For many people, the seemingly never-ending barrage of triple digit days that make up the Arizona summer are both a curse and a blessing. The curse involves boiling hot car interiors, touching burning steering wheels, and roasting the back of your legs on a leather or vinyl interior. The blessing is the ability to get out of town in just a couple of hours and enjoy the cool mountains. One of the most popular times to do just that is the upcoming July Fourth weekend, where celebrations across the state help celebrate America’s birthday. Before you head out, make sure and swing by any of the Chapman Arizona dealerships for a quick oil change and to top off of your fluids.

Payson Offers a Full Day of Events

Just an hour and a half or so northeast of the Valley is the idyllic mountain town of Payson, where a full day of events caps off with fireworks at Green Valley Park. The Town begins the celebration at 8 a.m. with a patriotic ceremony that includes a flag raising and reading of the Declaration of Independence. Games and activities start at 1, with live music taking center stage at 4 p.m. Because the event is so popular, parking overflow is set up for Payson High School, with a shuttle running to the park.

Flagstaff Fourth a Four-Day Event

Take some extra time and explore the Flagstaff Fourth that kicks off on Saturday July 1 with a Hopi Arts Festival, Flagstaff Art in the Park and the Northern Arizona Taco Fest. The art events continue on Sunday along with a Classic Car Show. Lights on the Lawn at Continental Country Club offers front row seats to a fireworks extravaganza on Monday. Flagstaff ends the celebration on Tuesday, July 4 with a parade and the Flagstaff Symphony performing patriotic songs at the Pepsi Amphitheater.

Get Wet in Sedona

Enjoy the Fourth of July among the red rocks when you attend the “4th of July Wet Fest” in Sedona. Held at the Sedona Community Pool, the Wet Fest offers lunch and live music along with a water slide and large swimming pool. Water toys and games will be provided to help you beat the heat.

Show Low Freedomfest Includes Parade, Food

It’s a bit of a farther drive to Show Low, so make sure and get you vehicle checked out at any of the Chapman Arizona dealerships before heading north to that city’s annual Freedomfest. Once you get there you’ll enjoy a parade along the historic Deuce of Clubs road. Traditional holiday foods like kettle corn, Navajo tacos, funnel cakes and more will all be available. Drew Cooper and The Cavalry will be headlining the live music.

You know that little light in your instrument cluster that kind of resembles an engine and usually has the word “check” alongside? Oddly enough, that’s your check engine light. It comes on when you start your car, and, if everything is working correctly, should go off a few seconds after the motor starts running. When the check engine light comes on at other times, it means there’s a problem with anything from a bad sensor to a faulty gas cap. Placing a piece of black tape over the light may make it less annoying, but it won’t solve the problem.

Bring Your Car in for Quick Check

Bring your car into any of the service advisors at a Chapman Arizona dealership and they can quickly diagnose the problem using a computer. They simply plug into a little port underneath your dash and get a code from the engine, telling them where the problem originates. You can also go to an auto parts store or online and buy a code reader to give you the same information, which you can then decipher using the Internet. You’ll then, of course, have to fix the problem yourself, which could be relatively easy or extremely difficult, depending on your skill level and the problem at hand.

Don’t Confuse the Lights

Don’t confuse the “service required” light with the “check engine” light. Service required just means your car is due for an oil change or other regular service, where the check engine light indicates a problem. By developing a relationship with a service advisor at any of the Chapman Arizona dealerships, you not only have a trusted source that can advise you when it’s time for maintenance and alert you to any recalls, you’ll also feel confident they’ll give you a fair deal when it comes time to diagnose a check engine light.

Usually Means Problem With Emission System

The check engine light is usually tied to a problem with the emission system, which could be something as simple as an oxygen sensor malfunction or more serious, such as failure of the catalytic converter. “The engine and the emission control system are so interlinked that the health of the emission control system is a good indication of the general health of the car’s engine,” according to Dan Edmunds, vehicle testing director for edmunds.com. He points out that ignoring the problem or using the black tape fix usually leads to more expensive solutions later on.

Most Common Problems

Some of the most common check engine light problems are listed by CarMD. They include: loose gas cap, catalytic converter, O2 sensor, mass air flow sensor and spark plug wires. Sometimes the problem is not with the sensor itself, but with the wiring leading to the sensor. If you have rodents or pests in your garage, they can chew on those wires and cause the sensor to stop working.

Arizona Day Trips Beat the Heat

As the summer temps continue to climb, Arizonans are lucky to have a diverse landscape where they can beat the heat by driving 2 hours or less. Whether you head north to the Mogollon Rim, east to the White Mountains, or south to the cooler climate of the Tucson mountains, there are plenty of places to camp or simply enjoy a day trip to beat the heat. Before you head out, bring your car to a Chapman Arizona service center for an oil change and complete checkup.

Tonto Bridge a Natural Wonder

Just a few minutes north of Payson on Highway 87, the Tonto Natural Bridge is an easy drive and a spectacular place for a picnic or day of exploration. The natural travertine bridge is believed to be the largest of its kind in the world. It’s a half-mile hike down to the bak of the creek, then several steep steps to get to an observation point. The Tonto Natural Bridge offers a shady retreat usually at least 25 degrees cooler than Phoenix during the height of the summer.

Oak Creek Canyon Delivers Cool Temps

Connecting the south side of Flagstaff with the north end of Sedona, Oak Creek Canyon is an oasis of green with a natural water slide to boot. Slide Rock State Park is an extremely popular spot for Valley dwellers, so make sure and get there early on the weekends. The naturally rock slide is a refreshing ride through the cool waters of Oak Creek. There are a number of cabins and motels on the creek if you want to spend the night.

Red Rocks of Sedona Offer Dynamic Views

If you haven’t been to Sedona, it’s not markedly cooler than Phoenix during the day, but you’ll certainly notice the difference at night. If it’s 110 in Phoenix, it’s probably 100 degrees in Sedona. The nighttime temperatures plummet in the Red Rock territory, though, to a pleasant 80 degrees or less. The stunning Red Rock vistas are worth the drive any time of the year. It’s just an hour and half up Interstate 17 to a world of vortexes, crystals and plenty of tourist options.

Mt. Lemmon Rises Above Tucson

If you’d rather head down south, take a trip to Tucson and then scoot up the hill to the top of Mt. Lemmon. Rising more than 9,000 feet above sea level, temps at the top of the mountain are some 30 degrees cooler than Phoenix. Hiking, camping, fishing and star gazing are all popular activities on or near the summit of Mt. Lemmon. The University of Arizona Sky Center offers educational programs and a great opportunity for visitors to view the night sky without worrying about light pollution. Before heading anywhere across the desert this summer, make sure and get your car inspected at any of the Chapman Arizona Service Centers. A quick oil change, tire rotation and topping off of all your fluids will help you avert disaster on the road.

How are your windshield wipers doing? Just because you don’t use them very often in Phoenix doesn’t mean they can’t wear out. With monsoon season just around the corner, now’s the time for a check of your wipers and a number of other components and parts to make sure you stay safe on the road. Industry experts suggest you change your wiper blades once a year, even if you’ve never used them. The harsh Arizona sun can degrade the rubber to where it’s ineffective, causing streaks and creating a muddy mess during one of our patented summer gully washers. For a quick check of your wipers and other commonly needed parts, swing by any of the Chapman Arizona service centers.

Heat is Arch-nemesis of Your Battery

Batman has the Joker. Superman has Lex Luthor. The Arizona summer sun has your car battery, which is apt to go out at the most inopportune times. Your battery can seem fine in the morning, but then after a trip to the mall and maybe a bite to eat, you go out in the scorching afternoon sun, turn the key, and…nothing. The intense summer heat can rob your battery of years of performance. It’s not uncommon to need a new battery every couple of years, or even sooner if you don’t provide proper maintenance. AAA of Arizona says it responds to about 65,000 calls for dead batteries a year. Experts advise to take your car in and get the battery capacity tested. If it’s below its rated capacity, it’s well worth the hundred bucks or so to get a new one and buy yourself at least a couple of years of trouble-free service. It beats standing in mall parking lot when its 110 degrees waiting for someone to come help.

Keep Cool Baby

If you haven’t had a coolant system flush in a couple of years, now’s the time to schedule one with your local Chapman Arizona service advisor. Making an appointment is as simple as going online and filling out a little information. Once your vehicle is in the service bay, the Chapman techs will go through the cooling system and look for signs of cracked hoses, fraying fan belts and other problems that might leave you at the side of the road on the hottest day of the year.

Water is Your Friend

No matter what type of vehicle you have or how new it might be, keeping a couple of gallons of water in the trunk can be the difference between an inconvenience and a miserable few hours if you get stranded on the highway. It’s particularly important if you leave the Phoenix metro area on less-traveled roads. Take water, a couple of nutrition bars and a fully-charged phone with a mobile charging system to help keep you safe and sound during your summer travels.

Five Ways to Avoid Pothole Disasters

“Spring has sprung, the grass has riz, I wonder where the birdies is?” That old chestnut that you may have heard your mom recite is one of the true rites of spring. Drivers may want to add another verse, questioning the locations of the inevitable spring potholes. Although desert drivers don’t have it as bad as people where ice and snow melts create giant craters in the road, an unexpected pothole can do a lot of damage to your car. Chapman Arizona offers the following tips to help avoid high maintenance bills caused by hitting a pothole:

Keep scanning the road. It’s easy to get lost in the music or daydream about what’s for lunch, but constant vigilance is still the best way to avoid potholes. Keep an eye out for water in the roadway. It may just be a wet spot, but it also might be hiding a giant hole in the road.

Make sure your tires are properly inflated. Keeping your tires up to the recommended pounds per square inch (psi) is an important part of avoiding damage from potholes. The more air you have, the more of a cushion it provides to protect your wheels and suspension from damage. A tire inflation check is just part of an overall inspection provided by your Chapman Arizona dealership.

Get problems looked at early. If you hit a pothole and then notice your car is perhaps pulling to the right, making weird noises or operating irregularly in some other fashion, it’s best to get it checked out before the problem gets worse.

Report potholes to authorities. The road department can’t be everywhere. Help out your fellow drivers and report potholes to the street authority in your city.

Drive defensively. If you see a pothole at the last second, it may be better to take those lumps than to swerve and hit another vehicle. Stay aware of your surroundings at all times and drive defensively. It’s better to throw your car out of alignment than to cause a more serious accident by overreacting.

If you’ve hit a pothole and are concerned about vehicle damage, schedule an appointment with your local Chapman Arizona dealership for a vehicle inspection. While some damage may be readily apparent, such as a flat tire, other things like a minor misalignment might not be as noticeable. Damage to the alignment, suspension and brakes can have long-term consequences that will drive the cost of repair higher than if you take care of the problem early.

Five Necessities for Summer Desert Driving

While the Arizona desert can be beautiful, especially this time of year when the spring flora is in full bloom, summer temperatures can make it a particularly harsh environment. The folks at Chapman Arizona encourage you to follow these five tips when trekking out across the desert highways in triple digit heat.

Bring Plenty of Water

If you’re heading out of town across the desert, make sure you bring plenty of water for you, your occupants, and your vehicle. A safe bet is a gallon of water for each occupant of your car, and a couple of extra gallons in case your cooling system should spring a leak. Water’s cheap and dehydration is no fun.

Get Your Car Checked Out

Before you leave, bring your car into any Chapman Arizona dealership for a complete check-up. If your cooling system has never been flushed, now is a good time to start. The pros at Chapman can identify any trouble spots such as cracked hoses or belts. A few dollars spent now can save you a ton of torture in the hot desert sun.

Stick to Popular Roads

While the Arizona back roads can lead to some wonderful scenery, the summer is no time to go out exploring. Stick to roads where other cars pass by frequently and where there are gas stations and other places that can lend help in an emergency.

Let Someone Know Where You Are

Before you tackle traveling across desert, let someone know your travel plans. Tell them you will check in with them when you arrive. If they don’t get a phone call in an appropriate amount of time, they can call for help and perhaps save you from spending a night in your car on a lonesome road.

Learn How to Do Simple Maintenance

A roll of duct tape, some water, a pair of pliers and a screwdriver can mean the difference between you staying mobile and being stranded in the desert. Learn how to do simple maintenance on your vehicle such as patching a hose or changing a tire. Use the shiny side of a CD to signal for help when all seems lost. These are simple things that can help you survive those horrible summer temps. Remember to swing by any Chapman Arizona dealership before you head out and have your fluids checked, oil changed and tires rotated. A little preventive maintenance can give you peace of mind and be the difference between a fun trip and a nightmare.

Now’s the Time for a Coolant Flush

Hey, we get it. When it comes to your to-do list, a coolant flush is right up there with watching grass grow or paint dry. Unfortunately for you, flushing your coolant once a year is an important maintenance requirement to keep your cooling system fresh and working properly. It’s even more important when you live in the desert, where triple-digit temperatures six months out of the year put a lot of strain on the systems keeping your engine within optimal operating temperatures. Make an appointment today with any Chapman Arizona dealership for a painless coolant flush to prepare yourself for the coming summer heat.

Flushing Different Than Draining

It seems simple enough to loosen the ball-cock on the bottom of your radiator and drain out all the old coolant, then refill it with fresh anti-freeze. A coolant flush does much more than that. Using proper equipment, a Chapman Arizona service technician will use pressure to push all the anti-freeze, rust, scale deposit and contaminants out of your cooling system. At best, draining the radiator only removes about 50 percent of those harmful deposits.

Includes Total System Check Up

Getting a coolant flush also means your entire cooling system will be tested under pressure for possible leaks. That’s also the time for a look at all the belts and hoses, which are put under tremendous strain in the Arizona heat. A few dollars spent now on new hoses and belts can mean avoiding a dangerous situation stuck alongside the road this summer.

New Coolant Has Many Benefits

Loading up your vehicle with new coolant not only gets rid of all the gunk in your radiator system, but also has additional benefits such as lubricating your water pump and preventing rust build-up and foaming within the system. Your old anti-freeze has lost many of these protective powers, making now the time to schedule an appointment at any Chapman Arizona service center for a coolant flush to get ready for the summer months.

Chapman Techs Highly Trained

Whether you have a Ford, Chevy, Dodge or Import, the Chapman Arizona dealerships offer ASE-certified technicians who know the ins and outs of today’s complicated vehicles. While a coolant flush is a relatively minor but important procedure, the Chapman techs are trained to spot more serious problems that may be looming. By developing a relationship with a service advisor, you’ll be the first to know when your vehicle needs maintenance and if any recall notices require attention.

Five Ways to Put Kibosh on Car Thieves

So you’ve gone to one of the Chapman Arizona dealerships and picked out the new love of your life. Maybe it’s a Camaro, or maybe it’s a Hyundai Accent. The model and whether it’s new or gently used isn’t really important. What’s important is that this new (to you) car is now an important part of your life. It gets you to work, to school and to all the fun things you do in your life. It’s important you keep it from getting stolen. Here are five good tips:

Keep it in a Garage

On the scale of 0 to duh, this may be the most obvious way to keep a car from being stolen, but you’d be surprised how many people use their garage for storage rather than securing a car. Take some of those old toys, tools and what not to the local thrift center to help others and make room to lock your car up at night.

Keep it Looking Sharp

While you might think keeping your car clean and looking like it came off the showroom floor would attract thieves, the exact opposite is true. Thieves like to pick on people who aren’t as apt to have an alarm or vehicle tracking device. If you take the time to get a detail, or a simple car wash, you are more likely to take steps to keep your car from getting stolen. Thieves hate getting caught. Well-maintained cars are a warning sign that you care if your car is stolen.

Get All Your Valuables Out of the Car

Consider this scenario: some thug is wandering down your street some night and happens to glance in your car window. He or she sees a laptop, a briefcase and maybe a phone. The car’s not in a garage, it’s a mess inside and there’s a potential payday even if that person can’t get the car started. Leaving your valuables in your car is like leaving the pie on a picnic table at your campground. If there are bears around, they will find it.

Put in an Alarm with a Flashing LED

Although it’s true that people don’t pay too much attention when they hear a car alarm, the simple fact of having a flashing LED alerts the thief that they will have more than a door lock with which to contend. Check in with your Chapman Arizona service advisor about getting an alarm with a flashing indicator. Better yet, install an alarm with a kill switch to keep the car from starting.

Create a Visual Deterrent

In conjunction with the previous step, creating any kind of a visual deterrent is a buzz kill for thieves. Thieves are lazy, which is why they steal instead of having a job. Installing a locking arm that goes across the steering wheel may not keep a really determined thief from stealing your car, but it will make your average thief keep on walking in search of easier prey.

Those Little Dash Lights Require Attention

Black Tape is Not the Solution

You know those funny little lights in your dash that come on when you start your vehicle, then usually go away immediately afterward? Those are indicator lights that, when they stay on, are telling you there is something amiss with your vehicle. It might be as innocuous as a loose gas cap or dirty sensor, but they might be telling you that something is serious and needs to be addressed. The solution is not to put a piece of black tape over the light and hope it resolves itself, but to head to a qualified service advisor at any of the Chapman Arizona dealerships. Your service advisor can use a computer to quickly determine the problem and advise you of the best way to fix the problem and keep you on the road.

Check Engine Light Means Exactly That

The “Check Engine” light is usually the outline of an engine and is telling you that one of some 4,000 things is wrong with your vehicle. A diagnostic reader is plugged in under your dashboard to narrow down the problem, which many times has something to do with the emissions system. First, check the gas cap to make sure it’s on securely, but if that doesn’t work, head to Chapman Arizona and let them run the codes through the computer.

Some Lights are Self Explanatory

The light that looks like a battery means something is wrong with the charging system. It could be the battery, but might also be the alternator or a fan belt. When the brake warning light beams, the warning may mean the parking brake is on, but it also might be signaling a low level of brake fluid. Different manufacturers have different meanings for the same light, so check your owner’s manual or bring the vehicle in for service. The ABS light indicates there’s something going wrong with the anti-lock brake system. This requires immediate attention. It might be something as simple as a dirty sensor, but you don’t want to find out the brakes are gone when you’re at the top of a hill.

Oil Warning Light Spells Trouble

If a light that looks like an oil can, or maybe a Genie’s lamp, is illuminated, pull over as soon as it is safe to do so and call for help. Low oil pressure is caused by a number of things, including lack of oil and a failed oil pump. Whatever the cause, if your pistons are not receiving the proper amount of oil your engine will certainly seize up and result in the cost of thousands of dollars for a rebuild or new engine. Develop a relationship now with one of the friendly service advisors at any of the Chapman Arizona dealerships. They will ensure you and your vehicle can stay happy together for many years to come.

Family Friendly Events Fun for All

As the weather warms into the friendly, but not scorching, beautiful days of an Arizona spring, a number of car shows are the perfect opportunity for getting outside and enjoying the climate. The First Friday of every month is an opportunity to see some classic cars at the 5 and Diner at 5220 N. 16th Street in Phoenix. Live music and a sock hop help get the festivities rocking promptly at 6 p.m. If you’re looking for a future classic to invest in, check out any of the Chapman Arizona dealerships for a new or gently used muscle car.

First Weekend in March Busy

Saturday, March 4 is a busy day around the Valley of the Sun for car aficionados. It kicks off in San Tan Valley with the 4th Annual Cruise-in for Vets Car and Bike Show. The event has 22 classes and is located at the American Leadership Academy at 850 W. Combs Road. The Chandler Classic Car Show will be part of the Ostrich Festival in downtown Chandler the same day, including a parade of classic cars, rat rods and interesting rides. March 4 is also the day for Chester’s Classic Car show as part of the Melrose on 7th Avenue Street Fair, which will also feature a beer garden, arts market, food trucks and live music. Head over to the Scottsdale Pavilions that night for the weekly Saturday night car show, a favorite among Valley regulars.

Races Coming March 11 and 12

Road Racers will be flocking to the Arizona Motorsports Park in Litchfield Park on Saturday, March 11 for ProAutoSports Road Racing, featuring open and closed wheel cars. There will also be time trial programs, kart road racing and a driver’s education program. Head down to the race track at Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Chandler for the U.S. Drag Car Championships on Sunday, March 12. Competition styled eliminator bracket racing is the rule of the day as racers attack the quarter-mile strip with reckless abandon.

Kiwanis Nuevo Sponsors Catch-A-Wave Show

Circle Saturday, March 18 on your calendar for the annual Catch-A-Wave car show at Kiwanis Park in Tempe. Sponsored by the Kiwanis Nuevo Club, this show has 20 separate classes including custom cars, hot rods, pick ups and old classics. A silent auction will benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs, as well as other Kiwanis charities. If attending all these car shows gives you the bug to update your ride, head over to any of the Chapman Arizona dealerships. You can search the Chapman website to find the muscle car of your dreams, getting you started on the road to collecting and exhibiting your ride.