Tech Tips: Wiper Blade Maintenance

Wiper blades are fundamental for safe driving around Michigan.  Efficient wiper blades are as important as good tires and clean oil for your vehicle’s safe operation, yet are often overlooked until there is a problem.

A few simple steps will help you extend the life of your wiper blades, and keep money in your pockets.

  • Every time you fill up with fuel, clean the windshield.  Removing contaminants that damage the blades just makes good sense.
  • Wipe the rubber blade with a damp paper towel.  This gentle maintenance will remove loose dirt and oils that build up.
  • Pull your wiper blades away from the windshield during freezes.  Breaking the wiper blade loose from the windshield with a scrapper or under power creates micro damage that continues to destroy the rubber integrity over time.
  • Never use the wiper blades for the purpose of ice removal.  As the blade scrapes across the ice build-up, with each pass it damages the rubber.  Using an ice scrapper, de-icing agent, or your defroster are best bets.

You will know it is time to swap out wiper blades when you find issues arise.  Streaking can be caused by debris on the windshield, such as tree sap or road tar, or from dried and cracked blades.  Bent frames and deformation from a lack of use will create skipping and missed areas.  Excessive wear can cause the blade to break down and eventually miss areas. Splitting of the blade from the frame can occur from physical damage to the system or from UV rays deteriorating the rubber blades.

Your wiper blades are bound to decline over time.  Picking a date to remember when to swap them before it is a problem is a great idea. Identify a birthday, holiday, or season change to stay on top of this maintenance. Mother Nature will do enough to break them down with UV, acidic or salt water, dust, mud, and ice.

If you are not sure the condition of your wiper blades, or would like help swapping them out with the correct size and type for your vehicle, any of us at Kenny’s Lakes Area Auto Experts are happy to keep you seeing clearly, and driving safe.

Ask us to check your windshield wipers during your next appointment, or call our auto repair shop in Walled Lake at (248) 668-1200.

The Benefits of Carpooling this School Year

Back-to-school season has officially begun in Walled Lake. This time of year, parents have to balance multiple schedules, pick-ups, and drop-offs to make sure everyone in the family gets where they need to be, when they need to be there.

As your family manages school, practices, extracurricular activities, and work schedules, coordinating the driving can quickly become a challenge… This year, try carpooling!

Carpooling has many benefits for your family and your wallet:

  1. Less stress. Take advantage of similar schedules and share the responsibility of getting everyone in your family where they need to be. With a carpool, you can team up with other parents to share the load and make it easier for everyone.
  2. Slow wear and tear. The effects of repetitive driving, like commuting to work or dropping kids off at school, add up quickly – faster tire wear, more frequent oil changes… Carpooling slows down these effects by putting fewer miles on your vehicle, saving you money on maintenance and auto repair!
  3. Reduces congestion. There are many cars on the roads and highways in Walled Lake. Carpooling helps you fill up the seats in your car, freeing up space on the road. The more people who carpool in a community, the less congestion on the roads!
  4. Building friendships. Spending time with the other parents, coworkers or commuters every day gives you an opportunity to discover friendships you may not have otherwise.
  5. Save money! If you carpool with even one other person, that reduces the time and miles you’re spending in your vehicle substantially. You’ll have fewer trips to the gas pump and spend less on routine vehicle maintenance over the year. As your carpool grows, so do your savings!

Carpooling is a great way to save stress, time, and money. Join an existing carpool or team up with your neighbors, coworkers, and teammates this year to start a new one.

Make sure your car is ready for the carpool! While carpooling means using your vehicle less and saving on maintenance, a breakdown can cause trouble in your carpool. Don’t risk being the weak link with a full vehicle inspection.

The technicians at Kenny’s Lakes Area Auto Experts will inspect your vehicle so you can catch and fix problems early, before they lead to breakdowns and expensive repairs. We’ll review the results of the car inspection with you so you understand the condition of your vehicle.

Get peace of mind knowing your car, and your carpool, will get you and your family where you need to be in this busy time of year. Request an appointment online or call our auto repair shop at 248-668-1200.

Reduce the Risk of a Flat Tire

The last thing you want to deal with on the roads in Walled Lake is a flat tire. To avoid the stress of changing a tire on the road and the expense of replacing your tires, follow these five steps to reduce the risk of a flat tire and maximize the life of your tires.

  1. Check your Tire Pressure. Changing seasons and temperature swings can drop your tire pressure by 1-5 pounds for every 10 degree shift in temperature. Use the tire pressure guidelines in your vehicle’s manual (not the maximum pressure on the wall of the tire) and test your tire pressure regularly.
  2. Worn tread? Look for patterns of wear on your tire. Excess wear in the center of the tire could indicate that tires are over inflated, and wear along the edges can be a sign that pressure is too low. If your tires have less than 1/16th of an inch of tread, they are bald and need to be replaced.
  3. Bald patches are an important warning sign, as they can leave you at increased risk for a flat tire. Uneven wear and bald patches can indicate an issue with the alignment. Compare the tread on the inside and outside of each tire, front and back tires, and left and right tires.
  4. When was the last time you had your alignment checked? An alignment inspection checks to see if all four tires are hitting the road in the right way. They each need to work together, with precisely the same angle and direction, in order to use the tires efficiently. Call our auto repair technicians and tire experts at (248) 668-1200 to find out if you are due for an alignment inspection.
  5. The best way to maximize the life of your tires is with thorough inspections by a certified technician. Our experienced technicians are equipped with the latest diagnostic equipment and training to identify subtle warning signs about the health of your tires and your vehicle. When you bring your vehicle to Kenny’s Lakes Area Auto Experts, we will perform a thorough inspection and advise you if your tires need to be rotated or balanced, if you need an alignment service, or when it is time to replace your tires.

By regularly checking the tire pressure, tread, and alignment of your tires, you can maximize the life of your tires! Make a habit of doing a quick check of your tires at least once a month, or try checking when you are filling the gas tank. Combined with regular service and inspections, this simple step can help you catch warning signs early, reduce the risk of a flat tire, and save money by maximizing the life of your tires. Stop by our shop in Walled Lake, request an appointment online, or call (248) 668-1200.

Best Road Trip Emergency Tools

When an emergency happens on the road, will you be prepared? The best way you can be ready for any situation on the road is by carrying an emergency kit.

Before your next road trip, be sure to gather these tools to stay safe and prepared on the roads:

  1. Flashlight. If you’re stuck after dark, this can make a huge difference. Whether the power to accessories goes out or you need to look underneath the car or change a tire, make sure you have a flashlight to help you see.
  2. Batteries. Carry a couple spare batteries with the flashlight, just in case.
  3. Jumper Cable. Should the battery in your car fail unexpectedly, having a set of jumper cables can get you back on the road quickly. Knowing how to jump start a vehicle will help you get your car running again so you can make it to a repair shop for an inspection. A jump start will not fix your battery – always bring your vehicle into Kenny’s Lakes Area Auto Experts for an inspection when your battery dies.
  4. Traffic Triangles. If you get stuck on a busy street, it’s important to remain visible to oncoming traffic. Traffic triangles are also reflective to improve visibility at night.
  5. Spare tire. When was the last time you checked your spare tire? Take it out of the trunk to check for visible wear and test the tire pressure. Make sure the tire is in good condition so you can use it if you get a flat tire on the road.
  6. Phone charger. Make sure you can call for help when you need it. You can pick up an adapter to charge your phone from your car. Grab some spare change too, in case you need to rely on a pay phone.
  7. Emergency contacts. Keep the contact information for a towing company, your insurance, and our shop – (248) 668-1200 – written on a piece of paper with your vehicle’s manual in the glove box. That way you and your passengers have the information you need to call for help.

What else do you keep in your emergency kit? Let us know by leaving a comment on the Kenny’s Lakes Area Auto Experts Facebook Page.

The team of experienced and certified technicians at Kenny’s Lakes Area Auto Experts are committed to keeping your family safe every time you drive your vehicle. If you have any concerns about your car this summer, stop by our independent auto repair shop on Walled Lake for a vehicle inspection.

Preventative maintenance is the best way to take care of your vehicle. Our technicians will help you understand the condition of your vehicle, recommend needed services, and answer any questions you may have with straightforward, easy to understand answers.

Request an appointment online or call our team of technicians at (248) 668-1200

The Importance of an Inspection

Having an inspection can seem like you’re asking for trouble. But this simple step is critical to making decisions about the best care for your vehicle.

Which is why we’re dedicating this month’s blog to one car care myth, and bringing you the truth you need to know!

MYTH: Repair shops recommend things you don’t need.

FACT: Honest and ethical auto repair shops put your interest first. The certified technicians at Kenny’s Lakes Area Auto Experts want you to understand all of your options so you can make an educated decision for your family and your vehicle.

Every time your vehicle is in our bays, our technicians do a thorough inspection. We believe you deserve to understand the full condition of your vehicle – that is the only way you can take care of your vehicle and keep up with needed maintenance. By performing a thorough inspection and reviewing the results with you in a way you can actually understand, our car care advisors give you the knowledge you need for your vehicle.

This inspection also performs another function: identifying issues early so that we can help you fix problems BEFORE they become expensive breakdowns and tows. Preventative maintenance helps you to keep your vehicle in its best condition. Routine checks and inspections also provide an opportunity for certified technicians to spot anything that is out of place and the warning signs for bigger problems down the road. Fixing them early means saving money and avoiding the hassle of a roadside breakdown.

When you come to Kenny’s Lakes Area Auto Experts for an inspection, our service advisors take the time to thoroughly explain your repair and maintenance options and to answer your questions so that you are confident with the decisions you make about your vehicle.

If you have any questions about the care and maintenance of your vehicle, give us a call! We are your resource and will take the time to educate you about your vehicle. Don’t hesitate – call us at 248-668-1200 or stop by our auto repair shop in Walled Lake anytime!

Two Reasons a Timing Belt Fails

If a vehicle’s timing belt fails, it usually leave the driver stranded on the side of a road needing a tow.  A broken timing belt may also mean thousands of dollars in engine damage and repair bills!

Why do timing belts break?

There are two common causes for timing belt failure:

  1. Age / MilesThe timing belt is usually made from a rubber material with teeth on one side to control the gears, pulleys, and components in the engine. With the heat and friction inside the engine, the rubber material will become worn with age and miles.

    Rubber teeth may wear down and no longer be able to grip the gears. This often results in a slip of the timing belt and potential damage to the engine.

    The timing belt may also begin to crack under stress. As the material cracks, it’s at higher risk for snapping and breaking in the engine.

  1. Water Pump SeizureTiming belts run through the water pump, which means it’s at risk should something go wrong with the water pump. When the water pump seizes, the gears stop turning with a strong force that will almost always break the timing belt.

    Water pump seizure is often caused by a problem with the cooling system, ignoring coolant flushes, or missed maintenance for the cooling system.

How can you protect your vehicle and your family?

The best thing you can do for your vehicle is keep up with preventative maintenance! Coolant flushes are designed to keep the cooling system operating its best and catch problems early (before they cause a water pump seizure). Regular inspections may catch signs of wear and tear on the timing belt early.

Check your manufacturer’s maintenance schedule for the recommended mileage to replace the timing belt, usually between 60,000 and 100,000 miles, or call our technicians at (248) 668-1200. We’ll help you know when it’s time to replace the timing belt and help you keep up with the maintenance you need to save money and avoid extensive damage on the road. Request an appointment online.

Lurking Danger on the Roads… Potholes!

They’re out there. Lurking in dark shadows, in puddles, lining every street. Potholes season is here, and it means real danger for your car.

Hitting a potholes means more than just a hard jolt. They can cause flat tires, bend wheels, and break suspension components! All of these things can lead to decreased gas mileage and uneven tire wear – meaning you’ll have to replace them much sooner and spend more money!

What’s the best way to deal with potholes?

Driving more slowly and carefully during pothole season will mean you can better avoid hitting them in the first place. If you don’t notice a pothole until it’s too late, it’s not a good idea to swerve – hitting the pothole at an angle can damage your vehicle more than hitting it straight on. Making sure your tires are properly inflated can reduce the damage caused by potholes.

If you do end up hitting a pothole, it’s best to have your suspension and alignment inspected right away. Bring your vehicle into Kenny’s Lakes Area Auto Experts, and our ASE Certified technicians will perform a thorough inspection for your tires and wheels. This will catch problems early on that would otherwise lead to much more expensive repairs.

One final note: since most potholes appear in spring, it’s also a good idea to avoid driving through puddles whenever possible. The water could be concealing a deep, sharp-edged pothole just waiting to damage your car! Also avoid back roads, alleys, and damaged roads when possible. If you’re aware of a pothole on your normal commute, use an alternate route to protect your vehicle.

Have you hit a pothole recently? Give us a call or stop by to have our ASE Certified technicians inspect your tires, wheels and alignment to make sure expensive problems aren’t lurking. Call today at (248) 668-1200 or request an appointment online.

Hidden Danger of Road Salt

Slick icy roads in Walled Lake make it challenging to steer and stop on winter roads. As the snow plows remove freshly fallen drifts from the road, they can leave behind the hidden layer of black ice. Which is why many of our roads are also treated with road salt.

The salt sprinkled over winter roads helps in two ways. First, the salt lowers the freezing point of water. When mixed with melting snow, the salt can prevent the water from turning into ice. It also helps to speed up the process as ice melts on the roads.

Salt also provides some amount of traction. The coarse crystals give your vehicle’s tires something extra to grab on to as it drives over slick roads.

Road salt is helpful for keeping your vehicle safe driving on icy roads, but it also poses a hidden threat.

The primary reason: road salt is extremely corrosive. Over time this salt can cause damage to your vehicle from repeated exposure and salt collected over the winter months.

Road salt can damage the exterior of your vehicle by eating away at the paint and leaving the body of your vehicle exposed. But it can also cause damage to the critical systems under your car.

The systems most at risk are the ones exposed on the underside of your vehicle. As you drive, tires kick up moisture, mud, snow and salt to collect on the underbody of your vehicle. Any components exposed may begin to corrode.

Most frequently damage occurs to the exhaust, muffler, coil springs, and the car frame itself. These components may rust. Oxidation is accelerated by exposure to road salt, and rust can form more quickly.

With rust, the longer it is left untreated, the more damage it can cause. Rust can lead to holes and leaks. When fluids start leaking from your vehicle they can no longer perform their job – especially dangerous for your vehicles brake fluid and engine oil.

At the first sign of a leak, have your vehicle inspected by our ASE-Certified technicians. We will thoroughly inspect the system and your vehicle to find the cause of the leak, fix it, and replace the fluid to ensure your vehicle can keep you safely on the roads.

This winter include regular car washes in your routine to remove the road salt from your vehicle and prevent damage from corrosion. Any time you notice a change in your vehicle’s performance, call us at (248) 668-1200. Our ASE-certified technicians will help you determine the best course of action to keep your family safe. Schedule a winter inspection and request an appointment online.

Brake Inspections – What You Need to Know

When your brakes start screeching every time you stop, you know it’s time for a brake service. But how can you know if it’s a routine brake pad replacement or if there’s a bigger issue under the surface?

The answer: a brake inspection.

Your vehicle’s brakes are not just one piece, but rather a brake system with many moving parts and components. It’s not just your brake pads that need replaced – every piece of the brake system must be working properly for your safety, and every component needs periodic maintenance.

When you bring your vehicle to Kenny’s Lakes Area Auto Experts for a brake inspection, our ASE-Certified technicians will check the entire brake system for warning signs and needed service. Catching problems early (with regular inspections) is the only way to avoid serious damage that could put your family at risk.

One thing we check is the wheel cylinder. If there’s a leak in the system, fluid can drip through the wheel cylinder. It may be subtle, but catching the signs of a leak early can ensure that the leak is found and patched before it causes serious problems down the road.

Brake fluid, like any other fluid in your vehicle, needs to be flushed and replaced periodically. As the brake fluid is used it may collect contaminants, thicken, or lose its effectiveness. If there is a leak or the brake fluid can no longer perform its job, our technicians will recommend a brake fluid flush.

The vehicle’s wheel bearings may also be inspected. One thing our technicians watch for is rust – this can indicate a lack of grease in the system. Your wheels may be hard to turn, the seal may no longer hold in the system, and this can cause bigger problems costly repairs and loss of gas mileage.

Don’t ignore the brake system in your vehicle. Brake pads need replaced periodically, but the entire system should be inspected as part of a brake service.

Let a competent technician inspect your brake system so you can catch and fix issues early, avoid costly repairs, and stay safely on the roads in Walled Lake. Call us at (248) 668-1200 to schedule your next appointment or brake inspection.

Dead Battery on Cold Mornings

On cold winter mornings, the last thing you want to deal with is a car that won’t start.

Even though summer heat is usually attributed to damaging car batteries, winter is the time when these issues are most noticeable. Whether it’s evaporated battery fluid, corrosion, or internal damage, a worn battery cannot produce the chemical reaction that is needed to start your car when it is cold outside.

Before the worst winter weather hits Walled Lake, make sure to have your battery tested. Stop by Kenny’s Lakes Area Auto Experts – our ASE Certified technicians will inspect your battery for visible damage and perform tests to measure the battery’s ability to generate and hold a charge.

If we notice any problems with your battery, our dedicated car care advisors will help you understand the results of the test and what it means for your battery. If it holds too low of a charge, your battery won’t be able to generate enough power to start your vehicle on cold winter mornings.

In addition, it can be a good idea to have your starting and charging systems inspected. If the vehicle is trying to charge the battery too quickly or past its limit, it may cause problems. Similarly, if the vehicle is unable to recharge the battery when its power is used, you’ll be stuck with a dead battery and a car that won’t start.

The alternator is another key component. This piece is responsible from getting the charge from the battery in the right place to start the engine, then switch back to charge the battery while your car is running smoothly. If your battery is not charging appropriately, the alternator may be the culprit.

Before the winter sets in, stop by Kenny’s Lakes Area Auto Experts for a vehicle inspection. Our technicians will check your battery, test the levels, and inspect the charging and starting systems. We’ll remove any corrosion that has built up to reduce problems with your car battery and let you know when it is time to consider a new battery.

To schedule your next appointment or for more information about your car battery, call our certified technicians: (248) 668-1200.