Car Blog Kia Cee'd Skoda Fabia vRS

Battery Troubles (Part 1)

I shall begin this post with a quick update on website progress, for those of you who may be interested in the world of computer code. For now, this blog is very much a single page affair, but in time each post will have its own page, and eventually indexes will be created to allow you to see posts by topic, date posted etc. I’m currently working out the best way of doing this, and I’ve got some ongoing PHP tests in progress. However, despite future changes, the overall page layout and colour scheme will remain broadly similar to what you see today.

Now, back to the cars, and today I’m focussing on the Kia Cee’d. Although OK in day today use, I’ve know the battery in my Kia to be on its way out for a while now. The stop/start function has never worked since I bought the car, and a misjudgement of using the headlights whilst storing away logs, confirmed that the battery can be drained rather easily. A recent trip to Kendal led me to having to ask for a jump start, as I’d accidently left my lights on during a coffee break.

In what will be a two-part post, I’m charting the replacement of the battery. Firstly, with money being a little tight, I’ve acquired a stop gap battery. With similar specs to the one in the Kia, I’ve obtained a second hand battery that came out of my brothers Fabia vRS. I understand that it was prematurely replaced whilst undertaking another repair, and when picking it up I was assured that it is holding a charge.

I’m yet to swap the batteries over, but initial observations are promising. My battery charger, which is relatively new and so I’m confident it is working correctly, declared the second hand battery full in around 10 minutes. A good sign that after a period of un-use, it is still working correctly. The brand, I hear you ask? Halfords. Now OK, its far from Asda Smartprice, but despite not being from a ‘premium’ brand such as Bosch or Yuasa, it appears to be working well, and does give an indication on what brands I could look at for the permanent replacement.

I hope, assuming time allows, to get the batteries swapped over in the next day or so, and will report back once time has elapsed to allow for observations on performance. However, it is nice to know that my brothers Skoda Fabia vRS is able to help my Kia out in its own way. It did, however, owe my Kia a favour after my car towed a stricken vRS to safety after the timing belt snapped. There’s a story in that one too, but I’ll save that for another day.

Car Blog Kia Cee'd Suzuki Alto

Snow: Which Car is Best at Handling Bad Weather?

With some late March into April snow showers coming down over some parts of the UK, I thought I’d try and answer the question of which car is better when the weather is slippery. I say try, as I haven’t yet had the chance to drive the Kia in proper snowy conditions, but despite this I do have some observations to share.

Starting with the little Suzuki Alto, despite the lack of most driver aids, this car is very capable in snowy conditions. The car is light, meaning it is possible to change up gears very early to help control wheel spin and traction, something helped further by the relative lack of power. This is despite a lack of weight over the driving wheels, which can often lead to poorer traction in wet conditions. The narrow tyres cut through snow extremely well, and with care, there is little that would stop the Alto, excepting extreme conditions such as very high drifts.

Stopping, however, can sometimes cause more difficulty. Anti-lock brakes aren’t exactly known for being brilliant in snowy conditions, and annoyingly this is the one driver aid that is actually fitted to the little Suzuki. Extreme car is need when braking on snow, as the ABS (anti-lock braking system) has a tendency to either give full brakes thus locking the wheels, or absolutely no braking whatsoever. As such, it is important to allow plenty of distance to anything in front, and slow down gently using the gears.

The Kia typically performs well in wet and windy weather. The car handles brilliantly in dry conditions, and the same characteristics are true in poor weather. The traction control system performs well, and in some cases it can be beneficial to press slightly harder on the accelerator pedal, and let the car do the work for you. Under light snow accumulations (of the wet/slushy variety), the car worked well with no obvious loss of traction. Hopefully, some more snow will come so I can give the Kia a proper test.

On first impressions, both cars are capable in inclement weather. Without more first hand experiences in snow, it is hard to pick a winner between the little Suzuki and the larger Kia. However, the Alto does prove that you don’t need a big 4×4 to get around in snow.

Car Blog Kia Cee'd

The Second Post

I didn’t intend on making the second blog post quite so soon, but there is a valid reason. I design websites (including this one) as a hobby, and although some are built using content management software such as WordPress, many are coded from scratch using a mixture of HTML, CSS, and PHP coding. This particular website falls into the latter category, although I did start the ball rolling with a ready made template to speed up the process.

I’ve brought forward the second post, partly out of excitement to build up the blog, but in the main to populate the website with some more content. This will allow me to fine tune the website easier, whilst I build on the template and customise in into something far more unique. Don’t be surprised if you see some sudden changes, and apologies in advance if I accidentally break something, as I’m very much testing ideas as I go along.

Now, back to cars. The real topic of this post relates to an odd mandatory specification requirement when I was looking at a newer car, the process of which led to me acquiring the Kia Cee’d. This involved the need for a CD player.

I like to listen to a lot of music, especially when driving, and whilst I do use digital music saved on my phone, I still use CDs on a regular basis in my car. As such, this was a key consideration when looking to buy another car. With modern cars having sound systems integrated into the dashboard, I was reluctant to spend a lot of money on a car, only to have the hassle of ripping the entire dashboard to bits to fit an aftermarket stereo.

With my Kia being a pre-facelift 2nd generation Cee’d, it is amongst the last to feature a CD player. Thankfully, and worth bearing in mind for the future, it is also possible to fit an aftermarket head unit for the stereo without two much effort, albeit replacing the fascia panel surround the existing head unit. As it transpires, this has also proved important, as with the car lacking satellite navigation, I’m actually considering upgrading the head unit. No doubt this topic will resurface in later posts.

I know I’m in a declining majority, but I still find CDs a convenient and high quality method for listening to music, and as such CDs still play an important role for both in home and in car listening. As I wrap this article up, if you’ve noticed a lack of photos, no I haven’t forgotten about including them, I just haven’t yet got a far as adding them in. You may see some appear as I improve on the website. In time, I’ll also review the sound system in the Kia.

Car Blog Kia Cee'd Suzuki Alto

An Introduction to the ‘Fleet’

Although I had held a driving license for a while, it was not until October 2018 when I acquired my first car. My second arrived in June 2021, intended as a replacement, but my heart has led me to keeping both. I shall write on this story later, but for now I think it is worthwhile writing a little introduction to the two cars I have.

Tweetie Pie, the 2006 Suzuki Alto

Owned from October 2018

Named Tweetie Pie (no doubt this will be the subject of another posting), my 2006 Suzuki Alto was the first car I bought. Excluding dealers, the car had one previous owner, and had only clocked up around 10,800 miles by the time I bought it in October 2018.

Costing £1,500, the car is basic, simple, but a joy to drive. Despite being basic, the car came equipped with an aftermarket looking, yet factory fitted Clarion CD/radio, brilliant heater, and front electric windows. Cheap to insure, tax, and run, I quickly fell in love with the charms of the Alto.

Performance is good, with the car averaging 50mpg since I bought it, and although 62 bhp doesn’t seem like much, the lightweight car quickly accelerates to 50 mph. Handling is good too, and although the car does have a tendency to lean, it sticks to the road well.

Dennis, the 2015 Kia Cee’d

Owned from June 2021

Acquired from a local dealer, Dennis (named after the truck/bus manufacturer), is a 2015 Kia Cee’d diesel. Bought for a little under £6,000, this family sized hatchback is a good all rounder, and is in ‘2 Ecodynamics’ spec.

The car is a diesel, something which was essential as I do some long journeys, and wanted a car with a bit more high end power than the Alto. With a 126 bhp and plenty of torque, the Cee’d has more than enough grunt, and proves invaluable when over taking slower traffic.

Despite having double the brake horsepower, fuel economy is better than the Alto. An average of 55mpg is easily attainable, with 59 mpg on motorways at 70 mph, and 52 mpg on shorter journeys. I’ve even seen 67 mpg on the trip computer once.

… and to Conclude the First Post

With both cars being economical to run, I’ve opted to keep both for the time being. Switching between the two highlights not only how different they are, but how brilliant they are in their own separate ways. I hope this blog will be the perfect platform for sharing my past adventures with the cars, as well as documenting the future journey. Keep your eyes peeled for the next post, and thanks for reading.