Archive for February 2023
Winter Watch List (Winter Maintenance Items)Posted February 26, 2023 8:18 AM
Don't love winter weather? Here's a list of four things you need to keep a watch on during the winter months.
Let's start with coolant levels. Coolant is as important in cold weather as it is in hot weather. Think of the term "anti-freeze." Your coolant needs to be adjusted for climate and temperature so the coolant doesn't freeze when the vehicle isn't running. Your service facility will know the right mixture.
Next, windshield wiper fluid. Winter weather can be challenging when it comes to visibility, so it's important to have the correct windshield washer fluid. Some of it is specially formulated for ice and freezing temperatures. And it won't freeze if your vehicle has to sit out in below-freezing temperatures. And don't forget you can get winter wiper blades that stay clearer in snowy, icy weather than ordinary blades.
Don't forget your tire pressure and tread. After all, tires are what connect your vehicle and the road. As temperatures go down, so does the air pressure inside your tires, so it's important to keep that up to the manufacturer's recommended pressure. Also, make sure your tires have enough tread so they can grip slippery roads. Any service facility can perform a simple test so you'll know. If you need some new tires, they can help you find those that will fit your driving patterns.
Finally, oil gets thicker when the temperatures go down, so it's important to have the proper viscosity for your climate. Consult your service advisor who will make sure your vehicle is using what the manufacturer recommends.
Keep your vehicle prepared for winter weather and it will reward you with the safety and performance it's designed for.
Darrell's Firestone Automotive Tips: Diagnostic ServicePosted February 19, 2023 11:49 AM
Imagine waking up one morning with a stomach ache. You pick up the phone, call the doctor’s office and say, “I’ve got a really bad tummy ache. How much will it cost to make me feel better?” Of course you wouldn’t do that. You know that there could be a lot of reasons for your symptoms and that the doctor will have to examine you, ask some questions and probably run some tests before she can tell you what’s wrong and give you treatment options.
This same scenario plays out every day at MI auto repair facilities. When the cause of the concern isn’t obvious, the car will need to undergo a diagnostic examination. The typical car has about 30,000 parts, including several networked computers and miles of wiring. Finding exactly what is wrong can be very complicated and take some time. The most experienced technicians at Darrell's Firestone in Farmington are the ones who tackle the difficult diagnostic jobs. Once they have determined the cause of the trouble, they can work out the plan for how to fix it and tell you how much it will cost.
All Lined Up (Alignment Inspection)Posted February 12, 2023 10:55 AM
When you head down a straight road, does your vehicle pull to one side? Do you feel vibration in any of the wheels? If you've noticed any of these things, it's probably time for you to get your wheel alignment checked.
When your vehicle left the factory, its wheels were parallel to each other and perpendicular to the ground. That maximizes traction for good steering and braking. Every time you take your vehicle on the road, normal wear and tear will affect your alignment. Hit a bump, a pothole or a curb and all those little knocks will add up
Bad alignment not only can cause your steering wheel to pull unevenly, it can also wear your tires out a lot faster than they should. In fact, if you look at your tires and see one side of the tread is a lot smoother than the other, it could be another sign of bad alignment.
Since different problems can cause similar symptoms, the first thing our trained technician will do is test drive your vehicle. Then, they'll check the front end and steering linkage as well as look for tire wear. Then, the technician will put your vehicle on a lift and use computerized diagnostic equipment to measure alignment angles so they can precisely align your vehicle's components.
There are different kinds of alignments. One is a front-end alignment that aligns components of the vehicle's front axle. Another is a thrust alignment that makes sure the front wheels are lined up with the direction the rear wheels are pointed. A third type is four-wheel alignment which is usually used on all-wheel drive and 4-wheel drive vehicles. It's also recommended for front-wheel drive vehicles that have independent rear suspensions. It makes sure the angles of all the wheels are where they should be relative to each other and also the vehicle's body or frame.
Your steering wheel should be perfectly centered if you are heading straight down the road, so the technician will adjust it so it is. Finally, they'll take your vehicle back on the road for a final test drive to make sure it's performing the way engineers intended.
Your service adviser can recommend how often you should have your alignment inspection, since it depends on the type of vehicle you drive (SUV, sporty car, etc.) and your driving environment. Properly aligned wheels can help your vehicle perform better and save you from expensive repairs down the road.
Weather Station on Wheels (Vehicle Sensor Maintenance)Posted February 5, 2023 7:38 AM
You probably never thought about it, but your vehicle is like a rolling weather station. It can check the outside temperature, let you know when the roads are slippery and help you deal with rain. And how it does all those things is pretty cool.
First, just like any weather station, a vehicle has sensors that measure the driving and weather conditions you find yourself in. Some of those sensors can control computerized systems in your vehicle to react to the weather. It depends on whether you have a 2-wheel, 4-wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle how those sensors will respond.
Let's start with temperature. Most vehicles now have a thermometer that measures the temperature outside. It's usually in the front, and likely will tell you on the instrument panel what the outside temperature measures. But a temperature sensor will also tell your vehicle's computers to turn on or off certain systems like the heating or air conditioning. If your ambient temperature sensor isn't working right, some symptoms are a malfunctioning automatic A/C or a temperature display that is way different than the app on your phone says it should be.
Your vehicle will also have sensors that measure your speed at each wheel. They work with an onboard computer to measure slippage in any of the wheels so traction control and antilock brakes work correctly in case of slick roads.
Your vehicle can measure something called longitudinal and latitudinal acceleration, and it uses a yaw sensor to do it. That helps it determine if you might be in an oversteering or understeering situation. It's important because it works with your vehicle's brakes to apply stopping power to keep you in control.
A steering wheel sensor tells the vehicle's computers what the driver is doing with the wheel. It also can work with those wheel sensors to measure how slippery the roads are, whether it be due to a wet (rain) or granular (gravel or sand) surface. By sending different torque or braking to each wheel, it helps the driver maintain control.
More and more vehicles now have a rain sensor that can turn on the wipers automatically when they measure precipitation on the windshield.
So, you're driving your own weather station, and making sure all this data is coming in properly depends on how each component is working. Regular service and maintenance on these systems is important to make sure they can do their job. Your rolling weather station can't predict the weather, but it can sure help you deal with it, so help it do its job right.
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