Category Archives: Atlanta Group Dealer

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.

What to look for in a Crossover

The SUV of the 90s and early 2000s has largely been superseded by the crossover, that blend of car and SUV providing the utility of an SUV with a more car-like driving experience. They’re great grocery-getters, carpool carriers, and general stuff haulers. As the fastest-growing new car segment in the US, they’re also easily found on the used market. But before you fall in love with that crossover, here’s a few considerations.

Small, medium, or large?

Crossovers come in lots of different sizes now, from subcompacts like the MINI Countryman to large crossovers like the Chevy Traverse. Figure out how much you need. If you regularly carry a lot of people or stuff, spring for the bigger one, but understand that you’re probably going to have to pay a bit more, both in the initial purchase price and in fuel over the long term, since larger crossovers tend to be powered by V6s, with some luxury models offering V8s.

How big is your crowd?

Your initial thoughts on size may be influenced by how many people you need to carry – and how big are those people. Subcompact crossovers generally are limited to four people, and the rear seats may not be comfortable for larger adults. Some midsized crossovers have a third-row seat option, giving you capacity for as many as eight people… or the ability to put the kids as far from the driver as possible! And if you go for the third-row seat, remember to try them out yourself and see if they’ll be comfortable, and don’t forget that your kids are going to grow!

And now for the feature.

Crossovers can be feature-rich, particularly as you get into high-line models. Consider things like cupholders, which can be numerous, power ports and outlets, and maybe rear-seat entertainment if you’re going on long trips. Other niceties can be power liftgates, which make access easier, and large moonroofs to make the interior seem bigger.

Drive it!

If this will be your first crossover, make sure to take a test drive. While crossovers are essentially cars under the skin, they tend to be heavier and taller, changing the center of gravity and their handling. Some handle really nicely for a large vehicle, but you have to expect a different driving experience, and it’s important to know if you’re going to like it!

When you take that test drive, make sure to get a little highway time to make sure you have enough power for passing maneuvers. If that unloaded crossover runs out of steam with just you and the salesperson, imagine that it’s probably not going to do as well with a full load.

Once you’ve figured out your needs, it’s time to head to your local US Auto Sales and pick out your crossover!

Southern Cities Weekend Road Trip Series part 3

We span Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Florida, so we’re taking advantage of that local knowledge to create a series of short road trips. We looked at some of the cool places where we have US Auto Sales dealerships, figured out some great roads between them and mixed in some sights to see. The result – the US Auto Sales Southern Cities Weekend Road Trips. The third and final trip in the series is all Georgia, all the time.

Athens: If you’re a University of Georgia (UGA) football fan, you know Athens! If you’re going in the fall, of course a visit to Sanford Stadium is practically a requirement. Did you know that UGA was chartered as the first state college in the United States in 1785? The city wasn’t even chartered until 1806, with UGA there, of course it had to be named after Athens, Greece – the ancient center of higher learning.

Beyond the college, there are 15 neighborhoods on the National Register of Historic Places. The Victorian downtown boasts a great food scene and an active creative community, everything from plein air artists (who like to work outside) to lacemakers.

Roads to the next stop: you can go directly to the next stop via US-78 and I-20, and get there in under 2 hours. But antebellum architecture and quaint small towns about in this area, parts of which are known as the Antebellum Trail. Take US-441S into Watkinsville. From there, take GA-15S to Greensboro, and follow US-278E to US-78E into Augusta.

Augusta: Welcome to the home of the Masters Golf Tournament, held at Augusta National Golf Club since 1934, when it was won by Horton Smith. The tournament started by Bobby Jones and Clifford Smith wasn’t even known by that name at the time – it didn’t pick up the Masters name until 1939.

Not into golf? Being on the Savannah River, there’s a lot of great recreational opportunities both in and around the river, from paddling and kayaking to the Riverwalk. You could even pick up an Augusta Greenjackets minor league baseball game!

Roads to the next stop: This is one of those rare cases where the direct route is the best one. Take US-1S to GA-88W to GA-24N to GA-540W and GA-57W to Macon. If you’ve got a little time on your hands, stop in Milledgeville and wander the grounds of the abandoned Central State Hospital, at one time one of the largest insane asylums in the United States.

Macon: Let’s talk about rock and dirt. No, seriously, when you’re in Macon, you’ve got to check into the Allman Brothers Band Museum at the Big House, with memorabilia from their former home! What about dirt, though? Go all the way the other direction in history to the Ocmulgee National Monument and see the Native American earthen mounds from around 1000 CE. Don’t be fooled, by the way – they’re not burial mounds. You’ll have to go to Macon to find out the truth!

Roads to the next stop: Go pretty much any way you want! I-75S to GA-96W is fastest, or you can follow US-80 the whole way. Either way, you’re going to be rolling through a little less than two hours of rural area with picturesque farmland.

Columbus: The final stop on this tour, and in this series, takes you to Columbus. You’re just across the Chattahoochee from Phoenix City, Alabama, in this old industrial town. Your visit here wouldn’t be complete without a tour of Springer Opera House, originally opened in 1871, and graced by such acts as Buffalo Bill, John Phillip Sousa, Ethel Barrymore, Burt Reynolds, Oscar Wilde, and W.C. Fields. And once you’ve toured it, there’s no better way to experience a theater than with a live show! There are several production companies that call the Springer home!

We’ve put on a lot of mileage in this series! Every one of these cities is also graced with a US Auto Sales location. Please feel free to stop in and check out our inventory!

Mindshift – Back to School Driving

While we’ve all enjoyed the shorter commute times that come with summer, school is starting! With that, of course, comes longer commute times, which can be frustrating. Don’t let the frustration get in the way of making sure that the kids get to school safely, and you get to work safely and on time! With that, here are a few tips on driving as school starts back in.

  1. It’s big. It’s yellow. You kinda can’t miss it. The obvious sign of school starting back up is the school bus! When you see them, put yourself in the bus driver’s shoes. You’re driving a huge, slow vehicle filled with 40 children. The noise is crazy, and the responsibility for getting them home is yours. Probably pretty stressful. So give them a break. And of course, be aware that it’s illegal to pass a stopped school bus from either direction on undivided roads.
  2. Trade your smartphone for smart walking. According to Safe Routes to Schools, a third of young pedestrian vehicle strikes can be attributed to kids darting out in the road. While there’s no available data about how many are looking at their phones, it’s safe to say that fewer distractions while walking are better.
  3. You’re in the zone. Be aware of school zones with reduced speed limits on your commute. If you need motivation, speeding fines in school zones are higher than tickets outside of school zones.
  4. Pool rules. If you’re driving your kids to school, nearly every school has carpool drop zones and rules designed to keep kids safe and traffic flowing. Try to find out what they are before you show up. If nothing else, you’ll avoid the wrath of angry parents.
  5. Stay alert! Kids are kind of unpredictable, and they’re comfortable in the areas around their school, and getting on their bus, so they’re not likely to be paying as close attention. Avoiding distractions is a good idea in general, but in school zones and around buses it’s especially important.

Keep these tips in mind, and give yourself a little more time to get where you’re going as school starts in your district, and everyone should get where they’re going safe and happy.

Bring Rover! Buying a Car for You and Your Dog.

Bring Rover! Buying a car for you and your dog.

Your dog loves to travel with you, right? So what cars are best for your dog?

First, let’s consider what your dog wants from a car – comfort, and security. An uncomfortable dog is unhappy, whiny, restless dog, and nobody has time for that when they’re driving. An unsecured dog is a risk to the driver and passengers and could be injured or killed in an accident. You also want something your dog fits in easily. Not a big deal for your Chihuahua, but if you have a giant breed like a Great Dane or a Saint Bernard, you’re gonna need a bigger car.

Also, consider ease of getting your dog in and out. Make sure that the doors open wide enough for the dog to access their seat. Sliding doors like those on minivans, or big hatches in some SUVs and hatchbacks make it easier. Floor height is important, too. A smaller dog may not be able to jump into that lifted Jeep, and you may not be able to lift a larger dog into the vehicle.

A bench seat is crucial, and preferably one that’s fairly flat, especially for your larger dog. If you’ve ever slept on a lumpy mattress, you know those semi-buckets in the back of that sports car aren’t going to be comfy for your dog.

Cloth seats may stay cooler in summer, but if you’ve ever tried to vacuum dog hair out of cloth seats, you know that vinyl or leather is better. If you’re concerned about the dog’s claws tearing up your leather seats, invest in a good set of seat covers.

For security, plan on picking up a pet harness that clips into the cars seat belt or child seat anchors. Before you choose which one, figure out if your car has child seat anchors, and how accessible they are. If you plan to put your dog in a crate in the car, make sure the crate is tied down. So when you’re shopping for the car for you and Rover, make sure there are tie-down points for the crate that you can find.

Key Car Accessories for Summer Driving

Key car accessories for summer driving

You got your new wheels from US Auto Sales just in time for summer, and you’re ready for that summer road trip. But no matter what you drive, there are probably a few cool gadgets that will make your ride that much better – more convenient, more comfortable. Here’s a few items we think are pretty cool, or just come in handy:

  • First aid kit – hey, stuff happens, right? Even if it’s not serious, you can never go wrong with having a few bandages around! If you already have one of these, make sure to check it once a year to make sure any medications haven’t expired.
  • Flashlight – there’s nothing worse than being stuck roadside with something you know you could take care of if only you could see it! Yeah, we know that your phone has a flashlight, but wouldn’t you rather use that battery life for something else? Again, if you have one in your car already, check the batteries at least annually.
  • Phone cables – there’s a couple different kinds of phone cable you might want here. One would be a charging cable, another an audio cable if your car stereo has a jack for it. There’s a lot of different configurations, make sure you have the cables that fit your phone!
  • Phone holder – give your phone a secure place to live while you’re driving, and make it easy to see your favorite mapping app, too.
  • USB car charger – so many of our devices need to be charged! Grab a USB car charger that fits into the charge port or cigarette lighter in your car so you’ve always got juice! There are many that can handle two devices at once.
  • Sunshades – the summer heat can be a bear, and getting into a superheated car that’s been parked all day can be a drag. Those big windshield sunshades are a great way to keep your car interior cool. You can even get translucent shades for the side windows to keep your passengers cool.
  • Car cover – A car cover, particularly if you don’t have a garage, is a great way to keep your car cool in the summer, and keep that paint fresh, too.
  • Sunglasses holder – from the clip style that attach to your car visor to the more complex models that attach to your dash or vents, keep those shades in easy reach!
  • Portable battery or jumper cables – car batteries are sensitive to changes in temperature, and the heat sometimes can cause a battery to fail prematurely. A portable battery box can be a great thing to have around if you need to jumpstart your car. At minimum, a set of jumper cables isn’t a bad idea.

Before you hit the road this summer, you may want to grab a few of these items to make your summer driving all that much better!