We’ve got big news to share!

We love what we do and we love sharing information to help you make the best car buying decision for your circumstances. We understand that every customer is unique and has her or his own needs, likes and wants. We also understand that the car buying process can be intimidating.

For all of those reasons, and because we just like to have a good time, we’re introducing a new feature for you: Mondays with Marty & Monroe. Every week we’ll talk about ways to make your car buying experience easier, faster and more enjoyable. And we’ll cover any topic you chose! Just leave us a comment here, on our Facebook page, or on our website and we’ll do the rest!

For now, please enjoy our very first Monday’s with Marty & Monroe! And be sure to tell all of your friends using the #Marty&Monroe!

The Beauty of the American Road Trip

DAD'S CAMPER

When I was a kid, a big family road trip was an annual event.

Dad would plan the route, all the stops and do the majority of the driving.  We had an old Chevy pickup with one of those truck mounted campers on the back.  My sisters and I would pile into the camper, being careful to keep the curtains closed in states where it wasn’t completely legal to have passengers riding inside the camper… I didn’t really think about it at the time, but as an adult I suspect those laws had something to do with people traveling in a giant, extremely poorly built box attached by a few screws and a lot of good luck…. Anyway, not the point.

Those summer road trips are some of my fondest childhood memories. Most often we didn’t go far. Camping trips to Lake Okaboji or Lake Rathbun Lake with other local families.  Sometimes we visited family in southern Iowa and Illinois.

Once a year we would take a ‘big’ trip. We’d all load up and head for the deep south. The stops along the way were my favorite part. We would stop in Chattanooga to ride the incline train to Lookout Mountain, visit the Civil War memorials, and marvel at the wonders of Ruby Falls. We toured Nashville, counted how many horses we could find in Kentucky, marveled at the cotton plantations and played games along the way. In short, we made a lot of memories that are more precious than I can explain.

As a parent, I didn’t have a camper, but that didn’t stop me from doing my best to give my kids at least some of those memories of their own. We didn’t go far,  usually to visit one of my sisters, short camping trips or weekends in the city. But we went. And, I hope that my kids look back on those trips with the same fondness I do of my childhood. And I hope that they will share the experience with their own children.

So, the next time you’re planning a family trip, consider avoiding the airports and taking a road trip. Plan for stops along the way. Visit parks, zoos, monuments. Eat at truck stops, stop by the mom and pop cafe for pie. Play games in the car, go for an impromptu swim at a beach along the way. In short, take the time to make some memories along the way.

The great American road trip isn’t about the destination. It’s about the journey.

Teaching Your Teen to Drive?

Let’s face it, parenthood is a lot like riding the Monster at Adventureland: a wonderful scary ride with lots of loops, hills and turns that leaves you feeling elated, terrified, excited and nauseous all at the same time.

Unfortunately, closing your eyes and screaming at the top of your lungs is generally not an option in most parenting situations. And definitely not while teaching your teen to drive.

There are endless articles, how to’s and other instructional materials out there for parents, so let’s not go there. The basics are all the same, and I really don’t think you need another how to manual on the subject.

I have just three pieces of parental wisdom on the subject…. ok. Four.

First, don’t forget that you know your kid better than most people. You know if they are Johnny Bravo or of they’re more timid or shy. You know if they find new experiences a great adventure or if they find new things intimidating, so use what you know to your advantage.

If you teen is more on the timid side, learning to drive can be a terrifying experience for them. Take the pressure off. Start him or her out in an empty mall parking lot after all the stores have closed, on a deserted gravel road, or in the nearest small town. Anyplace where the number of other cars to deal with is limited to a few, or none.

Second, be creative. Don’t get so wrapped up in the “right” way to give instruction that you forget that the experience should be (at least a little) fun for both of you. If your teen struggles, find a way to help them that takes the pressure off.

When my oldest, the perfectionist, was learning to drive she had a particularly hard time learning to back up.  The more she tried, the more frustrated she (and I) got and the more she felt like she had failed.

Then her driving instructor had an idea. My father lived on a small acreage so her instructor suggested we have her mow the lot with the lawn tractor… in reverse. It was brilliant!  We all had a good laugh… ok, several. And it didn’t take long before she learned to back like a pro.

Third, don’t forget to teach your teen the basics of caring for their vehicle. Really. It’s important and a lot pf parents just don’t do it.

Every driver should be able to check the oil, put air in a tire, fill the washer fluid, know what the funny little lights on the dash mean… and, yes, change their own tire… all. by. themselves. In our household it was mandatory. You were not allowed to take the car without dad unless and until you could change your own tire.

If you aren’t confident in your own skills, enlist the help of a friend, grandparent or a professional. Yes, a professional will cost you a little money, but it’s worth the peace of mind. And as a bonus, you can learn along side of your teen.

And finally, choose the right car for your teen. And as much as you want to keep your new driver safe, an armored truck is probably not the best choice.

Of course, safety is top of the list. You know enough to make the tires are good, the seat belts work and the fenders aren’t falling off. So let’s move on to less obvious points.

Is your teen 5’3″ or 6’6″?  Putting a tall teen in a tiny little compact can be as unsafe as putting a petite stature new driver an extended cab pickup. Your teen should  be able to see out of all the windows easily, reach the peddles without hugging the steering wheel and generally be able to reach all the controls while sitting comfortably in the driver’s seat.

Also check that your teen can easily open the hood and reach all of the necessary elements like the oil dip stick, the radiator overflow, etc. without a step stool. They should be able to check the basics themselves.

Choose a vehicle that will enhance their lifestyle. If your teen is a part time dog walker,  or involved in a lot of sports they might need a small SUV or a 4-door model for all that extra cargo. If you live in a more rural community, it might be worth looking at an all wheel drive or four wheel drive vehicle.  Will your teen be driving in a lot of city traffic? Perhaps a backup camera would benefit them.

How do you choose the right car? Start with the help of a reputable dealership like Car City West. We have a wide variety of cars, trucks and SUV’s to choose from, all at great prices. Stop by our store at 11140 Hickman Road in Clive or check our inventory online at carcitywest.com .  Be sure to check out our Specials, too!

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