Car Inspection

Save Some Gas!

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High Michigan gas prices have hit most of our budgets here in Benton Harbor. If increased fuel costs are consuming a bigger portion of your budget, you may be tempted to skimp in some other areas – like scheduled maintenance.

According to Michigan news reports and industry studies, you’re not alone. Nine out of ten personal vehicles on the road have at least one maintenance or repair item that hasn’t been. Some of these items are serious safety concerns. Others are just more likely to affect the cost of operating your vehicle.

In this area, we can take a lesson from professional vehicle owners in the Benton Harbor area: fleet owners and operators like trucking companies and Benton Harbor delivery services. Because their livelihood depends on it, they have gotten scheduled maintenance down to a science. And the last thing they skimp on is regular maintenance.

Why is that? Well, for one thing they know that routine maintenance prevents repairs and costly breakdowns. They also know that a well-maintained vehicle uses less fuel. For them, even a small decrease in fuel economy may mean not being profitable.

Here are some services that could potentially save you some gas in Benton Harbor:

Fuel system cleaning, transmission service, differential service, wheel alignment, oil change, tune-up. Ring any bells? Is there at least one thing on the list that hasn’t been done? Let’s suppose you chose to spend $150 at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc and get caught up on some of these services and that they combine to improve your fuel economy by 15 percent. What would that mean to your pocketbook?

Well, the average personal vehicle in Michigan is driven about 12,000 miles a year. If you get 20 miles per gallon, over the course of one year you would pay for the $150 worth of service and save an additional $165 if gas is $3.50 in Benton Harbor. If gas is $4.50, you would save $255. And you’d rack up savings of $345 with gas at $5.50.

From this you can see that the more fuel costs in Benton Harbor, the more it pays to take care of your vehicle. Some of us Benton Harbor drive trucks for work or recreation – or want a large SUV for family needs. A 15 percent improvement in fuel economy can generate huge savings – $660 a year if gas is $4.50 a gallon at your Benton Harbor gas station.

So catch up on those services at Pro Muffler & Brake in Benton Harbor. Talk with your friendly and knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc about your vehicle’s needs. Get a couple done now and a couple next time. Chances are you’ll save a lot of on fuel this year – and a lot more on repairs in years to come.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Ask Your Mechanic

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A lot of service and repair customers in Benton Harbor are a little tentative when they talk with their automotive advisors. They want to ask questions but don’t want to be embarrassed or to seem pushy. Cars are very complicated and there’s more to know about them than most of us Benton Harbor drivers have the time to learn.

At Pro Muffler & Brake, we think automotive service customers have a right to ask any question they need to understand what is wrong with their vehicle and what it will take to fix it. They need to feel free to ask the cost and benefits of recommended services. And they certainly have a right to understand the financial end of the transaction.

It’s all about the communication. What are some of the barriers to communication? Well, most Pro Muffler & Brake service advisors are very busy trying to service and fix cars to get Benton Harbor drivers back on the road. So, just ask when you feel you need more information.

Financial related issues seem to be most frustrating to Benton Harbor customers. If you’re not sure, ask what the auto repair payment policies are. For example, there’s a big difference between giving your vehicle a quick once over and doing a thorough inspection. Diagnosing a problem may take quite a while for your friendly and knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake technician. Make sure you know what’s done as a courtesy and what has a fee. Remember, you still have to pay for the office visit even if the doctor says you only have a cold.

Communication is a two way street. If you have some real budget concerns, ask your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor what he can do. He can give you priorities and options. He can tell you what needs to be taken care of right away for safety or financial reasons. Then you can work out a plan for when to get the rest done. He can also help you with options on the parts. The preference is to always use a high-quality part with a reputation for reliability. But if money is real tight, he might be able to find rebuilt auto parts or a used part. He should tell you the difference in the guarantee for the part so you can make a good decision.

Ask about Pro Muffler & Brake warranties for car parts and labor. Be sure to get all the paperwork you need to make a possible claim in the future. At Pro Muffler & Brake in Benton Harbor, we stand behind our work and want you to understand precisely what that means.

Be sure to ask for and keep a detailed explanation of all the work that’s done on your vehicle. These records will help you keep track of service, warranties and document the good care your vehicle has received at Pro Muffler & Brake  when the time comes to sell it.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Clean your EGR

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Benton Harbor drivers realize it is pretty amazing how auto makers have been able to consistently build more powerful engines in vehicles that get better fuel economy while at the same meeting increasing environmental standards. One of the little miracles that helps make this happen is the Exhaust Gas Recirculation (EGR) Valve. The EGR valve routes some exhaust back into the air intake system in both gasoline and diesel engines. The exhaust gas takes up some space in the engine cylinders, replacing some of the oxygen-rich air that would otherwise be in there. This means that the fuel burning event is cooler. Cooler combustion means fewer harmful nitrous oxides are produced.

Your EGR valve can get gummed up, messing up the timing and amount of exhaust that is supposed to be recirculated in the engine. Symptoms of EGR valve problems are rough idle and poor engine performance. Performance can be restored by cleaning or replacing the EGR valve, depending on how dirty it is.

EGR valves in diesel engines are particularly susceptible to becoming clogged because of the high soot content in diesel exhaust. (Note: the soot is ultimately filtered out of the exhaust further down the exhaust system, but not before it passes through the EGR valve.)

There are a couple of things you can do to lengthen the life of the EGR valve in your diesel engine. First, extended idling allows for more soot buildup because the engine operating temperature is reduced as it idles; the valve is not opening and closing, allowing particulates to accumulate in the valve. Next is fuel quality. Diesel fuel has a cetane rating: the higher the rating, the better the combustion will be. Unfortunately, the cetane rating is rarely posted on the pump and can vary from location to location. Adding a cetane booster to the fuel tank can help with this.

So, if you are experiencing rough idling or poor performance in your gas or diesel vehicle, have one of our Pro Muffler & Brake Shop expert technicians diagnose the problem. They can set things right and restore your vehicle’s performance.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

How’s your braking power?

Pro Muffler Anti-Lock Brakes

 

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc Tech Question:
What is the Power Brake Service?

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc Tech Answer:

Howdy, Benton Harbor. Let’s talk about your brakes. 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 for us Benton Harbor and the others on the road.

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. At Pro Muffler & Brake Shop in Benton Harbor, we provide comprehensive brake maintenance and repair service.

Obviously Benton Harbor want to make sure their 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 just because it’s worn out but, leaks in the brake lines and connectors can be minimized by replacing the brake fluid from time to time. Brake fluid has additives that protect against corrosion that can damage brake components.

Benton Harbor should take note that 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. Your friendly and knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop technician can help you.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

April is National Car Care Month

Pro Muffler Anti-Lock Brakes

April is National Car Care Month!

Spring has Sprung and it’s time for your vehicle maintenance check up. Let the professional technicians at Pro Muffler & Brake inspect and advise you on keeping it in tip top shape. April is national car care month, what better month than April to get your vehicle running properly.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

PCV Valve Replacement

Pro Muffler PCV Valve Testing
Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc Tech Question:
What is a PCV Valve and should I test it?

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc Tech Answer:

The PCV valve is a little, inexpensive part that does a big job for Benton Harbor and our environment here in Michigan. PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation. The crankcase is the bottom area of the engine that holds the oil. When the engine’s running, fuel is burned to generate power. Most of the exhaust from combustion goes out through the exhaust system. But some exhaust blows by the pistons and goes into the lower engine, or crankcase.

These hot gases are about seventy percent unburned fuel. This can dilute and contaminate the oil, leading to damaging engine oil sludge. It can also cause engine corrosion. At high speeds, the pressure can build up to the point that gaskets and seals start to leak. Over time, the vented gases will gum up the PCV valve and it won’t work well. That can lead to all of the problems I’ve already described, oil leaks, excessive oil consumption and reduced .

Fortunately, it’s very easy to test the PCV valve and quick and inexpensive to replace at Pro Muffler & Brake in Benton Harbor. Even so, it’s often overlooked because many people in Benton Harbor don’t know about it. Check your owner’s manual or ask our friendly and knowledgeable technicians at Pro Muffler & Brake. If this is the first time you’ve heard of a PCV valve, you might be in line for a replacement.

Please ask us at Pro Muffler & Brake about your PCV valve. For the price of a couple of burger combo meals at your favorite Benton Harbor drive-up window, you can avoid some very expensive deep engine repairs.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

How long will my battery last in the cold weather?

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc Tech Question:
Due to the cold weather, how often should I replace my battery?

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc Tech Answer:

Car batteries last longer in cold climates than in warm. Cold starts put a greater demand on batteries, but heat is also a big factor in Benton Harbor. The fact is that, on average, 70% of batteries fail within four years. Many experts recommend replacing your battery every five years. This can help avoid you being stranded with a dead battery as well as undue wear on your alternator.

At Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc in Benton Harbor, we can test your battery and alternator to see if they need to be replaced. We may find they both test out as being OK – but for some other reason things are working properly. Remember we said that the serpentine belt drives the alternator? Let our team of friendly and knowledgeable service techs at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc get to the root of your problem.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Wheel Bearings

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Your wheel bearings may be something to which you’ve never given a thought while driving around Benton Harbor Michigan. Wheel bearings are what enable your wheels to spin freely. Since they bear the entire weight of the vehicle, they have to be tough. Wheel bearings can last well over 60,000 miles or 100,000 kilometers. They do wear out though and must eventually be replaced.

You might hear a groaning sound from your wheels. The sound might disappear at some speeds and reappear at others. Your Benton Harbor Michigan service technician at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc can quickly tell if your bearings are bad by raising the vehicle and wiggling the wheel. When you grasp the top and bottom of the tire, it shouldn’t move along the vertical axis.

Many vehicles these days have wheel bearing assemblies that cannot be serviced at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc. When the bearings go bad, we simply replace the entire wheel bearing assembly.

For those vehicles with wheel bearings that can be accessed, we can do some preventive maintenance. You may have heard the phrase ‘pack the bearings‘. With this procedure we remove the bearings, carefully clean them and inspect for any imperfection or wear. If the bearings can be reused, we reinstall them and pack them with grease. If not, we put in new bearings. Check your owner’s manual or ask your Benton Harbor Michigan service advisor at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc if your bearings can be serviced, and if so, when should it be done.

Now, taking care of bad bearings is extremely important. When bearings go bad, they generate tremendous amounts of heat – enough to lock up the wheel. That’s not a good thing at any speed. In some cases the wheel can even fall off. Either of these could cause a serious accident. So have your wheel bearings inspected if you suspect a problem and replace them right away if there is one.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc Technician Training Part 2

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It’s very important to your Benton Harbor service center to keep you happy and on the road. You might be surprised at the amount of money Benton Harbor service centers spend every year to make sure their technicians are properly trained.

Benton Harbor area service centers, including Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc in Benton Harbor, offer a variety of car care services to many kinds of vehicles. They need to be up to date on the latest techniques and parts so that they can care for your car properly. Centers subscribe to data services that list the high quality parts and fluids recommended by your manufacturer.

And each Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc service has a checklist of standard procedures. Your friendly and knowledgeable professionals at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc follow these procedures so they can safely deliver a consistent level of high-quality service to their valued customers.

Some Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc services require the use of specialized equipment. Technicians are trained extensively on this equipment so that they can service your car quickly and efficiently.

Classroom, video and hands-on training is provided by Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc and outside trainers. It’s not only important that technicians be able to perform a given task, they also need to be thoroughly trained in inspection and diagnostic techniques. One of the great services they perform is to spot potential problems before they become serious.

The automotive service industry has standards for classifying and communicating problems to customers. For example, it’s one thing to learn that your manufacturer recommends that you change your serpentine belt every 30,000 miles, or 48,000 kilometers, and another to learn that the belt is on the verge of failure. These standards help you understand the urgency of recommendations, letting you make better service decisions.

Benton Harbor drivers may be interested to know that Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc service technicians are trained in compliance with federal and local laws and regulations, including environmental regulations regarding the disposal of used parts and fluids.

It’s the goal of the team here at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc to provide fast, courteous service. Benton Harbor drivers should feel free to ask us any questions about your vehicle’s service or manufacturer recommendations.

Well-trained service providers, established procedures, and industry standards combine to give you the best service experience possible at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Used Vehicle Inspection

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It’s always exciting to get a new car – even when it’s used. But it can feel like you’re going out on a limb a bit when you buy a used vehicle. I mean, people sell vehicles for a lot of reasons. Maybe they just wanted a new car, maybe there was something wrong with it, and maybe there was something really wrong with it.

It’s a great idea to order a report from a vehicle history service. This can uncover title problems and may reveal serious accidents or flood damage as well as any recall notices for the vehicle. Maintenance and repair records are a plus, but most sellers don’t have them.

Of course the best thing is to get a professional to perform a used vehicle inspection. The inspection will go much deeper than just how good the vehicle looks and drives. You’ll get a feel for the vehicle’s overall condition, the status of major safety systems, and an indication of how well it has been maintained. You’ll get a good idea of any work that needs to be done – and that will help you determine an appropriate value for the vehicle.

It’s pretty easy to see how a used vehicle inspection is worth the cost. If problems are uncovered, you can either steer clear of the vehicle or bargain for a better price. If everything is OK, you’ll have a plan for addressing any routine services that should be done, not to mention a whole lot of peace of mind.

It’s easy to fall in love with a vehicle – just don’t let your feelings cloud your judgment. Have Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc perform a used vehicle inspection so that you’ll know if you’re getting a peach, or a lemon.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

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
Kevin & Pro Muffler guys, “Many thanks for your prompt, courteous & special service today!Anita
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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