10-21-22

Make Sure Your Ready With These Fall Car Care Month Tips

Fall is finally here! The weather’s getting cooler, leaves are changing color, all signs that winter is not far behind. And while we may not be able to get you mentally ready for the change of the seasons, we can certainly help you prepare your car for fall and winter! Welcome to Fall Car Care Month at Gastonia Nissan!

 

The Quintessential Fall Car Care Month Checklist

 

Fall is the perfect time to start checking up on your car. The weather isn’t entirely too cold yet, the Holidays are still a ways off, and you aren’t facing any severe weather conditions. The autumn season is prime for getting out in the garage or bringing your car to our service centers to get everything checked out before the real test of your car’s performance comes. 

 

Now you may be asking yourself, why is it important to check up on your car before winter? Well, dealing with car problems when it’s cold out is just not a great time. And we want you to always have a good time driving your Nissan. And while these tips may seem like common sense, you’d be surprised just how often these can fly under the radar and end up causing much more serious problems down the line. 

Fall Car Care Checklist

15 Tips to Prepare Your Car For Winter

 

  • Checking and Refilling Fluids: All of your fluids play a crucial role in keeping your Nissan performing at its absolute best, and during the cooler months you don’t need anything less. Taking a look at your oil, power steering fluid, brake fluid, and transmission fluid and refilling or changing any needed is a great way to prepare your car for the winter months ahead. Also, checking your antifreeze/coolant is an absolute must, as that will keep your engine from getting too cold should the temps drop.  
  • Change the Oil and Filters: While we’re on the topic of fluids, your oil is a big one that you should be up to date on. Ignoring an oil change, especially in winter is not a great idea. Old oil in your system greatly increases the risk of your engine overheating, severely damaging the engine. Check when your Nissan is due for its next oil change and make sure you get the filters changed as well. That way your brand-new oil stays new for as long as possible! 
  • Test the Heating/HVAC: Yes, your AC system may seem like an afterthought when it comes to having to prepare your car for winter and Fall car care. However, your HVAC is also responsible for filtering the air, dehumidifying your windshield, and heating your car. So making sure everything there is in working order before the weather gets too cold is probably a good idea. 
  • Tighten Your Hoses: Making sure your antifreeze and fluids are all topped off is great, but it won’t do you any good if it can’t reach your engine. If your hoses have any leaks or breaks, there’s a good chance you’ll overheat your engine when the cold weather hits and your engine has to work overtime to keep it warm. Be sure to give your hoses a good look over and tighten any that seem loose. 
  • Look at Your Belts: This actually goes hand in hand with your hoses. Hot summer months can severely degrade the belts in your engine. When checking under the hood, you should look for any signs of excessive wear, fraying, cracks, or looseness. If you do notice any of these, bring your Nissan over to Gastonia Nissan and we’ll set you up with a new belt. 
  • Test Your Exhaust: Checking your exhaust system as part of your fall car care checklist could actually save your life. If there’s a leak in your exhaust, carbon monoxide could seep into your car. Not only that, but a damaged exhaust system can also result in lower mileage. Keep on the lookout for weird noises, smells, a vibrating gas pedal, or a rumble when your car is sitting still. All are signs that your exhaust system is damaged. Our Nissan -certified technicians will look for rust, holes, leaks, and other damage that may be present during our inspection. 
  • Check Your Brakes: You want to be able to stop when you need to stop right? Especially if the weather is giving you trouble, you don’t want your brakes to be something else to worry about. Bring your Nissan over to Gastonia Nissan and our service team will make sure your brake system is in good working order. Replacing your brake pads and rotors is an essential part of your Fall car care and winter prep. 
  • Inspect All 4 Tires: The quality of your tires is just as important as that of your brakes. If your tires are worn down, they’re not going to do you much good in snow or rain. Make sure to not only check the tread but also their pressure. Tires lose pressure when the temperature drops and changing a flat in 30-degree weather isn’t fun. If you really want to future-proof yourself, getting a good set of snow tires or all-season tires will be greatly beneficial. 
  • Pay Attention to Steering and Suspension: You want to be in complete control of your Nissan in the event of bad weather. Making sure your power steering and suspension are up to par is the best way to remain in control at all times. If you’re worried, our team can take a look at your shock absorbers, struts, and chassis to see if anything needs adjusting or replacing.
  • Test The Battery: Bering able to rely on your battery during the winter months can be a huge weight off your shoulders. So be sure to check the charge and quality of your current battery. If it’s been more than three years, it may be time to replace the battery completely. Visit our service center and we’ll be able to set you up with a brand-new battery just in time for Winter. 
  • Replace Your Wipers: Did you know that the quality of your windshield wipers actually factors into your yearly inspection? That’s because if your wipers are leaving heavy streaks on your windshield, you will not have very good visibility. And visibility is essential in any type of winter weather.
  • Wash Your Car: This may definitely seem unnecessary, but hear us out for a second. Cleaning your car of all the summer mildew and dirt can help prepare it for what’s coming. Waxing your car can also protect it from snow, ice, and salt. Furthermore, it’s a good idea to regularly clean your car after it snows. Icemelt and salt can accumulate and erode certain components of your undercarriage if left on for extended periods of time. While not as immediately important as other tips on your Fall car care list, it won’t hurt. 
  • Clean Your Headlights: Between dead bulbs and cloudy headlight covers, there’s enough to check to warrant this being on your Fall car care list. Your headlights do two things out on the road. They help you see what’s in front of you, and they help other drivers see you. Check your bulbs and clean your headlight covers and ensure both of these functions are unimpeded. 
  • Pack Roadside Kit: If the unfortunate happens and you have car issues or slide on ice or snow, having a pack of supplies to fall back on is a great idea. Some things that should be in your roadside kit include an ice scraper, jumper cables, a flashlight, blankets, bottled water, non-perishable food, and a first aid kit. You can never be too careful. 
  • Get AAA/Roadside Assistance: No Fall car care list would be complete without roadside assistance. These guys can be literal life savers and save you from having to sit out in the cold waiting on a tow company and praying that they’re open. Companies like AAA offer 24/7 support and assistance so they’re always there when you need them. 

 

Stay On Top of Your Fall Car Care

 

It may seem like a lot to keep track of, but if you follow this Fall car care checklist, you’ll be more than prepared for when the colder months roll around. And if there’s anything you need to replace or you can’t check out yourself, you can always make Gastonia Nissan a part of your winter car prep by scheduling an appointment with our service center in Gastonia. Make sure you prepare your car for winter right with Gastonia Nissan!

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09-27-22

Preparing Your Nissan For Hurricanes and Severe Weather

Summer may be over, but we’re still in the thick of hurricane season. While Florida usually gets the brunt of the storms, there are good chances that those strong residual winds, rains, and other terrifying weather will affect the Charlotte area as well. And when that happens, it’s crucial to protect your Nissan from the damage these strong storms can cause. 

 

Storms can cause a lot of damage, especially if you’re unprepared. Falling trees or limbs, hail, debris blown around by the strong winds, and all of this and more can pose significant risks to a car sitting out on the street unprotected. And there’s nothing worse than waking up after a crazy storm to see your car dented or windows cracked or broken as a result. While your favorite local Nissan experts at Gastonia Nissan are here to help repair any damage, we’d rather you avoid that situation completely. So here are some things you can do to keep your Nissan out of harm's way! 

 

How to Protect Your Car During Hurricanes and Tropical Storms

 

Strong storms like hurricanes or even severe thunderstorms can produce some crazy weather conditions. These can include hail the size of quarters or larger that can fall at speeds faster than 100 miles per hour, fast and strong winds sometimes reaching speeds of 74 miles per hour, and incredible amounts of heavy rain averaging around 16 inches, all resulting in flooding from storm surges, personal and property damage, and more. If you’ve left your car out on the road in the middle of a hurricane, tropical storm, or even a severe thunderstorm, there’s a good chance that your car will be on the receiving end of some crazy damage from trees, debris, water, and a lot more. We’re here to help give you some tips on how to protect your car in the event of severe weather events and future-proof yourself a bit in the process. 

 

Preparing Your Car For The Storm

 

Protecting your car from any potential damage is definitely the first thing you should be thinking about. There are a handful of things you can do to prep your car from the barrage of wind, rain, and more that is bound to come during any severe weather event. 

 

  • Remove any crucial documents and personal items
  • Lock all doors and close windows and moon/sunroofs
  • Protect windows and lights with foam and duct tape
  • Set your hand/emergency brake to brace your car
  • Fill the gas tank
  • Use a car cover or large blanket/rug

 

The number one thing you want to do is secure any and all documents as well as personal items. This can include your insurance cards, registration, and any other important papers you may be keeping in your glove box. In the event of flooding, you definitely don’t want any of those papers to receive any severe water damage. Once you’ve got all you wanted to out of your car, you can begin adding layers of protection. Placing foam against the windows secured with duct tape will support your windows during intense winds. Setting your parking brake gives your car something to brace against in the event of flooding and winds. And of course, covering your car with a heavy blanket paired with a tarp will help protect against falling debris or hail. Filling your gas tank is a really good way to give yourself an out if you suddenly need to move your car or evacuate from your house or apartment. All of this, as well as anything else you come up with, will be great ways to protect your car the best you can from damage during a storm. 

 

Where to Park Your Car During a Storm

 

Knowing where to park your car during a storm can give you a huge advantage and help you avoid serious damage. It should come as no surprise that parking under a tree or next to the water is probably not the greatest idea during an intense storm. You want a place that does more to protect your car and avoid anything that may easily break off and land on said car. Places like covered parking garages are very ideal, as they provide not only nearly complete coverage on all sides but often place your car at a higher elevation which can protect your car from flooding. You definitely want to avoid basement or low-level parking areas, as those will be the first places to flood during heavy rainfall. However, any enclosed parking space will be more ideal than an open-air parking lot, so if you have a parking garage best make use of it. And even if you’re car is protected on all sides, it’s still a good idea to implement all of the layers of protection. More protection is always a good idea.  

 

Future-Proof Yourself

 

Before any serious storm, if you’re expecting the chance that your car may be damaged, it may be a good idea to take pictures of the condition of your car BEFORE the storm. Most car insurances do provide a level of natural disaster coverage. However, insurance also typically will look for any reason not to pay out that coverage. If you take pictures of the condition of your car before the storm, you have a solid baseline to compare any damage that may have taken place during the storm. And photo evidence is irrefutable in most cases. 

 

Driving During a Severe Storm

 

Obviously, it’s not a great idea to head out on the road in the middle of a hurricane or other severe weather event. However, some situations are unavoidable, like having to evacuate from your home or apartment building, or driving back home and you get stuck in a storm. So if you’re going to be driving in the middle of one of the worst situations possible, be smart about it. 

 

The number one thing to avoid is any flooded roads or washed-out bridges. Even if you have a decent off-road vehicle that’s prepared for situations like that, you likely don’t have the necessary training or experience to come out of that unscathed. Find a new route that takes a higher road. Another road hazard to watch for is fallen objects or downed power lines. Storms can bring down a whole manner of branches, whole trees, telephone poles, and power lines that can pose a great risk to you on the road. Don’t take the risk of trying to move the branch and definitely don’t touch downed power lines as they are likely still live and extremely dangerous. Stay in your car and find a way around or a completely new route. 

 

The way you drive will also change depending on the situation. During low visibility and high winds and rain, it’s best to slow down as much as you can. Driving slow allows you to have more time to respond to stalled vehicles or road hazards, while also giving you more control against strong winds. 

 

Stay Safe Out There

 

Hurricanes, tropical storms, and other forms of severe weather are no joke. They’ve accounted for billions of dollars of damage and countless deaths over the years and we don’t want you to fall victim to the increasing danger these severe weather events bring with them. While these tips are not a guarantee that you’ll avoid any and all danger or damage by any means, they are certainly a good start to protecting yourself and your property. To learn more, please visit https://www.ready.gov/hurricanes and stay safe out there! Remember, a car is replaceable, you are not. 

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06-29-22

Street Parking in Downtown Charlotte 101

While never the ideal option for leaving your car long-term, street parking is one of the harsh realities that come with driving in today's world.

As a Charlotte resident, you know that parking downtown can be hard to come by, especially on weekends. With street parking as one of only a few options available to you, it's simply an unavoidable part of your life behind the wheel. So, if you have to park on the street, you may as well stay safe doing it. Below are some basic things every Nissan driver can to do ensure the safety of their vehicle when parking on the street.

 

Smart Street Parking in Charlotte

 

Are you comfortable with parallel parking? More importantly, can you parallel park? Because if the answer to either of these questions is no, you may want to just pony up the twenty-or-so bucks required to gain access to an oversaturated parking garage. However, if you have the mettle to take on the tall task of parallel parking on a busy city street, keep reading.

 

Basic tips to keep your car safe

  • Read the signs: A common joke among big-city drivers, street signs are something that should be simple to interpret but, oftentimes, are not. With differing messages, time restraints, and symbols all coexisting on the same small rectangular sign, parking legally on the street can require some focus and mental fortitude. Take your time, read the signs and ensure that you won't be returning to a freshly booted vehicle.
  • Park under street lights, not tree branches: If possible, it's always a good idea to park your car in a well-lit area. In general, the more visible your car is, the safer it will be. Parking under trees, on the other hand, should be avoided whenever possible. Trees shed debris with rain and wind and, on occasion, come down completely in severe weather.
  • Fold in side mirrors: One of the easiest ways to protect your car when parking on the street is by simply folding in your driver-side side mirror. This prevents an irresponsible driver from passing too close to your parked car, clipping off your mirror, and continuing on with their day, leaving you with the bill for repairs. Though if something does happen, you can always count on Gastonia Nissan’s service center to fix you right up!
  • Take or hide your things and lock up: On average, over 80,000 unlocked cars are stolen each year. That's right, unlocked cars. So, while this may seem like an obvious tip, it is an important one. Lock your car, take your keys with you and be sure that no valuables are visible to people passing by and peeking in. Make sure potential thieves have no reason to be interested in your car or anything inside it.
  • Drop a pin: People are forgetful. We forget our keys, our phones, our wallets. Heck, sometimes we forget whether or not our kids are in the backseat. We also, on occasion, forget where we park. Prevent this issue by dropping a pin on your maps app before you leave your ride behind. Then, when you're ready to return, simply pull up the pin and find your ride in no time.

 

Investments worth making

  • Car wash: Getting your car washed about every two weeks is a great way to make sure your car looks presentable. Beyond that, it shows would-be thieves that you pay attention to your vehicle. Oftentimes, car thieves target vehicles that look neglected. The idea here is that they will have more time after the theft to do with the car what they want before the owner even notices it's gone. So, protect your car's exterior appearance and show people you care about your ride with frequent washes. 
  • Snow cover: A snow cover or car blanket protects your car from all elements. Whether that's snow, hail, tree debris, or bird droppings, a cover is a great way to protect your ride and prevent passersby from seeing what's inside.
  • Sunshade: Over time, constant exposure to the sunlight will cause fading and cracks on your dash and other areas of your interior. A sunshade is a great way to protect your car's interior and prevent potential thieves from seeing something worth stealing in your car.
  • Catalytic converter shield: This may sound like an unnecessary precaution, but when you consider the fact that an experienced thief can steal a catalytic converter in about two minutes, that $350 shield is looking a lot better than a $2,000+ converter.

Park Safe in Charlotte and Raleigh

With more and more people moving to major metropolitan areas each year, available and accessible parking in highly populated areas, like Charlotte and Raleigh, has never been harder to come by and inventory has never been higher for car thieves. Follow these steps and relax knowing that you've done all you can to protect your car while it's parked on the street.

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