Top 11 Books on Automobiles | Maintenance, Repair, Fiction & Nonfiction

best nonfiction and fiction books on automobiles - maintenance and repair

In honor of Read Across America Day (March 2nd) and National Reading Month (March), we’re going over the best books about cars, trucks, and automobiles.

While there are many great online resources such as YouTube videos and message boards for learning car maintenance and repair (see our blog for instance), sometimes you end up on a wild goose chase following the wrong advice. But that doesn’t mean you should give up! Regular maintenance and repair will keep your vehicle efficient and reliable for a very long time.

Top 7 NONFICTION Books on Automobile Maintenance & Repair

Instead of scouring the internet, you can save a lot of time and frustration by purchasing a couple reference books for maintenance and repairs that range from simple to complex. If you read the following nonfiction books on auto maintenance and repair, you’ll be able to:

  • Change your oil
  • Check all fluids
  • Change tires
  • Basically anything!

Keep your vehicle running in top shape with these books and manuals:

  1. Vehicle Owner’s Manual

You should already have this one. The owner’s manual that came with the car will give most of the basic information you need for operating and maintaining your automobile.

This piece of reference material is essential. It will tell you exactly how to operate all of your car’s components, what your vehicle dashboard warning lights mean, what the proper tire PSI is, and other important information specific to your make and model.

If you have a question about your vehicle, consult the owner’s manual first (there’s an index in the back). If you can’t find what you’re looking for, the following books on the list will be able to fill in the gaps.

  1. Chilton Total Car Care Manual

For general repair procedures, get a Chilton’s repair manual for your vehicle. With just a few simple tools and a repair manual, you can complete most vehicle maintenance and repairs yourself.

These manuals provide easy-to-understand information about the inner workings of your vehicle. Even if you don’t plan on doing any serious repairs yourself, the manual will enable you to speak confidently with your mechanic.

Be aware the Chilton’s manuals tend to be a little more technical than Haynes manuals (the next book on the list). You should be able to do most car/truck maintenance and repair using only the Chilton’s manual, however, you may find gaps in information here and there. It’s best to compare the Chilton’s procedures with your owner’s manual and a Haynes manual.

  1. Haynes Car Repair & Servicing Manual

If you are serious about DIY auto work, you should supplement the Chilton manual with a Haynes manual. These 2 manuals will provide near comprehensive coverage for all your auto repair and maintenance work.

It’s a good idea to use both books to look up unfamiliar procedures. That way, you can choose the simpler method and get a better idea of what you are doing.

  1. OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) Service Manual

While Chilton and Haynes manuals should be more than enough for the average do-it-yourselfer, if you want the exact reprints of service manuals from the manufacturer, consider purchasing the OEM factory repair manual for your vehicle. Normally used by mechanics and technicians, these automotive manuals are the most thorough, but are generally harder to understand than either the Chilton or Haynes manuals. If you have all 3 manuals, you’ll have all the specific information you need to understand your vehicle’s many systems and components.

  1. Auto Repair for Dummies by Deanna Sclar

If you are familiar with the For Dummies, you’ll know that they are filled with non-intimidating pictures and guides on a variety of topics. So it’s no surprise the Auto Repair for Dummies by Deanna Sclar is simple, direct, and easy to understand.

The book contains useful information for the layman, including year-round maintenance schedules, general tune-ups, suggested tools, and other very practical information. If you just want to know the basics of car maintenance, reduce maintenance and repair costs, and increase your confidence when speaking with a mechanic, this is a great book.

Be aware, however, that the book won’t have a lot of information specific to your vehicle. For specific information on your vehicle, get the Chilton, Haynes, or OEM manuals.

  1. How Cars Work by Tom Newton

Get How Cars Work if you really want to understand how your car works. It goes slowly through each of the components in your vehicle, gradually building a comprehensive understanding of how each component and system functions.

Although much of the book is focused on how car engines work, it also provides thorough explanations for other systems as well, such as steering, brake, and heating/cooling systems. If you really want to understand what goes on under the hood, this book is for you.

The best thing about this book is that any beginner can understand it. It can even make a great gift for a mechanically-inclined child interested in how things work.

Finish the entire book and you’ll be able to converse smoothly and confidently with any mechanic or automotive enthusiast.

  1. Ask Click and Clack: Answers from Car Talk by Tom and Ray Magliozzi

I’m sure you are already familiar with the hilarious hosts of NPR’s Car Talk, but if not, you’re missing out. In addition to the great information on the Car Talk website and radio show, there are also several books by the Tappet brothers, a.k.a. Click and Clack.

Ask Click and Clack collects the best questions and answers from their radio show, combined with additional advice and wisecracks. If you are looking for light reading filled with helpful and amusing information, this is a great book for both the experienced mechanic and the complete beginner.

Honorable Mention: How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive by John Muir

If How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step by Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot by John Muir (not the nature-writer) wasn’t specific to old Volkswagens, it would have made our list. While certainly for beginners (mostly text with some illustrations), it is a very well written book that combines practical information with an entertaining style. If you own an air-cooled VW (beetle, gia, bus, etc…), this book has everything you need for troubleshooting and repairing your bug.

Advanced Automotive Engineering

If you are interested in automotive engineering and becoming a skilled mechanic, first decide which area you are interested and then go to SAE International for technical engineering information. You’ll also want to see what resources are available at your local mechanical engineering schools and join a team for hands-on experience.

Auto Log Book

If you want to keep track of mileage, maintenance, repairs, and other automotive work, we highly recommend keeping an auto log book. Whether you are trying to keep clear records for tax purposes or otherwise, an auto log book will make it easy to record your vehicle history.

There are also plenty of great nonfiction books about the history of cars and the people who drive them. Against All Odds: The Story of the Toyota Motor Corporation and the Family That Created It is a fascinating story about the history of Toyota. It should be required reading for any manufacturing entrepreneurs. Behind the Wheel: The Great Automobile Aficionados by Robert Putal is another great book for automotive enthusiasts, which includes profiles of 80 famous car aficionados.

Top 4 FICTION Books on Motor Vehicles  

Humans and wheels—they’re a match made in heaven. Old or young, these books are sure to please any automotive enthusiast and their need for speed. You don’t even have to be interested in motor vehicles to enjoy these books, but don’t be surprised if they get you hooked.

  1. The Truck Book by Harry McNaught

This bestselling book for children is full of beautiful and colorful illustrations of over 50 trucks, including buses, RVs, and fire engines.

  1. Christine by Stephen King 

Fasten your seatbelts, folks. The master of horror wants to take you on a chilling ride with a killer car. If you enjoyed the movie, you’ll LOVE the book! 

  1. The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary

The Mouse and the Motorcycle is the classic story of a young boy, a mouse, and a motorcycle. There are two great sequels as well, Runaway Ralph and Ralph S. Mouse. Children aged 5-9 will probably get the most enjoyment out of this motor vehicle tale.

  1. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert M. Pirsig

Don’t be fooled by the title. According to the author, “It should in no way be associated with that great body of factual information relating to orthodox Zen Buddhist practice. It’s not very factual on motorcycles, either” (Wikipedia). It does, however, use motorcycle maintenance as a life analogy we can all relate to in some way or another.

After reading these books and guides for car enthusiasts, come into Auto Simple and check out our collection of used cars. We do free oil changes every 90 days for the life of your loan and have highly-trained technicians onsite. Additionally, if you decide to trade-in or sell your vehicle after being inspired by these great literary works, we do that too! 

Best Online Resources for Auto Repair and Maintenance 


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+.

Vehicle Tax Deductions | How to Write Off Car and Truck Expenses

Vehicle Tax Deductions | Write Off Car and Truck Expenses

Disclaimer: We are not tax return preparers, accountants, or lawyers. Please speak with a professional before you attempt any tax changes.

Tax season—makes you feel like an adult, doesn’t it? Whether you’re doing your taxes for the first time or the fiftieth, a common question that always pops up is “Can I write off my vehicle or its operating costs as an expense? 

The short answer is that you cannot deduct the full cost of the vehicle unless it is exclusively used for business; however, you can and should deduct where you can.

While the IRS does allow writing off vehicle expenses, they are pretty strict about it. If you drive your vehicle for work purposes and intend on writing off those business miles, keep a detailed log of all expenses, including parking, tolls, gas, car washes, repairs, and maintenance.

We recommend purchasing a vehicle expense log at your office supply store or online and keeping it in your car. Unfortunately, you cannot deduct commuting costs. Taking public transportation or driving a vehicle to and from your workplace is never deductible. If, however, you have a business-related trip to another location, you can deduct the cost of travel (IRS).

You might qualify for one or more of these options for personal, business or self-employed deductions:

1. Vehicle Donation

If you donate your used car, truck, boat, or anything else for that matter, you may be eligible for a deduction. Make sure you donate to a “qualified organization.” Click here for a listed of organizations eligible to receive tax-deductible charitable contributions. Learn the rules for vehicle donations here.

If you’d prefer quick cash, consider selling your car to Auto Simple.

2. Medical Purposes

If you use your vehicle for medical purposes, such as transporting yourself or one of your dependents to and from a medical facility, you may be eligible for a tax deduction. The IRS allows deductions for medical care, including gas, public transportation fare, and parking fees.

Keep in mind that you cannot deduct medical expenses if you are already being reimbursed by your insurance provider or employer.

3. Moving or Relocating

You will want to check the details, but if you are relocating or moving to a new city seeking work, you may be eligible for tax deductions, including parking and shipping, travel, and lodging costs. This would all fall under your “moving expense deduction.” Keep in mind that you have to relocate at least 50 miles to your new work location to qualify.

4. Business Use

If you are self-employed, you can deduct nearly any cost for business use, even if your car doubles as your personal vehicle. Just make sure you are separating business trips from personal ones.

In order to claim a deduction, the costs must be related to one or more of the following:

  • Traveling from one work location to another within the taxpayer’s tax home area. (Generally, the tax home is the entire city or general area where the taxpayer’s main place of business is located, regardless of where he or she resides.)
  • Visiting customers.
  • Attending a business meeting away from the regular workplace.
  • Getting from home to a temporary workplace when the taxpayer has one or more regular places of work. (These temporary workplaces can be either within or outside taxpayer’s tax home area.)

Source: irs.gov

Keep in mind that travel from your home to your regular place of work “are commuting expenses and are not deductible” (IRS).

When deducting vehicle-related expenses, you can either choose standard mileage rate or actual expenses.

If you run a small business and have one or more vehicles that are used exclusively for business use, you can deduct them as part of your operating expenses. Make sure you keep careful track of all your repair and maintenance records.

Should I use standard mileage rate or the actual expenses incurred for a vehicle?

You have the choice to use the standard mileage rate or the actual incurred costs for a vehicle that is owned or leased. Usually, if you have a more energy-efficient and reliable car, the standard mileage rate will yield better results. If you expect the operating costs to be pretty high (maintenance, tires, repairs, etc.), you’ll be better off using the actual cost method. More expensive cars, trucks, SUVs, and minivans may want to choose the actual expense method. Keep in mind, however, that the standard mileage rate method is the simpler process.

Standard mileage rate takes the place of actual expenses. You cannot choose the standard mileage rate (around 44.5 cents per mile) and then also deduct expenses such as depreciation, maintenance, gas, and repairs. Business-related parking and toll fees, however, can be deducted in addition to standard mileage rate.

You cannot use the standard mileage rate if:

  • You use the car for hire (such as a taxi)
  • You use five or more cars at the same time (such as a fleet operation)
  • You claim depreciation or a section 179 deduction
  • You are a rural mail carrier who receives a qualified reimbursement

Source: irs.gov

If you choose the actual expense method, you will need to keep detailed records or any business-related expenses, such as:

  • Depreciation
  • Lease payments
  • Registration fees
  • Licenses
  • Gas
  • Insurance
  • Repairs
  • Oil
  • Garage rent
  • Tires
  • Tolls
  • Parking fees

Source: irs.gov

Whichever method you choose, you will need to allocate your expenses based on personal and business use (if business use is less than 100%). 

What records are required?

The types of records required by the IRS depend on if you choose the standard mileage rate or actual expenses. For both, you should have a daily log of miles traveled, destination, and purpose (business or personal).

If you choose actual expenses, you should also retain all records, receipts, invoices, and any other documentation showing which expenses were incurred. For the depreciation section, you will need to know the original cost, plus any improvements, and documentation showing the date of service.

Is driving to and from my workplace considered a business expense? 

Commuting back and forth from your home to your workplace is not considered business-related. It is commuting and cannot be deducted on either your business or individual tax returns.

Additionally, any toll or parking expenses related to commuting are personal expenses that cannot be deducted.

Can I deduct travel expenses on business trips?

Although you may not deduct any commuting costs, you can deduct business travel costs when traveling for your job, including meals, lodging, and travel.

According to irs.gov:

“You can deduct actual expenses or the standard mileage rate, as well as business-related tolls and parking fees. If you rent a car, you can deduct only the business-use portion for the expenses.”

What is a vehicle expense? 

If you use your car for business, you can deduct interest on auto loans, registration fees, repairs, parking fares, and tolls.

Here are some common vehicle expenses:

  • Gas
  • Repairs and maintenance
  • Tires
  • Registration fees and taxes
  • Vehicle loan interest
  • Insurance
  • Lease payments
  • Depreciation
  • Parking and space rental fees
  • Tolls

If you drive a vehicle for your job, your employer normally reimburses any vehicle-related expenses. The employer writes off the vehicle expenses. That means you cannot deduct any vehicular expenses.

However, if you pay out of pocket for vehicle and travel expenses on behalf of your employer, you can claim an unreimbursed employee business expense deduction as a miscellaneous itemized deduction.

Can I deduct interest on car loans?

According to the IRS:

“If you are an employee, you can’t deduct any interest paid on a car loan. This applies even if you use the car 100% for business as an employee. However, if you are self-employed and use your car in your business, you can deduct that part of the interest expense that represents your business use of the car. For example, if you use your car 60% for business, you can deduct 60% of the interest on Schedule C (Form 1040). You can’t deduct the part of the interest expense that represents your personal use of the car.”

TL;DR

  • Vehicle use for business purposes is a legitimate deductible expense that should be claimed.
  • Always maintain detailed records (keep a vehicle expense log).
  • Use the standard mileage rate if you don’t anticipate many vehicle expenses.
  • Speak with professional tax preparer.

If you’re selling, purchasing, or trading in your next vehicle for business purposes, speak with a professional at Auto Simple to help you deduct all the related car expenses.

Tax Refund

Sometimes, you find out that you are paying the IRS more than you owe. If that’s the case, the IRS now owes you. This is called a tax refund and you determine the amount when you fill out your tax return.

Are you getting a big refund this year? Simply bring your estimated tax refund in to Auto Simple and we may defer your down payment. Our tax refund special makes it easy for you to Sign and Drive!


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+.

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

what cars did U.S. Presidents drive

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

William Taft – Baker Electric Runabout
Source: Flickr

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 Wilsons's Pierce-Arrow Motor Car
Source: Woodrow Wilson Presidential Library

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

what car did Herbert Hoover drive
Source: Wikimedia Commons

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

what car did Franklin D. Roosevelt drive - Packard 12
Source: Wikimedia Commons

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

what car did Harry S. Truman drive - Ford Super Deluxe
Source: Wikimedia Commons

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

what car did Dwight D. Eisenhower drive – Chrysler Imperial
Source: Wikimedia Commons

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

what car did John F. Kennedy JFK drive - 1961 Ford Thunderbird 
Source: Wikimedia Commons

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

what car did Lyndon B. Johnson LBJ drive - Amphicar 
Source: Wikimedia Commons

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

what car did Richard M. Nixon drive - 1950 Oldsmobile 98

Source: blogspot.ca

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

President Reagan ('84) driving in red Willys Jeep at Rancho Del Cielo
Source: Ronald Reagan Library

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

what car did Bill Clinton drive - 1967 Mustang Convertible
Source: Wikimedia Commons

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

what car did Obama drive - Ford Escape Hybrid
Source: Wikimedia Commons

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 – 

Trump's blue Lamborghini Diablo Roadster VT ebay sale image
Source: ebay seller cks696

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+.

How to Check Vehicle Tire Pressure and Inflate Tires

checking and inflating car vehicle tire pressure

We all know that routine maintenance is important for everything from our computers to our cars. But sometimes, we fall short. One of the most neglected routine car maintenance tasks is to check tire pressures and inflate them as necessary. That’s why newer cars have tire pressure warning lights, or tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS), that let you know when you have under- or over-inflated tires (when any tire is 25% underinflated).

Older vehicles don’t have this useful warning light. So, don’t wait for a rupture to check or change a tire. Use this guide to learn how to check the pressure (PSI) of your vehicle tires and how to inflate them to the proper air level.

Why should you check your tire pressure?

The number one reason why you should periodically check your tire pressure is SAFETY, but there are monetary and handling reasons as well:

  • Longer lasting tires
  • Improved handling and control
  • Reduced risk of accidents and blow outs
  • Better fuel economy
  • Reduced carbon footprint

Proper tire pressure (as recommended by the manufacturer) is needed to drive safely and efficiently. According to a 2009 report by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration:

“…about 28% of light vehicles on our Nation’s roadways run with at least one underinflated tire. Only a few psi difference from vehicle manufacturer’s recommended tire inflation pressure can affect a vehicle’s handling and stopping distance. Poor tire maintenance can increase incidences of blowouts and tread separations. Similarly, underinflation negatively affects fuel economy.”

When your tires are underinflated, the tires get fatter, increasing their surface area. This causes high heat generation and extra resistance that could result in higher fuel costs, blown out tires, tire wear, and loss of control.

If you feel like you’re spending too much at the gas pump, it might be your tires. According to the US Department of Energy:

“You can improve your gas mileage by 0.6% on average—up to 3% in some cases—by keeping your tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by about 0.2% for every 1 psi drop in the average pressure of all tires.”

In addition to safety and fiscal concerns, keeping your tires properly inflated will also reduce your impact on the environment. When your tires are properly inflated, you’ll pay less for gas, replace your tires less often, and improve your handling and stopping distance. You’ll also feel better knowing that you are emitting less carbon dioxide and other harmful substances into the atmosphere.

What is the right PSI level?

PSI stands for pounds per square inch. The recommended PSI for your vehicle’s tires is determined by the vehicle’s manufacturer and the recommended tire size.

One big question that we get is whether you should follow the recommended PSI level on the tire itself or the recommended PSI level printed in your owner’s manual or on the placard inside of door edge, glove box door, or fuel door.

Do NOT use the max PSI that is printed on the tire sidewall. This is not the recommended PSI level. The pressure amount on the tire is normally the maximum allowed pressure. The correct PSI level is almost always less than what you see printed on the side of the tire. Over-inflation can lead to poor handling and comfort, overheating and blow outs. Over 40 PSI is a dangerous level for most vehicles!

Make sure you always use the recommended PSI as provided in your owner’s manual and don’t go any more than 5 PSI over the recommended level. You should make sure, however, that your tires are appropriate for your vehicle. You can do this by checking the car’s owner’s manual or the placard that is on the inside of the driver-side door, glove box, or fuel door.

Most car tire pressure recommendations range from 30-35 PSI.

How often should I check tire pressure?

A question in many minds is when is the appropriate time and frequency for checking and inflating vehicle tires.

A quick google search will reveal a variety of different opinions and suggestions. Some say that you should check your tire pressure every 2nd visit to the gasoline station, while others say once every 3-6 months is OK.

Most tire and vehicle manufacturers, on the other hand, will say that you should check your tire pressure at least once every month, or every second trip to the gas pump. Your tires will lose around 1 PSI each for every month that goes by.

Unfortunately, not one answer will fit every situation. There are several factors that influence how often you should check your tire pressure, including:

  • The weather (hot and cold seasonal changes)
  • Driving frequency and distance
  • Weight carried or towed

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

If you have a leaky valve or a small puncture, you will lose air pressure much more quickly. This is one more reason why you should frequently check the tire pressure on all of your tires.

Since tire pressure constantly fluctuates, it’s important to check it periodically (at least once a month) and add air as necessary.

How to Check Tire Pressure

Finding out the tire pressure of your tires is incredibly easy. All you need is a pressure gauge (click here for additional items you should have in your vehicle).

Just make sure that you are checking your tires when they are relatively cold. If you check your tire pressure after a long drive, you will get an inaccurate reading since heat will temporarily increase the tire pressure reading.

Unfortunately, not all pressures gauges are created equal. Some are better than others. We recommend shelling out a couple extra bucks for a digital reader. The pop-up, stick-type versions are notoriously inconsistent and unreliable. A reliable gauge will be well worth the investment. Prices range from about $5 for the stick-type and about $30 for the digital and dial-type pressure gauges.

You can also check your tire pressure at most gas stations or auto repair shops. Discount Tire offers free tire pressure checks and inflation.

Here are the steps for checking your tire pressure:

  • Check the tire pressure when the tires are cold—first thing in the morning is best. If you’ve been driving for a while, you’ll want to wait several hours before checking your tire pressure.
  • Remove the caps to your tires’ air valve (keep them in a safe place, like your pocket).
  • Place the tire pressure gauge on the air valve firmly to receive a reading.
  • Take the tire pressure reading 1-3 times to get a good average and reduce the risk of anomalies.
  • Check the tire pressure gauge reading against the recommended PSI levels recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Add some air until your reach the recommended PSI level.
  • If the reading is above the recommended PSI level, push down on the air valve to release air. Check the tire pressure again. Release more air if necessary. If you release too much air, you can always add some air back.

It should only take you a couple minutes to check the air pressure of your vehicle’s tires. As soon as you restore tire pressure to the recommended levels, you’ll start experiencing the safety and savings that come with this regular maintenance task.

Watch this video for more information on how to check your tire pressure:

How to Inflate Tires

Here are the steps for adding air to your tires:

  • Remove the valve stem caps on all of your tires (keep them in a safe place, like your pocket).
  • Use an air pump to fill the tires. Even though it’s possible to fill your tires with a regular old bicycle pump, this is not the most efficient method. Instead, go to your local gas station that has a coin-operated air pump (ask the attendant if you can’t find it). You can also purchase your own automatic air compressor, but it will cost you around $50-$150.
  • Inflate your tires when they are cold. If you’ve driven more than a couple miles, you’ll want to wait until they are cold. The best time to refill your tires is first thing in the morning.
  • You can usually set the desired PSI level on the machine at the gas station (probably around 30-35 PSI). If your local gas station’s air pump doesn’t have this capability, then you will need to fill up the tire, check the pressure with your gauge, and then add or release air as necessary. Some air pumps will have a built-in tire pressure gauge. Once the PSI level is set, feed coins into the machine until you hear the air coming through. It will be pretty noisy.
  • You want to act quickly because you only have a few minutes before the pump turns off. Bring the tip of the air valve to your closest tire valve (or the lowest tire). Hold it firmly against the valve as you listen to the air filling the tire.
  • Make sure your vehicle is close enough to the pump so you don’t have to move and pay for another air session.
  • Give the pump some time to fill up your tires. If you pre-set the PSI on the machine itself, you will hear a loud beeping noise when the desired PSI is reached. If not, fill up the air for around 5-10 seconds and then check the tire pressure with your pressure gauge. Check the air pressure as you go and refill or release air as necessary.
  • If you go over the recommended PSI, you can release air from the tire by depressing the center valve pin with your tire gauge or a similar tool (a fingernail can also do the job). Release the air in small increments and check the pressure as you go.
  • When you have reached the desired pressure, make sure you check all your tires again with your pressure gauge. If all is well, you are done adding air.
  • Remember those valve caps we told you to keep safe. You’ll want to screw them back on now.

Remember, just one drop in PSI can lower your gas mileage by about 0.2%. For every 3-4 PSI units that your tire is underinflated, you are burning around 1% more fuel.

If your tires are flat, then you probably have a leak. Add air and see if you can drive around without the pressure dropping. If you hear air escaping the tire while you are filling up, then it’s time to replace the tire.

Tip: Learn how to use the air pump properly first. Some automatic air pumps at gas stations have a handle/switch that you need to depress in order for the air to flow. When you let go of the handle, a tire pressure gauge will pop out showing you the tire pressure. At the same time, air will be slowly released. If your air pump has this kind of handle, then you will want to hold down the handle for most of the time, periodically releasing it to check the pressure reading. Consult your own tire pressure gauge for accuracy.

When should I replace my tires?

If you check your tire pressure at least once a month as recommended, you’ll also get a good idea of the general condition of your tires and when you should replace them.

We recommend using the penny test:

how to tell if you need to replace car tires - penny test

Source: bridgestonetire.com

  • 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.
  • Consider a replacement soon if only a small part of his head is cut off. You are good to go if Lincoln’s forehead is covered. Use the penny test on a few areas of each tire to get a more accurate reading.

Click here for more car maintenance tips. Click here for car winterization tips.


Auto Simple wants you to find a vehicle 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 vehicles: FacebookTwitterYoutube, and Google+.

Vehicle Dashboard Warning Lights | What Do They Mean?

vehicle warning lights and what they mean

If we’re honest with ourselves, we probably don’t know what all of our vehicle’s warning lights and symbols mean. What they mean for most of us is a slight increase in stress levels and a trip to the mechanic. Some of us choose to ignore them entirely until the car eventually breaks down.

While some warning lights may seem inconsequential, it’s important to know what they mean and how to react. Warning lights illuminate whenever there is a problem with one or more of your vehicle’s functions.

If left unchecked, minor problems can turn into major repairs. So keep a close eye on your dashboard and don’t ignore the warning signs. Most of these warning lights can be prevented with regular service and maintenance.

These strange hieroglyphics vary from vehicle to vehicle, so be sure to check your owner’s manual for specific information about your vehicle. In many cars, the warning lights will illuminate briefly when the engine is turned on to check the bulb. If warning lights remain illuminated, however, you should take your vehicle in for service.

Red, Yellow/Orange, Green, and Blue Lights

As with most things, there are levels to this. A red warning light demands immediate attention (don’t drive any further), while yellow/orange warning lights indicate a problem that needs to be serviced soon.

If you see a green or blue light, this normally indicates that a certain car function is on or currently in use.

Standard Dashboard Warning Lights

1. Check Engine Light

check engine - car warning light

What it looks like: A yellow submarine

What it is: The Check Engine Light

I’m sure we’ve all seen this one before. It’s one of the more serious lights to pay attention to and normally indicates an emissions or general engine running problem. Sometimes the word “check” appears near the engine symbol, sometimes not at all. Older vehicles may not have a symbol at all, just the text “Check Engine” or “Service Engine Soon.”

In many vehicles, the check engine light illuminates whenever the engine is turned on to check the bulb. If the light stays illuminated, the car’s diagnostic systems have detected a malfunction that needs to be investigated. If the check engine light begins to flash or blink, this may indicate an engine misfire is occurring.

What to do: If the check engine light stays on, take the vehicle in to be serviced as soon as you can.

If the check engine light is blinking, drive delicately at moderate speeds (slow acceleration and deceleration) until you can get your car to a mechanic. It can be very dangerous and damaging to drive while the check engine light is flashing! Click here for more reasons why your check engine light might be on.

2. Battery Light

battery vehicle charging warning light

What it looks like: A winking robot

What it is: The Battery/Charging System Light

The battery light indicates that the car’s charging system is short of power or is not charging properly. This can lead to electrical problems involving your power steering, braking, lights, and engine. It normally indicates a problem with the battery itself or the alternator.

What to do: Take your vehicle in to get serviced as soon as you can. Most likely, you just need to replace your battery. Other causes may include wiring problems, a faulty alternator, or a faulty battery.

3. Temperature Warning Light

engine temperature warning light

What it looks like: A pirate ship or a key submerged in water

What it is: The Engine/Coolant Temperature Warning Light

The temperature warning light means that the engine is, or is very close to overheating.

Some cars may not have a specific engine warning light. You may only have a temperature gauge with a red section (H) at the highest end of the gauge. If the needle enters the red section, the engine is overheating and should be stopped as soon as safely possible.

Other times, an “engine overheating” or “temp” message will illuminate, sometimes alternating with a flashing radiator or fan icon.

What to do: Never drive with an overheating engine! Stop driving as soon as you possibly can and switch off the engine to allow the engine to cool.

If the engine temperature warning light comes on again, you probably have a problem with your coolant, radiator, or water pump. Drive the car at a low speed to your local mechanic.

WARNING: NEVER open the coolant reservoir cap while the engine is hot or running.

4. Oil Pressure Warning

engine oil pressure indicator warning light

What it looks like: A magic genie lamp or a Neti pot

What it is: The Engine Oil Pressure Indicator Light

The oil pressure warning light indicates a loss of oil pressure, meaning lubrication is low or lost completely.

What to do: Do not drive while this light is illuminated! If you see this light come on while driving, stop the car as soon as it is safe to do so.

You should check your motor oil level and pressure as soon as you can. If that doesn’t get the light to turn off, have your vehicle checked out by a professional mechanic before you do any more damage to your vehicle.

5. ABS Warning

antilock brake system warning light

What it looks like: An abs workout reminder

What it is: The Antilock Brake System (if equipped)

The antilock brake system regulates brake pressure to prevent wheels from locking during braking. If the ABS is not working properly, the wheels may lock up and cause a dangerous driving situation.

If the ABS light remains on, the antilock brake system needs professional diagnosis. Sometimes the warning light is only text, such as “Antilock” or “ABS.” In some vehicles, the ABS warning is red. In others, it is yellow or orange.

In some vehicles, the ABS turns on when the antilock brake system is active. If it remains on, however, ABS safety features have been turned off.

What to do: If the ABS light stays lit, a malfunction in your antilock brake system has been detected. Have your vehicle professionally serviced as soon as you can.

6. Airbag Indicator

SRS supplemental restraint system airbag indicator light

What it looks like: A meteor is heading your way

What it is: The Airbag Indicator, a.k.a. Supplemental Restraint System (SRS)

The airbag warning light indicates something wrong with your airbag system. For the safety of you and your passengers, take the vehicle in for service as soon as possible.

What to do: If the airbag light does not illuminate when you turn the ignition, continues to flash, or stays illuminated, one or more of your airbags are malfunctioning. Take the vehicle in for service immediately.

7. Safety Belt Reminder

seat belt reminder indicator warning light

What it looks like: An obese child wearing a bandolier

What it is: The Seat Belt Reminder Light

Chiming or beeping usually accompanies the seat belt reminder light.

What to do: Fasten your seat belt! If your seat belt is fastened, the warning light may come on if you have a lot of weight on one of the seats. Either remove the weight or buckle the seat belt on the corresponding seat.

8. Brake System Warning

vehicle brake system warning light

What it looks like: A Pokémon gym is nearby

What it is: The Brake System Warning Light

This warning light illuminates when there is a problem with your brakes. You may also see a light that says “Brake.” This can indicate that the parking brake is applied, there is low brake fluid, or the brake system needs to be inspected immediately.

If the light only comes on when you pressing down on the brake pedal, you may have a problem with your hydraulic circuits (bad hose, leaky disk caliber, or something else). If the pedal feels loose or goes to the floor, pull the vehicle over as soon as safely possible.

What to do: Check the brake fluid and make sure the parking brake isn’t on. If adding brake fluid and releasing the parking brake doesn’t turn the light off, have the brake system inspected immediately.

If both the ABS and Brake Light Warning lights come on, you could have a seriously dangerous problem with your brakes. Stop the car as soon as safely possible and get your brake system inspected.

9. TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System)

tire pressure warning light

What it looks like: A boiling cauldron

What it is: The Tire Pressure Warning Light (if equipped)

Some vehicles come with a tire pressure monitoring system. The light comes on when one or more of your tires have low pressure. It is usually red or yellow.

What to do: Check the tire pressure on all of your tires. Refer to your owner’s manual for recommended PSI levels.

10. Check Gas Cap

fuel gas cap warning light

What it looks like: A big screw is stuck in your car

What it is: The Gas Cap Warning Light

If the gas/fuel cap is not properly tightened, the gas cap warning light will come on. Some vehicles display text instead, such as “Check Gas Cap.” The gas cap prevents fuel from evaporating out of the tank and keeps rain, dust, and other things from entering the tank. If left unattended, the check engine light will illuminate.

What to do: Pull over and tighten the gas cap. If you drive around with your gas cap loose or missing, the check engine light will normally come on. If tightening the gas cap doesn’t work, you may have a cracked or damaged cap. Go to your local auto parts store to find a replacement (they are quite cheap). If that doesn’t do the trick, take the vehicle to your dealer or mechanic.

– Images courtesy of Bigstock

More Dashboard Warning Lights

vehicle dashboard warning lights

Source: banggood.com

You May Be Interested In:


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.

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+.

Pros and Cons of “Buy Here Pay Here” Dealerships

If you are in the market for a certified pre-owned vehicle, check out our Used Car Buyer’s Guide first. After setting your budget and deciding whether to buy from a private seller or a dealership, the next step is deciding what kind of dealership to buy from.

What Are “Buy Here Pay Here” Car Lots?

Buy Here Pay Here (BHPH) car lots distinguish themselves from other used car lots because BHPH dealerships offer on-site financing.

If you have bad credit, no credit, or in bankruptcy, you may find BHPH dealerships to be your best option. Even if you have good credit or don’t need financing, BHPH dealerships offer great deals on certified pre-owned vehicles.

While “buy here pay here” financing may be your only way to obtain a vehicle of your own, make sure you do your due diligence and make an educated decision beforehand (See: How to Buy a Used Car on Bad Credit).

Buy Here Pay Here lots have to abide by stricter laws since they are also effectively a finance company. Any BHPH lot that does not follow state and federal rules and regulations will not be in business for very long.

For example, all BHPH dealerships will have to follow the Truth in Lending Act (TILA), which requires the dealer/financier to disclose the final cash price, the amount financed, in addition to other necessary information for the consumer to shop and compare.

Other laws and regulations include the Fair & Accurate Credit Transaction Act, State Usury laws, and the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act.

Buy Here Pay Here Pros

In-House Financing

The first obvious advantage of BHPH dealerships is the ability to purchase and set up loan payments at the same place. Instead of getting an auto loan from a bank or another third party, you’ll be able to get everything done at the dealership.

Your payment plan will either be weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly. Get an idea of what your monthly payment will be using our Auto Loan Calculator.

Often, your BHPH dealer will be able to match up your pay dates with your job to make it as easy as possible to make payments on time and build up your credit score.

If you have no credit, bad credit, or are in post-bankruptcy, getting loan approval can be difficult. While annual percentage rates may depend on your credit score, Auto Simple accepts all credit situations including bad credit and no credit. This can be a great way to build up your credit at the same time.

Don’t believe people who say you’ll be paying 30% interest or the maximum allowed by law. Many BHPH lots offer interest rates in the range of 15% to 20%. Auto Simple offers interest rates as low as 14.9% to qualified buyers.*

Get pre-approved for financing by completing our secure online credit application.

Transaction specifics will be unique to you so make sure you review all the paperwork and finance information before you sign anything.

48-Hour Return Policy

When you buy from a private seller, you give up the chance to return the vehicle if you aren’t satisfied (along with a host of other buyer securities). When you buy a car from a BHPH car lot on the other hand, you are given a short return period to drive and test your purchase.

At Auto Simple, and at many other BHPH lots, a full 48-hour return period comes with every vehicle purchase. Make sure you go over this information with your dealer before signing any papers. No-Return policies raise red flags.

48 hours should give you enough time to drive your new vehicle through a variety of road conditions and even compare it with other cars and deals. There is absolutely no obligation to accept the offer if you are within the 48-hour timeframe.

Trade-In Deals (Buy Here Sell Here)

Trading in a used car is an easy way to kill two birds with one stone. If you are looking to trade in an older vehicle for a newer one, Auto Simple offers top dollar for pre-owned cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs. Our appraisals are good for 7 days.*

By selling (or trading in) your old car at a BHPH dealership, you can save a lot of time and money. We don’t know about other BHPH lots, but at Auto Simple, we make it extremely easy (See: How to Sell a Used Car to a Dealership).

Just fill out this form and we’ll send you an estimated appraisal within 48 hours.*

Curious to know how much money you can save by trading in your gas guzzler for a more fuel efficient vehicle? Calculate your fuel savings with our Gas Savings Calculator.

Free CarFax Report

Another advantage of going with a BHPH dealership is access to free CarFax reports on all vehicles.

Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles and Thorough Inspections

certified pre-owned car is one that has undergone a full inspection and any necessary repairs as specified by the automaker. CPO vehicles are often in “like-new” condition. They may cost more, but often come with additional warranties and roadside assistance (like our 6 Month/6000 Mile Powertrain Warranty), one of the main reasons why it’s a smart idea to buy from a BHPH dealership.

While we can’t speak for other dealerships, the in-house mechanics at Auto Simple put every single vehicle through a 180-point quality inspection. This is the largest inspection any of our mechanics have ever been exposed to. We make sure to fix everything from gaskets to transmissions and everything in between.

We are able to inspect, fix, and test all of the cars on our lot because we have all of our services on-site. We control the quality levels and meticulously recondition the vehicles to ensure we meet, and hopefully exceed, all of your expectations.

Warranties

Most used car dealerships offer warranties on used cars, such as Auto Simple‘s 6 Month/6,000 Mile Powertrain Warranty on All Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles. This comes in addition to any original manufacturer warranties.

Call and ask about warranty information beforehand and make sure you get everything in writing.

Quick and Easy Process

All BHPH vehicles are normally in a database that is connected to the DMV for fast and smooth transactions. BHPH dealers may also be able to work with you to clear any existing loans you may have taken out (this depends on location, lender, and other factors).

Auto Simple makes the car buying process easy. You can get started without even leaving your couch:

  1. Get Pre-Approved Online
  2. Search Online Inventory
  3. We Help You Find the Right Vehicle
  4. Drive It Using Our Private Track for Test Driving
  5. Buy with Confidence (See: Customer Confidence Program)

Although you may have to sign on a dotted line or two, all the paperwork is typically handled by the dealership. Most of our customers are able to drive away in their dream car the very same day.

Buy Here Pay Here Cons

Limited Inventory

Although BHPH lots carry a lot different makes and models, you are restricted to what they have available in their inventory. Shop online inventories and call the location before making the trip.

Higher Interest Rates

If you have good or excellent credit, a different lender will probably provide a lower interest rate than a BHPH financier.

But despite the unreasonably high interest rates you may have heard about BHPH lots, Auto Simple offers interest rates as low as 14.9% to qualified buyers.* Get pre-approved online and contact our financing department for more information.

Wherever you get your loan, make sure you take the information home and carefully look it over before you sign anything. Remember, this contract will potentially stay in effect for years. This isn’t an iTunes update—you want to make sure you know the exact terms and agreements.

We also recommend looking up the dealership online with the Better Business Bureau and any local consumer affairs offices. Check how long they have been in business and online testimonials. Basically, just do your research and you’ll have no problem finding a great car at an affordable price.

Hidden Fees

Not all dealerships are as upfront with you about the total costs involved in your transaction. Don’t assume they will tell you. Look over all of the paperwork carefully and check for:

  • administration and handling fees
  • the price matches the price you agreed to
  • inspection or detailing fees
  • delivery fees

Make sure you know what your payments will be be, how much the interest is, and when the payments end.

Additionally, your BHPH dealership may not report your payment history to the Credit Bureaus.

While most dealers will automatically submit your payment information to credit agencies (like Auto Simple), don’t assume this is being done. Ask the dealership what their policy is on credit reporting so you can start rebuilding your credit.

Conclusion:

Buy Here Pay Here dealerships offer a wide selection of certified pre-owned vehicles and specialize in providing auto loans to people with negative credit. If you need a quality vehicle and need to build up your credit, you can kill two birds with one stone at a BHPH dealership.

Individual perks, however, vary from dealership to dealership. Make sure you do your homework first. Below you will find some of our competitive offerings.

Auto Simple PERKS

Most of the “buy here pay here” advantages listed above can be found at any BHPH dealership. There are, however, many benefits we offer on top of the aforementioned “pros.” If you do end up choosing to buy or sell a used vehicle at a Buy Here Pay Here dealership, we hope you choose one of our locations in Tennessee or our brand-new lot in Dalton, VA.

Here are some of the specific perks we offer to all of our customers:

  • Free CarFax for All Vehicles
  • 6 Month / 6000 Mile Powertrain Warranty
  • Low Down Payments
  • Large Inventory of Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles
  • Thorough 180-Point Quality Inspection
  • Preferred Customer Program
  • Meticulously Reconditioned Vehicles
  • Hassle-Free Financing
  • FREE Conventional Oil Changes Every 90 Days*
  • Short-Term Financing
  • Low-Mileage Vehicles
  • Fast Credit Approval
  • Weekly, Bi-weekly, and Monthly Payments

We take great pride in taking control over the entire buying, selling, inspection, and testing process. All of our vehicles go through a rigorous 180-point quality inspection.

We offer affordable prices and low down payments. Many of our customers drive away in their dream car for as low as $499 down.

Free Oil Changes

Simply sign up for recurring payments from your checking account and get FREE oil changes every 90 days for as long as you are paying off your loan.*

$200 Referral Program

When you refer a friend who purchases a vehicle from Auto Simple, you will earn a $200 credit on your account.

Tax Refund Special

If you bring in your estimated tax refund, you can sign and drive away with your new car and we may defer your down payment.

Our tax refund special makes it easy for you to Sign & Drive. Stop on by one of our locations and say “Hi.” Read our testimonials to get an idea of how we treat our customers.


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 – (423) 775-4600

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

How to Sell a Used Car to a Dealership

how to sell used car vehicle to dealership - auto simple

Moving to a new city? Need some extra cash? Looking to upgrade your vehicle? Whatever your circumstance, selling a used car is not as simple as it looks. It takes time, energy, and usually, money. Decisions need to be made and steps taken.

Luckily, you can make the process a lot simpler if you decide to sell to a dealership. You won’t have to research the market, set prices, advertise, or spend time showing the car and dealing with all the back and forth involved with a private buyer.

Time is money. If you value your time, then you’ll agree that selling to a dealership is a lot simpler and overall, cheaper than selling to a private buyer. And, if you are looking to buy a new car, you cannot beat the convenience and affordability of trade-in values at dealerships. Whether you are selling your car for cold hard cash or are looking for a trade-in deal, speak with us first.*

While some factors may be out of your control (location, market, etc.), these steps and techniques for selling your car will increase your odds of success.

Steps for selling your vehicle to a private buyer:

  1. Determine the vehicle’s worth

Use multiple resources such as Kelley Blue Book, NADA Guides, and Autotrader. If you have a junk car, you may be better off donating it.

  1. Gather the paperwork

This includes the title, maintenance records, bill of sale, release of liability, warranty documents, and as-is documentation.

  1. Get the car ready

Clean the car inside and out. Shine the exterior, vacuum the interior, replace any damaged floor mats, and clean rims and tires. Or, go with a professional car detailer.

  1. Take pictures

You should have high-quality images from multiple angles for your advertisement. This includes, all sides of the exterior, front and back seat, trunk, dashboard, carpets, wheels, and engine.

  1. Find a place to advertise

There are many options available to you, some better than others. You’ll want to compare among the following advertising methods: social media, “for sale” window signs, newspapers and other print media, craigslist, eBay, cars.com, autotrader.com, Kelley Blue Book, and Beepi.

  1. Create an ad

Creating a good ad that will get a response takes some time and effort. You want to come across as a trustworthy person who has taken care of their car. At the absolute minimum, you’ll want to make sure that you include the price, mileage, modifications, VIN number, and the number of owners.

  1. Screen potential buyers

This is probably the most time-consuming part of the process. You can help eliminate the number of false leads by choosing carefully where and how you are advertising your vehicle. Regardless of where the potential buyer comes from, you’ll want to verify their full name, clarify acceptable forms of payment, only accept full payment, and determine if the buyer is in the area.

  1. Give your sales pitch

You’ll have to bring out your inner salesperson to pitch your car to prospective buyers.

  1. Negotiate the sale price

If you are set on the price, stand firm. Most private car buyers, however, are expecting to negotiate. Don’t be afraid to counter-offer to get a price you both agree on. Write down your lowest acceptable price and never go lower than that.

  1. Finalize the sale

You’ll need to do a couple of things before you can successfully transfer ownership to another person. The sale isn’t complete until you complete a title transfer. You may also need a bill of sale, depending on what state you are in. After payment is accepted and the bill of sale completed, you need to sign over the title, fill out a Release of Liability (if required), provide warranty documents (if applicable), maintenance records, and any additional paperwork your state may require.

Don’t forget to hand over the keys and remove your vehicle from your insurance policy.

– steps via DMV.org

How to Sell Your Vehicle to a Dealership

In contrast, here are the steps for selling your car to a dealership:

  1. Bring your car, truck, or SUV into one of our locations (Chattanooga, Dalton, Cleveland, or Dayton)

  2. We’ll give you a free appraisal

  3. Sell us your car

We don’t know about other dealerships, but at Auto Simple, we make it as easy as 1-2-3. Yes, it’s that easy. You’ll avoid all the hassle of paperwork, dealing with multiple buyers, and waiting for payment.

What Is My Vehicle Worth?

If you want an estimated appraisal before you bring in your vehicle, we do that too! Simply fill out this form and we’ll send you an estimated appraisal within 48 hours.

Even though selling your car at Auto Simple saves you a lot of inconvenience and annoyance, you still want to get a good deal. Here are some insider secrets to get top-dollar for your vehicle:

  1. Bring in your vehicle

While it may seem obvious not to bring in a filthy vehicle that still has last week’s fast food in the back, other things are not so self-evident. Before you get your used car, truck or SUV appraised, take the time to go through these steps:

Clean the car inside and out.

Read this WikiHow article for tips on detailing your car before bringing it in for sale. Sometimes, however, the job is too big for one car owner. In this case, it may be best to take your car into a professional detailer. It may cost you around $100, but you’ll almost definitely make this money back. Besides the beautiful result of professional detailing, you’ll also send a message that you’ve been taking good care of your vehicle.

Here are some quick tips for cleaning your vehicle before sale:

  • Take everything out of the vehicle.
  • Clean the inside and outside.
  • Top off fluids (oil, brake fluid, windshield washer fluid, etc.)
  • Get rid of the smell (use this WikiHow article)

Take vehicle into a mechanic.

You will want to find out what’s wrong with your car before the dealership does. Make sure your inspection is thorough. Typically, a thorough inspection will cost around $100. If it’s less than $75, it’s probably not good enough.

By inspecting the car first, you’ll have some extra documentation and be able to disclose the findings. This builds trust and confidence. Additionally, you’ll have a second opinion to compare against the mechanic who does the inspection for the buyer.

Bring in all the documentation you can.

Gather copies of all of your vehicle’s maintenance records. If you don’t have them, you may be able to call your local mechanic for copies (usually for a fee).

Determine a price.

There are several ways to get a suggested sales price for your car. We recommend checking out Kelly Blue Book and some private-party sales of cars that are the same make and model as yours. Set a reasonable sale price, but be prepared to lower it a bit and you’ll be happy with the end result.

  1. We’ll give you a free appraisal

After you have prepped your vehicle for sale, bring it into one of our dealerships. We have mechanics and appraisers on the spot so you can get your quote the very same day.* The offer will be valid for 7 days.

Bring documentation and paperwork.

Don’t forget to bring the following:

  • Your vehicle’s title (or payoff information)
  • Valid and current vehicle registration (verifies you are the owner)
  • Government issued photo ID
  • All keys and remotes (if damaged or missing, your offer may be adjusted)
  • Maintenance records (recommended but not required)

how to sell your car to a dealership - buy here pay here usa

Feel free to download our checklist before you arrive.

If for any reason you don’t have your title or the titleholder is unable to make it, give us a call before you arrive: 1-877-794-ACAR

  1. Sell us your car

If you like our offer, you can sell us your car and get paid on the spot.* It’s that easy! There’s no pressure or obligation. If you want to sell your car easy and fast, Auto Simple is your simplest and best choice.

Buy Here Sell Here—We Buy Cars! 

*Contact us for further details.


Auto Simple wants to make your car sale as easy and painless as possible. Fill out our online vehicle appraisal form and give us a call for more information on selling your car

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+.

17 Things You Should Have in the Car

items to always have in your vehicle car

You should always have certain items in the car, and no, we’re not talking about the piles of trash that are currently in the back seat. This list of car essentials will keep your car running and help you deal with unforeseen obstacles in the road.

You may even run into a “Good Samaritan” opportunity to help a stranded stranger in need. Who knows? You may just meet your future love this way. It’s a stretch, but that doesn’t make these items any less important!

While city drivers can do without some of these items since they are never too far from a mechanic, if you live in a rural area or are planning a long road trip, it’s always a good idea to double check some emergency essentials before heading out on the road.

So, use your instinct and view these items as strong suggestions rather than absolute requirements. Someone in Southern California may not need an extra parka, for example. But everyone needs their license, insurance, and registration.

We’ve divided these items into the essential categories: Documentation, Car Repairs & Maintenance, Safety, and Winter. Read on for the 17 things you should have in your car in 2017, and drive on to new adventures this winter and all year round!

17 Things You Should Have in the Car

Documentation

1. Owner’s Manual

Double check your glove box or wherever you keep your owner’s manual to make sure that it is indeed there. Your owner’s manual will tell you important information, such as recommended fuel and PSI levels, in addition to other important information that will be unique to your vehicle. It comes with your car, so if you never take it out, you’ll never have to worry about its whereabouts.

2. Car Repair Information

We recommend keeping car repair information, as well as insurance claim forms and AAA information, all in the same location. Car repair records help you when you are selling or repairing your vehicle, provide important information about vehicle history, and can be deducted as a business expense.

3. License, Insurance, and Registration

It may seem obvious, but you should always have your license, registration, and insurance in the car whenever you are driving it. Especially when the new insurance card comes in the mail, remembering to actually stick it in the glove box could take months. And in the meantime, you’re driving around without the main documentation asked for by police officers and required by law.

Hopefully you won’t be pulled over, but it’s the law to have these documents whenever you are driving. Knowing you’re all set and up to date with your paperwork, makes every ride all the more smooth and secure.

Keep all of your important car documents in a file folder in the glovebox:

  • Owner’s manual
  • Car maintenance receipts
  • Registration
  • Insurance
  • Emergency contact information

Car Repairs and Maintenance 

4. Tire Jack, Spare Tire, and Lug Wrench

We’ll count this as 3 things, although they must be grouped together. Nothing is quite so frustrating as finding out that your spare tire has a flat or you forgot your jack in the garage. So, make sure you have a jack, inflated spare tire, and lug wrench in the car. If you have two of these items and not the third, it’s all useless. These three things go together so make sure you have them all.

Some cars have special locking lug nuts, so make sure you have a lug nut key if that’s the case.

Learn how to change a flat tire here.

5. Jumper Cables

If your vehicle’s battery dies, it’s not always efficient or even likely that you can depend on a helpful passerby to supply you with a jumpstart. Jumper cables alone are not enough to get your engine revved up again. Because of this, you’ll also need an emergency battery booster. Sure, your insurance provider’s roadside assistance is always an option, but often the wait is longer than anticipated which can be a problem if you are late or in a dangerous situation.

Jumper cables are relatively inexpensive, costing below $20 at most retail stores or online. A dead battery tends to always be a surprise and super inconvenient. But if you’ve taken the time to purchase jumper cables and practice with jumpstarting a battery, your car, and most importantly your day, won’t be dead for long.

Most compact battery jump-starter kits now come with USB connections to keep all of your devices charged. Whether you need to jump start a vehicle or simply need to recharge your phone, a jump-starter kit is a great item to have in the car and a great gift.

Learn how to jumpstart a car here.

6. Tire Pressure Gauge

Boy does this little gadget come in handy! No one can just look at a tire and know exactly how much air has been lost and how much needs to be added. It’s easy to find out, however, with a tire pressure gauge.

Even if a specific tire doesn’t look especially low, routine checks of all four tires are always encouraged. Ensuring that your tire pressure is on point will improve handling, prolong the lifespan of your tires, and increase your vehicle’s fuel economy.

You can get your own standard gauge for under $5 on Amazon. It’s a super helpful, inexpensive safety tool that every car owner should stash in the glove box.

Click here for more information on how to take care of your tires.

7. WD-40

How many times have you struggled to loosen a nut or bolt on your car? Whether you are switching your license plate out, loosening lug nuts, or silencing a creaky door, WD-40 is a great item to always have in the car.

We’ve published a whole page on WD-40 automotive uses. Learn more about how WD-40 can help remove dirt and grease and maintain your vehicle on wd40.com.

8. Duct Tape

It’s durable duct tape to the rescue when it comes to many emergency fixes! Arguably the most magical and diverse object ever, car owners have found endless ways to use duct tape as a DIY tool for unexpected leaks, cracks, and breaks. For a laugh, but also some future inspiration, check out this compilation of Ten Heroic Duct Tape Car Repairs.

9. Cleaning Supplies

Having certain cleaning and hygiene items in the car won’t save your life, but it could save you a lot of frustration. Keep these items in your car for a cleaner and easier trip:

  • zipper lock backs
  • reusable shopping bags
  • paper towels
  • tissues
  • car trash can
  • water bottles
  • Mom’s Emergency Kit (from Angie at Echoes of Laughter)

Safety

10. First Aid Kit

You never know when you are going to need a First Aid Kit. Life has a way of springing unexpected scrapes on you, especially if you have children. You may need to clean up a cut or bandage a blister. If you spend a lot of time in your vehicle, it’s much more convenient to have a small supply of medical essentials on hand.

Your kit should include items such as Band-Aids, ointment, gauze pads, scissors, and gloves. If you don’t want to think too hard about all the little odds and ends you may need, you can purchase pre-made kits online. The AAA 53 Piece Tune Up First Aid Kit is basic, but a bargain at $8.25 on Amazon, or opt for the more thorough AAA 85 Piece Commuter First Aid Kit for $14.55. Either way, you’re looking at a pretty complete kit for under $15. Why not make the purchase rather than risk the alternative?

11. Tactical Flashlight

Good luck trying to change a tire at night without one of these. Keep a strong tactical flashlight in your car for the darkest maintenance moments that hit even the best of us at some time or another. If your flashlight requires batteries, keep some extra of those in the glove box as well.

Tactical flashlights are used by the police and military, so in addition to emitting much more light, they can also be used as a personal self-defense tool.

We offer further information on durable tactical flashlight options and other car essentials on our blog.

12. Reflective Triangles and/or Flares

Alongside a tactical flashlight, reflective triangles and/or flares are your nighttime safeguards. If you’ve pulled off to the shoulder for any prolonged amount of time, put these safety essentials around your vehicle. They offer enhanced visibility for ongoing traffic, lowering the possibility of you being hit by unsuspecting drivers while you’re waiting for the help you need.

13. Multi-Tool

Just in case you need scissors, a screwdriver, or a sharp edge, a good multi-tool will give you peace of mind knowing you have all that and much more. Here are some multi-tool user favorites.

14. Car Hammer

This little tool can save your life! While you may be able to use your tactical flashlight to break a car window in the event of an emergency, many people complain about this feature not working.

It’s much easier to break a window and escape from your car with a car hammer or emergency escape tool. Most come with a seatbelt cutter too. All cars should have one mounted for easy access.

Winter

15. Windshield Wiper Fluid 

Baby, it’s cold outside. And driving in any type of precipitation — rain, snow, ice — is no joke! To prevent the potential hazards caused by winter splash-back and combat the road sludge and slush attacking your window, you’re going to need a backup of wiper fluid.

Without visibility, get off the road! Windshield wiper fluid is your biggest support system when it comes to keeping the road visible and your path clear throughout these unpredictable weather months.

16. Ice-scraper or Snowbrush

Snowfall has greeted Chattanooga and parts of North Georgia with its icy glow. If you have snow on your windshield, you’re not going anywhere. An ice-scraper or a snowbrush are crucial for car owners in snow-covered areas.

Having one of these tools on hand will save time and help you to avoid scratches and awkward attempts at getting the snow off with whatever random items you have in your car. You also want to make sure you brush the snow off your roof, because it will either fly off the back and bother the car behind you, or it will simply loosen up enough to slide onto your windshield while you’re driving. Brush off, then drive on!

17. Warm Gear

Winter weather is unpredictable. You might leave the house with only a jacket, but find when you’re leaving work that you need gloves, a beanie, and a scarf in order to get home comfortably. Keep a reusable tote in the back of your car with these winter essentials. Leather driving gloves should be in there too. They’re both practical and stylish.

Don’t forget a blanket. In addition to keeping you warm, a blanket is perfect for picnics, preventing messes, and getting underneath your car.

Many car owners also recommend the following items:

  • Kitty Litter and/or Traction Mat
  • Pen and Paper
  • Umbrella
  • Spare Change and Cash
  • Extra Clothes
  • Shovel
  • Snacks and Energy Bars
  • Toilet Paper
  • Sunglasses
  • Makeup
  • Gum
  • Matches and Flares
  • Portable Tire Inflator
  • Foam Cooler
  • Medication (only store as directed)

What do you keep in the car? Let us know!

For more car tips, read our Car WinterizationNew Year’s Resolutions for the Car, and Winter Driving Tips to prevent winter accidents and inconveniences.

Auto Simple is here for all your Used Car needs in 2017 and beyond.

Be safe & adventurous!


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+.

9 Best Pre-Owned Cars for 2017

Best Used Cars for 2017

It’s 2017 and you’re ready to make a new start! Whether that means you’ve added a new member to the family or it’s your first set of wheels, driving away in a new certified pre-owned vehicle is an exciting experience.

The research process, however, can get dull and frustrating. We’ve made it easy by picking out the best bang-for-buck cars to kick off the New Year. Simply choose from this list, set a budget, contact Auto Simple and take any of these cars out for a test drive on our closed track.

9 Best Used Cars for 2017

If you want to skip the time-consuming process of hunting through bad car deals, here are 9 solid vehicles that will meet your budget and reliability requirements for the New Year and beyond.

  1. Chevrolet Malibu

Dark blue Chevrolet Malibu LTZ - best pre-owned car

If you’re looking for a stylish, economical, and reliable family sedan, the Chevrolet Malibu should be high on your list. You can spend a little bit more for the higher-end LTZ model or spend a little less for the base LS and LT models. Whichever model you choose, you’ll get a great, balanced driving experience with an attractive interior.

If you are looking for a versatile and affordable truck, consider the Chevrolet Colorado Work Truck.

  1. Honda Civic

2010 Honda Civic Sdn EX - best pre-owned car

First introduced in 1972, the Honda Civic has gone through many generational changes over the years, but is still known for being one of the most fuel-efficient, reliable, and economical cars on the road. You can’t really go wrong when you purchase a used Civic.

The Honda Civic makes it to the #1 spot on so many car lists because of its reliability, fuel economy, and high-quality interior. While some modern features may be missing, a used Civic is a great choice for anyone in the market.

  1. Toyota Camry

Silver 2011 Toyota Camry SE - best pre-owned car

The Camry is one of those no-brainer choices when it comes to buying a reliable used car. With lots of space, crisp handling, and good fuel economy, the Camry makes the car buying experience easy.

The LE at the end stands for Luxury Edition and the SE stands for Sports Edition. These two models are similar, but there are some differences. In general, the added LE or SE label adds luxury add-ons such as sportier designs, nicer interiors, improved handling, and more electronics.

  1. Toyota Corolla

white Toyota Corolla CE - best pre-owned car

While some may complain of its boring interior uninspiring driving experience, the Toyota Corolla gets great safety, comfort, and performance scores. “Boring” means you’ll have plenty of visibility and room, including easy to use climate and audio controls.

If you like the Corolla but want a different driving experience, try out the Ford Focus or Mazda6.

  1. Mazda3 and Mazda6

Silver 2012 Mazda 6 i Touring - best pre-owned vehicles

The Mazda3 is a small car with a quality interior and sporty handing. You’ll love the controls as you wind down hills and feel spoiled in an interior that seems too luxurious for its class. With an engine that is both powerful and economical, this car is the complete package for anyone wanting a smooth ride. For those worried about a lot of leg room in the back, you may want to look elsewhere.

The Mazda6 is a midsize car with some added vroom. With quick and powerful handling, the Mazda6 is a fun car to drive, no question. While it may not be the most fuel efficient car on the list, its attractive interior and exterior make you forget all about it. Both the Mazda3 and Mazda6 are fun, attractive, and comfortable cars that make them feel ritzy for the price.

  1. Ford Focus

White 2014 Ford Focus SE - best pre-owned car

This compact 4-door family car with front-engine, front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is the world’s best-selling automobile. In fact, as of 2012, the Focus has outsold the ubiquitous Toyota Corolla globally. While reliability and safety scores are comparable to the Camry and Corolla, some drivers prefer the handling and interior of the Focus.

Highly ranked by U.S. News and World Report, the Focus comes in many body styles and luxury options. Impressive fuel economy, handling, and workmanship distinguish itself from other cars in its class.

  1. Kia Soul

Green 2010 Kia Soul - best pre-owned car

The Kia Soul definitely has attitude, and space. This small crossover car, something between a car and an SUV, is perfect for someone needing a lot of space. If you can’t afford the fancier SUVs and can do without 4-wheel drive, the Kia Soul is a safe and comfortable option with plenty of cargo space.

  1. Pontiac Vibe

Red 2009 Pontiac Vibe - best pre-owned car

A small hatchback with a sporty look and high safety ratings? It’s hard to beat. This is a low-mileage, sturdy vehicle with plenty of cargo space. The vibe was redesigned in 2009 and any models during this year are considered second generation. They boast computerized traction-control and anti-lock brakes, features The Vibe’s previous model did not have.

We have several other Pontiac vehicles, including the Solstice and G5.

  1. Scion xB and Scion xD

white 2008 Scion xB - best pre-owned vehicle

A five-door hatchback subcompact has a fun and unique appearance. Remarked upon for its safety features, distinctiveness, and reasonable price tag, the Scion xB and xD both deliver a lot of bang for the buck.

They consistently get 5-star safety ratings. No surprise as they have anti-lock brakes, brake assist, traction control, and up to six airbags. And as of 2010, they come with vehicle stability control and an updated exterior that is utilitarian yet modern.

For more tips on car buying, read our Used Car Buyer’s Guide and How to Buy a Used Car On Bad Credit.

Wishing you a healthy and prosperous New Year!

Read our Car Winterization, New Year’s Resolutions for the Car, and Winter Driving Tips to prevent winter accidents and inconveniences.

Is there a car you’d like to see on the list? Let us know on FacebookTwitter, and Google+. 


We control the quality of our cars and have our own test track to put the car through all driving conditions. See why our Customer Confidence Program is one of the best in the nation.

We carry a large selection of Hand-Picked, Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, all with a 6 month/6,000-mile Powertrain Warranty. Stop by any of our locations today:

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 476-4600

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-CARS (2277)

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

new year's resolutions for the 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

Steps:

  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.

Steps:

  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:

how to change a flat tire

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.

how to tell if you need to replace car tires - penny test

Source: bridgestonetire.com

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:

how to jumpstart a car illustrated guide

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

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