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!