Luckily, with the incredible Kia warranties and the high quality of Kia’s cars, taking care of your car will be relatively easy. If you bring it in for its routine checkups, have the oil changed regularly, and give it a wash every now and then, your Kia will take care of you. But our cars are not invincible. Parts will eventually need to be changed and every day wear and tear can cause your car to need repairs over the years. Luckily, if you are handy with a wrench, there are a few repairs you can do yourself.
If you prefer to have a professional look at the issue and make any necessary repairs, bring your car in to our service department is always a good bet. Here are the ten most common car repairs, how to identify the problem, and what to do if you see something that needs to be fixed.
1. The flat tire.
One of the easiest problems to spot—your tire looks flat, devoid of air. Most Kia cars come with a spare tire, changing kit, and instructions in the manual. It’s not as difficult as it looks. All you really have to do is jack up the car (your manual will tell you where to place it and how high it needs to be, as well as what other precautions to take), take off the hubcap (if your wheel has one), undo the nuts and bolts, slide the wheel off, put the spare on, retighten those nuts, and lower the car. Your next stop should be the repair shop to see what’s wrong with your tire and get it fixed.
2. Headlights and taillights go out.
This change is usually not as straightforward as changing a tire, but it is as easy to recognize. Either a cop will let you know (by pulling you over and giving you the directive to get it fixed), or you’ll notice that one of your headlights isn’t working when you’re driving around town.
There should be specific instructions for this in your Kia ownership manual, and you can just ask someone at the car parts store to help you find the right size of bulb. If you don’t feel comfortable changing them yourself (you have to be careful not to touch the bulbs), our service department can change them out for you.
3. Dead battery.
Not necessarily the easiest problem to identify, but if your power locks or lights don’t work and the car won’t start, your battery is likely dead. The short term solution is to get someone to help you jump it. The long term solution is get a new battery installed.
4. Misfiring spark plugs.
Spark plugs are an integral part of your engine’s system. If they are not working properly, you’ll feel it when you idle, start your car, or accelerate. Replacing the spark plugs is usually something best left to someone who is familiar with how to install them and make sure they are properly connected.
5. Missing a mirror.
Did you scrape your mirror off on the side of your garage? Were you driving through a national park and a bear came up to your car and stole your mirror? No matter how you lost that mirror, they are actually pretty easy to replace. You can get an exact match from your New Jersey Kia dealership, or if you don’t mind the mismatched aesthetic, just get a generic one and mount it where the old one used to be.
6. Change your oil.
One of the most essential routine fixes your car will need. Those who are auto-savvy can change their own oil without a problem, but those who might not be as adept prefer to leave the oil change to the professionals. Most repair shops will perform a speedy and inexpensive oil change, and may even throw in a checkup for free.
7. Replace your belt.
You can hear it when you start your car: the annoying squeak of a frayed, damaged belt. This belt is what keeps your car moving forward, so if it’s starting to squeak and it looks cracked, it’s time to have it replaced. This is especially important as we coming into our cold New Jersey winters, as the freezing temperatures can crack that belt even further. While you can replace this belt yourself, our service department can also take care of this repair.
8. Your alternator is dead.
If you go out to your car, tried to turn it on, and it won’t even respond, there’s a good chance that you have a problem with your alternator. If you’re good with electronics and feel comfortable pulling the old one and putting in a new one, you can make this repair yourself. On the other hand, you might prefer to have a professional take a look at it, to make sure it really is the alternator and not just a dead battery.
9. Your radiator is leaking.
Is there a puddle of antifreeze under your car when you move it out of your driveway? This probably means that you have a leak in your radiator. While these problems can sometimes be patched, it’s usually a good idea just to replace the entire radiator, rather than hope that a patch holds out and no more leaks occur. Taking out an old radiator and putting a new one in can be a complicated process, but for those who are familiar with their Kia, it is possible.
10. Worn brake pads.
The pads on your brakes are designed to wear down. If you’re starting to hear squeaking when you brake, this likely means that you are in need of new pads. You can buy them at the parts store and install them yourself, or bring your car in to the service department and we’ll make sure that’s the only problem with your braking system.