Head For The Hills With Confidence

 

“I think I can, I think I can!” Is this what your truck says when you’re towing a boat or camper through the hills?

The little engine that could had the distinct advantage of being an American fairytale; you don’t… know before you go!

 

Can your vehicle pull its own weight and then some?

Anyone who’s ever towed a fully loaded trailer knows that it can get a little sketchy sometimes. If your underpowered or have too little stability, you could get into a number of bad scenarios. Your vehicle’s engine, transmission, brakes, tires and suspension, are all under pressure when towing an RV, boat trailer or toy hauler. Factor in adverse weather conditions and you may find yourself in a real pickle.  

What you need to know about your car, truck or SUV’s towing capacity

All towing vehicles have a maximum weight that they can safely tow. Exceeding that limit and trying to carry more than the recommended value could lead to accidents that cause damage as well as extreme wear and tear on the vehicle. (You can find the recommended weight in the owner’s manual.) Your vehicle’s tow rating takes several factors into consideration, including:

 

  1. Vehicle structure

  2. Chassis and suspension design

  3. Engine type, axle ratios, and other drivetrain variables

  4. Hitch design and class

  5. Tire ratings and load capacities

 

It’s important not to exceed these vehicle tow ratings, however there are other important weight limits that should never be exceeded while towing, including:

  • Gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR), which represents the maximum weight your vehicle can carry, including passengers, cargo, fuel and the vehicle itself.

  • Gross axle weight ratings (GAWR) on both the vehicle and trailer, which represent the maximum amount of weight a particular axle can carry, including the wheel and tire.

  • Gross combined weight rating (GCWR), which represents the maximum weight of your loaded tow vehicle and your loaded trailer combined.

  • Tongue weight or hitch weight, which should be between 10-15 percent of the total loaded trailer weight for conventional trailers and 15-30 percent of the total loaded trailer weight for gooseneck or fifth wheel trailers.

The above “Gross” ratings are on your vehicle’s door tag. See image below.

 

Exceeding even one of these ratings while towing could not only cause severe damage to your vehicle or trailer, but also put yourself, your passengers and others in danger

 

How heavy is your trailer?

Gross trailer weight is the weight of a fully loaded trailer. It’s not a weight rating determined by the manufacturer or a weight combined with any other weight — it’s the actual weight of the trailer after you’ve loaded all of your bikes, firewood, camping gear, people or any other cargo onto (or into) it. Any weight that you add to the trailer adds to the gross trailer weight. It’s as simple as that. How do you find your (GTW)? Most communities have public scales. For just a few dollars and a few minutes of your time, you can get the answers you’re looking for.

 

Inventory TM Auto Trucks

Inventory TM Auto SUV’s

 

If you’re a first time hauler, practice towing your trailer on some deserted roads before doing any actual towing out on the highway. Backing up, turning and braking should all be part of your training regimen. All that practice will come in handy for the real thing, because if you’ve done everything properly up to this point, including meeting the weight requirements, loading properly and checking equipment, then you can handle almost any challenge up or down the road.

 

Have questions about your vehicle’s towing capacity, trailer weight or other related specs? Ask Mike, text or call (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love. I’m always happy to help you find the best vehicle and ensure you’re in it for the long haul!

 

Sources:

Etrailer.com. “Are Tongue Weight, Hitch Weight and Pin Weight The Same Thing For a Fifth Wheel Trailer

” Q&A, etrailer.com, Web. 9, 4, 2018

Sourced from: https://www.etrailer.com/question-124243.html Accessed 4 Sept 2018

Uhaul “How to determine your hitch system rating”

Sourced from: https://www.uhaul.com/Articles/Tips/33/How-To-Determine-Your-Hitch-System-Rating/ Accessed 4 Sept 2018

COUNTING CARS

Can one have too many cars? Well, as a used car dealer my knee jerk reaction is…, never! I mean I have around 20-30 at all times and seldom drive the same one two days in a row, it’s great! Ok, I get that I might possibly be a little tiny bit bias but still, is that something that people are concerned with? Should we be considering the risks of owning too many cars or is there even such a thing?

It’s easy to imagine that most people own 2, maybe 3 cars each, considering the variety of styles available, and the level of importance most Americans place on their automobiles. However, the peak amount of cars per household in 2006 was only about 2.05. That number correlates roughly with the economy’s highs and lows as you might expect and the recession of the late 2000’s created a bottomless pit decaying into 2010 bringing that number down to a little over 1.8. The lasting effects of this were pedestrians choosing public transportation and carpooling over driving, some ultimately relocating to cities where no personal transportation was even necessary. Some of you here in Hampton Roads may remember the “big move” to northern Virginia beginning around 2012. Also, generation Y (millennials) who as consumers showed much less interest in car ownership due to conservation concerns and affordability also helped drive the percentage of car owners down.

This all makes perfect sense and predictably, these numbers have rebounded with the economy’s upward climb. However, there are some noticeable behavioral changes in the average car buyer. Americans today have fewer light-duty vehicles, drive less, and are consuming less fuel. Hmmm, more car but less motoring over all tells me we’re onto something. We want our cars to last, we want comfort and convenience and saving money is higher than ever on our priority list. Once bitten twice shy? You could say that car enthusiasts today are justifiably more discriminating. The economy, fuel prices, and the negatives of consumption are great teachers. In addition to a greater economy, many of those Gen Y millennials are in their 30’s now. They’re getting older and at a stage in life where salaries are higher and guess what… kids are on the way! The percentage of car owning millennials has gone from 14 to over 29. The fact is we need transportation and though specific demographics are bound to hoof it and others will take trains and busses, the majority of Americans love their cars.  

So what do the studies say? The total number of cars per household falls naturally around 2, going up slightly as kids reach adulthood and prepare to leave the nest. What we also know is that heavier duty vehicles are more popular and that car owners are spending more responsibly using less fuel, and driving shorter distances. So how many cars are cool you ask? Well, look in your driveway… that’s about right 🙂

 

Sources:

Schmitz, Matt. “How many cars does the average American own?” CARS.COM CARS.com. 15 March 2017. Web. 8, 20,2018 https://www.cars.com/articles/how-many-cars-does-the-average-american-own-1420694459157/

 

Oh the places you will go!

Finally! The sun is out, and the road to Summer vacation is calling your name. It’s time for a brand new adventure. A weekend in the woods, a day at the beach, a cross-country road trip or just a trip to the store can be exciting with the right set of wheels. 

 

The Road is Calling Your Name

 

A weekend drive along the coast with the top down could be an epic experience in a sporty BMW Z-4 convertible or 427 Ford Mustang Convertible or the more adventurous 4dr Jeep Grand Cherokee with climbing power, just depends on your cargo! Your kids and your family dog may squeeze into your current mode of transportation, but if you’re serious about beaching it, you need more.

 

It’s no news that these cars are ideal for summer travel, highlights to seal the deal for die-hard DRIVERS.

 

*Four-wheel-drive jeeps provide total beach access to FUN!

*Going topless, there’s nothing quite like it in a Jeep OR Sports Car

*Only enough room for two in your sports car, this is a good thing!

*Jeep Cherokee offers the advantages of an ultimate adventure mobile with added luxury for long trips 

*Most jeeps have a reasonably low base price so a used Jeep Wrangler or even a Rubicon are feasible options!

*If you’ve never driven a convertible classic like the 1968 Chevrolet Camaro then call me, it’s an experience everyone should have 

*5-6 speed manual transmission puts you in control of every peak and valley

*Sunroof and T-tops are standard options, awesome for sunny days and starry nights

*Bose, Infinity, & Blauplunkt sound systems are the norm, a necessity for cruising

*Most handle athletically for speedy turns, yet have comfortable interiors for long trips

*All the luxury options that you want, AC and power everything are usually standard

 

A weekend jaunt to the woods with all your gear begs for a roomy Ford Explorer or if you need more cargo room AND four doors then this loaded 2012 Ford F-150 will do the job perfectly! A few hours in most cars are doable, but for a family excursion along the coast or to the mountains, your time at the wheel is much more of a consideration. Make it count from driveway to journey’s end.

Road hugging, sporty, and fast or off-road adventurous driving, these vehicles welcome the challenge. Two door coupes and convertibles or four door, four wheel drive SUVs and trucks, fun awaits!

 

Think About Which Car is Right for YOU

You may not always have the need for speed and adventure but when you do… nothing satisfies better than putting some distance between you and home. See TM Auto’s inventory

Wherever the journey takes you, make every mile a memory. Your journey begins and ends with transportation and your ride can make or break the experience. Buy your vehicle with your journey in mind and you’ll never regret it. Sure, we all have a need for our daily driver, a trusty shuttle is essential. However, traveling in these can be great or not so great, depending on where you’re going and who’s tagging along. When selecting your car, it’s smart to look at the bigger picture. Whether you’re planning a perfect family beach day or a weekend camping trip, how you get to the promised land is important. Having the right vehicle for the occasion is vital so the journey is as memorable as the destination itself.

Every family, big and small, has different needs. There are plenty of makes and models to go around and one to fit every lifestyle and budget. Whatever your adventure and whichever vehicle you prefer, let me help you get there!  Please browse my website and See TM Auto’s Inventory. Choose from a wide variety of used vehicles.

If you don’t see what you’re looking for, I can find it for you! I’m always available to answer your questions, feel free to text or call (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love.

2018 Best Cars for Summer

With the exception of an occasional cold day, the end of winter is in sight and the sun is finally peeking through the clouds! We’ve had a long, cold winter and now we can all look forward to hanging up our coats and unpacking our tees! This change in the weather brings big changes in our lifestyles too. More time outside, exercise, fresh air, and lots more fun are on tap for the coming months!

Spring is when it all begins again; beach trips, Saturdays in the park, boating, golfing, surfing… too many to list right? It’s easy to get excited about travel and vacationing this time of year. So, you and your family are ready, but what about the family ride? The right car is essential to enjoying the Spring and Summer. After all that time indoors, you’re planning on getting some distance between you and home! Yup, enjoying a good beach breeze and a drive along the coast in a cool convertible would be awesome. Check out this 2007 Ford Mustang in our inventory right now. What a great way to kick off Spring Break!

More like the Griswold family… Wally World? Spring Break is coming fast so check out this 2010 Chevy Traverse with plenty of legroom. It may be your best choice! There’s plenty of space for the kids, cargo, coolers and friends, including the four legged variety.

Spring is every weekend warrior’s favorite season. Whether it’s for work of play, something more functional with lots of space for equipment and tools is always great choice. Trucks like this Ford F450 or Ford F150  are ideal for tough jobs. This is the perfect time of year for catching up your home improvement list; could be fun with a new truck! Own a construction company and need more space? Check out this pristine extended cargo van and the cab forward box truck that has plenty of room for a growing business.

 

Top down tooling around or truck bed full of tools; embrace a new season with a new ride. Whatever your lifestyle, TM Auto has the right car for you! Experience stress free car buying with TM Auto’s Guaranteed Credit Approval, and cruise into summer 2018 in style! Email me at mike@tmautova.com or phone/ text me at 757-560-4252. Ask for Mike Love. I’m always happy to answer your questions get you in the car you want!  

To Grandmother’s House We Go

Travel In Comfort This Holiday Season

The autumn chill has settled and the leaves are changing, bright pops of reds and oranges along the highways. Holidays are just around the corner, and we can all look forward to spending time in our cars, whether it be a short trip to the grocery store for extra stuffing or a long drive to Grandma’s house. The journey is the destination, as they say, and it’s important to keep comfort in mind during these long hours in the car.

 

Of course, comfort means different things to different people. When you’re looking for a new vehicle, it’s important to keep your specific needs in mind. For example, if you’re headed across state lines with four kids and a dog in tow, your first concern is space and durability. Are you looking for an SUV or a minivan? Would you prefer easy to clean leather seats? Then again, if your family goes all out on decorations, you might consider something with room to store your lights, trees, and figurines, like a pickup truck. But what if you’re looking forward to a romantic holiday of two? Something smaller and sportier might suit your needs. You can keep costs down on your get-away by going for a fuel-efficient option, too.

With your specific needs in consideration, it’s time to narrow down what exactly you’re looking for in a car — and how much you can afford. Start by creating a checklist of features you prioritize in a vehicle and narrow down your options from there.

Some things to consider while creating this list might be:

  • Safety Features 
  • 4WD, All-Wheel Drive, 2WD
  • Wheel Base / Leg Room
  • Luxury / Comfort
  • Towing Capacity
  • Fuel Efficiency
  • Reliability
  • Maintenance Costs
  • Price

 

Once you have your ‘Must Haves’ and a solid budget, it’s time to start looking at cars! Check out TM Auto’s inventory online, and feel free to call 757-560-4252 and ask for Mike Love. I’ll be happy to answer your questions and guide you through your next car purchase.  

Winter Maintenance Alert

Is Your Car Ready for Winter?

It’s easy to forget about the cold ahead when it’s still warm enough for a t-shirt, but winter is on its way. Your car navigates dry roads and warm weather just fine! However, can it handle a cold snap and black ice? Now is the time to prepare your vehicle for winter as engine performance and driveability can dramatically decline in cold weather.

As you go over your winter prep checklist, don’t forget to replace old, dirty filters, such as air, fuel, and PCV. A poorly running engine is less efficient and burns more gasoline. You should also go ahead and replace old windshield blades. If you’re particularly worried about the frost, rubber-clad or winter blades can fight ice buildup.

A few other things to check

 

Fluids

One of the best and easiest ways to winterize your car is to check your fluid levels. One of the most important things to double-check is your coolant. Ensure that there is the correct antifreeze/water mixture; fill it to the maximum line. You can pick up a tester at any auto parts store. Another important yet often overlooked fluid to check is your wiper fluid. You should get freeze-resistant wiper fluid to keep your windshield clean and ice-free. Remember to double-check your oil as well and replace it as needed.

Tires

On wet or frozen roads, low air pressure and worn down tires are particularly dangerous. Pick up a tire gauge at any auto parts store and try and keep your tire pressure between the recommended levels for your vehicle according to your manual (usually between 30 and 35 PSI). Check the tread depth quickly and easily using a penny! Place a penny between the treads on your tire, head side down. If the top of his head disappears, your tires are probably okay. However, if the entire head is visible then you may have to replace your tire, the tread is too shallow. You may also want to ask about getting your tires rotated to prevent uneven wear.

Batteries

Winter can be cruel to your battery. Not only does cold weather make your battery less likely to start your car, but it also reduces the battery capacity. As temperatures fall, it’s a good idea to inspect the battery as well as the cables, terminals, and fluid.

When checking over the battery, make sure that there are no cracks and that the terminals fit snugly. Check battery fluid by uncovering the refill hole. Refill with distilled water if the level is below the bottom of the cap. Some automotive stores like Advanced Auto will check your battery for free!

Emergency Kit

Important, but often overlooked, you should always have a safety kit in your car. Having a few safety items such as road flares, a jack, a lug wrench, and a first aid kit can save the day. If you don’t have one now, you should put one together soon! Once you have your basic kit, add these seasonal items to prepare for the cold:

 

  • Flashlight

  • Blanket, leather gloves, and hat

  • Bag of kitty litter/sand

  • Ice scraper/brush and small shovel

  • Leak-proof container of coolant

  • Snacks

 

By updating a few parts and keeping a strict maintenance schedule, you’ll be ready for winter and avoid costly breakdowns right before Christmas! However, if another winter is too much for your car to handle, let’s talk. TM Auto’s inventory is loaded! Take advantage of TM Auto’s Absolute Credit Approval on a used car, truck, van, or SUV.

 

Call (757)560-4552 and ask for Mike Love!

 

Turning Over A New Leaf

Start the New Year off right with confidence and a plan! Isn’t that what we say every year? Well this year I have a couple suggestions that may help you achieve these resolutions plus, peace of mind. Financial woes and poor credit scores are two of the most common causes of stress this time of year. Whether it’s challenging credit, no credit, or the need for more credit, finances affect our lives year after year. Tm Auto can help you establish or rebuild your credit this January and avoid “Tax Season” price gouging at the same time. By making stable, monthly payments on a large purchase such as a used car, truck, or SUV, you prove to creditors that you are a trustworthy spender. Every payment you make on time and in full raises your credit score; great news for just about anyone wishing to improve these crucial three numbers. Restoring your credit by purchasing a reliable automobile that would otherwise be out of reach just might be the plan you’re looking for! We offer “Absolute Credit Approval” regardless of your credit score so you can get started on that resolution right away!

You can also save on your used car between December and mid January! Due to suppliers capitalizing on profits as tax season approaches, car prices will go up at many dealerships after the first of the year. I’m able to offer some of my best deals up to January 15th. No gouging; just the most car for your money and a stress free car-buying experience.

            Establishing good credit starts by making regular, on-time payments but there is more to “turning over a new leaf” than this. Below are some suggestions that you may find helpful in the New Year.

  1.     Budget for a Credit Card – You’re checking account is in good standing and you regularly use your debit card, but have stayed away from credit out of a fear of going over your limit. There is no need to fear credit. If you budget correctly, a credit card becomes an easy way to boost your credit rating. It’s not much at first, but if the maximum payment is made every month, your credit rating will go up accordingly.
  2.     Always Pay on Time – Paying off the maximum balance on a credit card is great, but it means nothing if payments aren’t made on time. Payment history is the most important tool in establishing your credit score, and helps you establish yourself as a trustworthy buyer!
  3.     Keep a Low balance – Credit limits vary from card to card, and it can be tempting to use close to your monthly limit. As a rule of thumb however, you should only utilize 10-30% of your credit at any one time. It’s okay to go over this occasionally, but consistently going over this self-imposed limit can indicate financial irresponsibility.

TM Auto Wholesalers specializes in “The stress free car buying experience”. A purchase from our inventory can help you establish or repair your credit while saving you cash for holiday expenses! Feel free to contact me online at mike@tmautova.com, or by phone or text at 757-560-4252. Ask for Mike and start the New Year off right!

The Big Gift

THE BIG GIFT!

Is this the year? You know… for your teen’s BIG GIFT! That long awaited iconic symbol of freedom, sovereignty, and coolness. The singular most important possession that let’s everyone, everywhere know with absolute certainty, “I’m officially grown up.” This gift of all gifts represents the next chapter in your child’s life as well as your trust in them. It is the time-honored ticket to ride, their first car!

Like all astute parents and shoppers, you have questions… lots of questions. At the top of the list may be whether to buy new, used, or to pass down the family car. Well, rest assured that new, used, big or small, it’s going to be a hit. Your decision ultimately comes down to what makes the most sense.

The obvious choice is simply to pass down the family car. It’s often paid for and thoroughly road tested. When it comes to repairs and safety, nothing provides more peace of mind than knowing your car’s service record. It’s also likely to generate lower insurance premiums. There are plenty of good reasons to pass down the family car however; there are some “Not so good reasons” too. It’s a good idea to consider modern safety features such as side-curtain airbags, blind-spot indicators, backup cameras, and forward- and rear- collision alerts which are all good for new drivers. Passing down the family car makes sense as long as it’s safe and reliable.

New cars are also a strong consideration. The most up-to-date safety features and technology often come standard. Those with a good reliability record will need few or no repairs for at least the first three years of ownership. This means peace of mind, less headaches, and little or no maintenance costs. A new car is an easy sell as long as cost is not high on your list of concerns.  

Used cars are also a great choice. Affordable (not cheap) used automobiles are often the best way to go for teens and parents shopping for a starter vehicle. Buying the newest used car possible will likely get you the most up-to-date safety features available for your money. This is very important for novice drivers. By adding a few dollars for a good reliability record, you’ll have less repair costs and greater peace of mind. Check the CARFAX before buying to see it’s history. Small sedans and hatchbacks from mainstream brands, or even better, midsized sedans are great choices for fuel economy and lower insurance premiums.

This opportunity comes but once in a lifetime folks. Buy smart, enjoy the moment, and have a wonderful holiday! Find more articles on ASK MIKE’S blog here at www.tmautova.com and please share! Feel free to call or text (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love. I’ll be happy to answer your questions and assist you with purchasing your next car, truck, or SUV.