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

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.

foil cone test - how to cook food on car engine

Source: iveneverdonethat.com

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).

Manifold Destiny book cover

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.

Ingredients:

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

Steps:

  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.

large turkey - how to cook turkey on car engine

Source: usatoday.com/driveon

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.

Ingredients:

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

Steps:

  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.

car coking with tin foil

Source: wisebread.com

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.

Ingredients:

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

Steps:

  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.

how to cook meals on car engine

Source: wisebread.com

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+. 

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

Insight Tactical Flashlight - gifts for car lovers

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 Tactical Flashlight - Gifts for Car Lovers

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

fingerless driving gloves on BMW steering wheel

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

full finger leather driving gloves - gift ideas for car lovers

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.

Staches

brown car mustache - gift ideas for car lovers

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 catstache.com (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.

Lashes

carlashes on a pink cadillac - gift ideas for cars

If you visit carlashes.com (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

woman installing rearview camera on license plate

QuickVu

quickvu backup wireless camera

Rear View Safety

rear view safety wireless camera for vehicle

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:

step-by-step instructions for jump starting car

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?
Via:NerdWallet

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!

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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

2015 Smart Fourtwo white - Auto Simple

Location: Dayton TN
Mileage: 67 mi,
34 City / 38 Hwy
2011 Chevrolet Malibu in red - Auto Simple Chattanooga, TN
Location: Chattanooga TN
Mileage: 85,742 mi,
22 City / 33 Hwy
2010 Ford Escape in blue - Auto Simple Chattanooga, TN
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.

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

games to play in the car during road trips - family traveling in van

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.

Used Car Buyer’s Guide | How to Buy a Pre-Owned Vehicle

how to buy a used car - used car buyer's guide

Car buying is like the start of any new relationship. It will require time, money, and effort. You have to know yourself and what you want, and use a healthy mixture of logic and emotion. The results can be either wonderful or horrifying.

But before committing, you want to make sure you have done all due diligence. There is a lot of work and preparation to be done for the first time used car buyer.

Used Car Buyer’s Guide

How to Buy a Used Car

1. Research

Before inspecting and buying a used car:

  • Set a budget and narrow your used car search down to a couple specific vehicles.
  • Look up the make/model of your desired vehicle for any recalls, consumer complaints, or safety-related defects.
  • If your research turns up any common issues with the car, keep this in mind during the inspection process.

Once you’ve chosen a car that meets your needs and price range, you will need to get a vehicle history report.

Get a CarFax vehicle history report to learn important information about the vehicle you are considering.

All you need is the 17-character vehicle identification number (VIN).

All Auto Simple pre-owned vehicles go through a rigorous 180-point inspection and come with a free CarFax report.

If the CarFax report comes back clean, with no flood damage history, accident indicators, or other red flags, it’s time to inspect the vehicle.

Whether or not you get the car inspected by a third-party mechanic, it’s a good idea to know first-hand the used car’s condition. Although a CarFax vehicle history report provides you with a lot of useful information, you will want to conduct a thorough inspection of the vehicle yourself.

2. Inspection

Minor damage and scratches are acceptable, but you’ll have to decide if the price reflects that. If the car is really cheap, you may expect some damage to the interior and/or exterior.

Minor accidents shouldn’t be a problem if a proper repair has been made. But be sure to make note of any defects you find as it will help you in the negotiation process.

Larger damage is more serious, such as big crashes. This is why you will want to see a full car history report. Although new welds, paints, and other signs can indicate a major crash, you may not be able to tell what the car has been through during its life.

Exterior

Walk around the outside of the car and look for any signs of damage.

  • Body Scratches, dents, and rust indicate how the car was treated by its previous owner. If body parts are not lining up properly or there are paint discrepancies, this is a sign that the vehicle was involved in an accident. You can also use a paint meter to ensure the vehicle history report is accurate.
  • Doors, Hood and Trunk – Test the doors, hood, trunk and any other moving parts. They should be easy to open and close. Make sure they all close fully and create a seal.
  • Tires  Examine the tires for wear and tear. Do they look nice and smooth? Are they all the same brand? How much tread is there? Do they have cracks or look dried out?  If you notice uneven wear on the tires, it may require an alignment. Ask the seller about the tires and if they have been regularly rotated. If you need tire replacements or alignments, use this during negotiations.
  • Lights – Test all of the lights including reverse lights, turn signals, and high beams. Inspect the housing for cracks or other moisture issues.
  • Underneath the Car – Get underneath the car if you can and look for any damage or rust.

Interior

Inspect the car’s interior and see if it has been well maintained.

  • Test All Electronics  Make sure everything works. Let the seller explain all the features and how to use them.
  • Check the Odometer – Compare any damage with the car’s mileage to see if it looks like normal wear and tear.
  • Check the Gaskets  If they are worn or damaged, you could get leaks.
  • Engine  The most important part of the car. Pop the hood and see if everything looks well maintained. Pay attention to any signs of rust, which can quickly spread.
  • Stripped Bolts  Look for marks on nuts and bolts for signs of repair work. If fenders have marks on the bolt, that means it has been repaired at some point.
  • Hoses – Look and feel around the hoses for cracks, holes, and fraying.
  • VIN Number – Look for the VIN or chassis number on the vehicle. It is normally located on the dashboard, driver’s side door, front engine block, or front end of frame. Make sure the number matches the numbers on the papers. If the chassis number has been filed off, don’t buy the car. It’s probably stolen.
  • Check Liquids  Check oil, transmission, power steering, and brake fluids. If the transmission fluid is brown or smells “burnt,” it could be on its last legs. Make sure the fluids are at proper levels. Look for oil leaks. If there is a leak, it’s important to investigate further.

3. The Test Drive 

This may be the best moment of the whole car buying process—driving a car that will potentially be “your baby.” It’s like a first date. And like any first date, first impressions are paramount.

  • Choose a cold day. Pay attention to how the engine sounds when you start the car and let it idle. Turn on the heat and see how warm and fast it is. Once the car warms up, quickly shift over the the A/C.
  • Pre-plan your route. Take the car on smooth and bumpy roads, hills and flat land, city streets and the highway.
  • Test all electronics. This includes windshield wipers, lights, radio, heating and air conditioning.
  • Test shifting gears. Is there smooth shifting? Does the steering wheel vibrate? If you feel odd vibrations or hear clunking or grinding noises, this could indicate a bad transmission. Feel the car at all the different gear settings, but there’s no need to take it to its top speed.
  • Check the brakes. This is not the time to be gentle. Get the car up to about 40-60 mph and then brake hard. Make sure it stops straight and the steering wheel isn’t shaking. This could indicate warper rotors, worn brake pads, or a loose brake caliper. A good healthy brake system will stop straight.
  • Check tire alignment. Make sure your steering wheel is completely straight and then take your hands off for a few seconds to see if the car veers to the right or left. If the tires are aligned, the car should continue in a straight line.
  • Listen carefully. Are there metallic sounds? If you hear clicking, rattling, clunking, and any other unusual sounds, further investigation is needed. Odd sounds and vibrations foretell repairs ahead.

For more information on inspecting a used car, read this Consumer Reports guide.

General Car Buying Tips

Increase your chances for success with a few extra precautions:

  • Never go alone. Always have someone accompany you. They will help you think through your options in a rational way. When you choose the person who will be going with you, try to pick someone with intelligence and experience, someone with a level head on their shoulders. They will help you ask critical questions.
  • Control your emotions. When looking for a new used car, try not to pay too much attention to aesthetics like colors and body work. If you feel yourself falling in love with a car, take a step back and reassess your emotions. To get the best car for your buck, use reason, not emotion. Pick a neutral color if you are thinking about reselling the car.
  • Make sure there are at least two keys. If one is missing consider the cost of getting a backup. It depends on the key, but newer keys with chips in them will set you back a couple hundred dollars. If it’s just a normal key, it won’t cost you that much.
  • Get a CarFax Report! CarFax is a comprehensive and trustworthy report on the vehicle’s history. With more than 93,000 data sources at their disposal, CarFax reports may include:
    • Title information, including salvaged or junked titles
    • Flood damage history
    • Total loss accident history
    • Odometer readings
    • Lemon history
    • Number of owners
    • Accident indicators, such as airbag deployments
    • State emissions inspection results
    • Service records
    • Vehicle use (taxi, rental, lease, etc.)

To ease your worries about purchasing a preowned vehicle, all Auto Simple cars go through a 180-point inspection and come with a free CarFax report. We do our best to bring the vehicle back to like-new conditions, including touching up paint and removing dents.

Plus, we offer a 6 Month/6,000 Mile Powertrain Warranty on all of our Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles. If for any reason you are unsatisfied with your purchase, you can return the vehicle within 48 hours—no questions asked.

Used Car Buyer's Checklist - How to Buy a Used Car (mini infographic)

Finalizing the Purchase

If you are buying from a dealership, the payment and purchase should be very easy. After all questions are answered and the paperwork is signed, you will receive the keys and copies of all the documents. It’s that easy.

In fact, you can leave the Auto Simple lot with a new pre-owned vehicle for as low as $500 Down!


Auto Simple wants to find you 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 free CarFax report and a 6 month/6,000-mile powertrain warranty. We also own a private track for test driving!

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.

best tailgating cars

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.

Toyota 4Runner

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.

Dodge Ram 1500

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.

Jeep Patriot

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.

Honda Ridgeline

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.

Ford Flex

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.

Ford F-350 Super Duty

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?

Source link: http://www.autobytel.com/car-buying-guides/features/autobytel-top-10-best-cars-for-the-tailgate-party-112893/

How to Change Your Motor Oil (and Filter)

motor oil container - How to Change Your Oil and Filter

How much do you pay for a motor oil change? $95? $45? Even if you have a Groupon to Jiffy Lube, it’s cheaper to change the oil yourself. But if frugality doesn’t convince you, perhaps a rejuvenated sense of pride and self-confidence will. Besides, everyone thinks working on a car is sexy.

When should I change my motor oil? 

Although you’ve probably heard the recommendation to change your oil every 3,000 or 5,000 miles, newer cars and oils can handle longer distances. Changing your motor oil too frequently is bad for the environment and your wallet. For the most accurate advice, always check your owner’s manual for the mileage intervals between oil changes.

Neglecting regular oil changes can permanently damage your engine.

How to Change Your Motor Oil (and Filter)

Time:

If you have all the materials on hand, you can change your motor oil and oil filter in under 30 minutes.

Materials:

  1. Motor Oil

First, you need to make sure you have the proper oil for your engine. Unfortunately, as in many cases, we have a case of choice overload—synthetic, synthetic-blend, conventional, premium conventional, high-mileage, heavy duty—you see what I mean!

As with mileage intervals between oil changes, consult your owner’s manual for the correct weight/viscosity of the oil and how many quarts you need, sometimes listed under the heading, “capacities.” Usually, it is around 4–6 liters (1.1–1.6 gallons).

No matter what type of oil you choose, always follow manufacturer instructions.

  1. Oil Filter

Whenever you change the oil, you’ll also want to change the filter. Different cars require different oil filters, so again, consult your user’s manual.

You can also show up to the auto parts store with the year, make, and model of your car, and they should be able to look it up for you.

  1. Socket Wrench

You will need a 6 point socket wrench to loosen the drain plug. If you have a socket wrench kit, you should already have the right-sized wrench for the job (Japanese and European cars usually require a metric set). If not, you can find the right-sized attachment for under $5.

  1. Oil Filter Wrench or Pliers 

You might need an oil filter wrench or oil filter pliers to remove the old oil filter, which will set you back around $5-$10. Make sure you buy the right size. If you’re lucky, however, you might be able to remove the filter by hand.

  1. Car Jack or Car Ramp

Use a car jack (with jack stands) or a car ramp to get your car off the ground.

  1. Drain Pan, Funnel, and Plastic Jug

You need three things to properly dispose of the old oil: a pan or bucket to catch the oil, and a funnel and old plastic milk jug to transport it. Improper disposal of motor oil is illegal.

  1. Old Rags, Disposable Gloves, and Safety Glasses

Motor oil has toxic contaminants that you want to keep away from your skin, eyes, and mouth. Wear safety glasses and use disposable nitrile gloves and rags to wipe off any excess oil.

Step-by-Step Instructions

1. Drain Motor Oil:

  • Warm up the car

In order to facilitate oil flow, make sure the engine is warm by taking the vehicle for a spin around the block or by letting it idle for 5-10 minutes. Once the engine is warm, find yourself a flat surface to work on.

WARNING: To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, never let your car idle in a garage or other enclosed area.

  • Park on flat surface and jack up vehicle

hydraulic car jack and jack stand - added car safety

Source: Howard Klaaste/Bigstock.com

Make sure the car is on a flat surface, put the car in park, apply the parking break, and remove the keys. Look up your car’s jacking points in the owner’s manual and jack up the engine side of the vehicle.

If you are using a jack, support the vehicle with jack stands! We also recommend restraining rear tires with wheel blocks to prevent the back wheels from rolling.

If you are using a ramp, drive up it front wheels first, but be careful not to overshoot. Once safely on the ramp, engage the parking break and turn the engine off.

WARNING: Always follow safety instructions for the proper use of ramps and car jacks.

  • Remove the oil dipstick

cleaning motor oil dipstick - how to change motor oil

Source: vladacanon/Bigstock.com

Now that the car is securely lifted, put on your gloves and pop the hood. Remove the oil dipstick, which will allow the oil to drain smoother and faster. If you can’t find your oil dipstick, consult the owner’s manual.

  • Locate the oil pan and oil plug

Next, you’ll need to get underneath your car to find the oil pan, which looks like a flat metal pan underneath to the engine, further away from the transmission.

The oil plug looks like a large bolt on the bottom of the oil pan. If you are having difficulty locating the oil pan, consult your owner’s manual.

  • Place a drain pan or large bucket underneath the oil pan

The container you choose should be large enough to hold all the old oil that will soon be draining out. Most cars hold about 4-5 quarts of oil, so make sure the container can safely catch at least that amount. We also recommend laying out some newspaper to prevent oil stains.

  • Remove the oil plug

oil draining out of motor oil drain pan - how to change oil (and filter)

Source: Dvortygirl/Wikimedia Commons

Before you drain the motor oil, make sure you have your gloves and safety glasses on. Once you find the oil plug bolt at the bottom of the pan, start loosening it with the proper sized socket wrench (some vehicles may have two drain plugs).

When the bolt head is loose, use your gloved hands to remove the plug very slowly, so that the oil drips into the bucket/pan below.

Oil will flow quickly at first, but will it will take up to 30 minutes for all the oil to drain out.

WARNING: Oil may be very hot!

  • Replace the plug and add a new washer

When the oil has stopped dripping, clean up any excess oil and wipe the drain plug and plug threads with a rag.

After inspecting the condition of your drain plug and gasket, replace the plug and add a new drain plug gasket if necessary.

If your plug and washer are still in good condition, reinstall the plug and tighten it as far as you can with your hand. Then use a 6-pt. socket wrench to secure it, while being careful not to over-tighten it.

2. Replace Oil Filter:

  • Locate and remove oil filter

removing oil filter with socket wrench

Source: Dvortygirl/Wikimedia Commons

Unfortunately, there isn’t a standard location for oil filters, so you may have to spend some time locating it. This may be the hardest part! If you are having any difficulty, consult the owner’s manual.

The old oil filter will have some oil inside, so make sure a pan or bucket is underneath to catch any excess oil. You may need a socket-type oil filter wrench to remove the old filter, however, many can be removed by hand.

Once the filter is removed and the excess oil has drained, use a rag to clean the area and check for any loose gaskets or debris that may be stuck inside the mounting plate.

  • Lubricate new filter with oil and screw into place

Use your glove-covered finger to spread a little oil over the gasket of your new filter and thread it into the opening where the filter goes. You should be able to tighten it by hand.

Oil filters come with specific instructions for how many rotations you need to tighten it (located on the packaging or the filter itself). When in doubt, see owner’s manual for instructions.

3. Add Clean Oil and Recycle Oil & Filter:

  • Refill new oil

After the drain plug is replaced and the new filter installed, use a clean funnel to fill your car with new oil. Consult your owner’s manual to find out the correct viscosity and volume you should pour in, but most cars take 4–6 liters. Once you have replaced the oil, screw the oil cap back on.

For the most accurate oil level readings, check your dipstick first thing in the morning, when the car is cool and on a level surface.

  • Run the car and inspect for leaks

You’re almost done! After pouring in the correct amount of new oil, close the hood, return the dipstick, run the engine, and look under the car for any oil leaks or spills (especially near the oil pan and filter). If you see a leak, cut the engine and let it cool before repairing the leak.

Once you have checked for leaks, turn the engine off and wait one minute before lowering the vehicle to the ground.

  • Clean up and write down the date and mileage of the car.

Look around and clean up any oil, newspaper, or rags. Write down the date of your oil change and mileage of your vehicle and leave it in the car for future reference. Follow the owner’s manual for the proper mileage in between oil changes.

WARNING: Change your oil on a regular basis to avoid permanent damage to your vehicle.

  • Return oil dipstick and properly dispose of old oil and oil filter

It is a crime to throw your old oil and filter away in the sewer or trash. In order to abide by local and federal laws, you need to recycle your old oil at a local gas station, auto shop, or recycling center. Just transport your oil, using a funnel, into a couple of empty milk jugs and take them to a recycling center near you.

WARNING: Be careful not to contaminate the recycling process by using empty paint cans, bleach containers, or anything else that used to contain chemicals. Make sure you call the recycling center first for days and hours of operation.

That’s it! Now grab a cold one and congratulate yourself for saving money and learning a new skill.

Auto Simple Offers FREE Oil Changes!

Become a Preferred Customer of Auto Simple simply by signing up for recurring payments from your checking account via ACH or debit card and earn FREE oil changes every 90 days for the life of your loan!*

If you have any questions about how to change your oil or filter, don’t hesitate to give us a call at 423-584-6700.

Image Sources: Bigstock and Wikimedia Commons


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. 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.