Before you head off on your next trip across the desert, or perhaps even before tomorrow’s morning commute, there are a few essential items you should always have in your car. Along with the following essentials, always make sure your vehicle is in top working order. Regular trips to a service advisor at any of the Chapman Arizona dealerships will ensure your car stays in tip top shape. Consider carrying the following in your vehicle at all times.

Gallon of Water and Duct Tape

If your stars are aligned and the heavens smile upon you, when you go to trade in your vehicle you will have a gallon of unused water and some dusty old duct tape to transfer to your new vehicle. However, if one of your hoses should spring a leak on some lonely old highway, you’ll be glad you came prepared. Just wait for the engine and hoses to cool down, then wrap the offending hose where the leak is and six inches on each side of the hole before adding the water to the radiator. That should get you to the closest service station for a repair.

Portable Jump Starter

Your father probably told you to always carry a pair of jumper cables, but what if there’s no one around to give you a jump? Portable jump starters are now well under $100 and will give you enough juice to get going when old Betty just won’t crank over anymore. Remember to charge the jump starter occasionally to make sure it has enough power to get you going. Also remember to get your battery checked regularly at your local Chapman Arizona dealership. It’s not uncommon for a new auto battery to only last a couple of years in the desert heat.

Cell Phone Charger

So, you run into a little trouble and pull out your trusty smartphone only to see that it is totally drained. What now? Perhaps a long walk. Always plug your phone in whenever you head out, especially if you’re heading out of town. A charged phone may be the difference between you reaching your destination and sleeping in your car.

Emergency Bag

Hopefully you’ll never need it, but an emergency bag packed with a blanket, some first aid supplies, pain killers, snacks and a couple of bottles of drinking water can mean the difference between a horrible experience and simple inconvenience. Also throw in some plastic shopping bags. They come in handy for everything from storing trash to wrapping around your feet in case you have to walk through wet slush or snow.

It may not seem like winter is coming, but nighttime temperatures in the 60s means that it won’t be long before we get the occasional freezing temperatures here in the Valley of the Sun. Now’s the time to bring your vehicle into a Chapman Arizona service center to take care of a few items that will help you have a problem-free winter.

Is it Time for New Anti-freeze?

If you haven’t had a coolant flush in the past 30,000 miles or so, there’s no time like the present to do so. A pressurized coolant flush is different than just draining your system and replacing the anti-freeze. Pressure helps force out all the gunk and corrosion that can build up over time. The pressure also helps identify any pin holes in your hoses that can lead to big problems further down the road. A fresh batch of coolant will help you protect your system from freezing and keep you going on through the winter and next summer.

How are the Hoses and Belts?

Even though the sun doesn’t get to shine on your hoses and belts, the extreme heat has a way of speeding up the disintegration process. While your vehicle is in a Chapman Arizona service center getting the coolant flushed, your technician will inspect all the rubber products on your car, including the hoses, belts and windshield wipers. An ounce of prevention will keep you from being stuck alongside the road with a broken fan belt or leaking hose.

Summer Takes its Toll on Batteries

Another victim of the extreme heat of the desert is your car battery. It’s not uncommon for a car battery to only last two years in the desert, no matter how long the warranty might be. A battery and electrical system check-up will head off any problems that might leave you stranded when you’re out doing your holiday shopping, or worse yet on a weekend drive through the desert.

Prepare an Emergency Kit

If you spend a lot of time driving around the state, now is the perfect time to prepare an emergency preparedness kit for your car. Living in the desert lets people sometimes forget what it’s like to deal with ice and snow, so a few simple steps now will help in case you run into an unexpected blizzard. Your kit should include a blanket, some gloves, an ice scraper, flares, jumper cable and a first aid kit. It doesn’t hurt to always carry a gallon of water, either for you or your vehicle should it overheat. Remember to keep the gas tank at least half-full in case you get stranded in a snow storm and need to run your heater for several hours. The best news? Summer is almost over and we can finally remember why we live in the Valley of the Sun.

While the initial cost is still a challenge for some, more and more people are opting to move from traditional gas-powered vehicles to all-electric or hybrid power. Most hybrids are in the mid to upper 40 mpg range, with some even surpassing 50 mpg. While it might take a while to make up the initial price outlay in gas savings, that’s not the only consideration for moving to hybrid power. Check out the large selection of new and used hybrid vehicles on the Chapman Arizona website.

Hybrid Batteries Last a Very Long Time

One of the original fears against purchasing a hybrid car was the need to replace the expensive batteries. Now that hybrids have been around for well over a decade, that fear has proven to be completely unfounded. Taxi companies frequently put more than 300,000 miles on their hybrid vehicles without needing to replace the batteries. Most auto manufacturers also put lengthy warranties on the hybrid batteries, something they no doubt wouldn’t do if they were prone to early replacement.

It’s Like a Bumper Car Without the Bumps

You’ve all driven those bumper cars at a carnival. You press the pedal and they go. You take your foot of the pedal and they stop. Essentially, that’s the same way a hybrid works. When you press the accelerator, the electric motor silently kicks in and you start moving. Release the accelerator and they stop, often without need to work the brake. They are remarkably easy to drive with no shifting necessary.

There’s a Wide Selection of Vehicles

No longer is the Toyota Prius the only game in town. Most automakers, including Ford, Hyundai, VW, BMW and Porsche all offer hybrid options. You can go inexpensive or top of the line luxury; it’s a buyer’s market out there.

Hybrids Make Financial Sense

Since most cars are financed, the best way to see if a Hybrid makes financial sense is to compare payments between a hybrid and gas-powered car, and then figure out how much money you’re saving on gas. If you pay $3,000 more for the hybrid and finance for 60 months, that’s an average of $50 per month. If you spend more than that on gas with the cheaper car, then buying a hybrid makes sense.

Save the Planet

You don’t have to be a tree hugger to want to do the right thing for the planet. Whether you believe in climate change or not, it’s just common sense that fewer emissions in the air will result in healthier air for everyone. While all-electric vehicles offer zero emissions, hybrids come a lot closer to that number than gas-powered cars. Give some thought to a hybrid, do your research and then visit the Chapman Arizona website when you’re ready for a great deal.

Hit the Road for Labor Day Celebrations

Valley residents can be forgiven if they don’t bemoan the end of summer like people in the cold country. While there are still plenty of weeks of triple digit temperatures left, at least Labor Day signals the beginning of the end of scorching hot steering wheels and oven-like car temperatures. Labor Day also offers the last three-day holiday that desert dwellers can get out and enjoy the cooler temperatures in other parts of the state. Before you head to the mountains, make sure and get your oil changed and fluids topped off at any of the Chapman Arizona dealerships.

Coconino County Fair in Flagstaff

One of the biggest Labor Day events around the state is the annual Coconino County Fair, held in the fairgrounds just outside Flagstaff. Along with rides and plenty of deep-fried food to sabotage your diet, the Fair is a chance for local youth and ranchers to showcase their year’s work. The main stage comes alive each night with live bands, headlined by Mogollon on Friday and Snake Oil on Saturday evening. Admission tickets are just $8 for adults and $5 for youths and seniors. A free shuttle from the Northern Arizona University campus offers a hassle-free way to enjoy the fair without fighting traffic.

Head to Pine/Strawberry for Arts and Crafts

The Pine-Strawberry Arts and Crafts Guild is once again putting on the Labor Day Arts and Crafts Festival in downtown Pine. Located just a short drive north of Payson, Pine offers cool temperatures to go along with a pancake breakfast, juried vendor booths and plenty of other food and beverages. Head north on State Route 87 through Strawberry to get to Forest Road 3, which will provide a scenic drive into Flagstaff if you want to hit both festivals. If you head up on Saturday, stop in at the Payson Farmer’s Market to stock up on all kinds of fresh produce, free range beef and baked goods.

Prescott Offers Faire on the Square

Head to the former state capitol for cool weather and a fun holiday weekend as Prescott offers Faire on the Square under the shade of the large elm trees through the Labor Day weekend. There will be more than 125 arts and crafts vendors displaying their wares, along with plenty of food and entertainment. Take a little extra time and explore the surrounding area before you head home. The Prescott area has miles of popular trails to explore, so pack a picnic lunch and enjoy the weekend.

Remember that the triple digit temperatures have taken their toll on your vehicle, so before you head out it’s important to stop at any Chapman Arizona dealership to check your fluid levels and tire pressure. A moment of prevention is worth an ounce of cure and can keep your holiday weekend dream trip from becoming a nightmare.

Do You Know the Dust Storm Drill?

August is a great time to live in Arizona, mainly because you know that summer is on the downward slope and the cooler days of fall are just weeks ahead. But August is also a time when the monsoons rear their ugly head, bringing rain and dust to various parts of the state. Rain is usually welcome, but the dust walls that look like something out of a horror movie can bring an end-of-the-world type experience to unsuspecting motorists. The folks at Chapman Arizona urge you to follow the slogan “pull aside-stay alive” if you should run into a dust storm.

Pull Aside – Stay Alive

The Arizona Department of Transportation advises anyone involved in a dust storm to follow these simple steps:

• As soon as you encounter a dust storm, check all around your vehicle and begin to slow down as safely as possible.

• Pull off the paved part of the roadway as far as you can.

• TURN OFF all lights. Get your foot off the brake and do not turn on your flashers. Other motorists may see a glint of light through the dust and follow you, causing a collision.

• Set your emergency brake.

• Stay in your vehicle with your seat belt fastened until the storm passes. Safely get back on the highway and continue to your destination.

Prepare Your Vehicle

The route between Phoenix and Tucson is particularly sensitive to dust storms this time of the year, especially in the late afternoon. If you need to travel I-10 south for any reason, take a few steps to prepare your car in case you need to pull off the road for an extended period of time. Take some water for your passengers and an extra gallon jug in case the car overheats. Some snacks such as protein bars and nuts are an excellent idea, especially if you have kids with you. Before you head out, take your car to any of the Chapman Arizona dealerships for a quick service check. Make sure your hoses and belts are all in tip top condition and the wiper blades are working properly. As part of an oil change service, the Chapman Arizona technicians will make sure all the fluids are topped off and you’re good to head out in the desert. Whatever you do, if you encounter a dust storm, be patient. The storms usually pass within 15 minutes to an hour and the road will be clear for you to continue on your way.

Convertibles Make Weekend Trips More Fun

While it’s true that driving around Phoenix with the top down on a summer day is akin to some kind of medieval torture, having a vehicle with a drop top can be a blast during the evening and on those weekend mountain runs. There’s just something about getting the wind in your hair and the sun on your noggin’ that adds a degree of festiveness to a drive. Chapman Arizona has the dealerships that offer a wide variety of both new and used convertibles that can up the fun quotient of your driving experience.

Pony Cars Still the Rage

The Pony Car wars have been raging since the late 1960s, with the Ford Mustang and Chevy Camaro still battling for supremacy. Whether you’re a Ford or a Chevy person, you can find the latest version of these popular convertibles at Chapman Ford in Scottsdale, Chapman Chevrolet in Tempe, Freeway Chevrolet in Chandler or the Chapman Payson Auto Center. The Mustang Convertible comes in three different models. Choose the base V6, the EcoBoost Premium or the powerful GT Premium Convertible. The Camaro convertible comes with four different engine options, including a 6.2L supercharged V8 that delivers 650 horsepower and 650 spine tingling pound-feet of torque.

Z4 and Miata are Peppy Roadsters

If you want a ton of fun in a small package, consider the BMW Z4 or the Mazda Miata MX-5. The Z4 is available at Chapman BMW on Camelback or in Chandler. It was designed to put a smile on the face of both the driver and passenger, with an impressive 335 top horsepower and top speed of 165 mph. With near-perfect weight distribution and the seat placement just ahead of the rear axle, you’ll be challenging yourself to stop smiling so much. The Miata is often called the best sports car on the planet for the money. With a starting price of just $24,915, the Miata continually makes every “Best of” list from car journalists and publications. It’s open-air engaging style has made it the best selling roadster of all time.

BMW 4-Series, 6-Series Offer Sophisticated Fun

If you’re looking for something with enough room for a couple of kids or a dog in the back seat but still want the top-down experience, consider the BMW 4-Series or 6-Series. Both use innovative BMW top-down technology to drop the top in as few as 19 seconds. The 6-Series has the ability to go from 0-60 mph in just 4.4 seconds, while the 4-Series is the first convertible to offer BMW’s xDrive all-wheel drive system. Both offer the luxury and sophistication you come to expect in an Ultimate Driving Machine.

Don’t Forget the Beetle

Head to Chapman VW in either Scottsdale or Tucson to check out the New Beetle convertible. Still offering the cute style that made it a popular car back in the 60s, the New Beetle has the technology, performance and creature comforts drivers have come to expect in the 21st Century. If you’re more in the market for a used vehicle, head to the Chapman Arizona website and check out the inventory of all the used convertibles in the Arizona market.

Get Ready for Rollout of 2018 Model Year

From the new Hyundai Kona compact utility vehicle to the redesigned Honda Odyssey, big things are coming for the 2018 model year at all the Chapman Arizona dealerships. The much-anticipated Odyssey features a cabin communication system that allows the driver to not only talk to the people in the third row, but keep an eye on all occupants. The Kona is a sporty little vehicle that promises a “fun-to-drive” experience not available in other tiny vehicles.

New Expedition Built with Aluminum

Following the popularity of the F-150, the new Ford Expedition will feature the liberal use of high strength aluminum in the body to cut weight and increase both efficiency and performance. The new Expedition, available at Chapman Ford this fall, will also have some cutting-edge technology such as the SYNC 3 system that offers superior voice recognition to control your audio and communications.

Chevy Traverse, Equinox Redesigned for 2018

Visit Chapman Chevrolet or Freeway Chevrolet when the new models arrive to get a good look at the popular Chevy Traverse and Equinox. Chevy has redesigned both vehicles for the new model year, adding a more sporty design, new technology and some more sophisticated technology including numerous USB ports to keep your electronics charged.

Look for New Jeep Wrangler

Jeep has promised a redesign of the iconic Wrangler and Wrangler Unlimited for 2018, which includes a liberal use of aluminum to improve fuel economy. While it will continue to utilize an industry best four-wheel drive system on a sturdy body-on-frame design, rumors are that a turbo-charged four-cylinder engine and a diesel option are under consideration. Stay in touch with Chapman Jeep in Scottsdale and Payson Auto Center for more information on the new Wrangler.

Hyundai Offers Refreshed Lineup

Along with the new Kona, Hyundai is delivering a totally redesigned Accent and the all-new Elantra GT hatchback for the 2018 model year. The Elantra GT offers an affordable option for drivers who want something sporty, but don’t want to break the bank. Also look for the introduction of the IONIQ plug-in hybrid this upcoming year, joining the IONIQ hybrid and all-electric vehicle as the only model with three different power trains.

New Designs Mean Big Savings

While it’s always nice to have the latest and greatest version of anything, the release of new model designs means great savings for consumers who are interested the old models. Now’s the time of year when the Chapman Arizona dealerships start to clear out the lot to make room for new inventory. Expect the best deals on the models that have a new design coming out for 2018.

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.