Category Archives: Tips and Tricks

Have a Great Trip with Thanksgiving Road Trip Games

BradshawAuto-ThanksgivingRoadTripGames

In just a few short weeks, families all across the country will be climbing into the car to head out on the annual Thanksgiving road trip. If this is what you have planned for your family this year, you will need some Thanksgiving road trip games to keep everyone occupied.

  • Karaoke.

    Plan ahead and let everyone pick out a few of their favorite songs to add to a playlist or burned CD before you leave. Then, each person has to sing along to their songs in their own special way—most dramatic, loudest, and so on.

  • Two truths and a lie.

    Each person says three things about themselves, except one of them is a lie. Everyone else has to guess which one is the lie.

  • Alphabet game.

    This game is good for younger kids. Everyone looks at road signs, license plates, billboards, etc. to find each letter of the alphabet in order.

  • Picnic.

    This game is a good test of everyone’s memory. The first person starts out by saying, “I’m going on a picnic and I’m going to take…” and then they name something that starts with A. The next person says the same thing and then adds to the list with the next letter. If you can’t remember the list, you lose.

If your car is in need of attention before you hit the road, or it is time for something new, come visit us at Bradshaw Automotive.

Winter Car Care Tips

Winter Car Care Tips

Now that November is here, winter weather is right around the corner. That means now is the time to prepare before the icy weather arrives, which it will, even here in South Carolina. Here are a few tips for winter car care.

Lights

As the days get shorter, you will be using your headlights more often. Make sure all of your exterior lights are working and angled correctly. In addition, if there is snow on your car, brush off your lights before you start driving.

Antifreeze

This fluid is immensely important in the winter as it keeps your engine from freezing. Make sure your antifreeze level isn’t low and there are no leaks.

Gas

To prevent your fuel lines from freezing or to make sure you don’t run out of gas when stuck on the side of the road, keep your gas tank as full as you can.

HVAC

On cold, frosty winter mornings, you will want your heater. Make sure it and your air conditioning still work. Your A/C helps keep your windows clear of fog.

Tires

Make sure your tires have adequate tread depth. And, if you live in an area that routinely has winter weather below 45 degrees, consider switching to winter tires.

If you need any help with your winter car care, schedule a service appointment here at Bradshaw Automotive.

June is National Camping Month: Here’s What to Pack

National Camping Month
Let’s Go Camping!

June is officially designated as National Camping Month. That means it’s about time to head to the great outdoors. There are a number of things you should pack in your new Chevy SUV, and we’ve put together a list of camping tips to help you make the most of your experience outdoors.

First, according to the Boy Scouts Guide, every camper should at least pack the bare essentials. This includes the following:

  • First-Aid Kit
  • Swiss Army Knife
  • Clean Water (64 oz/person per day) or water purification tablets
  • Bug Spray

You won’t make it far without water or bug spray, and a first-aid kit is essential for anyone who plans on spending time outdoors.

What food should you pack? If you drive an SUV or crossover, you can probably pack a few coolers—one for meat or other raw food and one for fruits and veggies. Bananas and apples, hot dogs, and grilled cheese all make for great campfire meals.

In lieu of a traditional tent, you might also consider SUV tents. You can easily prop open the back of your car, put the seats down, and make a comfortable shelter for you to spend the weekend in. If possible, you should also bring an air mattress to make sleeping more comfortable (though some simply prefer a hammock covered in a mosquito net).

These are some of the basics to pack for camping. Above all else, remember to read up on “Leave No Trace” principles. These refer to practices like putting out the fire properly, taking any garbage with you, and leaving flora and fauna untouched. Before you leave, stop by Bradshaw Automotive to make sure your car or SUV is ready for the trip.

A Vehicle Service Checklist for After the Holidays

MaintenanceDuring the holiday season, it can be difficult to stay on top of vehicle maintenance, but once you’ve had some downtime after New Year’s, it’s important to take your vehicle in for inspection, especially if you traveled to visit relatives during the holidays. Here’s a vehicle service checklist to help you to know where to start.

Battery and Charging System: Cooler temperatures reduce battery capacity, so your battery is more likely to die in the colder months. Check battery connections, the charging system, and the charge of the battery itself.

  • Drive Belts and Hoses: Old engine belts will wear, crack, and snap over time, which could cause incredible amounts of engine damage. Hoses are important, too, for keeping your engine cool with anti-freeze.
  • Tire Pressure: Like batteries, tire pressure is negatively affected by low temperatures. Colder air makes tires lose their pressure faster, so make sure your tires are properly inflated.
  • Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning: The HVAC system is crucial to defrosting and staying warm in the winter.
  • Brakes: Brakes should always be in good working order, especially if you expose your vehicle to slick road conditions or hazardous weather.

Keep up with this vehicle service checklist after the holidays to make sure your car is ready to face the cold temperatures that January and February bring to the table.

Thanksgiving Travel Tips

Thanksgiving Travel TipsHalloween has come and gone, which means November is already here. Thanksgiving is right around the corner which means it’s time to make travel arrangements, if you haven’t already. Traveling during the holidays can be difficult, but there are steps you can take to reduce your stress levels. Here are some Thanksgiving travel tips from us here at Bradshaw Automotive to help streamline your holiday season!

  • Packing – Take the time to create a packing list and go over it several times before leaving the house. Instead of throwing everything into random suitcases, take the time to organize this year as well. Consider shipping some of your nonessential items to your destination through the mail. Doing so can reduce baggage costs at the airport and prevent the hassle of struggling to fit everything into the car.
  • Technology – Use technology to your advantage this holiday season. Many airlines have apps that provide passengers with pertinent information about their flight, such as tickets, locations, and more. Some apps even have airport layouts to help passengers make their flight on time. Drivers should use a navigation app that updates with real-time directions. Doing so means avoiding common road hazards and arriving at your destination as quickly as possible.
  • Call Ahead – Call your family or friends before you arrive. A 15-minute window gives them plenty of time to finish up whatever it is they’re doing and greet you rather than trying to multitask.

Best Driving Apps for Trips, Traffic, and More

Whether you’re planning on taking a long road trip soon or just looking for apps to make your daily commute in Greer, SC easier, we’ve compiled some of the best driving apps for smartphones that tell you about traffic, the best stops to make on road trips, and more.

Waze is a great app to use if you’re in the middle of a traffic jam. It’s not perfect for longer-term driving because it tends to drain your battery, but it’s great when you’re in heavy traffic because it can suggest an alternate route to take that will get you to your destination faster.

For road trips, there’s no better app than Roadtrippers, which suggests places to eat, cool sights to see, the best hotels in the area, and even campgrounds. Plus, if you put your route into the app, it can estimate how much gas you’re going to buy.

RepairPal is great to have if you find yourself with car trouble while away from home or if you just don’t have a trusted mechanic in town. It gives you average prices charged by local mechanics and keeps you from overspending.

Electric car drivers have to get PlugShare, the app that lets you quickly find charging locations in the area, with more than 40,000 stations registered in the app across the US. With the still limited ranges of most electric cars on the market, PlugShare is a life saver.

 

These are just a few great apps that make driving more fun and stress-free. Find more here!

Safety Tips for Traveling with Pets

traveling with pets

Finding a dog sitter or kenneling your dog while you go on vacation can seem like a hassle, and who wants to be separated from their best friend for that long anyway? Taking your dog with you on vacation can be a lot of fun for you and your pet, but make sure you’re following these safety tips for traveling with pets!

Before you leave, get your dog used to riding in the car for longer and longer periods of time. This will help keep them calm when you leave, and they won’t notice the long distance as much. If your dog has trouble going to the bathroom anywhere but your backyard, get them used to going other places as well.

When you’re on the road, stop every few hours so your dog can go to the bathroom. Always give them access to clean water, and feed them according to their usual schedule. Bring toys for them to occupy themselves to keep their stress levels to a minimum.

Don’t leave your dog alone in a car, especially when it’s very hot or very cold outside. This is dangerous! You should also avoid letting them stick their head out of the car window for safety reasons.

Remember the most important thing is to have a great vacation for you and your family, including your furry companions.  Also, feel free to bring your car into our service department before you head out on your trip!

Could Keeping Gym Essentials in Your Car Work For You?

Working Out

If one of your New Year’s resolutions this year is to hit the gym this year, we have one big recommendation for you: keep your gym essentials in your car. Many active, gym-goers find that getting ready to go is half the problem.

When your belongings are already stashed in the vehicle and ready to go, there’s almost no excuse not to get up and leave. And if you have enough equipment prepared – you can conduct an impromptu visit to the gym!

There’s no need to keep an entire separate gym bag in your car, but if you can keep as much as a change of clothes and sneakers in your vehicle, you can be ready at a moment’s notice.

Plus – shouldn’t you have a water bottle, a clean towel or two, and some healthy snacks ready in your in case of emergencies anyway?  So whether you head to the gym or you end up on the side of the road, you are prepared!

Whatever you do, don’t forget to take your smelly gym laundry out of the car when you get back home! Hopefully this helpful trick will help you to reach you New Year’s Resolution this year!  For more tips and tricks, visit us at Bradshaw Automotive.

Christmas Travel Tips

Airport

Many people absolutely loathe holiday travels and while you may be one of them, traveling doesn’t have to be difficult. There are plenty of things you can do now to make your trip easier. Travel smarter this time around with these Christmas travel tips:

Plan Ahead. Pack a week in advance so you have time to remember anything you would otherwise forget. Book your flight weeks, if not a month, in advance to get the flight you want and maybe even save some money. Know the TSA’s rules on liquids and packaging so you aren’t stopped at security for something minor.  This will help you get through the preloading process quicker.

Avoid Crowds. Avoiding the traveling masses is easier said than done. A lot of the avoidance is a result at what time you choose to fly. Flying in the early morning or late at night will result in fewer crowds, allowing you to get to your gate faster. Early flights are also less likely to experience delays, due to them being the first flights of the day.

Ship via Mail. Send the luggage you don’t need for the flight to your destination via snail mail. Things like extra clothes and Christmas presents will slow you down and could result in baggage fees.

Tell us about some things you do to help better prepare for traveling during the holidays at Bradshaw Automotive!

Tips to Help You Drive Safely at Night

2016 Chevy Impala

While driving is dangerous in general, it can be truly so when night falls. Vehicles already impair our vision with their structures, creating blind spots, but these blind spots get significantly worse when you drive at night. To help make up for our lack of sight when the sun sets, here are a few tips to help your night driving:

Dim your interior lights. While it’s important to know how fast you are going and your engine temperature, it’s okay to dim your dash lights. For some reason, this never occurs to many people. The glare from the dash lights can dramatically diminish your view of the road.

Keep your windshield clean. Clean your windshield regularly clean, both inside and out! Make it part of a weekly maintenance routine.

Aim your headlights. A lot of people also don’t know that they can aim their headlights. Do your research to find the adjustment screw and park about twenty feet from a flat white surface, like a closed garage door. It takes some finesse to get them properly aimed. You’ll know if you’ve got them aimed too high because everyone will be flipping their brights at you!

See if you need glasses. Get your eyes checked! Occasionally, a person may have fine sight and only need glasses to drive at night.

In the end, if you don’t particularly like driving at night or you are not comfortable with it, try to do all of your driving during the day! At Bradshaw Automotive, we want you to be safe while driving on the road, day or night!