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.

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.

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 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.

10 Awesome Gifts for Kia Owners

gift for kia ownersIt might not quite be time for the holidays yet, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to start thinking about presents for the car lovers in your life. Those who have birthdays or other occasions during the fall will definitely appreciate one of these gifts just as much as those who receive them during the winter holidays. If you’re looking for a great present for someone who drives a Kia (or any kind of car), here are ten awesome gifts any car lover would definitely appreciate:

  1. Gift certificates for service – While servicing a car is rarely expensive, giving someone a gift certificate to cover an oil change or another type of service that you know their vehicle needs is a great way to show them that you care about them and their car. Most Kia service departments sell gift certificates, but you can also simply take their car in for the service and pay for it as your gift. Either way, someone who loves their car will love that you took the time to think about that car and get it the service it needs.
  2. A travel bag – It’s always a good idea to have a spare bag in your car, whether for toting groceries or simply for throwing a few things into for an impromptu road trip or day trip. If you have a Kia lover on your gift list, you might consider getting them a branded Kia travel bag. They’ll have a bag that matches their car, which is a great way to keep track of that bag and so that even when that bag is empty and being stored in the car, they never have to worry about it feeling like clutter.
  3. Sunglasses – You might not think that sunglasses are an appropriate gift for the driver in your life, but if you have someone in your life that loves to drive, they are probably in need of a great pair of sunglasses. Sunglasses are as useful during the winter as they are during the summer. Glare from the sun can be as blinding off of snow as it is off of other cars. Grab them a stylish, functional pair of sunglasses to keep their eyes protected during all weather and all driving conditions.
  4. A great travel mug – Just because someone is on the road a lot doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be able to enjoy their morning coffee. A great travel mug that keeps hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold is the very best way to make sure someone who loves to drive is also able to get their caffeine fix. Look for a mug that closes securely, but is also easy to open and close, so the driver can drink their coffee even while driving.
  5. A GPS – If your driver has a one of Kia’s newer models, he might already have GPS built right into the vehicle. This isn’t always the case, however, depending on what trim he went with and what model year he purchased. If he doesn’t have GPS, having a dedicated one can be a great way to avoid traffic jams, beat construction, and find new locations. Smartphones might include some of these features, but they are rarely as accurate as real GPS.
  6. Battery jumper – You can now buy little packs of energy that you can simply clip onto your battery to jump it back to life if it dies. With cold weather approaching, it is always a good idea to have something on hand that will kick start the car if it refuses to start one cold morning. While Kia vehicles are at the head of the class when it comes to reliability, most people don’t change out their batteries on a regular schedule, but then do not have any recourse when that battery refuses to produce a spark. A jump pack can be a great way to make sure your car lover is never stranded.
  7. Driving gloves – Driving gloves might be a little old school, but if you are trying to find a gift for someone who seriously loves their car, it might be exactly what they are looking for. Even if your car owner doesn’t have a vehicle that sports the old wooden steering wheel that is often associated with these gloves, the gloves will make driving on very hot and very cold days alike—he’ll never burn or freeze his hands on the steering wheel again.
  8. Driving shoes – Like driving gloves, driving shoes aren’t something that you see very often, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t still applicable to the modern’s driver. The right pair of shoes can make switching from gas to brake easier and more accurate, and can just simply make driving more fun.
  9. Road kit – There’s nothing that can make driving safer or more fun than having the right tools. That means jumper cables, tape, a flashlight, some band aids, charging cables, and screwdrivers. In case he ever needs to make a quick repair, change a tire, or jump his car or another, he’ll have all of the tools he needs.
  10. Kia maintenance journals – If you have someone on your gift list that loves to keep track of their maintenance, mileage, gas usage, and more, there’s no better gift than a Kia branded notebook. These little journals fit right in a Kia vehicle’s jockey box and can help the car-obsessed keep that car healthy and happy.

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:

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.

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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.

15 Car Hacks Every Driver Should Know

Keeping your car clean and functional isn’t always easy. Here are fifteen car hacks that you can use to make taking care of your car a little bit easier:

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1. Park facing the sunrise. How often do you get up in the morning and realize, just as you’re leaving for work or school, that your windshield is iced over? You can prevent having to remember to go out early and turn your car on by actually parking towards the sunrise. That way, the rays of the sun will melt off the frost for you!

2. Use hand sanitizer to unfreeze your handles. If your door handles and locks are so frozen that you cannot even use them, pouring a little bit of hand sanitizer (as long as it contains alcohol) onto the door will melt the ice and allow you to get your key into the lock or to pull open the door itself.

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3. Use your floor mats to get traction on icy ground. If your car is stuck in a parking spot because it cannot get traction on the frozen ground, you can actually use your floor mats to get a little traction. Wedge them under your front tires and reverse, very slowly and carefully, onto them in order to gain the traction you need to move your car.

4. Store some cat litter in your trunk. Not only will the weight of heavy duty cat litter help to prevent your car from sliding on icy roads, you can always sprinkle a little bit of litter around your tires if you are having trouble getting your car moving again on icy or snowy roads. This is an inexpensive and very useful hack for those living in cold climates!

5. Toothpaste can clean your headlights. Over the years, your headlights will begin to look cloudy and dull. This can make your lamps dim and ineffective. You can clean your headlights with plain old toothpaste, on a paper towel. Just spread it onto your lights, rub it around, and carefully clean it off. They’ll be clearer and brighter!

6. Use newspaper to get rid of stickers. Here in the east, many drivers have toll stickers or other adhesives on their windshields. These can be very difficult to scrape off, even with a razor blade. Instead of using a razor blade, use a piece of wet newspaper. Press it against the adhesive that you want to remove and let it sit for about ten minutes. It should wet the glue enough that you can just peel the adhesive and the glue away.

7. Use a razor blade to combat stubborn bugs. During the summer, windshields can become littered with dead bugs. These dead bugs might not easily wash away with wiper fluid or even with scrubbing. You can use a razor blade to actually scrape away the residue of these bugs. Follow up the blade with a damp cloth to remove any lingering goo.

8. Use a plunger to pop out small dents. We all get small dents on our cars from hitting our doors against poles or very minor run ins with other cars. These dents are enough to take the car to the body shop, but they can be annoying. You can actually use a clean plunger to pop out those dents!

9. Fingernail polish can touch up small scratches. If you can find a shade of fingernail polish that exactly matches the color of your car, you can actually use this polish to fill small scratches in your paint. Because small scratches can still cause serious damage to your car, including creating an inlet for rust and more paint chipping, filling it with nail polish can actually protect your car from further damage. Just make sure that the color is close enough to the color of your paint or it will probably do more harm than good.

10. Get rid of extra weight. If you are storing something heavy in your car or are simply driving around items that you haven’t taken out yet, it’s time to get them out of your vehicle. The more weight you drive around, the worse your gas mileage is going to be. So, while that box of cat litter might be great during the winter, come spring, it’s probably best to take it out and not to lug around the extra weight.

11. Put a candle in your car to dispel stink. A candle in your cup holder is a great way to refresh the smell of your car while you’re not in it. The max will melt and give off its scent when your car heats up in the sun. When you get back in and turn on the AC, it will solidify again.

12. Put a dryer sheet in your vent. Lots of car air fresheners can be overpowering. You can add some subtle freshness to your car by sticking a dryer sheet in your vent. It will make your car smell like a fresh load of laundry, without being to fragrant.

13. Use your head to amplify the reach of your fob. If you’re wandering around a parking garage, trying to find your car, put your fob under your chin to amplify it’s reach.

14. Get rid of extra keychains and keys. A heavy keychain can put strain on your ignition, which is one of the most delicate components of any vehicle. Unburden it by getting rid of extra keychains and keys that are weighing it down.

15. Keep your change in an old mint container. Instead of just letting your change accumulate in a cup holder, hold on to an old mint container and fill it with your change, instead.

10 Fall Driving Hazards for Kia Owners to Avoid

driving hazardsFall is a great season—it’s no longer too hot to enjoy time outside during the day and it means the beginning of the holiday season. Because fall isn’t winter, most people do not consider this to be a dangerous time of the year to drive, but the truth is that fall can actually be just as hazardous as winter, especially here in New England. If you want to drive safely during this season, here are ten fall driving hazards you should be aware of:

1. People going back to school. In the summer, roads are usually clearer than they are once kids start back to school. Not only are parents trying to get their children to the bus on time, they are also dropping their kids off at school and then trying to get to their own places of work without being late. Back to school traffic means there will be more pedestrians in both suburban and city areas, and there will be more people on the road. Being aware of this increased traffic can help you plan your route to avoid it.

2. Leaves falling on the road. What’s dangerous about leaves on the road? Anyone who has ever stepped on a patch of wet leaves knows that wet leaves are slippery. Fall means a large accumulation of leaves on the road increased rains means that the leaves are more likely to be slippery. This can mean that your car can slide through these piles of leaves when you are trying to brake. Wet leaves on the road can be almost as dangerous as ice on the road, so be careful and look for accumulations of leaves while driving.

3. Early morning fog. Fall usually brings with it cooler temperatures, and that means fog in the morning. While fog will generally start to burn off once the sun comes up, if you have an early start in the morning or the sun never came out from behind the clouds to burn the fog away, you might be facing a foggy drive to work. Luckily, every Kia vehicle as the appropriate lights to help you see through and be seen in the fog.

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4. Frost. As temperatures start to drop, frost will start to collect on the windshields of cars. Your Kia will have an excellent defroster to get your windows clear, but making sure you can actually get your windows clear before you need to leave for work will take some planning. Stepping outside to turn on your car five to ten minutes before you actually need to leave is a great way to make sure that you windows will be clear of frost by the time you are on the road, without any need to scrape the windows.

5. Ice on the road. Ice is usually believed to be just a winter hazard, but the truth is that if it is cold enough to ice up your windows, it is cold enough to ice up the roads. Any area of the road that is often shady, along with bridges, is more likely to accumulate ice during a cold night and is less likely to have that ice burn off by the time you need to be on the road. By aware of shady and cold spots on the road so you do not run the risk of sliding or spinning out.

6. The sun. In the fall, the sun starts to set earlier and earlier in the evening. Once Daylight Savings Time ends (on November 1st in 2015), the sun will set even earlier, usually just as most people are heading home from work. That means that you are likely to encounter serious sun glare either driving to or home from work or errands. Sun glare can make it difficult to see stoplights, road hazards, and even other drivers, especially if their lights are not on. Keeping your windshields clean can make the road much easier to see and wearing sunglasses can prevent the sun from momentarily blinding you.

7. Deer. In most parts of the country, deer are migrating during the fall. This means that more deer are going to be trying to cross roads and there is a highly likelihood of hitting one. Hitting a dear isn’t just dangerous for that deer, it is dangerous for you and your vehicle. Being alert, especially when driving through parts of your town or city where deer are likely to be, is very important.

8. Fewer daylight hours. During the summer, you might be able to wake up, get read, go to work, go home, have dinner, and run errands all during the daylight. The shorter daylight hours in fall means that you are more likely to be driving on dark roads, even just to and from work or school. Being aware of the darkness, driving with your lights on, and watching for pedestrians, animals, and other vehicles is especially important during the fall.

9. Foggy windshields. During fall days, your windshields are more likely to fog up, as temperatures change throughout the day. Making sure that you have your defroster on and that you even have a rag to wipe your windshields clear will prevent the reduced visibility that comes along with these lower temperatures.

10. Igniting leaf piles. A dry pile of leaves under your car can actually be ignited after you park your car. Avoid driving through or parking on top of dry leaf piles. Clear them out of your gutters and yards as frequently as possible in order to avoid this fall driving hazard.

It’s Not Too Late to Plan Your Summer Road Trip: 14 Ways to Make Your Kia Road Trip Ready

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Ready to hit the open road? If you haven’t check your Kia out yet and made sure it’s packed with some of the essentials, you’re not yet ready to go. Here are more than a few ways to make sure your Kia is ready to hit the road when the summer heat in the city just becomes too much and you’ve got to hit to asphalt:

1. Check that coolant. While a coolant leak isn’t the most common problem in Kia vehicles, it can be a debilitating one in any car, especially if you’re driving through the middle of nowhere with now cellphone reception. Check your coolant and its lines before you start your trip.

2. Get an oil change. Even if you’re still 500 miles out on your next oil change, if you’re planning to spend the next week or two driving round the countryside, you’ll be far overdue for an oil change when you get back. Instead of risking it, get your oil changed and all other routine maintenance done at our shop before you go.

3. Have us check your belts and hoses. Belts and hoses are the most common thing that break or tear on the road, and they can put you out of commission if you can’t find somewhere to make a repair. If you bring your Kia into our service center and let us know you’re taking a road trip soon, we’ll make sure all of your rubber parts are ready to go.

4. Test your battery. A standard voltmeter will do the trick. You want a consistent voltage (check your battery or manual for what exactly the voltage should be). If it seems to rev up and then steeply decline, you’re probably looking at a dying battery.

5. Make sure that gas tank is full. Before driving away from the city, make sure you’ve got enough gas to get you to the next gas station. Sometimes there are more than two hundred miles between stations if you’re driving across America’s unpopulated heartland.

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6. Replace your air filter. Again, even if you’re not due for a replacement for a few months, all of this extra activity for your car probably means that you could get a replacement now and that it will thank you by the time your road trip is over. You can replace your air filters yourself, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing it, we would be more than happy to change them out for you.

7. Replace your wiper blades. You should do this at the beginning of the summer anyway, but if you haven’t done it yet, before you leave is the perfect time. Summer heat can take a serious toll on rubber wiper blades, making them ineffective. As we move into monsoon season, you’re bound to hit a few storms, and you’ll want reliable wiper blades if you’re going to power through them.

8. Change your tires or make sure they’ve still got plenty of tread. Because it is about to be monsoon season and you’ll likely run into a few storms, you’re also going to want tires that have plenty of tread on them. This will prevent you from hydroplaning, which can be extremely dangerous, especially at high speeds.

9. Check your brakes. You can do a simple brake test by driving around your neighborhood and feeling and listening to how your brakes respond to normal and emergency braking. Then, take your car out on the highway and listen to normal brake usage there, too. If there is screeching, rumbling, shaking, or popping, it’s time for new brakes.

10. Check your spare. A spare tire could prevent you from having to sit on the side of the road and wait for a tow truck for two hours—but only if your spare tire is actually properly inflated and ready to go. Before rolling out open your tire well and give it a once over.

11. Inflate your tires. Take your car to a gas station or bring it to our service center to have the tire pressure checked and adjusted as necessary. Your Kia’s tires are rated for a specific PSI which helps it grip the road and get better fuel efficiency—both of which you’ll want if you’re planning a long trip.

12. Stow your baggage in the trunk. Not only will this help you get better traction on slippery, wet roads, it’ll also prevent your luggage from becoming flying projectiles if you are in an accident or have to brake quickly.

13. Don’t forget entertainment for the kids. While you might love the open road, watching the asphalt and scenery whiz passed, it’s likely that your kids are not going to love it quite as much as you are. To them, it will just feel like being forced to sit still for the entire day. Luckily, lots of Kia models come with built-in DVD players, which means your kids can watch TV shows or movies as you drive.

14. Wash your windows, inside and out. You do not want to be realizing that you should have washed your windows as the sun is going down and turning all of the dirt on your windshield into a shiny, opaque nightmare. Wash your windows, front and back, inside and out, and dry them thoroughly to make sure there are no streaks, which can be just as bad as dirt, bugs, and road grime on windows.

Common Mechanic Scams and How to Avoid Them

scamNot every mechanic is going to try to scam you. The horror stories that some people will tell about being shown an air filter that is completely disgusting and being advised to pay to replace it, only to watch the mechanic insert that same air filter back into the car are few and far between. That doesn’t mean, however, that this doesn’t happen. When you bring your car to our service bay, you can be sure to find great, honest, hard-working mechanics that will get your car back in working order, without charging you thousands of dollars to do it.

We know that sometimes it’s just not possible to bring your car into our service department and that you will sometimes have to take it to another mechanic, who might not have that same standard of integrity. If you want to be aware of some of the common scams so you can avoid them, here are eight to watch out for:

1. Do I really need new spark plugs? Thirty years ago, spark plugs really didn’t last that long and it was smart to have them replaced each time you went in for an oil change. Today, that’s really not necessary. Most cars should have an oil change every 5000 to 7000 miles (even up to 10,000, depending on your oil and what make and model you’ve purchased). For those that commute or live out in the country, that might be every six to twelve months. Most spark plugs have a life of 100,000 miles these days. Paying to have those sparkplugs replaced every time you have your oil changed is probably unnecessary.

2. The urge to opt for synthetic oil. If you’ve had your car’s oil changed at a Jiffy Lube recently, they’ve probably offered you a range of different oil choices, from regular, to synthetic, to blend, to even more expensive options. Regular oil is usually the cheapest, but most mechanics will recommend synthetic oil. It lasts longer—that’s true, and most car manufacturers do recommend it, but if you stick to your oil change schedule and get your car regularly maintained, there is really no reason to pay more for synthetic oil when regular oil will work just as well.

3. It’s time to change your air filters. Most cars today have their own systems that monitor their filters and let you know when it’s time for a change. Even if your car doesn’t have these diagnostic systems, it’s probably fairly obvious whether or not you need new filters when the mechanic shows them to you. Just make sure the filters they are showing you are actually your filters. Some unscrupulous mechanics will bring out a pair of disgusting filters, claiming that they’re yours and telling you that you need to pay to have them replaced, hoping that you will not know what your air filters look like or when your car is due for new filters. Get to know your filters, what they look like, and what your filter change schedule is.

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4. Is it time for your transmission to be serviced? This is one of the reasons bringing your vehicle in to a dealership’s service department, rather than to a mechanic that isn’t familiar with your make and model. We will be able to tell if it really is time for your transmission to be serviced. Many mechanics will simply tell you that it is, without understanding your model or its history, and will charge for what is basically draining fluid that didn’t need to be drained and replacing it with new fluid that it didn’t really need.

5. Did you flush the cooling system? While your cooling system will occasionally need a flush, paying extra for this service when you don’t really need it can lead you to a more expensive visit to the mechanic than you were planning on making. Unless the coolant in your car is actually contaminated or is no longer working, there is really no need to flush the entire system and put in new coolant. You’ll be flushing money as your cooling system is flushed.

6. You need to recharge your air conditioning system. This is something that few of us have even heard of. Why would the air conditioning system need to be recharged? How does it lose charge? Unless you’ve noticed that your air conditioning is no longer as effective as it once was, there really is no reason to add more refrigerant. In some cases, this really is preventative maintenance, but often, there is no actually need to recharge your air conditioning system, especially if it is functioning just fine in your eyes.

7. Have you replaced your brakes recently? You obviously want your brakes to be functioning perfectly when you press down on that pedal to use them. Some mechanics will use this desire to encourage you to replace your rotors or pads before they are actually worn down. You can easily check your own brakes to make sure they are still functioning properly and have the right thickness, so do this before you take your car in for maintenance. If the mechanic tells you that the brakes are worn down when you know they’re not, he’s probably just trying to get you to pay for a service you don’t need.

8.Does the mechanic ask you to buy a new tire when you bring in a flat? Most of the time, especially with simple punctures and tears, it’s possible to patch a tire. It’ll take about five minutes and costs you about fifteen dollars (if that). Some mechanics will tell you that instead of “limping along” with tire that’s been patched, you should just buy a new tire. If they can legitimately patch the tire for you, there’s no reason to buy a new one.

20 Things You Should Always Keep in Your Kia

Whether you have just bought your first car and want to make sure it is properly outfitted or you are heading out on a summer road trip and want to have all the essentials before you are miles from civilization, here are the twenty things you should always keep in your Kia:

1. A paper map of your tristate area. Don’t be duped into think you’ll always have service or that your phone will always have a full battery. It may seem archaic, but you will be happy to have that paper map when you’re lost and your phone has no reception.

2. Change and a few bills. Whether you’re the kind of person who gives money to people on the side of the road or you’re likely to have to pass a toll booth in your travels, having change and a few dollar bills on hand is always a good idea.

kia car3. A compact umbrella. This is a fact of life: it will rain at the most inconvenient time. If you have an umbrella, a little rain won’t get in your way.

4. A couple bottles of water. Put most of them in your trunk, but have one or two stashed in your Kia’s extra cup holders for when traffic stacks up or you have to wait on the side of the road.

5. Jumper cables. Not all new cars come with jumper cables. Many do, but if yours didn’t you’re going to want to go out and get a set. Not only will they save your car’s life if your battery dies (if you leave the dome light on all night, for example), but they give you the opportunity to be a Good Samaritan if you see someone else struggling with a dead car.

6. A roll of toilet paper. My sister-in-law always keeps a roll of toilet paper in her car, and it was a blessing when she was helping me move into my new apartment and we hadn’t done any grocery shopping yet. Plus, it will undoubtedly have plenty of other uses.

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7. Granola bars. Keep a box of your favorite granola bars in your glove compartment or trunk. Why? Because going hungry in standstill, rush hour traffic is never a good idea.

8. Your registration. When it arrives in the mail, don’t just leave it on your kitchen table. Put it in your glove compartment. You might be a model driver, but that doesn’t mean you’ll never be pulled over.

9. A mini first aid kit. Even if you don’t anticipate ever getting carsickness or cutting your finger on the road, it’s better to be prepared than wanting in your time of need.

10. A spare phone charger. Especially if you commute to and from work, you’re going to want to be able to charge your phone at the beginning and end of each day—just don’t text and drive, okay?

11. A flashlight. LED is usually the best way to go—they use less battery and are therefore last much longer in your trunk or stuffed under the seat. They’ll also be your savior when you’ve dropped your phone under your seat or have lost an earring down the crevice between seats or especially when you have to change a tire in the dead of night.

12. Ice scraper and small shovel. Those who buy cars during the summer often forget these two essentials and don’t remember to buy them until their car is already buried in snow.

13. A package of sand or road salt. Not only can you use these two things to get traction if you’re stuck in a particularly icy or muddy spot, the weight of them in your trunk can help to prevent sliding and slipping on icy or snow roads.

14. A multi tool. At some point, you will probably need a pocket knife, a pair of pliers, or even a wire cutter. Having a tool that has all of these components is the best way to be prepared.

15. Hand wipes. My mother uses a hand wipe every time she gets into the car, especially after grocery shopping or walking around the mall. She’s a germaphobe, but that doesn’t mean that everyone should have some hand wipes in their car, just in case.

16. A pair of sunglasses. No matter the time of year, you’re probably going to be on the road just as the sun sinks into that perfect spot that is just barely eclipsed by your visors. A pair of sunglasses will ensure you can still see, even if it seems like the sun’s mission is to blind you.

17. A bag for trash. It could be a sandwich bag or a plastic shopping bag, or a trash bag—something to put straw wrappers and receipts and all the other detritus cars seem to accumulate throughout the week. Now, you won’t have to scoop everything up, it’ll be confined in a little bag you can just throw away.

18. A blanket. Just like you’ll want water and a snack if your car is sidelined on a summer day, you’ll want a blanket if your car breaks down in the winter. Also good for impromptu picnics.

19. Paper towels. The durable, garage version, not the flimsy kitchen version—for cleaning up spills and cleaning your hands after changing a tire.

20. Your owner’s manual. A surprising number of people take the owner’s manual out of their Kia. Don’t do it—it’ll tell you how to jump your car, replace a tire, and even just change the time on your radio clock.

Avoiding Lemons: How to Buy the Best Used Car

The best way to avoid buying a lemon is to avoid the lemon lot. Still, depending on where you’re shopping, it’s still possible to find a lemon on a used car lot, even if it’s surrounded by reliable, functional cars. One of the perks of shopping on our used car lot is knowing that all of those cars have been serviced and certified—so you’ll never buy a lemon. Here are some other ways you can make sure you’re not purchasing a very used car.

1. Ask to see the car’s history. It’s surprising how many people will buy a used car without asking to see its history. Every used car has a history, and even if the only thing on that car’s history is routine maintenance, at least you’ll know that whoever owned the car before you actually took care of it. If there is absolutely nothing on the car’s history report, that isn’t any reason to panic. Those reports only show what is actually actively reported on those numbers, so it’s unlikely they’ll have a record of every single thing that has ever happened to that car.

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2. Look for damage. Some cars will come onto a used lot with a little bit of damage. They get discounted because they’re not in pristine shape. Sometimes, a car will show up on a used lot that looks pristine, but has actually been in a major accident. What’s wrong with having a car that’s been in a major accident? If it’s ever in one again, the occupants of that vehicle are more likely to be hurt, because the car’s frame may not have its original structural integrity. Evidence of repainting or uneven painting can be a good indication that the car has had massive body work done.

best used car3. Inspect the engine. Even if you’re not a car maintenance expert, you probably know what a clean, functional engine should look like. When you buy a vehicle from a used lot like ours, it will already have a maintenance check and be completely ready to go. If you’re not sure, you can always have it inspected again.

4. Check the mileage. Today’s cars are built to last and many will run perfectly smoothly even after 100,000 miles of asphalt. You’ll still want to take a look at the mileage. A two-year-old car that has hundreds of thousands of miles has probably been driven hard. This means it also should have had regular maintenance. If it hasn’t, you might want to stay away. However, an older car with low mileage probably means it didn’t see much action and will still have decades of good miles on it.

5. Research used car prices. Once you’ve found a used car that you want to buy, ask for the make and model and model year and run a quick search for similar cars. You can probably get a good idea of what cars like that are being sold for in our area. A used car is almost always a better deal than buying a new car, but if you don’t check the prices yourself, you might not be getting as great of a deal as you otherwise would. Don’t be afraid to take a moment and step out to make sure that car is properly priced and the seller isn’t trying to sell a used car for more than its worth.

6. Look for out-of-state titles. If you’re not buying a car from a certified used car lot like the one at our Kia dealership, you will probably want to be wary of out-of-state titles. Sometimes, criminals will steal cars and then they will ship them across state lines, where it is more difficult for the police to track them. Some people will also submit a car for salvage, but the buyer will transport it into another state to sell it, instead, as crossing state lines can “wash” the title of that salvage indicator.

 7. Ask the dealership to run a warranty check. If you take the VIN to a dealership that sells the make of the car you want to buy and ask them to run the number for you, they should be able to tell you if any work has been done on that vehicle that was covered by the warranty. For example, if the engine, transmission, brakes, etc. have been replaced within the warranty period, this could tell you that the car has an issue with that component or just that the car has a new transmission, engine, brakes, etc.

8. Watch out for cars that have no record of regular maintenance. Some people simply do not take their cars in for regular maintenance. While this is fine when the car isn’t experiencing any problems, it can devastating in the long run. Regular fixes and tuning can prevent more serious problems from occurring in the future—which is when you are going to be driving this car. Most people save the receipts from their oil changes and checkups, so ask to see them.

9. Consider purchasing an extended warranty. If you’re purchasing a car that still has some of its warranty left, you may not want to extend your warranty quite yet. However, if you’re buying a car that is already out from its warranty, you might want to consider purchasing a new one or an extension to ensure that you can benefit from this program. If you purchase a Kia that is less than ten years old, you’re likely to still have plenty of time left on your warranty.

How to Maintain that New Car Smell – Tips for Taking Care of Your New Car

car maintenanceThere’s nothing better than that new car smell—it’s not something that can be replicated by any air fresheners or products. It’s the combination of the excitement of a new vehicle, mixed with new car materials and a fresh, clean car that hasn’t seen even a hundred miles of road yet. That new car smell is going to persist for a few months, if you’re diligent about cleaning your car—here are some tips to help you make that new car smell last as long as possible:

1. Don’t eat in your car. Nothing will kill the new car smell as quickly as the oniony scent of a fast food hamburger. If you’re looking to keep your car smelling fresh and new, don’t eat in your car. You can pick up food and take it home, but always let the smell of the food vent by leaving a window cracked. Otherwise, strong smells like onion and garlic can permeate the plastics in your car and leave your car smelling like that for the rest of its days.

2. Vacuum it. Who vacuums a car? You do. You track dirt, stones, sand, and lots of other gross stuff into your car every time you get in, even if you think your shoes are clean. Every time you bring the environment into your car, your car will start to smell more like that environment than it will like a new car. You can prevent this by routinely vacuuming your car to remove all of that dirt and detritus that follows you inside.


3. Don’t leave trash in your car.
Old drink cups and soda cans, even if you think they’re empty, probably have a few dregs lingering. When you toss an “empty” can into the back seat, it can leak whatever is left onto the carpet or upholstery. Not only does this have the potential of leaving a stain, it also has the potential to make your car stink. Train yourself to take empty containers and cup with you when you leave the car, so they don’t just stink and fester in the vehicle.

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4. Change your air filters. Over time, your car’s air filters will become covered in dust and gunk. This is their job, but this also means that your air conditioning or heating system can start to stink when you turn it on. To avoid this, routinely change your air filters. If changing your air filters doesn’t seem to solve the problem, you might have a more severe situation. Sometimes small rodents and animals will take up residence in your engine block and when they die, can put off some serious stink. If you’re smelling something foul and it’s not your air filters, it’s time to take your car in for a checkup.

5. Make sure nothing is leaking. Oil and coolant leaks (which will usually show up on your driveway) aren’t just bad for your vehicle, they are also bad for your new car smell. Both of these types of leaks can cause problems that can make your car have a funny smell as the leaked liquid burns off as you drive. Pay attention to how your car smells and if it is spotting where you park it.

6. Clean your plastic and leather surfaces. The oils and dirt and germs that people naturally have on their skin can be deposited on the surfaces of your Kia. While these won’t produce their own smell, they can break down the materials in your car and cause them to lose that “new” luster and scent. You can maintain these surfaces by buying a product made specifically for cleaning the dashboard and/or leather in a car and use it routinely to remove oils and grime and to maintain the shine and vitality of those products.

7. Clean the inside of your windows. While this tip won’t necessarily make your car hold on to that new car smell, it is an important part of owning a new car. In the first couple of months (or years), the materials in your car are likely to “outgas.” This means that they will give off fumes, some of which can create a film on the inside of your windows. If you’ve ever tried to drive facing the sun and in the glint of the light, your windows are nearly opaque, it’s probably because of this film, which will return, even if you’ve cleaned it off before. Routinely clean the inside of your windows when you have a new car to avoid this problem.

8. Clean your headlights. Nothing can reveal the age of a car faster than its headlights. Dingy, filmy, and clouded headlights don’t just make your car look old, it also makes it more difficult to see properly on a dark night. Clean your headlights with a headlamp product. You may need something abrasive if the clouding is extensive. If there is condensation on the interior of the headlight, you should bring your car into our shop to see if there is a leak or if the fitting is secure.

9. Replace your windshield wipers. Your windshield wipers are going to be one of the first things to need replacing in your vehicle. In general, they will only last a year before the rubber starts to break down and becomes far less effective when it comes to wicking away snow and rain.

10. Regularly wax the car’s exterior. Wax is like sunscreen for your car—it protects the paint from the sun, from scratches, from environmental damage, and more. If you love how water just beads and rolls off of your new car, you can maintain that effect by regularly waxing your vehicle’s exterior.