First Time Car Buyers: What You Need to Know

First Time Buyer Keys

Being a first time car buyer is an exciting experience whether you are 16, 23, or 43! The good news is, there are a lot of good resources out there about how to buy your first car. The bad news is, it can be kind of difficult to take in all of this information and make a concise decision. Never fear, that’s what we are here for! We chatted with New Car Salesman Jeff Sorrels about what a first time car buyer needs to know! Jeff has been with the Fairbanks Family for 21 years so he has seen plenty of first time buyers come through our doors. Here are Jeff’s Tips for first time car buying.


Jeff’s Top 5 Tips for First Time Car Buyers:

  • Check your budget and then check it again.

    • There is nothing more disappointing than falling in love with a car and not being able to swing the monthly payment. When you are building yourself a budget, be sure it’s a budget that you can live with. Don’t forget to budget enough for the monthly payment, gas, and insurance.
  • Make friends with your Insurance Agent.

    • Reach out to your insurance agent before you ever step foot on a dealer’s lot. Find out exactly what kind of coverage that you currently have and ask questions about how much your monthly rate would change if you were driving a Camaro or a Silverado. It’s no secret that a two door sports car costs more to insure than a SUV. Ask your insurance agent about all of your options.
  • Save for a down payment.

    • 10-20% of the total price of the vehicle is a ballpark amount for a down payment. Shop online to look for different models and trim levels. Aim to save 20% of the highest trim level for the model that you are interested in, you’ll be in great shape once you sit down in the finance office.
    • If you don’t have a trade in, a sizable down payment is going to do several things in your favor. First, it lets the financial institutions know that you mean business and that you have thought carefully about this decision. Second, it can reduce the interest rate that financial institutions will offer you. Low interest rates are good. High interest rates are bad.
  • Study finance terms before you get into the Finance Office.

    • If you are going to need to finance your first big purchase (most people do), it’s a good idea to learn about finance before you sit down with the Finance Manager. A lot of people feel a little overwhelmed talking about large numbers and percentages with someone they just met, and it can be a little more stressful if you aren’t familiar with the lingo. Brush up on common terms and abbreviations like interest rates, co-signers, and APR. The more information that you can arm yourself with the better. If you ever have any questions about anything being discussed in the Finance Office, please don’t hesitate to ask for further clarification!
  • Shop with an open mind.

    • Sometimes customers walk into the dealership and they know exactly what they want. That’s great! Other times customers aren’t quite sure what they are looking for, but they know they need specific features. That’s great too! Be prepared to tell your sales team your wants and needs in a vehicle and don’t be afraid to check out something different than what you had in mind. Salesmen are trained to match your wants and needs to the vehicle that will be an appropriate fit.

There you have it, Jeff’s Top 5 Tips for First Time Buyers! Our Sales Team is always available to go over your options and answer any questions that you may have. Not ready to come to the dealership? No problem, our entire inventory can be viewed online at our website from the comfort of your own home. Happy shopping!

3 Common Maintenance Mistakes

Our Certified Technicians  provide quality service at a reasonable price.
Our Certified Technicians provide quality service at a reasonable price.

Our vehicles do more for us than help run errands, move across the state, and shuttle the little league team to and from practices. They get us from point A to point B safely and don’t ask for too much in return. One thing your vehicle won’t directly ask you for, but still needs, is routine maintenance. Maintenance is an important piece of the vehicle ownership experience and should be taken seriously. Driver’s can lure themselves into a false sense of security when they make these simple maintenance mistakes. Don’t let your vehicle down! Take care of your vehicle and it will take care of you!


  1. Skipping an Alignment

    Changing your tires is a great way to keep your vehicle running safely and efficiently, but if you skip the alignment process altogether it’s like taking one step forward and two steps back. A while back we did a short post on why you need an alignment, but to sum it up, it protects your tires from wearing out unevenly.

  2. Avoiding an Oil Change

    Oil changes are an important part of vehicle maintenance and keep your engine running in top shape. You vehicle’s engine breaks down oil as it is circulated and eventually the oil will stop providing the right amount of lubrication for your engine, causing your engine to wear out faster. Even though oil technology has made several advances in recent years, it’s still a best practice to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for regular oil changes.

  3. Skimping on a Quality Battery

    Replacing a dead battery on your vehicle is the least fun part to shop for in the parts department, but it is an important piece of equipment. With many of the vehicle’s gadgets running off the battery, it’s more important than ever to be sure that your battery is up to the task. An inexpensive battery may seem like a quick and easy fix at the time, but it could end up leading to costly repairs to the electrical system down the road.

Our Service department would be happy to take care of any of these maintenance requests for you. We have Certified Technicians that love to provide quality service at a reasonable price. Take a look at our Service Specials and give us a call (972) 223-7611. Our ALL-PRO team is ready to serve you!

Shopping for a Pre-Owned Vehicle

It is estimated that more than 14 million new cars will be sold in the U.S. this year. If you think that’s a lot, then you haven’t taken a look at the pre-owned car market. It varies month to month, but generally pre-owned car sales are at a three to one ratio over new car sales. Pre-owned car sales in 2012 totaled over 40 million.

Pre-owned car shoppers tend to have different priorities than new car shoppers. Pre-owned cars are more of a choice for budget-conscious consumers. The main appeal of a pre-owned car is that someone else took the hit on depreciation, which is great for the savvy shopper!

Though budget tends to be a primary concern for pre-owned car shoppers, smart buyers know that getting a great deal on a pre-owned vehicle is about more than price. Buying a pre-owned car is really about getting the most vehicle for the money. Most pre-owned car shoppers know to get a vehicle history report, mechanic’s evaluation and to do a thorough test drive on any vehicle they consider, but smart pre-owned car buyers start their shopping by narrowing down their list to just the best pre-owned car models. Here’s how they do it.


Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles gives customers the peace of mind they are looking for.
Certified Pre-Owned Vehicles gives customers the peace of mind they are looking for.

5 Things To Look For in a Good

Pre-Owned Vehicle



No matter how low the price goes, there is no substitution for performance. A detailed test drive is the best way to determine if you and the vehicle are compatible and if the performance is up to your standards. Not all drivers and all vehicles are meant to be, but when it’s right, you will know! Another great tip is to start reading the reviews from actual drivers, not just the manufacturer blurbs available on the web. Driver’s reviews can give you an insight on how the vehicle holds up over time and what potential issues might arise. A car that drove poorly when it was first released probably hasn’t improved with age, while a car with plenty of power, stable handling and good fuel economy when it was new is likely to remain a decent performer for many years to come.


Just like with performance, a car that had a low-quality, uncomfortable interior when it was new will probably be much worse for wear as a used car. Studying reviews from when a car was new should tell you how many seats there are, if they’re comfortable and what kinds of materials are used in the making of the interior. Reviewers also often mention if they think the materials should hold up well over time. You’ll also get actual dimensions for things like cargo and passenger space, which a lot of used car sellers might simply describe as “big.”



Reliability is one of the most important factors used car buyers look for. Just from surveying our own Chuck Fairbanks family, we know that a great price is wonderful, but if the vehicle isn’t reliable a customer isn’t going to want to drive it home, much less let their children drive it. The most reliable models, however, may not be the ones that first come to mind. There are several brands that do well with dependability, but still face challenges with consumer perception. Savvy shoppers should do their due diligence and research brands with an open mind.

Though individual pre-owned cars will vary, it’s easy to find reliability ratings for how dependable a specific model has been over the years. J.D. Power and Associates rates cars that are three years old or older in its Vehicle Dependability Study, which tracks mechanical problems reported by car owners. For newer cars, J.D. Power’s Initial Quality Study measures problems experienced by vehicle owners in the first months of ownership. These two studies are valuable tools available for consumers.


Smart pre-owned car shoppers know that sacrificing safety to save money is a bad move. New vehicle models undergo strenuous testing by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and the federal government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. You can use these ratings to determine how safe a vehicle is likely to be in the long run and whether or not you would be interested in looking further into this type of vehicle. Beyond looking for strong crash test ratings from when the car was new, look for safety features like electronic stability control and side curtain airbags.

Operating Costs

Finally, a pre-owned vehicle doesn’t make much sense as a budget proposition if it’s expensive to own. A car’s operating cost is how much it will cost to actually use the car and includes things like fuel, maintenance and repair costs. Finding the best pre-owned car means not only finding one with a price that fits your budget, but also one with operating costs that you can afford over the long haul. You might get a great deal on a car with an opulent interior, sporty performance and excellent safety ratings, but if the maintenance costs are going to overspend your budget, it’s not the best car for you.

The perfect pre-owned vehicle for you is out there, it might not be at the dealership the first time you take a spin around the lot. The Pre-owned market is a fast moving machine with a lot of parts. Don’t be afraid to let the sales team know what you are looking for and they should be able to steer you in the right direction. If you aren’t crazy about the choices on the lot the first time, come back in a few days! People trade in great cars every single day! Someone could be trading in your next vehicle right now!


All New Chevy Malibu
All New Chevy Malibu

 The Chevrolet Malibu now comes with the all new eAssist capability. The Chevrolet Malibu Eco cars are all front-wheel drive with a lightly electrified gas engine. The eAssist program has a battery located in the trunk as an additional power source.  The battery assists the engine with using a belt-starter/ generator. Equipped with 196 horsepower this full-sized sedan is economically friendly and gives you power when you need it the most.


The noise is no more! The Malibu now has a more sophisticated driving experience, due to chassis and suspension updates. These give the Malibu an overall more quiet and smoother ride. These updated features also give the vehicle better handling skills and decreased body roll (when turning corners).  The Malibu also comes featured with four-wheel antilock disc brakes that help to guarantee a reliable stopping performance.

  1. 36 MPG

The Chevrolet Malibu eAssist allows for 36 MPG. The reason for this awesome fuel efficiency is due to the 4-cylinder engine. The engine has been redesigned with efficiency in mind. The eAssist was designed to help you, the consumer, save gas.  The Malibu now comes with efficient stop/start technology.


The stop/ start technology is a gas saving feature designed with you in mind. For example, if you are driving and get stuck at a red light ten cars deep, the engine of the Malibu will automatically shut off when the car is stopped. While still maintaining all of the creature comforts we all love; from ice cold air conditioning to full stereo sound.  When you let off of the brake, the car will flawlessly restart.  This technology will allow you to save money at the pump and that is especially important as gas prices continue to rise.


 You can now opt for the Ecotec 2.0 L turbocharged engine.  This engine gives you the feel of a V6 in an efficient 4-cylinder and offers 259 horsepower. This model lets you have all the fun of a turbocharged vehicle without all of the stops at the gas stations along the way.


There you have it folks, 5 things you should know about the all new Chevy Malibu brought to you by our friendly sales team here at Chuck Fairbanks Chevrolet! Stop by this weekend and take one for a spin!

Is Your Vehicle Ready for the Heat?

7 Day forecast from a few years ago!
7 Day forecast from a few years ago!



Living in Texas in the summertime is no joke! It is also no joking matter when it comes to taking care of your vehicle for the summer months ahead. There are a few things to take into consideration when it comes to preparing your vehicle for the summer. The Texas summer heat can be especially brutal to a vehicle unless it’s properly maintained and prepared. Your vehicle is working overtime in the summer months, so it’s important to know how to prepare your vehicle for these hot conditions.


During the summer, a vehicle left in the sun is much hotter than it is on the outside. When left outside, the vehicle can heat up fast! The sun hits portions such as the dashboard, steering wheel, and upholstery that can easily reach temperatures up to 150 degrees.  On average, the inside of your vehicle can heat up 19 degrees after being in the sun for ten minutes. It becomes harder to cool down your vehicle when the temperature goes up, so it is important to take the right precautions to prevent the AC from going out in your vehicle. Invest in one of those spiffy sunshades. It will help keep the direct sunlight off of your dash and lessens the chances of you burning your palms on the wheel.


Viscosity refers to the thickness of the oil. For example, honey has a higher viscosity than water. This is how engine oils are sold.  Most of the oils are multi-viscous, which means that the thickness of the oil can change depending on the temperature. The warmer the oil is, the thinner it will usually be. When the oil is too thin, your vehicle may not get the proper lubrication that it requires. Solving this issue is an easy fix. Get the oil changed to one that is a little thicker than the one that you were using during the winter months.

In order to determine what type of oil your vehicle should use during the summer months, you should consult your owner’s manual. The manual lists the ideal oil recommendations for certain climates of the year. If you are unsure about which type of oil and the viscosity of the oil to put in your vehicle, be sure to ask one of our service advisors!


 Having properly inflated tires is important not just during the summertime, but all year round because this guarantees the best possible contact between your vehicle’s tires and the road. The proper tire pressure can be found in the owner’s manual. It might be necessary to compensate for the hotter weather. This is especially important when you take a vacation and will be doing a lot of driving. Not having properly inflated tires can negatively impact fuel mileage. Another thing to keep in mind is that driving with tires that are improperly inflated, you run the risk of having a blow-out. What’s worse than having a blow out? Having to change a blown out tire during rush hour traffic in July. Been there. Done that. No thanks!

Keep checking the blog this summer for easy ways to keep your vehicle running smoothly. As always, if you have any questions about your vehicle, please don’t hesitate to give our Service department a call!



Congratulations, You’re Graduating


Local school districts are preparing for the upcoming High School Graduations.  Caps and gowns are being delivered, programs are in the printing process, announcements are in the mail, and parents and students are planning celebrations.  To some, graduation is just another ceremonial process in the education system, but to us, it’s a big deal. A VERY big deal.

As a business in the local community, we take pride in congratulating the Class of 2014.  The employees of Chuck Fairbanks Chevrolet have had the opportunity to meet some of you and would welcome the chance to meet many more.  Each of you has reached a milestone that no one can take away.  We understand that no one is just handing you this diploma, you earned it through your hard work and determination.  You really are the future of our community and we sincerely offer you our congratulations.

As you leave high school behind and start the next adventure in your life, the employees here want you to know that we all congratulate you on this accomplishment. Several of our employees weighed in on advice that  they wanted to offer to your class:

  • Don’t take shortcuts – the rewards will reveal themselves
  • Be honest – honesty and integrity are important characteristics
  • Enjoy your life – make a choice to be happy

As you make your preparations to walk the stage and receive your diplomas, know that while we may not witness your moment in the sun, we all applaud your accomplishment.  Graduation is a BIG deal, and we wish you all a lifetime of future successes.

Now, while you are counting down the minutes to your own graduation, check out these awesome graduation caps on buzzfeed!


Buying Your Teenager’s First Car

It’s going to happen sooner or later, your children are going to become teenagers and start driving. We feel your pain, it hasn’t been easy watching our own children get behind the wheel and drive off into the sunset, probably at a faster rate of speed than we would like.

We took a poll around the dealership at what the deciding factors were in choosing cars for our own teenagers. We polled the sales managers and their sales team, the finance office, the accounting office, the service advisors and the service technicians, the parts department, and the collision center.

Here is what the professionals are concerned with.

As you can see from our spiffy pie chart, the responses were in line with concerned parents all over putting safety as their number one priority. The second highest category was reliability of the vehicle and payment and insurance coverage came in third.

As far as safety goes, our concerned parents mentioned everything from extra side curtain airbags and OnStar capabilities. These are features that are available on most new models as well as several pre-owned models. No matter which one you choose to test drive, ask about additional safety features that might not come to mind immediately like Forward Collision Alert and OnStar’s Automatic Crash Response.

If you are looking at a pre-owned vehicle for your first time driver, ask about the warranty options that come with the vehicle. Ask a lot of open ended “what-if” types of questions and don’t be afraid to tell your sales team member, and your teenager, that you would like to think about this big decision and won’t be pressured into signing any paperwork today.

A few more things that came up in our survey were things like size of the vehicle. Our parents didn’t want their new driver to be able to pack a bunch of their friends in the car, but at the same time weren’t comfortable with them driving something too small either. Our parents were also concerned about insurance for the new vehicle. It’s a great idea to have a conversation with your insurance provider before coming to the dealership because the cost of insuring a new driver might sway your decision on which types of vehicles you will want to test drive.

No matter what you choose to purchase, or where you choose to purchase, make it a memorable experience! A first car is a right of passage and a memory that will stick with your teen for the rest of their lives. Take lots of pictures and go for ice cream afterwards! Good luck and happy car shopping!

Joey's First Car '99 Convertible Cavalier
Joey’s First Car ’99 Convertible Cavalier