Friday, August 26, 2016

The Best Cars for College Students

Whether you are helping your child finance their first car or gifting your scholar with a car for graduation, your search for a car will likely revolve around cost-efficiency, fuel-efficiency, comfort, spaciousness, and maybe a little bit of fun. To help you on your search, check out our list of the best cars for college students below:
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Chevrolet Equinox

Best for Space and Comfort
The 2013 Chevrolet Equinox LS SUV is an excellent option for music students carrying equipment, for the team sports captain lugging training equipment, and for the students who love to drive home multiple loads of laundry at Christmas break. An affordable crossover, this vehicle is spacious on the interior, compact on the exterior and comes with great amenities that include all-wheel drive, rear bench seats, and a V6 power engine.

Great for Fuel Efficiency
Our 2015 Chevrolet Cruze 2LT Auto Sedan boasts a high city and highway fuel economy in the 30 mpg range that is sure to save your college student on trips from home to campus and back again. Compact and modest, this car is an excellent starter car for your scholar.

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Toyota Camry
Best to Take Them Through Grad School
If you are looking for the best in reliability and practicality, look to the 2014 Toyota Camry Sedan. User-friendly, this car is equipped with high-tech capabilities for entertainment and safety. With an especially quiet cabin, high safety ratings, and comfortable seating, you can trust the Toyota Camry to take your child from undergrad to their PH.D.
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Hyundai Elantra
Best for the Recent Grad
If you have recently graduated and entered the workforce, there’s a good chance you want to splurge a little and treat yourself to a new ride. With a limited budget, what would be the best vehicle for you? Check out the 2016 Hyundai Elantra SE Sedan. Practical and affordable, this sleek car is excellent on fuel economy at 37 mpg on the highway. There’s plenty safety features including electronic stability, dual front impact airbags, and brake assist.
If a new car is on the back-to-school list this year, use our guide on the best cars for college students to make the smartest and most economical choice. We have new vehicles arriving daily, so visit Kuehn Motor Company to look at more options and to see what your best financing deals could be.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Your How-to Guide for Changing a Flat Tire

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Flat tires seem to happen at the worst possible times. They are obnoxious, but with the right tools and method, you can fix a flat tire on your own and be on your way again. Read our how-to guide for changing a flat tire:
1. Be prepared. For on the road emergencies, your car should be supplied with a jack, a lug wrench, a fully inflated spare tire, and your vehicle owner’s manual. These tools, along with other essential car emergency items like a flashlight, gloves, a poncho, and a snow shovel, will be essential and will prevent an emergency situation from ruining the rest of your day. As another preventative measure, ensure that your tires (including the spare) are properly inflated at the right air pressure. Check tire pressure once a month and before you go on long trips with heavy hauls.
2. Secure your working area. Turn your hazard lights on as well as any additional reflective and flashing emergency lights to warn drivers of your presence. Don’t park on any curves or inclines. Don’t park on dirt, sand, or grass as your jack could become unstable in the soft ground. Turn on the parking brake as well as the emergency brake to prevent rolling, and stick a wedge (wood, a brick, or a large stone) beneath your tires to ensure your safety. If desired, you can take out your floor mat and kneel on the clean side as you work.
3. Use the sharp end of the lug wrench to remove the hubcap. Set it upside down on the ground to contain your lug nuts. Consult your owner’s manual throughout for reference.
4. Loosen the lug nuts prior to jacking up your car. This will make it easier to loosen the lug nuts than it would be while the wheels are spinning. Loosen the lug nuts to about ½ a turn without removing them completely.
5. Now is the time to place your jack. Place the jack under a solid piece of the car’s framework, not under the floorboards. It is likely that your car and owner’s manual have reference points for you to use.
6. Lift your vehicle off the ground with the jack. Lift the car so that the tire is only a few inches off the ground. Make sure the car is secure enough so that you can start working.
7. Unscrew the lug nuts and place them in the hubcap so that you won’t lose them. Remove the tire, gripping by the treads, and place it on its side so it doesn’t roll away.
8. Place your spare tire into the wheel well. Take note that many cars come with compact spare tires that are much smaller and need to be replaced shortly. Align it with the wheel bolts and add your lug nuts. Tighten the lug nuts by hand as much as possible.
9. Lower your car. Once on the ground, tighten the lug nuts to fully secure and prevent your tire from slipping off in the road, double checking your work. Replace the hubcaps onto your tire. Return all tools and emergency lights to your car.
Learning to change a flat car tire is an essential skill that is much easier than it looks. Learn other essential car maintenance skills as well as more vehicle information at Kuehn Motors.  

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Car Maintenance You Can Do At Home

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In our last blog, we talked about how prevention and maintenance are important for your car. In this installment, we want to show you a few simple maintenance tasks you can perform at home.
Changing the Air Filter
An air filter needs to be replaced every 12 months or 12,000 miles - whichever comes first. This fix only takes about 5 minutes and costs around ten dollars. To start, locate the filter under the hood of your car. (It’s a rectangular box with metal clips on the side.) Open the lid of the box, unclasp the metal clamps, and make a note of which way the filter is facing. Remove the old filter, and replace it with a new one. Close the metal clips when the filter has been replaced.
Changing the Oil and the Oil Filter
Switching out the oil in your car can be a slightly longer task, but it is still a money-saving fix that you can accomplish in under an hour. Before you start, remember to change the oil only when the engine has cooled off. Also, familiarize yourself with how to safely handle a car jack before you start. Once you are ready, unscrew the drain plug and empty the old oil into your oil pan. Replace the drain plug once the oil is drained. At the engine, remove the old oil filter with an oil filter wrench. Gently lubricate the rubber gasket on the new filter with fresh motor oil. Fill the new oil filter about two-thirds of the way with fresh oil. Screw in and high-tighten the new oil filter. Using a funnel, fill the engine with new oil. Using your car’s dipstick, double check the oil level. Discard the old oil and oil filter safely.
Replacing Windshield Wipers
Although the method can be slightly different from vehicle to vehicle, the process of changing your windshield wipers is still an easy one that you can accomplish in 15 minutes. While taking care to see how the old blades connect to the metal arms, lift and remove each windshield wiper blade. Being careful to not bend the new blades or scratch your windshield, insert your new blades. Line the blades up and tightly secure them to your windshield.
Replacing Spark Plugs
In need of replacement every 30,000 miles, switching out your own spark plugs can be one of the biggest money savers you can do at home. Locate the sparks which are attached to thick rubbery wires. Depending on how many cylinders your car has, you may find between four and eight plugs. In order to keep track of the order of spark plugs—integral to the function of your car—remove the wire to the first spark plug only. Use a spark plug socket and extension on your ratchet to remove the first spark plug. Install a new spark plug and tighten for a snug, but not overly tight fit. Reattach the spark plug wire, and repeat for subsequent spark plugs.

Performing your own car maintenance can save you money. While completing your own car maintenance can give you a sense of accomplishment, know when it’s best to seek the help of a professional. Don’t take on too big of a project if you don’t have the skill set; otherwise, you are at risk of injury to yourself and of damaging your car’s performance and function.

For other useful vehicle skills to master, learn how to change a tire, clean your headlights, and perform basic battery maintenance.

For more advanced maintenance, or if you simply don’t have the time, schedule an appointment with Kuehn Motors on our website.

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Importance of Preventative Maintenance For Your Car

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There are nearly five million registered vehicles in Minnesota. Sadly, many drivers don’t take proper precautions and preventative measures when it comes to their vehicles - many people wait for a problem to take their car to a mechanic. Proper maintenance may not seem like a big deal, but it can help you avoid costly repairs, catch major problems early, and lengthen the life of your car.

A few easy things car owners can do to be proactive are getting scheduled inspections, changing the oil on time, and checking the tire pressure regularly. Many people try to keep up with these measures, but just don’t know when or how often to check for issues. We’ve made a list of common vehicle maintenance steps and noted when you should be checking for these issues on your car:

Read Your Owner’s Manual

This is the first step no matter how old your car is, or when you bought it. The owner’s manual contains your suggested regular maintenance schedule for your car. You will also see how often your manufacturer suggests changing your oil, filters, timing belts, and more. Check to see which kind of oil you should be using in your car. If you are using the wrong oil, you could be causing costly damage to your vehicle.

Checking Your Car’s Fluids

It is important to learn how to check the fluid levels in your car. Even if your manual does not say to regularly look at fluid levels, do not be afraid to check for yourself. If you are running low, add more or get it changed. Most importantly, never ignore a leak.

- Engine Oil

Check it: Once a month. The old saying was to check your oil every time you fill up with gas, but this is a bit of an overkill. Unless you are not driving your car often or you have an existing issue, once a month is plenty.
Change it: Check your owner’s manual; it varies by manufacturer and model.

- Transmission Fluid

Check it: Once a month.
Change it: Every 50,000-100,000 

- Coolant

Check it: At least twice a year; once in the summer, once in the winter.
Change it: Every 2-3 years. 

- Brake Fluid

Check it: When you change your oil.
Change it: Every two years.

- Power Steering Fluid

Check it: Once a month.
Change it: Check your manual. Typically, you will not need to replace power steering fluid levels, but some manufacturers recommend topping it off. 

Check Your Battery

The average car battery life is two to five years. In Minnesota, batteries typically last longer, because batteries are more chemically active under heat, and (as Minnesotans are well aware) we have rather frigid winters - hooray for the cold! It’s always a smart idea to know where your battery is located and to check for leaks or mineral build-up. If you run across some build-up, you can clean it with a battery cleaning brush and some baking soda. You should also keep track of the date your battery was purchased (it’s written on the battery). If it doesn’t seem to be performing well, you can refer to the date to see if you are in need of a charge or battery replacement.

Change Your Spark Plugs

Make sure to check for worn-out spark plugs or build-up every 30,000 miles. Typically, a spark plug’s lifespan is around 100,000 miles. Improperly functioning spark plugs are usually a sign that your engine is not working properly. Checking and replacing the spark plugs is not as difficult as it sounds. You can usually follow your owner’s manual to change them yourself pretty easily.

Making sure your car is safe to drive and keeping up on the maintenance schedule is a very important task for all car owners. Your car is a huge investment and something you rely heavily on for your day-to-day travel and tasks. It’s up to you to keep it running properly for now and hopefully, many years to come.

If it’s time to replace your entire vehicle, visit to browse our selections online!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Choosing a Vehicle for Your Expanding Family

In the market for a new car for your growing family? It can be overwhelming trying to fit your family’s needs with what the market has to offer, but the search isn’t impossible. Here are a few important things to consider as you search for the perfect car for your expanding family.


For anyone who’s in the market for a car, the number one sought-after feature across the board is safety. Thankfully, many cars come standard with the most up-to-date safety features, but some of the features to be on the lookout for include:
  • Front and side airbags to help in the event of an accident
  • Anti-lock brakes with brake assist to help slow down the car when they detect sudden braking
  • Automatic braking to slow your car down in the event of a collision
  • Integrated child safety harnesses which can easily secure the child seat in a car
  • A rear view camera to watch the road when you back out of a space
For the safest family vehicles of 2016, check out these lists for Kelly Blue Book’s Best Safety Rated SUVs and’s Top 7 Safest SUVs.

family-932245_1280.jpgEase of Access

Ease of access can be a forgotten concern when you are in the market for a new car, but it can make a world of difference in your comfort. Sliding doors in a mini-van or SUV will allow you to open your doors and load your car while in cramped spaces. If your family requires car seats, bring one along as you go out car shopping. The car doors should open wide enough to easily move and maneuver a car seat in and out. Another convenient feature that will soon feel like a necessity are doors that you can open automatically with a key fob. This will be an especially helpful feature when you have to juggle groceries, a car seat, and kids.

Size and storage

You want a vehicle that can not only accommodate your family and their possessions but one that offers flexibility. Do you need a large van to accommodate a big family with enough room to carpool a hockey team? Or would you prefer a spacious yet compact car for easier maneuverability?

Consider how much room your family will need for regular storage, including groceries, strollers, musical instruments, bikes, and more. Do you need room for car seats for the baby or sports equipment for your teen athlete - or both? Think about whether your family will use a vehicle for big excursions like camping trips and long road trips or if you are likely to need a more compact vehicle for life in the city.


Durability and upkeep

Simply put, cars are a big investment. You want to find a vehicle that can withstand years of wear and tear. In your search, consider car maintenance and family maintenance.

Car maintenance is the regular upkeep to keep your vehicle running safely and at its peak performance. Ask yourself, will this vehicle require more than regular car maintenance and checkups? How much of the regular maintenance will be covered by warranty? In the case of used cars, what is in the history report?

Family maintenance includes the steps you take to keep your car clean and good shape. Consider searching for easily cleaned or stain-resistant seat covers, removable floor mats, removable cup holder liners, or storage compartments for cleaning supplies.

With a list of your family’s priorities, you can successfully set out on a search for the perfect vehicle for your family. Of course, the friendly staff at Kuehn Motors are always available to assist you. So get your list ready and stop into Kuehn to begin your search!

Friday, April 22, 2016

Tips for Buying a Teen Their First Car

Image by State Farm via Flickr
They’ve been looking forward to it for years, and you’ve been dreading it since they were born, but it’s time for your teenager to get their first car. There are many things to consider when buying a teenager their first car. Should you buy new or used? Who will pay for it? Where should you go for the best insurance deals? Try not to panic. The tips below will help make this rite of passage a safe and happy one for the entire family.

Assign Responsibilities
The first decision you need to make with your teen is, who’s going to pay for it. Many parents believe that paying for their own car will make a teen appreciate it more, and others believe their teen is working hard enough that a car can be a reward - and a privilege. Once you decide and make a plan, go over expectations and responsibilities. For example, 12 months with no accidents or tickets could be a long-term goal. It’s up to you if you want to give a reward or punishment if the goals are met or not. Just remember to emphasize safety and responsibility from the start.

Keep in mind that many insurance companies offer discounts for good students. You can use that as an incentive to maintain a good GPA and save yourself some money. You’ll also need to decide . Either the car itself, gas and/or the insurance. If they’re the expenses that your teen is responsible for, such as insurance, maintenance, and gas. Generally, teens are more likely to follow the rules if the car’s costs come from their own pocket, but teens can’t afford to pay all the expenses of owning a vehicle. Assigning them some of the responsibility is a good way to prepare them for adulthood.

Image by State Farm via Flickr
Find The Right Car
Midsize sedans tend to be the safest since more mass means more protection. Selecting a vehicle with a small engine makes it harder to speed as well. Also, make sure to search for good deals online. Consumer reports publish an annual used-car guide that is a useful resource available online. If you are able to afford it, look for cars that are certified pre-owned and that are two or three years old. They cost a little bit more but have a limited warranty and better financial and safety ratings. Try to choose a car that scores at least four stars out of five on government crash tests, making sure safety is your number one priority.

Inform Your Teen
Car accidents are the leading cause of death for American teens. It is important to lay down the rules of the road; always wear your seatbelt, drinking is forbidden, texting is not allowed,etc. The internet is full of tragic stories about distracted driving. Talking about these issues will help them understand that driving isn’t a game, that it’s serious and they not only hold their own lives in their hands when driving but everyone they share the road with.

There are several insurance companies that offer free cameras to place in your teen’s car when they begin driving and various apps to download or software to install. Your teen may not like this and think it’s an invasion of privacy, but it’s an excellent tool that can help you rest easier and show them what they’re doing wrong so they can avoid it in the future.

Like old age and taxes, teenagers driving is certain. It can be one of the most nerve-wracking and stressful time, but you have the power to make the transition as painless as possible - especially if you take your teen into Kuehn Motors to shop for their first car. And remember, it’s not all bad - you finally have your own “personal assistant” to send on those errands you’d rather not do!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Spring “Kuehn-ing” - Get a Clean Spring Start for Your Vehicle

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Finally, springtime has come again to Minnesota! The temperature is barely in the 50’s most days, but that won’t stop us from breaking out our shorts! As cheerful as Minnesotans get this time of year, winter more than likely took a toll on our cars, both inside and out. Now is the time to get your car into tip top shape for the coming spring and summer months. Here are some spring cleaning tips to make this chore easier:

  • Clear all trash - Remove all the trash that has been building up over the winter months and organize the things you do still need. Make sure you get all the way under and in-between the seats - you never know what is hiding.
  • Clean and wipe down the interior - Get into every nook and cranny of the inside of your car. You can use either store-bought car cleaning items or, if you are on a budget, you can find a multitude of DIY car cleaning suggestions on sites like Pinterest. Be careful, though - some DIY solutions can be potentially harmful to your car if you aren’t familiar with the chemicals or the processes.
  • Treat and scrubs spots on carpet and/or car mats - If the spot is stubborn, you’ll more than likely need a product that is deep cleaning and that you’ll leave on to soak for a longer amount of time. If your car mats are extremely dirty, you may want to power wash them.
  • Vacuum the interior of the car - Shopvacs tend to work the best if you have one at your disposal. Otherwise, you can use a normal vacuum with attachments to get into tighter spaces. Another option is going to a gas station and using the vacuums available. Remember to remove your floor mats, shake them out, and vacuum them (and the floor underneath) before you return them to the car.
  • Wash the exterior of the car - Most everyone has a preference to the solutions they use to wash their car - from the wacky to the tried and true. If you don’t like spending the energy to really scrub your vehicle clean (especially after a winter of salty roads and slush) simply take it to the car wash.
  • Change out windshield wipers - If your wipers took on too much of the winter stress, you will want a new pair for spring and summer. Spring rainstorms behave very differently than heavy winter snow, and you’ll want to adjust accordingly.
  • Change out winter tires - Your car performs differently in the winter months then spring and summer so it is wise to have two sets of tires if at all possible. Winter tires will wear down faster and do not perform as well in the warmer months (read more here).
  • Clean the inside of windows - Over the winter months, the inside windows can get messy. Cleaning them is especially important for nighttime driving or when driving in the rain.

Now it is up to you to get your car fresh and clean for the spring and summer months. However, one lucky Kuehn fan might not have to lift a finger. We will be holding a contest giving away car detailing packages - so you can let the professionals do all the work! For more information, stay tuned to our Facebook and Twitter pages. Good luck and happy spring!