Category Archives: My Dealership

Top Bike Racks of 2019

Fall is a great time for biking with the cooler weather and less traffic. Having the right bike rack can make exploring new areas easier and more enjoyable. Here are some of the best rated options ranging in price and styles.

Roof Racks

Yamika ForkLift Rooftop Bike Rack fits almost any vehicle with flat, round or square crossbars. It requires no tools for installation. It installs in minutes and locks using a skewer with an adjustment knob for quick single-handed release.

Cost: Starting at $180.00

Cycling Deal Bike Car Roof Rack is a great budget-friendly option. It’s a frame mount model that clips on to the bike frame so you do not need to take the wheel off. It fits various crossbars in square and aero shapes. It uses a locking knob to secure the bike safely to the rack.

Cost: Starting at $95.00

Swagman Standard Roof Rack carries a single bike regardless of its size, type, or purpose. It is a fraction of the cost of similar models, but the quality gives it good bang for the buck. It is a fork mount model so you need to remove the wheel. You also need to assemble the wheel tray.

Cost: Starting at $45

Hitch Bike Racks

Thule T2 Pro XT 2 Bike Rack was highly rated due to its high quality and easy installation, but it is on the high end when it comes to cost. It is a platform style and can carry 2 bikes up 60 pounds in weight. It also includes a hitch and bike locks.

Cost: Starting at $430.00

Yamika FullTilt 4 Bike Rack is a hanging support style hitch mount that holds up to 4 bikes with a 40lb weight max per bike. There a lot of pieces to this mount, but once you have installed it a couple times it isn’t as daunting as it might appear initially. This ranked highest when it came to security due to its anti-theft measures. The hitch and bikes are locked using the same key.

Cost: Starting at $385.00

Kuat Transfer Universal 2 Bike Hitch Mount is a platform style hitch mount that is extremely easy to install with just a single bolt attaching it to your receiver. This also tilts outward to be able to access the trunk. This mount can hold 2 bikes up to 40 pounds each.

Cost: Starting at $300.00

Trunk Racks

Thule Raceway 2 Trunk Mount Bike Rack offers an excellent range of features and the quality that comes with the Thule name. It has a simple easy to use design, but the downfall is that it doesn’t fit all cars so make sure it is compatible with your vehicle. This mount holds 2 bikes with a 35 pound max for each bike. It also includes hitch and bike locks.

Cost: Starting at $350.00

Hollywood Racks Baja Trunk Mounted Bike Rack is a high-quality, versatile rack that fits an impressive number of vehicles and is quite reasonable with a price tag of just over $100. This rack will hold up to 2 bikes but doesn’t state the weight limit.

Cost: Starting around $100.00

Saris Bones 2-Bike Trunk Rack is strong yet lightweight and can hold 2 bikes up to 35lbs each. Saris offers expert installation, but the directions are easy to follow and leaves a comfortable amount of space between the trunk and bikes. This mount attaches to most vehicles including hatchbacks, sedans, minivans and more.

Cost: Starting around $160.00

Now you should find it easy to carry a couple bikes on your US Auto Sales car!

How to Avoid the Temptation of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving has become an epidemic in the United States. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 9 people are killed every day in distracted driving related accidents – 3,285 people a year.

Even with 48 states having laws against texting and driving, people still take unnecessary chances. Checking a text message at 55 miles per hour is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field blindfolded. Thirteen states have made use of any handheld devices while driving illegal.

Although hands-free devices allow both hands to remain on the wheel, it is still distracting to interact with someone who is not aware of driving conditions. Many people argue that calling someone using a hands-free device is no different than talking to a passenger, but research shows passengers will instinctively stop talking to adjust to changing driving conditions.

What can be done to help those tempted to pick up their phone or teenagers to avoid checking that incoming text? Here are some suggestions that might help.

  1. Turn the phone off – This sounds simple, but many find it hard to completely disconnect. If missing an important text or phone call is a concern, plan times to pull over and check the phone in a safe location.
  2. Put your phone out of reach – If you can’t completely disconnect, putting your phone out of reach will require pulling over to answer a text or return a phone call.
  3. Phone Apps– There are several apps available that disable texting. Here are a few highly-rated options:
  1. Autobeacon Teen Drive – This app not only disables texting, but parents can set it to notify them of the number of passengers in the vehicle, if their teen is going above the posted speed limit, if the music is excessively loud or if seatbelts are not being used. It can also be set to track location.
  2. Down for the Count – This app rewards you with credits towards gift cards for hours of phone free driving. To activate, simply open the app and press start. It does the rest. If a text is answered, no credits are earned for that trip.
  3. Motovate Safe Driving – This app also rewards safe driving with incentives. It can also help break other bad driving habits such as speeding and braking too hard.
  4. One Tap – This app not only disables texting but will send a message back to the person attempting to make contact.

Do your part! Not only can you reduce the number of preventable road accidents, you can help protect the integrity of your US Auto Sales car!

5 Important Defensive Driving Reminders

Do you remember sitting in Driver’s Ed, overwhelmed by the number of rules and the amount of safety information you were expected to learn? How about during your driving instruction, being scared of driving off the road or not braking fast enough and hitting the car in front of you. Don’t you wish someone would have told you a few key points to remember so you could relax? Well, here they are. Share them with that new driver in your life.

  • Stay focused. We live in a fast-paced world. People pride themselves in being able to multitask. Unfortunately, too many people attempt to do that while driving. It is not uncommon to see people eating, listening to music with headphones, texting, applying makeup or even reading. This makes it that much more important for new drivers to focus on driving and only driving. Many states have rules around new drivers not having passengers in their car. The main reason for this is to avoid distraction.
  • Check your six. Ever jump into a rental car, take off, and realize you haven’t adjusted the mirrors? This is an easy thing to forget, but mirrors are like another set of eyes in the back of our head. The more we can see the better. However, no matter how well we adjust the mirrors, there will always be a blind spot, so make sure to still look over your shoulder to make sure you didn’t miss that approaching car on the highway.
  • Keep your distance. Don’t tailgate. We have all been guilty of this at one point or another. The day we are running late is the day we get behind the person driving 5 miles under the speed limit. The reality is whether we are riding their bumper or 10 yards back, they will still be going 5 miles under the speed limit. It will be even more frustrating for them to stop quick and you slam into the back of their car? Give yourself the space to be able to stop safely. Allow more distance at increased speeds and in inclement weather.
  • Slow down at all intersections. A yellow light does not mean speed up! Slowing down when approaching will allow you to stop safely if the light changes or the person in front of you stops quickly. 4-way stops can be tricky because cars often approach at the same time. When in doubt, let the other person go first.
  • Pay attention to road signs. This may seem obvious, but how many times have you been driving along thinking about something else and suddenly realize your lane is closed ahead for construction? Signs are not only there to keep you safe, but paying attention to them can save you a lot of money. In many states speeding fines are doubled in construction and school zones.

Stay safe out there!

Don’t Drive Drowsy: 5 Important Tips to Stay Alert at the Wheel

We all know the dangers of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, but many people forget that driving while tired can be just as dangerous. When people are tired, their focus is impaired, and their response time is negatively impacted. Some people nod off and appear as if they are driving drunk. Here’s how to avoid finding yourself too tired to drive.

  • Hydrate – Although people gravitate to coffee and energy drinks when trying to stay awake and alert, these are only a quick, temporary fix. Just like sugar, caffeine will work temporarily, but when it wears off, it can leave you feeling even more exhausted. Staying hydrated is more effective for a longer time. Studies show that drinking 16-32 ounces of water immediately after waking up helps you become more alert faster and stay feeling alert longer. Instead of stopping for that extra cup of java, try drinking a couple glasses of water before that next trip and give yourself a little more time for an extra bathroom pit stop.
  • Eat Right – Many people reach for sugary treats for that quick pick me up when they start to get tired. Although it does work initially, the “sugar high” wears off quickly, leaving you more tired than before – the “crash and burn”. To avoid literally crashing, choose healthy, small snacks low in processed sugar and high in protein. They are more apt to keep you alert and give you more consistent energy. Nuts, fruit, or granola paired with that bottle of water are much better choices for extended car rides.
  • Cat Nap – Taking cat naps have been proven to give us a “second wind.” If you are unable to take a short siesta before that next car ride and find yourself nodding off, accept defeat. Pull off at the next safe spot, lean that seat back and doze for 15 to 20 minutes. Any longer and you might go into a deep sleep causing you to wake up groggy and more tired than before.
  • Know Your Danger Zone – We all have times of day when we are more tired. If 3-5pm is your danger zone, try to avoid driving during this time if you can. If you must drive at that time, drink extra water and eat a healthy snack before you hit the road.
  • Share Driving – When possible, it is always a good idea to share driving with someone else. Even if you prefer to be the driver, allowing someone to drive for even an hour will give you that necessary break to recharge.

Driving drowsy is not something to take lightly. Just like planning ahead and having that designated driver or Uber ready to go after indulging in a couple cocktails, planning ahead and having a solid game plan to avoid falling asleep at the wheel is another important responsibility to keep our roadways safe.

Rain-Proof Your Ride

Summer is a great season full of long, bright days and warm breezes. You constantly hear the siren call of a long, aimless drive around the countryside. But with the changing of the seasons comes drastic weather changes: one minute you’re riding with the windows down, and the next you’re stuck in a freak thunderstorm.

It happens! Here’s how you can prepare your car for sudden showers in a quick and easy way:

  1. Protect your paint

It seems counterintuitive, but rainwater famously does not get along with your car’s paint. Instead of letting it erode your car’s awesome exterior, give the body of your car a quick rinse with a hose and keep it out of the rain. (Alternatively, wax is also a great way to keep the integrity of your car’s paint!)

  1. Keep up your tire health

Ultimately, your tires are one of the most overlooked aspects of your car. Let’s fix this! Without the mighty tire, you’re on a road to nowhere. For rainy days in particular, you need to make sure the tread is at its optimal depth so the tire can properly grip the road without sliding.

  1. Ensure your car openings are properly sealed

That little rubber strip between your car and the elements is your best friend. Just by making sure these strips aren’t damaged can save you so much heartache. Who wants to deal with a swamp in their car exterior? (Hint: no one.)

  1. Monitor your wiper fluid and blades

We know, it’s a habit to flick on that windshield wiper as soon as the first raindrop hits your window. That’s what it’s there for, after all! To make sure it can continue doing its great job, you need to ensure that the windshield wipers have the appropriate level and the blades aren’t worn out. Visibility in the rain is imperative for your safety and taking risks in inclement weather should never be an option.

What other hacks do you have for rainy days? With preventative maintenance, you can take even the gloomiest of skies and make it a bright future for you and your car!

How To Pet Proof Your Car

Dogs are man’s best friend, but man’s best friend comes with some unique challenges when you have them in the car. Whether you’re dropping them off at doggie daycare, driving them to the park, or cruisin’ with them on Sunday morning, make sure your US Auto Sales car is operating at the top standard for all the members of your family—even the four-legged ones.

We broke down a few simple problems you risk running into once Gizmo knows it’s time for a ride.

#1: Car surfing

As talented and athletic as your pooch is, make sure that car surfing is one skill they never learn. Having the dog jump back and forth between the front and back seats is not only dangerous for them, it’s dangerous for everyone else in the car as well. Thankfully, there are simple ways to solve the surfing problem. You can take removable mesh netting and fasten it over both headrests in the front and passenger’s side seats, or you can buy a “seatbelt” for your pup. Seatbelts are safe and cheap options to keep your pet tethered to the backseat, where they can lay down and enjoy the ride in peace.

#2:  Dealing with the fluff

We know, the groomer is never anyone’s favorite place. But we still have to contend with the remnants of your Husky so someone can’t guess the color of your dog simply by sitting in your car. An easy solution is putting down nylon or canvas covering over the backseat. Due to its easily removable nature, you can store it in your trunk and have it ready whenever you feel the need for a pup adventure on the road. It’ll save you so much time and effort from busting out the cordless Hoover every weekend!

#3: Accidents

No, not the normal kind you think of in a car. We need to prepare for the “accidents” exclusive to pets unaccustomed to travel: i.e. upset stomach, vomit, unintended bathroom breaks, et cetera. This is all about prevention. Before a long trip, make sure you take Spot out for a long walk. Don’t over-indulge him during breakfast. It’s also never a bad idea to take along extra garbage bags, paper towels, and disinfectant that’s safe for the interior of the car.

You don’t have to cruise alone! Just make sure you’re providing a safe ride to every passenger, no matter what their species.

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.