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.
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.