a family waving hands out the window of a car

Supplying Your Vehicle for Summer

Useful Summer Supplies to Keep in Your Vehicle

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

a woman in driving seat checking the paperworrk

Repair or Replace Your Vehicle | Is It Time to Say Goodbye?

Repair or Replace Vehicle - Fix, Sell, or Trade-In Car

Is it time to say goodbye to “old faithful”? Like everything else in this world, cars don’t last forever. While you may be proud of your faithful 200,000-mile vehicle, it could be more trouble than it’s worth.

There are many reasons why you may want to replace your vehicle, including practical, financial, safety, drivability, and pleasure motives.

Should I Repair or Replace My Vehicle?

If you are thinking about repairing or replacing your car, this post will teach you how to save money when making your next car repair or car purchase. However, nobody knows your vehicle better than you do. Use the following tips as a guide not a gospel.

Cost of repairs

Car maintenance and repairs are unavoidable, but sometimes there is a major repair that gets you wondering if you should simply invest in a new car.

Small repairs and regular maintenance aren’t anything to worry about. It’s the costly repairs that start you thinking about whether you should replace the car or not.

Although it’s almost always cheaper to repair a car than to buy a new one, some repairs, such as replacing a failed transmission can run upwards of $3,000. At this point, you could buy a used vehicle for the same amount and probably save a lot of money in the long run.

Keep in mind that math can only take you so far. In addition to the price of repairs, you’ll want to take other things into consideration, including what you still owe on the vehicle, type of repair, repair frequency, and your vehicle’s worth.

Research market value of your car

If you want to find the estimated value of your car, visit Kelley Blue Book* or contact Auto Simple to find out the sale and trade-in values of your vehicle.

You can even find out what your vehicle is worth without leaving the comfort and convenience of your home. Fill out our online form and we’ll send you an estimated appraisal within 48 hours.

Repairs are more than 50% of the vehicle’s worth

As soon as you start considering a repair that is more than half of the vehicle’s market value, you should start comparing the pros and cons of purchasing a vehicle.

For instance, if your car is only worth $3,000 and you are faced with repairs that are over $1,500, it may be time to start looking for a trade-in deal at your local used car lot. But, if your vehicle is worth more than $4,000, you may want to research the matter further to make the best decision.

It doesn’t make much sense to pay for a repair that is over half of the value of car when there is a high likelihood that another costly repair will soon be on its way. But first, you need to know the value of your vehicle (as is, without the repair(s)) and the likelihood of future repairs.

If your repair is more than 50% of the cost to replace, start researching sale and trade-in values to see how much your old car can serve as a down payment for a new one.

Repairs are more than the vehicle is worth

The choice is simple when faced with a repair that equals or exceeds the market value of your vehicle. Find out what your vehicle is worth and if your repair is close to or exceeds that amount, you should definitely look into replacement options.

Use the money you get from your car sale or trade-in toward the purchase of your next vehicle.

Consider future repairs

Will your repair be the last one for a while? If you have a reliable mechanic who is warning you of likely upcoming repairs, you should take those recommendations into consideration. If this big repair seems like the beginning of a whole host of new problems, consider replacement.

A vehicle can be as much of a money pit as a home. Be wary of vehicle troubleshooting and diagnostics that warn of impending problems for your vehicle, such as new tires and brakes. Take the time to get a second or third opinion on the matter so you know if these forecasts are reliable or not. Factor them into your decision.

Get a second and third opinion

We’ve already shared some tips for finding a good, honest mechanic, but it’s worth going over again to get the most accurate representation of your vehicle’s state.

Even if you’ve found a mechanic you can trust, before you make a decision on whether you should repair, replace, sell, or trade in your used vehicle, get a second or third opinion on the recommended service and repairs. For any major decision like this, don’t rely on one opinion.

Your mechanic may also be able to provide information on whether or not the repair or upgrade will significantly increase your selling or trade-in value. You may be able to get a return on investment.

Determine your maintenance and repair costs

Create a calendar and plan for future repairs so you know what to expect and when. It can help you budget for future repairs and give you an idea of the cost and likelihood of future car costs.

Consult your owner’s manual and past maintenance/repair history reports to create a calendar of likely repairs over the next couple of years.

Are you spending more than $300/month to keep your car running? If so, do the math on getting a more reliable and fuel-efficient vehicle.

Increased safety and reliability

Personal safety and job security also rely on a dependable mode of transportation. If you are worrying about your car starting every morning, consider the added benefits of safety and reliability.

For many people, not having a reliable car means missing work and possibly losing a job. If you have been late or missed work too often, you may want to consider the extra benefit of reliable car for work and career purposes.

Practical concerns

Lifestyle changes often dictate the need for a new vehicle, such as longer/shorter commutes and the need for more space. If your family has expanded in size or you have a new job that requires a different vehicle, a more suitable vehicle type is probably needed.

Fuel efficiency

The older your car is and the older your car gets, the less fuel efficient it is likely to be.  While there are some things to increase the fuel efficiency of your vehicle, if it’s a gas guzzler, you may want to consider purchasing a more fuel-efficient vehicle.

Add up your monthly operation costs and use this fuel cost calculator to compare it with the estimated monthly fuel costs for your new vehicle.

Updated features

If you want the newest car technologies and features, such as cameras, sound systems, and GPS, you may want to look for a new vehicle that satisfies your requirements.

Looking for a change

Sometimes, you just want a change. If you are looking for a big change in your life, a different vehicle can make you feel like a brand new person.

Reasons for Repair:

  • Purchasing a new car takes time and energy. If you want to get back on the road as soon as possible, it’s probably faster to pay for a repair.
  • You have a sentimental attachment to your old car. Whether it’s the first car you paid for on your own as an adult, a gift from a grandparent who has passed, or simply carries many pleasant memories, there are many emotional reasons why you may want to stick to the car you’ve known for many years.
  • Make sure you have enough to make a good down payment (around 20%). While the cost of repair could be thousands of dollars, which would be a really nice down payment on a car, you probably still have to worry about monthly payments.
  • Sometimes your insurance increases when you get a new car. Factor the cost of insurance into the repair-or-replace equation.

Tips for Purchasing Your Next Car

Don’t buy new! Buy used!

New car depreciation is shocking! A new car loses around 10-15% of its value as soon as you drive it off the lot. New cars lose around 20-25% of their value within the first year.

According to CarFax, “new cars continue to lose value for four more years, averaging a decline of 15-25 percent per year. On average, a new car will lose 60 percent of its total value over the first five years of its life.”

Keep in mind that older and foreign cars tend to have higher repair costs. When shopping for a new vehicle, factor in operational and depreciation costs.

Be wary of private buying and private selling

There are many risks involved with private car sales. We recommend either avoiding the situation entirely by working with a used car lot or being extremely careful and diligent when dealing with private sellers or buyers.

Avoid the hassle of posting on Craigslist and simply visit one of our locations in Tennessee and Georgia for a quick and easy transaction.

Buy used car in full

The best way to replace your current car is by selling or trading in your current vehicle in order to pay for a used car upfront. By choosing a car that you can afford to pay for upfront, you will own the car rather the car owning you. Then, save the money that you would have spent on your monthly car payments for future repairs and/or your next vehicle.

The worst (most expensive) way to purchase a car is to lease a new car. Not only will new cars lose around 22% of its value over the first year, your lease payments will also be covering the car’s depreciation and the dealer’s/loaners profits.

Try not to go into debt over a car. Use cash if you can for the best deal. If you must “rent” a car, lease a Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle instead.

What if you have bad credit?

First, you should know your credit rating. While your credit rating will affect your loan approvals and interest rates, there are some car dealers, such as Auto Simple that provide competitive financing ratings for any approval rating.

Still, you want to make sure you can afford the car. Use a car affordability calculator or contact your local Auto Simple representative. If you are trading in your vehicle, get a quote from us so you can subtract the trade-in value from the estimated car budget.

Read our Used Car Buyer’s Guide for more tips on shopping for a used vehicle.

Tips for Extending Vehicle Lifespans

If you aren’t quite ready to say goodbye to the car that has served you so well over the years, then here are some tips for extending its lifespan and stalling some of those common repairs:

  • Use your owner’s manual to stay up on all the proper maintenance for your vehicle, including fluid changes and other regular service intervals. It’s a good idea to schedule calendar reminders for all your important car maintenance so you never forget.
  • You can also conduct some regular maintenance for your vehicle on your own. Reference your owner’s manual for information on replacing fluids, such as motor oil and coolant. Read our blog post for more information on regular vehicle maintenance.
  • Learn what your vehicle dashboard signs and symbols mean. Some can be ignored while others are much more important to pay attention to.
  • If you don’t know what’s wrong with your car, use the internet and online forums, such as CarTalk to try and figure out the problem.
  • Avoid getting scammed by mechanics by learning what to bring with you and what to look out for when shopping around for a mechanic.

The decision whether to repair or replace your vehicle can be difficult. It involves math, your current situation, and many other factors.

Before you sink more money into your vehicle, contact Auto Simple for a free vehicle appraisal.

Not only do we pay top dollar for your used vehicle, we also can get you a better deal on trading in your old car for one of our Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles.

We Buy ANY Car

It’s as simple as 1, 2, 3:

  1. Visit one of our locations
  2. Receive a top dollar offer
  3. Sell of trade in your car and get paid on the spot

Related Posts:

Contact Auto Simple or visit one of our convenient locations:

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 476-4600

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-CARS (2277)

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

* We provide the Kelley Blue Book link for research and reference purposes only. Kelley Blue Book is not affiliated with this site in any way. Representations made regarding products and services provided by third parties are governed by the policies and representations made by these third parties.

a couple in car reading from a map

Holiday Road Travel & Driving Tips | Be Safe and Merry!

If you aren’t fighting for airline tickets this holiday season, you’ll be fighting for a spot on the road.

According to AAA, around 50 million American will journey 50 miles or more this Thanksgiving (defined as Nov. 23 to Nov. 27). And nearly 90% of these Thanksgiving travelers will be driving (around 44 million)!

AAA also predicts that they will be rescuing more than 370,000 motorists due mostly to dead batteries, flat tires, and lockouts.

To avoid being one of the stranded families this holiday season, check your tires, go over essential car maintenance, and always carry these items in your car.

In addition to the increased risk of motor accidents and breakdowns, stress and travel anxiety will also be on the rise. Whether by air, water, or highway, it can be extremely stressful and anxiety-reducing to travel during the holidays, especially during such high-travel periods as Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Whether you are going on a long road trip or making a more local drive to Grandma’s, these tips and tricks will help ensure your trip is safe, fun, and stress-free.

10 Holiday Road Travel Tips

  1. Prep Your Car

Most holiday travel is made by personal vehicle. In addition to winter weather conditions, the drives tend to me a lot longer. In order to reduce your risk of incident, make sure your vehicle is properly maintained.

Whether your trip is a long or short one, you don’t want a breakdown to ruin the holidays. Schedule a pre-trip tune-up to check your fluids, tires, battery, wipers, and everything else. Even if your maintenance is up-to-date, do a quick tire and fluids check at least a day in advance of the trip.

Here are some things you’ll want to check before hitting the road:

If you are driving during winter weather, learn vehicle winterization tips. Don’t forget to fill your gas tank before you leave.

  1. Learn How to Jumpstart a Vehicle and Change a Tire

If your battery dies, it’s easy to jump-start it. All you need are some jumper cables and another vehicle, or you can do it yourself with a portable jump starter.

Portable jump starters are also great for recharging phones and other electronics. Some even have emergency radios, lights, 12-volt outlets, and air compressors. Don’t forget to charge your portable jump starter before the trip!

Additionally, it’s a good idea to double-check your spare tire before any road trip. To save time and impress your traveling companions, learn how to change a tire beforehand. 

  1. Enjoy the Moment

We’re not going to try to mislead you about holiday travel—it can be extremely stressful. However, you do have a lot of control and choice in the matter.

Instead of being all up in your head, worried about traffic, being late, anxieties, judgements, what-ifs, predictions, and the unremitting stress of work, family, and society, transform that anxiety into laughter and joy. You probably have family around you. Be sensitive to the present moment and enjoy it.

Nobody knows you better than yourself. Bring the things that will help make your time more enjoyable and less stressful. Whether that means noise-cancelling headphones, a good book/podcast, or comfy clothes, focus on the things that bring you and your companions happiness.

  1. Make a List and Check It Twice

One of the best ways to reduce travel stress and enjoy the moment is by making a list and checking it twice.

Make a list of everything you need for the trip:

  • Passport/Driver’s License
  • Insurance Documents
  • Phone/Phone Charger
  • Music/Audio
  • Wallet/Money/Keys
  • Laptop/Laptop Charger
  • Clothing (Layers)
  • Toiletries
  • Medication/First Air Kit
  • Car Supplies
  • Food (learn how to cook on-the-go with our Thanksgiving Car-B-Q post)
  • Gifts and Presents

Pack whatever you can at least a day in advance of the trip. The last things you should pack are items like your toothbrush, phone, and wallet. This should be a separate “final” list of items. Place this list on top of your packed suitcase so you don’t forget anything.

In addition to your packing list, there should also be a household chores list—things like washing the dishes, taking the trash out, and making sure the iron isn’t plugged in. There’s nothing worse than coming home to a filthy, smelly home.

Don’t forget to look up the weather and bring plenty of cold-weather items. And if you promised, don’t forget your famous casserole or pie to do for.

Wake up early and get some coffee and a good bite to eat. Then, make sure the car is packed with everything for holiday trip, including these essential vehicle items. Double check your “final” list of items and household chores list. At last, leave in complete confidence and enjoy the trip.

  1. Leave Early (or Late)

This is true no matter how you are traveling, but it’s especially true for drivers. Although most drivers try to leave early to “beat traffic,” many fail to achieve their goals. If you wake up early enough and already have everything packed the night before, you can beat the masses. Another option is to leave in the evening or night, however, if nighttime driving tends to be less safe.

The worst traffic usually occurs between 12pm and 5pm. Try to avoid the afternoon if possible.

You may also want to avoid the busiest travel days, which is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after. Consider traveling on Thanksgiving morning and heading home on Friday or Saturday to beat the travel rush.

  1. Bring Entertainment

There are so many amazing Podcasts and audiobooks available at the press of a button that there should be no excuse of boredom during a long car trip.

If you don’t want to fight over every single song that gets chosen (that’s a lot of potential arguing and discomfort), choose long-form audio in the form of audiobooks or podcasts. Try to agree on what you will be listening to before the trip begins. Nothing’s worse than a road trip starting off on a bad note (pun intended) because you’re arguing about what to listen to.

Choose one of the following podcasts and you’ll be able to spark interesting conversations for the entire duration of the trip. Hopefully everyone will agree and nobody will be bored!

Here are some of the best podcasts suitable for kids and families:

  • Tumble Science Podcast for Kids – Kids’ science podcast for the whole family.
  • The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian – A very entertaining serialized science fiction story.
  • Dream Big Podcast – The entrepreneur podcast for kids on pursuing dreams and making them a reality.
  • Story Time – Best for younger audiences, around ages 2-12. Great for those who love bedtime stories.
  • But Why – Kids ask why, and adults find the answers. Topics are wide and varied.
  • Brains On! – In-depth discussions of interesting questions with scientific answers.

If you have an older crowd in the car (teens and older), you may want to listen to some of these podcasts:

  • Lore – Creepy, real-life stories hosted by (now a TV show on Amazon Prime).
  • Welcome to Night Vale – A brilliant mixture of comedy, mystery, and horror (a la Twilight Zone).
  • Lux Radio Theater – Radio shows of old movies. Great for classic movie fans.
  • This American Life – If you are a fan of NPR and PBS storytelling, you’ll enjoy this one (also a TV show).
  • Radiolab – Stimulating discussions on a wide range of philosophical and scientific topics.
  • The Moth – Award-winning show about real-life stories from real-life people.
  • Wait Wait… Don’t Tell Me! – NPR game show with plenty of laughs.
  • Hardcore History – For the history buffs.
  • You Must Remember This – Intriguing stories from Hollywood (start with the Charles Manson episodes).

If you are looking for a serialized podcast that leaves you hanging at the end of each episode, consider Serial, S-Town, and Criminal.

For a break from music and podcasts, learn the best games to play in the car.

  1. Use a GPS App

If you are looking for the fastest way to get to your destination, a GPS app is a must. Even if you know where you are going, today’s GPS apps can give you real-time traffic updates, road conditions, custom navigations, and other major benefits. The most popular ones are Google Maps and Waze. For more usability, go with Google Maps, but Waze will probably get you there faster.

And don’t worry about data. You can download maps to your phone via WiFi before heading on the road.

Use Waze, GasBuddy, and other apps to find the cheapest gas on your route.

  1. Pack Snacks

If you’re going to make it to your destination with minimal stops, you will need to pack some drinks and snacks.

While you don’t want to ruin your appetite, you also don’t want to arrive “hangry.”

Consider these nutritional snacks to avoid highway stops and arrive happier and healthier:

  • Nuts/Trail Mix
  • Jerky
  • Nutrition Bars
  • Granola
  • Fruit and Vegetables
  • Popcorn
  • Cheese and Crackers
  • Chocolate/Candy
  • Water/Juice
  1. Stop If You Need To

Sometimes a break is needed. If someone wants to stop, stop. Don’t cause yourself back pain or unwanted aggression by fighting the urge to make a pit stop.

Also, stops can serve as a nice refresh button when things are getting tense. Stretch, walk around, use the rest room. It’s a great way to feel better on long trips.

When traveling with children, teach them to avoid strangers and consider giving them a whistle if you should get separated.

You may even see a roadside attraction you want to squeeze in. If you left early, you should have no problem arriving on time.

  1. Be Safe!

Above all else, be safe!

You can reduce your chances of an accident with the following vehicle and road safety tips:

  • Get a good night’s sleep. Never drive while drowsy!
  • Buckle up, follow all rules of the road, and do NOT drive impaired!
  • Do not use the phone while driving. Either pull over first or have a passenger relay a message for you. Otherwise, it can wait.
  • Make stops to stretch, snack, and rotate drivers if you need to.
  • Clean your headlights, taillights, and signal lights if you need to. Learn more headlight safety tips.
  • Don’t tailgate—use the minimum 2-second rule during good driving conditions and the 4-second rule for rainy and unsafe driving conditions.
  • Download GPS maps and choose your music/audio before you leave. This will prevent the urge to fiddle with your phone while driving.
  • Wear comfortable, close-toed shoes. Bare feet and sandals won’t provide any protection in the event of an accident.
  • Make sure you have your insurance and roadside assistance information on hand.
  • Keep a phone and charger with you. (Portable jump starters can serve as backup battery chargers).
  • Learn common driving mistakes and how to avoid them.
  • Learn winter driving tips and how to handle black ice and skids.
  • Learn about your vehicle dashboard warning lights and what they mean.

Use this infographic from AAA for more travel tips this holiday season:

Road Trip Holiday Travel Safety Tips

More Driving and Road Safety:

Need a safe vehicle for your holiday travels? We carry a large inventory of Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles, each of which go through a comprehensive 180-Point Quality Inspection by our expert mechanics.

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

Wishing you a fun and safe holiday season!

Follow us for more useful information on vehicle buying, maintenance, and safety: FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Google+.

haunted house sign board

5 Haunted Roads & Places in Tennessee

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

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

5 Haunted Roads and Places in Tennessee

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

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

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

Source: TripAdvisor (by cbfinn_99)

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

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

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

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

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

Source: realhauntedplaces.blogspot

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

Source: coalcreekaml.com

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

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

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

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

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

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


Source: Flickr (posted by DM)

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Franklin on Foot (Downtown Franklin, TN)

Source: TripAdvisor (submitted by RangerNate)

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

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

Watch this video from Williamson Source to learn more: 

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

Source: Facebook Group “Pigman Bridge Memories”

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

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

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

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

Haunted Cemeteries in Tennessee:

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

Haunted Bridges in Tennessee:

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

Haunted Houses in Tennessee:

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

More Tennessee haunted places can be found here.

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

Avoid the Real Horror This Halloween! Learn Car Safety

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

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

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

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

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

Related Posts

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

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

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 472-2000

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-2277

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

teen driver fixing her rearview mirror

Teenager Driving Tips for National Teen Driver Safety Week


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

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

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

The Teen Driver Problem

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

Source: Insurance Institute for Highway Safety

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is being done about risky teenage driving?

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

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

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

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

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

Ways to Increase Teen Driver Safety

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

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

Be a good example!

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

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

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

What are the safest vehicles for teenagers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related Driving Safety Posts:

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

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

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 472-2000

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-2277

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

car with luggage on roof rack in mountains

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

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

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

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

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

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


Ratchet Straps or Cam Straps

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

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


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

Bungee Cords

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

Cargo (Spider) Netting and/or Tarp

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

Roof Rack

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


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

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

  1. Follow the directions that come with your products

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

  1. Consider a roof rack

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

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

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

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

Roof Rack Types:

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

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

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

  1. Naked Roof

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cargo Securement Safety Recap

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 476-4600

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-2277

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

How to Avoid Getting Scammed by Mechanics

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

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

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

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

How to Avoid Getting Scammed by Mechanics and Auto Repair Shops

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

  • Dealerships
  • Independents
  • Specialists
  • Auto Repair Chains

Once you find a shop, check for the following:

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

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

  1. Always Deal with a Reputable Mechanic or Auto Shop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Check Owner’s Manual for Maintenance Schedule

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Be Prepared with Information Before You Go

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  1. Maintain Good Records

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

  1. Keep Up On Regular Vehicle Maintenance 

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

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

  1. Voice Your Complaints

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

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

Auto Simple Mechanics

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

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

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

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 472-2000

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-2277

Follow us on social media for more useful information on buying, selling, and maintaining your vehicle: FacebookTwitterYouTube, and Google+.

a hand jump starting a car

How to Use a Portable Jump Starter

Getting stranded in a dark parking lot or on the side of the road—a common trope in horror movies—can be terrifying. Roadside assistance and cell service aren’t always available. If you want to avoid being the star of a scary story, some basic preparation is necessary.

In addition to knowing how to change a tire and having emergency items in your vehicle, it’s a good idea to purchase and know how to use a portable jump starter (aka emergency battery booster or jump box). With a charged jump starter in your trunk, you’ll never have to worry about getting stranded with a dead battery.

Normally, when jump starting a vehicle, you would need to connect your dead battery to the working battery of a separate vehicle. But it can be frightening and risky to depend on the charity of a stranger to jump your car. First of all, not many people will stop; second of all, they may have ulterior motives.

With a portable jump starter kit, however, you can get your car running again without relying on a stranger’s help. To close out National Preparedness Month, let’s discuss how to use a portable jump starter.

Things to Look for in a Portable Jump Starter

In addition to jump starting a dead battery, portable battery jump starters also come with USB connections to charge all of your devices, important for emergencies and keeping the kids entertained. Some are even equipped with built-in air compressors to fill up tires that are low on air.

Here are some additional features to look out for:

  • Radios
  • Emergency Lights
  • 12-Volt Outlets/Receptacles
  • USB Chargers
  • Air Compressors
  • Inverters

Today’s jump starters function as compact charging stations for batteries, phones, laptops, and anything else that requires a charge. Keep in mind that this will drain the battery power. Remember to periodically charge your portable jump starter.

Is Your Battery Dead?

There are many signs of a weak battery—dim lights, electrical component issues, battery warning light—but if your engine won’t turn on at all, your battery is probably dead. This often happens when headlights or the ignition switch is left on while the car is not running.

The tell-tale sign that you have a dead battery is if the car makes a clicking noise when you turn the ignition, but it won’t start.

To make sure the battery is the culprit, inspect the headlights. If the headlights are dim or don’t turn on at all, the battery is probably dead. Bright headlights usually signify that something else is the problem.

If your radio, lights, windows, and other electrical components work perfectly, then the problem is usually with the starter, not the battery.

Still, dead batteries have some charge. If the dashboard lights don’t flicker or come on at all, your problem might be with the ignition switch.

It’s pretty easy to tell if you have a dead alternator versus a dead battery. Try jump starting the car and if the car dies again soon after, it’s probably the alternator.

Battery Chargers vs. Portable Jump Starters

It’s important to know the difference between battery chargers and portable jump starters. Vehicle battery chargers normally plug into a household outlet (110-120 volt AC) in order to recharge a battery. They normally take several hours to two days to get a full charge.

Although the alternator in your vehicle has the job of charging your battery, sometimes an additional battery charger is necessary. This can be important to have if you use your vehicle sporadically or only during certain times of the year. While pretty useless in the event of a roadside breakdown, they are able to charge up your battery when you get home, saving you money and inconvenience down the road.

Unlike a charger, portable jump starters (aka battery boosters, emergency boosters, battery jumpers, and jump boxes) can be used anywhere. They don’t need to be plugged into an outlet. They also don’t re-charge your battery, but rather provide the necessary amperage to crank the engine and start the vehicle. Once the engine is on, the alternator will charge the battery and power the electrical system.

We recommend having a portable jump starter so you can make it to your destination safely, but a plug-in type at home to fully recharge it. If you are only going to have one, get a portable unit; however, an at-home plug-in unit can be useful and cost effective.

How to Use a Portable Jump Starter

First, make sure your portable jump starter is fully charged.

Jump starters rely on a battery as their power source. As a result, they must be periodically recharged. Always recharge your portable jump starter/battery booster pack after each use and at least once every 6 months. These jump starter batteries will lose their charge more quickly if left in the car during hot and cold weather. We recommend charging your battery booster packs before going on a long trip.

Usually an indicator light on the jump starter tells you when a recharge is necessary. Simply insert the power adapter into an outlet and charge the battery until the light indicates a complete charge. Check the manufacturer instructions for specifics, including what the light indicator colors mean (usually red/orange for charging and green for completed charge).

What you need to use a portable jump starter:

  • Protective Clothing
  • Eye Protection
  • Owner’s Manual
  • Car Battery
  • Portable Jump Starter (aka Jump Box)
  • Jumper Cables (usually permanently connected to the jump starter)

WARNING: Jump starting a car can be very dangerous. If you are not 100% certain what you are doing, call roadside assistance or a towing service. And always read your owner’s manual first!

The steps for jump starting a car using a portable jump starter are very similar to using traditional jumper cables and a second car:

  1. Always read the owner’s manual! In the highly unlikely event that your vehicle has a positive ground (very rare), the jump starting instructions will be different. Also, some manufacturers do not allow jump-starts.
  2. Wear protective clothing and eye protection.
  3. Turn the car off and remove the keys from the ignition.
  4. Remove jewelry and never put your face near the battery.
  5. Make sure the vehicle is not near any flammable liquids or gases, including what may be on your hands.
  6. Keep the charger as far away from the battery as the lengths of the cables allow.
  7. Look up your battery charger’s voltage in the owner’s manual. Make sure it matches the jump starter’s output voltage. This is normally a 12-volt supply.
  8. Identify the positive (look for the “P,” “POS,” or “+” symbol) and negative terminals (look for the “N,” “NEG,” or “-“ symbol) on your car battery. Remove any excessive corrosion before attaching the cables.
  9. Identify the positive and negative clamps/clips on the portable jump starter. The positive charger clamp is red and the negative charger clamp is black.
  10. Make sure the jump starter is “off” before attempting to connect the jumper clamps to the vehicle’s battery.
  11. Do not allow positive and negative clamps to come into contact with each other.
  12. With both the car and jump starter turned off, connect the jumper cables to the appropriate terminals.
    • First connect the red clamp to the positive terminal on the battery.
    • Then, connect the black clamp to a clean, unpainted, and non-moving metal part. Choose an area on the car’s frame or engine block, far away from the battery, carburetor and fuel lines. Never use fuel lines, engine rocker covers, or the intake manifold as grounding points!
    • Make sure the clamps are solidly connected so they don’t get shaken loose.
  13. Once the jumper cables are firmly in place, you can turn on the portable jump starter.
  14. Now, you can try to turn the car on.
  15. Do not crank the engine for more than 5 seconds. If the car won’t turn on after the first attempt, wait around 2-3 minutes to try again. You may need a new battery if the car won’t start after 4 or 5 attempts.
  16. If you have to readjust the jumper clamps, turn the car and jump starter off first. Only then should you try to improve the connection.
  17. After the engine starts, turn the jump starter off.
  18. Then, remove the negative (black) clamp followed by the positive (red) clamp. Now, safely store the portable jump starter.
  19. You can remove those embarrassing protective glasses now.
  20. After the clamps have been removed, allow the vehicle to idle for several minutes before taking off. Now you can go home to safety.
  21. When you arrive back home, it’s important to recharge the jump starter as soon as you can. Most portable jump starters will plug directly into an AC outlet. Recharge the unit for at least 3 hours. Some units will require 12-24 hours for a complete charge.
  22. It’s also a good idea to have your vehicle battery checked by a local battery centers to see if a new battery is necessary and how long your battery can probably last.

Again, always refer to the manufacturer’s instructions for proper use.

How to charge a vehicle with a plug-in battery charger:

  1. Always read the owner’s manual and manufacturer instructions first!
  2. Turn the car off.
  3. Make sure the battery charger is off and unplugged.
  4. Connect the red clamp to the positive terminal.
  5. Connect the black clamp to a grounded metal, the car’s frame or engine block.
  6. Once both clamps are connected, plug in the charger to an outlet.
  7. Turn on the plug-in vehicle battery charger.
  8. The battery will start charging. Leave the charger on overnight.
  9. In the morning, turn off the charger.
  10. Turn on the car to see if it works.
  11. If the car still won’t turn on, you may need to replace the battery.

When charging your battery, make sure it isn’t at too high a rate. Always read the manufacturer instructions for proper use. If the battery is overheating, stop charging until it has had time to cool off. Overheating the battery can be dangerous and damaging.

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

Related Resources:

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

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 472-2000

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-2277

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

a salesman talking to a couple at a dealership

How to Buy, Title & Register a Vehicle in Tennessee

We’ve already written up guides for how to buy a used vehicle, how to buy a used vehicle with bad or no credit, and what to do after buying a car. But since there are a lot of specifics unique to each state, today we’re discussing what you need to know about buying, titling, and registering a vehicle in Tennessee.

How to Buy a Vehicle in Tennessee

If you are purchasing a vehicle in Tennessee, you will need to know some specific information for the proper transfer of ownership into your name.

Instructions for buying a vehicle in Tennessee differ depending on if you are purchasing from a dealership or a private seller.

While it can be more expensive to buy a car from a dealership, it is a much safer and easier process. It can also be cheaper to purchase from a dealership depending on the private seller and common private seller scams. Still, there are many steps to take before you sign the final papers. Read our Car Buyer’s Guide and do your homework first.

Purchasing from a Dealership

If you are purchasing a vehicle from a dealership, here is what you’ll need to successfully transfer ownership in one go:

  • Government issued photo ID, such as a valid driver’s license.
  • Proof of income, proof of residence, and proof of insurance. Contact the dealership before you go for specific requirements.
  • If a trade-in is in order, don’t forget your vehicle’s title (or payoff information), valid and current vehicle registration, and all keys/remotes. Learn more about selling or trading in your used vehicle to a dealership.

The dealership will provide you with:

  • A Manufacturer’s Certificate of Origin (MCO), only if the vehicle hasn’t yet been titled in Tennessee. This won’t apply if you are purchasing a used vehicle.
  • Current title, only if the vehicle is used and has already been titled.
  • Invoice from the dealer that shows the total purchase price, which is used to determine sales tax.

Buying a used vehicle from a dealership is a lot easier and less time-consuming than purchasing from a private seller. When you deal with a dealership such as Auto Simple, we will handle all of the DMV-related paperwork including title transfers, registration, and any related fees.

After all questions are answered and the paperwork is signed, you will receive the keys and copies of all the documents. You simply drive away in your new certified pre-owned vehicle, with all the important documents in the glove box.

Purchasing from a Private Seller 

Before you think about purchasing a car from a private seller, make sure you are aware of all the risks.

You will need certain documents and assurances from the private seller before you can properly transfer ownership.

Here are the TN Department of Revenue (DOR) requirements for titling and registering your vehicle after purchase:

Never purchase a vehicle from a private seller if they don’t have a title. If they don’t have a title, they must apply for a new title by completing a Duplicate Title Application (Form RV-F1321801).

For more information on transferring title information, read the DMV Guide to Title Transfer in Tennessee.

How to Transfer a Title in Tennessee

Here are the steps for transferring a title from a private seller (via DMV.org):

If you are new to the state of Tennessee, you will need to title and register your car with the Vehicle Services Division (DVS) at your local county clerk’s office.

Make sure you bring:

  • Current out-of-state registration.
  • Out-of-state title certificate.
    • If you are making payments on your car, and have a lien hold, you must provide your lender’s name and address.
  • Emissions test certificate (if applicable).
  • Proof of identification and residency.
  • Payment for the title transfer fee (varies by county).

How to Register a Vehicle in Tennessee

Registering your vehicle is necessary whenever you purchase a vehicle or move to a new state, such as Tennessee. If you are purchasing from a dealership, they should be able to title and register your car for you.

Requirements for registering a new vehicle:

  • Manufacturer’s Statement of Origin.
  • Your new car’s invoice.
  • Copy of your current registration (if you are transferring license plates from your previous car).
  • Proof of identification.
  • Proof of residency.
  • Payment for your titling fees (vary by county).

Requirements for registering a used vehicle:

  • Title
  • Proof of identity and residency
  • Odometer Disclosure Statement (if purchased from a private seller)
  • Payment for registration fees
  • Some counties require an emissions inspection BEFORE registration

If you are transferring a vehicle title from a private Tennessee seller, visit your local county clerk with the following information:

Note: If you are purchasing your vehicle from a private seller and the vehicle is up for registration renewal, then you will want to have the car inspected and give the paperwork to the buyer before purchase. Or have them get the car inspected themselves.

Don’t Buy a Lemon!

Never purchase a vehicle from a private seller or used car dealership without obtaining a vehicle history report (CarFax) first. This document will tell you all the information you need to make sure the car isn’t a clunker.

How to Renew Your Vehicle’s Registration

Residents of Tennessee who already have a registration should check out the registration renewal page.

Visit DMV.org for more information on title transfers and registrations in Tennessee.

You May Not Have to Leave Home!

You may be able to complete many of these tasks without leaving the comfort of your home. Visit the Tennessee DOS online services page for more information.

Remember, the Tennessee Department of Revenue (DOR) is the place to go to complete most processes that involve your car, truck, or motorcycle:

Looking to sell your used vehicle? Check out our guide for selling your used vehicle to a dealership.

If you have any questions about the requirements for titles, registration, license plates, and more, contact the Tennessee Department of Safety and Tennessee Department of Revenue:

TN DOS Contact Info

Main Office: (615) 251-5166

Mailing address:

Tennessee Department of Safety
P.O. Box 945
Nashville, TN 37202

TN DOR Contact Info:

  • State-wide, toll free: (888) 871-3171
  • Nashville area and out-of-state: (615) 741-3101

Mailing address:

Department of Revenue
Vehicle Services Division
44 Vantage Way, Suite 160
Nashville, TN 37243

Auto Simple makes it easy to buy, title, and register your new Certified Pre-Owned Vehicle in Tennessee (and a new location in Dalton, GA).

We carry a large selection of hand-picked used vehicles, all of which come with a 6 month/6,000-mile powertrain warranty. We also own a private track for test driving!

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

image of an open truck bed

How to Load a Pickup Truck | Truck Bed Safety & Packing Tips

Moving is stressful—it takes a lot of mental and physical energy. Don’t make it worse by haphazardly loading the back of your pickup. You can make transporting cargo a lot quicker, easier, and safer by learning the proper procedures for how to load a pickup truck bed.

How to Load a Pickup Truck

  1. Consider Pickup Truck Accessories & Add-Ons

Depending on the job, you may want to add some rails or added anchoring systems for extra support and protection.

Bed Rails & Rail Caps – You may want to install bed rails or rail caps on the rails of the truck to protect it from dings and dents. They can help you prevent damage, preserve resale value, and improve functionality.

Tie-Down Anchors – Truck rails and racks can be uses to tie down and secure items, but you may also need tie-down anchors that get secured to the bed floor. If you need to drill into the original metal of your truck, however, it may devalue the vehicle and encourage rust.

Bed Slides – Truck bed slides make hauling cargo more convenient. Instead of climbing inside your truck bed every time you want to retrieve something, a bed slide allows you to slide the cargo out easily.

Bed Racks – Bed rails and extenders can help with some loads, but a truck bed rack allows safe transport of long cargo such as ladders, piping, and lumber. If you are transporting a lot of lengthy objects, bed racks significantly increase your truck’s hauling capacity.

Bed Mats & Liner – Mats and liners are great ways to maintain your truck’s factory finish and prevent scratches, scrapes, and dings to the paint and metal of your truck bed. Not only will this prevent unsightly scratches, it can also prevent rusting and other problems associated with exposed metal.

Bed Extenders – If you want to increase the hauling capacity of your pickup truck, you don’t have to buy a new truck for more bed room. Instead, consider bed extenders, so you can leave the tailgate down while having the support necessary to keep the load from falling out.

Cargo Nets & Covers – Instead of using ratchet straps and bungee cords every time you are transporting a load, consider a truck bed cargo net, which can keep all of your luggage securely in place. Besides effective performance, truck nets and covers are also easier to install and uninstall, saving you time and frustration when moving things. Cargo covers can offer durable and weather-resistant protection.

Tool Boxes & Bed Organizers – For those who frequently haul groceries or need to store tools for the long-term, tools boxes and bed organizers that lock are the way to go. While cargo nets and covers are good for protecting and tying down items, if you are looking for more protection and permanent storage, upgrade your truck with permanent boxes and storage space.

Other Things You’ll Probably Need:

  • Tarp and plastic wrap
  • Cardboard boxes
  • Packing tape
  • Moving blankets
  • Ratchet straps and bungee cords
  1. Weight Restrictions

The first thing you want to do is check the weight (“payload”) limits of your truck. If you are only hauling small amount of weight, you can ignore this step, but when moving any significant amount of weight, you should always check to make sure your truck can handle all the weight.

How to check payload limits:

The maximum payload (GVWR, or Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) will be printed on the factory label, normally on the inside door sill on the driver’s side. The sticker label may also be found inside your glovebox. If you cannot find the label in either of these two places, check your owner’s manual.

Make sure that the amount of weight you are transporting is under the payload limit. Making multiple trips a lot better than damaging your shocks, suspension system, and risking a blowout or accident.

You can tell if you’ve overloaded the truck if the steering wheel becomes heavier as you try to turn and maintain handling.

  1. Move Heavier Items Near the Cab

When moving lots of heavy items, such as boxes of books and masonry, move them to the back of the truck bed, near the cab. If there is too much weight on the back axle, the front axle may not have enough weight to make solid contact with the road.

By moving heavier items near the center of the truck, weight will be more evenly distributed. This take weight off of the rear axle, which can cause poor handling and potential damage to the drivetrain and suspension systems. Secure the weight near the cab with ratchet straps.

  1. Place Large Items on Their Side, on the Sides

If you are moving large pieces of furniture, such as tables and mirrors, make sure you turn them on their sides and securely wrap any fragile materials securely. The key is to make everything as stable and secure as possible. Load your largest items near the bed rails, away from the center.

How to pack glass and fragile items:

In order to make sure glass items are protected, wrap them in packing paper and secure them with tape before wrapping the glass with bubble wrap. If you have a telescopic box (wide and thin), use it. If not, you can create a makeshift box using the cardboard from smaller boxes. Simply bend the cardboard around your glass (you may need multiple cardboard pieces) and tape it together. Label the box “Fragile” on all sides and be extra careful during handling.

Make sure any glass items are securely wrapped and placed in such a way that they cannot move. You want your glass, pictures, and other fragile items to be as snug as possible.

  1. Load Boxes and Smaller Items in Between the Large Items

Once you have loaded your largest items and placed them securely on the sides of the truck bed, the next step is to load boxes and smaller items in the middle. If you are stacking boxes, place the larger, heavier boxes at the bottom—smaller, lighter items should go on top.

What you are trying to do by placing larger items on both sides of the truck bed (with boxes in the middle) is maintain weight balance and protect all of your cargo.

  1. Tie Your Items Down

Even if you have a cargo net or cover, you should always use quality ratchet straps to tie down your large items. Make sure that your cargo is tied down from at least two sides. You can also tie items down in an X-shape.

Make sure you safely store your ratchet straps away from the elements (sunlight, rain, dirt, etc.).

Shop around for a high-quality cargo cover for added protection, such as protection from rain and weather, improved aerodynamics, and added security. They are an investment, but a worthy one. Most of these covers will attach to the underside of your truck bed or come with attachment anchors for your rails and sides.

After securing the large items with ratchet straps, use tarp, cargo nets, or covers to cover the entire load. You don’t want things flying out on the freeway. Always use cargo nets and covers for light materials, such as landscaping trash and materials.

For a cheaper solution, you can use an appropriately sized tarp with integral snaps, or use bungee cords to tie it down.

  1. Plan a Safe Route from A to B

When transporting cargo in your pickup truck, you want to choose the smoothest route, avoiding high winds, rough roads, and sharp turns. If you are driving on the freeway, drive on the right side of the road and

  1. Prevent Theft

Items left out in the open are vulnerable to theft. Do everything necessary to limit this risk.

How to prevent theft while moving cargo:

  • Keep valuable tools and items in locked truck bed boxes or in the cab to keep them out of sight and away from the weather. Lock the box and truck doors to keep these items as safe as possible.
  • Try to keep your items covered, either with tarps/covers or in some container.
  • Park in a safe, public, and well-lit area if possible.
  • Minimize your stops. Try to travel directly from point A to point B without stopping to prevent weather and theft-related risks.

Give yourself a pat on the back and admire a job well done! By properly loading and transporting your cargo, you’ve prevented accidents, hassles, and wasted time and money.

Read Transporting Cargo Safely [pdf] from the Tennessee Commercial Driver’s license Manual for more information on inspecting cargo, cargo weight/balance, securing cargo, and cargo needing special attention.

More Driving Safety Tips:

Tired of renting U-Hauls? Need a new truck? Shop our online inventory of Certified Pre-Owned pickup trucks, SUVs, and much more. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions:

Chattanooga, TN – (423) 551-3600

Cleveland, TN – (423) 476-4600

Dayton, TN – (423) 775-4600

Dalton, GA – (706) 217-CARS (2277)

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