Why buy the 2017 Kia Sportage?

kia sportageThe all new Kia Sportage is about to roll into our showroom (it might already be here!), and it’s no secret that we are excited about what this new Sportage has to offer our buyers. Since the early days of its inception, lots has changed about its design and functionality, and we think this is the best Sportage ever. We know that our buyers are going to love this SUV as much as we do. Just in case you’re still on the fence, here are ten reasons to buy the Kia Sportage:

1. The cockpit is all new. During the design of this new version of the Sportage, special time and attention was given to making sure that the driver has everything he needs easily within reach. This includes a newly designed steering wheel with a flat bottom, as well as a center console that has been tilted so it is easier for the driver to see. There is more room for the legs and it’s going to much easier to control your infotainment system from the driver’s seat, especially because of the call and radio control buttons located right on the steering wheel.

2. The engine has been fully turbo charged. What does this mean? It means that this year’s Sportage is going to be much more fun to drive than any other previous incarnation. It features more than 240 horsepower and 260 pounds of torque, making it one of the most powerful four cylinder SUVs on the market. There are even more powerful engine options available for those who want something with even more get up and go.

3. The cargo space has been expanded. The longer body of the Sportage means that there is not just more leg room for passengers (with nearly five inches added over previous models), but also that there is much more room for hauling items. The cargo capacity is over fifty cubic feet, which makes it easy to help your friends move, tote around large items, gear up for camping, and more. You can fold down the rear seats to really get the most out of your Sportage’s storage area.

4. Every Sportage has three driving modes. If you are interested in occasionally optimizing your drive for power and occasionally optimizing it to help protect the planet, you are in luck. The Sportage, no matter which trim level you choose, has three driving modes. These are Normal, Sport, and Eco. The Eco mode will provide you better fuel economy while the Sport mode will give you more powerful acceleration. This gives you more control than ever before over how you drive.

5. The body is stronger. When it comes to safety features, especially with SUVs, you want a body that is made of high strength steel. This is exactly what the Kia Sportage’s body is made from. The 2016 model was only 18% steel, while the 2017 model is 51% steel, the highest rating in Sportage history, making it the strongest, too.

6. You’ll have a better ride and better handling. During the redesign leading up to the 2017 model, emphasis was put on improving both the quality of the ride and how the vehicle handles. There are more and better shock absorbers on the rear suspension. The front struts have been reworked so that they are more adaptable to how to road changes and shifts underneath the wheels. You cannot go wrong with this vehicle. It is going to be more fun to drive and the ride for your passengers is going to be much, much smoother.

7. The fog lights have been improved. Complete with new LED fog lights, seeing in low visibility driving conditions is going to be easier than ever before. The introduction of the ice cube set up, with four LED lights in a square shape on either side of the vehicle doesn’t just provide the Sportage with a unique appearance. It also makes it much more effective at cutting through fog, snow, and heavy rain, so you’ll be safer on the road, even if you have to drive during bad weather conditions.

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8. This is one of the first models with the brand new infotainment system. The 2017 Sportage is one of the first vehicles on showroom floors to have the UVO3, which is Kia’s new and improved infotainment system that comes with a high quality touch screen, navigation, USB ports, and the ability to store music right in your car, completely eliminating the need for external MP3 players plugged or synced to yur car.

9. The exterior has been totally redesigned. In order to make sure that the Sportage keeps up with the Optima and the rest of Kia’s streamlined designs, the exterior of the 2017 Sportage has undergone a redesign. It’s one of the most unique-looking vehicles in our lineup and on the road. It still looks sharp and powerful on the road, while also being made to look even sleeker. You’re going to love how this vehicle looks as you drive it.

10. You can actually afford it. SUVs are traditionally some of the most expensive vehicles on a dealership’s lot. They’re often at least ten thousand dollars more expensive than the average sedan. This is not true of the Kia Sportage. Despite all of the improvements and the streamlined features, the Sportage starts at just under $23,000, which is about what you can buy a mid-sized sedan for from other brands. If you want something bigger and with a little bit more power, this is definitely the better choice.

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:

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.

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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.

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.

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

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

When Should You Invest in Snow Tires?

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

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

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

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When Should You Retire Your Snow Tires?

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

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

What Other Preparations Do I Need to Make?

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

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

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

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

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

10 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Buying a New Car

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Getting Your Kia Ready for Winter: Cleaning and Organization Tips

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

20 Things You Should Always Keep in Your Kia

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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