Thursday, December 17, 2015

Winterizing Your Vehicle - Part 2

Cold temperatures, snowstorms, and icy roads have already begun in Minnesota and, as sad as it is to admit, it will only get worse. Winter can be a disaster for cars. However, there are steps you can take to winterize your car and make it as safe and reliable as possible for the coming months.


Emergency Kit
Everyone should have an emergency kit in their car over the winter. This kit should include items that can keep you warm, keep you hydrated, and items that may be able to get you out of your situation. Take a look at this article if you would like a more detailed list of items.


Check Your Engine
The cold weather can wreak havoc on the belts and tubes around your engine. Just like other materials, they can expand and contract in extreme weather. It’s a good idea to go to a mechanic to have them looked over to ensure the connections and your engine are in working order.


Keep Your Tank Full
If you let the gas in your car get too low, water can condensate on the sides of the gas tank. The water then will drip down into the gasoline when it thaws, and make its way into the fuel lines. Once it is there, it has a good chance of freezing meaning gas won’t be able to reach the engine. What this means is you’re stuck, and it’s going to cost you to have it fixed. The bottom line is to keep that gas tank full.


Check Your Oil
Cold temperatures can cause engine oil to become thicker. This can affect your engine’s performance. That’s why, during colder months, it is a good idea to change your oil and use oil that has a lower viscosity (thickness).


Check Your Battery
We’ve all seen two cars facing each other in a parking lot with their hoods up and cables attached to the batteries while it’s ten below zero outside. If you have never experienced it for yourself, you have to admit, it doesn’t look fun. Checking your battery before winter means checking the wires and clamps for frays and cleaning off any corrosion that may have formed. If you haven’t had your battery changed in the last three to five years (or longer), it may be time to consider a new battery.


Taking these steps not only ensures you will get from point A to point B but also keeps you safe. You don’t want to be stranded, but you definitely don’t want to be stranded and in danger. For more winter tips, check out our previous blog on winterizing your vehicle. Keep track of Kuehn Motors on Twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Avoiding Winter Weather Mayhem

Although winter hasn’t officially hit yet, it is creeping ever closer. Each year there are nearly 1.5 million vehicle accidents that are associated with the poor weather conditions - a statistic that is very preventable, just by being a prepared and knowledgeable winter weather driver. Here are five tips for being a safer winter driver to help you prepare before the snow flies:

driving-916405_1920.jpg

1. Do not use cruise control while driving on slippery or wet surfaces. This will only slow the reaction time if you come into a situation where you need to take control of the vehicle.

2. Keep your gas tank at least half full. This way if you are in an accident you can keep warm while waiting for help. Keeping half of your tank full will also help prevent your car pipes from freezing.

3. Whenever possible, let your engine and heater run enough to remove the chill. Waiting in the driveway for your car to heat up may seem like a waste of gasoline, but this will help conserve gas while on the road and prevent any damage to your vehicle.

4. Check that your windshield wipers are in proper working order. Wipers with rubber blades will help prevent ice from forming and allow for proper usage in winter weather.

5. Know your car! Every car handles differently in winter weather. You should know what your car can and cannot handle in the snow. Know if your car has front wheel, rear wheel, or four wheel drive and make sure you understand how it handles in the winter weather.

The best way to prepare for winter driving is to educate yourself. Knowing what to pay attention to when winter approaches helps to avoid those nasty winter accidents. If you have any other questions about winter driving, check out our website at kuehnmotors.com.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Choosing Tires for the Right Season


Winter is getting closer, and that means snow and ice will be on the roads. It’s important to ask yourself whether or not you have the right tires to get you through the season. There are three different types of tires: winter, summer, and all-season.

Winter Tires
Winter tires are great for the same season they are named. They can be easily identified by the deep, jagged grooves and squared off shoulders. However, the most striking difference is something you can’t see with the naked eye. Winter tires use a special rubber compound that does not harden as the temperature gets colder, making the grip on snow and ice much better than other tire options.

This may sound like everyone should purchase some winter tires and throw them on their vehicle, but there are actually some drawbacks that will make you think twice. The price of the better grip on the roads is that you will have poorer handling, and stopping distances will be increased. Your tires will also wear more quickly, and will cost more as you must replace them more frequently. Cars.com recommends that if you are generally driving on roads that are plowed and dried, winter tires are probably not for you.
           
Summer Tires
In contrast to winter tires, summer tires have shallow grooves that seek to maximize contact with the pavement. On the other hand, summer tires also use a softer compound which seeks to increase contact with the road surface as well. However, this does not mean the compounds are the same. Winter tires go soft in the cold but are too soft when it is warm. Summer tires are soft in the heat but become hard and stiff in more frigid temperatures. The maximization of contact with the pavement allows summer tires to have great handling and high grip. Once again, these benefits come with trade-offs. Summer tires will wear more quickly than all-season tires, and can also be very noisy at times.

All-Season Tires
All-season tires sound like they might be the best of both worlds. However, this is not necessarily the case. As Cars.com states, “They do everything reasonably well though they excel at nothing in particular.” The main benefits of all-season tires are that they aren’t as noisy in the summer and they are up to the challenge of snow and ice in the winter. An added benefit is that they last longer than single season tires, which saves you some money because you won’t have to replace the tires as often.

What Tires Should You Use?
If you’re buying tires, Edmunds.com has two guidelines they suggest you follow. The first is to know what your needs are and the conditions you drive in. If winter is approaching and you live in the country where the roads are often unplowed, winter tires may be a good idea for you. The second is to find a source that you know is knowledgeable and trustworthy to recommend which tires may be best for you.

Basically, you should do your own research on tire types as well as tire dealers, and narrow down some of your options, and know your needs. Once you have that information, a dealer can help you make sure you have the right tires for the right season. For more tire and car maintenance tips in an season, head over to our Facebook page.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Trick-or-Treat Safely This Halloween

It’s that time of year again when the streets are filled with sparkly fairy wings, Spider-Man masks and candy is on the dinner menu. As Minnesotans, we prepare for cold weather when finding a costume and cross our fingers that we don’t have a repeat of the blizzard of ‘91. Besides the weather, there are other things to keep in mind when trick-or-treating with your little Cinderella or Scooby-Doo.

autumn-218804_1280.jpg

Before Heading Out:
Kids can be stubborn when it comes to costumes, but try to compromise with a few things to keep them safe. If their costume involves a face mask, be sure they are able to see clearly through the eye holes. If they cannot, try using face paint instead.

Remind them of the rules of the streets such as looking both ways before crossing. There will be tons of other children out trick-or-treating and it’s important to be aware of your surroundings. It’s best to let them know to never leave your side.

10701967196_39dd70327a_z.jpg
Photo by George Rulz via Flickr

While Trick-or-Treating:
Wearing shoes that fit well is incredibly important. First, they need to keep you warm and second; they need to be comfortable enough to last all night. It will be tempting for children to run from house to house, but you should always walk. The middle of the road is not where you want to spend your time, even if it is a small neighborhood. Stick to sidewalks or on the edge of the street.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, twice as many kids are hit by a car while walking on Halloween than any other day of the year. These tips are important to follow when keeping you and your children safe on Halloween.

Also, bring a flashlight to help you see, and to help others see you. Make sure to only enter a home if you know who they are and only trick-or-treat in well-lit homes. It’s a good idea to avoid dark homes.

Once You’re Home:
It’s important that you check the candy your children have received. Make sure they only eat the factory-wrapped treats and avoiding homemade items. It’s also good to make sure they are eating the candy in moderation. Too much at once isn’t healthy for anyone.

It can make you a little nervous with all these things to worry about, but there’s one more thing you should be sure to do... HAVE FUN! Take tons of pictures and enjoy your family night on this wonderful holiday.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Best Minnesota Fall Colors Road Trips

As summer comes to an end, the temperatures slowly become cool again. Some people dread thinking about the upcoming colder months and the sandals they will soon have to give up. Before rummaging through your closet for snow boots and a winter coat, think about taking a few more road trips before the snow flies. Minnesota is known for its abundance of lakes and outdoor beauty, so why not take a road trip to discover perhaps the most beautiful season in Minnesota? Here are four of the best places to see fall colors in Minnesota:

fall-foliage-640070_1280.jpgMississippi River Bluffs | Winona, MN
The abundance of bluffs along the Mississippi River makes for great views. Take a hike up the 85-foot Sugar Loaf Bluff in Winona to admire the beautiful fall colors from above.

St. Croix River | Stillwater, MN
To get the full-color spectrum, consider visiting Stillwater along the St. Croix River. Enjoy paddlewheel river cruises, local wineries, breweries and fall festivals. If you can’t get enough of the fall colors there, consider taking a cruise along the river; there’s more than 165 miles of fall foliage!

leaf-2012_1280.jpgSawtooth Mountains | Lutsen, MN
Nothing compares to the heights you can reach in Minnesota than the Sawtooth Mountains. Enjoy the fall colors from top to bottom on the Alpine Slide or take a ride on the Mountain Tram to glide along the treetops.

Chain of Lakes | Minneapolis, MN
The Chain of Lakes - Lake Harriet, Lake Calhoun, Lake of the Isles, Cedar Lake, and Brownie Lake - provides miles of paved paths that link the lakes together. Walk, bike or skate around the lakes for an idyllic inner-city fall backdrop.

With the landscape we have in Minnesota, there are plenty of excellent locations to watch the changing colors not included on this list. Have a favorite? Let us know in the comments!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Care for Your Vehicle Year Round

With every season change, it is common to perform different maintenance checks  to keep your house running well. You clean and store away your patio furniture in the fall. You check the fireplace to make sure it runs for cold winter nights. You spring clean and declutter your home to start anew in the spring. What steps can you take to take care of your vehicle so it runs just as well as your home year round? Stay on top of general and seasonal maintenance with the following tips:

General Care
Perform regularly scheduled maintenance and lubrication checks using the manufacturer's recommended care. No single step will help your engine last year-round more than regular oil and filter changes. Change out and refill all other fluids that are necessary with the recommended type and viscosity. Flush the cooling system and change coolant once a year to prevent corrosion and residue from building up. To keep the exterior surface of your car in good shape, wash it regularly and apply a coat of wax every six months. Inspect and clean your tires, brakes, and wheel bearings to prevent any potential damage. To protect the interior, keep your car free of excess trash and dust.  Considering keeping a trash bag and quick wipes to clean spills immediately. Wipe and vacuum down your seats and mats to keep your car clean and smelling nice. For specific part-by-part care, check out the Car Bible.
5472572032_dfc3a90f20_z.jpg

Seasonal Care
If you live in an area with extreme seasonal differences like the Midwest, you understand that both summer and winter can wreak havoc on your vehicle. As a car owner, you understand that your car needs different care depending on the season.

For spring and summer care, start by fixing all the damage the winter season has done to your car. Get a detailed car wash and wax to prevent rust and body damage. This will loosen any gunk that has accumulated on your car throughout the winter, both cleaning the underside of your car and possibly revealing any potential problems that escaped your attention through the season. If you have seasonal tire sets, switch back to your summer set for better fuel efficiency and a smoother journey.
auto-519834_1280.jpg
To prepare for the deep heat of summer, service your air conditioning and perform a coolant check to protect your engine from heat. Remember, heat can do as much damage to a battery as frigid temps can. Check for signs that your battery needs to be looked over, like a bulging or cracked battery case or corrosion buildup on wire connections. Lastly, change your air filter. No doubt it has clogged up with various leaf and plant debris, dirt, sludge, and road salt. A dirty air filter will diminish the productivity of your car and lower your fuel efficiency by as much as 10%.

For autumn and winter months, you want to prepare your vehicle to handle snow, ice, and extreme temperatures. The quality of your tires and battery are especially essential this season. Switch to your winter tire set for better traction and check to see that your battery is up to quality. Check that your heating system and oil filter are running smoothly and that all of your fluid levels are sufficient. Especially important, check your brake system, shocks, and struts, and replace them sooner rather than later because you certainly don’t want to be stranded in a snowbank.

Much of your yearly and seasonal car maintenance is to keep your car running well for whatever trip or journey you choose to embark on, but regular car maintenance and care can prevent dangerous accidents and save you thousands of dollars in damage repair. Nothing will let you enjoy a last-minute road trip more than being able to set off in a beautiful, well-maintained car.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Summer Road Safety



As Minnesotans are well aware, winter can do quite a number on your vehicle. However, most people do not think about the issues that can arise in the summer months. Summertime issues, though just as dangerous, are not as obvious to drivers. Before you head out on your next summer road trip, think about these summer safety tips:

4007724681_6d6f83314c_z.jpg

Vehicle checklist:

  • Tires
Low tire pressure is the leading cause of flats and low gas mileage on your vehicle. Some may say that low gas mileage is not necessarily a safety concern, but anyone traveling with small children may disagree. Be sure to check your tire pressure and tread while your tires are “cold”, which is to say three hours before you drive.
  • Belts, Hoses, and Wiper Blades
The summer heat makes rubber more susceptible to bulges, blisters, cracks, and cuts. Check your belts, hoses, and wiper blades for wear and tear before hitting the road to prevent issues down the road. Also check hose connections to make sure they are securely in place.
  • Fluids
As with any time of year, it is important to make sure the fluids in your vehicle are filled. Summer means certain parts of your vehicle may be prone to overheat if not properly maintained. Check the water and coolant levels in your radiator, as well as brake, power steering and transmission fluid, oil levels, and windshield washer fluid.
  • Lights
Summer nights can lead to a more active night-life out on the roads. Be sure all your lights are functioning properly to warn animals and fellow drivers alike. Check headlights, brake lights, turn signals and emergency flashers.
  • Air Conditioning
Perhaps considered a luxury, check your air conditioning system before heading out on any long road trips especially if you are traveling with small children or elderly family members who are more susceptible to heat exhaustion. A child’s temperature, for example, rises 3 to 5 times faster than an adult’s.

Summer Driving Tips:

  • Drive Attentively
Summer trips can be especially distracting. The warmer weather brings all sorts of new traffic to the roads. Inexperienced teens are out of school, vacation drivers add more congestion, and motorcycles and bicycles share much more of the road during the summer months- not to mention the added number of pedestrians. When you are behind the wheel, you should always keep your full attention on the road.

  • Minnesota’s Second Season
There is a joke in Minnesota about 2 seasons; winter, and (that’s right) road construction. Not only can this add delays to your route, but extra potential hazards as well. Be attentive and obey the changes in road restrictions in construction zones.

  • School’s Out
Teens flood the roads during the summer months, visiting friends and basking in their extra freedom, but also be wary of other children playing outdoors. Especially smaller children, kids are not as concerned with watching traffic as they are chasing after a runaway ball or being the first of their friends to make it to the pool. Keep a special eye out for the presence of extra children enjoying their summer break.

2049536696_08e0334642_z.jpg
  • BUCKLE UP!!
This goes without saying; you should always wear your seatbelt. Every time. It is recommended that children under 13 should always ride in the back of the vehicle, and the smallest should be equipped with a car seat or booster. If you need help installing a proper seat for your child, check out the child seat inspection locator to find a location near you.

Lastly, many people equip themselves for winter driving when the snow and ice arrive, but you should keep an emergency roadside kit in your vehicle for the summer months as well. Important items include:

• Cell phone and car charger
• Work gloves and a change of clothes
• Nonperishable food, drinking water, and medicines
• First aid kit
• Emergency blankets and towels
• Flashlight or road flares
• Jumper cables
• Tire pressure gauge
• Basic tools for repair  
• Tire jack and a spare tire
• Extra windshield washer fluid
• Map or Atlas

Friday, July 17, 2015

Family-Friendly Features for your Next Vehicle

“Are we there yet?” Whether driving across the country on a late summer road trip or just around the corner to the grocery store, it’s essential to choose the right car and features for your family. Simply put, you want a sleek, reliable vehicle that can accommodate your family and other precious cargo. If you are looking for your next family car, review some of the essential family-friendly features that will keep your loved ones safe and comfortable.

Driver Assistance
There are many advanced driver assistance systems available to provide reassurance when driving around your loved ones, such as blind spot and lane monitors, driver drowsiness detection and turning assistance. Don’t let a split-second distraction create major accidents and harm. Similarly, backup cameras, parallel parking, and automatic parking assistances can help keep travels safe and easy for everyone. This can help greatly for drivers juggling a lot of responsibilities as well as for new drivers on the road.


Seat Belts
Safe and comfortable seat belts will help make journeys—especially long road trips—much more comfortable. Added safety belt clips can pull the chest strap away from a child’s face and neck, ensuring the same amount of safety with added comfort.


Flexible Seating and Storage
A car model with flexible seating—whether manually or automatic—will help you transport your precious cargo. Whether your child has plenty of siblings or is a part of the neighborhood carpool, they will enjoy the trip in comfort. While you are searching for flexible seating features, look for backseat storage and vehicle compartments that will provide double-duty storage to keep everyone organized.


Technical Improvements
With new ways to keep your kids entertained on longer trips, look for iPod plugs, USB connectivity, and backseat DVD players for some electronic entertainment.


Other Features
For more innovative features for your family-friendly vehicle, look to a power liftgate for easy back hatch opening, a remote start for getting on the road more smoothly, or separate climate control to keep both driver and third-row-seat passengers comfortable.

For more information, visit this list of top 10 family-friendly car features and the list of best family-friend car models of 2015 as voted by parents, or you can stop by Kuhen Motors, and our knowledgeable staff will be more than happy to help you!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Saving Money at the Pump

Summertime typically means more time on the road, whether it be going on a trip out of state or to the local beach. However, those trips are beginning to cost us more and more money at the gas pumps. With some gas stations charging close to three dollars a gallon, the costs can add up quickly. The amount of time spent on the roads during the summer can make you feel as though you’re always throwing money at the gas pump. Take a look at some ways you can keep your money in your pocket this summer instead of spending it all on gas.


Sit Back & Set the Cruise
One of the easiest ways for you to save money at the pumps is to set your car on cruise control while you’re out on the road. Studies have shown that those who accelerate and come to a stop rapidly instead of gradually end up using a ton more fuel than those who do so gradually. So take the time to set your cruise control, relax and just go with the flow of traffic.
legs-434918_640.jpg
Avoid Gas Pumps on the Weekends
Did you know that most gas stations increase the price of gasoline on Thursday mornings?  When the weekend is right around the corner, most gas stations will increase their prices thinking that there will be an increase in traffic.  So try to avoid filling your tank Thursday through Sunday; instead, get into a schedule where you only fill up Monday through Wednesday. This will save you money throughout the summer.


Be Picky with Gas Stations
Being picky isn’t always a bad thing, especially when it comes to saving money on gas.  Don’t pull up to the nearest gas station you see right off of the highway, as these gas stations mark up their prices almost regularly for this very reason. Take the time to get off on the nearest exit and drive a little further into town to avoid the crazy costs of gas stations in front of the mainstream traffic.
5766914239_984aa8dbc7_o.jpg   
Avoid Idles
If you think you will be stopped for more than a minute, you should shut your car off. Restarting your car actually uses less fuel than keeping your car in idle for long periods of time. Since it’s summer, don’t worry about warming up your car before you drive, it is unnecessary and will cost you.


Check Your Tire Pressure
Along with keeping your car maintained, you should always check your tire pressure.  During the summer months, if your tires deflate due to heat, they will need more energy to roll, and more energy means more fuel.  This tip alone can actually save you around six cents off your next gallon!
3230078939_6b6a43f134_o.jpg
Just because you tend to drive more in the summer doesn’t mean you should be spending more as well.  Keep these helpful tips in mind so you can spend more money having fun this summer instead of letting your gas tank take it all from you!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Springtime in Rochester, Minnesota

The weather is warming up and the kids are done with school, which means one thing- spring and summer have arrived in Rochester!  Rochester is home to many fun outdoor activities for you and your family. Take a look at our list of our favorite warm-weather activities in the Rochester area:

Quarry Hill Nature Center: The nature center has a little something for everybody. You can hike or bike the beautiful 320 acres that cover the old quarry, Rochester State Hospital cemetery, and a scenic pond.  Once you explore the outdoors, stop by the nature center, which features interactive displays and live animals.

-Douglas Trail: Hit the trails this spring! The Douglas Trail is a paved path to walk, bike, or run alongside picturesque views. This trail runs through the city and out into the country for a variety of atmosphere. If you are looking for some outdoor exercise, the Douglas Trail is a great option!

-Maple Valley Golf & Country Club: If you love to golf, this is definitely a course worth checking out. This course offers a beautiful scenic tour of the grounds and many challenging holes. Tip: unless you don’t mind walking the hills, you might want to rent a golf cart for this one.

Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial: The beautiful outdoor memorial opened in 2000 in remembrance of all American Veterans from South Minnesota who have helped protect America’s freedom. Here you can learn about the veterans in the area. Take a moment to recognize the men and women of the armed forced at this beautiful memorial.

-Silver Lake: Pack up a picnic and take the family out for an enjoyable afternoon at Silver Lake!  Pick your favorite spot and enjoy your picnic while taking in the beautiful scenery. Afterward, take a walk around the lake or feed the ducks. You can also rent paddle boats to explore the lake a bit closer.

Whichever of these activities you plan to do, you are sure to have a great day spending time with friends or family in the great outdoors. What is your favorite outdoor activity to do in the Rochester area?