How to Test Drive a Car: A List of Things to Keep in Mind

By Zimbrick Automotive | Posted in Helpful Tips on Thursday, December 7th, 2017 at 3:31 PM
A man in a suit pretending to sit in a car drawn on the wall featured in a blog about test drives.

A lot goes into buying a car — nobody knows that better than you. You’ve done your research, narrowed down your list of models, and you’re ready to head to the dealership. Now all of your hard work is about to pay off because it’s time for the good part: the test drive.

It’s true that test driving a car you’ve never been in before is fun, but like anything else, there’s a right way to go about it. You don’t want to be part of the 16% of car buyers who skip out on test drives altogether. You want to be caught up in the moment, but not so much that you don’t pay attention to what the car is telling you. But what exactly is that?

At Zimbrick, we’ve tagged along for a test drive or two, so you can count on our advice. Here are a few things to consider for when you go on yours.

5 Things to Look Out for on Your Test Drive


Now and then you can afford to take your time and not be in a hurry. Other times — like when you’re pulling out into traffic — you can’t. There’s nothing worse than a car that feels sluggish when you put your foot on the gas. Make sure the car that you test drive has strong, lag-free acceleration so that you can have pep in your step when you need it.


Being able to stop on command is one of the most important aspects of driving. You don’t want any vibrating, grinding, squeaking, or squealing when you press the brakes. If the vehicle you’re driving has a brake pedal that feels “spongy,” it’s time to move on. Find a car, truck, or SUV with even and responsive braking for best results.


While performance is important, ride comfort isn’t something you want to ignore. Keep your ears open for a seamless, quiet ride. Keep your eyes open for spacious, well-appointed seating surfaces. Trust us: your passengers will thank you. And if you’re someone who spends a lot of time on the road, a comfortable ride is something you’ll thank yourself for, too.


Driving should be both fun and practical, but it can’t be either with cumbersome steering. Maneuverability is an integral characteristic of your day-to-day drive because you don’t want to work any harder than you have to. On your test drive, you’ll want to make sure everything feels right.


Your ability to see the road varies greatly based on vehicle type. While a lot of this gets chalked up to preference, maintaining visibility is of the utmost importance when it comes to your safety. Before and during your test drive, familiarize yourself with your car’s blind spots and make sure that you’re comfortable with your vantage point. It will go a long way in ensuring your confidence.

For more test driving tips, check out this helpful video from Auto Trader:

Put Your Test-Driving Expertise to the Test in Madison, WI

Now that you know what to look for, it’s time to make the most of your experience. At Zimbrick, we have a vast selection of new and used vehicles available for you to test drive at any of our 16 locations. Get started today by contacting us now.

5 Fall Car Care Tips to Be Thankful For

By Zimbrick Automotive | Posted in Helpful Tips on Monday, November 20th, 2017 at 7:00 AM
A close-up of a car tire on leaf-covered pavement featured in a blog about fall car care

Fall means a lot of things in Madison, Wisconsin: changing leaves, brisker temperatures, football, Thanksgiving, and more. But it also means that winter is coming. It’s no secret that winter can take a toll on your car. But you don’t have to let it get the best of you.

At Zimbrick, we know that the key to successful winter driving is an early jump start on fall maintenance. That’s why we offer both year-round service and winter service at any of our locations. For more details, check out our five fall car care tips:

An infographic outlining five five fall car care tips

4 Used Cars That Are Safe for New Drivers

By Zimbrick Automotive | Posted in Helpful Tips on Monday, November 6th, 2017 at 3:40 PM
Teen in a car featured in a blog about used cars for new drivers

Let’s be honest: when shopping for your teen driver’s first vehicle, you’re probably going to be looking at used cars. But that doesn’t mean you have to settle for outdated technology or lower performance standards.

There’s an extensive criterion for what’s good enough for your teen driver. Gas mileage, storage space, comfort, and safety are all aspects you have to consider. At Zimbrick, we stock an expansive inventory of quality used cars that fulfill these needs. Keep reading to learn more about a few of our favorites.

Fantastic 4: The Safest Used Cars for Teen Drivers

Honda Civic

The Honda Civic boasts a history of IIHS Top Safety Pick honors, and available Honda Sensing® is a big reason why. This safety suite includes features like Road Departure Mitigation, Collision Mitigation Braking, and Lane Keeping Assist.

To learn more about Honda Sensing® and other safety technologies in the Civic, watch the video below:


Hyundai Sonata

The Hyundai Sonata is full-size in classification and value. The reason? Its impressive host of safety features. The 2016 model was an IIHS Top Safety Pick, thanks to available technologies like Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Departure Warning, and the Rollover Protection System. But that’s not all there is to like about it. The Sonata is also great on gas.

Subaru Legacy

You don’t build a reputation for being a premier small car without being safe. The Subaru Legacy is known for its athleticism, but it’s also lauded for its sensibility. The 2017 edition is the most recent used model to be deemed an IIHS Top Safety Pick. And with Standard Subaru Symmetrical All-Wheel Drive and available EyeSight® Driver Assist Technology, it’s not hard to see why.

For an overview of Subaru EyeSight® watch the video below:


Toyota Camry

In the world of midsize sedans, the Toyota Camry is always a safe bet. Like the Civic, the Camry has earned numerous IIHS Top Safety Pick accolades and offers a proprietary safety technology suite, Toyota Safety Sense™, that is available on many newer models. Combine that with the ample cabin and impressive engine performance, and it’s clear the Camry has everything your new driver needs.

Keep Your First-Time Driver Safe in Madison, WI

The cars above represent only a short list of our available vehicles. Browse our full inventory of used cars purchasable at any of our 16 convenient locations. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to contact us. We look forward to arming you and your teen driver with peace of mind.

How Zimbrick Can Assist with Daylight Saving Time

By Zimbrick Automotive | Posted in Helpful Tips on Wednesday, November 1st, 2017 at 1:50 PM

The clock is finally winding down on the transition from summer to autumn here in Madison, Wisconsin. Or, at least rolling backward. The extra hour of daylight was fun while it lasted, but it’s time to fall back. That’s right, we’re talking about Daylight Saving Time.

Yes, the extra hour of sleep in the morning will be as lovely as it always is this time of year. The increased risk of traffic accidents, however, won’t be. At Zimbrick, we’re all about keeping you safe. Here are five services we offer to prepare you for the time change on November 5.

5 Zimbrick Daylight Saving Time Services You Can Fall Back On

A/C and Heat

This one is more about comfort than safety, but it’s important nonetheless. Daylight Saving Time signals the closeness of winter, and therefore, colder temperatures. You don’t need one more thing distracting you from the road and getting you out of your comfort zone. That’s why we’ll check your car’s air conditioning and heating to ensure you’re warm for your daily commute.  

Man's hand over a car's AC vent


The days will soon be getting shorter, but that won’t stop your fellow commuters from hitting the road. You’ll want to make sure that your brakes are in great shape and ready to avoid accidents while other travelers are adjusting to the dimmer drive home. That’s where we come in. At Zimbrick, we inspect and repair brakes year-round.


The most noticeable difference this time of year is that it’s getting dark earlier. While there’s nothing you can do to change that, there’s one very simple thing you can do to combat it: have us check your headlights. With darker streets, you want to see as much as possible. We’ll help you light the way home during early nights.

A car driving on the road at night with its headlights on


Avoiding surprises is impossible, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be prepared. With worn or deflated tires, the road becomes riskier. We can check the pressure of your tires, rotate, or replace them. Plus, as winter nears, we offer specialized winter tire installation.

Windshield Wipers

Visibility is difficult enough with less daylight, but it can turn from bad to worse with a dirty windshield. Do yourself a favor by letting our expert technicians make sure you have a clear line of vision. We can install new wiper blades or replace your windshield wiper fluid. It may sound simple, but it can make all the difference in the world.

A close-up of windshield wipers covered in leaves

Get Service That Saves the Day in Madison, WI

Darker days are right around the corner, but the future is still bright. Schedule a service appointment at any of our convenient Zimbrick locations before November 5. In need of a service not listed above? Contact us now. Our dedicated staff is here to answer any questions you may have.

How to Have Fall Fun in Madison with Your New Hyundai

By Zimbrick Automotive | Posted in Tips and Tricks on Monday, October 23rd, 2017 at 2:24 PM
Three Hyundai vehicles in front of a fall background with red and green leaves

It doesn’t get any better than fall in Madison, Wisconsin. And, for those who don’t know, it doesn’t get any better than a Hyundai car or SUV, either. Coincidence? We think not. Fall festivities and Hyundai go hand in hand.

Safe, spacious, and efficient, your Hyundai is the ultimate means to awesome autumn activities. But with so many available options, how do you choose what to do?

Lucky for you, nobody knows Madison like your friends at Zimbrick. Here are five options we’ve narrowed down for you.

5 Fantastic Fall Places to Visit in Your Hyundai

Dane County Farmers’ Market

What would fall be without vegetables like squash and sweet potatoes? You don’t have to find out, thanks to the Dane County Farmers’ Market. With an array of markets to choose from, you’ll get an opportunity to enjoy fresh produce and support local farmers. And with the generous storage volume of your Hyundai sedan or SUV, you’ll have plenty of room to bring back whatever you want.

For a glimpse at what goes on at the Dane County Farmers’ Market, watch the video below:

Enchanted Valley Acres

Fall is a family season, and Enchanted Valley Acres is one of the most family-friendly destinations in Madison. Traditional activities like corn mazes, hayrides, and pumpkin patches await whomever you can fit into your Hyundai. And since Hyundais are notorious for their passenger volume, that’s a lot of people.

Quarry Ridge

You can’t fully appreciate the beauty of autumn without stopping to take in the scenery. Quarry Ridge enables you to do that while getting in some fresh air and exercise. Only five minutes away from downtown Madison, this recreation area is home to some of the best hiking and mountain biking in the state. Whatever gear you might need, we’re confident your Hyundai can accommodate it.

Schuster’s Farm

For a great way to get into the mood for the fall holidays, Schuster’s Farm is a choice you can’t pass up. This place has it all, from a haunted forest for the adults to dozens of barnyard attractions, like animals, mazes, and pumpkins, for the kids.

For a sneak peek of what’s in store at the haunted forest, watch the video below. Proceed with caution:

REAP Harvest Gala

Savoring the flavors of fall has never accompanied such a good cause. When you attend the Harvest Gala on Nov. 12, you’ll get to indulge in some amazing eats. But more importantly, your price of admission will help fund REAP’s efforts to build a healthy and sustainable local food system.

Fall in Love with Your Hyundai in Madison, WI

Finding something to do this season is easy. But you can’t fall into the Hyundai fun without a Hyundai. At Zimbrick, we have a solution. We carry a wide range of new and used Hyundai cars and SUVs. Contact us now to talk about your options.

The New Honda CR-V LX & EX: What’s the Difference?

By Zimbrick Automotive | Posted in Honda on Thursday, October 19th, 2017 at 8:51 PM
New Honda CR-V parked outside of a building

You’ve used your judgment to compare a wide range of makes and models, and the verdict is in: you want the new Honda CR-V. Good choice. But which Honda CR-V do you want? If you’re confused by the letters, or trim levels, at the end of the model name, you’re not alone. Each manufacturer attaches these to specify certain features, and Honda is no exception.

Enter the 2018 Honda CR-V. You may have noticed this crossover SUV’s two entry trim levels, the LX and EX, in your research. But is there a noticeable difference between the two? The answer might surprise you. We’ve broken it down category by category below.

Trim for Trim: The 2018 Honda CR-V LX vs. The EX


While both trims turn in a relaxing yet sporty ride, only the EX is furnished with heated front seats — a perfect amenity for the wintertime in the Madison area. But there’s plenty to love about the LX, too. The CR-V’s base trim actually offers better headroom and a superior 105.9 cu. ft. of total passenger volume.


The CR-V has long been renowned for its interior convenience accessories, and the 2018 model doesn’t break the mold. The EX is equipped with a 7” Audio Touch-Screen for all your tunes and talk shows. But the LX is no slouch. This base trim brings a 5” color LCD screen infotainment system to the table.


There’s a reason Honda tops efficiency charts every year. With 32 mpg in highway fuel economy, the LX trim of the CR-V earns better gas mileage than many of its rivals. The EX is slightly better at 34 mpg, but with a notable kicker: this second-level trim’s turbocharged engine packs up to 190 horsepower.


Cutting-edge is part of the CR-V’s persona. The LX trim provides a bevy of innovative systems, like Vehicle Stability Assist™ with Traction Control. But the EX takes it to another level. Adaptive Cruise Control with Low-Speed Follow, Collision Mitigation Braking, Road Departure Mitigation, and Lane Keeping Assist System are all standard thanks to Honda Sensing®. And as if that isn’t enough, Honda throws in Smart Entry with Walk Away Auto Lock® — making it an SUV that’s on top of things even when you aren’t.

To see an overview of what the new CR-V has to offer, watch the video below:

Compare Honda CR-V Trims in Madison, WI

As you can see, there are only winners here. For a more in-depth look at the differences between the LX and EX trims, visit Honda’s CR-V comparison page. Set on your favorite trim? Chances are, you’ll find it in Zimbrick’s new CR-V inventory. We look forward to sharing these unique and exciting features with you at any of our locations.

Winterizing Your Car: What You Need to Know

By Zimbrick Automotive | Posted in Helpful Tips on Tuesday, October 17th, 2017 at 6:57 PM

Fall is finally in full swing here in Madison, and with colder temperatures on the horizon, winter isn’t far behind. In the coming days, you’ll probably hear a lot of talk about winterizing your car. But what exactly does that mean?

Good question. In the most basic sense, winterizing your car means optimizing it for the harsh winter months ahead. While that might sound daunting, it’s nothing to stress over. At Zimbrick, our experts specialize in service — and gearing your car, truck, or SUV up for winter is no exception. Here are a few ways we can help you winterize your vehicle.

5 Ways to Winterize Your Car at Zimbrick

Antifreeze and Fluid Checks

The temperature isn’t the only thing freezing in the wintertime. If your car doesn’t have the right fluids, you run the risk of it freezing up, too. Our technicians will ensure that you have the right antifreeze and water blend. Plus, we can replace your wiper fluid with a freeze-proof alternative.

worker adding antifreeze as part of fluid check

Battery Testing and Replacement

As the leaves fall, so does your battery’s capacity. Unfortunately, your battery doesn’t have the option of hibernating for the winter. That’s why we’ll conduct a thorough check of cables, terminals, and fluid to make sure your battery doesn’t let you down when you need it the most.

Brake Inspection and Repair

Walking through a winter wonderland is a magical experience. Driving through one, however, is a different story. You’re going to want to know that your brakes are prepared for the tricky road conditions ahead. While it might be too early to have your brakes replaced, the pros at Zimbrick can inspect them, repair them, and ultimately ensure that they’re fit for the holidays.

photo of service worker performing break inspection

Oil Change

Oil is an important component of your car year-round, but it’s especially critical in the winter months. If the oil in your vehicle is too thick, it could freeze. Consider putting a thinner oil on your wish list.

Winter Tire Installation

Dashing through the snow in a one-horse open sleigh might be fun, but it’s nothing to play around with in your car. Worn or insufficiently filled tires are dangerous on slick roads. That’s why we offer tire replacement and rotation. But if conditions get especially brutal in your neck of the woods, our specialized winter tires are the way to go.

tires prepared for winter driving through snow after installation

Winterize Your Ride in Madison, WI

See one or more ways Zimbrick can whip your car into shape for the winter months? Schedule a service appointment at any of our 16 locations in the Madison, Wisconsin, metro area. We want to make winter the most wonderful time of the year for you.


Why You Should Be Excited about the Z Big One Sale

By Zimbrick Automotive | Posted in Dealership Information on Wednesday, October 4th, 2017 at 5:56 PM
The words "Z Big One Sale The Biggest Car Sale of the Season" sitting on top of a rock pile

Before you know it, the leaves in the Madison, Wisconsin, area will begin to fall. But they won’t be alone — as we speak, our prices are falling, too. It’s that time of year again. That’s right: we’re talking about the annual Z Big One Sale at Zimbrick.

While you may be familiar with our Z Big One Sale, things have changed since last year. Read on to find the answers to your questions about the biggest car sale of the season.

The Who, What, When, and Where of the Zimbrick Z Big One Sale


The answer to this question is quite simple: you.

At Zimbrick, we pride ourselves on our standing in the Madison community. Because you’ve given us so much as customers, this is our opportunity to show our appreciation.


When we say the biggest car sale of the season, we’re not exaggerating. In past years, we’ve spotlighted a variety of used vehicles for our annual sale. But this year, there’s a new reason to get excited. From Chevys and Hondas to Audis and Porches, this year’s Z Big One Sale features over 3,050 new and used cars, trucks, and SUVs at heavily-discounted prices. And for those on a smaller budget, we offer a great selection of vehicles under $10,000, too.


You’ll have an entire month to fall in love with the Z Big One Sale at Zimbrick. Our specials will last from now until October 31.


Our Z Big One Sale is company-wide. That means you don’t have to limit your purchasing options. When you shop at Zimbrick, you’ll enjoy unbeatable sales specials, prices, and incentives at any of our 16 convenient locations across the Madison metro area.

Check Out Z Big One All Month in Madison, WI

We’re just as excited as you and don’t want you to miss out on this once-a-year opportunity. Contact us today, and speak to a member of our staff to see what the Z Big One Sale has in store for you. These prices will only last until the end of October, but your next car, truck, or SUV from Zimbrick will last you for many years and miles to come.

Pros to Know: The Advantages of Different Drivetrains

By Zimbrick Automotive | Posted in Tips and Tricks on Friday, September 29th, 2017 at 7:00 AM
A close up of a car's drivetrain

When you’re researching a new vehicle, there’s a lot of information to absorb. Much of it — such as fuel economy, horsepower, and space dimensions — is fairly straightforward to understand. But when it comes to the technical stuff, few concepts can seem as foreign and lofty as drivetrain systems.

So, what is a drivetrain system, anyway?

In a nutshell, there are four main types of drivetrains and they are the system of parts that deliver power to the wheels of your vehicle. Or, in other words, it’s what gets your vehicle going. Simple enough.

To learn more, take a look at our infographic that breaks down the pros of the four major types of drivetrains.


An infographic showing the four main types of drivetrains and their benefits

Questions? Feel free to contact our experts.

There’s a Car for That: 4 Sedans for Your First-Time Driver

By Zimbrick Automotive | Posted in Tips and Tricks on Monday, September 25th, 2017 at 7:00 AM
A young driver holding the keys of her sedan out of the window

There’s a lot to consider when shopping for a vehicle for your first-time driver. Finding something that’s equal parts enjoyable and practical can be tricky business. Picking the right vehicle type for a new driver can be even trickier. That’s right: we’re talking about sedans vs. SUVs.

If it seems to you like SUVs are all the rage at the moment, you’re not wrong. But for a driver who’s getting accustomed to the ins and outs of the day-to-day drive, a sedan can simplify things. At Zimbrick, we understand how complicated it can be. That’s why we’re here to provide you a thorough breakdown of our favorite sedan models.

Here are four of them.

Set Your Driver up for Success with One of These Sedans

Chevy Malibu

There’s a myth that small cars are unsafe, and it’s simply not true. In fact, with ever-evolving safety features, sedans are only getting safer. Nobody knows this better than Chevy. Teen driver mode, which records and corrects patterns for new drivers, is available on the Malibu. And so are up to 10 airbags.

Hyundai Elantra

SUVs aren’t too far behind in terms of fuel economy, but they’re still not close enough to compete with sedans in the efficiency category. With an estimated 40 mpg of fuel economy on the highway, the Elantra is an ideal choice for parents looking to spend less at the pump. And because fueling is less expensive with a smaller car, there’s a good chance total cost of owning is cheaper, too.

Honda Accord

You want your first-time driver to stay safe, but you also want them to have fun. And since you’ll rarely hear an SUV referred to as nimble, a sedan is probably the most satisfying option for the sake of maneuverability. Few sensible cars offer the agile road manners and responsive handling that an Accord brings to the table.

Nissan Altima

Easing into their comfort zone is the most important aspect for a first-time driver — something that might not come as quickly in an SUV or truck. Sedans deliver a smoother, more relaxed ride. And in an Altima, your first-time driver and their friends will enjoy spacious seating options and leather-appointed surfaces.

Start Your New Car Search in Madison, WI

A driver’s first car is a big decision, but it’s not one you have to make alone. You can count on us to guide you in the right direction. At Zimbrick, we stock a variety of new and used sedans. Contact us for any questions or come in for a test drive at any of our 16 locations in the Madison, Wisconsin, area. We’re excited to help you get started.