Well, it came a little earlier than expected… S-N-O-W… Our friends in Calgary are already breaking records. The weather is pretty unpredictable at this time of year so we thought we would refresh your memory about safe driving habits in the winter.
When you’re hauling anything, your GMC is capable of a LOT. Check out our Part 1 Towing Guide to see just how capable your GMC really is.
This week, we’re here to offer guidance for your time spent on the road driving.
Everyone thinks they’re a great driver until winter (or the law of averages) hits. Then, a bunch of people slide into the ditch and blame other people for it. So, whether you’re a new driver, or an experienced one, you should read these winter driving tips.
In ideal driving conditions, you’re supposed to leave a following distance of four seconds between yourself and the car in front of you. But you don’t leave a following distance of four seconds, do you? Winter driving demands that you increase your following distance to seven or eight seconds. That’s the only way you’ll have enough space to stop in the event of a sudden obstruction. Finally, for the sake of Peter, drive slowly!
Get winter tires. It’s that simple. When the temperature falls below 7 °C, winter tires perform better than three-season tires. And when the temperature falls below zero, three-season tires becomes patently dangerous. Why? Three-season tires are comprised of stiff rubber that doesn’t become soft in high summer temperatures. Inversely, winter tires feature soft rubber that is pliable in extreme cold. On top of that, winter tires have aggressive tread patterns that cut through snow. Still don’t believe me?
You’ve probably heard a ton of conflicting information about braking in icy conditions. But it’s pretty simple. I’m going to assume you have ABS. If you lose traction on slippery pavement, press your brakes down firmly and don’t release them until you’ve regained control. If you have Electronic Stability Control (as all vehicles manufactured after September 2011 do) then you can even turn the steering wheel to the direction you want to travel, and the system will apply braking power to the correct wheels to make that happen.
Losing grip completely, as you would on black ice, demands a different strategy – ESC or not. When you’re going over black ice, don’t hit the brakes. Simply take your foot off the accelerator and wait until you’ve passed over the patch of ice (usually they aren’t greater than a few square metres). Jamming on the brakes and turning the steering wheel will give you even less control and increase the likelihood that your car makes a sudden, unpredictable maneuver as soon as it hits drier pavement.
If you’re going to be driving on the highway, make sure you check the highway hotline or a similar service before heading out. When the highway is icy, or visibility is poor due to blowing snow, it may be better to cancel your plans. First, the chance of a dangerous accident increases. If it’s hard to stop, maneuver, and see, you’re more likely to get in a collision – it’s that simple. But that’s not the only danger of extreme winter driving.
If conditions are dangerous for you, then they’re also dangerous for emergency services. While you’re waiting at the side of the road or in the ditch, it may be difficult for a tow truck to get to you. Try to wait inside your vehicle, but only run the engine for around ten minutes per hour in order to keep the heat up while conserving fuel. Also, make sure the tailpipe is not clogged so you aren’t breathing in exhaust fumes. Hopefully you’ve also packed some essential supplies. Which brings us to the next tip.
You never know when you might get stuck out in the cold, so it’s important to remain prepared. Which is why it’s important that you put a safety kit in your vehicle. What should you include in your safety kit? You need some gear for staying warm, blankets, ski pants, boots, and gloves. You should also have a shovel and maybe even some sand to dig yourself out. If you’re really serious, you may even include road flares, food, water, and a knife in your winter safety kit.
You’re shopping for a new vehicle. You find the perfect model and trim in the right colour. Now, you need to decide whether to lease or finance (assuming you don’t have the luxury of dropping a briefcase full of cash on the showroom floor). There are pros and cons to both methods of payment. Here is a quick comparison of leasing vs financing.
Leasing is the best option for people who like the experience of driving a new vehicle. When you lease you get to experience the latest vehicles more often. Enjoy the latest features and technology, as well as the sensation of driving a vehicle in perfect condition.
Also, with most lease options lasting only one or two years, you can continuously drive the latest iteration of your favourite model. Or, you can drive a new GMC Sierra one year, and a new Buick LaCrosse the next. The point is, you aren’t locked into a lengthy financing plan for a car or truck you might fall out of love with after a couple years. As a bonus, when your lease expires, you don’t have to go through the tiresome process of selling – the dealer just retakes possession.
When you choose to lease your new vehicle, in almost all cases, you choose lower payments. Considering you aren’t paying to own, you can secure great monthly payments.
Also you won’t actually lose anything. If you fall in love with your leased vehicle, you can choose to buy it outright at the end of the lease term.
When you lease you usually get the benefit of a comprehensive warranty. If you encounter mechanical problems, your dealer will usually take care of everything for you. After all, they’ll be retaking possession of the vehicle when your lease expires, so it’s in their best interest to keep the vehicle in perfect condition.
The same thing goes for maintenance. Your lease payments will usually cover things like oil changes and fluid flushes/fill-ups. Again, the dealership wants your vehicle to remain in perfect condition. They have to sell it again once you return it, so they don’t want an engine that’s been running with low oil.
The primary downside to leasing becomes clear when you replace the word “lease” with its synonym, “rent”. Renting a house is fine, but paying into a mortgage is an investment in property that retains equity. Instead of paying a landlord, you’re paying yourself. Of course, cars are not a comparable investment, given their rate of depreciation, but the principle is the same. At the end of your lease, you have nothing to show for it. At the end of your financing term, you have a vehicle with persistent value and no more monthly payments.
When you lease a vehicle, you are essentially covering the cost of its depreciation over the course of the term. The problem with that is that depreciation rates aren’t linear. In other words, a new vehicle doesn’t lose the same amount of value each year. The majority of depreciation takes place in the first three years of ownership. When you drive a new vehicle off the lot, it depreciates 10%. After the first three years it will have depreciated by nearly 50% total. Obviously, the depreciation rate slows down afterward; otherwise, vehicles would be worthless after seven years. So, as a lessee, you’re pay for the most expensive period of ownership.
Driving someone else’s vehicle will always feel a bit like walking around in a china shop with your hands behind your back. Driving your own vehicle give you a little extra peace of mind. If you scratch it, bump it, or drive it hard, you’re accountable only to yourself. You don’t have to worry about mileage restrictions. So, if you suddenly find yourself travelling for work, you don’t have to worry about exceeding your limit. And if you spill some coffee on the floor mat, your life won’t end.
There are advantages and disadvantages to both leasing and financing. But Capital GMC Buick’s dedicated finance team will help you find the solution that fits your life.
There was a time when vehicles were easy to use. If you could handle your starter, lights, transmission, radio, and wipers you could call yourself the master of your domain. That time has passed. Now, the shift lever has been replaced by insane knobs. Chairs move in 32 directions. Our vehicles have WiFi! WiFi! Without studying the owner’s manual religiously, some of us will never be experts on our new vehicles. But I’ve studied the GMC Sierra Owner Manual for you, and put together some of the most useful tips.
IntelliBeam is the automatic version of GMC’s high-beam headlamps. The system contains sensors which detect the light of oncoming traffic. If a vehicle is approaching, your high-beams will turn off. When the system no longer detects any lights, your high-beams will be turned on again.
Turn on the IntelliBeam system by activating the high/low-beam changer twice within two seconds. A letter “A” within your dashboard’s headlight symbol indicates that you’ve successfully activated IntelliBeam.
In order to use Android Auto, you must first download the Android Auto App from the Google Play store. No app is required to use Apple Car Play. Next, simply connect your Apple or Android device to one of your Sierra’s USB data ports via a USB cable. Your device should connect automatically. If it does not, just press the Apple CarPlay or Android Auto icon on your IntelliLink touchscreen. Now you should be able to access appropriate features from your smartphone with your Sierra’s touchscreen and IntelliLink voice commands. Now that you mention it…
Mastering voice commands is a useful and underappreciated skill. Navigating, changing music, or responding to messages on your phone, or touchscreen, while driving is completely irresponsible. But with voice commands, you can keep your eyes on the road while still being able to make an important call or adjusting your navigation route. But first you have to know what to say.
When you press the voice command button on your steering wheel, the one with the face and the sound symbols, the IntelliLink system will begin listening. Then, you need to use one of the main keywords: “Phone,” “Audio,” or “Navigation.” You can say “Pair phone” to connect your smartphone to bluetooth. You can say “Play” followed by a song, artist, genre, or playlist. And you can “Directions to..” followed by a street address, landmark, restaurant, or contact name.
The IntelliLink system will even respond to synonyms and casual phrasing. For example, IntelliLink accepts multiple variations yes and no (responding to the system with only “positive” or “negative” adds a real touch of character). A full list of the voice commands and their uses can be found here or in the 2017 GMC Sierra Owner Manual.
These are only a few of the many Sierra Owner Manual tricks you need to learn before calling yourself an expert. You can learn even more about the feature-packed 2017 GMC Sierra by visiting our model breakdown, or by hitting the link below.
New vs used, the eternal car-buying question. Here are just a few of the many things you need to consider when deciding whether to buy a new or a used vehicle.
Now is maybe the greatest time to be a new car buyer. First, you have access to the vehicles of more manufacturers than ever. In nearly every class of vehicles you can find two or three great options. And more classes are added every day (hello, CUV). And, unlike a used car buyer, a new buyer can pick the exact combination of features that they want. You don’t have to wait for months for the right model (with the right amount of kilometres to come along). On top of that, you have access to a wealth of information from manufacturers, professional reviewers, and normal drivers. But the new vs used debate is usually settled with money.
Specifically, it’s no longer difficult to secure 0% financing. Even Cadillac has gotten into the act. You can get a new Cadillac Escalade and pay no more than the sticker price (plus tax). That’s a first for the company. Of course, 0% financing isn’t a perfect deal for everyone. You loan term will end up being shorter than that of a higher interest rate which means that your payments will be larger. Then again, that means you will pay off your vehicle more quickly and will only pay for its value.
Two things to note. Firstly, used cars are starting to feature more attractive loan rates. You won’t find 0% financing, but some Certified Pre-Owned units can come pretty close – assuming you have a stellar credit rating. Secondly, you should remember just because you secure 0% financing doesn’t mean that you should purchase a more expensive vehicle than you would otherwise.
What’s the biggest cost of owning a new vehicle? Some might answer registration, insurance, or gasoline. But none of those come close to the cost of depreciation. Most people know that a new car loses 10% of its value when you drive it off the lot. But for some reason, the average person doesn’t think about depreciation like a regular expense. But, when considering an important decision like a vehicle purchase, you should consider it as one.
As a point of caution, depreciation rates are complicated. If the market is flooded with used vehicles, they’ll depreciate faster because demand is low. But, we can say that a new vehicle loses roughly 20-25% of its value in the first year of ownership. Fortunately, the rate of depreciation slows down after that. Still, after three years of ownership, a vehicle will have lost nearly half of its value. For some drivers, those first few years of ownership might be worth half of the vehicle’s purchase price. But, I think most people wouldn’t. That’s where shrewd used buyers come in.
If you purchase a vehicle that’s three years old, you’ve dodged the highest cost of ownership, and potentially paid 50% of the vehicle’s original MSRP. As the rate of depreciation slows, more of the money you invested in your vehicle stays there.
With the diversity of drivers and their needs, we can’t say that buying a new or used car is “better.” New buyers probably want to enjoy the freshness of their vehicle and the latest features that come with it. Or, they want a specific combination of features and styling that they won’t find on the used market. Used buyers, for whom those things are not as important, get to take advantage of depreciation can save a ton of money. Both strategies can be good, as long as you understand advantages and disadvantages before you make the leap.
So, what kind of buyer are you? Hit the link to see our new and used inventory.
The first priority of any successful road trip (according to my mother) is safety. For a start, you need to make sure that your vehicle is worthy of the road. Obviously, if there are any serious mechanical (engine, transmission, et c..) you need to get them checked out before taking off on (or in) your odyssey. Additionally, you should make sure your vehicle is up-to-date on its routine maintenance schedule. That includes:
In addition to taking care of your vehicle’s maintenance, you should acquaint yourself with its esoteric safety features. If you have blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistance, or something similar, make sure you understand how to use it. Over a lengthy drive, or a dark one, it can be easy to lose alertness. When that happens, all of your vehicle’s cameras and sensors become much more vital than during a ten-minute commute. Even if you don’t have any next-generation safety features, becoming familiar with all aspects of your vehicle is an important exercise.
Road trip playlists are more important than road trips. That doesn’t make sense, but I don’t care. To make it through a 12-hour drive, you must be entertained. Fix up a cassette, mix a CD, renew your satellite radio subscription, or build a playlist. If you use a service like Apple Music, make sure your playlist is download, so you don’t incur data overages or gratuitous roaming fees. Maybe even download an audiobook because you’re never going to read War and Peace with your hands and eyes like a savage.
These days, a fully charged smartphone is a pretty comprehensive safety net. You can get standard cell coverage, and even data coverage in relatively remote areas. But having a cell phone in the middle of nowhere still doesn’t make it easy to find the nearest mechanic or tow truck. To avoid the headache, and road trip interruption, you may want to become a member of a service like CAA, who can help you out quickly in the event of a mechanical failure or other problem. You can also invest in manufacturer roadside assistance or a service like OnStar support to make sure help is never too far away.
It’s important to have your license and registration with you when you’re only a few minutes away from home. So, if you’re a few hours away, it’s even more important. If you get pulled over by the police or are involved in an accident, having essential documents with you can greatly expedite the process. Of course, you also should make sure that you have maps (yes paper ones!), tickets, and passports, or whatever else you need to make sure your vacation runs smoothly.
Fatigue is one of the most dangerous, and underrated, driving impairments. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that, each year, 100,000 police-reported crashes are a direct consequence of driver fatigue. Of course, as there is no objective measure for drowsiness, the numbers reported by the NHTSA may be low. Regardless, it’s obvious that driving while tired is dangerous. A Starbucks blonde roast with an espresso shot will only keep the lights on in your brain for so long. So, get a good sleep (if possible), take turns driving with your passengers, and pull over if you can’t keep your eyes open.
Two drivers who drive the same distance, at the same average speed, in the same vehicle will have different levels of fuel consumption if one driver accelerated and decelerated more often. Maintaining a consistent speed is much more fuel efficient than jamming on the brakes routinely and then accelerating quickly. Slow and steady might not win at Le Mans, but it wins in the wallet.
Speaking of that consistent speed, try to keep it around 95km/hr. Why? Well, it’s because the rate of fuel consumption does not increase linearly with speed. In other words, the rate of increase in fuel consumption between 45 and 55 km/hr is not the same as the increase between 85 and 95 km/hr. Fuel consumption increases exponentially with speed. Roughly, every 10 km/hr above 90 km/hr will decrease your fuel efficiency by 10%. I care about your well being, so we won’t go into the engineering, math, or physics behind it, but you should know that everything is air density’s fault. Damn air.
Have fun and stay safe on the road this summer. If you have any road trip tips of your own, share them in the comments below,.
It’s that time of year again. Ice and snow are slowing traffic down and vehicles continue to hit the ditch! Yes, that dreaded -40 weather is here and it has us all dreaming of escaping to a Mexican. Sadly, we can’t run away all winter to an exotic location to keep away from the freezing cold but we can make it a little easier on us. Getting in an accident in our winter months can be dangerous and sometimes fatal so they best way to keep us away from the ditch and away from sliding into someone is by getting great tires for the cold. The debate for as long as i can remember has always been Winter or All-Season tires. Here’s a few details about each tire to help you choose the best tire for you.
All season tires provide grip in wet/snowy conditions. They also allow you have stable handling and even tread wear. Experts now call all-seasons “three-season tires”. Although they do fairly well in the winter they by far lack compared to a winter tire. All-seasons are meant more for the beginning signs of winter like light snow fall and slush, but when it comes to ice and get through deep snow they become almost useless.
Winter tires excel in snow and ice. These tires are meant to perform in snow, ice, slush, sleet and cold but dry weather. The reason why winter tires do so well compared to all-season or summer tires is because of the tread and material they are made out of. The special design allows for the tires to travel through snow with ease and the material is a soft rubber material which expands in the cold for better grip. The tread also reduces the snow build up and allows for the driver to be more confident on the road.
It’s safe to say if you live in Alberta you should have winter tires on your vehicle by the time the winter months hit. Better traction means less accidents and that’s something everyone likes to hear!