Get rid of post-Thanksgiving stains



The holidays can be the most wonderful season of the year. And they can also require patience, prep, and a lot of cleanup. Nobody wants to end the night with ruined carpeting or table cloths. Here are some tips to get those tough stains out:

1. Gravy stains.

Treat the oily component of gravy with a pre-treater such as Shout. SCrub lightly, and rinse under hot water. Then wash in the hottest water suitable for the fabric (check the label if you are unsure) and use detergent plus an all-fabric bleach, which washes out any dye left in the stain.

2. Cranberry stains

Plants in their final stage of growth often display a color, which contains tannin. These stains require the hottest water possible for the fabric. Do NOT use natural soup or soap flakes, as this actually makes the stain tougher to get out. Color-safe bleach for color fabrics, or chlorine bleach for white linens is also an option.

3. Salad dressing, butter, and oil stains

These are all oil based stains. Remember to pre-treat with a product like Shout. Gently rub, then wash in the hottest suitable water. Repeat the cycle if the stain persists.

4. Red wine

This one is extremely common, and luckily there is hope for those sadly stained table linens. Dilute your stained area with club soda or cool water, sprinkle liberally with salt, then flush with water again. If it’s been awhile and the stain has had a chance to really sink in, apply a paste of borax and water, wait 15 minutes, then wash. If the stain is still visible, wash again – BEFORE drying.

5. Candle wax

First, place an ice cube over the wax. This will harden it and make it easy to remove with a dull knife (careful not to use a sharp knife that could cut the cloth!) or the edge of a spoon. After the actual wax is up, use the oil stain procedure: pre-treat, rub with heavy-duty liquid detergent (or paste of powdered detergent and water), wash in hot water, and if necessary use an all-fabric bleach.

6. Pumpkin pie

This is a different kind of stain – it actually responds negatively to hot water, since there is protein in the pie ingredients, and when cooked, they sink further into cloth. Soak or rub the stain in cold water before washing. If it’s an older stain, pre-soak in cold water for 30 minutes . Wash with warm (again, NOT hot!) water and detergent. Repeat cycle as necessary.

If you find other stains, follow these tips as a guideline. For example, coffee and chocolate are oily, so use an oily stain procedure. Cheese sauce has protein in it, so follow the washing procedure for a protein stain (such as pumpkin pie stain).

Got any tips for stain removal? Let me know!

Info from

How to handle a parking lot accident you know what to do when you run into a snarly situation in a parking lot? Here’s a great article from State Farm with some tips on how to proceed if you get into a disappointing situation with your vehicle.

How to Handle Parking Lot Accidents

Sep 13, 2012By SFLearn State Farm™ Employee

During the holidays, parking lots at malls and supermarkets are packed, increasing the possibility of a fender bender. If you hit, scrape or otherwise damage a parked car—or if you’re the victim of such an accident—don’t panic. Here are some steps you can take:

Own up
. Don’t drive away—if another customer or a surveillance camera spots you, you could be punished for a hit-and-run.

Track down the other car’s owner. Head into the store and speak to someone at the customer service desk. Describe the car to the employee, and have him or her announce it over the store’s loudspeaker.

Leave a note. If you’re unable to find the other driver, jot down basic information—your name, phone number and a brief explanation of the accident—and place it in a secure spot on the car. Write down the license plate number and take a photo of the damage if you have a camera with you.

Call the police. Depending on how extensive the damage is, you may want to involve the police. They’ll document the accident and they can help you find the other car’s owner.

Contact your State Farm® agent
. Let him or her know what happened as soon as possible. Your agent will help you determine the next steps.

Record evidence. Take pictures of the damage with your phone or a camera, if you have one on hand.

Take thorough notes. If the other driver is still around, jot down his or her name, address, phone number, driver’s license number and insurance company. Gather as much information as possible.

Get backup. Ask others in the parking lot if they witnessed anything. Also head back into the store and find out if they have security camera footage you can check.

Provide assistance
. If the offending driver is gone, help the other driver document the damage. Give the driver your contact information, in case his or her insurance agent or the police need to contact you for further comment.

Suzie’s November Picks!

Contact me to learn more about these great vehicles!

Suzie’s November Picks


2012 Chevrolet Sonic

The Chevrolet Sonic is all-new for 2012. The new subcompact comes loaded with personality, and is available in enough configurations to suit most buyers.
Read More



2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

The Outlander Sport is an entry-level small SUV from Mitsubishi. Although much of the mechanical structure comes from the already established and larger 7-passenger Outlander, the Sport is distinguished by its more compact dimensions.
Read More



2012 Honda Ridgeline

The Ridgeline comes in three trim levels–RT, a new-for-2012-Sport, RTS and RTL–and they are all powered by a 3.5L, 250-hp V6 engine that makes 247 lb-ft of torque and utilizes a drive-by-wire electric throttle.
Read More


Baierl Takes Halloween To the Zoo!

Thank you to everyone who joined us in celebrating Halloween early this year by attending the annual Baierl Automotive Halloween Party! The turnout was phenomenal with over 400 employees and their children visiting the Pittsburgh Zoo & PPG Aquarium on October 21st to enjoy a wonderful, fun-filled day that included various ZooBoo festivities and an exclusive performance put on by Radio Disney.

Keep Kids Safe on Halloween!

Thanks to the CDC for sharing these ideas. You can read the article on their website here.

Halloween Health and Safety Tips

Two girls in halloween costumes - Halloween health and safety tips

For many people, autumn events like Halloween and Harvest Day are fun times to dress up in costumes, go trick-or-treating, attend parties, and eat yummy treats. These events are also opportunities to provide nutritious snacks, get physical activity, and focus on safety.

Check out these tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for trick-or-treaters and party guests.

Going trick-or-treating?

Alphabet letter S Swords, knives, and similar costume accessories should be short, soft, and flexible.
Alphabet letter A Avoid trick-or-treating alone. Walk in groups or with a trusted adult.
Alphabet letter F Fasten reflective tape to costumes and bags to help drivers see you.
Alphabet letter E Examine all treats for choking hazards and tampering before eating them. Limit the amount of treats you eat.
Alphabet letter H Hold a flashlight while trick-or-treating to help you see and others see you. Always WALK and don’t run from house to house.
Alphabet letter A Always test make-up in a small area first. Remove it before bedtime to prevent possible skin and eye irritation.
Alphabet letter L Look both ways before crossing the street. Use established crosswalks wherever possible.
Alphabet letter L Lower your risk for serious eye injury by not wearing decorative contact lenses.
Alphabet letter O Only walk on sidewalks whenever possible, or on the far edge of the road facing traffic to stay safe.
Alphabet letter W Wear well-fitting masks, costumes, and shoes to avoid blocked vision, trips, and falls.
Alphabet letter E Eat only factory-wrapped treats. Avoid eating homemade treats made by strangers.
Alphabet letter E Enter homes only if you’re with a trusted adult. Only visit well-lit houses. Don’t stop at dark houses. Never accept rides from strangers.
Alphabet letter N Never walk near lit candles or luminaries. Be sure to wear flame-resistant costumes.

Expecting trick-or-treaters or party guests?

  • Provide healthier treats for trick-or-treaters such as low-calorie treats and drinks. For party guests, offer a variety of fruits, vegetables, and cheeses.
  • Use party games and trick-or-treat time as an opportunity for kids to get their daily dose of 60 minutes of physical activity.
  • Be sure walking areas and stairs are well-lit and free of obstacles that could result in falls.
  • Keep candle-lit jack o’lanterns and luminaries away from doorsteps, walkways, landings, and curtains. Place them on sturdy tables, keep them out of the reach of pets and small children, and never leave them unattended.
  • Remind drivers to watch out for trick-or-treaters and to drive safely.

Follow these tips to help make the festivities fun and safe for everyone!

For more information on Halloween safety

  • Halloween Food Safety
    Party food safety advice from the manager of the U.S. Department ofAgriculture Meat and Poultry Hotline.
  • Halloween Food Safety Tips
    Steps to help your children have a safe Halloween, and tips for Halloween parties, from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
  • Halloween Safety Tips
    Stay safe this Halloween with safety tips from the U.S. Consumer ProductSafety Commission.

The High Cost of Lost Keys

Nobody likes losing their car keys, and in this day and age it could cost you a hefty sum to replace them.

Just how much, you ask? Read on for the rundown.

p.s. – anyone know of anyone good apps, tips, or devices for keeping track of keys?

The High Cost of Losing Your Keys


Our car keys have an uncanny ability to get lost inside coat pockets or underneath couch cushions — or to disappear altogether. Prior to the 1990s, this wasn’t a big deal. You could get a spare key at any hardware store or locksmith shop, not to mention at the car dealership, of course. But because it was easy to copy a key, it was also easy for a thief to steal your car. These days, advances in key technology have made vehicles more difficult to steal, but the price has been costlier key replacements.

Here’s a rundown of what you’ll face in the way of cost if you have to replace your key, along with some alternatives that could lower the bill. The prices quoted here are for Santa Monica, California, and West Los Angeles, an area where an hour of labor at an auto dealership can cost more than $100. Labor costs in your region may vary.

Basic Keys and Fob
A basic car key, which was common up until the mid-to late-1990s, has no security feature other than its unique cut. The shank, which is the long metal part of the key, has cuts and grooves like a house key. It’s easy to copy these keys. A locksmith doesn’t need any extra equipment: He can use the same machine he uses to cut other keys.

A basic key will cost about $3 at a locksmith. The only benefit of having the job done at the dealership would be to get the automaker’s branding on the head of the key. A Honda dealership near the Edmunds office charges about $12 for a basic key.

On most modern cars, an electronic key fob (also known as a remote or transmitter) is an integral part of the key set. At the dealership, the cost of replacing an electronic fob can range from $50-$90, depending on the automaker or complexity of the design. All fobs need to be programmed. Some dealerships will do it for free, while others will charge a half hour to an hour of labor.

There is a way around this fee, however. Most fobs can be programmed with a specific combination of button presses on the remote and key turns in the ignition. Some owner’s manuals will show you how to do it, and you can also find this information online.

Finally, there are aftermarket fobs that you can purchase online or from a locksmith. Like most aftermarket products, the quality will vary, but they are a less expensive alternative if you’ve lost your fob.

Transponder Keys
After the mid- to late-1990s, manufacturers began placing a transponder chip in the plastic head of the key. The chip emits a signal to a receiver in the ignition. If this “immobilizer” detects the wrong signal — meaning that the wrong key is in the ignition — the vehicle will not start.

A transponder key’s shank is either a basic key or a laser-cut key (more on laser-cut keys later). The major difference between a basic key and a transponder key is that the chip in the transponder key must be programmed before it can start the vehicle. All dealerships have the machines necessary to program the key. Some might program it for free, but others will charge up to an hour of labor. Most auto locksmiths should also have these machines.

In some vehicles, the transponder key and the fob are an all-in-one unit. This adds to the price of the key and makes it more difficult to get a spare anywhere but at the dealership.

We checked the price of a basic transponder key on a late-model Ford F-150. The dealership quoted $160 for the key and an additional $75 for the fob. If you go to a locksmith, expect to pay roughly $20-$30 less.

A potential low-cost alternative for access to your car is to order a basic key without the transmitter. This key will do everything but start the engine and can come in handy if you ever leave your keys inside the vehicle.

If you’re the type who frequently loses keys, you might be able to save money on the programming by creating a third key to have as a spare. If you already have two keys, a number of vehicle brands will allow you to program a third key on your own. You can have a locksmith cut this “emergency” key and then you follow the procedure for programming, which can frequently be found in your owner’s manual. If the manual doesn’t show you how, try searching online for the procedure. Try “How to program a (insert your year, make, model) key” as your search terms.

Our searches found a method that is said to work on many domestic vehicles. Insert one of your two working keys and turn the ignition to the “on” position for at least three seconds (the car does not need to be started), then repeat the process with the second key. Now insert the new third key and again turn it to the “on” position for another few seconds. This should program the extra key. Before you try this method and spend money on a key, however, we suggest you check with the dealership or your local automotive locksmith to see if the process is one that will reliably work with your car.

Laser-Cut Keys
You can tell a laser-cut key apart from a basic key because the shank is slightly thicker and has fewer carved-out grooves. Laser-cut keys are often referred to as sidewinder keys, due to the distinctive winding cut on the shank. The machines needed to cut these keys are significantly more expensive than a standard key-cutting machine and are not as likely to be found at every locksmith or hardware store.

Laser-cut keys also have built-in transponder chips and they need to be programmed at the dealership or by a locksmith, preferably one who is a member of the Associated Locksmiths of America (ALOA). You can search for a certified locksmith near you by visiting the AOLA Web site.

All-in-one laser-cut keys are becoming more popular, but as we mentioned, these keys are more expensive and typically need to be replaced at the dealership. Including labor, these can range from $150-$250, which is the price of a laser-cut key for a Honda Insight, for example.

Switchblade Key
Switchblade keys have shanks that fold into the fob when they’re not in use and pop out with the press of a button. They can have a basic cut or a laser cut. One small advantage of the switchblade key is that its components can be purchased separately. If for some reason your key is damaged and no longer works, you can buy the shank separately for roughly $60-$80. But the more likely scenario is that you’ve lost your key, in which case you’ll need both it and the fob into which it folds. This can cost between $200 and $300, once you factor in programming of both components.

Smart Keys
Smart keys aren’t keys in the traditional sense. They are fobs that are either inserted in the dash or, in the more advanced systems, they stay in your pocket or purse. The driver turns the car on and off with the press of a button.

A smart key’s main form of security is its ability to use rolling security codes. The system randomizes the correct code and prevents thieves from hacking it through the use of a device called a code grabber. The vehicle’s computer recognizes the code emitted by the smart key and verifies it before starting the engine. Mercedes-Benz was one of the first automakers to utilize this technology, and even coined the term “SmartKey.” Every vehicle in its lineup now uses the SmartKey. And only dealers can replace them.

“The German brands use proprietary technology,” says Mike Howell, owner of Santa Monica Lock & Safe Co. “We’re not able to copy those.”

Smart keys aren’t just limited to German automakers. Nearly every car brand has a smart key bundled in its high-tech packages. Nissan, for example, makes it available on a number of models ranging from the Altima to the 370Z.

With a smart key, there’s no avoiding the dealership for a replacement. And while it’s handy to carry smart keys in your purse or pocket, these are the very places you will feel the pain when you lose them. The cost of replacing and reprogramming a smart key can range from $220 on a Nissan Altima up to $400 on an Acura RL.

Better Safe Than Sorry
There’s no denying that modern keys are expensive. And so the best defense against losing them is a good offense. It is better to get a spare key now, on your terms, than to stress out and spend the money in what might be an emergency. You can take advantage of the cost-cutting methods here and avoid the labor charges by programming the key yourself.

Finally, if you are someone who is tempting fate by only having one set of keys, consider this: If you lose all the keys to your car, you will need to get it towed to a dealership and it can potentially cost you close to $1,000 to replace the locks on your car.

Source: Edmunds

Suzie’s October Picks!

Here are my top picks for October. Let me know if you have any questions, and feel free to stop by our dealerships to check out my picks in person!

Suzie’s October Picks


2012 Chevrolet Sonic

The Chevrolet Sonic is all-new for 2012. The new subcompact comes loaded with personality, and is available in enough configurations to suit most buyers.
Read More



2012 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport

The Outlander Sport is an entry-level small SUV from Mitsubishi. Although much of the mechanical structure comes from the already established and larger 7-passenger Outlander, the Sport is distinguished by its more compact dimensions.
Read More



2012 Honda Ridgeline

The Ridgeline comes in three trim levels–RT, a new-for-2012-Sport, RTS and RTL–and they are all powered by a 3.5L, 250-hp V6 engine that makes 247 lb-ft of torque and utilizes a drive-by-wire electric throttle.
Read More


Maintenance Tip: Proper Tire Pressure

Did you know that maintaining proper air pressure in your tires can save you money at the pump and help prevent flats? Read up on tire pressure facts here, then go out and see how your car’s tires look!

Thanks to Baierl Acura & Car Talk for the write-up!

Monday Maintenance Tip: Maintaining Proper Tire Pressure


Tire pressure is a measure of the amount of air in a vehicle’s tires, in pounds per square inch. The required service involves checking the tires’ pressure with a pressure gauge, at least monthly, if not more frequently.

Should I do this service when it’s recommended?

Yes. Absolutely.

Why do I have to do this?

Having the proper tire pressure is a crucial safety issue. Next to the brakes, the tires are the most important safety devices on your car. Incorrect tire pressure will compromise cornering, braking and stability. And in the worst-case scenario, improper tire pressure can lead to tire failure — and a serious accident. Incorrect tire pressure also will affect your comfort, fuel economy and tire life.

What happens if I don’t do this?

If tire pressure is too high, then less of the tire touches the ground. As a consequence, your car will bounce around on the road. And when your tires are bouncing instead of firmly planted on the road, traction suffers and so do your stopping distances. You’ll also feel a decrease in ride comfort. (Hint: If you notice that every tie you own has coffee on it, check your tire pressure. It may be too high.)

If tire pressure is too low, then too much of the tire’s surface area touches the ground, which increases friction between the road and the tire. As a result, not only will your tires wear prematurely, but they also could overheat. Overheating can lead to tread separation — and a nasty accident. One sign of low tire pressure is if your tires squeal when cornering.

And you need to check your tire pressure even if your tires aren’t leaking. Why? Because tire pressure also changes with the temperature outside. Tire pressure decreases by about 1 pound per square inch for every 10-degree drop in outside air temperature. So if you last had your tire pressure checked in July, when it was 80 degrees outside, and it’s now January — and the temperature is minus 20 — your tires may be underinflated by 10 pounds, which is dangerous.

How do you determine the correct tire pressure for your car’s tires?

A lot of people check the pressure listed on the tires themselves, but that’s actually the wrong place to look. The number on the tire is the maximum allowable air pressure — not the recommended pressure for that tire when used on your vehicle.

The recommended tire pressure is almost always lower than the maximum tire pressure. Check your owner’s manual to find out where to look on your vehicle to find the recommended measurement. This number usually is indicated either on the driver’s door pillar, the glove compartment door or sometimes on the gas filler door.

Once you know the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure, then you need an accurate tire gauge to check the tire pressure. Some tire gauges, such as the popular pencil-style gauge, are notoriously inaccurate. Analog, dial-type gauges or digital gauges tend to be fairly accurate.

And when should you check the tire pressure? You should check it when the tire is cold. That doesn’t mean you need to move to International Falls, Minn., to check your tire pressure. Cold, in this sense, simply means that your tires are at air temperature. You can check tire pressure any time of the day, as long as the tires have been sitting for a few hours or haven’t been driven for more than a few miles. In other words, you can drive to the gas station a few blocks away and ask them to check the pressure, but don’t expect to pull off the highway after driving for an hour and expect to get an accurate reading.

When you do check your tire pressure, remember to check all four tires. Just because three of your tires are at 30 pounds doesn’t mean that the fourth tire isn’t nearly flat. Finally, check the spare tire at least once in a while — it would be an unpleasant surprise to find it flat when you need it. If you have a small, space-saver spare, then the pressure for that tire is probably not the same pressure as your regular tires. The correct tire pressure should be printed right on this particular type of spare.

Is there any maintenance required between intervals?

Yes. If you have no known problems with your tires, check your vehicle’s tire pressure seasonally or before you head off on a road trip. When you bring your car in for service, ask them to check the tire pressure; most garages will do this at no additional cost. Plus, they’ll usually have an accurate gauge — which will also give you an idea of whether your gauge is correct.

Car Talk Tip: Check your tire pressure even if your tires look fine. Radial tires can be deceiving (they’re sneaky little guys). They may look fine even when they’re down 10 pounds of air — or overinflated by 10 pounds. So don’t trust your eyes — use your gauge.


Buckle up for Child Safety Week!

Did you know that this week is Child Safety Week? Make sure your kids are properly belted in and protected every time they’re in the car. And spread the word! Here’s a great article from to get you started.



NHTSA, GM keep Children Strapped in During Child Passenger Safety Week

It’s Child Passenger Safety Week. Do you know how to keep your children safe in your car?

If you do, well, good for you. 90 percent of parents and/or other caretakers are “confident” or felt “very confident” that they had properly installed their child’s car seat. Yet according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, around 20 percent of those surveyed didn’t read the seat instructions. Says David Strickland, administrator of the NHTSA. “Child safety seats save hundreds of young lives every year, but proper use is vital. That’s why we’re urging everyone to make sure their kids are properly protected on every trip, every time.”

The NHTSA, in a recent survey, has discovered five major mistakes made by parents and care takers when installing child car seats and boosters. They include:



  1. Using the wrong harness slot.
  2. Chest clip is in the wrong position (i.e., over the child’s stomach).
  3. Loose straps.
  4. Loose harness
  5. Seat belt is in the wrong position.

We would add the following:

  • Using the wrong child car seat, booster seat
  • Taking the children out of the child seat too early. The NHTSA recommends children stay in car seats until 13 years old.

The NHTSA has made a checklist available to parents make sure their children and properly strapped in.

Automaker General Motors is doing its part during Child Passenger Safety Week. GM is celebrating the 15th anniversary of its Buckle Up program. With partner Safe Kids Worldwide, certified child seat experts have inspected over 1.5 million child car seats and boosters during almost 80,000 car seat checks. The Safe Kids Buckle Up program has donated over 550,000 child seats to at-risk families. In total, over 20 million people have been educated — or at least made aware — of the program by GM, the GM Foundation, and Safe Kids. Says Safe Kids CEO and President Kate Carr, “There is no doubt that countless child fatalities and injuries have been prevented as a result of this partnership and the GM Foundation’s long-term dedication to it.”

Child Passenger Safety Week began on Sunday, September 16 and ends on Saturday, September 22 on National Seat Check Saturday.

Source: NHTSA, General Motors

Read more:

Save money and beautify your yard- Plant a fall garden!

kohlrabi-257x300This is the time of year when summer plants go on sale, and people start to think about what to plant for the fall season. In addition to the usual plants, why not try a fall garden? This article has some great information. Visit the website for a list of resources at the bottom of the page. Do you plan on cultivating a fall garden?

Fight Rising Food Costs – Plant a Fall Garden!

Posted on August 3, 2012 by
Originally written by Charlotte Glen

Keep your grocery bill down and enjoy a bounty of healthy, fresh vegetables by planting a fall garden this year. One of the most affordable ways to grow fall vegetables is to plant them from seed and now is the time to get started. Growing your own plants from seed also allows you to cultivate new or unusual varieties not commonly available as transplants from garden centers.

Cole Crops and Greens

Toscana KaleToscana Kale

Early to mid August is the time to seed long lived crops like kale, collards, and cabbage, which will remain productive throughout the winter. Seed started now in containers of potting soil will be ready to set out in the garden by mid September. If you like kale, seek out heirloom types like ‘Red Russian’ and ‘Toscano’, both of which produce tender leaves with excellent flavor. For a different experience with cabbage, try one of the pointed head varieties, such as ‘Early Jersey Wakefield’. These cone shaped types, sometimes referred to as spring cabbage, are delicious and will be ready to harvest weeks earlier than round headed varieties.

This is also the time to seed broccoli, cauliflower, lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard, bok choy, and Chinese cabbage. If you do not want a large crop of broccoli all at once, consider growing Italian sprouting broccoli, also known as calabrese. This Italian heirloom develops a small central head followed lots of side shoots produced over an extended time – all winter in a mild year. Cauliflower, bok choy and Chinese cabbage should be pulled from the garden after harvest since they only produce one crop (no side shoots). Seeds of these plants can be sown directly in the garden, but are usually more successful when started in containers of potting soil first and then transplanted into the garden in mid September.

lettuce plantsLoose leaf lettuce

Lettuce, spinach, Swiss chard and other salad greens will be ready for harvest later this fall, but typically do not survive the coldest months of winter unless given extra protection by a cold frame or heavy weight row cover. They can be sown directly in the garden in patches, transplanted as young plants set out in single rows, or grown in containers. Lettuce and other salad greens are easy to grow in containers because of their shallow root systems and can be planted close together, making them suitable for window boxes, pots, and bowl shaped planters.

Root Crops and More