5 Tips to Help You Parallel Park

The phrase “parallel parking” is enough to strike fear into the hearts of even the most accomplished drivers. Students have failed countless driving examinations when they are forced to parallel park, as it is almost certainly one of the hardest maneuvers required to pass your driving test. However, parallel parking need not be such an ordeal. Find out why with these simple tips from Crown Nissan of Greenville to help you parallel park.

Choose the right space

It may seem like stating the obvious, but in order to parallel park successfully, you have to be sure that the space is large enough for the vehicle that you are driving. Very skilled drivers can parallel park cars in smaller spaces than other drivers, but unless you see yourself as an expert, you may save time by simply picking a decent-sized space in the first place.

Let people know that you are parking

One of the problems with parallel parking is that it can cause impatience in other drivers, particularly if they are not sure that is what you are doing. When you have identified a space that you want to parallel park in, check your rearview mirror and side mirror to ensure that you signal early enough to give the driver behind you fair warning. If need be, roll down your window and wave him or her on to be absolutely clear. Be patient, too. Wait until other cars have passed before starting to park.

Line your car up first

Line up your car with the vehicle that is parked directly in front of the spot you want to move into. Do not get too close, or you may clip the other car when you make your move. Conversely, stay within two to three feet of the car. Line up your rear bumper with the other car to get yourself into the perfect starting position. Put your vehicle into reverse and then check your rearview mirror to ensure that it is safe to move. Look over your other shoulder towards the space so that you can assess the turn as you make it. Turn the steering wheel sharply to the right. Now release the brake and begin slowly backing into the space.

Look around you all the time

As you back into the space, check in front of and around your car all the time, assessing the amount of space you have. Stay a safe distance away from the bumper of the car in front of the space. Your rear tire may hit the curb—this means that you have reversed too far. Shift the gears and just pull forward a few feet before shifting back to reverse and carrying on. While still looking all around your car, turn the steering wheel to the left once the rear of the car is mostly in the space, staying in reverse until you are a safe distance from the car behind. Keep looking around you, shift into drive, and then move slowly forward to stop a reasonable distance from the car in front.

Keep calm

Throughout the process, remain calm and take your time. Erratic movements and haste will seldom get you into the space any quicker, and more often than not will mean that it takes much longer. If you make a mistake while reversing, take a deep breath, shift into gear and move forward, without rushing or panicking. Finally, do not let other road users hurry you along. Take the time to do it properly and you will be out of their way in no time.

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What’s the Ideal Highway Speed?

When you sit behind the steering wheel of your car, you control your destiny. You choose where you want to go, when you want to go, and how fast you want to get there. The latter choice carries with it significant risk in the form of traffic tickets, fuel economy, and the urgency of your situation, so take some time to evaluate whether or not you’re at the ideal highway speed for your situation before you let your lead foot have its way. We at Crown Nissan of Greenville have the details.

Ticket-Free Driving

If your primary goal while driving is a ticket-free driving record, you must always drive at or below posted speed limits. If police determine that the speed of your car exceeds the speed limit by as little as 1 mph, they can give you a speeding ticket. You must not drive too slowly, however, because police could ticket you for blocking traffic or failure to maintain designated minimum speeds. Drivers who want to avoid traffic citations must also know local laws for roads that do not have speed limit signs.

Fuel Economy

Most cars have a “sweet spot” for speed that delivers optimum fuel economy. You can often learn about the optimum speeds for your vehicle by visiting the service desk at your dealer. If you cannot find out the speed at which your car delivers the best gas mileage, you can rely on general principles that can help your car get the most out of every gallon of gas. As the speed of your car increases, the resistance it meets from the air also increases. This means that your car must work harder to maintain high speeds than it has to work to maintain low speeds. The U.S. Department of Energy says that the fuel consumption of cars quickly increases at speeds above 50 mph. Surprisingly, cars with the highest fuel-efficiency ratings tend to suffer from bigger drops in gas mileage at high speeds than the drops experienced by cars that have subpar fuel economy ratings. You must drive slowly on the open road if your ideal highway speed is the speed that delivers the most miles per gallon.

Your Car

Your car helps define your ideal highway speed. If you drive a super-high-performance vehicle, your ideal speed could be much higher than if you drive a motor scooter. If you have a need for speed and your car will not deliver, schedule an appointment with your dealer to test drive cars that have ambition under their hoods.

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5 New Year’s Resolutions for Your Car

New Year is a time when we vow to make a fresh start. And often that includes taking better care of ourselves. But how about taking better care of your car? Here are five resolutions from Crown Nissan of Greenville to consider:

1. Wash it once a week

Keeping the paint in good condition is not just a matter of pride; it actually protects the value of your investment! Road grime, tree sap, and deposits from feathered friends contain contaminants that eat into paint, dulling a bright finish and helping corrosion get started. Not everyone has the time or a place to hand-wash their car, so go to a car wash and pay for the better service that includes the underside. Even if you don’t live in the snow belt, keeping this clean helps prevent rust.

2. Clean the inside

Do friends and family wrinkle their noses at the left-over fast food boxes in your car or truck? Do they wipe their hands on their pants after closing the door? You probably keep your lounge clean and tidy, so why not your car too? Make it a rule for the first Saturday of each month to vacuum the interior and get rid of the junk. Buy a tub of automotive interior wipes and go over all the surfaces – you’ll be surprised at how fast they gather dust – and clean the window glass. You’ll see out better, the windows will mist up less, people will want to ride in your car, and by keeping excess weight off, you’ll even save a little gas!

3. Get the oil changed

The engine is your car’s heart, but it asks for very little. Just treat it to a regular oil change and it will reward you with years of loyal service.

How regular is regular? That depends on your vehicle and the type of driving you do. Some light an indicator when the oil needs changing – resolve not to ignore it! For others, ask the dealership what they recommend – it could be 3,000, 5,000, or even 7,500 miles – then mark on your calendar, organizer, or planner when you need to get fresh oil.

4. Check the lights and tire pressures

Resolve to do this every week. You don’t want to drive around without lights, and you certainly don’t want under-inflated tires.

Check brake lights by backing up to a garage door or wall and tapping the pedal while looking in the mirror. If you don’t see the red glow from each light ask a friend to watch while you work the pedal. If there’s a problem get it fixed promptly!

Tire pressures should be checked when the tires are cold. The best way is to buy a gauge and do a check before you get in and start driving. Perhaps you could do it before heading off to the car wash on Saturday morning! And don’t forget the spare if you have one.

5. Stay current with servicing

Modern vehicles are extremely reliable, but there are things that need inspecting and replacing at regular intervals. Staying on top of servicing helps ensure your vehicle will provide reliable service for years to come. Ask your local service department what is recommended, and heed their advice.

The New Year is a time for fresh starts. Spend more time looking after your car, and it will be cleaner, more reliable, and even safer. That has to be a resolution worth sticking to!

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5 Underappreciated Car Parts

Cars are made of many systems, often with hundreds of individual components. Our team at Crown Nissan of Greenville has the details on five of the most underappreciated car parts on your car:

1. Tires – Nothing is more important to your vehicle’s performance and safety than the tires you select. Beyond the usual conversation of summer/winter tires and tire wear, the brand and model of tire you select can make an enormous difference in your car’s ride and handling. Tires – the big, black, donuts on your car – may not look like much, but they actually represent a wealth of design, technology, and manufacturing development. There is an abundance of research and reviews available online, so take the time to make a well-informed decision on your tires, as specific to your driving habits, needs, budget, and climate.

2. Oil Filters – if you’re like most drivers, you’ve never seen your oil filter, and have no idea where, what kind, or what quality filter you have. More so than most other commonly replaceable components on your car, oil filter quality can vary tremendously. Oil filters protect your oil and thus also your engine. Ask your technician for advice, but we’d recommend spending a bit more for a reputable brand, and if they offer two lines, buy the better one. It’s money well spent.

3. Permanent Automatic Transmission Fluid (aka ATF) – means less maintenance and therefore expense for most drivers, but not all drivers should refrain from changing their ATF, even if the manual states that it’s not necessary. Towing, constant stop-and-go driving, hot climates, hills, and dusty conditions can strain the properties of your ATF. Ask your technician if s/he’d recommend a fluid change.

4. Shocks and Struts – Next to tires, these are the components most necessary for safe driving and decent handling. They are responsible for keeping your tires firmly in contact with the road. Shocks and struts typically wear and begin to fail slowly, so it’s easy to overlook and forget about them. Failed shocks and struts can burst, leak, crack or break, and as they fail, so does your handling and braking. Ask that they be inspected next time your car’s up on a lift.

5. Headlights – Here again, headlights tend to be overlooked and underappreciated, namely because they typically go about their business quietly and without notice, until one of them burns out and you get pulled over or notice your illumination is down by half. Headlights are easy and inexpensive (in most cases) to replace, and a little-known fact is that halogen bulbs dim slowly over time. Another factor which can affect your headlight’s output is the clouding of headlight lenses caused by sun, rain, road rash, and environmental chemicals. This can often be removed by professionally polishing the headlight, but if they’re too far gone, ask about replacing them with new units, to be assured of safer night-time driving.

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How to Make Your Car Look New Again in the New Year

All right, it’s the New Year and time to make your car look like new again. The first step is pretty obvious – clean it. Don’t go through an automated carwash if you want the best results though, as even the most advanced car washes can leave dirty spots on the outside of your car, and some can even damage the paint surface on your car. Read on for more details from Crown Nissan of Greenville.

But first, a description of the paint on your car. It’s made up of several layers of paint, usually a primer, one or more layers of color paint, and a clear coat on top of it all to protect the color paint. The scratches that build up in car paint are often only damage to the clear coat and it is this that you want to repair. Buy a reputable brand of cleaning products – they usually come as a multiple step system, but this is what you essentially want. First item necessary is a good detergent. Don’t use dishwashing liquid or household cleaners, as they can strip layers of wax and clear coat off. Next, you will want to use a good quality wax. This not only protects the clear coat, it fills in the scratches in the clear coat itself. Apply a layer of polish for the final gloss. At all stages use a new, clean cloth – never brushes or sponges. The idea to keeping care of your paint is using the least aggressive way of cleaning it.

Larger scratches and paint damage, such as the result from getting into a scrape with another car or a pole can often be buffed out using a cutting wax. This has tiny abrasive particles in it that strip contamination off the car. Even when it looks like your paint has been badly scratched, it is often the case that whatever the car has contacted has left some if it’s paint on top of your paint, and with a cutting wax it can quite literally be wiped away.

On the inside of your car it’s always a good idea to have a set of good quality floor mats. These not only cover the carpet under the mat and keep dirt off it, but it also means you don’t need to be too aggressive when cleaning the carpet itself. Most cars have synthetic carpets, and if you move the head of a vacuum cleaner over it too fast and with too much pressure, the friction can actually cause enough heat to melt the fibers together and cause a big scratch-like mark.

Dust builds up on the dashboard and center console, and this can be removed by simply running a damp cloth over the surfaces. As long as the cloth is damp and not actually wet the electronics in your car should not be affected. If you want to go further there are plenty of interior cleaners and polishes that can give a glossy effect, but always try the new formula on a piece of trim you don’t normally see so you can gauge whether you want your entire dashboard to look like that.

If your car has leather upholstery, you can go with a high quality leather cleaner. This not only cleans the leather, but like the polish on the outside of the car, it protects the leather from certain damage. Again, be careful in choosing a cleaner as some can make the leather extremely slippery.

Alternately, find a detailing company with a good name and reputation and have them do it all for you. Completely cleaning a car can take a long time, and that’s why there are many professionals around to do the job for you.

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10 Automotive Facebook Pages to Follow

Remember back in the day when the only way to get information on automobiles was to buy magazines with girls in bikinis washing motorcycles on the cover? With the advent of the Internet, the two subjects were separated. With the advent of social media, the automotive information comes to you. Here are the top 10 automotive Facebook as voted by the folks at Crown Nissan of Greenville.

  1. Autoblog.com. Interested in Andre Agassi’s customized, Hemi-powered Jeep Wrangler? If you followed Autoblog.com’s Facebook page, you’d have known it was on eBay. Not just any auto blog, Autoblog.com “obsessively” follows the automotive industry, featuring car reviews, auto shows, eBay’s find of the day, and more.
  2. WorldCarFans. WorldCarFans.com is an online magazine that features “daily editorial coverage of emerging products and industry news, spy photos, motor shows, high resolution photos, videos, and more.” Follow their Facebook page to see photos of cars you’ll probably never drive. It doesn’t hurt to dream.
  3. Car and Driver Magazine. Even those with little interest in cars other than it getting them to and from work five mornings a week know that a car that lands on the Car and Driver top automobile lists is a car worth owning. That’s just one reason the Car and Driver Facebook page is a page worth following.
  4. Motor Trend Magazine. Auto manufacturers covet the Motor Trend Car of the Year award, which is why those who want the latest automotive news covet Motor Trend’s Facebook page. Unlike winning the Motor Trend Car of the Year award, however, anyone can gain access to Motor Trend’s Facebook page.
  5. Conceptcarz.com. Conceptcarz specializes in following vehicles from concept to production. Its in-depth look at automobiles features high-interest automobiles such as the Popemobile, a 1955 Scuderia Lancia, and a 1971 Porsche Spyder as well as automobiles coming out in the next few months.
  6. Edmunds.comEdmunds claims you can “enhance your research and shopping experience by connecting with Facebook to get advice from your friends and local car experts.” In addition to researching your next car, Edmunds invites you to review your current or past vehicles.
  7. Motor Authority. Whether you own a high-performance or luxury car or just like to dream, Motor Authority is the authority to consult. Unlike similar blogs, Motor Authority focuses on the products as opposed to industry news. And unlike most Facebook friends who make things up to impress you, the cars on Motor Authority actually exist.
  8. Jalopnik. With thousands of websites and magazines on cars, it’s difficult to carve out a niche. That’s why Jalopnik has been so successful. Jalopnik is “obsessed with the cult of cars” and their Facebook page allows others with like obsession to share their opinion on topics like the coolest cars of all time that never happened, a rapper destroying his Lamborghini, and the best and worst cars you’ve driven.
  9. Autoweek. Autoweek has been online since 1995. It’s obvious their vision includes the use of newer technology to share car news, photos, reviews, and more.
  10. Road and Track. Road and Track provides car news, photos, reviews, and a car lovers community. Get behind-the-scenes peeks at luxury and cutting-edge automobiles years before they’re unveiled. Follow their Facebook page to find this information first.
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How to Protect Your Windshield This Winter

Although walking in a Winter Wonderland makes for a great song, driving in one presents special problems for your windshield—ice, road salt, and grit, for example. Here are some tips from our team at Crown Nissan of Greenville to protect your windshield this winter.

Remove ice safely. Though tempting, grabbing a random item like a spatula or a knife to remove ice from your windshield is not recommended. Not only is this dangerous, but it can also potentially damage or scratch the glass. A better option is to spend a couple dollars on a plastic ice scraper. Other options include spraying the windshield with de-icer to melt the ice. You may not even need the scraper and you definitely won’t need the ice-scraping pitchfork your Uncle Glasschipper recommended.

Avoid sudden temperature changes. It looks like a decent option. It’s about four degrees outside and you’re running a little late, so you come up with this grand idea of boiling water as you get ready, with the intention of dumping it on the windshield for instant defrost. Sure, you’ll get the instant defrost, but you might also get a cracked windshield, which means the instant defrost could be taking place on your dashboard or the passenger seat. A better option is to turn on the defroster and wait a few minutes.

Keep the windshield clean. Winter grime can lead to a greater need for windshield cleaning. But running the wipers or even using an ice scraper to remove stuck-on dirt and grime can lead to scratched windshields, so always be careful when attempting to clean yours. Make sure your window cleaner reservoir is full and think about installing new wiper blades as soon as cold weather approaches—dry, brittle blades can scratch the glass. If possible, opt for winter blades. They’re constructed to better remove snow and ice.

Repair chips and cracks as soon as possible. You’ve probably seen a small window chip spread on a windshield. It starts out as a tiny nuisance in a seldom seen portion of the windshield and little by little, day by day it spreads until one day you notice a spider web of cracks, turning what was a simple, inexpensive repair into a windshield replacement. This crack multiplicative effect occurs faster once the temperatures drop. This little scenario, thankfully, can be avoided with early detection and treatment.

Our service department is happy to answer any questions you have about caring for you windshield in the colder months, so contact us or stop by soon.

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More Tips for Keeping Your Fuel Tank Full

We are sure that you have heard many ideas about keeping your RPMs to a minimum and your fuel efficiency to a maximum. Appropriately inflated tires, cruise control, and a light vehicle load can all help you keep your wallet as thick as possible. We at Crown Nissan of Greenville want to keep you ahead of the curve though, so here are our latest ideas for maximum fuel efficiency.

Drive Defensively

If you are the aggressive type of driver, then understand that your attitude can influence how your foot behaves around the acceleration pedal. Aggressive driving can create higher speeds, sporadic acceleration, and a generally inefficient driving experience. Take it easy, keep a steady pace, and you will notice spending less time at the fuel pump.

Streamline Your Vehicle

Although a lot of the aerodynamics of your vehicle is predetermined by the Chevrolet research and development departments, there are some things that you can do to minimize drag. Always keep windows and moon roofs close on the freeway, and keep your vehicle free of debris.

Put it into High Gear

If you operate a manual transmission, then you likely understand that the higher the gear, the lower the engine works. Don’t redline your engine in first and second, and always try to smoothly and safely transition into the highest gear available as quickly as possible.

Carpool

Find friends in classes or at work and determine who lives near you. You can swing by on the way to your job or school and ask them to pitch in for gas later on. A carpooling initiative at your work or school might be the perfect idea to get everyone excited and working together. Plus, having a buddy in the car will make your trips shorter!

Plan Your Errands

A warmer engine runs more efficiently than a stale, cold one. If you have a to-do list than involves driving around town, plan out the most efficient route and try to carry it out with as little engine downtime as possible.

We hope these tips help you pinch pennies during each mile that you travel.

 

 

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5 Great Places to Donate to During the Holidays

The holiday season elicits a broad range of feelings in people. The most important is that wonderful feeling of giving. We give presents to our family and close friends and often want to extend that a little bit to include others on our list. Today, as always, a very long list of deserving charities and organizations hopes to be included on your list. Here are our top picks at Crown Nissan of Greenville.

At the top of many lists is Toys for Tots. Started in 1947 “to bring the joy of Christmas to America’s needy children,” Toys for Tots is executed by the Marine Corps. You can check for local drop-off sites or donate money directly at their website www.toysfortots.org. The lines you see each year give testament to how much this charity means to families who cannot otherwise provide toys for their young children.

Every one of us knows the tinkle of that bell for the Salvation Army. This international organization is part of the Universal Christian church. Besides disaster relief, they provide basic necessities of life—food, shelter, and warmth—and offer many programs for rebuilding the lives of those in peril. Approximately 30 million people received help from the Salvation Army in 2011. You will help others each time you put money in one of the red buckets or donate on their website www.salvationarmyusa.org.

Food banks and soup kitchens also provide necessities year round, and the holidays place a considerable strain on donations and manpower. You can find them in your community with a call to the City Clerk or on sites like feedingamerica.org. All the better if you can spare some of your time, as your gift will be appreciated by the many grateful people you will encounter.

Your local church may be a natural part of your donating during the holidays. Churches serve the community in many ways and deserve your consideration. Some have toy donation programs or serve holiday dinners, while others operate thrift shops and help to clothe families in need. Most are associated with food banks, and all want to help the community be a more joyful place during the holidays. A call to your church office will inform you about the biggest needs with which you can help.

You can also check with your local hospitals. Particularly, children may have to spend the holidays in the hospital, adding worry and financial drain to families. A new toy or even volunteering to read to a child could make all the difference. And while you are there, why not give blood? Your donation might be the most important gift of all to someone in crisis.

 

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The Advantages of Remote Engine Starters

Remote engine starters have been available to drivers for several years now, but have generally been the sort of feature you would find in a luxury car. As with most developments, manufacturers are now starting to include remote starters in more models, making them much more mainstream. You may have read about them in auto reviews, but what are the advantages of having this feature? Our team at Crown Nissan of Greenville has the details.

Your car may have climate control or air-conditioning, but these systems take some time to moderate the temperature inside the car. On a scorching hot day summer day or a freezing winter night, you might be stuck waiting for the air conditioning or heat to kick in. A remote engine starter takes this problem away for you.

By using the remote engine starter, you can get the car engine running and activate the heating or cooling before you even get inside. That gives you the opportunity to stay indoors in the warmth (or the cool) until the car is ready for you. You need only wait a few minutes, but you can enjoy getting into a perfectly cool or warm car. This can be particularly handy if you have young children and babies, or anyone else that is very sensitive to extremes temperatures.

Starting the car remotely can be safer, too. First off, it gives your engine the chance to properly warm up in the winter. And once the car has warmed up, for example, it’s easier to clear the windows of ice. Brake lights and headlamps will also clear of snow and ice, allowing other cars to see you more easily.

Even simple things can be easier with a remote engine starter. If you have your hands full or you are dealing with children and pets, it isn’t always ideal to have to fumble around with a key in the car door. A remote engine starter will start the engine and unlock the doors for you with the simple touch of a button on your key fob.

Remote engine starters are now becoming more common on new cars. If you don’t already have one, however, you can talk to our dealership about having one fitted. According to where you live, it could make your life much easier and safer.

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