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Archive for April 2020

Looking Down the Road - Headlamps

Posted April 26, 2020 8:32 AM



If you've ever been driving around Farmington and had a headlamp go out, you've probably just wanted to replace the bad bulb. If your car uses halogen headlamps, they dim over time. So if you just put in one, they won't have the same brightness, which can be distracting and will affect your field of vision.

To have your headlights inspected, visit us at Darrell's Firestone. We're at 23534 Farmington Rd in Farmington, MI 48336. Or give us a call at 248-477-9090.

Experts at Darrell's Firestone recommend replacing your halogen headlamps every year. It's easy to remember if you do it when Daylight Saving Time changes in the fall. That way you'll have bright headlamps for those long MI winter nights.

There are other types of headlamps in addition to halogen. There are the old standard bulbs that have been around for decades. These are OK, but you can usually upgrade to halogen. They cost a little more but you can't believe the difference. If you do a lot of night driving you might want to use a premium halogen bulb that filters out the yellow hues and gives a very white light that's a lot like daylight.

You may have noticed those bluish headlights on luxury cars. They are high intensity discharge or, HID lamps. They really light up the road. You can upgrade to HID on some vehicles. These cost quite a bit, but they'll last for the life of your car. If you want your friends to think you have HIDs, you can get halogens with a bluish tint - no one needs to know.

Seriously, though, night driving is all about reaction time – time to stop – time to get out of the way. You can't react to what you can't see. You need headlamps that'll give you a good view down the road and good peripheral vision as well. Your headlights need to be aimed correctly so you can see and to keep your lights from shining off into oncoming traffic.

You may have seen older vehicles with headlights that are awfully dim and maybe even yellow. That's because the plastic headlight lenses have gotten cloudy and yellowed with age. They can be replaced, but many Farmington service centers offer a service to restore the lens that's a lot cheaper.

You can't drive if you can't see. AAA reports that nine out of ten vehicles have dirty or yellowed headlamps. So run the window squeegee over your headlights when you gas up to clear the dirt and bugs. Get your lenses restored if they need it and don't forget to replace your standard or halogen bulbs every fall.

Darrell's Firestone
23534 Farmington Rd
Farmington, MI 48336
248-477-9090
http://www.darrellsfirestone.net



The Straight and Narrow: Power Steering Service at Darrell's Firestone

Posted April 19, 2020 7:03 AM

Service to a vehicle's power steering system is part of preventive maintenance for  Farmington auto owners. This system provides power to the steering wheel so you can turn it with ease. Without power steering, all of the power to turn your vehicle's wheels would have to come from you.

The central element of most power steering systems is a pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid, and it is this pressure that provides auxiliary steering power. A belt connected to the engine usually powers the pump, although some systems use an electric pump. Some newer vehicles have an electric motor that directly provides the power steering boost.

Pressurized fluid moves from the pump to the steering gear through a high-pressure hose. A low-pressure hose returns fluid to the pump. Power steering fluid cleans, cools and lubricates the system.

Farmington drivers should remember that fluid levels in the power steering system should be checked at every oil change. Low fluid levels can damage the pump, which can be expensive to repair. Low fluid levels may also indicate a leaky hose in the power steering system, so it is a good idea to inspect the hoses, especially if your fluid levels are low.

Power steering fluid breaks down over time, losing its effectiveness. It also gradually collects moisture, which can lead to corrosion in the steering system. So the fluid needs to be replaced occasionally. You should check with your owner's manual or ask your service advisor at Darrell's Firestone to learn how often this fluid should be replaced.

When your fluid is replaced, your technicians at Darrell's Firestone will remove the old fluid and replace it with new. Power steering fluids are not all created equal; the fluid has to be compatible with your hoses and seals. Darrell's Firestone can ensure that you get the right fluid for your vehicle, or you can consult your owner's manual.

Signs that your power steering system is in trouble can include the following: a steering wheel that is hard to turn, auxiliary steering power that cuts in and out, or a whining sound coming from the pump. Also, drivers in Farmington who are not topping off the power steering fluid on schedule may hear squealing coming from the engine belts.

To protect your steering system you should never hold the steering wheel in the far right or far left position for more than a few seconds at a time. This can wear out your pump in a hurry.

Preventive maintenance for your steering system primarily involves the power steering components, but your steering system has other parts that can wear out or be damaged by rough MI driving conditions. Such parts include the ball-joint, idler arm, steering gear, steering-knuckle and tie rod. Signs that they are in need of attention include play in the steering wheel, a vehicle that wanders, uneven tire wear and a steering wheel that is off-center. Farmington drivers should have their alignment checked annually. This check-up can reveal bent or damaged steering components.

For answers to other questions about your steering system, or for auto advice on any type of vehicle maintenance, check with the team at Darrell's Firestone. We can steer you in the right direction when it comes to quality car care.

Darrell's Firestone
23534 Farmington Rd
Farmington, MI 48336
248-477-9090
http://www.darrellsfirestone.net



Suspension Service in Farmington at Darrell's Firestone

Posted April 12, 2020 4:43 AM

When they hear the word suspension, many drivers in Farmington may think back to those energetic days of grade school. Well, your vehicle's suspension is actually a good thing because it keeps your vehicle up off the road and helps provide a comfy ride around Farmington. Its job is to keep your wheels firmly planted over bumps and through curves. Your suspension system has many parts. If you look under your vehicle, it's basically everything that connects your wheels to the vehicle's frame. These are heavy duty parts that do a lot of work. They need to be inspected for damage and excessive wear at least once a year. A good time for this is when you get your annual alignment service at Darrell's Firestone.

Here are some warning signs of suspension problems:

  • the car pulls to one side
  • it wanders
  • the steering is erratic
  • you see uneven tire wear
  • you experience a poor ride or handling
  • you see oil leaking from shocks

Basically, you just don't feel in control when you're driving.

Some suspension parts just wear out with use. Shocks and struts eventually lose their ability to control your ride. Wheel bearings need to be repacked every couple of years. And some suspension pieces need to be lubricated when you get your oil changed. Your service advisor at Darrell's Firestone can perform an inspection and tell you what problems you may have.

If you're in an accident, your suspension can be damaged or knocked out of alignment. Even a minor accident, like hitting a curb around Farmington or even a large rock can mess things up for drivers. With a minor accident it's tempting for many to just get an alignment or wheel balance to correct the problem. But if there's damage, a simple alignment won't actually fix the problem, and you'll just have to align it again after the repairs are made. So if you have an accident, get your suspension system inspected right away. Suspension problems are a major safety issue because they can lead to unsafe handling.

One big cause of suspension damage for Farmington drivers is potholes – those nasty magnets that form in roads in freezing weather. They seem to draw our tires right into them. Here are some tips for avoiding damage from potholes: First, keep your tires at their full air pressure. That gives tires their maximum resiliency and will hopefully keep your wheels or other suspension parts from crunching on a big hole. Next, just pay attention. When you see a hole you can't miss, slow down before you hit it. Driving at a slower speed will limit the damage and may keep your drink from spilling. But avoid the temptation to brake directly over the pothole. That will cause the car's weight to shift forward and add to the potential damage.

Darrell's Firestone
23534 Farmington Rd
Farmington, MI 48336
248-477-9090
http://www.darrellsfirestone.net



PCV Valve Service at Darrell's Firestone in Farmington

Posted April 5, 2020 3:16 AM

Today, we are talking about your PCV valve. Unburnt fuel is forced into the crankcase as your engine runs.  The PCV (positive crankcase ventilation) valve vents this unburnt fuel and oil vapors from the crankcase and sends it back into the air intake system to be burned in the engine.  A clogged PCV will not allow these vapors to escape. This can dilute and contaminate the oil, leading to damaging engine oil sludge. It can also cause vehicle engine corrosion, something we see occasionally at Darrell's Firestone. At high speeds on MI freeways, the pressure can build up to the point that gaskets and seals start to leak.

Back in the old days, vehicles were simply installed with a hose that vented these gases out into the atmosphere. But starting in the 1964 model year, environmental protection laws required that these gases be recycled back into the air intake system to be mixed with fuel and burned in the vehicle's engine.

This is much better for air quality and improves fuel economy also. (Budget-conscious Farmington drivers take note!) The little valve that performs this important function is the PCV valve. The PCV valve lets  gases out of the engine, but won't let anything back in. Over time, the vented gases will gum up the PCV valve and it won't work well. That can lead to all of the problems I've already described, oil leaks, excessive oil consumption and decreased fuel economy.

Fortunately, it's very easy to test the PCV Valve at Darrell's Firestone in Farmington and quick and inexpensive to replace. Even so, it's often overlooked because many Farmington vehicle owners don't know about it. Check your vehicle owner's manual or ask your Darrell's Firestone service advisor. If this is the first time you've heard of a PCV valve, you might be in line for a replacement.

There's another aspect to the PCV system. In order for the valve to work correctly, it needs a little clean air to come in. This is done through a breather tube that gets some filtered air from the engine air filter. Now some vehicles have a small separate air filter for the breather tube called the breather element. That'll need to be replaced at Darrell's Firestone when it gets dirty.

Please ask your Farmington service advisor about your PCV valve. For the price of a couple of burger combo meals in Farmington, you can avoid some very engine repairs.

Darrell's Firestone
23534 Farmington Rd
Farmington, MI 48336
248-477-9090
http://www.darrellsfirestone.net



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Slow leak in tire. They were fast and friendly. Will be back for other services. quotes-image
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