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6 Factors to Keep in Mind When Buying For Your New Driver

Your young driver’s dream car probably isn’t the most practical or safest choice. Using the car buying experience to research the best options is a great way to help your child make informed adult decisions. Here are some important factors to keep in mind when purchasing a vehicle for the young person in your life.

Sticker Price

The bottom line is most likely the deciding factor when purchasing that perfect vehicle for your child. Keep in mind when looking at the sticker price that makes and models that hold their value better than others are usually more reliable and last longer. Make it easy on yourself by shopping a no-haggle dealership like US Auto Sales.

Reliability

The last thing a parent needs to worry about is whether their child is going to end up stranded on the side of the road. Some cars are more reliable than others. Doing your homework first will make it easier to steer clear of some of those vehicles your child may gravitate towards. Also, a vehicle history report from Carfax is a must. US Auto Sales provides a Carfax report with every used vehicle and a limited warranty to add to your peace of mind.

Safety

Most cars now come with safety features like anti-lock brakes and airbags standard, but take the time to look at which vehicles ranked highest in safety. Again, look at the car’s history and whether or not it might have suffered any structural damage due to an accident.

Fuel Efficiency

It is easy to get wrapped up in the other factors of used car buying and forget some of the long-term factors of car ownership. Fuel efficiency is critical as this is an everyday expense. Helping your new driver calculate the cost of fuel for different vehicles they might be considering might help them make a more practical decision.

Features and Add-ons

Although most features and add-ons increase the sticker value, some might help sway you’re a young driver to go with something more practical. For example, a used car that has an upgraded stereo system might be enough to convince your new driver to go with the more fuel efficient, safer vehicle. Also, it might be worth the additional cost for some added safety features such as a back-up camera or GPS.

Insurance Costs

The cost of insuring a young driver can be prohibitive. Take the time to call your insurance company. It could save you a huge chunk of change. Sometimes choosing the same model in a different model year can make a big difference in the insurance cost. Use this as a learning experience to instill good car purchase decision-making in the future.

Taking the time to do your homework before heading over to US Auto Sales will make the car buying experience with your new driver much more enjoyable and increase the likelihood that both of you will be happy with the outcome.

Five Ways U.S. Auto Goes the Extra Mile for You

Buying a used car can come with some challenges and stress. It is difficult to know exactly what you are buying and how it’s been maintained. Buying a used car can also be frustrating, taking too much time out of your schedule. Choosing the right dealership that stands behind what they sell is extremely important. US Auto does just that. Here are 5 ways US Auto goes the extra mile so you can feel confident in your purchase.

30 Day/1000 Mile Limited Warranty – We believe in the vehicles we sell. That’s why we include a 30 day/1000 miles limited powertrain warranty with every vehicle. We also provide the CarFax so that you can examine the car’s history before you buy it.

Five Day/300 Mile Exchange –Sometimes you buy a vehicle thinking it is exactly what you want, but then after a couple days of driving it, it just doesn’t feel right. Maybe it’s a little tight, or you can’t see out of the mirrors the way you want, no matter how much you adjust them. With other dealerships, once you drive it off the lot there is no turning back. That’s not the case with us. You’ve got 5 days or 300 miles to decide if the car is truly right. If not, you can exchange it for another vehicle that is a better fit. This brings another level of comfort to the used car buying experience.

Free Transfers for Qualified Buyers – Is your dream car at one of the other 25 US Auto locations? Provided that you qualify and have the necessary down payment to purchase the vehicle, we’ll bring the vehicle to the location most convenient to you. This can be a game changer when you have limited time in your schedule.

Your Ride to Drive – Purchasing a vehicle not because you want to but because you have to? Does your car no longer pass inspection or no longer turns over? If that is the case, We’ll pick you up and bring you to your choice of one of our 25 locations within a 30 mile radius once you have completed the online prequalification application. This is another way they go the extra mile to help reduce the stress of buying a new vehicle.

90 minutes or $300 Discount – Have you ever been approved for a vehicle and then spent the rest of the day sitting around the dealership while the paperwork is put together? Or, even worse, been told to come back the next day? At US Auto, we value your time. We guarantee that once you are approved for your selected vehicle, we’ll have the paperwork ready to sign within 90 minutes or we’ll take $300 off the purchase price.

We’ve tried to think of all the stresses that come with buying a used car and done everything we can to reduce that stress and make your car buying experience a positive one.

It’s leaf-peeping season!

While it’s sad to have to say goodbye to summer, with the changing of the season comes the changing colors of the leaves!  There’s very little more pleasant than packing up a picnic on a cool fall day and heading out into the woods to see the colors of the changing leaves.

As this is being written, here in the southeast foliage season is just beginning, with minimal changes in the far northern parts of Georgia, western North Carolina, and east Tennessee. What do all these areas have in common? They’re at higher elevations. Two keys to seeing more leaves this time of year – the further north and the higher up you go, the more color change you’re going to see.

Peak fall foliage season in north Georgia begins about the 2nd week in November, but if you’re in a hurry, it’s nearly at its peak the first week. By mid-November, the foliage peak is in the Atlanta metro area, directly east and west, and the coastal Carolinas south of the Neuse River. If you’re a procrastinator, or you live south of the Atlanta metro, the 3rd week of November finds the foliage peak in the southern part of the state, south of Macon. If you decide to head that way for longer than a day trip, I’d also recommend a visit to the Americus area – it’s very rural, so you’ll see lots of foliage, but there are a number of quaint small towns in the area as well.

Once you get to the end of November, you’ll have to head to Florida or Mobile, Alabama to see any color, as most of the leaves will have fallen off the trees in Georgia, Alabama, and the Carolinas.

Now that you know when, here are a few great drives in the southeast for foliage viewing:

  • Great Smoky Mountain National Park, Tennessee – the great diversity of trees and terrain in the Smokies make for a gorgeous fall palette. Want to see how it looks? Check out their web-cam.
  • Mount Cheaha, Alabama – The Creek Indians didn’t name this mountain “high place” for nothing. At over 2,400 above sea level, it’s the highest point in Alabama. They’ve also got a foliage cam.
  • Blue Ridge Scenic Railway, Georgia – drive your US Auto Sales car to the historic depot in downtown Blue Ridge and wind your way along the Toccoa River in a historic railcar. Make a reservation a few weeks in advance, as these trips are popular in fall.
  • Brasstown Bald, Georgia – This is the state’s highest peak, nestled among some of the most beautiful mountains in the state. You can see quite a lot from the parking area, or take a short hike to the observation deck at the very top.
  • Blue Ridge Parkway, North Carolina – wending its way through national parks and the beautiful arts community of Asheville, you will not be disappointed by time spend in the North Carolina mountains. If you want to go the distance, you can take it all the way to Charlottesville, Virginia, and the beginnings of Skyline Drive in the Shenandoah Valley.

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!

6 Ways to Maintain the Resale Value of your Vehicle

It is never too early to think about the resale value of your car. There many items that should be considered and addressed from time of purchase, especially if your intent is to eventually trade in or sell your vehicle down the road. Certain makes and models hold their value better due to reputation, but these items are critical to getting the highest amount possible for your vehicle.

1. Mileage – Keeping the mileage down is an important factor in resale value. That’s why the mileage limit on leases is typically 15,000 miles a year, keeping the resale value of the vehicle high. A couple of mileage numbers that are important for resale are 50,000 and 98,000. People tend to look for cars with less than 50,000 miles or under 100,000, but if it is too close to the 100,000 mark it can be a deterrent. Stay under 98,000 if you plan to resell is recommended.

2. Maintenance – We all know how important maintenance is to our vehicle. For many people looking for a used car, knowing that the car has been regularly maintained by the previous owner can make a significant difference. The only thing better than keeping up the maintenance is keeping all the maintenance records – people like documentation!

3. Keep it clean – Keeping the vehicle clean inside and out makes your vehicle stand out immediately. When looking for a used car, people are drawn to clean cars with low mileage. Regular washes and vacuuming are important. Using a stain guard on the interior and investing in some good floor mats also helps. Take a little extra care in cleaning the car and add a fresh coat of wax right before trading it in or selling it to send the message to buyers it has been taken care of and well maintained.

4. Choosing your parking spaces carefully – Where you park is extremely important in maintaining the outside of your vehicle. Park away from other vehicles to avoid scratches and door dings. Park in the shade but away from trees with pitch helps the paint maintain its brightness.

5. Maintain and replace tires – Tires are critical items car shoppers look at and want to avoid having to replace immediately. Make sure to have the alignment checked and tires rotated as recommended to help the tires wear properly and last longer. Clean and shine tires prior to resale and remove any brake dust from your wheels.

6. Keep all paperwork – CARFAX (which is provided by US Auto Sales on all our used cars) shares most of the car’s history. It’s also a good idea to keep records of the maintenance completed on your vehicle, especially if you were diligent in completing all recommended maintenance. This includes all oil changes, tire rotations and scheduled maintenance. If your vehicle was in an accident that required body repair, the records from these are helpful especially if your insurance company allowed the body shop to use original equipment parts.

4 Important and Easy Vehicle Maintenance Needs

We all know how important it is to keep up with the maintenance on our vehicles. Many of us bring them in for regular maintenance checks. However, we may not remember to do some of these other very important things to ensure that our cars run smoothly and we don’t get stuck on the side of the road.

Oil Changes

It used to be recommended that you get an oil change every 3 months or 3000 miles, whichever came first. Now with improved oils, many cars can go 5,000 to 7,000 miles between oil changes. The best way to know what is recommended for your car is to look in the owner’s manual.

Tires and Tire Pressure

Tire pressure is extremely important for many reasons, including handling and fuel economy. Many cars now have tire pressure monitoring systems which cause a dashboard light to go on when the pressure is low in one or more tires. This can reduce accidents, increase fuel economy and help tires wear more evenly and last longer.

Tires should be replaced when the tread on any part of the tire is less than 2/32 inch. One quick and easy way to check this is by inserting a penny into the tire tread with Lincoln’s head upside down. Do this on several different areas on each tire. If you are able to see all of Lincoln’s head, the tread is less than 2/32 inch deep and most likely it is time to invest in new tires.

Washer Fluid and Antifreeze

There are a variety of types of washer fluid. Where you live and the weather conditions are key factors on what type is best for your vehicle. Some repel water better than others. Some are designed for colder temperatures. Make sure whatever type you choose is suitable for the weather conditions of your area. Each car’s owner manual will describe where and how to add windshield washer fluid.

Antifreeze or coolant is also important, particularly in extreme cold or heat. Not only does it stop your engine from freezing, it is also much more effective at keeping an engine from overheating than water. Again, every car’s owner manual will explain how to check the levels of coolant and add more if needed.

Windshield Wipers

Anyone who has ever lost a windshield wiper during a torrential downpour knows firsthand how important it is to replace windshield wipers regularly. There are a wide variety of wipers available. Take the weather in your area into consideration when selecting the appropriate wipers for your vehicle. It is important to have the make, model and year of your vehicle available when selecting wipers to ensure that the ones you select fit your vehicle correctly. A simple way to increase the life of your wiper blades is to wipe them once a week with an alcohol wipe to remove dirt and residue.

Taking the time to make sure that these simple yet extremely important maintenance needs are met will help give you peace of mind knowing you are doing your part to ensure the safety of your vehicle.

The 3 F’s of road trip survival

Have you ever hopped in the car for a six hour trip with kids in tow, got about an hour into it and thought “I really wish I had planned this out better,” If you are more like me and like to take spontaneous road trips when time allows, you might wish you were more prepared so that you could jump in the car and head on your way. Whichever the case, I am sure you will find the following list of road trip must haves a helpful tool to ensure you are better equipped for your next extended car ride.

To make it easy, here are the three F’s to road trip survival.

FOOD

  • Water – Packing 8-ounce bottles takes up less space and minimizes restroom stops. Freeze a couple to use as ice packs to save space in the cooler and have something nice and cold to drink towards the end of your trip.
  • Healthy snacks – If you are traveling with the kids minimizing sugar is key. Having fruit, veggies, cheese and crackers, pretzels, etc. is key. If you are organized enough to have them all in single serve containers even better!
  • Your favorite picnic lunch – If you are planning to be in the car for more than four hours and don’t want to have to stop for food, pack something you really enjoy and will look forward to taking a break to eat. This is key to not caving and stopping for fast food.
  • Mints and sugar free gum – Need I say more?

Don’t forget a couple garbage bags so that when you stop for that restroom break you get rid of the car clutter.

FIRST AID

Have a first aid bag with the basics in your car at all time but remember that most drugs should not be left in a hot car. I have a small backpack I use that is specifically for my road trip first aid kit. It includes:

  • The basics – Bandages, gauze, antibiotic ointment and disposable ice pack.
  • Pain reliever, antacid, antihistamines, and cough drops – There is nothing worse than not feeling well and having nothing to relieve the symptoms.
  • Wet wipes – keep these easily accessible. Sticky hands are terrible when you have nothing in the car to clean them with!
  • Sunscreen – If you have your windows down or have a sunroof or convertible, there is a good chance that you could end up with a nasty, blotchy burn if you are not prepared,
  • Pocket knife, bandana, and small blanket – Hopefully you will never find yourself in a situation where you are need of these basic emergency first aid items, but better safe than sorry!

FUN

It’s easy as a passenger to bury your head in a phone or tablet, but a road trip is an opportunity to take in the sights and bond with those you are with. Here are some ideas that make family trips more enjoyable.

  • A music playlist – This is fun to put together with everyone going on the trip. Compile everyone’s favorites so no one must endure one person’s preference the whole time.
  • The ABC game – Try to be the first person to find the letters of the alphabet in order. You can use signs, license plates, writing on vehicles or buildings.
  • Mad libs – These are always sure to be a good time, and they’re inexpensive to buy.
  • Cheap toys – for longer trips with younger kids, here’s a strategy for success. Go to your local dollar store. Figure out how many hours you’re on the road and buy one toy per hour for each kid. (It’s probably a good idea to buy the same toy for each kid.) Every hour, throw a new toy into the back seat.
  • Folding chairs – Keep a couple in the trunk when you find a nice place to take a break and recharge.

Hopefully you found some new ideas to add to your road trip must haves.

Treat yourself!

It’s about to be Christmas in August, people. It’s the dog days of summer, sure, but it’s been a minute since you really treated yourself. Whether you spend your days in traffic, running errands, or otherwise, your life is being aided every day by your vehicle.

So when you’re thinking about how to spend that mid-year splurge, why not think about that thing you use every day to get you where you need to go (literally)?

  1. A Navigation System

Many newer models have this feature, and if you have the travel bug, it’s well worth the investment. It’s been in the vogue for several states in the US to have strict hands-free cell phone laws, so having a GPS system natively built into your car will save you the hassle of being pulled over and increase your car safety. Win-win!

  1. A Better Sound System

Yes, your current one can currently “make do,” but does it really get your gears going when you’re driving down an empty road in the middle of summer? If you’re a metalhead or pop music junkie, having your tunes operating at maximum efficiency is the ultimate pick-me-up. What’s better than belting along to your favorite songs?

  1. Detailing

Oh, the real splurge. The thing that will get shock and awe from even the most novice of car aficionados. It’s expensive, but hey, it’s a splurge, right? Getting your car professionally detailed is a step above the normal car ownership and can even help the lifespan of your car. Staying in shape isn’t just a concept for you—it applies to the wheels as well!

  1. Dash Cam

What seems like a splurge now will save many a headache for you, your insurance company, and anyone who may be involved with your car in the future. This nifty little device is here to record the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but, so help it’s little technological heart. Even if it seems unnecessary now, your “splurge” could pay off big time in the future.

Splurges are the time to treat yourself, and like everything else, should be treated with caution and moderation. But if you have the money, time, and means, even the smallest of splurges can have innumerable benefits.

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.