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A Clean Car is Money in the Bank

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Purchasing a new car is a major financial investment. Keeping it clean is an easy and inexpensive way to protect its resale and trade-in value.

Many motorists procrastinate when it comes to cleaning their vehicles. Whether you do it yourself or have it cleaned professionally, proactively keeping your car clean on the outside, and tidy on the inside, will pay big dividends when it comes to maintaining your vehicle’s value over time.

Here are five simple steps to keep a vehicle clean, helping protect it from the elements and preserve its value.

  • Declutter – Start the cleaning process by removing excess clutter from inside the car as it can be distracting and hazardous, especially when debris finds its way near the gas and brake pedals. Don’t forget to clear out items that have accumulated in the trunk as they can add extra weight and reduce fuel efficiency.
  • Clean the Interior – The next step is to thoroughly clean the interior, wash the windows, and clean and install floor mats. Be sure to vacuum on a regular basis. A clean and orderly interior allows you spot issues in the cabin so you can get them repaired before they get worse.
  • Wash the Exterior – Give your car a good wash from top to bottom using products specifically made for automobiles. Always clean the tires and wheels before washing the body, and don’t use the same washing mitt or cloth for both.
  • Wax Twice a Year – Waxing not only protects a vehicle’s finish, but it also makes subsequent washing easier. Before proceeding, make sure there are no foreign particles on the paint. It is important to note that waxing should be done in the shade, not direct sunlight.
  • Fix Chips – If you find minor paint damage, cover the paint chips as quickly as possible to prevent further damage. For a quick fix until you can get paint touchup supplies, dab a little clear nail polish on the scratch.

Ask Six Simple Questions to Select the Right Auto Repair Shop

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Ask six simple questions to help identify the right auto repair shop to properly care for one of your most valuable assets, your car.

Does the business employ ASE-certified technicians? Credentials and affiliations are indicators of professionalism and the management’s commitment to training and education.

  1. Is the shop and customer waiting area clean and organized? Cleanliness and organization are signs of a well-run business.
  2. Are customers greeted and treated in a friendly and respectful manner? Many auto repair businesses excel in the area of customer service and satisfaction. A simple phone call to the shop to inquire about their services can give you a glimpse of how they treat customers.
  3. Does the business provide a written estimate? The business should complete a written estimate and request your signature prior to starting any repairs on your car.
  4. Does the business offer a warranty? Most auto repair businesses offer a warranty on parts and labor and the warranty is usually in writing or posted in the waiting area.
  5. Does the business have a list of satisfied customers or references that it is willing to give you? Satisfied customers and recommendations from family, friends and neighbors are helpful in finding a good shop. Many auto repair facilities also have company websites that are worth checking out as they often include testimonials and additional information about the business.

A vehicle is a major purchase for most people, so it makes sense to take the time to select an auto repair facility that will take the best care of that investment. Being an informed auto care consumer means not only learning about your vehicle and its service needs, but also the facility that will make the repairs.

What to do after an accident

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If you’re in an accident, first make sure no one in the car is injured. Next, check on the passengers in the other vehicle, pedestrians and anyone else nearby to make sure they’re OK. Then do these five things:

  1. Stay at the scene. Leaving can result in legal consequences, like fines or additional violations.
  2. Call 911 or the local police immediately. They’ll dispatch an officer and medical personnel to the scene of the accident. Once the cops arrive, wait for them to complete an accident report.
  3. If you’re on a busy highway, stay inside the car and wait for the police or an ambulance. It’s dangerous if passengers stand along a freeway or other road with lots of traffic.
  4. Don’t get into an argument or a fight with the other driver. Simply exchange contact and insurance information. If possible, also get the name and phone numbers of witnesses.
  5. Call your insurance provider to report the claim. Your agent will ask you for any paperwork you receive about the accident, and will give you important information on getting your car fixed.

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Dirty Air Filter: How to Check and When to Change

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If your vehicle gets 36 mpg, you’ll burn one gallon of fuel on the average daily drive of an American, along with some 9,000 gallons of air, enough to fill a 12 x 20-foot pool to five feet. That air isn’t just air, however. There’s dust, pollen, insects, sand, dirt and even bits of rubber. The engine air filter keeps this stuff from damaging the engine, and a dirty air filter is a sign it’s actually doing its job.
How Much Dirt Is Too Much? With regular scheduled maintenance, most manufacturers recommend changing the engine air filter every 10,000 to 20,000 miles, mostly as a preventative step. Really, the idea is to change a dirty air filter before it’s too far gone. On carbureted engines, a dirty air filter can impact performance and fuel economy, foul spark plugs and eventually cause misfires. On fuel-injected engines, it can impact performance, but efficiency is usually unaffected. Either way, a degraded air filter may allow unfiltered air into the engine. 

How to Check for a Dirty Air Filter

Fortunately, checking the air filter on most cars is fairly easy. You’ll need is a screwdriver, and you may also have to disconnect an electrical connector or two. Check your owner’s manual for the location and removal procedure. Basically, you open the air box, remove the air filter and look at it. There is no real testing procedure, just a purely visual inspection. A new air filter may be white, off-white, yellow or another color, but you should expect to see at least mild discoloration of a used air filter.

However, you should replace your air filter if any of the following conditions exist:
There is so much dirt and dust in the filter that you can barely see the pleats.
You note oil contamination, this means there is too much blow-by in your engine. Additionally, consider a diagnosis of your engine for blow-by.
You see bits of the filter are falling off or the rubber seal is deformed or cracked.
If the previous installer didn’t install the air filter correctly, it may be doing next to nothing to protect your engine. Rodents love air filter material for nesting, so always be suspicious if you see mouse droppings or nesting materials under the hood of your car.

Pro Tip: Never use compressed-air to “clean” an air filter. This ruins the filter, allowing dirt and other contaminants to get into your engine, leading to accelerated internal wear. If you live in a particularly dusty area, consider a washable foam pre-filter, if applicable, to capture the majority of the dust, and you won’t have to replace your air filter as often.
How to Replace a Dirty Air Filter

If you know how to check an air filter, you already know how to replace it. Buy the correct filter for your vehicle year, make, model and engine size, and compare the old and new, side by side, to confirm proper fit. When closing the air box, make sure the air filter and tabs are properly seated, and that screws or latches close the box securely. Then just reconnect anything you had adjusted before starting the car, and you’ll be good to go.

 

Winterizing your vehicle

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A vehicle that is properly prepared for the elements can help you avoid an unplanned road emergency when the weather takes a sudden turn for the worse.

  1. Battery – Cold weather is hard on batteries, so it’s wise to check the battery and charging system for optimum performance. Because batteries don’t always give warning signs before they fail, it is advisable to replace batteries that are more than three years old.
  2. Antifreeze – Antifreeze (coolant) should be flushed and refilled at least every two years in most vehicles. As a reminder, do not add 100 percent antifreeze as full-strength antifreeze actually has a lower freeze point than when mixed with water.
  3. Brakes – Have the brake system checked. Brakes are critical to vehicle safety and particularly important when driving on icy or snow-covered roads.
  4. Tires – Check the tire tread depth and tire pressure, including the spare. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly as tires lose pressure when temperatures drop.
  5. Oil – Be diligent about changing the oil at recommended intervals and check the fuel, air and transmission filters at the same time. Consider changing to low-viscosity oil in winter, as it will flow more easily between moving parts when cold. In sub-zero driving temperatures, drop oil weight from 10-W30 to 5-W30 as thickened oil can make it hard to start the car.
  6. Lights & Wipers – Make sure all exterior and interior lights are working so you can see and be seen. Check the fluid level in the windshield washer reservoir and replace wiper blades that are torn, cracked or don’t properly clean your windshield.

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Kia Soul EV Recognized for Outstanding Value

In the modern age it is very hard to know if the car you’re buying will hold up for many years ahead and prove itself to be worth the money you spent for it. As the life of your car unfolds, many people find themselves wondering if the car’s value was really what the dealer made it out to be. In the case of the 2015 Kia Soul EV, automotive data compilation and analysis firm Vincentric, LLC has done the heavy analysis and named the electric vehicle as the “Best Value in America.”

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The Soul EV was recognized for its value as a result of the high value of the vehicle and low cost of ownership, but this award stands for more than just the successes of the Soul EV, as the entire Kia brand thrives on a commitment to delivering outstanding value throughout the entire Kia lineup.

The Kia Soul EV has been one of the most lauded new vehicle entries, an impressive zero-emissions vehicle with iconic design, practical features, and the best range of any vehicle in its class, so taking home an award such as this isn’t entirely without precedent.

If you’d like to learn more about the abundant offerings of the Kia Soul EV or any other new Kia models, come and see us at KIA of Lincoln. Our talented team will elaborate on the many advantages of this incredible vehicle, as well as those of the entire new Kia lineup. Soon, you’ll be test driving the model hat catches your eye and we’ll be helping you easily transition into ownership.

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