9 Tips for Driving with Kids in the Car

One of the biggest distractions on the road is not your cellphone or trying to tune your radio, but the children in your car. Whether they are screaming their heads off about nothing in particular or are distraught because one is poking the other, kids in your car can be a big distraction, especially if you are the only adult in the car. Here nine tips to help you make driving with kids in the car a little bit easier:

1. If you need to discipline a child, pull over first. You do not want to be trying to pull two children apart or discipline a child while also trying to focus on the road and pilot a car. If you have kids in the car and you need to talk to them or do something in the backseat to keep them call, pull off to the side of the road before doing anything. Especially if your child is demanding immediate attention, do not try to argue or reason with them while driving. They do not understand what is required of a person while they are driving and will not understand why they cannot talk to you or get your full attention right now.

2. Keep your eyes on the road. One of the worst things you can do while driving is to try to keep one eye in your rearview mirror and keep the other eye on the road in front of you. While driving, actually driving should be your primary focus. You might feel likely you need to repeatedly check on your child in the backseat, but the best thing you can be doing to keep them safe is to keep your eyes on the road and pay attention to the most demanding thing on your plate: driving forward.

family car3. Tell your child to wait. If they are trying to demand your attention right now, while you are trying to drive, it is time for you tell them to wait. While they might not understand how demanding driving is, they should understand what you mean when you say that you need them to wait until you have gotten where you are going before you can pay attention to what they are saying or what they are doing. This might incur a tantrum. You might just have to listen to the tantrum while you finish your drive. They might actually tire themselves out by the time you get to your destination and they will be much more pleasant to be around.

4. Distract them with something. A vehicle that has a built in DVD player and a headphone jack is a great opportunity to distract your children while driving. If they are too engrossed in their favorite television show, you will not have to worry about them fighting with one another or throwing a fit while trying to get your attention. If you can find something to distract them, even just a tablet or a book or a toy, you will have a much more pleasant driving experience.

5. Bring lots of toys. If you can pile their favorite toys in the seat next to them, they will probably be distracted for long enough for you to get to your destination. Especially if you have more than one child and they like to play with certain toys together, now is the ideal time to make sure that they are have plenty of things to distract themselves with. When they are not paying attention to your or what is going on beyond the window, you will probably have a much more pleasant driving experience.

6. Set some rules. If your child is old enough, it is worth your time to sit that child down and to talk about some rules of the road. This will keep both of you safer. When they understand that you cannot pay attention to them while you are driving, they are less likely to expect that you are going to. Setting ground rules before getting into the car for the first time and reminding them of the rules at each subsequent trip will make driving better for all involved.

7. Don’t talk on the phone and drive. This is important for every driver, but especially for drivers with kids in the car. The cellphone is a major distraction, even if the car is coming through your car’s infotainment system. Your primary goal right now should be to get your child to the destination safely. Talking on the phone, even if you are not holding that phone up to your ear only adds another distraction, making driving even more dangerous.

8. Use mirrors. If you need to check on your child, do it by looking in your rearview mirrors. If you have put your child in a rear-facing seat, you might want to put a mirror on the headrest of the seat that they are strapped into, so you can monitor them without having to turn around in your seat and look at them. Even during the calmest drives, on the calmest days, turning in your seat to look into the back of your car is extremely dangerous.

9. Keep a car kit just for your kids. This might be a collection of snacks that they can eat if they are starting to get hungry a fussy, along with an emergency toy and some water or juice. These are simply things to keep your kid happy when they are on the verge of a tantrum.

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For more great tips or to look at some of the best vehicles for families, come visit our Kia dealership, at any of our three locations!

How to Get Your Car Ready for Summer

summer vehicle tipsYou likely already know that you need to take steps to get your vehicle ready for seasons like winter, when the cold temperatures and harsher weather can take a toll on your vehicle. But what about season like summer? Like winter, there are extreme temperatures and harsh weather, both of which can damage your vehicle or make driving dangerous is your car is not properly prepared. Here are some tips for getting your Kia ready for summer:

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1. Take off the snow tires or prep your all-weather tires. Most people do not spend very much time thinking about their tires—but they should. The tires are one of the most important parts of your vehicle. They impact its safety and how well it performs. Right now, before summer gets here and you hit the road for your summer road trips, is the perfect time to make sure that your tires are ready to go. Check to make sure they are inflated properly. If you have snow tires, switch them out for normal tires. Rotate your tires to make sure that all four wear evenly. And take a little extra time to make sure your spare is still in proper working condition.

2. Have your brakes checked. When was the last time you went in and had your brakes checked? Many shops will do this service while your oil is being changed, but if they don’t, make sure to make a special appointment to have them checked. The water and cold that comes along with winter could wreak havoc on your brakes, cracking them, wearing them, and making them prime for failure. Don’t wait until you start to hear your brakes squeal or feel them shudder and slip. Check them before you start to experience any serious problems with them.

3. Time for a car wash. During the winter, and even during the spring, it can be difficult to find the time to have your car washed. If you still have deicer and road grime on your car from the winter, give your car a thorough washing, both inside and out. While the automatic car wash might do some good, a hand wash is usually a better option, as it will ensure that you really do get all of the dirt and grime off of your vehicle. Pay special attention to your wheels and to the underbody of your vehicle.

4. Have your oil checked. Depending on how often you drive your vehicle, you might need to have your oil checked every three months or every six. Your vehicle will likely tell you when it needs an oil change, but it’s still a good idea to check. Check not just its level, but the color, too. If the oil is black and grimy, it’s time for it to be changed. If it is amber, it is still good. Make sure your oil is filled to the right fill marks.

5. Check your coolant levels. While your vehicle uses coolant all year round, it is most important during the hotter months of the year. Low coolant during the summer months could make it impossible for you to drive your vehicle. You should be able to see the container when you lift the hood of your car and there should be marks on the container that show you what level your coolant should be. Refill the coolant or take your car to a shop where they will refill it for you. This will probably need to be done at least once a year, for most vehicles.

6. Check your power steering fluid. Are you starting to feel that your vehicle is a little less responsive to your navigation? Is it starting to groan when you turn the wheel? Even if it is not doing either of these things, don’t be afraid to take a look at your power steering fluid. This is one of the most important fluids in your vehicle. Look in your owner’s manual to make sure you are using the right type of fluid or, alternatively, take your vehicle in to your dealership or a maintenance shop to top it off for you.

7. Test your battery. Batteries might be more likely to fail during the winter, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have any trouble with them once temperatures start to rise. If you are familiar with the composition and construction of your battery, you might want to open its lid and check its fluid level. At the very least, look at your battery and make sure that is no discharge or any kind of leakage from the battery’s top. Many vehicles, especially new Kia vehicles, will have sealed batteries, which means you cannot open them up. In this case, you can take your vehicle to our maintenance department and ask them to test your battery to make sure it is still in prime working condition.

8. Change your windshield wipers. This small, very simple piece of maintenance is one of the most overlooked. Your windshield wipers should be changed at least once a year. After the harsh conditions of winter, it is likely that the rubber on your wipers is cracked or has become rigid, making it difficult for the wipers to adequately clean your windshield. Most summers bring heavy rainfall, which means you are going to want to have wipers that work properly to clear water, road grime, and mud from your windshield.

7 Things You Don’t Want in a New Car

When looking for a new car, there are lots of things that you do want. For example, you should be looking for a vehicle that has great safety features and gas mileage. You already likely have a long list of things that you are looking for in a vehicle. But do you have a list of things that you absolutely do not want in a new car? Here are some of the things you should be aware of:

1. Too much room ­– You can’t have too much room in a vehicle, can you? The truth is that, especially if you are used to driving a sedan, a huge SUV might not be the ideal choice for you. If you do not actually need that much room for any reason, there is no reason to by a gigantic car. Keep in mind that the bigger the vehicle is, the lower the gas mileage is going to be and ultimately, the more expensive that vehicle is going to be to maintain. Make sure that you consider your lifestyle and what you need in a vehicle before you buy the biggest one on the lot.

2. Not enough safety features – Today, the average vehicle comes with plenty of safety features, ranging from seat belts to air bags. Again, it is important to consider your lifestyle when buying a car. If you never plan of having anyone in the backseat of your vehicle while you are driving, you might not care about side curtain air bags. If you have little kids sitting back there, however, you should be very concerned with what safety features are included on the trim level you are purchasing. Don’t skimp on safety features just because it saves you money.

thinking to buy a car3. Manual transmission – Many of us grew up driving manual vehicles. Today, you might be able to find manual transmissions as an added feature on otherwise automatic vehicles, but it is likely very difficult to find a vehicle that strictly has a manual transmission. There is nothing wrong with manual, but it is unlikely that this is a feature that you are going to be specifically looking for in a new car, simply because automatic transmissions are easier to drive and have been streamlined to be more efficient than your average manual transmission vehicle.

4. Cut corners – When you get into a vehicle, you do not want to feel like the interior of that vehicle is cheaply designed or cheaply made. Most people spend hours a week in their vehicle. Those who have an hour long commute on either end of the workday might spend as much time in their car as they do awake at home. This means that you should only buy a vehicle that feels very high quality. When you look at your vehicle, from the outside or the inside, you should not feel like any corners were cut during the design and construction process. If you do, it’s time to look at a different model or a different brand.

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5. A bad warranty – When buying a new car, you should be just as concerned about your warranty as you are about the power and design of the vehicles you are looking at. A bad warranty, one that only covers certain parts of the car or only for two years, should send you running for the hills. Cars break down. They start to develop problems. This is not something that you should have to pay for in the early years of owning your vehicle. Only buy from a brand like Kia that offers the very best warranties on the very best vehicles. We can afford to offer better warranties on our vehicles, because we know that our vehicles are going to last longer than vehicles from other brands.

6. A high price – Obviously, you do not want to pay more than you have to for a vehicle. There are some brands that overprice their cars or that offer a very cheap car with a basic trim level that actually does not even provide you with power windows. This can make it very difficult to take these brands seriously and to want to purchase a car from them. You’ll see that their models start at just over $15,000, but you cannot find a vehicle on their lot that you would purchase that is less than $20,000. This can be some serious sticker shock, but you might still feel obligated to purchase, just because you have been on their lot for so long. Luckily, there are still brands, like Kia, that offer vehicles at low prices, that come with the standard features that you actually need, including advanced safety features and power windows.

7. Weedy driving – The biggest thing you should avoid when buying a new car? Buying a car that is not actually fun to drive. If you buy a vehicle that puts along the road, you are going to dread your commute. While you might still dread a long commute even when you have a vehicle that is fun to drive, you will, at least, enjoy driving a vehicle that you love. Don’t buy a car that you do not look forward to driving. It should be powerful, with enough pep to get you where you need to go, without making you feel like you are not in control.

 

Avoid these seven things when you are buying a car and you are sure to purchase a vehicle that you absolutely love!

How to Properly Test Drive a Kia

The only way you are really going to know if a vehicle is right for you is if you come down to our lot and test drive one or many of our Kia vehicles. Especially if you have not driven many different types of vehicles, you need to get a feel for how they drive, how they accelerate, their road noise, etc., in order to be able to determine which one you want to buy. Here are some things to look for when it comes to test driving your Kia:

1. Can you get into and out of the car without hitting your head? Does the vehicle have enough clearance for you to comfortably get in and out? You might not think that having to stoop to get in and out of your vehicle is that big of a deal, but if you are continuously hitting your head, it is going to become very annoying, very quickly. Once you have purchased the vehicle, you are stuck with it, you cannot change how tall the vehicle is and how easy it is to get in and out of, so carefully evaluate this aspect of the car when you first sit down inside of it.

2. Do you have enough leg room? Leg room is going to either be one of the biggest inconveniences or biggest conveniences of your new vehicle. If you have enough leg room, plenty of room to spread out, you do not have to worry about feeling cramped. If you or your passengers are constantly battling for leg room, on the other hand, your car is going to become a very uncomfortable place, where people do not want to be. The back of your vehicle is going to be one of the most important places to make sure you have enough leg room.

driving kia3. Is the steering wheel high enough? Nothing is more uncomfortable or makes a vehicle more difficult to drive than a steering wheel that does not have the proper alignment. While most vehicles make it easy to adjust your steering wheel so that you can put it higher or lower depending on your preferences, you will want to buy a car that will actually let you adjust your wheel as far as it needs to go in order to be comfortable for you to drive.

4. Are the seats comfortable? This is why you should do a longer test drive than just circling the block to see how the vehicle handles. Sitting in the car for five minutes is not really going to give you a good idea of how comfortable or uncomfortable the seats are. You want to sit in the seats not just at low speeds, but at high speeds, too. Think about whether or not the seats provide you with enough room in the hips area, if their design seems like it will be comfortable for long car rides, and if they are high enough off of the ground that you will not have to bend your knees excessively when sitting.

5. Do you understand the gauges? If you have only ever driven one other car, you will likely have to get used to new gauges anyway, but that does not mean that you should not instantly be able to find your speedometer, gas level, and other relevant gauges on your dashboard. While driving, make sure that it is easy to find out all of the most important information, and that the gauges are easy to read. Most new cars come with digital speedometers that tell you exactly how fast you are going, but if your still uses an analog gauge, can you actually tell how fast you are going with just a quick glance?

6. What is the visibility like? How easy is it to see out of the car? Can you lift or lower the seat to give yourself better visibility? If the seat is too low in the car and you cannot lift it, you are probably going to have a harder time seeing if there are vehicles in your blind spot and, just in general, seeing road hazards around you. If this is the case, that car simply is not for you, no matter how much you love the other features. If you do have good visibility, however, that car could be perfect for you.

7. Can you reach the pedals easily? Stepping on the brake or the gas pedal should be second nature. It should be done automatically and you should not have to fumble in order to make sure that you are actually getting the right foot on the right pedal. Most vehicles come with adjustable pedals, so make sure that the vehicle you are test driving does, and that you are able to put those pedals in a position that is comfortable for you and matches your driving style.

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8. Take a route similar to your driving needs. One piece of advice for getting the most out of your Kia test drive: make sure that on your test drive, you drive at speeds and in traffic conditions that are similar to how you typically drive. If, for example, you take a highway when you commute to your work, you will want to test potential vehicles out on the highway. A test drive that takes you in a wide variety of different road directions is always a good idea, but make sure you specifically take a test drive that matches your normal driving conditions.

Why You Should Consider Buying a SUV instead of a Sedan

The sedan used to be the most popular car for families and commuters, and for good reason. They were the cheapest, the most fuel efficient, and the most versatile vehicles on the market. If you didn’t want to drive a minivan (and many people didn’t), you would probably buy a sedan instead. They were and still are a very sensible choice when it comes to family vehicles. But they are no longer the only option, even for those that want something inexpensive and fuel efficient. When you buy from Kia, there are a range of vehicles available that fall into the SUV or crossover category that are just as affordable as a sedan. But is a SUV a better choice than a sedan?

1. More rugged styling – When you choose an SUV over a sedan, you are probably going to get a more rugged vehicle, with a little bit more rugged styling. It is very difficult to find a sedan that can be called “rugged.” Some may be labeled “aggressive” or “stylish,” but if you are specifically looking for something with a little bit of an edge to it, a SUV is probably your best bet. This class of vehicle is more likely to have chiseled features and rugged design than any other vehicle class on the market.

2. More visibility – Buying an SUV generally means that you are going to be buying a vehicle that gets you a little bit higher off the ground. What’s so great about that? The higher you are off the ground, the fewer blind spots you have to deal with. This is actually a great safety feature, and one that you just can’t feel in vehicles that are lower to the ground. You actually get to see over most of the traffic, instead of being stuck in it like you are when you are in a lower vehicle. You simply get to see more of the road, which means fewer complications for you as a driver.

3. Safer in accidents – While there are plenty of sedans, especially from Kia, that have great crash safety ratings, you are simply going to be safer in an SUV. Larger vehicles are just statistically safer than smaller vehicles when you are in a crash. Not only are you higher off the ground and therefore less likely to slid under larger vehicles in your smaller car, you have more vehicle in between you and the crash, which means more surface area for the vehicle to absorb the impact of the crash.

kia suv4. Better seating for more people – Just because you can cram four people into the back of your sedan doesn’t mean that you should. If you routinely find yourself needing to drive around more people than there are seat belts for, you are better off buying a SUV that has more than two rows of seats than you are sticking with a smaller vehicle. Depending on which model of Kia you purchase, you might find yourself with a third row of seats that has plenty of room to accommodate children as well as adults.

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5. More cargo space – Just like those who often find themselves needing to transport more than five people in total, those who often find that they have more cargo than they have space for even in the most spacious of sedan trunks, will find many of their problems solved when they buy an SUV. Not only will the bigger vehicle automatically give them more cargo space in the back, most SUVs give you the capability to fold down not just the third row, but also the second row of seats. This could mean a huge amount of storage and transporting space, no matter what you need to schlep around.

6. Tow more – If you find yourself towing anything, you will probably want to buy an SUV. While some sedans can tow, most people will never utilize this capability, simply because no sedan is actually designed to tow anything. While they might be able to do it, their engines are just not designed to drive anything other than the car and its passengers. So, whether you have a small boat or a camper or a trailer, if you even tow it, a SUV is a much better choice than your standard mid-sized sedan.

7. More clearance – Do you ever find yourself driving on a road and you can constantly hear the underside of your sedan scraping across the rocks and ridges? For those that ever leave the paved roads and venture out onto dirt ones, a vehicle with more clearance than your average sedan is going to pay off. Not only will you not have to worry about damage to the undercarriage of your vehicle, the larger tires and more rugged design means that traversing heartier terrain is usually no problem. Even if you just want to get over speed bumps easier, a SUV is the right option for you.

8. Better in nasty weather – Why? Because SUVs are larger than sedans, which also means they are going to be heavier. The heavier your vehicle is, the less susceptible it is to slipper roads. The larger wheels also mean it is less likely to get stuck in a muddy spot or a snow bank, as it has more grip and more torque. Extra ground clearance and more weight means that a washed out road is really not that big of a deal.

Which Kia Vehicles Are Best for Families?

Vehicles from Kia’s lineup are routinely being chosen as great cars for families. Many families choose Kia specifically because of the perks that this brand offers to buyers with families. Not only are there advanced safety features that come standard on every single vehicle, most vehicles are equipped with both plenty of seating and infotainment systems that make driving around more than one person simple and easy.

What defines a family vehicle? You could, theoretically, put your family in any vehicle. When I was growing up, my father drove a little blue hatchback that barely had seating for four people; even when we were kids, we simply did not fit in the vehicle and going anywhere was a difficult and uncomfortable process. But what makes a great family vehicle?

The first criteria is seating. How important this criteria is will fluctuate depending on how many people there are in your family. Larger families usually prefer minivans because they provide up to seven seats. There are also large SUVs that could provide a third row of seating, making it easy to transport more than just four people in comfort. However, for a family of between two and four, you might have plenty of seating with just a standard sedan.

The second criteria you will want to consider is storage space. Even if you are just driving the kids to school and picking them up, if the vehicle you choose does not even have enough storage space for three normal backpacks, you might be looking at a car that is simply too small. Because families usually need more groceries and carry more luggage when they travel, the more storage space you can get, the more comfortable you will be in that vehicle.

Fuel economy is another important factor. Having more people in a car means that the car will consume more gas to get where you want to go. It could also mean that the vehicle is driven more than a vehicle would if it was driven by just a single person or by a couple. The better the vehicle’s fuel economy is, the less it will cost to drive, and in a situation where you will probably have to be buying more gas than a single person does, it is always nice to know that your car makes the most out of every gallon of fuel that you put into it.

The last and most important criteria is safety. Everyone wants to drive a safe car, but if you are driving around your family, you are likely more concerned with safety than the average person. A car that has had thorough child and passenger safety testing, that has airbags not just in the front seat, but all around the interior of the vehicle, and that has preventative features in the interior of the vehicle is going to be a much better option for most families.

Which Kia Vehicles Are Best for Families?

If you are looking for a vehicle specifically for your family, Kia has a wide variety of option. There are two however that stand out, even from the excellent selection this brand offers. The first is the 2016 Kia Optima. It was chosen by Kelley Blue Book as being one of the Best Family Cars and it was also awarded the KBB Best Buy Award. What makes this sedan so perfect for families? It succeeds in all four criteria.

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While it does only have two rows of seating, it has ample leg room and comfortable padding, making it a great option for families that have felt crammed into other sedans. It is one of the larger sedans in Kia’s lineup, which means there is plenty of room both side to side and in the leg areas for even the tallest individuals. It also has a great trunk with more than sixteen cubic feet of space, so there will always be enough storage space for your family.

For fuel economy, the Kia Optima cannot be beat. It gets 39 highway mpg, and if you buy the hybrid option, it will get even better gas mileage, so you make the most out of every tank. And for safety, KBB liked the rearview camera, the alerts for both lane departure and front end collision, and that there was a surround view camera that helped keep drivers apprised of their surroundings. All in all, it more than succeeds in being a perfect family car.

The second standout option is the 2016 Kia Sedona. What has really earned this minivan the KBB’s attention are the seating options. It has three rows of seating, making it great for larger families or for families that often find they have more than four people to drive around. It actually has seating for up to eight! There is also ample cargo room, and the additional rows of seats can be used for even more cargo space, should you require it.

Like the Optima, the Sedona has a wide variety of safety features, all of which are designed to both prevent a crash from happening and from making a crash less catastrophic if it does happen. It has the same surround-view camera, lane assist, and adaptive cruise control that you will find on the Optima.

Which vehicle is right for you and your family? The only way to know for sure is to come down to Burlington Kia and test drive both of them! Keep in mind that there are different trim levels that will provide even more comfort and even more safety features.

The 8 Biggest Car Buying Mistakes (and How to Avoid Them)

right or wrongA car is likely one of the larger purchases you are going to make in your lifetime. As with any large purchase, the fear of making the wrong choice or getting a bad deal can make it impossible to actually make a purchase, even if you know essentially what you want to buy and where you want to buy it from. Here are eight of the biggest car buying mistakes and how you can avoid making them as you start looking for your car, whether it is the first car you’ve purchased or the tenth:

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1. Buying from a dealership that you do not trust – Many people still have the mental image of a slimy cars salesperson when they step onto a lot. They are afraid that they are going to be bullied into buying a car, even if it is not the vehicle they want, or they are going to be forced to pay more than they wanted to pay. You can eliminate this problem by buying from a dealership that you trust and that you know will help you find a car that works for you, not just find a car that they can unload on you.

2. Not test driving the car enough – The salesperson you are working with will likely recommend that you take any car you are thinking seriously about for a test drive. Don’t just drive the car around the block and then bring it back to the dealership. You need to see how it behaves on a wide variety of different road conditions, including the highway. You might like how it drives on the surface streets, but hate how it drives at speeds over fifty miles an hour. Try to take it on a route that you might often be driving (or one similar), to see how it will act under your normal driving circumstances.

 

3. Guessing what your trade in is worth – The car that you are trading in likely has some sentimental value. Because it is likely at least a few years since you purchased that car, you might not have a good idea of what the trade in is actually worth anymore. Even if you bought that vehicle for $20,000, it is not going to be worth anywhere near that amount of money. The only people who can really tell you what that vehicle is worth is a car dealership, that has an expert who can evaluate your car based on its mileage and condition.

4. You make a panicked decision in order to get a special deal – The last thing you want to do is to jump into a car purchase without carefully thinking about whether or not the car you are buying is the vehicle that you actually want. The salesperson might be offering you a one-time deal, and you think that you have to make the decision right then or you will not be able to buy the car. If your mind is not fully made up, if you are not completely sure that this is the car you want to buy, do not buy it until you have to make the decision!

5. Not talking to your insurance agent – When you buy a car, you are going to need to add it to your insurance policy (or purchase auto insurance for the first time, if you are buying for the first time). Don’t neglect making a call to your insurance agent. If you are concerned about what you will have to pay for certain types of vehicles (some vehicles are more expensive to insure than others), or you want to make sure that you have the right kinds of insurance, including gap insurance, make the call before you make the purchase.

6. Putting too much emphasis on the monthly payment – If you are only looking at how much you will be paying on a monthly basis and not at how much you are paying over the life of your vehicle, you are missing the bigger picture. You want to know how much you are going to have to pay in total, not just from month to month. While lower monthly payments might look good at first, this usually also means that you will be paying a higher interest rate, over a longer length of time, making the vehicle more expensive in the long term. Ask for a calculation of your total costs, not just your monthly costs.

7. Not doing any independent research – Today, you have lots of resources for research. You can find lists of the safest vehicles on the road, can log on to brand websites and read about the special features or options available on different vehicles, you can read blogs, or even see what a dealership like ours has on the lot before you even come to visit us. Doing a little bit of independent research will make it much, much easier to find the car that you want and will probably shorten the entire car buying experience.

8. Picking something flashy instead of something practical – It can be very tempting to buy the sports car, when what you actually need for your lifestyle is the more sensible sedan. Luckily, Kia offers a wide variety of different vehicles that are both stylish and functional, so you do not have to choose between the two. You should still be mindful, however, of how you are going to use your car and what type of vehicle might be best for those needs.

Why Wash Your Car?

car washCar washing was always one of the most hated chores in our household. It usually meant an entire afternoon in the sun, scrubbing down a month’s worth of dirt and grime from a vehicle. Often, we would just skip it, and let the vehicle go another month without being washed. And why not? While a little bit of dirt on the car might not make it look great, it certain wasn’t hurting the car was it? It turns out that washing and waxing your vehicle is about far more than just making your vehicle look great. In fact, regular washing can prolong the life of your paint job, prevent scratches, and simply make your car work better. Here’s why you should wash your car:

1. Keeps your windshield clear – Nothing is more frustrating that driving and realizing that you cannot see through your windshield as the sun shines on it. While you can often clear it up a little bit if you use fluid and your wipers, you are simply not going to be able to get a thorough clean unless you actually was your car. It’s also important to remember that your front windshield is not the only window in your vehicle. You cannot clear off your side or back windows just by spraying them down and using your wipers.

2. Keeps your headlights clear – Over time, your headlights will start to accumulate dirt and dust, which can make their lights dimmer and make it more dangerous for you to drive at night. If you regularly wash your vehicle, you probably will not have to worry about your headlights becoming so cloudy that they do not effectively light the road that you are driving down. As one of the most basic and important safety features on your vehicle, make sure that they are properly cared for.

3. Helps to prolong the life of your paint – The paint job on your vehicle is not going to last forever. We’ve all seen those vehicles, where the paint has started to chip or strip away. Before the elements can do this to your paint, they have to work through the wax and sealant on your vehicle. This usually occurs because of grime and dirt on the surface of your vehicle. Any time you brush up against a dirty car, you scratch that car. If you do not regularly remove the dirt, it can actually become like sandpaper as you drive. The longer the dirt is allowed to cake up on the surface of your vehicle, the more damaging it becomes.

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4. Helps to prevent chemical damage – Especially after the winter, when most communities put rock salt or chemical deicer on the roads to help keep them clear, it is likely that your vehicle has accumulated chemicals that could be eating through the paint. Even run of the mill sap that drops from a tree onto the hood of your car can quickly eat away the sealant and paint, leaving behind just the metal, which is now susceptible to rust. Even slightly acidic rain could seriously damage your vehicle. If you live in a city where there is pollution, each time it rains, that pollution is likely being rained down on your vehicle, where it can start to eat away at the paint job. Regular washings prevents this from happening.

5. Makes your vehicle look nice – Nothing can make your prouder of your vehicle than washing it. A thorough wash, using the right detergents and followed by a wax, can make your vehicle look just as beautiful as the day you bought it.

 

Now that you know it is important for you to wash your vehicle, how do you actually keep it clean? There are essentially two ways that you can wash your vehicle. The first is by hand and the second is by taking it to a car wash.

What are the benefits of choosing hand washing? When you get up close and personal with your vehicle, you can see where it needs the most attention. Some vehicles, especially those with aggressive styling, will often accumulate dirt and grime in areas that might be difficult for an automatic car wash to clean away. When you are washing by hand, you can easily find those areas and buff them clean. The issue that most people have with hand washing, however, is that they do not know how to do it safely. If you use a sprayer on your hose, you might actually be creating the problems that you are trying to solve by washing away the dust and dirt that has settled on your vehicle.

It is important to use the right detergents and to thoroughly dry your vehicle once you have washed it. Not only will you be left with water spots if you do not hand-dry your vehicle, you might be left with water spots that can eat through your paint and ruin it.

An automatic car wash is a great alternative for most car owners. These usually have settings that wash the undercarriage of your vehicle, which is an area that can be difficult to get to when you are handwashing your vehicle. They are also usually designed so that the water pressure is high enough to clear away the dirt, but not so high that it will peel the paint off of your vehicle. You can find one that will apply wax and other coatings to your vehicle to further protect it from the elements, too.

Best Kia Vehicles for Young Professionals

professionalBeing a young professional can be exciting, but it can also mean long hours and late nights while you are trying to establish yourself in your chosen profession. Buying a car is often part of just starting out in life, but deciding which one specifically to purchase, especially if your life is still in flux, can be difficult. How do you know what vehicle is going to function just as well for you in three years as it does right now? The key is to buy a vehicle that is versatile. Luckily, Kia has a wide variety of those in its lineup. Here are the best Kia vehicles for young professionals:

The Kia Optima

The Optima is probably Kia’s most versatile vehicle and one of its most popular. It is designed to be both stylish and fun to drive, which makes it a great option for younger drivers. It’s also armed to the teeth with the best technology optima has to offer, as well as a number of great safety features, which could be a selling point for those who have long commutes and spend a lot of time on the road. This is a mid-sized sedan, which makes it larger than some of Kia’s other sedans, for more storage space and leg room. You certainly won’t sacrifice sportiness, however, if you choose the Optima.

The Kia Soul

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The Soul is, without a doubt, the most unique vehicle in Kia’s lineup, which should make it the perfect choice for anyone who wants a car that marches to the beat of its own drum. It has everything that makes a sedan great, while being extremely unique-looking. On a less-aesthetic level, it is a fun-to-drive, engaging vehicle with plenty of technology and advanced handling. If you want to turn heads and to drive a vehicle that no one else at the office is going to be driving, this is the one for you.

The Kia Sportage

If you are looking for a vehicle that is as stylish as it is versatile, the Kia Sportage is a great option. Not only is the Sportage getting a few incredible updates this year (including being the first to get Kia’s updated UVO3 infotainment system), this vehicle is affordably priced, starting at just over $22,000. This makes it comparable to many entry-level sedans for most other brands, but gives you the functionality and look of a SUV.

If you find yourself often needing to haul stuff or people around, this is the vehicle for you. While some brands might opt for a more utilitarian design, the Sportage is sporty without being drab, and is still tons of fun to drive.

The Kia Forte

The Kia Forte is routinely among the cars listed as being the best for those just starting out in their careers—and for good reason. It’s stylish, there are plenty of different color options, which makes it customizable, and it gets great gas mileage. It is also less expensive than most other vehicles, starting at just under $16,000, which makes it much more accessible than even the cheapest sedans from most other brands.

The Forte has a lot going for it. Despite its relatively small size, it still has a roomy interior, a high quality infotainment system, and a sporty design that makes it a great choice for someone who does not want a sedan that looks like something their mother would drive. One of the best reason to pick a vehicle like this is to be able to get more vehicle for a lower price. The low entry price makes it possible to upgrade to a higher trim level and get more features, while still paying less than you would for other vehicles.

The Kia Rio

The smallest and least expensive vehicle in Kia’s lineup, the Rio still has plenty to offer. Not only does it have a combined MPG of thirty-one, it starts at just over $14,000. You cannot find a sedan, even a sub-compact, from any other brand, at that price. They just don’t exist. If you need a car and you want to buy a new car, but you can’t find anything that is affordably priced, this is a great alternative. You will be looking at very low monthly payments, or a shorter payment track, giving you the flexibility to pay off your vehicle quickly.

The Rio comes in two different configurations. There is the standard Rio, which has four doors, and the Rio 5-door, which is essentially the same as its four-doored alternative, except that it is a hatchback. This gives the Rio an even sportier appearance.

The Optima Hybrid

Last, but not least is the Optima Hybrid. It looks almost exactly like the Optima, but it has one important improvement: gets a combined MPG of thirty-eight. This means that if you have a long commute or you just want to protect the environment, you could seriously reduce your impact on the environment, simply by buying this vehicle.

What is especially impressive about this option, is that, despite being a Hybrid, it is still reasonable priced, starting at just under $26,000. This is not a price point you are going to be able to find from most other brands. If you want to purchase a vehicle that protects the environment or allows you to use less gas, you are probably going to see yourself with few options that start under $30,000. Kia does it and provides with a stylish, eco-friendly option that any young professional would be proud to drive.

What You Need to Know about the Kia Niro

Have you heard about the newest model entering Kia’s lineup? It’s called the Niro, and is the very first hybrid SUV. Kia announced this vehicle as a part of its Green Car Roadmap, which is slated to increase the number of green vehicles Kia sells by a factor of three by 2020. If you are looking forward to seeing more environmentally-friendly vehicles on the road, you are probably excited about this announcement, when it was made at the Chicago Auto Show a few weeks ago. So, what can we expect from this first of its kind vehicle?

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Sharper Design

When most people think of hybrid vehicles, they think first of Toyota’s Prius. That vehicle has a very unique look, and the appearance was part of what drew people to it. It was designed to stand out, to be obviously different from strictly gas-powered vehicles. Instead of obviously proclaiming itself as a hybrid vehicle, the goal of the Niro is just to stand out. Instead of favoring the rounder design that many hybrids in many other brands have, Kia has opted instead for something sharper and a little more aggressive. It’s sleep, with a long roofline and an almost athletic stance.

Kia did not want the Niro to stray too far from its sport utility roots or to look out of place alongside the rest of the vehicles that Kia offers. It will still have the same tiger grille and flanked headlights that most Kia models share.

Inside the Niro, you’ll find roomier, more comfortable seating than is offered in other hybrid models, largely because the vast majority of other hybrids are sedans. Because it is a SUV, it can provide better seating and more leg room. And because it has a wheelbase of more than 106 inches, this vehicle actually has a fairly wide stance, giving you more room to spread out. Specific attention was obviously paid to ensuring there was enough leg room, headspace, and shoulder room.

Across the board, this vehicle is being praised for it’s distinctly non-hybrid design. It looks clean and rides wide and low, giving you great grip while driving. It looks and, most importantly, drives like, just about any other vehicle on the road. While some brands are shouting their green-friendliness to the rooftops by making their hybrids look clunky and almost toy-ish in design, Kia knows that it is important to make their cars, whether they are gas-powered, hybrids, or straight electric, still look like cars.

Better Gas Mileage

One of the biggest reasons people stay away from SUVs and opt, instead for a sedan is the huge decrease in gas mileage between these two types of vehicles. Most SUVs are lucky to get twenty miles to the gallon, while the average sedan could get more than thirty. The Niro gets fifty combined MPG, featuring an Atkinson Cycle 1.6-liter four-cylinder and a 1.56-kilowatt hour lithium ion polymer battery, both of which have been specifically designed for this vehicle.

This makes the Niro much better than even the Optima Hybrid, which currently gets only a comparatively low thirty-eight miles to the gallon. For those who are looking to spend less on gas (even though gas prices have been extremely low lately), or who simply want to decrease their carbon footprint, this is an ideal option. The kind of gas mileage just is not being rivaled by any other hybrid and certainly not by any gas-powered vehicle.

Other Updates

Along with the Niro, Kia has announced a range of other features and updates, some of which related directly to the Niro, and others which are related to other vehicles or to their lineup as a whole. For example, the Niro is equipped with a six-speed, dual clutch transmission, which is designed to make shifting smoother and faster, enhancing the performance of this vehicle and simply making it more responsive and more fun to drive than just about any other vehicle, and certainly more fun that other hybrids, which have long suffered from jumpy throttles and weird braking behavior.

One of the biggest talking points at the Chicago Auto Show was the cushiness of the interior of this vehicle, which is likely to be mirrored in improvement of the interiors in vehicles across the lineup. There was also better sound insulation, a high-class acoustic windshield, and even special mounts on the engines that dampened the sound and vibration of the vehicle.

Other advancements that are likely to be seen across the whole of the lineup include advanced blind-spot mirroring, better traffic alerts, cruise control that adapts to how you are driving, more streamlined systems for detecting and alerting drivers if they are departing lanes, and even improved emergency brake systems.

The last major introduction from Kia was the UVO3, which is going to be bringing some big changes to Kia’s infotainment system, and which is going to be available on the 2017 Kia Sportage. The new system will have three notable changes: more telematics systems, the integration of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and music storage, on the vehicle’s own system. This means that drivers will have more information about their vehicle, will be able to control their smartphones from the UVO3 (for more than just texting and calling), and will actually be able to download music onto their vehicle and store it there, completely eliminated the necessity of syncing or plugging an mp3 player into the system!