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Auto Repair Cost

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At Benton Harbor full-service automotive service center, profit margins are a lot narrower than many people imagine. Cars are far more complex, thus the tools and diagnostic equipment are also more complicated and . Diagnosing why your Check Engine light is on may require a machine that costs $18k. Ask a senior technician how much he/she has invested in tools, initial education and ongoing training.

For example, a carburetor used to be a pretty simple part to maintain and repair. Nowadays, an electronic fuel system repair in Benton Harbor requires a technician to have a higher level of knowledge and expensive diagnostic equipment to read and interpret the numerous trouble codes. And it doesn’t end there. Shops must pay subscription fees for database services to locate and order the right parts. Buying or leasing shop space has risen along with other commercial real estate prices in Benton Harbor.

All the technology that makes today’s cars safer, more reliable, more fuel-efficient, more comfortable, more environmentally-friendly and full of more nifty gadgets comes at a price for Benton Harbor drivers. And complying with government regulations tacks on additional costs.

Hopefully, today’s post sheds some light on the factors that affect your auto repair bill. The team at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc believes that quality service performed by veteran technicians saves money in the long run and protects your automotive investment.

Give us a call

<strong> Pro Muffler &amp; Brake Shop
2094 South M-139
Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022
269.926.2006</strong>

<strong>http://promufflerandbrake.com/</strong>

Driving Tip: Slow Down

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There’s not much Benton Harbor residents can do about the price of gas in Michigan, but we can control – up to a point – how much we use. Our driving habits can dramatically affect our fuel economy.

The first thing we can do is watch the go-pedal. Hard acceleration just sucks the gas. Gently leave stop lights and plan lane changes so you don’t need to floor it. That can save you hundreds of dollars a year in improved fuel economy.

Go a little slower on Michigan roads. Benton Harbor residents who go more than 60 mph/100 kph will see their drop dramatically. Leave early so you don’t need to rush to be on time. And cruise control is your friend – steady speeds use less gas.

Plan errands ahead. Make fewer trips by combining errands around Benton Harbor.

Hey, at current Benton Harbor gas prices, a lead-foot might as well be a gold foot.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

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/

Time to Take Another Look at Diesels?

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If you haven’t looked into diesel engines lately, you may be interested in today’s post. Why should you care about modern diesel engines? Fuel efficiency, for starters. Because diesel fuel has a higher compression rate than gasoline, it generates more power per barrel. This is especially advantageous for drivers who pull heavy loads with powerful trucks that are always thirsty.

There are still many misconceptions about diesel powered vehicles. Let’s debunk some of the myths.

1. Diesel Burns Dirty
This was true years ago. Since 2006, however, U.S. diesel vehicles have been required by law to use ultra-low-sulfur diesel or USLD. Modern diesels are soot-free and have a smaller carbon footprint.

2. Diesels Are Sluggish
Not any more. They are as fast off the line as similar gasoline-powered cars. If your idea of fun is to spend an afternoon test-driving new cars, go take a spin in a diesel BMW or Porsche.

3. Diesels Are Loud
Back in the day, you could hear a diesel motor from a mile away. Today’s diesels run quiet.

4. Diesels Have a Bad Resale Value
Actually, diesel vehicles have a lower depreciation rate.

Diesel engines require parts that are heavier and stronger. At Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc, we occasionally service diesel cars and trucks with over 300,000 miles/500,000 kilometers. The heavy-duty parts make diesel vehicles a little more expensive new, but due to the extra burliness, diesel engines last a lot longer. This is one of the reasons Cummins diesels inspire such a loyal following.

Another often-overlooked benefit is lower risk of fire. Diesel fuel is less flammable and won’t explode like gasoline.

What about the drawbacks? Cold weather starting is one. Diesel engines can be hard to fire up when the temperature drops. However, an engine block heater can solve this problem. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc for more .

If you are in the market for a new vehicle that’s easy on fuel, you might want to explore your diesel options. You may even qualify for a tax credit if you buy a clean diesel vehicle. Of course, diesels require regular maintenance like any other vehicle and the services are usually a little more costly due to the nature of the engines. But the extra cost is offset by the better fuel economy and longer engine life.

Bottom line? Today’s diesel is not your grandfather’s diesel.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Anti-lock Brakes

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We rely on our brakes to safely slow and stop our vehicles. You’ve probably had the experience where you’ve slammed on your brakes and started to skid. When your wheels are locked up, you are just sliding all over the road. And if the road is wet or slick or covered with gravel – you really get out of control. Steering is next to impossible. That is why anti-lock brake systems (ABS) were invented: to help you maintain control in extreme stopping conditions.

As mentioned, control is lost when your wheels lock up. ABS keep your brakes from locking – helping you stop while maintaining your ability to steer. Sensors on each wheel equipped with ABS, monitor wheel spin and compare it with vehicle speed sensors. When you are pressing on the brakes, still traveling forward, but your wheels are not turning, the ABS system steps in and modulates the brakes.

They ABS quickly “pumps” the brakes, not allowing the wheels to lock-up while still applying braking pressure. This is all done automatically without any intervention on your part. You will feel a pulsation through the brake pedal and will hear a clunking as the brakes are rapidly being applied and let off repeatedly. The first time this happens to you, you may be surprised and think something is wrong. Well, it isn’t – so just keep your foot on the brake and allow the ABS to do its thing. In fact, remember the 3 S’s of anti-lock brakes: Stomp, Stay, & Steer. Stomp on the brakes, keep the pedal down, and steer as needed.

When you first start your vehicle, the ABS does a quick self-check to make sure everything is OK. The ABS warning light will briefly illuminate with all the other warning lights on your dashboard and then go out. If the system detects a fault, the ABS light will come on and stay on. Take your vehicle in for a check if the ABS warning light is on.

Proper brake system service is the best way to protect your ABS. Replacing brake fluid that is depleted and/or contaminated will help preserve proper ABS operation and protect it against corrosion. Ask your service advisor if it’s time for a braking 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/

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/

OEM or Aftermarket

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It happens – a part on your vehicle breaks or just wears out. The replacement part is very important. You want it to last and perform like new. That’s why your NAPA AutoCare Center uses quality NAPA replacement parts. The parts we install on your vehicle will meet or exceed the specifications of the original parts.

Let’s break that down. “Meets” means that the new parts will perform the same as the parts they’re replacing. “Or exceeds” means that sometimes, the replacement parts improve on the original part.

A replacement part choice may be tailored to your preferences. Let’s take brake pads for example. Perhaps you value quiet brakes. Someone else prefers high-performance stopping power, or minimal brake dust accumulating on their wheels. Your service advisor can help you select brake pads that best meet your needs.

There are hundreds of thousands of auto parts needed to service all the vehicles on the road – including yours. Your NAPA AutoCare Center will install the right parts for your vehicle. They also provide a nationwide parts and labor warranty – ask your service advisor for details.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Forced Induction

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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 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/

Steering

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Steering is one of the things we take for granted in our vehicles.  Let’s break it down into two areas: first, the power assist and second the actual parts that steer the vehicle.

Most people under 40 have never driven a car or truck without power steering.  Most vehicles today have a hydraulic power steering pump that provides boost to help you steer.  The pump is usually driven by the serpentine belt, but some newer vehicles have an electric pump.  Some vehicles even have an electric motor that directly powers the steering.

The important thing to keep in mind is that these pumps and motors will eventually wear out and the hoses will start to leak.  You can postpone that day by having a power steering service from time to time.  We will drain the old fluid and replace it with fresh fluid.  This removes water and contaminants that can corrode power steering parts.  Ask your service advisor for the recommended change interval.

What about the mechanical steering parts?  Is there anything you can do to maintain them?  Yes.  If any of the steering parts can be lubed, your technician will take care of that with a lube, oil and filter service.  Other than that, just watch for signs that parts are wearing out.  Things like loose steering and uneven tire wear.

Worn parts can be replaced to get you back on the road.  Now, sometimes parts can be bent or damaged from hitting potholes, curbs or rocks.  It’s important to take care of these problems early on.  If you neglect them, the damaged parts stress other attached components which starts a chain reaction of damage.

Steering maintenance is pretty straight forward: Replace power steering fluid as recommended and fix worn or damaged parts right away.  That’ll save you money in the long run.

Hey – we wouldn’t steer you wrong.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Disc Brakes

disc-brakes

 

Disc Brakes 

Question:
What are the signs that I need a brake job?

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc Answer:
Signs of brake problems often fall into one of two categories for Benton Harbor vehicles: making noise or a pulsation in the brake pedal. Let’s start with the noise.

Most brake pads have an audible brake wear indicator. This is a small piece of metal that rubs on your brake rotor when the brake pads are worn to the point they should be replaced. The noise is a chirp or soft squeal. This noise gives Benton Harbor drivers enough warning to get their brakes serviced while there is still enough brake pad left to enable you to stop safely.

Benton Harbor drivers who ignore the chirp find that the sound changes to a grinding noise. That is more serious. It means that the friction material on your brake pad is worn away and metal parts of the brake are grinding against the rotor when you press on the brakes. Obviously, this metal-on-metal means that your brakes aren’t stopping very well. It also means that your rotor is being damaged. It may need to be resurfaced or even replaced.

Pedal pulsation is another noticeable sound. When your rotor is not in perfect alignment, it pushes against the brake pads unevenly as you apply the brakes. There could be a number of reasons for this. The rotor and wheel hub may not be mating well, causing the rotor to be spinning out of vertical alignment. This misalignment can be caused by either the rotor or the hub, or a combination of the two. If this persists, the rotor may even start to wear unevenly to the point that its thickness varies, causing an even more noticeable pulsation. This uneven mating of the brake pad and the rotor when braking means less contact and it will reduce braking power.

Your service center or the team at Pro Muffler & Brake  in Benton Harbor can determine the cause of the misalignment and remedy the problem.

Either unusual brake noise or pedal pulsation are signs for Benton Harbor residents that there are brake problems. Benton Harbor motorists should have a tech at Pro Muffler & Brake check their brakes thoroughly and recommend any steps necessary to correct the problem.

A regular brake inspection is on every vehicle’s recommended list. Ask your friendly and knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake service advisor if it’s time for brake inspection.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.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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