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Question, Do You Need To Break in A New Car

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Breaking in a new car isn’t the same as it was 30 or even 15 years ago… Yep, just over a decade ago, manufacturers recommended new owners follow certain ways of driving to “break in” a new car. However, the old lessons they ascribed to don’t hold true today.

while you’re driving your new car for the first 1-2,000 miles, take it easy.  Don’t wind it out and then come to screeching stops, that’s not good, no matter how old the car is. 

So how did they break in a new car?
The old rules told new owners to follow some simple instructions over the course of the car’s first hundred miles to break in their new vehicle’s engine. The guidelines included: drive at 50 mph for a short time, vary your speeds on side streets, and sit and idle for a time before moving. After going through this process, the driver was instructed to shut off the engine and let it cool down before driving it again.

So why would you go through this process? Well, according to engineers: “to establish new internal mating surfaces of mechanical parts, to seat new piston rings, to establish new seal surfaces, to condition new mechanical parts–to make sure all the moving parts were working together as smoothly as possible.”

WOW!  That’s a mouthful, so after the break-in period, which could last for about 500-1000 miles, the vehicle could be driven without concern.  So basically it’s so that the engine could ease itself into being a collection of parts working together smoothly with all the little parts sliding off each other easily.

But do we still have to break in a new car today?
In a word, no, lubricants and engine oil have come a long way, compared to the products of old; the new synthetic oils of today cling to and protect metal parts much better than their predecessors. In addition, the steel and aluminum used for the engine parts come from the factory already conditioned and treated, thus ready to run, they’re already broken in! Not to mention the fact that the production methods used these days, create tolerances of a much higher quality and closeness, that’s why these engines can run for over 100,000 miles and remain sealed from the factories they came from.

The only caveat comes with that first oil change. You need to make sure you change your new car’s oil and filter at 1,500 miles (unless otherwise recommended by the manufacturer). Why? Because metal has worn off while they were settling in with each other, the working surfaces were being establish, and those metal filings and scraps need to be removed from the oil pan and oil supply before they cause any long-term damage.  Come in to any Koons Service Department and we’ll help you take care of that first oil change.

Now one thing you should note is that with most vehicles there are two service schedules compiled for new passenger cars: Normal and Severe. Manufacturers define them differently, but in essence, normal covers a wider range of operation, while severe can include lots of short-distance commuting. Be realistic about which condition applies to your vehicle. Finally, while you’re driving your new car for the first 1-2,000 miles, take it easy.  Don’t wind it out and then come to screeching stops, that’s not good, no matter how old the car is.  Take your time remember you’re getting to know this new vehicle just like its getting to know you.  That’s not breaking the car in that’s just being a smart new car owner. 

 

 

The Fathers Day Top 5 Automotive Accessories

Automotive Accessories for dadWith Fathers day on the way we thought we would do some legwork and find out what the top five car accessories are. Nothin’ says, “I love ya Dad” like a nice piece of car gear. These automotive accessories are easy to find, easy to install and easy to use.

Our Dad’s have driven us around from place to place whenever we needed it, and how do we repay them? By whipping our dirty feet on their floors, spilling our drinks in the back seat, and leaving our candy wrappers everywhere. Well, it’s high time we gave back, just a little; to the man who’s done so much for us by making sure he gets to his next destination safely and in style. We wanted to avoid gear that would require more work on Dad’s part, or heaven forbid for us to do. What do I mean? Well, like the time I gave my Dad a tin of car wax, guess who was out there shining the car up, yours truly. So you won’t find any wax, rubbing compound, wheel shine, or engine degreaser in our list. Just fun and cool items he will definitely want and use.

The 5 Best Automotive Accessories
(based on info from Overstock.com, Apple.com, Amazon.com, and Bestbuy.com):

  • chargerUniversal USB Connectors kit: If you’re like any normal traveler your cell phone doubles as a life line back to your home, electronic files, and your safety. But, it needs power and older cars do not have USB ports to charge them with. A small collection of USB adaptors and cables will go a long way to helping everyone on the trip to charge their device.battery_charger

 

  • Portable car battery chargers: A dead battery usually catches everyone off-guard. Be prepared with a small battery charger that can be hooked up right through the cigarette lighter. Even with a battery that’s going bad, this automotive accessory can get you moving until you can get it replaced.

 

  • speakerBlue tooth speakers: While you’re on the road your cell phone or tablet also doubles as your entertainment center. Most older model cars do not have blue tooth stereo sound systems, so connecting to your vehicles sound system is difficult. These small battery powered speakers come with suction cups or hooks and connect to your phone wirelessly so that you can hear your book, or playlist.

 

  • Tie-downs/bungee chord Collections: The safest way to move things with your car or truck is to use tie-downs, to keep the load steady and secure. Usually made of strong elastic and nylon, they typically feature hooked ends and may come with a ratcheting clasp that tightens and holds the load down until you release the catch. This type of accessory is invaluable to large vehicle owners.

 

  • Seat covers and floor mats: Your vehicle’s interior sees a lot of wear and tear, especially the floor and the seats. You can keep them looking nice with car interior accessories, like seat covers and floor mats. Durable automotive accessories, like rubber floor mats can help keep dirt, oil and water from staining your carpet. And car-seat covers can add a flash of color and style while protecting the upholstery underneath.

 

So drop the tie or the “One Free Hug” coupon and go out and get a hold of any of these. Trust us, he’ll love any of them! You can still give him a hug though and a new car, just check out Koons we definitely know he’d love that! ♛

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. 

Carplay is Apple’s Entré into the Automotive World

carplay Apples new automotive forray

So Apple releasing Carplay is great news for those of us who love technology, especially car technology!  I can remember the first time I experienced a car “talking” to me. It was almost as magical as heated seats or remote car starters.  Ok, so maybe I am easily impressed. But seriously, having your car talk to you, answer questions, or point things out to you while you’re motoring along… That’s like living out a scene from 2001 A Space Odyssey! “Hal, open the garage-bay door please.” 

Enter Apple, they are stepping in to get things right. It was announced at the Geneva International Auto Show that they would be offering Carplay to auto industry.

To me cars are already like space ships with on board navigation, communications, digital readouts, and warnings.  The seats are form fitting and adjust to every part of your body. Cruise control helps make long trips easier, and HUD‘s make scanning the instrument panels easy.  Cars have always been powerful, but are they really personable?  Then there is the other element of your life that is already so personable and powerful—your smart phone. And now it is being integrated into your car. Smart phones have long been a part of driving for over 10 years now with the integration of Bluetooth. But some of the way it’s been included in your cars accessories has been, to use a tech word, “kludged!”

My kids think it’s funny when the very polite female voice in my car gets the names wrong of people I am telling it to call.  They think it’s hysterical when I have to repeat a command when she miss-interprets what I am telling her to do or she asks again.  Howls of laughter erupts from the back seat, kids, right?  Pushing multiple buttons, confirming commands,  s p e a k i n g   v e r y  slooooowly is just too complicated and quite frankly dangerous, so getting a professional to do it is a long time in coming.

Enter Apple, they are stepping in to get things right. It was announced at the Geneva International Auto Show that they would be offering Carplay to auto industry. CarPlay will debut later this year in vehicles from Mercedes-Benz, Volvo, and Ferrari with other carmakers such as Ford and Toyota joining the pack down the road.  With the exception of Ferrari, Koons sells all of these brands and the others that aren’t mentioned will most certainly be in the mix.

In a nutshell, Apple’s Carplay wil offer:

CarPlay gives iPhone users an incredibly intuitive way to make calls, use Maps, listen to music and access messages with just a word or a touch. Users can easily control CarPlay from the car’s native interface or just push-and-hold the voice control button on the steering wheel to activate Siri® without distraction.

Vehicles from Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo will premiere CarPlay to their drivers this week, while additional auto manufacturers bringing CarPlay to their drivers down the road include BMW Group, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Hyundai Motor Company, Jaguar Land Rover, Kia Motors, Mitsubishi Motors, Nissan Motor Company, PSA Peugeot Citroën, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota Motor Corp.

To read the rest of the Press Release click here

To use CarPlay, you’ll need at least an iPhone5, and you will have to wait until at least the end of the year for the 2015 models. Android will not be far behind and in all likelihood it will have to coexist a vehicle since no one will know which phones will be in the drivers seats, so Android users don’t have to worry they’ll be left out.

Koons has always taken pride in being able to offer vehicles and brands that are on the cutting edge.  Our mix of accessories both pre-sale and after market allows you, the consumer, the ability to take advantage of all of the new tech that the 21st century auto manufacturers have to offer and we look forward to being able to offer it you. ♛