Drive Safer: Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Kia Vehicle

If you choose to buy a vehicle from our Kia dealership (or one of our partner dealerships in Turnersville and Allentown), you are already making a decision that could make you a much safer driver. All Kia vehicles are equipped with safety features that not only protect the driver and passengers in the event of an accident but actually also make those accidents easier to avoid. These range from back up cameras to lane diverging alerts to predictive braking systems. Here are some tips that will help you make the most of these safety features in your new kia:

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1. Put away the cellphone. This is something that might be difficult, especially for younger drivers. We’re so used to checking out cellphones these days that if we don’t do it every five minutes, we start to feel disconnected from the world. Even just looking down to check your text messages when you are at a stoplight is not a good idea. Make it a habit to not just put your cellphone in a cup holder while you are driving, but to actually put the cellphone away, where you cannot hear it or see it.

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2. Slow down. Especially in areas where the speed limit is already low, it is important not to speed. Not only is speeding in a residential area very dangerous, for every mile an hour you are going, you have a 5% higher chance of dying in an accident. That means that if you are going 60 in a 55 zone, you have a 25% higher chance of dying if you are in an accident than if you were going the speed limit. Speed limits are not arbitrary—they are carefully calculated based on the road and its surroundings.

3. Don’t drive while drowsy. Driving while tired can be just as dangerous as driving while drunk. Even if you know the road well, if you are drowsy, your reflexes are not as fast as they might need to be in order to avoid hitting another vehicle or a person. You might even find yourself nodding off, which can lead you to causing a serious accident, even if yours is the only car involved. This is especially important if you are going to be driving at highway speeds, as falling asleep or not paying attention while driving at this high rate of speed can have disastrous and even deadly results, no matter how impressive your vehicle’s safety features are.

4. Wear your seatbelt. The seatbelt is one of the oldest and most common safety features and you are going to find them in every single vehicle that you can purchase. It might sound cheesy, buy wearing your seatbelt can save your life. When in an accident, a seatbelt restrains you so that you are not thrown from the vehicle. While you might think that you can brace yourself before impact, the truth is that the speed at which most serious accidents occur ensures that individuals not wearing their seatbelts are going to be in for much more serious injuries than those who did wear them.

5. Slow down in bad weather. Bad weather doesn’t just mean snow (though if there is snow on the road and the road is not just wet, you should slow down significantly). Bad weather means rain, sleet, hail, fog, dirt, and smoke. If visibility is reduced, slow down. If the road has the potential of being slick under your wheels, slow way down. Just about any type of weather can cause a dangerous driving situation, so pay attention to the conditions and adjust your driving habits accordingly.

6. Don’t tailgate the vehicle in front of you. There are only a few outcomes of tailgating. In general, when you tailgate someone, it is because you think they are going too slow. It’s very rare that this person is going to suddenly realize that they are going too slow and pick up the pace, simply because you are riding their bumper with your vehicle. If they do happen to notice that you are tailgating them, they are probably just going to get annoyed, which means that they will continue driving slowly and might even slow down. This is a situation which can be very dangerous for you, as the tailgater, as you might not have time to slam on your breaks, if the person in front of you slams on their breaks. While most Kia vehicles do have advanced safety features that automatically apply the brakes if the vehicle sense that the car in front of you is suddenly slowing down, your vehicle is not going to be able to completely compensate for how close you are to the other car.

7. Pay attention to what the people around you are doing. One of the biggest mistakes you can make while on the road is to assume that everyone else is paying as much attention to the road as you are. Assuming that everyone else is doing their best to avoid getting into an accident and therefore letting your guard down is a good way to get into an accident. Take the time to pay attention to what the cars around you are doing. If the car in front of your is swerving in the lane and it is pretty obvious that they are texting or doing something else that distracts them from the road, it’s a good idea to get as far away from this driver as you possibly can.

How to Take the Stress Out of Buying a New Car

Buying a car is a big purchase, even if the vehicle itself is fairly inexpensive. This is one of the largest purchases that most people will make and they do not want to make the wrong choice or feel pressured into purchasing a specific vehicle. Buying a new car should be fun and exciting, not stressful! If you are feeling stress or anxiety about this purchase, there are ways that you can soothe these fears and prepare yourself to make sure you are making the right decision.

1. Shop at a dealership you trust. When you buy from us or our Burlington or Turnersville dealerships, you know you are working with salesmen and with dealerships that you can rely on. We are proud of the vehicles that we sell and we are excited to help you find the vehicle that fits your needs. When you trust the people you are buying from, it will be much easier to find a car that you are ultimately happy with. There is nothing worse than driving your car home and wondering whether or not you made the right decision. We will help you make sure that you did!

2. Do research before visiting dealerships. If part of your stress stems from the fact that there are so many different choices, even within the same brand, you can save yourself a little bit of stress by doing research before you actually start visiting dealerships. This might enable you to not only eliminate certain models, but entire makes. If you go online and look at a certain brand’s lineup and discover that they don’t have any vehicles that you are interested in test driving, you can cross that dealership off of your list and move on to the brands that are offering you vehicles you want to look at in person.

buying a car3. Look for dealerships offering incentives or deals. The monthly car payment might not actually be that worrisome for you, but that doesn’t mean that looking for a dealership that is offering a deal, discount, or incentive isn’t a bad idea. Some brands will actually offer you discounts if you already own a vehicle from that same brand. Others might be running specials where they offer extra money on a trade in vehicle. Many dealerships have specialized offers on certain models. Take a little bit of extra time to see if the brands that you are interested in buying from are offering one of these specials.

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4. Decide on your budget before you get to the dealership. If you want to avoid even looking at cars that you know you can’t afford, decide before you get to the dealership what the very ceiling of your budget is going to be and then do not budge. If you are not sure how much the vehicles you are looking at are going to cost you from month to month, it is worth your time to use the payment calculators that every single brand has to get a good idea of what you are likely to pay, were you to buy that car. Make sure, if you have a tight budget, that you take car insurance and the cost of gas and repairs into consideration when deciding how much you want to pay.

5. Pick the right time to shop. There’s no “best time of the year” to buy a car. Every brand runs sales almost year-round and each individual dealership will over different incentives at different times. You probably will end up paying about the same for a car no matter what time of year you decide to buy. That said, if you want a less stressful buying experience, it is worth your time to pick the right day of the week to shop. If you can shop during the week, when most people are going to be at work, there will be fewer people on the lot and less competition for the attention of the salespeople.

6. Look for loans before you go. Most dealerships offer their own financing for their buyers, but this doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t shop around to see what sorts of loans and rates are available. Unless you are able to pay cash for a vehicle, you should spend at least a little bit of time familiarizing yourself with the loans that local lenders offer, as it is likely with one of these lenders that your dealership is going to work in order to finance that car for you. If you know what rates are considered fair, you’ll be much more prepared to negotiate when it comes time to buy.

7. Contact the dealership before visiting. If you know exactly what vehicles you want to test drive, it might be worth your time to call or email the dealership before you show up, asking if they have those models in the colors and with the features you need, so that they have them prepared for you. You’ll also establish a personal connection with the dealership, so when you show up, they already know who you are and you will probably already have a salesperson available and ready to help you find the perfect car.

8. Know when to walk away. If you are not one hundred percent ready to buy a car, the experience is going to be stressful, no matter what you do. If you really are not ready, be ready to walk away and take a few days to think about the purchase and which vehicle really is going to be the best for you and your lifestyle.

Ask Our Dealership: Common Car Maintenance Questions Answered

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

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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.

Common Oil Change Scams and How You Can Avoid Them

oil changeNo one likes getting scammed, but unfortunately, thousands of people very years are still duped into paying for something they do not need, simply because they are not aware that some unscrupulous oil change stations will look for and take advantage of people that do not know very much about their own vehicles. You don’t have to be a car expert to know when you are being scammed and what you can do to avoid it. Because the oil change is an extremely common maintenance task for most people, it is where most people are likely to be scammed. Here’s what you need to be aware of:

1. They made a bunch of repairs while you were away. Some oil change stations will actually take a look at your engine and your tires to make sure everything is proper working order, while they are draining your oil or putting new oil in your vehicle. They may even make a few minor repairs for you—but they shouldn’t make any of those repairs without actually asking you if you want them made. Shops that say that they couldn’t ask you because you dropped your vehicle off and left are probably just trying to make a buck off of you. Here’s the long and short of it: don’t pay for anything that you didn’t specifically ask for and which you didn’t specifically tell them it was alright to do. They might try to entrap you into paying for those repairs, but if they didn’t ask you if it was alright to make any repairs (if they even made the repairs they claim to have made), you’re not obligated to pay for any additional work and it is illegal for them to try to hold your car until you pay for work you didn’t authorize. If necessary, you might need to call the police.

2. They showed you someone else’s air filter and told you it was yours. This scam is surprisingly common, so common, actually, that when I last took my own Kia in to have its oil changed while we were on a road trip, the shop tried this scam on me, not knowing that I’d just had my air filters replaced, before we left on the trip and knew there was no way those black, dusty filters were mine. You will probably need to have your filters replaced every 20,000 miles or so, but if you’re not convinced that the air filter they’re showing you is yours, ask them to show you where exactly in your vehicle the air filter came from. The best way to avoid this type of scam is to know when your filters were last replaced and how often your specific brand recommends replacements.

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3. They find a bunch of issues with your vehicle when it went up on the hoist. This is a scam that shops will often try to pull on people that they think are not very car savvy. As you’re sitting, waiting for your oil to be changed, they might call you back and tell you that when they put your car on the hoist, they discovered that there were a bunch of things wrong with it, probably things that sound very technical and are difficult to describe to the average person with a limited understanding of how a car works. The best way to avoid this scam? Learn a little bit about your vehicle. When they start trying to speak gibberish at you, hoping you won’t understand what they are talking about, ask them to show you specifically on the vehicle what the issue is and to explain it to you until you understand what exactly the problem is. They’ll probably give up, instead of trying to continue the charade.

4. They tell you it’s time for a service that it’s not actually time for. This is similar to the air filter scam, but on a larger scale. They’ll tell you that you need new tires, that you need new oil filters, that you need new spark plugs, etc., hoping that you do not have a maintenance schedule in your vehicle (which, if you own a Kia, you do), and that it is not updated. Many different shops can charge you for performing services on your vehicle that your vehicle didn’t really need. You probably don’t need a new oil filter every time you get your oil changed. If you’ve been paying for one, you have been throwing money down the drain. You can prevent being taken in by this scam by always marking the service you have in your maintenance schedule and by checking that schedule any time they try to tell you that you are in need of a service. It’s nice when you go to a shop that is willing to go the extra mile and take care of other maintenance at the same time you’re having your oil changed, but only if you actually need those services to be performed.

What’s the best way to avoid being scammed when you are having your oil changed? Bring your Kia back to our dealership! We have a location in Allentown and as well as Turnersville, which makes it convenient to get your oil changed without having to worry about being duped by the mechanics changing that oil. You know you can rely on our skilled, honest technicians to change your oil properly and to take care of any other service you might need!

Simple Tricks to Help You Save Gas This Spring

Gas prices are lower than they have been in over five years, but many have projected that gas prices are going to start rising again in the near future. Even if gas prices don’t suddenly shoot up, you might still be looking for ways to help you save gas this spring. Here are some of our favorite gas-saving tricks!

1. Buy an environmentally-friendly car. The very best way to lower the burden of gas on your monthly budget is to buy a car that automatically requires less gas in order to get you where you’re going. Kia has a lot of environmentally-friendly options, from small sedans that get great gas mileage for their class to hybrids and even fully electric vehicles, which make it easy to drive a car that requires less (or even no) gas.

2. Drive the speed limit. While you might think that getting to a place faster means using less gas to get there, the most fuel-efficient speed is actually at around fifty miles an hour. Any stoplights on your way are also designed to accommodate the speed limit. If you are not going the speed limit, you will have a more difficult time stopping at red lights. The higher your car’s gear, the less fuel efficient it is going to be. You’ll also just be safer while driving to and from work or to complete your errands.

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3. Lay off the brakes. Whether you ride your brakes while going downhill or your tailgate so you have to keep stamping on the brakes every time the car in front of you slows down, it’s time to change up your driving habits. Every time you slam on your brakes, you have to press on the gas to get back up to speed, wasting gas and possibly overstressing your breaks. While many hybrid cars will convert braking energy into energy that the car can then use again in the future, all other cars will only lose fuel efficiency when you drive like this.

car gas4. Accelerate smoothly. When you stomp on the gas in order to jolt your car forward, you are probably using more gas than you have to. Instead, accelerate smoothly. This will decrease your wear and tear on your tires and will allow you to get going without burning a bunch of gas as your car tries to get quickly up to speed. Using your brake and gas pedals as little as possible will help you keep your gas consumption to a minimum. The smoother your driving habits are, the less of a toll they will take on your gas tank.

5. Use cruise control. Instead of trying to actively keep your car at a speed, you can put your vehicle on cruise control and it will largely take care of itself. Cruise control prevents you from constantly having to accelerate in order to go the speed limit, which can help you save gas. When you slow down and have to speed back up again, this process takes far more gas than if you had just maintained a constant speed. The only time you should not bother with cruise control is if you are having to stop and go so much that it will be completely impractical.

6. Lighten your car up. If you are hauling around hundreds of pounds of extra stuff in your car, now is the time to unload those things from your car. Many people will put a bang of sand or ice melt in the back of their vehicle in order to give it a little more weight on icy or snowy roads. As the ice and snow start to melt away, it’s time to lighten up your vehicle by removing that extra weight. While it’s great for giving your grip during the winter, it can wreak havoc on your gas costs for the rest of the year.

7. Try not to idle. If you often have to sit and wait for someone you are carpooling with, and you usually just let your car run, consider turning it off. You can usually still listen to the radio when the car is off, and because warmer temperatures mean that you usually do not have to defrost your car or “warm it up” in any way before it is ready to drive, you can waste less gas by just turning off your car when you are not actually driving it. While it’s probably not a good idea to shut your vehicle off while you are sitting in traffic (you don’t want to be trying to turn it back on when traffic finally starts to move again), at just about any other time, shut it down.

8. Don’t use your air conditioning. Especially during the spring, when it is nice enough outside to keep you cool in your vehicle just by rolling down your windows, don’t use your air conditioning. Air conditioning puts a serious strain on your engine, making it work harder, which, in turn, requires the use of more gas.

9. Avoid high traffic periods. If you know that you are going to spend an hour sitting, idling in traffic, why not just wait an hour and then drive home on clear roads, instead? You will waste much more gas just sitting in a traffic jam on the highway than you will if you are just driving straight from point A to point B.

 

These nine simple tricks can make the cost of gas, even if it does continue to stay low and affordable, much more reasonable! For more information to see our range of fuel-efficient vehicles, come visit our Allentown or Turnersville Kia dealerships!

Simple Tricks that Make Keeping Your Car Clean Easy

car cleaningThere is probably nothing as annoying as trying to keep your car clean. No matter how careful you are about removing trash from your car or knocking snow off of your shoes before you get in, your car is going to get a little grimy and dirty inside. Keeping your car clean can make it a much more enjoyable vehicle to drive, but you do not want to spend as much time cleaning your car as you do actually driving it. Here are a few simple tricks that can help you keep your car clean:

1. Use rubbing alcohol to keep your windshield wipers clean. We’ve all experienced it: you turn on your wipers and instead of actually cleaning your windshield, they just push the grime and dirt around, making your window streaky and difficult to see through. This can be such a serious problem that you have to pullover, get out, and actually physically clean your wipers off. Sometimes, even spraying washer fluid does not do the trick. Soaking a paper towel with a little bit of rubbing alcohol and then running it along the rubber part of your wiper will help to remove built up grime that causes that streaking and will prevent it from building up again.

 

2. Use a stiff brush to scrub your carpets. If your carpets are stained and are starting to look a little gross, the best thing you can do is take a stiff brush to them. This type of brush can help to lift of dirt and stains, before vacuuming them up, shampooing them with a machine, or spraying them down with a hose. This step is one of the best ways to get oil and street grime off of your carpeting. When your carpets look clean, the entire car looks cleaner, so do not skip this step.

 

3. Keep a duster in your vehicle and use it at stop lights. Dust starts to build up on your dashboard and console almost immediately. The best way to get rid of it? Keep a duster in your glove box and whenever you are stuck in traffic or at a long red light, break it out and use it to pick up that dust quickly and cleanly. Then, you can just store the duster again, until you need to use it. Your car will look much cleaner when there is not a fine layer of dust over everything.

4. Pick up a chamois. You’ll be surprised at how many uses you find for the chamois in your car. Not only can you use it to defog the interior of your windshield, it can also be used to quickly clean up any spills or drips that occur while you are driving. You might also want to use it dry off your car after you go through an automatic car wash. Air drying is okay, but you’ll get a much shinier, spot-free finish if you actually get out of the car and towel it off after washing.

5. Do not wash your car on a sunny day. On a very hot, sunny day is the worst time to wash your car. Why? Because the sun and heat will cause the water to evaporate very quickly off of your car, leaving soap deposits and water spots behind. Instead, try to wash your car on a cloudy, warm day, where the car will stay wet until you are ready to thoroughly rinse it. You might also want to wait until the car has cooled down after driving it in order to wash it.

6. Slide your seats forward when you start vacuuming. It can be tempting just to vacuum the part of your floorboard that you can see. You will get a much more thorough clean if you take the time to move your seats forward before you actually start vacuuming. That way, you’ll pick up dust, dirt, and debris hiding under your seats, which may find its way out onto your otherwise clean carpets if you ignore it. Once you are done, slide the seats all the way back to make sure you’ve gotten everything that might be hiding underneath those seats.

7. Keep a trash bag in your car. One of the things that can make your car look messy and unkempt are old receipts, food wrappers, notes, and scraps of trash that get left around your car, simply because you do not have anywhere to put them while driving. Keeping a trash bag in your car, somewhere like under a seat where you can grab it easily and then stow it when you do not need to use it, is a great way to corral all of those tiny pieces of trash and prevent your entire car from becoming a trash can.

8. Use cola to get rid of streaks on your windshield. This may be one of the stranger suggestions, but it definitely works. Start by putting a towel along the bottom of your windshield. This will protect your paint job from the acid in the soda. Then, fill a glass with cola. Pour it over the exterior of your windshield, making sure to evenly distribute it. The bubbles in the soda help to get rid of grime. Once the job is done, rinse very thoroughly with water to keep the acid and sugar from harming your vehicle.

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Use these tips and it will be fast and easy to keep your car looking great!

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

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

Ice Melt and Your Paint

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

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

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

Rock Salt and Your Car

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

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

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

Cold Weather

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Flat Tire

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

CWas_BDXAAAoQaQA Light Goes Out

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

Your Battery Dies

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

Your Alternator Is Dead

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

Squeaky Brakes

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

There’s A Puddle under the Car

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

Overheating

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

10 Things All Car Owners Should Know

car tipsOwning a car is a responsibility—I’m sure all of our parents told us that when they first handed us the keys to a car, whether that car was just the family car or a car specifically for us. We’re all older and wiser now, and if you’re bought yourself a Kia, you’ve already take one great step to stay safe on the road. Here are ten things that all car owners should know that they won’t teach you in driver’s education:

1. When your oil needs changing – One of the biggest benefits of buying a new Kia from our New Jersey dealership is the ability to get a car that will tell you when it needs an oil change. These cars have advanced monitoring and diagnostic features that will send a signal up when your oil is getting low. In general, however, knowing that most cars need an oil change every 5000 to 10,000 miles, or every three months, depending on how often you drive and how far you drive, can prevent you from driving off on a long road trip and having it ruined by a break down.

2. What your check engine light means – When my check engine light flipped on, just as we were leaving New Jersey, I was first, worried and second, annoyed. It had to turn on now? While we were leaving the state on a road trip? Your check engine light doesn’t always mean that disaster is eminent, however, which is something I wish I’d known at the time. What it does mean is that the diagnostics systems have detected a problem and that you should have the car looked at as soon as possible. If the light is flashing, this usually indicates a more serious problem than if the light is simply solid.

3. How to replace the windshield wipers – I was away at college the first time I needed to replace my windshield wipers and I was so pathetically bad at it that my attempts to remove the old ones and put on the new ones attracted the attention of my dorm’s RA, who came out and showed me how to do it and gently chided me for not looking in my car’s manual for the instructions. Knowing how to do this quickly will prevent you from losing a windshield wiper when you need them the most.

4. What’s under the hood – You don’t have to know what everything under the hood is, but you should know, at the very least, where the oil goes, where your radiator is, and what your normal fluid levels look like. When I bought my first Kia, I was lucky enough to buy it from a salesman who wanted to make sure I knew what a pristine engine and correct fluid levels looked like. This information will help you quickly diagnose a problem if your vehicle is giving you trouble.

5. Your ideal tire pressure – I recently took my car to have its oil changed at a local quick-oil-change shop. When they were done changing the oil, they told me that they had checked my tires and inflated them all to 32 psi. Great—except that my tires are supposed to be at 38 psi. Knowing what your tire pressure is supposed to be can prevent you from driving around on tires that are either too low or too high. Both of these situations can be dangerous. You can find the right tire pressure for your Kia vehicle in your owner’s manual.

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6. How to replace your headlights and taillights – This is one of the more complicated processes, but it can prevent you from getting a ticket because you are driving around with burned out taillights or headlights. The specific steps for your car in the manual, and most new cars come with LED bulbs that are much less likely to burn out, but this is still good information to know if you drive your car a lot.

7. Where your spare is – Where does your vehicle keep its spare tire? Is it underneath the body of the car? In the trunk? On the top or back? This may seem obvious, but when you have a flat tire, the last thing you want to be doing is searching for your spare and for the gear that you need in order to replace your tire. Know where all of these items are before you start driving.

8. What’s in your owner’s manual – The first time I cracked open my owner’s manual was because I needed to change the time on my car’s radio for Daylight Saving’s. These manuals are full of great resources. They tell you what all of the lights on your dash means, how often you need service, the brands of parts used in your vehicle, how to change your tire, etc. This information can be integral in an emergency so take some time to familiarize yourself with the manual.

9. How to jump start a car – I got “lucky.” There was a summer when I was a teenager when the car I was driving had to be jumped about eight times. I got really good at jumpstarting cars that summer and it’s a skill I’ve relied on since then. Even the best cars can be stalled by a dead battery. Knowing the basic steps can make getting back on the road much faster.

10. How to get out when you’re stuck – Getting stuck on ice, in snow, or mud can be scary and frustrating. Knowing how to get even the smallest, lightest of cars to move can be helpful. The most effective is the rocking technique. Shifting between drive and reverse and going as far as you can in either direction before you get stuck again will usually help you get out of a sticky spot.