Category Archives: Car Safety

Complete Guide to Your Car Battery

Understanding how your car’s battery works can help you take the correct action when issues arise. These are the answers to the most frequently asked driver questions about their vehicle batteries.

How Does a Car Battery Work?

The car battery provides the power your car needs by igniting a chemical reaction that creates electrical energy. This voltage is delivered to the starter, which in turn starts the engine. As you drive, the battery also keeps the voltage stable so that the engine runs smoothly without stalling out.

How Long Do Car Batteries Last?

The average car battery needs to be replaced after four to five years, though this varies depending on how often you drive the vehicle and other factors. According to Popular Mechanics, you can extend the life of your battery by avoiding discharge/recharge cycles, such as allowing it to die by leaving the lights on and requiring a jump-start to get moving. They also recommend using a battery heater during cold weather to prevent the wear and tear caused by extreme temperatures.

What Is the Correct Way to Jump-Start a Battery?

Everyone finds themselves stranded at one time or another thanks to a dead battery. To safely jump-start your car, park it with the hood next to the hood of a working vehicle and put both cars in park or neutral. Turn off the engine of the working vehicle and turn off all electronics in both vehicles. Open the hood of each vehicle and attach the red (positive) jumper cable to the positive battery terminal (+) of the dead vehicle, and the black (negative) cable to the negative (-) battery terminal of the charged vehicle. Connect the other end of the black cable to an unpainted metal component of the dead vehicle. Turn on the car that’s working and allow it to idle for five to ten minutes. Turn off the engine and then disconnect the cables in reverse order before starting the dead car. Allow it to idle or take a short drive to give the battery a chance to recharge.

How Do I Know if I Need a New Car Battery?

The telltale signs that your car battery may be near the end of its life include a slow start-up when you crank the engine and problems with the electrical components of the vehicle such as dashboard lights and infotainment features. You can also take a look at your battery itself; if the case is bulging or if you notice a rotten egg odor under the hood, the battery is likely damaged. Many Kia models also have a dashboard light indicator in the shape of a battery to signal you that service is needed.

Can a Bad Battery Affect Other Car Components?

When your car battery isn’t working as well as it should, other car systems step in to compensate. This can lead to undue wear and tear on your charging system, starting motor, solenoid, and electrical systems — all of which are more expensive to repair or replace than the battery.

If you need a new battery, stop by the service center at Green Kia. While you’re here, check out our vast inventory of new and pre-owned Kias.

6 Tips For Maintaining Your Vehicle in the Winter

Your vehicle requires special care during the winter months to provide optimal performance. As the weather grows colder, follow these six tips for maintaining your Kia and keeping it in tip-top shape.

1. Test the Battery

According to Consumer Reports, exposure to cold reduces your battery’s ability to start the engine. That means if your battery is already weak, it could fail completely when winter rolls around, leaving you stranded. Most car batteries last about five years. If your car battery is aging, or showing signs of failure such as difficulty when starting the engine, you should consider replacing it before the weather gets cold. If you’re not sure, ask your mechanic to perform a voltage test which can estimate the battery’s predicted lifespan.

2. See the Light

When it gets dark earlier and when weather is poor, visibility declines. Make sure you’re seeing to the best of your ability behind the wheel by replacing any dim or burnt-out bulbs. Clear dirt, grime, and snow off your headlight covers before hitting the road. If these are foggy, consider having them professionally cleaned or restored.

3. Replace Windshield Wiper Blades

Snow and ice do a serious number on your wiper blades. Swapping them out is an inexpensive fix that anyone can do at home. Before a storm, flip the windshield wipers up so they won’t get frozen to the glass. Frequently refill your windshield cleaning fluid and carry an ice scraper in the car so you’ll always have clear visibility. Wiper blades typically last up to a year, but can become less effective in as little as six months.

4. Evaluate Your Tires

If you don’t already use winter tires, you might want to consider making the switch this year. These tires are made from rubber compounds that improve your traction on slippery roads and improve braking performance by as much as 40 percent according to Autobytel. If you plan to stick with the tires you have, check to make sure you have enough tread with the old penny trick. Insert the penny into your tread head first; if you can no longer see Honest Abe’s face, it’s time for new tires. Even if the tread looks good, check tire pressure regularly before you head out on the road. Tires lose pressure much more quickly during winter months, and driving on tires that are too low can lead to a dangerous blowout.

5. Check the Exhaust

Leaking exhaust is a dangerous hazard when you’re in your car with the windows down. Avoid this issue by having the exhaust system inspected for leaks. Your mechanic should also check for small holes in the trunk or floorboard that could let harmful fumes into the cabin.

6. Carry an Emergency Kit

If you do get stranded in the winter, an emergency kit will be your best friend. Assemble one that includes extra warm clothes, a wool blanket, road flares, a small shovel and sand or kitty litter, a flashlight and extra batteries, high-energy snacks, bottled water, and an extra cell-phone charger.

6 Things to Put in a Car Emergency Kit

You never know what can happen when you’re out on the road. To make sure you’re prepared for a breakdown, you should always have an emergency kit packed in your vehicle with the following necessary items.

1. First Aid Kit

The most essential item in your car emergency kit is a first aid kit. You can buy pre-made kits that include everything you need or you can put together your own kit with what you already have in your home. Regardless of which option you choose, your first aid should include the following:

  • Bandages
  • Antibiotic ointment
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Gauze pads
  • Cotton balls
  • Aspirin
  • Tweezers
  • Scissors

2. Jumper Cables

Sometimes the battery in your vehicle simply requires a jump to get going again. In this case, you’ll be glad you had a set of jumper cables in your emergency kit. However, jumper cables only work if you have another car that can give you a jump. You might want to consider a battery with attached jumper cables. Some options even come with outlets to recharge phones or other mobile devices.

3. Cellphone Charger

Your cellphone is a lifeline if you’re stranded in the middle of nowhere. However, it can only help you if it has a charged battery. You can include a backup cellphone charger in your emergency kit, but if your car battery is dead or you’re trying to conserve battery power, this might not help. In this case, consider including a solar phone charger in addition to your regular charger. Solar phone chargers let you power up your phone anywhere you get sunlight.

4. Food and Water

Food and water are two other important items you’ll want for your car emergency kit. When you’re choosing food items, look for non-perishable snacks and high-calorie options. This can include energy bars, jerky, almonds, dried fruit, tuna packs, and cereal. If you get trail mix, be sure you choose one without chocolate, which will melt in the high temperature of your vehicle. You’ll want to make sure you have enough bottled water for everyone traveling with you, and you can even consider packing a sports drink mix to add to the water for extra flavor and calories.

5. Weather-Related Items

You should always tailor your emergency kit to the weather you’ll be driving in. Therefore, you’ll need to add and subtract items throughout the year to keep up with the changing seasons. For example, you’ll want to make sure your emergency kit has an ice scraper when you’re traveling in the winter. In the summer, a battery-powered fan can help keep you cool while you’re waiting for help to arrive.

6. Entertainment

If your vehicle breaks down, you don’t know how long it will take for help to arrive. The last thing to include in your emergency kit is some entertainment. Consider a book, pack of cards, pen and paper, or something else that can help you pass the time.

Before you head out on your next trip, make sure you have a roadside emergency kit packed with these essential items.

4 Winter Weather Driving Tips

If you’ve ever been stuck in severe winter weather you know how intimidating and dangerous it can be for automobile travel. Drivers should be extra careful on the roads and be well prepared to deal with any winter road emergencies. Green Kia gently reminds our customers to be cautious while driving in adverse weather conditions because your health and happiness is our top priority. These are four winter weather driving tips.

De-Icing Your Windshield

Whatever you do, don’t use hot water unless you want to deal with a bunch of shattered glass. The first thing to do is to start your car and then turn on your front and rear defrosters. This will help melt the ice and snow and also warm up the inside of your car. When you’re ready to scrape the ice off, use a plastic ice scraper because plastic scrapers won’t damage or scratch the glass surface. Don’t use your windshield wipers until after you’ve completely removed the snow and ice from the windshield. Also, make sure your car has enough windshield washer fluid before you head out.

How to Get Unstuck

If you find yourself stuck in the snow or ice, try to avoid the temptation to spin your wheels. This will just dig you into a deeper hole. Instead, safely get out of your vehicle and look for the path of least resistance between your car and clear ground. Then, try to clear the snow behind your wheels and in front of them as well. If you can, generously pour kitty litter or sand around your tires. Also, keep in mind that the more your front wheels are turned, the more resistance you will have in movement in any direction, so try to keep your front tires as straight as possible.

How to Handle a Skid

If your car begins to slide, keep calm and follow these simple steps. First of all, don’t allow yourself to panic. Take a deep breath and refrain from slamming on the brakes. Remove your foot from the gas pedal and steer your car in the direction you want to go. Wait for the car to stop skidding and to slow down so you can recover control. The best thing to do is to prepare ahead of time for handling a skid by practicing in an open parking lot.

Winter Road Essentials

You should always pack some wintertime essentials in your vehicle so you’ll be prepared in the event of an emergency. First start with car essentials, such as flares, a jack, a spare tire, driving chains and a windshield scraper. Next, get together some things that will help keep you safe and comfortable if you get stuck out in the cold. This includes an extra coat, gloves, a warm hat, a blanket or two, hand and feet warmers, bottled water, an extra power pack and charging cord for your cell phone, a lighter, flashlight, and snacks.

Winter can be a stressful time, especially for driving. So make sure you are well prepared with plenty of rest and everything you need to keep you and your family safe on the road.