St. Patrick’s Day Traditions: Staying Safe and Having Fun

St. Patrick’s Day traditions

St. Patrick’s Day has been around for years. Initially created to celebrate the life of Patrick, the patron saint of the Emerald Isle, the holiday has since grown. Among the most popular things to do include parades, eating, and drinking. We here at Varney Buick GMC have put together a list of St. Patrick’s Day traditions and safety tips to help you celebrate March 17 this year.

According to Allstate, St. Patrick’s Day is one of the biggest drinking holidays of the year. That means you should keep some safety tips in mind. First, always have a ride home. Get a designated driver or call a cab to ensure you get home safely. Notify the police if you witness a drunk driver on the road.

Parades are also a popular sight on the holiday, and some places, like Chicago, dye their local rivers green to celebrate the holiday. You can see plenty of shamrocks and green during the holiday, a color that is associated with Ireland’s rolling hills.

St. Patrick’s Day is also known for the classic meal of corned beef and cabbage. Be sure to try some of this salt-cured dish, a staple in the US. In reality, it was more popular in the US among immigrants than in actual Ireland, likely due to the cheap cost of the dish. This is just one of many great St. Patrick’s Day traditions to try this year.

Light-Duty vs. Heavy-Duty Trucks: Which Is Right for You?

GMC truck - Bangor, ME

The Sierra is GMC’s signature truck.

As if shopping for a new truck weren’t hard enough, one of the most difficult decisions you’ll have to make is whether or not to buy a light-duty pickup or a heavy-duty truck. Although some purists only look for rugged durability and raw torque, there are some advantages to light-duty trucks. Alternatively, heavy-duty trucks offer capabilities you just can’t get elsewhere. Read on to learn more about light-duty vs. heavy-duty trucks.

Heavy-duty trucks are fewer and further between according to Autotrader. In some ways, this makes them easier to narrow down. You can select a model like the Chevy Silverado 2500 or 3500 and the GM Sierra HD, for example. These vehicles come with large diesel engines, heavy-duty transmissions, and added features like limited-slip differentials and more. Basically, they are built for work. You can tow more than 20,000 pounds when properly equipped, and some can get over 6,500 pounds in payload capacity.

Light-duty trucks have some advantages as well. This includes easy maneuverability, improved gas mileage, and higher top speeds. Unfortunately, they can’t tow as much as their heavy-duty counterparts.

Which is right for you? It depends on your driving needs. Heavy-duty trucks are better for those who simply want a workhorse. Light-duty trucks are perfect for drivers who want something for everyday use, with a few added capabilities.

Are Snow Tires Necessary for Your Car?

snow tires - Bangor, ME

There are pros and cons to buying snow tires.

The type of tire on your car is something most drivers don’t think about. Those that dot end to live in an area that receives large amounts of snow or face slick roadways. Unlike snow tires of the past, modern day snow tires bring plenty of benefits without most of the drawbacks. Here at Varney Buick GMC, we’re going to help you answer one important question: are snow tires necessary for your vehicle?

To put it simply, most drivers won’t need snow tires at any point in their lives. Those that do likely live in climates where heavy snowfall is a given and ice-covered roads are common for several months of the year. Both conditions represent a threat to drivers which is why many opt for snow tires.

Snow tires are great for stopping on snow-covered roads due to their increased grip but they also offer few drawbacks when it comes to driving on cold, snowless roads. Modern snow tires offer improved handling over their late counterparts as well. Every new vehicle comes equipped with Electronic Stability Control and, as a result, snow tires perform nearly as well as all-season tires.

As a general rule of thumb, install snow tires around late November and remove them near the end of March.

Should You Get a Car with Four-Wheel Drive?

2017 GMC Sierra 1500 - Bangor, ME

Here in Maine, having a car with four-wheel drive is wise.

Most vehicles come with a standard two-wheel drive system but sometimes you might need more than that. There are quite a few factors that go into determining what kind of configuration you need for your new vehicle. Let us here at Varney Buick GMC help answer that troubling question. Should get you four-wheel drive on your new vehicle?

If you live in a warmer climate with little snow or rain, the answer, generally, is a flat no. Four-wheel drive systems are best suited for getting through tough obstacles that two-wheel drive configurations have difficulty with.

Drivers who live in an area where it rains and snows should consider opting for all-wheel or four-wheel drive on their new vehicle. All-wheel drive is generally best for light rain and snow. The computers will take control and coordinate how much power goes to each wheel. That system tends to have some trouble with worse weather.

Muddy roads and heavy snowfalls are the perfect environment for a four-wheel drive vehicle to shine. Drivers have to activate four-wheel drive. By doing so, power goes to all wheels turn at low speed to drive through most obstacles. As a result, four-wheel drive vehicles, such as the GMC Sierra 1500, are perfect for tackling snow-covered roadways.

Why It’s Important to Have the Right Tire Pressure

tire pressure gauge - Bangor, ME

When was the last time you checked your car’s tire pressure?

As the weather gets colder, it’s important to regularly check the pressure in all four of your car’s tires and make sure they’re at the correct psi for your car. Cold weather tends to make air compress, making your tire pressure go down, and having the right tire pressure is essential.

Tire pressure is a big deal because when the pressure is low, you have less traction with the ground. This is never a good thing, but it’s especially bad in winter, when the roads are icy and slippery. Those slippery roads happen to coincide with the worst time of year for maintaining tire pressure, so you have to check it regularly.

Of course, you need to keep an eye out no matter what time of year it is, but fall and winter are especially crucial! You may have already noticed your tire pressure light go on with the changing temperatures.

Tire pressure is also an important part of shock absorption. When you go over a bump with low tires, you’ll feel it a lot more than if your tires are properly inflated. Driving with the right psi is safer and more comfortable.

So invest in a good pressure gauge—they’re cheap!—and check those tires regularly. You can find the right pressure in your owner’s manual.

Check Out These Back-to-School Driving Safety Tips for Teens

back to school - Bangor, ME

Now that school is back in session, safe driving is more important than ever.

Finally old enough to drive to high school on your own? Or perhaps, your teen is finally old enough to drive to school without you? Either way, it is a good idea for you or your teen to revisit some back-to-school driving safety tips before the school year begins.

Here is some advice to keep in mind before class starts back up again this year:

  • Remind yourself of where the school zones are, and always obey the lower speed limit in school zones.
  • Get ready to share the road with buses once again. You should give school buses extra space and always stop when their stop signs go up.
  • Keep your eyes peeled for younger kids waiting for the bus, or other children walking to school.
  • Though it is much easier said than done, try to get enough sleep before driving to school. Driving while sleepy can be deadly.
  • Lastly, even if you are late for class – do not speed on your way to school. You will regret that tardy notice much more if it is accompanied by a totaled car.

For more safety tips or to start the semester behind the wheel of a brand new car, contact us or visit us anytime at Varney Buick GMC.

Is Cheap Gas Okay For Your Car?

fuel pump - Bangor, ME

Cheaper may not be better for your car when it comes to fuel.

When you are running low on gas, how do you decide where to fill up the tank? If you, like most drivers, are choosing gasoline based on its price, then you may be potentially damaging your car.

Studies show that cheap gas can harm you vehicle, especially if your vehicle utilizes gasoline direction injection (GDI), which is true for about half of all cars currently on the road in the United States, for good reason.

Vehicles that utilize GDI technology are more reliable and efficient, as long as you use quality gasoline. In fact, GDI tech can raise fuel efficiency by 15 percent and reduce emissions by 30-50 percent, making the choice obvious.

However, cars that are fueled by GDI require more expensive, higher quality gasoline, which includes not just gasoline but also additives that keep direct injection engines clean and properly functioning.

The next time you need to fill up the tank and wonder, “is cheap gas is okay?” – think about the difference that a slightly higher quality purchase could make. If your engine is in better shape, your vehicle will last much longer, potentially saving you the money spent on more expensive gas.

For more tips and information – or to check out one of our many available, fuel-efficient vehicles, contact us or visit us anytime at Varney Buick GMC.

Important Things to Get Serviced Before A Road Trip

So you’ve got your gluten-free granola bars, old-school analog camera, and all of your favorite podcasts downloaded. Think you are ready to hit the road? Think again. Don’t forget about how you’re getting there! We’ve thrown together a list of a few things to get serviced before a road trip.

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You’ll be a lot safer on your road trip if you take your vehicle in to have your tires serviced. A tire inspection can reveal damage you may not have noticed—damage that could lead to a blowout later on. Plus, any tires that need it can be easily replaced. You may even want to have your alignment checked, as well.

Overheating on a road trip is never fun. Neither is blowing a hose. Have your cooling system inspected before you leave. Old, weakened or damaged radiator hoses can be replaced. It may even be time for a coolant flush.

car inspectionIn the end, you may just want to sign up for an overall inspection. This kind of service will ensure that you have plenty of brake pads left. The suspension is inspected. Belts are inspected and replaced if needed.

Peace of mind is essential to a successful road trip. And that’s what having your vehicle serviced is all about!

Winter Fun in Bangor, Maine

winter- Bangor, ME

Winter is coming. But don’t let that stop you from having fun in Bangor!

Maine has the perfect climate to have a flurry of winter adventures. The Greater Bangor Region is in an excellent location to explore winter activities.

A snow-covered forest is one of the most beautiful and peaceful views of winter. Spend time in the woods hiking, cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. There are specific trails that have been purposefully groomed or left ungroomed for the different winter trail needs.

For snowmobilers, there are miles of trails available and trailside accommodations. Don’t have your own snowmobile?  No problem! There are many rental locations. There are Maine Snowmobile Association recognized clubs within the region, and they would be happy to help you get on the trail.

Sledding can also be taken to a unique level in Bangor. Have you ever wanted to try sledding behind a team of dogs? You can do so at Hermon Mountain!  In addition to providing dog-sledding opportunities, Hermon Mountain also has snow tubing and downhill skiing.  A lift will take you to the top of the mountain where you will find over 600 feet of snow-tube chutes for riders. There is something for everyone at Hermon Mountain.

Winter fun is a key staple of living in Bangor, Maine. Varney Buick GMC wants you and your families to enjoy all the amazing winter opportunities available.

Be sure to bundle up and stay safe!

For a Safe and Happy Holiday, Follow These Thanksgiving Travel Tips

Thanksgiving - Bangor, ME

Stay safe on the road as you travel this Thanksgiving!

Now’s the time for that dream of pumpkin pie heaped with whipped cream, that fresh, hot turkey steeping with gravy, that happy tummy-bulge peeping over your waistline before you loosen your belt, to finally come true. Finally, Thanksgiving is right around the corner. All that’s left to do is get to that warm turkey dinner, which is sadly not as easy as it seems. So, we here at Varney Buick GMC have put together a quick list of Thanksgiving travel tips for your convenience:

First off, avoid driving the day before Thanksgiving if at all possible. That Wednesday is the busiest travel day of the year across all of the United States. At the very least, avoid the hottest travel hours and plan your journey for the early, early morning or starting late the night before. However, if you choose to go during the wee hours, make sure you’re properly rested before hitting the road. Driving while tired can be just as impairing as driving while intoxicated.

That point brings us to the next, and most important, of our Thanksgiving travel tips: Never drink and drive. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the jolliness of the day, but use sound judgment before getting behind the wheel. Also keep in mind that the holidays see an increase of drunk driving across the board, so while you’re on the road, always drive defensively and watch out for erratic driving behaviors.

From all of us here at Varney Buick GMC, we wish you a happy, happy Thanksgiving Day (and commute)!