Car Maintenance Tips and Advice from Russ Darrow

Posted on April 10, 2017

Owning a car takes car maintenance such as getting an oil change periodically as well as other aspects of maintenance. It is important to know what maintenance should be done and when. When you own a vehicle you likely know that some work is involved. You not only have to keep gas in it, you also have to keep up with various aspects of maintenance.

The maintenance aspect that likely is done most often during the year is an oil change. It is a good idea to do other types of maintenance while you have your vehicle in for this.Having an oil change was at one time something done around every 3 months or 3,000 miles. This part of car maintenance is important for keeping your car running which in turn is for your safety. Other maintenance aspects are even more important for your safety, but they will not need as much attention as often as your car needs an oil change.Many times when you get an oil change, the price will include things like tire rotation, alignment, brake checks, and a filling of fluids. All of these areas are also important to your vehicle, and getting them checked whenever you do get your oils changed might help prevent bigger problems later. Tire rotation will keep your tires from wearing in the same spot.

Making sure your alignment is on target will keep your car going straight down the road and also helps with tire wear. Having your brakes checked periodically is definitely a good thing for your safety. You might want them to check your rotors, pads, or other parts of the braking system to make sure everything is working well. It is also wise to have the fluids in your vehicle topped off in case you were getting low.The reason an oil change is so important for your vehicle is because the oils lubricate all of the various parts of the engine. Without it, your engine will be ruined. With too dirty of oils, your engine will not run as well, and will eventually be ruined. If you are busy and only have time for a quick lube that is fine. Just make sure that you have those other maintenance issues checked out when you do have time and especially if you are noticing symptoms of a problem.

Problems with your brakes could show up with symptoms such as the brake pedal feeling squishy, hearing a squealing sound when braking, or smelling a burning smell. These do not necessarily mean a problem, but you should get them checked out if you notice it. Hopefully you will take the time to maintain your car so that it will last as long as you had hoped when you purchased it. You might think that it costs too much to keep your car maintained, but it will actually end up costing you more if you do not maintain.

       

Russ Darrow Tips For Protecting Your Car from Winter Weather

Posted on February 9, 2017

Snow and ice can hinder your vehicle’s performance if proper maintenance and precautions haven’t been taken prior to harsh weather. Read on to learn about how you can get your car ready and keep it safe during this cold, winter season.

 

A vehicle with low fuel may be at risk for frozen fuel lines. If the tank is low, condensation can form on the inside of the tank and drip into the fuel line. If water mixes into the gas lines, it can freeze and block the flow of fuel to your engine. Avoid this by keeping your gas tank full or at least filled up half way.

Although road salt helps keep drivers safe on the streets, it can cause major damage to your vehicle body and undercarriage. It's a little late now to plan ahead before the first snowfall, but keeping your car clean throughout the winter can help cut down on the damage. Wash your car frequently then have your car waxed and sealed after.

Replacing your vehicles's wiper blades and washer fluid is a common maintenance task that often gets overlooked. If your wipers are worn or have hardened, they need to be changed. De-icing washer fluid that has antifreeze added to it can help increase visibility.

Protect your paint job, defend against ice on your windshield, and keep fluids from freezing by sheltering your vehicle. If you have a garage, use it. If you don’t, it would be smart to invest in a car cover. Unfortunately, a cover won't save you from freezing fluids, but it will help save your paint and protect your windshield.

Cold weather is hard on car batteries. Check your battery life before the harsh weather hits. If your battery fails to start, let it recover for 30 seconds before trying again. If it still fails to start, make sure to wipe off any corrosion before you get a jump.

Your vehicle's tires may become inflated with the drop in outside temperatures. It’s a good idea to check the air pressure in each one of your tires before heading out on the road. Your owner’s manual can tell you the right PSI for your tires. If you're driving your vehicle with under-inflated tires, it could cause significant tread wear and could generate excessive heat causing your vehicle to work harder than it should be. 

Following these six safety tips can help prevent exterior car damage from harsh weather conditions, and could even help protect you and your passengers in case of an emergency.


       

Russ Darrow Tips For Driving Safely On Icy Roads

Posted on January 4, 2017

Driving on ice or snow is a much different experience than driving on traction-friendly dry pavement. Before you venture out into a snowstorm this season, brush up on your winter driving skills with these 15 tips.

 

1. If you can, just stay home. The safest way to navigate icy roads is by not being on them.

 

2. Drive much slower than you think you should. Never go above 45 MPH, even on the interstate. You can still slide at 10 MPH, though, so don’t let your reduced speed make you feel overly confident.

 

3. Don’t completely stop unless you have to in deep snow. Roll through intersections slowly to avoid getting stuck in the icy patches that surround 4-way stops.

 

4. Know how to get your car unstuck. It’s likely to happen at some point this winter.

 

5. Don’t hit the brakes too hard. The best method for braking is to put your heel on the floor and angle the pad of your foot to firmly (but gently) press down on the brake. Don’t do it too quickly, or you may find yourself sliding.

 

6. If you’re sliding or fishtailing, it’s a good sign you’re driving too quickly for the road conditions.

 

7. If you do slide, turn into the slide. Turning away from it can cause you to overcorrect and slam the other way. Turning into it can help you recover and regain traction.

 

8. Don’t use cruise control. If you hit an icy patch you didn’t see, you want to be able to immediately stop adding gas instead of fumbling for controls. Hitting the brakes can cause an even worset spin or fishtail.

 

9. Accelerate and decelerate slowly. Doing either too quickly can cause you to lose traction and slide.

 

10. Be a defensive driver. It doesn’t matter how good you are at driving in bad weather if the person next to you brakes too hard and hits your car.

 

11. Try not to be a good Samaritan. Stopping for others can put you, your car and other drivers at risk. Rubbernecking doesn’t stop just because it’s icy, and drivers can lose focus on the road if they see multiple cars that may look like they’ve been in an accident. If the situation doesn’t look life-threatening, call 911 and report the accident instead of stopping yourself.

 

12. Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid it freezing up when temperatures drop below freezing. This will make it easier to start in the mornings.

 

13. Have your emergency kit in your car’s trunk. Many of these items can be the difference between calmly waiting for emergency response vehicles to reach you and shivering in your car until help arrives.

 

14. Do one thing at a time. Keep your wheels straight while you decelerate, then turn, then accelerate. Driving on snow or ice means simplifying all of your actions.

 

15. Don’t drive distracted. It’s never a good idea to play with your phone or give your radio your full concentration, but icy roads can be especially dangerous to distracted drivers.

 

Being overly confident in your driving skills or in the safety features that should help you stay on the road can be the quickest way to find yourself sliding off of it. If you do have an accident, stay calm and call 911 if you can and need to.

 

Hopefully, you’ll be able to stay on the road safely this winter, especially if you keep these 15 tips in mind.

       

How to Get Your Teen a Reliable Car

Posted on November 3, 2016

With kids going back to school, which means even more expenses for parents, but parents of sophomores and juniors likely have another dilemma on their hands—how can they afford to get their soon-to-be-drivers a vehicle?

 

Don’t make it a gift

 

Giving your child a set of gift-wrapped keys for their 16th birthday is a lovely idea. It’s also wildly impractical for many American families today, especially for households with multiple kids. It’s hard enough to buy one extra vehicle, much less two or three.

 

Involve your teenager in the entire process. They should be just as invested in you picking out a reasonably prices vehicle. Hopefully, this will help motivate them to share payments on it, as well. You should look for a vehicle with a short payoff period, as your child may not be able to keep up a loan without your direct supervision. However, you can look for 2-3 year loans that will realistically be paid off before your young adult leaves the house.

 

Share payments

 

You shouldn’t carry the burden of car payments alone. Get them a dependable vehicle (hopefully with a warranty) that will last them into their 20s. This will give them the experience of paying off a loan with you as support to make sure they get their credit history off on the right foot. Then, when they’re ready to have a loan under their own name as an adult, they’ll have both the credit history and the experience to be successful.

Budget and save

 

Don’t take full responsibility for saving the money for your child’s first car. Your child should also be pitching in money from their part-time job, lawn mowing work or babysitting. If they’re currently getting by on just their allowance, it may be time to encourage them to look outside the home to make a little extra money for their vehicle. At minimum, they should pay for the car’s gas.

 

Skip other expenses

 

Sure, your high schooler may want to go on that trip to Europe or to join an expensive league sport, but is it worth them having to bum rides from their friends or wait for you to pick them up? Part of sharing the responsibility for the vehicle means they may have to give up other fun activities.

 

Get a reliable vehicle

 

To get your teen a vehicle that will last them through college or their early working years, follow the three-step checklist:

 

1. Does it have a clean title?

2. Has it been inspected and reconditioned by a trained mechanic?

3. Does it come with a warranty?

 

Making sure your child’s vehicle will allow them to spend their first working years free of a car payment can help set them up for success with their credit score and their first apartment or home search. Having one less bill to worry about may mean the difference between making their own rent or moving back home, after all!

 

       

Russ Darrow's Short Guide to Cost of Ownership

Posted on September 29, 2016

If you’ve figured out an affordable monthly car payment for your budget, determining the total cost of ownership is the next step in learning how to finance a car. Even the best laid plans can sometimes fall apart, which is why it’s important to anticipate unexpected expenses along your way to buying a car. If you have extra money at the end of the month, consider saving cash for any surprise budget strains.

 

Expenses Affecting Total Cost of Ownership

Make sure you can afford the true total cost of ownership of your car before committing yourself to repaying a contract over a 3-5 year period. These are typical car expenses you can expect.

Weekly / Biweekly Expenses

  • Your car payment
  • Fuel costs

Monthly/ Seasonal Expenses

  • Oil changes
  • Wiper blades
  • Window washer fluid
  • Service checks by mileage

Semi-annual or annual costs

  • Registration / license plates
  • Car insurance premium

Service and warranty packages can help to lower the total cost of ownership by minimizing some expenses.

 

 

 

       

Russ Darrow's fuel efficiency tips

Posted on August 19, 2016

With warmer temperatures and motorists getting ready to put more miles on their vehicles, Russ Darrow Group explains ways in which drivers can be more fuel-efficient. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, the United States consumed approximately 104.43 billion gallons of gasoline in 2015. While this is 1.5 % less than the record high consumed in 2007, it’s still an incredible amount.

To maximize your car’s fuel efficiency, follow these expert tips from Russ Darrow. 

Check your tires. Keep your tires properly inflated and aligned to reduce the amount of drag your engine has to overcome. Properly inflated tires can reduce fuel consumption by up to three percent. Your tires lose about 1 pound per square inch (PSI) each month, especially when it’s cold out, so make sure to check your tires at least once a month.

Keep your vehicle well tuned. A properly tuned engine maximizes power and enhances fuel efficiency. Regular maintenance, such as oil changes, air filter changes, and sparkplug replacements, will improve fuel economy as well as lengthen the life of your vehicle. 

Lose some weight. Weight is one of the biggest causes for loss of kinetic energy. Having excess weight in your car wastes fuel, especially during acceleration. Take some time to clean out your trunk and backseat to eliminate any unnecessary items weighing your car down.

Don’t be a drag. You want your car to be as aerodynamic as possible for highway driving. After 30 miles per hour, your car uses more energy to overcome wind resistance. To minimize drag, close your windows and sunroof while driving on the highway and remove bike racks or roof boxes when they’re not in use.

Be a smooth operator. Driving consciously and smoothly will help save fuel and keep you safe. Accelerating too quickly or slowly can put a strain on the motor and limit fuel economy. It should take about 15-20 seconds to reach 50 miles per hour, providing your car with a gentle start to reach an economic speed. Once you successfully reach your desired speed, cruise control is also a useful tool to help maintain it without wasting energy and fuel.

Consider a hybrid or electric. Car manufacturers are working hard to offer a variety of options when it comes to vehicles that provide increased gas mileage and/or a reduced impact on the environment. This includes the 2016 Honda CR-X LX Hybrid, the 2016 Kia Optima Hybrid EX, the 2016 Nissan LEAF SL (electric), and a variety of hybrids from Toyota, including a RAV4, Prius, Avalon, and Camry.

       

Russ Darrow's Tip's | Staying safe while Ballpark tailgating

Posted on August 5, 2016

Ballpark tailgating is a tradition at sporting events and enhances the experience of attending a game. With the baseball season in full swing, Russ Darrow Group offers tips on how to make the best of tailgating and how to stay safe. So fill your vehicle with friends, brats, and beverages because the ballpark is calling.

      The first step to ballpark tailgating is to organize the people, the meeting spot, and the food. Make sure everyone knows where to meet and what to bring. To make finding one another easier, place a flag on your vehicle or set up a tent. This doubles as an easy signifier of your spot and shows your support for the team.

      Arrive to the stadium early to prepare your tailgate. You’ll need time to set up, prepare food, sit back and relax, and properly pack up before heading into the game. In Milwaukee, Miller Park opens three hours before a game and requires tailgating activities end 30 minutes after the game starts. Knowing that, give yourself plenty of time to enjoy the day and respectfully clean up your area before entering the stadium.

      Research the restrictions of your tailgate spot before arriving. For Miller Park, only self-contained-charcoal units or state-approved, gas/propane units with fuel-valve turn-offs are permitted. When you’re done grilling, let the coals cool off and dispose of charcoal in the coal bins provided before putting the grill back in your car. It doesn’t hurt to keep a fire extinguisher and first aid kit on hand just in case.

      Food is often the most important part of tailgating, so it’s crucial to make sure it stays safe to eat. Keep all perishable foods in a cooler with plenty of ice. To prevent cross-contamination, wash utensils, cutting boards, and other surfaces every time raw meat comes in contact with them. Be prepared with a meat thermometer so you know when your meat is grilled to perfection. If any perishable foods are left out for over an hour in hot temperatures, play it safe and toss them out to avoid eating spoiled food and getting sick.

 

      Tailgating parties and baseball games often times go hand-in-hand with consuming alcohol. Be sure to choose a designated driver before arriving to ensure you and your friends have a safe ride home. If all else fails, call a cab, Uber, or Lyft to safely bring you home. 

       

Russ Darrow's Tip's | Staying safe on the side of the road

Posted on August 5, 2016

      Summer means more leisure activities and family road trips. With an increase in driving, the chance of experiencing vehicle troubles may increase. Russ Darrow Group explains how to stay safe on the side of the road should your vehicle become disabled.

      When you notice something wrong with the vehicle, the first step is to slow down and pull over to the side of the road. Try to coast along the shoulder until you’re away from any curves in the road behind you. When you reach the side of the road, put your car in park, engage the emergency brake, spin your steering wheel away from the road, and activate your hazard lights.

      Never work on your vehicle from the side that’s exposed to traffic. This puts you at a greater risk of being hit by oncoming traffic. If you can, drive your vehicle farther off the road and try to reach the trouble area from the front or the side that’s away from traffic.

      If your engine ceases operation and you’re unable to exit the road, stay in the car and engage your hazards. While sitting in an inoperable vehicle in traffic is unnerving, attempting to cross traffic on foot is dangerous. If it is dark out, keep an interior light on so you are more visible.
      After calling for assistance, make additional attempts to notify other drivers your vehicle is inoperable. Motorists recognize an open car hood or white rag as an indicator that the vehicle is unable to move. In the event of this type of an predicament, keep an emergency kit in your car that includes reflective triangles that can be used to warn oncoming traffic.   

      While having vehicle trouble is scary in itself, remaining calm and following these steps will help you, your passengers, and other vehicles on the road stay safe.

 

 

          

       

Russ Darrow Group Keeps Teen Drivers Safe

Posted on August 4, 2016

       Summer is a wonderful time to get back outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. These exciting times means it is even more important to remember the rules of the road and how to stay safe behind the wheel. Russ Darrow Group offers guidance for teen drivers to help keep everyone on the road safe. 

Buckle Up

Not only is wearing a seatbelt the law, it also has been proven to save lives. According to Consumer Reports magazine, in fatal crashes involving 16-20 year olds, 60 percent were unbuckled at the time of the crash. 

Stay Off The Phone

Teens seem to be constantly consumed by their phones, but it is imperative that they refrain from using them while driving. Research shows texting while driving can cause a driver to lose focus for 4.6 seconds. While this may seem short, accidents happen in a blink of an eye. If you do receive a call or text while driving, hand it over to the passenger to take care of. If you’re by yourself, wait until you arrive to your destination or safely pull over to the side of the road to respond.

Obey The Speed Limit

Speeding is a major contributor to fatal accidents, especially in high traffic areas. Going too fast gives drivers less time to stop or react to changing situations. Obeying the speed limit helps keep you safe and prevents you from obtaining expensive speeding tickets that can cause high auto insurance premiums.

Minimize Distractions

Eating, drinking, changing the radio station, or talking with multiple passengers can be distracting and cause you to pay less attention to the road. These distractions make it easier to lose control of the vehicle. Teens should limit themselves to only one passenger and avoid multitasking while in control.

Consider Other Drivers

Drive like you own the car, not the entire road. Always be aware and cautious of those driving around you. Stay at least one car length behind the car in front of you, increasing this buffer zone as you drive faster. 

Russ Darrow Group encourages teen drivers to use their heads while driving and respect the other cars on the road. Obey the rules of the road, wear a seatbelt, and eliminate any distractions to keep you, your passengers, and everyone on the road safe. 

       

Russ Darrow's Tip's | Corrective Maintenance versus Preventative Maintenance

Posted on July 20, 2016

       The Differences between Preventative and Corrective Maintenance Unlike preventative maintenance which is done with the goal of preventing a problem, corrective maintenance is done to correct a problem or fault once it has been detected. Its goal is to restore operability. Another difference between preventative and corrective maintenance involves the procedures. For example, with a preventative service order, the technician knows exactly what needs to be done such as change the oil, inspect belts, or lubricate moving parts.  

       With a corrective maintenance service order, the tasks depend on what’s found. Corrective maintenance often requires extensive diagnosis before any repairs can be made or parts replaced. For example, a technician may need to speak with workers who witnessed a malfunction to gain a better understanding of what happened before inspecting the equipment. By understanding the symptoms and potential causes, the technician can make a better diagnosis. Because of the unknowns associated with corrective maintenance, the process typically takes much longer than a preventative task. For example, when creating a service order for a routine tune-up, you’ll know exactly how long the tune-up should take as well as the typical parts that might be needed. With a corrective service call, the time and parts required are unknown variables.

       When is Corrective Maintenance Appropriate? While preventing breakdowns is desirable, corrective maintenance can’t be avoided completely. There’s no way to predict an unexpected breakdown, defect, or fault. Even perfectly maintained equipment could be vulnerable to defects or external factors such as power surge. Careless operation of the equipment could also require corrective measures. In addition, some preventative measures could be cost-prohibitive with little benefit. If the equipment is nearing the end of its useful life or on schedule to be replaced soon, it may make more sense to postpone costly preventative repairs and take a wait-and-see approach. Another consideration involves how the equipment is used and what would happen if it experienced a major breakdown.

        Preventative and corrective maintenance each have their place. Knowing the differences can help you make the best choice.

       

Russ Darrow Tips | 5 Good Car Cleaning Products To Have

Posted on May 31, 2016

Our Service Technicians take care of each used car in our Russ Darrow inventory, and they are pros when it comes to cleaning the vehicles. Here are five cleaning items we think are a must for your used car:


1. Dashboard Wipes: No need to have a roll of paper towels and some car cleaner – get the combination cleaner/paper towel dashboard wipes from your local automotive shop. Kids? Pets? If so, we might suggest keeping them in the car for quick cleanup.


2. Handheld Vacuum: Pennies, french-fries and gum wrappers are among some of the most common items found in the hardest-to-reach places in your used car. Equip yourself with a handheld vacuum (and long, narrow attachment) to suck up the mess.


3. Car Air Freshener: After time, any used vehicle can begin to develop a musk… And some not so pleasant. There are thousands of car air fresheners on the market. Pick up one that suits your senses – your passengers might thank you for it.


4. Headlight Cleaner: After the miles begin piling on your used car, your headlights can begin to oxidize, and become cloudy. Today, the spray of a simple headlight cleaner might be all that is needed. It will not only look better, but make night-time driving a little safer too!


5. Car Wax: Yes, waxing your car makes it look nice and shiny, but it also protects! After you finish washing your vehicle, take the time to wax it at least once a year – you’ll notice how the water beads off!


If your vehicle needs more than a good cleaning, and you’re ready to buy and newer car, come see our inventory! 



       

Leasing or buying - Which option is better for you?

Posted on May 12, 2016

Over the past few years, the popularity of car leasing has soared. When you compare leasing with buying a car and suffering the humongous monthly installment fees, leasing provides a better and more viable financial option.

'Auto Leasing Defined'

You would "lease" a car by paying for the costs by which the vehicle depreciates in value. You can calculate depreciation costs by subtracting the car's value by the time that the lease ends, from its original value. There are cars which depreciate more than other brands. The rule of thumb is, the smaller the amount that your car depreciates, the lesser the costs to lease.

 

Once you decide to go for leasing over buying a vehicle, you may choose the one with the least depreciation value.

 

If you decide to go for this option, you need to learn about "lease term". This is the number of months that the vehicle is leased. Typically, leases last for 24, 36 or 48 months, depending on your contract.

 

'Leasing or buying: Which option is kinder to your pocket?'

 

-Automobile leasing requires you to have a good credit, so if your credit score is low, it is better to go for buying. You may even be disapproved for a lease if your credit history is not good. Or, at the very least, you will be required to pay higher monthly dues.

'Car Leasing Tips'

 

-You will find out that most luxury cars have the lowest depreciation values. 

-Leasing a car may put a big dent in yur budget when it comes to car maintenance. You need to make sure that you are a "car-friendly" user when you opt to go for auto leasing.

 

-Definitely go for leasing if you are the type who wants to own the latest cars in the market. In the long run, leasing will be a better option for you as compared to buying the latest car model then trading in or selling the old one that you have.

 

       

Russ Darrow Group Opens Nissan and Volkswagen Dealership in Sheboygan

Posted on April 29, 2016

The Russ Darrow Group is pleased to announce the acquisition of the Motorville Nissan and Volkswagen dealership in Sheboygan – the company’s first dealership in the city. Russ Darrow will be relocating inventory to the all-new Russ Darrow Nissan of Sheboygan and Russ Darrow Volkswagen of Sheboygan, located at 5515 Racetrack Road.


The new store will include two separate Nissan and Volkswagen showrooms in addition to a large selection of new and pre-owned vehicles from a variety of makes and models. An additional 1,000+ vehicles are available within the Russ Darrow Group system and can be acquired to meet a customer’s specific needs. Customer comfort and amenities to enhance the car buying experience include free Wi-Fi, televisions, and a lounge.

“This addition will be our second Nissan dealership and our very first Volkswagen dealership,” said Mike Darrow, President of the Russ Darrow Group. “We are looking forward to serving Sheboygan and the surrounding communities by providing great customer service and tremendous value through our Live Market pricing, Russ Darrow Rewards loyalty program, and our exclusive refinancing program with autorefinow.com.”

“To support the efforts at the new dealership, we are seeking new employees for the position of sales and service technicians. Anyone that is interested in applying is encouraged to contact chris.olson@russdarrow.com.”

Russ Darrow Nissan of Sheboygan will also feature a full-service maintenance and repair department for all makes and models, a parts and accessories department, plus express service with 30 minutes or less oil changes.  John Domask will serve as the dealership’s General Manager.

“We are a family-owned business in Wisconsin for 51 years and we’re excited to be given the opportunity to join the other well respected employers in the area, such as Kohler Company, Johnsonville Sausage, Acuity, and many others, to not only employ and serve local residents, but also support Sheboygan in philanthropic endeavors and civic involvement,” said Darrow.

Russ Darrow Group, headquartered in Menomonee Falls, recently celebrated its 50th year in business and is Wisconsin’s all-time volume auto retailer since 1965. It owns and operates dealerships in Milwaukee, Appleton, Green Bay, Madison, Waukesha, Wauwatosa, West Bend, and Greenfield, representing Chrysler, Jeep, Dodge, Ram, Toyota, Scion, Honda, Nissan, KIA, Mazda, and Mitsubishi. With over 1,000 employees, the company also operates a nationwide fleet and leasing business and has its own in-house financing company.

       

Russ Darrow's Gas Saving Tips

Posted on April 20, 2016

Stopping to get gas can be a pain no matter how often you have to fill up, or what kinda of car you drive. Here are three helpful tips to get the most out of your fuel while at the gas pump

 

Pump Slow - When pumping your gas, set the trigger on the slowest setting. This will help you avoid getting the vapors sucked back into the ground which may cause you to get less for your money!

 

Fill Times - Wednesday morning is usually the best day of the week to buy gas as they will begin to increase for the weekend rush after that time. Also, if you happen to see a gasoline tanker filling the tanks, come back another day or go to a different station. As the tanks are being filled, the turbulence can stir up sediment, which can clog fuel filters and fuel injectors.

   

Filtered pumps at reputable stations - Is the gas you buy for your used car filtered at the pump? Some gas stations don’t have pump filters leaving you with the possibility of getting dirty gasoline. Or even worse, they may water down their product. Find a station you trust, and stick to it!

 

Read the original Article Here

       

Russ Darrow's Guide to Budgeting Basics

Posted on April 11, 2016

Saving money begins with budgeting where you spend your money. You need to make a plan and stick to it, especially when you are on a tight income. To start, sort what you spend your money on into two categories: what you need and what you only want.

Focus on the future and the long term instead of instant gratification. Your needs are things you need for survival, like shelter, basic clothing and food. Your wants are everything else.

 

Cut Costs without Major Lifestyle Changes

You’re probably identifying a lot of things as “wants” that you would have considered to be absolute needs. But, you don’t have to overhaul your entire life to save money. Consider making some of these small changes:

  • Stop paying for cable. Instead, use a streaming service like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.
  • Pack your lunch. Not only can you save an estimated $2,000 per year if you don’t eat out, you can also make healthier choices.
  • Cancel email deals and alerts. These are just tempting you to spend money on things you don’t need or want.
  • Buy used. You can often find great, gently used home décor, clothing and even electronics for a fraction of their retail prices at thrift stores.
  • Cancel memberships. Get rid of the gym membership you don’t use, and consider cancelling the membership to the discount store if you rarely go.
  • Reduce your phone bill. There are many ways to do this, but most boil down to mply comparison shopping or asking for a better rate.
  • Visit your local library. Not only do they have books, they also have music and movies that you can check out for free.
  • Save on your insurance. If you’re not sick often, consider calling your insurance company and requesting a higher deductible, which will lower your monthly payments.

Save Money at Home

Your home may not feel like your castle, but it’s probably responsible for a huge chunk of your spending. Cut utility costs and bills by following these steps:

  • Change your showerheads and sinks. Low-flow versions can save up to 50% of your water consumption. 
  • Add insulation. Reduce as much as 20% of your heating and cooling costs with new/more insulation, according to Green Energy Solutions, Inc. You can pick up a roll of insulation for about $15 at most home improvement stores.
  • Change your bulbs. LED bulbs are more expensive upfront, but operate for just pennies. Fluorescent bulbs also last about 4-10 times longer than regular incandescent light bulbs.
  • Fight drafts. Weather stripping your home prevents drafts, which could keep your heating and cooling costs from skyrocketing during summer and winter. Use a programmable thermostat. Your home doesn’t need to be exactly 72 degrees while you’re gone, even if you have pets. You’ll save on both heating and cooling costs.
  • Lower your water heater’s temperature. Keep your heater’s temperature at 130 degrees, which is hot enough to kill germs and safely wash dishes. Do laundry in cold water.

Save Money on the Go

  • Be a better driver. Read this short guide for great tips on eco-friendly driving.
  • Use apps. The GasBuddy app helps you find the cheapest gas based on your location.
  • Stop speeding. Going from 70 MPH to 55 MPH could save you almost 20% fuel efficiency.
  • Pump up your tires. Tires lose about a pound of pressure each month, which is bad news, since driving with tires that are just 3 pounds underinflated makes your vehicle's fuel economy drop by 1%.
  • Clean your car. If you're hauling around an extra 100 pounds, for example, you're lowering fuel efficiency by up to 2%. Time to get rid of that extra load.
  • Consider a warranty. Especially if you’re buying used, a warranty could help you save on repair costs.
  • Keep up with maintenance. Though oil changes cost money in the short-term, they’ll keep your car on the road for much longer if you perform them at the manufacturer’s recommended miles.

Top Couponing Links

If you’re not already a couponer, we highly suggest you get to clipping. Coupons are basically free money. The best part is you no longer have to cut paper coupons since there are endless digital coupon websites and apps.  

 

Top Budgeting Method: The Envelope Method

It goes like this: Let’s say you have budgeted $500 a month for groceries. When you receive your first paycheck of the month, withdrawal $250 and put the cash in an envelope. On that envelope, write "Groceries” and only use it to pay for food at the store. If you go food shopping and leave the envelope at home by mistake, turn the car around and go back to get it.

Make sure to take enough money to cover your groceries for that trip. If you take $150 and you tally up a bill for $160, take some things out of the cart. Put any change back in the envelope. When you get paid again, put another $250 in the envelope. That’s your $500 for the month for food. If you want to go to the store but don’t have enough money, raid the fridge for leftovers.

Use the envelope system for items that tend to bust your budget. Common examples include groceries, restaurants, entertainment, gasoline and clothing. When the money runs out of each envelope, don’t spend any more until the new month starts and new money goes in your envelope.

 

Tips for using the envelope method

Direct deposit into a separate savings account for bills, and have the payments automatically withdrawn from the same account.

Most employers offer the option to have a certain percentage or dollar amount put into a separate account, straight from your paycheck, which can help you start saving. You can automate a portion of your check to the account and build your nest egg without thinking about it.

 

Make Payments on Time to Improve Your Credit

While you are putting a lot of time and effort into getting your financial health back on track, don’t let something silly like not making your payments on time mess up all the hard work you’ve done to improve your credit and your overall financial life.

 

*Sources

Crashers, M. (2012, January 18). U.S. News. Retrieved from http://money.usnews.com/money/blogs/my-money/2012/01/18/5-reasons-you-need-a-budget
Geary, L. (n.d.). Bankrate. Retrieved from http://www.bankrate.com/finance/personal-finance/5-big-bills-you-can-cut-fast-1.aspx
Hamm, T. (2014, January 22). The Simple Dollar. Retrieved from http://www.thesimpledollar.com/5-tactics-for-getting-a-better-cell-phone-deal/
Holbrook, S. (2013, May 31). U.S. News. Retrieved from http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/slideshows/8-thrifty-home-improvements/3
Ramsey, D. (n.d.). Dave Ramsey. Retrieved from http://www.daveramsey.com/blog/envelope-system-explained
Shin, L. (2015, February 26). Forbes. Retrieved from http://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2015/02/26/44-ways-to-make-more-money/#6580c34466e1
 
Washicko, C. (2013, July 9). U.S. News. Retrieved from http://money.usnews.com/money/personal-finance/articles/2013/07/09/the-new-and-improved-way-to-coupon
       

Russ Darrow Service | Why you should get your car serviced at a dealership

Posted on March 10, 2016

At Russ Darrow we want all of our customers to feel confident in the service and safety of their cars. That’s why all Russ Darrow service departments employ highly trained, skilled mechanics to service your vehicle, and most are ASE Master Technicians. So what does ASE stand for? ASE is short for the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. For over 40 years, this independent non-profit organization has worked to improve the quality of vehicle repair and maintenance by testing and certifying automotive technicians. This certification program helps take the guesswork out of finding a good mechanic. Vehicles are becoming more technologically advanced, which means they often require more highly trained mechanics. That’s why each ASE certified mechanic must pass a difficult national test to prove they have the skills and knowledge needed to do the job. Once a technician becomes certified, they can go on to become an ASE Master Technician, which shows they’re the best of the best. 


To earn Master Technician reputation, technicians need to pass a specified group of tests in a series and also document at least 2 years of relevant on-the-job work experience. An ASE Master Technician must recertify in all test areas every 5 years or they lose their master reputation. 

Why does this matter to you? When you take your car to a Russ Darrow service team, you’re not only getting a great value, you can be assured that your vehicle is in the best hands. Visit our website to take advantage of these great Russ Darrow Service Specials

       

Russ Darrow's guide to oil changes

Posted on March 3, 2016

Any car that is ideal knows that oil changes ARE important. However, have you ever asked yourself, WHY ARE oil changes important? Listed here are a couple things to learn about the importance of an oil change:


1. Your engine requires oil – The pistons that fire in your engine must have oil in an effort to slide easily as part of your engine cylinders. Autohub360.com says, “Without oil, the pistons and bands inside the cylinder block shall get incredibly hot from the friction build without the oil to keep it from occurring. Whenever this happens, the point that is next that the pistons and rings will bond to the cylinder walls and stop your engine from operating. If this happens, your motor is officially deceased.”


2. Oil changes are preventive – getting oil that is regular at the dealership where you purchased your vehicle allows the technicians to take a look at other important features of your automobile they foresee being an issue in the future. These service technicians could offer advice and quite often fix the problem you time and money in the end before it becomes a serious problem – potentially saving.


Hopefully this helps you better understand the importance of an oil change. Our technicians are standing by to simply help with any vehicle issues you could have. Visit our Russ Darrow Service Department today

       
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