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The Basics - Prepping for Fall & Winter

The Basics - Prepping for Fall & Winter

After one hot summer, it seems that Fall and Winter have combined into it’s own personal season of beautiful colors of fall with the cold, windy temperatures of Winter. Whenever we move into cold weather, it’s a good idea to prepare your car not only to maximize the life of your vehicle but to ensure you and your family’s safety as well.
Here are some tips to get your Car Weather Ready:

Check your tires

With road conditions changing from rain to snow or ice, it’s best to service your tires in the fall before the nasty weather hits. The best way to start is by checking tread which can be done with the penny test:
Place a penny head first into several tread grooves across the tire. If you always see the top of Lincoln’s head, your treads are shallow and worn. If this is the case, your tires need to be replaced. If part of Lincoln’s head is always covered by the tread, you have more than 2/32 of an inch of tread depth remaining. This means your probably don’t need new tires.

All-season radials can get you through winter, but they need to be in good shape. If you’re unsure of what tires you need, you can always consult your vehicle user’s manual or the vehicle manufacturer’s website. Our Friends at Miller’s Tire can cover your tire needs as well at any Madison County location.

Extra Tip: Make sure your spare tire is filled up and ready in case you ever get a flat. Nothing adds to the headache of a flat tire like no spare to change. PLUS, always check your tire pressure throughout the cold seasons. Drops in temperature can affect your tires pretty quickly.

Have your oil checked

With extreme changes in weather, it’s important to see if your oil needs to be changed. Oil tends to thicken as it gets colder, and if it’s too thick it won’t do the best job of keeping your engine lubricated. Check your owner’s manual for guidance about which oil to use in different climates and temperatures.

Don’t forget the battery

Winters can be tough on your car’s battery. Make sure your battery’s posts and connections are corrosion-free and that your battery has all the water it needs. If your battery is more than three years old, a simple battery check test can be done by your mechanic to make sure you’re in the clear or if it’s time for a new one.

Hoses & Belts

When you have that full service done on your vehicle, make sure the belts and hoses get checked for wear and tear — even if you’re driving a modern car. Cold weather can do a number on belts and hoses, so they deserve attention.

4WD Check

Having 4WD in harsh terrain can make all the difference. Make sure your four-wheel-drive system is working correctly — especially because most drivers don’t use their 4WD systems in the pleasant summer months. Be sure that the system engages and disengages easily, and that all drivers in your household know how and when to activate the system.
Antifreeze Check

Aim for having a 50-50 mix of antifreeze (coolant) and water inside your radiator. This will prevent the mixture from freezing even at ridiculously cold temperatures. It’s easy to check the status of the mixture with an inexpensive antifreeze tester, which you can pick up at any auto parts store. If the mixture is off, your cooling system should be drained and refilled or flushed. Asking your mechanic for a “Winter Ready Check” can be a good way to make sure all the bases are covered.

Have a winter kit

Good things to keep in a winter emergency kit vary but the basics are usually non-perishable snacks, water, jumper cables, blankets, flashlights and even a bag of cat litter just to name a few. While different climates demand different things. It’s always better to air on the side of caution and always keep a kit in your vehicle.

TIP: Thermal water bottles can be a great way to store water in your car without resulting in frozen messes.

Always fill up the gas tank

While we usually always fill up at the pump, it’s important to always make sure you have a full tank when making your daily drives. If you get stranded, a well fueled car can run longer to keep you safe until help arrives. Cold and constantly shifting temperatures can cause condensation to form on the walls of a gas tank in the red, and soon water will drip down and into the gas. It will eventually sink to the bottom, since water is heavier than gas, which is bad news -- if water finds its way into the fuel lines, it will freeze up, blocking any flow of gas to the engine.

Using sound judgement and preparation can ensure you and yours have a safe and happy fall and winter. If you’re unsure of where to start, a quick visit to your local mechanic is the best way to prepare. Have a safe season!

The Basics - Let's talk about peace of mind

The Basics - Warranties, Gap and More.

When it comes to buying your next car, we want it to be as stress-free as possible. We also want you to be happy with your purchase. After all, this is a vehicle you’ll be with for an undetermined amount of time so we know you’ll want to find the right fit! In this post, we want to break down some of the protections and coverage you can have for added peace of mind. There are different types of warranties that can come into play when you purchase a vehicle. It’s important to understand what’s available and what isn’t. Let's explore that now:

  • Factory Warranty 

The most common of car warranties. All car manufacturers offer a factory warranty on new vehicles. A factory warranty usually includes a new vehicle limited warranty, sometimes referred to as a bumper-to-bumper warranty. A factory warranty may also include a powertrain warranty, and may also cover items such as maintenance, corrosion and emissions coverage. With Factory Warranties, these are normally available when the car is first sold brand new and has a mileage limit or time limit before it expires. 

Depending on the make and model and miles, you could buy a used car with remaining coverage from the Factory Warranty. Always a great thing to check for! 

  • Extended Warranty / Service Contract 

An extended warranty, also known as a vehicle service contract, covers the cost of certain repairs after the standard factory warranty expires. These warranty types can vary from items such as a power train which covers engine and transmission issues up to complete coverage. These are purchased usually when you're buying the vehicle (after it's first sale from a big box dealership.) 

  • GAP 

Guaranteed Asset Protection (or “GAP”) is protection that works in tandem with your insurance. Normal car insurance covers the fair market value of the car, but not the total loan amount. If you owe more than the car is worth you’ll most likely be responsible for that.

Here’s an example: Bob took out a loan for $5,000 however after an accident; insurance only covered $4,200. So $800 is still leftover on the auto loan and Bob has to cover that out of pocket.

There's two types of GAP offered: the first type is an insurance policy sold by an insurance agent. The second type is a waiver agreement sold by a Finance / Insurance Manager or offered when buying your car.

TIP: While some of these items can be purchased after a vehicle has been sold, if you're looking to add a service contract (warranty) or GAP and want it to be part of the financed cost overall, you'll want to add it before completing the sale.Otherwise you could have to pay for this out of pocket. 


When buying a used vehicle, cars are normally sold “As Is.” That means that unexpected maintenance and repair expenses are your responsibility. Service Contracts are great for peace of mind and keeping your finances in check. At Cars of Kentucky, we have our entire inventory checked, serviced and road tested before each sale. However no one can predict what the future holds and it’s better to be over prepared then under prepared.

Did you know that when you purchase a vehicle from Cars of Kentucky, you can grab an included 90 Day Power Train warranty as long as the vehicle is less than 20 years old and the asking price is met. Make sure to speak to ask your sales specialist about a warranty and different options during your visit!

We hope this post helped provide some insight on warranties and GAP and how to protect your investment! 

Cars of Kentucky is a Richmond, KY based Auto Dealership specializing in used vehicles for over 34 years. Located on 356 Big Hill Avenue, Richmond, KY. Visit our current inventory online www.carsofkentucky.com


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