Cooling System

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/

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/

Coolant Replacement

coolant-replacement

 

Coolant Replacement 

Your 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 engine to absorb more heat.

Coolant, or antifreeze, is specially formulated to keep your engine safe in a wide range of environmental and operating temperatures.

Without coolant, the 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. 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 cold.

Therefore, 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 your owner’s manual or ask your service advisor.

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: 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 service advisor or owner’s manual for the right kind because using the wrong coolant can void the warranty for your cooling system.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

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.

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

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