Archive for July 2023
A Clean Start (Battery Cleaning)Posted July 30, 2023 8:10 AM
Your vehicle is loaded with electrical devices. Computerized components are everywhere, so good electrical connections are important. Those begin with your vehicle's battery, so it's important that its connections are in top shape.
Ever had a flashlight that didn't work, took out the old batteries to replace them and noticed the old batteries were all corroded? The same thing can happen to your vehicle's battery.
The battery type used in most vehicles is a lead-acid, which can be very corrosive. Corrosion can build up around your battery's terminals that can prevent the electrical connection from being as solid as it needs to be. You may have even seen discoloration around your battery's terminals if you look under the hood, a sign of corrosion.
Or you might notice visible signs of fraying or loose battery cables. All of your vehicle's components are affected by vibrations from the engine and road surface imperfections, and the battery cables take a lot of jostling every time you drive. Frayed cables won't conduct as much electricity as intact ones. Plus, there's the possibility that a frayed cable may touch a piece of metal in the engine compartment that can cause shorts and other problems.
There are some signs to watch out for that might tell you if your battery terminals are corroded or your cables aren't making good contact with them. You might find your vehicle isn't starting as easily as it used to. You also might see the battery warning light illuminated on your dash. That light looks like a rectangle with a "-" and "+" sign inside.
Our technicians can make sure your battery and cables are at optimal operating capability with regular service and cleaning. A technician will clean the terminals and portions of the cables that are connected to them. They may also add an anti-corrosion agent to the cables/terminals. Nothing like giving your vehicle a clean start!
Automotive Tips from Darrell's Firestone: When to Replace Your Wiper BladesPosted July 23, 2023 8:48 AM
There are several important factors that go into how often Farmington drivers should replace their wiper blades. Of course, the more you use your wipers, the faster the blades will wear out – especially if you use them on an icy windshield. Whether it’s a lot of bugs and road grime from MI freeway driving or lots of wet weather – your blades get a work out and start to wear.
But your wiper blades break down even when they aren’t used frequently. They are damaged by sunlight and temperature changes as well. The rubber in the blades can dry out and crack and eventually fall apart. Check your wipers: If they’re not doing their important job, have them replaced at Darrell's Firestone in Farmington.
Talk to your Darrell's Firestone service advisor about how you drive - we can counsel you on the optimal blades for your needs.
A Head Start on Starting (Battery Testing)Posted July 16, 2023 9:06 AM
If your vehicle isn't starting or doesn't sound like it used to when you crank it, the culprit may be the battery. You may have left a light on, or something plugged into one of charging ports. Maybe you accidentally left your vehicle in the "on" or "accessory" position when you last got out. Maybe you've left it in the garage or driveway for a long time without starting it. That can spell the end for a vehicle battery.
It's also possible that your battery is just simply too old. There's no standard lifespan of a battery, but 3-5 years is about average, even though some people only get 2 and heavier duty batteries may last many more. It's possible your battery is defective, too. And it could be your vehicle's charging system isn't recharging the battery.
Whatever the cause, if you're having problems with your battery, it's a good idea to bring it in and have us perform a thorough battery test. With state-of-the-art testing equipment, a technician will see if there's a bad cell in the battery or if it can be recharged. We will also look at the date it was made.
At the same time, the technician will look at the whole charging system, including the alternator, starter, cables, and connections. From there, the service advisor can go through your options.
Your best chance of not getting stranded by a dead battery is to have your system checked as part of a regular maintenance plan. That should give you a head start on dependable starts.
In That Case? (Transfer Case Exchange)Posted July 9, 2023 9:47 AM
Ever wonder how all-wheel-drive or 4-wheel-drive vehicles get the power from the engine to the front and rear wheels? The magic happens in what's called a transfer case. In some all-wheel-drive vehicles, it's sometime called a power take-off unit, or PTU.
Inside the transfer case is a set of gears. And to keep those gears meshing smoothly, they have to be lubricated and kept cool. What does that is called transfer case fluid. Depending on your vehicle's type of transfer case, it is filled with either an automatic transmission fluid, a gear oil that's a bit thicker or transfer case fluid designed to be use for your transfer case.
As happens with all lubricating fluids, the transfer case fluid has things in it that break down the older they get. They have corrosion inhibitors, detergents and anti-foaming agents that keep the lubricant from getting air bubbles in it. Transfer cases don't have filters in them to clean out impurities.
If you don't have your transfer case fluid exchanged for fresh, you risk damage to the case, and that can run into thousands of dollars. So the wise driver makes sure the fluid is changed according to the manufacturer's recommendations. For many vehicles, that is every 30,000 mi/50,000 km, but some require it more frequently. Your vehicle service facility can advise you on what your vehicle's optimal interval is.
During the fluid exchange, any metal filings that may have come off are cleaned off of the drain and fill plugs that are usually magnetized to catch the stray metal pieces.
If you hear grinding noises coming from under your vehicle or if it is having trouble shifting gears or going in and out of 4-wheel-drive, those could be signs your transfer case needs service. In that case, have our technicians check it out. The best plan of action? Keep your transfer case fluid maintained and it should keep you heading down the road for years to come.
Put the Brakes On! (Brake Caliper Replacement)Posted July 2, 2023 11:08 AM
Keeping your vehicle's brakes in top shape is one of the most important things you can do for your safety and those on the road with you. Most drivers know a little about brake pads and rotors but maybe not so much about another brake component called the calipers.
Disc brakes work by a mechanical system that presses your brake pads against discs called rotors (you can usually see these discs through your wheels). The friction stops your vehicle smoothly when everything is working the way it should. The calipers use the hydraulic pressure of the brake fluid to apply the stopping power.
After they've been on your vehicle for a while, the calipers can get stuck or wear out. If calipers on one side of the vehicle work correctly and not on the other, you might feel a pull in one direction. You might feel the same kind of pull if the caliper is stuck and is applying constant pressure. You might hear scraping or squealing coming from a stuck caliper and you might smell burning on that side. The friction from a caliper that's always applying pressure may cause that wheel to heat up, so after you've pulled your vehicle off the road safely, the wheel with the stuck caliper will might feel hotter than the others
Because there are many different components to the brakes, it's best to leave the diagnosis and repair to a trained technician. They will run each wheel through a series of tests and inspections that can pinpoint the problem. Sometimes it involves more components than just the caliper that may need changing at the same time.
The best way to make sure your brakes will perform well is to is to have our service center perform regular inspections and follow the vehicle manufacturer's recommended service. That way your brakes will be ready, willing and able when you call on them to put a stop to things.
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