Yearly Archives: 2019

Shake It up in Ann Arbor!: Why Wheel Balancing

Our vehicles are not massage chairs. While we may enjoy a good vibration in an overstuffed recliner, we generally want as smooth a ride as possible in our vehicles. One way to achieve this is to keep a vehicle's wheels in balance. When a tire is mounted onto a wheel, it is usually out of balance. This means that as the wheel spins, there is a slight wobble to the path of the tire. For best handling performance and safety on the road, Ann Arbor drivers want to minimize this wobble as much as possible. So we balance our tires. To balance a tire, your technician at Convenience Auto Service spins it on a machine or drum to determine where it is off-balance. He then attaches weights that counter-balance the uneven weight. Most people in Ann Arbor are surprised at how much balancing improves the smoothness of their ride. High-quality tires generally hold their balance well. But over time, wear and tear take their toll and tires can become unbalanced. Ann Arbor drivers ... read more

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

Convenience Auto Service Advice on Buying New Tires

Today's tires and wheels offer a lot of options for every Ann Arbor driver's style, habits and driving conditions.Tires are designed for high-performance in winter or summer and even come in a long-wearing variety for all Michigan seasons.Ann Arbor off-roaders should be excited about the options available to them as well. The tread on off-road tires is designed to handle the wear from bumps and rocks. The tires' high profile protects rims from damage.But what if you own an SUV but aren't interested in off-roading around Michigan? You can change out those high-profile beasts for a lower, wider look if it suits your style.Convenience Auto Service tire professionals can offer great auto advice on how to choose tires that match your needs and style.If you just need to purchase new tires, a tire professional at Convenience Auto Service can also help you select the tires that are best for your driving needs and habits. The right tires will protect you and your vehicle on the road ... read more

Categories:

Tires and Wheels

Ann Arbor Car Owners Ask: Why Do I Need to Change My Serpentine Belt?

Any Ann Arbor driver who understands preventive maintenance knows that “if it ain't broke, don't fix it” is bad auto advice. Replacing a part before it breaks is much less costly for Ann Arbor residents than repairing the engine damage that comes after a part breaks or fails. A good example of this is the serpentine belt.The serpentine belt gets its name because of its circuitous path around the engine. The serpentine belt is driven by the engine and powers a number of systems, as follows:1. The serpentine belt spins the compressor that generates the cool air for the air conditioning system.2. The serpentine belt powers the alternator. The alternator generates electricity for use in the vehicle's electrical systems and to charge the battery. Without the alternator, the battery wouldn't last more than a few miles.3. In many Ann Arbor residents' vehicles, the serpentine belt runs the pumps for both the power steering and the power brakes. In other vehicles, the power steering ... read more

Categories:

Timing Belt

When "Oh, no!" Turns Into, "All right!"

Things we don't expect happen to our vehicles. And let's face, no one really wants to spend money on an unexpected repair. But if you are putting off going to your vehicle repair facility because you're dreading bad news, you might just be putting off some good news. There was one minivan driver who'd had the same van for years and never had a problem with the power sliding doors.  Then one day, the electrical switches in the door pillars stopped working.  The key fob would still open them, but the door switches wouldn't do a thing. Of course, the van driver feared the worst: an electrical problem, a major computer failure, mice chewing up the wires.  So, he put off going into the repair facility for a couple of months.  One day, it was time for his regular oil change and the service advisor asked him if there was anything else going on with the van.  The owner mentioned the door problem but said he didn't want to spend a fortune on it. He waited for his van, a ... read more

Follow the Bouncing Vehicle (Bad Struts and Shocks)

If you hit a bump in the road and your vehicle just keeps bouncing up and down for a lot longer time than it used to, you may have bad struts and shocks.  They're the things that help to keep your vehicle's wheels and tires planted to the road surface. But they don't last forever.  With care and depending on where and how you drive, shocks and struts should be replaced at intervals ranging from 50,000 miles/80,000 km to 100,000 miles/160,000 km.  If you drive on bumpy roads with a lot of potholes, that interval will likely be shorter. Rough surfaces can take their toll. But how do you know if your shocks and struts are doing their job properly? The best way is to have your vehicle checked by a technician.  He or she can inspect the shock absorbers and struts for leaks, corrosion and damage.  Mounts and bushings can also go bad and they should be evaluated as well.  A thorough examination by a technician will also include looking at other suspension parts ... read more

Categories:

Shocks & Struts

No Fueling! (Fuel Filler Location)

If you've ever gotten in an unfamiliar vehicle, maybe a rental car, you may have pulled up to the gas pump and wondered, "Which side is the fuel filler on?" Here's a tip for you.  There is usually a little arrow on the instrument panel near the fuel gauge that points to the side where the fuel filler is.  But why are the fuel fillers not all on the same side, anyway? There are lots of reasons.  At one time, many manufacturers tried putting them in an easy-to-reach spot: in the center of the vehicle's rear end.  Some even hid them behind a hinged license plate door.  Cool place, but it turned out not to be a good idea.  When a vehicle with a fuel filler in the rear was hit by another vehicle from behind, it was much more prone to catch fire and explode. Safety regulations now dictate that the fuel filler doors be placed within crumple zones and away from where they can drip fuel on hot exhaust pipes or near electrical connections.  But why do manufactu ... read more

Timing Belt Service to Save Big Bucks in Ann Arbor

Your engine is like a finely choreographed dance. All the parts have to work together. If the timing is off at the ballet, dancers crash into each other and fall down. It the timing is off in your engine, it may not run at all. One of the most intricate dances in your engine has to do with the combustion cycle.Your vehicle engine has cylinders in which a piston travels up and down. At the top of the cylinders are valves that open to bring in the air and fuel. And there are valves that open to let out the exhaust after the fuel has been burned. Call Convenience Auto Service at 734-769-0170 for answers about your timing belt, or drop by our Ann Arbor, Michigan, service center on 2280 W. Liberty Street. It's critical that the values be timed to open and close at precisely the right time in the combustion cycle, or the engine will run poorly or not at all.The timing belt is responsible for ro ... read more

Categories:

Timing Belt

The Turn Signal Mystery (Turn Signal Problems)

Some problems are easy to diagnose on a vehicle; others aren't.  Figuring out what's wrong with a malfunctioning turn signal sometimes fits into both categories.  By the way, if your tempted to just leave your broken blinker broken, remember you can get a ticket for not using them, not to mention you are missing a great chance to communicate your intentions to other drivers on the road. There can be lots of signals that your signals are on the blink.  Does only the driver's side signal not work or the passenger's side? Do your hazard signals work? Do the lights illuminate but not flash? Can you see the indicators on the dash blinking? Do your turn signals turn off after you've finished your turn or do they stay on?  These are all great clues for the technician. Here's one common symptom to take note of.  Your signal all of a sudden starts blinking much more quickly than it used to.  It could be a simple as a burned out bulb.  But there are many differ ... read more

Categories:

Auto Safety

The Engine Gets a Boost (Turbocharged Engine Maintenance)

If someone told you that your vehicle could have the same power but with a smaller engine, wouldn't that sound like great idea? Just think, a smaller engine would save you money at the gas station and you'd still get the same horsepower. The technology to do just that has been around for a long time. It's called a turbocharger. Race cars and other performance vehicles have been using turbochargers for years. It gives them a power boost without the need of a bigger engine, saving them fuel and pit stops. Automakers have offered turbo gasoline and diesel engines for years, but there were problems with durability. Plus drivers had to make some driving adjustments with the way turbos delivered power. Newer turbos, though, have been vastly improved, and manufacturers are including them in more models. For example, Jeep offers its 2019 Cherokee with a choice of two engines that each make about 270 horsepower. One is a 4-cylinder turbocharged engine and the other is a 6-cylinder conventional ... read more

The Edible Engine

You may have had a friend whose vehicle was the victim of hungry rodents.  After all, mice, rats and squirrels—even rabbits—have been known to gnaw on wires in engine compartments, causing vehicle electrical systems to go haywire.  They can disable a vehicle completely and be very expensive to fix. In 2017, some drivers noticed their vehicle's wiring was being chewed and found out the automaker was using a relatively new material for covering their wires: soy.  Many of the repairs to their new vehicles weren't covered under warranty by the manufacturer when it was discovered rodents were eating the wiring.  So the owners filed a class action suit, saying the soy covering was essentially baiting the critters.  The automakers tell a different story, saying mice, rats and squirrels have been chewing through wire insulation long before it was made out of soy.  Regardless of what the insulation is made of, vehicle owners should make sure rodents are ... read more

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