How Anti-Lock Brakes Work

Anti-lock brakes come standard on most vehicles these days, but most people don’t know the principles behind them. Here’s a brief rundown on how anti-lock brakes work.

Anti-lock brakes function on the assumption that skidding wheels have less traction than wheels that are rolling. If your wheels keep rolling when you push your brakes—that is, if they don’t lock up—you’ll have more control over the wheels and be able to stop more safely.

how anti-lock brakes work

So anti-lock brakes use an automatic system to sense when the wheels are going to lock using speed sensors on the wheels. When you decelerate quickly or in an unexpected way, the sensors send information to the valve and pump, which decreases pressure to the brakes until it accelerates, then increases pressure until it decelerates. This helps the brakes slow down at the same rate as the car.

The ABS system will keep the brakes close to the point of locking, so that you have as much braking power as possible without the wheels actually locking up. So you can still stop quickly with ABS brakes, but they won’t let your wheels lock more quickly than your car can stop, which would lead to skidding.

For more information on anti-lock brakes, don’t hesitate to contact our Service & Parts team here at Wiesner of Huntsville and we’d be happy to help you!

What is the Best Wheel Drive for You?

Best Wheel Drive

When it comes to deciding on the right system for you, choosing between front-wheel, rear-wheel, all-wheel, and four-wheel drive can seem intimidating. Here we’ll break down each system, so you’ll know the best wheel drive option for you and your family.

Rear-Wheel Drive (RWD)

Rear-wheel drive vehicles send engine power to the rear wheels, propelling the vehicle forward. RWD was the most popular option until front-wheel drive was created in the 1980s. RWD is ideal for cars that need to manage large amounts of power and/or weight, making it a popular option for large trucks, race cars, large performance vehicles, and law-enforcement vehicles. If you have the need for speed and high degrees of control, RWD may be right for you.

Front-Wheel Drive (FWD)

Front-wheel drive is today’s most popular option, and comes standard on all Buicks. Engine power is sent to the front wheels, and thanks to its compact setup, FWD tends to be more fuel efficient and allows more room inside the vehicle. An added benefit is that the weight of the powertrain is centered over the front wheels, offering added traction on slick roads.

All-Wheel Drive (AWD)

All-wheel drive systems typically operate as a RWD or FWD, where the power is pre-emptively sent to both the front and rear wheel axles on every acceleration to avoid any loss of traction, then backs off if there is no slip. No driver effort is needed to activate AWD. You may consider AWD if you live in areas with unpredictable weather or road conditions, or for light off-roading. AWD is available on the Regal, LaCrosse, Encore, and Enclave.

Four-Wheel Drive (4WD)

Often confused with AWD, 4WD is fundamentally different in a few important ways. First, 4WD vehicles usually operate as a RWD with a two-speed transfer case featuring high and low ranges to enhance traction. The majority of 4WD vehicles operate in RWD until the driver activates the 4WD option. Many modern 4WD vehicles will automatically engage the high range when road conditions are slippery, but the low range still requires driver engagement. Look for 4WD if you plan to tackle any serious off-roading trails.

Stop by Wiesner of Huntsville today to put these systems to the test!

When To Buy A New Car: Factors To Consider

With anything in life, it can be difficult to know when to call it quits. You wonder whether you are taking all the factors into account, even after you’ve made twenty pros-vs.-cons lists. Then, there is that raw emotional attachment we develop to people and to things.  Nowhere can this be more difficult than with a vehicle. That’s why we’ve put together a few things to consider to help you know when to buy a new car.

When To Buy A New Car

First and foremost, it’s time to get rid of your vehicle once it has become unsafe. If there are too many things wrong with it–or there is some mysterious deficiency that the world’s greatest mechanic can’t diagnose–making it a danger to yourself and other drivers, get rid of it.

Sell it or trade it in if the fuel economy has become unacceptable. It may never have had great fuel economy to begin with, or it may have lost efficiency due to wear and tear over time. Either way, fuel economy is an important factor to consider. Be sure and give efficiency it’s full measure when making your evaluation.

Whatever you do, don’t fall victim to the sunk cost fallacy. That’s when you factor in payments already rendered into current evaluations. Just because you’ve paid exorbitantly for repairs in the past, those payments have been made and the repairs are over. Is it worth putting your life at risk or paying over time for bad fuel economy?

If you have any questions about how to buy a new car or wonder what your trade-in would be worth, give us a visit at Wiesner Huntsville and our friendly staff will be glad to assist.

Late Car Payment? Your Bank May Be Able to Disable Your Car

You better think twice before you make a late car payment – even if it’s only a few days. As subprime auto loans continue to rise, auto lenders have resorted to installing devices that can remotely disable a car in an effort to ensure that borrowers are making their payments. For lenders, this method seems genius, but the reality is that vehicles disabled without warning can leave drivers in dangerous situations.

Late-Car-Payment

The New York Times’ Dealbook reported that one woman was just a few days late on her payment when she needed to get her 10-year old daughter to the emergency room with a 103-degree fever. The lender had installed a device in the dashboard which prevented it from starting, leaving her in a panic. In another scenario, a borrower’s car was shut down while she was on the highway – almost causing an accident.

Borrowers are considered subprime if their credit score is below 640, and these types of car loans are on the rise – with a quarter of all auto loans being classified as subprime last year. “No middle-class person would ever be hounded for being a day late,” said lawyer Robert Swearingen of Legal Services of Eastern Missouri, according to Dealbook. “But for poor people, there is a debt collector right there in the car with them.”

Borrowers are given emergency codes, which can be used to get their cars running for 24 hours. But many drivers reported that these codes don’t work, and can only be used once a month, which doesn’t help when the car is shut down more than once in a month.

To be fair, banks say that the technology allows them to lend money to people who might otherwise not be approved for a car loan. Because the bank can track their locations and shut down the vehicle, borrowers are more likely to make their monthly car payment a priority. One debt collector tries to reach a delinquent borrower for 30 days before shutting the car down. If he needs to disable the car, he waits until the car is parked outside the home or workplace.

We want to know what you think. Is this GPS technology too ‘big brother,’ or a good way to ensure borrowers are making payments? Let us know in the comments!

Here at Wiesner of Huntsville, we promise our financing department won’t be following you around or turning off your car. Stop by today to check out our exciting lineup of cars!

Driving Tips for Back to School Safety

back-to-school-safety

With a new school year come new responsibilities. Not just for the students, but for the parents and guardians who keep them safe. Here are four driving tips to keep in mind now for back to school safety:

  1. Keep your distance. Bus drivers have a stressful job, and you can make it easier on them by staying a safe distance behind the bus at all times and yielding when they need to merge. Teach your children to respect the bus as well, and show them how to walk in front of (and never behind of) a school bus.
  2.  Pay attention to the zone. Make sure you are aware of the posted school zone speed limits, which typically range between 15 and 25 mph. If you accelerate too much, you will move from the school zone to the danger zone!
  3. Walk smart. Even if you or your kids aren’t driving to school, pedestrians need to be aware of vehicles and learn the risks of jaywalking.
  4. Buckle that belt. One of the most important things any driver or passenger can do is buckle their seat belt. It’s not just the law; it’s a lifesaver.

These are just four things to keep in mind as kids start heading back to school. Here at Wiesner of Huntsville, we wish all students a safe and fun school year!

Do DUI Checkpoints Cut Down on Drinking and Driving?

DUI-Checkpoints

Good news: we’ve all survived another holiday. July 4th tends to bring out the crazy in people – explosives, drinks, and wild Aunt Sally never make for a good combination, and it’s especially dangerous when the fun is all finished for the night and the crazies get in their cars to go home. Just like on so many other holidays, this year July 4th ‘no refusal’ DUI checkpoints were deployed in states across the nation to combat drunk driving.

According to autos.aol.com, July 4th is ranked among the deadliest days to drive. According to the Fatality Analysis Reporting System, 637 Americans have been killed on the holiday between 2008 and 2012 – that’s about 127 people per year. Almost half of those fatalities were caused by drunk driving last year according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Law-enforcement officials in many states have implemented controversial “no-refusal” DUI checkpoints in an effort to combat so many alcohol-related deaths. These checkpoints are set up like traditional DUI checkpoints, but are different in that drivers suspected of driving under the influence who refuse to take a Breathalyzer test will be forced to have their blood drawn, regardless of whether they consent or not.

“We continue to support ‘no refusal’ because we believe the citizens of Tarrant County should be able to travel our roadways without putting their lives at risk,” Assistant District Attorney Richard Alpert of Tarrant County, Texas said in a statement explaining the decision to use the checkpoints. “Ending up dead or in jail is a poor way to celebrate our country’s independence.”

What do you think? Would you think twice about having that additional drink if you knew these checkpoints were deployed around our city?

Stop by Wiesner of Huntsville today to learn more!

The Ultimate Summer Playlist for Road Trips

summer-playlist-for-road-trips

Although the weather here in Huntsville has been warm for quite some time now, it’s never officially summer time until the month of June hits us! Now is the time to get in the car and go on a road trip—whether it’s across the country or east on 190 over to Lake Livingston for the weekend. No matter how long or short the drive is, there’s no doubt you must be prepared with some musical jams for the trip. That’s why we here at Wiesner of Huntsville have gathered a few of our favorites for the perfect summer playlist for road trips!

  1. Life is a Highway – Tom Cochrane
  2. All Summer Long – Kid Rock
  3. Summertime – Kenny Chesney
  4. Highway to Hell – AC/DC
  5. Surfin’ U.S.A. – The Beach Boys
  6. Summer of ’69 – Bryan Adams
  7. Born to Run – Bruce Springsteen
  8. Small Town – John Mellencamp
  9. Cruise – Florida Georgia Line
  10. Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffett
  11. Chattahoochee – Alan Jackson
  12. Take It Easy – Eagles
  13. Wagon Wheel – Darius Rucker ft. Lady Antebellum
  14. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
  15. Knee Deep – Zac Brown Band ft. Jimmy Buffett

What are some of your favorite songs for road trips? Comment below and tell us what you love to hear!

Winter Car Care and Maintenance

winter-car-care

We’re deep into December, and that means we’re in the thick of winter. In other words, here in Huntsville, Texas, the temperature has finally dipped under 100 degrees for a few days. But seriously, while we may not see any of that white snow that coats the Northern reaches of our continent, just because we’re in Texas doesn’t mean we can neglect important winter car care and maintenance.

Anyone who has lived in Texas can tell you that just because it’s 75 degrees at 8 am doesn’t guarantee you there won’t be an ice storm by 8 pm. Just remember a couple weeks back to the huge storm that covered Dallas in ice. It’s important to be prepared for these eventualities. If you haven’t had a vehicle check-up recently, schedule an appointment with our expert maintenance techs at Wienser of Hunstville today. We’ll check all your car’s important systems and make sure nothing dangerous threatens the safety of your car.

Winter is also a great time to do routine maintenance procedures like replacing your windshield wipers, getting an oil change, and rotating your tires. Check with your owner’s manual—or call us for help—to see if it’s time for any of these actions.

Finally, make sure to keep your car clean—inside and out—to keep your vehicle in the best possible shape for winter wear and tear. Follow these tips and, whether you’re home in Texas or driving through a blizzard in Alaska, you’ll be prepared for anything.

Top 5 Gifts for Drivers

gifts-for-drivers

Here at Wiesner of Huntsville, we are getting the last of our holiday shopping in order. We’ve made our list, and we’ve checked it twice to give our ‘nice’ friends the best driving gifts we could find. Here are our top 5 gifts for drivers this year:

  1. Hands-Free Phone Kit – Make sure your loved ones keep both hands on the wheel with the gift of a hands-free phone kit. These earpieces can give drivers up to four hours of talk time without fumbling with the phone.
  2. Car Camera – If the videos from Russia are any measure, a car camera can really pay off. Recording everything from routine traffic stops to serious accidents, a dash-mounted car camera can pay off in the courtroom.
  3. Driving Gloves – Go retro with the gift of a pair of leather driving gloves. Ryan Gosling has put driving gloves back in fashion as the stunt performer/getaway driver in 2011’s Drive. Great for that trend-setter on your gift list.
  4. Heated Seat Covers – The luxury of seats with heat and massage does not need to be limited to drivers in luxury cars. Most heated seat covers will plug into the power socket on the console, and massage chairs often take just a few batteries to operate.
  5. ‘ Learn How to Park’ Cards – Some may consider this a gag gift, but most drivers will put them to good use. These clever business cards from Zazzle allow us to let off steam when our fellow drivers forget how to use a parking lot.

What are you going to give drivers this year?

Park Smart: Avoiding Parking Nightmares This Holiday Season

avoiding-parking-nightmares

If you haven’t started your Christmas shopping yet, you have a little more than two weeks to get your gifts together. We’re proud of you for braving the crowds and the traffic. Before you head out, we at Wiesner of Huntsville have a few words to the wise to help keep you and your vehicle safe.

Actually, our advice can be summed up in just two words: Park smart. That statement probably isn’t grammatically correct; but if you can overlook that small detail, this should be your mantra for the holiday shopping season.

If you park too close to the store’s entrance, it will take much longer for you to get out of the parking lot as you wait for everyone and their mom to slowly amble across the crosswalk.

If you park too far away, you run the risk of parking in a more isolated, dimly lit area, which will make your vehicle an easier target for thieves doing some shopping of their own.

If you park next to the student driver who hasn’t quite figured out how to fit between the two white lines, your car may suffer when he or she inevitably tries to back out from the contorted position. Okay, let’s be fair. We all have those moments of parking failure, but you may still want to think twice before you put your car next to another vehicle in that precarious position.

The ideal parking space is somewhere in the middle.

After you’ve found it, take just as much care in safely backing out of that space once your shopping is done. If you have a rear camera or similar safety technology in your vehicle, this would be an excellent time to put it to use.

We know the busy parking lot can be a nightmare this time of year, but we hope our sage advice on how to park smart will make your experience a little more holly and jolly. Happy shopping!