Winter Driving Tips: Protect yourself and your precious cargo

If you felt a slight breeze at the end of last week, don’t worry—it wasn’t the sign of emerging blustery weather patterns. It was simply a collective sigh of relief from Western PA residents as warmer temperatures and sunny skies returned. However, in a cruel twist of fate, the snow and cold temperatures made a dominant comeback this week with more snow in the forecast this weekend. Here are some winter-weather driving tips to keep you safe until spring.

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Make sure you and your car are properly equipped. This may sound like a no-brainer, but many people are not prepared when snow attacks. Check and refill antifreeze and windshield washer fluid often. Ensure all headlights are clear of snow and road sludge and are fully functioning. Test your vehicle’s battery at a reputable Service Center. Equip your vehicle with a flashlight and extra batteries, first-aid kit, warm clothes, and blanket. Remember to keep a pair of sunglasses in your vehicle, as glare from the snow and ice can be intense—just as much or more so than in the summer. Finally, pack your cell phone and make sure it’s fully charged!

Drive at a smooth, comfortable speed, even if it means slowing down. Driving too quickly is the main cause of accidents in winter conditions. Regardless of your vehicle, how you drive can prevent accidents. Avoid abrupt acceleration or braking and unnecessary lane changes; these maneuvers can cause your vehicle to lose traction and can launch you into a dangerous, uncontrollable skid. Additionally, four-wheel-drive may help your vehicle get going in the slushy stuff, but it’s of no use when you’re trying to steer or safely stop on a slippery road surface. Simply be patient and accept the fact that it’s going to take longer to arrive at your destination.

Fill up your gas tank. In the summer, you can take a chance and run down to fumes. But in the winter, if you do get stuck or stranded, the engine will be your only source of heat.

Do not tailgate. Tailgating often leads to accidents, especially if driving in stop-and-go traffic. You may think the driver in front of you doing 35 mph on the freeway is going too slow and needs a reminder in the form of riding their bumper, but doing so is dangerous. Remember, it takes a much longer distance to stop your vehicle in the snow or ice due to the reduced traction, even with just a light covering on the road. Keep in mind, many serious accident injuries come from a second impact from another car after a seemingly trivial collision.

Pull over or stay home. Remember, there is no shame in making the logical decision to stay home when the conditions are bad or simply leave once conditions have cleared. You may be late arriving at your destination, but arriving late in one piece is much better than the alternative.

And if you do choose to stay home, we have some suggestions:

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Five Reasons to Love the 2014 Kia Soul

In an all-out, 21st-century boxcar war with Honda’s ill-fated Element, the overinflated Toyota Scion xB, and the hopelessly awkward Nissan Cube, the Kia Soul is the sole survivor. This is the fourth year the Kia Soul has been on the market, and it has proven to be a Kia classic with high marks in many areas. Great for the entry-level, budget-conscious buyer, the 2014 Kia Soul is a four-door hatchback with three trims (base, + [Plus] and ! [Exclaim]) and enough seating for up to five adults. As the all-new and completely redesigned 2014 Kia Soul is taking its rightful victory lap, here are five reasons to love the 2014 Kia Soul.

 Improved Interior and Customization Galore. The Soul features high-quality materials and comfortable, supportive seats. The cabin is roomy with a fantastic amount of cargo space for its class. It includes a bevy of standard features, such as a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, satellite radio, USB and auxiliary inputs, and steering wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls. The available UVO infotainment system keeps drivers connected, and has an intuitive touch screen. Other available features include a backup camera, an Infinity sound system, navigation, push-button start, automatic climate control, and a panoramic sunroof. And, for the eco-friendly, there is an Eco package with a fuel-saving twist, like an automatic stop-start system and 16-inch tires.

 Safety and Reliability Features. The 2014 Kia Soul boasts four-wheel antilock disc brakes, hill-start assist, electronic brake-force distribution, stability and traction control, driver and passenger head-restraint whiplash-protection systems, and front and rear head air bags. Further, the Kia Soul scored a 5 out of 5 on J.D. Power’s Power Circle Ratings in Body & Interior Quality – Mechanical, Features and Accessories Quality – Mechanical, Powertrain Quality – Design, and Body & Interior Quality – Design.

All the Engine You Need. The Kia Soul has one of two engines. On the base, drivers get a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 130 horsepower and 118 pound-feet of torque with a six-speed manual transmission, with an automatic option. The Soul+ and Soul! offers a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 164 horsepower and 151 pound-feet of torque with a six-speed automatic transmission only. What more do you realistically need?

Cargo Room to Boot. With the rear seats folded down, the Soul provides 61.3 cubic feet of cargo space, or 24.2 cubic feet with the seats up. Drivers could easily get a decent-sized piece of furniture in the back. In fact, with the seats folded down, the Soul rivals the Sportage—a crossover vehicle—for plentiful roominess when hauling friends, family, pets, and all of the extras that go along with these precious commodities.

Overall Driving Experience. With premium handling and a comfortable atmosphere, the 2014 Kia Soul provides plenty of ease getting on the highway, driving through the suburbs, or navigating city streets. It’s head-turning design and bright colors offer a unique combination that reflects the driver’s personality more than any other vehicle we’ve seen in a long time.

Samuel L. Jackson was NOT in Kia’s Super Bowl Commercial

Rounding out cringe-worthy news for the week, Samuel L. Jackson appeared on KTLA last week to promote his upcoming film “Robocop” — but the interview started to unravel when entertainment reporter Sam Rubin asked the actor about “his” Super Bowl commercial for Kia’s new luxury vehicle, the K900.

Unfortunately for Rubin, Jackson didn’t star in a Super Bowl commercial this year. Fellow actor Laurence Fishburne did. To which Jackson responded: “You’re as crazy as the people on Twitter, I’m not Laurence Fishburne! We don’t all look alike! There’s more than one black guy doing a commercial!”

Rubin attempted to glaze over his mistake, but Jackson wouldn’t let it go, asking Rubin, “You’re the entertainment reporter for this station and you don’t know the difference between me and Laurence Fishburne?”

You can watch the awkwardness unfold below. And then you can watch the correct actor, Laurence Fishburne, in Kia’s K900 Super Bowl commercial.

New Vehicles Vs Used Vehicles: The great debate

That new-car smell, those cushiony seats, and those shiny new buttons that come with a new vehicle sure are alluring. But is a new vehicle versus a used vehicle the right decision for you? A simple Google search on the topic yields countless results that leave car shoppers more inclined to hide in their trunk than hit the pavement on a quest to find their next vehicle. Let’s get you out of the trunk and into the driver’s seat as we explore which route is right for you.

Most people assume new cars are more expensive than their used counterparts, which is mostly accurate. However, a higher price tag now can mean less money spent over time. A new vehicle won’t need maintenance for the first several thousand miles, and then only an oil change and tune-ups are required. Manufacturers also typically cover new vehicles under warranty for at least 3 years or more. If you crave even further peace of mind, consider our exclusive lifetime Warranty Forever™ Program that features an engine, transmission, and powertrain warranty, including seals and gaskets, for as long as you own the vehicle without any extra money added to your bottom line. The Warranty Forever™ Program is available for qualifying used vehicles as well.

Moreover, if you have good credit, it’s often possible to finance a new-vehicle purchase with little or no down payment through rebates, dealer incentives, and other offers made by the manufacturer. Financing a used car will usually require a down payment. However, keep in mind that new cars depreciate—that is, lose their value—when they are driven off the lot. With a used vehicle, there typically isn’t a substantial depreciation hit. There’s also less “mental depreciation” about the first drive on snowy roads or parking-lot ding because chances are the car’s previous owner or owners took care of those for you.

Additionally, new vehicles can be more reliable than used ones and typically feature the newest-available safety features—such as advanced frontal airbags, electronic stability control (ESC), antilock braking systems (ABS), and curtain airbags—and the highest standards for fuel efficiency. It’s also important to remember many people view new vehicle purchases as a social cachet, whether it’s because of their pride, ego, or status. There’s no question that driving a new vehicle packs a big psychological punch for many people.  With that said, the used-car market has changed dramatically in the past few years. Today’s new cars—and thus used cars—are simply made better, increasing the pool of quality used vehicles from which to choose.

Further, used vehicle purchases can be somewhat of an unknown; buyers are not aware of how the vehicle has been driven or the care and maintenance that have been put into it. Luckily, there are firms like CarFax and the like that may provide us with this information. These firms will track down the history of your prospective vehicle by its Vehicle Identification Number (VIN), usually listed on a metal plate just inside the windshield. If the car has ever been sent to a junkyard, a salvage title will show up on the report. Used vehicles can also offer lower insurance rates for wallet-conscious shoppers.

In the end, the decision you make is a personal one and should be made to suit your individual needs. We suggest stopping into one of our locations on Route 30 in Irwin or on Pittsburgh Rd in Uniontown, and looking at vehicles. Test drive a few vehicles, and find out the calculated numbers. Keep our advice in mind, and make the decision for YOU.

2014 Pittsburgh International Auto Show This Weekend

With the snow moving out and warmer temperatures moving in next week, it’s time to look forward. Lucky for us, the 2014 Pittsburgh International Auto Show is steering into David Lawrence Convention Center in downtown Pittsburgh this weekend, February 14-17. The Auto Show is a self-proclaimed supermarket for anything on wheels. The entire Convention Center is filled with the latest domestic and foreign cars, trucks and SUV’s from over 35 manufacturers and exhibitors—all under one roof.

With over 500 vehicles on display, even the most organized and focused automotive aficionado may need some help navigating through the sea of gleaming, polished chrome. Here are a few of our must-see picks that are sure to catch your eye and maybe even your heart this Valentine’s weekend.

  • Listed as one of their featured vehicles, the 2014 Mitsubishi Mirage is one of the most fuel-efficient, non-hybrid vehicles on the market, averaging an eye-popping 44 mpg. This illustrious vehicle also boasts an array of color options, including kiwi green, plasma purple, starlight silver, and infrared.
  • Also featured on display are the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander Sport and the 2014 Mitsubishi Outlander for the safety-conscious car buyer. These cousin vehicles have picked up the IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus and the IIHS Top Safety Pick- Safest SUV awards, respectively.
  • Neighboring these vehicles on the first floor of the Convention Center is Kia’s new world-class luxury sedan, the K900. This debut vehicle boasts standout features characteristic of a premium rear-wheel sedan. From the 17-speaker surround sound Lexicon® Logic 7 audio system created by GRAMMY® Award winning Harman, to the Dynamic Parking Guide System, to the hydrophobic glass that helps repel water, the K900 is packed with hands-on innovations that enhance the total driving experience.
  • Being touted as a highlight of the entire weekend, the 2015 Chrysler 200 is sure to have a steady stream of onlookers. This vehicle resembles the Dodge Dart in a big-brother sense, but includes its own distinguishing characteristics with available best-in-class 295 horsepower, class-exclusive nine-speed automatic transmission, and world-class innovative safety and security features.