Ken DeMartini, mechanic at Japan Auto Repair, talks about the importance of fluid maintenance in avoiding catastrophic engine damage.

Ken DeMartini is certified auto mechanic of Japan Auto Repair, Inc.. To reach Ken DeMartini call (415) 347-5928.
Video: Engine Fluid Maintenance
Complete Video Transcription:

SAN RAFAEL − Host, Sarah Rutan: When it comes to maintaining your vehicle, one of the most important things you can do is pay attention to vital engine fluids. Today we’re in San Rafael with Diamond Certified Expert Contributor Ken DeMartini of Japan Auto Repair to learn more.

Diamond Certified Expert Contributor, Ken DeMartini: I’d like to talk today about engine catastrophic failures and how to prevent them. So, I have an engine here completely disassembled and another one to my right completely disassembled. Both of them failed because of lack of lubrication. I had this engine here held eight quarts, two full gallons, of oil and there was less than a coffee cup of oil when I drained out of the oil pan. Needless to say the engine seized up completely. A $75 oil change cost the gentleman $5000. Oil changes and maintaining the oil level in between oil changes is critical. Checking the oil at least once every four, 500 miles is critical. Don’t wait till the red oil light comes on. Red oil light means stop. There may be a case when you cannot stop and then you’re going to have a catastrophic failure. So, another critical point is automatic transmissions.

Automatic transmission fluid – in the old days we used to change it every 15,000, once a year. Like everything else, everything has become electronic and more sophisticated and manufacturers are saying that transmission fluid is lifetime of the transmission. Well, that may be true if you – if the transmission self-destructs at 75 or 100,000 miles. But if you changed it every 30,000, it would extend it maybe to 150 to 200,000. So, yes, they say the transmission fluid lasts the lifetime of the transmission, but let’s make the transmission last longer by servicing it. So, part of the 30,000-mile service is to change the fluid. A lot of the manufacturers don’t recommend changing it. Every automatic transmission builder in this country, I guarantee you, will say that is ridiculous. Transmission fluid breaks down. The additives break down. They – transmission fluid gets hot. So, you need to change the transmission fluid on your automatic transmission.

Host, Sarah Rutan: To learn more from local top-rated companies, visit our Diamond Certified Expert Reports at

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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