Ask Our Dealership: Common Car Maintenance Questions Answered

You can drive a car and not be an expert in their inner workings. That what our dealership’s maintenance department is for! But if you do want to be a more contentious car owner, you might be looking for a little more information about your vehicle to make sure you are driving it and caring for it the right way. Here are some of the most common car questions we are asked and their answers!

My owner’s manual says that normal gas is fine. Wouldn’t it be better to put premium gas in my car?

car maintenanceThere are just about no consumer vehicles that need premium gasoline. There are some engines that are graded only for this higher octane fuel, but it is very unlikely that you are driving one of those vehicles. If you look in your Kia vehicle’s owner’s manual and it says that the regular unleaded gasoline is the gas of choice for your vehicle, there is no need to splurge and buy the more expensive gasoline.

So, why is premium gasoline even an option at the pump if you are not supposed to put it in your car? There are some engines that are graded to function better when they have higher octane gasoline in them. Every engine uses a combination of oxygen and gasoline to power itself. The gas that you put into your vehicle is compressed in your engine by a cylinder and is then ignited by a spark plug. The higher octane gasoline you use, the more compression the gas can take before it is ignited.

Your engine is probably graded to provide the amount of compression that regular unleaded gasoline can take before ignition, not for the higher amount of compression that premium gas can withstand. So, while using premium gasoline certainly won’t harm your engine, your engine probably doesn’t need it, and so buying it is just an unnecessary expense. And because gas prices are already so high, there is no real need to pay even more for “better” gasoline, when your vehicle doesn’t need it.

Is it helpful when I try to replicate the sound my car is making to the mechanic when I take it in?

Many people feel a little embarrassed when they try to replicate the noise their vehicle makes with their own mouth. Don’t worry, your mechanic is not laughing at you. The sound that you are making can actually give our maintenance department a lot of really good information about what is going on with your vehicle and what we need to do to be able to fix it, especially if there is nothing in your vehicle’s diagnostics and there are no dashboard lights on.

If you don’t feel comfortable trying to replicate the noise, it is still useful to try to describe the noise to our mechanics. Is it high-pitched? Does it sound metallic, like metal on metal? Is it a low rumble? A squealing sound? Your vehicle can make lots of weird noises and we know all too well that you might be having a problem out on the road that we just cannot replicate when we have your vehicle in the shop. Gathering as much information as possible from you, the person who spends the most time with this car, is very helpful, no matter how we get that information.

How do I know if my vehicle actually needs maintenance or if the shop is trying to scam me?

Unfortunately, there are some mechanics who will try to take advantage of individuals who do not know every much about cars. They will tell them that something is wrong with their vehicle and will hope that you, as the driver, will not be able to tell whether or not that is something that is actually wrong with your vehicle. Whether your car breaks down and you have it towed into the shop or whether you are simply taking that vehicle in for routine maintenance, you might be told that there is something wrong with your car that is not actually wrong with your car.

But, how do you know if you are being taken advantage of or if you really do need that repair? First of all, you should only take your vehicle to a shop that you trust. Our maintenance department is staffed only by the best mechanics, who have both extensive training and who are more than willing to sit down with you and explain in great detail what is wrong with your vehicle.

If you can’t bring your vehicle into our dealership’s maintenance department, you will want to look for a mechanic who has the right credentials and accreditation. Look for or ask to see their certificates. Watch out for secret fees, too. Do they charge you just for diagnosing your vehicle? If they do, they night also be willing to charge you for work they never intend on doing. Work only with mechanics that give you an itemized invoice that clearly shows what you are paying for.

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If you’re not sure that your vehicle needed a certain service, ask them to tell you why they did that service and to show you the results. Learn a little about your vehicle and what type of maintenance it is likely to have. Learn a little bit about car maintenance and what certain issues sound and feel like when you are driving. The more involved you are and the more educated you are, the less likely you are to be scammed.

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