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:


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.

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.
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.
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!
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!