When Should I Replace my Tires?

When do I need to replace my tires

Despite all the gains in active safety technology that have been applied to cars over the past few years, your car’s tires are still the most critical element in the safety chain. As your car rides on four patches of rubber only about the size of your palm, almost every active safety device must still rely upon the tires as it’s the sole connection of the vehicle to the road.

Modern radial tires are designed to provide consistent service throughout their life. However, it’s important to recognize the signs that your tires are due for replacement, as opposed to waiting until they’re completely worn-out, as that limits the full range of your vehicle’s capabilities.

Out with the Penny, In with the Quarter

It used to be that an easy test to see if you needed to replace your car’s tires was to stick a penny into one of the tread grooves, inserted with Lincoln’s head down. If the tread comes up to Lincoln’s head, the old standard indicated that the tire was worn out and needed to be replaced. There are also government-mandated wear bars in the tire that provide the same information – they are even when the at 2/32” of groove depth. The problem with the test is that people took it to mean that their tires were okay to drive on. That’s not the case. With only 2/32” of tread remaining your tires are beyond the legal limits in all 50 states. You’re actually driving on non-legal tires.

A new test that has been adopted by consumer groups and tire markers alike, and it uses a US Quarter instead. Now you dunk George Washington’s head into the tread and if it reaches just to the top of his head, it’s time to start tire shopping. You have 4/32” of tread which is what most safety groups believe to be the safe limit for tire wear. So next time you’re looking to check the tread depth of your tires, upgrade to a US Quarter.

Be On the Lookout for Irregular Wear

It’s best to measure the tread depth of your tires in various locations across the tread as well as around its circumference. You may find that the measurements come out differently in different locations. For example, if the shoulder area is much lower than the rest of the tire it could be an issue with the vehicle’s alignment, the speed with which one or more drivers take a corner, or even that the tire is or underinflated inflated for a period of time. Another common cause of irregular is worn struts, shocks, or other suspension components. Worn shocks create a strange diagonal wear pattern across the tread that’s unmistakable. Just remember, there’s nothing built into the tire that would cause these types of wear patterns – it’s either use, misuse, or a mechanical condition.

Inspect Your Tires Well

Look for debris the tire may have picked up while driving. Sometimes it’s obvious things like a nail, which if caught in enough time, can be repaired and the tire saved. Wait too long and rust can develop or the hole can get enlarged so that a repair is no longer possible. Look for other debris, especially sharp stones, as they can actually drill their way through the tread of the tire. Removing them is simple but don’t remove anything you suspect may have punctured the tread. Otherwise, you’ll have to jack up the car and find another means to get the now flat tire to the tire dealer as you’ve just let all the air escape.

Another area to inspect is the sidewall. Due to the amount of flexing the sidewall is required to endure while driving, punctures to the sidewall cannot be repaired. Your best solution if you find a puncture or a bulge, typically caused by a pothole or striking a curb, is to get to your tire dealer as soon as possible. However, don’t panic if you want a reverse bulge – that is an area that’s best described as a shallow valley. That’s where splice in the body cords of your tire is located (think about how a belt around your waist is double thickness at the buckle). You’ll typically find it 180 degrees from the valve stem. It’s actually an area of greater strength, due to the overlap of materials, and shouldn’t be of concern.

Tires Have a Life, Too

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends that tires remain in use no longer than six years. So if you have a six year old car still rolling on its original tires, congratulations, as you’ve obviously taken good care of your tires. To celebrate, drive down to our service center and have all five tire replaced (don’t forget the spare). At six years old the synthetic rubber compounds in the tires start to disintegrate. What happens is that, like your skin, tires ooze a small amount of oil to keep the tread and sidewall area pliable. At a certain point, the tire can no longer provide enough of the needed oil. It’s caused by use, environmental substances like ozone, sunlight, and other factors.

The phenomenon is commonly known as dry rot, and it may appear sooner depending upon where you live and drive. It’s apparent in crumbling of the tread rubber and/or cracks or crazing in the sidewall. Should any of these conditions appear, no matter how long the tires have been on your car, it’s important to have your tires inspected by a tire expert.

So take the time to look at your tires and understand what it is they’re trying to tell you. It will make for safer, more trouble-free driving in the long run.

2019 GMC Sierra 1500

The 2019 GM Sierra 1500 has been redesigned from the ground up and is larger in almost every dimension, including a longer wheelbase and longer crew cab body that offers about 3 inches more rear legroom than the previous model. It also features GMC-exclusive, industry-first MultiPro Tailgate that offers six functions and positions for enhanced second-tier loading and load-stop solutions, a standing workstation and easier access to items in the cargo box. Those are just a few of the many updates in the 2019 Sierra 1500.

2019 Sierra Range

The Sierra 1500 is offered in a number of different configurations including regular cab, double cab, and crew cab body styles,  all offered with 4WD. In addition, the Sierra 1500 range has been modified to better meet the needs of truck buyers. The new models range from the Sierra SLE, Elevation, SLT, AT4, and Denali. 

The new Sierra Elevation is offered exclusively in the double cab configuration, in both 2WD and 4WD, and features monochromatic door handles, bumpers and grille surround, amplified by black exterior accents, including the grille insert, tow hooks, side window trim, and standard 20-inch aluminum wheels

The new Sierra AT4 offers authentic off-road capability with a two-inch factory suspension lift, standard 4WD with a two-speed transfer case, locking rear differential, skid plates, Rancho monotube shocks, 18-inch wheels with all-terrain tires, Hill Descent Control, Traction Select System, MultiPro Tailgate, exclusive exterior and interior trim, unique recovery hooks and a standard 5.3 L V-8 engine.

The redesigned Sierra Denali offers segment-first technologies such as Multi-Color Head-up Display and Rear Camera Mirror, along with exclusive chassis enhancements such as Adaptive Ride Control and signature design and interior elements.

screen-shot-2018-10-03-at-11-44-35-am

 2019 Sierra Engines and Drivetrain

There’s an incredibly broad range of engines and transmissions available in the 2019 Sierra 1500, with six combinations  ranging from the 4.3 L V-6 with Active Fuel Management and a six-speed automatic, 5.3 L V-8 with Active Fuel Management and a six-speed automatic, the new 2.7 L Turbo with Active Fuel Management and an eight-speed automatic, the 5.3 L V-8 with new Dynamic Fuel Management and an eight-speed automatic, the 6.2L V-8 with new Dynamic Fuel Management and a 10-speed automatic and a new 3.0L I-6 turbodiesel and a 10-speed automatic that will be available later in the model year.

Robust Underpinnings

The 2019 Sierra 1500 is supported by a fully boxed steel frame that is 88 pounds lighter than its predecessor, while offering 10 percent greater torsional rigidity through the use of High-Strength Steel, upgrading to enhanced front and rear suspensions that incorporate new, lightweight components, while stopping is managed by an improved brake system featuring electro-hydraulic power assist, larger-diameter Duralife brake rotors and larger brake pads with ABS. The all-new Traction Select System allows the driver to choose from preset drive modes that have been tailored for different terrain or weather conditions. Selecting one of these modes adjusts Sierra’s transmission shift points, throttle mapping, and StabiliTrak to optimize performance for the situation at hand.

gmc-life-sierra1500reveal-mh-lg

A Truck Bed That’s Up to the Job

The 2019 Sierra is fitted with a more rugged standard steel floor; roll-formed from High Strength Steel and is 50-percent stronger than the previous model. Additional bed functionality includes enhanced LED cargo lights, 12 fixed cargo tie-downs rated at 500lbs per corner and larger rear CornerStep openings. The Sierra Denali also offers best-in-class cargo volume, with its 5’ 8” box offering 63 cubic feet of volume with most of that volume was created by widening the maximum width of the bed floor nearly seven inches. The Sierra Denali is available GMC-exclusive, industry-first CarbonPro carbon fiber cargo box that was developed to increase durability while offering best-in-class dent, scratch, and corrosion resistance.

 The 2019 Sierra Offer More to Serious Truck Buyers

Unfortunately there’s not enough space to cover all the available options and packages on the 2019 Sierra 1500 including the Max Trailering Package, Pro Grade Trailering System, Snow Plow Prep package, the expanded suite of active safety features, including HD Rear-Vision Camera, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert and HD Surround Vision, and the new GMC Infotainment systems with improved connectivity.

The best way to learn more about the all-new 2019 GMC Sierra line-up and which pickup is right for you is to come and talk to the truck experts at Fletch’s GMC Buick. They’re ready to assist you in decking out a truck that meets your demanding needs.  

2019 Buick Encore

Encore is Buick’s best-selling vehicle in North America, and for good reason. It offers consumers premium features typically associated with larger luxury SUVs but with greater maneuverability, complemented by its timeless design. In the rapidly evolving small SUV segment, the Encore continues to lead the pack with technology, elegance, and refinement.

Introduced in 2013, the Encore quickly carved out a niche of its own, as it quickly rose to the top of the fast-growing small SUV category, and continues to sit at the top of the market.

New for 2019

The 2019 Buick Encore features a simplified lineup comprised of the base Encore, Preferred, Sport Touring, and Essence trims. An Encore Sport Touring package features unique design cues such as a rear spoiler, 18-inch aluminum premium-finished wheels and body-color door handles. 

Buick’s Safety Package II is now offered on Essence trim and includes Rainsense wipers, Front and Rear Park Assist, Forward Collision Alert, and Lane Departure Warning. There are also two new exterior colors: Deep Azure Metallic and Satin Steel Metallic.

Engines and Drivetrain

The standard four-cylinder engine is a turbocharged EcoTec 1.4 L with DOHC operated through continuous valve timing that develops 138 horsepower. Available is an EcoTec 1.4 L turbocharged four-cylinder engine with VVT DI-4 that features direct fuel injection and develops 153 horsepower. Both engines direct power to the wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission with the sixth gear as a fuel-saving overdrive. All trims are available with AWD with the exception of the base Encore.

screen-shot-2018-10-03-at-11-16-26-am

Premium Interior

The 2019 Encore’s cockpit-style interior design features an emphasis on premium materials, chrome accents, and contrast stitching, while Signature QuietTuning and Active Noise Cancellation technology keep exterior noise to a minimum. All 2018 Encore models offer room for five and up to 48.4 cubic feet storage space with the 60/40 split rear seat folded, while the front passenger seat can be folded flat to extend the cargo length to eight feet long. There’s 18.8 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats up, more than enough room for a week’s worth of groceries.

Connectivity and Infotainment

The instrument panel of the 2019 Encore features a 4.2-inch-diagonal color driver information center, center stack with an intuitive Buick infotainment system and a frameless, 8-inch-diagonal color touchscreen with full-color radio display. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard while Bluetooth personal cell phone connectivity to vehicle audio system with voice recognition for audio, phonebook and music selection. A Bose seven-speaker audio system with an external amplifier is available on Sport Touring and Essence trims. Buick 4G LTE connectivity comes through a built-in Wi-Fi hotspot, complimentary one-month,3GB data trial (subscription required after one month).

2019-encore-feat-conn-wifi-19buer00055

Safety and Security

The 2019 Buick Encore is equipped with a suite of active safety features including ten standard airbags, a standard rear-vision camera, four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and electronic brake force distribution, cornering brake control and brake assist ,StabiliTrak stability control system with full-function traction control and LED daytime running lamps, all of which are standard on all models . Available is the Safety Package on Preferred and Sport Touring and includes Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross-Traffic Alert, which are all standard on the Essence trim.  A Safety Package II is available on Essence and includes an ionizing air cleaner, Rainsense wipers, Front and Rear Park Assist, Forward Collision Alert and Lane Departure Warning.

If you’re in the market for a compact SUV and are seeking style and comfort as well as utility and convenience, then drive over to Fletch’s GMC Buick and check out the FWD and AWD versions of the 2019 Buick Encore.

    

2019 GMC Yukon

The GMC Yukon is on an absolute roll. For the first half of 2018, it is destroying the previous sales records, in some cases doubling some of the best sales months ever. Why? Because GMC engineers revamped the Yukon in 2018 then further refined it for the 2019 model year, making it the full-size SUV that everyone desires.

Updates for 2019

A new Graphite Edition that’s available on the SLT trim. The Graphite Edition includes 22-inch bright machined wheels with Carbon Flash Metallic pockets, black assist steps with gloss black accents, black chrome grille mesh insert and fog lamp surrounds, body-color grille surround, gloss black beltline moldings and additional trim, and the Z85 suspension package.

Then there’s the Graphite Performance Edition, also available on the SLT trim. Performance Edition contents include a 420 horsepower 6.2L V-8 engine, a smooth-shifting 10-speed automatic transmission, 22-inch six-spoke black wheels, 8-inch-diagonal driver information center, heads-up display, GMC Infotainment System with 8-inch color touchscreen, Bose active noise cancellation, trailer brake controller,170-amp alternator, high capacity air cleaner, 3.23 axle ratio, two-speed active transfer case on 4WD models, and Magnetic Ride Control.

New exterior colors for 2018 include Dark Sky Metallic, Pepperdust Metallic, and Smokey Quartz Metallic.

A Full Model Range

Besides the SLT model already mentioned, the full-sized 2019 Yukon is offered in a variety of models ranging from the entry-level SLE to the luxurious Denali model, available in 2WD and 4WD configurations. 

Even the base level SLE comes well-equipped with standard equipment includes a wide range of conveniences, connectivity, and comfort features that you might think optional. 

The 2019 Yukon line offers seating for up to eight, a maximum tow rating of 8,500 pounds, along with optional four-wheel drive. A 355-hp 5.3 L V8 and six-speed automatic powers SLE and SLT trims, while the luxurious, leather-lined Denali offers luxury and performance with its 6.2 L 420 horsepower V8 coupled with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The XL version features a 14-inch longer wheelbase and twice the cargo capacity behind the third row; its cavernous interior can comfortably accommodate seven passengers plus their luggage. 

2019 Yukon Denali
2019 Yukon Denali

Powerful, Modern, Fuel-Efficient 5.3 L V8

The standard powerplant in the 2019 Yukon line is the 5.3 L L83 V8, developed and manufactured specifically for light trucks and full-sized SUVs. Part of the EcoTec3 lineup, the L83 features an aluminum block with cast-in iron liners. To assure a secure fitting for the crankshaft, the block features a deep skirt with cross-bolted main bearing caps. The aluminum cylinder heads feature direct fuel injection, variable valve timing with two valves per cylinder.  Power is 355 horsepower at 5600 rpm on gasoline, 380 horsepower on E85. Torque is rated at 383 lb-ft on gas, 416 lb-ft on E85. Power is transferred via a dual-clutch six-speed automatic transmission.

Infotainment and Connectivity

Other standard features on the Yukon XL include an 8” diagonal GMC infotainment system with available navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto compatibility, and rear seat reminder customization.  Five USB ports and a 110-volt three-prong outlet accommodates a truckload of devices while 4G LTE connectivity with Wi-Fi hotspot is standard, which does require a subscription after the first three-month, 3GB, free data trial. Optional is a rear seat Blu-Ray/DVD entertainment system that includes HDMI/MHL connector, USB ports, digital headphones, and device projection to help keep the peace among smaller passengers.

And if you’re looking for the ultimate in features and accessories, make sure to check out the 2019 Yukon Denali, available in both standard wheelbase and XL versions.

Yukon XL SLT in Quicksilver Metallic
Yukon XL SLT in Quicksilver Metallic

A Suite of Standard Safety Features

Standard safety features include front and side-impact airbags for driver and front passenger with front-center airbag and head curtain side-impact airbags for all rows, standard rear vision camera, four wheel disc brakes with four wheel ABS and Hill Start-Assist, front rain-sensing intermittent windshield wipers, and StabiliTrak, a stability control system with brake assist that includes traction control.

There’s an Enhanced Driver Alert Package standard on SLT and available on SLE which consists of Forward Collision Alert, Safety Alert Driver Seat, IntelliBeam headlamps with automatic high-beam control, Lane Keep Assist and Low-Speed Forward Automatic Braking

So should you live or work in western Michigan, come in and view the full range of 2019 Yukon, Yukon XL, and Yukon Denali models here at Fletch’s GMC Buick in Petoskey and see which best meets the needs of your family.

2019 Buick Enclave

 

The Buick Enclave SUV, which had been completely redesigned last year when it received the prestigious Wards 10 Best User Experiences award, has been upgraded for 2019 with several important new features.

New for 2019 is a Preferred FWD model, an automatic heated steering wheel which is now standard on Premium and Avenir models, while a new Ebony interior is now offered on the Avenir trim.

All versions are powered by a 3.6 L V6 aluminum engine that features dual-overhead camshafts, four valves per cylinder, continuous variable valve timing, and direct fuel injection. The engine is rated at 310 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, enough for trailering up to 5000 pounds when properly equipped. Power is delivered to a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive systems, based on the model, through a smooth-shifting nine-speed automatic transmission.

Buick Enclave Avenir

The top-of-the-line Avenir trim features an exclusive three-dimensional mesh grille, 20-inch six-spoke wheels with a pearl nickel finish, a choice of five premium exterior colors,  and a Chestnut interior with Ebony piping on the seats and contrasting stitching. The available Avenir Technology Package includes Adaptive Full-Speed Cruise Control with Stop-Go, Front Automatic Braking, a Premium Suspension Package and Continuously Variable Real Time Damping which provides a smooth, comfortable ride, while in Sport mode the system enhances handling and body control.

Exterior Features

The new design gives the redesigned Enclave a sleeker look with aerodynamic benefits for greater efficiency. The lower roofline, sharper windshield angle and longer wheelbase all contribute to a more dramatic stance. Reinforcing the aggressive new styling are bi-functional LED projector headlamps and LED tail lamps and 18” aluminum alloy wheels. Keyless open, remote start and remote vehicle starting systems are all standard.

2019 Buick Enclave
2019 Buick Enclave

Interior Features 

Enter the interior of the 2019 Enclave and you’ll find warm wood tones, brushed chrome accents and leather-appointed first and second-row seating along with a 10% increase in overall interior space, including hidden underfloor storage. Heated front seats are standard on all models while the second-row SmartSlide seat provides easy access to the third row with an available power-folding third-row seat that provides class-leading capacity. Tri-zone automatic climate control is standard on all models.

Ride Comfort

As a Buick, there’s an expectation among consumers that any car or SUV that carries the Tri-Shield will offer exceptional ride comfort, and the 2019 Enclave is no exception. The new model features exclusive Buick QuietTuning technology that utilizes triple door sealing, acoustic laminated windshield, and front side glass, and optimized MacPherson strut front and five-link rear suspension, tuned to quiet outside noise.

screen-shot-2018-09-21-at-7-01-16-pm

Connectivity and Infotainment

A frameless eight-inch-diagonal Buick infotainment system handles connectivity and information and is standard on all models; includes six USB ports (two for infotainment, four for charging) and features Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability for compatible phones. Your passengers can remain connected with the standard OnStar 4G LTE with Wi-Fi hotspot (subscription required).

Safety and Convenience

Standard safety equipment on all 2019 Enclaves includes a rear vision camera, rear park assist and seven airbags, including a front center side airbag. An available rear camera mirror allows the rearview mirror to function as a traditional mirror or a camera, expanding the rear field of vision by 300 percent, while the available Surround Vision provides overhead, 360-degree view around the vehicle while maneuvering at low speeds.

Airbags include frontal and side-impact for driver and front passenger, driver inboard seat-mounted side-impact and head-curtain side-impact for all rows in outboard seating positions. A Driver Confidence Package is available on Essence and includes Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert and Rear Cross Traffic Alert. Driver Confidence II Package is available on Premium and Avenir, which includes Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Safety Alert Seat, Front, and Rear Park Assist, Forward Collision Alert, Low-Speed Forward Automatic Braking, Following Distance Indicator and IntelliBeam headlamps.

Of course, the only way to truly experience all that the new 2019 Buick Enclave has to offer is to drive one. So come into Fletch’s GMC Buick and let the Buick experts walk you through the models and available options and then set you loose to experience the Enclave for yourself.

What ISN’T Covered by the Manufacturer’s New Car Warranty?

what-isnt-covered

Congratulations on your purchase of a new car, truck, or SUV from Fletch’s Buick GMC Audi.  Along with the purchase you receive one of the most competitive warranties in the automotive industry. For Buick vehicles, you receive a four year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a six year powertrain limited warranty with no deductible, and an eight year/100,000 mile eAssist Coverage. 

GMC vehicles offer similar coverage with a three year, 36,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, a five year, 60,000 mile powertrain warranty, and two corrosion warranties. Both Buick and GMC offer 24/7 roadside assistance, and courtesy transportation. While you’re well covered for any defects in manufacturing or workmanship, there are still a number of items not covered under the warranty.

To provide better peace-of-mind to owners, both Buick and GMC offer a suite of extended warranty coverages for vehicle owners. In most cases, it’s not required that you purchase this coverage when you purchase the vehicle – the additional coverage can be added at a later time.

Buick

screen-shot-2018-08-30-at-9-23-23-am

Buick offers a number of valuable coverage options on its vehicles. The Buick Protection Plan comes with extras in addition to coverage for approved repairs, including lost key and lockout, trip interruption, towing and road service, and rental car reimbursement. The Buick Protection Plan is available at Silver and Platinum levels. The Platinum Plan offers the same protection as the Silver Plan but adds additional covered components.

Two other coverages that owners may be interested in are the Tire and Wheel protection that safeguards your tires and wheels from potential covered road hazards and Pre-Paid Maintenance, Pre-Paid Maintenance Plus, which covers the cost of specified scheduled maintenance for the life of the contract. The Plus plan offers the same coverage as the standard contract, but with the addition of items like air filters, transmission, and other fluid changes, and spark plugs.

For individuals who choose to lease their new Buick, there are several coverages available including GAP Coverage, XS Wear Lease Protection, and Advanced Lease Protection.

GMC

screen-shot-2018-08-30-at-9-22-18-am

Likewise, GMC offers a range of coverage on its trucks and SUVs. The GMC Protection Plan is easy to purchase. Like Buick, you simply choose the coverage that’s right for you, Silver or Platinum, along with your deductible and contract term. The GMC Protection Plan comes with extras in addition to coverage for approved repairs, including lost key and lockout, trip interruption, towing and road service, along with rental car reimbursement.

The same coverages are available to individuals who choose to lease their new GMC truck or SUV, including GAP Coverage, XS Wear Lease Protection, and Advanced Lease Protection.

GM Coverage

Buick and GMC Pre-Paid Maintenance and Buick and GMC Pre-Paid Maintenance Plus are available for your new, used, or leased Buick or GMC vehicle. Terms ranging from 24 months/30,000 miles to 180 months/150,000 miles are available, depending upon how long you plan to keep the vehicle. And if you sell or trade the vehicle before the warranty expires, the remainder is transferable to the next owner.

If a covered breakdown occurs in either your covered Buick or GMC, you’ll also have access to the Certified Service technicians at any one of the 4,000+ GM dealerships nationwide. These technicians are specially trained to work on GM vehicles. They can even use the same quality parts as those used when your vehicle was first built.

Audi Coverage

Audi’s New Vehicle Limited Warranty is simple — four years or 50,000 miles, whichever occurs first. The vehicle is also covered with four years of Audi 24-Hour Roadside Assistance.  Audi offers three levels of its vehicle Service Plan: Powertrain, Silver, and Gold. Audi Vehicle Service Protection (VSP) is designed to help protect you from unanticipated expenses that come with unexpected repairs. It delivers benefits beyond your factory warranty program, with coverage options for mechanical repairs that include parts and labor up to 10 years or 120,000 miles, you pay nothing on covered repairs other than the deductible you select.

screen-shot-2018-08-30-at-9-25-14-am

The company also offers Audi Term Protection which covers parts and labor for wearable components for up to four years or 60,000 miles, with no deductible for the entire period. So when parts such as brake pads, belts, and windshield wiper blades wear out, your Audi dealer will replace them at no additional cost to you

This is but a brief overview of the types of coverages that are available. For complete details, including brochures and sample contracts for you to review, come to the warranty experts at Fletch’s Buick, GMC, Audi in Petoskey, MI for complete details. They’ll be able to tailor a program to meet your needs regardless of the level or term of coverage that you seek. And most importantly, you’ll leave with one additional feature: peace of mind.

 

2018 Buick Regal TourX

 

Should you be in the market for a family sports wagon – instead of a bulky SUV?  Are you considering the Volvo V60 Cross Country, BMW 3-series Sportwagen, the Subaru Outback, or the Volkswagen Alltrack?  If so, you need to come in and drive the Buick Regal TourX before you make your decision. And before you start recollecting that the last time you were in a Buick wagon was when your grandfather was taking you to get an ice cream cone remember that everything changes. 

The 2018 Regal TourX is a crossover in the truest sense of the word, with the drive dynamics of a car and the versatility of an SUV. The TourX rides higher than its Buick Sportback counterpart, providing it with enhanced capabilities. Its rugged exterior appearance, standard roof rails, interior amenities, standard intelligent all-wheel drive (AWD) with active twin-clutch and functional cargo area epitomize upscale utility, capability, and convenience. 

When it comes to hardware, the TourX is more than a match to its European counterparts with a standard 2.0 L DOHC twin-scroll turbocharged four-cylinder LTG engine that delivers a stout 250 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Technical features include a new aluminum block and cylinder head designed specifically for turbocharged applications, variable valve timing (VVT), a forged crankshaft and connecting rods, aluminum pistons specifically engineered for direct fuel injection, and sodium-filled exhaust valves for better heat transfer. 

Power is routed to the ground through a standard eight-speed automatic transmission and intelligent AWD with active twin-clutch for greater control on any surface, from dry to rainy to snow-covered. Buick’s innovative new AWD system utilizes two clutches at the rear wheels for seamless, smart torque distribution. 

Inside the luxurious cabin, the new Regal TourX interior takes on a driver-centric approach, featuring a host of modern technologies. At the same time, luxurious, refined materials in the cabin feature clean lines and uncluttered surfaces, all while keeping utility and capability of utmost importance. 

2018 Buick Regal TourX Interior
2018 Buick Regal TourX Interior

Folding down the second row gives the Regal TourX 73.5 cubic feet of cargo capacity, and 32.7 cubic feet in the rear hatch area with seats up, with more overall cargo space than the Volvo V60 Cross Country, BMW 3-Series Sport Wagon, Volkswagen Alltrack, or the Subaru Outback, with up to 73.5 cubic feet behind the front seats. Loading is easy as well, with a low liftover height and a hands-free power liftgate with a Buick logo lamp that illuminates the ground beneath the sensor, standard on upper trim levels.

2018 Buick Regal TourX Interior Space
2018 Buick Regal TourX Interior Space

Available in three trim levels — TourX, Preferred and Essence, standard equipment on every 2018 Regal TourX includes push-button start and entry, Hill Start Assist, 10 airbags, universal home remote, and heated side mirrors. Every Regal TourX also comes equipped with an OnStar 4G LTE Wi-Fi hotspot (subscription required) and five years of the OnStar Basic Plan at no additional cost. 

A 7-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity is standard on TourX and Preferred trims, while an 8-inch system is standard on the Essence trim with available embedded navigation being optional. A Bose premium audio with active noise cancellation that features an innovative subwoofer mounted in the spare tire well is also standard.

The 2018 Regal TourX offers new levels of crash prevention and protection. Along with the Regal Sportback, they are the first Buick to offer a standard active hood pedestrian safety system that senses the imminent impact of a pedestrian between 16-30 mph and uses a pyrotechnic actuator to lift the back of the hood up approximately four inches to lessen the impact and potentially reduce injury.

The Regal TourX’s available Driver Confidence I package adds popular active safety features including Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Rear Park Assist. A more advanced Driver Confidence II package adds Front Pedestrian Braking, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Forward Collision Alert and Adaptive Cruise Control with Forward Automatic Braking.

2018 Buick Regal TourX
2018 Buick Regal TourX

Like its competitors, the Buick Regal TourX was developed in Europe, but unlike those other brands, it was also designed around American drivers and roads to provide both a European feel as well as capabilities and spaciousness American drivers expect. To learn more, stop by and talk to the experts at Fletch’s Buick GMC Audi in Petoskey.

2019 Buick LaCrosse Sport Touring

Joining the popular Buick LaCrosse line in 2019 will be the new Sport Touring (ST) model. The Sport Touring (ST) model available this summer is positioned between the LaCrosse Premium and the LaCrosse Avenir.

The 2019 Buick LaCrosse ST brings a contemporary, spirited monotone theme to the LaCrosse model line with a body-color grille surround and side vents, which are otherwise finished in chrome on other LaCrosse models. Additionally, the ST features a subtle rear spoiler, black mesh grille, and “ST” badging on the trunk lid. In other words, it creates a presence without creating a scene.

2019 Buick LaCrosse Sport Touring taillight and spoiler
2019 Buick LaCrosse Sport Touring taillight and spoiler

On the interior, look for perforated leather-appointed heated and ventilated front seats with a lumbar massaging feature along with a heated steering wheel.

Powering the 2019 LaCrosse ST is the 3.6 L LGX V6, which develops 310 horsepower at 6800 rpm and 268 lb-ft of torque at 5200 rpm. The engine is a clean-sheet-of-paper design that features a deep-skirted aluminum block that’s stronger and stiffer than the previous 3.6 L V6. Topped by all-new aluminum cylinder heads featuring dual overhead camshafts with variable valve timing on both intake and exhaust valves, the LGX engine also features a forged steel crankshaft, sinter-forged connecting rods, and polymer-coated pistons optimized for high-pressure direct fuel injection. 

The LGX six-cylinder is mated to the newly-developed Hydra-Matic 9T50 nine-speed automatic transmission. For precise and smooth shifts, engineers utilized a specific strategy in the selection of the gearsets, clutches and torque converter. An internally-developed 32-bit transmission control module (TCM) commands all up and downshifting of the transmission to provide smooth and precise gear changes. The TCM also monitors transmission performance and compensates for normal wear in components such as clutch plates so that performance remains consistent through the life of the transmission.

Constructed on a chassis that features extensive use of high-strength steel, both for durability and collision-resistance, attached to this solid basis is a four-wheel independent suspension system consisting of a MacPherson Strut front suspension and a five-link rear suspension, offered with available electronically controlled continuous damping and spring loads from the body.

The LaCrosse also features an electric power steering system that provides variable effort – more assist at low speeds, less assist on the highway.

Braking is achieved by four-wheel Duralife brake rotors (12.6” front, 11.3” rear) with power assist, brake pre-fill, and Electronic Brake Force Distribution.

While well-equipped, there are a few option packages that can be added to the LaCrosse ST. Rear cross-traffic alert and blind-spot monitoring with the Driver Confidence Package I, or a panoramic moonroof and rear power sunshade with the Sun and Shade Package. The Sights and Sounds package will add navigation to the 8-inch infotainment package, along with the added Bose premium audio system and HD radio capability. The 2019 Buick LaCrosse ST is available in one of five available exterior color options: White Frost Tricoat, Satin Steel Metallic, Quicksilver Metallic, Red Quartz Tintcoat and Ebony Twilight Metallic.

2019 Buick LaCrosse Sport Touring grille
2019 Buick LaCrosse Sport Touring grille

There are much more included and available features on the 2019 Buick LaCrosse that there’s not enough space to cover the standard dual-zone automatic climate control, wireless smartphone charging, remote vehicle starter with keyless open and start, and many more. Your best bet is to stop by and talk to the Buick experts at Fletch’s Buick GMC Audi in Petoskey. They’ll walk you through all the standard features and available options so that you drive off with the perfect Buick for you.

2019 GMC Sierra Sneak-Peek

Arriving at Fletch’s Buick GMC Audi in late 2018 is the all-new 2019 GMC Sierra 1500, which is the largest, boldest Sierra ever, providing an even more commanding presence. The next generation Sierra 1500 is a full-size pickup that builds upon proven strengths while introducing a number of industry-first innovations. While GMC has been fairly tight-lipped about releasing information about the new Sierra, there has been enough information released to discover some of the innovations in the new 2019 GMC Sierra 1500.

Fresh Exterior Design

All-new from the ground-up, the Next Generation Sierra 1500 literally stands tall, with a strong, purposeful stance. GMC designers built upon that substantial foundation with bold bodywork, including chiseled shoulders and a tall, powerful hood, which is capped with a grille that’s bigger and bolder than any previous Sierra.

Interior Refinements

The 2019 Sierra 1500 provides a higher seating position that provides better visibility from behind the wheel, as well as the segment’s first multi-color, customizable heads-up display, which projects key vehicle and infotainment system information on the windshield within the driver’s line of sight.  Sierra’s cabin puts the driver at the center of everything, thanks in part to a higher seating position that allows for a confident, commanding view from behind the wheel. Driver focus doesn’t mean passengers aren’t forgotten. The new Sierra crew cab is larger than before, providing best-in-class front head- and legroom, along with more rear-seat legroom than ever before.

Choice of Engines

Sierra’s powerful line of engines is topped by the available new 6.2 L V8 with a new 10-speed automatic transmission and the new 5.3 L V8 with an eight-speed automatic transmission. With the 10-speed, the 6.2 L engine is able to operate in its maximum torque range. The 5.3 L and 6.2 L engines now feature stop-start technology and new Dynamic Fuel Management that enables the engine to operate on one to eight cylinders, depending on demand, in order to better optimize power and efficiency.

For 2019 the GMC Sierra has a 2.7 L turbocharged LB3 DOHC four-cylinder engine which will replace the 4.3 L V6 EcoTec3 as the base engine. The 2.7 L four-cylinder develops 310 horsepower and 348 lb-ft of torque.  The LB3 engine was developed for truck duty with its 348 pound-feet of torque available between 1500 rpm and 4000 rpm. The LB3 engine also weighs almost 400 pounds less than the V6 engine it replaces. 

Next up the line for the 2019 Sierra is the 5.3 L L86 Ecotech3 V8 that develops 355 horsepower and 383 lb-ft of torque through a combination of direct fuel injection and continuously variable valve timing. The largest engine that GMC offers in the 2019 Sierra 1500 is the 6.2 L L87 EcoTec3 V8, which develops 425 horsepower and 450 lb-ft of torque. 

What’s new with the 2019 GMC Sierra is the availability of the all-new Duramax 3.0 L turbodiesel inline six, the same configuration found in long-haul travel trailers. Information about the engine, not just horsepower and torque, but even bore and stroke, has yet to be released. It has been confirmed that it will be mated to the sophisticated 10-speed automatic transmission. However, GMC has stated they expect “we’ll have the best-performing diesel in the segment.”

Pro Grade Trailering System

GMC has a new ProGrade Trailering System, standard on the Denali and SLT. By downloading the trailering app on your Android or iPhone you’re able to run a pre-departure checklist while outside the truck and trailer. You will also be able to preview Maintenance Reminders, Trailer Light Test, Trailer Electrical Diagnostics and Trailer Tire Pressure and Temperature Monitoring.

The 2019 Sierra 1500 also offers Hitch Guidance with Hitch View and Auto Electric Park Brake to help position the truck when hitching. The available side view cameras and a trailer-mounted HD camera provide additional assistance when driving down the road or in reverse. With exclusive Trailer Theft Detection, the horn and lights of the truck are triggered and owners receive a text or mobile alerts from OnStar when the trailer has been detached from the truck without permission.    

2019 GMC Sierra Prograde Trailering Option on SLT and Denali
2019 GMC Sierra Prograde Trailering Option on SLT and Denali

Safety and Security

One of the most interesting features in the 2019 Sierra 1500 is the segment-first Rear Camera Mirror. The Sierra’s dual-function mirror can be used as a conventional rear-view mirror or as a video display showing the live images from the rearview camera at the back of the truck. 

The 2019 Sierra 1500 will offer a full suite of available active safety features, including Front Collision Alert, Following Distance Indicator, Lane Change Alert with Side Blind Zone Alert, Lane Keep Assist with Lane Departure Warning, Front and Rear Park Assist, and Low-Speed Forward Automatic braking, among others.

MultiPro Tailgate

The GMC Exclusive, industry-first MultiPro Tailgate is the most innovative pickup tailgate ever, with six unique functions and positions offering enhanced second-tier loading and load-stop solutions, and a standing workstation. The Sierra 1500 is the first and only truck to offer the MultiPro Tailgate which also incorporates a step entry that, when paired with the assist handle, offers both step and seated functionality, with a maximum weight capacity of 375 pounds. The MultiPro Tailgate will be standard on Denali and SLT.

While there’s still a lot about the 2019 GMC Sierra 1500 that we don’t know, we don’t even have enough space here to cover the information available, like the 2019 Sierra offering best-in-class cargo volume, of the 2019 Denali model that will feature an industry-first carbon fiber bed and available 22” wheels. While 2019 is still a few months away, stop by Fletch’s Buick GMC Audi in Petoskey, Michigan for additional information, and if you’re interested, add your name to the list and you’ll be contacted as soon as the first shipment arrives.

Is My Car, Truck or SUV Ready For Towing a Trailer?

is-my-car-truck-or-suv-ready-for-towing-a-trailer

Living in Northern Michigan there are plenty of opportunities to use your car, truck, or SUV for towing, from boats and campers,  hauling a car home from college to transporting a car to the city of a recent graduate’s new job. If you’ve not towed before, here’s a checklist you can follow to make certain that your tow is pleasurable, event-free, and doesn’t impact your vehicle’s warranty.

Your first step is to determine if the vehicle you intend to use to tow is capable of pulling the load you have in mind. You’ll need to add the weight of whatever you want to tow to whatever you plan to pack inside it to determine the towing weight. It’s happened more than once that someone has purchased a vehicle to tow a camper based on the camper’s weight alone, not taking into account the hundreds of pounds of water, food, and supplies in the trailer. You can find your vehicle’s towing capacity in the owner’s manual.

If your vehicle is rated to tow the load you have in mind, the next step is to assure that it’s ready to tow. If there’s a factory-installed trailer package on your vehicle, you’re good to go. If not, check with our service department.  They can provide you with a list of what the manufacturer includes in its towing package, including the rating of the hitch you’ll require. You may need to add a transmission cooler as well as a hitch and wiring harness. If you don’t match the OEM package it could void the part of your warranty affected.

Once you have your car, truck or SUV sorted, now it’s time to hook the trailer to the tow vehicle. Plan this out in advance and not the morning of your trip, as it could take some time and if not done properly it will diminish your enjoyment of the drive and could even be dangerous. 

The first task is to set the tongue weight. That’s the amount of weight the trailer pushes down on your vehicle’s hitch. Too little or too much is bad. There’s an ideal range of about 10% – 12% of the total weight of your trailer. Though it should never exceed the maximum tongue weight rating in your owner’s manual. 

Now that you know the target, load the trailer with the equivalent weight that you’ll be hauling. Level the trailer onto a bathroom scale to check the tongue weight. If it’s outside the 10% – 12% range (up or down) move the weight around in your trailer until you achieve the target. If the rated tongue weight is greater than your scale, you can check using a simple lever arrangement for which you can find instructions online.

It’s also important that the loaded trailer be level to the ground when it’s attached to the vehicle so that the trailer remains stable as your drive. You can trim the trailer’s flatness either with an adjustable drawbar or by finding one with the right offset. If you end up using an offset drawbar, make sure it’s rated to handle the trailer weight. Park both your tow vehicle and the trailer on level ground and measure both. Allow about three inches for the ball. 

Before heading out there are a few items that need to be addressed. First, is the tow vehicle ready? Towing puts a great deal of stress on a vehicle and it’s important that the engine oil, coolant, tires, and brakes are all inspected and serviced prior to towing. And don’t overload your tow vehicle either.

On your trailer, check the condition and inflation pressure of the tires, the condition of the battery if your trailer is equipped with electric brakes, inspect all lights for proper operation and that the safety chains are crossed and attached. Safety chains should not be taken lightly as they’re your last line of defense so make certain they won’t come loose. You should be ready to go now.

If you plan on towing a car on a dolly, there are a few extra items you need to be aware of. All the same rules about trailering capacity and tongue weight still apply, of course. In addition, you need to be aware of a couple of decisions you may need to make. If the car is front-wheel drive, you can use the dolly without any changes to the car you’re pulling. 

If it’s a rear-wheel drive car, the driveshaft will have to be removed by a mechanic. You’ll now have to deal with a six-foot-long greasy steel tube as well.  If your tow vehicle can handle the weight of a car trailer this may be the better option. When it comes to AWD or 4WD, it depends upon how the manufacturer configured the system. Some systems allow for the rear axle to freewheel when disconnected, which means it can be loaded like a front-wheel drive car. Others have power going to the rear axle at all times, so you’ll have to disconnect the driveshaft on those vehicles. Check your owner’s manual and if you can’t find a definitive answer you can call the vehicle manufacturer or check in with us.

The company from which you’re renting the dolly can also provide you with lights that attach to your towed vehicle magnetically so you don’t have to cut into the wiring harness.  Just make sure you stow them inside the car if you have an overnight stop. If you plan on towing a car on a dolly behind a motorhome, it may be worth the investment to have a standard jack installed in the car to operate the lights.

Follow these straightforward recommendations and you should enjoy trouble-free towing throughout the summer season.

fletchs-infographic