Car Care 101: What is a Catalytic Converter?

By sarah | 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.

Auto Finance 101: Which Down Payment is Right for You?

By sarah | Posted in Finance on Monday, October 9th, 2017 at 7:06 PM
down payment

You’ve chosen the perfect vehicle, and now all that’s standing in the way is the small matter of payment. If you’re financing a new or used vehicle, the issue of down payments will arise. But just like many aspects of selecting a vehicle, down payments can be complex! Is a down payment necessary? How much will it be? And how is this amount calculated? Here are a few things you should know about down payments before you drive off in your new or used car or truck.

While it was once true that the typical down payment for a new vehicle hovered somewhere around 20%, that is simply not the case now. Many factors will determine which is the right down payment for you and the vehicle you’ve got your eye on. These days, many drivers are putting forth no more than a 10% down payment to purchase their dream car, while others offer a down payment of somewhere in the middle. You’ll need to ask yourself several questions before finding the magic number.

What down payment can you afford?

A down payment of 20% may be impossible with your current income. That’s OK. Dealerships offer a wide range of finance options to make sure you don’t sign up for more than you can handle. Payne is one of them! Contact our finance department for more info.

Will you purchase GAP Insurance?

If you’ll be purchasing GAP insurance for your new vehicle, you can probably get away with a down payment of about 10%. This is because GAP insurance will cover the cost of your vehicle should it be totaled. Car insurance is a whole other ball game, so you’ll want to consult closely with your dealership’s finance department about this issue.

What is Zero Down?

Got good credit? You may be in for a pleasant surprise with zero down. This means that you’re not obligated to give a down payment. A couple of drawbacks to this include higher monthly payments and probably, higher finance charges. You won’t have to save up for months, though, meaning you’ll get your new car sooner than expected. If you do go down the Zero Down route, consider GAP insurance to cover the difference. This is a great option for first time buyers!


Ready to take a new vehicle for a spin? Visit your local Ed Payne auto dealership to view our wide selection of new and used models! Or if you need service on your current vehicle, call us to schedule an appointment!

Car Care 101: Ding and Dent Removal Tips

By sarah | Posted in Car Information on Saturday, October 7th, 2017 at 5:14 PM
dent removal

When it comes to your car, dents and dings are bound to happen. It’s all part of life, even more so when you’re a frequent driver always on the go! But these dents and dings don’t have to ruin your day, annoying as they may be. There are a few simple, affordable ways to rid your car’s exterior of these tiny little bummers. Follow these steps for a DIY solution to get rid of those imperfections in no time. Learning these handy little tricks will ensure you don’t let a little ding get in the way of smooth ride.

DIY Dent Removal

Step 1: Evaluate the Damage

Most dings and dents can be fixed easy, with little hassle, but there are those that require more extensive intervention. If paint is missing, or the metal happens to be creased or crumpled, you may have to take your vehicle to the dealerships to let the pros handle the rest.

Step 2: Thoroughly Wash and Dry the Area.

This will help clear off any particles before you begin the suction method. You want to make sure you’re working on a clean, clear surface.

Step 3: Use a Suction Cup

This can be highly effective in snapping dents back into place. A dent puller is great for removing shallow dents. Simply push the suction cup into the middle of the dent, taking care to get good suction. Next, push the handles together to lock the dent puller. Then pull the dent out, using a firm and steady pull.

Step 4: Hammer Time

You can also hammer dents out, another common method. A rubber mallet and an old towel are all you need to do this. Wrap the mallet in the towel, then slowly work to tap the ding into place. Hammer the dent from the inside of the metal.

Having some issues with dent removal? No problem. Payne Auto Group can help! Visit our service department for body work. Or browse our selection of new and used inventory from brands like Ford, GMC and Chevy. Here, you’re sure to find just what you’re looking for.

Winter Tires vs. All Season Tires: Which is Best for You?

By sarah | Posted in Tires on Friday, October 6th, 2017 at 8:51 PM
winter tires

Many vehicles come outfitted with all-season tires upon purchase. There are lots of reasons for their popularity. Some include their good tread life, sufficient fuel economy and overall smooth, quiet ride. They’re great for everyday performance, and these tires are built to drive under a number of conditions. Light snow and rainy, wet roads, are no match for all season tires.

All season tires are a great option for navigating South Texas, but there are big benefits to winter tires. Winter tires are designed differently to operate smoothly under harsh weather conditions.

Here are some benefits:

Tread Rubber

In winter tires, the tread rubber compounds are designed more flexible. This means they grip the road better than your typical all season tire. During very cold temperatures, the tread rubber on all season tires actually stiffens. It renders them less effective at providing good traction.

Tread Depth

Deeper tread depths on winter tires reduces snow buildup, which offers better traction while driving over snow. What’s more, the tread patterns on winter tires are designed to channel slush and expel water.

Biting Edges

Winter tires have a larger number of high sipe densities and biting edges. This helps them stick to the road during harsh conditions. In fact, they contain thousands of little slits to provide traction on ice.

The better tire will depend largely on your typical driving conditions. All season tires may be just perfect for South Texans. But the power of winter tires during bad weather shouldn’t be ignored.

Need help with your tires? Not to worry, Payne is here to help! Our South Texas new and used car dealerships have everything you need to navigate these streets in style. Stop by and visit us, or contact our Service Department for maintenance. With Payne, you’re sure to find just what you’re looking for.

Auto Repair Safety Tips: Avoid These Mistakes!

By sarah | Posted in Car Information on Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017 at 9:24 PM
auto repair safety

Whether you’re a skilled mechanic or not, there may come a time where you’ll need to get your hands dirty with your vehicle. From filling your tires with air, to performing a routine oil change, you may find you’ve got more in common with a mechanic than you think! While there are certainly some areas of car repair you can handle yourself, that doesn’t mean you get to throw the rule book to the wayside. Safety should always comes first, and in the realm of auto repair, there are definitely things you can do for safety. Follow these timeless safety tips the next time you take a wrench to your vehicle.

Auto Repair Safety Tips

  • Select a well-ventilated area for your work to avoid the fumes, such as driveway, backyard or parking lot.
  • Avoid smoking during your auto repair work, AT ALL COSTS.
  • Only work on your vehicle if its parking brake is on and the engine is turned off.

  • Make sure the parts you are working on are not hot before you touch them.
  • Only work on your vehicle if the wheels are properly blocked when it is jacked.

  • Give yourself enough room, to where a wrench or ratchet coming loose won’t end in a bruised or broken hand. Pull, rather than push on wrenches to avoid injury.

  • Remove any rings, ties, long necklaces or other jewelry before working on your car.

  • Keep toxic chemicals like coolant away from the mouth and eyes, then wash hands thoroughly afterwards.

  • Use gasoline with caution. It is toxic and highly flammable, so only keep it around if it is absolutely necessary to the task at hand.

  • Keep a fire extinguisher nearby in the event of an accident.

Not quite sure how to tackle your project? Leave it to the pros! Our Payne Service Department is equipped to handle whatever your car throws our way. Contact our South Texas dealerships to schedule a maintenance appointment for your vehicle today.

Is Your Car Overheating? Here’s What To Do!

By sarah | Posted in Car Information on Monday, October 2nd, 2017 at 9:08 PM
car overheating
If your car has ever overheated, you’re aware of how frightening it can be. Smoke seeping out from under your engine is always a reason to be concerned, and an overheated engine can be the first sign of an underlying problem. Unfortunately, overheated vehicles are a common occurrence in South Texas, given the year-round scorching temperatures. Is your car overheating? , here are a few things you can do to lessen the damage and get your car running like new again.

How to Fight Your Car Overheating

If you notice your vehicle may be overheating, it’s important to turn off your A/C and immediately open your windows. This will minimize the load on your engine and allow it to cool down. If doing this still does not prevent overheating, turn on your car’s heater and blower, which transfers heat away from your engine.
If you find your temperature gauge rising while you’re stopped in traffic, try shifting gears into Neutral or Park, then rev up the engine a bit. This will speed up the water pump and fan, which will bring more air and liquid through your radiator. This should help to cool things down a bit.
It may be tempting to ride your brakes during stop-and-go traffic, but this can increase the load on your engine. Instead, just crawl along slowly, if possible.
If you feel like your car may be headed for an overheat, it’s time to pull off to the side. Once you’ve parked in a safe place, open up the hood and let it cool off. Do NOT open the radiator cap and add water until the vehicle has completely cooled down.
An overheated vehicle is not fun, but it doesn’t have to be a disaster. Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way in no time.
Need a little help with your vehicle? Our Service Department can help! Contact one of our South Texas dealerships to speak to someone who can help you with the service you need.


Safe Driving: Say No to Hydroplaning

By sarah | Posted in Car Information on Sunday, October 1st, 2017 at 5:08 PM

If you’ve ever been caught driving in the middle of a rainstorm, you may know the sudden terror that comes with hydroplaning. With the South Texas weather as unpredictable as it is, you can never be too cautious when it comes to safe driving, especially during heavy rain. And while you may think you’re taking every step possible to drive safely, accidents still happen. You can minimize the chances of hydroplaning, however. Here are a few steps you can take to make sure your car’s tires remain firmly on the ground next time those thunder clouds roll in:

Slow and steady…

Driving too fast can be dangerous – rain or not. You don’t even need to be driving more than 40 miles per hour to put yourself at risk. Anything above 35 miles per hour on a wet road is part of a recipe for disaster. Slow and steady wins the race when it comes to wet or even damp roads. Take your time when it’s driving. Other drivers on the road will thank you, so they can do the same.

Wiggle room

You’ll need to be extra careful when the rain is pouring, meaning that three or four-second gap goes straight out the window. Leave some additional room between you and the car in front of you, allowing more time to stop in case you hit a puddle, or the road gets particularly slippery. You should also try to drive on the tracks set by the car in front of you. This cuts down on some of the slippery sludge found on roadways, making it easier for your tires to remain firmly on the road.

Take care of your tires

Worn tires plus rain can equal a deadly accident! You never want to take a chance when it comes to your tires. Checking your tires more frequently during rainy months will ensure a good line of defense against hydroplaning, especially during that rainy South Texas weather. Make sure they are properly inflated and rotated, and the tread depth is enough to keep you safe. This will all help to curb instances of an accident as the rain pours down, and with fall finally here, it may be a rainy season indeed.
Looking for more car care tips? We’ve got ’em, plus so much more! Visit our website to view our latest inventory, or stop by one of our Valleywide Ed Payne auto dealerships for more information on how to lease or purchase a new or used vehicle. We’ve got a wide selection of stunning models from brands like Ford, GMC, Chevrolet, Fiat and more.

New Truck? Listen Up!

By sarah | Posted in Trucks on Saturday, September 30th, 2017 at 5:37 PM
new truck

You can’t deny the power of a good truck. This is South Texas, after all! And whether your truck is for work or for play, you’ll want to get it right the first time. Before you hit the dealership in search of the truck of your dreams, there are a few things to sort out. First and foremost, what exactly are you looking for? What you’ll be using your truck for will play a large role in which truck is best for you.

Engine Size

How much power do you need? Size and fuel economy both play a role in what kind of engine will suffice. If you’ll be using your truck to haul heavy loads, opt for a powerful V8 engine. If easy driving in a compact truck is what you’re looking for, a V4 engine may do just fine.

Safety Features

As with any vehicle, safety features are important. Some of today’s trucks come with more than ever before. From blind spot warning systems, to automatic braking and lane departure warnings, good driving and high-tech safety are your best lines of defense against an accident.

Cab and Bed Size

What are your plans for your new truck? Evaluating cab and bed size are important for planning ahead. If you plan on driving your family around, a larger cab size is a wise idea. If your new truck is purely for hauling and towing, a large bed will ensure you’re ready for whatever lies ahead. Pay close attention to the specs when deciding which Truck is right for you.


Are you a fan of manual or automatic?

The best choice for you will depend on the driving conditions you plan on navigating. If you’re the type of driver who spends plenty of time in traffic, an automatic transmission may be your best bet. On the flip side, a manual transmission can help improve your control over your engine. Although manual transmissions aren’t as effective for towing, they can certainly make for a funner ride.

Not sure where to begin? Our team of skilled sales professionals can help! Visit one of our local Ed Payne dealerships to view our latest selection of Ford, Chevy and GMC trucks, plus so much more! Our South Texas auto dealerships are filled with a wide variety of new and used models, so you can be sure when you visit Ed Payne, you’ll find just what you’re looking for. Stop on by and visit one of our Rio Grande Valley Dodge or GMC dealerships today! 


Get Geared Up for the Season with These Easy Fall Car Care Tips

By sarah | Posted in Car Information on Friday, September 29th, 2017 at 8:30 PM
fall car care

Fall is finally here! Are you prepared? And more importantly, is your car prepared?

Your wardrobe isn’t the only thing that could use a makeover this fall. Your vehicle, whether new or used, could definitely benefit from a bit of a prepping as the autumn season rolls in. Hot summer weather can impact your ride in unforeseen ways, and you want me to be sure your ride is ready to go for the coming months. For this reason and several others, show your car a little extra love before the leaves begin to fall.

Luckily, there is plenty you can do to ensure a smooth ride this September! Follow these easy fall car care tips to get your vehicle in tip-top shape.

Wiper Care

Random storms throughout summer time can put a strain on your wipers, and you want them to be in excellent shape in the event of a busy storm season. You should typically replace your wiper blades every six months, and the end of summer is a great time to do it. Insufficient wipers are one thing you definitely don’t want to gamble on. This is one of the best fall car care tips there is.

Battery Fluid

Scorching temperatures can impact your car battery by causing its fluid to evaporate. Car batteries typically last up to 4 years, but with our South Texas heat as hot as ever, your battery may drain sooner than expected. Have your battery checked to ensure it’s ready to take on those fall drives.

Light Check

Do a thorough inspection of your headlights, taillights and brake lights. Replace those that have burnt out, and feel free to give them a polish so that they look and work their best.

Oil Change

Oil changes are important for several reasons. You should change your oil a minimum of 3 times a year to be safe, and the start of fall will suffice. It’s definitely a job you can do yourself, or leave it to the professionals if you wish. You won’t regret it!

In the market for a new or used vehicle, or need a bit of service for your current vehicle? Your Ed Payne Rio Grande Valley car lots have everything you need to drive away in your dream car today. Whether you’re looking for a used or new vehicle, a car, truck or SUV, our Rio Grande Valley car lots are filled with a friendly team to answer all your questions. Visit us or give us a call today! 

Make Your Vehicle Last: Tire Balancing and Other Auto Care Tips for a Longer Car Life

By sarah | Posted in Car Information on Friday, September 29th, 2017 at 3:36 PM
tire balancing

Make Your Vehicle Last: Auto Care Tips for a Longer Car Life

Eating healthy, not smoking, hitting the gym a few times a week — these are the cornerstones of a healthy life. But when it comes to your car, are you really doing everything you can to make it last? Being a good car owner means more than filling it up with gas as needed. There are plenty of other steps you can take to show your car a little extra love. From regular washes, to routine oil changes and alignments, don’t overestimate your vehicle’s ability to run itself.

A few auto care tips you can utilize this season include:

Regular Maintenance

Just like in healthcare, preventative care is important for your vehicle. Taking measures to properly care for your car before a major incident happens is key. In fact, something as simple as washing it regularly can have lasting effects on the health of your car. From punctual oil changes, to transmission flushes every now and then, all these culminate into a happy, healthy vehicle for you and your family.

Tire Balancing

You may often overlook a good tire balance as an extra, rather than a necessity. The truth is that tire balancing serves the greater purpose of keeping your wheels flowing smoothly, thus preserving the inner workings of your vehicle. Consider a tire balancing if you feel heavy vibrations when driving your vehicle. You’ll want to get this fixed before it turns into a major problem later down the road. Literally!

Brake Replacements

If you’ve recently stepped on your brakes and been met with an annoying screeching sound, a brake pad replacement may be in order. Aside from the danger associated with faulty brakes, you could be doing harm to your vehicle by not replacing them. Speak to your mechanic if you suspect something is amiss. Better safe than sorry!

Your local Payne dealership can get your car ready to hit the road. Visit our blog for more auto care tips, or call to book an appointment with our service department. You can also stop by one of our valley car dealerships for a close look at our new and used vehicles.