Uncategorized

OEM or Aftermarket

steering

 

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

steering

 

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

steering

 

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/

Heater Core

save-gas-benton-harbor

 

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/

Packing Bearings

save-gas-benton-harbor

 

I remember my dad having the shop “pack the bearings” on the family car. Is this something I need to have done?

That’s a really good question. At one time, all wheel bearings were “serviceable” and needed to be taken care of from time to time. It’s a little trickier these days.

First off, the wheel bearings in your vehicle make sure your wheels rotate smoothly. As you can imagine, with all those revolutions per minute your wheels can generate a lot of heat. The bearings keep that heat down as much as possible. They’re packed in grease for lubrication. The term “packing the bearings” refers to putting fresh grease around the bearings.

On many modern vehicles, the wheel bearing assembly is sealed. These wheel bearings are not serviceable so there is no maintenance that can be performed on them. When the bearings wear, the entire assembly is replaced. Your friendly and knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc technician can perform a check of your bearings to make sure they are still functioning safely, and he can also tell you if your bearings need service. If you hear strange noises from your wheels – which may come and go at different speeds – it’s time to have your friendly and knowledgeable technician inspect them.

Wheel bearings on trailers are almost always serviceable. This means anything from a monster sized fifth-wheel camper to a little utility trailer. Boat trailers are especially susceptible because the hot wheel bearings are plunged into cold water when launching a boat into the lake. This temperature difference can draw water into the bearings. Have the bearings repacked at the end of the season to prevent corrosion.

It would be a good idea for Benton Harbor trailer owners to have maintenance service on their trailer wheels every year or so – it’s kind of hard to hear when they are groaning.

Now, when wheel bearings fail, the wheel can seize up and even break off. Of course no Benton Harbor driver wants that to happen, so follow a regular inspection schedule – your friendly and knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc service advisor can help.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Water Pump

water-pump-repair-benton-harbor

The cooling system in an engine has five components: the radiator, the radiator cap, the hoses, the thermostat and the water pump. The water pump is literally the heart of the system. Just as your own heart keeps your blood circulating through your body, the water pump keeps coolant circulating through your engine.

The water pump is driven by a belt, chain or gear and only operates while the engine is running. It has a limited life span and sooner or later will have to be replaced. You can check your owner’s manual to find out how long your water pump should last. Some can fail at only 40,000 miles, or 65,000 kilometers, but almost all of them fail by 100,000 miles, or 160,000 kilometers.

Water pumps don’t gradually wear out; they fail. In other words, they’re either working or they’re not. A failed water pump has to be replaced.

Water pumps can fail in two ways: they can spring a leak or their bearings fail. Leaks can come from a cracked pump but usually develop at the gasket where the pump attaches to the engine.

If you hear a low-pitched grinding sound coming from the water pump, it’s time for a new one. If you see coolant leaking in the area near the pump, it needs to be replaced. Also, coolant on the driveway could indicate water pump failure. Many water pumps aren’t visible because they’re under a plastic cover, so you may have to take your vehicle to Pro Muffler & Brake Shop  to know if the water pump has failed.

If your water pump is run by the timing belt, then it should be replaced when you replace the belt. Most timing belts need to be replaced at around 60,000 to 90,000 miles, or 100,000 to 145,000 kilometers. The labor for replacing a timing belt is about 90% the same for replacing a water pump, so it’s cost-effective to take care of them both at the same time.

Also, if your water pump develops a leak (if it’s powered by the timing belt), you have to replace the timing belt as well since contamination by coolant fluid damages the belt. It just makes sense for Benton Harbor residents to replace both of these parts whenever either one needs it.

Replacing a water pump at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop is a vehicle care issue that almost all of us Benton Harbor residents face eventually. They don’t last forever. On the other hand, we can extend the life of most of the components of our vehicle through preventive maintenance. Just as exercise and diet keep our heart healthy, regular check-ups and fluid changes will keep our vehicles healthy. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop service advisor.

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

new-tires-vs-old-tires

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/

Drum Brakes

new-tires-vs-old-tires

Drum Brakes

Brakes that work properly are essential to your safety as you drive and stop on our Benton Harbor streets. You want to carefully maintain your brakes. In vehicles equipped with drum brakes, the brake components are housed inside a drum that rotates with the wheel. When you step on the brake pedal, brake shoes push out against the inside of the drum, slowing the wheel.

Now brake shoes just wear away with use from rubbing on the drum as you brake. When it’s time to replace brake shoes, it’s a straight-forward repair.

If you hear squealing or grinding when braking, have your Pro Muffler & Brake service advisor check them out. He’ll have a technician perform a thorough brake inspection to see what needs to be done. He’ll check for signs of brake problems and go over other brake components to see that they’re working properly.

He can tell you if it’s time to replace the brake shoes or if there are other issues with your brakes that should be addressed. Some people in our Benton Harbor community ignore the warning signs and keep driving long after the shoes are completely worn out. When that happens, metal brake components will grind against the drum, damaging it enough that it has to be resurfaced or replaced.

When you push on your brake pedal, the wheel cylinder is activated and it pushes the shoes against the drum to slow the vehicle. This cylinder and various springs within the brake can wear out, affecting your ability to stop. The worn components can be easily replaced.

The new brake shoes we put on your vehicle will restore your brakes to the manufacturer’s specifications. Or we can install upgraded parts to increase your stopping power and reduce brake noise and brake dust. We have several options to meet your braking requirements and your budget.

Taking care of your brakes keeps them working safely, and you could prevent premature brake repairs down the road.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Cabin Air Filter

new-tires-vs-old-tires

Dirty Cabin Air Filter?

Let’s talk about cabin air filters. There seems to be some confusion about them in Benton Harbor that we should be able to clear up. Much of the confusion starts because cabin air filters are relatively new. Not all vehicles on the road have them, so some people confuse their cabin air filter with the engine air filter.

Every vehicle in Michigan has an engine air filter that cleans the air going into the engine, but not all have a cabin air filter that cleans the air going into the passenger compartment. Easy to get mixed up.

The cabin air filter cleans out dust, pollen, spores and other pollutants. To give a point of comparison, a grain of sand is about 200 microns across. A cabin air filter can stop particles that are just 3 microns in size. It really does make the passenger cabin a much more pleasant environment.

When the cabin air filter gets dirty, you just need to replace it. Your owner’s manual may have a recommended interval for changing it. If not we can inspect it. You know, it’s ironic that many people who don’t realize they even have a cabin air filter first find out they do when it starts to get smelly.

Some cabin air filters are very easy to access when it’s time to replace them. Others, not so much. We may have to get behind the dashboard and it takes some time.

A clean cabin air filter keeps out smog, allergens and other harmful pollutants. If it’s time, get it changed right away.

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

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