Winter Tires vs. All-Season Tires

By Bimmy Payne | Posted in Tires on Wednesday, September 19th, 2018 at 6:08 PM

As the season’s change, so should your car! Preparing your car to work in winter weather is essential to your safety. As the rain, sleet, and snow start coming, it’s important to keep your tires in tip-top shape. Winter tires and all-season tires are both viable options when preparing your vehicle for the colder weather. But what’s the difference between the two? In this article, we’ll outline both winter and all-season tires and which would be better for you.

Winter Tires

Winter tires are specially formulated to work in harsh winter conditions. This means that winter tires excel at navigating through snow, sleet, and other freezing temperatures. As the temperature drops, the weather affects the tread on rubber tires, making them less pliable and more susceptible to skidding. Around 45°F (7°C), the rubber on regular tires becomes less effective. Winter tires are made of a more flexible rubber that doesn’t get affected by the cold temperatures, making them perfect for traveling through snow. Winter tires also have a deeper tread depth and biting edges, making it easier to avoid snow buildup and easier to drive on ice.

All-Season Tires

Most vehicles are outfitted with all-season tires when they leave the factory. All-season tires are formatted to work in a variety of weather elements, such as rain, heat, and snow. Although this is a blanket remedy, meaning that all-season tires do not excel in harsher elements. This means that all-season tires work best in mild-weather conditions, such as rain and light snow. All-season tires offer a moderate tread depth, a longer tread life, and performs well in wet and dry conditions.

So, Which is Best?

It really depends on what weather you encounter the most of! If you live in an area that sees extreme winters that carry a lot of snow, winter tires are best for you. If you live in an area that has mild winter conditions, then all-season tires would work best for you.

If you’d like to schedule a service appointment to get new tires for your vehicle, please visit our website!

Fluid Color: What Means What?

By Bimmy Payne | Posted in Vehicle Repair on Wednesday, September 19th, 2018 at 12:30 AM

Vehicles take many fluids for them to function in tip-top shape. From brake fluid to transmission fluid, each has a distinct color you should watch out for if you ever see a puddle of fluid underneath your car. In this article, we will discuss the three major fluids you should look out for if you see them underneath your car, and what color they are so you can identify it.

Green

Green fluid leaking almost always means antifreeze. Antifreeze leaks are one of the most common leaks when it comes to vehicles. Usually, the leak has come from a hose or clamp not attached properly. Antifreeze, or coolant, regulates the temperature in the engine, keeping it from overheating. If you see green liquid beneath your car, take your car to a mechanic to check for an antifreeze leak.

Red

Red fluid leaking from your car means you have transmission problems. The transmission fluid is typically a red color, light red when new and dark red to dark brown when older. Transmission fluid helps to lubricate the gears that the transmission is switching automatically when you drive an automatic vehicle.

Dark Brown

Dark brown fluid can be one of the most troubling things you can find leaking from your vehicle. Seeing a pool of dark brown liquid beneath your vehicle can be diagnosed as leaking motor oil. When motor oil is aged, it can become a thick, dark brown or black liquid. Diagnosing a motor oil leak can come from a variety of places such as an overworn gasket, a corroded oil coolant line or a few other places a mechanic can quickly discover. If you noticed an overabundance of this fluid seeping out of your vehicle, get it to a mechanic immediately. An unchecked motor oil leak can cause catastrophic damage to your vehicle’s engine!

Keep an Eye Out!

It’s important to keep an eye out and always glance under your car for any pooled liquids. If you notice your car is leaking one of these important liquids, schedule an appointment with our service techs online at any of our locations.

Please visit our website and hover over our Service and Parts tab for a list of locations where you can get your car serviced today!

 

5 Vehicle Repairs You Should Never Do at Home

By Bimmy Payne | Posted in Vehicle Repair on Monday, September 17th, 2018 at 8:50 PM

Maintaining your vehicle can be as easy as keeping the interior clean too as difficult as transmission repairs. Though there are some maintenance repairs you can do yourself, like changing the oil, there are some repairs you should never do yourself. In this article, we will outline five vehicle repairs you should never do at home.

Windshield Replacement

Driving with a damaged windshield can pose many problems. Not only is it dangerous to you, but also to your passengers, as the glass is now fragile and more prone to shattering. Replacing your vehicle’s windshield on your own is a bad idea for multiple reasons. You may order the wrong size glass, or be taking a gamble on a windshield that may not be totally safe. It takes professional tools to install a windshield correctly, tools a layperson may not have access to or know how to use. Lastly, the supplies you will need to replace your own windshield can cost the same or more as getting it professionally done.

Fuel Pump

There are several signs you may need to get your fuel pump replaced. Some of these signs consist of your engine sputtering, the temperature of your car rising, or your engine refusing to start. The fuel pump transfers fuel from the tank to the engine. Replacing the fuel pump on your own can be risky if you don’t attach the hoses correctly. Not attaching the hoses correctly can cause catastrophic damage to the engine which can require being outfitted with a new engine altogether.

Transmission

The transmission is one of the most important functioning parts of your vehicle. The transmission diverts power to the driveshaft and rear wheels. Symptoms your transmission has failed are whining and clunking noises, lack of response, a burning smell, or leaking fluid. The transmission contains many, many complex parts. Without the transmission, your car wouldn’t be able to move forward or reverse. You should never attempt to repair your transmission yourself. This complicated procedure should only be done by professionals, or risk completely ruining your car.

Air Conditioner Repairs

Although some air conditioner repairs are relatively easy to DIY, if you are not car-repair-savvy, you’re better off taking your vehicle to a professional. Refrigerant needed for your AC is toxic when inhaled or ingested, so if you are not familiar with handling this liquid, you should let a professional take over. Adding refrigerant may not be the end-all fix. Your AC may have a more serious problem that requires some time and effort to fix. If you don’t know what you’re doing, it’s best to leave it to a professional.

Drivability Problems and Error Codes

When it comes to drivability problems and error codes, it could be anything from an actual drivability error or an error with the program. Either way, when you have these error codes it’s best to have a mechanic look over your vehicle to diagnose the problems.

Conclusion

Maintaining your vehicle is a daily task. Preventative care will help keep you from having to deal with massive fixes in the future. While there is a lot of car maintenance that doesn’t require a mechanic, major parts of your vehicle, like the transmission, need a professional to look at it.

If your car needs maintenance, Payne Auto Group has service centers across our dealerships. Please visit our website for more info and locations of our service centers!

The Perfect Tailgating Kit for Your Car

By Bimmy Payne | Posted in Community on Wednesday, September 12th, 2018 at 8:55 PM

It’s that time of year again where the weather becomes crisper and football Friday’s get everyone excited! One good thing about football games is the tailgating parties fans have before them!

Being the life of the tailgate party isn’t something that ends with college! In this article, we’ll outline the perfect tailgating kit for your car!

Coolers

Yes, you read that right, coolers as in multiple coolers! One for food and one for drinks! If you’re thinking of grilling as you tailgate, you need a safe and cool place to hold your meat! You also can use the “food cooler” as a transport for leftovers (assuming there are any!)

Portable Grill

You have your drinks and your food prepared, so what’s next? Time to fire up the grill and throw on some delicious BBQ! If you want something low maintenance, consider using a small gas or charcoal grill. If you decide to bring a charcoal grill, don’t forget to make sure you bring extra charcoal, lighter fluid, and a fire extinguisher just in case things get out of hand!

Kitchenware & Utensils

This may be self-explanatory, but don’t forget disposable plates and utensils, napkins, and trash bags to clean up everything. If you plan on grilling, don’t forget BBQ utensils such as tongs, grill brush, and a spatula. Also bring aluminum foil, as to help keep pesky flies off your food and to help keep your food warm.

Folding Chairs, Tables & Tents

Stay out of the sun and elements with a tent large enough to house you, your friends! If you’re planning on eating, you should bring a foldable table to place the food on and eat off of. Don’t forget the foldable chairs too!

Games & Entertainment

Pregaming before the game is crucial! Whether it be with easy carnival games like bean bag toss or ring toss, you should definitely be prepared to entertain your guests!

Stay Safe and Have Fun!

 

Safe Driving: How to Navigate the Road in the Rain

By Bimmy Payne | Posted in Car Information on Tuesday, September 11th, 2018 at 8:37 PM

As summer turns into fall, we can expect to see a lot of weather changes. Throughout these weather changes, we can look forward to rain and shorter days.

If you have ever experienced driving in the rain, you know how scary it can get when visibility is low and you happen to be on the expressway! In this article, we will outline a few tips on what to do the next time you’re stuck in inclement weather!

Light to Moderate Rain

This is the kind of rain that some drivers don’t take seriously! It can be a light and quick sun shower to a consistent stream of rain. Here are tips on how to navigate this kind of weather:

  • Use your windshield wipers. Don’t feel embarrassed to turn on your wipers in a light shower or even have your wipers going fast. Having your visibility as high as you can get it is crucial in all weather, especially rain.
  • Wear sunglasses. The glare of the road after a daytime sun shower can impair your visibility. Pop on some sunglasses to cancel out the glare!
  • Avoid using cruise control. This feature is great in dry conditions, but the chances of you losing control of your car are higher in inclement weather.

Heavy Rain

  • Turn on your headlights and/or your hazard lights (only if needed). In heavy rain, visibility is usually very poor. Turning on your lights and perhaps you hazard lights lets other cars around you know you’re there.
  • Keep a firm grip on your steering wheel. In doing this action, you are braced for heavy winds and other hazards that may come with the heavy rain.
  • Slow down! Nobody wants to be caught in the rain, but that’s no reason to be rushing to your destination! SLOW DOWN and leave adequate room between you and the car in front of you.

Emergency Situations

There are some situations that come inevitably when driving in the rain. Here are some tips for various situations that may happen to you while driving in rain.

What To Do if You’re Stuck on the Side of the Road

  • If your call happens to stall during a storm, or you notice your car not functioning properly, pull over to the side of the road. Call an emergency number or a professional to retrieve you and your car. It is best to wait for a professional to arrive before attempting to open the hood of your car, as the car’s electrical system may get compromised due to the rain.

Stuck in Mud

  • Avoid wheel spin. If you notice you’re stuck in the mud, excess tire spin can potentially dig you deeper.
  • Try to create traction. You can try to create traction under you wheel by using your floor mat. Place the tip of the mat(s) in front of or behind (depending on the direction you want to go) the tire(s) that are the most stuck. Then use them as traction to try and get out of the mud.
  • Call for help. If all else fails, call a buddy or a tow truck to help pull your vehicle out of the mud.

Flood Water & Standing Water

  • In Texas there is a campaign called Turn Around, Don’t Drown. This forbids people to drive through flood water as it is a huge safety risk. Driving through flood water can not only ruin your engine, but the potential to be swept away is very high. DO NOT drive through flood water!
  • Standing water also poses risks. Before passing through standing water, make sure it is safe from debris and isn’t deep enough to ruin your car. Drive through the water slowly as to not hydroplane. Once you exited the area of standing water, continue to drive slow as now your tires are wet and still pose a risk for hydroplaning.

Hydroplaning & Skidding

  • The most important thing to do when you hydroplane is to not panic. DO NOT accelerate or press the brakes at all, instead ease your foot off the gas and let your car naturally slow down if you are driving. If you are braking ease your foot off the break and let the car go until the skid is over.
  • Steer in the direction you want to do. As we said in the previous point, ease off the brake or gas when hydroplaning. After doing this, veer your car in a direction you want to do, whether it be the shoulder or middle turning lane where you are safe from other cars. Do not make any sharp turns.
  • Finally, wait until the skid is over to press the brakes. Hydroplaning usually doesn’t last long if you do not panic, your tires will gain traction again if you follow these steps.

Stay Safe!

Always keep a packed emergency bag in your car for situations that may call for it. Please read our blog on Hurricane Preparedness: How to Stay Safe in the Event of a Storm for information on how to get you and your car ready for a hurricane. And as always, stay safe out on the road!

 

IRS Section 179: What You Need to Know

By Bimmy Payne | Posted in Community on Friday, August 17th, 2018 at 4:02 PM

Who doesn’t like to get extra money back on their taxes? Especially if you run your own business, that extra money can go a long way! Learn about Section 179?

Did you know if you’re a self-employed businessman you can qualify for the Section 179 Tax Deduction? Sounds complicated? It’s not!

Section 179 of the IRS Tax Code essentially lets businesses “deduct the full purchase price of qualifying equipment and/or software purchased of financed during the tax year.” [X] So what does that mean? It means that if you purchase or finance a piece of qualifying equipment, like a vehicle, Section 179 allows businesses to deduct the full purchase price!

Several years ago businesses had to deduct the price of qualifying equipment over several years through depreciation. And while Section 179 lets business owners deduct the entire price of qualifying equipment at once, it does have limits to how much a business can claim.

There are caps a business can claim through Section 179. According to the official IRS website, “The maximum amount you can elect to deduct for most section 179 property you placed in service in tax years beginning in 2017 is $510,000 ($545,000 for qualified enterprise zone property). This limit is reduced by the amount by which the cost of section 179 property placed in service during the tax year exceeds $2,030,000.”

So, who exactly qualifies for Section 179? While big businesses can take advantage of Section 179, small and medium-sized businesses can really benefit the most. According to the Section 179 website, “all businesses that purchase, finance, and/or lease new or used business equipment during tax year 2018 should qualify for the Section 179 Deduction (assuming they spend less that $3,500,000).”

For a list of qualifying property that Section 179 covers, please visit the Section 179 website.

If you’d like to speak to someone to find out more about how your business can qualify, please visit the Payne Auto Group website.

The All New, Redesigned 2019 Volkswagen Jetta

By Bimmy Payne | Posted in Car Information on Wednesday, August 15th, 2018 at 9:00 PM

When it comes to redesign, some auto manufacturers choose between focusing on precision and safety, or comfort and class. Volkswagen decided to not make any compromises in precision or class with the new 2019 Jetta.

This all new and redesigned vehicle boasts 5 trims, each with their own special features: the S, SE, R-Line, SEL, and the SEL Premium. When choosing a trim, one must consider what is best for themselves. With regard to the Jetta R-Line trim, which is a unique appearance package, the main differences in trim is that the features build up from the trim before. That being said, let’s explore the highlights from these 5 distinct 2019 Volkswagen Jetta trims.

The Standard 6-speed Jetta S hosts key features such as a rear view camera, Apple Carplay™ and Android Auto™, a 6.5-inch touchscreen interface that includes Bluetooth® connectivity, LED exterior lighting, automatic headlights and much more.

The Standard 8-speed Jetta SE’s highlights include Front Assist, Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert, forward collision warning, a panoramic sunroof, heated side mirrors, keyless action and push-button start, leather seats and much more.

This brings us up to the 2019 Jetta R-Line. As stated before, this trim has a unique appearance package. These key features include, R-Line badging, black grille accents, side mirrors and rear sport valance, 17-inch Trenton alloy wheels, two-tone seat design and XDS Cross Differential System.

The 2019 Jetta SEL’s key features include Adaptive Cruise Control, High Beam Control, the active Lane Keeping System, a BeatsAudio® system with eight speakers as well as a subwoofer, an auto-dimming rearview mirror.

And finally we come to the 2019 Jetta SEL Premium. These key features build up upon the SEL model, and include remote start, an 8-inch infotainment system equipped with navigation software, side mirrors with integrated turn signals.

While there are differences in all of the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta’s, every model has a turbocharged 1.4 liter engine that boasts 147 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. All models are fuel efficient with EPA estimates at 30-city mpg, 40-highway mpg and a 34-combined mpg.

If you’re interested in test driving a new 2019 Volkswagen Jetta, you can stop by our Volkswagen dealerships: Payne Mission and Payne Brownsville.

For more information about Payne Auto Group follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for future events and offers!

 

Community Info: Look Before You Lock

By Bimmy Payne | Posted in Community on Tuesday, August 14th, 2018 at 8:48 PM

We Texans are no stranger to the summer heat. With temperatures reaching as high as 110 degrees Fahrenheit, you’ll find people racing from the sun and into the cool, crisp air of the great indoors.

Unfortunately, Texas ranks as the number one state in the United States for child-in-vehicle heat related deaths. According to Lorrie Walker, technical adviser and training manager at Safe Kids Worldwide, a children’s safety advocacy group, “a child’s body heats up three to five times faster than an adult’s body. The reflecting of the sunlight in on the glass, it’s like an oven. Cracking a window does not help.” [X]

On a hot day and after just ten minutes, the interior car temperature will usually be 19 degrees hotter than the outside temperature. After half an hour, the inside of your car will be 34 degrees hotter than the outside. By that hypothesis, in 95-degree weather the interior of your car will be 129 degrees in just half an hour and in 100 degrees, it can reach 134 inside your car. [X]

According to No Heat Strokeit is reported that Texas has had 114 pediatric vehicular heatstroke deaths from 1998-2017. Texas outranks every other state in this category on the list. 

It is so important to Look Before You Lock. Payne Auto Group wants everyone to stay responsible during these high temperature months. Always make sure you check the backseat for your pets or children before you leave your vehicle. Don’t let your child or pet become another statistic! Heat related deaths are preventable! Look Before You Lock!

For more information about Look Before You Lock, please visit this website.

For future events and offers, please follow Payne Auto Group on Facebook and Instagram!

Car Care 101: How to Protect Your Car from Extreme Heat

By Bimmy Payne | Posted in Vehicle Repair on Wednesday, July 25th, 2018 at 6:58 PM

Summer months can be brutal. Temperatures can reach far over 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and while you may be able to escape the heat your car can’t! Today we will be talking about three important tips for protecting your car from extreme heat.

Replace Fluids Regularly

One of the most common things that happens to vehicles in the summer is overheating. Not only can it be a pain, but now you may be stuck on the side of the hot road with a hot car! One thing you must always be weary of is fluids. Fluids may evaporate quicker or be used up faster due to the high heat index. Some of the fluids you may consider are coolant, power steering, brake, and even windshield washer to keep your visibility high. If you want more information on coolant and what it’s used for, check out our blog post Car Care 101: What is Coolant and Why Do I Need it!

Maintain Your Air Conditioning

When you’re running errands during the summer, it can be a hassle if your car doesn’t have A/C. If you find your car is having A/C trouble follow these steps:

  • Check your refrigerant levels. Refrigerant is what your car uses to turn hot air into cold air. Refrigerant can also be referred to as Freon R-12, R-134a, and HFO-1234yf. You should recharge your cooling system every two years with gas and lubricant.
  • Check cabin filters and replace them regularly every two years
  • Get your A/C professionally serviced at any maintenance shop

Please read our blog post Beat the Heat: Prepare Your A/C for a Scorcher! for more information on how to care for your A/C

Test Your Car Battery

According to AAA, “summer heat accelerates the rate of fluid loss and resulting oxidation of battery components.” [X] Heat is the number one cause of loss of battery life and battery failure. Car batteries typically last about four years in most conditions. Here are a few tips you can use to help keep your car battery in shape for the summer:

  • Turn off stereo and unplug external devices when your car is parked to save from unnecessary battery drainage.
  • When possible park in shaded areas. Your car battery typically performs better at temperatures of 80 degrees Fahrenheit and 27 degrees Celsius. Extreme heat can damage the chemical activity within the battery and cause internal corrosion.
  • Be aware of any strange smells. A failing car battery may smell like rotten eggs.
  • Test your car battery voltage at least twice a year. A good voltage should read at 12.6 volts or above.

For more tips on how to care for your battery please read Car Care 101: Signs Your Car Battery is in Danger  for maintenance tips.

Conclusion

Summer can be a fun time for you and your family! Especially when road trips are involved! To keep up the fun and minimize the headaches, please keep in mind these basic car maintenance steps! And please check out our other blog posts regarding car service, like Car Care 101: Withstanding the South Texas Heat

Car Care 101: What is a Catalytic Converter?

By Bimmy Payne | Posted in Car Information on Sunday, October 15th, 2017 at 6:27 PM
catalytic converter

A “catalytic converter” might sound like some kind of space gadget, but it’s actually an important part of your vehicle. It’s also one that you don’t want to neglect over the course of your car’s lifespan.

What does it do?

Your car’s catalytic converter reduces vehicle emissions, converting them into non-harmful gasses. A faulty catalytic converter is an issue for several reasons. For one, you won’t pass your vehicle inspection. Secondly, it can most certainly impact the way you drive. Here are some ways your car will alert you that there’s an issue with your catalytic converter, which will help you get the issue fixed before it turns into a bigger one.

Reduced Engine Performance

A telltale sign of a damaged catalytic converter is reduced engine performance. Built into your car’s exhaust system, your catalytic converter will certainly display some signs of trouble while driving. These can manifest in things like restricted exhaust flow, or perhaps a leak. These can all impact acceleration, power and even your car’s fuel economy, which are all reasons why you should seek a fix immediately.

Rattling Noise

There are few things more alarming than an odd sound while driving. A rattling noise can certainly signify a damaged converter. You may notice it once you start the vehicle, and it will worsen over time if you ignore it. Head to your mechanic if you hear this dreaded rattling sound.

Check Engine Light

Another dead giveaway of a bum converter? Your trusty check engine light! There’s a reason why cars come with these things these days. Your vehicle’s computer may detect that the converter isn’t operating property, setting off that little light on your dashboard. Get it checked as soon as possible to avoid a bigger problem down the road. You certainly don’t want to gamble on a catalytic converter issue.

Not quite sure how to tackle your car issue? We can help! Our Ed Payne service department can handle any car issue you’ve got, including that of the catalytic converter. Our skilled team or professionals is highly knowledgeable in maintenance, and our latest range of new and used cars. Call to schedule an appointment, or visit one our valleywide dealerships to view our latest models.