KC Martin Transmissions OFFICIAL Blog

KC Martin Transmissions OFFICIAL Blog

Transmission Care: 8 Tips that Give You the Best Chance at a Longer Lasting Transmission

by KC Martin Transmissions on 10/26/18

You’ll have to forgive us. Our shop and our technicians are decades and decades deep into working on transmissions and knowing so many of the finer points to how they work, and how to diagnose problems. So, we often forget just how little the average driver may understand about the operation of their car or truck’s transmission.

There are actually some great ways that you can get into healthy habits for the sake of your transmission. We’ve come up with this list of eight tips that will help you to be responsible and get the longest life out of your transmission. No transmission lasts forever, but the better you treat yours, usually leads to more life, better performance, and less-devastating issues for this important vehicle system.

Here are some of the things you can do to protect and care for your transmission:
  1. Get your transmission serviced by a professional every 30,000 miles or about every 2 years. NO, not everyone does this, in fact, very few people realize it should be done this often. But, even if you’re a little off-schedule, you really should ask to have this done, because it is a low-cost preventative measure. This service drains old fluid, gives you a new filter, and cleans the transmission pan out. And, yes, 99% of you need to have this done by an experience professional. 
  2. When the fluid is changed, either ask your professional or take their recommendation for synthetic fluid. They tend to resist heat better, resist cold better, and provide overall better performance. Your transmission professional will help direct you, but do not skimp because it saves very little money to go away from these new synthetic fluids.
  3. Check your transmission fluid frequently…..well, have your professional do it anyway. Low levels and dirty transmission fluid are the biggest problems for your transmission. A low fluid level makes your transmission susceptible to overheating. Ideally, you want to get a look at this monthly, but if you take your car in for oil changes with your trusted mechanic, see if they can check it for you then.
  4. Take it easy on your car or truck’s transmission by either warming them up for a few minutes or at least going easy for the first two or three miles while the transmission warms up.
  5. Always, always, ALWAYS use your emergency brake while parking on an incline or decline. This reduces stress on your car’s parking pawl (or parking pin) which could actually brake or become dislodged and your car would then roll on its own—scary!
  6. Don’t overload your vehicle with more weight than the manufacturer recommends. This can apply to pickup trucks, but also towing equipment or trailers. This can strain the belt and lead to the transmission overheating 
  7. Never OVERFILL your transmission fluid. In most cases, you probably shouldn’t be adding fluid anyway (try to leave it to a professional and their recommendation), but if you do add some, make careful note of the car manual’s directions. An overfill can cause foaming, which no longer protects your transmission properly.
  8. Maintain your vehicle’s cooling system properly. A maintenance of the cooling system should also be done every two years. Ask your mechanic about the shape of your system and don’t hesitate to invest in proper cooling operation. WHY? Because, heat from the car’s engine will quickly wear on your transmission, and in all cases, you should do whatever you can to avoid excess heat. Your mechanic can change the anti-freeze, look for leaks and damage, do a radiator cap pressure test, and change hoses as necessary.
For those who really like to stay on top of things, these points will help you feel like you’re being as responsible as possible. As always though, we recommend that you find a mechanic or transmission specialist that you can trust, and then allow them to take care of these things for you. Asking knowledgeable questions about these areas shouldn’t annoy them, but your professional technician will likely appreciate that you understand all the care they put into these “routine” checks. Most of what we mentioned here, they will do automatically, but your reminders about your utmost concerns can’t hurt.

If you live nearby in North King County or Snohomish County, feel free to come to us at KC Martin Transmissions for help, questions, or service. We’ve been in business for 70 years and had a transmission specialty shop here in South Lynnwood since 1986. We can help with your transmission servicing, repair, advice, and all other auto repair needs as well. We’d love to see you, but thanks for reading!

Recognition for KC Martin Transmissions and What It All Means

by KC Martin Transmissions on 05/21/18

This past September, KC Martin Automotive and specifically KC Martin Transmissions received a nice bit of recognition from GEARS Magazine---a mainly transmission-industry focused publication—that highlighted our history as a company, our transmission shop, and some of the things we do to be more than just a business, but be a strong part of the community—both the local area community with charitable measures, and also the community of auto repair professionals that must tended to as a new generation grows into the workforce. We thought we’d revisit some of these points for our customers, but also mention another form of recognition that we are proud to have garnered.

In the very well-written GEARS article about KC Martin Automotive, they walk through our history and how the company has been a mainstay for 70 years. If you didn’t already know, the company has been sold to employees who grew up in the business a few of times since Kirby Martin started and owned the original shop in 1948. If you get a chance to check out the original article, you will see us explain the fact that the Transmission Shop DOES do general auto repair work as well, and that we work with some other dealerships and separate auto shops in the area to provide them with wholesale transmission work. It’s great recognition for who we are and the work we do every day as a business, but we’re even more proud to have a couple of other areas mentioned.

The KC Martin Automotive family has not just EXISTED in the Lynnwood and Edmonds area for 70 years, but we’ve consistently made the effort to be involved in the people of our community. The Alderwood-Terrace Rotary Club has been a conduit for much of that involvement and streamlined way of “giving back”. Providing clothes, Holiday gifts, and stocked backpacks for kids in our community sure has brightened our existence and we’d like to think will continue to help our community grow strong. The article also gave us a chance to talk about our involvement with helping bring NEW TECHNICIANS into the automotive field. Not just hiring younger people, but giving them on-the-job training, and expertise in transmission work. It’s good for the industry, it’s good for them, but also it’s very good for the future of KC Martin shops and how we can continue to serve our customers with our quality style of service and repair. And the story even makes clear that continuity has been vital to our reputation as we’ve kept many of our employees with us for, not just years, but DECADES. We take care of our employees, so that they will take AMAZING care of YOU, our customers.

All of this recognition was wonderful and it’s STILL wonderful to go back and read. Not every business gets such complete coverage of all that they do (Thank you again, to the staff at GEARS Magazine). And yet, we still feel that this article and all it mentions is SECOND to another kind of recognition we receive. The MOST IMPORTANT recognition we receive is from YOU and your continued business with us. The trust many customers have in our service and our recommendations provides us with more pride and motivation than any public notoriety could. We show up every day to get you back on the road and to use our expertise to save you money where we can. KC Martin Transmissions loves to be the one to shoot you straight and give you the advice that helps you make meaningful decisions.

The very best recognition is the kind we get from our customers every day, by having them come back for a second time, a third time, or as some decades-long customers do, simply toss their car key at us and say, “Let me know what needs to be fixed,” then walk away. We always aim to do right by them, and we aim to do right by anyone who comes through our doors.

KC Martin Transmissions focuses on "The Right Thing To Do"

by KC Martin Transmissions on 01/17/18

This year marks the 70th year of operation for KC Martin Automotive. The original shop on 196th in Lynnwood, has been in operation since 1948. Even this Transmission Shop has been at its current location since 1986---32 years isn't anything to shake a stick at either. It's quite incredible, the longevity of this business and all of the things that have come and gone in that span. Why is it that we've been able to last so long and continue to serve folks successfully and thrive in our continued business? We'd tell you that it's all about focusing on "The Right Thing To Do" for our customer, and that all comes from ACTUALLY CARING for our customers and our community.

Of course, KC Martin Automotive at large, and KC Martin Transmissions has always had a focus on doing good auto repair work, which includes hiring the right technicians, using parts we know can be relied upon, and all of the other day-to-day functions of a successful business. The average employee over here loves cars, likes to work on them even in their spare time, and will work in the industry somewhere even if they were to leave KC Martin. But our business isn't REALLY about cars, it's about YOU.

Ultimately, we are people too, and we are part of the same community as the folks who trust us with their vehicles. So, there shouldn't be any choice other than to "do the right thing" in every situation, as any responsible business, or person should. The right thing isn't ALWAYS easily figured out or agreed upon, but in many cases, businesses don't choose to take care of the customers first. That's where they get it wrong, and repeating that misstep may be what ultimately keeps some businesses from surviving for seven decades as ours has.

In one of his articles for GEARS Magazine, transmission industry commentator Thom Tschetter, poses the question (also the title of the article) "Do You Care....Really?".  Mr. Tschetter uses his understanding of customer service, and talks about how caring for customers first leads to a better experience for all involved. He says, "If you care.....really, all the rest of the stuff just happens as a natural consequence of caring." He continues on with how a business like ours must also take care of its own employees and team the same way.

At KC Martin Transmissions, we believe this is what sets us apart from other local auto repair shops you might have been to. We talk about the choosing "The Right Thing to Do" in every situation, for our customers. Yes, we're a business, and we must charge for car repairs and make money, but there are situations as well, where we choose to think about the bigger picture. For instance, we've been known to be clear with folks when a certain car isn't worth repairing in our opinion---of course we'll do the repair if that's your choice---but we don't want to make money off of a bad situation. Other times, we are brought a car only to find that it's a minor issue that really won't need a repair at this time. Customers are sometimes shocked that we aren't trying to "find something to repair". 

We work this way because it's "The Right Thing To Do" and the consequence is that we tend to earn the trust of the people we come into contact with. Our technicians and staff gain credibility, so when we say something must be repaired or replaced, our customers take our recommendations to heart. But really, there's no sense simply telling you about it, it's better if you see for yourself! Come be a part of our 70-year history, and see what it's like to have an auto and transmission repair shop (either one of our shops) focus doing the right thing for you AND for you car. 

Beware the Dangers of Automatic Transmission Fluid Additives

by KC Martin Transmissions on 08/07/17

Being proactive and doing all you can for your car's health is admirable for sure. But as the old saying goes: if it sounds too good to be true it probably is. That's what we think of when it comes to these advertised transmission fluid additives that claim to stop leaks and correct issues that are becoming apparent with your transmission. These types of additives are a bad idea, and should be avoided---if you want your transmission to work better in the long run, that is.

Do these "fix all" additives work? 

The truth is that these automatic 'transmission fix' additives DO have an affect, just not quite what they promise when they're selling it to you. In short, they DO NOT WORK.

Why Would Someone Use An Additive? 

Okay, let's talk about your automatic transmission. Eventually, areas of the transmission will fail, just like any other part or machine---and particularly one that is used as often as a transmission is. Your transmission has many clutches and bands, with oil pressure functioning to move hydraulic pistons. 

It's a complicated apparatus, your transmission, but in order to work correctly, there are seals that contain the pressures and keep fluids in place. Over time, these rubber seals become rigid or hard and pressure is not contained properly and fluids can leak as well. These additives propose to stop leaks and make your transmission run better, and if you don't know how your transmission works, they SEEM to do just that.

If These Don't Fix The Problem, What DO They Do?

This is the tricky part. The additive will immediately (in a day or so) work to soften and expand these rubber seals chemically. This allows them to expand and stop the pressure and fluid leaks. Your car or truck will run better and work better to you the driver. Then, you move on because "it's FIXED!", right? Wrong!

What happens next is that the seals start to swell and usually do not stop doing so until they are worn away or stretch to the point that they are not effectively holding their shape anymore. If these seals fail, your transmission has a COMPLETE FAILURE, a much more costly issue. The worst part, is this usually happens only months after you use the "transmission fix-all" additive.

What is the "Right Way" To Handle These Problems With The Transmission?

First, know that these seals in your transmission becoming hard and brittle is a normal occurrence. And, although you should have a transmission specialist (like KC Martin Transmissions) check it out, there is no real panic when this begins. When the car is cold, the seals are more brittle, but they soften and work better as the car warms up. So, you have a "grace period" of sorts, to get it checked out and diagnosed by a pro. This is why we recommend getting your transmission checked out as soon as it sticks or delays to engage.

There is no easy way out. The seals must eventually be replaced. And although it's not something anybody wants to pay for, it's much more cost-effective to have it done when the transmission still functions, than to be dealing with a complete transmission failure. Transmission replacement is one of the most expensive car repairs in existence.

The Bottom Line: These fix-it additives are BAD NEWS, and don't actually fix anything.

What Do I Do If I Suspect A Used Car I've Purchased Contains Additive in the Transmission?

Go see your trusted transmission pro and have them check it out ASAP. In fact, it's best to have this done BEFORE you finalize the deal for any used car purchase. Luckily, it's pretty easy for a pro to tell if an additive has been used---for instance, it significantly changes the scent of transmission fluid from something sweet, to more like a sweaty smell (sounds weird, but it's true). At least you can get the problem fixed or avoid purchasing the car if you don't want to deal with the cost of transmission seal replacements.

We hope this information helps you avoid a costly error, and thanks for reading KC Martin Transmissions Official Blog. For almost 70 years (69 years to be exact) KC Martin has been the first name in Transmission Repair for the Lynnwood, Edmonds and South Everett, WA areas. If you're in the area and have any questions about YOUR transmission issues, please feel free to contact us!

What Will Transmission Work Cost? You're Asking the WRONG Question.

by KC Martin Transmissions on 03/29/17

It's understandable that a customer or patron of any product or service would want to know the price of those goods and services. Like all businesses, KC Martin Transmissions wants to remain competitive on its pricing, but "Price" is a truly small factor as compared to "Cost". Erich Bockelie, our main man over here, puts it simply when he says, "If you're only asking what the transmission work will cost, you're asking the wrong question."

Price shopping makes sense when you're talking about the SAME brand and size of peanut butter at two different stores. It's truly the same product, and if you don't already prefer one store over the other, the comparison on that product is simple. But with a highly intricate service on a particularly temperamental area of any car or truck, there's really no such thing as "apples to apples" or peanut butter to peanut butter, as we referenced. 

If you're going to spend the money on any major car repair (and transmission work tends to be just that), you want the job done correctly, right?  And if something is a little off or does not go right when you get to driving around again, wouldn't you want the business who performed the work to stand behind it? Maybe asking questions about these sort of situations would be slightly (or greatly) more important to ask about.

What questions SHOULD you ask then?  Here's are THREE BIG QUESTIONS that will yield answers that are as important or even MORE important than the price:

1. How Long Have You Been in Business?
If the shop has been around for multiple decades, it's unlikely that they will disappear in the next year or two after you have your major repair done. On top of that, auto repair and transmission repair shops tend to go out of business if they do not perform quality work. Find out how long they've been a company. KC Martin, is more than qualified in this area. Next year makes 70 years in business, that's hard to beat. We also do all matters of auto repair and did so much transmission work we spawned the separate location (you can bring your car to either shop for any repair or service though).

2. Do You Have Experienced Transmission Specialists?
So, the shop may have been there for a long time, but are they only somewhat experienced with transmission work? Can they do the rebuild themselves? Do they do all of the steps of diagnosis before recommending a particular repair or replacement. KC Martin Transmissions has technicians that have been taking apart and putting transmissions of all types back together for anywhere from 10-40 years. If you start asking, you'll find that our shop usually has well-over a century of transmission repair experience among our specialists.

3. Do Your Guarantee Your Work?
Transmissions are not simple. It's considered one "part" of your car, but it's actually made up of over 100 separate parts. A new installed or rebuilt transmission commonly needs to be adjusted after you've begun driving around. You're gonna want a transmission expert who can help you every step of the way, and if something goes VERY wrong, you want to know that they will take care of it and make it right. Find out EXACTLY what the warranty on your transmission replacement or transmission repair entails. We offer a 2-year/24,000 mile warranty on all transmission services. KC Martin WANTS you to get quality and therefore trust us for all future auto repairs. It's how we have continued to thrive as a business since 1948.

If you live near KC Martin Transmissions in Lynnwood WA, please give us a shot to make you happy with your next auto repair service. You can even ask us the THREE BIG QUESTIONS above (even through we kinda already answered them). If not, make sure you remember to ask these questions and don't be shy, the next time you need transmission repair work or any auto repair. They apply for all major services.

The Best Transmission Shops in Seattle Area: KC Martin Transmissions Makes the Grade!

by KC Martin Transmissions on 01/27/17

It's official KC Martin has been named to the list of the 19 Best Transmission Shops in Seattle (Greater Seattle area, of course) as graded upon and publicized by Expertise.com. It looks like someone finally wanted to get to the bottom of things and find the very best local businesses in specific categories. That someone was Expertise, and they've found KC Martin Transmissions worthy.

Lynnwood's Best Transmission Repair Shop
It's wonderful to be recognized for the good work you do, day in and day out. But, how were WE chosen? Luckily, Expertise lays out their process and it's easy to see why they came to the conclusion that our humble Lynnwood transmission shop (two total branches that work together to give you ANY auto repair service you need) should be recognized.

The selection criteria boiled down to a set of five judgement criteria. Here's how we've been able to live up to each one:

1. Reputation
The description reads, "a history of delighted customers as a signal of outstanding service." Well, we probably have MORE history than anyone else on this list---69 years and counting. And, you certainly cannot stay in business for this long without customers pleased and willing to come back. Lynnwood, Edmonds, and Mountlake Terrace communities have trusted their ENTIRE CARS, not just transmission repairs, to us for decades.

2. Credibility
This refers to licensing, accreditation and such. We hire ASE Certified Technicians and are a member of ATRA, which is a Transmission-specific association. Talking to our experts here, will probably provide all the credibility you would need anyhow.

3. Experience
We mentioned our 69 years of being in business, but did you know that we have technicians that have worked IN our business for almost their entire professional lives! That's not just working with cars or transmissions, but with KC Martin specifically for decades. In fact, some of our staff helps teach and train with young people, learning to be mechanics at vocational/technical schools.

4. Availability
KC Martin's shops, both of them, work very hard to be welcoming and friendly. At the front desk AND even when dealing with the ins and outs of getting you a cost for the right repair. We also do our best to get your car in and scheduled as soon as possible. After so many years of doing this, we are essentially seeing our old friends walk in every day, so it's second nature to do everything we can to be friendly, fast, and thorough.

5. Professionalism
From our website, to the front desk, to getting your car fixed, we work hard and maintaining a high level of professionalism. That can vary in our industry quite a bit, but we know that being professional in every thing we do, is one of the best ways to show you that we care.

After reviewing these criteria, it's much less surprising that KC Martin would gain such an honor. But we are honored and proud all the same! If you haven't given KC Martin a shot, or haven't been here in a while, we hope you'll give us the chance to demonstrate our award-winning service. Come see us!

Your Car's Clutch and Signs It May Need To Be Replaced

by KC Martin Transmissions on 10/24/16

While many drivers still enjoy control of driving a manual transmission car and using a clutch—they may not understand when it is in need of clutch repair or replacement. When you drive a manual transmission vehicle you will need your clutch to function properly to ensure the safe operation of your vehicle. If you have your manual transmission vehicle receive regular maintenance then you will avoid many issues that can occur with your car’s clutch. However, it is still important to know about your clutch and watch out for signs that your clutch needs repair. 

Simply put, your vehicle’s clutch helps your car shift into different gears which allows you to go different speeds on the road. It controls the regulation of power from the engine to the transmission to drive the wheels. Cars have a gearbox that has two turning shafts—and your clutch connects those shafts- allowing them either to turn at the same time or different speeds. The important components of the clutch include the flywheel, clutch disc, pressure plate, release bearing and control linkage. 
How can you tell if your clutch needs repair?  
1. Be on the look-out for your vehicle slipping out of gear. This is a common problem sign of a worn out clutch or oil leaks.  

2. Watch out for the clutch sticking. When the pedals either become harder to disengage or press upon you should get your clutch inspected. It may not mean that your clutch is broken but there may be some problem with linkage or a leak in your system that needs to be fixed.

3. You will also want to take note of any burning smell or smoke coming from underneath the vehicle. This can indicate that there is a plate problem, overheating or other clutch damage. 

At KC Martin Transmission we have been working with all different makes and models of cars for decades. That includes properly fixing and repairing clutch problems on manual transmission vehicles, both old and new. Remember, it says "transmission" in our name, but we can handle ANY auto repair you need.  If you have additional questions about clutches or think that your clutch may need service just give us a call or bring in your vehicle today!

Transmission Flush: When does your car or truck need it?

by KC Martin Transmissions on 06/06/16

Your car is a major investment and you want to make sure that you protect vehicle by taking proper care and maintenance. This will help your car or truck to run longer and need less major repairs. One regular maintenance that you need to help your car perform better and extend the life of your vehicle, is a transmission flush. How will a transmission flush help your car and how do you know when you need it? We have outlined some of the benefits of a flush as well as basic signs to look for below.

A transmission flush is a process that entails taking out all the old transmission fluid and transmission fluid deposits out of the car and then adding fresh fluid. During this process flush equipment will be hooked up to your car and it uses pressure to push cleaning solvents through the transmission system. A timely transmission flush will prolong the life of your car’s transmission and make sure deposits and contaminants are not effecting your vehicle.

When do you know that you need a flush? First off you will want to check your car’s owner manual and see when the manufacture recommends this service. Usually a vehicle will need a flush about every two years or 30,000 miles. A sign that you may need a transmission flush sooner is if your transmission is acting abnormally—such as delaying movement or surging the vehicle as gears are shifting. Your car may do this when there is a build-up of contaminants that are inhibiting the regular movement of the car.

Another sign to watch out for is if you are having problems with the gears slipping; as that may be an indicator of not enough fluid in the transmission. One additional sign that you can watch out for is unusual sounds coming from your transmission. When there is a buildup of sludge it may start creating noises that you have not heard before. If this happens take your car in immediately to get the fluid inspected.

Do you have any additional questions about a transmission flush? At KC Martin Transmission we have decades of experience performing transmission flushes to BOTH automatic and manual transmissions. Just give us a call or bring in your car today. We can help you determine if it is the right time to get a transmission flush or if your car may be in need of other maintenance. We look forward to talking with you.

Finding a Trusted Auto Repair Shop - How do we stack up?

by KC Martin Transmissions on 02/29/16

When you choose KC Martin Transmissions you can rest assured that you have found quality, local, experienced transmission repair and automotive service. We have been serving the community since 1948, providing services to all makes and models of vehicles and both automatic and manual transmissions. At KC Martin Transmissions we fix your car or truck and we stand by our work, and seek your satisfaction.

That's how WE introduce ourselves, but what makes a quality repair shop and how do the experts claim that you should find a quality shop? Below are some factors that indicate you have found a trusted repair shop, and how our credentials stack up!

1) Look for a professional shop that is experienced.
When you are looking to get your transmission repaired or for any auto service you want to make sure that you are leaving your car with a team that can fix it correctly. Auto repair shops that have been in business for a long period of time usually have the expertise to make sure that they make the right repair at the right time. Faulty repairs can not only be harmful to your vehicle but can cost you time and money. We have experienced mechanics work on your car and have been operating for generations (nearly 70 years!) providing efficient, superior repair work.

2) Choose mechanics that will guarantee their work.
You want to look for a team that will provide quality repairs to your vehicle; and if they cannot stand behind their work then you may want to look for a different shop. KC Martin is committed to repairing your car correctly- we even offer a 2 year/24,000 on workmanship for all services we provide.

3) Verify that the repair shop belongs to organizations for trusted mechanics.
This is how you can ensure that the mechanics whom will fix your car will fix it correctly. KC Martin Transmissions belongs to an association of transmission professionals, ATRA (Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association), and our expert mechanics are ASE certified technicians. This is the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence and it is the most trusted organization for certification of mechanics in the world.

4) Check out the company’s references and reviews.
This will give you an insight into how the shop’s service and how they handle repairs. KC Martin Transmissions is proud to not only have loyal customers but to have excellent reviews on Google Plus, Facebook, and Yelp. Plus, you can ask around Lynnwood and Edmonds WA, we are the kind of company that entire families trust their cars and trucks to.

5) Visit the repair shop.
Look for cleanliness and professional service. If a company doesn’t care for their environment around them by valuing the appearance of their shop that is an indicator that they might not care for your car either. The same goes for how they treat you when you walk in, and the care they put into serving you. Good service face to face usually coincides with great care for the car.

When you need transmission repair or maintenance then you need to look no further then KC Martin Transmission for local, trusted repairs. If you have additional questions about what makes a quality repair shop or need your car inspected give us a call today!

Manual or Automatic Transmission: Which is best for you?

by KC Martin Transmissions on 10/17/15

Do you drive a manual or automatic transmission? Have you ever wondered which transmission type was best for you? It really depends on your driving objectives as to which kind of transmission would work best in your vehicle. 

Most cars have gone automatic, and there is definitely some ease to driving an automatic transmission. So, if you're only concerned with convenience, then making sure you have an automatic transmission car would be a solid choice. If instead you are looking for a more cost effective option and better driving experience, then you might look into a manual transmission vehicle. What are some of the benefits of driving a manual transmission for you and your car? We have listed three main reasons for choosing a manual below: 

1) Having a manual transmission will save you money. The initial cost of the manual transmission car will be less than automatic vehicles and also have better fuel economy. With the purchase of the car you will get a better deal in general because manual transmission have less moving parts and are not bought as frequently as their automatic transmission counterparts. The manual vehicle saves you money at the pump because manual transmissions will give you better gas mileage. Limiting the times you need to visit the pump not only saves cash but time as well. 

2) You will have more control over the car and the driving experience. Driving a manual gives you complete control over the car. You get to dictate your car’s gear shifting, as opposed to the speed doing the selecting which creates an unrestricted and even smoother driving experience. You will get better acceleration and get better performance out of your vehicle in general.

3) Maintenance is simpler and will cost less. Manual transmission vehicles need to be serviced less often than automatic vehicles. Also the transmission repairs with the manual will be more straightforward which will cost you less money. The maintenance of the vehicle is just another way that a manual transmission will save you time and dollars.

When first driving a manual transmission one may experience a bit of a learning curve, but rest assured that it will save money and time while providing a superior driving experience. These days, it may seem like an automatic transmission is the easy choice, but these benefits may be enough for you to think again. Maybe a manual transmission would work better for you---or maybe you'll find that it's not your thing, even with the benefits. If you have any questions or need service on either type of transmission, give KC Martin Transmissions a call.

The Main Enemy of your Transmission? Summer Heat!

by KC Martin Transmissions on 07/10/15

Summer is really heating up in the Puget Sound area but as we continue on this streak of hot temperatures, you've got to watch out for your car. Did you know that an overwhelming amount of transmission problems and failures are caused by the car getting too hot? Overheating your car could cost you thousands of dollars in a transmission rebuild. As your car expels heat the hot air travels up from your engine to your transmission and transmission cooler. This also heats up the fluid in your transmission lines. Heated fluid can lead to malfunction of the clutch, burning of the seals, and formation of varnish.

How do you avoid unnecessary heating of the transmission? Below are a few tips: 

1) Avoid stop and go traffic during hot temperatures. Continuous stopping can generate extreme heat and also causes your transmission to work harder.

2) Do not do any heavy towing during hot climate times. The extra weight from towing will have your transmission working harder in addition to already dealing with the hot weather.

3) Check fluid levels monthly. Leaks, or low fluid can contribute to the overheating of a car. Transmission fluid is critical to cooling and lubricating your vehicle’s transmission. When checking look for lack of fluid, burnt or dirty fluid.

4) Have your fluids changed regularly. Dirty, burnt fluids will not properly cool your car. Around every 30 thousand miles you will want to have your fluid changed out and replaced.

5) Make sure your solenoid is working. The solenoid regulates the amount of fluid that is distributed to the transmission. When the solenoid is defective not enough fluid will be pumped to the transmission.

6) Provide regular maintenance to your car’s radiator. The radiator’s job is to cool down the transmission- if it is not working then your transmission can quickly overheat.

Ideally the transmission fluid temperatures should be under 175 degrees to ensure that the transmission is being properly cooled. If your car is heating up even a small drop in temperature can save your transmission from breaking down. If it is time to get your fluids changed or checked- or if you are having any issues with your transmission give KC Martin Transmissions a call today and we will work with you to check it out.

Transmission Servicing: How KC Martin can take even better care of you!

by KC Martin Transmissions on 02/10/15

Your transmission uses fluid that functions to keep the transmission parts cool. Over time, this fluid needs to be changed out. Why? Because, contaminants eventually build up and decrease the effectiveness of your transmission fluid. If this fluid is ineffective, that means that overheating of the transmission becomes a major concern. One source, at transmissionrepairguy.com, talks about overheating of automatic transmissions being the cause of nearly 90% of transmission failures. It's kind of simple---protect your transmission, by making sure the fluid is still effective in keeping it cool.

Getting the fluid changed is a generally routine process. Transmission shops like ours have a ton of experience getting the old fluid out and the right new fluid replaced to the right levels. Many may say that they can handle this as a simple fluid change, but beware that getting the correct fluid for your car is vital. The wrong fluid can cause major problems. Also, a pro will know how to make sure the level is correct, and any quirks that are occur specific to you car or truck.

When, or how often should you have your Transmission serviced, and have the fluid changed?  Most car makers will recommend getting this service done every 100,000 miles, but this may be a bit of a stretch. To be sure you do not risk issues with your transmission, you'll want to think about getting it serviced around 30,000-40,000 miles (it ends up coming out to about 2-3 years). The transmission experts at our shop may advise you that it is not yet necessary, but you'd rather be suggesting it early than waiting until problems arise. We can easily check the fluid itself, which tends to remove all doubt as to whether a fluid change is needed or not. 

The lesson: when in doubt, make sure that the transmission shop you trust gets a look and can help you determine when to get this done.  

The BIGGER lesson: if you live in the Lynnwood, Mill Creek, Edmonds, Everett WA areas, and you are NOT using KC Martin, you may be missing out!  Why is this?  KC Martin Transmissions DOES WAY MORE than just transmission work. Our other shop sends your transmission work over to us, sure! And, you should continue going there first---we move your car where it needs to be fixed.  But, if you bring your vehicle to us at the Transmission shop, we will handle all of your auto repair and maintenance, and also keep a special eye on your transmission fluid whenever you bring the vehicle in for routine jobs like oil changes, brake checks, and factory maintenance services.  KC Martin Transmissions handles all of your auto repair needs---transmission service and much more!

Who is ATRA and how can they help YOU?

by KC Martin Transmissions on 10/03/14

We know that the transmission is a very specific area of your car. Hopefully it's rare that you have major transmission problems, and you may only need to know the basics in order to stay clear of issues. When problems DO strike, however, you might be surprised to find out just how vital the transmission system is to your car, and just how important it is to have a professional you can trust to diagnose and work on your faulty automatic or manual transmission.

This may seem like the point where we begin to tell you how GREAT KC Martin Transmissions is, and why you should choose us.  Well, kinda,.....but we actually want to let you know about a bigger organization that can help you be informed and responsible no matter what part of the country you live in!  We want to introduce the organization known as ATRA, or the Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association.

ATRA is the world's largest trade organization of transmission rebuilders, transmission specialists, and transmission part suppliers. Their stated mission is "to provide you with the resources you need to keep your transmission running, or get it fixed quickly".  We are glad to introduce you to an organization that can back up the information we share with you, and in fact, they have a great many articles and tools on their site that can benefit you.  We thought we'd share some of them here.

We found one PERFECT tool on their site for all of those who are not sure whether to get their car fixed or look at trading it in.  It's called the "Fix-it or Trade-it Calculator".  We actually link to it from the KC Martin Transmissions home page. Or, you can go directly to the calculator and look at the information you will need to fill in the form.  It's a great tool for you to understand your car and how to face the tough decisions of replacement. This calculator goes beyond the scope of transmission work, and truly helps you to gain control of your transportation costs and needs.

On the ATRA site there are also many other helpful articles, like the ones we try to post here.  We found a very informative blog article called "Why is My Check Engine Light On?" which you might enjoy. Another related article found on the ATRA site is called "Some Engine Problems Can Seem Like Transmission Problems".  These kinds of informative pieces can also help you narrow down what you are dealing with.  If you are a customer of ours, you'd know that this is the type of wisdom we try to use daily, and it's why folks keep coming back to use us. It's also why BOTH of our shops are quick to get to the right answer---we'll fix your car even if it isn't a transmission issue, and even if you THOUGHT that was the problem.

We are proud to be an ATRA shop and stand with an organization that legitimizes what we do, and one that, like us, wants to legitimately help car and truck owners. Still not convinced that choosing an ATRA shop is the right way to go? Then you can read this piece on why to pick an ATRA shop! They include their code of ethics, which we also abide by.

We urge you to get to know the Automatic Transmission Rebuilders Association, and no matter where you live, consider using their "shop finder" tool to seek out a trusted shop in your area.  And, if you're looking for Auto Repair in Lynnwood WA, or Transmission Repair in the Lynnwood area, we hope you'll choose KC Martin, the trusted name since 1948!

Help us support our Lynnwood Community (especially if you love cars)!

by KC Martin Transmissions on 06/12/14

Yes, we mention it every year, but we are proud to sponsor the 7th Annual Concours d'Elegance at the Wood car show!  It is organized by the Alderwood-Terrace Rotary Club which raises the money for a variety of community-based programs for Lynnwood, Edmonds and surrounding areas.  

You can head to the Concours d'Elegance at the Wood official page for more information and to purchase tickets in advance.  It takes place in about one month on Saturday, July 12th.  There is a wine and beer tasting tent, tons of classic, sports, and muscle cars, and other fun activities for the whole family!  It takes place at the beautiful Lynnwood Golf Course, and as karma has it, we usually get GREAT weather.  

Last year, our guy (and dedicated Rotarian) Erich Bockelie ran the "Wine Toss" Carnival game, that raised even more money for the cause!  Yes, the wine toss was as fun as it sounds, and Erich is up to the task of being a top-class "Ringmaster".  You will be entertained, and it's plenty of bang for your charitable buck.

KC Martin Automotive is glad to help spread the word to all of you, and proud to help with this event, as well as the Gala Auction on the Friday night before. All are welcome to that grand affair as well, and you can also buy tickets for that event on the official site!  Thank you for helping us support our community.

Clutch Repair and Maintenance--Important for Manual Transmission drivers

by KC Martin Transmissions on 02/26/14

Your car or truck's clutch makes the connection between your car's engine and the transmission. A manual transmission, unlike an automatic is under your direct control. As you accelerate, you need to make adjustments with the clutch to transfer power to the transmission and wheels. The clutch connects the engine to the gearbox.

With that understanding of its basic operation, it's important to pay attention to warning signs that your clutch may need replacement. Keep in mind that a faulty clutch can lead to damage of other vehicle parts making the problem even more costly.

Warning signs of a failing clutch:

  • Gear Slippage: If your vehicle starts to slip out of gear or is very jerky when you are driving, you may have a worn clutch that needs to be replaced.
  • Clutch Sticks: If your pedals become hard to press, your problem is a loss of pressure between the hydraulic links. While this does not necessarily mean that your clutch is failing, it does mean that you need to have the leaks repaired. Failing to have the repair done can lead to clutch failure.
  • A Burning Smell This can result from damage caused by overheating. It could also be a result of normal wear and tear. It can also be a result of "riding the clutch" uphill or in slow moving traffic. Don't ignore it.

While it's important to pay attention to these warning signs, you don't have to become obsessed with concern about your clutch or vehicle in general. However, when one or more of these conditions happen repeatedly, it's time to get into our Lynnwood Transmission shop for a look.

In addition to inspecting the clutch our licensed mechanics will also inspect for other potential problems that can shorten clutch life, including:

  • Engine oil leaking onto the clutch
  • Transmission fluid leaking onto the clutch
  • Clutch linkage problems
  • Clutch hydraulic problems (on hydraulically actuated clutches only)
  • Flywheel problems
  • Mis-alignment problems between the motor, transmission, or bellhousing

Once your vehicle has been inspected and necessary repairs made, it's important to pay attention to its operation once you leave the shop. We recommend that you bring your car back in within about 15 days to make sure everything is working properly and that you're happy with the installation. We warranty the clutch against defective parts or workmanship only; not against failure due to reasons beyond our control. We carefully check each component during replacement.

Clutch Care

Obviously, the way in which you drive your vehicle makes a difference in the length of your clutch's life. Driver error or abuse of the clutch can void your warranty. Driver error/abuse includes:

  • Revving the engine excessively when starting out.
  • Resting your foot on the clutch pedal.
  • "Riding" the clutch (same as resting, but with more pressure)
  • Pulling heavy loads necessitating number 1 above.
  • Rocking the vehicle from 1st & reverse when stuck in mud or snow.
  • Drivers inexperienced in driving stick shift transmissions.
  • Slipping the clutch excessively for any reason.
  • Lugging the engine/clutch by being in too high of a gear for the vehicle speed.

If you take care in the operation of your clutch the likelihood of problems will be greatly reduced.  Allow us to be a help in any way we can, even if you have only minor concerns.  Remember: We've been providing Transmission repair Lynnwood WA has been using for over 65 years!  We've got you covered.  Hope this info has helped!

Want an Accurate Auto Repair Estimate? Just bring the car by!

by KC Martin Transmissions on 09/17/13

We understand that this day and age, folks like to be able to get as much as they can get done by phone or over the internet. It's no different with auto repair. Even if you have an auto repair mechanic that you trust, I'm sure you've researched online what may be wrong with your car. Maybe you've heard a noise and wanted to see what was wrong and what other people are saying that it SHOULD cost to have it fixed.  Then, there's all of the people of the area that call and want to know what we charge for certain services (which can vary greatly, depending upon the car you drive). With auto repair, the main principle has not changed: The only way to truly know what needs to be fixed, and what it will cost, is to have a good mechanic examine your vehicle.

We often bring up our successful 65-year history of handling General Auto Repair Transmission Repair Lynnwood, Edmonds, and surrounding areas with integrity. It seems that our best bet to take care of you and your vehicle for the long-term is to be as "hands-on" with your car as possible. This allows us to then be accurate with diagnosis, and with pricing. Auto Repair concerns are usually procrastinated upon, which can be very costly, and mainly it is because of a general distrust of their auto mechanic.  It's understandable, but this is simply avoiding the issue. The real problem is that you need to find an auto repair facility that you can trust to do the right thing.

We would ask that if you have any issue with your car (because we don't just do transmissions, we handle ALL of your auto repair needs), that you go ahead and bring it by and allow us to take a look at it.  Many times we know very quickly what is wrong, and what it will take to fix it. In Transmission Repair situations and some other areas of your car, diagnosis can be tricky.  In any case, we think you'll see that it is much easier and less confusing to have us find out precisely what is wrong, so that you can stop guessing.  It's really the ONLY way to get an accurate cost.

Lastly, you have to trust that a business that's been doing this for 65 years is not simply "trapping" you into doing work with us.  We also know that you have a life and we do our best to handle your diagnosis and repair in the most timely manner possible. Also, our goal is to have you do the necessary repairs and nothing more. If you give us the opportunity to look at your car the next time something is running incorrectly, then we will show you how painless this process can be. Then you will become another loyal customer for sure. 

Car Trouble? Bring. It. By.


Experts in Lynnwood Transmission Rebuilds and Repair!

by KC Martin Transmissions on 07/11/13

Most auto repair shops may list "transmission repair" or "transmission rebuilds" as some of their services, but actually, very few of them have the expertise to do this work. These auto repair facilities handle most of the services they list, but when it comes to transmission work they actually have a lot of that work done by a separate company. 

It's part of the reason KC Martin established a second shop-the KC Martin Transmission shop.  The idea was that, along with continuing to handle general automotive work, we would have technicians that knew the art that is transmission diagnosis, and could handle transmission work start to finish.

We've trained our own specialists in transmission work and we are renowned for Transmission Repair Lynnwood has been relying on for years.  It's a huge asset for us. Even our other location sends the transmission work that comes up at thier shop, over to our shop.  Don't worry, you can continue to bring you cars there  no matter the issue, we handle the movement between our shops for you.

For a Transmission Rebuild Lynnwood folks need to look no further, and even surrounding areas may want to call us up for our expertise, as we have technicians that have had their hands inside of transmissions for over 30 years, and can diagnose issues as fast as anyone.

 When all is said and done we are so confident in our work, that we provide a 2-year, 24,000-mile warranty on all Transmission rebuilds. In fact, we have so much experience doing this, that we can take care of ANY make and model, transmission rebuild, so just bring it by!

Cars for a Cause!

by KC Martin Transmissions on 05/20/13

Alfa Romeo, Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati are the most famous autos made in Italy. Actually, "auto" doesn't do these companies justice. A more appropriate title would be world class masterful works of art would be closer to reality. If you appreciate the fine art of Italian sports cars, you need to join us for the event of the year at the 6th Annual Concours d'Elegance at The Wood - Featuring "All Things Italian on Saturday, July 13, 2013, 1-5pm on the 18th fairway of the Lynnwood Golf Course.

Here's your chance to help support worthy charities and see some works of auto art up close and personal. Make sure you don't miss out. But wait, there's more. In addition to the car show, there will be wine and beer tasting to enjoy. You just don't want to miss out on this grand event, it will be Benissimo!

Hold on, let's shift into reverse. The night before the grand auto show, is our annual Auction at Edmonds Community College, Woodway Hall from 6 to 10pm.

Both events will provide needed funding for worthy organizations and projects such as the effort to build a playground for children in Peru. (Read more about it here: http://www.clubrunner.ca/Portal/story/StoryDetail.aspx?accountid=2695&sid=302333&stid=Club  ) KC Martin Transmissions is glad to be associated with projects like this that better our community and our world.  We don't just support and sponsor events like this car show/wine-tasting, but I, Erich, actually got the opportunity to go and work on these playgrounds in Peru. 

This project in Peru has been very rewarding for all involved, but so have our Christmas Toy Drives, and many other projects that benefit others. We ask that you please consider joining with the KC Martin Automotive family, and come on out to a very fun event for a very good cause.

For more information and tickets go to our website: http://www.clubrunner.ca/Portal/Home.aspx?accountid=2695

And, go ahead and like us on our official Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Concours-dElegance-at-The-Wood-Featuring-All-Things-Italian/224507250908658



We have Specials and Coupons for YOU!

by KC Martin Transmissions on 04/17/13

Normally, we use our blog to share some tips or info about your transmission or auto care in general. But, we're over half way through the month of April and we felt the need to direct your attention to a limited time offer for you and your car.

The ASA (Automotive Service Association) is running a special program for the month of April called "Don't Drip and Drive" offering free leak checks at all participating auto repair shops! Car leaks are bad for the environment, and also can cause many of your car's systems to fail prematurely.

Too often folks will procrastinate on getting their vehicle seen by a professional, so KC Martin is proud to call upon its customers to go ahead and come in for a free leak check. AND, as part of the program, the ASA is sponsoring a 10% off coupon that can be applied to any leak repair work that is done.  You'll need to print off a coupon from our coupon page, plus you'll need to call and set an appointment for your leak check. This program is only for the month of April though, so hurry up and take advantage of this limited-time offer.

Also, on that very same coupon page, we are proud to share a very new idea for our current and new customers.  We are now offering a PUNCH CARD for oil changes!  That's right!  We're letting you print off a card, and when you buy three oil changes in a 12-month period, you can get the 4th oil change FREE!  Both of our KC Martin shops are participating, and YES, you are allowed to share the card between multiple vehicles. 

Hopefully, this offer will help to remind you that KC Martin wants ALL of your auto service work, whether it be oil changes, transmission repairs, brakes, engine issues, or alignments.....and anything inbetween!  Getting your car's oil changed gives us the opportunity to let you know exactly the level of health of your car or truck is showing.  You'll come to find that there's a reason that we've been trusted by Lynnwood, Edmonds, Shoreline and other surrounding area drivers.  We stay concerned with what you NEED, and don't prescribe work for no reason. 

For our longtime customers, these two "deals" are just two more ways that you can benefit from knowing KC Martin and these ways we like to say "thank you" for your continued service.  We look forward to seeing you all very soon. But make sure to call ASAP, because our appointment books are filling up fast!

65 Years in Business!

by KC Martin Transmissions on 03/12/13

Happy Anniversary to US!

This year KC Martin turns 65! From 1948 to today, our company has continued to provide quality service and repairs to customers in the Lynnwood, Edmonds WA, Mill Creek, Mukilteo, Shoreline, Bothell and surrounding areas.

 Turning 65 usually means retirement for most of us. In fact, more and more Americans are retiring earlier than that. For KC Martin, it is a milestone representing a lifetime of superior performance and dedication to our customers.

We may be turning 65 this year, but in some ways we're just getting started! As you may know, the Transmission shop has been here for about two decades, but adding a second shop goes to show just how much we have grown with our Edmonds WA and Lynnwood-area customers.  There are few businesses these days with a long history in serving the public, particularly in the automotive field. At KC Martin Automotive and Transmissions our reputation is every bit as important as the bottom line, because reputation can make or break a business.

We thought it would be fun to take a look at what was happening in 1948, the year KC Transmissions was founded:

1948 Events & Facts MAJOR EVENTS:

  • President Harry S Truman re-elected in upset over Thomas E. Dewey
  • President Truman integrates the U.S. Armed Forces
  • House Un-American Activities Committee accuses Alger Hiss of spying for the Soviet Union
  • U.S. Congress ratifies Marshall Plan, approving $17 billion in European aid
  • State of Israel created; admits over 200,000 European war refugees
  • Soviet Union seals off land routes to Berlin; West responds with massive airlift of provisions


  • World Series: Cleveland over Boston, 4-2
  • Olympics held in London
  • "Citation" wins Preakness, Belmont and Kentucky Derby
  • Boxer Joe Louis retires
  • Babe Ruth dies


  • Popcorn sold on a mass scale for the first time
  • "Scrabble" introduced

We will continue to post on this blog and on the blog at KCMartin.com in celebration of our 65 years in business.  All year we'll come up with fun ideas on this theme.

From everyone at KC Transmissions, thanks for to all our customers for your patronage over the pasts 65 years! We look forward to another 65.

KC MartinTransmission Lynnwood WA
21609 #A Hwy 99  Lynnwood, WA
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