Southwest Michigan

Certified Technicians

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Certified Technicians

Today’s vehicles in Michigan are rolling computer networks with multiple processors, sensors and miles/kilometers of wiring. The mechanical elements — from the suspension to the engine valve train — are extremely sophisticated. Diagnosis and repair is more exacting that ever before. Even a simple tire rotation may involve resetting the tire pressure monitoring system.

Our technicians at Pro Muffler & Brake train hard to stay current on automotive technology, repair best practices and diagnostic techniques. Many have earned multiple certifications in various specialty areas. They obtain training from parts manufacturers, suppliers, independent trainers and recognized certification programs.

In our view, this is all a part of what it takes to be a sustainable business. You expect service and repairs to be done right the first time. We have to deliver that in order to continue to earn your trust and business. And of course, we stand behind our work and the parts we install. Let Pro Muffler & Brake be a part of your family’s car care.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Viva la Differential

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Viva la Differential

With front-wheel drive being so common these days, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service at Pro Muffler & Brake, so most Benton Harbor drivers don’t even have to think about it. And most rear-wheel drive differentials don’t need to be serviced for many miles or kilometers, so it’s understandable that it’s not something on the minds of Benton Harbor drivers. So it’s not uncommon for people in Benton Harbor to not know they have a differential, let alone know that it needs service.

To better understand what a differential does, think about a high school track. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lanes. That’s to compensate for the longer length of the outside lanes. Staggering the starting lines means that each runner has the same distance to run.

The differential compensates for the difference in speeds on drive wheels between the inside wheel and the outside wheel in a turn because they have to travel together through slightly different distances.

Differentials do a lot of work and require very heavy duty parts. And those parts need protection. The differential fluid lubricates the gears in the differential and keeps them cool. The fluid eventually gets dirty and worn down. Some kinds of differentials require special additives that break down over time. So manufacturers recommend intervals for replacing your differential fluid.

Your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc will drain the used fluid and check it out for metal bits, which could be a sign of excessive wear on the gears. He’ll then replace the fluid and install the additives if necessary.

Benton Harbor driver’s four-wheel-drive vehicles need special attention to their differentials because they have a differential on both the front and rear axles that work at different times and sometimes under heavy loads; they may need to be serviced at different intervals.

Your friendly and knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake service advisor can look up the manufacturer’s recommended service interval or you can check your owner’s manual. And of course, we stand behind our work and the parts we install. Let Pro Muffler & Brake be a part of your family’s car care.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Diagnostic Service

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Certified Technicians

Imagine waking up one morning with a stomach ache. You pick up the phone, call the doctor’s office and say, “I’ve got a really bad tummy ache. How much will it cost to make me feel better?” Of course you wouldn’t do that. You know that there could be a lot of reasons for your symptoms and that the doctor will have to examine you, ask some questions and probably run some tests before she can tell you what’s wrong and give you treatment options.

This same scenario plays every day at auto repair facilities in Michigan. When the cause of the concern isn’t obvious, the vehicle will need to undergo a diagnostic process. The typical vehicle has about 30,000 parts, including several networked computers and miles/kilometers of wiring. Finding exactly what is wrong can be very complicated and take some time. The most experienced technicians at Pro Muffler & Brake are the ones who tackle the difficult diagnostic jobs. Once they have determined the cause of the problem, they can work out the plan for how to fix it and tell you how much it will cost.

When you look at it this way, it makes perfect sense that, 1) the Pro Muffler & Brake service advisor cannot provide an estimate before the diagnosis is done, and 2) there is a charge for this diagnostic services. You expect to pay for an office visit to the doctor and for any needed tests before you can be presented with your treatment options and costs; the same goes for your vehicle. Though we will work with you to keep the cost as low as possible and will NEVER recommend any work that does not need to be done on your vehicle.

We know it can be frustrating when something is wrong with your car and you aren’t sure what is going to be involved in getting it fixed. We’ll do everything we can to help you through the process, communicating with you at each step along the way. At Pro Muffler & Brake in Benton Harbor, we have highly trained diagnostic technicians and state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment to uncover the cause of your problems. We use quality NAPA parts to help make sure you stay on the road after the repair is done. That’s our prescription for automotive peace of mind.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Tech Question On Tire Wear

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Tech Question:
My name is David. My auto tires wore out early and I had to replace them. What can I do to make my tires last longer?

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Answer:
David’s problem – premature tire wear – is very common for Benton Harbor auto owners. Here are several ways to lengthen the life of your tires:

First, tires lose air pressure over time, so check them at least once a month and fill them up as necessary. A sticker on the driver’s side door jamb has the recommended pressure.

Tire rotation is also critical for Michigan drivers. Your front tires take the brunt of stopping and steering forces so they wear faster than the rear tires. They should be rotated regularly so that all four tires wear more evenly. Talk to us at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop in Benton Harbor.

Out of balance wheels can also cause a tire to wear too fast. Benton Harbor auto owners who feel a vibration in their seat or steering wheel may have a wheel out of balance.

Finally, bad wheel alignment and worn or damaged suspension can chew through a tire very quickly. Ask your friendly & knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop service professional to have your tires inspected for signs of premature wear. Your service specialist will be able to pinpoint the cause and get it taken care of.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Courtesy Inspection for Your Car or Truck

Most area auto owners, from St. Joe’s to Fair Plain to Benton Harbor come to us with specific services in mind and an idea of how much they’ll be spending. Sometimes, a courtesy car inspection and a review of your service history will uncover additional items that require attention. How should you react to that? Car Inspection at Pro Muffler

We aren’t saying “Do you want fries with that?” or “Supersize for 59 cents more.” We aren’t recommending something extra or something you don’t need. Recommendations are either based on the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule or on a problem uncovered during an automotive analysis. Continue reading

Replacing Your Car Battery

CReplacing Your Car Batteryar batteries wear out just like any other battery and need to be replaced. There are a couple of things car and truck owners should know when looking for a new car battery: one is cold cranking amps and the other is reserve capacity.

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

Tips to Maintaning Your Battery Electrical Power

In today’s Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc auto care blog, we are focusing on battery maintenance. Eventually your car battery will fail and you will need to replace it. In fact, 70% don’t even make it four years. There are some things Southwestern Michigan auto owners can do, however, to make their battery last a little longer.
Car Battery Electrical Power
It’s all about the flow of electrical power. When you start your minivan, the battery uses power to get your engine cranking. As your engine runs, your alternator generates electricity to run all your electrical systems: like lights, a half dozen computers, anti-lock brake system, traction control, power windows, electronic fuel injectors, stability control, air conditioning, transmission servos – the list goes on. Any leftover electricity goes to recharge your minivan battery. Then you turn on your radio and seat heaters; maybe plug in your cell phone and computer; the kids watch a DVD and pretty soon there isn’t much extra electricity to go back into the battery.

Now, if you were on a long MI road trip, no sweat – you’d have plenty of time to fully recharge your battery; but not if you’re making stops around Benton Harbor. Every time you start your minivan engine, your battery takes that big hit again. Multiple starts – multiple hits. By the time you get home, you have less than a full charge.

When the battery is continuously in a discharged state, it loses its ability to fully recharge. This starts a downward spiral in your battery life. Now when your battery is on its way to getting this bad, your alternator is working overtime trying to keep it charged – which causes the alternator to wear out prematurely. A lot of experienced technicians suggest replacing your battery after five years, even though it hasn’t yet failed, as a maintenance item to extend alternator life.

Now, there is something you can do to help your battery last longer by hooking up a battery charger once a month in the summer and every three months in winter. This will ensure your car, truck, SUV or minivan battery routinely has a full charge. You can do this less often in the winter because the electrochemical process slows down when it’s colder and less damage is done when your battery is low. Computerized battery chargers are real easy to use because they monitor and control the charging rate to keep the battery from overheating while it’s charging.

We recommend that you ask your knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc advisor to test your battery so you know how much life is left. If it’s good but needs maintenance service, he’ll have it cleaned up and make sure the connections and cables are good. If it’s looking like you ought to replace it, he’ll help you with a battery that’s right for your minivan and driving needs.

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 Inc in Benton Harbor MI (49022) we install quality NAPA replacement parts.

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.

Why Is My Check Engine Light On?

The Check Engine Light strikes fear into the hearts of many in Southwestern Michigan and is totally ignored by just as many.
Let’s get the urgency issues out of the way first. If your minivan’s check engine light is flashing, that means that something is wrong that could cause severe engine damage. Naturally, drivers should get that taken care of right away at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc.

If your check engine light is flashing, you shouldn’t drive at Benton Harbor highway speeds, tow or haul heavy loads.

If the light is glowing steadily, Benton Harbor auto owners should keep an eye on it for a day or two. If the light doesn’t go off, schedule an appointment with Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc to get it checked out.

An explanation on how the Check Engine Light works may be informative. Most of your minivan engine functions are controlled by a computer, not surprisingly, called an engine control computer. The computer is able to adjust many engine parameters for environmental conditions, engine condition and even the way you drive.

In order to make these adjustments, the computer relies on a network of sensors to provide data. The computer knows the proper operating range for each sensor. When a sensor reading is out of range the computer runs some tests and may turn on the Check Engine Light.

A simple example is a loose or missing gas cap. This may cause one of the sensors to read out of range. The minivan’s computer doesn’t know if it’s a serious condition that caused the reading or just a loose gas cap, so it stores a trouble code and turns on the Check Engine Light.

Now when you tighten up the gas cap the sensor readings will be in the correct range. The computer will keep checking on the report for a day or two. Since a bad reading didn’t come up again, it turns off the Check Engine Light. The computer will also try to make adjustments to compensate for some readings. If it can do so, it’ll then turn off the Check Engine Light. If the problem can’t be resolved then the light will remain on and you should get your minivan looked at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc.

Your Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc technician will plug a scanner into the on-board diagnostic port and read the trouble code stored in the computer. The trouble code will give the Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc technician a starting place as he diagnoses the cause of the problem.

At Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc in Benton Harbor MI (49022) we install quality NAPA replacement parts. Give us a call at 269.926.2006.

Serpentine Belt Replacement At Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc

Today’s Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc article focuses on your serpentine belt. Your serpentine belt is a long belt that’s driven by your engine. It winds around several accessories that power important automotive systems. Let’s go over them.

First, the serpentine belt drives your air conditioning system. Next, the belt powers the alternator.

The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering and power brakes. Serpentine Belt Replacement At Pro Muffler & Brake Shop IncIn some minivans, power steering may have an electric drive and power brakes can be vacuum driven.

And, on many vehicles, the serpentine belt powers the water pump (on some cars, the water pump is powered by the timing belt).

Your Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc service technician can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon and will measure the amount of belt material to make sure there is enough.

Drivers should be aware that there’s a special, spring loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley and sometimes an extra pulley call the idler pulley. Their job is to make sure there’s a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn’t slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. That’s why it’s often recommended that the tensioner, and the idler pulley if so equipped, be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.

All in all, the serpentine belt’s an important part for the function of your minivan. And it’s not that expensive to replace at Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc – so it’s good to do so before it fails.

At Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Inc we install quality NAPA replacement parts. Give us a call at 269.926.2006.

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
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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