Articles:

Ann Arbor Road Trip Preparation

People from Ann Arbor, Michigan, love their cars. And nothing goes with cars better than a Michigan road trip. Freedom from daily schedules, new sights and the open road – it's great! But there's nothing like car trouble to bring the fun to a grinding halt.You can't always avoid problems, but you can take steps to reduce the probability of getting sidelined on your trip. Heading out on a Michigan road trip? Stop by Convenience Auto Service before you head out to make sure everything is in good repair. Let's look at some of the auto maintenance related problems you might encounter on a road trip in Michigan and what you might do to avoid them.The most common vehicle component to fail is the tires. Of course, you can't always avoid a road hazard that leads to a flat, but you may be able to head off some maintenance-connected tire problems.A good tire inspection at Convenience Auto Serv ... read more

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Inspection

Fresh Air Inside Your Car in Ann Arbor

Air quality has certainly become a hot issue in our modern world. We install air filters on our ventilation systems and in our vacuum cleaners. There's a filter that cleans the air going into our vehicle's engine — so why not one for the air in the passenger compartment?Foreign and domestic vehicle manufacturers haven't been ignoring the issue. Cabin air filters are becoming a standard feature on newer vehicles. These filters can clean particles out of the air down to three microns, which accounts for pollen, dust and most pollutants. Ann Arbor residents who suffer from allergies or have a respiratory disorder should be a lot more comfortable. And even if you don't have a medical need for the filter, the cleaner air in your car just might help you breathe better, figuratively as well as literally.Cabin air filters are still fairly new in the Ann Arbor area, so you'll have to check your vehicle owner's manual to see if you have on ... read more

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Cabin Air Filter

By the Numbers: Tire Replacement at Convenience Auto Service in Ann Arbor

Ever notice that your tire is covered with writing? It's like some hieroglyphic art form. Of course, Ann Arbor drivers know that it's not just graffiti, but to most of us, it might as well be. Would you like to know what all those codes on your tire mean? It won't lead you to buried treasure, but it could help you make a better tire purchase at your local Ann Arbor tire store.Prominently featured on your tire is a set of numbers and letters that looks something like this: 225 50 R 16 92 H. The first number is the width of the tire in millimeters, or the width between the sidewalls of the tire when it is fully inflated and not carrying a load. When Ann Arbor drivers replace tires, they need to match this width number, or the tires won't fit properly in the wheel wells.The 50 is the aspect ratio of the tire, which is measured by taking the height of the sidewalls and dividing it by the tread width. If you drive off-road around the Ann Arbor area, it should have a high aspect ratio. For h ... read more

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Tires and Wheels

Tacky or Techie? The Tachometer.

There's a gauge that many vehicles have that says RPM on it.  And there are a lot of people who either don't pay any attention to it or don't even know what it is. Here's why it's a good gauge to know about. It's called a tachometer, and that "RPM" label means it is measuring how many revolutions per minute (RPM) the engine is turning.  Automotive experts know that a vehicle's engine can be damaged if it turns too fast (revving too high) or too slowly ("lugging" the engine). A tachometer (sometimes called a tach) is almost a "must-have" gauge for vehicles with a manual transmission; the driver has to manually change gears; the tach helps the driver know when revolutions are in the optimal range. Some say you don't need a tachometer if you drive a vehicle with an automatic transmission. It's true that most drivers of automatics don't even look at it.  But there are times when paying attention to the tach can help you prevent an expensive repair. Here's a good example.&nbs ... read more

Automotive Tips from Convenience Auto Service: When to Replace a Damaged Tire

Repair or Replace? That’s a question Ann Arbor drivers ask when they have tire damage. Some punctures cannot be repaired because of their size or location. Punctures larger than a quarter of an inch (6.4 mm) are considered too large to be safely repaired. Punctures in the sidewall or near the shoulders may not be able to be repaired. And sometimes there is internal damage revealed on inspection that indicates the tire should not be repaired. Run flat tires should not be repaired. Repairing high performance tires may make them unsuitable for motorsports. Your friendly and professional Convenience Auto Service service advisor can inspect your damaged tire and tell you if it can be safely repaired or if it should be replaced - and then help you get back on the roads around Ann Arbor.Give us a call.Convenience Auto Service2280 W. Liberty StreetAnn Arbor, Michigan 4810373

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Tires and Wheels

Maintaining Your Diesel in Ann Arbor

Diesel engines have been used extensively in Europe and Asia for many years. They haven't been as common in the Ann Arbor area because of the high sulfur content in our diesel fuel. But the government is now mandating lower sulfur content and, as a result, we are going to see more Ann Arbor diesel-fueled vehicles on the road, especially in passenger cars and SUV's.Diesels are popular in Michigan because they get better fuel economy than gas-powered engines. They also last longer. Modern diesel engines are quiet and powerful. And if you associate diesel engines with black smoke, then you're not up with the times. That smoke is a thing of the past.Diesels don't produce any more pollutants than gasoline engines. The pollution standards for diesel-powered vehicles are as strict in Michigan as for other vehicles.Also, diesel engines can run on bio-diesel fuels as well as fossil fuels. Diesel fuel can be produced from vegetable oil or from c ... read more

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Fuel System

Should Ann Arbor Soccer Moms Follow the Severe Service Schedule?

So you take your vehicle in for maintenance and the pro at Convenience Auto Service tells you that you ought to change your oil more often. What? You followed the maintenance schedule – but you take a second look at that “severe service” schedule and see some of the following: 1. Most of your trips around Ann Arbor are less than four miles/six and a half kilometers.2. Most of your trips are less than 10 miles/16 km when outside Michigan temperatures are below freezing.3. You don't do a lot of Michigan freeway driving, so you drive at low speeds most of the time.4. You drive in an area with a lot of pollution, dust, dirt, mud or slush.5. You frequently tow a trailer, haul heavy loads around Ann Arbor or use a car-top carrier.6. The weather in your area can get very hot or very cold.Surprising, isn't it? Severe driving isn't quite what you'd envisioned.Ask yourself: "Which auto service schedule should I follow?" For some of us, it's obvious. B ... read more

Change Your Wiper Blades Twice Yearly at Convenience Auto Service

Because 90% of our driving decisions are based on visual information, unobscured vision is paramount. Which brings us to the topic of today's Convenience Auto Service article: wiper blades. While this isn't the most exciting automotive subject, it's important. You wouldn't drive at night in Ann Arbor with your headlights off, but a dirty or streaked vehicle windshield can catch the glare of the sun or on-coming headlights and make it just as difficult to see.Most of us in Ann Arbor replace our wiper blades when they no longer do the job. They are so worn, hard or brittle that they can't clean the windshield. They may even be falling apart. In other words, we deal with our wiper blades from a failure perspective. We address them when they no longer function. The theory, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it," doesn't apply here. Instead, we should think about wipers blades as an important safety system that we should maintain rather th ... read more

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Maintenance

Automotive Tips from Convenience Auto Service: Timing Belt Overview

In your engine, valves over each combustion chamber open to allow fresh air in, close during the combustion event, and then other valves open to let out the exhaust. All of this happens over and over thousands of times a minute when you are driving around Ann Arbor. The timing belt’s important job is to make sure that all of this happens as it should – at precisely the right time. If the timing is off, your engine won’t run efficiently or maybe not at all – so a good timing belt is important. If it should break, you could end up at Convenience Auto Service with expensive engine damage.Ask your friendly and professional Convenience Auto Service service advisor when your timing belt is scheduled for replacement.Give us a call.Convenience Auto Service2280 W. Liberty StreetAnn Arbor, Michigan 4810373

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Timing Belt

The Straight and Narrow: Power Steering Service at Convenience Auto Service

Service to a vehicle's power steering system is part of preventive maintenance for  Ann Arbor auto owners. This system provides power to the steering wheel so you can turn it with ease. Without power steering, all of the power to turn your vehicle's wheels would have to come from you.The central element of most power steering systems is a pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid, and it is this pressure that provides auxiliary steering power. A belt connected to the engine usually powers the pump, although some systems use an electric pump. Some newer vehicles have an electric motor that directly provides the power steering boost.Pressurized fluid moves from the pump to the steering gear through a high-pressure hose. A low-pressure hose returns fluid to the pump. Power steering fluid cleans, cools and lubricates the system.Ann Arbor drivers should remember that fluid levels in the power steering system should be checked at every oi ... read more

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Steering