Diagnosing Engine Problems That Elicit the Check Engine Light

What to Do When Your Check Engine Light Comes On

Whenever the check engine light comes on, it is often accompanied by a feeling of dread in anticipation of the coming auto repair bill. However, there are many reasons the check engine light may come on. The problem may be a simple adjustment that you can make yourself or it may require professional service. In any case, it usually entails a visit to an auto repair shop. The purpose of the check engine light is to warn of a malfunction in the engine. Before 1996, automotive manufacturers had their own diagnostic systems to ensure cars met EPA standards. In 1996, a universal protocol called OBD-II was introduced, which included standardized diagnostic trouble codes (DTC). It requires all cars to have a connector from which this information can be retrieved. The access port is typically found beneath the steering column.

Common Causes for Check Engine Light Coming On

Unless your car is exhibiting signs of a major problem such as stalling, transmission slippage or smoking, the check engine light is usually no cause for immediate concern. The light may come on when various engine components are beginning to wear and need replacing. It is important, however, not to ignore them since failure to correct the problem can cause greater fuel consumption, decreased performance and lead to wear or malfunctioning of other engine components. Below are some of the most common reasons the check engine light comes on.

  • Loose gas cap
  • Oxygen sensor needs replacing
  • Spark plugs are worn
  • Mass airflow sensor needs replacing
  • Catalytic converter is damaged


What to Do When the Check Engine Light Comes On

The check engine light may come on for minor malfunctions that you can remedy for little or no cost. check engine lightIf there doesn’t appear to be a major problem with your vehicle and the light comes on, inspect for minor issues such as a loose gas cap or worn spark plugs. Once you have made adjustments, the check engine light will still be on. Many vehicles require restarting three times with no errors to clear the code. Alternatively, most code readers are capable of clearing the trouble code. This is not recommended unless you are sure the repair has eliminated the problem. In addition, there are some conditions that can cause the check engine light to come on when no problem exists. In this case, the light should go off on its own in a short time.

Interpreting Code Readers

A variety of code readers can be found on the market, from inexpensive to sophisticated models. Hand held code readers available at most auto parts retailers can provide information that may help you avoid an expensive repair. Nonetheless, interpreting the codes can sometimes be confusing. For example, the code reader may indicate the light has come on due to an engine misfire. However, an engine misfire can be caused by a fouled out spark plug, malfunctioning fuel injector or a bad coil pack. For more complete information about the trouble code, a professional engine diagnostic is required.

What Are Engine Diagnostics

Engine diagnostics are performed by a professional mechanic. Your car is connected to a computer interface to return the problem codes, similar to that of a code reader. The engine diagnostic equipment at an automotive service center is much more sophisticated and may return multiple codes. The mechanic will use the information provided from the codes as well as the car’s performance to diagnose the problem. The diagnostic equipment used at a professional automotive repair shop is quite expensive. When you pay for an engine diagnosis, it covers the use of this equipment as well as the expertise of the mechanic. A thorough engine diagnosis can pinpoint the problem precisely and eliminate the cost of replacing unneeded parts.


Advantages to Using Synthetic Oil

There Are Several Advantages to Using Synthetic Oil

synthetic oil

Some people ask, “What is the difference between regular motor oil and synthetic motor oil?” What those
people really want to know is if it is worth paying a little extra for synthetic motor oil over the life of their vehicle. Here are some of the differences between each kind of oil, and some of the advantages of synthetic oil.

Synthetic motor oil has been altered so that it can work better for your car. Conventional oil and synthetic oil come out of the ground looking the same—because they are the same at that point, but that is where their path to a car engine changes. Synthetic oil is distilled, purified, and broken down into its most basic level. Then, additives are put into it the reduced oil to make the synthetic oil.

What does this “new” oil do that “regular” oil does not do?

  • Synthetic oil keeps engines cleaner. When oil travels through the engine, it picks up debris and deposits from tiny fragments of dirt and tiny slivers of metal which damage engines. This sort of damage rarely causes catastrophic and sudden engine stoppage, but it will make a vehicles service life shorter on the back end. Eventually conventional oil may even turn to sludge. Synthetic oils are thinner and through their molecular alteration, many of the impurities have been removed so there are few deposits left by the oil.
  • When the parts of an engine are moving, they are grinding against each other constantly at high speeds. This constant friction can make the parts in the engine break down, especially when driven in extreme weather conditions. The thing that keeps this grinding from making an engine break down quickly is the lubrication provided by motor oil. As oils have been in use over time, they work less efficiently in providing that lubrication protection and engines are not protected as well. Synthetic motor oil does not break down as quickly as conventional motor oil, so its use can increase the life of an engine.
  • Low temperatures are not good for an engine. Oil settles in the engine block during low temperatures, even when a vehicle sits in cold weather overnight the oil will settle, and then after then car is started, that thick and viscus oil that has pooled in low places in the engine takes a while to begin to flow properly. While the oil is moving to the engine parts to do its job, the engine is creating friction and damaging itself. When you listen to commercials for synthetic oil, they often refer to themselves as quick flowing, and that, at least in part refers to the fact that because they are specially formulated and thinner than conventional oil, synthetic oils can get to the parts of the engine in need of oil faster, even in really cold weather.
  • Just like cold weather does not serve engines well, neither does hot weather, especially those people who live in places that get really hot. Engines, being made mostly out of metal, do not last as long when they are already hot when started. Conventional oils also do not do well in severe heat. They break down more quickly and they tend to evaporate. Synthetic oils have been developed to resist the extreme heat and to not evaporate as quickly providing better protection to engines.

If you are considering changing from conventional motor oil to synthetic motor oil, the things you should keep in mind are that synthetic oil is thinner which allows it to resist the potential hazards from severe weather. Synthetic oil also lasts longer. Most car owners will also be pleased to note that they will not be able to discern any difference in how their vehicle runs when using synthetic oil. The benefits they should notice are that oils will only need to be changed around every 7500 miles, and their engines should last longer. Most consumers would agree that those are good reasons to use synthetic oils.



Top Winter Driving Safety Checks before Hitting the Road

Winter Driving Safety Checks for Optimal Performance


Rain, snow and sleet are a few of the weather conditions that can make winter driving dangerous. An
accident happens in milliseconds. Keep yourself and your family safe this winter season by taking steps to make sure that your car is ready for the road. There are a number of safety checks to perform to ensure that your vehicle is prepared for any winter weather conditions that you may encounter before getting on the road.

Perform Routine Maintenance

Like scheduling a child for its regular checkup, your vehicle needs its routinely scheduled maintenance. The following items are strongly suggested.

  • Have a trusted mechanic check your vehicle for worn hoses, leaks, necessary repairs and replacements.
  • Regular oil changes and the addition of fluids, such as windshield wiper fluid and engine oil are simple things to do that will help you get to your destination without hampered vision or vehicle performance issues. Fill your windshield washer reservoir before the first snowfall and use a “no-freeze” fluid.
  • In addition, the tire pressure for all of your tires should be at the level recommended in your vehicle’s owner manual. Drops in temperature can reduce the pressure in one or more of your tires. This can put additional stress on your vehicle if you need to suddenly stop and break in less than ideal road conditions.


Review the Overall Condition of Car Parts

Each element of your vehicle has a lifespan and it makes sense to review those parts that seriously
undermine your vehicle’s performance and your driving experience.

  • winter drivingYour windshield wipers and defroster improve visibility while driving. Look at your wipers and make sure that they work properly and replace any worn blades. Individuals that live in areas subject to heavy snow conditions might want to install a heavy-duty set of wipers. Also make sure that window defrosters for the front and rear windows work as expected.
  • Temperature also impacts your car’s battery power. Your battery should be checked for sufficient voltage, with a review of the belts and the charging system. You can stop in at your mechanic for a thorough inspection. Replace batteries as necessary and make simple repairs such as tightening battery cable connections yourself.
  • Have enough coolant in your vehicle that is designed to weather winter temperatures. Coolant expands when it freezes and can damage your engine block. Follow the specific recommendations in the owner’s manual. If your system has not been flushed in years, a replacement of coolant may be in order as the rust inhibitors within the fluid break down over time.
  • Look over your tires. They need to be inspected once a month and always prior to a long trip. Check your tire pressure using the tire pressure gauge that you keep in your vehicle as part of your emergency kit. If the read is less than 1/16thof an inch or the tire shows uneven wear, it is time to replace your tires. Degradation of the integrity of your tires may not be visible. Find the age of your tires on their sidewall. The tire identification begins with “DOT”. The last digits give the week and year of manufacture. Check your manual for recommendations for replacement but know that a number of manufacturers recommend replacement every six years.


Have a happy and safe journey with the additional peace of mind that comes from the knowledge that your vehicle is at peak performance levels for winter driving conditions.



Transform Headlights From Cloudy To Clear

Headlight Restoration

Daylight savings time has arrived, and with it, shorter days that force drivers to be out on the road after dark. A rise in car accident rates always accompanies the shift in time, and this problem is only exacerbated by cloudy headlights that make it nearly impossible for drivers to see the road. If your headlights are currently obscured by a foggy film, it is of utmost importance that you get them clean as soon as possible. Every time you get behind the wheel of a car with cloudy headlights, you are putting passengers, fellow drivers and yourself at risk. Restoring headlights is surprisingly easy and cost-effective; by following the steps outlined below, you can return your yellow, foggy lights to their original pristine appearance.


Polycarbonate Headlights Versus Glass Headlights

headlight restoration

The restoration tips highlighted below apply only to headlights constructed from polycarbonate plastic. This scratch-resistant material is used for the vast majority of headlights. However, some classic cars have glass headlights. Drivers with classic cars often prefer to have their headlights defogged during professional detailing sessions, but a combination of sandpaper and a glass polishing kit makes for a viable alternative. Glass headlights tend to be easier to scratch, so it is important to take great care while completing the restoration process — and to use glass polish when finished.


Choosing a Kit

If you opt for a DIY approach to restoration, you will first need to choose from a wide array of kits available at online, at automotive shops, and in big box stores. When choosing a kit, keep the potential for future restoration in mind. Many kits are only good for one cleaning, but some offer sufficient materials for multiple uses. With some kits, the potential for future defogging is greatly reduced, thanks to the inclusion of clear coats that protect the lens from fogging. A few drivers swear by simple toothpaste as the ultimate headlight defogging tool, but many prefer the convenience and added protection of headlight restoration kits.

Protect Vehicle Paint

Prior to using a restoration kit, is important to take steps to protect your vehicle’s paint. Otherwise, it is easy to damage paint with the abrasive compound or sandpaper included in the kit. Begin by covering the area surrounding the headlights with electrical tape. Newspaper may be required for additional coverage. Some drivers prefer to remove headlights for cleaning purposes, but this necessitates later aligning.


Clarifying Compound Application and Sanding

headlightsMany restoration kits include clarifying compounds designed to go above and beyond what mere sandpaper can accomplish. This clarifying compound should be carefully applied to each lens. Kits with clarifying compound typically include restoration pads, which can be used to clear up problem spots with severe oxidation. Other kits feature traditional sandpaper, which is used to remove any yellowing that has accumulated. Scratches may occur while sanding; these can be removed with polish, which gives the polycarbonate a clean, clear appearance.


UV Sealant

The best restoration kits include UV sealant, which is necessary after sandpaper or restoration pads have stripped away previously applied UV protection. Without UV sealant, it could be only a matter of weeks before fogging returns.

Headlight restoration is a surprisingly simple process that can improve your vehicle’s appearance and make the roads a much safer place to be after the sun goes down. If, however, you lack the time or ability to restore your vehicle’s headlights, it may be worth your while to seek restoration services from a professional.



What is a Cabin Filter and Why Should it be Replaced?

Mysterious Cabin Filters Explained

Today, most of the auto industry’s later model vehicles have an added part called a cabin filter. cabin filterThough its name pretty much explains its function — its a filter that is typically placed in the cabin of your vehicle — a cabin filter is a bit more involved than that. Many people have never heard of such a filter and are not aware of the proper care for it. In spite of that lack of knowledge, a cabin filter is actually a pretty important element that can have a crucial role in your comfort while you are driving. Read on for everything you need to know about the cabin filter that is in your vehicle — even if you don’t know where it is yet!

Cabin Filters Demystified

A cabin filter has one job and that is to clean the air within the cabin of your vehicle. Air that
enters your car through its ventilation, heating or cooling system passes through the cabin filter. Pollen, dust, debris and other materials are what this type of filter is designed to catch before these substances enter the interior of your vehicle. By doing this, you are protected from any ill effects that you might experience by being exposed to things such as potential allergens.

Finding the Cabin Filter

In nearly all cases, it is not going to be obvious where your cabin filter is located.  Some vehicle
manufacturers install this type of filter behind the glove box, though accessing it could prove a little tricky. In other cases, the cabin filter might be located behind the dash where it is nearly
impossible to access without the use of  specialized tools. Still other vehicles might have them tucked away under the hood, located in the ideal spot so they are ready to trap airborne materials when fresh air reaches your HVAC system.

Signs That Your Cabin Filter Needs to be Changed

Most vehicle manufacturers have a recommended time frame to follow when changing the cabin filter. A range between 12,000 and 15,000 miles is about average. Depending on where you drive as well as how often you do so, you might need to change the cabin filter more often. For example, a dusty environment or one that has poor air quality might mean that you will need to have the cabin filter changed yearly or even sooner. The following are other reasons why you might need to change your cabin filter:

  • Unpleasant odors that occur each time you use the HVAC system
  • Any sign of reduced air flow
  • More noise than air that comes out of the vents when you turn the fan on high

Regardless of whether or not you see any signs that indicate that you should change your cabin filter, you should have a professional look it over at least once every year. Chances are it will contain some type of debris including soot, insects, leaves, grime, small twigs and more. Having it changed can greatly improve the air quality inside your vehicle.

Consistent Car Care: Why Regular Oil Changes Are A Good Investment

Regular Oil Changes Can Save You Money

Although mechanics have long lectured drivers on the importance of changing their oil, drivers often fail to understand the full benefits of regular oil changes. Many see oil changes as a waste of money when in fact they are among the best investments you can make in a car.

Benefits of regular oil changes

Enhanced Fuel Economyregular oil changes

Oil provides valuable lubrication to the engine, allowing it to function as smoothly and efficiently as
possible. If you fail to change the oil, friction will build up, causing resistance while you drive. The longer this goes on, the lower your car’s fuel mileage will be, forcing you to fill up more often and spend more on gas. An investment in regular oil changes will thus more than pay off through lower fuel bills and less time spent at the gas station.

Powertrain Preservation

Fuel economy isn’t the only thing that suffers when friction builds up in your engine. The more resistance that there is between your engine and other parts of the powertrain, the more quickly the parts wear down. Poor lubrication causes parts to:

  • Grind Together– Without proper lubrication, parts will wear each other down.
  • Fuse Together– Without oil to separate them, parts can melt and become stuck together.
  • Accumulate Debris– Old oil accumulates dust and dirt, which damage the engine upon contact.

These damages can cause your engine to break down, often without much warning, forcing you to replace the powertrain or buy a new car entirely. Either option is orders of magnitude more expensive than a few oil changes.

Mitigated Maintenance

Even if it survives, a poorly oiled engine is likely to require more maintenance work than an engine that you oil regularly. This generates a host of direct and indirect costs. Comprehensive engine repairs are more expensive than simply changing the oil, as they often require you to buy new parts and hire a trained mechanic to perform them. In addition to the direct cost of repair, you also have to account for the value of your time. Every hour your car spends in the shop is an hour you can’t use it to drive to work, buy groceries, or perform other valuable activities. All these costs quickly add up, making repairs far more expensive than a quick oil change.

Savings Through Safety

In addition to damaging your car and draining your wallet, failing to change the oil also puts you and your family at risk. A poorly lubricated or compromised engine will have trouble accelerating or decelerating on cue, which is dangerous when driving on a crowded road at high speeds. If the engine breaks down while you are driving, it will be a struggle to bring the car to a stop safely. Additionally, if you don’t regularly replace it with new oil, the old oil in the car will start to burn, exposing you, your family, and anyone else around you to a host of harmful fumes.

Although your family’s safety is not primarily a monetary issue, unsafe and unhealthy conditions are expensive. The fumes from old oil can cause lung damage and chronic illnesses, while engine problems can cause injury and damage to your car. All of these effects are expensive, and all can be reduced or eliminated if you change your oil.


With over 40 years of experience in the automotive industry, Ken’s Automotive & Transmissions has the skills and training to service all types of vehicles. We provide quality oil changes, transmission repair, tire repair, and a wide range of other automotive repairs and enhancements. For more information or to request a quote, visit our website today.



Regular Maintenance Keeps Auto Repair Costs Low  

Keeping your car in great shape is not only the practical and safe thing to do, it can save you money. Routine maintenance can prevent larger repairs and keep those repair costs lower. Here’s a look at regular maintenance that should be addressed on your vehicle.

Regular Vehicle Maintenance

Oil Changes maintenance

One of the easiest ways to keep your car lasting longer is maintain clean oil in your car. Your motor oil should be changed every 3,000 – 6,000 miles. If your oil is very dark or has a burnt odor, it is far beyond time for a change. Part of the job of your oil and filter is to manage and remove impurities in your engine while keeping it lubricated. Old oil can actually have the opposite effect.

Heating and Cooling System

Very expensive repairs can be the result of not maintaining your car’s cooling system. This includes keeping clean coolant in your radiator and having it flushed at least bi-annually. Check for leaks and hoses that may be brittle. You want to make sure there is an appropriate water/coolant mix. If you notice a rise in temperature or see even a small water leak from your radiator, have your car looked at quickly. An overheated engine can cause expensive engine block problems and even terminal engine failure.


Brakes are one of the items people are most likely to deteriorate without repair. There are two initial indications that your brakes need to be checked. The first is if your brake pedal seems to have a different feel to it. Another sign is when you first hear a slight squealing or squeaking sound when braking. This sound is intentionally built into your brake pads to let you know they are wearing thin. Ignoring this sound could lead to more expensive repairs like rotor replacement.


Tire wear can happen so gradually, many don’t pay attention to it. Properly maintaining tire pressure is the easiest thing an owner can do to maximize tire wear. If you begin to notice unusual wear, take your car in and have the alignment checked. While there are potentially several causes for tire wear, it is usually due to poor wheel alignment. Getting the issue resolved quickly will let allow your tires to last longer.

Check Engine Light

Your check engine light is there for a reason. Don’t ignore it. While many times your check engine light may go on for some minor reason, it may also foretell of bigger problems ahead.

Transmission and Transmission Fluid

Many transmission problems can be avoided with regular inspections and filter and fluid replacement. Some have a fear of having their transmission checked because repairs can be expensive. It, however, is far better to head off problems early than to have it result in a transmission rebuild or replacement.

maintenanceIt can be very helpful to find an auto repair shop you can trust and who can get to know you and your
car. In Frederick, MD, that auto shop is Ken’s Automotive & Transmissions. We are a Total Car Care Facility. That means, from oil changes to transmission repair and replacements we can handle it all. We are a family owned and operated company that is built on trust and integrity. We are a Maryland State Inspection Facility. We pride ourselves, and are grateful for, our large number of loyal customers who continue to return to us through the years.

If you have allowed your vehicle to get in a state of disrepair, bring it in to Ken’s Automotive & Transmissions. We will take a look and work with you to get it back in shape. We will prioritize the needed repairs and help you schedule them to fit your budget. Keep your car maintained and help avoid the major repairs.

If you live in the Frederick, MD area and are looking for trustworthy car care, contact Ken’s Automotive & Transmissions. We look forward to serving you.



5 Vital Things to Know About Your Vehicle’s Brakes

Brakes – Vehicle Safety

brakesEvery individual unit of a vehicle is a vital to your “big picture” comfort, convenience, and safety. Each and every one has its importance. With that said, there are few more immediately vital parts of a car than its brakes. Brake failures are a leading nightmare for many, as such an incident is an enormous threat to personal safety.

As the owner of your vehicle, it should be top priority to take care of your brakes and know everything there is to know about them. Knowledge, in this case, is both power and safety. And, when it comes to your safety, there’s no such thing as knowing too much.

Knowing the answers to the following five questions is a great way to stay both ahead of the curve and ahead of the curb.

What is a “Brake Flush” and When Should It Happen?

Whenever you “hit the brakes,” you’re pushing on brake fluid; it’s the force that further pushes the brake pads against your car rotors (which then proceed to slow your vehicle down). Over time, brake fluid gets cluttered with contaminants such as sludge, moisture, air, and other forms of interference. The spongier your brake fluid gets with contaminants, the less effective it will be.

A “brake flush” sees a professional drain pre-existing brake fluid and replace it with clean brake fluid. This should take place at ever oil change and/or every 15,000-20,000 miles.

Why Do My Brakes Squeak?

car brakesThe leading cause of squeaky brakes is worn brake pads. It’s an obvious audio cue that you should, at the very least, check yours out.

Some vehicles allow you to see the brake pads without taking off your wheels; others do not. If you can, note your brake pads’ thickness. If it seems worn or there’s a lot of brake dust on your wheel, take it into your trusted vehicle inspector to have them professionally inspected.

Why Do My Brakes Pulsate and/or Vibrate?

Pulsating or vibrating brakes may, like the previous scenario, indicate that something in your brake system needs repair or replacement. In this case, it’s likely an issue with your brake rotors.

Rotors rust and sustain damage over time, especially if the vehicle’s drivers regularly slam on the brakes. This incremental damage slowly accrues, and makes the rotors less durable and effective at their job: slowing the vehicle down. Rust happens if a vehicle is left to sit in an inactive state for too long.

If your brakes pulsate or vibrate, get them checked out by a professional.

What are Brake Calipers?

brake calipersBrake calipers are the key item that connects the force generated by your brake pedal to your vehicle’s wheels. Brake fluid in the master cylinder creates hydraulic pressure that is applied to pistons within your brake calipers. The calipers than force your brake pads against the rotor—which then slows down the vehicle.

Every vehicle has its own type of braking system. Some are disc-based, some are not, some use floating calipers, and others used fixed calipers. Regardless of the specific scenario, a vehicle’s calipers are an integral part of the braking process.

What are Brake Hoses?

Brake hoses are what brake fluid uses to the move within your vehicle’s braking system. When you apply pressure to your brake pedals, the brake fluid travels through the brake hoses from the master cylinder over to the brake calipers.

Vehicles can have up to four different brake hoses, and they are usually made from rubber.

Like anything, brake hoses are subject to wear-and-tear. Thanks to enough heat and debris, your brake hoses may collapse; you’ll notice this if your car pulls to one side when you brake. If this happens, have them checked out immediately.


Back-to-School: Have you done a car safety check?

car safety inspectionAre you a parent who’s sending a college student back off to school this season? Parenting a college student requires remembering all the little things that they’ll need but won’t think of packing like extra sheets, phone chargers, HDMI cords, and Command hooks. If your child is one of the 70% of college-aged kids who owns or has access to a vehicle, there’s definitely one more important thing your student is likely to forget: getting a car safety check.

In most states, a car safety check or vehicle inspection involves checking components such as brake linings, tire treads, windshield wipers, brake lights, and turn signals. If your child is driving to college this year, having a generic safety inspection conducted is a step you don’t want to miss. However, a back -to-school car safety check goes beyond the minimal restrictions laid down by your state. Consult the owner’s manual or visit a trusted automotive servicing center like Ken’s Automotive & Transmissions to determine what other maintenance your student’s vehicle may need.

car safety checkOne of the most important things you can do as a car owner – and as a parent – is to have preventative maintenance completed for your college-age student before they leave for the school year. Oftentimes, your child is traveling to college from another state or hundreds of miles away. When you do see them it’s a short, rushed weekend trip in which they may be juggling visits to both family and high school friend, and may not have the extra time to stop by a service center. It’s better to perform preventative maintenance on your child’s car as soon as you can to verify that your son or daughter has 8 to 9 months of care-free driving while away.

Below are just a few questions to ask yourself about the condition of your student’s vehicle before he or she heads off to college.

Car Safety Check: Things to Consider

  • Are the lights in working order? Are any of the head lamps foggy, which could make driving at night hazardous?
  • Has the oil been changed recently?
  • When is the last time the tires were checked? Not just the treads, but the pressure, air, and rotations?
  • Is an alignment required?
  • Are the windshield wipers functioning properly? Has the wiper fluid been refilled?
  • Have the fluids been checked (oil, brake fluid, transmission fluid, etc.)? Are all the reservoirs full?
  • When was the last power steering flush, brake flush, coolant flush, and/or transmission flush performed?

If you are uncertain about the answers to any of the above questions, you need to stop by Ken’s Automotive & Transmissions for a detailed assessment based on the year, make and model of your car. Our automotive service center is family-owned, so we understand the significance of sending your son or daughter off to college in a vehicle that has been thoroughly checked and maintained.

Before your child gases up to take on a new year of higher education, get your own education and learn what your their vehicle will need to be in prime condition for driving. Stop by Ken’s Automotive & Transmissions and put your student’s vehicle in the hands of automotive professionals who understand your family’s unique needs.

Automotive fluids for your car!

Can You Name the Six Automotive Fluids?

If you are able to name the six automotive fluids then  you are well on your way to keeping your vehicle in tip top shape!


automotive fluids

brake fluid

*Brake Fluid

*Transmission Fluid


*Power Steering Fluid

*Motor Oil

*Windshield Wiper Fluid

Today’s blog will cover the first three automotive fluids….

 *Brake Fluid

Brake fluid is probably, of the six automotive fluids mentioned, is the most looked over! However, brake fluid is an extremely important fluid to maintain for safe driving conditions. By checking your brake fluid regularly you will be in the know if there is a sudden drop in the amount of brake fluid you have. This could be an indicator of a hole or deterioration of a brake line problem. It is best to check your owner’s manual for recommendations of when to change your fluid. It is important to note that this could fluctuate based upon your driving. An average car that drives about 15K miles per year can use your brakes about 65-85K times in that driving period. As brake pads wear out your brake fluid levels will begin to decline. This is why it is important to regularly check your fluid levels.

*Transmission Fluid

Automatic transmission fluids are usually recommended at around 100K miles. This will depend upon your driving. For example, a lot of stop and go, such as city driving, will cause more use of the fluid. If you drive a lot in the city or do a lot of heavy pulling or pushing, such an snow, these may be reasons to have your fluids changed sooner. With heavy and hostile driving conditions it may be necessary to change your transmission fluids every 30-50 K miles.  When checking transmission fluid make sure it is free of debris and metal flakes and also, in most vehicles, it should be a nice pink color. If the fluid is dark this will be  a good indicator that it is time to change the fluid.


The purpose of coolant fluid is to remove any excess heat that may come from the radiator. Coolant also known as antifreeze, when having chemicals added to prevent from freezing, are actually one in the same. Changing coolant fluids will depend upon your manufacturer’s recommendations, please check your owner’s manual.  Coolant fluid helps lubricate moving parts to lessen friction and it helps prevent corrosion.

Come back in April for the other three automotive fluids needed for your car!