Category Archives: Seasonal

a family waving hands out the window of a car

Supplying Your Vehicle for Summer

Useful Summer Supplies to Keep in Your Vehicle

While jumper cables, vehicle manuals and spare tires are great must-have materials to bring with you on the road, it’s just as important to prepare for the changing seasons as well. With the summer heat in full-swing, it’s important to know which useful summer supplies to keep in your vehicle. We’ve compiled a list of items you may find yourself needing on a long summer trip. Read the rest of this entry >>

front quarter view of a Cadillac

All the Presidents’ Cars | Famous Cars U.S. Presidents Drove

In honor of Presidents’ Day and the vehicles that served them, we’re going over some famous personal cars that U.S. presidents have driven. Many of these vehicles continue to be as historically relevant as the presidents themselves.

If we held elections based on the kinds of cars our candidates drove, we’d probably have a much different history. Love them or hate them, a U.S. president has personally driven all of the unique cars on this list.

Although George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, and every U.S. president up to Taft didn’t own a car, after the discovery and proliferation of the motor car, every single president after that not only owned one that reflected their personality, they also had their own White House vehicle.

What Car Does the President Drive?

Actually, the President isn’t allowed to drive except when on a private closed track that the Secret Service has deemed safe and secure. It’s simply too risky.

The U.S. presidential state car, sometime nicknamed “The Beast,” “Cadillac One,” or “First Car,” is a bulletproof car equipped with many offensive, defensive, and life-saving features. FDR was the first president to have a bulletproof vehicle, and we certainly can’t imagine any modern president not doing so. The President also uses Ground Force One, a collection of black armored buses, as well as fortified yachts and aircraft for transportation.

From 1939 to 1972, the official President’s car was a Lincoln, then a Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham used by Ronald Reagan, followed by a line of Cadillacs that continue to this day.

Click here for a list of official state vehicles of the President of the United States.

William Taft – Baker Electric Runabout

The first administration to embrace cars for the White House, Congress purchased multiple automobiles for the new fleet and replaced the horse stable for a car garage. One of the more interesting cars in the fleet was an all-electric Baker Electric car. The other cars were a White Steamer and two Pierce-Arrows.

Woodrow Wilson – Pierce-Arrow

Woodrow Wilson didn’t own a automobile before taking office, but once in the White House, he fell in love with the Pierce-Arrow limousine he used as President. After leaving Washington, his friends bought him his very own Pierce-Arrow. 

Herbert Hoover – Cadillac V-16 Fleetwood

By choosing one of the most stylish and well-known cars in American history, Hoover’s Cadillac V-16 gave this president an added cool factor. Designed by Harley Earl, the same guy who came up with the Corvette, this classic Cadillac turns heads in in any era. 

Franklin D. Roosevelt – Packard 12

FDR is a beloved American president with one of the most beautiful cars on the list. The Packard 12 may have been his taste, but it wasn’t the most practical vehicle for safety. History has it that in order to protect the president, FDR had to stop using the Packard 12 in favor of an armored vehicle. While this special bulletproof car was being built, the president actually took Al Capone’s shot-resistant Cadillac for a few spins.

Harry S. Truman – Ford Super Deluxe

There are several Fords on the list, making the iconic brand a presidential favorite. Truman’s Ford Super Deluxe Tudor Sedan has historical significance beyond just belonging to an American president. The car Truman owned was literally the very first car to roll off the Ford assembly line post-WWII. This signaled a new time in American industry and a symbolic rejuvenation for a war-tired nation.

Dwight D. Eisenhower – Chrysler Imperial

Eisenhower was a car guy, not as much as LBJ, but definitely a fan of now-vintage vehicles. His favorite was the ‘56 Chrysler Imperial, a stunningly slick convertible with high-tech appeal. This car boasted the first all-transistor radio, meaning that Eisenhower enjoyed great tunes as well as a great ride. 

John F. Kennedy – 1961 Ford Thunderbird


JFK was very proud of his 1961 Ford Thunderbird convertible. Packing a V8 engine and rocking the redesigned “Bullet Bird” look, the T-bird was the luxury vehicle of its day. The car received a huge boost in sales after 50 of the ’61 Thunderbirds were driven in John F. Kennedy’s inaugural parade. Maybe JFK’s T-bird love helped influence his decision to name Ford executive Robert McNamara as Secretary of Defense; it certainly didn’t hurt.

Lyndon B. Johnson – Amphicar, Lincoln Continental Convertible


Lyndon B. Johnson may be the only U.S. President who can be considered a true automotive enthusiast. He enjoyed driving visitors around his Stonewall, Texas ranch in his prized Lincoln Continental Convertible. The ranch, now the Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park, displays many of his personal cars, including his famous blue Amphicar—“ the only civilian amphibious passenger automobile ever to be mass produced” (National Park Service).

LBJ would enjoy playing practical jokes on his unsuspecting passengers in the Amphicar, pretending the brakes were shot and heading straight for the water. According to Joseph A. Califano Jr., one of the President’s aides:

The President, with Vicky McCammon in the seat alongside him and me in the back,was now driving around in a small blue car with the top down. We reached a steep incline at the edge of the lake and the car started rolling rapidly toward the water. The President shouted, “The brakes don’t work! The brakes won’t hold! We’re going in! We’re going under!” The car splashed into the water. I started to get out. Just then the car leveled and I realized we were in a Amphicar. The President laughed. As we putted along the lake then (and throughout the evening), he teased me. “Vicky, did you see what Joe did? He didn’t give a damn about his President. He just wanted to save his own skin and get out of the car.” Then he’d roar. (Source: National Park Service)

In addition to surprising folks with his Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car, he also found pleasure in ringing the fire bell in his 1915 Fire Truck and making children laugh with his little green wagon hitched up by two donkeys. If this list were a contest, Lyndon B. Johnson would win hands down.

Richard M. Nixon – Oldsmobile

People question whether or not Nixon actually liked the 1950 Oldsmobile 98 or was just using it as a political stunt (a way to connect with common folk), as the Oldsmobile was then a staple on the American highway.

In his “Checkers Speech” at the 1952 Republican Convention, Nixon said:

“I own a 1950 Oldsmobile car. We have our furniture. We have no stocks and bonds of any type. We have no interest, direct or indirect, in any business. Now that is what we have. What do we owe?”

Whether or night he was using the Oldsmobile to make a political point, the streets would be much more stylish if this were still a common car today.

Ronald Reagan – Subaru BRAT, U.S. Army Jeep

Reagan’s “old friend”, a red U.S. Army Willys CJ-6, was a patriotic Christmas gift from Nancy Reagan in 1963. If you want to see this car today, it’s actually still around. In fact, it’s still at home on the same California ranch once owned by Reagan. Images of him in his red Jeep are some of the most memorable images of his presidency. Later, Nancy Reagan surprised him with another Jeep, this time a light-blue ’83 CJ-8 Scrambler.

Reagan also owns a red Subaru BRAT in order to get around his huge ranch property. Although sold several times, it has ultimately been restored to a beautiful condition and kept on Reagan’s ranch, where it belongs. 

You can visit all three vehicles at the ranch except when they might be on display elsewhere. It would be a privilege to see Reagan’s retreat where he would use these vehicles to clear brush and work the land. Jeeps still represent this freedom.

Bill Clinton – 1967 Mustang Convertible

Clinton has always been considered suave, and his taste in classic cars only boosts this image. Clinton didn’t just drive a Mustang convertible; he drove a vintage one. At one point the car even had an Arkansas license plate that said BILL CLINTON. This car was beloved by Bill, and he publicly mentioned how much he missed driving it once he moved to the White House. 

Barack Obama – Ford Escape Hybrid

The Ford Escape Hybrid is a fitting vehicle for this environmentally conscious president. People mention his many “dad-jokes” over the years, and this is definitely a family-man car. Similar to Nixon’s pick, this Hybrid could have been part of a political message about going green. We all know the Obamas weren’t able to drive themselves around for 8 years, so now that they’re living as civilians, we’ll let you know if the Ford Escape Hybrid makes an appearance.

Donald J. Trump – 

Although we may not yet know which of these cars is his go-to, our newest president does have a small and luxurious collection, including a ‘50’s Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud (known today as a quintessential vintage wedding car) and a blue ’97 Lamborghini Diablo (custom made for Trump). Others include:

  • 2003 Mercedes-Benz SLR McLaren
  • Rolls Royce Phantom
  • 1997 Lamborghini Diablo VT
  • 2011 Chevrolet Camaro Indianapolis 500 Pace Car

The wheels of the White House give us a glimpse into the sensibility and style of America’s most powerful men. From classic to convenient, every car tells a story. Just like the men who drove them, these cars will go down in history.

Inspired to pick up a Ford like many of our famous Presidents? What about a Chrysler? Auto Simple is here to help you find your ideal car, and with our stellar customer service, you’ll be given the presidential treatment.

You might also enjoy:

Happy Presidents’ Day!

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+.

New year on a black board

6 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Car | Annual Car Maintenance

It’s the beginning of the new year — a time for fresh starts and new projects. People are planning their New Year’s Resolutions from spending more time with family to joining the local gym. We all have ways in which we want to improve our lives in the upcoming year. As we look to better our lives and those around us, there is one thing that we often take for granted and may not be thinking about — our vehicle.

Our cars are a part of our family; trusty and true for years on end as we drive to school, work, vacation, soccer fields, and countless trips to shopping centers and grocery stores. Unfortunately, they need a lot of maintenance to run smoothly. If your car made it through a tumultuous 2016, here are some important annual car maintenance tasks to think about for 2017.

6 Car Resolutions for the New Year

As you sit down to come up with your own personal resolutions, we offer 6 New Year’s Resolutions for your vehicle below. We want your life’s path to be smooth in 2017. A car owner with a smooth ride will provide just that.

1. Check and Change Your Oil

Part of maintaining a healthy vehicle is making sure it is properly lubricated. Get routine oil changes (or change your oil yourself) and check oil levels frequently (every month). Changing oil regularly is vital; otherwise you’re risking permanent damage to your vehicle.

Make 2017 the year you make the habit of checking your oil level frequently. While some people may recommend checking your oil every time you refill the gas tank, once a month will do the trick. Set a reminder on your phone so you never forget this important car maintenance task.

If you’re not sure what it means to “regularly maintain” your vehicle’s oil level, check your owner’s manual. Typically, you should change your oil levels every 5,000 miles or so, but you want to check the level much more frequently. If you don’t remember the last time you had your oil changed, it’s time to learn how to change your oil and filter. You can also bring the car in to a mechanic and they will do it for around $50-$100.

Checking your oil level, however, is much easier and only takes a few minutes.

Materials: paper towel or rag and sufficient light


  1. After the engine has turned off, wait at least 5 minutes.
  2. Make sure you are on a level surface.
  3. Look for your car’s oil dipstick undernearth the hood of the car. It usually says oil or displays an oil can icon.
  4. Pull out the dipstick and wipe it clean with a rag or paper towel.
  5. Put the dipstick all the way back in.
  6. Pull the dipstick back out and inspect it without turning it upside down. You should have two markers (lines or holes) near the bottom of the dipstick. If the oily part ends below the bottom marker, you need more oil. Never add more than a quart of oil at a time before rechecking the oil level. Too much motor oil is bad for the vehicle. If the oil level is between the two markers, you are good to go.

Congratulations, you learned a new life skill. Easy, wasn’t it?

2. Learn How to Change a Tire

Every car owner should make the resolution to learn how to change his or her own vehicle’s tire. Sure, calling roadside assistance is great, but what if you don’t have AAA, cell service, or your membership expired? There might always come a time when you need to know this important skill.

Ask family members to join you for the lesson, especially if you have a new driver in the family. Together you will all enter 2017 with a new skill and a safer ride.

Materials: lug wrench, spare tire, and car jack.


  1. Make sure your car is in a safe area, on a flat surface.
  2. Remove the hubcap and get the spare tire out.
  3. Loosen the lug nuts with a lug wrench (just a little bit). Use the star pattern as indicated in the illustrated guide below.
  4. Reference your owner’s manual for the correct location to place the jack.
  5. Raise the jack and make sure it has securely contacted the car’s frame.
  6. Crank up the jack until the wheel is high enough to remove the tire.
  7. Use the lug wrench to remove the lug nuts (you may be able to do this by hand). Make sure the lug nuts are in a secure place.
  8. Remove the flat tire and place it flat on the ground.
  9. Line up the spare tire with the wheel studs and put the lug nuts back into place with your hand. When you can’t turn the nuts or bolts any further, lower the jack until the wheel is on the ground.
  10. Finish tightening the lug nuts with your wrench using the star pattern below.
  11. Remember, a spare tire is only a temporary fix and should never be driven at high speeds. Get your tire repaired or replaced as soon as possible!

Use this illustrated guide from the Art of Manliness and the following video from AAA for a visual demonstration:

For wheels with 5 lug nuts, use this pattern:

lug nut tightening star pattern changing flat tire

If you just have 4 nuts, use this one:

lug nut tightening pattern change flat tire

Source: Art of Manliness

3. Take Care of Your Tires

It is very obvious when you have a flat tire. But it could be less obvious when your tires are low, worn, or ready to be replaced. When your tire is underinflated, your gas mileage goes down and your risk for a flat goes up. When the tire is overinflated, you run the risk of a dangerous blow-out. It’s time to use your tire gauge and find out how much air you need to put back in.

Stick-type tire gauges are the most unreliable so we recommend spending a little bit more for a digital or dial-type gauge. You can get these at your local auto-parts store or online. Refer to your owner’s manual for the proper tire pressure. This is usually between 30 and 35 PSI.

Gas stations as well as local tire stores will usually fill up your tires for free. All you to do is take the time to notice.

Here are some signs that your tires need to be replaced:

  1. If the tread depth is lower than 1/16 inch (1.6 millimeters), they are considered to be “legally” worn out.
  2. Use a tread depth indicator purchased from your auto-parts store or online.
  3. Use the penny test. Take a penny and insert the top part of Lincoln’s head (head down) into one of the tire treads. If you can see his entire head, it’s time to replace your tire immediately. If only a small part of his head is cut off, consider a replacement soon. If his entire forehead is covered, you’re good to go. Use the penny test on a few areas of each tire to get a more accurate reading.


If there is uneven wear on your tires, it may be time for a tire rotation, wheel alignment, or both. This is when you should probably have your car serviced by a professional.

In addition to making sure your tires are safe and inflated properly, you want to remember to rotate your tires every 5,000-10,000 miles or so (check your owner’s manual for a more accurate rotation schedule). Since your tires wear unevenly, rotating your tires can help ensure a longer lifespan for each tire. Regular tire rotations also provide a smoother and safer ride. While it is possible to rotate your tires yourself, it may be easier to ask your mechanic to do it for you.

4. Drive Safely

Do NOT text while driving! This is extremely careless. If you must use your phone on the road, use a hands-free device and don’t take any calls during hazardous driving conditions. Don’t write down notes or look up things on your phone while driving. If you must place a call, do so at a red light, stop sign, or parking space.

Deaths from car accidents are often the most preventable – remember how important it is to all parties on the road to stay vigilant and focused. Everyone wants to get home safely. Vow to drive safer this New Year.

Learn safe winter driving tips here.

5. Learn How to Jump-Start a Vehicle

Are you the person who sees someone stranded on the side of the road and drives by hoping that a more capable person with the correct tools can come to the rescue? Even though jumpstarting a dead battery is very easy to do, too many people rely on AAA or a generous driver to come to the rescue.

Everybody should know how to jumpstart a dead battery. Not only can you save your own hide, but you can also come to the rescue for someone else.

To prevent being stranded on the side of the road or looking a fool when someone asks for your help, a good car resolution is to learn how to jumpstart a car.

Be extra careful and make sure the jumper cables are connected to the right areas! There is a risk of electrocution. Red = positive. Black = negative.

Use this illustrated guide and video from the Art of Manliness for a visual demonstration:

6. Check Fluids & Follow Maintenance Schedule

Professional maintenance is necessary to keep your car running properly all year. This includes fluid checks and changes, tire rotations, and general inspections.

Check your owner’s manual for a recommended maintenance schedule. If you lost yours, Google it.

By regularly checking your car’s fluid levels and replacing them as necessary, you can ward off most car repairs.

Motor Oil: check monthly.

Transmission Fluid: check monthly.

Coolant (Antifreeze): check twice a year.

Brake Fluid: check every time you change your oil.

Power Steering Fluid: check monthly.

Windshield Wiper Fluid: check monthly.

Set calendar reminders on your phone and make notes of levels. Replacement schedules vary by car, so double check your owner’s manual rather than relying on what your mechanic has to say.

As an added resolution to the New Year, once you’ve mastered the mechanical and essential, attempting to keep your car clean is the cherry on top. Don’t use your car as a trashcan and keep your car clean from salt, grease, grime, acid rain, sap, dead bugs, and other things that can eat away at your paint and damage your vehicle. This will help you a lot if you ever decide to sell your car.

If you’re looking to buy or sell a used car, come on over to Auto Simple!

Happy New Year!

Auto Simple wants you to find a car you love at a price you can afford. We carry a large selection of hand-picked, Certified Pre-Owned vehicles, all of which come with a 6 month/6,000-mile powertrain warranty.

With locations in Cleveland, Chattanooga, Dayton, and a new store in Dalton, GA, we make it easy to walk away with your dream car.

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) 476-4600

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-2277

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

a car driving in snow

Winter Driving Tips | How to Handle Skids

Winter wonderlands aren’t exactly the safest environments to rev up the engine. However, just because the roads are blanketed with white fluff or solid ice, that doesn’t change the fact that you still need to drive places! Depending on your region, there are some preventative measures you can take to ensure safe and sound travel through the snow.

Of all the winter driving hazards, the biggest one to look out for is the all-too-terrifying prospect of skidding. In order to take charge of inclement weather, you’ll need to know how to plan for and recover from anything that might fall from above or slip from below.

Read our guide of the 5 most common types of skids, how to recover from each one like a champ, and return safely to your home in time for hot chocolate.

Skid Recovery Plan

Not all skids are created equal. Because a “fishtail” is different from a “wheelspin,” knowing when to apply the brakes, or take your foot off the gas, will steer away the panic. Avoiding quick, over-reactive movements and focusing on purposeful action steps is often the only way to recover from unexpectedly hazardous roadway conditions.

  1. Wheelspin

What happens: When you accelerate too quickly for the available traction, you’ll be facing what is known as a “wheelspin.” During a wheelspin skid, the tires will be spinning at a faster rate than the vehicle is traveling.

What to do: The best way to manage this is to take your foot off the gas until the tires can regain traction. As a safety test before you really get going, hit the gas when leaving your driveway. This will help you find out how easily your tires are likely to spin when out on the road. Testing your car’s grip when winter driving is a solid idea.

  1. Wheel Lockup

What happens: Unlike the wheelspin, a “wheel lockup” will happen if you brake too hard or all of a sudden. Your car will be moving, but the wheels will stop spinning. Ah!

What to do: Simply take your foot off the brake until the wheels start moving again. Then, try braking again, but this time, do it softly and not all at once. If you have an ABS, or Anti-Lock Brake System, then this will not happen to you, but you will need to be aware of your ‘margin of safety’ — the distance between you and the car in front of you — because your car is likely to not decelerate as well as a car without ABS on roads with less traction.

  1. Understeer

What happens: An “understeer” will happen when the front tires lose their grip, making it impossible for the car to turn around a corner. Most likely, you tried to turn a corner too quickly and instead of rounding the corner, you took off skidding. If you’re going way too fast, then recovery might be impossible, and fingers crossed you can get to a soft place safely.

What to do: As you’re skidding off in the wrong direction, take your foot off of the gas and gently apply the brakes. Slightly steer where you want to go. You have the most grip with slight steering inputs. Resist the urge to over-compensate with aggressive steering! It might be the natural thought that you need to turn the wheel hard and fast, but in this case, grip and correction will happen through the brakes, not the wheel.

  1. Oversteer

What happens: If the rear tires lose their grip and your vehicle starts to slide sideways, you’re dealing with an “oversteer.” This happens a lot when going too fast on icy roads, coupled with applying the brakes when hitting a corner. This combination can cause the shift in your vehicle‘s weight.

What to do: In rear-wheel drive cars, take your foot off of the gas. In a front-wheel drive car, take your foot off of the brakes and gently apply the gas. Slightly steer where you want to go. You will have the most grip with slight steering inputs. In general, look down the road where you want to go, release the brakes, and accelerate if needed to stop the rear tires from sliding.

  1. Counterskid AKA Fishtailing

What happens: When an oversteer is met with a failure to correctly straighten out, you’re facing a “counterskid” — also known as “fishtailing” or “tankslapping.” This is perhaps the most commonly known type of skid. Your car might actually swing back and forth, gaining speed with each swivel. The key is to correct and straighten out as purposeful as possible, keeping your eye on the road and regaining control of the steering and your direction.

What to do: Similar to an oversteer, for rear-wheel drive cars, take your foot off the gas. For front-wheel drive cars, take your foot off of the brakes and gently apply the gas. Slightly steer where you want to go. You have the most grip with slight steering inputs.

Winter Driving Tips & Techniques [Infographic]

Additional Winter Driving Tips:

  1. Winterize your vehicle — Make sure your tires are properly inflated (refer to your owner’s manual) and that your vehicle is prepared for the ice and snow. It’s also important to have certain items in your car in case of an emergency: food, water, jumper cables, windshield scrapers, extra windshield washer fluid, warm clothing and boots, first-aid kit, flashlight, shovel, and reflectors.
  2. Accelerate & decelerate slowly — As a general winter safety rule, remember to apply the gas slowly when accelerating. If you’re looking to quickly regain traction and avoid skids, this is the best method. Fact: It will always take longer to slow down on icy roads!
  3. Slow down! — Everything is going to take longer on snow-covered roads versus dry pavement. Give yourself time to maneuver by driving and turning slowly. Plan plenty of time to get to where you need to go.
  4. Double the ‘margin of safety’ — Your margin of safety—the following distance between you and the car in front of you—needs to be increased from 3-4 seconds to 8-10 seconds. When you need to stop on icy roads, you should have double the space and time to do so safely.
  5. Get to know your brakes — Anti-lock brakes (ABS) allow for you to slow down quickly, but you’ll need to press hard on the pedal and be aware of how your car will react in this situation. But really, if you can avoid stopping in the snow all together, do it. If you’re headed somewhere nearby and time it right, you can often get enough speed going to simply keep rolling until the lights turn green.
  6. Be careful up and down hills — Generate some inertia, enough to carry you up a hill. Reduce your speed as you approach the crest, then go downhill as slowly as possible. Seriously, hills are super scary when it’s icy. Never stop in the middle of going up a hill, and avoid hills completely if you can.
  7. Can you stay home? — If the weather gets too precarious, there’s always the great… indoors! Roadways during the winter are always a risk, no matter how prepared you are. Trust your instinct when it comes to accessing whether or not to travel in inclement weather.

Check out this video from AAA. Their Winter Driving Tips playlist provides a helpful visual guide to add to your arsenal of winter car safety knowledge:

If you haven’t winterized your vehicle yet, it’s not too late. Read our Car Winterization Guide to prevent winter damage and maintain your vehicle during the colder weather.

What are some of your winter driving tips? Let us know on FacebookTwitter, and Google+. 

Happy Holidays from Auto Simple!

We carry a large selection of Hand-Picked, Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, all with a 6 month/6,000-mile Powertrain Warranty.

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) 476-4600

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-CARS (2277)

technician pouring fresh coolant in a car

10 Ways to Winterize Your Car | Get Your Vehicle Ready for Winter

Winter weather can take its toll on your vehicle, especially if you have an older model. With rock salt, ice, hail, and freezing temperatures, it’s important to take the necessary steps to prevent winter damage, maintain your vehicle, and be prepared in the case of an emergency.

10 Ways to Winterize Your Vehicle

1. Battery

People often worry about their car’s engine during the winter months, but forget that their battery will also be struggling to perform. In colder temperatures, the power of your battery is greatly reduced—sometimes by as much as 50%!

Before the dreariest days of winter hit, make sure your battery can withstand the cold:

  • Get your battery load-tested by a mechanic. This checks your battery’s ability to hold a charge. As a general rule, if your battery is over 5 years old, consider replacing it before any extensive winter road trip.
  • If your battery is 3 years old or older, have your battery checked annually and replace it if it’s low.
  • Inspect your battery to make sure all cables, terminals, and connections are clean and free of damage and corrosion.

2. Tire Pressure

Did you know that for every 10°-drop in temperature, you lose 1 pound of pressure?

As the weather gets colder, the likelihood that your tires will lose pressure or become worn and slip on slick roads increases. You don’t want to be stuck on the side with a flat tire in the middle of winter. Before you head out in the cold, check your tire pressure.

How to Check Tire Pressure:

Although a lot of people think that the recommended tire pressure can be found on the tires. This is actually the wrong place to look. The pressure amount on the tire is normally the maximum allowed pressure. You should almost always have less pressure than what’s listed on the tire.

Check your owner’s manual or the inside of one of the door posts, most often in the driver side door. Once you know the correct tire pressure, pick up a tire gauge if you don’t already have one handy in the glove box. The pencil-style tire gauges are notoriously unreliable so we recommend an analog or digital type.

After you fill up all of your tires to the recommended pressure, put air in your spare tire as well and double-check that you have all the necessary equipment to do a quick and safe tire change. Another option to consider is snow tires.

These are essential for certain areas of the United States that experience a lot of snow. Consider switching out your regular tires with snow tires for better traction and flexibility. Specialized seasonal tires offer you the protection you need when cruising through the snow.

3. Wiper Blades

There is nothing scarier than not being able to see the road when you are driving! The weather is much more volatile in the colder months. Drivers face a variety of weather hazards — from sleet and snow, to rain and ice. Without efficient and high-functioning wiper blades, driving becomes even more dangerous.

It is recommended that wiper blades be changed every other year. Consider getting winter-specific wiper blades to help you see through the coming snow storms. If you have a hunch your current blades won’t hold up, have them replaced before winter arrives.

4. Wiper Fluid

In the winter, you’ll need to switch to freeze-resistant wiper fluid. Again, keeping your vision clear, even in the worst weather, is a safety measure that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Keep extra wiper fluid in the car.

5. Motor Oil

If you live in an area where the temperature will dip below freezing, it is recommended to replace your oil with a thinner, lower viscosity. This is because cold weather causes oil to thicken. Your owner’s manual is the best place to check for compatible oil solutions. Winter or not, be sure to change your oil every 3,000–5,000 miles, or approximately every three-to-five months.

Learn How to Change Your Motor Oil (and Filter)

6. Coolant

Fluids can freeze in your radiator without the correct antifreeze and water mixture. It is suggested that there be a 50/50 balance. Adjustments need to be made depending on how cold your area gets.

If you will be expecting weather below 32 degrees, then 70/30 would be more appropriate. Antifreeze protects your engine and fights corrosion. Most likely this important step will be simple to check off your list. You can purchase pre-mixed solutions at your local gas station.

If you’re unsure of the composition of your radiator’s fluid, purchase an anti-freeze tester at your local car shop or hardware store.

7. System Checks

Inspect your headlights, taillights, turn signals, rear-window defrosters, heating system, seat belts, and electronics. If there are any burnt out bulbs or broken parts, get it fixed before you get in an accident. You may want to consider replacing bulbs if they are dim.

You will also want to inspect your belts and hoses for wear and tear. Cold weather can cause on of your belts to snap, leaving you stranded on the road. If you notice any signs of damage, have them replaced.

8. Four-Wheel & All-Wheel Drive

Reacquaint yourself with your Four-Wheel Drive or All-Wheel Drive systems. If you haven’t busted out the 4WD or AWD in awhile, winter is the time to put it to use. SUVs are much better equipped to handle severe weather with these systems in place. Both 4WD and AWD are used to improve traction and combat slippery conditions. They aren’t so popular to use in the summer, so you could find yourself rusty on how it works.

Your owner’s manual will have information on the environments meant for 4WD to be activated. In terms of AWD, this will be automatically engaged if your car finds itself losing traction. It then goes to work, supplying power to and stabilizing the tires that need assistance.

Consider taking a winter driving course to get familiar with poor weather conditions, especially if you are a new driver. Winter driving techniques are sometimes counter-intuitive and require practice. Learn now so you can save yourself later.

9. Tune Up Your Vehicle 

Routine vehicle maintenance is important year-round, but especially before the winter months. Weather has a huge impact on the functionality of your vehicle, and servicing your vehicle becomes more pertinent during this colder time of the year. Your mechanic should take a look at your vehicle, performing a sort of all around physical. All above points (battery, fluids, tires, wipers) should be checked, as well as belts, hoses, and spark plugs. Belt and hoses need to be examined for any noticeable wear and tear.

10. Prepare for Anything: Safety Kit Essentials

Life is unpredictable. That’s why packing an emergency safety kit that stays in your car is the perfect way to be prepared for anything. Think of your winter road trips in the same way you would a camping trip, and prepare accordingly. There are many things that could go wrong. Things usually don’t, but you’ll feel protected knowing you can tackle most any bump in the road and trek through the icy trails.

Vehicle Emergency Items:

  • Jumper Cables
  • Tool Kit
  • Tire Chains
  • Tire Gauge
  • Tire-Changing Essentials – jack, lug wrench, spare tire
  • Blanket, Leather Driving Gloves, Snow Cap or Beanie
  • Cleaning Towel & Paper Towels
  • Snack Foods & Water Bottles
  • Flashlight
  • First Aid Kit
  • Extra Coolant
  • Deicing fluid (glycerine)

We recommend keeping your gas tank close to full so that you can use the car engine for warmth if you are waiting for help on the side of the road.

Watch this video for more tips on How to Winterize Your Car:

Did we miss anything? Share your car winterization tips with us.

Auto Simple wants you to find a car you love at a price you can afford. We carry a large selection of hand-picked, Certified Pre-Owned vehicles, all with a 6 month/6,000-mile Powertrain Warranty.

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) 476-4600

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-CARS (2277)

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

thanksgiving dinner ingredients

Thanksgiving Car-B-Q | How to Cook a Meal on a Car Engine

The annual day of family and food is just a week away! There are many different ways that Americans choose to cook their traditional Thanksgiving turkey. Some prefer the aroma of a slow roast, while others salivate for a deep-fried bird. There is one unique way that you may not have thought of — instead of a BBQ for the festive day, have you ever considered a Car-B-Q?

Believe it or not, cooking a full holiday meal right on your car’s engine is not only doable; it’s delicious! Here are some techniques for filling your tummies without the kitchen cleanup. We’ll also offer up our favorite concoctions for car cooking.

So, wherever you are this Thanksgiving, all you need for a hot meal is your vehicle and a little engine-uity!

Engine Cooking: Safety First

For safety, there are some practices you should adhere to when engine cooking:

First of all, NEVER poorly wrap your food or place it somewhere that may disrupt the engine’s parts.

Secondly, ALWAYS place food on the engine when it is off.

Other tips include:

  • Avoid foods that contain a lot of liquid. Even if your meal is wrapped well with foil, juices could leak out onto your engine, and that’s never good.
  • Place your food in a static location. Don’t pull wires or mess with any of the engine’s parts in order to make your food fit. If it doesn’t fit, don’t force it.
  • Do not jam the accelerator linkage or block airflow. Either one of these could cause your engine to break down.
  • Wrap your food items in at least 2-3 layers of foil. Foil is the main necessity when car cooking. Without lots of foil protection, do not attempt to put food on or near your engine.
  • When removing the food, use tongs or oven mitts. The engine is hot and so is your food. Carefully remove, unwrap, and serve.

The Foil Cone Test

The best advice we’ve seen for calculating the size of the meal you can safely cook on your engine is a method called “The Foil Cone Test,” This quick assessment of space will ensure that you correctly cut, wrap, and cook your meal without causing a hazard for yourself or your engine.

Before trying out a full meal, do this:

  • Place a “foil cone” that is approximately 5 inches tall onto the injector housing, then close the hood of the car on it. Open the hood to examine. If the cone is crushed, then you don’t have much room to cook, and your meals will need to be slim, like thin cuts of meat, fish, and sliced veggies or potatoes that can lay flat.
  • If your foil cone is not crushed, then you have plenty of room to stuff your foil cones with food, but remember you’ll need extra foil so that your food does not move around or leak onto your engine.
  • When securing the food, make sure it is snug and not near any moving parts. You can help secure it with additional foil or with baling wire (not any tubes or wires in your car). Use common sense.
  • Pick the right meal for the trip. Some meals take longer than others—don’t plan your trip around the meal, plan the meal around the trip (next to each recipe will be approximate cooking mileage).

These tips and the following recipes can be found in the quirky and innovative book, Manifold Destiny: The One! The Only! Guide to Cooking on Your Car Engine.

Road Trip Thanksgiving

To Grandmother’s House Road Turkey – Cooking Distance: 220+ miles

If you’re already planning to road trip to a relative’s house, and will be driving 200+ miles, you’ll have plenty of time to cook at least 5 pounds of turkey! With these instructions, you can roast turkey and road trip at the same time.


1 Boneless turkey breast, up to 5 lbs., sliced into thin strips against the grain
3 large baking potatoes, peeled and diced
3 carrots, finely diced
Dry white wine
Flour for dredging
Butter for greasing foil
Salt and Pepper to taste
¾ cup heavy cream


  1. At home, combine the turkey, potatoes and carrots into a bowl with the wine and cover. Marinate two hours in the refrigerator, and then drain well (and don’t drink the wine).
  2. Setting the vegetables aside, dredge the turkey pieces in flour, and then heavily butter five large squares of foil. Arrange equal amounts of turkey and vegetables in each square, and season with sale and pepper as desired.
  3. Cup the foil around the turkey and vegetables, and pour over each serving as much heavy cream as you can without making a soupy mess, then seal carefully.
  4. Cook on the engine about four hours, turning once. We’re assuming grandmother doesn’t live in the next town.

Pat’s Provolone Porsche Potatoes – Cooking distance: 55 miles

What’s a turkey without sides? As an alternative to mashed potatoes with gravy, serve sliced potatoes with provolone, after cooking them on the medium-hot parts of your engine.


1/2 pound new potatoes
1 cup milk
1 cup water
2 ounces grated aged provolone (or my favorite, aged cheddar)
Salt & pepper


  1. Peel and slice potatoes to 1.4 inch thick.
  2. Place in a saucepan with the milk and water and simmer 10 minutes.
  3. Drain, and then spread onto heavily buttered foil.
  4. Sprinkle with your cheese (or cheeses, experiment with flavors) and seasonings.
  5. Sprinkle with butter, triple-wrap and place around medium-hot parts of the engine. Delicious.

Cruise-Control Pork Tenderloin – Cooking distance: 250 miles

Looking for a different meat option to cook this Thanksgiving? “Cruise-Control Pork Tenderloin” is another car engine delight you can try out this holiday season.


1 large pork tenderloin, butterflied
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp dry white wine
1/2 cup red onion, minced
2 tsp rosemary (fresh), crushed
Salt & pepper


  1. Blend together all of the ingredients (except the pork) and spread across the inside of the pork tenderloin.
  2. Close up the pork, triple-wrap in foil and place on a medium-hot part of the engine. Turn once at 125 miles during cooking.

Engine block cooking isn’t just for long trips. For short commutes, consider heating up pre-made breakfast sandwiches or making some hot dogs. We recommend experimenting with a meal or two before using this as a reliable cooking method.

Once you have found a suitable cooking surface and successfully cooked a meal, now you can use pretty much any recipe for the oven, for your car! Click here for more car-b-q recipes. Just make sure there aren’t a lot of liquids and that the food is fully sealed.

It will take a little experimentation to get the cooking times down, but if you check the food around 10-15 minutes before it’s supposed to be done, you should be safe.

If you’ve never tried this before, we recommend these safer ideas for what to bring to Thanksgiving:

  • Bread
  • Dessert
  • Coffee
  • Flowers
  • Wine/Booze

Click here for Black Friday Gift Ideas for Car-Lovers.

Wishing you safe travels and a Happy Thanksgiving!

Auto Simple wants you to find a car you love at a price you can afford. We carry a large selection of hand-picked, Certified Pre-Owned vehicles, all with a 6 month/6,000-mile Powertrain Warranty.

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) 476-4600

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-CARS (2277)

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

a man wrapping a gift

6 Gift Ideas for Car Lovers and Automotive Enthusiasts

Black Friday is right around the corner, marking the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. If you’re looking for stylish and practical gifts for the automotive enthusiast in your life, then you’ve come to the right place. With 6 weeks left until Christmas, here are 6 of the best gift ideas to light up your car and your holiday giving spirit.

Of course, the ultimate present for a car lover is a car (browse our inventory and call for exclusive Black Friday deals)! But even if you’re not in the market to buy a beautiful car for Christmas, these vehicle accessories and related gift ideas are sure to please.

Gift Ideas for Car Lovers

1. Tactical Flashlight

Shine light on the holidays with the gift of a tactical flashlight. Every car owner should have a powerful flashlight in the car. Not only are they useful for finding things (like your keys), they can also be used for self-defense.

Originally developed for the military and law enforcement, tactical flashlights deliver an intense beam of light. They can be used to temporarily blind an attacker, allowing time to run or counter-attack.

Here are a few tactical flashlights on the market that would make any car owner happy:

Insight HX120 Flashlight

This waterproof flashlight comes with a Cree High Intensity LED with an output of 120 Lumens. It also features over 30 power settings, including a blinding strobe and an SOS signal flash. This product, developed by Insight Technologies, which specializes in weapon lights, retails around $60 and comes with a lifetime warranty.

SureFire Z2 CombatLight

SureFire’s line of tactical flashlights are praised for their brightness, ergonomic design, and ease of use. This is the same tactical flashlight that is used by U.S. Air Marshals and FBI agents.

2. Driving Gloves

Enhance the driving experience and impress the car lover in your family with a pair of old-school driving gloves. A good pair of driving gloves should be part of any car owner’s wardrobe. Not only are they stylish, but they also greatly improve the driving experience.

Since steering wheels can get dirty or slippery, a quality pair of driving gloves will provide a barrier to the germs and extra grip for enhanced control. Driving gloves also mitigate the effects of steering wheel vibrations and help maintain the look and feel of the car’s interior. Consider pairing them with a pair of Puma driving shoes.

Fingerless Driving Gloves

Some drivers prefer fingerless driving gloves (sometimes called glovettes) because they are able to provide padding and palm protection benefits while also allowing precise control with your fingertips.

In warmer weather, fingerless gloves can be a more hygienic and comfortable option. The increased air flow helps prevent the gloves from getting wet with sweat. Should you need to perform a repair, fingerless driving gloves are also great for working on nuts, bolts, and other small objects without having to remove the gloves. If worn by a woman with long fingernails, fingerless gloves are probably the most comfortable option.

You can find many fingerless gloves on Pinterest and other sites. Prices range depending on the quality of the material. For $25, you can pick up this affordable yet chic option from Elma Men on Amazon (featured above).

Full-Finger Driving Gloves

The most classic of driving gloves are black leather and full fingered. Back when steering wheels were wooden and there was no heating system, drivers needed extra protection for their hands. Especially in the winter months, holding onto a frigid steering wheel can be unpleasant and distracting. They’re considered classic car fashion for a reason.

This extremely stylish pair from Autodromo (featured above) is a more expensive option at $125, but are sure to last. Ranked on many top driving glove lists, the company boasts that they will feel “poured on.” This is important as any good pair of driving gloves should fit! If you’re looking for a cheaper option, head over to Amazon for many $40 and under options, like these Pratt and Hart Deerskin Leather Driving Gloves, which come in three colors.

3. Car Staches and Lashes

Decorations aren’t just for Christmas trees. Two of the most fashionable and quirky ways to dress up your vehicle are with front grill mustaches and light lashes. Who says vehicles don’t like to get fancy for a night on the town?

Many people name their vehicles, and these accessories give any car a distinct personality. They also add a comedic or flirty vibe to match the personality of the car’s driver. Great for both teen and adult drivers, car staches and lashes are sure to bring smiles the whole year round.


Made popular right alongside the word “hipster,” car mustaches are the original humorous car décor. This is especially funny if the carstache matches the owner’s mustache. Visit (featured above) for a wide selection of carstaches, from black and gray to red and green, for compact vehicles or large trucks. Now all types of cars can grow a full grill of facial hair.


If you visit (featured above), you will find a plenty of lash colors, metallic options, and bedazzled sets. There are also several adorable and durable options on Amazon for under $30. Search keyword “Carlashes” to pick the perfect pair of lashes for your car’s front lights. A huge hit with female drivers of all ages, this gift is both flirty and fun.

4. Vehicle Backup Cameras

While front and rear-mounted cameras are quickly becoming standard safety features, most car owners have to settle for their eyes and mirrors. Or do they?

There are many camera devices that can be mounted to your front and back license plates regardless of the make or model of your vehicle. These devices can be hooked up to your iPhone or another screen mounted to your dashboard.

If you have a friend or family member that is always running into low obstacles and other hard-to-see objects, a backup camera system may be the perfect gift.

While most rearview cameras work pretty much the same, you should consider the various options available to you. This includes camera angle (usually between 120° and 180°), color, mounting location, night vision/infrared capability, weather resistance, and wired or wireless installation.

Value and price ranges considerably so make sure you look up online reviews and double-check warranties, features, and other pertinent information. We recommend looking for a camera with a wider field of vision, night-vision, weather resistance, and wireless capability.

Here are a few options to start with:

Pearl RearVision


Rear View Safety

5. Compact Battery Jump Starter

You or someone else is stranded on the side of the road with a dead battery. What do you do? This is where a compact battery jump starter comes in handy.

Everyone should know how to jump-start a car and have the necessary equipment to do so. Protect your loved ones and save the day with a battery jump starter kit.

Many compact jump starters also come with USB connections to keep all of your devices fully charged. While it may not seem like a great gift, they’ll be thanking you later for saving the day in the event of an emergency.

Here are some highly-rated battery jump starter kits to get you started:

  1. PowerAll PBJS12000R
  2. Cobra Electronics CPP 7500
  3. mPower Mini Jump
  4. BESTEK 600A Peak
  5. Antigravity Batteries XP-1 

If you don’t know how to jump-start a car, refer to this useful infographic from The Art of Manliness:

6. Music Streaming and SiriusXM Subscriptions

For most of us, music or radio is a must have for any car trip. Although there are many free music streaming apps and services, did you know that many offer ad-free versions for an monthly or annual fee?

The two most popular ones are Pandora One and Spotify Premium, however, Tidal and Apple Music are big contenders as well.

Pandora One or Spotify Premium: Which Should You Choose?

Other digital subscriptions you may want to consider are SiriuzXM for radio-lovers and Audible for book-lovers.

Bonus Stocking Stuffers

Whether used for novelty or practicality, stuff your loved ones’ stockings with car swag for both male and female automotive enthusiasts:

Better Yet, Buy a New Car!

If you’re looking for something a little bigger, check out our extensive inventory of Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles.

Here are just a few cars that are on the lot right now:

2015 Smart fourtwo Passion

Location: Dayton TN
Mileage: 67 mi,
34 City / 38 Hwy
Location: Chattanooga TN
Mileage: 85,742 mi,
22 City / 33 Hwy
Location: Chattanooga TN
Mileage: 65,602 mi,
23 City / 28 Hwy
For Black Friday deals on our Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, give us a call! Our prices are too low to list.

Happy Holidays!

Auto Simple wants you to find a car you love at a price you can afford. We carry a large selection of hand-picked, Certified Pre-Owned vehicles, all with a 6 month/6,000-mile Powertrain Warranty.

With locations in Cleveland, Chattanooga, Dayton, and a new store in Dalton, GA, we make it easy to walk away with your dream car. We specialize in financing for all credit levels, low down payments, and affordable weekly payments. In most cases we can have you driving your new car in less than an hour.

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) 476-4600

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-CARS (2277)

Follow us on social media for more useful information on buying, selling, and maintaining cars: Facebook, Twitter, Youtube, and Google+.

*Preferred Customer program and free conventional oil changes every ninety (90) days are contingent upon the customer electing to make recurring payments to via ACH or debit card. Additionally, to continue in the Preferred Customer program and receive free oil changes, the customer’s loan must remain in good standing, and the customer may not cancel the recurring payment election. See store for further details. Other restrictions may apply.

a woman and a young girl looking a tab in the rear seat of a car

Top 5 Games to Play in the Car During Holiday Road Trips

Our most popular family holidays are just around the corner. We love all of the food, presents, and magical decorations, but travel details and obligations to friends and family can get overwhelming.

It’s important not to stress and embrace the holidays as a time to bond, laugh, and celebrate life’s many blessings.

That being said, you have to get to the party somehow!

If you live within driving distance from your family members, you’ll most likely be foregoing flights in favor of the open road. However, the idea of spending several long hours in a vehicle with your family causes many to fear the clichéd “Are we there yet?” holiday road trip.

You may not be hosting the event this year, but you’ll need to figure out how to entertain the kiddos on your way to it.

Top 5 Games for Holiday Road Trips

Here are the top 5 games to play in the car with your family. You’ll sing, spy, guess, and giggle, and maybe even make it all the way without a single, “Are we there yet?”

1. “21 Questions

If you’ve ever wanted to read your child’s mind, or feel you possess the psychic gift, this is the game for you and your family. It’s the perfect entertainment for the nosy nelly in all of us.

How you play:

  • One person thinks of a person, place, or object—as a family you can decide on categories and topics!
  • Everyone in the car takes a turn asking specific questions in order to guess what their family member is thinking of.
    • Are they a celebrity?
    • Is it located in America?
  • The questions should only be answered with a “yes” or a “no.”
  • The first person to guess correctly is the winner, and becomes the next person to come up with a topic.

2. Battle of the Bands

If you’ve ever fought with your teenager over the radio, here’s everyone’s chance to play road trip DJ and show off their karaoke skills in the process. Since everyone will have their smart phones out anyway, might as well use them to jam out with the fam!

How you play:

  • Write down song categories on scraps of paper and put them in a bag, hat, cup, or whatever’s handy.
    • Christmas Songs
    • Television Theme Songs
    • Best Songs From 2016
  • Divide the car into two teams and come up with team names. Assign one person to keep score for added competition.
  • After teams have been decided and names picked, one person selects a song category from the container.
  • Each team then has 1-2 minutes to choose a song related to that category and look it up on their phones or iPod—you can choose a representative from each team and take turns, or pick as a team!
  • Each team takes turns playing the song they chose—everyone sings along!
  • The car judges which team chose the best song for the given category. Be honest!
  • The winning team gets the point.
  • Pick again!

Guaranteed to cause lots of laughter and nostalgia.

3. The ABC Game

A classic among road trip games, the Alphabet Game is fun for everyone from kindergarteners on up. It gets the kiddos and teens away from their screens to enjoy the scenery around them in a fast-paced and educational competition.

How you play:

  • The goal is to locate a word for every letter in the alphabet using only road, billboard, and building signs, in alphabetical order of course. Q and X are always the most frustrating!
  • You cannot use license plates, because those aren’t words!
  • Starting from the letter A, locate and say the A-word you find and move to the next letter in the alphabet.
  • Two people cannot use the same word—so see it and say it fast!
  • The first person to get to Z, wins!
  • You can set a timer and see who can get the furthest in the quickest time to switch up the game in round 2.

4. I’m Going on a Picnic…

Another entertaining alphabet game that counts more on memory than keen eye sight. For an added challenge, you can choose to reverse the alphabet and begin with Z, pick from a list of vocabulary words, or choose categories (food, animals) for the items you bring on your imaginary picnic.

How you play:

  • The first player begins the game by saying, “I’m going on a picnic, and I’m bringing… (a word that starts with A).
    • “I’m going on a picnic, and I’m bringing apples.”
  • The second player then repeats what the first player is bringing, but also adds on an item that begins with the next letter in the alphabet
    • “I’m going on a picnic, and I’m bringing apples and burritos.”
  • The first person to forget or mess up an item is eliminated.
  • The game continues until someone gets to Z, or all other players are eliminated.
  • The player with the best memory wins!
  • Change up the game by coming up with your own destination. Instead of a picnic, say, “I’m going to Hawaii, and I’m bringing…” or any other location you come up with as a family.

5. Backseat Bingo

This game takes some pre-trip prep, but is sure to be a hit with the 10-and-under crowd. Before you get in the car, grab something for those in the back seat to write on (a book or clip board), create free printable bingo cards, and fill zip lock bags with pennies, buttons, or other small objects that can be used as markers.

There are many free bingo creation sites. For younger kids, fill your bingo squares with pictures. For older kids, fill them with words. On your personalized bingo cards, pick words and images based on what you know you’ll see on the road trip! For example, you may fill a square with a Coca Cola billboard, a cow, a Chevrolet truck, or a California license plate.

How you play:

  • Depending on the age of your children, you’ll want to use either picture bingo or word bingo. Or create both for added challenge and variety!
  • Use personalized bingo boards and markers.
  • When your kids spy the place or thing out on the road, they cover the space.
  • The first person to cover 5 spaces in a row cries “Bingo!”

Beat the backseat blues with these popular family-oriented contests, and get the most enjoyment out of your road trip and your holidays. With these on-the-go games, 2016 will be the year your kids finally enjoy traveling as a family.

Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season from Auto Simple!

Auto Simple wants you to find a car you love at a price you can afford. We carry a large selection of hand-picked, Certified Pre-Owned vehicles, all of which come with a 6 month/6,000-mile powertrain warranty.

With locations in Cleveland, Chattanooga, Dayton, and a new store in Dalton, GA, we make it easy to walk away with your dream car.

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) 476-4600

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-CARS (2277)

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

*Preferred Customer program and free conventional oil changes every ninety (90) days are contingent upon the customer electing to make recurring payments to via ACH or debit card. Additionally, to continue in the Preferred Customer program and receive free oil changes, the customer’s loan must remain in good standing, and the customer may not cancel the recurring payment election. See store for further details. Other restrictions may apply.

rear view of a car with a cycle in its bed

8 BEST #Tailgating Cars for 2016 Football Season

Be the Life of the Tailgating Party with these Top 8 Tailgating Cars

Football season is upon us, and that means it’s time to have a tailgate party in the stadium parking lot. The phenomenon known as “tailgating” began with impromptu gatherings around the open tailgate of a vehicle in advance of a football game, portable grills roasting burgers, chicken or hot dogs, ice chests overflowing with beer and soda (that’s pop, to you Midwesterners), and people getting their collective drink on.

Today, tailgate parties are far more elaborate affairs involving bigger grills, full cocktail bars, and portable canopies to provide shade. Plus, we’re pretty sure that some tailgate partiers are toting lightweight big-screen TVs and a Slingbox to enjoy the big game right from the comfort of folding chairs sitting on the blacktop. We just have one question for all you tailgate party attendees: where do you go to use the bathroom?

On second thought, we don’t want to know.

Instead, let’s talk about the 10 best cars for tailgating. The best tailgating vehicles don’t necessarily need to have a tailgate. They do, however, need to carry a grill, a cooler full of frosty beverages, a couple of folding chairs, and some grub.

Anything that meets these basic requirements is eligible for inclusion in a list of ultimate tailgating vehicles. However, as you will see on the pages that follow, there’s much more to choosing the 10 best cars for a tailgate party than simply meeting these criteria, and we’ll explain the reasons for each of our choices for best tailgating vehicles. One more thing: this list of tailgating vehicles is published in alphabetical order, rather than our order of preference, because what we value in a good tailgating party might be different from what you do.

Town & Country Minivan

Best Cars for the Tailgate Party: Chrysler Town & Country

Lots of minivans carry seven passengers to the tailgate party, feature a deep well behind the third-row seat for carrying provisions, and offer a set of third-row seats that flip and reverse so that a couple of people can sit in comfort, protected from the elements under the open liftgate, while taking in the tailgating party scene.

In addition to these features, the Chrysler Town & Country offers individual rear video screens with video input jacks for both rows of seats. Uconnect wi-fi Internet service is also offered for this minivan, providing a perfect platform for streaming live coverage from the leather-lined comfort of your own rolling living room, complete with a premium 506-watt audio system.

The ability to move the tailgate party indoors is particularly important if the weather suddenly turns foul, a regular occurrence in certain regions during football season. And given the Town & Country’s front and second-row heated seats and heated steering wheel, you might just decide it’s better to watch the game from inside this Chrysler instead of from inside the stadium.

Best Cars for the Tailgate Party: Toyota 4Runner

Equipped with a “Party Mode” sound system and the equivalent of a “party tray” in the cargo area, the 2012 Toyota 4Runner is definitely one of the best cars for a tailgate party.

The party tray that we refer to is the 4Runner’s available cargo floor tray, which slides part of the way out of the vehicle to effectively create a three-sided table, making it the perfect place to arrange a meal. Additionally, the tray is designed to hold up to 440 pounds, so when deployed it gives the 4Runner leg-swinging seating just like a pickup truck, but with shelter from the sun or light rain thanks to the raised tailgate.

All 4Runners are equipped with a “Party Mode” for the sound system, which increases the level of bass and redistributes the balance of sound to the rear of the vehicle. The tailgate includes two speakers, so that when raised the 4Runner serves as the soundtrack to any tailgate party. Since Toyota designed the Party Mode specifically for tailgating, the 4Runner needs to be on any list of the best cars for tailgating.

Best Cars for the Tailgate Party: Ram 1500

You just know that the RamBox Cargo Management System for the RAM 1500 pickup truck was conceived by a group of people familiar with the classic tailgate party. The RamBox option provides a cargo bed equipped with locking weather-tight storage boxes on the tops of both sides of the bed.

The RamBox can carry a stack of 4’ x 8’ sheets of plywood, but since you’re not planning to build an ice shanty at the stadium, you care more about the fact that the storage compartments will hold up to 280 cans of your favorite beverage, and that drain plugs mean you can ice those drinks with easy clean up after the tailgate party. Oh, and speaking of tailgates, the Ram 1500 has one, good for sitting upon or using as a table for the spread of chips, dips, and more.

There’s one other thing you should know about the Ram 1500. If you snag a 2013 model, you can get Uconnect mobile wi-fi, which makes it easier to stream programming to the flat-screen TV that easily slides into the truck’s bed.

Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

Best Cars for the Tailgate Party: Jeep Wrangler Unlimited

Rip the roof and doors off of a Jeep Wrangler Unlimited, add the Infinity premium sound system with speakers mounted to the overhead sound bar, install the optional Uconnect Web mobile wi-fi service, attach a Mopar Trail Camper to the trailer hitch, and you’ve got a rolling tailgating vehicle for partying both inside and outside of the box. Better yet, if there’s nowhere left to park, you can easily make your own space by jumping the curb and doing a bit of off-roading.

Not that we advocate such behavior.

We’ll admit, the Jeep works better as a fair-weather tailgating vehicle. The Wrangler is a fun-in-the-sun kind of SUV, one best used on warm blue-sky days while wearing plenty of sunblock. Lots of SoCon games fit that description in the fall, and both the Arizona Cardinals and San Diego Chargers play their home games under such ideal conditions.

Best Cars for the Tailgate Party: Jeep Patriot

There are few reasons to recommend a Jeep Patriot for anything, but thanks to its optional Boston Acoustics audio system with articulating speakers built into the liftgate, this crossover suv is a perfect tailgating vehicle for anyone seeking a mobile boom box. (For you kids, a “boom box” is something your parents used to carry around on their shoulders, blasting Def Leppard throughout the neighborhood.)

There’s another good reason for using the Jeep Patriot as a tailgating vehicle, aside from its 23 cu-ft. of cargo space (which is barely more than a Corvette). It’s got an available Trail Rated four-wheel-drive system, so if a blizzard strikes during the big game, you’re more likely to exit the parking lot with a minimum of effort compared with most other crossovers.

Best Cars for the Tailgate Party: Honda Ridgeline

The Honda Ridgeline appears to be purpose-built for tailgating parties. For starters, this crew-cab pickup truck features a handy dual-action tailgate, which means it swings out to the side or it plops down to extend the load surface or, as is practical for one of the best cars for tailgating, serve as a good place to sit or to array a meal buffet-style.

The real reason the Honda Ridgeline is so appealing for a tailgate party, however, is its standard in-bed trunk. Under the cargo bed floor, the Ridgeline features an 8.5 cu-ft. locking compartment with a drain hole at the bottom. Fill the compartment with ice and beverages, and you’re ready for any tailgate party, anywhere, at anytime.

Best Cars for the Tailgate Party: Ford Flex

If it’s comfort you seek in a great tailgate party vehicle, especially if the weather outside is frightful, the Ford Flex is hard to beat. In addition to providing 20 cu-ft. of tailgating party provisions with room for up to seven passengers, the Flex can be equipped with individual rear bucket seats separated by a console equipped with a refrigerator.

If that’s not a convincing argument in favor of the Flex as an ultimate tailgating vehicle, consider that if you’re the lucky person sitting in the right second-row chair, you can stretch out La-Z-Boy-style thanks to a front passenger’s seat that folds in half, providing an ottoman upon which you can rest your feet.

Add the Flex’s optional rear-seat DVD entertainment system and, if you’ve selected the 2013 model, a next-generation version of MyFord Touch with mobile wi-fi connectivity and video input jacks, and a Ford Flex might just prove to be the better vehicle from which to enjoy the game, even if its parked in your driveway rather than at the tailgate party.

Best Cars for the Tailgate Party: Ford F-350 Super Duty

Nothing is better for a tailgate party than a pickup truck. And a Ford F-350 Super Duty with a 6.7-liter PowerStroke turbo-diesel V8 is a great pickup truck to bring to a tailgating party. With this rig, you’ve got a 110-volt/150-watt power inverter to supply juice to the flat screen TV you’ve hauled to the stadium in the bed, on which you can stream multiple games through a Slingbox and a laptop with a wi-fi card.

And if that power inverter isn’t providing enough power, the F-350’s line drive power take-off feature ought to do the trick. You won’t even need to drive around the parking lot for it to work, because it’ll siphon power from the engine even when the Super Duty is parked and idling. (Of course, the people next to your diesel-burning pickup might not like that very much.) Additionally, the F-350 actually has a tailgate on which to sit, and a handy step that deploys to make it easy to clamber into the bed while loading and unloading.

Does the Ford F-350 Super Duty have what it takes to be a great tailgating vehicle? Do people in Green Bay like football?

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