• The Maintenance Free Myth

    2017-12-11 03:15:03

    Sometimes we hear people in Ann Arbor say, "What's up with all this maintenance stuff? Modern cars just don't break down." While it is true that today's vehicles are extremely reliable, they are also becoming increasingly complicated and use more exotic materials than ever before. All that complexity demands higher tolerances for everything. For example, most Ann Arbor drivers don't realize how high tech automotive fluids have become,  fluids such as engine oil, transmission fluid, coolant and brake fluid.

    Did you know that a modern engine would not run for more than a few months using motor oil formulas from 30 years ago? Today's automotive fluids contain a much higher percentage of additives to protect your vehicle's components from premature wear and corrosion. Time and distances march on for all of our cars. Please don't think we're using scare tactics to get you to take care of your maintenance - but here are some personal stories we've heard to emphasize and show how important it is to get things done when they are due. Names are withheld to avoid embarrassment to those who should know better. Even though they should know better, it usually comes down to real life: time and money. But they are tales of a stitch in time saves nine.

    The first comes from someone who bought a used pick-up truck for his son. The oil was clean and all the fluids were topped off. A short time later, the truck overheated on a highway in Michigan and shut down. The repair shop diagnosed the problem: the radiator pan was corroded and dumped the coolant. Even though the coolant level was correct, it was clear that the coolant had never been completely replaced - just topped off from time to time. While this kept the engine cool, all of the anti-corrosion additives had worn out; the coolant became acidic and ate through the radiator pan. The cost: hundreds of dollars and four days in the shop. This demonstrates the need to get your coolant exchanged on schedule.

    Another story involves the true cost of skipping an annual inspection. This guy took his SUV in for the Michigan safety inspection to renew his registration. At the Ann Arbor inspection station, he learned that the law had changed and that his newer rig only required an inspection every two years. He was very happy to save the money. The problem was, his rear brake pads were very worn. Two months later, it was bad enough that he could hear the grind - over the radio, DVD player and the kids. He took it in to get the bad news. Both of the rear brake rotors were damaged. The left one could be resurfaced. The right had to be replaced. So saving a little on his safety inspection turned into an extra $500 over what brake pad replacement would have been. Moral of the story for Ann Arbor drivers: don't skip your annual inspections. The irony is that many Ann Arbor service centers would have done a brake inspection for free.

    Next: a teenage daughter and a curb. Daddy's little princess smacked a curb when she turned into a shopping center and popped the tire. The problem came when Dad didn't get an alignment. The impact was hard enough to ruin the tire - so it was enough wreck the alignment. But instead of an alignment after the first tire, Papa ended up buying a second tire a few months later - and then an alignment.

    Situation: son and wife with cars from the same vehicle manufacturer with essentially the same engine. Our staffer checked the son's maintenance schedule and saw that it needed a timing belt replacement at 90,000 miles/145,000 km. He had it done - it cost several hundred dollars. His wife's car had about 60,000 miles/97,000 km, so it should be ok for a while. Right? Wrong. The problem was that the wife had the turbo charged version. Its belt was scheduled for replacement at 60,000 mi/97,000 km. At 63,000 mi./101,000 km, the belt snapped on the interstate. The valves all crashed down into the cylinders at high speed, the entire head was shredded and it had to be replaced. The cost: several thousand dollars. Does he wish he had checked the vehicle manufacturer’s maintenance schedule? You bet he does - every time he passes a big-screen TV.

    The team at Convenience Auto Service in Ann Arbor recommends taking care of little things before they become big things. And when you take care of the little things, you can make your car run better.  Plus, it is more economical to operate in Michigan. Remember to save those maintenance records. It'll show potential buyers that you've taken care of your vehicle and it will help you get a better price. Or when you buy a used car, check those records. If there aren't any, assume that the maintenance hasn't been done and take it to Convenience Auto Service in Ann Arbor for an inspection. Take care of unperformed routine maintenance sooner rather than later.

    Convenience Auto Service
    2280 W. Liberty Street
    Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103
    734-769-0170

  • Keep Your Tires Well Rounded in Ann Arbor: Tire Rotation and Wheel Balancing at Convenience Auto Service

    2017-12-06 07:11:03

    Taking care of our tires is part of vehicle care for Ann Arbor drivers. We know they have to be replaced when they wear out, but tires also require some preventive maintenance. This maintenance will improve and extend the life of the tires, so it's well worth the effort and expense for Ann Arbor drivers to get it done. Tire maintenance includes keeping tires properly inflated, rotating tires and balancing wheels.

    The recommended tire pressure for a vehicle's tires is printed on a sticker on the inside of the driver's side doorjamb. A lot of engineering goes into calculating the correct pressure, so it's an important number for Ann Arbor vehicle owners to know. Not following this recommendation can throw off the suspension system and can lead to tire damage. Underinflated tires wear out more quickly than properly inflated tires. Vehicles also get better traction and handling on properly inflated tires. Check your tire pressure at least once a week and add air if necessary.

    Don't be tempted to add a bit of extra air to your tires when you fill them. Overinflated tires will cause the center tread to wear unevenly because of improper contact with the road. It will also affect the handling performance of your vehicle.

    Rotating tires allows all four tires on a vehicle to wear evenly. Front tires get more wear than rear tires because they do most of the work on turns. Tire rotation allows all of the tires to spend time on the front of the car so they all experience the extra wear.

    For most vehicles, tire rotation is simply a matter of moving the front tires to the rear and vice versa. Some vehicles, however, recommend a cross-rotational pattern. Other vehicles use asymmetrical tires, which means the right tires have to stay on the right side of the vehicle and the left tires on the left. Some vehicles use differently sized wheels on the front and back of the car and should not have their tires rotated.

    What kind of rotation do you need? Check your owner's manual or talk to your service advisor at Convenience Auto Service. Your owner's manual will have information about how to rotate your vehicle's tires as well as letting you know how often you should get it done. For most vehicles, that's usually every 5,000 miles or 8,000 kilometers Your friendly and knowledgeable Convenience Auto Service professionals can also offer auto advice about tire rotation. A quick tire inspection can also indicate whether or not your tires are due to be rotated.

    When it comes to tire maintenance for Ann Arbor drivers, wheel balancing is usually what we know least about. Balancing a wheel is necessary to keep it in constant contact with the road. If a tire is not balanced properly, it actually hops along the roadway. You can feel this hopping as a vibration in your steering wheel if the unbalanced tire is a front tire. You'll feel the vibration through your seat if a rear tire is unbalance. Properly balancing your tires is important and will extend their life span, improve handling and improve the safety of your vehicle. When you replace your tires, the new tires need to be balanced.

    Never use different sized tires on the same axle of a vehicle. In other words, your front tires need to be the same size and your rear tires need to be the same size. Mixing sizes can lead to some serious handling problems for Ann Arbor drivers.

    If you have an all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle, all four tires need to be the same size. If your tires are wearing out, you can sometimes make a new tire purchase fit within your budget by only buying two tires at a time. When you do this, the new tires should be installed on the rear of the vehicle. Rear tires are more in need of the traction than your front tires to avoid spinning out on slippery surfaces. If you drive a vehicle around Ann Arbor, you need tires, so you need to know how to care for them. The safety of your vehicle can depend on the condition of your tires.

    Convenience Auto Service
    2280 W. Liberty Street
    Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103
    734-769-0170

  • How to Get Better Gas Mileage in Ann Arbor

    2017-11-28 09:54:03

    There is no escaping it: things work better when you take care of them. Something most of us in Ann Arbor can relate to is our computers. You've probably noticed how they get slower and slower over time. It takes longer to start up and programs take forever to load. Eventually, many of us just get a new computer at our nearest Ann Arbor computer store. But computer experts know that there are things you can do to delay the need for a new computer purchase. You can run utilities that clean off temporary files and clean your memory registry. You can optimize your hard drive and a number of other things.

    What you're doing is maintaining your computer to make it efficient. It's the same thing with your vehicle. You maintain it to make it more efficient. It works the way it was designed to and that means it uses less fuel while you drive around Ann Arbor. And you save money.

    To help organize our discussion, let's think of things that rob us of fuel economy in two ways: increased friction and inefficient fuel combustion.

    Friction. Anything that increases friction increases drag or load on the vehicle engine. It has to work harder to overcome the drag – and that takes more fuel. The first thing that comes to mind is engine oil. Low oil means there's not enough to fully lubricate the engine so there's more friction. Dirty oil won't lubricate as well as clean oil. The same principles apply to transmission fluid. Getting your oil changed and transmission serviced on schedule at Convenience Auto Service will reduce friction and help you get better fuel economy.

    Another friction related problem is underinflated tires. When your vehicle tires are low on air, it's like driving on Michigan highways through sand – your vehicle has to work harder to move every mile. Check your tire pressure at least once a month.

    Wheels out of alignment and dragging brakes also increase friction. And your tires and brake pads will wear out much sooner as well. At Convenience Auto Service, we provide quality brake and wheel alignment services.

    Let's move on to Fuel. You have to get the right amount of clean fuel to the combustion chamber at precisely the right time. A dirty fuel system has varnish and gum interfering, and the fuel injectors may be unable to deliver the correct amount of fuel at the right pressure  and in the spray pattern — that the engineers intended. A vehicle fuel system cleaning at Convenience Auto Service will get all of that working right and really improve fuel economy.

    Replacing your fuel filter on schedule will help keep your fuel clean. Replacing a sticky PCV valve will allow unburned fuel from the engine to be returned to the intake system to be used. Replacing worn spark plugs will burn your fuel as efficiently as possible.

    All of these things can help you save money on gas at Ann Arbor pumps.

    Give us a call.

    Convenience Auto Service
    2280 W. Liberty Street
    Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103
    734-769-0170

  • Fuel Saving Tip: Tire Pressure Saves Fuel in Ann Arbor

    2017-11-21 08:38:03



    Underinflated tires waste gas for lots of folks in the Ann Arbor area. Think how hard it is to walk in sand – you just have to work harder because of the resistance. When your tires don't have enough air in them, their rolling resistance is dramatically increased and it simply takes more gas to get from here to there.

    Always check your tire pressure when you gas up at one of our local Ann Arbor service stations. If they're low – even just a little bit – bring them up to proper pressure. There's a sticker on the inside of your driver's door that gives the manufacturer's recommended tire pressure.

    And don't rely on your tire pressure monitoring system to alert you to when you need more air. The TPMS system is set to warn you when pressure drops 20 percent below recommendations. That's severely underinflated and you needed more air a long time ago. And if you have a slow leak – get it fixed right away at Convenience Auto Service.

    Get some air and save some gas.

    Convenience Auto Service
    2280 W. Liberty Street
    Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103
    734-769-0170

  • Stop It! You Need Good Brakes

    2017-11-12 03:01:03

    Good brakes are obviously very important. If you've ever had your brakes go out while you're driving around the Ann Arbor area, you'll know how terrifying it can be. Today we'll focus on how to tell when you have a brake problem and how to make good repair choices.

    Often, the first indication that something's wrong with the brakes is an unusual sound. It could be a squeal, chatter or grinding sound.

    Some brake pads have a little piece of metal embedded in them that will make a squeal or chirping sound when the brake pads have been worn down to the point that they need to be replaced. It's an early warning indicator.

    When you hear that sound, schedule an appointment at Convenience Auto Service soon.

    Now a chattering sound is more urgent. That usually indicates that something is loose. It could be a brake pad or even the brake calipers. If one of those parts falls off, you could have some serious trouble stopping the vehicle. It would be a good idea to park it until you can get into the shop.

    A grinding noise usually means that the brake pad is completely worn away and the metal parts of the brake are rubbing directly on the metal brake rotor. That means the rotor is being damaged and will need some work. More on that later.

    Another warning sign is that your brake pedal may feel soft and spongy – or it may even feel very hard to push in. Both could mean trouble. And of course, you may get a dashboard brake warning light.

    Now when it comes time to replace your brake pads, you have a choice to make. You can get the same pads that came standard on your vehicle. You can expect the same performance and durability as with the pads that came on the car from the factory.

    Now you can also get a budget brake pad. Sometimes Ann Arbor drivers insist on lower cost pads. That's OK if the budget demands it, but you need to be aware of the tradeoffs. Lower grade pads are usually noisier, so you'll have to live with more noise when you apply the brakes. They also tend to generate a lot more brake dust, you know, that black dust that accumulates on your wheels. And they probably won't last as long either. In our opinion, that's a lot of compromise for just a few dollars in savings.

    You can also choose to buy premium brakes pads at Convenience Auto Service. These perform at higher specifications than the factory pads. You can expect quieter operation, less brake dust and better stopping power.

    Now, getting back to the rotors. The rotors are the discs that the brake pads clamp down on to stop the vehicle. If you've been driving with completely worn brake pads, you've scratched grooves into the rotors. If the grooves aren't too deep, the rotor can be resurfaced. A thin layer of metal is cut off the surface of the rotor to make it smooth again.

    Now, if the grooves are too deep or if the rotor has already be resurfaced before, there may not be enough material to resurface and still have a rotor that's thick enough to safely stop the vehicle. In that case, the rotor will have to be replaced.

    Something that's often overlooked is the brake fluid. Your manufacturer has a recommended schedule for evacuating the old brake fluid, cleaning the system and refilling it with fresh brake fluid. This is really important to brake performance.

    So here's the bottom line: if you suspect, inspect. If you notice any of these warning signs, have your brakes inspected at Convenience Auto Service in Ann Arbor. Your service advisor can help you make the repair decision that's right for you.

    Convenience Auto Service
    2280 W. Liberty Street
    Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103
    734-769-0170

  • Battery Replacement at Convenience Auto Service in Ann Arbor

    2017-11-07 05:49:04

    Hello, welcome to Convenience Auto Service. Today's focus is batteries. It seems like everything in Ann Arbor runs on batteries. Of course, the batteries we're most concerned with here at Convenience Auto Service are those in our customer's vehicles. Just like the batteries in our smoke detectors or TV remote, Battery they wear out and need to be replaced . This can be thought of as the power output used to start a cold vehicle engine. The number of cold cranking amps you need depends on your vehicle and where you live in Michigan, specifically how cold it is. (Many Ann Arbor drivers have first-hand experience trying to start their car on a cold winter morning.) The two factors are that the colder your vehicle's engine is, the more power it takes to turn the engine over to get it started. It has all that cold, sluggish oil to contend with.

    The other factor is that the chemical reaction in the battery that creates electrical energy is less efficient when the temperature dips. Let's say it's 80 degrees Fahrenheit (27 degrees C) in Ann Arbor. At that temperature, 100% of the battery's power is available. At freezing, only 65% of battery power is available, but it requires 155% as much power to start the engine as it did at 80 degrees F (27 degrees C).

    As you can see, the colder it gets, more power is needed, but the available power drops.

    So if you live where it's cold in Michigan, you need a battery with more cold cranking amps than you do where it's moderate or hot. The battery that originally came with your vehicle was based on averages. At Convenience Auto Service, we like to remind Ann Arbor drivers that they should always get at least as many cold cranking amps as their vehicle manufacturer recommends but may want to upgrade if they live where it gets real cold.

    Convenience Auto Service
    2280 W. Liberty Street
    Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103
    734-769-0170

     

  • Convenience Auto Service Automotive Tips: Diagnostic Service

    2017-10-31 06:17:03

    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 Michigan 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 Convenience Auto Service in Ann Arbor 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.

    When you think about it this way, it makes perfect sense that, 1) the Convenience Auto Service service advisor cannot provide an estimate before the diagnosis is done, and 2) there is a charge for auto diagnostic services in Ann Arbor. You expect to pay for an office visit to the doctor and for any necessary tests before you can be presented with your treatment options and costs; same goes for your vehicle.

    We know it can be frustrating for Ann Arbor drivers when something is wrong with your car and you aren’t sure what is going to be involved in getting it fixed. We are passionate about helping you through the process, communicating with you at each step along the way. We have highly trained diagnostic technicians and technologically-advanced diagnostic equipment to uncover the cause of your trouble. We use quality replacement parts to help make sure you stay on the road after the repair is done. That’s our prescription for automotive peace of mind.

    Give us a call.

    Convenience Auto Service
    2280 W. Liberty Street
    Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103
    734-769-0170


    At Convenience Auto Service we install quality NAPA replacement parts.

     

  • What Ann Arbor Customers like About Us at Convenience Auto Service

    2017-10-24 12:20:03

    A big part of the service we provide at Convenience Auto Service for our Ann Arbor customers is education. We want you to feel confident with your service decisions.

    And we're always open to questions from our valued Ann Arbor area customers. Even though we try to be proactive in our Convenience Auto Service automotive education, we sometimes get busy fixing vehicles and need a reminder. Please, just ask.

    We've found our Ann Arbor customers like the service reminders. They've grown to trust that our recommendations are based on the vehicle manufactures’ published maintenance schedules and that Convenience Auto Service is not just pulling them out of the air.

    We know that people in Ann Arbor live a busy life with a lot more to think about than wondering if it's time to replace the PCV valve on their vehicle. Part of our Convenience Auto Service service process is checking the vehicle manufacture's schedule to make sure we don't overlook service.

    We hope Michigan drivers appreciate their courtesy inspection when they come into our Ann Arbor facility for service. If we find something unexpected, it's good to know, and if we don't find anything wrong, you get a little peace of mind.

    You know, customer satisfaction is very important to us at Convenience Auto Service. We want to run a professional and friendly Ann Arbor automotive service operation. If we do, you'll keep coming back and recommend us to your friends.

    Give us a call at 734-769-0170.

    Convenience Auto Service
    2280 W. Liberty Street
    Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103
    734-769-0170

  • It's About Time: Following Service Intervals at Convenience Auto Service

    2017-10-15 09:39:03

    There are a lot of things in life that Ann Arbor residents have to do on a regular basis. We wash dishes every day, do our laundry and mow our lawns every week, and pay the bills every month. We should go to our Ann Arbor dentist twice a year and see our doctor for a check-up once a year. When we don't stay on schedule with these routines, it can lead to embarrassing, painful or expensive consequences.

    Scheduled maintenance is also part of good vehicle care. Ann Arbor drivers should take their vehicles in regularly for a good check-up. But many folks struggle to remember or actually even ignore this auto advice. When it comes to our vehicles, we're more likely to listen to, “If it ain't broke, don't fix it,” than, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Yet it is the second adage that is the more applicable one.

    Regular brushing treatments prevent cavities. Filling a cavity prevents a more painful and more expensive root canal. In the same way, replacing coolant/antifreeze in your vehicle can prevent cooling system leaks. Repairing leaks can prevent engine failure. So why do we procrastinate?

    One reason might be that “ignorance is bliss.” We can see dirty dishes on the counter and how long our grass is getting. We can smell how dirty our clothes are. But we don't notice how dirty our transmission fluid is getting. However, trouble in our vehicles is like trouble in our bodies — ignorance is not bliss. High blood pressure can lead to heart damage, and inadequate coolant can lead to engine damage. However, we can't know about either one unless we take the time for a diagnostic check-up at Convenience Auto Service in Ann Arbor.

    Another reason we put off scheduled maintenance for our vehicles may be that we are simply intimidated by automotive care. After all, we understand how to take care of clothing, dishes, lawns, etc. Most of us have a basic working knowledge of our bodies and feel qualified to explain how we feel. But our vehicles? What exactly does routine, preventive maintenance involve? Most Ann Arbor residents don't know.

    Of course, our vehicles come with owner's manuals that do a good job of explaining what routine maintenance is and how often our vehicles need it. But how many Ann Arbor vehicle owners actually read them?

    The good news is that all we have to do is remember to take our vehicles to a reputable, service center like Convenience Auto Service in Ann Arbor. Like a good doctor, your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Convenience Auto Service will be able to tell you what maintenance and service your vehicle needs and when. The service center can track your vehicle's maintenance records—just as a doctor maintains your health records—so that your vehicle is getting the service it needs in a timely manner.

    Here are some guidelines to help you understand the basics of preventive maintenance: Fluids. If it's a liquid, it has to be replaced regularly. Your owner's manual will tell you how often. Liquids include oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid and differential fluid. There may be others. Check with your owner's manual or your service center for specifics on your vehicle.

    Tires. They need routine, scheduled care to wear well. Primarily, they need air. But they also need to be rotated, balanced and aligned.

    Brakes. Brakes and shock absorbers wear out. There's no way to avoid it. Worn parts need to be replaced.

    Fuel. Obviously your vehicle needs fuel on a regular basis. But the fuel system also needs periodic maintenance. Air filters and fuel filters get dirty and need to be replaced. The fuel system needs to be kept clean.

    These are the basics of vehicle maintenance. Of course, there are other parts of your car that need to be inspected regularly, such as the battery, exhaust system, belts, etc. These parts have longer life cycles than your fluids, tires, brakes and filters, and so don't need to be replaced as often.

    If you are taking your vehicle in for the basics, then your Ann Arbor service center will let you know when it is time for an inspection of these other things. Or they may notice a problem when doing routine maintenance and let you know. Either way, you'll get a heads-up when your vehicle needs more attention.

    If you're not convinced yet that your vehicle needs regular service, consider this: not doing so will cost you in decreased fuel economy, lower performance and compromised safety. These could lead to repair bills and costly accidents.

    Just like a good dental check-up, a good auto check-up at Convenience Auto Service in Ann Arbor can save you from experiencing embarrassing, costly and painful situations.

    Convenience Auto Service
    2280 W. Liberty Street
    Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103
    734-769-0170

  • Can Your Car Last Another Year?

    2017-10-09 07:40:03

    Have you checked out the price of new vehicles at Ann Arbor car dealers? Ouch! Add financing and insurance and a new ride may not seem so attractive. A lot of Ann Arbor, Michigan, folks are hoping to make their cars last a lot longer.

    Fortunately, with the current state of automotive engineering and manufacturing, there's no reason a modern vehicle can't be made to last for a 150,000 miles (250,000 kilometers) or more for smart Ann Arbor drivers.

    The old adage: 'a stitch in time saves nine' is really true for Ann Arbor residents when it comes to car maintenance. A great example is coolant service.

    Over time, coolant becomes corrosive and actually starts to damage your radiator and other parts. Smart Ann Arbor drivers have their cooling system service taken care of right on schedule at Convenience Auto Service.

    Ditto for your power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning system, differential and transmission. Of course, oil changes should be done right on schedule to avoid the build-up of harmful oil sludge.

    Don't let your brake pads go too long before they are worn to the point that your rotors are at risk. Preventative auto maintenance at Convenience Auto Service is a great way to keep your operating costs down.

    Replacing belts and hoses is much cheaper than repairing the damage that can be caused by failure.

    We know that this is a lot for busy Ann Arbor area drivers to remember. Let the team of automotive professionals at Convenience Auto Service keep on top of this stuff for you. We can tell you what your vehicle manufacturer recommends and help you develop an affordable plan to take care of it.

    Bottom line – do routine maintenance on schedule and you will reduce operating costs, prevent repairs and maintain your warranty coverage.

    Let us take good care of your car at Convenience Auto Service in Ann Arbor, and it'll take good care of you.

    Convenience Auto Service
    2280 W. Liberty Street
    Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103
    734-769-0170

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