Cooling System

Thermostat

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Thermostat

The thermostat is an important part of your cooling system. Your vehicle’s thermostat performs a similar function to the thermostat in your home. At home, you set your thermostat to maintain a comfortable temperature range. When your home gets too hot, the air conditioning kicks on and when it gets too cool, the heater turns on.

Now your engine also has an optimal temperature range: warm enough to run efficiently and not so hot as to cause engine damage. Your vehicle’s thermostat is a valve between the engine and the radiator. When you first start a cold engine, the valve (thermostat) is closed, allowing the coolant surrounding the engine to warm up to the proper operating temperature. As the coolant gets hotter, the thermostat opens, allowing coolant to flow through to the radiator to be cooled. The thermostat opens and closes to keep the engine within a certain temperature range.

Now thermostats are rated for a specific temperature depending on the engine – not a one size fits all proposition. Thermostats are subject to normal wear. Proper operation depends on a special wax that expands as it heats up to open a spring-loaded valve. A worn thermostat could stick in the open position causing the engine to run too cool. This is inefficient and could hurt performance and fuel economy. If a thermostat sticks in the closed position, the engine can quickly overheat, possibly causing damage.

There isn’t a specific maintenance routine for the thermostat, but maintaining your cooling system by changing your coolant/antifreeze on schedule will make sure the coolant has enough corrosion inhibitors to protect the thermostat and other vital system components. Cooling system experts recommend replacing your thermostat when you do a coolant flush or exchange. Also, thermostats usually wear out faster than your hoses, so if you need to replace worn hoses, replace the thermostat at the same time.

If your temperature warning light comes on, have your cooling system inspected right away. This could be a thermostat problem. The thermostat could also be the culprit if you aren’t getting hot air when you turn on your heater.

The thermostat is a relatively inexpensive part that stands guard between you and catastrophic engine damage. Follow your owner’s manual instructions, or check with your service advisor to see if it’s time for a cooling 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/

Water Pump

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Water Pump

Let’s talk water pumps for autos in Benton Harbor, Michigan. The engine is cooled by coolant/antifreeze mixed with water. This mixture circulates around the engine, absorbing some of the heat. The coolant then flows through the radiator where air cools it down for the return trip back through the engine. Your vehicle’s water pump is what drives this process.

Cooling system problems are the number-one mechanical failure in Benton Harbor. So the water pump plays a pretty important role. You can’t get very far in Michigan without a water pump.

After all that distant and years of pumping coolant, water pumps just wear out. You might notice a whining or grinding sound coming from the water pump. Or maybe see coolant leaking from the pump itself.

The precise location of the water pump varies depending on the vehicle. Some have the water pump attached to the outside of the engine where you can see it. With these, the water pump is driven by the serpentine belt.

Some have the water pump driven by the timing belt. The timing belt cover often hides the water pump with this setup, so you can’t see the pump without removing the cover.

When you have Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc replace the water pump on one of these, you really should replace the timing belt at the same time. We’ve already gotten things taken apart and besides, the belt’s likely been contaminated by coolant. And timing belts usually need to be replaced at similar intervals anyway, so it just makes sense to do both jobs at once.

The opposite is true too; when you change the timing belt on this type of engine, replace the water pump while you’re at it. The water pump will eventually fail and getting to it is an expensive project. For not that much more you can take care of both the timing belt and the water pump at the same time.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Engine Air Filter

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Engine Air Filter

Today we want to talk about your engine air filter.

That’s the filter that cleans the air before it’s burned in your engine. Many people in Benton Harbor wonder how often they should change their engine air filter. The simple answer is “when it’s dirty.” That’s a function of how much air has passed through the filter, so your vehicle manufacturer will recommend a mileage interval for replacing the air filter. But you can imagine that how dirty the air is would affect how quickly the filter gets filled.

If you drive in Benton Harbor where there’s lots of dust, pollution or pollen, your engine air filter will get dirty more quickly and need to be changed sooner. That’s why we check the air filter with every full-service oil change at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc. We can visually tell if the filter needs to be changed.

Your filter can only hold so much dirt. Once the filter is full, dirt will pass through to the engine. This dirt gums up the combustion chamber, hurts fuel economy and may cause damage. It can also contaminate the Mass Air Flow Sensor which will affect drivability and can be fairly expensive to replace.

A dirty air filter would also restrict the amount of air that gets to the engine, which hurts fuel economy. We can replace your engine air filter with one that matches the factory specifications or you can upgrade your filter for enhanced performance.

So when your Benton Harbor, Michigan, service advisor at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc shows you your dirty air filter, you know how important it is to get it replaced.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Heater Core

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Heater Core

Benton Harbor drivers may wonder where the air in a vehicle’s passenger compartment comes from. Well, as your engine starts to warm up, it also warms the coolant/antifreeze that circulates around the engine and through the radiator. There is also a hose that carries coolant/antifreeze from the engine to the heater core and another that takes it back into the engine. The heater core looks like a little radiator and lives in the air blend box behind the dashboard.

When you turn on the heat, air blows over the heater core, is warmed, and comes into the cabin. Some vehicles have a heater valve that moves coolant through the heater core when the heat is on and bypasses the heater core when the heat is off. In other vehicles, the temperature of the air is controlled within the air blend box by how much air is directed over the heater core.

The engine cooling system, in a larger sense, also encompasses the heater core. Things that adversely affect, say, your radiator will also harm your heater core. The coolant/antifreeze contains corrosion inhibitors that coat the surfaces inside the cooling system, including the heater core. When the corrosion inhibitors are depleted, the cooling system can become corroded, filled with contaminants and may even start to leak.

There are several signs that warn of a leaky heater core: First you may a sweet smell from your vents. This is coolant leaking out and getting into the air. You may even see vapor coming out the vents and notice a film building up inside the windows. Of course, breathing coolant vapors is bad for you.

You may also see coolant on the driveway. Depending on the design of your vehicle, you may even get coolant leaking out into the foot wells of the cabin.

Coolant/antifreeze leaking out through the heater core means that the overall coolant level in the system will be low and the engine is in danger of overheating – which is the cause of mechanical breakdown.

The good news is that the things you do to protect your cooling system also protect your heater core. Changing your coolant/antifreeze as directed by your owner’s manual or upon the advice of your Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc service advisor will help ensure your coolant has enough corrosion inhibitors working to protect this system. Also, quickly repairing any leaks and inspecting hoses for signs of internal breakdown will help keep any from becoming an emergency.

Make sure you consult with your friendly and knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake service advisor about when your cooling system should be serviced.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Radiator Fans

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If you’re old enough, you’ve heard the term “fan belt”. Back in the day the radiator fan in your vehicle was turned by a belt driven by the engine. There are still belt driven fans – although most are now driven by the serpentine belt. But most vehicles now have electric fans that draw fresh air across the radiator to cool it.

As coolant/antifreeze circulates in the cooling system it captures heat from the engine and flows into the radiator. Air cools the radiator and the coolant in it before it flows back into the engine to pick up some more heat. Now your engine has an ideal temperature range in which it is most efficient: it shouldn’t be too hot or too cool. The electric radiator fans help maintain the ideal temperature.

A switch mounted in a cooling system passage checks the temperature of the coolant. If the coolant is at the low end of the range, the switch turns off the fan motor. When the coolant rises to a certain temperature, the switch turns on the fan. When you are running the air conditioning, the radiator fan will likely be turned on as well to help reduce the extra engine heat created by the load placed on it by the air conditioner.

A lot of vehicles will actually have two radiator fans. One or both or neither may be running at any given time depending on the conditions. When you are cruising at highway speeds, the air rushing over the radiator and around the engine will help control the heat. By contrast, stop and go driving around town doesn’t generate much natural air flow so the radiator fans will be working hard.

You may have noticed the sound of the radiator fan running after you turn your vehicle off. This keeps the engine from heating excessively after it has been run and shut off.

Now the radiator fan motors and the switch are wear items that will eventually fail. If your temperature light comes on while driving, you have a problem with the cooling system. Your service technician can inspect your entire cooling system, including the radiator fans, to determine what is causing the indicator light. Of course, servicing the cooling system as recommended will help extend the life of all the components. Ask your service advisor at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc if you are due for a cooling system service.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Long Lasting Cooling System For Your Car

Our vehicles operate in a wide range of outside temperatures in Michigan. That’s why vehicle manufacturers use testing grounds from the frozen tundra to the blistering desert. Your engine coolant must be able to perform in these extreme temperatures, even if we don’t always get the extremes here.
A Long Lasting Cooling System For Benton Harbor Michigan Driving
Coolant has to move heat away from the engine to prevent costly damage. Water does a very good job of holding heat, but it freezes at thirty two degrees (Fahrenheit).
That’s why we mix anti-freeze with water – it lowers the freezing point of the coolant, and raises the boiling point as well. A fifty/fifty blend of water and antifreeze is the usual recommendation from Pro Muffler & Brake Shop.
And on top of that, coolant has to protect the components of the cooling system from corrosion. Your owners’ manual will tell you what kind of coolant you should use.
Coolant system failure is the most common mechanical problem people have. Much of that can be avoided by following factory scheduled service intervals.
Check your owner’s manual or with your service adviser. We can also conduct a cooling system inspection to look for leaks, weak hoses or bad connections.
Give us a call at 269.926.2006, or stop by Pro Muffler & Brake Shop at 2094 South M-139 Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022.

Cooling System Service

Your car or truck’s cooling system’s job is to keep your engine cool. Coolant (also called antifreeze) mixed with water flows through your engine and absorbs heat. The mixture then flows out to the radiator where it’s cooled by air flowing over the radiator. From there the cooled mix circulates back through the minivan engine to absorb more heat.

Auto Cooling SystemCoolant, or antifreeze, is specially formulated to keep your engine safe in a wide range of environmental and operating temperatures in Benton Harbor.

Without coolant, the minivan’s metal engine parts would expand so much that the engine would seize up and stop running.  Expensive parts could be broken or warp so badly they would have to be replaced at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc.  It could even be so bad that the whole engine is ruined and has to be replaced.

Also, if it’s freezing outside, the water in your engine could freeze while your vehicle is sitting out in the MI cold. This is why you check coolant levels frequently and have your cooling system inspected for leaks. Also your manufacturer has a maintenance requirement for draining and replacing your coolant. These recommendations can vary widely, so check the owner’s manual or ask your service adviser.

The reason you need to change the coolant is that it has additives in it to protect the cooling system. As you can imagine, with all the heat, the cooling system’s a pretty harsh environment. The additives keep the fluid from becoming corrosive and damaging the radiator and other  cooling system components. Over time, the additives are depleted and the coolant just has to be replaced. A simple pH test can measure the coolant’s acidity.

You may have noticed that there are different colors of antifreeze at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc: it is very important that you use the correct type.  The different coolant types are different colors so you don’t mix them up.  Manufacturers use different materials to make the cooling system, and they require different types of antifreeze to protect them.

So check with your knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc service adviser or owner’s manual for the right kind because using the wrong coolant can void the warranty for your minivan cooling system.

Ask us about tune up, winter preparation and oil change.

Give us a call

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

At Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc., we install quality NAPA replacement parts. Give us a call at 269.926.2006.

Cooling System Service At Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc

Last week I was out running errands and my temperature warning light came on – total panic! I pulled over and my car was overheating.

Cooling System Issues

After it cooled down, I went right in to Pro Muffler and Brake Shop to have them take a look. My knowledgeable service adviser told me my water pump was leaking and needed to be replaced. He said water pumps just wear out and that you need to replace them because they pump the coolant that cools the engine.

He told me they checked out my radiator hoses, serpentine belt and tensioner and that they were OK. But I was overdue for changing my coolant – like, embarrassingly overdue. I didn’t realize there was a schedule in my minivan owner’s manual for when to change my coolant.

My service adviser said that the coolant actually becomes corrosive over time and could damage my radiator, head gaskets, intake manifold gaskets, heater core, metal cooling pipes, expansion (frost) plugs, etc. That’s why they recommend changing the fluid on schedule.

So, we replaced the coolant with the kind my minivan manufacturer recommends – I learned there are different kinds of coolant and you need to use the right one – and I was on my way. It feels good knowing my minivan cooling system is healthy and I don’t need to worry about it.

Give Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc a call

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc
2094 South M-139
Benton Harbor, MI zip code 49022

At Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc in Benton Harbor MI (49022) we install quality NAPA replacement parts. Give us a call at 269.926.2006.

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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