entertained, so why not use these oldies-but-goodies ideas to stave off the traffic mania?

  1. The License Plate Game

“Punch buggy” is no longer in vogue (for what I hope are obvious reasons), but we still can use our eagle eyes for this game! The trick of the game is to find the opposite of your destination. For instance, if you’re traveling to soak up the sun in Florida, make it your goal to find the license plate from the most northern point. We hear it’s a sign of good luck to spot an Ontario plate during your beach getaway!

  1. The Story Game

Try your hand at something a little more creative for this one. Have the driver start off a story; anything open like “Once upon a time, there was a large dragon who guarded a castle,” can provide a great start for a story. Going in a clock-wise direction, have each of your passengers contribute a few lines to your story. This can be a great game for children, who have the capability to direct your story in a brand new direction with their innocent hilarity.

  1. The Song Game

Nothing is a better salve for road apathy than music! Use the musical notes to keep your family entertained. There are a few different ways you can play: you, as the driver, can shuffle through your passengers’ music library and try to guess the song title or artist. To raise the challenge a little more, pick a radio station you haven’t heard before, and try to guess the song title before “Shazam” can tell you the answer. Who knows, you may even find your new favorite song this way!

But after you’ve reached hour six of “The Wheels on the Bus” and the license plate game, we won’t judge you if you whip out the iPads loaded with movies to keep the kiddos amused. You’re on vacation, after all!

Minivans are the most family-friendly automotive upgrade on the market.

Primp you Car

Car detailing series : Worker cleaning black car

Spring cleaning doesn’t just apply to your house, people. We want you to Marie Kondo that car of yours into something you’ll want to show off for your local carpool. But times can be tough, so we looked into “primping” your car and the potential cost for you as a consumer.

Can you really boil car care down to prices? Sometimes, yes—yes, you can.

Windshield Wiper Replacement: Average Cost, $8-$16

Talk about a good deal! After a long winter of snow, ice, rain, and all that comes in between, you owe it to your mobile sidekick to upgrade your (literally) weathered wipers. You can have an automotive pro do it (warning: this will incur extra cost!) but changing your windshield wipers is actually the easiest DIY project you can provide for your vehicle.

Good Tires: Average Cost, $100-$161

Yes, this is the option that will leave your wallet feeling just that much lighter, but it’s worth it in the long run! Good tires can give you the power you need that can keep an incident on the highway from “That was close!” to “Who is your insurance provider?” And make sure to keep them inflated, since this will continue to improve your car’s performance as the months go by. Plus, there’s nothing like the aesthetic value of having brand new tires gracing the wheels of your ‘stang.

Spark Plugs: Average Cost, $5-$25

Let’s get back to the real budget savers for your primping project. Spark plugs are relatively cheap ways to make all the difference for your vehicle. If the spark is of a high quality, the combustion will fire in a way that gives you more power and a better fuel economy. Score!

Back-Up Camera: Average Cost, $50-$140

There are many routes you can take with this simple tech device, but they all amount to the same helpful premise: helping you save your bumper and potential accidents with an easy view of the back of your car. Anything that can give your sixteen-year-old an easier time parallel parking is good in our book!

Car Wax Kit: Average Cost, $10-$50

Let’s turn the clock back for this last primping technique. It’s the simplest one, but its effects are astounding: waxing. Yes, you’ve heard your mechanic espouse the benefits of your car looking good, but you can do it yourself with these simple kits that are sold everywhere from auto parts stores to Walmart. Enjoy the spring sunshine and get your car shining like it did the first day you got it. You both deserve it!

Why is my car yellow? Can I make it stop?

If you’ve lived in the southeast for long, you know the answer to this question: pollen. Pollen season is upon us! For the next three to four weeks, expect your US Auto Sales car to have a bit of a yellow cast to it. Here are a few tips for minimizing the amount of pollen in your car, and how to get it off there!

Minimize the pollen

  • Cover it – if you have a garage, make enough room to pull your car in there, if you don’t already park in it. If you don’t have a garage, buy yourself a car cover, and put it on your car religiously when you park. If you really want to keep the pollen down, you’ve got to do it at work, too.
  • Close it – keep the windows closed whenever you can, even when driving. This time of year your air conditioner earns its keep.
  • Wash your feet – seriously, you’re tracking that stuff into your car every time you get in. Wash off your shoes and your pet’s feet before they get in the car. (Hey, I didn’t say this was going to be easy!)
  • Wear a hat – unless you’re bald, your hair is a pollen magnet. Cover it when you go outside and before you get in your car
  • Wax on, wax off – a coat of high-quality car wax will make it harder for the pollen to stick to the surface of your car. If you’re already seeing pollen on your car, however, it’s too late. Waxing now will only rub pollen into your paint job.
  • Find and fix the filters – now may be a good time to change your cabin air filter, if your car is so equipped. (Most are.) A new filter will reduce the amount of pollen that makes it into your interior. Also, if you haven’t done your engine air filter in a while, now is probably a good time!

Get rid of the pollen

  • Hose it down – every morning, take the garden hose and run some water over your car until the pollen is gone, and then drive off. As the shampoo bottle says: “lather, rinse, repeat.” The upside is that it doesn’t take long. The downside is that you have to do it every day.
  • Wash it – there are some car wash companies that offer a subscription for as many washes as you want in a period of time for a fixed fee. Pollen season may be a good time to explore that option.
  • Dust it off – there are specialty car dusters that have paraffin embedded in the fibers to dust off your car. They get pretty good reviews.
  • Wipe it out – interior detailing wipes, that look like baby wipes, are a great way to quickly remove that dust from inside the car, keeping your car looking great, and you from breathing that stuff.
  • Suck it out – this may be obvious, but a good vacuum at least once a week will help. If you use a shop vacuum, take a rubber band and cover the tube where the air blows out with a nylon stocking to make sure and trap the pollen you got out. Looks weird, but it works.

Now the disclaimer – there’s really no way to keep pollen completely off or out of your car, but these tips will keep your whip looking better and cleaner until the heaviest pollen season is over!