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Archive for May 2021

Growing Old Together (Maintaining an Older Vehicle)

Posted May 30, 2021 11:28 AM

More and more of us are hanging on to our vehicles longer.  A company by the name of HIS Markit recently released a report that shows the average age of light vehicles in the U.S. is now 11.8 years.  Light vehicles are cars, SUVs (sport utility vehicles) and CUVs (compact utility vehicles). 

In Canada, the average life expectancy of a vehicle there is around 13 years, and in the U.S., it's around 15.  Vehicles are lasting longer these days, and there are several reasons for that.

One expert cites better technology and overall quality improvements.  While in past years, vehicles were made mainly of heavier steel components, more modern vehicles contain lighter magnesium and aluminum alloys, high-strength steel, polymers and carbon fiber.  They last longer and reduce the overall vehicle weight, and that can contribute to better fuel economy.

Modern internal combustion engine designs have been improved, and since they use more computers, they are more efficient with better performance.  Those factors also contribute to a longer-lasting powertrain.  In fact, it's not unusual to see a powertrain easily last 150,000 miles/250,000 kilometers or more with no major failures.

Drivers are also taking their vehicles in more regularly for periodic maintenance.  Choosing one service facility for all your maintenance can contribute to your vehicle's longevity, too, since technicians know your vehicle's repair and service history.

If you bought your vehicle taking out a 5-year loan and you keep it 11 years, you've managed 6 of those years without a payment, always a nice feeling.  Plus, a bonus is that you get very familiar with every aspect of that vehicle's sounds, smells, handling, stopping characteristics, visibility and limitations.  And the more familiar you are with your vehicle, the more confident you can be as a driver.

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



Your Vehicle is Talking to YOU (Service Warning Signs)

Posted May 23, 2021 11:47 AM

Your vehicle may be like that famous battery bunny, the one that just keeps going and going.  But while it may seem sometimes like you never need to take your vehicle in to be worked on, there are some things you should keep your eyes, ears and nose out for. They are warning you about something that needs attention at your vehicle service facility.

  • If a warning light is on, don't ignore it; do something about it.  There are warning lights for battery, oil, engine heat, tire pressure… you name it.  And the manufacturer put them there for a reason.  They're telling you something isn't normal. So when one goes on, have it checked out soon, especially the blinking Check Engine light.  The earlier you have any warning light issue diagnosed, the more likely you are to avoid a more serious problem.
  • If your vehicle is vibrating or shaking, it's not only annoying, it could signal trouble.  You can bet your vehicle didn't do that when it came out of the factory! If you can feel a vibration in the seat of your pants or shaking in the steering wheel, head on over to your service facility and have them diagnose what is causing it.
  • Smoke coming out of anywhere in your vehicle is a signal (smoke signal, get it?) that there may be a troubling issue.  Likewise if you can smell something burning (like oil), the nose knows there's something amiss.  Time to find out what.
  • If you aren't getting the distance you used to out of a tank of gas, it may not simply be your lead foot. A lot of vehicles will give you a digital readout of your latest mileage.  If your fuel economy takes a dip, take a trip over to your service facility.  You might have a sticky brake caliper… or it might be something as simple as your tires need more air.
  • Yes, you know the dreaded puddle of something under your vehicle can be a bad sign.  It could smell sweet, it could feel oily.  But it means something is leaking.  Go get it checked.  Sooner is better when it comes to locating the source of a leak.
  • If your brake pedal travels further than it used to while stopping, that could be compromising your ability to stop safely.  Also, if the brakes are making odd sounds, pulsating, grinding or squealing, they're screaming at you for attention.  Proper braking is a must for your safety and those drivers around you.

An old 80s TV show called "Knight Rider" featured a talking car.  You already have a vehicle that's telling you things all the time.  Give it a listen and it will keep you going safely down the road for many years to come.

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



No Fueling! (Fuel Filler Location)

Posted May 16, 2021 11:43 AM

If you've ever gotten in an unfamiliar vehicle, maybe a rental car, you may have pulled up to the gas pump and wondered, "Which side is the fuel filler on?" Here's a tip for you.  There is usually a little arrow on the instrument panel near the fuel gauge that points to the side where the fuel filler is. 

But why are the fuel fillers not all on the same side, anyway? There are lots of reasons.  At one time, many manufacturers tried putting them in an easy-to-reach spot: in the center of the vehicle's rear end.  Some even hid them behind a hinged license plate door.  Cool place, but it turned out not to be a good idea.  When a vehicle with a fuel filler in the rear was hit by another vehicle from behind, it was much more prone to catch fire and explode.

Safety regulations now dictate that the fuel filler doors be placed within crumple zones and away from where they can drip fuel on hot exhaust pipes or near electrical connections.  But why do manufacturers put them on either side?

Some say it should be on the side away from the road.  That way if you run out of gas and have to add a little from a gas can as your standing at the side of the road, you'll be a little farther away from passing traffic.  So some companies from North America and many European firms with left-hand drive put their fillers on the right side.

Some manufacturers think convenience for the driver is paramount, so they put their fuel fillers on the driver's side.  If you have a vehicle with a cable release for the fuel door inside the cabin, it's usually on the same side as the steering wheel.  As you can see, there's no standardization.

Fuel doors need regular maintenance such as lubrication, and your gas cap (if your vehicle has one) should seal properly.  Have your service facility inspect those regularly. Wherever your fuel filler is, it's obviously important that you can get at it easily because you have to fuel up sometime. Otherwise, you're not going to go too far!

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



Beware of Cheap Tires in Farmington

Posted May 9, 2021 10:40 AM

Do you like to shop for shoes in Farmington?
When buying a running shoe, is quality important?
Does durability matter as long as the shoes look fabulous?
Would you rather have one pair of long lasting shoes or two pairs of lower quality shoes at the same price?

Is the warranty important when buying tires?

Farmington drivers should also think about the safety aspect of tires. The tires do a lot of work – they carry the weight of the vehicle and you and your passengers. You want to be sure they hold the road and provide good traction on MI freeways and surface streets. If you carry heavy loads or tow a trailer on MI highways, the tires need a high load rating.

Ask your friendly and knowledgeable Farmington tire professional at Darrell's Firestone. I think it's important that Farmington residents understand the effect of price on a tire's quality, performance and durability. When I was a kid, my dad would say, “Pay twice as much and buy half as many.”

The same principle applies to tires. The major tire brands that you're familiar with in Farmington are known as Tier 1 tires. These tires are high quality and well-engineered. Comparable vehicle Tier 1 tires are usually priced similarly.

Stepping down, you come to private label tires. Some large MI tire store chains carry tires with their own brand. It's important to know that most private label tires are built by the same Tier 1 companies that you are familiar with – so you are pretty safe in choosing them. To be sure, you can ask your Darrell's Firestone tire professional which manufacturer makes their private brand.

The lowest priced tires on the market in Farmington are Tier 3 tires which are usually imported from China or South America. Since you get what you pay for, you can't expect a Tier 3 tire to deliver the same performance and durability as the others.


What's the difference in the tires with high mileage warranties? It's the rubber compounds and the amount of tread material. As you might expect, you'll pay more for the longer-lasting tire.

Your tires are the only parts of your vehicle that touch the road. You're only as safe as your tires are well built. Buy value – not price.

Give us a call.

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

 



Treat Your Vehicle to Good Tires at Darrell's Firestone

Posted May 2, 2021 7:25 AM

When we shop for shoes, most of us know that we can get two pairs of cheap shoes or one good pair for about the same price. And since the two cheap pairs wear out in about the same time as the good pair, there really is no difference in cost. If you like having a closet full of shoes to match your moods and outfits, then cheap shoes can be what you want. But if you spend a lot of time on your feet, you probably know that cheap shoes can come with an added cost of sore feet and other foot ailments. When you add in the benefits of comfort and protection, the more expensive shoes are actually the better value.

Buying tires at Darrell's Firestone in Farmington is a lot like buying shoes, except that Farmington vehicles don't have changeable apparel and don't need a closet full of tires to match. Vehicles spend a lot of time on their tires—all the time, in fact—so they need tires that can stand up to the job. Tires are work shoes: they have to deal with a lot of crazy MI road conditions, all while carrying the weight of a vehicle and its passengers.

Bad tires, like cheap shoes, can also be a safety concern for Farmington drivers. Tires need good traction, and they need to be strong enough to handle the loads they carry. Vehicles that carry heavy loads or tow trailers around MI need tires with a high load rating, in the same way that you are better off on a rough MI mountain trail with sturdy hiking boots rather than flip-flops.

The best tires on the market are called Tier 1 tires. These are high-quality tires engineered to stand up to a lot of wear while maintaining good traction. They are also the most expensive tires on the market, although prices don't vary much from brand to brand.

Tire chain stores in Farmington often carry tires with their own brand name. These are private label tires. They are less expensive than Tier 1 tires but are still a quality product. In fact, many private label tires sold in the Farmington area are manufactured by the same companies that make Tier 1 tires. Don't hesitate to ask your Darrell's Firestone tire professional who makes their private brand.

The cheapest tires on the MI tire market are Tier 3 tires. Most of these tires are imported from Asia or South America, and they just don't have the same standard of engineering behind them that the higher-priced tires have. When it comes to Tier 3 tires, you get what you pay for.

At Darrell's Firestone, we sometimes express tire quality in terms of the warranty. In other words, we call a tire a “40,000 mile/65,000 km tire,” or a "60,000 mile/100,000 km tire." This refers to the number of miles/kilometers a tire will be under warranty. Tires with a higher mileage warranty are made with higher quality rubber compounds and have more tread. As you might expect, they also cost more than tires with low mileage warranties.

Cheap tires often have no warranty at all. However, if you find yourself in a position where you need new tires and you're really strapped for cash, purchasing Tier 3 tires is better than waiting until you can afford Tier 1. It's always better to drive on new tires, even cheap ones, than driving on tires that are worn past their safety limits.

That said, if you're driving on Tier 3 tires, it's a good idea to budget and plan to buy higher-quality tires the next go-around. Two sets of cheap tires may wear out in the same time as one set of quality tires, but the quality tires actually cost less than two sets of cheap tires. That's the great fallacy of cheap tires. In the long run, they actually cost more than good tires and come with significantly reduced performance and durability to boot. Not exactly the best value for Farmington area drivers.

So, some good auto advice would be to always buy as much tire as you can afford. That way you'll get the most durability and performance and the most mileage out of every tire. Plus, with a better tire, there's some peace of mind that comes with knowing you won't have to purchase tires as often.

Good vehicle care requires checking your tires occasionally for tread wear and road damage. Practicing this preventive maintenance can help you avoid flats and blowouts.

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

 



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What our clients are saying about us

We have established longterm and stable partnerships with various clients thanks to our excellence in solving their automotive needs!

Slow leak in tire. They were fast and friendly. Will be back for other services. quotes-image
, 09/27/2022
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When I handed them my keys, I knew I was in good hands. My truck's issue was no problem for them to fix.quotes-image
, 09/25/2022
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