haunted house sign board

5 Haunted Roads & Places in Tennessee

It’s Halloween weekend and for those of us who are too old to trick-or-treat, we’re probably going to binge-watch horror movies, go on haunted pub crawls, or if we’re daring enough, take a trip to the spookiest roads and places in our state.

If you want to visit some of the most haunted roads and places in Tennessee, look no further. Whether it’s ghosts and grave robbers or cult ceremonies and cryptic messages, your primal terrors are sure to be awakened. Just remember to have gas in the engine, check your tires, and have these essential car items when you go… if you dare.

5 Haunted Roads and Places in Tennessee

Take a scary tour of Tennessee’s most haunted roads and places. Thanks to Civil War burial sites and rich folklore from Irish and Scottish immigrants, there are plenty of scary stories and settings to experience this Halloween. Ironically, many of the following haunted places can be both creepy and serene at the same time. You may get goosebumps from the fright or the beautiful sight.

Filled with Civil War battlefields, historic graveyards, and old-fashioned Southern lore, Tennessee is home to some of the scariest roads in the world.

  1. Roaring Fork Motor Trail (Great Smoky Mountains National Park)

Source: TripAdvisor (by cbfinn_99)

Considered by many to be Tennessee’s most haunted road, Roaring Fork Motor Trail won’t disappoint. To get there, head into the Smoky Mountains National Park via the Cherokee Orchard Entrance (off the main street in Gatlinburg at traffic light #8) and you will see the cars-only Roaring Fork Motor Nature Trail after you pass the Rainbow Falls trailhead.

Drive on this 5.5-mile trail located in the Smoky Mountains for a spooky but scenic drive filled with old cabins and mills, beautiful waterfalls and wildlife, and maybe young Lucy — an alluring ghost who wanders around the park looking for help.

According to legend, Lucy and the rest of her family died in a tragic cabin fire at the beginning of the 20th century. There are lots of places to pull off, but don’t wander for too long. The mountain mist might just swallow you up.

Even if you don’t run into a ghostly emissary, you can still hear whispers and murmurs from the popular roaring waterfalls. As Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of Sherlock Holmes stories, once said, “Where there is no imagination there is no horror.”

  1. Drummond’s Bridge/Trestle (Briceville, TN)

Source: realhauntedplaces.blogspot

In Briceville, there is a scary bridge that is made even scarier by local lore. There are many different accounts of the Drummond legend, however, it seems the real story is that a 25-year-old miner was hanged in retaliation for the murder of William Laugherty during the Coal Creek War (Karin Shapiro, A New South Rebellion).

Source: coalcreekaml.com

The Coal Creek War was an armed labor uprising that started after the Coal Creek Mining and Manufacturing Co. started sending prisoners from the Tennessee state prison system to work in the mines (the Tennessee State Prison is a haunted spot in its own right — watch this drone film for a virtual tour). This saved the company money but left many Briceville men unemployed. On October 31, 1891, coal miners took up arms and revolted. The war resulted in many deaths, and although the revolt was squashed, the convict labor system was eventually abolished.

Dick Drummond was one of the many laborers who were killed by militiamen sent by the Governor John P. Buchanan. Legend has it that the ghost of Dick Drummond still wanders the area looking for revenge against the soldiers who dragged him to the railroad trestle and hanged him. If you are one to connect with the spirits, you may be able to see a shadowy figure hanging from the bridge’s trestlework or walking the tracks.

As part of a spooky game, kids dare each other to walk across the bridge at midnight. Apparently, at this witching hour Drummond walks across the bridge and then vanishes into thin air. Whether it’s a local trickster or the ghost of Drummond himself, the trip will surely scare the wits out of you. Bring your camera, you may just be able to capture it.

If you don’t think that’s scary enough, try driving through Circle Cemetery Road, up the hill on Circle Road, which causes the chills even during daylight. Also be sure to check out Red Ash Cemetery (official name is Turley Cemetery), around 10 minutes away from the bridge, located off Old Tennessee 63 in Caryville, TN (GPS Coordinates: Latitude: 36.365900, Longitude: -84.271475).

The entire Red Ash area is suspected of being haunted, including reports of giant goat-men and hell-hounds. From Satanic rituals to murder, stories and hauntings abound. Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

  1. Sensabaugh Hollow Road/ Sensabaugh Tunnel (Kingsport, TN)


Source: Flickr (posted by DM)

Located in a beautiful hamlet in Kingsport, Tennessee, Sensabaugh Tunnel and Sensabaugh Hollow Road are surrounded by primitive forests and valleys.

Since Sensabaugh Tunnel was first built in the early 1900s, people have been reporting screams, baby cries, and other phantom sounds coming from the tunnel. According to legend, a homeless man broke into the Sensabaugh family home and kidnapped their child. Ed Sensabaugh chased the man into the tunnel, but he was too late. The kidnapper drowned the baby in the tunnel before Ed had the chance to stop the thief.

Another version of the story claims that Ed was the murderer. Ask some Tennessee locals about the tale and you might hear a story of Ed the Madman, who went crazy and murdered is wife and child. He took their lifeless bodies and hid them in the tunnel.

Other folklore says there was a woman who was driving through the tunnel when her car stalled and she went searching for help. As you might expect, she was never found again. Another story tells of a young pregnant woman who was chased into the tunnel. She gave birth to her child before dying soon afterward. The baby’s cries can still be heard today.

If you are too afraid to go walking around, don’t assume you are safe inside your car. Tennessee folklore also warns of a ghostly woman who will appear in your backseat if you try driving through. Others claim that if you drive into the tunnel and turn your car off when in the middle, you won’t be able to turn it back on again until you have manually pushed the vehicle out of the tunnel first.

Even though the Sensabaughs and the women in the tunnel are long gone, their spirits are said to be lurking, scaring off anyone who dares to enter. Needless to say, Sensabaugh Hollow Road and Sensabaugh Tunnel are terrifying places to visit, especially on a dark autumn night.

  1. Franklin on Foot (Downtown Franklin, TN)

Source: TripAdvisor (submitted by RangerNate)

If you want to step out of your car and experience history and folklore told by master storytellers, consider Franklin on Foot, an in-depth ghost tour founded by Margie Thessin. According to her interview with Williamson Source, the most haunted street in Franklin is 3rd Avenue.

Located just south of Nashville, downtown Franklin is home to some great cemeteries and Civil War sites. You can choose among the many tours available, including the Classic Franklin, Civil War in Franklin, Grave Matters in the Cemetery, and Ghosts of the Battlefield at the Lotz House. Just remember to make reservations in advance on the website (available Monday through Saturday).

Watch this video from Williamson Source to learn more: 

  1. Meeman-Shelby Forest (Germantown, TN) and Pigman Bridge (Millington, TN)

Source: Facebook Group “Pigman Bridge Memories”

Meeman-Shelby Forest is a beautiful state park sitting on over 13,000 acres and bordering the Mississippi River just north of Memphis. Full of camping spots, hiking trails, reflective lakes, and surrounded by the Chickasaw Bluffs, the park is home to many magnificent plants and animals. In addition to bald eagles, songbirds, foxes, bobcats, and other endangered species, there’s a different sort of creature that is said to stalk the grounds.

According to legend, a man was horribly disfigured after an accident at an underground powder and explosives production plant during WWII (Millington Ordnance Works/Plant). Shunned by his coworker and the local residents and known simply as Pigman, the popular Tennessee tale says that a man with the face of a pig haunts the Shelby forests looking for his next victim.

He is most spotted at night near the “Pigman Bridge” in the nearby town of Millington, but has also been spotted at the state park. Just look for the smoke stacks near the Chicakasaw Ordnance Works. For the best chance at seeing the Pigman, wait for the full moon and park your car in the middle of the bridge at midnight. Turn your lights and engine off and roll down your windows. Then, flash your lights three times while calling “Pigman, Pigman, Pigman” at each flash and wait. Don’t worry, he’ll come to you. Oink!

For more information on Meeman-Shelby Forest, click here. Don’t forget your flashlight!

Haunted Cemeteries in Tennessee:

  • Arney Hill Cemetery – Elizebethton, TN
  • Bethel Cumberland Presbyterian Church Cemetery – Atoka, TN
  • Elmwood Cemetery – Memphis, TN
  • Pegram Family Cemetery – Pegram, TN
  • Salem Presbyterian Church Cemetary – Atoka, TN

Haunted Bridges in Tennessee:

  • Burnt Mill Bridge – Scott County, TN
  • Crazy George’s Bridge – Dry Hollow, TN
  • Drummond’s Bridge – Briceville, TN
  • Hanniwal Bridge – Elkton, TN
  • Scarce Creek Road Bridge – Lexington, TN
  • Watauga River Bridge – Elizabethton, TN

Haunted Houses in Tennessee:

  • Bell Witch Cave – Adams, TN
  • Bell Witch Cave and Tavern – Adams, TN
  • Bellwood Mansion – Dover, TN
  • Bijou Theatre – Knoxville, TN
  • Blackwell House – Bartlett, TN
  • Brister Library – Memphis, TN
  • Carnton Plantation – Franklin, TN
  • Earnestine and Hazel’s – Memphis, TN
  • Hales Bar Marina & Dam – Guild, TN
  • Ornamental Metal Museum – Memphis, TN
  • Orpheum Theatre – Memphis, TN
  • Resthaven Memorial Gardens – Clarksville, TN
  • Rotherwood Mansion – Kingsport, TN
  • St. Paul’s Spiritual Temple – Memphis, TN
  • Tennessee State Prison – Nashville, TN
  • The Delta Queen – Chattanooga, TN
  • The Old Stone House – Alcoa, TN
  • The Read House Hotel – Chattanooga, TN
  • The Thomas House Hotel – Red Boiling Springs, TN
  • Wheatlands Plantation – Sevierville, TN
  • Woodruff-Fontaine Mansion – Memphis, TN

More Tennessee haunted places can be found here.

Warning: Many of the areas require permission to visit. Check with the local authorities to make sure you are allowed to go. Trespassers will be prosecuted.

Avoid the Real Horror This Halloween! Learn Car Safety

The worst horrors are the real-life ones. While you are extremely unlikely to experience any kind of physical injury or death from the paranormal, the odds aren’t so good when it comes to getting behind the wheel.

According to NHTSA data, Halloween is the 3rd deadliest day of the year for pedestrians, and the 2nd most dangerous day for motorists.

Car crashes are the leading cause of teen deaths. In the United States alone, there are around 38,000 deaths on the roads every year, an average of approximately 102 deaths per day.

Learn essential driving safety tips to stay safe on the roads:

  • Pay extra attention to pedestrians and kids darting into the road.
  • Don’t drink and drive! Designate a sober driver.
  • Stay off your cell phone! The text/call can wait.
  • Use your lights and mirrors properly.

Related Posts

Looking for a safe vehicle for your ghost huntings? We carry a large inventory of Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, each of which go through a comprehensive 180-Point Quality Inspection before they are listed.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our Online Specialists or give us a call:

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 472-2000

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

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teen driver fixing her rearview mirror

Teenager Driving Tips for National Teen Driver Safety Week


Teenagers can’t wait to get their driver’s license. For teens, driving is new, fun, and liberating—a near-obligatory rite of passage. And parents will enjoy the extra time away from personal chauffeur duties, even if they dislike the higher insurance premiums.

Unfortunately, teens and cars are a dangerous combination. Car crashes are still the leading cause of teen deaths.

In honor of National Teen Driver Safety Week, established by Congress in 2007, we are sharing some important information on the teen driving problem and what you can do about it.

The Teen Driver Problem

  1. Car crashes are the #1 cause of death among teens. In 2015, 2,715 teenagers died in the U.S. from crash injuries. An additional 221,313 teenagers were treated in emergency departments in 2014.
  2. The crash rate for teen drivers is 3-4x the crash rate for adults. This discrepancy increases at night and when other teens are in the vehicle.
  3. The crash rate is worst during the first few months of licensure. The risk is highest at age 16.

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

Furthermore, research shows that the presence of passengers increases the crash risk among teenage drivers but decreases the risk among drivers 30 years and older. One study showed that the presence of peers increased risk taking among adolescents (but not adults) in a simulated driving game. Adolescent decision making is directly influenced by the mere presence of peers as shown in numerous studies of reckless driving, substance abuse, crime, and more.

In addition to being more susceptible to peer pressure than adults, young drivers also have the tendency to overestimate their own driving abilities. Peer pressure combined with poor risk assessment and inexperience makes it difficult for teenagers to drive safely.

Unfortunately, telling teenagers about the risks of the road (“scaring them straight”) may not have an impact. Research has shown that feedback about bad news makes little to no impact on teenagers’ estimates of risk assessment. While adults will alter their estimates of some event occurring based on new information, adolescents have been shown to update their estimates if there is good news, but bad news doesn’t make much of an impact.

As summarized by Robert Sapolsky in his new book, Behave (p. 161):

Researcher: “How likely are you to have a car accident if you’re driving while drunk?” Adolescent: “One chance in a gazillion.”

Researcher: “Actually, the risk is about 50 percent; what do you think your own chances are now?”

Adolescent: “Hey, we’re talking about me; one chance in a gazillion.”

Compared to adults, teenagers are at higher risk of violence, substance abuse, crime, unsafe sex, poor health habits, and automobile crashes and fatalities. These risky behaviors are the greatest threat to teenagers in industrialized societies.

For reasons that have a lot to do with neurobiology and environment, teenagers take a lot more risks and are bad at risk assessment.

What is being done about risky teenage driving?

Teenagers—the odds are against them. Luckily, some changes have been made to help reduce the risk of automobile accidents, such as graduated licensing programs.

These programs have greatly reduced the number of teenage driver crash involvements. While graduated licensing programs vary in strength from state to state, most jurisdictions have some combination of the following restrictions on young drivers:

  • Supervised learner’s period
  • Learner’s permits and intermediate licenses
  • Limitations on high-risk driving (nighttime driving or with teen passengers)
  • Higher age limits

In most states, the minimum age for getting a driver’s age is 16, although it can be as low as 14 years or as high as 17 years. In Tennessee and Georgia, the minimum age is 16, with restrictions on nighttime driving and passengers. View the graduated licensing requirements and restrictions for every state.

Graduated driving programs have been proven to quite effective, especially strong nighttime driving and teenage passenger restrictions. In addition to better graduated licensing programs, what can be done to reduce the number of teenage automobile accidents and fatalities?

Ways to Increase Teen Driver Safety

Regardless of state law, it’s a good idea to follow these best practices:

  • Wait until your teen is 17 years old to get a license (risk is highest at age 16).
  • Enforce all graduated driver licensing (GDL) laws and set stricter standards, such as at least 70 hours of supervised practice driving with an experienced adult driver.
  • During first 12 months of driving, enforce nighttime driving restrictions starting at 8 p.m. and a ban on all non-adult passengers.
  • Consider in-vehicle monitoring devices which can give feedback parents on speeding, seatbelt use, and more.
  • Be a good role model (no phone use, no speeding, etc.) and ride with them frequently.
  • Teach your teen driver to stay at least 2 seconds (3-4 seconds in unsafe conditions) behind the vehicle in front. Mark a fixed point on the road, and after the car ahead passes it, it should take you at least 2 seconds to reach that same point.
  • Obey traffic signs, wear your seatbelt, eyes on the road, and hands on the wheel. All the time.
  • Use safer cars (electronic stability control, key safety features, and bigger, heavier, and newer vehicles).
  • Even though every state has a minimum alcohol purchasing age of 21, teach your teenage drivers the importance of never getting into a car with a driver who has had even one drink. It is illegal to drink under the age of 21, so the BAC level should always be .00.
  • Texting, calling, and other phone-related distractions present the greatest increase in crash risk for teen drivers.
  • Ensure your teen driver(s) get the proper sleep they need to drive safely.
  • Set written guidelines for your teenage driver and make them sign it. No alcohol, no passengers, no nighttime driving, no speeding, no phone use, and always buckle up. There should be clear penalties for each violation of the terms. There should also be clear rewards, such as a 6-month incident-free period. For every 6-months of safe driving, you may want to increase some driving privileges. Make sure you discuss and enforce the consequences of noncompliance.

Be a good example!

Teens learn how to drive from their parents. They will quickly learn to ignore the rules if you ignore them yourself. In today’s world, the most important rule you should always follow, especially in front of your kids is to never use your phone while in transit.

Never use your phone while driving! Pull over if you need to text, call, use social media, or interact with your phone in any way, such as typing in new directions, make sure you pull over or come to a complete stop first.

Ironically, studies have shown that driver education programs may not be effective, at least in the short term. Studies have shown that advanced driver training may actually increase the risk of automobile accidents, especially among young males. Driver education programs may lead to overconfidence and the taking of unnecessary risks.

What are the safest vehicles for teenagers?

Understandably, teenagers tend to drive older-model vehicles that are already in the family. A study by the Institute of Highway Safety found that 43% of teenagers surveyed were driving vehicles that were purchased when they began driving and that 83% of the vehicles that were purchased were used.

While it makes sense not to spend a small fortune on your first car, it also makes sense to choose the safest vehicle in your budget. A separate Institute study showed that the risk of collisions and fatalities increases when teenagers are driving sports cars or small vehicles.

In order to choose the safest vehicle for your teenager(s), keep in mind the following purchasing guidelines:

  • Stay away from sports cars and high-horsepower vehicles, which encourages teens to speed and show off in the presence of peers.
  • Choose bigger, heavier vehicles with more safety features. No small cars or minicars are recommended for teenage drivers.
  • Look for seatbelt reminder systems for every seat in the car.
  • Electronic stability control (ESC), also known as electronic stability program (ESP) or dynamic stability control (DSC) is an absolute must for detecting and reducing skidding and the loss of traction.
  • Look up crash test, rollover assistance, and other car safety ratings on Consumer Reports and other resources to choose the best safety ratings that you can.
  • Make sure the vehicle has working airbags. Look for head-protecting side airbags.
  • Search NHTSA’s 5-Star Safety Ratings to make sure your vehicle has a minimum 4-star rating.
  • If you can afford a newer model car, look for forward-collision warning (FCW), automatic emergency braking (AEB), blind-spot warning (BSW), and rearview cameras.

Visit CDC.gov for more information on teen driving statistics, risk factors, and prevention.

Take the time during National Teen Driver Safety Week to decrease the chances of your teen turning into a statistic. In addition to being a good example behind the wheel, write up a contract with rewards and punishments. You have a lot more influence than you think.

Related Driving Safety Posts:

Looking for a safe car for your teen? We carry a large inventory of Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, each of which go through a comprehensive 180-Point Quality Inspection before they are listed.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our Online Specialists or give us a call:

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 472-2000

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-2277

Follow us for more useful information on buying, selling, and maintaining cars: FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Google+.

car with luggage on roof rack in mountains

How to Tie Things to a Car Roof | Tips for Securing Cargo

Before you think about renting a U-Haul truck (which by the way is going to cost you a lot more than $19.99), figure out if you can secure the load to the roof of your car. Whether you’re taking a trip to the country or dropping your kid off at college, that extra cargo needs to go somewhere.

As a driver, you have the responsibility to properly secure your cargo to prevent injuries on the road.

In fact, according to a AAA study, more than 200,000 crashes happened between 2011 and 2014 as a result of debris on U.S. roadways. These crashes led to over 500 deaths and 39,000 injuries. Around two-thirds of these accidents were the result of improper maintenance and unsecured loads. You can help decrease road-debris crashes by learning how to properly secure cargo on your cars and truck beds.

And whatever you do, don’t strap your dog or any other pet to the roof of your vehicle, especially if you’re thinking about running for public office.

Whatever you need to tie to the top of your car roof, follow these steps so everything stays firmly in place without flying off and causing an accident.


Ratchet Straps or Cam Straps

You can use rope, but it’s too hard to explain how to tie knots for people who aren’t familiar with basic knotting techniques. Plus, good ratchet or cam straps are rock solid, with no risk of slipping or loosening with vibrations. You can buy multiple ratchet or cam straps for around $10. Make sure the straps are rated with a holding strength at least twice the weight of the load.

Warning: Don’t crank the straps so much that they end up damaging your cargo (or your roof)! Consider cam straps instead, which are much less likely to damage anything from overtightening.


We recommend ratchet straps, but rope can add some nice versatility to the mix. If you’ve been tying knots since childhood, this will be instinctual. If not, you’ll want to learn some trucker’s knots; or instead, use ratchet straps, cam straps, and maybe some bungee cords.

Bungee Cords

Speaking of bungee cords, they should not be relied on as primary tie-downs. They tend to be unsafe and hard to maneuver. They can be useful, however, when preventing bicycle wheels from spinning, strapping down a tarp, or securing items together. But never solely rely on them to hold down a load!

Cargo (Spider) Netting and/or Tarp

When you are finished strapping your load down, we recommend covering everything with a sturdy net or water-proof tarp to prevent airborne debris.

Roof Rack

If you are constantly hauling things like bikes or kayaks on top of your vehicle, consider purchasing a specific rack for these items (for example, Thule or Yakima) to save a lot of time and add some additional safety to the mix.


Large items are heavy and awkward to move on your own. If you are dealing with cumbersome cargo, ask a friend or family member for help. Don’t let your pride cause expensive damage or unsafe road conditions. Remember, pride comes before a fall—in this case, literally.

Step-By-Step Instructions for Tying Items to a Car Roof

  1. Follow the directions that come with your products

When you are tying things down to the roof of your vehicle, each product (ratchet straps, cam straps, rope, netting, etc.) will have different instructions for use. Make sure you read all instructions before use. As a general rule, buy straps that have a holding strength twice that of your cargo weight.

  1. Consider a roof rack

If you have a roof rack, the straps/ropes can be looped around the side and cross rails.

  • Stack items evenly across the roof and in the center of the doors.
  • Lighter goes lower—place heavier items on top of lighter items.
  • Cover the entire load with a tarp or netting to prevent things from falling out.

Here’s a tip to consider when using racks to tie down large items, such as canoes and kayaks. Since these items can catch a lot of wind, we recommend strapping the item down to the car as well as the roof rack. Roof racks have been known to fail at high speeds with lots of updraft, so take the extra precaution of tying the roof rack down to the roof of the vehicle as well. Use ratchet or cam straps to tie the roof rack through the doors, not the windows.

Tip: Remove your rack when not in use to avoid the added weight, drag, and noise. Leaving your rack on all year will increase the price you at the pump.

Roof Rack Types:

Do your research and consider your requirements before purchasing a car rack. There are many different types available to you, including:

  • Roof baskets – ideal for luggage and everyday items.
  • Cargo boxes – protects items from the elements, ideal for outdoor enthusiasts who want to keep their equipment protected.
  • Ski/snowboard racks – used for ski/snowboards only, convenient if your frequently hit the slopes.
  • Bike carrier – quick and easy way to secure and remove bikes.
  • Kayak carrier – the best way to transport your kayaks and canoes.

Whenever installing a roof system, be sure to follow all instructions and make sure that your vehicle can support the system.

  1. Naked Roof

If you don’t have a roof rack (rise rails and cross rails are ideal), you’ll want to take extra precautions:

  • Read your owner’s manual and all manufacturer instructions for proper use and maximum allowable weights (this is normally around 165 lbs.).
  • If you don’t have a roof rack, run the tie-down straps through the doors, not the windows.
  • To protect your roof from damage, it’s best to lay down a blanket or towel first.
  • When securing straps through the doors, give it a twist first to help keep the noise down and prevent the amount of force on the straps.
  • If there are hooks to your straps, attach them together inside the car.
  1. Placement

Where you place items on your roof matters, especially when tying items to a naked roof.

  • Center your items in the middle between the doors.
  • Remember, lighter goes lower—place lower items at the bottom.
  • Line up your items at the beginning of the roof, or as far back as you can. This prevents items from hanging over the windshield, creating an updraft that can catch air and cause it to pull upwards away from the vehicle.
  1. Overhanging Items

Sometimes overhang is inevitable, as in the case of Christmas trees, canoes, and other large items. If you have items extending past the windshield and/or rear window, it’s extremely important that you tie the item down to the bow (front) and stern (back) of the vehicle.

Follow these steps if you have an item that hangs over the windshield:

  • Tie down items to the sides, but also to the front and back of the vehicle. Make sure you secure your canoe/tree to the sides before attaching your bow and stern tie-downs. Since significant updraft can occur, we recommend securing the rack to the car as well (remember, through the doors, not the windows). Bow and stern tie-downs should not be used as a stand-alone system.
  • Never hook or tie your item to the plastic bumper or any plastic parts of your vehicle!
  • Look for a metal structure in the front and rear of the vehicle.
  • In the front of the vehicle, look for metal tow hooks underneath the bumper. If they are not there, you can use hood loop straps/anchors that attach to existing bolts underneath your hood.
  • It’s easier to find a metal structure in the rear of your vehicle. Look for the metal chain loops on the hitch. If you don’t have a metal hitch in the back, you can use quick loop straps to create a strong anchor point.
  • When you secure your cam or ratchet straps, remove any loose slack, but don’t tighten it too much.
  1. Proper Use of Tie-Downs

The U.S. Department of Transportation requires that each tie-down must be attached and secured properly to prevent it from becoming loose, unfastening, opening or releasing while the vehicle is in transit.

  • Cargo should be secured beside each other, either in direct contact, or in such a way as to prevent them from shifting towards each other during transit.
  • Use cam straps or ratchet straps but be careful about overtightening to avoid damage to your cargo or vehicle.
  • Consider investing in a roof rack. If you don’t have one, lay down a blanket/towel first and make sure you fasten ropes and straps through the vehicle’s doors, not the windows.
  • Cover the load with a sturdy tarp or cargo netting.
  • Be careful not to overload the vehicle. Read your owner’s manual for maximum load weights.
  • Always follow manufacturer instructions.
  • Push and pull items individually to make sure they are snug.
  • Double-check the load after about 5-10 minutes of real-world driving.
  • Don’t drive faster than the speed limits and stay to the right on highways and freeways.
  1. Test Load and Drive Safely

When you are finished securing your load to the top of the vehicle, be sure to check the load by pushing and pulling on the items. Make sure to check each item individually. If the items are not securely in place, make the necessary adjustments.

If you are making a long trip, stop the car and double-check the load after around 5-10 minutes of driving. This will give you the chance to test the load in real-world driving conditions. If everything is still snug, you can continue on your way.

Regardless of how well you have secured the load, we recommend driving on the right lane of the highway at the speed limit. High speeds increase the risk of items loosening or becoming detached. If you have items that are overhanging, consider the effects of updrafts and slow down to prevent items from coming loose or becoming detached.

If you hear whipping or rattling noises while driving, pull over and double-check the cargo. This normally means that the straps have loosened and your load is not properly secured.

Cargo Securement Safety Recap

  • Use ratchet straps or cam straps. Only use bungee cords and rope as supplementary tie-down systems. Learn how to safely load a pickup truck.

  • Cover the load with a sturdy tarp or cargo netting.

  • Push and pull on the objects to make sure they are secure and snug. Check each piece individually.

  • Maintain your vehicle and check tires and tire pressure to prevent blowouts.

Drivers can easily prevent crashes and accidents due to road debris by learning how to properly secure cargo on their roofs and pickups.

Auto Simple wants you to stay safe on the roads. For additional driving safety tips, read our other posts on the topic:

Tired of renting U-Hauls? Shop our online inventory of Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions:

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 476-4600

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-2277

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How to Avoid Getting Scammed by Mechanics

Whether it’s unfair pricing, shoddy workmanship, or improper diagnoses, don’t let auto mechanics take you for a ride.

Getting scammed is a fact of life. It happens to everyone. From health care to auto repair, upselling and overpricing can be found everywhere.

But the more you know, the less likely you are to be hoodwinked. Unfortunately, most people have very little car knowledge and experience. After you buy a car, it’s important to find an auto repair shop that you trust as soon as possible. This will give your mechanic time to get to know you and your vehicle. It will also help prevent breakdowns and save you a lot of money in the long run.

This article is all about how to avoid getting scammed by mechanics and auto repair shops, but the information can also help you develop a fraud firewall for all sorts of snake oil salesmanship.

How to Avoid Getting Scammed by Mechanics and Auto Repair Shops

In addition to online reviews and testimonials, ask your family and friends for recommendations. Finding a full-service repair shop is preferred, but there are four main types of shops:

  • Dealerships
  • Independents
  • Specialists
  • Auto Repair Chains

Once you find a shop, check for the following:

  • Years in Business – The longer the shop has been in business, the less likely you are to be scammed.
  • Better Business Bureau – Look up the business on the Better Business Bureau, state Department of Consumer Affairs, or the Attorney General’s office. It’s also a good idea to check social networks and online consumer sites.
  • Appearance and Amenities – A clean shop and professional appearance can be deceiving, but it can also give you a general idea of the shop’s attention to detail and customer service.
  • Posted Credentials – Look for ASE and AAA certifications in the shop or on their website. If they aren’t posted, ask about them.
  • Warranties – Reputable shops will offer parts and labor warranties on their work. Ask about warranty information before agreeing to any service or repairs.
  • Commissioned Employees – Avoid shops that pay their mechanics and employees based on commission. There is simply too much pressure to upsell and suggest repairs that aren’t necessary.
  1. Swing by Local Auto Parts Store for Free Check Engine Light Service

If your check engine warning light comes on, don’t automatically drive to a mechanic. They will most likely charge you an engine diagnostic fee and recommend services you may not need. Many auto parts stores will run a computer diagnostic test free of charge. The computer diagnostic test is a good way to get a quick and free assessment of your vehicle. Call the auto parts store before you go to see if they offer this service.

  1. Always Deal with a Reputable Mechanic or Auto Shop

Recently, there was a story on WSMV Channel 4 about a Craigslist scam after a self-professed “mechanic” asked a car owner to buy $170 worth of parts only later to sell them at AutoZone.

If you didn’t already know, never turn to Craigslist for work on your car (or home for that matter). While you can still get scammed from mechanic and auto shops, there are more avenues for you to complain and get your money back if the job goes wrong, such as the Better Business Bureau.

When you are dealing with strangers, you have no idea who you are dealing with. Similarly, it’s also a bad idea to buy a used car from Craigslist or any other private seller. The lesson here to is always use a verified company for all of your car services.

One way to avoid a bad mechanic or auto repair shop is to ask your friends, family, and co-workers for recommendations. If they felt ripped off by a mechanic, it’s best to stay away.

  1. Look for an ASE (National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence) or AAA (American Automobile Association) Certification

Use the AAA approved auto repair facilities search to find information on over 7,000 AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities across North America. Also, visit AAA.com/Repair for nearby AAA Approved Auto Repair Facilities.

Auto repair is an extremely demanding, and increasingly technological job that requires ongoing training and certification. In order to receive an ASE certification, mechanics must pass a written test and demonstrate a minimum two years on hands-on industry experience. Every five years, the technician must get retested to remain certified.

Those who pass all eight core tests of mechanical automotive repair are given the title of Certified Master Automobile Technician.

Usually, auto repair shops will post technician certifications and credentials in the shop or on their website for easy viewing. If you don’t see any certifications, ask about them. They should be happy to tell you all about their credentials. If you get a roundabout answer or unsatisfactory response, take your business elsewhere.

  1. Check Owner’s Manual for Maintenance Schedule

If you are wondering how often you should have your car serviced, don’t automatically trust your mechanic. The answer is very simple: CHECK THE OWNER’S MANUAL.

This alone can save you thousands of dollars in unnecessary repairs and service costs.

Your owner’s manual will also tell you where and how to change your windshield wiper fluid, coolant, and oil. If you want to save yourself some money and learn a little about how your vehicle works, check the owner’s manual for simple instructions on how to change the air filter, motor oil, tires, and much more.

  1. Shop Around – Go in for a Minor Job First

Don’t trust a major repair job to a mechanic or shop you don’t know. Like most things in life, it’s a good idea to shop around first before making a commitment.

After checking ASE/AAA certifications, social media, family, friends, and complaints on the internet, test the shop with a simple oil change or tire rotation. This will give you the opportunity to speak with the shop employees, inspect the shop, and get a general feel for their quality of work.

Be careful about the infamous upsells. Don’t go in for a simple oil change and leave with an engine flush, new fuel injectors or spark plugs.

  1. Be Prepared with Information Before You Go

For the best service from an auto repair shop, write down all of your symptoms and observations, including what you see, hear, smell, and feel. Unless you are familiar with cars, avoid any technical jargon. If you have ever listened to CarTalk with Click and Clack, you know that a simple description of symptoms, sounds, and smells can often yield a correct diagnosis.

Gather as much information as possible. Even if you think some observations may be irrelevant, list them anyway. Clear communication is key when it comes to receiving the best and most efficient automotive care.

Once you tell the mechanic what you have observed, ask them to explain their diagnosis. They should be able to give you details about the part in question and how the car is supposed to work. If they are having difficulties explaining how your car works, alarm bells should sound.

  1. Get Quotes in Writing (Upfront/Straightforward Pricing)

A reputable auto repair shop will always give you the price in writing before any work begins. If there are any unforeseen costs, they should always get your permission for the additional parts and labor costs.

After you get the quote, it’s a good idea to do your research before agreeing to the costs. Never agree to extra services without some research first. For instance, always compare the mechanic’s recommendations with the information in the owner’s manual.

A written quote also enables you to dispute the final cost if it is a different amount. If you don’t have this piece of paper, you are at the mechanic’s mercy.

  1. Maintain Good Records

No matter where you get your car serviced, keep records of all your auto-related services and repair. This is a good idea for many reasons, including selling/trading in your vehicle at a later date and making sure all of your warranties remain valid.

  1. Keep Up On Regular Vehicle Maintenance 

Again, check your owner’s manual for your vehicle maintenance schedule. This includes regular oil changes, tire care, and other fluids and maintenance schedules.

By keeping up with your vehicle’s maintenance schedule, you can avoid expensive trips to the mechanic and be better able to detect scams.

  1. Voice Your Complaints

Speak out if you’ve been wronged. This can help others avoid a similar fate in addition to helping you get your money back. If you are dealing with a verified company, you can report your case to local and state consumer protection offices, the BBB, and the Federal Trade Commission.

When you appeal to these resources, there’s a good chance of getting some or all of your money back.

Auto Simple Mechanics

The in-house mechanics at Auto Simple know a thing or two about auto service and repair. We subject all of our vehicles to a thorough 180-point quality inspection. By controlling the quality levels and meticulously reconditioning our vehicles, we hope to exceed all your expectations.

We also offer FREE OIL CHANGES every 90 days for the life of your loan!*

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to speak with one of our car experts at Auto Simple:

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 472-2000

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-2277

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