Smiles abound at Youth Triathlon

Posted by Smart Motors | Posted in Community, Events, Madison, News | Posted on 11-06-2014

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waunakee 2014 little boy finishersThere are few greater things than putting a smile on a satisfied customer’s face, and we at Smart Motors strive to do that hundreds of times a day through our Toyota service department, new and used car sales, and at Ball Body Shop. One of the few exceptions, though, would be helping to put smiles on children’s faces, which is something that we also love to do. This year, we’ve partnered with an awesome local organization, Tri 4 Schools, who organizes youth triathlons, fun-runs, and even fun training courses to help promote physical activity among local kids. This partnership is a fantastic way for us to give back to the local community, and provides some especially great smile-inducing moments.

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On Saturday May 3rd, Tri 4 Schools held its first youth triathlon of the season at Waunakee High School. This year’s event sold out, at 500 students ages 3-14 who competed in three different levels of racing. The exceptional turnout of athletes was matched by the enthusiastic support of friends, family, and community, including over 100 volunteers who helped cheer on and support racers, and kept the whole event fun and safe. The cool May morning brought some stiff winds that undoubtedly challenged the racers, but failed to deter anyone’s high spirits or infectious grins.

 

Through swimming, biking, and running it was obvious that both first-time and experienced racers alike enjoyed the camaraderie and light-hearted competition among friends and peers. I was especially impressed by the enthusiastic complements that the volunteers, parents, and other spectators had for all the participants. Congratulations for a job-well-done were in abundance and the radiant smiles of all in attendance made the collective pride the racers had for themselves and others, quite apparent.

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Not only was the Waunakee Youth Triathlon a fun, enjoyable event, but also proved successful for Tri 4 Schools, who raised nearly $12,000 at this year’s race. Tri 4 Schools commits money from race registrations back to local schools, who in-turn, invest the money in physical education curriculum, equipment, and other materials.

Opportunities to work with forward thinking local organizations like Tri 4 Schools are a great way to give back to a community that has supported the Smart Motors family for over 100 years, and we’re grateful to be a part of their efforts. Being witness to these young students’ perseverance and success is an excellent reminder to try our best in all we do. We’re committed to staying active in our community, and committed to providing our friends, guests, and customers the outstanding service they deserve and have come to expect from us.

 

 

The next Tri 4 Schools youth Triathlon will be in Middleton on Saturday, August 16, and we can’t wait!!!

To register for upcoming events, volunteer, or just learn more about Tri 4 Schools, visit their website – http://www.tri4schools.com/

 

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Toyota President’s Award

Posted by Smart Motors | Posted in Automotive, Awards, Car Care, Car Maintenance, Community, Employees, Madison, News | Posted on 23-04-2014

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Toyota’s President’s Award is a highly regarded distinction that is bestowed upon dealerships who excel in all facets of their operations.IMG_0675

Recognition as a President’s Award winner signifies that a dealership has shown not just high sales performance, but has provided outstanding customer service throughout sales and service transactions. These Award winning dealerships display high service retention rates and employ a variety of Toyota Certified staff among their sales and service representatives. We at Smart Motors have recently been awarded the Toyota’s President’s Award for 2013.

 

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Smart Toyota has earned the prestigious President’s Award seven years in a row since 2007. What does that mean to the average shopper looking for a new vehicle or service center? It means that our customers are happy customers! We’ve met and exceeded expectations far more often than not, and have given thousands of customers good reason to return to our business. The award shows that our staff is knowledgeable and friendly and that, company wide, our commitment to customer satisfaction continues through the life of a customer’s vehicle, not the length of their visit.

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Smart Express Lube – Remodeled and Reopen

Posted by Smart Motors | Posted in Automotive, Car Care, Car Maintenance, Driving, Madison, Service | Posted on 27-02-2014

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After nearly 4 months of destruction and subsequent reconstruction, the Smart Motors Express Lube is back to full-speed! As an “Express” lube facility, timeliness is essential. Our recently renovated no-appointment Express Lube facility has practically doubled in size, with literally twice as many service bays and a larger and more comfortable and convenient guest lounge.

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The reasoning behind the renovation was the aforementioned essential: timeliness! Our service customer base grows steadily every year and our hard-working Express Lube employees were becoming limited by their facilities and equipment, causing prolonged visits for our customers. Adding four additional bays to the four existing bays, all complete with the necessary equipment to perform routine oil and filter changes, tire rotation and repair, and a variety of other related services, will provide the staff with the space and tools necessary to quickly and conveniently serve our incoming guests.

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What has become somewhat routine for us here at Smart Motors in recent years, this substantial project was deemed essential for our continued growth, with long-term benefits greatly outweighing some short-term setbacks and challenges. The expanded Express Lube is sure to offer the outstanding service that Smart Motors customers have come to expect, combined with convenient no-schedule maintenance and lots of practical amenities that make for comfortable visits. The best part? Now we can accommodate even more guests and be introduced to new customers.

 

Whether you’re due for your next oil change, or have yet to experience Smart Motors’ award-winning service, come check out the newly expanded Express Lube.

 

 

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Quick Jump Start Guide

Posted by Smart Motors | Posted in Automotive, Car Care, Car Maintenance, Driving, Service, Winter Driving | Posted on 18-12-2013

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Your vehicle’s battery is responsible for starting your vehicle, as well as powering a variety of electrical accessories. An alternator recharges your battery while the vehicle is running, but your battery may become drained for a variety of reasons, including extreme temperatures, leaving lights on, or simply old age. No matter what the reason, a dead battery can leave you stranded, and frustrated. If you believe the battery is the culprit of your car-starting woes, follow these simple steps for a successful jump start.

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1.     Park the booster vehicle close but not touching the vehicle that needs to be jumped. Once in position, shut off the booster vehicle.

 

2.     Begin the process by clamping one of the positive jumper cable ends (red) to the positive battery terminal (labeled with a “+” on the battery) of the dead vehicle.

 

3.     Connect the other end of the positive cable (red) to the positive battery terminal on the booster vehicle (again, confirm that a “+” is next to the battery terminal).

 

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4.     Connect the negative cable end (black) to the negative battery terminal on the booster car (marked with a “-“). Finally, attach the other end of the negative cable to an unpainted metal surface on the engine of the dead car.

 

5.     Start the booster vehicle and allow it to idle for about 1 minute before attempting to start the dead vehicle.

 

6.     Start the dead vehicle and let the two vehicles idle for a few minutes.

 

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7.     Once the dead vehicle is started and running smoothly, disconnect the jumper cables in the reverse order that they were connected.

 

8.     Drive the revived car to somewhere safe and secure before shutting off the engine.

Note: If the dead vehicle is not starting after  a few attempts, check all connections and reposition if necessary. You may also need to let the booster vehicle idle for up to 5 minutes while connected to the dead vehicle, in order to reach an adequate charge.

 

 

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Keep Loving Your Car

Posted by Smart Motors | Posted in Auto Body, Auto Glass, Automotive, Driving, Madison, News | Posted on 10-12-2013

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When consumers shop for their next car purchase they spend countless hours online, driving through lots, and garnering insights from friends, relatives and strangers. The goal, obviously, is to find the perfect car that will suit their needs and keep them driving happily for

IMG_0453years to come. Most dealers, and certainly we here at Smart Motors, aim to help consumers do exactly that; find the perfect car for them. However, as we all know, life happens, people change, and sometimes that dream car can become less than ideal. We take issue with that here at Smart Motors, and want to make sure you’re getting the most out of your vehicle, so you can continue to drive with a big, care-free smile.

 

Our loyal customers know that bringing their Toyota back to Smart for service is a great way to keep their vehicle running in tip-top shape, which certainly adds comfort and ease to daily driving. However, we strive to go beyond routine maintenance and complimentary carwashes, and really want to ensure that you like driving the car you’re driving. We have two dedicated Quality Assurance Managers who are positioned to aid customers who do find themselves lacking in love for their current chariot. Roger Ingalls and Chad Nettesheim, our Quality Assurance Managers, aim to please. It’s their goal, and a goal for all of Smart Motors, to make sure th

at our customers are driving happy. Chad says it’s as simple as asking customers, “Hey, how is everything going with your car? Is there anything you don’t like about it?” If the answer is, “Yes,” then odds are Chad and Roger can help with a solution.

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Whether there are small cosmetic blemishes that you find frustratingly unsightly, your car needs a serious deep cleaning, or the absence of modern amenities is getting you down, we’ve got options to satisfy. From our service drive and guest lounge, we’re ready to provide you with a variety of options to not only keep you car running great, but looking, feeling, and functioning just as well. We offer fixes for cosmetic body damage; including spot paint repair, paintless dent removal, and even glass repair or replacement. A full detail shop offers intensive cleaning inside and out, from upholstery steam extraction to waxing and buffing. Of course, if you’re looking to update your vehicle with roof racks, mud flaps, electronics and more, we offer a full line of accessories to help you customize and optimize your vehicle.

 

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Of course, if you don’t feel that your vehicle is suiting you well, and want to explore the option of a new vehicle entirely, our Quality Assurance team can take the hassle and frustration out of evaluating your current vehicle and finding new options that would be a good fit. With tools to provide information about equity, trade-in value, and cost calculation, we can easily assist you in making a smart choice.

 

As a company who genuinely cares about their customer’s satisfaction, Smart Motors does strive to go above and beyond to keep guests happy. Our Quality Assurance Managers are just another example of this, and help make Smart Motors a great place to purchase or service your vehicles.

 

If you need to contact our Quality Assurance Managers, you can email them with questions, comments, or concerns.

Chad Nettesheim at CNettesheim@smartmotors.com and Roger Ingalls at RIngalls@smartmotors.com

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Winter Pests: Keeping Rodents out of Your Vehicle

Posted by Smart Motors | Posted in Auto Body, Automotive, Car Care, Car Maintenance, Driving, Pest Control, Winter Driving | Posted on 23-10-2013

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Does anyone remember Klondike Kat anymore?  His motto was:  “Klondike Kat always gets his mouse!”  Of course, he never did, but many of us could use a mouse catcher for our cars this time of year.

As the weather turns colder, rodents like mice and even rats look for warm places to nest and get away from the elements, and many find cars to be an ideal option.  Vehicles tend to be warm, dry, and full of little places to hide from predators.  Unfortunately, once these animals get inside, they tend to do a lot of damage.

A common hang out for these pests is under the hood, and they like to get inside things like the air filter housing, where they will chew up the filter to make nesting material.  Small animals will also go under the hood insulation, often dragging food along with them, like dog food, bird seed, acorns and walnuts.  If they don’t have food to bring along, they may feast on the wiring in the engine compartment and wreak havoc on your ability to drive the car.

Rodents can find their way inside the car, as well.  They typically can enter through the ventilation system, and love to nest near the heater fan, which is generally located behind the glove box on the right side of the dash, nearby or directly above the heater core.  The heater core stays warm long after you leave the car and have turned off the engine, making this spot an ideal nesting area.  These critters pack food and nesting material inside the fan blade, which looks similar to a hamster wheel, and throw the blade out of balance, causing noise and vibration during operation.  Other problems stemming from this include blocked vents, which impedes airflow, as well as complications from chewed wiring.

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Now, it’s bad enough to think about mice living in your vehicle, but it can get worse:  they can die inside the engine compartment or vehicle, as well.  Whether these bothersome tenants meet their demise trying to escape fan blades, chewing electrified wires, or otherwise, the outcome remains the same. The often hard-to-find remains can be foul smelling and continue to contribute to the aforementioned problems. Finding the culprit and eliminating the damage and the odor can be difficult and expensive.  How big of a problem is this?  We have seen damage over $10,000 caused by rodents.  And we see about one vehicle per week during the warm months with a problem, and sometimes 4 or 5 per week when the weather turns cold.  Fortunately for some owners, comprehensive insurance usually covers the cost of repairs (see your agent for coverage).

 

The best solution to this problem is to avoid the problem in the first place. Below are several tips that should help prevent rodents from exploring your chariot.

 

  1. Don’t store pet food or bird food in a garage or outside unless it is in a tightly sealed, mouse-proof container.  Food attracts rodents, and they will take that food into your car.mice-dryer-sheet
  2. Depending on how you feel about trapping, killing, or poisoning mice, the best way to keep them out of your car is to keep them out of your garage.  Setting traps or poison baits are one way, but moth-balls strategically placed in a garage (away from children and pets) can also be effective.
  3. Many boat and RV owners will stuff fabric softener sheets into compartments when the vehicles are put into storage.  Placing Bounce fabric softener sheets in the glove box, under the seats and even inside the hood insulation may keep mice away.  There is the added benefit of that fresh laundry smell, too!mice_vacuum
  4. Throw away garbage in your car.  Those dropped French fries between the seats are attractants to animals.  Keeping the interior clean will help keep the mice away.
  5. Get a cat!

 

 

A little prevention can go a long way to protecting your car from invasion this fall and winter, and can potentially save you from costly cleaning and repairs.

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Written by Matt Jones – Smart Motors Service Manager

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Ball Body Shop Gets Dramatic Face Lift

Posted by Smart Motors | Posted in Auto Body, Auto Glass, Automotive, Body Shop, Glass Repair, News | Posted on 25-09-2013

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IMG_0491Over the last several months, a serious transformation has taken place at Ball Body Shop. The reputable local auto body center has taken major steps in setting itself apart from the competition, both in size and capability. A recent 8,000 square foot expansion makes the Smart Motors owned body shop the largest in the state, and the addition of state-of-the-art technologies, make it one of the most advanced.

 

The “face-lift” is far from being merely cosmetic, as Ball now has doubled its service capacity to nearly 300 vehicles per month. New and improved prep and paint booths, along with specific training, also allow Ball to speed through a previously laborious painting process in 45 minutes. Also being employed at the improved facility is a $20,000 computerized welder, which aids with frame and body reconstruction by recognizines vehicles by their specific make and model.

 

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On top of these improvements are other impressive amenities, including in-house glass repair and a full-service rental fleet. As a truly full-service shop, Ball Body Shop can lend their impressive technology and talent to any make and model vehicle on jobs of any size. From paintless dent repair to major collisions, Ball is sure to have your car back to pre-accident condition in no time.

As a division of Smart Motors, customer service will always be of paramount importance at Ball, and customers can expect helpful and friendly service at every turn. Best yet? Ball works with all major insurance companies and is ready to help guide you through the repair process. A substantial investment has been made in improving the capabilities of this body shop facility, and members of Ball are ready to prove to customers that the improvements are worth every penny.

 

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Ball Body Shop and Novus Glass – Madison are located at 2225 Eagle Dr. in Middleton, WI. Smart Motors is located at 5901 Odana Rd. in Madison, WI.

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Express Yourself – Car Accessories Can Add Personality and Value

Posted by Smart Motors | Posted in Automotive, Driving | Posted on 23-08-2013

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In a world of monogrammed golf balls, bedazzled cell-phones, and, of course, custom sub sandwiches, it’s easy to see that people want their possessions to be their very own, both in identity and functionality. This is equally true when it comes to our vehicles. We’ve come a long way since Henry Ford declared, “Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black,” and the myriad options and accessories available to today’s car buyers allow them to ensure that their vehicle is one-of-a-kind.

 

Like any reputable car dealer, Smart Motors strives to ensure the utmost satisfaction of each new car buyer, and in their efforts to do so, provides customers with a multitude of add-ons and options. Although quite different from the auto customization shops oft seen on M-TV programming, Smart and their partners offer a range of practical products to enhance the appearance, functionality, and even the longevity of vehicles.

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Many drivers aim to enhance or personalize the look of their vehicle with accessories, and Smart Motors can definitely assist in this venture. From wheels, shift knobs, and body moldings to window tint and customer leather seating, we’ve got what you need to make your car unique. However, many of the accessories we offer provide benefits far beyond looks. Buyers who wish to make their vehicle easier or more comfortable to use will appreciate items like side steps, remote engine starters, and even entertainment systems, while outdoor enthusiasts can find a variety of sports equipment racks and options to add to their ride. Finally, Smart offers a suite of products aimed to protect your

IMG_0398vehicle, adding longevity and value. Items like 3Ms Scotchgard® interior protectant, SkipChips protective body wrap, and Diamon-Fusion® glass protectant all help buyers safeguard their investment.

While you research and shop for your next vehicle, keep in mind that, although the “perfect” vehicle is hard to find, it can often be created. If the right mix of options doesn’t appear to be available in the model you desire, consider researching the vast library of extras available to you through auto manufacturers, dealers, and their partners. Smart Motors goes to great lengths to ensure that prospective customers have access to accessory information. Shelves stocked with product brochures are complimented by an impressive showroom that has current models outfitted with many of the post-production extras. The Smart website, smarttoyota.com, also has a helpful link to an accessories listing page. http://www.igaccessories.com/smartmotors/  With the wealth of information available, it’s easy to find the perfect accoutrement to your new carriage.

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Like a custom tailored suit, a car that fits you “just right” is sure to be appreciated for it’s style and functionality. As you navigate the car-buying waters, remember that you can get what you want in a vehicle, even if it doesn’t appear to be standard equipment.

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We Get a Charge Out of That…

Posted by John Dolan | Posted in Community, Hybrids, News | Posted on 15-01-2013

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DSCN0479Now that plug-in Priuses and EVs are becoming more commonplace on our roadways the sight of one of these Plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) hooked up to a public charger in the wild is no longer such an isolated event. Plug-in electrics offer many advantages, especially in city driving, including reduced gasoline use, reduced emissions and electricity costs that are less than gasoline per mile driven. So, as the technology evolves it’s not surprising to see plug-in hybrids and pure electrics catching on here in Madison.
Most owners are charging their cars at home, but here in Madison we are fortunate to have access to a network of public charging stations. Madison Gas and Electric is the biggest player with a network of 26 charging stations through-out the Madison area. Each charging station offers Level 1 charging that uses a standard 120-volt outlet and the adapter that is provided with the vehicle (auto manufacturers do not recommend using an off-the-shelf cord set and this may void the manufacturer’s warranty). The ChargePoint chargers in the MG&E network also provide Level 2 charging at 240-volts using the SAE J1772 electrical connector which is the North American standard for electric vehicles. Using a Level 1 or a Level 2 charger only changes the amount of time it takes to charge the car, not the charging cost. For example, the Prius Plug-in has a 4.4 kWh lithium-ion battery pack that takes 3 hours to charge with Level 1 charging (120-volts). That same charge only takes 90 minutes with Level 2 charging (240-volts).
Anyone interested in using one of MG&E’s charging stations can find a specific station and even see if it is currently in use at www.chargepoint.net . ChargePoint also offers a mobile phone app to locate and determine station availability. Another popular smartphone app for finding electric vehicle charging stations is PlugShare which is available at www.plugshare.com . PlugShare will not only help you locate public charging stations, it will also direct you to private home charging stations that the homeowner’s have made available to PEV owners (with permission).
Dave-Toso-MGECharging your vehicle at an MG&E public station is gratis for now as the utility is operating the stations free of charge within a trail period during which they are, among other things, gauging personal charging patterns and their demands on the power grid. There will be a cost in the future. As part of its Electric Vehicle Charging Research, MG&E is evaluating different cost options. Addresses for all of MG&E’s PEV charging stations in the network can be found at www.mge.com/ev . MG&E’s charge station map will also indicate which stations are ADA-compliant (American Disabilities Act) stations. Only vehicles with the proper disabled parking permits are allowed to park in these designated stalls.

250px-SAE_J1772_7058855567In addition to MG&E’s charge network, a number of local businesses have seen the value of installing charging stations for their customers who own electric vehicles. Kohl’s Department Store on Madison’s west side, Hy-Vee Grocery Stores, the east and west-side Willy Street Co-op locations and Copps in Shorewood have led the way in this regard. Other businesses, like Smart Motors have plans to install PEV charge stations for their customers in the very near future.
In practice, most people do their charging at home. Here you have the same options of Level 1 or Level 2 charging using a standard 120-volt outlet or you could install a home charging system connected to a 240-volt outlet. Check with an electrician to determine if your home is ready. Most auto manufacturers can provide information on home charging systems that are compatible with your vehicle and may even have a list of qualified electrical installers. Toyota has paired with Leviton, as an approved Electrical Vehicle Supply Equipment (EVSE) provider for Toyota customers and dealers. Leviton offers a variety of charge equipment for home use, an extensive customer service center and deals with local, certified installers. Information and a pre-qualification survey are available online at www.toyota.leviton.com . Installation and equipment costs can range from $500 to $3000 depending on the type of equipment and the level of electrical work needed.

So, how much does it cost to charge an PEV at home? The maximum cost to charge the Prius Plug-in equals the battery capacity multiplied by MG&E’s per kilowatt-hour (kWh) electricity rate. The Prius Plug-in’s battery capacity is 4.4 kWh and MG&E charges 14₵ per kWh. So, the maximum charging cost for the Prius Plug-in is $0.62. However, the Prius Plug-in can be programed to charge over-night during off-peak hours when less electricity is used. Keep in mind, you must be enrolled in your utility’s time-of –use rate plan to take advantage of lower off-peak prices. Off-peak hours vary by rate plan and you pay more for electricity used during on-peak hours. The more energy you shift to off-peak use (not just EV charging), the more money you save!

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Where’s the tailpipe?

Posted by Smart Motors | Posted in Events, Hybrids, News | Posted on 24-05-2012

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Check out this great “sneak peek” video from Mungenast Alton Toyota for the all new RAV 4 EV!

What do you think of Toyota’s all new, all electric SUV?

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