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Archive for March 2023

Relax When the Wind Blows in MI: Winter Car Prep for Farmington Drivers

Posted March 26, 2023 8:36 AM

When autumn comes around in Farmington, leaves fall, nights get longer and there's a definite nip in the air. Time to unpack the boots and gloves and fold some extra blankets onto the beds. It's also time for Farmington drivers to winterize their vehicles.

Here is some expert auto advice for Farmington drivers on what vehicles need to keep everyone safe and rolling throughout the MI winter months.

1. Check your antifreeze. Top it off or change it if necessary. You don't want your radiator, engine or hoses freezing up. If your vehicle isn't generating enough heat to keep you warm, your antifreeze might be low, or you might have a thermostat problem. Either way, you should get it checked out before the full force of MI winter sets in. If you are due for a cooling system service at Darrell's Firestone in Farmington, get that done as well.

2. Check your brakes. The slushy wet conditions of winter increase stopping distances. Ice exacerbates the problem. Your first concern, of course, is to make sure you adapt your driving habits to winter weather: slow down, and give yourself plenty of room to stop. Get your brakes checked at Darrell's Firestone and replace any worn pads or other parts. Check your brake fluid. It can accumulate moisture and decrease your stopping power.

3. Test your battery. A battery's cranking power drops in the cold, so if your battery is already weak, the onset of winter will do it in. The last thing you want is to be on a snowy MI road in the dark and cold with a dead battery.

4. Pack emergency supplies. Toss a blanket into the trunk. If you do find yourself stranded, your first concern will be to stay warm. If you're traveling away from MI population centers, then pack some emergency food and water as well. Also, it's a good idea to top off your tank in winter. That way, if you get stuck, you'll have some fuel to burn to stay warm, and it'll keep your gas lines from freezing up.

5. Check your wiper blades. They may be able to handle a light Farmington summer rain shower, but they might not be up to the ice and snow that collect on a windshield in winter. If you experience particularly harsh winters or really wet ones, you can purchase special blades that resist freezing. And don't forget to top off your wiper fluid.

6. Check your tires. Tires lose pressure over time, but they lose pressure fast when it's cold outside in Farmington. Tires lose about one pound of pressure every six to eight weeks; they also lose one pound of pressure for every 10°F/5.6°C drop in temperature. If the last time you checked your tires it was 80°F/26.7°C outside and it's 40°F/4.4°C now, your tires could be down five pounds in pressure — and that's serious. It's a safety issue and cuts down on your fuel economy.

7. Driving conditions in the Farmington area may warrant special winter tires. Check with your friendly and knowledgeable Darrell's Firestone tire professional to get the right tires for your area and for your driving habits. If you are getting winter tires, it's always best to get them for all four wheels. But if you're only going to get two, put them on the rear wheels, even if you drive a front-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicle. Traction is more important on the rear of a vehicle if you want to prevent sliding or fish-tailing on slick surfaces.

So there you have it: a quick checklist to winterize your car in MI. When it comes to car care, preventive maintenance is always the best practice for Farmington drivers, especially when it comes to winter weather. None of us want to be caught out in the winter cold.

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



Motor Oil?The Synthetic Advantage (Synthetic oil vs Conventional)

Posted March 19, 2023 8:58 AM

You’ve probably already heard that regular oil changes are extremely important for the health of your vehicle’s engine. That’s sound advice.  But what you might not know is when it comes to motor oil, the real thing may not be the best thing for your engine.

There are different types of motor oil:

  • Conventional oil, extracted from the ground and refined.
  • Synthetic oil, manufactured from high-quality base oils and artificially-made chemical compounds.
  • Synthetic oil blend, a mixture of conventional and synthetic oils.

The first thing you need to know is that most new engines require synthetic oil.  If synthetic oil is recommended for your car – you MUST use it.

For the rest, there are many advantages to using synthetic oil over conventional oil.

  • Synthetic oil provides better protection for your engine while helping it to perform better.
  • Conventional oil breaks down over time, while synthetic oil lasts longer.
  • Synthetics can stand higher temperature extremes, both heat, and cold.

Synthetic oil can be a better choice if you live in an extremely hot or cold climate or put a lot of strain on your engine by towing or carrying heavy loads.  It also may be good for older engines that sometimes have a tendency to develop sludge.

Synthetic oil is a more expensive option, but you likely won’t have to have your oil changed as often.  Some synthetics are recommended to last 10,000-15,000 miles/16,000-24,000 km between changes.

You might also consider a synthetic blend that gives you some of the advantages of synthetic oil at a lower cost. Have a talk with your service adviser about recommendations for what will best suit your vehicle and driving habits.

It’s interesting to note that in recent years, more than one out of two vehicle owners are opting for synthetic oil or a synthetic blend when they get their oil changed. Sounds like they’re on to something. In the long run, if you have fewer oil changes with synthetics, you’ll use less oil, a bonus for our environment.

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



Improve Your Night Vision When Driving in Farmington

Posted March 12, 2023 7:25 AM

Night driving in Farmington is not as safe as daylight driving as evidenced by the increased accident rate at night. Much of that is simply because it's dark outside.

Visibility is important to safe driving. Ninety percent of our driving decisions are based on what we see. And at night, we just can't see as much as we can during the day. In fact, if you have 20/20 vision during the day, your night vision is only 20/50. To translate, that means that an object you can clearly see 50 feet away during daylight, only becomes visible to you at 20 feet at night.

Reaction time is also related to visibility. Farmington motorists don't react to a situation until they see it. So at night, we're reacting to situations later just because it takes longer to see them. But we don't have to stop driving at night to stay safe. We just need to practice some preventive maintenance and vehicle care that will maximize our night vision.

The most crucial item that helps us see while driving at night is, of course, our headlamps. Farmington drivers should ensure that their headlamps are as bright as they can be. Headlamps dim over time, but they do it so gradually that it's difficult to notice. Because of this, experts recommend replacing headlamps once a year.

That's good auto advice for Farmington drivers, but it doesn't apply to all headlamps. Some vehicles use HID, or high-intensity discharge, headlamps. These are bright headlamps that are designed to last for the entire life of a vehicle. Depending on your vehicle, you may be able to upgrade to HID headlamps. Consult with your friendly service advisor at Darrell's Firestone to learn your options.

Most vehicles use standard or halogen headlamps. If you use standard headlamps, you might want to upgrade to halogen, which offers a brighter headlight. Halogen headlamps come in a variety of grades, so evaluate your options the next time you replace your headlamps and upgrade if you want a better light.

It won't do much good to upgrade or replace your headlamps, however, if your headlight lens is dirty or yellowed. Studies have shown that about 90% of the vehicles on the road have impaired headlights due to dirty or yellowed headlight covers. You should get into the habit of washing your headlights every time you gas up. Simply grab the window washer squeegee, run it over your windows, then swish it across your covers. No cost involved at all.

Plastic headlamp lenses yellow or become hazy over time. If your lenses have this problem, they can be restored with a special polishing process. You may be able to get this done at your Farmington service center. If not, they should be able to tell you where you can.

Now, what good is a quality headlamp if you can't see through your windshield? Your windshield needs to be clean and streak-free if you plan on driving at night in Farmington. You should also keep your windshield washer fluid replenished and your wipers in good condition.

Wiper blades should actually be replaced twice a year. The changing of the seasons at spring and fall, or Daylight Saving Time, can be a good reminder to do this. And while you're at it, fall is the perfect time to replace your headlamps. Those long winter nights add up to a lot more night driving for people in Farmington.

Stay alert. Stay awake. And keep those headlamps burning bright.

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



Muffler: Victim of Winter (Muffler Repair)

Posted March 5, 2023 7:43 AM

So you almost got through the winter until, one day, your muffler started sounding like a dragster, loud and obnoxious.  It's not surprising.  All that road salt and brine can cause rust to punch holes in a muffler, and that should raise a big, red warning flag about the safety of your vehicle.

One big concern is carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas that can drift into your cabin if your muffler is leaking. You've probably heard about people whose home furnaces have leaked carbon monoxide and overcome families inside.  Carbon monoxide can first cause you to feel dizzy and nauseous.  It can even render you  unconscious—even kill you.  So if your vehicle's muffler is leaking that gas, well, it's nothing to mess around with.

Oh, and how about that noise? You may get a ticket since many municipalities have laws against noisy exhausts. 

Your muffler may be making a clunking or rattling sound when the engine's running or it may be spewing thick exhaust smoke.  All of these symptoms are telling you to get to your vehicle service facility soon.  A technician may find it's the muffler or another part of your exhaust system that is coming apart or is busted. 

Sometimes the repair can be as simple as replacing a section of pipe or clamps, but sometimes you'll need to replace more components.  Your service advisor can recommend several different options to try to help you meet your performance and budgetary needs. 

You'll drive out with a vehicle that doesn't sound like a teenager trying to hotrod the family car, is a whole lot safer and sounds a lot less obnoxious in the process.


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



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

Friendly, knowledge staff. Great service! quotes-image
, 04/26/2024
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I had two separate repairs done at Darrel's Firestone Farmington Mi. my 2007silverado had a driveshaft rebuilt. And next job was a fuel pump install. Truck runs and drives good. I'm pleased with Darrel's Firestonequotes-image
, 03/29/2024
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