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Archive for December 2023

Busted: The Maintenance-Free Myth in Farmington

Posted December 31, 2023 10:37 AM

There's a segment of the Farmington area population that's not committed to proper vehicle maintenance. drive

Now, the ignition system in your vehicle is electronic and controlled by the engine management computer. Spark plugs rarely get fouled and will last for as much as 100,000 miles (160,000 kilometers). So tune-ups used to force you in to Darrell's Firestone for service, and while you were there you just took care of whatever else was on the list.

Also, in recent years, a large percentage of new vehicles in Farmington have been leased. These folks plan on turning the vehicle in after two or three years, so they haven't focused on the maintenance that helps a vehicle last longer.

Given all that, what's the benefit to keeping up with factory scheduled maintenance? Well, your vehicle will perform better and return better fuel economy.

Those benefits pay for themselves as they go along. The big plus is that major repairs are prevented. And these aren't just repairs that are a long way off. Modern vehicle engines are far more sophisticated and have many parts that are in critical need of proper lubrication. Missing just one oil change can allow oil sludge to start forming. Sludge clogs small engine passages, robbing parts of the lubrication they need. An expensive failure could easily occur within two or three years.

And modern engines require more sophisticated fluids. Because of the different types of materials that are used to make auto parts, things like aluminum, plastics and steel, different types of additives are required to protect automotive components from corrosion. These additives deplete with time as well as with use.

Taking care of the little things now prevents big problems later. At Darrell's Firestone, we have been taking care of all those little things for years. Your vehicle still needs to be taken care of – it's just that some of those points of care have changed with automotive advancements. The need for proper maintenance in Farmington drivers vehicles did not go away.

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



The Neglected Windshield (Windshield Care)

Posted December 24, 2023 4:05 AM

You look at it every day, yet you don't really see it.  We're talking about your vehicle's windshield, and if you're not seeing it at all, that's probably a good sign.  The fact is that unless our windshields get fogged up, hazy or cracked, we don't pay all that much attention to them.  Considering how vital front visibility is in a vehicle, paying a little more attention to your windshield will pay off in the long run.

Keep it clean!  In ancient times when gas stations had attendants who filled your tank for you, they used to clean the outside of your windshield while the fuel was being dispensed. In these days of self-serve gas, we don't have that luxury any more.  But it's a good idea to clean your windshield regularly, even when it's not filthy. If you let dirt build up on the outside, it acts like fine sandpaper when you turn on your wipers when the glass is dry. Really, try to avoid turning on your wipers unless your windshield is wet.  If you must use your wipers to clear off something like bird droppings, use your washers liberally to help avoid scratches.

It's also important to wash the inside of the windshield, too. Even if you're not a smoker, you might notice the inside glass sometimes get a greasy film on it.  That's the plastic inside your vehicle off-gassing petroleum products that they're made of.  A hazy windshield when you are driving directly into low sun can blind you.  Use soaps that are made for automotive glass since they won't streak or harm vehicle interiors.  Your service advisor can recommend some.

Keep an eye on your windshield wiper blades.  Let them go too long without replacing them and you might wind up with the metal wiper frame actually touching the glass, a recipe for major scratches when you turn your wipers on.

Finally, do a quick inspection every once in a while for chips in your windshield glass.  Catch them quickly and they can be repaired while they're still small.  Often they will spread into a major crack, and at that point you'll have to have the whole thing replaced. 

So there you have it. Give your windshield a little love and it will reward you back with a beautifully clear view of the road up ahead.

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



Bad Vibrations (Brake Rotor Replacement)

Posted December 17, 2023 6:04 AM

If you’ve ever stepped on your brake pedal and felt your vehicle vibrate, that’s a signal that you shouldn’t ignore.  A pulsating brake pedal is a sign that something is wrong.  Braking action should be smooth, sure, and quiet, not shaky and noisy.

Most newer vehicles have disc brakes, called that because they have a round, flat disc connected to each wheel.  Those discs are the rotors. Other parts called brake pads are squeezed against those discs when you press on the brake pedal.

Remember that vibration we mentioned? That can be caused by the rotor not having a straight, true surface. Rotors can heat up from friction and warp.  They can become thinner from constant wear.  Rotors can rust from the elements they’re exposed to, such as rain, snow ice, and salt.  They can get grooves in them from so many contacts with the pads. 

The signs of worn rotors are vibrations, grooves on the rotor (which you can see sometimes through open spots in the wheel) noise such as squealing or scraping when you brake, and increased stopping distance.   

While it used to be common for rotors to be machined (shaved down to restore their flat surface), newer vehicles have thinner rotors, so your service adviser may suggest you replace rotors when they start showing signs of significant wear.

Brakes are important safety equipment for every vehicle.  They enhance your control while driving, so it’s important that they be regularly inspected and maintained.  A good time is when you have your tires rotated. A technician can then look at all components of your brakes and recommend any service you may need to keep your brakes in top shape.

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



In a Fog (Fogged Windows in Cold Weather)

Posted December 10, 2023 10:03 AM

It's bad enough in cold weather when ice and snow block your visibility.  Add to that fog on the inside of your windows and you could be driving blind.  So here are a few tips on how to keep your windows from fogging up when there's a chill in the air.

You probably know fog is really condensation, when moist, warm air meets a cold surface and turns to liquid.  If your windshield fogs up, you probably turn on your windshield defroster. Most defrosters blow heated air on the windshield glass to warm it up so it won't condense the moisture.  Many also turn on the air conditioning to reduce the moisture. 

That same strategy can work on the rest of the windows.  First, turn up your heater's temperature setting.  The hotter the air, the more moisture it will hold.  Also, turn off the "recirculating" setting since you want all outside air to come in. Then switch on the air conditioning.  It will remove the moisture from the outside  air that it's blowing inside the cabin.  Try cracking a couple of windows to make it easier for the air to flow. This should do the trick pretty quickly. 

There's one other thing to try.  Many vehicles have electric heater elements embedded in the rear window glass (the rear window defroster) and in the outside rearview mirror glass. Make sure to turn those on, too; sometimes they're on the same switch.

For all of these things to work, of course, your vehicle's components have to be maintained so they'll do the things they're designed to do.  And you didn't think it was important to have your air conditioning working in the cold weather months! 

One final tip.  Keep the insides of your windows CLEAN.  Oil and dirt on the glass give the water molecules something to latch on to.  That ought to clear up this problem.

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



Exhaust Service at Darrell's Firestone in Farmington

Posted December 3, 2023 11:15 AM



Whenever they hear the term "exhaust service," most Farmington residents think about exhaust pipes and mufflers. Well, actually, exhaust service at Darrell's Firestone is a lot more comprehensive these days. For example, catalytic converters were mandated in 1976 and on-board emission control computers in 1990. Governmental emissions requirements have forced manufacturers to come up with much more sophisticated ways to comply with environmental regulations.

Exhaust service has really become exhaust and emissions service. High-tech computer controlled emissions devices are now a big part of exhaust service. Because it is so sophisticated, your recommends you have your emission system checked out by a qualified Farmington exhaust technician regularly to make sure everything is working right - usually every 6 months or 10,000 miles/16,000 kilometers.

If your Check Engine light comes on, especially if it's flashing, get your car looked at right away. Technicians at Darrell's Firestone in Farmington handle emission problems everyday. You might have exhaust or emissions trouble if your car is difficult to start, runs rough, is noisy or smoking. Call Darrell's Firestone at 248-477-9090 to schedule an appointment if you experience these problems.


Let's review the exhaust system. We will start from the top with the exhaust manifold. That is the part that attaches to the engine and collects the exhaust from the cylinders and directs it into the exhaust pipe. Exhaust gaskets help seal the connection with the manifold and various other joints along the way. If the manifold is cracked or loose or a gasket is leaking, gases could escape into the passenger compartment where you ride. Carbon monoxide can be deadly, so it is important that your exhaust system doesn't leak. The exhaust pipes connect the various components. They can rust or be damaged by a rock, so they need to be inspected periodically.

Next is the catalytic converter. This part looks like a muffler. It changes chemicals that are dangerous to your health and our Farmington environment into harmless carbon dioxide and water. It doesn't require any maintenance itself. But eventually they wear out. Farmington drivers find this out when their car fails an emissions inspection.

Now the muffler. Its main job is to quiet engine noises. Mufflers work by either absorbing or baffling sound. And you can actually customize your car's sound with different mufflers - anything from whisper quiet to bad-boy rumbley. Rusted or road-damaged mufflers can leak and need to be replaced right away. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Darrell's Firestone .

The exhaust system is attached to the vehicle by a series of hangers and clamps. These fasteners hold the system in place. When hangers come loose or break, hot exhaust components can touch and melt wires, hoses and lines.

Finally, we end at the tailpipe. This is the final outlet for the exhaust. These can be plain-Jane or pretty flashy. Also, the oxygen sensors monitor the oxygen content of the exhaust so the engine control computer can adjust the fuel-to-air mix to keep the car running right.

Exhaust and emissions service at Darrell's Firestone in Farmington covers plain old pipes and high-tech computers. It impacts everything from life-and-death safety due to exhaust leaks to fine-tuning the sound of your ride.

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



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What our clients are saying about us

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

Honest work, no games good service. quotes-image
, 01/18/2024
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Had an appointment to have 4 new tires installed. Was told on arrival that it might take longer than usual due to staffing issue. Decided to wait anyway. I made it a bit more complicated by bringing extra wheels for the new tires. Waiting area is clean and pleasant. They understood what I wanted and handled it with no confusion. Job was completed within estimated time. I will be back.quotes-image
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