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.

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.

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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.

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.

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:

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).

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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.