Should I have my car checked before a long trip?

Regular maintenance on your vehicle is always best, but for safety reasons and extra peace of mind, it's always a good idea to get your car a "check-up" before going on a road trip.  Have your mechanic check your car's fluid levels, including oil, coolant, brake fluid, washer fluid, etc.  Your mechanic can also listen to your motor, check the wear and air pressure of your tires, and test the charge on your battery.  Swing by Full Throttle Auto Sales before your next road trip and we'll help make sure your trip is smooth sailing.  

Tip: It's also a good idea to do your own check of your "emergency kit" before a trip.  Do you have jumper cables, a tool kit, water, spare tennis shoes?  It never hurts to be prepared for an emergency when you are away from home.  



Tips For Buying a Used Car - Part One

Part One: Finding a Reputable Dealer


Buying a used car can be confusing. There are so many variables to consider. How do you know you’re getting a good deal? Can you trust the dealership? What do you look for during a test drive? 

 
Full Throttle Auto Sales is going to walk you through how to get the best value for your money, and let you know what you should be looking for when buying a used vehicle.  


First, how do you know that you are buying from a reputable dealership? There are many platforms that can be checked to assure you’re buying from a great dealer you can trust. Do your research before purchasing your new used vehicle by checking user ratings and reviews. Places you can check online include Google, Yelp, Facebook, Cars.com, CarGurus, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Reading reviews can help you know what to expect when you visit a dealership. 

 
Full Throttle Auto Sales has over 100 five-star reviews and an A rating from the BBB because we care about our customers and want to make sure you have the best experience possible.




Tips For Buying a Used Car - Part Two

Part Two: Vehicle Maintenance


Once you’ve visited a dealership and found a used car you’re interested in purchasing, it’s important to know the history of the vehicle. A great way to do this is by checking the CARFAX report. CARFAX is an independent organization that tracks the reporting of vehicle histories, including information about accidents, recalls, service history, mileage, previous owners, and more. It is a very useful tool for learning about a used vehicle and how it’s been treated.   

 
Full Throttle Auto Sales is a CARFAX Advantage dealership. Why is this Important? As a CARFAX advantage dealer, every vehicle we offer comes with a CARFAX report. The CARFAX report is an important place to start with any used vehicle.   

 
Once you have determined that the vehicle has a clean CARFAX, you will next need to look at maintenance performed. Maintenance of your used vehicle is significant as anything that needs to be done can really add up, adding to the overall cost of your vehicle.  

 
Here at Full Throttle Auto Sales we bring all maintenance up to date if needed, including replacing spark plugs, changing the air filter, changing the oil and oil filter, and replacing brakes and tires. Along with bringing all maintenance up to date, we also repair anything we find when inspecting our vehicles. 

 
Unperformed maintenance can add hundreds to thousands of dollars in additional expenses, so always ask the dealer to show you what has been done and the current condition of components such as brakes and tires.   




Tips For Buying a Used Car - Part Three

Part Three: Warranty

Next
 you need to look at the warranty that is offered by the dealership.  Why is that important?  A warranty is going to give you the peace of mind that the vehicle you are purchasing has coverage that protects your vehicle in case of break downs. This is a big added value, but not all warranties are created equal. It is important to ask the dealer what is covered by the warranty and also how much is covered. 

At Full Throttle Auto Sales, most of our vehicles come with the manufacturer warranty still intact.  For those cars that aren't covered by the manufacturer warranty, we provide a three month/90-day warranty. 



Tips For Buying a Used Car - Part Four

Part Four: The Test Drive


Finally, you will want to take your potential new used car on a test drive. The test drive actually starts when you first see the car. Before entering the vehicle, have the salesperson pop the hood and start the car while you listen for any strange noises during start up: grinding, popping or rattling is not normal, so listen carefully. If the car starts and sounds good, put your hand on the top of the motor and feel that it is running smooth and not rough.  

 
If everything sounds, looks and feels good, then look around the engine compartment and underneath the motor for any signs of oil or fluid leaks. If the bottom of the motor is covered in oil this could lead to pricey repairs.   
If the engine is clean move on to the tires. Inspect them to make sure they have a safe amount of tread and no unusual wear patterns. The tires should be evenly worn from inside to outside.  

 
Once satisfied with the engine and tires, have the salesperson rev up the vehicle while you observe the quality of the exhaust. If, when revving, you notice some blue smoke, then the car is burning oil, which could lead to pricey repairs.  

 
If all has checked out, then you are ready for your test drive. First, start out slow: hit the brakes at slow speeds and listen for any abnormal noises such as clunking or knocking. Put the car in reverse and then back into drive looking for abnormal shifting or clunking of the transmission. Then, turn the vehicle all the way left and right will driving at slow speeds and continue to listen for noises. If all seems well and there are no lights present, such as ABS or Check Engine lights, you are ready for your road test.  

 
While driving, let go of the steering wheel and see how the car is tracking down the road. If it is pulling constantly to the left or right, the car is in need of an alignment. If you feel a vibration in the steering wheel that increases with speed, you might have a tire balance issue.  

 
Continue to listen for any abnormal noises while driving. Also, be aware of smells while driving. If you smell burning oil when driving or while the car is sitting at idle, this could be a sign of a valve cover leak or more.  


Also, be sure to ask lots of questions. At Full Throttle Auto Sales, we are here to help! And our maintenance and warranty packages will give you reassurance that you can trust your purchase.




Tips for Buying a Used Car - Part Five

Part Five: Getting a Good Deal


So how do you really know you are getting a good deal with your used car purchase? By putting together all the things we’ve previously discussed, you will be prepared and know you are getting a good value by shopping at a reputable dealership, checking to see that there is good history and maintenance on the vehicle, being comfortable with the warranty, asking lots of questions, and knowing what to look for during the test drive. One last step is to check the price of the vehicle against the Kelley Blue Book price (a reference that lists the typical value of used vehicles). 

 
At Full Throttle Auto Sales, you can shop with confidence and peace of mind knowing that our vehicles are properly inspected, well maintained and priced great! Our maintenance and warranty packages will give you reassurance that you can trust your purchase. We are here for you with great service and answers to your questions! Come to Full Throttle Auto Sales, your destination for a five-star experience and the best value when buying your next used car.




My car suddenly won’t start. What’s wrong?

If your car won’t start, there are three things that could typically be wrong: the battery, the alternator or the starter.  

 

The battery provides power to your car’s starter and electrical systems.  It is charged by the alternator while the car drives.  The battery can lose charge, and parts of the battery can start to corrode over time. 

Indicators that your battery may be bad:  If the car makes a low whining sound when you try to start it, and it fires up with a jump start and continues to run. 


If you think your battery may be dead, jump start your car and take it to your mechanic.  Your mechanic can run a test to determine if your battery has enough charge, or needs to be replaced. 


The alternator is responsible for keeping your car’s battery charged and run electrical systems while the car is operating.   A belt going from the engine to the alternator turns it as the engine runs.  The parts in an alternator can wear out, or an electrical short can cause damage.   

Indicators that your alternator may be bad: lights flicker, display lights on dash act strangely, you smell a burning smell, or the engine dies after a jump start. 


A mechanic can check your alternator and determine if it needs to be replaced.   


The starter initiates rotation that causes your car’s engine to start-up.  Wear down or an electrical short can cause issues with the starter.   


Indicators that your starter may be bad:  you hear a clicking sound when you try to start the engine, the dash lights are on but the car won’t start, and a jump start does nothing. 


Your mechanic can run a test to determine if your battery has enough charge for continued use or needs replaced, and they can also check your alternator and starter to determine if they need to be replaced.  Your mechanic can also do a battery check even when you aren’t experiencing issues as a part of regular maintenance.   


Full Throttle Auto Sales has a full-time mechanic, so come by if you have questions or want to get your battery checked!