Archive for June, 2017

WARNING: Signs of Transmission Trouble

Friday, June 30th, 2017

The term “transmission trouble” is a clear sign of danger – evident even to those vastly unfamiliar with cars and their many components. Your vehicle’s transmission is integral in its ability to work properly, and if your transmission is shot – the chances of costly repairs are pretty likely. So, is your transmission in trouble? Aside from a trip to the mechanic’s, there are a few tell-tale signs that can alert you of an issue before it’s too late.

Signs of Transmission Trouble

Often, the first signal of transmission troubles will be a glowing check engine light.

Your transmission plays an important role in keeping your vehicle’s gear shifts in check. Consequently, slippery gears could indicate an issue with your transmission. Transmission troubles could cause your gears to slip intentionally, which could lead to unwelcome changes acceleration or deceleration. If your gears are acting up, your transmission could very well be the culprit.

What’s that smell, you ask? It could be remnants from that old burger you scarfed down the other day, or it could be your transmission. If you happen to notice a burnt smell coming from your vehicle, a faulty transmission could be to blame. Do NOT ignore this. Doing so could cause a breakdown, which will leave you in quite a pickle!

Your car shouldn’t typically be noisy when it’s in neutral, so if it is, there could be a problem. From low levels of transmission fluid, to issues like worn bearings, there are several possible causes of all that racket you hear. The takeaway here? If your car is noisy when it’s in neutral, get your transmission checked!

Having transmission trouble? We can help! Our service department is skilled at both maintenance and repairs. Call us to schedule a service appointment, or visit one of our local Chevy, Ford, GMC or Dodge dealerships to check out our newest models.

Roadside Safety: How to Handle a Tire Blowout

Friday, June 30th, 2017

There are few roadside events scarier than a tire blow out. It can happen to anyone, and even if you’ve got decades of driving experience, a blow out can be just as dangerous. Many drivers make the same mistakes when faced with this issue. We care about your safety! Here’s what to do in the event of a blowout. Following these steps can make all the difference between an accident, and walking away from a tire blowout unscathed.

Don’t Panic!

The worst thing you can do during a blowout is panic. Turning the steering wheel abruptly, stepping on the brakes and taking your foot off the wheel are all ill-advised. Doing any of these could result in a loss of control, which can easily lead to an accident. In the event of a blowout, take a deep breath and remain calm, above all else.

You may be temped to jerk your wheel the opposite way when you feel your car drift to one side. Instead, grip the wheel tightly at its 10 and 2 position, and do your very best to steer straight, with stability.

Lightly accelerating after a blowout can help you maintain some control over your vehicle. Press the gas pedal gently, taking great care not to accelerate too quickly.

Turn on your emergency lights and remain calm, keeping your foot lightly on the gas pedal as you decelerate. Avoid sudden movements of the steering wheel during this time. Once you reach below a cruising speed of about 30 mph, you can then lightly apply pressure to your brake. When you’ve reached a speed below 20 mph, you can begin steering gently to find a safe spot on the side of the road. Here’s where you can call for help, or change your tire, if you are so inclined.

Tire blowout? Not to worry — we can help! Call to schedule an appointment with our service department, or simply stop by one of our dealerships if a shiny, new model is what you’re looking for.

Engine Overheating? Here’s Why…

Thursday, June 29th, 2017
overheated engine

Whether it’s the odd hiss, the stall or the steam seeping slowly from underneath your hood, there are plenty of signs to alert you that your engine is overheating. And there could not be a worse time! Hot weather can do crazy things to your car, even more so if you live in South Texas. While scorching hot weather is an inescapable part of life down here, an overheated engine is not. Here are a few reasons your engine may be overheating, and what you can do to save it before it’s too late.

Leaky Cooling System

While a leak in your car’s cooling system won’t necessarily cause it to overheat, it can allow air to pass through more easily, creating an airlock. This is how engines overheat. When this happens, your cooling system will stop circulating, which will superheat the coolant inside your engine. If you suspect a leaky cooling system may be to blame for your overheated engine, contact your mechanic immediately before the problem worsens.

Blockage

You’re bound to experience overheating if your car’s cooling system is blocked. When this happens, coolant can’t circulate to the radiator properly. Some causes of this include a thermostat that fails to open properly. In other cases, a mineral deposit or foreign object may be causing the blockage.

Bad Water Pump

This is a pretty common cause of overheating, but it’s nonetheless annoying. Your car’s water pump handles the task of maintaining  coolant circulation. If it’s not working properly, neither is your cooling system in its entirety. Whether it’s worn, broken or simply malfunctioning, replacing a bad water pump is vital to save your engine from overheating.

 

Overheated engine? We can fix it! Ed Payne’s Service Department is second to none. Contact us to schedule a repair or maintenance appointment, or stop by one of our local Rio Grande Valley dealerships to check our latest selection of new and used models. 

 

Car Care 101: Tips to Avoid a Break-In

Thursday, June 29th, 2017
area car dealerships

Car thefts are on the rise. Are you doing everything you can to protect your vehicle? Contrary to popular belief, there are indeed a few steps you can take to cut down on your chances of being just another car theft statistic. Consider these tips to minimize the chances of a break-in:

Park in Well-Lit Areas

This is good advice not just for your car, but for safety purposes as well! Parking in a well lit area may be just enough to deter car thiefs, and any other intruder who may be on the lookout for prey. When possible, park under streetlights and other well-lit areas after dark.

Hide Valuables

Thieves go where the goods are, and if yours are in plain sight, there’s a good chance they’ll be gunning for you. Stow away important belongings in your car’s trunk, or at the very least, cover them if they are visible through the window.

Lock Doors

This may seem like common sense, but thieves are more likely to opt for vehicles they can easily get into. Be sure to keep your doors and windows locked if you want to keep intruders at bay.

Invest in an Alarm System

The power of a good security system can’t be denied. If you’re the type to frequently carry valuables in your car, you may want to invest in a high-tech alarm system that will immediately alert you when something is amiss. It’s better to be safe than sorry!

Looking for a new or used vehicle? Ed Payne Auto Group can help! Stop by one of our area car dealerships to view our latest selection of new and used models!

 

Bad Brakes? Be on the Lookout for These Warning Signs!

Thursday, June 29th, 2017

Bad brakes are a bummer. Sure, there’s that heinous screeching sound, but there’s also, more importantly, the safety factor to it. Bad brakes are an accident waiting to happen. If you’re driving with bad brakes, every stop sign may signal a tiny instance of panic. Every stall during rush hour feels like an eternity.

Luckily, you don’t have to suffer through bad brakes; nor do the drivers around you! Here are a few classic warning signs that cant tell you your brakes are in need of a little TLC:

Sound

Want to hear the most annoying sound in the world? Then listen up when you’re driving with bad brakes! One obvious sign of bad brakes is a loud, high-pitched screeching sound, sort of akin to nails on a chalkboard. While highly unpleasant, these sounds are a helpful indicator that you’re in need of a brake replacement.

Smell

One indicator of bad brakes? The smell! Odd smells coming from your tires as you brake are a sure sign there’s a problem. What’s more, continuing to drive on bad brakes puts you and others at risk! If you’re dealing with a noxious odor when you apply your brakes, don’t hesitate to get them checked.

Touch

If you feel vibrations, pulsations, or your car pulling slightly to the right or left as you brake, a trip to the mechanic may be in order. It could be your brakes or suspension, either of which will need to be fixed to avoid bigger problems down the road – literally!

 

Bad brakes? Not to worry — our Ed Payne Service Department can help! Visit one of our local service departments for brake replacement, or check out our latest selection of new and used models. We’ve got a wide range of Chevy, Ford, Fiat, GMC, Buicks and more to choose from!

Car Care 101: How to Change a Flat Tire

Wednesday, June 28th, 2017

So you’re stuck on the side of the road with a flat tire. We’ve all been there! Whether you’re a new driver or an expert, flat tires happen, and there are few things worse than being stranded with nowhere to turn. Luckily, changing a tire doesn’t have to cause a panic. It’s a relatively easy process, and one you can certainly do yourself – as long as you’ve got all the necessary tools. Here is a list of things you’ll need, and a few easy-to-follow directions to get your flat tire fixed and ready to ride.

Tools

  • Jack
  • Tire iron
  • Fully inflated spare tire
  • Vehicle owner’s manual

Step 1:

Use your tire iron to loosen the nuts holding the wheel to the hub. To do this, place the tire iron on a lug nut, then place a foot on the tire iron and using your body’s weight, loosen the nut. Chances are it won’t come off easily, so you may need to put a bit of effort into it. Always remember: “Righty-tighty; Lefty-loosey!”

Step 2:

Now comes the tricky part. You’ll need to use your diamond jack to lift up your car, but you’ll need to place it in just the right spot for it to be effective. Most vehicle frames will have a slot next to each tire where a jack will fit snugly. Place your jack right beneath that and twist the lever, which will open the jack. You may need to use the tire iron to turn your jack, depending on what your manufacturer has provided. Once you start twisting the jack, your car should start rising. The car should be high enough that the tire does not touch the ground.

Step 3:

Using your hand, unscrew the remaining lugnuts. The old tire will slide right off.

Step 4:

Match up the holes of your new tire’s rim with the bolts on your vehicle. Lift up the tire and place it on. Have someone hold the tire in place as you tighten the nuts by hand, then lower the car gradually using the jack.

Step 5:

Finish off tightening the lug nuts using your tire iron, taking care to tighten them in a diagonal pattern, which ensures even tightening.

Step 6:

And you’re ready to ride!

 

You got this! But if you don’t, your Ed Payne Service Department can help! Schedule an appointment for an inspection, or visit one of our valleywide dealerships to view our latest selection of new and used models from brands like Chevy, Ford and VW! 

Worn Shocks? Look Out for These Warning Signs!

Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Your vehicle’s shocks are important for keeping things running smoothly, but eventually, you may find there’s trouble in paradise. Like a variety of other car parts, shocks will wear out over time, which could spell impending danger for you and your vehicle. Don’t wait until it’s too late! Be on the lookout for these warning signs.

“It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane!”

That South Texas wind is no joke, but if your car feels like it’s one gust away from becoming airborne, your shock absorber may be to blame. Unsteadiness is not only unsafe, it’s scary! Get your shocks checked if you feel like you’re car’s about to fly away when you’re on the road.

Tire Troubles

It may come as no surprise that tires should make contact with the road. Worn shocks won’t be able to keep your tires in check the way they should, which will lead to noticeable, patchy areas of wear. This can make you more susceptible to flats or hydroplaning. Take heed!

Shake, Rattle and Roll

Worn shocks can manifest in many ways, one of which is an unsteady ride. You may find that your car is shaking or ratting more than usual when driving over railroad tracks or road bumps, for instance. This is because shocks control the vibration and impact of your vehicle’s suspension. Needless to say, all that bumpiness is no good for your ride.

Another bummer about worn shocks? They can increase braking distance by as much as 20 percent! If you want to avoid a headache – and a potential accident – then don’t hesitate to get those shocks replaced.

In need of a shock replacement? Ed Payne’s valley dealerships can help! Schedule an appointment with one of our service departments, or stop by one of our valley dealerships to view our latest models!

The Latest in Eco-Friendly Models

Monday, June 26th, 2017

Taking steps to reduce your carbon footprint is important, especially in regard to your vehicle. While your preferred vehicle may not be the master of fuel economy, there are steps you can take to alleviate the damage. Aside from “greenifying” your car, you can choose also choose an eco-friendly option the next time you’re in the market for a new one. Our South Texas car dealerships carry a range of models, some of which rank among the most eco-friendly on the market. From the FIAT 500C, to the versatile Ford Focus Electric, here are a few eco-friendly options to consider:

FIAT 500C

It sure is a nifty little ride. The FIAT 500C includes a 1.4L I-4 101hp engine, a 5-speed manual transmission with overdrive, 4-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), driver knee airbag, electronic stability, side seat mounted airbags, cruise control and so much more! Not only is it a joy to ride, but it’s carbon footprint is minimal in respect to cars. Take this bad boy for a test drive at our Weslaco dealership.

FORD FOCUS ELECTRIC

If you’re looking for affordability, the Ford Focus is a fantastic option. The electric version is about as eco-friendly as cars come. Aside from its spacious interior, critics have voted the Ford Focus among the best looking small cars on the road. And the eco-friendliness of this car can’t be denied. Additional features include Xenon headlights and LED taillights, dual-heated front seats, push-button start, and a perimeter alarm system. Sounds good, huh?

CHEVROLET VOLT

Plenty of power wrapped up in a small package, the Chevrolet Volt is a great option if you’re hoping to go green. With a wide range of features, it’s become a favorite among the Chevy lineup. And if space is a concern, don’t worry. The Volt’s got plenty of it, and its functionality isn’t too shabby, either!

 

In the market for a new vehicle? Visit one of our various South Texas car dealerships to view our latest in eco-friendly models! 

Car Care 101: Protect your Paint Job with These Simple Tips

Monday, June 26th, 2017

It’s your car, and you love it. But let’s face it: your car only looks as good as its paint does. This is why preserving your car’s paint job is so important. No one wants to drive a vehicle that’s riddled with scratches, dings and splotches. There are indeed a few things you can do to make your vehicle’s paint job last longer. Follow these steps to make sure your car is as lustrous as ever!

Splurge on Professional Detailing

Splurging on a high-quality detail for your car is just good practice. You may be doing a fine job of the waxing and washing all on your own, but the power of professionals to remove grime can’t be disputed. They have access to things we simply don’t. For this reason, and many others, opt for detailing to keep your car’s paint job good as new.

Wax Twice Per Year

You may have been skipping the waxing during your past few car washes, and that’s fine. But doing so may not be doing your car’s paint job any favors. Applying high-quality wax during the spring and fall seasons can help protect your car’s paint against sunlight and other possible sources of harm. Consider this twice-annual waxing as your car’s saving grace.

Keep it Covered

This may sound like common sense, but your car’s paint is deteriorating because of the elements. While you can’t do much to impact the weather, you can most certainly take precautions. Keeping your car in a garage, or under shade whenever possible is one of the best things you can do to preserve its paint job. You can even opt for a cloth car cover for extra caution.

 

Looking for maintenance, or perhaps a new vehicle to cruise in this summer? Call us to schedule a service appointment, or visit one of our local Edinburg, Brownsville or Weslaco car dealerships to view our latest in new and used Chevy, Fiat, Dodge and Ford models. 

How to Increase Fuel Economy: Part II

Sunday, June 25th, 2017

Our previous post covered some of the steps you can take to increase fuel economy in your vehicle. Here are a few other tips to ensure you get the most bang for your buck when you’re gassing up!

Are you Pumping Properly?

This may seem like a given, but many people don’t quite know when to stop pumping fuel. To make sure you’re not getting skimped at the gas station, keep the hose inside your tank until the pump stops. This ensures all the fuel pours into your car, and not on the ground, which is just plain wasteful! Being more careful when pumping gas can save up to a quarter of a cup!

Check your Battery Cables

Battery cables are often overlooked in the grand scheme of fuel economy. Corroded ones may cause your vehicle’s alternator to work harder, which results in more gas consumption. Have your mechanic clean them the next time it’s time for an engine check.

Use Cruise Control

Maintaining a steady speed as you drive can positively impact your fuel economy. The caveat? Cruise control isn’t effective in fuel efficiency when driving up steep hills. But for the most part, keeping your car in cruise mode during long stretches of driving is a wise move.

Not only is improving fuel economy good for your wallet, but it’s good for your vehicle, too! For a full engine check, call us to schedule a service appointment. You can also stop by one of our Ed Payne dealerships to view our latest models if a new vehicle is what you’re looking for!