Top 5 Road Trips in America | Plan a USA Road Trip!

best road trips in america - auto simple

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and give strength to body and soul alike.”

– John Muir, The Yosemite (1912)

Get your motor runnin’ and head out on the highway. Adventure awaits on these uniquely American road trips.

From purple mountain majesties to alabaster cities, America has some of the best landscapes and roadways in the world. The vast, sprawling scenery has inspired many great works of art, philosophy, science, and of course, epic road trips.

If you’re yearning for a new, beautiful, and intrinsically patriotic experience, channel your inner Jack London/Kerouac and start planning your next great American Road Trip. To help, here’s our list of the best road trips and destinations in America. Get lost!

A couple tips before we begin:

  • Leave yourself plenty of time for spontaneous trips and longer-than-expected stays
  • Stock your vehicle with the essentials (and non-essentials)
  • Check/change your fluids and tires, and get your vehicle ready for the trip.
  • Obtain paper maps (maps and guides can be found at your local AAA)
  • Speaking of AAA, consider purchasing roadside assistance
  • Play fun car games
  • Make sure you have a suitable vehicle
  • Drive on America’s National Scenic Byways if you can
  • Plan your route (log in to Google and click “Create Map” in “Maps”)
  • Bring binoculars

The best time for a road trip is between spring and fall. You may want to wait until October for annual fall foliage displays. Double check peak fall color times to make sure. And always check road and weather conditions.

  1. Great Smoky Mountain Road Trip

Great Smoky Mountain National Park Map - Tennesee, Georgia, North Carolina
Source: National Park Service

  • Start: Chattanooga, TN
  • Visit:
    • Ruby Falls in Chattanooga, TN
    • Raccoon Mountain Caverns in Chattanooga, TN
    • Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, TN
    • Chattahoocee National Forest
    • Nantahala National Forest
    • Mountain Farm Museum and Qualla Arts and Crafts in Cherokee, NC
    • Cataloochee Valley (Hannah Cabin) in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park
    • Boogerman Trail loop
    • Big Witch Overlook off the Blue Ridge Parkway
    • Devil’s Courthouse overlook trail off the Blue Ridge Parkway
    • North Carolina Arboretum in Asheville, NC
    • Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC
    • Jack of the Wood, a Celtic-style bar in Asheville, NC

End: Asheville, NC

As Tennessee natives ourselves, it’s hard not to be inspired by the wild beauty of the Great Smoky Mountains. One of the most popular national parks in the country, the Great Smoky Mountains attracts millions of visitors every year. And rightly so. Don’t be afraid to wander.

If you live near Chattanooga, Cleveland, or Dayton, as we do, you’ll want to pass through the Chattahoochee and Nantahala National Forests and enter the Great Smoky Mountains from the Cherokee, NC entrance. If you’re on the eastern side of the park, start in Asheville, NC.

It’s not a very long road trip, more of a weekend trip, but if you are taking a road trip anywhere in Tennessee, be sure to include the Smokies on your list. Most visitors enter through the Gatlinburg–Pigeon Forge into the park, but a better entrance might be the quieter North Carolina entrance through Maggie Valley and into Cherokee.

elk at Cataloochee Valley, Great Smoky Mountains

“Shot at Cataloochee Valley, which is located on the North Carolina side of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. The valley is home to more than 100 elk who often graze within yards of the main road – and sometimes like to snarl traffic by jaywalking.”– Jordan Whitt, Unsplash

The views and wildlife are stunning. You may even be lucky enough to witness the famous blue haze associated with the Smoky Mountains in Tennessee and the Blue Ridge Mountains in Virginia. Make the trip in May or June and the skyline often has a deep pink and/or red glow.

As you wind your way through the scenery, it will seem to change by the minute—rolling valleys, spring wildflowers, soft fog, dense forests, steep mountains, and occasional log cabins and grist mills. Don’t be afraid to pull over along lookout points, such as Clingmans Dome, the highest point in the park, and the popular Chimney Tops picnic area. Just watch out for the black bears!

After a few days in nature, we recommend taking the gorgeous Blue Ride Parkway (an amazing road trip on its own) from Cherokee to Asheville (or vice versa if you are entering from that side).

Watch this video to learn more about Clingmans Dome and the Great Smoky Mountains:

  1. The Blues Highway Road Trip 

The Devil's Crossroads at U.S. 61 and U.S. 49
Source: Wikimedia Commons

  • Start: Memphis, TN
  • Visit:
    • Graceland and B.B. King’s Blues Club in Memphis, TN
    • Blues and Legends Hall of Fame in Tunica, MS
    • The Hollywood Café and/or Blue & White Restaurant in Tunica, MS
    • Devil’s Crossroads in Clarksdale, MS
    • Delta Blues Museum in Clarksdale, MS
    • Hopson Plantation, Cat Head, and Ground Zero Blues Club in Clarksdale, MS
    • White Front Café in Rosedale, MS
  • End: New Orleans, LA

Take a ride on the Blues Highway (US 61), Bob Dylan’s famous Highway 61 that runs from Wyoming, Minnesota to New Orleans, Louisiana, to experience a unique musical journey. We begin our trip in Memphis. From there, you’ll travel to the same towns and juke joints as Bessie Smith, B.B. King, John Lee Hooker, Elvis, and other legends once did.

Following the course of the Mississippi River all the way to the Gulf of Mexico, there’s plenty to hear, see, and taste on this road trip. Start in Memphis and hit up one of the hundreds of amazing Memphis-style barbecue joints. Some local favorites are Tops Bar-B-Q, Corky’s Ribs & BBQ, and Leonard’s Pit Barbecue. Stay the night at the historic Peabody Hotel (or just visit for a drink). And don’t forget about Graceland!

After a day or two in Memphis, head to the Blues and Legends Hall of Fame in Tunica, Just 40 minutes away, our next stop is Clarksdale, the birthplace of Muddy Waters and deathplace of Bessie Smith. Visit the intersection of Highway 61 and Highway 49, which is said the be “The Crossroads” where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil for his musical talent. For a great live music experience, make sure to check out who’s playing at Cat Head and Ground Zero Blues Club. Nearby is the Delta Blues Museum.

After Clarksdale, you can choose a variety of different options. We recommend getting on the quieter Highway 1 (part of The Great River Road National Scenic Byway—a great road trip by itself), which runs along the Mississippi River’s “Great Wall.” There are lots of beautiful stops along the way, including the Trotter Landing ghost town. Stop for hot tamales at White Front Café in Rosedale.

As your trip approaches the end, don’t miss all the sites and entertainment in Vicksburg. The Vicksburg National Military Park and the Old Courthouse Museum are top attractions, but you’ll definitely want to stop to visit Margaret’s Grocery. It’s no longer a country market, but rather a sort of “voodoo” Christian cathedral, one of the most unique places of worship in the country.

End the trip in New Orleans and enjoy great live blues and everything the city has to offer. Laissez les bons temps rouler!

  1. The Ozarks Road Trip

A View from the Ozarks - Best American Road Trips
Source: Unsplash

  • Start: Fort Smith, Arkansas
  • Visit:
    • Devil’s Den State Park in West Fork, AR
    • Roaring River State Park in Cassville, MO
    • Mark Twain National Forest in Rolla, MO
    • Silver Dollar City in Branson, AR
    • Mystic Caverns in Harrison, AR
    • Buffalo National River near Harrison, AR
    • Cosmic Cavern in Barryville, AR
    • Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge in Eureka Springs, AR
    • Thorncrown Chapel in Eureka Springs, AR
    • Onyx Cave Park in Eureka Springs, AR
    • Great Passion Play (May through October) in Eureka Springs, AR
    • Ozark Cafe in Jaspers, AR
    • The Inn at Mountain View Bed and Breakfast
  • End: Rogers, AR

Start your trip in northwest Arkansas at the Fort Smith National Historic Site and visit the museum. Then follow a loop, up toward Eureka Springs, into Missouri, and then back down into Arkansas to Mountain View, Jasper, and on to Rogers, AR.

Take the Scenic Byway 7, a 300-mile-long north/south state highway for beautiful views of lakes, rivers, and mountains. Check out the other National Scenic Byways in Arkansas.

Whatever you’re looking for in a road trip—roadside attractions, outdoor adventure, a happy family—you’ll find in the Ozarks, which means “toward Arkansas.” The most mountainous region between the Appalachians and the Rocky Mountains, it’s known for scenic drives bathed in moonlight and is surrounded by deciduous trees and some of the nation’s most beautiful waterways.

Sometimes referred to as the Ozark Mountains or Ozark Mountain Country, it basically covers the entire northwestern and north central region of Arkansas and much of the southern half of Missouri.

Wind down the roadway during the fall foliage season and you’ll be witness to the spectacular display of shifting saffron and various shades of red, purple, black, pink, magenta, yellow, orange, and brown. Driving through the beauty of the Ozarks, replete with songbirds and deer, is a distinctly American experience not to be missed.

  1. The Borderlands, TX

Big Bend National Park Night Sky by Jesse Sewell
Source: Unsplash

  • Start: Fort Stockton
  • Visit:
    • Carlsbad Caverns
    • Davis Mountain
    • Museum of Big Bend in Alpine
    • Hotel Paisano in Marfa
    • Chinati Foundation in Marfa
    • The Food Shark in Marfa
    • Ghost town of Shafter
    • River Road
  • End: Big Bend National Park

You may recognize this area when you come to it. The landscape has been used as the backdrop for some big Hollywood movies like No Country for Old Men and There Will Be Blood.

With spectacular canyons, mountain, and rivers, the Big Bend region seems to come from a different planet. The borderland is characterized by huge space-bending skies, rugged mountains, grassland, and large swaths of desert. It is often compared to African landscapes due to its terrain and wildlife.

The borderland trip starts in Fort Stockton, an old oil town, and progresses to Alpine, a gateway to Big Bend National Park, and through to the artsy and spiritual town of Marfa. From there ride through Paisano Pass and to the ghost town of Shafter. After that, cruise down the beautiful River Road (FM-170) to Study Butte. The overlooking views are some of the best this country has to offer.

The Big Bend region contains over one million acres of public land, including Big Bend National Park and Big Bend Ranch State Park. End the trip in Big Bend National Park. If you are just driving through, be sure to take Basin Road into the Chisos mountain range. Replenish yourself at Gage Hotel in the tiny town of Marathon, one of the filming locations for Wim Wenders’ movie Paris, Texas.

  1. Highway 89 National Park Road Trip

Mountains in yellowstone National ParkHighway 89 Road Trip
Source: Unsplash

  • Start: Tumacacori National Historical Park, AZ
  • Visit:
    • Saguaro National Park, AZ
    • Grand Canyon National Park, AZ
    • Zion National Park, UT
    • Kolob Canyon Road, UT
    • Bryce Canyon National Park, UT
    • Capital Reef National Park, UT
    • Arches National Park, UT
    • Canyonlands National Park, UT
    • Yellowstone National Park, WY, MO, ID
  • End: Yellowstone National Park, MO

U.S. Highway 89 passes through 5 states and 7 national parks, clearly making it the longest of all the road trips on the list. If you’re not in a rush, the entire trip is definitely worth. Don’t worry though, you can choose to do one state or a small portion.

If you do choose one state, however, make it Utah. The surreal, Martian landscape of canyons, hoodoos, alcoves, and arches make it unlike anywhere else on Earth. If you make it one park, go with Yellowstone National Park.

U.S. 89 starts in Flagstaff, Arizona and proceeds north, passing near the Grand Canyon National Park, the second of the seven national parks along the way. Once you hit Utah, be sure to spend some time in the Zion National Park and the Bryce Canyon National Park.

The highway proceeds into Idaho around Bear Lake. In Wyoming and Montana, you have Yellowstone National Park, which should be on everybody’s bucket list.

Click here for a collection of posts to help you plan your Highway 89 road trip.

The Best Road Trip (According to Science)

map of the best road trip according to science
Source: Google Maps

If you are looking for the most efficient route for visiting all of the nation’s best landmarks, some scientists (Randy Olson and Tracy Staedter) have generated the “perfect” map that does just that. It hits all 48 states in the contiguous U.S. and all the major U.S. landmarks, ideal for traveling by car.

How to Survive a Road Trip

America is a force of nature. You have to be prepared for nearly anything when you go on any of these road trips, especially if you have children. Precipitation, cold temperatures, and thick clouds are common at the top of mountains while dry weather and hot temperatures will meet you at some of the country’s lowest points. Dress in layers and make sure you have plenty of water and essential safety items in your car.

Most of all, have fun!


Don’t hesitate to ask our team members for their road trip tips! We love driving our cars as much as we do selling them.

If you want the perfect road trip vehicle, stop by one of our locations for a reliable Certified Pre-Owned car, truck, or SUV. We’ll set you up with the car of your dreams at a price you can afford.

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 Remove Minor Car Scratches | DIY Scratch Repair

how to fix minor car scratches - Auto Simple

Nobody likes finding a scratch on their automobile. Whether caused by a tree branch, bicycle handle, or shopping cart, scratches in the paint are ugly, potentially expensive to repair, and can cause rust problems if left untreated.

Learn step-by-step instructions for fixing minor paint scratches on your automobile with the Turtle Wax Scratch Repair Kit.

Car Scratch Anatomy and Scratch Repair Warnings

clear coat, basecoat, primer, and metal layers of car paint scratch

Source: bestseekers.com

WARNING: A successful auto scratch repair takes very careful attention to detail and some education. Read this guide and follow any commercial products’ instructions very carefully.

If you can run your fingernail over the scratch without it catching, then it’s probably only a clear coat scratch. For minor blemishes such as these, we would recommend using a product that is more limited in scope, such as Meguair’s G17216 Ultimate Compound, Turtle Wax T-241A Polishing Compound & Scratch Remover, or Barrett-Jackson Car Scratch Remover. These top-level blemish products can also be used to restore swirl marks, water spots, and faded head lights and tail lights.

If, however, your fingernail does catch, you have a deeper scratch and will want to decide whether to do the repair yourself or take it into a professional. If you can see metal, that is a very serious scratch. No scratch repair kit will be able to restore a deep scratch completely. We suggest seeing a professional as soon as possible if you see metal. Exposed metal will rust. Wide and deep scratches are not covered in this guide.

We’ve seen a lot of success with the Turtle Wax T-234KT Premium Grade Scratch Repair Kit, so we will be referring to this product in the guide below. If you your fingernail catches on the scratch, but you don’t see any metal, this is a good kit to use. Be careful as the kit includes abrasive sand pads that require delicacy, precision, and attention to detail. Follow manufacturer instructions exactly.

How to Remove Minor Automobile Scratches

You’ll need two main things when fixing most paint scratches, the exact paint match and the clear coat layer that goes on top. If the scratch hasn’t gone through the primer, you can skip the touch-up paint step. 

  1. Look for Your Factory Paint Code

If your scratch is only a clear coat scratch, then you don’t have to worry about finding any paint. Deeper scratches, however, require the additional application of new primer and paint.

To help you find the right paint touch-up product, look for the factory-paint code on the sticker in the driver side doorsill or on a plaque under the hood. If you are unable to find the exact color match at the auto parts store or online, take the car to your auto dealer.

Remember, this guide is for minor scratches only so if you need to cover a large area, go with a professional. Touching up large areas by hand will always have imperfections. A professional will spray it and restore it to like-new conditions. If you can get your insurance to pay for it, do that instead.

  1. Wash and Dry the Car

First, make sure the surface is cleaned with soap and water. Once you’ve dried the area completely with a clean cloth, finish cleaning with a few gentle wipes of a rag and denatured alcohol. Allow the area to dry completely.

  1. Mark Off Area with Blue Painter’s Tape

It’s a good idea to mark the scratch off with some blue painter’s tape, especially if it’s close to any trim or plastic.

If you are applying touch-up paint, mark off the area as close as you can. This will help keep the primer and paint from spreading.

If you only need to add a small amount of paint and you have some experience in car care, you may be able to repair it yourself. If you have any doubts, bring it into a professional detailer.

Steps for touching up paint:

  • Mark the area off as close as you can with blue painter’s tape. This will prevent the primer or paint from covering too large of an area.
  • After the area is clean and dry, apply a very small amount of primer into the scratch or chip with a very fine brush. Allow the primer to dry. Wait a day to be sure.
  • Next, put a small amount of paint over the primed area (make sure the auto paint color is an exact match!). Practice on some paper or metal before applying to your car. You want to get the technique down first. If you are using a paint pen, depress the nib to release the paint onto a paper or metal surface, not the car. Dab the tip into the paint and gently fill in the affected area. If you only have spray paint, spray into a cap or container and use a fine artist’s brush to apply the basecoat. Depending on the touch-up paint you buy, you’ll want to use different strategies. Still, the same principles apply. For best results, it’s a good idea to use a fine artist’s brush and dab very lightly.
  • Wait at least one hour to apply a second coat of paint, if necessary. After adding the paint, remove the blue painter’s tape and allow the paint to dry. We recommend letting it dry and cure for a day or two before moving on to the next steps.

Touching up minor scratches and other blemishes with paint requires practice. Make sure you feel comfortable applying very small amounts of paint onto paper or metal first.

PRO TIPS: 

  • Don’t apply any touch-up paint in direct sun or if temperatures are below 50°F.
  • Just in case you do apply too much paint to the area, make sure you have paint/lacquer thinner to quickly clean it up.
  1. Prime the Clear Coat Pen (from Turtle Wax Scratch Repair Kit)

If you don’t need to add any primer or paint, you’ll want to skip those steps and jump to this one. First, prime the clear coat pen by pressing it against a piece of paper or metal to get it flowing. Then, fill the scratch in completely with the clear coat pen using gentle dabs and wipes. Wait for it to dry. You may want to wait overnight, especially if it is a wider or deeper scratch.

  1. Sand the Surface with Proper Pad

This is the step to watch out for. The Turtle Wax Scratch Repair Kit comes with 4 different abrasive pads, #1 being the most abrasive and #4 the least abrasive.

The problem for most users is that they use too much pressure, fail to lubricate the area first, or use the wrong sanding pad. Ensure the pads and the surface are lubricated with the Spray Lubricator. Otherwise, you can cause even more scratches. You should never dry sand the affected area, only wet sand with the Spray Lubricant that’s included in the kit.

Usually the #1 sanding pad is not needed. The abrasive #1 pad if for deeper scratches when you are using touch-up paint, but usually you can start with #2 if you used touch-up paint. Take your time, follow instructions exactly, and use the proper level grit pad. Be very careful with the amount of pressure you use.

  1. Mark off the scratch, one inch above and one inch below, with blue painter’s tape.
  2. Lubricate the surface with the Spray Lubricator. Spray directly on the area.
  3. Lubricate the #2 pad (if you used touch-up paint) or #3 pad (if no touch-up paint was needed) by spraying the lubricator directly on the pad.
  4. Gently wet wipe the #2 or #3 pad in the direction of the scratch.
  5. Next, lubricate the surface and the next pad that’s less abrasive. If you started with the #3 pad, move on to the very fine #4 pad. If you started with #2, use #3 next, and finish up with #4. Make sure they are all fully lubricated and use very gentle wipes in the direction of the scratch.

We cannot stress this enough—be extremely careful with the pressure you use when using the sanding pads. Very light rubbing is all that is necessary.

To remove the hazy area created when blending in the touch-up paint with the pads, move on to the next step.

  1. Use Polishing Compound/Paint Finish Restorer

Before you move on the Polishing Compound step, remove the blue painter’s tape. To restore the gloss to the affected area, apply the Polishing Compound (from the Turtle Wax Kit) to a corner of your microfiber cloth and buff the scratch in the opposite direction of the scratch/sanding wipes.

For this step, you can use pressure. Use two or three fingers behind your microfiber cloth and firmly wipe the area in perpendicular strokes to the scratch/sand marks. You may have to wipe for over a minute or two.

After around 40 strokes, wipe the area with a clean, dry cloth. Inspect your work and repeat the process if you still see sand marks. On the reapplication of the polishing compound, you can use circular motions to help blend everything in.

  1. Apply a Coat of Wax

If you had any wax on the car, this process will have removed it. Apply a coat of wax to the area you worked on so it shines like the rest of the car.

And you’re done!

Fixing auto scratches yourself all depends on the length and depth of the scratch. If you have any major scratches, take your vehicle into a professional.


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+.

11 Amazing WD-40 Uses for Your Car, Truck, and Automobile

WD-40 automotive uses

Normal, everyday items can sometimes be put to extraordinary use. And perhaps the most amazing and versatile product you have at home is WD-40. If you think this degreasing agent is only useful for squeaky door hinges, allow us to enlighten you with these 11 automotive MacGyver tips.

All you’ll need is some WD-40 and something to wipe it off with, although if a product from the WD-40 Specialist Line would work better, we’ll make note of it.

11 Automotive WD-40 Uses

  1. Keep Dead Bugs Off

Remember the opening dragonfly scene in Men in Black? Well, if the truck had some WD-40 sprayed on the windshield and grill, that dragonfly would have slid right off rather than creating a big, ugly smear.

In addition to preventing bugs from hitting your vehicle, WD-40 is also a great option for removing already stuck-on bugs, bird droppings, tree sap, and grime. It won’t damage your paint; just remember to rinse it off with soap and water afterwards.

  1. Clean and Restore License Plate

If you have a rusty, old license plate, WD-40 will clean it easily. Just spray it on, wait 30 seconds, and wipe it off with a rag. Rinse with soap, and viola, a restored license plate!

  1. Clean Off Small Paint Rub

If another car got a bit too close and left a small paint scuff on your car, a little WD-40 may do the trick. While not recommended for large areas, small amounts of paint transfer can be effectively removed with WD-40. Wash off the area with soap and water back to its original finish.

  1. Spark Plug Lubrication and Maintenance

If your car won’t start in wet or humid weather, try WD-40. WD-40 removes carbon residue and keeps moisture away from spark plugs and spark plug wires. WD stands for Water Displacement, so if your spark plugs are wet or you need to drive moisture away from ignition distributors, WD-40 will do the trick.

Turn off the vehicle and spray the spark plug wires and the inside and outside of your distributor cap with WD-40. Start the car back up to see if that did the trick.

If you keep having difficulties starting the car in wet or humid weather, you probably have a more serious problem, such as wires that need replacing. Using WD-40 to repel water from spark plugs, distributors, alternators, and batteries is a good way to prevent corrosion and keep moisture away. You can also use it to ease the removal of spark plugs, especially if there is any rust or corrosion.

  1. Clean Oil

If you need to clean oil from your hands, old oil cans, exhaust pipes, or even large oil spots on your driveway, WD-40 will wash it right off. When you are done removing the oil with WD-40, rinse off the area with soap and water.

  1. Remove Dirt, Grease, and Grime

Use the WD-40 Specialist Industrial-Strength Degreaser to clean off even the most stubborn dirt, grease, and grime from your car parts.

  1. Remove Stickers, Decals, Bugs, and Bird Dropping

Instead of using a knife or razor blade to remove stickers, decals, or any other material stuck to your car, use WD-40 first. Spray it on the surface, wait 30 seconds to a minute, and then use a no-scratch scouring pad to wipe it clean. Don’t forget to rinse with soap and water when you are finished.

  1. Prevent Mud from Sticking

If you’re an off-roader, you’ll know how difficult it is to get all of that mud and dirt off your vehicle after it dries. Prevent the mud from sticking in the first place by using WD-40 on your ATV, dirt bike, Jeep, or any other automotive vehicle.

  1. Prevent Breaking or Rounding Off Stuck Nuts and Bolts

If you have any rusty or stuck nuts and bolts, spray WD-40 Rust Release Penetrant to penetrate the threads. Wait a couple minutes and spray a second shot for good measure. Any fastener will be able to come off without damaging the threads or stripping the bolt.

  1. Protect Weatherstripping

 Spray some WD-40 on your door gaskets/weatherstripping and windshield wipers to keep them pliant and extend their lifespans. You can also use WD-40 to unstick car doors and windows during cold weather.

  1. Clean and Shine Tire Sidewalls

Use WD-40 to help clean the sidewalls on your tires.

WD-40 Products

The new “Specialist” product line from WD-40 helps tackle the hard jobs.

WD-40 Specialist Spray & Stay Gel Lubricant 

This type of WD-40 allows you to work underneath your car without having your degreaser drip all over the place. Water and rust-resistant, it’s the perfect WD-40 if you don’t want any excess dripping on vertical or upside-down surfaces.

WD-40 Specialist Machine & Engine Degreaser Foaming Spray

This degreaser is great for heavy duty machinery and cleaning and degreasing all kinds of greasy engines and equipment. The foaming action sticks to the surface, quickly cutting through the grease. All you have to do is wipe it up.

Additional Resources:


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+.

Risks of Buying a Used Car from a Private Seller

risks of buying from a private seller

We’ve shared our tips for buying a used car, but we never discussed all of the risks involved with buying a used car from a private seller.

While it’s possible to get a great deal from a private seller, unfortunately it’s a rare event. As with many high-reward circumstances, it also involves a lot of risk.

Private Seller vs. Dealership

The first major decision you need to make when selecting and purchasing a new used vehicle is whether you will be buying from a private seller or a dealership. A private seller is an individual looking to sell their vehicle to another individual for the maximum value they could get. A dealership buys and sells hundreds or thousands of cars every year and must follow all state and federal rules and regulations.

While doing business with a dealer such as Auto Simple is the safest and easiest way to purchase a used car, buying from a private seller can save you money (if you’re lucky). But be aware of the potential risks before you invest the time and energy into buying from a private seller.

Private Seller Risks

Although there are some good advantages, such as potentially better deals, there are many reasons why you might want to avoid private sellers entirely.

  • Lack of Consumer Protection  The state and federal laws and regulations that apply to dealerships aren’t applicable when buying from a private seller. When you buy a car from a private seller, you are buying it “as is,” which means that any problems with the car are now your problems. Private sellers aren’t covered by the FTC’s Used Car Rule, which means they don’t have to post a Buyers Guide the way dealers do. You also won’t get any warranties on the vehicle, unless the manufacturer’s warranty is still in effect and you successfully transfer ownership. This is something to consider, since you will have to contact the appropriate division of the manufacturing company to update their records.
  • More Footwork  As the old proverb goes, “Time is money.” Consider all of the time you will spend on Craigslist and other websites, researching the cars, contacting the owners, ordering vehicle reports, discussing meeting times, finding transportation, scheduling inspections, and transferring all of the paperwork. Unless you get really lucky, you will find this process extremely frustrating and time-consuming.
  • More Paperwork  Both you and the seller are responsible for all the paperwork. This means transferring the title and/or bill of sale, registration, and any related fees and taxes. Often, you will need to make the trip to your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). And we all know how fun that can be.
  • Vehicle History Reports and Inspections  Many times, a private seller will not have a vehicle history report to show you and might refuse to pay for one. This means you will have to spend the money to get a vehicle history report on CARFAX or a similar website by looking up the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Even if they have a CARFAX or similar report, it’s highly recommended that you conduct your own vehicle inspection, which will set you back around $100.
  • Worse Negotiations  Sometimes negotiations are easier, sometimes they’re harder. It really depends on who you are working with. Be aware of dealers who pose as private sellers and use suspect tactics to close the deal. This happens a lot on Craigslist. Never trust a dealer disguising themselves as a private seller. They are obviously trying to deceive you, regardless of if they have good or bad intentions. If you have any strange suspicions, it’s best to walk away before you get in too deep.

Finally, beware of cars that are being sold for an extremely low price. As the saying goes, “If it’s too good to be true, then it probably is.” Sometimes the car being offered is a lemon or a fraud. There may be things that are wrong with the car and the owner just wants to get rid of it.

How to Buy a Used Car from a Private Seller

If you do decide to buy from a private seller, keep in mind all of the extra work involved. Since private sellers are not subject to the same strict laws and regulations that dealerships are, the risk of fraudulent practices significantly rises.

Here are some things you should do to ensure you’re dealing with a trustworthy seller:

  • Right off the bat, ask them if they are the owner. You want to get this out of the way and the best way to do so is by asking. Ask a little bit about their time with the car, how long they’ve owned the vehicle, where they purchased it from, etc. This is where you should be able to catch any tell-tale signs, such as “selling for a friend” or “just bought it recently.”
  • Ask the owner about vehicle history. Don’t be afraid to call and ask about the car. If they are car flipping, they probably won’t have maintenance records. If they say they have no records, ask them where they get their maintenance and repairs done and then call the business and ask for them. Here, you will also be able to tell if the name of the person you are speaking with matches the name on the records. If they don’t know details about the car off the top of their head, you may be dealing with a disguised trader.
  • Look up the phone number of the person you are speaking with. If the number comes back as a pay-as-you-go phone or in relation to other vehicle sales, walk away.
  • Double-check the address. Be wary of anyone wishing to meet in a place other than their home. You want to make sure that the seller’s address matches the address on the car title and registration. If they have a reason for not meeting at home, consider driving by to make sure it is a real address.
  • Test-drive the car on the street and highway. You will want to heighten you senses while test-driving the car. Pay close attention to any sounds, sights, smells, or feelings you have while driving, turning, and braking on both street and highway. Test all of the electrical controls: windows, radio, locking system, etc. Make sure all of the lights work and that the vehicle drives and brakes straight. This should only take about ten or fifteen minutes.
  • Get a car inspection. It is always a good idea to have the car inspected when buying from a private seller. It will cost around $100 for an inspection from an ASE-certified mechanic, but will save you from buying a potential lemon.
  • If you have suspicions, walk away. You are under no obligation to buy the car. Ask a lot of questions. Use your gut instincts and listen when they are telling you that something is fishy. If you’ve been lied to once, you’ll probably get lied to again. If you don’t build trust, both with dealers and personal sellers, you may be in for a rude surprise.

If you are buying from a private seller, make sure the title and registration has been successfully transferred before handing over the money. It’s also a good idea to check if there are any past-due registration fees.

Phew, that’s a lot isn’t it? If you don’t have the time, energy, or personality for the private car buying process, we don’t blame you. Buying and selling at a dealership is A LOT easier and more secure.

Shop our online inventory and schedule a test drive on our private track. After all questions are answered and the paperwork is signed, you will receive the keys and copies of all the documents. It’s that easy.

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


Auto Simple wants 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. We also own a private track for test driving!

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

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

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 476-4600

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-CARS (2277)

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

How to Share the Road with Cyclists | Tips for Drivers

tips for drivers and cyclists - Auto Simple

If you’re a driver, you know that strange mixture of guilt and frustration that comes with sharing the road with cyclists. You don’t want to appear environmentally unfriendly, but you also don’t want to be late for work and the cyclist up ahead seems to be hogging the road.

The tension between drivers and cyclists is undeniable. A quick Internet search will reveal heated arguments between drivers and cyclists on the proper way to use the road. It seems as if our personalities drastically change depending on if we are behind wheels or handlebars.

In fact, the first recorded automobile accident was recorded in New York when a car hit a bicycle. Since then, the number of motorists and cyclists has drastically increased, leading to a rise in automobile-bicycle collisions.

According to the Washington Post, “the number of people commuting by bike is estimated to have increased by 43 percent since 2000.”

If you live in a city, the number of cyclists on the road seems to be increasing exponentially. Although bike lanes help with the problem, they must be supplemented with some rules for both drivers and cyclists. Traffic rules for both drivers and cyclists improve safety for everyone.

Whether you hate them or love them, cyclists have certain rights to the road. Also, keep in mind that if they weren’t riding a bicycle, they would probably be in a car contributing to the traffic and congestion around you.

How Drivers Should Share the Road with Cyclists

These driving tips are based off of Tennessee law, although most states have similar traffic laws relating to bicycles:

  • In Tennessee and most other states, a bicycle has the legal status of a “vehicle.” They have the same legal right to be on the road as vehicle drivers.
  • Cyclists are supposed to ride on the right side of the road and obey all traffic signs and signals.
  • All drivers should pay extra attention to cyclists, operating the vehicle at safe speeds, keeping careful lookout, maintaining full control and attention, and leaving plenty of room when passing. Unsafe passing of a cyclists is considered a violation of due care; and if the violation results in an injury, it’s a Class B misdemeanor punishable by a fine of $250. If the violation results in a death, it is a Class A misdemeanor punishable by a $500 fine and a year of jail time.
  • A 3-foot clearance between vehicles and bicycles is the law in Tennessee, however, more than 3 feet is necessary if the speed limit is above 40 mph.
  • Even if there is a cyclists misbehaving and breaking the law, never verbally threaten or throw things at them. You could face a fine for assault. If you are trying to hit or run a cyclist off the road, that is considered aggravated assault (the vehicle is your weapon).
  • Bike lanes are for cyclists. Don’t double park in a bike lane, even if you are just dropping someone off. This causes cyclists to have to swerve into the driver’s lane, which can be extremely dangerous.
  • When making turns, look for both pedestrians and cyclists. If you are making a right turn, look in your rear view and side view mirrors to check for cyclists. If you are turning right and they are going straight, they have the right of way.
  • If you are coming up behind a cyclist, you can toot your horn to let them know you’re coming, but don’t lean on the horn.
  • Don’t assume that the cyclist is being a jerk if they are in the middle of the lane. A common occurrence for cyclists is what some people call being “doored.” That’s when a parked car’s door opens and the cyclist collides with it. Since there is a risk of being “doored,” many cyclists will allow a couple feet clearance between themselves and the parked cars on the right. Keep this in mind when you are opening up your door. It’s a good habit to check your side view mirror before swinging the door into traffic.
  • In addition to the risk of being “doored,” cyclists face other risks if they squeeze too far to the right. Roadside hazards, such as glass, grates, and debris near the gutter may necessitate the cyclist to ride further to the left. Even if there is a shoulder, bicyclists are not required to use it. There is often glass and other debris on the shoulder, making it a difficult place to ride.
  • While bike lanes are getting more and more common, most roads won’t have them. A wide shoulder can act as a bike lane, but sometimes the roads are very narrow. If the cyclist has no choice but to ride in the driver’s lane, then they have the right of way. The law allows them to take up the entire lane. If you cannot pass them safely within the lane, you must wait behind the cyclist until there is a safe opportunity to pass. Pass them only when it’s completely safe to do so (pass on the left). Keep in mind that cyclists sometimes swerve to avoid things in the road, just like cars sometimes do.
  • When passing a cyclist, the law requires that you leave a safe distance of no less than 3 feet and maintain that clearance until you have safely overtaken the bicyclist.
  • Cyclists are supposed to stay to the right. Drivers should

For more information on sharing the road with cyclists, see The Tennessee Handbook for Motorists & Bicyclists [pdf].

There are many benefits of cycling, but sometimes it’s just not practical. If you find yourself in need of a vehicle, contact Auto Simple.

We offer a wide variety of quality, certified pre-owned vehicles. Hop in, take it to the road, and share it safely with cyclists.

Have any driving or cycling tips you’d like to add? Let us know!


All of our Hand-Picked, Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles 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) 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+.

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!


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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

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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+.