Deck the Halls… and your car!

Decorating your car can be a fun experience.  There are many ways to make sure that your car looks, and feels like Christmas.  Jim Shorkey has 5 recommendations to make your car festive for the holiday!

Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer Kit!

Kia Forte, Jim Shorkey Kia, Holiday ornaments

Nothing is cuter than seeing Rudolf drive beside you on the road.  This Rudolf the Red Nose Reindeer Kia Kit comes with two antlers you put on your side windows and a big red nose for the grill.  We love the nose so much that we even display them in our showrooms!

Candy Cane Kit!

Kia Soul, Jim Shorkey, Dress your car

Similar to the Rudolf kit,  the candy canes attach to the windows and a peppermint on the grill of the car.  This kit provides a sweet ride.

Wreath!

Wreath, Jim Shorkey Family Auto,

The Wreath may have been the first Christmas decoration put on the car.  Traditionally, the wreath is attached to the grill. We recommend using a plastic wreath (the real ones don’t last very long). You can also add battery powered lights in and around your wreath to make it pop!

Christmas Music

There is so much you can do to bring cheer to you and your passengers. When you are driving around town playing Christmas classics, it’s hard not to see a smile from everyone.  Songs like White Christmas, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town and Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas will make you feel nostalgic in all the right ways!

Putting Electric Lights Around Your Car

Jim Shorkey lights, Christmas, season greatings

This option is advance, with an inverter, your car will twinkle just like your Christmas tree.  If you want to know how, check out our blog at Jim Shorkey Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram to learn more.

Holiday Sticker Decals

Jim Shorkey, Decals

Afraid of putting something on your car that could fly away while driving?  Check out Christmas sticker decals that will sick on your car as long as you want.  They come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes. From bells to angels, you’re sure to find one that’s right for you!

Bye Bye Salt Stains, Hello Spring!

After the winter we’ve had, more than likely your car floor is covered in salt stains. And with Pittsburgh getting a small covering of what we’re hoping is the last snow of the season this past weekend, we’re glad we decided to hold off on our car spring cleaning. But with temperatures picking back up, we decided to get in the spring cleaning mood and give you a 3 step how-to on getting rid of those salt stains once and for all!

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To start, you need some water, vinegar, a brush, absorbent rags, a vacuum and a little TLC.

1. Vacuum the area carefully, getting as much dirt and dry salt out as possible. Do not press too hard as this will force the salt further into the carpet and perhaps damage the fibers.

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2. Spray and soak again, this time using an absorbent cloth to wipe the area. If you have a wet/dry vacuum use it to remove the remaining moisture. (Do not use the family household vacuum – there will be expensive results from ingesting the salty water!) If you do not have a wet/dry vacuum use absorbent towels. Press down on the damp area with as much weight as possible.

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3. Repeat as necessary, the salt will eventually come off and the vinegar smell will go away as well. Leave the windows open and enjoy the Pittsburgh spring air!

Do You Know When Your Brakes Need a Little TLC?

We cant stress enough the importance of routine brake inspections! Executive director of Car Car Council, Rich White, stated “When it comes to vehicle safety, the brake system is at the top of the list, so have your brakes checked by an auto service professional at least once a year. Knowing the key warning signs that your brakes may need maintenance will go a long way toward keeping you and others safe on the road.”

But how do you know when you should get your brakes checked? Below, we have listed seven signs that your brakes need to be inspected.

Noise: screeching, grinding or clicking noises when applying the brakes.7 signs to inspect brakes

Pulling: vehicle pulls to one side while braking.

Low Pedal: brake pedal nearly touches the floor before engaging.

Hard Pedal: must apply extreme pressure to the pedal before brakes engage.

Grabbing: brakes grab at the slightest touch to the pedal.

Vibration: brake pedal vibrates or pulses, even under normal braking conditions.

Light: brake light is illuminated on your vehicle’s dashboard.

If you have encountered any of these signs, schedule your appointment here, and our technicians will switch your breaks and get you back on the road!

Become a Master Technician with These How-To Videos

Do you need help checking your tire pressure? What about changing your cabin air filter? If so, you’ve come to the right place! Our master technician, Johnathan, is here with quick and easy how to tips on common car questions. Click the videos below and find out how to become a master technician yourself! If you haven’t mastered the craft, and need to make a service appointment, click here, and we can do it for you! We’re always looking for suggestions! Leave your car questions in the comments below!

Ways You May Be Prematurely Aging Your Car

We all know that the winter weather takes a tool on your car, but bad habits could be making it worse. Here are the most common habits that may be increasing the wear and tear on your car.

Warming your car up or leaving it idling
It’s been an urban legend for many years – you must warm you car up in the winter before driving. But today’s cars have been proven to bust that myth, since their engines have enough lubrication that they don’t need to be warmed up. If you heat your car up just to get the inside nice and toasty before heading out in the brisk morning, just keep it to a minimum. Engines aren’t designed to sit idling for long periods of time. Keeping it idling for too long can cause a buildup on your spark plugs, which can make them less efficient, which wastes gas.

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Poor tire maintenance
Driving a car with improperly inflated tires wastes fuel and wears down your tires’ tread. Check out Master Technician, Johnathan, as he demonstrates how to check your tire tread depth.

Putting the pedal to the metal
The speed limit signs you see on the side of the row are there for a reason! When you driving over the speed limit, you are forced to break hard, fast and abruptly, which cant take a toll on your tires’ tread. Allow some space between your car and the car in front so you don’t have to brake as hard, and scan the road far ahead so you can react with plenty of time.

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Baking the dashboard
Those sunshades you see in windshields isn’t just to keep the car cooler inside for those hot days, but to keep the dashboard from blistering, cracking, fading or getting otherwise damaged by the harsh rays of the sun.

Car window shade Jim Shorkey

Get You Car Clutter Free in 5 Easy Steps

As embarrassing as it is, we all have had it at least once – a cluttered car. For most, your car is an extension of your house. You have items in there that have out worn their welcome. From clothes and shoes to that fast food bag you forgot about, your car has become the bearer of all things. But there comes a time when you realize that enough is enough, you have to clean your car! But where do you start? Well, that’s where we come in! Here are some steps to help you achieve a car that’s clutter free!

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1. Start in the trunk
This is the part of you car that you’re most likely going to find the most mess. The truck is the go-to storing space in your car since you don’t have to look at the clutter. When you fo through the piles of clutter in your trunk, sort them out using the five-box method: donate, sell, keep, store, and throw. Only the items that go in the keep box should remain in the trunk. But make sure that after you figured out what to keep, you organize the items in a way that won’t clutter up your trunk.

2. Move to the back and front seat.
Just like the trunk, you can organize your backseat with the same five-box method. Sort through all items and put them in the appropriate places. After you have tackled the backseat you can move to the front. The glove compartment is another area that needs some attention.

3. Collect loose change
Most cars have tons of loose changing rolling around. To prevent this, put a small coin box in your car. This will also make coins more accessible when you need them for parking, toll fees, and more!

4. Leave an empty bag inside the car
To help prevent your car becoming a cluttered mess all over again, leave an empty bag inside your car for trash. At the end of the day, take the bag out of the car so you don’t accumulate trash.

5. Impose a “no food” rule
This rule is great to keep the clutter and smell out of your car. If you do need to eat inside, just be sure to throw the trash away immediately and clean the inside of the car thoroughly.

Tips to Avoid Distractions While Driving

We can all admit it – we’ve been distracted while driving. We don’t realize that we have stopped at a green light because we were distracted by something else. That’s why we’re here with helpful hints on ways to avoid distractions while driving

Distracted-driving

  • Give the road your undivided attention. Don’t let anything divert your attention, scan the road and watch out for pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Make sure everything in your car is secured. Anything that is loose in the car can roll around and cause distraction. If everything is stored away you wont feel tempted to reach for them on the floor and seat.
  • Make adjustments before you head out on your adventure. Address vehicle systems like your GPS, seats, mirrors, climate controls and sound system. Decide your route and check traffic conditions ahead of time.
  • Put away that phone! Don’t use cell phones while driving – hanndheld or hands-free – except in the case of emergencies. Never use text messaging, email functions, video games or the internet with a wireless device.
  • If there is another activity that requires your attention, pull over to a safe place instead of trying to attempt it while driving.
  • Snack smart. Eat meals or snacks before or after your trip, not while driving. On the road, avoid messy foods that can be difficult to manage.
  • Don’t let your passengers distract you! Instead, enlist their help so you can focus safely on driving.

Preparing Your Jim Shorkey Vehicle for Pittsburgh’s Winter Weather

Living in Pittsburgh you grow accustomed to beautiful summers and terrible winters, but have you done what it takes to make sure your car lasts this winter? Checking your car is a smart and safe route to take to avoid any troubles or problems you may encounter during the harsh winter times. The last thing you want is to break down on the side of the road during a cold winter night, so here are something’s you should check regularly before the winter starts and during the winter.

  • One of the first things you should ask yourself before winter starts is when was the last time my car had a tune up? If you cannot remember than you should get one as soon as possible. The winter time exposes problems that you may have not known existed; such as bad performances or hard starts.
  • The car battery and electrical systems are next. The winter time is hard on car batteries and electrical systems forcing the two to work twice as hold during cold weather scenarios compared to any other times of the year. Cold weather affects the chemical process in the battery which reduces the batteries ability to hold an electrical charge.
  • Antifreeze is another big one during the winter times. Failure to check your antifreeze can lead to a very expensive problem for you in the long run. Cold weather can cause cracked hoses, ruptured radiators and even water pump failure; so if you do not know when the last time you changed your antifreeze than maybe it’s time to do so now. (Clean and Flush)
  • Check all wipers and defrosters regularly, just to make sure everything is working properly and if you happen to get stuck one night you will not freeze to death. (Side note: your windshield wipers should be changed every six months).
  • Check tired tread and make sure your tires and up to good standings while driving in the snow. Also, take note that just because you have new or snow tires, this does not mean it works on ice. The tires are used for traction on snowy surfaces not ice on the roads. Make sure you also check your tire pressure (Weekly). Winter time can release the pressure in your tires more rapidly than other times of the year.
  • Brakes are something you should be well up to standards with during the winter; the last thing you want is to be going down a snowy hill and your brakes giving out on you. Make sure you get your brakes checked so that this does not become an issue for you. (Check out another one of blogs about how to extend your brake life).
  • Make sure you check your exhaust system to make sure no carbon dioxide is leaking in your car while the windows are closed.
  • Check your lights, body and windows during the winter; the winter time can create cracks that are not visible from far distances.
  • Lastly is your oil and filter; old oil can cause you a lot of trouble during the winter time. Make sure you get a regular oil check and if necessary change to your oil to “winter weight” during this time of the season.

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This time of the year can be brutal on your car, but it is up to you to make sure your car is in good health. You must protect it and take care of it and if you need any assistance do not hesitate to stop by at one of our Jim Shorkey Family Auto Group services with any help or checkups.

10 Car Hacks You Need to Know

We know times can be busy and hectic, and car maintenance is far from your mind. That’s why we’re bringing you 10 car hacks that will immensely improve your car.

1. Hand sanitizer is a fast and easy way to unlock a frozen door.

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2. Toothpaste helps get rid of scuffs

3. Dryer sheets help keep your car smelling fresh

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4. Use a shoe organizer to keep important items nearby

5. Make a trash bag holder from an empty canister

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6. A cereal container makes for a portable trash can

7. A coffee cup makes a great tissue holder

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8. Invest in a swivel tray for all your dining needs

9. Use an empty gum container to keep loose change

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10. Add a hanging tennis ball to the top of your garage to help prevent bumping into the garage wall

Do you know any other car hacks to improve your car? Share them with us in the comments below!

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
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.

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