Diagnostics

Forced Induction

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Forced Induction

Most Benton Harbor residents associate turbochargers and superchargers with hot rods and racing. However, the number of everyday cars and trucks coming to Benton Harbor from the factory with chargers is growing every year. Here’s why.

You need three elements for combustion: fuel, oxygen and ignition (spark plug in gasoline engines and compression in diesels). Superchargers and turbochargers deal with the oxygen part of the formula. In the normally aspirated engines Benton Harbor residents are familiar with, air is just drawn in from the outside by vacuum pressure created as the engine runs. Turbochargers and superchargers compress the air that goes into the engine’s combustion chamber, forcing in more oxygen. This forced charge of air allows an engine to make more power than a similarly-sized, normally aspirated engine.

So today we have small 4-cylinder turbocharged engines on Benton Harbor streets making more power than a full-sized V8 did 20 years ago – and getting far better fuel economy. And the power on turbocharged six and eight cylinder engines is through the roof.

In addition to power and fuel economy, charged engines deliver benefits for Benton Harbor drivers at higher altitudes. As the air thins with an increase in elevation, there is less oxygen available to burn in the engine, resulting in a significant power loss. Charging forces more air – and oxygen – into the engine, preserving much of the power at altitude. Turbochargers use exhaust from the engine to spin an impeller that compresses the air sent to the engine. Because there is a short time between when you step on the accelerator and the time the exhaust pressure builds up enough to spin the turbo up to speed, there is a short lag in power. To combat this “turbo lag,” some use two turbos: a small one that quickly spins up when engine speed is low and a larger one for when the engine is running . Others use a variable vane technology in the impeller to accomplish the same thing.

Superchargers are driven by a belt connected to the engine’s crankshaft. There is no lag because charging starts immediately (it doesn’t have to wait for exhaust pressure). Superchargers are less efficient for Benton Harbor residents because they require engine power to run the compressor, whereas turbochargers are powered by “free” exhaust. In both types, the air heats up as it is compressed. In some engines it is necessary to cool the air before it goes into the engine. In those engines, the air passes through what is called an intercooler to bring its temperature down to the proper range. An intercooler is like a small radiator and may be cooled by air flow or by liquid coolant.

Benton Harbor owners of superchargers and turbochargers should always use the fuel grade recommended by their vehicle manufacturer. This is important in charged engines because of the extra pressure as the fuel and air is compressed. Using fuel with too low of an octane rating could lead to premature detonation which can cause damage.

Generally speaking, turbochargers and superchargers do not require regular maintenance. But they do wear like any other part in your vehicle and will eventually need repair or replacement. All of your regular vehicle maintenance should be done on schedule – things like oil changes and transmission service and so on. Talk with your friendly and knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc about any concerns you have and about the next services your vehicle needs.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Save Some Gas!

save-gas-benton-harbor

 

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/

Battery Replacement

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The Pro Muffler & Brake Guide To Battery Replacement

Benton Harbor folks know that car batteries wear out just like any other battery and need to be replaced. There are a couple of things Benton Harbor drivers should know when looking for a new battery: one is cold cranking amps and the other is reserve capacity.

Let’s start with cold cranking amps. This can be thought of as the power output used to start a cold engine. The number of cold cranking amps you need depends on your vehicle and where you live in Michigan, specifically how cold it is where you live. The two factors are that the colder an engine is, the more power it takes to turn the engine over to get it started. It has all that cold, sluggish oil to contend with. The other factor is that the chemical reaction in the battery that creates electrical energy is less efficient in the cold.

So the colder it gets in #BentonHarbor, more power is needed, but the available power drops. So if you live where it’s cold, you need a battery with more cold cranking amps than you do where it’s moderate or hot. You should always get at least as many cold cranking amps as the recommends, but may want to upgrade if you live where it gets real cold.

An important note: #Batteries may also list the Cranking Amps – CA – number. It is the Cold Cranking Amps – or CCA – that is the number here. CCA is the number to use in your comparisons of Benton Harbor auto batteries.

Now with all this talk of cold Benton Harbor temperatures, it’s for Benton Harbor drivers to note that heat is the real enemy of long battery life. In other words, the damage that’s done over the Benton Harbor summer months shows up with the increased demands on the battery when Michigan weather turns cold.

Now on to reserve capacity: It’s a measurement of the number of minutes of reserve power the battery has at a given load. The number is more important these days because of parasitic drain. Parasitic drain is the battery energy that’s used when the key is off. So, the power drawn by the security system, the remote start system, even the power the computers require to maintain their memory.

Reserves are also needed when you make very short trips between Benton Harbor and Benton Harbor. You’re not driving long enough for the vehicle battery to recover the energy it used to start the engine.

So go with the minimum recommended by your and upgrade if you need more. Talk with your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Pro Muffler & Brake about options. If you need more from your vehicle battery, a high capacity battery may be called for. #Batteries are a big ticket item, so the warranty gives piece of mind. Be sure to ask about the warranty at Pro Muffler & Brake so you know what you’re getting.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Differential Service

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc Tech Question:
What is a differential and why do Benton Harbor drivers need to have it serviced? Watch this short video to help explain the process.

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc Tech Answer:

First of all – your vehicle does have a differential. If it’s a rear wheel drive, your differential is on the back. If it’s front wheel drive, your differential is built into your transaxle (transmission). Benton Harbor drivers with all wheel drive or four wheel drive will have differentials front and rear and maybe one in between.When you are steering through a turn at an intersection in Benton Harbor, the wheels on the outside of the vehicle have to spin faster than the inside wheels because they have to travel a slightly longer distant through the curve. The differential compensates for these speed differences between the wheels.

Because it is part of the equipment that transfers engine power to the wheels, the differential is working pretty hard. Differential fluid – a special heavy-duty oil – cools, lubricates and protects the differential. It needs to be replaced on a schedule to remove metal shavings and other contaminants. Note: if you have a front wheel drive vehicle, replacing your transmission fluid takes care of your differential service needs.

Differentials have become increasingly sophisticated for Benton Harbor drivers. Rather than the simple mechanical devices of yesteryear, they are more complicated and may actually be part of the computer controlled vehicle stability system. This means they are more so it pays for Benton Harbor drivers to have them serviced on schedule at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop in Benton Harbor to avoid premature wear. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Is it time to check your fuel pump?

Pro Muffler Anti-Lock Brakes
Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc Tech Question:
Is it time to check your fuel pump?

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc Tech Answer:

Your fuel pump sends fuel from the fuel tank to the engine. Fuel pumps just wear out over time: it might be the electric motor, a sensor, a valve, or a relay or some other electrical component. Whatever the exact cause for the fuel pump failure may be, the solution to getting you back on the Benton Harbor road is to replace the pump assembly. When one component has failed, another one is probably just around the corner so it makes sense to replace everything at once and save the future labor costs.

The fuel pump is inside the fuel tank on most vehicles, and for many cars, trucks, and SUVs, the fuel tank must be removed to replace the fuel pump. As you can imagine, that is pretty labor intensive: removing heat shields, retaining straps, all of the EVAP lines, fuel lines, and electrical connections. And of course, there is properly and safely handling the fuel that must be drained from the tank.

Some vehicles have an external fuel filter that should be replaced at the same time. The fuel tank may need to be replaced on some vehicles because of design specifications or if the fuel tank is corroded or otherwise damaged.

Now there are a couple of things you can do to help your fuel pump last longer. One pump killer is contamination in the fuel tank. Sometimes this comes from the fuel itself. Buying fuel at a reputable station will help make sure you are putting clean fuel into the tank. Older vehicles tend to have more sediment in the tank from years of rust or corrosion from the tank itself. The tank may need a thorough cleaning or replacement.

Another thing you can do is refill your tank when it gets down to about a quarter full. The fuel pump is submerged in the fuel which cools and lubricates it. When the tank runs low, the pump has to work harder to suck up the fuel from the bottom and there is no fuel to cool it. This can lead to premature wear.

When the day comes that your fuel pump needs to be replaced, Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc in Benton Harbor will use a quality replacement pump that meets or exceeds your vehicle manufacturer’s specifications. The entire assembly should be replaced. We’ll be sure to install a replacement pump that is compatible with your fuel type. For example, if you have a FlexFuel vehicle that can run on gasoline with up to 85% ethanol content, your fuel system components – including the fuel pump – must be able to withstand the corrosive effects of high alcohol content fuel.

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/

Dead battery? Check your alternator

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc Tech Question:
My battery keeps going dead. I had it tested and it is fine – what could be the problem?

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc Tech Answer:

Well, your could be caused by several things. Let’s start with a likely suspect: your alternator. The alternator is like a little electrical generator. It is spun by the serpentine belt on your engine and makes electricity. This electricity is used to power the electrical systems required to run your vehicle. It also powers all of your electronic accessories like your stereo, navigation, heated seats, and air fans, as well as charging all the electronics you have plugged in.

After the alternator has preformed all that, any electricity that’s left over is used to charge your battery. You can see where we’re going: if the battery isn’t getting enough electricity to stay charged the problem may have something to do with the alternator.

Now it could be that the alternator is bad – they do wear out over time. There are a number of failure points within the alternator, but in practice, it is less to simply replace the alternator than to take it apart and repair it.

At Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc in Benton Harbor, we can test your alternator to see if it needs to be replaced. We may find that the alternator tests out as being OK – but for some other reason it’s not putting out enough electricity to keep the battery charged. Remember we said that the serpentine belt drives the alternator? Well the problem can often lie with the serpentine belt system.

The serpentine belt transfers power from the engine to the alternator. When the belt wears away to a certain point, it is no longer able to provide enough grip and the belt can slip on the alternator pulley so that it is not spinning enough to generate all the electricity that your vehicle needs.

A possible problem related to Benton Harbor a worn serpentine belt is the tensioner pulley. This pulley provides tension on the serpentine belt so that it is tight enough to spin the alternator and other accessories. When the belt is too loose, it can slip on the alternator pulley and, once again, not enough electricity is made.

So, when you battery is going dead – test it. If the battery is still good – test the alternator. If the alternator is still good – inspect the serpentine belt and belt tensioner. Chances are good that your service center or the team of friendly and knowledgeable service advisors at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc will 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/

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
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

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