• When it comes to maintaining your vehicle, one of the most important things you can do is pay attention to vital engine fluids. Photo: Japan Auto Repair, Inc. (2016)

  • In addition to routine oil changes, have your car's transmission fluid changed every 30,000 miles. Photo: Japan Auto Repair, Inc. (2016)

Ken DeMartini is certified auto mechanic of Japan Auto Repair, Inc.. To reach Ken DeMartini call (415) 347-5928.
How to Prevent Catastrophic Engine Failure

SAN RAFAEL − Most catastrophic engine failures stem from a lack of lubrication, whether engine oil or transmission fluid. In either case, being proactive about ongoing fluid maintenance is the key to maximizing the life of your vehicle’s engine.

Engine oil
One of the most important aspects of vehicle maintenance is having your oil changed at regular intervals—after all, a $75 service may save you $5,000 for a rebuilt engine. You should also make a habit of checking your oil level in between oil change appointments (at least once every 500 miles). Don’t wait until the red oil light comes on, which warns of an imminent catastrophic engine failure. If your oil light does come on, stop immediately and call for a tow to an auto repair shop.

Transmission fluid
Another critical part of engine lubrication is automatic transmission fluid. In the past, vehicle owners were advised to have their transmission fluid changed every 15,000 miles, but with today’s sophisticated technology, manufacturers are now saying it will last the lifetime of the transmission. That being said, your transmission’s lifetime won’t be very long if you don’t change the fluid; like any other engine fluid, it breaks down over time. To maximize your transmission’s lifespan, change its fluid every 30,000 miles.

Ken DeMartini is a certified auto mechanic at Japan Auto Repair, Inc., a Diamond Certified company since 2002. He can be reached at (415) 347-5928 or by email.

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