Engine

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/

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/

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/

Timing Belt

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Let’s address a maintenance item for everyone in Benton Harbor, Michigan – timing belt replacement. It’s important because letting this one slide can lead to very major  engine damage.Your timing belt choreographs the timing of your combustion process. Your pistons travel up and down in the cylinder. Intake valves open at the right time to let in air and fuel, they close at the right time to allow the fuel to burn, and then the exhaust valves open at the right time to let out the exhaust.

All this happens thousands of times a minute and it’s your timing belt that makes sure the valves are opening and closing at precisely the right time. If the timing is off, your vehicle engine won’t run. And that’s the best case.

The worst case for Benton Harbor drivers is that a valve is opening at the wrong time and collides with the piston. The result is bent valves and maybe even more damage to the cylinder head. Repairs can run several thousand dollars.

Now, timing belts just wear out naturally so you want to replace a worn belt before it slips or breaks. Check your owner’s manual or with your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc in Benton Harbor, Michigan to see when they recommend you replace the timing belt. If you’ve never replaced your timing belt and have had your vehicle for a while, talk with your service adviser at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc right away to see if you’re due.

On some engines, the water pump is driven by the timing belt as opposed to the serpentine belt. If that’s the case, it’s a good idea to replace the water pump when you’re replacing the timing belt, and vice versa since much of the same work has to be done for either. The same is true for the timing belt tensioner – it should be inspected and possibly replaced.

Now, replacing a timing belt is one of the more expensive routine maintenance items on service schedules. But not replacing your timing belt can lead to some of the most expensive repairs you’re likely to ever have.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Engine Overhaul and Preventative Maintenance

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Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc Tech Question:
I’m Collins. I had my engine go out and had to have it completely re-done at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc. What could I have done to prevent this?

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc Tech Answer:
You’ve got to feel for Collins: an expensive major engine rebuild is pretty extreme. It’s a tough situation to be in: maybe you’re still making payments on your vehicle and nobody wants to buy it with a blown engine, so you really have no choice but to pay the money to get it fixed.This is why your manufacturer and Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc have preventive maintenance schedules – to help you avoid major repairs. Suppose you don’t change your timing belt on schedule and it breaks. That can mean bent valves and a damaged cylinder head.Maybe you’ve skipped over the Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc recommendation to replace your coolant and end up with catastrophic overheating. It could be you’ve skipped a few too many oil changes and now sludge has built up in your vehicle to the point that expensive parts in your engine are being damaged.

Whatever the case, preventative maintenance can almost always mitigate the damage or stop it before it begins.Check your vehicle oil level every month and follow your recommended service schedules. And if you’re behind on any services, ask your friendly and knowledgeable pro at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc to help you work out a plan to get caught up.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Evaporative Emissions Control (EVAP)

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The purpose of an EVAP system is to capture vapors and direct them into the engine to be burned – kind of an on-board recycling program.

The EVAP system is a complicated network of hoses, valves, filters and such. Issues with the EVAP system are in the top 5 reasons for a Check Engine Light to be illuminated. Your friendly and knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc can pull the trouble codes and begin a diagnostic procedure to isolate the fault.

With the proper equipment, your can test the valves in order to trace a blockage. A low pressure smoke test can be performed to find any leaks. The repairs are then made to get the EVAP system working again and to reset the Check Engine Light.

While EVAPs don’t generally lead to vehicle damage, the fact that they trigger the Check Engine Light can mask other more serious problems if left unaddressed. After all, there are hundreds of conditions that can trigger a Check Engine Light – but there is only one light. So if the light is on because of an EVAP issue you haven’t fixed and another arises, you won’t be alerted to the new condition because the light is already on.

Of course, if you live in a jurisdiction in that requires emissions testing to register your vehicle, you won’t pass the test until you make the repairs. An EVAP trouble code could be caused by something as simple as a loose or worn gas cap or a leak in a hose, to problems with a purge valve or even a rusty fuel filler pipe.

When your Check Engine Light comes on, bring your vehicle into Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc in and let us check it out. Your Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc will be able to diagnose the problems and work out a plan to address anything that is uncovered. There’s peace of mind for that comes from knowing what is wrong and taking care of it.

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/

Severe Service

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Simple Answers from Pro Muffler & Brake Shop: Severe Service:
What is a severe service maintenance schedule?

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Answer:
When I was a kid in Benton Harbor, Sunday meant having a bath, getting dressed for church and then hanging up my Sunday clothes soon as we got home. Mom didn’t have to wash those clothes but once a month or so. Benton Harbor Now, Saturdays were another story entirely: catching lizards, splash contests in mud puddles and crawling through the brush with GI Joe. Those clothes went straight into the laundry basket. My Sunday clothes – easy use. My Saturday clothes – hard use. They required a different laundry schedule. Severe service maintenance schedules are kind of like that for Benton Harbor car owners. “Normal” driving has a regular schedule; “hard” driving has a severe service schedule. Service intervals are shorter on the severe schedule.

Most owner’s manuals will describe severe service as:
Stop and go driving
Short trips
Low speed driving
Extreme hot or cold
Dusty conditions
Carrying heavy loads
Towing

For most Benton Harbor people, some “severe” driving is part of their everyday routine. You can communicate with your friendly & knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop service advisor about how you drive around the Benton Harbor area and see if your routine is closer to the regular or severe definitions and adjust your service intervals for things like oil changes, transmission and 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/

Check Engine Light Diagnosis

check-engine-light-promuffler-brake-benton-harbor

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Tech Question:
My check engine light is on. What should I do?

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Answer:
Many Benton Harbor drivers have had their check engine light come on. It’s an amber colored light that shows on your dashboard. In newer vehicles it might just be a problem with your gas cap not being screwed on tight enough (or a worn gas cap), causing the vehicle to fail the self-diagnostic evaporative emission test. All you need to do is go to your gas cap and verify that it is tight. If that was the problem, the light will turn off and everything will be fine within one or two days.

Resist the temptation to have someone “clear” the codes to turn off your auto check engine light. This erases important diagnostic information that your friendly & knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop technician needs to diagnose the underlying problem for the check engine light – and any other pending problems that may be stored in the auto computer.

If the problem is still there – you still see the light – bring your auto in to Pro Muffler & Brake Shop in Benton Harbor and have your check engine light checked out as soon as possible.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Time to Replace Your Engine Air Filter

Engine Air Filter

Clean, Dirty!

When driving around Southwest Michigan, your minivan engine needs clean air to burn the fuel – and it needs a lot. In fact, a typical vehicle needs about 216,000 gallons of air for every tank of gas. This is where your air filter becomes very important!

All that air passes through a filter that catches the dust and dirt. Eventually the filter gets completely full. Because the filter can only hold so much, dirt starts getting through. This dirty air passes through the mass airflow sensor, and starts to accumulate on the delicate sensor element. The mass air flow sensor measures how much air is getting into your engine. When the airflow reading is incorrect, your minivan engine doesn’t get the proper amount of fuel. It runs rough and doesn’t perform as well as it should.

Eventually, the sensor is so damaged it needs to be replaced – which is pricy. In fact you could buy a case or two of air filters for the cost of a sensor replacement.

Of course, that dirty air keeps on going through to your minivan engine where it’s burned along with the fuel, which dirties up your combustion chamber and increases harmful exhaust emissions – not a good thing for Benton Harbor air quality, not to mention our lungs.

When your knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop service adviser brings out your dirty air filter and recommends a replacement, remember the cost and poor performance that can be waiting for you down the road if you neglect this simple Pro Muffler & Brake Shop service. Ask your adviser if it’s time to replace your engine air filter.

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc.  provides quality auto repair services for Southwest Michigan. Our specialties include winter preparation, tune up, 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, we install quality NAPA replacement parts. Give us a call at 269.926.2006. To learn more about NAPA AutoCare, visit www.NAPAAutoCare.com.

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
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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