Do You Have a Car? Well, There’s an App for That

With millions of mobile applications available, the automotive industry refuses to take a backseat to this technology boom. Unfortunately, scrolling through available apps can be time consuming, but don’t worry—we’ve got you covered. Here, we break down a few apps we think are worthy of your download.

Waze: Widely regarded as the “go-to app for cars on the road,” Waze features one of the biggest communities that reports real-time traffic conditions and gas prices. Many say the beauty of Waze is how simple it is—users just need to have the app open on their phone while they commute. From there, the app determines where there’s a lot of traffic and whether drivers should reroute to avoid it. Waze can also provide alternate routes in case the commonly used roads are littered with slow-downs and problems.

AAA: A must-have for AAA members, this app provides easy access to all of the automobile club’s services in one easy-to-use interface. It points out nearby gas stations with up-to-date fuel prices and public charging stations for electric car owners. This app also makes it easier to call for roadside assistance by using your phones GPS coordinates. You can even specify if you need a tow, or just a battery replacement.

SeeClickFix: Anyone who has driven through Pittsburgh in March knows the streets are riddled with potholes. With SeeClickFix, users can report these issues, as well as damaged or vandalized street signs and malfunctioning traffic lights, to the local government.

GasBuddy: When it comes to buying something at the best possible price, gas shouldn’t be an exception. With GasBuddy, users can find the cheapest fuel around, saving a few bucks per tank without the headache of driving from station to station. It may not sound like a lot, but over the course of a year, you would be surprised at how much you could save.

Beat the Traffic: This app acts as a travel-time concierge, notifying drivers of any issues on their normal traffic route before heading out. Motorists can provide updated information, thanks to an easy “shake-to-report” function. With clean graphics and an easy to use interface, it’s a great way to beat the blues of a busy morning commute.

AroundMe: Looking for the closest ATM, hospital, convenience store, or movie theater? Just give the AroundMe app a quick tap. Using your phone’s GPS sensor, AroundMe will locate the nearest point of interest—perfect for drivers who often find themselves in unfamiliar territory or those enjoy road trips with no predefined destination in mind.


How to Extend the Life of Your Brakes

Do you feel like you are buying breaks after every season!? If so, take a look at our helpful hints on how to extend the life of your brakes. Both your car and wallet will thank you!

Stop speeding
Stops from high speed are your brakes worst nightmare. Stopping form 65 mph rather than 55 mph forces the brakes to dissipate about a third more energy.

Be a coaster
Coasting helps get rid of a lot of brake-killing speed. For instance, if you know you’ll have to stop at the end of a freeway off-ramp, coasting from 70 down to 50 before you brake will help reduce brake wear.

Memorize places where other drivers slow down. If you were to ask a Pittsburgh driver, they would tell you the Squirrel Hill Tunnels are infamous for this!

Unload your car
The heavier your car, the harder it is on your brakes. Remove any unnecessary things that are weighing your car down.

Don’t follow the crowd
Many drivers brake just because the person in front of them did. It’ll take some practice, but eventually you will learn to coast when others brake inappropriately.

Change your break fluid
Brake fluid needs to be periodically changed. Renew your brake fluid, especially if you have an older vehicle or one that you purchased used. Flushing the brake fluid will make the internal components last longer and the brakes work better.

Upgrade and specialize
You get what you pay for, so don’t be surprised when bargain brakes wear out quickly. Today’s brake pads are complex, they may contain a dozen or more components, and are designed for specific uses.

Be frugal, but not foolish
Trying to extend brake life too long will cost you more money in the long-run. A good time to inspect brake material thickness is when you have your tires rotated.

no brakes

If you need new breaks give one of out service departments a call today!

Tips for Driving on Black Ice

The winter season is here, and for as pretty as the snow is when it covers the trees and roads, it brings many dangers for motorists, with one of the most threatening being slippery and hard-to-spot black ice.

Black ice forms when the air is at 32 degrees or below at the surface and rain is falling. The ground temperature causes the precipitation to freeze upon impact, thus creating the ice.

Due to complexion, black ice is very hard to spot, but using a car thermometer as an initial gauge can be helpful in determining the road conditions. A car thermometer is made to find the air’s ambient temperature. So if a vehicle’s thermometer is close to freezing, the car driver should be cautious on the roads.


However, dude to the restrictions of a car’s thermometer, the best way to know if the roads are icy before heading out is to be aware of how, where, and when black ice forms. The prime time for ice to develop are around dawn and in the late evening, when temperatures are typically the lowest. During the day, the best thing to do before getting in a vehicle is to take a look at the pavement. If the pavement is dry but you see spots of pavement that look dark and glossy, there is a great chance that it is black ice. The most common locations for black ice to appear are shaded or tree-covered parts of driveways and roadways due to the lack of sunlight and bridges and overpasses because of their ability to freeze quickly.


While driving on black ice is similar to snow, the big difference between the two is the amount of traction the vehicle retains. Due to lack of traction a car has on ice, the basic rule for driving is to stay calm and let the vehicle pass over it.

Other tips for driving on black ice:

1. Do not hit the brakes, instead keep the steering wheel steady

2. Lift your foot off the accelerator.

3. Do not overcorrect your steering if you feel your car sliding

4. Use extreme caution on bridges and overpasses

5. Never use cruise control

6. Avoid unnecessarily changing lanes

7. Drive, turn, and break slowly

8. If you have anti-lock brakes, do not pump the pedal

9. Use your low-beam headlights

10. Remember, four-wheel drive doesn’t help you stop any faster.

Our service departments are here to get your winter ready

The Best Travel Destinations in December

There’s no place like home for the holidays, but the Mitsubishi Mirage and the Kia Optima Hybrid get up to 44-40 MPG highway, so why not take a little road trip this holiday season. That’s why we’re bringing you the top 10 destinations to travel to this December (and maybe a few you cannot take a road trip to visit).

  1. Washington DC

December travel destinations

December is said to be one of the most cheerful times in Washington D.C. The city is buzzing with the holiday atmosphere embedded in garlands, lights, sparkles, and bows. Travelers can enjoy Christmas walking tours, Christmas carols, and visit the national Christmas tree.

  1. Chicago

Visitors from all over the world visit the Windy City during this time of year. They dine at the base of the great tree, walk through and view the animated Macy’s window display, take pictures at the decorated trees, and enjoy the city in its full glory. To make the most out of your Chicago trip, go to the northerly islands and see the featured ice sculptures!

  1. Boston

Boston is a snowy city in December, which is why most people enjoy indoor activities like visiting museums, dining, food festivals, and holiday celebrations. Enjoy a game of hockey, explore the history and cultural heritage, enjoy the night theater, watch the performing art at the ballet or opera house, and catch the various events occurring during the month of December…after you warm up with a bowl of clam chowder, that is.

  1. Buffalo

Buffalo is the second largest metropolis in New York and receives nearly four major snowstorms a year! The city is bustling with art and culture and many history buffs love to visit the city and admire its beauty. Buffalo hosts the downtown Buffalo Christmas tree lighting, which is the official opening for ice skating, and after the tree is lit, visitors can enjoy balloon art, free ice-skating, and horse and wagon rides.

  1. Stamford

Stamford, in New England, is one of the finest places to visit in the winter. This is a great family stop since there are tons of family attractions that can be visited, including fun events and holiday lights. The Latham Park Christmas tree lighting and Santa repelling down many floors of the Landmark Building are worth admiring.

  1. Manchester

Manchester is a winter wonderland in the month of December. Kaleidoscope Children’s Museum and the SSE Science Museum are the top attractions to visit. Also on the list of attractions are ice skating, attending a hockey game at the Verizon Wireless Arena, and visiting a symphony concert.

  1. Alaska

If you plan a trip to Alaska this December, be sure to bring heavy winter clothes! Winter is the best time in Alaska to see the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights.

  1. Florida

If you’re not into the cold state of Alaska, try taking a trip to the Sunshine State! Florida has mild temperatures in the winter, and visitors don’t have to wear a jacket 24/7. Since Florida is a beach state, many beach lovers tend to flock to this state. If you go to Florida for the holidays, Disney World is a must! It is lighted and gorgeously decorated. Throughout the state, you can see the twinkling lights and boat parades; the city is in a festive mood with decorations galore.

  1. Colorado

If you plan a trip to Colorado for the holiday season, you will be graced with the snowy slopes and cozy weather of the city. If skiing is your favorite past time, then Colorado is the perfect place for you. Colorado is home to the resort towns of Aspen and Vale, the best skiing centers. It is also home to NORAD, a government agency that tracks Santa on Christmas Eve.

  1. Puerto Rico

If you plan a trip to Puerto Rico this holiday season, leave the jacket behind! Visitors can get a break from the cold in Puerto Rico. From surfing waves to sunbathing on the beach, Puerto Rico is the perfect place for the holidays. The entire city is lit up with holiday decorations, and the best part is Christmas begins early and lasts longer in Puerto Rico.

So there you have it, the best places to visit this holiday season! Now, hit the road in your sleigh and have a happy holiday!

The Best Gifts for Car Lovers

Do you have a car enthusiast on your list of people to shop for this holiday season? If so, this is your guide to the perfect gift for him or her!

1. Car Dial Cufflinks – Just like some people wear their heart on their sleeve, car enthusiast wear car dials on theirs. The Set shown below features a gas gauge and the other a speedometer.


2. Top Gear: The Worst Car in the History of the World DVD – We were just as sad as any other car enthusiast was when Top Gear ended, but they have released a DVD that will still get your gears going. This DVD is the latest from Top Gear, and features the same fantastic cinematography, humor, and interesting cars that you’d expect from the TV series.


3 Leather Driving Gloves – To get the feel of the wheel, you need a good grip. That’s why it’s a no-brainer, every driver needs a good set of gloves.

4. Andy Warhol 300 SL Coupe Collectible Print/Poster – Pittsburgh’s own Andy Warhol is no stranger to elaborate cars. That’s why he created a poster any car fan can appreciate. The muse behind his masterpiece was the 1954 Mercedes-Benz 300SL, this super-car was one of the fastest production car in the world.


5. Pirelli Exclusive Rubber Wrist Band Set – The formula one fans will appreciate this one. The set of rubber wrist bands are not only branded Pirelli, but they each have different labels describing the different types of tires used in formula one race, from soft, to rain.


6. Harley Davidson Remote Control Truck – Lets face it, it’s practically impossible to find an enthusiast who doesn’t appreciate a remote control car. This F-150 Harley Davidson Edition, is 1:14 scale, with rubber tires, and looks like a monster truck. This is the perfect gift for the car enthusiast on your list who are too young to drive a real one.


7. Drivers of a Lifetime: 500 of the World’s Most Spectacular Trips – Everyone has stories of their favorite road-trip that they love to share, so here’s a collection of the best places to go for a drive. This book by National Graphic showcases the top 500 destinations for a road-trip, and explains the best practices and agenda to plan a road trip.

8. Dirt 3 Video Game – This one is for the virtual enthusiast on your list, the latest video games provide a great blend and of simulation and fun. This game is a top choice for those with either an Xbox, Playstation, or even a gaming PC.

Why Buying a Used Car Makes Sense

Everyone loves a new car, but sometimes buying a used car just makes more sense. Don’t let the uncertainty of a used car make you sweat. At Jim Shorkey Family Auto Group, we offer our exclusive lifetime warranty program, Warranty Forever, on every eligible used car we sell. We also have an impressive selection of value-priced vehicles if you’re shopping on a budget. Need more convincing? Here are a few reasons why it’s worthwhile investing in a used vehicle from the Jim Shorkey Family Auto Group.

used cars pittsburgh, used cars north huntingdon

  1. Affordability, Of Course: This is certainly one of the biggest advantages of a used car. Even if a vehicle’s only been out on the road for a short period of time, it’s still considered preowned, even though it still has new-like qualities.
  2. Better Value: This isn’t always the case, but preowned vehicles are much more likely to retain their value. New vehicles depreciate in value after the first few years of use. A used vehicle’s been there, done that.
  3. Insurance Rates: Used vehicle insurance rates tend to be less expensive.
  4. Low Registration Fees: Likewise, with insurance rates, registration fees tend to be lower with used vehicles.
  5. Reliability: Of course, our selection of new vehicles at Jim Shorkey Family Auto Group are known for their reliability, but used vehicles also do well in this department since they’ve already been tested and hiccups have been addressed.
  6. Safety: Some used vehicles are notably safe! The IIHS recently released a list of the safest used cars for teens, many of which you’ll find in our inventory.

There are other reasons to consider purchasing a used vehicle, so if you’d like to continue the conversation, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at any of Jim Shorkey locations on Route 30 in North Huntingdon or Pittsburgh Road in Uniontown.