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!



Winter Driving – Are You Ready?

We have all heard of those stories about people’s cars breaking down or getting stranded in the middle of nowhere in three feet of snow on the coldest day of the year. It always happens under the worst conditions for these unfortunate motorists.

What do I really need to have my car ready for winter driving?

It is a question many people ask and it is a good question to ask. The last thing anyone wants or needs is for their car to break down on a snowy road in the middle of winter.

Here is a checklist of items from Ken’s Automotive, along with some maintenance items that are recommended by AAA, to ensure that your car is ready for winter driving conditions:

  • Battery checked
  • Level and condition of your Anti-freeze
  • Thermostat
  • Heater
  • Defroster
  • Tires, adequate tread (snow tires are best because the tread is more aggressive for better road traction on those snowy and slushy roads)
  • Tire pressure
  • Spare tire. Do you have one? Is it in good shape? Has it expired?
  • Wiper Blades. One thing that is often overlooked. Incur the extra expense and invest in top quality wiper blades that can swipe through the snow, slush and ice.
  • Make sure the nozzles where the windshield wiper fluid comes out are unclogged. Snow and ice can prevent these from shooting the wiper fluid out onto your windshield.
  • Cooling system flushed
  • Transmission fluid checked. It should be a bright, clean pink color.
  • Is your 4 wheel drive working? We tend to overlook this one because we haven’t used it all spring and summer so we forget about it.
  • And of course, it is really important to make sure all your maintenance repairs are up to date (oil changes, plugs, timing belts and car hoses). Have a trusted auto service and repair shop check to be sure all are in good condition.

Keeping up with your car’s maintenance schedule on a regular basis and checking off the above suggestions will help keep you and your family safe and give you worry free driving throughout the winter. After all, isn’t peace of mind worth it?

Winter Driving Car Emergency Kit

Are you and your vehicle ready for winter? Before you head out onto the snow covered icy roads this winter, make sure you are prepared! It is really important to put together a winter survival kit for your vehicle, especially if you travel with children on a regular basis.

The following suggestions are very useful. I know because they have come in handy for me personally and maybe we will talk about that another day…maybe.

Five things you should always have in your car in the winter in case of an emergency

Items to keep you safe and warm while you wait for help

One of the most important and probably at the top of the list is bottled water. Keeping hydrated can help you think clearly and help to keep you focused. Along, with water I would consider some high protein snacks, such as granola bars, nuts, power bars anything that will not perish quickly and can be kept in your car.

Blankets… can never have enough of these on a cold day; especially if you are stuck in snow and waiting for someone to come and get you.

Lighter, matches and flashlights with extra batteries. I would suggest you these are kept in a sealed tight container to prevent them from getting wet.

Communication. Call for help.

Before you leave your house make sure your cell phone is completely charged.


If you have a rear wheel drive vehicle a bag of sand over each wheel will help you keep traction in the snow. A shovel, cat litter and/or sand will also be very helpful in getting you out of the snow when stuck.

Plenty of Fuel

A full tank of gas is important. When the gas tank is full it helps prevent moisture from building up in the tank. This in turns helps your car to start faster on those cold mornings.

Remove all snow from your vehicle

Always carry a snow brush and an ice scraper in your vehicle. Make sure all of the snow is removed from your headlights, brake lights, turn signals, the windshield and the hood of your car prior to driving in winter conditions. This helps increase your visibility and allows other vehicles to see you on those cold, cloudy, and snowy days ahead.

Driving in the snow can be less stressful and maybe even enjoyable when you and your car are in tip top shape and ready for the unexpected.

Drive safe everyone!