K.C. Martin Auto Repair Blog
K.C. Martin Auto Repair Blog
Car Care Tips and More!

K.C. Martin Auto Repair Blog

Summer Time Fuel Efficiency: How to Save Gas for More Summer Fun!

by KC Martin Automotive on 06/20/17

The Summer is HERE! And it's a huge relief from our record-breaking, soaked Winter. Coming out of Winter, it's important to have your car seen (during your regular oil change is okay) to make sure that any wear and tear from the Winter months are acknowledged, if not tended to. For this message, we're going to assume that your car or truck is in good working order, and not needing any auto repairs or servicing to run optimally. Even then, there are still ways to be smart and save costs during the Summer months to come.

Being fuel efficient can be a concern for your wallet, or the amount of extra stops, or possibly just your care for the environment, and in some cases, folks care about all three issues somewhat. Here are FOUR solid tips and good habits you can get into, to make sure that you are using your fuel responsibly this Summer and in all the Summers to come!


1. Check Your Speed
The old saying is that you should keep your car at or below 55 miles per hour for best gas mileage. Why? Because at the higher speeds, your vehicle encounters considerably more friction and air resistance.

In actuality, cars reach their optimum fuel efficiency between 35 and 60 miles per hour. So, the number to focus on is 60 mph. The Department of Energy has stated that for every 5 mph you reach over 60, you are causing yourself the cost of an additional 24 cents per gallon of gas. This can add up, and if it's not necessary to go that fast (and it rarely is), you can slow down and save the money. Also consider that keeping it at 60 mph will always have the added benefit of safety for avoiding auto accidents.


2. Use Your Air Conditioning Wisely
Your car's air conditioning burns up fuel, but in the hot Summer temperatures, you're most likely to be glad to stay cool and forget the expense---we get it. Since it can add up to 25% worse gas efficiency, it's a good idea to get in the habit of limiting usage when and where you can. Turning down the AC can help, but also consider using it intermittently and switching to the "vent" option at times. 

Some will advise to simply "roll down the windows" instead, but this may not be sound advice. At speeds of 50 mph or more (freeway/highway driving), the wind resistance, or drag, can actually cancel out any savings from not using your AC. The best way to go, is to keep your AC use and your target temperature moderated. Also, you can make a practice of parking in shaded areas, so that you don't have to work as hard to cool your car when it's time to drive.


3. Avoid Idling When You Can
Keeping your car idling any time of year, can use a quarter to a half-gallon of gas per hour. It's even worse if the AC is left on. In cases where you are waiting, just try turning off the engine and opening windows or even stepping outside the car for a second. Pre-cooling a vehicle isn't actually necessary and the Air Conditioning actually works faster and better when you're in motion.


4. Don't Overload Your Vehicle
You're going to want to remove any extra weight from your vehicle before going anywhere. In fact, you may want to get in the habit of popping the trunk and including your entire vehicle in your Spring Cleaning plans every year. Make sure to check your entire care for unnecessary items especially leading up to longer trips. It's estimated that each extra 100 pounds of load can reduce fuel economy by 1%.


Along with these tips, make sure you do all the things you should be doing year-round, like keeping tires properly inflated and keeping your car properly maintained. Use these tips and have a better and more cost-effective Summer and be a more responsible consumer of gasoline.

If you live in the Lynnwood, Edmonds, Mill Creek, or South Everett areas, KC Martin is here to help you any time! If you've got questions about your car, we've got answers. We'd love to see you, and thanks to all of you for reading our Auto Repair Tips Blog!


Diesel Cars: How are they Different from Gasoline-powered?

by KC Martin Automotive on 02/06/17

Historically, the question of whether to buy a vehicle that runs on diesel fuel or stick with a gasoline-powered engine was left to those looking at purchasing a big truck of some kind. These days, passenger cars and SUVs that run on diesel are becoming more and more prevalent, but why? There certainly are some differences, and if you take a moment to examine them, you just may find that a diesel-powered car (or truck) carries enough benefits to consider a switch.

In this blog post, we thought we'd go over some of the main differences. Rest assured, KC Martin Auto Repair will repair your diesel or gasoline-powered vehicle all the same, and we have the proper training and tools to do each effectively.

Here are a few key facts on diesel vehicles that you should know:
  • Price Of Diesel Vehicles - Simply put, diesel engines cost a bit more to manufacture as compared to gasoline-powered engines. Diesel's require a higher level of durability, they include some higher level technology, and also do more to keep cleaner emissions. Therefore, the cost of the diesel version of the same model of car or truck is typically more expensive.
  • Fuel Efficiency and Costs - Diesel fuel is no longer cheaper than gasoline, as it once was. Now, unless you consistently purchase premium gasoline, you would see a difference in cost at the pump. That said, diesel engines are known for their fuel efficiency, and you should get 20-30 percent more miles per gallon on diesel fuel. In the end, a diesel owner will save money on fuel costs. Remember though, not ALL gas stations offer diesel fuel.
  • POWER, Speed, Noisiness and Smoothness in the Ride - Here's where you can see that Diesel engines were so popular with commercial needs like towing, and trucking/hauling. The level of torque and thus power is greatly increased, and although acceleration is wonderful, speed is sacrificed. As the development of passenger vehicles has progressed, these things are being balanced and the differences are being evened out more and more. This is also the same with the traditional concern of diesels being noisy and the ride not being smooth enough. The ride continues to be increasingly smooth and less noisy, yet there is still a difference to be noticed in most vehicles.
  • Maintenance and Repair Costs - It's probably best to keep thinking it's all about the same, when it comes to maintenance. Technically, diesel-fueled engines require less maintenance, mostly due to the lack of spark plugs and need for ignition tuneups. But repairs are generally more costly, so you cannot afford to procrastinate on the care of your diesel vehicle. It's best to be on-schedule and that is hard enough for people to do with any car or truck. Be prepared for that higher repair cost on diesels, but it's not drastically more money.
  • Environmental Impact and Emissions - In general, it's about equal on environmental impact. You are using less non-renewable resources with diesel, but there are more pollutants (like soot and nitrous oxides) expelled when it comes to accelerating from a stop, like in city driving. The emissions though, didn't used to be able to pass US emission standards, but now run much more cleanly than they did just a few ears ago. Bio-diesel is an option, but it does affect your diesel engine's performance.
One really cannot say that a diesel vehicle is BETTER than gas-powered vehicle, but these are some of the differences that could help you find the one that fits your lifestyle best. Diesel engines could save you a lot of money, if you handle them right and suit your needs. Also not that in the coming years, technological advances could adjust some of these factors on both sides of the equation. If you have questions about YOUR diesel vehicle (or any car or truck for that matter) and you are anywhere near the Lynnwood, Edmonds, or Everett areas, please feel free to bring you diesel car or truck to KC Martin Automotive! We have 69 years of experience to help understand and fix any situation.

Replacing Your Timing Belt Before it REALLY Costs You

by KC Martin Automotive on 11/01/16

If you are looking to keep your car on the road and save money long-term you will want to stay up to date on the manufacturer recommended maintenance repairs and inspections. Staying on top of the small repairs and replacements will keep your car running and help you avoid any unnecessary, major, or costly breakdowns. You will want to follow your manual to ensure that your car stays healthy. This includes getting the recommended regular oil changes, tune-ups and even timing belt replacement.

When you bring your car to a repair shop like KC Martin, eventually the mechanic will recommend changing your timing belt out. Why would you want to get your timing belt replaced if it has not yet broken? Your timing belt is a vital part of your engine and can shut down your whole vehicle when it breaks--so waiting until it breaks is really not an option. Your timing belt breaking can cause a safety issue as well as can cause expensive damage to your pistons, water pump or valves. Your timing belt is responsible for coordinating the engine’s functions. It not only is responsible for the opening and closing of the engine valves but controls the crankshaft and camshaft. It is essential that your timing belt works properly so that your car runs correctly.

How do you know when to replace the timing belt? One of the most critical maintenance choices is when to replace the timing belt. Getting a new timing belt before it breaks can save you thousands of dollars but it is difficult to know exactly when to get it replaced and many drivers tend to ignore their timing belt until it wears out.

There are no certain signs or symptoms from your car that your timing belt is about to break. A mechanic can visually inspect the wear. If there is some visual wear and if it's reasonably close to the recommended due time, you'll just want to have it done. Generally, you will want to get it replaced every 60-100 thousand miles, but check your owner’s manual for your car’s specific recommendation. Make sure to keep track when it is changed out, so you'll know for the next time as well (if you keep your car that long).

When you look to get your timing belt replaced keep in mind that it can be a complicated job, because of where the timing belt is located and may require special tools. Without specific experience it is not timely or wise to replace it yourself, so you'll want to choose an experienced, professional auto service job to do the replacement. 

Also while you are having the timing belt replaced, think about having some other maintenance completed for your car. Generally it is recommended to also replace the water pump, tensioner and idler pulleys during the timing belt replacement, since you will already paying for the labor of opening the engine. The funny thing here is that you may not trust a mechanic that wants to bring up this other work, but it's actually the MOST TRUSTWORTHY thing to do in this case. Getting the water pump replaced at the same time, for instance, is a HUGE money-saver.

No matter if you need a small maintenance repair or your car needs a complete overhaul, KC Martin is here to partner with you to get your car properly fixed. If you have additional questions regarding your timing belt or any other system in your car give us a call.

Are my brakes failing? 7 signs that you may need brake repair.

by KC Martin Automotive on 07/27/16

When you take a vehicle on the road it is very important for both safety and reliability that it functions properly. This includes having the engine running, the transmission switching gears and the brakes clearly responding. Being able to stop your car in a timely fashion is imperative to safe driving, especially in Seattle and surrounding areas, with the constant stop and go traffic. 

So, to ensure that your brakes are going to continue to work you, will want your brakes inspected about every six months. Get them looked at RIGHT AWAY though, when they show one of the following seven warning signs:

1) The Brake Warning Light is illuminated.
This may seem obvious but it is important not to ignore warning lights in your vehicle. When a dashboard light is on it usually indicates a problem or impending issue. A brake light warning usually means that you are low on brake fluid—which could also indicate a leak in your brake lines.

2) Your brakes are making a squealing sound.
It is not normal for your brakes to squeal when they are being used. This can mean that your car needs a brake adjustment or that the brakes need to be replaced.

3) The brakes in your car are grinding.
A grinding noise coming out can indicate issues with your brake pads. It usually means that the pads are rubbing together because they are worn down.

4) Reduced responsiveness while breaking.
When you notice that your brakes are not being responsive you should bring your car to us right away. Being able to properly brake is a safety issue and should not be taken lightly. When you experience a lack of responsiveness there could also be an air or fluid leak, which is a very serious issue indeed.

5) Your car vibrates while breaking.
While you brake your vehicle you should not notice shaking, pulsing or excessive vibrations. This problem is an indicator of brake rotor issues or a problem with your alignment.

6) Pulling while braking.
If your car pulls to one side of the road while you brake, then you are having a brake system issue and need to take your car into a professional. This problem can mean your brakes are out of adjustment, are worn out, or that there is a leak of fluid.

7) Your brake pedals are not properly functioning.
This is a warning sign of a possible leak, a low amount of brake fluid or that air has entered your brake lines. Get a professional (like KC Martin) on the case right away.

No matter what type of brake problem you are experience KC Martin is here to provide a free brake inspection and to help diagnose and repair the problem. During regular maintenance or oil changes we also will check your brakes to ensure that they are working correctly for you. Have additional questions about your brakes? Give us a call!

When to Get Wheel Alignment Service on My Car or Truck?

by KC Martin Automotive on 04/12/16

Do you remember the last time that you had your car’s wheel alignment checked and corrected by a professional? If it has been over two years since your last alignment service or if you have recently purchased new tires then it is time to get this maintenance completed. Over time the angles of the wheels change and even if you have noticed no change to your car, it may still need a wheel alignment correction service.

Signs that you need a wheel alignment service:
Have you noticed your car pull to one side while you are driving? If you have, that is one sign that you may need a wheel alignment service for your car or truck. Another indicator is when you have uneven ware on your tires or your tires make noises when you turn. You may also notice a change in your control over the steering of your car when your vehicle needs an alignment service. Also after you have been in a collision or have hit the curb or potholes you may need to have your alignment checked.

Problems that occur from improper alignment:
Having improper alignment can cost you money from unnecessary wearing of your tires, causing steering problems, and even reducing gas mileage. Your bad alignment may also lead to safety issues because you have less control over your car during emergency situations and your car may also frequently wander from side to side on the road.

Benefits of aligned wheels:
When you take care of your car it saves you money and keeps you and your passengers safe on the road. Correct alignment will allow you to react to problems quickly, and not place unnecessary ware on your car or it’s components. It will also increase your gas mileage which cuts down on trips to the pump.

When you choose KC Martin Automotive you get generations of service and experience and at an affordable price. With the latest technology and tools, and ASE certified technicians, we are ready to complete your wheel alignment. We provide comprehensive inspections and we complete every service fully at our shops. Locally owned and family operated we are ready to assist you with any service or maintenance that your vehicle needs including a GREAT wheel alignment service. Give us a call today!

Six Simple Car Care and Driving Habit Resolutions You Can Still Make!

by KC Martin Automotive on 01/26/16

As we roll on with the New Year, there's still time to make one more set of New Year’s Resolutions—some important ones for your car. Every day you use and depend on the functionality of your car; a well-maintained car will keep you moving and save you money over big repair and overhaul costs. Are you ready to take good care of your car, so it can take great care of you in 2016? 


Below are six simple car care tips that will ensure the best experience for and your vehicle, and make it the best year yet!

1) Inspect your car on a regular basis, noticing leaks, sounds, or changes to your vehicle. Follow up on issues by getting them addressed in a timely manner. This will solve small problems early and keep your car running.

2) Change your vehicle's fluids regularly. Ensure on a monthly basis that all your fluids are topped off and consult your manual to see when fluids need to be changed. Staying on top of this easy maintenance task will save you on unnecessary repair costs.

3) Regularly examine your tires. Having the correct amount of pressure in your tires will maximize your gas efficiency. Also look at the tread on your tires. When your tires have worn unevenly it may affect other systems in the car such as the suspension.

4) Remove any dirt from the vehicle and keep it clean. A buildup of dirt and grime can be detrimental to the inside of your car as well as your car’s components.

5) Keep your car up-to-date on recommended services. Get to know your vehicle owner’s manual and if it recommends a service get it done in a timely manner by a professional.

6) Bring your car into a mechanic at least twice a year. This will help catch any small problems and repairs that are needed to keep your car from shutting down or having bigger issues down the road. It's why you shouldn't worry about changing your oil, even if you can. Just get your car in front of a good mechanic whenever it makes sense. This will actually SAVE you money, even though it may seem counter-intuitive. 

In 2016 take good care of your car by being an aware driver. The tips above are about being proactive and being aware of potential problems before they become big car issues. If you have additional questions regarding simple car care tips or if you would like to bring in your car to the local, affordable professionals give KC Martin a call today!

Your Car Battery: Keeping it Healthy and When You Know it's Dead

by KC Martin Automotive on 09/09/15

Your car’s battery keeps your car running; it is one of the most important parts of any vehicle. Regular care and maintenance to any part of your vehicle will save you money by prolonging function or avoiding major breakdowns—this holds true for your car’s battery as well. When you take preventative care of the battery you can prolong the life of the battery and save yourself money. The timely replacement of a malfunctioning battery will keep your car running through even the harshest conditions. Below are some tips for keeping your battery healthy for longer and some battery life signs to watch out for. 

Tips to ensure a healthy battery: 

1) Consistent driving of the car. It is important to care for your vehicle by running it regularly. This will ensure that your car holds the required level of charge to keep the vehicle functioning.

2) Avoid draining the battery and using the battery while the car is off. Unplug extra electronic cords and accessories after use as constant use of the extra electronics will lead to premature battery drainage. Also over using your radio and other accessories while the car is not running can quickly drain the battery. 

3) Regular maintenance to the car- including scheduled checks of the battery charge rate. Consistent scheduled care to the car, especially the engine, will prevent overloading the battery- which reduces battery life. Also when having other maintenance preformed have your battery checked for its charging rate-- as both over and under charging will reduce battery life. 

4) Keep your car’s battery clean and secure. An unsecured or dirty battery can cause damage and reduce the life of the battery. 

Battery replacement signs (other than flat-out car dying out):

1) Visually inspect your car’s battery. When looking at the battery try to locate any stains or corrosion on the battery- as it may be an indicator of leakage. Also look for extensive corrosion; as this may effect battery performance and the terminals.

2) Smell the battery. A distinct scent coming from the vicinity of your car’s battery is an indicator of a problem and a possible need for replacement.

3) If you suspect there is a problem with your car’s battery- have it tested at a professional facility (your trusted auto mechanic) as testing will give an indication of current battery life and if a replacement battery is needed. 

Keeping care of your battery is essential to the total performance of your car and will continue to keep your car on the road. If you have any questions about your car battery’s performance or need to get your battery tested give us a call. KC Martin has been the quality auto repair mechanic in Lynnwood and Edmonds areas since 1948!

KC Martin: ASE certified for YOUR peace of mind

by KC Martin Automotive on 06/10/15

At KC Martin, we are honored to have been serving the your car and the community for generations. We are also proud of our specialized expertise, state-of-the art equipment, outstanding customer service and that our technicians are ASE certified. What is the ASE you might wonder? It is so much more than a blue logo---it represents big things for the automotive industry. 

The ASE is officially called the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. ASE is a non-profit organization that has helped create high standards in automotive repair by aiming to make vehicle repair technicians better at their job. Since the 1970s ASE has been rigorously testing and certifying vehicle repair technicians. ASE certification helps both repair shops and customers gauge the experience of a repair technician.  The ASE ensures that the people working on your car have a high level of skill. This also helps the technician because it creates an ability for them to obtain tangible proof of their expertise. 
ASE certified mechanics

The ASE has been certifies technicians and the repair industry has created standards of knowledge that everyone whom works on cars should know. There is a measurable link between certification and the accuracy of repairs. ASE certification helps ensure that your car is repaired correctly every time and that you are working with a shop and technicians that have the experience to advise on your vehicle. 

The certification process is extensive. It involves passing a complex text (which only 2 out of 3 test takers pass their first attempt) and requiring two years of on-the-job training or one year of training and a two year degree in automotive repair. If you have additional questions about ASE certification click on this link www.ase.com and go check out their certification process. 

Before you get your car or truck repaired, ask if the technician working on your car is ASE certified. KC Martin (along with KC Martin Transmissions) always looks to hire ASE certified repair technicians because they have a level of knowledge that makes the workplace safer and cuts down on unnecessary repairs or mistakes. If you have any additional questions about how to properly repair your car or truck bring your car in today and let our ASE certified mechanics take a look!

Car smells and sounds, and how they can alert you to car issues

by KC Martin Automotive on 03/18/15

Early detection and prevention may be the key to saving you thousands of dollars on repair costs to your vehicle. Subtle changes in your car may be an indication of a looming issue. It is imperative to take your vehicle into a professional mechanic to solve the little problems before they damage the major components of your car. But how do you know if your car is in need of assistance? If you are in tune with the normal sounds, smell and sights of your car you will be able to easily notice changes and recognize that a part of your vehicle is having an issue. 

Finding out that something isn't quite right can be as simple as seeing, hearing or smelling something abnormal within your vehicle. As a general guide we recommend you get use your car’s outputs should look like, smell like, and sound like. Below are some examples of suspicious smells, sounds, and sights, and what that may mean for your car. 

 Smells: 
· Bitter, pungent smells may involve an oil problem or oil leak. 
· Sulfur, sour smell can indicate an emission or catalytic converter issue. 
· Chemical smells can be caused by a brake or clutch system problem. 

Sounds:
· Screeches and squealing could indicate a brake issue- such as brake deterioration- or power steering problems.
· Clicking in your engine may mean that you do not have enough oil or that there is not enough oil pressure. 
· Heavy knocks from your car could indicate incorrect fuel grade, or a problem with the transmission or torque converter.

· Popping from your engine may be caused be a clog- such as in the ignition or fuel filter. This could also indicate a spark plug issue. 

 Sights: 
· Excessive blue or gray smoke indicates that your car may be burning oil because valve seals or piston rings may be worn. Or this could also indicate that you have a bad turbocharger. 
· Black smoke can show that the engine is burning a high amount of fuel. This could be because of pressure regulators, a clog, or a problem with injectors. · Colored puddles of fluid could point to an overheating engine, bad hoses, antifreeze problems, radiator issues or a water pump problem. 
· Red oil leaks can be caused be either transmission or power steering issues. 

Knowing your car well you can help preemptively catch what would turn out to be a bigger issue. Even with the info above, it isn't necessary that you diagnose the problem yourself, but that you know SOMETHING needs to be looked at by a pro. Once you know, or even begin to think, that something strange is going on with a part your vehicle bring it in to a professional for expert diagnosis and care. You'd be surprised how often it REALLY IS a matter of catching something before it gets too bad.

If you need any sort of look-over or auto repair in Edmonds, Lynnwood, Everett, or the Mill Creek WA areas, then please don't hesitate to call on KC Martin. KC Martin has experienced, quality technicians that will work with your car to solve a small issue before it becomes a major repair. If something isn't quite right with your vehicle call us today!

Holiday Driving Tips and the importance of AAA membership

by KC Martin Automotive on 12/02/14

We have a few Holiday/Winter driving tips to share with you, and really we found a great list from AAA that we have augmented a little.  (For more great auto tips and information on roadside assistance check them out at www.exchange.aaa.com ) Holiday driving preparedness and safety begins before you start your trip---getting your car checked and up to date on all servicing, and includes watching out for children and belongings at all time, even on stops.

Here is the list of tips for your Holiday road trips:

1. Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained. If you have your car serviced on schedule, that's good, but also have your car and tires inspected before you take a long drive. Even if you bring it in for an oil change at our shop, you'll get the car inspected for anything clearly out of whack.

2. Map your route in advance and be prepared for busy roads during the crazy shopping and weather situations that come this time of the year. If possible, consider leaving earlier or later to avoid heavy traffic. 

3. Keep anything of value in the trunk or covered storage area. If Holiday shopping is part of your trip or happens along the way, this will keep you from having a car break in when you have to leave the car for a moment.

4. If you’re traveling with children, remind them not to talk to strangers. Go with them on bathroom breaks and give them whistles to be used only if the family gets separated. We'd also add that you'll want to make sure you and your kids or passengers pay a little extra attention getting in and out of your car to watch out for other motorists and icy first-steps.

5. In case of an emergency, keep a cell phone and charger with you at all times. They also have these handy-dandy cell phone charger "power packs" that will give your phone a back up charge---consider those for when your car charger won't do. 

Plus, you'll want to have roadside assistance contact information on hand, in case an incident occurs on the road. If you don't have a roadside assistance membership, then the folks at KC Martin think your main tip will be: GET A ROADSIDE ASSISTANCE MEMBERSHIP!

We work with AAA a lot, so we'd say that they are not only the original roadside assistance, but probably the most complete service to partner with. The main idea, and the reason you need it is for getting safely out of trouble on the road. Driving is dangerous enough without you having to change your own blown tire by the side of a busy road, or get ahold of an independent tow truck company with no assurance of how they will serve you.  AAA ensures that they have your back during these Holiday trips to cover a number of needs.  We highly recommend you get your membership with them, then come see us to get your car checked over, and your Holiday auto travel should be a safe as can be!  
(For auto repair edmonds, lynnwood and surrounding areas have trusted for over 66 years, call on KC Martin Automotive today!)


Brakes: Let's get the MOST life out of 'em!!!

by KC Martin Automotive on 08/20/14

KC Martin is here for you when your brakes need any check, replacement, or repair. But,our main goal is for you to get the most life out of all your car's systems. Every time you bring your car to one of our Lynnwood auto repair shops, we make sure to report on your brake life (even if you are only in for an oil change). We stay accurate, so that when we say "it's time for a pad replacement", you know it needs to be done pronto!

But, what can you do in the meantime to make sure that we don't have to replace the pads too often?  Well, there are a few things that can help---and even aid in increasing gas mileage, and overall safety. Here are five quick tips to getting more life out of your car's brake pads and even getting more longevity out of the rest of the brake system:

1. Never use your left foot on the brake. If you can, try to avoid using your left foot on the brake.  Use your right foot for both acceleration and braking. This reduces the chance that you will be accelerating while holding any brake contact. Pushing both pedals will considerably shorten the life of the pads.

2. Keep from stopping at high speeds. You'd be shocked at the difference between stopping from 65 miles per hour and 50 miles per hour to your brake system.  Not that we suggest you NEVER drive 65, but you will want to find some strategies to make sure that you have dropped your speed LONG before attempting a stop. (Tips 3 and 4 can help you to do that!)

3. Coast to lower speeds before making complete stops. This is especially important when exiting a freeway.  As you approach the off-ramp, you can simply take your foot off of the gas pedal a little earlier and let the car slow down on it's own, while coasting. Same thing when heading uphill---the incline will slow you down somewhat without using your brakes.

4. Look ahead and plan ahead for stopped drivers.  Essentially, the tips above lend to this tip. Pay attention a little further out to notice that drivers are stopped, and when a green light is stale and will likely hit yellow before you get there.  You can put that coasting into practice, so long as you stay aware of what lies ahead. Remember, braking suddenly is what we are trying to avoid, in order to extend the life of your brakes.

5. Get a break flush when necessary. Brake fluid needs to be periodically changed. In mechanic-speak it's called bleeding and flushing. New brake fluid can be beneficial, especially if you have an older vehicle or one you purchased used. You gain nothing if you save brake material but the insides of the system rot away. Flushing the brake fluid will make the internal components last longer and the brakes work better.

We hope these tips will help you get a little more life out of your brakes. It's good to save money, but make sure you get your car in to KC Martin to have them checked often enough. You waste more money than you can imagine, if you let the brake pads wear down to the metal. We hope you'll trust our shop, as we've been handling Brake Repair in Lynnwood WA since 1948!

Your Car's Electrical System: What can go wrong?

by KC Martin Automotive on 04/23/14

Your vehicle's electrical system is a combination of the charging, starting, computer, ignition, and lighting systems. Also, it's the that alternator keeps the battery charged. Together, they supply all of the electrical needs of the vehicle. 

Sometimes there are signs that part of your system is failing.  Many of the signs are found in the rough starting of the car, or failure to start altogether. The car's battery, the starter, the alternator, and the ignition switch can each cause your vehicle to start poorly or stop your car from starting at all.  If you have a hard time starting your car, but manage to get it going, it can be a very wise call to drive directly over to the auto repair facility or mechanic you trust.

Diagnosing the issues within the system can require state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment. It also helps to have a ton of experience finding and fixing the issues that may arise in your car's electrical systems. KC Martin has both the equipment and the experience to figure out where the problem is stemming from.  Sometimes it is a malfunction with a vehicle's inner computer system that is helping to cause the problem.  No worries!  Top automotive facilities like ours have the ability to get those issues reset and re-calibrated for you.

According to Repairpal.com's listings on electrical and lights, it can also be corroded or damage connections that are the culprit. This is why having the proper equipment is important.  If you assume it's the alternator, for instance, and replace it yourself, but the car still doesn't start----you may have wasted your money and time. A trusted Automotive professional is always happy to find that the problem is smaller and less-expensive than it might appear.  Shops like ours are looking to earn your business, NOT create larger issues and costs for you.

If you are in OUR area (see our page on Auto Electrical Repair Lynnwood WA), then you will also be happy to know that when it comes to the non-vital power accessories of your car, such as the windows and power locks, we're ready to serve you as well. If you are calling on a different company, make sure to ask if this is an area that they are comfortable dealing with.  When these things start to have issues, it can be an indicator of a larger, budding problem, or simply an isolated failure.

For more info, you can head over to Repairpal.com which has much more information on all the different areas of your vehicle's electrical system. If you have specific questions for KC Martin, do not hesitate to call us and ask!  425-778-1177

Repair Pal Certified in Lynnwood, that's KC Martin!

by KC Martin Automotive on 01/03/14

How does a responsible car owner find the repair shops that can be trusted? We're lucky to have repeat customers and their families who have used us for generations. What about those that are newer to the Lynnwood area, how would they know that ours is a Lynnwood auto repair shop that they can trust and depend upon? Another major need of auto repair customers is checking on the "going rate" or proper charge for a particular auto repair job?

Well, for both concerns there is Repair Pal, and their site at repairpal.com. The site can give you a list of certified auto repair shops in your are (just put in your zip code and car make). But, even if you have repair shop in mind, you can get a head start on knowing what your repair may cost you. Enter the applicable information into their estimator, and you'll be on your way to finding a fair price range for that job.

KC Martin will appear on their list of certified repair shops for our general service area. We are proud of this certification, and we encourage our customers to look into using their estimator program.  We've found that most of our prices are well within the price range that Repair Pal suggests as fair. Many of our job prices are on the low end of that price range that they've established, based upon national averages. If you should ever need to use another auto repair shop (say, on a road trip or something of that nature) it's a great tool to have. There is even a mobile app that you can download!

You may say, "I trust KC Martin, so I don't think I even need this site".  Well, we'd first say thank you, but we'd add that for your friends and family in other parts of the state or other states, Repair Pal could be a valuable site to share with them. Also, we are offering an AARP discount as part of their program. Be sure to check out RepairPal.com today!

Thank you again for reading and we can't wait to see you at either of our wonderful shops - Auto Repair Mill Creek, Edmonds, Lynnwood, Shoreline, and Mount Lake Terrace can really trust!

Your Relationship with your Mechanic

by KC Martin Automotive on 11/04/13

It's time to talk about RELATIONSHIPS. Bet ya didn't see that one coming from this auto blog! Well, we're not talking about your love life. We're talking about the importance of looking for a mechanic or auto repair shop that you can stick with for the long haul. Why? Because the health of your vehicle and it's ability to last longer, with fewer breakdowns, has everything to do with keeping your repairs, servicing, and advising with a single trusted source.

In this day and age, folks get used to bidding out every single price for everything. We might be getting a little too used to approaching each need and in the case of our cars, each repair, with a "start from scratch" mentality.  The truth is that your car mechanic is a lot more like a "family doctor" for your vehicles. Sometimes second opinions are necessary, sure, but most of the time it will benefit you to stick with one trusted source for the health of your family. 

This is how KC Martin Automotive & Transmission has approached business for the past 65 years. In fact, the biggest factor in our 65 years of success, has been the creation of long-standing relationships with customers, their vehicles, and even their families.  If you choose to follow us on Facebook or read comments on some of the review sites out there, you'll see a running theme---you will see more than a few comments about how they are second or even third generation customers of KC Martin.  Of course we're proud of that, but more importantly it demonstrates the ability for an auto repair facility and staff to show savings and reliability over time.

Most other great auto repair shops out there (I'm sure we're not the ONLY good one--haha) would likely agree that you should find a mechanic that performs well, for a reasonable price, and build a level of trust.  If they are not trustworthy, well, then you move on and try another shop/mechanic. 

Ultimately, when you find that trustworthy expert who takes care of you correctly each time, and watches out for the long-term care of your cars and trucks, you will save yourself a ton of money. The right auto repair guys are the ones who you should be bringing your car to for every issue your vehicles have, unless it is a service they do not offer. In our case, we handle everything from wheel alignment, transmission repair, and even an oil change Lynnwood drivers have been trusting us with for decades. Over time, you should notice that your cars need less "fixing" and you will also have a tendency to be ahead of problems so they cost less than the big issues that may develop.

KC Martin Automotive feels that we win a ton of customers by our expertise and trustworthiness, providing maximum value. We want your business if you are looking for a dependable mechanic for the long haul, so we'd love for you to give us a shot. Who knows? Maybe we'll earn the business of your family for generations to come as well.

( In case you were wondering, we have folks come from all around, and outside of the Lynnwood area to use our service. So, whether it's Auto Repair Mill Creek, Mountlake Terrace, Edmonds, or Shoreline folks are looking for, we're here to treat you and your car right!)

The Secret About Oil Changes

by KC Martin Automotive on 08/12/13

Oil changes are one of the first things we learn about when learning about maintaining our cars.  Oil changes are right up there with learning how to change a flat tire, how to put fuel in the car, and keeping your vehicle clean.  This basic act needs to happen for your car between 3,000-5,000 miles or every 3 months for the health of your engine. 

Years ago, many folks changed their oil themselves. If you've priced the oil, the filter, and the tools/materials it takes, plus the time and disposal effort, you've seen that there is not even much savings to be had in going to all that trouble.  How do auto shops charge so little for an oil change?  The secret is that most shops are performing your oil change as a friendly service, and making nothing on the service. 

It's great news for you in a sense.  How nice of us all to offer this kind of pricing to the public.  The other part of that secret, though, is that auto repair facilities are doing this to give you a reason to have your car seen and looked over by a trained professional. Many times vehicle-owners wait until something breaks or is significantly damaged to consider bringing their car in to the mechanic they trust. This way, your favorite mechanic gets the opportunity to save you money by recommending a "preventative" maintenance, which is usually much cheaper than waiting until something completely stops working.

Honestly, it's a double-win for customers. An oil change that they don't have to do themselves, and a chance to catch something before it becomes a problem.  That's the secret!  That's all. BUT, this news isn't nearly as great if you don't have a mechanic you can trust, if you're afraid that they will suggest work that doesn't need to be done, or if you simply take it to an under-qualified "quick-lube" place.

Our customers have come to know KC Martin for our straightforward approach, and a mindset that is interested in the long-term value for the customer.  This is how we have kept folks coming back for over 65 years now.

Sometimes even our own customers look for an oil change in Edmonds WA or in Lynnwood and settle for a place that can do a quick and "easy" oil change.  You must know that their motives are the same and they want to prescribe more work if they see anything that needs to be replaced.  We must caution you, though, that these places are not usually qualified and certified like a true auto repair facility.  In some cases, there are reports of these places attempting to suggest work or replacements that are not even necessary.

KC Martin simply wants to establish a COMPLETE relationship with our customers, so that you can get all of the value out of our service and your vehicle for years to come. Scheduling your oil change with us gets you FAR MORE than a simple lube, oil, and filter.  It gets you a full inspection and the assurance that we will take care of problems before they become too costly. A cheap oil change may end up being just a little TOO cheap, if you remember that the secret about oil changes is that it's a big opportunity to inspect and understand your vehicle.

[To help you choose us next time, here's a PUNCH CARD (Click here) that will reward you by giving you every 4th oil change free!]

Happy Birth-YEAR to Us!

by KC Martin Automotive on 06/25/13

As we've mentioned, 2013 is KC Martin Automotive's 65th year in business. It would be a huge understatement to say that the world has changed a lot since 1948. Yet, KC Martin has continued to offer top quality products and service throughout the years. We've also grown with the times adapting to new methods and technology.

We thought it would be fun to look back at how the world has changed during the past six and a half decades.

For instance, in 1948,

  • The average Cost of new house was $7,700.00
  • Average wages per year: $2,950.00
  • Cost of a gallon of Gas: 16 cents Average
  • Cost of a new car: $1,250.00
  • Loaf of Bread: 14 cents
  • 1 lb. of Hamburger Meat: 45 cents

 In 1958,

  • The average Cost of new house: $12,750.00
  • Average Monthly Rent: $92.00
  • Average Yearly Wages: $4.600.00
  • Cost of a gallon of Gas: 25 cents

 In 1968,

  • The average Cost of new house: $14,950.00
  • Average Income per year: $7,850.00
  • Average Monthly Rent: $130.00
  • Gas per Gallon: 34 cents
  • Average Cost of a new car: $2,822.00
  • Movie Ticket: $1.50
  • The Federal Hourly Minimum Wage: $1.60 an hour.

In 1978,

  • The average age cost of new house: $54,800.00
  • Average Income per year: $17,000.00
  • Average Monthly Rent: $260.00
  • Cost of a gallon of Gas: 63 cents
  • 1LB of Bacon: $1.20
  • Dozen Eggs: 48 Cents

In 1988,

  • The average Cost of new house: $91,600
  • Median Price Of and Existing Home: $90,600
  • Average Income per year: $24,450.00
  • Average Monthly Rent: $420.00
  • Average Price for new car: $10,400.00
  • 1 gallon of gas: 91 cents
  • Movie Ticket: $3.50
  • US Postage Stamp: 24 cents
  • Dozen Eggs: 65 cents

 In 1998,

  • Average Income per year: $38,100.00
  • Average Monthly Rent: $619.00
  • Cost of a gallon of Gas: $1.15
  • Average cost of new car: $17,200.00
  • US Postage Stamp: 32 cents
  • 1 LB of Bacon: $2.53
  • 1 LB Hamburger meat: $1.40
  • Loaf of Bread: $1.26
  • Dozen Eggs: 88 cents.

 

In 2008,

  • Average Cost of new house: $238,880.00
  • Average Income per year: $40,523.00
  • Average Cost for house rent: $800.00
  • Average New Car: $27,958.00
  • Cost of a gallon of Gas: $3.39
  • US Postage Stamp: 42 cents.

 

In 2012,

  • C Average Cost of new house: $234,500.00
  • Average Income per year: $47,000.00
  • Average Cost for house rent: $800.00
  • Average New Car: $30,748
  • Cost of a gallon of Gas: $3.38
  • US Postage Stamp: 45 cents.

Also, here's a very interesting list of some of the advances since 1948. Gosh, some of these didn't seem like that long ago, but OH, how the time flies!

  • 1948 Velcro ® invented
  • 1949 Cake mix invented
  • 1950 First credit card (Diners).
  • 1951 Video tape recorder (VTR).
  • 1952 The first patent for bar code issue
  • 1953 Transistor radio.
  • 1954 Ray Kroc started McDonalds
  • 1955 Optic fiber invented.
  • 1956 The first computer hard disk used
  • 1957 Fortran (computer language) invented
  • 1958 Computer modem invented
  • 1959 The microchip invented
  • 1960 The halogen lamp invented
  • 1961 Non-dairy creamer
  • 1962 Audio cassette
  • 1963 Video disc
  • 1964 Acrylic paint
  • 1965 Compact disc
  • 1966 Electronic Fuel Injection for cars
  • 1967 Handheld calculator
  • 1968 Computer mouse
  • 1969 Barcode scanner
  • 1970 Floppy disk
  • 1971 VCR
  • 1972 Word Processor
  • 1973 Ethernet cable
  • 1974 Post-it notes
  • 1975 Laser printer
  • 1976 Ink printer
  • 1977 MR I
  • 1978 Artificial heart
  • 1979 Cell phone
  • 1980 Vaccine for hepatitis B
  • 1981 MS – DOS invented
  • 1982 Human growth hormone
  • 1983 Soft bifocal invented
  • 1984 Apple Macintosh invented
  • 1985 Microsoft windows
  • 1986 Disposable camera and
  • 1987 3-D video game
  • 1988 Doppler radar
  • 1989 High definition TV
  • 1990 World Wide Web (WWW)
  • 1991 Digital answering machine
  • 1992 Nicotine patch
  • 1993 Pentium processor
  • 1994 Netscape navigator
  • 1995 JAVA programming language
  • 1996 Web TV
  • 1997 Gas powered fuel-cell
  • 1998 Viagra 1999 My Space introduced
  • 2000 Transformer fluid from vegetable oil
  • 2001 iPOD
  • 2002 Bluetooth introduced
  • 2003 Hybrid car
  • 2004 Google enters stock market
  • 2005 You Tube
  • 2006 Pluto loses planet status
  • 2007 iPhone
  • 2008 HULU movie site introduced
  • 2009 3D camera
  • 2010 iPad
  • 2011 The print brush
  • 2012 Assisted walking device
  • 2013 GPS luggage locating device

(Source: http://inventors.about.com/od/timelines/a/ModernInvention.htm )

A lot has changed since 1948 but our commitment to providing the best auto repair and service has only improved with age. And, we continue to believe that we have been kept in business by the best collection of customers an auto repair shop could hope to have. KC Martin thanks all of our customers who have helped us grow our business over the years.

The Danger of Potholes

by KC Martin Automotive on 05/02/13

It's happened to all of us. You're driving along minding your own business when "K-THUD" you hit a pothole in the road. You didn't see it coming or you would have tried to avoid it. The first thought that races through your mind, "did anything break?"

As you move on, you eventually relax thinking that everything must be fine, you're still rolling along, right? There's no point in worrying, it was just a pothole, right?

Here's the problem, potholes often cause damage to cars ranging from knocking your car out of alignment to serious damage in the drive train or suspension. What makes matters worse, is that it could ultimately place you and your passengers at risk at some point if you don't make repairs.

[Read about the most state of the art Wheel Alignment Lynnwood WA offers!]

But how do you know whether your car as been damaged? Unless you have the knowledge and a shop to examine the underside of your vehicle, you won't know. Just because your car didn't stall or come to a halt, doesn't mean that everything is fine.

There are some warning signs that the Car Care Council has provided for you to consider (we found these on the carcare.org website: http://www.carcare.org/2013/03/potholes-pack-a-powerful-punch/ ). Loss of control or swaying when you drive, the vehicle pulling in one direction instead of remaining straight, and also low tire pressure with bulges or blisters in the sidewalls of your tire, are all warning signs that could hint at an issue, but until a professional looks at it, you won't know for sure what is going on.

Potholes can be dangerous. When you hit one, the tendency is to ignore the possibility of damage. Why? Because it's a hassle to take it in to be checked out, and it's probably expensive to do. The answer to both of those concerns is that it doesn't have to be that way. If you are diligent about getting your car in for oil changes and factory recommended service, then you can rest assured that we are examining your car for these types of issues, every time we get a chance to look at it.

KC Martin offers expert service in detecting damage due to potholes or other objects that may damage your car from below. We can do it without a hassle and without great expense. And, usually we do this for our customers when they are in here for anything else---mufflers, brakes,....whatever! If your car has sustained damage, we'll provide you with a complete estimate at a reasonable price.

If you hit a pothole (or many of them) and notice issues with your wheel alignment, steering, or suspension, consider bringing your car to us the next time and avoid the subtle danger they present And, at very least, make sure you get your cars into us regularly and stay up on your oil changes and servicing, so that we have the opportunity to run all of these kind of regular checks for you!

Free Leak checks all this month!

by KC Martin Automotive on 04/07/13

As a member of the Automotive Service Association (ASA), both KC Martin auto shops in Lynnwood WA are participating in their special "Don't Drip & Drive - Fix that Leak!" program all through the month of April. The program allows all of our customers the opportunity to come in and get a free Leak Check (by appointment), and also, there is a printable 10% off coupon (up to $50), should you need any leak repair work! Click here for this and many more Auto Repair Coupons Lynnwood!

On the ASA of Washington website, there is a full explanation of what the leak check program is about: "Not only does fixing vehicle leaks help you care for your car, over the long run, it also is good for our environment. Our cars and trucks release an estimated 7 million quarts of motor oil into the Puget Sound basin every year. Think about it, 7 million quarts of oil wasted each year!

"The Stormwater Outreach for Regional Municipalities (STORM) consortium has taken the lead on communicating 'fixing vehicle leaks' as a best practice as a part of the Puget Sound Starts Here campaign. The STORM consortium includes members from 80+ local jurisdictions, with supporting efforts by another 400 agencies and organizations through the Puget Sound Partnership's regional ECONetworks."

KC Martin is glad to help our customers, the ASA, and the environment by performing this amazingly FREE service for the month of April. You can feel free to combine this with an oil change service, tune-up, brake repairs, alignment, or whatever your car may need when you decide to make an appointment. Remember to print off the 10% coupon, and we can make sure to keep ahead of any major repairs that a leak in your system could cause. 

We hope this is another way that we can show you that for Auto Repair Lynnwood and Auto Service Edmonds WA, KC Martin is the place that is looking out for you and your car!

Five Reasons to change your oil regularly.

by KC Martin Automotive on 02/20/13

Everyone is trying to save money these days. When it comes to car care and maintenance one of the first casualties of cost saving is the oil change. Most people realize that there are good reasons for changing their oil on a regular basis, but do you know exactly why it's so important?  Here are five good reasons:

1. It increases engine lubrication: Imagine all those moving parts, pistons, valves, and other engine parts moving at high rates of speed. It creates intense heat and without proper lubrication, your engine wear increases dramatically.

2. Regulates engine operating temperature: Again, moving metal parts creates heat. Proper lubrication helps to absorb engine heat.

3. Removes engine wear particles: Dirt is deadly to engines. Over time dirt can cause corrosion and decrease the life of your engine. Regular oil changes help to eliminate particles. Obviously, replacing the filter helps as well.

4. Removes engine sludge: Oil breaks down over time and turns to "sludge." Again the name of the game with oil changes is to keep your engine clean. Regular oil changes helps remove sludge and keeps your engine running at peak engine operating efficiency.

5. Reduce engine friction: Heat is the enemy of every engine. Moving parts that lack proper lubrication create friction, which in turn creates heat. Oil is the perfect solution to prevent over heating of the engine.

BONUS REASON!!!  If you like and trust your mechanic (as we know Lynnwood and Edmonds WA Auto Repair cutstomers do with KC Martin!), every oil change is an opportunity to have your mechanic check all of your vital systems and recommend small repairs before they turn into BIG repairs.  So, give us the chance to show you full service with your Oil Change Lynnwoood WA !

(Read more: Why Change the Oil in a Car? | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/facts_5084190_change-oil-car.html#ixzz2LMTAHsPX )

Oh, by the way, there's a lot of debate over when to change your oil. The American Auto Association (AAA) recommends changing your oil every 5,000 miles or so. That's good news for your budget. AAA says the recommendation for changing oil ever 3,000 miles by oil servicing businesses is unnecessary. The best "middle-ground" plan might be to note 3,000 miles and start thinking about scheduling an oil change at KC Martin Auto Repair.  That way you have a little "grace period" for you and your car.  In the case of an older model care you may choose to change your oil at the 3,000 mile mark, but for newer cars it isn't quite as necessary. (For more info go to: http://www.fenderbender.com/FenderBender/October-2010/AAA-Change-oil-every-5000-7000-miles/ )

 

Driving Tips? How about Pedestrian Tips?

by KC Martin Automotive on 02/04/13

So, in Lynnwood Auto Repair, Edmonds Auto Repair, and Mill Creek Auto Repair shops do some blogging as well. Most sites provide safety info for drivers like we do. Driving tips for emergencies, education on areas of your vehicle to maintain, and materials/supplies to make sure you have at all times.

Well, to switch things up a little, we thought about turning to the other side of things, and something we ALL have to do from time to time--Walking. Most of us are "drivers" but ALL of us have to be pedestrians from time to time. Are there any good tips on Pedestrian safety?  There sure are!

 We found a great list that we wanted to share and give credit to. You can find the original list at Walkinginfo.org. On their site, they group us all together, pedestrians AND drivers as "road users"---it makes sense. It's a great list, especially if you want to go over it with little ones.  We usually only see these lists around Halloween for Trick-or-Treaters and such.  But we wanted to give it some attention for the rainy dusky times still ahead.

Here are their safety tips for pedestrians (with a few notes from us):

Be safe and be seen: make yourself visible to drivers.

  • Wear bright/light colored clothing and reflective materials.
  • Carry a flashlight when walking at night.
  • Cross in a well-lit area at night.
  • Stand clear of buses, hedges, parked cars or other obstacles before crossing so drivers can see you.

(Making sure you can be seen is SO important, and yet, probably the most overlooked concept. Don't assume you can be seen and avoided easily--take every precaution you can!)

Be smart and alert: avoid dangerous behaviors.

  • Always walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic.
  • Stay sober; walking while impaired increases your chance of being struck.
  • Don't assume vehicles will stop; make eye contact with drivers, don't just look at the vehicle. If a driver is on a cell phone, they may not be paying enough attention to drive safely.
  • Don't rely solely on pedestrian signals; look before you cross the road.
  • Be alert to engine noise or backup lights on cars when in parking lots and near on-street parking spaces.

(Gotta reiterate how important "making eye-contact" with drivers really is. Doing so will let you know right away if the driver is truly attentive to you or not. Once again, DON'T EVER ASSUME! Also, don't assume that you can stop being careful at crosswalks with crossing signals either, stay alert.)

Be careful at crossings: look before you step!

  • Cross streets at marked crosswalks or intersections, if possible.
  • Obey traffic signals such as WALK/DON'T WALK signs.
  • Look left, right, and left again before crossing a street.
  • Watch for turning vehicles; make sure the driver sees you and will stop for you.
  • Look across ALL lanes you must cross and visually clear each lane before proceeding. Just because one motorist stops, do not presume drivers in other lanes can see you and will stop for you.
  • Don't wear headphones or talk on a cell phone while crossing.

Here's hoping you will read and follow these guidelines.  KC Martin hopes to continue to help keep Snohomish County drivers safe, but also to make our communities safer as well. And, for Auto repair Snohomish County drivers have been using for years.....we're not bad at that either---haha.  Give us a call if you need anything!  425-778-1177 (Oil Changes, Brakes, Alignments,....nothing we don't want to take care of for you and your car!)

425-778-1177
4829 196th St. SW  Lynnwood, WA
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