Keep Your New Chevy Safe from Parking Lot Accidents

We all do it. Well… I know I do, at least. I have a terrible habit of cutting through parking lot rows when I can. But that habit is going to stop today! Over the weekend, I found a shiny new dent on the back bumper of my new car in Grapevine, and I decided it was time to change my parking lot ways. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), 20 percent of all vehicle accidents occur in parking lots. So maybe I’m not the only one who could use a little adjustment on the way I drive when out shopping.

While most of the accidents occur at low speeds, they can still be hard on your wallet, emotional state and your new Chevrolet.  So the next time you venture out for a shopping trip, try and remember the following three things:

1. Give yourself time to react. Aside from abandoned shopping carts,the biggest obstacle in a parking lot is other drivers. I’m sure you’ve either seen other people cutting across empty rows,and you may have even done this yourself on occasion. Other times,you’ll find people flying through parking lots and over speed bumps ignoring stop signs and other pavement markings. The best way to handle this situation? Slow down. Allowing yourself enough time to react and paying attention to your surroundings will potentially protect you from being involved in a collision.

2. Always expect pedestrians. Have you ever noticed those diagonal white lines in parking lots? That means that pedestrians have the right-of-way (whether we like it or not). For some reason,people seem to have a sense of security in parking lots and tend to not look out for oncoming vehicles as much as they should. For this reason, it’s crucial for us to constantly watch for them.

3. Keep a distance. Like I said before,there’s nothing worse than coming out from a shopping trip and realizing you’ve been door-dinged or bumped into. One thing I always look for when parking is how the cars on the left and right side of me parked. If they are extremely close to the white line or even over it,then I’d move on and find another location.

Some of you may be thinking, ‘I’m a safe driver so I don’t need to worry about these things’. My message to you? It’s not yourself you need to worry about. It’s the other drivers around you. You should always play defensive when driving around Dallas Ft. Worth in your new or used Chevrolet. Especially in parking lots.

[Source:Statefarm.com]

Thanks to Cassidy Schafer for contributing.

The Chevy Spark is the Perfect Car for Dallas Ft Worth Residents

Finally… it’s coming. The perfect vehicle for us young, city dwellers in Dallas and Ft. Worth – the Chevy Spark. Due to hit showrooms later this year, the Spark is hands down the ultimate city vehicle.

In a GM press release, Vice President of Chevrolet Global Marketing, Chris Perry, said “We listened to what young people said they wanted in a car. Our engineers tuned and equipped the Chevrolet Spark specifically for first-time buyers and city dwellers in North America. Spark is the perfect urban car because we’ve made it easy to drive, easy to park and easy to own.”

So what exactly have the brilliant minds at Chevrolet done to make the Spark the ultimate city vehicle for first-time buyers? I’m glad you asked.

Size. With a length of only 144 inches and 63 inches wide (37 inches shorter and 8 inches narrower than the Chevy Cruze), you’ll no longer have to pass by those tight parking spaces on city streets.

Connectivity. Spark owners can connect owners to their friends, music, videos and photos with a radio that features a seven-inch diagonal color touch screen equipped with the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment system, which provides users with access to Pandora and Stitcher, Bluetooth and navigation. MyLink also makes it possible to connect a smartphone or other USB device to play movies, display pictures and download contacts for hands-free calling, allowing for a full in-vehicle media experience.

A Sixth Sense. City driving can be hectic with a lot of sudden breaking. Not for the Spark, though. It has what we like to call a “sixth sense” named Panic Brake Assist that detects situations where emergency breaking is needed and automatically engages maximum braking force.

The Look.  The Spark will be sporting 15-inch wheels, making it the only vehicle in the segment to come standard with alloy wheels and increasing its performance and style street cred. Not to mention Chevrolet gave it a facelift with a deeper grille and restyled fog lamps for a sportier, more aggressive style.

I don’t know about you guys out there, but this sounds like the perfect little vehicle to me. In case I forgot to mention, the Chevrolet Spark is also packing extra horsepower under the hood with modifications to the engine displacement and enhancements to the ride and handling. Layman’s terms… more power and better handling at higher speeds.

Stay tuned to Classic Chevrolet for more updates, DFW. This is one new vehicle you won’t want to miss!

Thanks to Cassidy Schafer for contributing.

 

Chevy Fuel Economy Engineers Say Sweating the Small Stuff Could Save $100 a Month in Fuel Costs

© General Motors

In these times of extremely high gasoline prices, consumers and automakers are constantly looking for ways to improve their fuel economy. Earlier this month, Chevrolet released the results of a study they conducted which showed that sweating the small stuff could actually save Chevrolet drivers up to $100 a month in fuel costs.

Two of General Motors fuel economy engineers,  Ann Wenzlick and Beth Nunning,  drove identical Chevrolet Cruze LTs with an EPA estimated at 24 mpg city and 36 mpg highway, on a typical workday commute. They drove both cars for 20 minutes, including city and highway driving, as well as stopping for coffee.

The results?  Wenzlick averaged 37 miles per gallon using efficient driving habits in a properly maintained Cruze. Driving inefficiently and ignoring common maintenance, Nunning managed only 21 miles per gallon. The difference means Nunning would get 250 fewer miles per tank of gas, while Wenzlick would save $100 a month – or $1,200 a year – assuming 15,000 miles and $4 a gallon for gas:

Roger Clark, manager of the GM Energy Center, said “The fuel economy of every vehicle is greatly affected by how you drive, and how you care for your vehicle. Often, relatively small changes to your driving habits and vehicle maintenance can make the difference between being on the bottom, or the top, of the fuel-economy scale.”

Check out five of the things Ann Wenzlick did to drive more efficiently in her Cruze:

  1. Get out of the drive-through lane.
    “While Beth waited in the drive-thru with her car running, I shut off the engine and went inside for my morning coffee. Idling for 15 minutes burns through an average of a quarter of a gallon – adding another $1 to the cost of your latte.”
  2. Take it easy
    “In the city, I accelerated smoothly while Beth demonstrated one of the most common mistakes we see on the road: Jumping on the gas at every light, only to hit the brakes as she caught up with the traffic ahead. Such aggressive driving isn’t going to get you home any faster, while driving smoothly can improve your mileage by 20 percent.”
  3. Driving 70, not 80.
    “On the highway, I drove 70, compared to Beth’s 80. Again, a 10-mph difference likely won’t add much time to your daily commute, but it will save you up to four miles per gallon on the highway.”
  4. Use cruise control
    “I tried to maintain a constant speed during our drive, while Beth’s fluctuated with traffic. Try using cruise control when possible, and maintaining a constant speed over time, which is much more efficient than speeding up and slowing down over and over again.”
  5. Roll up the windows
    “One of the most common questions we get is ‘Is it better to drive with the A/C on, or off?’ At slower speeds, turning off the air conditioning can save you a little, but I always roll up the windows on the highway. Beth was driving with her windows down, and the increased air pressure acted like a parachute trying to slow her down – consuming much more energy than air conditioning ever will.”

I’m sure you’ve all heard some of these tips before, but now you have proof that it really does make a difference. Next time you head out in your new or used Chevrolet, remember these five things above.

Thanks to Cassidy Schafer for contributing.

[Source: Media.GM.com]

When Should Car Seats Be Retired?

There’s nothing more important than making sure our kiddos are properly tucked into our new or used Chevrolets. And as I’m sure most of you with children know, those kiddos are required by law to sit in car seats until they reach a certain age or height.

A friend of mine recently found out she was going to be a Mom for the first time, and told me she found a great car seat for practically nothing at a garage sale. I was a little iffy about her recent buy, so I asked to see the car seat for myself. Sure enough, it was expired. Needless to say, it wasn’t fun to tell her that her recent find needed to be retired.

Photo Courtesy of BabyCarSeat101.com

If you’re in the market for a used car seat, and you come across one you’re interested in, be sure to ask the following:

Has the expiration date passed? All seats have a date after which they can no longer be used. It is based on the expected life span of various components, and the structure of the seat itself. The expiration date also takes into account that newer seats will incorporate the latest safety technology and meet the most current standards. Most seats have a six-year service life. Check the labels on your seat or the owner’s manual to determine its age.

Has it been in a moderate-to-severe crash? Though most seats can be reused after a minor fender bender, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends replacing a seat if it has been involved in a collision that involved injuries, required the vehicle to be towed, deployed air bags, or damaged the seat or nearest door.

Is your child to big for it? This one may seem obvious, but it’s important to move up to the next size once your child has reached the weight or height limits of the seat.

Is it damaged? Check for cracks, loose parts, and worn straps and fasteners. If the seat is damaged, it may not offer as much protection in a crash.

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this is not the car seat for you. Remember, Dallas Ft Worth Chevy drivers, our children’s lives are at stake here. So be sure to do your research before using your next car seat.

[Source: Consumer Reports]

Thanks to Cassidy Schafer for contributing.

Spring Car Tips for Your New or Used Chevrolet: Tires

Well, it’s safe to say that we had a short winter here in the Dallas Ft Worth Metroplex. Now, while we’re in the midst of Spring, is a perfect time to do some maintenance on your new or used Chevrolet. Let’s start with the tires. Even though I know you all have been checking your tire pressure on a regular basis, it’s still important to inspect your tires and wheels after any season.

For starters, go ahead and check that tire pressure. Under-inflated tires can cause heat build-up and with the dreaded, steamy summer on the way, you’ll want to keep your tires properly inflated to be able to handle the inevitable heat.

If you haven’t already inspected your tires for wear and tear, reach in your pocket and perform the penny or quarter test. As you know, we’ve already had a lot of rain this season and I’m sure there’s more to come. With rain, comes hydroplaning. So make sure your tires have the tread to take on those flooded Dallas Ft Worth roads and highways.

According to ConsumerReports.org, if your tires have less than 4/32-inch of tread left, then it’s time to go shopping. You can easily check tread depth by inserting a quarter into a tire’s deepest grooves, head pointing down. If you can see the top of George Washington’s head, that means you have 1/8 of tread or less, and it’s time to start shopping for new rubber. If you’re not sure, or need any help at all, you can always head down to the Classic Chevrolet service department. They’ll be more than happy to help.

Brake-Throttle Override May Be the End to Runaway Cars

ConsumerReports.org

The other day, we talked about what do to in the case of unintended acceleration and how to safely bring your new or used car or truck to a stop. Since most people probably don’t know how to do this, the Federal regulators have proposed a mandate to require all cars and trucks to be equipped with brake-throttle override technology.

Though it sounds really complex, brake-throttle override is just an electronic system that works with modern electronic throttle controls to reduce engine power whenever the brake pedal is depressed. Luckily, GM has already been using this technology for years and it seems that the Government is starting to see the real benefits and think it’s time to put this technology in all vehicles.

According to ConsumerReports.org, the new proposal was issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), a branch of the Department of Transportation that monitors safety complaints.

“America’s drivers should feel confident that anytime they get behind the wheel they can easily maintain control of their vehicles—especially in the event of an emergency,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “By updating our safety standards, we’re helping give drivers peace of mind that their brakes will work, even if the gas pedal is stuck down while the driver is trying to brake.”

Of course, the public will have a chance to comment on the proposed regulation before it is published.

ConsumerReports.org says they are pleased that NHTSA took this step forward to make smart-throttle override technology mandatory in cars, as is everyone at Classic Chevrolet are.

“To us, one of the most important safety features is to ensure that a vehicle can stop within a reasonable and safe distance, especially in an emergency,” says Consumer Union’s Senior Director of Federal Policy Ellen Bloom. “This should help minimize the risks of accelerator pedal sticking or floor mat entrapment.” Consumers Union is the advocacy and public policy arm of Consumer Reports.

Amazing how much safer our new cars and trucks are becoming, isn’t it?

Know Where Your Tire-Changing Tools are Located on Your New or Pre-Owned Grapevine Chevrolet

classic chevrolet jack and lug wrench

Photo Courtesy of TiresOnSale.org

If I could pick one thing that I thought every car owner should know how to do, it’d be how to change a tire on their new or used vehicle in Dallas/Ft Worth, hands down. I know that some of you may be saying, ‘That’s what AAA is for’, but come on now. Knowing how to do this is not only extremely handy, but also something to boast about given the fact that most people (especially in my generation) couldn’t even tell you what lug nuts are! Let alone where they are.

One of my favorite things about Chevrolet car and trucks is that they have all the tools you’ll need to change a tire already on board the vehicle. Just by knowing where these tools are, puts you ahead of the game. Even if you don’t know exactly how to change you tire, hopefully you’ll at least be able to identify what is what and where your tools are. Oh! And let me also tell you that “Fix-A-Flat” is absolutely not acceptable! But that’s a whole different story…

Okay, back to the task at hand. If you don’t already know, almost all new Chevrolet models should have the materials you’ll need to change a tire somewhere in the vehicle. In fact, I recommend locating these tools the next time you head out in your Chevrolet. If you’re unable to find them, give Classic Chevrolet’s service department a call. They’ll be able to tell you where the tools should be. If for some reason you are missing anything, you can always pick up any one of these tools at your local hardware store or the Classic Chevrolet service parts department.

There are three things you need to always have on board when you head out in your Chevrolet car or truck: a jack, a lug wrench and a spare tire. Again, if you’re driving around Grapevine in a newer Chevy these three things should already be on board. Once you find them, you’re halfway there to being back on the road after a flat. If you yourself don’t know how to change a tire, odds are you know someone who does. And once they arrive to assist you, you can already have them set up and ready to go.

Thanks to Cassidy Schafer for contributing.

The Difference Between Horsepower and Torque

Chevrolet Dealer ArlingtonEven if you aren’t an automobile guru, you’ve probably heard the terms “torque” and “horsepower” before. You may even have some sort of idea of which numbers are considered to be high and low for each. The question is… do you understand what they are? If not, don’t worry. You’re not alone. The next time you hear someone talking about how much horsepower the 2012 Chevy Camaro ZL1 has, ask them to explain exactly what that means and you’ll probably have a 50/50 chance that they won’t know. And after reading this, you’ll even be able to call them out on it!

Horsepower is the amount of work done over a period of time, and torque on the other hand is a measure of force, rotational force, or how “hard” something twists. Think of it this way: horsepower is the actual speed potential of a vehicle and torque is how hard the car pushes you back into your seat when accelerating. Torque is also what allows a Chevrolet truck or car to tow.

Chevrolet Dealerships Dallas Ft Worth

Different cars will have different balances of horsepower and torque. I found a great example from MindOverMotor.com comparing a 2012 BMW M3 and a VW Diesel Touareg . The Touareg makes 240 horsepower and 406 ft/lbs of torque. This means that you’ll feel a really good push into your seat when you hit the gas, but when you look down you will be going 40mph instead of the 60mph you thought it’d be. On the other hand, the M3 has 414 horsepower and 295ft/lbs of torque. It won’t seem to pull that hard when you gas it, but when you look at the speedometer it will read 120mph when you thought you were at 90mph.

Now let’s look at the 2012 Camaro ZL1. This muscle machine makes 580 horsepower and 556lb-ft of torque. So when you gas it, you’ll definitely going to feel the “get up and go” and when you look down at your speedometer, you’ll probably be significantly speeding.

In conclusion, it’s torque that makes a car feel fun when you hit the gas, but it’s the horsepower that makes a car fast. So what type of balance are you looking for, DFW? I’m betting the 2012 Camaro ZL1 (available in Spring 2012) is ranking pretty high right now in your list of fun and fast cars to drive.

Chevrolet Texas dealershipThanks to Cassidy Schafer for contributing.