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Archive for May 2022

It Is Time to Check Your Intervals

Posted May 29, 2022 10:26 AM

Part of the engineering that goes into designing a vehicle is testing the components to ensure that they meet durability and safety standards. Because of this, manufacturers have a good idea as to how long the parts in your vehicle will last under normal driving conditions. For this reason, they give us guidelines to follow regarding how often to inspect the various parts and systems on our vehicles.

Vehicular components are required to meet certain standards. The government mandates some of these standards. Others are set by the auto industry. Recommended car maintenance schedules are designed to help Farmington vehicle owners maintain these standards. Disregarding routine maintenance or procrastinating preventive maintenance will result in lowered performance and reduced safety for a vehicle.

Maintenance schedules are designed to ensure three areas of automotive performance for Farmington drivers: protection of the vehicle itself, efficiency and safety.

Protection

Your vehicle's components need protection from dirt, road damage, rust, corrosion and fuel and combustion by-products. Protective components include filters and fluids.

Most of the fluids in your vehicle are there to keep the vehicle running smoothly and to protect the vehicle from corrosion, damage or harmful contaminants. These fluids need to be changed regularly in order to continue protecting your vehicle.

For example, motor oil lubricates your engine; that keeps it running well, but it also contains detergents and other additives that clean your engine and protect it from corrosion. Your vehicle's engine was engineered for best performance with a specific weight and type of motor oil. Farmington drivers should always be careful to use the right motor oil for their engine.

Over time, the  additives in motor oil are depleted, and the oil becomes contaminated by dirt, water and waste gases from combustion. So in order to keep your engine clean and to continue to protect it from corrosion, the oil has to be changed periodically.

Efficiency

Over time, your vehicle's systems will get dirty and parts will wear down. Cleaning dirty systems and replacing worn parts will improve the efficiency of your vehicle, which is usually measured in terms of and power output.

For example, your fuel system components gradually get clogged up with gum and varnish from gasoline. This restricts fuel flow, which lowers your engine's efficiency. Gas mileage drops as a result. Cleaning your fuel system will restore and improve gas mileage.

Safety

Some of your vehicle's systems must be maintained for safety reasons. Your brakes are a prime example of this. Brake pads and brake fluid need to be replaced in order to ensure good braking power. Poorly maintained brakes lead to accidents.

Your owner's manual is your first resource when it comes to knowing when and how to maintain your vehicle. Of course, you can consult with your Darrell's Firestone service advisor. He can give you good auto advice on how to adjust your service schedule to account for climate, local road conditions and your driving distances.

Beyond routine maintenance, your vehicle also requires regular inspections. These inspections are usually recommended at specific mileage intervals, like 15,000 or 20.000 miles (24,000 km or 32,000 km). The interval is based on the known life expectancy for particular components in your vehicle. Regular inspections will identify vehicular components that need to be repaired or replaced before damage is done to the vehicle or safety is compromised. They are also designed to safeguard the efficiency and performance of your vehicle.

The multi-point inspection that comes with a full-service oil change does not cover all of the regular inspections your vehicle needs for peak performance and safety. Check with the automotive professionals at Darrell's Firestone in Farmington to find out what additional inspections your vehicle needs and how often. Good car care requires regular and consistent maintenance. But good maintenance pays for itself in better and fewer repairs. It may even save your life.

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



The Red Menace (How to Deal with Rust)

Posted May 22, 2022 9:04 AM

Rust.  It's worse if you drive in places that use salt on the roads in winter, or if you spend time driving near a body of salt water.  But any vehicle has to deal with rust after years on the road.  And it's not just that rust can eat away your vehicle's body and fenders.  It can be a real problem around your suspension, drivetrain or any place where there's metal.

Rust takes its time.  You don't see it until it's already done its dirty work.  It can wreak havoc with your electrical system.  Sure, vehicle manufacturers do their best to keep it to a minimum, but especially with road treatments like brine around, their task is a difficult one.

The one spot everyone notices is in the paint.  You see a little bubbling under the once-smooth surface.  By the time it bubbles, it's well involved in rotting away that spot of your vehicle.  You wouldn't believe how just a little thing can start the process on its way.  A stone chips the paint down to the metal, moisture and salt reach the steel and rust is off and running.  It could be a scratch in the paint, a little dent, acid from a parking garage, tree sap, you name it.  If you spot it, show it to your service advisor because rust can be more than a cosmetic problem.  It can be a safety issue.

While you can see the rust destroy your vehicle's body, you can't see it destroying your engine.  But it can.  It can eat away at such areas as air intakes or the exhaust system.  Not only can it reduce performance, but also it can disable electrical connections.  In this day and age where just about everything in your vehicle has a computer component to it, just a small electrical problem can strand you at the roadside.

Corrosion can attack your vehicle's chassis or frame, and they are what provide the structural strength and stability for everything attached.  Think powertrain, suspension, axles, window frames. The list goes on and on.  Structural integrity is vital to safety, so the stakes are high. 

Now you can see why rust damages more than just the good looks of your vehicle. There's one thing to remember about corrosion - much of it is only visible from underneath the vehicle.  When you bring your vehicle in to Darrell's Firestone for service, our technician can look for any problems from that important vantage point.  It's always a good idea to point out any spots that you think might spell trouble.  That way you can stay ahead of it and beat rust at its own game.


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



Below 45 Degrees in Farmington: Consider Winter Tires

Posted May 15, 2022 7:06 AM

Remember snow tires? They were basically just regular tires with big, knobby lugs to get them through deep snow. They were loud and rode hard, and Farmington drivers couldn't wait to get them off the car. Then along came television advertisements for “all-season” radials. MI drivers ran out and bought some and we thought we were done with snow tires forever.

Tires have come a long way since then. Modern winter tires sold in the Farmington area are much better designed for the wide range of conditions that come with MI winter weather. They are made with a rubber compound that helps them stay flexible in cold weather. Regular tires become hard and stiff at Farmington temperatures below 45°F (7° C) which reduces their traction. That's a concern in winter, especially with snowy or wet conditions. But it also means that Farmington drivers are better off with winter tires in cold weather even when it's dry.

The tread design on winter tires has been improved to move snow, slush and water. The lugs and grooves throw packed snow out of the tread as the tire rotates. This means the tread is open and ready to move more snow when it rolls around again. Summer tires can pack up with snow, which makes them more dangerous than a bald tire.

The all-season tire that is popular among Farmington drivers is a compromise between summer and winter performance. This means they give adequate performance for Farmington drivers in either season but aren't great in either. Summer tires give great performance in hot weather but lousy performance in winter. Farmington drivers need to put more thought into their tire choices these days.

If you want the performance that new winter tires can give you, you should have them properly installed by your friendly and professional service advisor at Darrell's Firestone. It's best to purchase four snow tires and put them on all the wheels of your vehicle. But if you only want two, you need to put them on the rear of your vehicle, even if you drive a front-wheel drive vehicle. Farmington drivers always want to put the tires with the best traction on the rear of the vehicle.

For more auto advice about tires for any MI season, ask your friendly and knowledgeable Darrell's Firestone tire professional. They can help you find the right tire for your area and for your driving needs. For the best performance from your tires, whatever the season, don't forget preventive maintenance. Keep your tires up to pressure for the best durability, safety and performance, but don't overinflate them. Remember, good car care provides the safest road for all of us in Farmington.


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



Vive la Differential at Darrell's Firestone in Farmington

Posted May 8, 2022 10:33 AM

There are a lot of drivers in Farmington who are due for a differential service, but had never heard of a differential before. With front-wheel drive being so common in MI these days, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service, so most Farmington folks don't even have to think about it. And rear-wheel drive differentials don't need to be serviced for years, so it's understandable that it's not something on the top of your mind. It's not uncommon for people in Farmington to not know they have a differential, let alone know that it needs service.

To better understand what a differential does, think about a track at any MI high school. 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 between the inside vehicle wheel and the outside wheel in a turn, because they have to travel together through slightly different distances.

It's a very important function. When you think of it, all the power to get a vehicle moving goes through the differential. Most cars weigh between 3,000 and 6,000 pounds (1,400 and 2,800 kg) – trucks even more. The power from the engine goes through the transmission and then through the differential to the drive wheels.

That's a lot of work and requires 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 when to replace your differential fluid.

Your knowledgeable Darrell's Firestone service technician 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.

Your Darrell's Firestone service advisor can look up the vehicle manufacturer's recommended service interval or you can check your owner's manual.

At Darrell's Firestone, we've been providing quality automotive service for our valued Farmington customers since . If you need to schedule differential maintenance, or any other automotive service, give us a call at 248-477-9090.

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



Maintaining Your Diesel in Farmington

Posted May 1, 2022 11:23 AM

Diesel engines have been used extensively in Europe and Asia for many years. They haven't been as common in the Farmington area because of the high sulfur content in our diesel fuel. But the government is now mandating lower sulfur content and, as a result, we are going to see more Farmington diesel-fueled vehicles on the road, especially in passenger cars and SUV's.

Diesels are popular in MI because they get better fuel economy than gas-powered engines. They also last longer. Modern diesel engines are quiet and powerful. And if you associate diesel engines with black smoke, then you're not up with the times. That smoke is a thing of the past.

Diesels don't produce any more pollutants than gasoline engines. The pollution standards for diesel-powered vehicles are as strict in MI as for other vehicles.

Also, diesel engines can run on bio-diesel fuels as well as fossil fuels. Diesel fuel can be produced from vegetable oil or from cellulosic waste like wood chips and sawdust. In MI, we may soon see bio-diesel produced from algae. These fuel sources will lessen Farmington drivers dependence on fossil fuels and may even become truly renewable and sustainable.

Diesel-powered vehicles also perform as well as other passenger vehicles. Most people don't notice a difference in driving one or the other. If you haul heavy loads or tow a trailer around MI, however, the diesel is a definite improvement.

So, you may be asking, if diesels are so great, why don't all Farmington people drive them? Surely there are disadvantages you haven't told me about. That's true. Diesel engines are heavier than gas engines, and they cost more in MI. The better fuel economy of the diesel engine is partially offset by the higher purchase price.

Because of higher fuel prices, diesel engines used to be more expensive to drive in Farmington. But now, with higher volatility in the prices of both gasoline and diesel fuel in MI, that cost difference is less definitive. Whether a diesel or gas engine is more expensive for MI drivers depends now on the current price of fuel and how far you drive.

Consider also that diesel-powered vehicles have a high resale value in the Farmington area, and the costs of owning and operating a diesel vs. a gas-powered vehicle in MI becomes a real toss-up.

Preventive auto maintenance for diesel vehicles has also become similar to that of gas-fueled vehicles in recent years. The major difference is that diesels require cleaner fuel, air and oil, so their filters are more expensive than those for gasoline engines. The engine air filter must be changed more frequently as well.

The costs for car care and repairs in Farmington are similar. You may be thinking, wait:  You just told me that filters are more and have to be changed more regularly. True, but that is offset by the fact that diesel engines have a much longer lifetime than gasoline engines. So if you are the type of owner who prefers to hang on to a vehicle for a long time, you will be more than rewarded with a diesel engine.

So if you have been looking for Farmington auto advice on whether to switch to a diesel vehicle or stay with a gas-powered one, then we hope this helps. The answer as to which type of vehicle is better is that it depends on the driver and their driving habits. Now that you know the facts, you can make an informed choice based on your own priorities and needs.

 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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