Spring Forward and Drive Safe, Everyone

Don’t forget, Pittsburgh: We’re springing forward this weekend! And while setting your clocks forward an hour can be painful in the morning, it’s one of the first signs of Spring. With the changing the seasons, comes new weather patterns. Below we have some driving tips from AAA to help you battle Spring weather. Fingers crossed it will be here soon!

spring-forward2015

  • Slow down on slick roads, and increase your following distance even when mist begins to fall. Keep in mind that even a small amount of water can mix with oil and road dust to create slippery conditions.
  • Be sure your vehicle is ready for rain by replacing your windshield wipers at least once a year. Don’t drive faster than your wipers can clear water from the windshield.
  • Avoid driving through large puddles, which can impair your brakes, cloud your vision, or cause you to hydroplane and lose control of your vehicle. If you can’t avoid a puddle and find your vehicle hydroplaning, gently ease your foot off of the accelerator; do not brake.
  • Share the road. Warm weather brings motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians out on the roads. Because more and more pedestrians have developed habits of texting, talking on cellphones, and listening to music, they can be unaware of the traffic around them. Be extra cautious around intersections and in residential communities.
  • Understand the impact of medications on driving. New spring growth often causes seasonal allergies, so keep in mind that over-the-counter allergy drugs can have side effects or interact with other medications to cause drowsiness or diminish your driving ability.
  • If possible, go around potholes. Potholes-an after-effect of winter weather-can hurt your tires or throw your car’s front end out of alignment. If you can’t avoid a pothole, try to slow down, as the damage can be costly to fix.
  • Keep your tires properly inflated. Doing so can reduce damage from potholes, uneven pavement, and other road hazards.
  • Change your car’s cabin air filter if you suffer from seasonal allergies. The cabin air filter, which removes pollutants before they enter your vehicle, can be essential in minimizing the amount of dust or pollen that enters your vehicle, thus relieving your allergies during travel.
  • Spring weather can be temperamental, so be prepared for quick changes by taking the proper precautions. To learn more about protecting yourself, your family, and your vehicle all year round, consider registering for a driver-improvement course, such as the classroom or online courses offered by AARP Driver Safety.

What the Window Sticker Really Means

If you were asked what a vehicle’s window sticker contained, what would you say? Most would respond with “the sticker price” without thinking twice. Although that is correct, you would also be making an understatement. In addition to the MSRP, the window sticker contains information about vehicle to help ensure buyers get their money’s worth for whatever price they actually end up paying. That’s why we’re breaking down where the information is and what it all means!

1. Model Information

This is where you will find the basic model information for the vehicle. The section is usually located in the top left or right corner. It tells you the engine and transmission combination, exterior and interior color, the year and trim level of the vehicle. Checking this part of the sticker is the best way to quickly ensure that the car in front of you has the engine and color configuration you’re looking for.

2. Standard Equipment

This section of the window sticker lists all items and features that are included in the manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP). Items listed here should be consistent with any other vehicle in this trim level. These items are grouped into such categories as: Exterior, Interior, Safety/Security, Comfort/Convenience and Mechanical/Performance.

3. Warranty Information

This section lists the length of the new car’s bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties and notes any roadside assistance package that the manufacturer offers. Some new cars also come with free maintenance programs, and that coverage is also listed here.

4. Optional Equipment

In this section, you’ll find information on the car’s factory-installed options. Some carmakers bundle them into packages. Others offer them à la carte. Knowing a vehicle’s options can help you price it correctly and make apples-to-apples comparisons with other cars on the lot.

5. Pricing Information

This is where you’ll find the base price of the vehicle and a breakdown of options and fees. Other items that would appear here are the destination charge (cost of transporting the vehicle to dealer) and any gas-guzzler tax (levied on cars with a combined MPG of 22.5 or less). The total price of the vehicle is sometimes located here, but it often occupies its own space.

6. Parts Content Information

The parts content section lists where the vehicle was assembled and often the percentage of U.S. and Canadian parts it contains. Our sample window sticker doesn’t have the percentages, but many others do. For more information on this question, shoppers can turn to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NTHSA) Web site, which has the percentage breakdown of domestic and foreign content in cars from 2007 to the present.

7. Total Price

This section shows the total MSRP for the vehicle. That doesn’t mean you have to pay this price, but it does give you a point of reference in your negotiations. Depending on the demand for the car, sometimes this “sticker price” is a fair price.

8. Fuel Economy Label

The fuel economy label, also called an EPA label, gives you estimates of the vehicle’s fuel efficiency. This block helps you compare the MPG numbers on one car versus another. The combined MPG number is the most prominent and most important figure to note.

9. QR Code

Scanning this pixelated square with a smartphone camera links shoppers to the mobile EPA Web site. They can then customize their driving stats to get personalized fuel economy data.

10. Safety Ratings

NHTSA tests a number of new vehicles every year and issues star ratings based on the results. This information is in the safety rating section of the window sticker. Occasionally, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) scores also are displayed on the window sticker. Because NHTSA doesn’t test every car on the market, the safety-rating section will sometimes be blank. If this is the case, consumers can check the IIHS Web site.

2015 Mustang EcoBoost Jim Shorkey Ford

Tips for Making the Most Out of Your Test Drive

More and more, people are researching vehicles they’re interested in online, browsing online inventory, and even beginning the financing process before even entering our dealership. However, no matter how technologically advanced our lives become, there is one aspect of the car-buying experience that cannot be replicated online: the test drive.

test drive, test drive pittsburgh, test drive north huntingdon

And most drivers are so excited to get behind the wheel of the car they’ve spent days, weeks, or months researching, that commonsense usually goes out the window. Well here at Jim Shorkey, we want you to make an informed, logical decision, so here are some tips to making the most of our test drive, whether your shopping for a new or used vehicle!

  • Schedule an Appointment. Admittedly, it can get a little hectic in the showroom, and we want to make sure you do not waste your time. Schedule an appointment with us, and we can have a car or cars ready for you to step into within minutes of arriving. You can find our contact information here.
  • Get to Know the Vehicle. Prior to getting behind the wheel, your sales associate will walk around the vehicle and talk about it with you. Pay close attention to make sure the features on the vehicle are the ones you are specifically looking for. If something’s missing from the vehicle (or there’s something extra), don’t be shy when asking about it.
  • Familiarize Yourself with the Captain’s Chair. Before you drive off, make sure you know where the headlight and windshield wiper controls are located, make note of how easy it is to access radio and climate controls, and check out the size of the glove compartment and center console storage areas. Glance in the mirrors and make sure your lines of sight are optimal.
  • Make Adjustments Before You Go. Adjust your seat, steering wheel, mirrors, and sometimes even the foot pedals before you drive off the lot. The last thing you want to be doing is trying to make adjustments on the fly in the middle of traffic.
  • Turn Off the Radio. Although a quality sound system is important to many shoppers, save testing out this feature until you have sufficient time behind the wheel. You’ll want the cabin environment to be as quiet as possible so you can better hear the engine, the smoothness of gear change,s and wind noise.
  • Parking and Turning Radius. How easy is it to maneuver your vehicle into a tight parking spot? As you wrap up your test drive, find a place to parallel park the vehicle and test out its turning radius.
  • Test Comparable Models the Same Day. If you plan on driving multiple vehicles before making your final decision, do your best to test drive each of the vehicles in the same day. This way, you’ll be able to easily compare each vehicle you drive so you can make an educated decision on which you’ll ultimately purchase or lease.

Safety First: Tips to Stay Awake While Driving

Whether taking a road trip, driving to work, running errands, or stopping by any of our Jim Shorkey locations,  it is extremely dangerous to drive a vehicle when feeling sleepy or tired. But what can you do to stay awake? We offer some tips to help make North Huntingdon a safer place for you and your family!

tips to stay awake when driving, driving tips, alert driving

  1. Caffeine

Whether you brew your coffee at home or buy it on the road, drink it black if you can tolerate it. The coffee’s bitterness will provide a quick jolt before the caffeine even enters your bloodstream. As a backup, keep something like a 5-Hour Energy drink or NoDoz pills in the glove compartment.

  1. Healthy Eats

Keep a few snacks within reach, but make sure they’re healthy. Treats with less sugar tend to distribute energy at a more constant, even pace— rather than a jolt followed by a food coma.

  1. Bring a Buddy

A road companion is probably the best thing you can bring with you on a trip. Have your friend DJ or read to you throughout the ride, but mostly have your pal keep you honest when the sheep want to start jumping overhead.

  1. Be Cool

Warm, cozy temperatures are synonymous with the arrival of the sandman, so keep the vehicle just a few notches below your ideal temperature—though not enough to make it too uncomfortable.

  1. Facercise (Facial Exercise)

The hype around facercise is about reducing wrinkles and toning lax facial muscles, but it’s also great for waking up. Here are some techniques to get you started: hyper-extend your lower jaw, then wiggle it side-to-side; suck in your cheeks; open your mouth very wide, then tightly purse your lips; hyper-open your eyes, then raise your eyebrows; and then repeat the above or create some facercises of your own.

  1. Lane-Departure Warning Systems

For those with extreme road doze, consider investing in a car with a lane-departure warning system, which will notify you when the vehicle drifts out of its lane without a turn-signal indication.

  1. Take a Break

Even if you’re running late and still have a long stretch of driving ahead of you, make time for a break. When the scenery starts to lull you into a stupor, pull over—at a rest stop, preferably. It’s always better to arrive late than never at all.

How to Store Your Car in the Winter: Tips and Advice

Do you have a car that you store away for the winter? Don’t worry, Jim Shorkey has you covered. Follow our advice, and your car will wake up in the spring with birds chirping and the bees buzzing.

car care tips, storing car for winter around Pittsburgh

Clean it Up. Your hot rod has accumulated dirt and road grime from driving it all summer long. Make sure before storing your car that you clean the interior and exterior of your vehicle. All that road grime can lead to corrosion and damage.

Keep it Covered. The ideal space to store your vehicle would be in a heated indoor space. If you don’t have a garage available, consider renting a storage facility. If that is not an option, you can also purchase weatherproof car covers that will keep your car clean and dry while it is stored.

Fill up the Tank. Don’t leave your car thirsty all winter long. Filling up your tank before storage will prevent moisture from accumulating inside the fuel tank and keep the seals from drying out.

Keep the Battery Charged. A battery that is not in use will eventually lose its charge. Start your car every two weeks and if possible, drive around for a few minutes. This will allow the battery to recharge and the car to maintain good working order.

Don’t Use the Parking Break. Although it is a good thing to use your parking brake, don’t use it when your car is in storage. If the brake pads are touching the rotors for too long, there is a chance that they might fuse. Instead of putting on the parking brake, you can use a tire stopper.

Prevent Tire Flat Spots. Make sure your tires are inflated to the recommended tire pressure. If a vehicle is not driven for a long time, the tires can develop flat spots from the weight of the vehicle.

Need a second vehicle while your car is in storage? We’ve got you covered! Take a look at our inventory!

What To Do Before Your Lease Agreement Ends

Remember our blog post, To Buy or to Lease: That is the question? Well, for all of those who decided to take advantage of our great leasing specials and go the leasing route, here’s some pointers that will help you prepare for a lease inspection.

buying-vs-leasing-a-car

Step 1: Read your lease agreement to make sure you are clear on what is acceptable wear and tear. You will not be charged for normal wear and tear, but the specifics of what constitutes “wear and tear” can vary. For example, minor scratches, dents, and dings are considered to be normal. Damaged interior, dented trim, and missing parts are considered to be more excessive and you will most likely be charged.

Step 2: Go through the leased vehicle and remove all of your personal property. Make sure you check the trunk, glove compartment, center console, nooks, and crannies for all personal belongings. Check that nothing is missing, such as the car’s manual, lighter cap, floor mats, and anything else that came with the car when you originally leased it.

Step 3: Inspect the vehicle yourself for things to do to prepare it, and note any concerns you may have. Note any concerns you have about the vehicle and what would be considered wear and tear. List any concerning marks, scratches, and damaged areas that may pose a problem or cause a car lease penalty.

car-inspection

Step 4: Consider getting your leased vehicle detailed before its inspection. A professional cleaning and waxing will help prepare your car for inspection at the end of your lease. Detailing will also ensure that you didn’t miss anything minor before handing the car in.

Step 5: Check the tire treads as part of your car inspection preparation. Typically, your tires should have more than 1/8-inch of thread. Check your agreement for the requirements when turning in your leased vehicle. Additionally, you should make sure all the tires are the same, or you may have to purchase a new set.

And if you are turning your leased vehicle in, feel free to check out our inventory here!