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Archive for June 2023

Differential Service

Posted June 25, 2023 9:57 AM

When you're driving and turn a corner, you probably aren't aware of all that's going on with your wheels.  The outside wheels have a longer distance to travel than the inside wheels, so there are gears that allow the wheels to go at different speeds when you turn. 

That set of gears is called a differential.  In front-wheel drive vehicles, it's by the transmission and called a transaxle.  Rear-wheel drive vehicles have the differential, naturally, on the rear axle. Many all-wheel and four-wheel drives add a center differential since power has to go to the front and rear wheels. (Some newer vehicles power wheels with electric motors, but that's a whole different story.)

Time and distance traveled eventually can take their toll on the differential, and you may notice some noises you hadn't heard when your vehicle was newer.  Sometimes you'll hear a whir that might change in pitch when you turn.  You may hear clicking sounds when you're moving.  Others describe rumbling sounds coming from underneath during a turn. Another symptom of possible differential problems may be vibrations or shakes the faster you go. 

All of these could be signs that you have problems with a differential. One common cause of differential problems is the gears aren't getting enough lubrication.

These can all have serious effects on your driving.  You may find it hard to turn, or your wheels may lock up. That could put you or drivers around you in a dangerous position. 

It's better to take care of differential problems before they get too serious.  Bring in your vehicle so we can have a technician check yours out.  They can see if there are any differential fluid leaks or failing gaskets.  In some cases, we may recommend your differential fluid be replaced.  And if there are any mechanical issues, some components may need to be replaced as well. 

When your differential is maintained, you'll be doing your vehicle a good turn.  

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



Getting the Right Tires and Wheels in Farmington

Posted June 18, 2023 8:32 AM

A lot of people get custom wheels in Farmington. When you do this yourself (over the internet . . .) you could run into trouble if you're not careful. Sometimes, once they're mounted, they just don't fit right. The tires rub in turns or on bumps. You don't want that.

Consulting your Darrell's Firestone tire professional can ensure you get the right fit. First he'll ask you a series of questions about your Farmington driving needs and what you want in your new wheels. Now, not every wheel can go on every car. Care must be taken so that tires and wheels are not too large or that the wheel is centered too far towards the outside or the inside so the tires rub.

If you don't want to make any modifications to your vehicle, you would need to focus on the wheels that would fit. With trucks, some people in Farmington like much bigger tires so they need a suspension lift.

Also, most Farmington drivers don't realize that you need to keep the rolling diameter of your new tires – the overall height of the tire – very close to what came from the factory in order for your vehicle's anti-lock brakes and stability control systems to work properly.

The computers that control these systems are calibrated to a certain size tire. When you go bigger or smaller, the computer doesn't know what changes you made so it can't tell how fast you're going. This, of course, means it sends commands to the brakes and traction control that are based on the wrong speed. If you go with a different rolling diameter, your vehicle engine control computer can be reprogrammed for the new tire size.

Either way, there are hundreds of wheel and tire choices to choose from in MI. You can pick the style of wheel you want and then talk with your friendly and knowledgeable Darrell's Firestone tire professional about how big the wheel should be – and how to select the right tire for your vehicle. Your Darrell's Firestone service advisor will help you find the best tire to meet your style, performance, ride and handling needs in Farmington.

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



Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Wheel Bearings

Posted June 11, 2023 7:36 AM



Why are wheel bearings for Farmington vehicles important? It's simple: your wheel bearings keep the wheels on your vehicle. In today's Darrell's Firestone post, we'll discuss more about wheel bearings and how you can make sure they can do their very job while you drive around Farmington, MI.

Wheel bearings are pretty simple parts. They're made of high quality steel and are engineered to last 100,000 miles (160,000)  or more if properly cared for. The bearings do two jobs: First, they allow the wheel to freely rotate with as little friction as possible. Second, they support the weight of the vehicle. For example, if your car weighs 3,600 pounds (1600 kilogram), each wheel has to support approximately 900 pounds (400 kilograms). That's a lot of heavy lifting over those long distances.

Even though wheel bearings are pretty straightforward, they need to be in near perfect condition to do their job for Farmington vehicles. The bearings are packed with heavy grease to lubricate and protect them. A seal keeps the grease in and water and dirt out. It's when the seal starts to leak that problems begin. The grease can become contaminated, causing the wheel bearings to overheat and ultimately fail.

The first sign that your wheel bearings are in trouble is an unusual noise coming from a wheel. It could be a chirping, growling, rumbling or a cyclic sound. The noise could get louder or even disappear at certain speeds. Your technician at Darrell's Firestone can inspect for bearing wear by lifting the vehicle and checking for play in the wheel.

Now some wheel bearing assemblies are factory sealed. That means that they cannot be serviced – they can only be replaced. Those that aren't sealed can be serviced on schedule at Darrell's Firestone. The bearings are removed, cleaned and inspected. If the bearings are still good, they're re-installed – if not, they're replaced. They are then packed in grease and a new seal is installed.

If your vehicle has a factory sealed wheel bearing assembly, the entire assembly needs to be replaced when trouble arises. Unfortunately, the parts are pretty costly – but they usually last about 150,000 miles (240,000 kilometers) as long as the seals hold up.

Now, even a good seal cannot keep out water that's exerting pressure on the seal. So if you've driven through hub-deep water, your bearings should be cleaned and repacked if they're serviceable. If you have factory sealed bearings, you just need to watch for signs of premature failure. If your wheel bearings can be serviced, your manufacturer's owner's manual will recommend an interval, usually around 30,000 miles (50,000 kilometers).

If you have any sort of trailer, don't forget its wheel bearings. They probably need to be serviced even more frequently. This is especially true for boat trailers that are used to launch the boat by backing it into the water. These should be serviced every year, usually at the end of the season so that the bearings don't have the opportunity to rust all winter.

So what happens to Farmington vehicles if wheel bearings fail? Well, the wheel can literally fall off the vehicle. I don't need to tell you how that could be. So check with your service advisor at Darrell's Firestone and see if your vehicle's wheel bearings can be serviced and when it's recommended. Listen for warning signs. If you've been fording streams or puddle surfing after rainstorms, be especially vigilant.

Visit the automotive professionals at Darrell's Firestone for a wheel bearing inspection. 

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



Right or Left? Darrell's Firestone Power Steering Service

Posted June 4, 2023 7:44 AM

Have you ever driven a vehicle without power steering? If you have, then you probably appreciate how much easier it is to drive today's modern vehicles. Before power steering, all of the force to turn a vehicle had to come from the driver's arms. That's why old cars had such large steering wheels: they needed plenty of leverage to steer. There were some Farmington folks who had difficulty driving because they just weren't strong enough.

Power steering is now standard on all vehicles, but there are several ways that power can be delivered. Most vehicles use a hydraulic power steering system system. In this system, a serpentine belt from the engine powers a pump that pressurizes the power steering fluid. The pressure activates hydraulics that provides steering power.

Other vehicles use an electric pump to pressurize the power steering fluid rather than the belt-driven pump. Some newer vehicles actually have electric motors that provide steering power and don't use steering fluid at all, especially in the increasingly popular hybrid and electric vehicles.

Farmington drivers who own a vehicle that uses power steering fluid need to have it changed regularly. Over time, moisture accumulates in the power steering fluid, which affects steering performance and can corrode steering components. Dirt and other contaminants can also accumulate in the power steering fluid, which will also negatively affect steering performance. A good power steering service at Darrell's Firestone in Farmington will flush out the old fluid and get rid of dirt and other deposits in the system. Clean fluid will then be added. Fresh fluid provides lubricants that help protect the steering system as well as prevent corrosion.

For recommendations on how often your power steering fluid should be replaced, consult your owner's manual. It varies by vehicle model and manufacturer. For more auto advice on steering fluid changes—and other preventive maintenance—you can talk with your service advisor at Darrell's Firestone. You may need to change your fluid more often depending on the driving and weather conditions in your area.

Farmington drivers who believe in good vehicle care will add power steering service to their preventive maintenance schedule. This will prevent damage to your steering system and extend its working life. The old days of double-handed cranking on a huge steering wheel may be over, but our new comfort and convenience are not maintenance-free. Do yourself and your vehicle a favor. Keep the power steering fluid clean.

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



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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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