Differences Between an Automatic and Manual Transmission

While manual and automatic transmissions are both available in modern vehicles, they are very different. From the driving experience to smaller details, both transmission types have their pros and cons. Check out the differences between an automatic and manual transmission, then come see us here at Withnell Dodge to test drive a new car!

Manual Transmission

A manual transmission, while it may seem outdated at first glance, has quite a few benefits to it. Cars with manual transmissions are less likely to be stolen due to the simple fact that many people can’t operate one. Opting for a vehicle with a manual transmission will also be cheaper than upgrading to an automatic. As any driver will tell you, the appeal of a manual transmission comes down to controlling the gear shifts and getting closer to the road.

One of the major drawbacks of a manual transmission is the learning curve. One mistake could lead to an accident or traffic ticket.

Automatic Transmission

Once considered a luxury, the automatic transmission nearly eliminated engine stalling and made cars more comfortable to drive, especially in heavy traffic. Automatic transmissions usually require less maintenance. New transmissions with more gears offer better efficiency as well.

On the downside, a vehicle equipped with an automatic transmission costs more than a comparable vehicle with a manual transmission. While maintenance often depends on the brand, a bad transmission usually means an extensive, and potentially costly, repair.

Differences Between an Automatic and Manual Transmission

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Benefits of Four-Wheel-Drive in Your Car

There are many benefits of four-wheel drive systems in your car including the extra control over your vehicle on the road, which can provide you with added peace of mind.

Awesome Traction

4WD, also called 4×4, began as a way for off-road vehicles to handle the obstacles and unpredictable terrain that came with driving off the beaten path, according to the experts at DigitalTrends.com. As a result, 4WD vehicles are well-equipped to handle tough surfaces and provide stronger grip.

Power Goes to All Wheels

In RWD or FWD, power is only transferred to two of the wheels, while the other two simply spin because of momentum. This can be rough if you get stuck in a ditch or snow bank where your front or rear wheels are lifted off the ground. 4WD, however, delivers torque to all four wheels.

Modern Innovations

4WD used to have some issues, like draining fuel economy or making fast turns difficult. However, most modern 4WD systems allow you to turn your 4WD on or off depending on the situation, as well as utilize technology that allows wheels to spin at different speeds for better handling.

Have more questions about the benefits of four-wheel-drive? Contact us at Withnell Dodge, and we will be happy to answer them.

benefits of four-wheel-drive

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Best Hiking Spots in Salem, Oregon

Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge - Best hiking spots in Salem, Oregon

Fall is the perfect time of the year to get outside. The leaves are changing and the mornings have a delightful crisp in the air perfect for a morning hike. Thanks to its off-roading capability and cargo space, your RAM truck is the perfect vehicle for venturing off the beaten path. Pack up your Ram with all of your favorite gear and snacks and head out to one of these hiking spots in Salem, Oregon for a break from the routine.

Croisan Creek Trail

This pleasant hiking trail is less than 10 minutes away from Withnell Dodge. The trail winds tightly past local residents, so its location provides convenient access but its beauty makes you feel like you’re far from civilization on this nature trail.

Minto-Brown Island Park

As the largest park in Salem, Oregon, it’s no surprise that Minto-Brown Island Park has plenty of areas to explore. It’s the perfect place to bring the dogs for an afternoon outside and also has plenty of areas suited for a picnic in the sun.

Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge

A trip to the Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge will take you along a winding boardwalk through wild swamplands. You’re likely to see tons of wildlife on this hike, so bring a camera or a field guide for an inspiring afternoon.

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What to Expect from the 2018 Ram Model Year

2018 Ram Model Lineup

2017 Ram Model Lineup. Stay tuned for pictures of the 2018 Ram lineup.

It’s an exciting time in the automotive industry. With the new model year on its way in, we can look forward to new trim levels, updated favorites, and enhanced designs and engineering. So far, the 2018 RAM model year is looking pretty thrilling. Here’s what we know about what to expect on the lot at Withnell Dodge as the 2018 RAM lineup unfolds.

2018 Ram 1500

The light-duty pickup—whose performance feels like anything but light-duty—is a constant favorite among buyers. The 2018 version of this truck gets its fair share of updates, including revised trim levels. The RAM 1500 and 2500 Sport gets body color bumpers and a new, bold RAM grille. A Big Horn Black edition is also new this year, and features blacked-out design for a bold, handsome look.

Limited Tungsten Edition

One of the most exciting options available in the 2018 RAM model year is the new Limited Tungsten Edition. This special edition makes for the most luxurious RAM pickup yet, featuring a beautiful leather interior, a Tungsten Chrome grille, body-colored bumpers, and generous standard features like heated seats and the 8.4-inch UConnect infotainment system. With the Tungsten edition, buyers will get the very best in both capability and luxury.

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Common Truck Terminology

2017 Ram 1500 - truck terminology

If you’re looking to buy a pickup for the first time, you’re probably seeing some common truck terminology that you may not recognize. Here Withnell Dodge presents a guide to the most popular truck-related lingo to help you get your bearings in the hunt for the perfect pickup.


Light-duty pickups, like the RAM 1500, will have a payload capacity of 1,500-2,000 pounds and a maximum towing capacity near 10,000 pounds. These are the most common trucks and used for personal needs like towing ATVs and boats.


Trucks like the RAM 2500 and 3500 are more powerful and are designed to tow 20,000 pounds or more. These pickups are often used for commercial work like construction, or for hauling RVs.


Torque is the amount of twisting force applied to the engine. Pickups use more torque at lower speeds to create more force for hauling heavy objects


This word refers to the weight of the cargo that is hauled within the bed of the truck.


Trucks come with different cab options, meaning different sizes and configurations for the interior passenger space. For instance, a standard cab will have just two bucket seats or a front row with little interior cargo space, while a Crew Cab will have a roomy second row plus four-door access.

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Safety Tips for Off-roading with Your Ram

2017 Ram 1500 - tips for off-roading with your ram

Summer is the ideal time to head off the beaten path. If you drive an off-road capable Ram truck, it is time to get in touch with your adventurous side. Here are a few safety tips when off-roading with your Ram.

Know your truck

Just because your truck is equipped with 4WD, that doesn’t mean you can go crawling over rocks or tackling deep, muddy trenches. Make sure your truck is properly equipped for the type of terrain you will encounter.

Drive slowly

You have likely seen commercials with trucks tearing across rugged terrain at a pretty fast clip. You will need to drive slower than that. Allow plenty of time to judge the terrain so you can react.

Keep your thumbs safe

Drive with your thumbs on the outside of the steering wheel. A sudden bump can jerk the steering wheel and if your thumbs are on the inside of the wheel, you could get injured.

Pack appropriately

Bring tools and supplies to get you through a few pitfalls, like a flat tire. Make sure your gear is secure so it doesn’t bounce around.

If you need a new off-road capable truck, come check out the Ram lineup available now at Withnell Dodge.

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Best Camping near Salem, Oregon

Silver Falls State Park - camping near Salem, Oregon

Silver Falls State Park. Photo by Ian Sane.

Summer is the perfect time of year for camping. And, nothing can quite beat the experience of sleeping outdoors, cooking your food over an open fire, and hiking through the woods. If you are planning to go camping near Salem, Oregon, here are some of the best sites.

Breitenbush Campground.

Located along the Breitenbush River, this campground has easy access to fishing and other water activities.

Silver Falls State Park.

This fantastic state park is often called the “crown jewel” of the Oregon State Parks system. It offers spectacular views of waterfalls, over 25 miles of trails, and lots of daytime activities like horseshoes, playgrounds, and picnic areas.

Champoeg State Heritage Area.

Located in Saint Paul, this beautiful area offers campsites for both tent camping and campers. During your stay, play a round of disc golf, bring your bike for a trail ride, visit the historical sites, and more.

Cleator Bend Campground.

If you are planning a camping adventure for a large group, try Cleator Bend. It offers nine individual sites and the campground has to be reserved in its entirety.

What is your favorite camping spot near Salem? If you need a new adventure vehicle for your family, come visit us at Withnell Dodge.

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Summer Maintenance Tips For Your Car

summer maintenance tips - salem, OR

Whether you’re staying at home or going on a big road trip this summer, keeping up with servicing your vehicle is crucial to the health of your vehicle. Here’s some summer maintenance tips for what you should be paying attention to.


While the colder months can do a number on your tires due to hazardous weather conditions and low temperatures, summer’s heat can also affect them. Hot pavement pops tires easier and the warm weather can cause them to overheat, so keep an eye on your tires’ health.


The engine needs to keep cool in the summertime, so make sure there’s plenty of engine coolant and that other parts of the system, such as hoses, are in proper working order.


If the engine needs to keep cool, so do you. It’s a good time of year to have your HVAC system checked out (that’s heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) to prevent getting overheated and dehydrated on the open road.

Essential Fluids

Make sure all your fluids besides coolant are topped off, too. Oil, brake fluid, and even wiper fluid could all be in need of a routine change, a refill, or a checkup.


Summer may mean hot sun at the beach, but it also means big thunderstorms. Stay prepared for downpours by investing in a pair of brand-new windshield wipers.

If you need any extra help besides these summer maintenance tips, don’t hesitate to call us here at Withnell Dodge.

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How to Do a DIY Oil Change

DIY Oil change - salem, OR

Need an oil change? You can save yourself a few bucks and do it yourself! You don’t have to be an expert on cars to perform your own DIY oil change.

Run your car engine for a few minutes to warm up the oil. This helps the oil flow faster. Also, before you remove the drain plug, unscrew the oil cap from under the hood of your car in order to prevent a vacuum from forming.

To prepare, use a jack to raise your vehicle enough to work underneath it and slide a drain pan underneath the oil plug. Make sure you’re wearing gloves to protect your hands and prevent a mess, then remove the plug with a socket wrench and allow the oil to drain.

You can then change the oil filter while you’re waiting for the oil to drain.

Once the oil has been drained, all you have to do is replace the drain plug before refilling it. Make sure you have the proper type of oil and amount as per your owner’s manual, and pour it into the oil cap before replacing it.

That’s all you have to do to perform a DIY oil change. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact us at Withnell Dodge.

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Dashboard Lights and Meanings

Dashboard light meaning

If you notice a light come on your dashboard while you’re driving, it’s important to know which ones mean something dangerous so you can react quickly. Here are some of the most urgent dashboard indicator lights.

One dashboard indicator light to look out for is the coolant temperature warning, which means that your engine is overheating. If you see this, pull over as soon as you can and immediately turn on the heat to full blast so you can let some of the heat out of the engine.

It isn’t as urgent, but if you see the check engine light come on, you should get to an auto parts store and ask them to diagnose it for you as soon as possible. The check engine light often means something minor, but it could be a serious engine problem, and if you wait to get it checked out, you might wish you hadn’t.

The oil pressure warning is another light to keep an eye out for. It means your oil pressure is low, which can be hard on your engine, so pull over when you can and check the oil pressure. If it’s dangerously low, you don’t want to drive on it.

These are just a few dashboard indicator lights you should know. Give us a call at Withnell Dodge today to find out more about dashboard lights.

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