Show Your Car Some TLC with these Car Care New Year’s Resolutions

When you’re making your list of New Year’s resolutions this year, don’t forget that your vehicle deserve some attention, too. Here are some car care New Year’s resolutions from Gossett Kia South that will keep your car in top-notch condition.

 Car Care New Year’s Resolutions

Hit the car wash

Not only is it more fun to drive a car that looks the best it can, keeping your car clean can actually help you spot any problems on the body of your car more easily. This year, make a habit of visiting the car wash every once in a while—you’ll love the way your car looks and keeping an eye on its condition will be easier than ever.

 

Schedule regular oil changes

It’s easy to put off changing your vehicle’s oil, but it’s important to do so regularly throughout the year. Before this year is over, plan out exactly when you’ll change your oil and stick to your plan. It’s cheap, quick, and one of the best ways to extend your vehicle’s life.

 

Rotate tires

Most people probably never rotate their tires, which is unfortunate, because it’s an extremely easy way to extend your tire life, save money, and reduce excess strain on your vehicle.

 

And, of course, don’t forget the most important New Year’s resolution of all: to drive safely year round to protect your car and everyone inside of it.

Winter Car Care Tips

Fall is in full swing and winter is quickly approaching. Now is the time to properly prepare your vehicle for the colder weather. While Memphis doesn’t see the harshest winter weather, it still pays to be prepared. Here are some helpful winter car care tips to get you started from us here at Gossett Kia South.

Emergency Kit
Creating an emergency kit is the first step to being prepared for when winter conditions strike. A dead battery, loss of traction, or simply getting caught in the snow likely means you’ll be waiting for help to arrive.
In order to stay comfortable and pass the time, prepare an emergency kit that includes warm clothes and blankets, a flashlight with extra batteries, and nonperishable foods. Including cat litter or sand for traction to escape slippery conditions certainly wouldn’t hurt, either.

Tires
As the temperatures drop, so will your vehicle’s tire pressure. Check to make sure your vehicle’s tires are properly inflated on a weekly basis to maximize traction on the road. Don’t forget to check the tread levels before winter arrives in full force! Tires with low tread should be replaced prior to winter for your own safety.

Winter Car Care Tips
Coolant
Keeping your engine up and running all year long means maintaining your coolant. Coolant is responsible for keeping the engine cool in summer and prevent it from freezing in winter. Have your vehicle inspected to ensure the coolant is suitable to weather this coming winter season.

Pay Attention to Your Vehicle Warning Indicator System!

dashboard lightsYour vehicle is equipped with a Vehicle Warning Indicator system. This is a technical term for all those little icons that light up in your dash. A few common indicators you should know are:

Check Engine

This could mean a routine maintenance task is needed. It may also mean that a sudden engine issue has arisen. When you see this light, get your vehicle in for an inspection immediately!

Coolant Temp

See a thermometer icon light up? You will probably notice your temperature gauge is rising as well. Your vehicle is overheating, a condition that could permanently damage your engine. Possible issues could be a faulty thermostat or a busted hose. Either way, get it checked out!

Battery

If your battery indicator lights up, there is possibly an issue with the battery, your alternator, or both. Most car parts stores will check the battery for free. Do it soon before you’re left stranded somewhere!

Tire Pressure Monitoring System

This one is simple. At least one tire is low. Hopefully you’ve got a tire gauge in your glove box (if you don’t, get one!). Pull over somewhere safe and check your tires.

Unfortunately, a lot of people ignore their Vehicle Warning Indicators. If you do, you are losing out on a fantastic diagnostic/warning system that is designed for the sole purpose of protecting your vehicle and keeping it in top-notch shape.

Dashboard Warning Lights: What Do They Mean?

dashboard warning lightsWhen a dashboard warning light comes on, this is a signal from your car to let you know that something might be wrong. While this can be frustrating or nerve-wracking for some drivers, it is important to know what to do depending on the specific warning light you see. While some warning lights may be dangerous, others simply let you know when there is a minor problem.

According to AutoZone, many lights are divided into three categories based on color.

  • Green or Blue – a normal system is operating (cruise, high beams, etc.) or off.
  • Yellow – there may be an issue down the road. Service when possible.
  • Orange or Red – take extreme caution, and have your car inspected ASAP.

These are general guidelines for dash warning lights; nevertheless, you should always follow the instructions found in your owner’s manual.

The most common light you may see is the Check Engine or Malfunction Indicator Light (MIL). This is set off when the engine computer sets a Diagnostic Trouble Code—often related to emissions or general engine problems. The most common causes can be a loose gas cap, faulty O2 sensor, a bad catalytic convertor, or engine misfire among other things.

A Coolant Temp Warning light appears when the engine temperature exceeds normal operating ranges. This can be caused by a coolant leak or clog, bad fan, loose radiator cap, faulty water pump, or bad temperature gauge.

The Oil Pressure Warning usually indicates a loss of oil pressure, which is due to leaks or low oil levels. This can lead to serious issues if left unattended.

If you see the Brake System or ABS Warning Light, you may need to pull over. This could indicate that your parking brake is still on, or you may have brake failure. The brake fluid could also be low. Be sure to have your car inspected by a certified tech as soon as possible.

The Battery Charge Alert lets you know that there is an electrical issue. This can be caused by a dead battery, bad alternator, corroded wiring, or a range of other issues. Electricity is needed for basic operations, as well as engine combustion, making this a serious issue.

These are just some of the many warning lights you may see. If you need assistance with vehicle repair or diagnostics, bring your car into Gossett Kia for reliable service and affordable prices.

Read These Windshield Wiper Maintenance Tips Before Winter Begins

windshield wipersOne of the best ways you can prepare yourself for the snow and slush of the winter roads this year is by making sure your windshield wipers are in top condition, giving you the most visibility possible.

Check out these windshield wiper maintenance tips to get you started:

  • Clean your windshield wipers regularly, perhaps even every time you fill your car with gasoline, to prevent debris build-up.
  • Protect your windshield wipers from ultraviolet radiation throughout the year by not parking in the sun.
  • Inspect your windshield wipers for cracks and tears–and address them quickly.
  • If you notice your windshield wipers aren’t working as well as they should, fix them or replace them as soon as possible.
  • When cleaning your windshield wipers, use gentle products and be sure to dry them thoroughly.
  • Lastly, keep track of how often you change your windshield wipers, and don’t push the life of one pair longer than necessary.

And of course, stay safe on the roads this year by driving a vehicle well-equipped for the winter weather. To learn more, visit us at Gossett Kia Mt. Moriah.

Why Is My Check Engine Light On?

check engineThe mysterious “check engine” light can mean a whole host of different things. Unfortunately, because there isn’t always one, clear problem when the “check engine” light appears, many car owners choose to ignore it until the problem reveals itself in other ways. The check engine light can indicate everything from minor problems to severe ones, and should be addressed as soon as possible when illuminated.

If your check engine light is on, there is a good chance (but not guaranteed) that the problem is one of the following:

Your oxygen sensor needs to be replaced. Your oxygen sensor measures how much unburned oxygen is in vehicles exhaust system, and without replacing it, your car may burn more fuel than needed and cause damage to your spark plugs and catalytic converter.

Your gas cap is loose, damaged, or missing. Your gas cap helps maintain pressure within the fuel tank by sealing the fuel system. Without it, you’ll lose fuel through evaporation.

Your catalytic converter needs replaced. The catalytic converter can be damaged when you neglect replacing your oxygen sensor, your Mass Airflow Sensor, or spark plugs and wires. The catalytic converter turns carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. Without replacing it, your car won’t pass an emissions test and will run at a higher temperature and less efficiently.

Your Mass Airflow Sensor needs to be replaced. The MAF measures the amount of air entering the engine and determines how much fuel is needed to run the engine. Besides reducing efficiency and performance, MAF sensors that need to be replaced can cause damage to the spark plugs, O2 sensors, and the catalytic converter.

Your spark plugs or wires need replacing. Just like the MAF, spark plugs and wires that need to be replaced cause the vehicle to run at a lower efficiency and can cause damage to the O2 sensor, catalytic converter, or ignition coils.

If your check engine light is on, don’t wait to make an appointment at Gossett Kia Mt Moriah!