Category Archives: Safety

School Bus Safety Every Driver Should Know

As you get back in the swing of fall and the closing of the beaches, as drivers we need to make sure that all children get to school safely. That’s right school buses are back on the road and for many parents, this means getting their child to the bus stop and aboard it safely. Over the course of the summer it can be easy to get lax about making sure you and your child follow all the proper school bus safety rules. So, it’s especially important this time of year to remind drivers, parents, school children, and pedestrians about the most important rules of school bus safety.

To make it easy to remember, Ameriprise shared the infographic below that not only highlights the safety of school buses, but also details how you can be a responsible driver now that buses are back on the road and school children are running around in force.

School Bus Safety

Is The Gas Cap on The Left or Right Side of Your Car?

Gas Cap Arrow

I have a friend who does a great deal of traveling for his job so he’s always in a rental car.  Last week while on the road for his job, he pulled up to a gas station and had that dreaded moment of, “Oh no! I have no idea which side of my car the gas cap is located.”  He went on to tell about how the initial “Uh-oh!” is typically followed by a few minutes of craning his head out the window to see (or not see) if the gas cap cover is on his side of the car. More often than not, he would guess and just pull up to the pump – only to back up and circle around when the guess was wrong. Auto Manufacturers to the rescue!

Arrow Indicators on New Cars
Admittedly, mistaking which side of the car the gas cap is on is not a big deal, I think it straddles the line somewhere between having to reach too far for the TV remote and setting the microwave for 10 seconds too long. But, what if there was a way to always know for sure…

Good news: The secret to the gas cap location has been on our dashboards all along, at least within the past 8 years.  If you’re driving a newer car, take a look at the gas gauge on your dashboard. Depending on your car, there may be a little triangle or arrow pointing to the left or right. It’s actually a directional indicator that identifies which side of the car the gas cap is on!

What about older cars?
Older cars may have a gas pump icon located on the gauge. The pump handle either extends to the left or right, so does that correlate to the cap?

Sadly, no, the handle doesn’t always indicate which side the cap is located.  Some manufactures did do just that; some did not, and worse yet? Some models within brands did and some did not. So unfortunately, this Internet rumor is false and we’re here to officially shoot it down, sorry.

A Fuel Indicator Myth Debunked
Not everyone is satisfied with this explanation of the mysterious gas gauge arrow. So leave it to the Internet to think up some crazy ideas ­about alternative meanings. One rumor says the arrow will light up when a car is driven a certain distance after its last refueling. Supposedly, this is a way for you to determine how “full” the gas tank is.  News flash!  That’s what the “E” and “F” and all the little lines in between indicate. Sorry, folks, but there’s no truth behind that rumor.

Did you know what the gas gauge arrow meant? What symbols or controls on your car remain mysteries?  If you need any help deciphering them stop by any Koons Dealership and we’ll help you figure them out.

 

 

The 5 most common causes of a check engine light!

check engine light dashboard

The other day I had an interesting run-in with my car, I was driving home when out of the blue my “Check Engine” light came on. So, first after getting my heart rate down I thought “wait my car is 4 years old it has nothing wrong with it, there has to be a simple reason for this” and there was. My gas cap wasn’t tightened all the way… “D’oh!”

So, the light is on and I pull into my driveway, I stop the car, for all you safety-nicks out there I turned it off, and did the first thing we all do in situations like this, I did a Google search. “Common causes for the check engine light to go off” and I found my problem, apparently not tightening the gas cap all the way is more common than you would think. I tightened it and viola! No more check engine light. So that got me thinking what other reasons are there for this to happen, here is the top 5, in no particular order:

there is no reason to panic or think the worst just go through the list and if it still won’t go off bring it in to Koons and we’ll help you get back on the road

We do have one caveat, if your car starts smoking or stalls completely call for help and stay with your vehicle until it arrives. Once you’re safely off the road, bring your car to the closest Koons store (there are 22 of them) and have them run a diagnostic to find the cause. You can call ahead to make sure they can handle your make and model, since some cars have special computers. But once you’re at the store, you’ll be in good hands and your vehicle will be back up and running in no time.

One: Replace Oxygen Sensor

An oxygen sensor is a part that monitors the unburned oxygen from the exhaust. It helps monitor how much fuel is burned. A faulty sensor means it’s not providing the right data to the computer and causes a decrease in gas mileage. Most cars have between two and four oxygen sensors and the code you get from the scanner will tell you which one needs replacing.

Causes: Over time, the sensor gets covered in oil ash and it reduces the sensors ability to change the oxygen and fuel mixture. A faulty sensor not only reduces gas mileage, it also increase emissions.

What you should do: Not replacing a broken oxygen sensor can eventually lead to a faulty catalytic convertor, which can be expensive to replace. An oxygen sensor is easy to replace on many cars and is usually detailed in the owner’s manual. If you know where the sensor is, you only have to unclip the old sensor and replace it with a new one.

Two: Loose or Faulty Gas Cap

You wouldn’t think a gas cap would be that important, but it is. When it’s loose or cracked, fuel vapors leak out and can throw the whole fuel system off. This causes a reduction in gas mileage and increases emissions.

What causes it: If you get an error pointing to the gas cap it means fuel vapors are leaking out of your cap. This means the cap is either cracked or just wasn’t tightened well enough.

What you should do: If your car isn’t feeling jerky or strange when the check engine light comes on the first thing you should check is the gas cap. Pull over, open the access cover and remove it, take a look at the cap to see if it has any cracks or holes in it. If not replace it and tighten it down all the way and continue driving to see if the check engine light turns off.

Three: Replace Catalytic Convertor

The catalytic convertor works to reduce exhaust gases. It converts carbon monoxide and other harmful materials into harmless compounds. If your catalytic convertor is failing, you’ll notice a decrease in gas mileage or your car won’t go any faster when you push the gas.

What causes it: Catalytic convertors shouldn’t fail if you’re keeping up on regular maintenance. The main cause of failure is related to other items on this list, including a broken oxygen sensor or deteriorated spark plugs. When it fails, it stops converting carbon monoxide into less harmful emissions.

What you should do: If your catalytic convertor fails completely, you eventually won’t be able to keep the car running. Your gas mileage will be terrible, so you should try and fix it as soon as you can. This is not an easy fix so you will need to have a professional take care and in most areas it will be part of an emissions inspection so it’s just better to have it done at a garage.

Four: Replace Mass Airflow Sensor (MAF)

The mass airflow sensor tells the car’s computer to add the proper amount of fuel based on the air coming through to the engine. A faulty one can increase emissions, cause the car to stall, and decrease gas mileage.

What causes it: Most mass airflow sensors fail because of a improperly installed (or never replaced) air filter. You should replace the air filter at least once a year to help prevent the airflow sensor from failing.

What you should do: Theoretically you can drive for a few weeks or even months with a broken MAF sensor. You will notice a decrease in gas mileage and over time the car will eventually start stalling a lot. It’s not terribly difficult to do on your own, but the process is quick enough you may want to let a mechanic handle it when you have a tune-up.

Five: Replace Spark Plugs and Wires

The spark plug seals the combustion chamber and provides a gap for a spark to jump across and initiates combustion in your engine. When the plugs are failing, the spark plugs misfire. You’ll feel a little jolt in your car’s acceleration when this happens.

What causes it: Most spark plugs and their wires in cars from before 1996 should be replaced every 25,000-30,000 miles. Newer ones can last up to 100,000 miles. Still, plugs can fail over time and so can the wires and there’s not much you can do to stop it once it starts.

What you should do: Get them replaced right away. It’s easy and cheap and your car will run better for it. Since this is part of your vehicles regular maintenance, the Koons Tech will tell you when they should be replaced when you bring it in for regular maintenance. The plugs and their wires are usually easily accessible from the hood of the car. It’s simple fix but it is a dirty one so be prepared to get your hands dirty on this one if you decide to do it yourself.

There are plenty of other possibilities that a check engine light can come on, but the five listed here are the most common. So there is no reason to panic or think the worst just go through the list and if it still won’t go off bring it in to Koons and we’ll help you get back on the road with the piece of mind that your car should be issue free. 

Know Snow? Here are Some Tips for Winter Driving

With all the snow and cold weather recently in the mid-Atlantic region we all have been reminded about how dangerous it is to drive on slick roads.  With that in mind we’d like to offer the following information from our friends at Bridgestone who have compiled a helpful infographic for winter driving. This simple graphic helps to remind us that this time of year requires a different approach to going on a trip, be is a short one across town or long one across the state.

In addition to the infographic here are a few other tried and true steps:

Step 1: Check your tires, check the pressure and the tread wear
Step 2: Clear snow and ice off your car, clear mirrors and in some cases the rear view camera
Step 3: Slow down, it takes twice as much time to stop on slick surfaces
Step 4: Use your brain when braking, pump your brakes, with anti lock systems hold them
Step 5: Be prepared for a slide, increase your following distance

BRIDGESTONE AMERICAS, INC. WINTER DRIVING INFOGRAPHIC

The Accolades Come Rolling in for Kia

In the past few years, Kia has become quite the contender in not only the US market, but the global market as well. Their product line is comprised of award-winning vehicles such as the Optima, Sportage and Sorento.

This isn’t to say their other models are not privy to accolades as well; in fact, the 2012 Soul, Sorento, Optima, Optima Hybrid, Sportage, and Forte Sedan have all been named 2012 IIHS Top Safety Picks. Even the little Rio 5-Door was named ‘Best Hatchback’ by VroomGirls.com.

In addition, Kia was recently rated No. 1 for best Total Coverage of Ownership in 2011 by Kelley Blue Book. With the styling, refinement, quality and price for new Kia models, we can’t argue.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and test drive an all-new 2012 Kia Optima; it’s said to be “A Dream Car for Real Life

Drive Safe,

-KK