What’s in Your Glovebox?

Glove compartments are so named because they were originally built to actually hold gloves. When they were first invented, cars were open to the weather. Much like when you’re driving a motorcycle, it was necessary to wear gloves to prevent the wind from numbing your hands. A compartment was added as a great place to keep those all important gloves. Although the need for driving gloves has long since passed, the name has stuck. Through the years, the handy box has held all sorts of things that we needed to keep on hand. Some of us are old enough to remember keeping paper maps, breath mints, and/or bank deposit slips in the handy holder.

Fun Fact: Some glove compartments used to have indentations for cups, useful for when you were at a drive in. They were the precursors to today’s cup holders.

Keeping a pair of gloves in your glove compartment is optional nowadays, but there are other things that you absolutely should keep inside:

  • Car registration.
  • Insurance information.
  • Owner’s manual.
  • AAA card or information.
  • Pen.
  • Other ideas:
  • Pain reliever.
  • A little bit of cash, including coins.
  • Tissues and wipes.
  • Face Mask.
  • Oil change/repair log.

Of course the most important thing to keep in your glove box is the telephone number of your favorite garage – Norris Automotive!

Cars By the Numbers

In this digital age, it seems everything has a number. Social security numbers, IP addresses, insurance identifiers, and security keypads are all important parts of navigating our lives.

Your car’s numbers are no exception. Associated with your vehicle are a list of numbers that you (and sometimes your mechanic) will occasionally need to know. Here are some of them.

VIN number. The car’s vehicle identification number is the number that is unique to it. It’s like a fingerprint – no other one is like it. A VIN has 17 characters (digits and capital letters) The VIN is loaded with information – like when your vehicle is made, the model and make, and information about its manufacture. The VIN is used to track recalls, registrations, warranty claims, thefts. and insurance coverage.

TIN. To the DMV, your TIN is the number of your title. If you own your car outright, you should keep the title in a safe place. If you have a car loan, your lienholder will probably have your title until your vehicle is paid off.

License Plate number. This is the series of numbers and letters on your car’s plates. It gives authorities information about the vehicle’s registered owner, as well as the year, make, model and VIN of the vehicle, the address of the owner, and insurance information.

Driver’s license number. This number gives authorities access to your name, address, your physical appearance, and your driving history. It can also be used as identification.

Insurance policy number. You must have a valid insurance policy to register a vehicle in North Carolina.

Your mechanic’s number. That’s Norris Automotive – 336.228.1299.

That’s a lot of numbers, we know! But in our modern age of smartphones and digital assistants, it’s easier than ever to remember all the important numbers. Enter them into your phone, print out a copy for your glove compartment, and you’ll always have those important number handy in an emergency, if you get pulled over, or if you need car repairs.

NC Car Registration Renewal – A How To Guide

If you’re a driver in North Carolina driver, your vehicle is required to be registered with the NC DMV. A registered vehicle is issued a license plate which is displayed on the back of the vehicle. Each year, the registration must be renewed, and a sticker is added to the plate to show that this has occurred.

A couple of months before the license plate sticker expires, you’ll get a renewal notice in the mail. It will tell you how much is owed for the registration renewal and for vehicle property tax. Both of these are paid at the same time with only one payment.

Paying is easy, and can be done three different ways.

  • You can pay online. Simply click on this link, and follow the prompts to pay. You’ll need your license plate number, and the last five digits of your VIN number, but both of these are in your renewal letter, conveniently highlighted. Note that there is a $3 convenience fee for online payments. Print or screenshot the receipt in case your sticker doesn’t get to you before your registration expires.
  • You can mail a check for your payment. The letter you receive will have the mailing address. We recommend writing your license plate number on the check, just in case!
  • You can go to the DMV and pay. In Alamance County, the license plate office is at 2668 Ramada Road in Burlington. Other locations can be found on the NCDOT website.

Once your payment is submitted, you’ll be sent a new registration sticker in the mail.

If you’re late with your payment, you’ll be charged a fee.

Note that your car inspection must be current in order to pay online and at the DMV, and no sticker will be mailed without it. When your inspection and any required emissions test are completed, the DMV is notified right away. For the inspection, bring your car to us, or take it to Elite Motor Cars!

Dealing with Stop-and-Go Traffic

If you commute back and forth to Greensboro or RTP, you know the frustration comes with driving in stop-and-go traffic. While we wait for all the construction is finished, and until people stop having accidents, occasional gridlock is here to stay. Here’s a driving guide.

Stay calm and patient. We know, we know. That’s almost impossible for most of us. But try a funny podcast, or a suspenseful audio book. Meditate or listen to soothing music. Getting frustrated or agitated doesn’t help, and it can lead to impulsive decisions and increased stress levels.

Keep a safe following distance. This one is easier to do. Maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you, allowing enough space to react and stop if needed. A general rule of thumb is to maintain at least a three-second gap between your vehicle and the one ahead.

Anticipate traffic flow. Pay attention to the traffic ahead and try to anticipate its flow. Look for brake lights or signs of slowing down to adjust your speed accordingly, rather than relying solely on the vehicle directly in front of you.

Smooth and gradual acceleration. When traffic starts moving again, accelerate smoothly and gradually to avoid sudden stops. This helps to reduce the likelihood of rear-end collisions and improves the flow of traffic. Try the old trick of imagining someone sitting beside you sipping hot coffee, and make a game of not making any moves that would spill it.

Brake early and gently. When you need to slow down or stop, brake early and gently to give the driver behind you ample time to react. Again, imagine that coffee. Avoid sudden and harsh braking unless it’s necessary to avoid a collision.

Use your mirrors and check blind spots. Stay aware of your surroundings by frequently checking your mirrors and scanning your blind spots. This allows you to anticipate lane changes, merging vehicles, or potential hazards.

Use your indicators. Signal your intentions by using your turn signals when changing lanes or making turns. This helps other drivers anticipate your movements and promotes safer lane changes. And – no hand signals, if you know what we mean.😉

Stay updated with traffic information. Use real-time traffic apps like Google or Waze This information can help you plan alternative routes or adjust your expectations accordingly.

Keep your engine tuned up. You knew that we were going to mention this one, but if anything is worse than stop-and-go traffic, it’s having your car overheat and stop in stop-and-go traffic. Maintain proper fluid levels and read How to Help Your Vehicle in the Heat.

Remember, traffic conditions can change rapidly, so it’s important to adapt and stay alert while driving in stop-and-go traffic. Stop in to Norris Automotive and let us make sure that your vehicle will go smoothly – no matter what.

How to Help Your Vehicle Weather the Heat

In case you haven’t noticed, it’s hot. Hot weather can be tough on people, but it’s really tough on your vehicle. Since you count on your car or truck to keep you cool during the dog days of summer, we’d like to help you with some tips to help keep your vehicle running smoothly and prevent potential issues.

Check and maintain your coolant system: Ensure that your vehicle’s coolant levels are correct, and that the coolant mixture is appropriate for hot weather. Inspect hoses and belts for any signs of wear or leakage.

Monitor tire pressure: Hot weather can cause tire pressure to increase, so regularly check your tire pressure and ensure it is at the recommended level. Properly inflated tires improve fuel efficiency and handling.

Keep an eye on the battery: Heat can be hard on car batteries and may reduce their lifespan. Check the battery regularly for any signs of corrosion or leaks, and if your battery is old or weak, consider replacing it before it fails – and before cold weather sets in.

Maintain the air conditioning system: Make sure your vehicle’s air conditioning system is in good working condition. Check the refrigerant levels and have the system serviced if needed. Clean or replace the cabin air filter regularly for optimal airflow.

Regularly inspect and maintain your vehicle: Regular maintenance, including oil changes, air filter replacements, and overall inspections, is crucial in hot weather. It ensures that your vehicle operates efficiently and minimizes the risk of breakdowns.

Carry extra water and emergency supplies: In case of a breakdown or emergency, always carry extra water, a fully charged cell phone, and other emergency supplies like a flashlight, jumper cables, and a first aid kit.

Be cautious with gas stations: Avoid overfilling your gas tank during hot weather. Fuel expands in high temperatures, and overfilling can lead to spills and potential fire hazards.

Protect your engine from overheating: Avoid driving in heavy traffic whenever possible, as stop-and-go traffic can cause engines to overheat. If you’re stuck in traffic, put your car in neutral. If you see your engine getting warmer, turn off the air conditioning, turn on the fans, and maybe even the heater to cool down your vehicle.

Park in shaded areas or use sunshades: Parking in the shade or using sunshades can help reduce the temperature inside your vehicle and prevent damage to the interior components. It also helps to crack open the windows slightly to allow hot air to escape.

Customers like you know that tips 1 – 5 above are things that we can do for you. Bring your vehicle in to us and let us give it a hot weather checkup. Whatever the weather, at Norris, we’re here to help you keep your vehicle safe and comfortable for you and your family.

Summer Two Do’s – for You and Your Vehicle!

summer car maintenance list

It’s officially summer! We’ve got a summer checklist for you, and surprisingly enough, the hints are for you and your vehicle – two to do’s at the same time! Here are some summer tips for you to help you keep yourself – and your vehicle – summer ready:

Drink Lots of Water. Just like your body needs to have fluids, so does your vehicle. Hot weather can cause fluids to evaporate more quickly, so regularly check and top up your engine oil, coolant, brake fluid, power steering fluid, and windshield washer fluid.

Check Your Flip Flops! Flip flops can blow out, and tires can, too. Hot pavement and long drives can cause increased wear on tires. Check the tread depth, tire pressure, and overall condition of your tires regularly. Make sure they are properly inflated and aligned to improve fuel efficiency and prevent blowouts.

Keep Cool. You need to wear a hat for a reason. Overheating is a common problem in the summer for people and cars. Inspect the cooling system, including the radiator, hoses, and coolant levels, to ensure they are in good condition. Consider flushing and refilling the coolant if necessary.

Check Battery Health. A dead battery on your phone or in your car can put a dent in summer fun. Hot weather can put additional strain on your car’s battery. Have it tested to ensure it’s holding a proper charge and clean any corrosion on the terminals.

Turn up the A/C. Summer heat demands a functioning air conditioning system in your house and in your ride. Clean or replace the cabin air filter and ensure the AC system is blowing cold air consistently. If you notice any issues, have it inspected and serviced by a professional.

Put the Brakes On. We hope you know when you should put the brakes on during summer partying. For your cars, make sure you can stop by having brake pads, rotors, and brake fluid inspected. Replace worn-out pads or rotors, and bleed the brake lines if necessary.

Wear Sunscreen. UV rays can give you a sunburn, and can damage your car’s paint and cause the interior to fade or crack. Apply a coat of wax to protect the paint and use a sunshade or park in the shade to prevent interior damage.

Take an Emergency Kit. We know you always have Tylenol and Chapstick for emergencies. Your car needs an emergency kit, too! Gather items such as a flashlight, jumper cables, a tire pressure gauge, a first aid kit, and a basic tool kit. Also, carry extra water and coolant for emergencies.

Remember to call us if you have questions about any repairs or maintenance procedures for your vehicle. And hey – if you ask, we might just tell you our favorite summer fun activities. Whatever it takes to keep our customers having a great two do this summer!

Drop Off Service Available!

Working an appointment with us into your busy schedule can be a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be, thanks to our drop off service! This flexibility caters to individuals with busy work schedules or limited availability during regular business hours. Whether you need a simple inspection or a major repair, you can drop your vehicle off anytime before your appointment, and we’ll take it from there.

Here’s how to do it.

Step 1: Make an appointment. Call us up, and we’ll give you a day to bring in your vehicle. Just tell us you want to drop it off.

Step 2: Bring your vehicle. Park in the front parking lot.

Step 3: Fill out your vehicle details on the envelopes next to the front office door. We’ll ask for basic information, including how to contact you and your license plate number. Pro tip: Bring a pen!🙂

Step 4: Put your keys in the envelope and drop it off in the slot on the garage door.

We prioritize clear communication with their customers. We make it a point to reach out to you with any questions, clarifications, or updates regarding your vehicle.

If you’ve brought your vehicle to us before, you know that we also touch bases with you after a repair, making sure that things are running smoothly.

Drop off service at Norris is a time-saving option designed with you in mind, one of the ways we prioritize you, our customer!

Solving the Mystery of Parasitic Battery Drains

You’ve probably never heard of parasitic battery drains, but if you’ve ever left your lights on and had your battery die, you’ve been the victim of one.

The Death of a Battery. A parasitic battery drain is when an electrical issue steals power from the battery while the car is off, not unlike a tick pulls blood from its host. If the drain continues, the battery will loses its charge over time. Sometimes the cause of the dead battery is obvious – like when you left your lights on. But sometimes, finding out ‘whatdunnit’ takes a bit of investigating.

The Suspects. Certain components are common sources of parasitic drains, such as interior lights, trunk lights, faulty switches, or power accessories. Older vehicles and those with certain aftermarket modifications are most susceptible. Faulty electrical components, including keyless entry systems, are also common culprits.

Calling the PI’s at Norris. If your battery keeps dying, and you are sure you don’t need a new battery, let us investigate. We have the expertise and specialized equipment to solve complex electrical “crimes”. We’ll check for short circuits, look for signs of corrosion or loose connections at the battery terminals, test fuses and relays, and find the guilty party.

We’ll make sure that the mystery is solved, and the parasite is stopped!

Technology – This is Not Your Pawpaw’s Oldsmobile

Depending on your age, you’ve probably seen a lot of changes in vehicles since you’ve learned to drive. Technology has changed from the time your Pawpaw drove that column shifting Oldsmobile. Here are some of the biggest developments.

Did it Crank? One favorite advancement in car technology is remote start, which means a cool or warm car no matter the weather. Keyless entry and anti theft tracking systems are other practical features that your Pawpaw didn’t have to help him crank his car.

What’s That Noise? Remember when your Pawpaw could pop the hood and diagnose engine issues by the sound it made? That still works for some things, but for a lot of problems, you need a computer. One of the significant changes in car repair technology is the introduction of advanced diagnostic tools that help car owners and mechanics identify and troubleshoot problems faster and more accurately. Today’s diagnostic tools can quickly identify issues with a vehicle’s engine, transmission, brakes, and other systems. These days, Pawpaw is just as likely to own an OBD scanner as not. (And if he doesn’t, it would make a great Father’s Day gift!)

Ain’t That Amazing? Mawmaw will remember when a car’s entertainment system was a radio with five buttons and the alphabet game. The GPS system was a map folded up in the glove compartment. Modern vehicles are equipped with amazingly advanced versions of these – Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, satellite radio, GPS, and even back seat video.

You Buckled Up? Gone are the days when car safety meant a simple lap seat belt (or your mama’s hand flying out) and a rear view mirror. Now there are active seat belt systems, integrated car seats, and airbags. Many vehicles have backup cameras, lane departure warnings, blind-spot monitoring, and collision detection. And if you’re in an accident, some vehicles are even equipped to call 911.

Is that Fixin’ to Break? Many vehicles now come with self-diagnostic capabilities that can monitor various components and systems of your car or truck. They can detect early signs of potential failures and notify you to do proactive maintenance. There’s no need to try to find that auto maintenance notebook stuffed under the seat.

Car technology has undoubtedly come a long way in the past few decades. As technology continues to evolve, the we at Norris Automotive will also continue to change with the times, giving more efficient, reliable, and affordable services to all your vehicles, including your Pawpaw’s Oldsmobile.

DIY or DON’T? How do you know?

oil change

At Norris, we encourage vehicle owners to learn about their vehicles, and that includes doing some of the maintenance and repairs at home. We actually have “how to” posts on our website (see how to check the oil), and articles about how your engine works.

Deciding whether to attempt a DIY car repair or leave it to a professional mechanic can depend on a few factors, however. Here are some considerations to keep in mind:

  1. Are You Experienced? If you already have some experience working on cars, you may feel comfortable attempting certain repairs on your own. We suggest starting off with things like oil changes and tire rotations, then work toward more advanced things. If you are not confident in your abilities, it may be best to leave it to our mechanics at Norris.
  2. Is it Complex? Some repairs are relatively simple and straightforward, such as changing a tire or replacing a headlight bulb. Others, such as engine or transmission repairs, are much more complex and require specialized knowledge and tools.
  3. Do You Have the Tools? Before attempting a repair, make sure you have the necessary tools and resources to complete the job. Many jobs require specialized tools, some specific to your vehicle. Others will require access to a lift or other equipment.
  4. Is it Safe? Some repairs can be dangerous if not done properly, such as those involving electrical systems, airbags, or fuel lines. If you are not confident in your ability to perform a repair safely, it is best to – you know – call us.
  5. What About the Warranty? If your car is still under warranty, attempting a DIY repair could void the warranty. Check your warranty documentation before attempting any repairs yourself.

Ultimately, the decision of whether to attempt a DIY car repair or seek professional help will depend on your individual circumstances and comfort level. When in doubt, it’s usually best to err on the side of caution and call the mechanics at Norris Automotive.

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