Wheels

Older Vehicle?

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Simple Answers from Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc for Benton Harbor: High Mileage Vehicles

Question:
What do I need to do for my high mileage vehicle?

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc Answer:
Benton Harbor drivers ask this question at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc a lot more these days. The median age for vehicles on Michigan roads is now over 11 years. Regardless of your reason for keeping your vehicle around, the good news for Benton Harbor drivers is that it’s capable of going 150,000 to 200,000 miles (or 250,000 to 3500,000 kilometers) or more with proper care and professional automotive service at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc.

Here are some tips from Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc on how to make your car last:

  • First, Benton Harbor drivers should follow all of their regularly scheduled maintenance routines. Things like oil changes, transmission and cooling system service are for avoiding damage. This reduces your overall cost for keeping your vehicle for a long time.
  • Next, regular inspections are critical for Benton Harbor drivers. Look, those parts are starting to get old and will become worn out the more you drive. Thorough inspections of various systems will uncover things that are nearing the end of their service life, like suspension, brake and steering components. Replacing worn parts early not only prevents breakdowns but relieves stress on related components so they will last longer as well.
  • Another thing for Benton Harbor drivers to consider is the use of special high mileage fluid formulations. For example, high mileage engine oil has special additives that condition those old seals and gaskets. It also has extra detergents to help keep that older vehicle engine clean inside. High mileage oil, transmission fluid, etc., costs a little more but can really head off some of the problems that are typical of older vehicles around Michigan.
  • One last thing for Benton Harbor drivers would be to consult with your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc about the overall condition of your vehicle and your driving routines. It may be advisable to follow your vehicle’s severe service schedule.
  • Even with the occasional unexpected repair associated with an older vehicle, you can still enjoy good, reliable transportation if you take good care of your ride.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Wheel Alignment

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Simple Answers from Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc: Alignment

Question:
How do I know when I need a wheel alignment?

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc Answer:
When Benton Harbor drivers’ wheels are properly aligned they all point in the same direction. When they are out of alignment, most Michigan drivers notice a couple of things. First the vehicle pulls to one side when driving. It could be slight or pretty severe. If your wheels have been out of alignment for a while, you’ll also start to see uneven tire wear – the shoulder on either the outside or inside of the tire is worn down more than the other.

A whole bunch of steering and suspension components are joined together. Everyday Benton Harbor driving can cause Benton Harbor drivers’ wheels to go out of alignment over time just from the joints loosening up. That’s why most recommend an alignment check every couple of years. Depending on where you live in Michigan or the conditions you drive in (off-road driving, harsh Benton Harbor winter conditions, poor pavement, etc.), an alignment inspection every year at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc may be called for.

Suspension and steering components wear over time as well, which can lead to and alignment issues for Benton Harbor drivers. Of course, a big bump, like hitting a curb or pothole, can knock a wheel out of alignment or damage a steering or suspension part.

Your friendly and knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc service advisor will check your tires for uneven wear. The type of wear provides clues for what might be wrong. Undercar parts are inspected for wear and damage. The alignment machine will provide a reading of how each wheel is aligned. The reading is compared with the alignment settings recommended by the manufacturer, and then the technician makes the necessary adjustments and repairs to bring your wheels back into alignment.

Now putting off a wheel alignment in Benton Harbor can get dangerous because of tire wear: a bad alignment can chew through a tire pretty quickly. If you see uneven tire wear, if your steering wheel is off center or your vehicle pulls to one side, ask your friendly and knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc service advisor about getting an alignment check.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Ball Joints

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Ball Joints

Most drivers in Benton Harbor, Michigan know ball joints are an important part of the suspension system. Visualize a ball attached to a spindle with the ball enclosed in a cup. This allows the joint to move in several directions, kind of like how your hip works.

Most vehicles have two or four ball joints on the front, depending on the type of suspension system. The joint allows the wheels to move up and down as the tires go over bumps, as well as allowing the wheels to turn as you steer. The ball joints are continuously working and are subject to normal wear.

Most ball joints on modern vehicles are maintenance free, meaning they are sealed and cannot be lubricated. Once the lubricant breaks down or leaks out due to a broken seal, the ball joint will wear more quickly.

You may hear a clicking or popping sound from a corner of the vehicle when turning and/or going over bumps as a ball joint is failing. Your steering may begin to feel sloppy or stiff, depending on how the joint is wearing. You may even feel vibration in the steering wheel at highway speeds. Unusual tire wear is also a sign.

It’s important to replace worn ball joints before they fail. Once it fails, the joint may not be able to constrain the steering angle of a wheel, causing you to lose control.

Your owner’s manual calls for periodic suspension system inspections. The ball joints are an important component that will be inspected for safe function. At Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc, we can check to see if you are due for a suspension system inspection. And ask your Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc service advisor for an inspection if you are experiencing any of the signs of ball joint wear.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Item Most Stolen From Vehicles

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Item Most Stolen From Vehicles

What item is most often stolen from vehicles?

Is it:
(A) Stereo
(B) Wheels
(C) Air Bag
(D) DVD System

Well, if you said stereo – you used to be right. But airbags have now surpassed stereos as the biggest target for theft – approximately 50,000 a year nationally in the United States. New airbags cost about $1,000 for Benton Harbor but go for $50 to $200 on the black market. Stolen airbags are making their way back into vehicles that have been in an accident in Benton Harbor. Of course, the danger to the consumer of having a stolen airbag installed is that you can never be sure what may have previously affected them and if they will work right when you need them.

There are reports that 1 in 25 airbag replacements are stolen or salvaged airbags – or no airbag is installed at all.

That is definitely a part you don’t want to take a chance with, so we recommend following the following guidelines:

Use a reputable collision repair center like Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc in Benton Harbor that employs ASE certified mechanics.
Inspect the invoice to ensure that the Benton Harbor repair shop purchased the airbag from a Michigan manufacturer, dealer or recycler.
If you can inspect the airbag prior to installation, it should be packaged in a sealed container from the manufacturer or recycler.
You will see the SRS (Supplemental Restraint System) light when you first start your vehicle up. This tells you that the airbag system is activated. If you do not see the SRS light, there is a problem with the airbag system.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Fuel Tip: Alignment

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Imagine you’re up in the arctic on a dog sled. Your dog team is pulling straight and true. You can cover a lot of ground fast. Now imagine what would happen if one or two of the dogs wanted to go their own way and were pulling off to the side. That would slow you down. You would have to work harder to keep the sled going where you want it. The dogs are all working as hard as before, but you’re covering less ground for the same effort. You’re wasting kibble.

The same is true of your vehicle when the wheels are out of alignment. That wheel that’s pulling to the side is dragging down the rest of the car; so you push a little harder on the gas pedal to keep up your speed on Benton Harbor roads. You’re wasting gas.

Have your wheel alignment checked at least once a year. We can help you with that at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc in Benton Harbor. Get it checked right away if you feel the car pulling to one side. Sometimes we bump a curb or hit a pothole and knock our wheels out of alignment. An accident can take the wheels out of alignment as well.

So make sure you’re tracking straight in Benton Harbor. You’ll save at Benton Harbor pumps and your tires’ll last longer. Now, mush!

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

How’s your braking power?

Pro Muffler Anti-Lock Brakes

 

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc Tech Question:
What is the Power Brake Service?

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc Tech Answer:

Howdy, Benton Harbor. Let’s talk about your brakes. Basically, the power brake system helps you provide braking power so that you don’t have to do all the work with your brake pedal. The brakes themselves are applied at the wheel using hydraulic pressure. When we step on the brake pedal, we create pressure in the power booster that’s multiplied by vacuum from the engine. The resulting pressure pushes brake fluid through the master cylinder into tubes and hoses that run to the brake at each wheel.

When there’s a problem, it’s usually a fluid leak somewhere along the line. It could be at a fitting or a hose, or even an internal leak in the master cylinder. A leak gives the pressurized fluid somewhere to go other than to the brakes, so stopping power is hurt. Lose enough fluid and you can’t stop at all. Of course that’s extremely dangerous for us Benton Harbor and the others on the road.

If you notice any decrease in stopping power or if your pedal seems mushy, you could have a problem. There are some preventive maintenance items for the power brake system that will help them last longer. At Pro Muffler & Brake Shop in Benton Harbor, we provide comprehensive brake maintenance and repair service.

Obviously Benton Harbor want to make sure their brake fluid is filled to the recommended level. Low fluid in the master cylinder could indicate a leak or worn brake material. Master cylinder leaks are usually just because it’s worn out but, leaks in the brake lines and connectors can be minimized by replacing the brake fluid from time to time. Brake fluid has additives that protect against corrosion that can damage brake components.

Benton Harbor should take note that brake fluid also attracts moisture which can lead to rust – not a good thing for expensive anti-lock brake components. Also, significant amounts of water in the brake fluid can affect stopping power because the water has a much lower boiling point than brake fluid. In the high temperature environment of the brake system, the water can vaporize – and steam doesn’t do a very good job of providing hydraulic pressure.

A final word – make sure you use the recommended type of brake fluid. There are several kinds and using the wrong one can lead to total brake failure. Your friendly and knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop technician can help you.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Wheel Bearings

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Your wheel bearings may be something to which you’ve never given a thought while driving around Benton Harbor Michigan. Wheel bearings are what enable your wheels to spin freely. Since they bear the entire weight of the vehicle, they have to be tough. Wheel bearings can last well over 60,000 miles or 100,000 kilometers. They do wear out though and must eventually be replaced.

You might hear a groaning sound from your wheels. The sound might disappear at some speeds and reappear at others. Your Benton Harbor Michigan service technician at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc can quickly tell if your bearings are bad by raising the vehicle and wiggling the wheel. When you grasp the top and bottom of the tire, it shouldn’t move along the vertical axis.

Many vehicles these days have wheel bearing assemblies that cannot be serviced at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc. When the bearings go bad, we simply replace the entire wheel bearing assembly.

For those vehicles with wheel bearings that can be accessed, we can do some preventive maintenance. You may have heard the phrase ‘pack the bearings‘. With this procedure we remove the bearings, carefully clean them and inspect for any imperfection or wear. If the bearings can be reused, we reinstall them and pack them with grease. If not, we put in new bearings. Check your owner’s manual or ask your Benton Harbor Michigan service advisor at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc if your bearings can be serviced, and if so, when should it be done.

Now, taking care of bad bearings is extremely important. When bearings go bad, they generate tremendous amounts of heat – enough to lock up the wheel. That’s not a good thing at any speed. In some cases the wheel can even fall off. Either of these could cause a serious accident. So have your wheel bearings inspected if you suspect a problem and replace them right away if there is one.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Alignment

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It’s no surprise that your vehicle will drive better in the Coloma area if all the wheels are pointed in the same direction. That’s called wheel alignment. If your wheels are out of alignment you may notice that your vehicle pulls to one side or the other.Something that you won’t notice right away, but you will if you keep driving around Coloma when you’re out of alignment, is that your tires are wearing unevenly and fairly quickly. That’s because when the vehicle is pulling to one side, you have to steer it back straight. The outside of the tire just wears out fast because you’re constantly turning, which can be very exhausting on a long road trip  – fighting to keep the vehicle going straight down the road.

Some of the things that commonly throw a wheel out of alignment are slamming into a pothole in Coloma, smacking a curb in Stevensville or something like a rock in the road. And it doesn’t have to be a big shock, it can just be the regular bumps and bangs of daily driving that add up and eventually take your vehicle out of alignment. That’s why your owner’s manual or Benton Harbor service adviser at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc may suggest having your alignment checked periodically.

With an alignment service at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc, we measure each wheel’s alignment and to see where they are relative to factory specifications. While we have the vehicle on the alignment rack, we inspect the tires for wear as well as the suspension and steering components for damage or wear – things that can contribute to alignment problems. With some vehicles you can adjust all four wheels so we bring all wheels into alignment. On those vehicles where you can only adjust the front wheels, we bring the front into alignment relative to the rear.

Cost varies by whether or not it’s two or four wheel adjustable. Four-wheel drive vehicles may have an additional charge because they’re more difficult to align. At any rate, it’s cheaper than having to replace tires every few months.

If it’s been a while since you’ve had your wheels aligned, bring your vehicle to Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc in Benton Harbor for an alignment check.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Tire Rotation and Balancing

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Drivers can make their vehicle tires last longer with regular tire rotation and wheel balancing.

Let’s start with tire rotation. In normal driving around, your front tires wear more on the shoulders because they handle much of the cornering forces in turns. Front-wheel drive vehicles have even more force on the front tires.

At Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc in , we rotate the tires so that all of the tires do some duty on the front end as well as getting a little break on the back end. That way, all four tires wear more evenly over their life and last longer for car owners.

For most vehicles, tires are rotated front to back. Some recommend a cross rotational pattern that includes the spare tire, and some high-performance vehicles have different size tires on the front and rear and may even have uni-directional tires that can only be on the left or the right side of the vehicle. Your friendly and knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc can help you sort that out and will perform the right tire rotation for your vehicle.

Your tire manufacturer will have a recommendation for how often you should rotate your tires.

Let’s move on to wheel balancing. That’s when there are heavy spots on the tire and wheel that cause it to wobble.

Balancing adds weights to the wheel to balance it out. Now, we are talking about very small weight differences. Variations in the tire and wheel manufacture can cause a slight imbalance. The valve stem, and now the tire pressure monitoring sensors in the tire, also play into the equation.

Even small differences can cause annoying vibrations at speed for drivers: the wheel is essentially bouncing a bit as it goes down the road. For example, at speeds, an out of balance wheel can be slamming into the road 14 times a second. That’s annoying and can cause tires to wear out more quickly for drivers.

If a front wheel’s out of balance you’ll feel the vibration through the steering wheel. When it’s a rear tire, you’ll feel the vibration through your seat. If you’re getting bad vibes from your vehicle, bring it in to Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc in to see if it’s a balance issue or something else. drivers should balance the wheels whenever they get a new tire or remount a tire like when it’s been removed for a flat repair.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Wheel Alignment

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Simple Answers from Pro Muffler & Brake Shop: Wheel Alignment:
How do I know when I need a wheel alignment?

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Answer:
When Benton Harbor car owners’ wheels are properly aligned they all point in the same direction. When they are out of alignment, most Michigan car owners notice a couple of things. First the auto pulls to one side when driving. It could be slight or pretty severe. If your wheels have been out of alignment for a while, you’ll also start to see uneven tire wear – the shoulder on either the outside or inside of the tire is worn down more than the other.

A whole bunch of steering and suspension components are joined together. Everyday Benton Harbor driving can cause Benton Harbor car owners’ wheels to go out of alignment over time just from the joints loosening up. That’s why most manufacturers recommend an alignment check every couple of years. Depending on where you live in Michigan or the conditions you drive in (off-road driving, harsh Benton Harbor winter conditions, poor pavement, etc.) – an alignment inspection every year at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop may be called for.

Suspension and steering components wear over time as well which can lead to dangerous and expensive alignment issues for Benton Harbor auto owners. Of course, a big bump like hitting a curb or pothole can knock a wheel out of alignment or damage a an important steering or suspension part.

Your friendly & knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop technician will survey your tires for uneven wear. The type of wear provides clues for what might be wrong. Undercar parts are inspected for wear and damage. The alignment machine will provide a reading of how each wheel is aligned. The reading is compared with the alignment settings recommended by the vehicle manufacturer, and then the service professional makes the necessary adjustments and repairs to bring your wheels back into alignment.

Now putting off a wheel alignment in Benton Harbor can get pricey for Benton Harbor drivers because of tire wear: a bad alignment can chew through a tire pretty quickly. If you see uneven tire wear, if your steering wheel is off center, or your auto pulls to one side ask your friendly & knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop service professional about getting an alignment check.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

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
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

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