Where can we go on school vacation week that is not too far away? I prefer to stay local in this weather.

family-sleddingGary Jaffarian recommends shopping local and staying local during the cold winter school vacation week. There are so many great places to explore as a family! He has some excellent suggestions on how to have fun outdoors and stay local to experience the best winter has to offer.

Here are some places to visit are less than a half-tank away for the best winter outdoor sports and fun:



Ski Bradford on the Haverhill-Groveland line on South Cross Road in Bradford at (978) 373-0071. Ski Bradford offers night skiing on 60 acres, 15 trails, 3 triple and 6 surface lifts, lessons, a rental shop and terrain park.


Nashoba Valley Ski Area, 79 Power Road, Westford at (978) 692-3033 offers 17 trails, 11 lifts, and a terrain park at 240 vertical feet. There are also 18 tubing lanes with 4 lifts.



Wachusetts best.jpgWachusett Mountain Ski Area on 499 Mountain Road in Princeton at (978) 464-2300 is a little further west with 19 trails, 5 lifts on 103 acres. They also offer night skiing.

Blue Hills Ski Area in Canton, 4001 Washington St., Canton at (781) 828-5070, south of Boston, offers 16 trails and 4 lifts with a Terrain Park, rentals and lessons. It is available from South Station by public transportation from Boston.

Jiminy Peak Resort is a weekend alternative if you want to go west to the Berkshires rather than north to the more popular ski areas of N.H. and Vermont. They offer a village complete with shopping, dining, hotels, skiing and boarding.

Ski Butternut is another ski area in the Berkshire Mountain Range in Great Barrington. The ski area is located on 110 acres, offering 22 trails and a 7-lane tubing center. This is a great trip for a few days of vacation fun for the family.


hero-rinkMarket Street, Lynnfield, a new upscale shopping and dining area at exit 43 off Route 128, has outdoor Skating on the Green. There is a small fee for use and they offer skate rentals for $4.





Merrimack Valley Skating Club is hosted by the Graf Rink of Low Street in Newburyport, at exit 57 off Rt. 95.


Blue Ocean Events Center on the ocean in Salisbury at exit 58 off Rt. 95, offers indoor skating this month. Perfect place for the cold winter days when you’d rather be indoors—complete with a spectacular ocean view.

Amesbury Town Park, 138 Friend St. is open until 9 p.m. and is well lit for night skating.

Boston Common–How about the Frog Pond in as a classic place to take the family skating?

Sledding and Tubing:

New England Sports Park in Amesbury is one of the most popular places for sledding and tubing with extended hours for school vacation week from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Located at 12 South Hunt Road, at exit 54 off Route 495, (978) 388-5788, also has The Crossbar Pub for refreshments.

bartlett-mall-in-winterNewburyport’s Bartlett Mall on High St., Rt. 113 at Exit 57 off Rt. 95, offers sledding above the pond. It’s free and open area is a few blocks from Historic Downtown Newburyport for shopping and dining.

Maudsley State Park on Curzon Mill Road, Newburyport, offers sledding and cross-country trails in the woods overlooking the Merrimack River. This is also a free area.

Cable Hill on County Road in Ipswich, is a North Shore favorite.

Bear Hill Golf Course, 2 North St., Stoneham at Exit 38 off Rt. 128.

Ould Newbury Golf Club on Route 1 in Newbury.

The 14 Best Places to Go Sledding and the Boston Globe’s Top 40 Places to Go Sledding, also recommends:

Mt. Hood, 100 Sleyton Rd. in Melrose, off Routes 1 or 93.

boston-common-sleddingBoston Common in downtown Boston at the Corner of Tremont and West Streets, is America’s oldest public park.




Prospect Hill Park, 322 Totten Pond Road, Waltham, directly off Rt. 128.

Call any local golf course or check the web for other great and safe places to take the children sledding and tubing.

Before you plan your vacation outings, if you need anything from a basic oil change to major repair, stop by and see us at the Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Service Departments. For your convenience, you can schedule on line 24/7 or call us at (978) 372-8551. Our comfortable, clean waiting rooms offer complimentary hot beverages, cable TV, wi-fi and a children’s play room. You want to be sure there is no chance of a breakdown in this cold New England weather. Vacation week is meant to be a fun, family week without any vehicle problems!

We’ve done the work for you compiling this list. Now go and have some fun! Drive safe and enjoy the school vacation weeks ahead in both Massachusetts and New Hampshire.

Ask Gary Jaffarian




Gary Jaffarian

Is President’s Day Weekend the best time to buy a vehicle?

Gary Jaffarian answers this commonly asked question given the holiday weekend has become synonymous with vehicle sales!

washington-bday-saleIf you are thinking about a new vehicle, there are many reasons to do so on the Presidents’ Day Holiday Weekend. A bit of trivia, this tradition started in Boston a long time ago with a dealership holding an open house, and the idea took off!

February in New England can be a stormy month. Many folks may think it best to wait until the snow melts to buy or lease a new vehicle. As I consistently say, be an informed consumer. Do your homework and if you are even thinking about a potential purchase or lease, it is worth reviewing the offers available in February as they tend to be very strong offers.

With the unbelievable Super Bowl win behind us and March Madness ahead of us, now is a great time to do your homework – online and in person. Most vehicle manufacturer’s offer specials and there are deals on 2016 models. Check out the specials at Jaffarian Toyota, including the Toyota rebate for members of the military.

America celebrates Presidents’ Day with sales. While Sweden does not have a President, Volvo is not to be left out so they are participating in their own unique way with a King of king-of-sweden-carSweden Day. To celebrate, they are offering $0 down and $0 first month’s payment when you lease a new 2017 Volvo (see website for details). This is a fabulous offer and is worth evaluating if you had been planning to wait until the Spring! With a reputation for innovation and safety, Volvos include advanced features like the Blind Spot Information System, Rear Park Assist Camera, Panoramic Moonroof and more in many models as standard features! Keep this in mind as you do your homework to compare apples to apples of what comes standard vs. additional costs. President’s Day offers the consumer many great offers so I encourage you to check them out and if you are thinking about a new vehicle, now is a good time to review the offers. It is a great time to buy a Volvo or a Toyota!

Don’t like crowds? Have plans for the long weekend? That is ok. You don’t have to wait. I know at Jaffarian Volvo and Toyota, the offers are effective now – come in this weekend and beat the crowds and take advantage of the full selection of colors and features that you want! And don’t forget, don’t just research the make and model and features included, research the dealerships. Maybe you just care about getting the color and amenities that are important to you, but don’t you want to do business with a dealer that is going to take care of you and be there for you in case you have questions or concerns?

When you’re doing your research, check the vehicle’s options, safety features, MSRP and the dealerships’ ratings from reliable sources such as DealerRater.com (click here to see how we rate). DealerRater is a reputable source for dealership reviews. There are multiple other sites that you can also go to and I am sure you too have your favorites. Some are better for other industries and be forewarned that some consumer rating sites don’t show all reviews or have a tendency to emphasize negative reviews. Buyer beware!

What is the best time to buy or lease? That really comes down to what is best for you. President’s Day vehicle sales are strong offers and you may be able to find a great deal on apres-day-graphic2 2016 although they are going fast. To summarize, if you are even considering a new vehicle in the year, I would suggest you make an informed decision by being aware of what the incentives are to help you make an informed decision about timing. As always, we at Jaffarian Volvo Toyota, are here to help answer any questions and assist in helping you make the best decision for you.

Stay safe on the roads given the weather forecast and remember we are here for you 7 days a week!

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Gary Jaffarian

What is your advice for Patriots fans as they make plans for the Super Bowls?

Gary Jaffarian shares some practical advice for those on the roads Sunday night.

superbowl-liThis is an exciting week for all of us as we are so fortunate to be New England Patriots Fans! As you plan where you will be to watch the Super Bowl, remember to think about your safety as much as who you want to watch the game with! Similar to New Year’s Eve, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) is urging football fans to plan ahead and secure a safe ride home. They started a Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk campaign encouraging people to make plans ahead of time that will prevent them from getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking. Driving drunk could result in injury or death for you or others on the road.


It’s a big night for football fans and an exciting one to cheer our beloved Patriots to their 5th championship! Here are some tips to making it a safe night:
• If you host a party, have plenty of snacks, a meal and non-alcoholic beverages. If youdrinking-watch-game have the room, invite friends to sleep on the sofa or guest room if they’ve been drinking—even if you must hide the keys. Do not let anyone drive home if they’ve been drinking. Remember even they claim to be a little buzzed—buzzed driving is drunk driving. You don’t want to be legally or morally responsible if an accident occurs.
• If you go to a party and cannot stay overnight, don’t drink and drive. Be the designated driver or find a designated driver. Take a cab, public transportation or get an Uber.

To help you plan your day, the game starts at 6:30 p.m. Pre-game has already started so for die-hard fans, there are highlights and shows available every evening to get you ready for game time! If you are still deciding where to watch, there are many options including nationally televised on FOX or you can watch online for free on FOXSports.comand Verizon customers can watch it on the go with NFL Mobile .

If you are going to be on the roads Sunday night, please keep the following in mind:
• Be prepared for driving in winter weather as snow is in the forecast.pats-fans-at-bar
• Keep a sharp eye out and drive defensively.
• Wear your seatbelt.
• Be sure to eat. Alcohol typically enters the bloodstream quickly. However, the amount and type of food in your stomach can alter this pace: high-carbohydrate and high-fat foods can slow the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream. So, this is a good night to indulge in those fun foods.
• Be sure to have plenty of gas in the tank and if you have any concerns about your vehicle, have it serviced in advance.

Jaffarian Volvo and Toyota Service Departments are open all day Saturday if you need any maintenance work performed so you can avoid being out in the cold on Super Bowl Sunday. Call us at (978) 372-8551 or go online to book an appointment 24/7.

Have fun, be safe and GO PATS!!

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Gary Jaffarian

Why would I want to get my vehicle serviced at the dealership when it usually costs more?

apples-and-applesGary Jaffarian addresses common misconceptions about having your vehicle serviced at the dealership. He wants to be certain you are comparing “apples with apples.”
I’m glad you are giving me the opportunity to address this important misconception. Most of the time dealers are not more expensive, and when they seem to be more expensive, be sure you are comparing like parts and services. I can only speak for Jaffarian Volvo Toyota, but I’d like to share a quick checklist of why most dealerships may be the better choice when you need service.
• Protect your Warranty: If your vehicle is under warranty, the warranty will only be warrantyupheld with service completed by a certified and affiliated dealership. With Toyota Care and Volvo’s warranty programs, be sure to follow your maintenance schedule that is covered when purchasing the vehicle! These programs offer great value to a consumer!
• Genuine Parts: If you drive a Toyota or Volvo, you want to keep your “Toyota a Toyota” or your “Volvo a Volvo” by having only Toyota or Volvo parts installed. Some service stations use reconditioned parts or other non-OEM parts. Keep in mind this can negate your warranty coverage and  may adversely affect the operation of your  vehicle.
 Parts Availability: We have a Parts Department that stocks original, genuine parts. No waiting for the truck to come with your parts. Time is money. Some  local service stations may need to order parts or be unable to read codes for your particular vehicle delaying your being able to complete service as planned.
• Compare apples to apples: As we often write about, be an informed consumer. If making a decision solely on price, be sure to compare what the price includes. Details to pay attention to include what oil are they using? How many quarts of oil does that price include? Very important when buying tires is ensuring you are comparing the exact same tire – not just brand name but the exact same tire! If you are a value shopper, look at the complete value offering to make an informed decision: price, convenience, additional amenities, certified technicians working on your vehicle, coffee, TV, wi-fi, etc.
• Trained, Certified Technicians:  There is great value in having a technician working on your vehicle that is trained and certified in working on your vehicle. Not a jack of all trades, but a trained professional. While we service all vehicles, if you own a Volvo or Toyota, you can be assured that the professional working on your vehicle has completed thorough product training and has deep, proven experience. They are specialists, not generalists.  Perhaps not important to you, but important to us is that our employees work in pleasant environments conducive to consistently doing high-quality work. That is why our technicians work in temperature controlled environments.

•  Consistency of technicians working on your vehicle. Bottom Line. Dealers have to be competitive. We can’t afford to NOT be able to compete  – we would go out of business when it comes to servicing vehicles. At Jaffarian Toyota, we have a “Dare to Compare” white board in our service area. We are completely comfortable and confident in monitoring our competition’s prices and showing it to you right on our wall! We are OK with saving you the time and effort. Besides the cost of the service, keep in mind some other factors that may be important to you when choosing where you service your vehicle.
• Comfort:  Our waiting rooms are not only clean and comfortable, but we offer snacks,VolvoWaitingRoomAccessories.jpg beverages, wi-fi and flat screen TVs. We want you to be comfortable and have a place to work, have your children safely play if you choose to wait.
• Transportation:  If you don’t want to wait in our waiting room, we offer free transportation to your home, workplace or local shopping areas.service-van
• Convenience: We are open six days a week and we have an online service scheduler to book your own appointment 24/7.
As you  decide where you want to service your vehicle, consider reputation and consider the importance of consistency. All things being equal, you may decide that going to the dealership is actually the most economical, comfortable and convenient choice. We are committed to earning your business in every interaction and are confident in comparing the value we deliver to the competition.
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Gary Jaffarian

Is Toyota keeping up with rapidly changing technology?

2018 Camry-red.png

2018 Toyota Camry

Gary Jaffarian explains how Toyota is not only a leader in technology, but it is the industry leader in current and upcoming Bluetooth upgrades.

Toyota has integrated the most safety features possible in its models including state-of-the art technology and Bluetooth features which enable drivers to keep their eyes on the road. From the affordable Corolla, Camry and RAV4 to the more luxurious models, technology features are standard, keeping the cost down and the safety features at a maximum. As current advertising highlights, many competitive vehicles do not include comparable safety features; instead requiring consumers to pay more for technology that is standard in a Toyota.

I’ve written many blogs on the dangers of cell phones, particularly from texting. Toyota’s technology allows the driver to see a text message on the audio screen when a new message arrives, and by pushing one simple button, the text is read to you. It also gives you the opportunity to push a button with a standard message, such as “I’m driving now, I’ll call you back later.” Though in the height of traffic, no reply is necessary.

The new Toyotas include Entune Audio Plus technology to allow your phone’s GPS


2017 Toyota RAV4

directions to appear on the 7” screen. All the audio controls have been placed on the steering wheel, allowing you to keep your eyes on the road. This advanced technology is not just for your driving experience, but for safety!


For distracted drivers, which includes those who are sleepy, there is a lane departure alert with steering assist. If your turn signal is not on, and you start weaving, the technology provides a beeping signal. If the driver doesn’t react immediately, there is a steering assist function that will initiate and provide gentle corrective steering to help keep the vehicle in the lane. There is an integrated back-up camera with a path to guide you when backing up.

Toyota provides a standard pre-collision system with pedestrian detection, and of course, the back-up camera will provide you a picture of people who may suddenly walk behind your vehicle, which often happens in parking lots. With the pedestrian detection system, your vehicle will provide automatic braking to help prevent a collision from happening. Toyota’s new technology provides you with additional sets of eyes in the front and rear of your vehicle!


Corolla Interior 17.jpg

High-tech features in the 2017 Corolla

Toyota’s next technology advancement will take peer-to-peer car sharing to the next level with a Bluetooth device that allows users to open and start the vehicle with a smart phone. As car-sharing becomes more popular among families and people who want to earn additional money by renting their vehicles, the new vehicles will have an option for a “Smart Key Box.” The device can be mounted on the dash and users can operate the vehicle by putting in an access code. This new technology is being piloted in San Francisco, where many people participate in a car-sharing service known as “Getaround.”


The 2018 Camry (which received accolades at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit last week and will be available this summer); and the 2017 Corolla and other models sport all these safety devices and technology features as standard equipment. The 2017 Toyota RAV4 now comes in a Platinum all-wheel drive model and RAV4 with LED headlights is a 2017 IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) Top Safety Pick+. AAA Northeast’s publication wrote, “While it has been on the market for 20 years, the Toyota RAV4 continues to shine as one of the best compact SUVs for its features, technology and safety.” They gave it accolades for its reasonable price, easy to maneuver size, and a long list of standard safety features not frequently seen on vehicles in that lower price range. The Safety Sense package also includes automatic high beams when needed. These standard features really do a great deal of the thinking for us!


2017 Toyota Corolla celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year


Jaffarian Volvo Toyota is proud to represent two manufacturers which have two very important attributes in common: the best in quality and longevity and the best safety records in the automotive industry. Despite some of the television ad claims by other vehicle manufacturers, Camry has been the top-selling vehicle in American for the past 15 years and the Corolla just celebrated its 50th anniversary. Certainly, when you buy a Toyota, you are buying a top-selling American-made vehicle.

Drive safely and enjoy these warmer temperatures and milder January weather while it lasts!

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Gary Jaffarian

What is the 45° rule?

Gary Jaffarian explains the important 45° rule and discusses the difference between snow and all-season tires and why you may want snow tires this season.

45 degree rule.jpg

When dealing with the snow we just experienced this past weekend, your tires and brakes are the most important aspects of your vehicle for safe driving. On Saturday night after the roads were cleared, I was driving slowly on a main street and someone pulled out of an adjacent restaurant parking lot too quickly and made the turn onto the main road ahead of me. I witnessed him doing a 180-degree spin-out. Fortunately, I had time to stop and wait until he turned his car back around.

My initial thoughts: “He doesn’t know how to drive in this weather; he didn’t read my Ask Gary blog last week on avoiding a skid; and he may need new tires.”

While many all-season tires suffice, the 45° rule is that winter tires stay flexible at 45° or below, while other tires will harden, reducing traction. Therefore, anyone driving consistently in lower temps, which we all do, will benefit from winter tires.

What separates winter tires (generally called snow tires) from the all-season tires?
• There is a special tread pattern for rain, light snow and mud.winter-snow-tires
• Deep grooves are for deep snow, that allows the tires to dig in and trap the snow in the grooves to help you continue moving forward.
• They are made of a special rubber material to stay flexible in cold temperatures.
• Winter tires are covered with small slits called “sipes” that create multiple edges that help grip wet, snowy, slushy and icy roads.
• They have a winter-specific tread pattern.

Proven winter performance tires are marked with mountain and snowflake symbols or an Alpine symbol, meaning they meet or exceed the industry requirements to be called winter tires.

All-season tires are built to handle a variety of road conditions – dry roads, wet roads, and in many cases, light snow. The tread compound of all-season tires can harden in low temperatures (lower than 45°), so there’s less traction between the road and your tires. Tire industry experts, including our Parts Department Manager, Walter Sazo, recommend winter tires in Northern climates like New England.

All-wheel drive and four-wheel drive improve traction by sending power to all four wheels when you accelerate (instead of just two wheels, as in front- or rear-wheel drive). But 4-wheel drive or all-wheel drive doesn’t help at all once you put on the brakes. Winter tires improve traction whether you’re accelerating, turning, or braking, according to tirebuyer.com.

“Winter tires should only be installed in sets of four, regardless of whether your vehicle is front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive. Using two different types of tires can give your vehicle a “split personality” where the front and rear are not working together. For the best handling, control, and safety in tough cold-weather conditions, we strongly recommend using four winter tires,” tirebuyer.com advises. “Plus, if you were to put two snow tires on the front of your car, and keep your all-season tires on the back, your all-season tires wouldn’t wear evenly.”

check-tire-tread-pennyNo matter which tires you have on your vehicle, be certain they are not worn. It’s best to have them evaluated by a service technician, but if you would like to check them yourself, be sure to do the penny or quarter tire tread test.


Most important tips for tires:
• Get them checked if you hear thumping—it’s a sign of uneven wear.
• Be certain the tire pressure is inflated according to the manufacturer’s recommendation for the season, usually listed on the label on the driver’s side door jam.
• Have tires rotated every 5-10,000 miles for even wear.
• Be sure to purchase the right size and brands recommended by the manufacturer.
• I’ve prepared a brief You Tube video (click here to watch) on how to know when you need new tires.

If you aren’t sure if you need new tires, come to our Jaffarian Volvo Toyota Service camry-insnowDepartment or our Parts Department and we will be happy to give you an objective opinion or help you choose the absolute right tire for your vehicle.

There’s much more snow ahead of us this season, so take it slow on snowy roads. There were too many accidents and deaths on the road this past week in the country because of inclement weather. If you can stay home during the worst part of a snowstorm, then stay in until the roads are plowed and treated.

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Gary Jaffarian

What is the best way to prevent skidding when driving on icy, slushy roads?

Gary Jaffarian presents his best winter driving tips for preventing an accident in inclement weather.

winding-road-in-snowThis is a great question. I have spoken to many parents in the past several weeks who had young teenage drivers on the road a few recent mornings when the roads were slick. A challenge for any driver, yet alone a young driver with little experience.

Here are the most important tips for avoiding an accident or skid:
• Avoid making sharp turns. When you need to turn, come to a full stop and make the turn slowly.
• Common sense says to slow down, even if the speed limits on the highways are not modified.
• Stay in your lane and focus on the road, with both hands on the wheel for better stability. Stay out of the left lane, where most accidents occur.icy-windshield
• Do not tailgate. Remember what you learned in driver’s ed class? Stay one car length away from the car in front of you for every 10 m.p.h. you’re driving.
• Keep your eyes on the road, but not staring straight ahead. Keep your eyes moving by checking your side and rear view mirrors.
• Be sure to use your turn signals and put them on well advance of when you are turning, to slow down the vehicle behind you. If you miss a turn, keep going and turn around. Never slam on the brakes. Always tap brakes gently when driving on snow and ice.
• If there is another route to take, avoid steep hills and winding roads.
• If you don’t have to go out, stay in. If you are the parent of a younger, inexperienced driver, keep them off the road if possible. Otherwise, review these tips with them.
• Stay clear of plows and sanding trucks. Do not pass or get too close to them.

If you do find yourself in a skid, don’t panic! Do the following:multi-car-accident
• Turn into the skid; do not turn in the opposite direction. Steer quickly and smoothly in the direction of the skid.
• Remove your foot from the accelerator.
• Do not use the brake. After taking your foot off the brake, if you need to brake, do so slowly and firmly.

I hope you will take it slow and easy on the roads, especially in inclement weather. Driving in inclement weather at night is even trickier. Take it slow, be sure you have plenty of windshield washer fluid and have good, quality windshield wipers. As always, eliminate all distractions—the most important being ignoring your cell phone.

Stay warm, and be safe on the roads. You have a lot of living to do in 2017!

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Gary Jaffarian

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