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Shocks and Struts

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Let’s talk shocks and struts.

Shock absorbers and struts last a long time for Benton Harbor drivers and wear out pretty slowly for most vehicles. They’re easy to take for granted, but your shocks and struts do a very important job so you need to pay attention to them. They keep your tires on the road; and your tires are what connect your vehicle to the road and allow you to safely handle your car through turns, over bumps and even stop in time.

When your shocks and struts are worn, your tires bounce excessively over bumps. Your vehicle will wallow through corners, your front-end will dive when you stop and your rear-end will squat when you accelerate. All this hurts your ability to control your vehicle. And your ride just isn’t as comfortable.

Worn shocks or struts cause excessive tire wear so Benton Harbor drivers will have to replace their tires sooner than they should. Worn shocks and struts also stress other suspension and steering parts, causing them to wear prematurely. Struts are actually a major structural component of the suspension system; there’s a lot riding on them.

Replacing worn shocks and struts saves money in the long run – and of course, you can’t really put a price on your safety and that of your passengers. At Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc, we generally recommend replacing shocks and struts at 50,000 miles/80,000 kilometers.

When it’s time for new shocks or struts, we’ve got you covered in Benton Harbor. At Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc, we can give you back the ride and handling of a new vehicle. And if you have special needs we can help you there too. We have premium shocks and struts that’ll improve your performance. We can even help you with upgraded, heavy-duty shocks that’ll give you the confidence you need to handle those big towing or hauling jobs.

Benton Harbor experts recommend replacing all four shocks at the same time so that handling is even at each wheel.

If you need new shocks or struts, let Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc help you take care of this safety service. You’ll feel better, and you’ll save on tires and other suspension repairs down the road.

Stop by or give us a call.

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop
2094 South M-139
Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022
269.926.2006</strong>

http://promufflerandbrake.com

Transmission Fluid

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It’s easy to forget about servicing your transmission because it doesn’t need it very often, but proper transmission service keeps your vehicle running smoothly and helps you avoid costly repairs down the road. The transmission undergoes a lot of stress. The grit you see in used fluid is actually bits of clutch material. This grit flowing through your transmission under pressure eats away at seals and gaskets which can lead to leaks. The transmission operates at very high temperatures – much higher than engine temperatures. Those high temperatures eventually cause the transmission fluid to start to break down and loose efficiency. At best, your transmission won’t operate smoothly. At worse, it could lead to costly damage. When your transmission’s running properly, it transfers more power from your engine to the drive wheels and improves fuel economy. That’s why manufacturers have recommended changing your transmission fluid at regular intervals. Your owner’s manual has a schedule for transmission service and, of course, your Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc service advisor can tell you what the manufacturer recommends. At Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc, we may be able to perform a transmission service while you wait and the cost is quite reasonable. Actually, it’s downright cheap when you think about how much a major transmission repair can cost!
Give us a call

Pro Muffler &amp; Brake Shop
2094 South M-139
Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022
269.926.2006</strong>

http://promufflerandbrake.com

Auto Repair Cost

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At Benton Harbor full-service automotive service center, profit margins are a lot narrower than many people imagine. Cars are far more complex, thus the tools and diagnostic equipment are also more complicated and . Diagnosing why your Check Engine light is on may require a machine that costs $18k. Ask a senior technician how much he/she has invested in tools, initial education and ongoing training.

For example, a carburetor used to be a pretty simple part to maintain and repair. Nowadays, an electronic fuel system repair in Benton Harbor requires a technician to have a higher level of knowledge and expensive diagnostic equipment to read and interpret the numerous trouble codes. And it doesn’t end there. Shops must pay subscription fees for database services to locate and order the right parts. Buying or leasing shop space has risen along with other commercial real estate prices in Benton Harbor.

All the technology that makes today’s cars safer, more reliable, more fuel-efficient, more comfortable, more environmentally-friendly and full of more nifty gadgets comes at a price for Benton Harbor drivers. And complying with government regulations tacks on additional costs.

Hopefully, today’s post sheds some light on the factors that affect your auto repair bill. The team at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc believes that quality service performed by veteran technicians saves money in the long run and protects your automotive investment.

Give us a call

<strong> Pro Muffler &amp; Brake Shop
2094 South M-139
Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022
269.926.2006</strong>

<strong>http://promufflerandbrake.com/</strong>

Driving Tip: Slow Down

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There’s not much Benton Harbor residents can do about the price of gas in Michigan, but we can control – up to a point – how much we use. Our driving habits can dramatically affect our fuel economy.

The first thing we can do is watch the go-pedal. Hard acceleration just sucks the gas. Gently leave stop lights and plan lane changes so you don’t need to floor it. That can save you hundreds of dollars a year in improved fuel economy.

Go a little slower on Michigan roads. Benton Harbor residents who go more than 60 mph/100 kph will see their drop dramatically. Leave early so you don’t need to rush to be on time. And cruise control is your friend – steady speeds use less gas.

Plan errands ahead. Make fewer trips by combining errands around Benton Harbor.

Hey, at current Benton Harbor gas prices, a lead-foot might as well be a gold foot.

Give us a call

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop
2094 South M-139
Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022
269.926.2006

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Power Brakes

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Basically, the power brake system helps you provide braking power so that you don’t have to do all the work with your brake pedal.

The brakes themselves are applied at the wheel using hydraulic pressure. When we step on the brake pedal, we create pressure in the power booster that’s multiplied by vacuum from the engine. The resulting pressure pushes brake fluid through the master cylinder into tubes and hoses that run to the brake at each wheel.

When there’s a problem, it’s usually a fluid leak somewhere along the line. It could be at a fitting or a hose, or even an internal leak in the master cylinder. A leak gives the pressurized fluid somewhere to go other than to the brakes, so stopping power is hurt. Lose enough fluid and you can’t stop at all. Of course that’s extremely dangerous.

If you notice any decrease in stopping power or if your pedal seems mushy, you could have a problem. There are some preventive maintenance items for the power brake system that will help them last longer.

Obviously you’d want to make sure your brake fluid is filled to the recommended level. Low fluid in the master cylinder could indicate a leak or worn brake material. Master cylinder leaks are usually due to it wearing out, but leaks in the brake lines and connectors can be minimized by replacing the brake fluid from time to time. Additives in brake fluid protect against corrosion that can damage brake components.

Brake fluid also attracts moisture which can lead to rust — not a good thing for expensive anti-lock brake components. Also, significant amounts of water in the brake fluid can affect stopping power because the water has a much lower boiling point than brake fluid. In the high temperature environment of the brake system, the water can vaporize, and steam doesn’t do a very good job of providing hydraulic pressure.

A final word — make sure you use the recommended type of brake fluid. There are several kinds, and using the wrong one can lead to total brake failure.

Give us a call

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop
2094 South M-139
Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022
269.926.2006

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

The Heat Is On

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When the weather gets hot, some of the components of your vehicle are pushed to the limit. Here are a few things to watch out for as the mercury climbs higher:

Your vehicle’s air conditioning (A/C) system. You might notice it’s blowing only hot air, even though when you last had it on in the fall, it was working fine. All sorts of things can fail in an air conditioning system, from the blower motor to the condenser, a worn compressor, or simply a refrigerant leak. A/C diagnosis and repair requires a trained technician.
Tires. Heat is hard on tires. Rubber breaks down in sunlight and hot weather. Tire pressure climbs as the temperature climbs. A trained technician will check your pressure, tread depth, cupping and other uneven wear, and track down the cause. It may be time for some new ones.
Cooling system. It only makes sense that summer breakdowns are often caused by the vehicle overheating. Have us check your cooling system components, the coolant levels, the condition of your hoses, belts, and radiator.
Battery. You probably thought cold weather was tough your vehicle’s battery. Heat is harder on it and will shorten the life of a battery more quickly than cold weather. Make sure to have your NAPA AutoCare Center can test your battery with their specialized equipment and see how much life it has left. Depending on your climate, batteries typically last three to six years. A regular battery test will help avoid being stranded by a dead one.
Brakes. Your safety depends on your brakes’ stopping power, and during hot weather, they get even hotter than in other seasons. Have your brakes inspected periodically to make sure they’re providing the stopping power they should.

One more thing. Engine oil is really taxed during hot weather. Your service advisor can make sure you have the right kind and amount of oil to keep your engine’s components working in harmony throughout the blistering hot weather. The heat may be on, but you can be on top of it.

Give us a call

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop
2094 South M-139
Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022
269.926.2006

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Time to Take Another Look at Diesels?

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If you haven’t looked into diesel engines lately, you may be interested in today’s post. Why should you care about modern diesel engines? Fuel efficiency, for starters. Because diesel fuel has a higher compression rate than gasoline, it generates more power per barrel. This is especially advantageous for drivers who pull heavy loads with powerful trucks that are always thirsty.

There are still many misconceptions about diesel powered vehicles. Let’s debunk some of the myths.

1. Diesel Burns Dirty
This was true years ago. Since 2006, however, U.S. diesel vehicles have been required by law to use ultra-low-sulfur diesel or USLD. Modern diesels are soot-free and have a smaller carbon footprint.

2. Diesels Are Sluggish
Not any more. They are as fast off the line as similar gasoline-powered cars. If your idea of fun is to spend an afternoon test-driving new cars, go take a spin in a diesel BMW or Porsche.

3. Diesels Are Loud
Back in the day, you could hear a diesel motor from a mile away. Today’s diesels run quiet.

4. Diesels Have a Bad Resale Value
Actually, diesel vehicles have a lower depreciation rate.

Diesel engines require parts that are heavier and stronger. At Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc, we occasionally service diesel cars and trucks with over 300,000 miles/500,000 kilometers. The heavy-duty parts make diesel vehicles a little more expensive new, but due to the extra burliness, diesel engines last a lot longer. This is one of the reasons Cummins diesels inspire such a loyal following.

Another often-overlooked benefit is lower risk of fire. Diesel fuel is less flammable and won’t explode like gasoline.

What about the drawbacks? Cold weather starting is one. Diesel engines can be hard to fire up when the temperature drops. However, an engine block heater can solve this problem. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc for more .

If you are in the market for a new vehicle that’s easy on fuel, you might want to explore your diesel options. You may even qualify for a tax credit if you buy a clean diesel vehicle. Of course, diesels require regular maintenance like any other vehicle and the services are usually a little more costly due to the nature of the engines. But the extra cost is offset by the better fuel economy and longer engine life.

Bottom line? Today’s diesel is not your grandfather’s diesel.

Give us a call

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop
2094 South M-139
Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022
269.926.2006

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Anti-lock Brakes

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We rely on our brakes to safely slow and stop our vehicles. You’ve probably had the experience where you’ve slammed on your brakes and started to skid. When your wheels are locked up, you are just sliding all over the road. And if the road is wet or slick or covered with gravel – you really get out of control. Steering is next to impossible. That is why anti-lock brake systems (ABS) were invented: to help you maintain control in extreme stopping conditions.

As mentioned, control is lost when your wheels lock up. ABS keep your brakes from locking – helping you stop while maintaining your ability to steer. Sensors on each wheel equipped with ABS, monitor wheel spin and compare it with vehicle speed sensors. When you are pressing on the brakes, still traveling forward, but your wheels are not turning, the ABS system steps in and modulates the brakes.

They ABS quickly “pumps” the brakes, not allowing the wheels to lock-up while still applying braking pressure. This is all done automatically without any intervention on your part. You will feel a pulsation through the brake pedal and will hear a clunking as the brakes are rapidly being applied and let off repeatedly. The first time this happens to you, you may be surprised and think something is wrong. Well, it isn’t – so just keep your foot on the brake and allow the ABS to do its thing. In fact, remember the 3 S’s of anti-lock brakes: Stomp, Stay, & Steer. Stomp on the brakes, keep the pedal down, and steer as needed.

When you first start your vehicle, the ABS does a quick self-check to make sure everything is OK. The ABS warning light will briefly illuminate with all the other warning lights on your dashboard and then go out. If the system detects a fault, the ABS light will come on and stay on. Take your vehicle in for a check if the ABS warning light is on.

Proper brake system service is the best way to protect your ABS. Replacing brake fluid that is depleted and/or contaminated will help preserve proper ABS operation and protect it against corrosion. Ask your service advisor if it’s time for a braking system inspection or service.

Give us a call

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop
2094 South M-139
Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022
269.926.2006

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Winter Prep

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Every year, your vehicle needs to be ready for our Michigan winter. The last thing we Benton Harbor drivers want is to get stranded out in the cold in Michigan. We need our vehicles to be safe and reliable. It’s a good idea to get caught up on any neglected maintenance items anytime – but the stakes are higher in the winter for Michigan .

There are some specific and necessary things that we need to do to have our vehicle ready for winter. The most obvious is having the antifreeze checked. If the antifreeze protection is not set correctly it can’t properly protect your engine, radiator and hoses from freezing. If your vehicle does not seem to be making enough heat to keep you warm, your antifreeze level may be low or you could have a thermostat problem. Get it checked out at Pro Muffler & Brake in Benton Harbor. If you are due for a cooling system service, now is a perfect time to have it done.

In the cold Michigan rainy months we always worry about being able to stop in time when it’s slick out on Benton Harbor area roads. The first thing for Benton Harbor drivers to remember is to slow down and allow plenty of room to stop. A thorough brake inspection at Pro Muffler & Brake will reveal if the pads or any other parts need replacing. Check with your Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc service advisor to see if it is time to replace your brake fluid. It accumulates water over time which really messes with your stopping power.

It is also advisable to have your battery tested. A battery’s cranking power really drops with the temperature. If your battery is weak in the fall, it may not be up to winter in Michigan.

You should always have a blanket or something to keep you and your passengers warm if you get stranded when it’s cold in Michigan. If you will be leaving the Benton Harbor area and venturing away from civilization, pack more items such as food and water to help you survive. Keeping at least half a tank of gas is a good idea if you get stuck and need to run the vehicle to keep warm, and it will help keep your gas lines from freezing up.

It’s a really good idea for Benton Harbor drivers to replace their wiper blades in the fall before the Michigan winter storms. If you live where there’s a lot of snow and ice in Michigan, you might want a special winter blade that resists freezing up. And be sure to have enough windshield washer fluid.

The final thing for Benton Harbor to consider is their tires. Any tire can lose pressure over time – up to one pound every six or eight weeks. For every 10 degrees F/5.6 degrees C, the temperature drops in Benton Harbor you lose another pound of pressure. So if it was 80°F/26.7°C outside in Benton Harbor when you checked your tire pressure two months ago and now it’s 40°F/4.4°C, you could be down 5 pounds of pressure. That’s enough to be a safety issue and it’s also hard on your fuel economy. You may need special winter tires as well. Your Pro Muffler & Brake tire professional can help you find the right tire design for your Benton Harbor expected road conditions.

If you’re getting winter tires in Benton Harbor, it is always best to put them on all four wheels. If you are only getting two, it might be best to put them on the rear – even if you have a front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle. This is a very important safety measure recommended by Michigan tire manufacturers. Sliding or fish-tailing on ice and snow is a matter of not having enough traction at the rear end. That is why your newest tires should probably always be on the rear. Check with your friendly and knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake service advisor.

Give us a call

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop
2094 South M-139
Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022
269.926.2006

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Wheel Alignment

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People need to be concerned about wheel alignment for two primary reasons: safety and money.  When your wheels are out of alignment, they can pull to one side. A moment of inattention could put you into on-coming traffic or off the road.  And a bad alignment will chew up your tires very quickly.

We had one guy in the shop who said his wheels were a little out of alignment before a family vacation, but he didn’t think it was that bad, so he didn’t take care of it before he left.  A couple days and a thousand miles later, his front tires were worn down to the cords.  He had to take a half day out of his mountain vacation to find a town big enough to have a tire center for replacements.

All four wheels are supposed to be lined up and point in the same direction.  Sometimes one or more goes out of alignment and is pulling against the rest of the team.  In addition to excessive tire wear, this also hurts fuel economy.

Part of the alignment service is an inspection of the steering and suspension components.  Whatever caused the wheels to be knocked out of alignment in the first place may have also damaged important parts.  So, we want to be sure to replace broken or bent parts as needed.

The process corrects alignment of each wheel along three axises (toe, camber and caster) as well as front to rear alignment.

Your owner’s manual may have a recommendation for how often alignment should be checked.  If not, ask your service advisor.  Here are some things to look for that should get you in for an alignment check right away:

Your vehicle is pulling to one side, your steering wheel isn’t centered, you feel a vibration at speed, or you see unusual tire wear.

Give us a call

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop
2094 South M-139
Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022
269.926.2006

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Kevin & Pro Muffler guys, “Many thanks for your prompt, courteous & special service today!Anita
Dear Kevin & Rich,We finally made it to the West Coast. We’re in Northern California headed down to San Fran. We picked up my PT Cruiser and it’s holding up well… So far. I don’t want to jinx myself. Hope all is well in Michigan. Perhaps we’ll meet again. Thanks for all your kindness!Sincerely, Beth & Jerod
Thank you Pro Muffler & Brake Shop! If I have a problem with my brakes or my muffler again, I will come to you! Many thanks to you & staff. My car runs so much better and because of you guys I have confidence in driving my car. Customer of '97 Honda Civic

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