How to Not Burst Into Flames

1.) Sit in your A/C like a Boss

Don't worry about the electricity bill - that's why you have air conditioning - to condition the air. And boy, does this air need conditioning!

2.) Go for a Swim

Whether in a lake, in a pool, or at the public swimming hole, go for a dip to escape the heat. 

3.) Stalk the Ice Cream Truck

So maybe don't harass the good humor man, but choose some icy treat to cool down with. The popsicle in the back of the freezer will do nicely. 

4.) Give your Feet a Bath

Fun fact: cooling down the hands and feet is the fastest way to feel relief. Soak your tootsies in cold water, or run your wrists under cold water for 10 seconds. 

5.) Mist Yourself

When all else fails, a handy spray bottle filled with cold water will be your best friend.

Remember, STAY HYDRATED! And stay inside whenever possible!

HOW TO LIFT YOUR TRUCK FOR LESS

Whether you'd like to lift your truck for it's style and aesthetic beauty benefits, or if you'd like to get some extra ride comfort or load-bearing quality, here we share 4 ways to do so for less!

Excerpt from news.pickuptrucks.com

Torsion Keys

Aftermarket Torsion Keys
(Aftermarket torsion keys can add 1 to 1.5 inches of ride height on pickups with a torsion bar suspension system. But unlike the factory torsion keys, these forged keys from Trail Master Suspension don’t add more spring preload and can provide a smoother ride.)

Many four-wheel-drive trucks use a torsion bar suspension system. Torsion bars are actually springs that twist rather than compress like a coil spring. The vehicle's factory torsion keys hold the bars in place and provide some preload so the bar can keep the vehicle at a factory-set ride height. Adjusting the factory torsion keys is tempting and will add some height, but it can come at the expense of excessively preloading the suspension, which can result in a harsh ride and add premature wear to the rest of the suspension.

Aftermarket torsion keys cost anywhere from $100 to $150 and will add 1 to 1.5 inches of ride height that’s good for a tire about 1 inch taller than the factory size. Aftermarket torsion keys can also maintain the factory preload settings to maintain a smooth ride and will often come with shock extensions that keep the shock's range of travel within factory specifications.

Look for forged keys, which are stronger than cast units and will provide much longer service life, especially if the vehicle will be under heavy loads.

Leveling Kits

Leveling Kit Spacers
(Leveling kits can consist of a variety of components. These steel spacers from ReadyLift fit on top of the coil-spring strut assembly to raise the front just enough to keep it level with the rear of the vehicle.)

Leveling kits are extremely popular and can add 1 to 3 inches of ride height to most pickups using a front coil spring or coil-over strut suspension system. The term is derived from the fact that most pickups are taller in the rear than in the front, and raising the front suspension allows the truck to sit level.

Depending on the vehicle’s make and model, leveling kits can use a variety of methods to lift the vehicle. These include polyurethane coil spring spacers that fit between the coil spring and the inside of the spring perch. Some use aluminum spacers or strut extensions that sit on top of the coil-over strut unit. Others use blocks and U-bolts that will raise the ride height on leaf-spring vehicles.

Leveling kits cost as little as $30 for simple polyurethane coil spacer kits to $500 or more for kits that include shocks, anti-sway bar end links and other components needed to keep the suspension geometry in its original location.

Leveling Kit Spacers
(Some leveling kits use a simple coil spring spacer that fits on top of the spring within the coil-spring strut. Shown here is a standard spacer (right) compared with a leveling kit spacer (left).)

For the low cost, leveling kits work great for adding tires that are 1 to 2 inches taller than your truck’s original tires. They are also easy to install for the experienced home mechanic, but some kits may require a spring compressor tool. The tool is necessary to remove the coil spring preload on models using a factory coil-over strut assembly. If you don't have access to this tool, you should have a qualified mechanic or truck specialty shop do the installation.

The advantage of a leveling kit is that it doesn't affect the ride of the vehicle or cause any warranty issues. If your truck or SUV is on a lease program, the leveling kit can be easily removed and restored to stock. In addition, there are leveling kits for just about every make and model pickup available (front-wheel and four-wheel drive), making these kits one of the most popular methods to lift your vehicle.

Body-Lifts

Body-lift Block
(Body-lifts are another popular and inexpensive way to raise a pickup truck. Shown here is a Performance Accessories body-lift providing 3 inches of extra ride height on an F-150.)

Before trucks and 4x4s had independent suspension systems and integrated coil-over struts, body-lifts were a popular way to add as much as 3 inches of ride height. The advantage of a body-lift is that it doesn’t affect the vehicle's suspension and provides enough ride height to fit tires that are 2 or 3 inches taller than the original tires (typically a 32- to 33-inch tire).

Body-lifts are popular because they are inexpensive, ranging from $110 to $600. Depending on the truck’s make and model, they can provide more ride height than leveling kits alone.

Body-lifts use urethane blocks that are stacked on top of the factory body mounts to raise the body above the frame. Because a wider gap is formed between the truck’s body and frame, the bumpers and some components of the vehicle also need to be altered. This is accomplished with heavy-duty bumper brackets and spacers that are typically included in the kit. In addition, the steering shaft must be extended. Because of this, many truck owners look for kits that include a high-quality CNC machined steering extension as well as Gap Guards that fit in the vehicle's wheel wells and hide the space between the frame and body.

Body Lift Kit
Body-lifts also require readjusting the height of the factory bumpers. This Performance Accessories kit has bolt-on bumper brackets on this 2009 Nissan Titan.

Body-lifts typically take six to eight hours to install, depending on the vehicle, but the overall effect provides plenty of wheel and tire clearance for most popular tire upgrades. Furthermore, they don't affect the factory ride or cause any warranty issues with your vehicle.

Premium Lift Systems

Premium Lift Kit
(A Premium Lift System combines a body-lift with a leveling kit to provide the same lift as a full suspension but at a fraction of the cost. Shown here is a PLS kit from Performance Accessories that provides 5 inches of lift to fit 35-inch-tall tires on a Ford F-150. The kit costs around $800.)

A relatively new concept is to combine a leveling kit and body-lift to provide a comparable ride height to that of a full suspension kit at a fraction of the cost. Depending on the vehicle, a Premium Lift System can provide up to 6 inches of lift without affecting the vehicle’s factory suspension geometry and ride. For enthusiasts wanting to go big and add 33- to 35-inch off-road tires, a Premium Lift System makes a perfect choice.

Premium Lift Systems include everything from coil spring spacers, bumper brackets, body-lift blocks, hardware, a steering column adapter, Gap Guards and everything else you need to raise the vehicle in about six to eight hours.

Depending on the vehicle make and model, a Premium Lift System can cost $219 to $900, leaving you with enough cash to lift the vehicle and buy the tires you want all at once.

INDEPENDENT DEALERS - WHERE USED CAR DEALS ARE

Excerpt Taken from About.com’s About Autos Section

By Keith Griffin, Used Cars Expert



In the midst of the used car sales increase, one type of seller will have deals on used cars - the independent dealer.

That finding is based on the fact that used car sales are increasing, by up to 5.5% overall, while independent dealers are seeing a drop in year-to-date sales of 12.1% when compared to the previous year. Their year-over-year sales are down 6.3%.

Those facts come courtesy of CNW Research, which points to the strongest sales segment for used cars: the private seller. Their year-to-year sales are up 20.4% while their year-to-date sales are up 24.1% compared to the first five months previously. 

Just to give a quick refresher - there are three types of used car sellers. Franchised dealers are new car dealers that have used car lots. Independent dealers are dealers not affiliated with a new-car manufacturer. Private sellers are individuals who are not in the business of selling used cars.

As I have said in the past, I'm a big fan of the independent dealer. Those are the folks who own one or two, maybe a few, used car dealerships. As a group, they're hard working, create local jobs and support local charities. Sure, places like CarMax, Auto Nation, which are technically considered independent dealers, and franchised dealerships do those things, but I like the entrepreneurial spirit of the independent dealership that aren't multi-state corporations.

But, and there is always a but, my first responsibility is to the consumer. I want to see the consumer get the best deal possible when it comes time to buy a used car. I think the best deals are going to come at the independent dealer for most consumers.

What's the best way to take advantage of the independent seller's precarious condition? It's going to sound counter-intuitive to advice I gave recently for buying a used car with bad credit. You can get the best price by arranging your financing through the independent dealer.

After all, to get the best price you have to give a little, but only a little. Actually, you're not giving anything but you are helping the dealer. How so? The independent dealer makes money by acting as a middle man for banks and other financial institutions.

Before you go into the independent dealer, apply for used car financing online. (My wife and I did something similar when we bought our 2008 Mazda5.) Get your best interest rate and then tell the independent dealer that you will allow him or her to match the rate through one of their lenders. It works, and you are helping the dealer make a little extra money without costing you anything.

However, make sure you are prepared before going in. Don't let the dealer talk you into financing unless they can match or beat your best interest rate. There is absolutely no reason to pay a higher interest rate.

Be cautious, too, if the dealer opts to drop the price of the used car in exchange for a higher interest rate. Make sure you have an app on your phone that will help you figure out interest rates on loans. 

Let’s assume you need to borrow $10,000 to buy a used car. If you arranged 6.25% financing, the used car would cost you $12,744.29 after four years with compound interest.

But say the dealer offers to get you 7% but sell you the car for $9500. "Hey," he might say, "your monthly payment will be lower." That's true. It will be lower at $222.07 a month for the 60-month loan vs. $265.50 on the four-year loan. However, the interest on the five-year loan is $3824.44 while on the four-year loan its $2744.29.

Lets look at it this way. You would pay $12,744.29 for the $10,000 car but $13,324.44 for the $9500 car. The independent dealer and the financial institution make almost $900 more off the less expensive used car price if they convince you to look at it from a monthly payment standpoint.

You're in a position to bargain with an independent used car dealer. Give a little back, be realistic, and your used car price might be a lot lower. 

SUMMER DRIVING - TIME FOR A CAR INSPECTION


Overheating Car

Summer in Chicago is finally here, and we all need to be conscious of what the weather change can do to our vehicles. It's important to prepare your car or truck for the hot weather headed our way.


This means going beyond a simple coolant check; doing a thorough car inspection can mean the difference between cruising comfortably down the highway, or being stuck on the shoulder with steam pouring from the engine. Don't let this happen to you! Follow these steps and you'll be in the clear. 


1.) Cooling System - It's made up of coolant, the radiator, cooling fan, hoses and belts, water pump and heater core. 

Each of these items needs to be checked for leaks or other damage. One example is to check the radiator core for rot after a long winter of driving on salted roads. If left alone long enough in the heat, this rot will continue through the core piping and cause the coolant to leak out and the engine to overheat. And no one wants that.


Every car's radiator should contain antifreeze, even in the long hot summer months. This is because antifreeze is full of corrosion inhibitors, and, antifreeze has a higher boiling point than water, which means it will keep the car's engine cooler longer than water. Have some extra antifreeze on-hand, just in case you need to fill it up.

2.) Tires - Check all four, including the spare. 

It is extremely important to ensure that your vehicle has the correct air pressure in all of your tires, especially when driving on hot pavement. You can find the recommended tire pressure for your car or truck on a sticker on the inside of the driver's side door, or in the owners manual given to you at the time you purchased the vehicle. Always fill to the recommended tire pressure, NOT the maximum. 

Also, make sure the tread is in good shape. The penny trick is the best way. Turn the penny upside down so that Abe Lincoln's head is inside the tire tread. If the tread is covering his head or reaches to the top of his hair, the tread is acceptable. If it's any lower, however, it's time to replace those tires.

3.) Oil Change - Be sure to get an oil change! Engines need plenty of lubricant when it's hot, and old oil becomes sticky and can clog the lines. Changing the oil every 3,000 miles is the norm, but if you'll be doing lots of summer driving, change it more often. 

DRIVE THE SPEED LIMIT: You may not get there as fast, but you'll save your engine a lot of heat. 

IF YOUR CAR IS OVER-HEATING: Crank up the heat! Turning the heat up on the inside of the car will draw heat away from the engine, cooling it enough to get you to some place safe. If the needle continues to plunge, stop driving the car and seek help. 

Following these summer driving tips can mean plenty of long and happy road trips for you and your automobile. 

Didn't pass your summer driving car inspection? Stop in to Titan Auto Sales, reference this blog post, and receive 10% off your service!

15 MUST-HAVES FOR YOUR VEHICLE'S EMERGENCY KIT

15 Must-Haves for your Vehicle Emergency Kit


It's that time of year again. The time of year characterized by cold wind, fluffy white snow, and lots of layers. As the temperatures drop, Titan Auto is here to remind you that you NEED AN EMERGENCY KIT for your vehicle. It's important to get it done now; you never know just when it will come in handy. Read on for our list of Must-Haves.


1.) Fix-a-Flat 

2.) Jumper Cables

3.) Tire Pressure Gauge

4.) WD-40

5.) Duct Tape

6.) First-Aid Kit 

7.) Flashlight

8.) Multi-tool (Swiss Army Knife would do)

9.) Weather Radio

10.) Energy Bars

11.) Water Bottles 

12.) Ice-Scraper / Snow Brush

13.) Blankets / Towels 

14.) Mobile Device Charger

15.) Kitty Litter (for traction)

START YOUR CAR IN FREEZING COLD WINTER WEATHER

We all know that the cold can wreak havoc on our vehicles; it causes them to stall, freeze shut, or not even turn-over in the first place. It can be frustrating, and we understand the fact that when you are standing in freezing temperatures, already frozen to the bone and most likely late for work, anger can mount quickly. In order to help you through that dreaded "What do I do now?" situation, we've put together a list of ways to get that stubborn car to start.

Tips and Tricks to Start Your Car in Freezing Cold Winter Weather

1.) Coax the Engine. In engines with a carburetor - check your car's manual if you're unsure - gently push on the gas pedal while still parked. Press down once and then release. This will inject a small amount of fuel into the engine, which can help get things going. Please Note: there is no need to do this with fuel-injected engines.

2.) Shut Down Anything that Draws Power

. Be sure to close all the doors and turn off any interior lights. Shut off the radio, heater, and any other accessories that might draw power. This will give your engine it's best opportunity to start.

3.) Turn the Key and Hold for 20 Seconds.

 This helps the engine to start. Note: DO NOT hold for longer than 20 seconds; you don't want to cause any damage to the starter. If it does not work, be sure to wait a few minutes before you try again.

4.) Consult the Manual. You may not know it, but just about every car or truck manual has tips and suggestions on how to perform a cold-start.

5.) When all else Fails, Jump the Battery. If you've tried the previous steps, and still nothing happens, your battery may need to be jumped. Using jumper cables, jump-start the battery with the help of a running vehicle. A jump-box will work also.

Remembering these 5 tips can save you a lot of headache and frustration. And when you simply can't get the 'old gal' started, you can always set up an appointment with our trained service professionals here at Titan Auto Sales.

7 WINTER CAR WASH TIPS FOR YOUR CAR

Follow these winter wash tips in order to keep your car at its best:

1. Wash your vehicle every 10 days or less.

2. Wash your vehicle before the temperature reaches 35 degrees F. or higher. At freezing temperatures, road salt can't do much to hurt your car; it has to warm up to start contributing to rust.

3. Avoid driving through deep snow. Deep snow can become packed into the undercarriage and contribute to corrosion and even cause drivability problems (reduced braking action, vibrations, inhibit airflow, etc).

4. Avoid driving through large puddles of standing water where road salt collects.

5. Repair paint chips that are larger than the tip of a pen to avoid corrosion.

6. Wax your vehicle at least every three months to give your vehicle a strong protective coating.

7. Wax your vehicle before winter to protect your paint from corrosive salt.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD I WAX MY CAR?

How Often Should I Wax My Car

Most recent car-buyers appear to be on the same page regarding the need to maintain their vehicle's engine and internal workings. But what about the exterior?

It is mostly common knowledge that in order to keep up the appearance of your vehicle, particularly the paint color, you need to be laying on a good coat of wax every now and again. But how often is needed, exactly? And can you wax too much? Read on for tips to determine how long you should wait between waxes.

Generally, a Polish and Wax, or buff and wax, as it is sometimes called, is recommended once a year; it safely removes many contaminants on the vehicle’s paint surface like road tar, tree sap, and other materials that can harm your paint and clear coat. Now, if your car sees it's fair share of harsh conditions, like excess rain, dirt, salt or snow, you may need to wax your vehicle more often to ensure any damage being done to the paint surface is repaired, and to halt any long-term damage.

It is important to keep in mind that the prior maintenance of your car's exterior can make a difference in how often you need to wax as well. A vehicle that has been cared for and waxed habitually will retain it's shine for longer, and you can go longer between waxes compared to a vehicle that is only run through the car wash monthly. Whether or not your vehicle resides in a garage is another factor. Those tucking the car in at night will decrease the environmental factors affecting the car's paint, therefore increasing times between waxing.

Viewpoints differ depending on the level of expert, or do-it-yourself-er, you ask. Wax manufacturers typically recommend waxing more often than others, around once a month. If you happen to have the money and resources to spend getting your car waxed that often, than kudos. Just be sure that the wax used does NOT contain any cleaners or abrasives. If it's just a basic sealant wax with no cleaners, then there is really no such thing as waxing too often.

The time you wait between waxes relies on a variety of factors. The best way to determine how long you should wait is by weighing all of these, and deciding a course of action. Then, tweak your process as needed, using trial and error.

You can also use a simple water-bead test to determine if it's coming around time to lay on a coat of wax. Toss a bucket of water onto your vehicle, and monitor the water's behavior. If the water is beading up nicely, preferably no larger than about 1/2" diameter, than it appears your last wax job is still working for you. If you see the water run off in large puddles or sheets, than it is definitely time to bring it in.

DRIVING SAFELY - 9 STEPS TO AVOID A COLLISION

Use these 9 Steps to help you avoid a collision and remain safe on the road.

Driving a vehicle can be as safe, or as dangerous, as you decide. Most collisions are caused by drivers not paying adequate attention to the road, or not using the proper techniques taught to them in their drivers' education courses.


Today, with the proliferation of the mobile device, it is increasingly important to remember basic driving etiquette; to keep you safe, as well as the person next to you.


Practice makes perfect, right? The more you practice these next 9 steps, the easier it will be to get from Point A to Point B - safely.


1.) Confirm your directions. Taking a look at your route will keep you from making turns, changing lanes, or stopping unexpectedly.

2.) Pay attention. You should always be anticipating cars braking and people crossing the road. Ideally, you should be aware of what's going on up to 15 to 20 seconds ahead of you so you can respond accordingly and safely.

3.) Avoid distractions. If you are afraid you may be tempted, put your phone away. Consider a Bluetooth device for hands-free accessibility. Don't be distracted by children, either. If they become unruly, pull the car over and deal with them when it is safe.

4.) Don't drive too closely to other vehicles. You should be able to see the back tires of the car in front of you touching the road.

5.) Accommodate for bad weather. Drive slowly, brake sooner, and increase the distance between you and the driver in front.

6.) Don't succumb to road rage. It is safer to just let obnoxious drivers pass on by. Getting aggravated will only lead to the likelihood of a car accident.

7.) Check your blind-spot. When taking a corner or changing lanes, don't rely on your mirrors alone. When it is safe, look over your shoulder and confirm that it is clear before you make your move.

8.) Check your mirrors. Glance into your rear-view and side-view mirrors every 5-8 seconds, and especially when slowing down, so that you're aware of what is going on around you. And always use your signals so that other drivers can accommodate you.

9.) Maintain your vehicle on a regular basis. Check your tire pressure, wipers, wiper fluid, lights, and brakes often, but especially before heading out on long journeys. Always keep your inspections up to date, and keep a roadside kit in your vehicle at all times in case you need it.

10.) Above all else, STAY OFF YOUR CELL PHONE. All it takes is a single glance away from the road to put yourself, and others in danger. It simply isn't worth it. Put your cell phone in the glove box and keep it there until you've reached your destination.

AMERICANS ARE HOLDING ONTO THEIR CARS FOR LONGER

As you drive down the road today, take a look around you; no, not at the distracted drivers to your left and right on their cell phones. Take a look at the vehicles around you. What do you notice? If age comes to mind, then you’re a keen observer. According to the research company Polk, the average age of cars on the road has increased by about 2 years since 2007; today, the average vehicle is 11.4 years old.

In our economy, the need to push a vehicle farther and farther has become a necessity for most of us. Those who would have already traded in and traded up are post-poning; those who would have junked their cars long ago are googling “check engine light,” trying to extend the life of their automobiles as long as they can.

Those striving to get the most for their money may be at risk, and may not even realize it. Driving an older vehicle is just fine and dandy – as long as it’s been serviced and can operate appropriately. However, those putting off purchasing a newer vehicle in order to save money are often the ones putting off necessary service for the same reasons. According to the Consumer Report survey of U.S. drivers who have responsibility for vehicle repair decisions, 40% of respondents are currently postponing car maintenance or repairs on their primary vehicle.

This can be dangerous not only for the driver, but for other drivers on the road as well. When vehicles malfunction, accidents happen. Worn brake pads reduce stopping power. Tires with no tread slide into other cars, or property. Overlooking multiple oil changes translates into permanent damage to your car’s engine.

When we expect our cars to operate in even the harshest of conditions (oh, these Chicago winters), we need to enable them to do so. Regular maintenance and service protects your investment, and ensures dependability. Remember, saving a buck is never worth risking a life.

And when it comes time to scrap the old to make room for the new, don’t be tempted to wait… your safety depends on it.