Wheel Alignment

wheel-alignment-promuffler-brake-benton-harbor

 

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/

Severe Service

severe-service-promuffler-brake-benton-harbor

 

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/

Engine Air Filter

engine-air-filter-promuffler-brake-benton-harbor

 

Simple Answers from Pro Muffler & Brake Shop: Engine Air Filter:
What’s the harm in putting off replacing my engine air filter a little longer? My car failed its emissions test – what do I need to do?

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Answer:
That’s a fair question from Benton Harbor auto owners because the harm takes a while to manifest. Let’s take a small step back and talk about what an engine air filter does.

The air all around us contains dust, dirt, pollen, spores, etc. Some areas and times of the year have more contaminants in the air. The job of the air filter is to keep that stuff out of your engine. The benefit to Benton Harbor motorists is obvious.

Now your engine uses a lot of air – like 12,000 gallons of air for every gallon of fuel – so the engine air filter hasa vital job to do. When the filter gets full and can’t hold any more dirt, all that air still has to get to the engine so dirt gets forced through the filter and heads on downstream.

The air flows passed the mass air flow (MAF) sensor on its way to the engine. The MAF sensor tells the engine control computer how much air is coming so the computer can send the proper amount of fuel into the engine to maintain the correct air-to-fuel ratio.

When dirty air is flowing passed the filter, harmful dirt starts to build up on the delicate MAF sensor elements causing incorrect air flow readings. The computer then sends the wrong amount of fuel to the engine. This can rob power from the engine. But the harm comes from unburned fuel passing out through the exhaust system and getting caught in the catalytic converter leading to expensive damage.

A primary cause of catalytic converter failure is improper engine management, often triggered by a dirty MAF sensor which was contaminated because the engine air filter had not been replaced as recommended. Now Benton Harbor car owners can buy several cases of engine air filters for what it would cost to replace a catalytic converter. So when it’s time to replace your engine filter keep in mind the potential long term effects of putting it off. Talk to your friendly & knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop service professional.

Give us a call

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

http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Exhaust Service – Failed Emissions Test

failed-emissions-test-promuffler-brake-benton-harbor

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Tech Question:
My car failed its emissions test – what do I need to do?

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Answer:
Let’s get this out of the way: a leak in your exhaust system could be deadly. If Benton Harbor motorists smell exhaust in the passenger cabin or hear an unusual exhaust sound, they should get their exhaust system checked and repaired. Talk to your friendly & knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop service advisor This is vital: Carbon monoxide in your exhaust is odorless, colorless and tasteless can be fatal to you and your passengers so don’t delay if you suspect and exhaust leak.

There could be a number of reasons for a failed Michigan emissions test so some vital diagnostic work is in order. A common reason for Benton Harbor auto owners is that the catalytic converter has failed. The catalytic converter removes some of the harmful elements in exhaust.

When a catalytic converter fails it must be replaced, which isn’t cheap for Benton Harbor auto owners. Many Benton Harbor folks stop there – but the converter failed for a reason. There may be any number of engine run conditions that led to the failure. It would certainly be smart to have your friendly & knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop technician diagnose the cause so that you don’t end up with another pricey catalytic converter replacement down the road.

Oh, and that Check Engine Light that so many Benton Harbor motorists ignore: It might just be illuminated for a an important condition that could lead to catalytic converter damage. Have your Pro Muffler & Brake Shop technician get to the bottom of any check engine light situation.

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/

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/

What is power brake service?

step-on-brake

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Question:
What is power brake service and why do Benton Harbor auto owners need to have it done?

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Answer:
Imagine: you pour a tablespoon of water in your hand and throw it as hard as you can. Now, suppose you suck up a tablespoon of water into a syringe, push the plunger and squirt it out. Which would go further?

Of course it’s the water squirting out of the syringe. That’s because you pressurized the water. Your power brake system is kind of the same thing. When you step on the brake pedal, the master cylinder pressurizes brake fluid which actuates the brakes so you can stop. Benton Harbor drivers who don’t have enough pressure – can’t stop.

A leak in your brake system would impair – or even eliminate – your stopping power. Brake fluid attracts moisture which can cause dangerous leak-inducing corrosion. So a great way for Benton Harbor auto owners to keep their brake fluid free of contaminants is to change it as recommended.

Enough brake fluid is essential for the proper function of Benton Harbor car owners anti-lock brakes, traction control and stability control systems. Your friendly & knowledgeable Pro Muffler & Brake Shop service professional will check your brake fluid level during a full-service oil change. If it’s low it may indicate that a thorough brake inspection is key. Low brake fluid is most usually caused by worn brake pads.

Some of the signs of a leak are reduced stopping power and spongy or hard pedal feel. If you suspect a problem, come into Pro Muffler & Brake Shop for a brake inspection right away.

Give us a call

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop
2094 South M-139
Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022
269.926.2006
http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Testing Your Car Battery

Replacing Your Car BatteryPro Muffler & Brake Shop Tech Question:
I’m David in Benton Harbor, Michigan. For the last year and a half I’ve had some battery problems. I had trouble starting my car so I bought a new battery. At first everything was fine, then about six months later I had problems starting my car again, so I got a new battery. Again, everything was fine for another five or six months then I had trouble starting my car again. I went to get another battery and the parts guy said why do you need another battery, weren’t you in a few months ago? So he tested my battery and it was OK. Apparently I’ve been replacing good batteries. What’s wrong?

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Answer:
Look, we can’t fault David for not knowing what’s wrong – he just didn’t have enough key information. And frankly, neither do I.

First, he was right to suspect his battery. But if he had asked to have his auto battery tested when he first went to the auto parts store, he would have found out that his battery was still good and would have known he needed to take his car into a shop for further diagnosis.

There could be any number of reasons his car wouldn’t start. Unfortunately, he had a year and a half of unnecessary expense and inconvenience and still doesn’t know what’s wrong. When you find yourself in a situation like David, do yourself a favor and talk to a professional.

Give us a call

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop
2094 South M-139
Benton Harbor, Michigan 49022
269.926.2006
http://promufflerandbrake.com/

Tech Question: Your Fuel Pump

Tech Question from a customer:
I was driving down 139 and my car started sputtering and then the engine finally quit and I couldn’t get it started. I had my car towed to you and  found out I had to replace my fuel pump.

What could I have done to keep my fuel pump from falling apart?

Fuel Pump Pro Muffler and Brake Benton Harbor

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Answer:
This is a tough one because there isn’t any maintenance recommended for fuel pumps. They’re inside the fuel tank and you really can’t get to them without removing the tank. But you can do some things to make the  job easier so your fuel pump can last a little longer.

A lot of vehicles are equipped with a fuel filter on their gas line. This filters out dirt and rust from the gas tank before it gets to the engine. Replacing a clogged fuel filter as recommended reduces the strain on your fuel pump.

Many newer vehicles have their fuel filter inside the fuel tank so it cannot be changed. A good tip for Michigan auto owners is to not run the fuel tank too low – this can cause fuel starvation that excessively wears the pump. Also, you can’t go wrong using good quality gas with high levels of detergent. This helps prevent the buildup of varnish and gum all along the fuel system.

A professional fuel system cleaning will clean fuel injectors and help remove carbon deposits from the valves and combustion chamber.

All these things improve fuel economy and increase performance for Southwest Michigan drivers. You can always ask one of our techs if a fuel system cleaning is recommended.

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 Your Water Pump

cooling system repair Benton Harbor“I was driving on the freeway in Michigan and my auto engine started to get hot. I turned off my air conditioner and was able to drive about 80 miles to my meeting but it turns out that my water pump was leaking. It cost me hundreds of dollars to get it fixed. What could I have done to avoid this?”

Pro Muffler & Brake Shop Answer:
This guy’s story really did have a happy ending. If you continue driving when your engine’s overheating, you risk a catastrophic engine failure. It really is a good idea to pull over and let your auto engine cool down before driving again. If you add water or coolant, be sure your engine is cool or you risk serious burns.

Now there’s no way to predict when a water pump will fail – they just wear out. This water pump replacement was more expensive because his water pump is driven by his timing belt. That requires a lot of hours to get to the water pump and then put everything back on the engine.

Here’s a money saving tip: if your water pump is driven by your timing belt – replace the pump when you have your scheduled timing belt replacement. That way most of the work is already done and you don’t have to pay for it twice.

Stop by and ask us when your timing belt should be replaced.

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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