How to Teach Your Teen to Drive in the Snow

Probably the scariest part of learning to drive as a teenager is being faced with learning to drive in the snow. If your teenager (or you are a teenager) is coming to driving age soon, they will probably have to learn to drive in the snow, as they are also learning how to drive.

When I took driver’s education, you could take it up to six months before your sixteenth birthday, so, being born in the late spring, I started learning to drive just before Thanksgiving, when the roads were already slick and wet from early winter snows. This is one of the most important skills that any driver who lives in a part of the country where it snows can have. Knowing how to stay safe on snowy, icy roads can keep you and other drivers alive. Here are some tips for teaching someone who is new to driving how to handle snowy conditions:

safe driving tips

1. Start with the right tires. All-weather tires might work perfectly fine on some vehicles, but if those tires are worn down or your teen drives a particularly light (read: high gas mileage) sedan, it is unlikely that your standard set of tires is going to do the trick. It might be time to invest in some snow tires—they really do make the difference. The newer the rubber is, the better it is at gripping the road, even when they are icy, and the deeper the tread is, the less likelihood there is of sliding and spinning out. The right tires can go a long way towards making a new driver feel safe on the road.

2. Make sure your car is equipped for snow driving. One of the best features of new cars, including those in the Kia lineup, are anti-skid and extra stability control, which make it much easier to first, know when you are losing control of a vehicle and then to regain control of that vehicle. Because most people, when they start to spin or slide, react badly (trying to turn the wheel in the opposite direction or stamp on the breaks) cars are now equipped with tools that make it much less likely that the driver can worsen the situation if something does go badly. A car that also has an exterior temperature meter can me a great way to give yourself some idea of what is going on outside of your vehicle.

3. Understand that AWD does not make a car impervious to icy roads. Where I attended college, the roads were packed with snow from the end of November until the beginning of April. While the rest of us were cruising around in our little junky sedans, trying to just stay moving in a straight line, there were a few notorious roadsters equipped with four-wheel drive that would zoom past. They acted like they were completely immune to the sliding and slipping that plagued the rest of us, though they eventually got into just as many accidents. All-wheel drive or four-wheel drive does not mean that you have better traction. If anything, it helps to prevent fishtailing. Slipping, sliding, and spinning are all still possibilities.

4. Turn on your lights and replace your windshield wipers. If you haven’t replaced your windshield wipers since the spring, now is the time to do it. Why? Because fresh wipers are going to be much better at clearing snow and scraping ice off of your windshield. That makes your teen’s visibility much better. Teaching him to turn on his lights while he drives will make him much more visible to other drivers, which ensures that even in heavy snow storms, he can be seen and avoided.

5. Pump the brakes, don’t stomp them. One of the biggest mistakes that a person can make when they feel their vehicle start to slide is to stomp on the brake pedal. This will cause the wheels to lock up, making it impossible for that vehicle to find traction. Instead, pump the brakes gently with your foot. This will avoid the locking mechanism and will help your tires find traction in the snow or ice again.

6. Do not panic. Driving in the snow can be a stressful experience. The worst thing that you can do is start to get anxious and irritated. This will lead to poor driving decisions. Remind your teen as he is learning to drive in the snow that it is important for him to be alert, but relaxed. If he is tensed up, his reactions will be jerky and will probably make whatever situation he finds himself in much worse.

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7. Encourage practice. Do you know what to do if you feel your tires starting to skid? The best thing to do is to take your foot off the accelerator calmly, to maintain your direction, and wait for the car to slow down. Once it has, you can correct your direction. Working this behavior into your teen’s muscle memory, so that he does it automatically when he feels himself starting to slide, is the only way to make sure he will be safe if he does encounter a problem. That requires extensive practice. One of the best places to practice is in an abandoned parking lot, where he can build up a little bit of speed, practice turning and handling in the snow or on ice, and carefully and safely practice what to do when he starts to slide or lose control of the vehicle.

What Winter Does to Your Car – And How to Stop the Damage

Winter can be just as hard on your car as summer can be. Cold, harsh weather, and even the dryness that comes along with being parked in the garage, can all damage not just the exterior paint of your car, but the underlying metal components, too. In our part of the country, winter can start in early November and continue on well into what should be spring. How can you prevent your car from being damaged by a punishing winter? Here are some of the ways winter can damage your car and what you can do to prevent that damage:

Ice Melt and Your Paint

Winter is usually when your car gets its dirtiest, and when there are the fewest number of days when it is safe to wash your car. Ice melt, which helps to keep our roads safe to drive, can be caustic to your car’s paint job, if not routinely washed away. Many counties have stopped using ice melt on the roads, as it eats not just at the road, but also at your car.

Ice melt, sometimes called brine, is usually a mixture of water, salt, and magnesium chloride. It’s widely used because it is really great at lowering the freezing point of water, making it harder for water to freeze on the roads, and eliminating ice and snow. The mixture is highly acidic, however, and has been routinely pointed to as one of the major causes of road wear.

As often as there is a warm day, take advantage of the warmth, run out, and get a professional car wash—one where they spray the underbody of the car. Washing away the brine as quickly as possible is the best way to prevent it from corroding your paint.

Rock Salt and Your Car

Rock salt, like ice melt, can be very damaging to your car, in a variety of different ways. Rock salt can even be more damaging to your paint, as it doesn’t just get in chips and dents to speed up the rusting process and eat away at your paint, it can actually cause the chips in your paint.

Salt is also used to clear roads of ice and snow, and because it can provide traction while also keeping the road clear, it is preferred in some communities. The salt is very corrosive. It can ruin asphalt just as readily as it ruins your car’s paint and metal components, for the same reasons that here by the Atlantic Ocean, our cars rust faster than those of people who live far away from the ocean.

Like ice melt, the best way to deal with rock salt is to wash your car as often as possible, in a car wash that either automatically cleans the undercarriage of the car or gives you the option of doing it yourself. Getting rid of as much of the salt residue as possible is the only way to prevent the rust that will inevitably follow salt deposits.

Cold Weather

Can cold weather really damage your car? Yes, it can. Most of our cars have a myriad of rubber components, ranging from the windshield wipers to vital belts and hoses around the engine. Rubber can be seriously affected by cold weather (as it can by hot weather). Cold stiffens rubber, making it less pliable, and therefore, less functional and more likely to rip, tear, or break. Many people will notice that their windshield wipers are less effective during the winter. This is because the cold rubber cannot conform to the shape of the windshield.

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The newer the rubber components are, the less affected they will be by colder weather. That doesn’t mean that you need new hoses and belts every single winter, it just means that you should have these components checked out before cold weather sets in. If they are already stiff and cracked, they are probably not going to be helped by colder weather.

Cold weather can also be damaging to the metal parts of your car. If any of them have cracks that can be invaded by water, it is possible that expanding freezing water can turn those cracks into full failures. Regular maintenance can help to prevent this.

Something else that cold weather does to your car? Kills your battery. An old battery that may have been functioning perfectly fine in the winter can die overnight in the freezing cold of winter. There really is no way to prevent this, and at some point, not even jumping the battery will revive it. Testing your battery before cold weather sets in can be a good way to know whether or not it is going to make it through frosty weather. Buying and replacing a battery is one of the easier repairs and is something that most car owners are capable of doing on their own.

Did you know that it can actually get cold enough to freeze the gasoline in your tank? It might not get cold enough this year to freeze the gasoline itself, but if there is any water in your gas tank, that could definitely freeze and cause you problems. A good way to avoid either of these two issues is to keep your tank more than half full. Not only will this prevent you from running out of gas if you are trapped in a long line of slow-moving cars on the interstate, it will also help to prevent any freezing liquids from damaging your gas tank.

What to do if…. – Common Car Problems and What to Do

The first time I ever got a flat tire, it was while my car was parked at my house. At some point, I’d run over a construction nail, but the tire didn’t start deflating until I’d gotten home and parked the car. At least I wasn’t stranded somewhere when I had to change a tire for the first time. The driving school I attended didn’t teach us how to change a tire—I only had the owner’s manual to rely on. Luckily, I had the manual in my car and the instructions were thorough. Not every is as lucky. Here are some of the most common car problems that regular drivers encounter and what to do if you encounter them:

The Flat Tire

You can probably feel and hear when you get a flat tire. The car starts to wobble and there’s a loud thump as the tire goes around. If you’ve never changed a tire before, this might seem difficult, but the process is actually pretty easy. Your manual will have detailed instructions customized for your vehicle, but in general, you take out your spare, you put the jack under a metal part of your car near the wheel you need to replace, and remove the nuts, take of the wheel, and replace the nuts, then slowly lower the car back onto the road. If you don’t have a full-size spare, drive immediately to the closest place you can get your tire repaired.

CWas_BDXAAAoQaQA Light Goes Out

Annoying, but not necessarily dangerous—though you could be pulled over and given a ticket if a cop notices that you’re driving at night and one of your headlamps is out. If your light is starting to go out or is already out, your blinker may blink extra fast. Like changing a flat tire, the instructions for how to replace bulbs in your lights will be in your manual. If you don’t feel you’re car savvy enough to do this task, you can usually find someone at a car parts store who can do it for you for a small fee.

Your Battery Dies

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There’s nothing more annoying than getting into your car, turning the key, and hearing nothing but clicks. If your electrical systems are not working, that probably means that your battery is dead. The best way to fix the issue is to get a jump from a kind stranger or to call a friend or family member to come jump the car or pick you up. Jumping a car is neither as difficult nor as scary as it initially seems—just follow the steps in your manual and you’ll get your battery working again. Keep in mind that this might be an indication that you need a new battery or that you’re leaving lights or other electrical systems on.

Your Alternator Is Dead

The symptoms of having a dead alternator are the same has having a dead battery—your car just won’t start and none of your electrical systems will light up. If jumping your car doesn’t work, but the car is still acting like you have a dead battery, your battery might just be too dead to revive (not just mostly dead, but all dead), or you have a real problem with your alternator. Calling a tow truck and having the alternator checked out and maybe even replaced is usually the best course of action here.

Squeaky Brakes

Squeaking is how your brakes tell you that they need to be replaced. If you can hear your brakes squealing as you glide to a stop, it’s time to have them checked out. You can change your own brake pads, or you can bring your car into our service department to have them professionally looked at. Because there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to your breaks, there are a lot of things that can go wrong. Your rotors might be worn, your pads might be worn, there might be uneven wear that is causing uneven friction, etc. Most of the time, problems with brakes can be solved simply by installing a new set of pads, but if you do this and the problem persists, it might just be best to let a professional take a look.

There’s A Puddle under the Car

Unless you live in an apartment complex and do not always park in the same spot, it is generally pretty easy to tell if your car is leaking something. Oil is pretty easy to identify—it looks like oil. It leaves a big oil stain on your concrete. But that’s not the only thing that your car might be leaking. Among the fluids it could be leaking are brake fluid and antifreeze, too. You don’t want to lose too much of either of those two fluids. Antifreeze is usually green, while brake fluid has a slight amber tint and will be slightly oily. It is pretty corrosive, so if your car’s drips are eating a hole under your car, this could be the cause. Unless you know exactly where the leak is coming from and how to fix it, take your car in for an inspection and a repair.

Overheating

Most cars, especially new ones, do not overheat for no reason. It usually indicates that they’ve used up their coolant or that the coolant has leaked out. If you suddenly notice that your car is running hotter than it usually is, don’t ignore it until it becomes a serious problem. Have this issue checked out by a professional, too.

What You Get with the 2016 Sorento Trim Levels

Some of the biggest changes in all of Kia’s lineup were made to the 2016 Kia Sorento. This vehicle is the perfect mix of extra seating and sport, so it’s as great for families as it is for those that like adventures. It’s the ideal choice for many buyers who find that sedans are too small but minivans are too big. And while there is always the Sportage, the Sorento offers a little more space and a few more features.

What the Sorento really has over vehicles of the same size from other brands is the price. Most crossovers of the same size start at $30,000 and above, while the Sorento starts at around $25,000, depending on the trim level. That makes it just as affordable as most sedans on the market. But what exactly does the Sorento have to offer and what can you do with it? Here is a brief overview of the 2016 Kia Sorento trim levels and why you should pick this vehicle.

kia sorento

2016 Kia Sorento L

This is the lowest trim level that Kia offers, but that doesn’t mean that you aren’t going to get your money’s worth. Unlike lots of other brands, you still have features like durable wheels, cruise control, and air conditioning with this trim level. Let’s take a look at the features:

  • Cruise control – It’s still surprising to most people when they look at vehicles from other brands and find out that the basic trim level does not come with cruise control. They can add it—but aftermarket solutions are rarely as functional as preinstalled ones. That’s why Kia always offers even the lowest trim level with cruise control standard.

  • Split second row – This means that if you are hauling something that just won’t fit in the Sorento’s ample trunk space, you can fold down the seats in a variety of wats in order to make room for it.

  • Bluetooth connectivity – This is another feature that you’ll mostly find only in the higher trim levels with other brands. Kia, however, has it standard for the Sorento. This means that you can play music from your phone and that you can answer the phone and talk directly to car, instead of having to deal with trying to answer to phone and drive one-handed.

  • Stain-resistant fabric seating – Higher trim levels will offer your luxurious leather. That doesn’t mean, however, that you are going to be missing out if you choose the Sorento L. The fabric seating is just as luxurious, and will actually resist stains, no matter what is spilled on them.

2016 Kia Sorento LX

The next trim level includes everything from the basic level, as well as:

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  • Automatic headlights – These make it easier to remember to turn on and turn off your headlights—the vehicle does it for you. No more draining your battery or driving dangerously because you forgot to turn your lights off or on.

  • Rearview camera – While backing out of a space does not have to be difficult, it can be, especially if you are new to driving a big vehicle like the Sorento. A rearview camera makes it really, really easy to see what is going on around you.

  • A touchscreen – Interacting with your radio and the car’s systems has never been easier or more stylish than with this great touchscreen control center.

  • A windshield that reduces road noise – Reducing road noise is a big deal for some drivers, who like to feel contained in their vehicles and do not want to be able to hear the road underneath the car or the air whipping past. The windshield in this trim level will actually prevent a lot of that noise from getting inside the car.

  • Options – This trim level has a number of options that can be added to it, some for an additional charge, but others for not additional charge. These might include parking sensors, heated seats, and power seats, among others.

2016 Kia Sorento EX

This level comes with everything listed in the two above trim levels, along with:

  • Upgraded wheels – The other trim levels have 17 inch wheels. The EX trim level has 18 inch wheels, to give you even more grip and maneuverability on the road.

  • Front side glass that reduces sound – If you want an even quieter ride, this is the trim for you. Along with the other features, it also includes front side glass that reduces sound from outside of the vehicle.

  • Leather seats – This is the first trim level out of all five levels that includes this feature.

  • Options – In addition to the features that come standard with this trim level, there is the option to add a Premium Package, which includes keyless entry and ignition, power mirrors, and blind spot detection.

2016 Kia Sorento SX

In addition to what is listen above, this trim level includes:

  • Memory settings for the driver’s seat – This feature enables you to program your seat to remember your preferences, so even if someone else drives your car, you can always find the right position again.

  • Power driver’s seat – So that’s it’s easy to adjust your seat, even if you are already on the road.

2016 Kia Sorento SX Limited

This is the highest trim level available for this vehicle. It’s biggest feature is the 19 inch chrome wheels, along with more impressive leather upholstery, ventilated seats, and heating for the second row of seats, along with a technology package that upgrades your headlights, parking cameras, brakes, cruise control, and safety features.

Do I Need Snow Tires? And Other Winter Car Prep Questions Answered!

In the winter, your tires can prevent you from slipping and sliding on snowy, icy roads. Having the right tires will protect you from many of the dangers of winter driving, but only if you properly maintain them and take the necessary steps to make sure you have the right tires for the right time of year. Many Kia owners wonder if they need to invest in snow tires, or if their all-weather tires will be enough to protect them in the winter. Here is everything you need to know about snow tires and how to get your car ready for colder weather:

When Should You Invest in Snow Tires?

Twenty years ago, it was very difficult to find functional snow tires for your vehicle. If the roads were ever going to be cleared or simply just wet, it was very dangerous to have snow tires on your vehicle during the winter. Without snow on the road, they had terrible handling and would actually make it more difficult to stop on dry or even just wet roads.

Today, snow tires have been developed that are just as safe to drive on dry and wet roads as they are to drive on icy and snowy roads. But if you have all-weather tires, do you really need snow tires? If you are concerned about losing traction on a cold, snowy road, you may want to consider snow tires. Here in the east, we get plenty of heavy, wet snow and even icy storms throughout the winter. Being prepared for those storms by having snow tires can prevent tragedy on the road. If you’ve ever lost traction while driving, especially at a high speed, you know how scary it can be and why snow tires, that have a lower chance of losing their grip, are necessary in the winter.

The savvy driver will take the time and spend the money to get snow tires installed on his vehicle. The best time to do this is before the first serious snow of the year. Here in the east, once the snow starts coming, it usually does not stop until the spring, so you can usually be safe getting snow tires mid-November.

When Should You Retire Your Snow Tires?

The most basic answer to this question is that you should remove your snow tires when the snow has finally melted in the spring. How often you should buy new snow tires, however, is a different matter. You should avoid keeping your snow tires on year round, as the hot weather can wear away the deeper tread much faster than the cold weather will. Take them off in the spring and put the all-weather tires back on.

It is also important to routinely check the tread on your snow tires in order to make sure they are still functioning as they should. Most snow tires start with a tread that is 11/32 of an inch deep. By the time half of that tread is gone, they are probably not functioning as they should be any more. Your tires may not even look that worn at this point, but at 6/32 of an inch, they are doing very little to keep your car on the road.

What Other Preparations Do I Need to Make?

Besides getting snow tires, what other preparations should you make to your car in order to get it read for winter? Here are just a few of the things that we recommend not only for New Jersey Kia vehicles, but for all vehicles, in all parts of the country that get snow during the winter.

First, it is worth your time to check your battery and to make sure it is still charging and discharging properly. Nothing is scarier than getting out to your car after a long day of work, discovering that it won’t start, and you are abandoned in a dark parking lot without anyone to give you a jump. Most dealerships and auto parts stores will test your battery for you, and will help you select a new one if your battery is not performing as it should.

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Check your heaters, defrosting system, and windshield wipers. Before the first frost of the year, it is worth your time to make sure that all of these components are working correctly. While you might be able to survive a drive to the office in a cold car, if you do not have a way to clear the snow and ice from your windshield and to keep that windshield clear, it is unlikely you will be able to make it to your destination safely.

Another tip that every car owner should follow is having their brakes checked. Your brakes are going to be extremely important during the cold season, and while your tires will ultimately determine who capable your car is of stopping on an icy road, the last thing you want is jolting or shaking in your braking system, which can worsen any sliding or skidding you are doing.

Last but not least, have your car tuned up before winter really sets in. Right now is the perfect time to do this. Cold weather can quickly worsen any lurking issues, and bad weather makes it difficult to get into the shop if you need a repair. Don’t let cold weather harm your car; take it in now for the tune-up you’ve been putting off.

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a New Car

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Buying a new car is exciting! The entire car shopping experience can be a whirlwind, and unlike other purchases that can be returned after fourteen days if you changed your mind about the item, you usually cannot simply return your car to the dealership if you change your mind about that vehicle. This means that you want to be very, very sure that you are making the right decision when you buy your car. Here are the ten questions you should ask yourself before you buy your new car:

1. What am I willing to pay for a car? Before you even step foot in a dealership, you should already have an idea of what you can afford. Knowing what your budget is can help the salespeople in that dealership show you the right vehicles and help you pick a financing plan that is right for you. You can think about this both in the terms of monthly payments and the overall price of the car. Can you afford a $400 per month car payment? Would you prefer to stay under $300? Again, make these decisions before you start test driving.

 

2. What is the most I can pay for a car? This question is slightly different from the previous question. There is often a difference between the prices displayed on a manufacturer’s website and the prices posted in the windows of the actual vehicles on the lot. You might think you would be paying around $20,000 for a vehicle and then show up and find the vehicle you want to buy is actually $25,000. Are you willing to pay more in order to get the vehicle that you really want, even if it means a longer loan term or a higher per month payment?

3. Where am I going to be able to get this car serviced? Like most people, you probably want to take your car back to the dealership in order to get it serviced. Is there a dealership near your home? Is there a service station conveniently located? While this may seem trivial when you are first purchasing your car, it can be a huge inconvenience when you actually need to have your vehicle repaired. Buying from a brand that doesn’t have a dealership near you might not always be a great idea.

4. Am I willing to pay these fees? Most cars purchases come along with a number of fees. If you look at the sticker on the window, you will see a long list of fees that you will have to pay, on top of the price of the car. If you pay attention to what these fees are, you might find some that the dealership is willing to remove (along with the service related to those fees).

5. Is this the car I want to be driving in five years? You might be buying a car with the full intention of trading it in on a new vehicle three years from now. It is more likely, however, that you are buying this vehicle in order to drive it until it no longer works. It can be tempting to buy a trendy vehicle in a bright color, but you will want to think critically about whether or not that car is going to stand the test of time. You might love it now, but will you still love it in five years?

6. Does this car make me happy? Can a car make you happy? Of course it can! When you find the right car, you will fall in love. It has all of the features you need, at a price you can afford. Before jumping in and buying anything, make sure that the car you have selected makes you happy. When making a big purchase like this, you shouldn’t settle.

7. Am I going to negotiate? There is absolutely nothing wrong with asking the dealership if this is the very best price that they can offer you. Most salespeople are more than willing to haggle with you a little bit. You want to buy the car, they want to sell you the car—most of the time, they are willing to compromise in order to get you to make a purchase. If they aren’t willing to negotiate, however, you need to decide whether you are going to walk away or just meet their terms.

8. Am I going to test drive? The answer to this question should always be yes. Do not buy a vehicle until you have test driven it. How else are you going to know if it drives how you want it to drive?

9. Does this warranty work for me? When you buy from brands like Kia, you are probably getting a stellar warranty that makes it possible for you to get just about any issue fixed, free of charge, for years down the road. However, other brands do not offer warranties that are as comprehensive. Ask yourself whether or not this warranty really covers what you need it to cover, before you put any money down on that vehicle.

10. Does this car need any aftermarket add-ons? Back in the day before cruise control came standard on just about every vehicle, my little sister paid to have it adding on after she purchased the car. In hindsight, it might have been better to go up a trim level and not have to deal with a quirk aftermarket cruise control system. Carefully consider what you are willing to deal with and whether paying a little more to have it standard on the vehicle is worth your money and time.

Why You Should Bring Your Kia Back to Our New Jersey Dealership for Service

Regularly maintaining your vehicle is a big part of keeping it running smoothly and making sure that it has a long, functional life. When it comes time for a regular checkup or for a more significant repair or maintenance service, you have essentially two options. First, you have the option of taking your vehicle back to the dealership. Second, you have the option of taking it to an independent garage.

While you can get great service at an independent garage, you may be more likely to get better service for your Kia when you bring it back to our Kia dealership. Not only do we know Kia vehicles better than just about any independent shop, we also know you and your needs better than any other garage will. Here are just a few of the reasons you should bring your Kia back to our New Jersey Kia dealership when it needs service:

Our Staff

Working with staff that are familiar not just with cars in general, but with your Kia specifically, can be of a major benefit to you. They know the common problems associated with each model year, they know what advancements have been made across generations of different models, and they have a more direct connection to the parts that your vehicle may eventually need.

Finding a service station that you trust your car entirely to can be difficult, but it is less difficult when you return your vehicle to a dealership. You know you can trust them to provide you with the very best service, as they are representing not just themselves as technicians, but the dealership as a whole and the brand at large.

The training for technicians that do not work at dealership service departments is considerably less make specific than the training given to mechanics that doo work at the service departments of dealerships. When you want care that is specifically tailored to a Kia and how they are built and should be maintained, you are far more likely to find a technician at our service station who knows and understands your car.

Relationships

Finding and building a trusting relationship with a mechanic is extremely important. When you have a mechanic that you know and trust, you will be able to leave your vehicle with him whenever it needs maintenance or a repair, without fear that you are going to be scammed or cheated.

Taking your car back to the service department at your dealership means you already have a pre-existing relationship with that dealership. You wouldn’t have bought from that dealership if you didn’t trust them and if you didn’t think that they could provide you with the very best service. This should extend to the service you can expect to receive from their technicians and mechanics.

Because you already have a relationship with this dealership, you can know that you are more likely to get service that you can rely on, especially because that service is backed by both the dealership’s brand and the car manufacturer’s brand.

Convenience

Unlike many corner shops, who have to adhere to a first-come, first-serve policy, if you show up at your dealership with a serious issue, the relationship you’ve built with that relationship and with the mechanics may mean that they can schedule you for an emergency repair.

Most dealerships also have better amenities and better services for those that have to sit and wait for maintenance or a repair, or who have to leave their vehicles overnight or for any stretch of time in order to get the repair they need. Some dealerships even have special warranties and guarantees for their repairs, allowing you to rest easier, especially if you have need of a major repair, along with loaner cars that you can borrow if your car is going to be in the shop for a few days.

Warranties

Especially while your Kia is still under warranty, you are going to find it much more beneficial to bring it back to the dealership, rather than to take it to another garage, and because Kia has one of the longest and most enduring warranties, you may find that bringing your car back to your Kia dealership is the best way to get the least expensive repairs for years to come. Many of the checkups, repairs, and replacements may be covered by your warranty, which will be honored often only at a dealership.

Recalls

If your car has a recall notice, the only way you may find out about it is by taking your vehicle in to the dealership, who will have a constantly updated list of potential recalls and who might need to have a part replaced or repaired when they bring their car in for service. While some independent garages may get these recall notices, your Kia dealership will have that information sent directly to them and the computer will send the technician an alert about a recall as they are performing diagnostics. It’s much easier and simpler to have these issues remedied when you bring your vehicle in to the dealership.

Parts and Service

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While it is possible to find an independent shop that has access to the same parts and can provide the same service as your dealership, it is going to be much easier to simply take your Kia back to the dealership, which has a direct connection to Kia and can therefore easily get whatever parts you need and install them correctly and efficiently.

Getting Your Kia Ready for Winter: Cleaning and Organization Tips

Now that it is officially fall, it’s time to start looking forward to winter. Winter means a break from school and fun family holidays, but it also means harsh weather conditions and difficult driving. Driving a Kia means you have plenty of safety features that can make driving on cold days much less dangerous, but that doesn’t mean that your car doesn’t need a little bit of preparation in order to be read for colder weather. Here are some cleaning, organization, and maintenance tips that will make sure you and your Kia are ready for winter:

1. Clear out anything left in the car from the summer. If you are still toting around pool toys, swimsuits, or luggage from summer adventures, it’s time to take those things out of your car. While you might want to weight the trunk of your Kia down with other items, use the fall to make room in your vehicle for winter gear like hats, heavy jackets, shovels, ice melt, snow scrapers, blankets, and more. This gear will not only help you clean off your car when it is covered in snow, it will also keep you safe and warm if you are ever stuck away from home on a snowy night. As a third benefit, it can start to weight the rear of your car down, which will help to prevent sliding and slipping on snowy or icy roads.

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2. Put a bag of sand in your trunk. Why bother with a bag of sand in your trunk? Not only can you use it to give your car some traction if your tires are stuck in mud or snow, it will also give the rear of your car some much-needed weight. Most cars carry the majority of their weight under the hood, which keeps the front of the car from slipping and sliding. Adding extra weight to the rear of the car can have the same effect. Adding a few bags of sand to the trunk of your car, along with some ice melt and shovels, just in case you ever need to dig yourself out, can provide more than enough weight to keep your Kia gripped to the road.

kia3. Clean off summer dirt and pollen. During the summer, most cars collect dirt, pollen, mud, and road grime. If allowed to stay on your car during the oncoming snows, the cold weather and wetness can actually grind that dirt and grit into your car’s paint job, causing micro scratches that dull your paint job and invite chipping and rust. If you’ve had adventures in your Kia this summer, now is the perfect time to get rid of all of that dirt, before the moisture at the end of the year has the opportunity to damage your vehicle’s surface.

4. Clean out the dirt and pollen from the inside, too. Cars also accumulate dust, dirt, and pollen inside the vehicle. During the spring, summer, and fall, you might be able to air out your vehicle simply by rolling down the windows when you drive. This doesn’t always work in the winter. Not only will it be too cold to drive around with your windows down, there is always the danger of leaving your window down and returning to find your car full of snow or sleet. Taking a few moments to clean out your vehicle’s interior, even by just running a wet wipe over the dashboard, arm rests, and other plastic or composite components can make your car a much more pleasant place to be in the winter.

 5. Suck it up. Fall is also the perfect time of year to give your car a thorough vacuuming. This will help to remove any lingering dust and grit that could be plaguing your car’s carpeting and upholstery, and will also help to remove pollen that can linger on in your car for months after the spring and summer are over. You’ll have a fresh clean car that is ready for the winter snows.

6. Clean your windshields inside and out. Having clean windshields is perhaps more important during the winter than during any other time of the year. During the winter, the days are shorter, and that means more driving in the dark, when dirty and smudged windshields are very dangerous. Grab your favorite glass cleaner and some paper towels and make sure that the interiors and the exteriors of your windshield are free of dirt, fog, smudges, etc. New cars, especially, will see a build-up of grime on the interior of the windows, that can only be removed by heavy duty glass cleaners and a thorough wipe down. Doing this can prevent glare from streetlights and passing cars from blinding you while driving in what are already dangerous conditions.

7. Have your vehicle serviced. Before winter is the perfect time of year to have your car thoroughly checked out by our qualified service department. We’ll perform any necessary tune ups or repairs that should be made before colder weather hits. It is especially important to have your windshield wiper fluid refilled (as this can help melt and break up ice on your windshield), your wipers checked for efficacy, and your batter checked. Cold weather and the snow and ice that comes along with it effect these three things most often. It’s also a good idea to check the tread on your tires to make sure it is deep enough to handle a little snow on the road.

A Very General Car Service Schedule

car servicesEvery car and the kind of service it will need and when it will need it are a little bit different. Drivers themselves are different, too. Some will use all of their windshield wiper fluid until it is completely gone. Others will continually top it off so that they never run out. The same principles apply to just about every other bit of routine maintenance that occurs on a car. Some drivers will hold out until the car absolutely needs maintenance. Others will get that maintenance as soon as the owner’s manual tells them to, whether or not the car actually needs it.

Many drivers might not know what kind of maintenance their car needs and how often the car needs it. This can lead to being duped by quick oil change places into maintenance you might not need or it can lead to putting of necessary service because you did not think that your car needed it. Here is a very general schedule of maintenance that your car might follow. Keep in mind that these dates will fluctuate depending on how often you drive your car, how far it is driven, the type of car you purchase, and other factors. In general, however, surveys of car service have shown that about a quarter of cars are driven with low or contaminated engine oil and that almost 90% of all cars on the road are in need of some kind of maintenance.

1. Tires – You should always be aware of how full your car’s tires are and how much tread they have left. This is something that can be done on your own, in your driveway, with a few simple tools. A tire gauge should be part of every car’s essentials kit, and should be used often to make sure that you have neither too much nor too little air in your tires. The tread on your tires can be tested with a penny (if you put the penny in, Lincoln’s head upside down, and the president’s head is covered, you have enough tread). Do this weekly or every two weeks. Tires should be replaced as soon as the tread is worn down below this point.

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2. Windshield washer fluid – Some newer Kia vehicles will tell you when your windshield washer fluid is low. With an older model or different brand, you may have to actually pop open the hood and look underneath. Figuring out which container is your windshield washer fluid is usually very easy and it will have marks that tell you how full it should be and what level you should not let it get below. If you do not use your windshield washer fluid very often, you can probably do this check once a month or once every two months.

3. Engine oil levels – Again, if you have a newer Kia model, your vehicle will probably tell you when your oil levels are below acceptable limits. If your car starts to give you warning light or other indicator, this probably means that you should take your car to a service station as soon as possible. While many cars will give you a few weeks’ notice, many may not show you an indicator light on your dashboard until the problem is emergent. You can always check your own oil levels by following the instructions in your owner’s manual.

4. Battery – Most batteries need to be replaced every three to four years. Depending on where you live, how often you drive your car, how far you drive your car, and what type of batter you have, your battery might last much longer or might die on you every year. You can check your battery with a voltmeter (when the car is running). You should also check the connections (when the car is off) every three months or so to make sure there is no corrosion on the pegs or the connectors.

5. Rubber components – Your vehicle will probably have a few vital rubber components, ranging from your windshield wipers to your hoses and belts running in or around the engine. These components do wear out and they are susceptible to changes in weather. Check the hoses and belts in your vehicle every three months to make sure they are not cracked and do not need any replacements or repairs.

6. Air filters – No matter where you go to get your oil change, the service shop will probably check your air filters for you. Air filters, both for your air conditioning and for your engine are both extremely important and keeping these filters clean is a necessary part of keeping your vehicle running smoothly. Most air filters will need to be checked every six months. If you get your oil changed every three to six months, you probably will have this check automatically done for you.

7. Power steering fluid – Power steering fluid is that ensures that your car is responsive when you turn the wheel to tell it to do something. Like all other fluid in your car, it gets used up or contaminated over time. It should be checked every nine months to make sure the fluid is at the proper level and that it is not contaminated with anything.

Most vehicles will have a maintenance schedule in their owner manual. If you have not been recording your dates of service or you cannot find your owner’s manual, use this general guide to make sure that your Kia is getting the service that it needs, when it needs it.

11 Things Every Kia Should Have

Even if you never actually run into an emergency while in your car, there are still some things that every driver should have in their Kia. Here are the fifteen things that your car should be equipped with:

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1. A cellphone charger – There are very few places where you can drive today that do not have cellphone coverage. Even if you don’t have coverage on one stretch of road, you probably will in a few miles, so having a way to charge your phone, as long as your car is still running, can ensure that even if you are stuck or lost, you will be able to use your cellphone to contact someone for help.

2. A fully equipped first-aid kit – You never know when you are going to need a bandage, antiseptic cream, or aspirin. Having even a basic first aid kit in your car can make it much easier to take care of minor bumps and cuts, or to help staunch bigger injuries until you have the opportunity to get to a hospital.

car kit3. Reflectors – If you ever have to change a tire on the side of the road at night, you are going to want to have reflectors. And because tires are just as likely to go flat at night as they are during the day, it’s always best to plan for the worst, even if you never actually end up using the reflectors themselves.

4. A flashlight – A flashlight is a great tool to have not just in a kit that you keep in your trunk, but also in the door or jockey box of your Kia. You never know when you might need a flashlight while driving, so having one on hand is a great idea. While a model that uses batteries is great, if you can find a flashlight that charges itself with a crank or even by shaking the flashlight, you’ll never have to worry about running out of battery power while changing a flat tire in the dark or trying to signal a car for help.

5. A tire pressure gauge – Your Kia won’t come with a tire pressure gauge and newer models will alert you when tires are low, but in order to fill those tires up, you’ll definitely need a gauge that allows you test the pressure in your tires and know when they are full, overfilled, or under filled. There are a few different types you can find on the market, include ones with digital readouts and analog readouts.

6. Jumper cables – There’s nothing worse than knowing your battery is dead but not being able to jump it because you don’t have jumper cables. These cheap cables should be one of your first purchases after you buy a new Kia, and they should go right in your trunk. That way, even if you don’t actually ever need to use them, they will be on hand so you can help out someone else.

7. Gloves – Winter is coming and that means slower traffic and traffic jams. There’s nothing worse than being stuck on the freeway, traffic at a stand still, because of an accident up ahead. You might not want to sit with your car on the entire time, and that means you will want a pair of gloves in the trunk of your car. These can even be heavy duty gloves that can also be used while changing a tire or doing other maintenance to your vehicle.

8. A Swiss Army knife or similar tool – While you don’t have to pay out for the most expensive utility knife, having a pocket knife that has a sharp blade, a screwdriver, a file, and a few other tools can be a great way to make sure that you are prepared for just about anything. You never know when a tool like this might come in handy, whether for making a quick repair to your car or helping out someone else in need.

9. A rain poncho – What do you do if you need to change a tire, in the dark, with the rain coming down? You pull on the rain poncho you have stored in your jockey box and you get to work! A rain poncho is an excellent addition to any car kit and is a great way to stay dry, even if you do have to venture out into inclement weather in order to make a repair to a tire or other part of your Kia.

10. Water – It’s always a good idea to keep a few bottles of water in your car. Think again of how long you might be stuck on the freeway if there is a bad accident up ahead of you. The last thing you want to do is to become dehydrated just because you did not plan ahead. Having a few bottles of water in your car is good for emergencies, too. If your Kia gets a flat tire in the middle of the summer and you have to change the tire out in the heat, you can easily dehydrate. It also makes good impromptu windshield washer fluid if you run out.

11. A snow shovel – The roads might be clear when you arrive at work, but what happens if it snows a foot and a half while you are at the office? The plows might not have had the chance to come and clear the parking lot yet, and your sedan might be too short to get out of its spot, with that level of snow around it. A snow shovel can help you dig your car (and other cars) out.