It's About Time: Following Service Intervals at Darrell's FirestonePosted November 24, 2019 10:27 AM
There are a lot of things in life that Farmington residents have to do on a regular basis. We wash dishes every day, do our laundry and mow our lawns every week, and pay the bills every month. We should go to our Farmington dentist twice a year and see our doctor for a check-up once a year. When we don't stay on schedule with these routines, it can lead to embarrassing, painful or expensive consequences.
Scheduled maintenance is also part of good vehicle care. Farmington drivers should take their vehicles in regularly for a good check-up. But many folks struggle to remember — or actually even ignore — this auto advice. When it comes to our vehicles, we're more likely to listen to, “If it ain't broke, don't fix it,” than, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Yet it is the second adage that is the more applicable one.
Regular brushing treatments prevent cavities. Filling a cavity prevents a more painful and more expensive root canal. In the same way, replacing coolant/antifreeze in your vehicle can prevent cooling system leaks. Repairing leaks can prevent engine failure. So why do we procrastinate?
One reason might be that “ignorance is bliss.” We can see dirty dishes on the counter and how long our grass is getting. We can smell how dirty our clothes are. But we don't notice how dirty our transmission fluid is getting. However, trouble in our vehicles is like trouble in our bodies — ignorance is not bliss. High blood pressure can lead to heart damage, and inadequate coolant can lead to engine damage. However, we can't know about either one unless we take the time for a diagnostic check-up at Darrell's Firestone in Farmington.
Another reason we put off scheduled maintenance for our vehicles may be that we are simply intimidated by automotive care. After all, we understand how to take care of clothing, dishes, lawns, etc. Most of us have a basic working knowledge of our bodies and feel qualified to explain how we feel. But our vehicles? What exactly does routine, preventive maintenance involve? Most Farmington residents don't know.
Of course, our vehicles come with owner's manuals that do a good job of explaining what routine maintenance is and how often our vehicles need it. But how many Farmington vehicle owners actually read them?
The good news is that all we have to do is remember to take our vehicles to a reputable, service center like Darrell's Firestone in Farmington. Like a good doctor, your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Darrell's Firestone will be able to tell you what maintenance and service your vehicle needs and when. The service center can track your vehicle's maintenance records—just as a doctor maintains your health records—so that your vehicle is getting the service it needs in a timely manner.
Here are some guidelines to help you understand the basics of preventive maintenance: Fluids. If it's a liquid, it has to be replaced regularly. Your owner's manual will tell you how often. Liquids include oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid and differential fluid. There may be others. Check with your owner's manual or your service center for specifics on your vehicle.
Tires. They need routine, scheduled care to wear well. Primarily, they need air. But they also need to be rotated, balanced and aligned.
Brakes. Brakes and shock absorbers wear out. There's no way to avoid it. Worn parts need to be replaced.
Fuel. Obviously your vehicle needs fuel on a regular basis. But the fuel system also needs periodic maintenance. Air filters and fuel filters get dirty and need to be replaced. The fuel system needs to be kept clean.
These are the basics of vehicle maintenance. Of course, there are other parts of your car that need to be inspected regularly, such as the battery, exhaust system, belts, etc. These parts have longer life cycles than your fluids, tires, brakes and filters, and so don't need to be replaced as often.
If you are taking your vehicle in for the basics, then your Farmington service center will let you know when it is time for an inspection of these other things. Or they may notice a problem when doing routine maintenance and let you know. Either way, you'll get a heads-up when your vehicle needs more attention.
If you're not convinced yet that your vehicle needs regular service, consider this: not doing so will cost you in decreased fuel economy, lower performance and compromised safety. These could lead to repair bills and costly accidents.
Just like a good dental check-up, a good auto check-up at Darrell's Firestone in Farmington can save you from experiencing embarrassing, costly and painful situations.
23534 Farmington Rd
Farmington, MI 48336
Tire Rotation and Balancing at Darrell's Firestone in FarmingtonPosted November 17, 2019 7:20 AM
Tires do a lot of work for Farmington drivers. They transfer engine power and braking forces to the road; they handle steering control; and they cushion all those bumps and jolts while driving around Farmington. They also support the entire weight of the vehicle, including you and your passengers. With such important work to do, you want your tires to do their job well. And since replacing tires is fairly pricey, you want them to last as long as possible.
There are three keys to long, even tire wear for Farmington driving:
- Proper tire inflation
- Proper wheel alignment
- Regular tire rotation and balancing
The front tires on a car take the brunt of the steering forces. As they push through turns, the shoulders of the front tires wear down more quickly than the rear tires. Rotating front and rear tires allows them to all wear at about the same rate. That's especially true of front-wheel-drive vehicles whose front tires steer and put the power to the road.
SUVs and pick-ups, especially four-wheel-drives, also tend to wear their tires more unevenly than cars because of their suspension and drivetrain set-up. Your owner's manual will likely contain a schedule for tire rotation. It's usually every 5,000 miles/8,000 km or so.
Also, there are different rotation patterns for different vehicles. Darrell's Firestone will know which is right for your vehicle. That brings us to wheel balancing. When wheels are balanced, they spin on the axle evenly. When they are out of balance, they wobble a bit. That makes the tires wear unevenly and may transmit a vibration to the car. Your friendly and knowledgeable Darrell's Firestone service advisor puts weights on your wheels to balance them out so that they turn true and smooth.
Tires are a big investment for Farmington drivers. They're designed for keeping you safely on the road in Farmington. The cost for regular rotation and balancing is more than made up in extended tire life. And, can you really put a price on your safety and that of your passengers?
23534 Farmington Rd
Farmington, MI 48336
Straight and True in Farmington: Wheel AlignmentPosted November 10, 2019 7:45 AM
Most Farmington folks worry about running out of gas or having a breakdown on the side of the road. That is why we practice preventive maintenance on our vehicles — that and to keep our repair bills down. But one important part of preventive maintenance that may get overlooked by drivers in Farmington is a periodic alignment inspection.
Poor alignment causes tires to wear rapidly, unevenly or both. This means they will have to be replaced early, and new tires are more expensive than an alignment check in Farmington. Bad alignment can also cause damage to suspension and steering systems, which can be expensive to repair in Farmington.
Tire wear on misaligned wheels can also lead to blowouts, which are dangerous, can lead to serious accidents and can seriously damage your vehicle. Also, poor alignment itself can be the cause of an accident since the vehicle may not steer properly.
One or more wheels on your vehicle can be knocked out of alignment by running over a curb or a pothole on a bumpy Farmington street. An accident — even a minor one — that involves a wheel on your car can lead to misalignment. The small bumps and bangs of everyday driving can also gradually put your wheels out of alignment.
If you have had wheel damage to your vehicle, or if you suspect that your wheels are out of alignment, you should get your alignment checked NOW. Any service center will give you that piece of auto advice. But good vehicle care suggests that you also get your alignment inspected on a regular basis. At Darrell's Firestone in Farmington, we can take care of that for you.
Your owner's manual or Darrell's Firestone can give you a suggestion on how often your alignment should be checked. If it doesn't, then once a year is a good rule of thumb. However, if you drive a lot — and especially if you drive on rough surfaces a lot — then you may want to consider alignment more often. Ask the pros at Darrell's Firestone for a recommendation.
If your vehicle is out of alignment, one or more of the wheels is not tracking correctly and will “pull” against the others. Thus, one sign of poor alignment is that your vehicle pulls to one side when you drive around Farmington. Also, if you are driving a straight path and your steering wheel is off-center, that usually indicates an alignment problem.
Farmington drivers should also check the wear on their tires. If they seem to be wearing out too quickly, or if you notice that a tire is wearing on one side more than the other, you should get your alignment checked.
When you get an alignment inspection, your vehicle will be put on a rack and all the parts of the steering and suspension systems will be inspected for wear or damage. The alignment of the tires will be charted and compared to the original factory settings. If no repairs are needed on the steering or suspension systems, the wheels will then be adjusted to bring them back into alignment.
This may seem like a lot of bother for drivers, but it's a lot less trouble than a blowout or an accident. The old adage is good auto advice for all Farmington residents: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
So keep on driving, and keep all four tires on the road.
23534 Farmington Rd
Farmington, MI 48336
Hey Farmington Drivers, How Many Miles Are on Your Car?Posted November 3, 2019 7:15 AM
Nowadays, Farmington drivers are paying more at MI gas pumps. For some families it adds up to several hundred dollars every month. That's got to come out of the budget somewhere. This is one of the reasons many MI drivers are putting off buying a new car. They plan on keeping their old vehicle for a year or two longer than before.
Even now, 2/3 of the personal vehicles on our local Farmington, MI, roads have over 75,000 miles (120,000 kilometers) on them. The average age of vehicles is over nine years. And most people in the Farmington area can't afford to be stranded or inconvenienced by a breakdown. So following a regular maintenance schedule, like personal diet and exercise plans, is actually critical to preserving your investment.
Determining what to do for a higher-mileage vehicle can be challenging because many owner's manuals don't publish service intervals after 60,000 miles (100,000 kilometers). Thus, Farmington drivers need to be better at keeping records and planning for preventive maintenance.
You can start by figuring that services with a recommended interval should still be performed on that interval, even after you're past the tables in your service manual. For example, a service might be recommended every 15,000 miles (24,000 kilometers). Well, just keep doing it every 15,000 miles (24,000 kilometers) for as long as you have your car.
Now higher mileage engines operate under more stress. Some MI automotive experts suggest that the severe service schedule is more appropriate and that routine service should be performed at shorter intervals. Check with your owners' manual or service advisor at Darrell's Firestone to see if the severe service schedule is right for your vehicle.
And keeping current with your full-service oil change schedule is important for a couple of reasons. First, older engines have had more time to build up oil sludge. Skipping an oil change here and there can really compound the problem for your vehicle.
Another equally important reason is that your other fluids are routinely checked and topped off. Power steering fluid, brake fluid, coolant and transmission fluid can be kept at optimal levels even though the older seals and gaskets are leaking more than when they were new.
And speaking of older seals and gaskets: they start to dry out and become more brittle with age. You may want to consider using high mileage formulation oil and fluids. These products contain additives to condition seals and gaskets to keep them from leaking. The high mileage formulations cost more than standard products, but they are well worth it in terms of preventing serious repair bills down the road.
Older vehicles in the Farmington, MI, area need repairs and replacements that newer ones don't: things like timing belts, radiator hoses, suspension work, anti-lock brakes, air bags, water pumps, alternators and batteries. That may seem like a lot of stuff to have done, but it works out to be cheaper than new car payments.
With a high-mileage vehicle, a couple of relationships will become pretty important to Farmington drivers. The first is with your service advisor at Darrell's Firestone. You need someone you trust to take care of your car and be mindful of your needs. Ask for help to develop a plan to keep your vehicle road-worthy that works within your budget and for the Farmington, MI, area driving conditions.
The next relationship is with your vehicle itself. We're not talking about naming your car or tucking it in at night. We just mean - pay attention and get to know your vehicle. Notice unusual sounds, smells, vibrations, etc. Then you can describe the changes to your service advisor at Darrell's Firestone and head off problems. We can't do anything about the price of gas, but we can properly maintain Old Faithful to keep it safely and economically on the local Farmington roads.
23534 Farmington Rd
Farmington, MI 48336