As you start thinking about your resolutions for 2012, resolve to take better care of your cars, and let us here at the dealership help out.
Compared to the cost of a new car, SUV or crossover, basic maintenance is an inexpensive way to avoid much more expensive repairs down the road. Recommended maintenance schedules can vary somewhat, but can always be found in the owner’s manual.
The most basic and important service that every vehicle absolutely needs is a regular oil and filter change for the engine. Oil is critical to keeping metal parts sliding over each other with minimal friction, but over time, oil gets contaminated with moisture, fuel vapors, carbon and metal particles. Oil not changed frequently enough can turn into a thick sludge that can block passages in the engine and cause major damage.
In order to maximize the life of the oil, the filter should be replaced at the same time as the oil. An oil and filter change is inexpensive; newer Kias should get an oil change every 5,000 miles or four months, whichever comes first, so a typical driver will spend less than $100 per year on oil changes.
While the oil is draining, service technicians will also check the levels of other fluids including the coolant, windshield washer fluid and brake fluid and top them off where needed. Many dealers will top off these fluids free of charge during the oil change, but a gallon of washer fluid typically only costs a few dollars, so it’s worth keeping some in your garage, especially in the wintertime.
Every second or third oil change, your vehicle’s tires should also be rotated to help ensure even wear. Front-wheel drive vehicles, in particular, work the front tires harder to put power to the road and steer, so the tires can wear out faster. Swapping the tires to different corners can help maximize their useful life, so you save money and get better handling for extra safety.
In addition to the fluids, the time spent waiting for the oil to drain from the engine can also be used to inspect other parts of the vehicle that are susceptible to wear or damage such as accessory drive belts, brake pads and disks, clutch pedal play, steering linkage and suspension nuts and bolts.
If a vehicle has a separate air filter for the climate control system, this should be replaced with every other oil change, or about every 10,000 miles. The engine air filter should be checked at every oil change and be replaced at least every two years. Drivers in dusty environments may need to replace their filters more frequently if they are getting clogged, so the engine can breathe properly.
At two-year intervals, the engine cooling system should be flushed and the coolant replaced to get rid of any scale that may have accumulated and prevent corrosion in the radiator. The fuel filter and the fuel tank air filter should also be replaced at the same time.
At the four-year mark, Kia recommends replacing the fluid in the differential and transmission, as well as the transfer case on all-wheel drive vehicles like the Sorento. After 10 years or 100,000 miles, the sparkplugs should be replaced to keep the engine running efficiently.
Kelley Blue Book (KBB) is one of the most trusted research sources for vehicle buyers. Their analysts compile data on every vehicle available for sale in America; this year, KBB identified Kia as the “Best Total Cost of Ownership Brand” of any full-line manufacturer. Total cost of ownership includes purchase price, maintenance, fuel cost and depreciation over a five-year period.
Most people depend on their vehicles to get them to and from work, school, the grocery store and everywhere else, so they need vehicles that are ready to go at anytime. On average, following the recommended maintenance schedule for most Kia vehicles will cost drivers less than the equivalent of one monthly car payment every year, keep their ride running reliably for many years to come and help preserve the value when it’s time to trade up to a new model. Maintaining your car takes a lot less time than going to the gym, so make this resolution and stick to it.