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Archive for July 2022

Watching Your Check Engine Light

Posted July 31, 2022 10:47 AM

Did you know that most of the cars driving around Farmington, MI, carry more computer power than the Apollo 121 Lunar Module that landed on the moon in 1969?

New cars sold in the Farmington area have as many as 12 networked computers and over five miles (eight kilometers) of wiring. In fact, for the last decade or so, auto computers have been controlling about 85 percent of your vehicle's functions.

Cars have sensors for manifold air temperature, coolant temperature, manifold air pressure, airflow, throttle position, vehicle speed and oxygen content. All of this electronic wizardry is pretty complicated. So how do Farmington drivers know when there is a problem?

It's simple; the Check Engine light comes on. The computer monitors all the sensors and uses that information to decide what to adjust such as the fuel mix, spark timing and idle speed. In addition, the computer monitors its own circuits. When it finds a fault, it turns on the Check Engine light and stores a trouble code in the computer.

It can be pretty disturbing for Farmington drivers when the Check Engine light comes on. We wonder just how urgent it is. Generally speaking, it is not critical like a temperature or oil pressure light. When you get one of those it means STOP NOW! When the Check Engine light shows up, you should come in to Darrell's Firestone in Farmington to find out what the matter is as soon as possible.

Since 1996, there has been a strong emissions control component to the Check Engine diagnostic. But if your Check Engine light flashes on and off, you know that it is more urgent and you need to get it checked immediately to prevent damage. You should slow down and avoid towing or heavy loads until you can get it checked out.

Your friendly and knowledgeable technicians at Darrell's Firestone have special diagnostic equipment that will retrieve the trouble code from the computer and help him determine what is wrong. From there, we can fix it and get you back on the road.

Stop by if you're Check Engine light is on.

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



Darrell's Firestone: Why Replace Your Engine Air Filter?

Posted July 24, 2022 7:36 AM

Just as our bodies need clean air to function properly, your vehicle engine needs clean air to operate efficiently. Let's go egghead for a minute. For every gallon of gas we burn driving on Farmington streets, 20 pounds of carbon dioxide comes out the tailpipe. Question: how can a gallon of gas that weighs a little over six pounds produce 20 pounds of carbon dioxide?

The answer is that the carbon comes from the gasoline, but the oxygen comes from the air. You see, it takes about 12,000 gallons of air to burn a gallon of gas in your engine. Clearly, your vehicle needs a lot of air to keep going in Farmington. A lot of clean air is best.

drive

You've seen the pictures of people in Japan wearing face masks. They want some kind of filter to keep unwanted pollution and germs out of their lungs. Well, your vehicle also works better when its internals are clean. When your vehicle air filter is dirty, it simply can't trap any more dirt, so the pollutants just pass through into your air intake system. From there it can clog your fuel injectors and even get into the motor itself. Not surprisingly, burning dust and pollen in your vehicle engine does you no good.

Replacing a dirty air filter at Darrell's Firestone in Farmington can improve your fuel economy by up to 10 percent. At today's Farmington fuel prices, you should be able to pay for a new air filter before your next oil change.

The verdict: When your vehicle engine air filter needs to be replaced; it needs to be replaced. How often depends entirely on the level of air pollution where you drive in MI. A simple visual inspection at Darrell's Firestone in Farmington will tell you when you need a new engine air filter.

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




Something to Latch On To (Hood Latch Safety)

Posted July 17, 2022 8:50 AM

The other day, a driver was trying to open his vehicle's hood so he could add some windshield washer fluid.  But when he pulled the hood release inside the car, nothing happened. 

Usually, opening any hood is a 2-step process.  You pull the hood release (which is usually a handle under the dashboard to the left of the steering column) and listen for the hood to pop up slightly. (It doesn't open all the way because it has a safety latch to prevent you from accidentally opening it up while you're driving.) Then, you get out and find the latch, usually through the grille near the hood.  There's a little handle on it which you push, slide or pull (there are a few different types) at which point the hood can be opened up all the way. 

But in this driver's case, the hood would not release at all when he pulled the handle inside.  Not knowing what to do, he called his service advisor, who told him to bring it over.  The reason? A hood with a broken latch could be a safety hazard since it is possible it's not securely closed. And in this condition, it's possible for the hood to suddenly release while you are driving, obscuring your view of the road. 

Latch issues can be caused by many things, perhaps a broken cable between the hood release and the latch.  It's possible that cable just detached or frayed after being opened so many times.  If a hood release cable isn't kept lubricated, it can corrode and just lock up.

In this driver's case, the cable had corroded and broken, so it had to be replaced.  Unfortunately, many times you won't know you have a problem with your hood latch until one time you pull it and it breaks without warning.  When your vehicle is in for routine maintenance like an oil change, a technician will often keep an eye out for signs that your hood latch needs attention so you don't get "locked" out of your engine compartment.

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



Keep Your Cool in Farmington

Posted July 10, 2022 10:17 AM

Farmington drivers rely on their vehicle's coolant system to keep their engine cool. Coolant (also called antifreeze) mixed with water flows through your vehicle engine and absorbs heat. The mixture then flows out to the radiator where it's cooled by air flowing over the radiator. From there the coolant/water mix circulates back through the engine to absorb more heat.

There's a reason we mix coolant and water. Water alone actually does a good job transferring heat from the engine. The problem is that water boils at a temperature that's easily reached inside your vehicle's engine, so it can turn to steam which does not conduct heat as well and is harder to contain.

Also, if it's freezing outside in Farmington, the water in your engine could freeze while your vehicle is sitting out in the MI cold.

So, if you remember your high school chemistry, you'll know that a mixture has both a higher boiling point and a lower freezing point than either component alone.

Coolant, or antifreeze, is specially formulated to keep your engine safe in a wide range of environmental and operating temperatures in and around Farmington.

Whenever your vehicle is running, the coolant in the cooling system is working to keep your engine from overheating. When it's cold outside, the coolant acts as antifreeze to keep the fluid from freezing in your engine.

All that exploding fuel in your engine creates a lot of heat. Without coolant, the metal vehicle engine parts would expand so much that the engine would seize up and stop running. The parts could be broken or warp so badly they would have to be replaced. It could even be so bad that the whole vehicle's engine is ruined and has to be junked.

This is why it is critical that Farmington drivers check coolant levels frequently and have their vehicle's cooling system inspected for leaks. Also your vehicle has a maintenance requirement for draining and replacing your coolant. These recommendations can vary widely, so check your owner's manual or ask us at Darrell's Firestone in Farmington.

The reason Farmington drivers need to change the coolant is that it has additives in it to protect the cooling system. As you can imagine, with all the heat, the cooling system's a pretty harsh environment. The additives keep the fluid from becoming corrosive and damaging the radiator and other vehicle cooling system components. Over time, the additives are depleted and the coolant just has to be replaced.

Many Farmington auto owners ask our advisors at Darrell's Firestone why there are different colors of antifreeze. It is very important that you use the correct type of antifreeze. The different types of antifreeze – or coolant – are different colors so you don't mix them up.

They use different materials to make the cooling system, and they require different types of antifreeze to protect them.

So check with us at Darrell's Firestone in Farmington or your owner's manual for the right kind because using the wrong coolant can void the warranty for your vehicle cooling system.

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



"Current" Affairs (Blown Fuses)

Posted July 3, 2022 7:05 AM

You may be driving along and find that suddenly your radio stops working.  There are no numbers on the display.  Then when you get home, you notice the garage door opener doesn't do a thing when you press the button. Hmm, this was working just fine this morning.  Are the two problems somehow related?

 

No, your vehicle doesn't need an exorcism. This has all the signs of an electrical issue, and when you experience symptoms like those, you've probably blown a fuse.  Most vehicles have fuses just like most houses have circuit breakers (some houses still have fuses). They cut the power when it reaches a pre-determined threshold that could cause major damage if it was allowed to continue.  You might say fuses take one for the team.

Most modern automotive fuses are plastic with a thin strip of metal in them designed to melt when a calibrated amount of power passes through.  The philosophy is it's better for an inexpensive fuse to be destroyed than your sound system or your engine's main computer.

It can be tricky to figure out what fuse has blown and why.  Modern vehicles have many computerized electronic components; they can easily be damaged if too much electricity gets to the wrong spot.  At Darrell's Firestone in Farmington, we have technicians trained to trace which fuse has blown and why.

While sometimes a simple fuse replacement will fix the problem, other times there may be some other electrical component that has failed, causing the circuit overload.  Our technicians have special equipment to track down where the power problems are, get to the root of the problem and fix it at the source.

Keep in mind, fuses are there to protect your vehicle. And when they shut down your radio, garage door opener, vanity mirror or anything else, just be thankful they're doing their job. They may have saved you from a much more expensive repair. They've sent an important signal to you about your electrical system.  That's why it's good to keep up with "current" affairs.

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
, 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
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