• How Do You Save Gas In Wyoming Michigan?

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    No one in Wyoming, Michigan likes to spend a chunk of change at Wyoming gas pumps. Rising Michigan fuel prices, however, have spurred Wyoming car owners to focus on how to improve their fuel economy. North Americans literally drive billions of miles less each month during times of high fuel prices. But we still need to drive (we are car-loving Americans, after all!), so it makes sense to try and increase our fuel economy however we can.

    Let’s look at a real life example of one of our AutoNetTV producers. He has one of those really big SUVs. Lots of kids and horses to haul around, you know. His family was planning a four day camping trip. Here’s what he did to cut his fuel costs:

    First, he installed a new, high flow engine air filter. Then he had his Wyoming service center change his oil, flush his cooling system and service his front and rear differentials along with the transfer case. He also had a fuel system cleaning, replaced his PCV valve and breather element. He also made sure his tires were up to the recommended pressure.

    Now this cost several hundred dollars. But keep in mind, it all needed to be done anyway – it was all scheduled, and some of the work was overdue.

    So he headed out, loaded with nine people and pulling a ton of trailer with everything needed for four days of camping. When the trip was over, he tallied his fuel economy.  Turns out, he got the best fuel economy on that vehicle up to that point. It had improved 25 percent! He saved $48.00 on that trip alone. And the savings keep on coming every day.

    Here’s a quick summary of what you can do to save fuel in Wyoming, Michigan. First get caught up on your key routine maintenance. Nearly every scheduled service item can boost fuel efficiency. If it’s time for a tune-up, git’er done at Bob & Dave’s Garage. That’s a big item.

    If your check engine light is on, have your committed to excellence, fairness and customer service Bob & Dave’s Garage service specialist figure out why and fix it. Check engine problems can be real gas wasters.

    Proper tire pressure and wheel alignment can really help Wyoming drivers as well. Try not to carry around a bunch of stuff. An extra hundred pounds can cost a mile per gallon.

    Now you may not want to hear this, but the single biggest fuel waster for most Wyoming folks is their right foot. Zooming away from stop lights and hot rod lane changes really waste fuel. Take it easy on Michigan freeways and Wyoming streets: don’t speed and plan ahead.

    Finally, you may have noticed that we haven’t mentioned any magic pills or devices that will double your mileage. That’s because there aren’t any. Some may help a bit, but there are a lot of “miracle fuel saver” scams in Michigan. Don’t shell out any money to swindlers, you need it to buy gas!

    Do some research and check with your technician at Bob & Dave’s Garage in Wyoming before spending your hard earned cash.

  • Keep Your Wyoming Car Breathing Free: Engine Air Filter

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    Hey Wyoming drivers – this is something really amazing: For every gallon of gas your vehicle burns, it uses 12,000 gallons of air. All of that air has to be filtered to keep your engine clean.

    That’s like a hundred gallons of air every block! The engine air filter is just another example of a very key but inexpensive part that has to do a tremendous amount of work. And when it works, everything goes well. But, when it doesn’t, well, it can lead to costly problems. Of course, your auto manufacturer recommends how often to change your air filter. But like most service intervals, where and how you drive your car in Michigan affects when your filter needs to be changed.

    Dusty conditions around Wyoming or polluted city driving means you’ll need to change your filter more often. Your committed to excellence, fairness and customer service Bob & Dave’s Garage service advisor can check your filter for you. In fact, it’s often a routine part of an oil change.

    When you think about it, a clogged air filter won’t allow as much air through as a clean filter. Your vehicle needs this air to efficiently burn its fuel, giving you better fuel efficiency and performance.

    Dirtier filters don’t work as well as clean ones. A filter can only hold so much, after that, it allows dirt to pass right into your engine. Air filters come in all shapes and sizes. They also come in different grades. There are high performance air filters available for most cars. These high performance filters are a little more costly in Wyoming, but they increase horsepower and may improve fuel economy to boot.

    So it’s important for Wyoming auto owners to have their air filter checked. If it needs replacing, it doesn’t cost very much at Bob & Dave’s Garage in Wyoming and it should easily pay for itself in better gas mileage before your next oil change.

    Stop by Bob & Dave’s Garage at 2863 Byron Center Ave, Wyoming, Michigan 49519, and we’ll take a look at your air filter for you. Feel free to give us a call at 616-532-7209 to make an appointment.

    Bob & Dave’s Garage
    2863 Byron Center Ave
    Wyoming, Michigan 49519
    616-532-7209

  • Clean Fuel Equals Clean Performance For Wyoming Drivers

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    Hello, Wyoming car owners. Let’s talk fuel filters. Fuel filters clean the dirt, dust and debris out of your fuel. Both gasoline and diesel-powered engines have them. The fuel filter is located in the fuel line between the fuel tank and the engine.

    Wyoming auto owners don’t need to filter their fuel because it has lots of grit in it; they need to filter it because it has some grit it in. Any dirt is bad for your engine. The cleaner the fuel, the better an engine will run.

    Over time, the small amounts of rust, dirt and contaminants in your fuel settle out inside the fuel tank. After about five years, this can amount to a quite a bit of sediment. This means that as your vehicle ages, your fuel filter has to work harder to screen your fuel: more sediment in your tank means more potential for grit in your fuel.

    The harder your fuel filter works, the more often it needs to be replaced. Check with your vehicle owner’s manual or Bob & Dave’s Garage to find out how often it should be serviced and how long you can expect it to last. You should change it before it becomes clogged. Your Bob & Dave’s Garage service specialist can help you with recommended replacement schedules.

    If your fuel filter becomes clogged, your engine will sputter when you drive at Michigan highway speeds or when you accelerate rapidly. A clogged filter allows enough fuel to run the car at low speeds around town in Wyoming, but when you need a higher flow of fuel for faster speeds, or if you need a sudden burst of fuel, you just won’t be able to get it through the filter.

    A clogged filter is actually dangerous. If you need to accelerate suddenly out of the path of danger, you just won’t have the power to do it.

    Fuel filters have a bypass valve. When the filter becomes clogged, the valve allows some fuel to bypass the filter so the engine can keep running – just not enough to be running well.

    That means, though, that dirty, unfiltered fuel is entering your engine. Instead of clogging up your filter, that dirt is now getting into your fuel injectors, where it can cause serious damage. Fuel injectors are expensive; fuel filters are cheap. It doesn’t seem like a difficult choice for Wyoming motorists.

    Fuel filters are the epitome of preventive maintenance. They are cheap and easy to change, but neglecting them can lead to expensive repair bills. Some fuel filters are inside the fuel tank and cannot be routinely serviced – your committed to excellence, fairness and customer service Bob & Dave’s Garage tech will be able to tell you if this applies to your vehicle.

    Good car care for Wyoming drivers means following recommended schedules for preventive maintenance, including changing your fuel filters. Take the auto advice offered at Bob & Dave’s Garage and in every owner’s manual and have your vehicle regularly inspected. It may save you money by preventing costly repairs, but it will also repay you in improved gas mileage, safety and peace of mind.

  • Water Pump

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    Your cooling system is very important. It circulates coolant through the radiator and your engine to protect your car from overheating. There are five main components to the cooling system:

    • the radiator
    • the radiator cap
    • the hoses
    • the thermostat and
    • the water pump

    The cooling system is vital for Wyoming car owners. It circulates coolant through the radiator and your engine to protect your vehicle from overheating. There are five main components to the cooling system:

    the radiator
    the radiator cap
    the hoses
    the thermostat and
    the water pump

    The water pump’s like the heart of your cooling system, circulating the fluid throughout your vehicle. It’s a small pump that’s driven by the engine; usually by belt, but sometimes by a chain or gear.

    The water pump only operates when the engine’s running. Water pump failure is pretty routine. We see it often at Bob & Dave’s Garage. Some start failing at around 40,000 miles, but most fail by 100,000 miles. Consult your auto maker’s owners’ manual or committed to excellence, fairness and customer service Bob & Dave’s Garage service professional to see what’s recommended.

    Since a water pump either works or it doesn’t, you need to change it when it fails. Water pumps fail in one of two ways: the bearings fail or they begin to leak. It’s possible to have a leak from a cracked water pump, but it usually leaks at the gasket where it attaches to the engine.

    So how can Wyoming car owners tell when the water pump is failing? If you can hear a low-pitched grinding sound coming from the water pump – it’s got a problem. If you can see coolant in that area, you’ve got a leak.

    Some water pumps are driven off the timing belt. They might be under a plastic cover so you can’t see the water pump. Look for coolant on the driveway. If you see some, have your Bob & Dave’s Garage technician check it out.

    Most timing belts need to be changed at 60,000 miles – some longer. It’s a good idea to change your water pump at the same time if it’s one of those that’s driven off the timing belt. To start with, 90% of the work’s already done with the timing belt change. And, if you don’t, and develop a leak later, you’ll have to change the belt again along with the water pump because the belt will have been contaminated by the leaking coolant.

    Wyoming auto owners can replace a failed water pump with a brand spankin’ new one or with a rebuilt pump. Rebuilt will save you some money, but ask your committed to excellence, fairness and customer service Bob & Dave’s Garage technician what he thinks. Don’t feel too bad if your water pump gives out. They will all wear out eventually. Your Bob & Dave’s Garage technician can get you back on the road and on with your life.

  • Power Steering Service At Bob & Dave’s Garage In Wyoming

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    Many Wyoming drivers have been hearing about technological advances in power steering, specifically, electric power steering. Some very high-end cars have been featuring electric power steering for a few years now. An electric motor directly provides the power assist to make steering easier. Undoubtedly we’ll see much more of this in Wyoming as full electric cars and electric hybrids become more common.

    The vast majority of cars and trucks serviced at Bob & Dave’s Garage in Wyoming use a hydraulic power boost system. With hydraulics, fluid is pressurized by a pump which actuates a hydraulic cylinder to reduce steering effort. Some of these pumps are powered by an electric motor. Most pumps are powered by the serpentine belt driven by the engine.

    Power Steering Service At Bob & Dave's Garage In WyomingPower steering fluid has the necessary hydraulic properties and the ability to lubricate the internal parts. The power steering fluid also protects vehicle components from rust and corrosion.

    Wyoming car owners should be aware that car makers recommend that the fluid be replaced on schedule.
    At Bob & Dave’s Garage, the old fluid is drained and the system cleaned thoroughly. Fresh fluid is then installed.

    Unfortunately, many Wyoming car owners don’t realize how vital it is to service their power steering, and some may not even know that it’s necessary in the first place. A neglected power steering system can develop leaks that will shorten the life of the pump.

    Wyoming motorists should be aware of warnings that indicate possible power steering problems: the need to constantly add power steering fluid, a loud whining from the pump, erratic power assist or high steering effort. If you’re experiencing any of these problems, have your power steering checked out at Bob & Dave’s Garage in Wyoming.

    In addition to the pump and hydraulic system, there are critical mechanical parts in the steering system. The rods, arms, joints and knuckles that actually turn the wheels can become worn or damaged. A standard alignment service at Bob & Dave’s Garage includes an inspection of steering components.

    If you notice any play in the steering wheel, that the steering wheel is off center, or a noise coming from your front wheels, especially when turning, have your committed to excellence, fairness and customer service Bob & Dave’s Garage service specialist do an inspection so the problem can be corrected. Waiting too long could cause uneven tire wear and may even lead to steering failure. Call Bob & Dave’s Garage today at 616-532-7209.

  • All Lined Up: Wheel Alignment Service At Bob & Dave’s Garage

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    When all of your vehicle’s wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Hitting a road hazard or even just the normal bumps and bounces of everyday driving in Wyoming can cause your vehicle’s wheels to be out of alignment.

    Driving for an extended time in Wyoming when your wheels are out of alignment results in uneven tire wear. This is dangerous … and expensive. Worst case scenario, you have a blowout on a crowded Michigan interstate. It can also cause premature wear to your suspension system, which can be really expensive to repair. At the very least, you may have to replace your tires years too early.

    Here are some alignment basics from Bob & Dave’s Garage:

    The first adjustment is called toe or do the wheels point in towards each other or away from each other at the front of the tire.
    The next adjustment is called camber or do the wheels tip in or out at the top.
    And finally, there is castor. Castor measures the angle where the front axles attach to the vehicle.

    The ideal alignment for your vehicle was designed by its engineers. Alignment service at Bob & Dave’s Garage starts with an inspection of the steering and suspension – to see if anything’s bent or broken. Then your committed to excellence, fairness and customer service Bob & Dave’s Garage technician will look at tire condition.

    From there, the vehicle is put on an alignment rack and an initial alignment reading is taken. The wheels are then aligned to vehicle manufacturers’s specifications.

    Your vehicle owner’s manual probably has a recommendation for how often your alignment should be checked – usually every couple of years. If you suspect an alignment problem, get it checked at Bob & Dave’s Garage before you suffer expensive tire or suspension damage.

  • Fuel Saving Tip: Slow Down Around Wyoming

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    There’s not much we can do about the price of gas in Wyoming Michigan, but we do quite a bit about how much we use as we’re driving on our Wyoming streets.

    Our driving habits can dramatically affect our fuel economy.

    Slow Down In Wyoming for Fuel Economy The first thing we can do is watch the ‘go-pedal’. Hard acceleration just sucks the gas. Gently leave stop lights and plan lane changes so you don’t need to floor it. That can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

    Go a little slower on the freeway to Wyoming. Once you’re going more than sixty-five miles an hour your fuel economy starts to drop dramatically. Leave early so you don’t need to rush to be on time. And cruise control is your friend – steady speed uses less gas.

    Plan errands ahead. Make fewer trips by combining errands.

    Hey at current gas prices, a lead-foot might as well be a gold foot.

    Bob & Dave’s Garage
    2863 Byron Center Ave
    Wyoming, Michigan 49519
    616-532-7209

  • Wyoming Customer Detective Work

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    One might say the most challenging part of being an automotive service technician at Bob & Dave’s Garage in Wyoming Michigan is diagnosing a problem before it can be fixed.

    Cars are made up of a bunch of complex systems. There usually could be a number of reasons for any given symptom. So it’s challenging to track down the actual cause of the problem. And it can be frustrating for the vehicle owner because it can take time and money to get to the bottom of a problem. If it’s not something obvious, it’s easy for the customer to focus on the fixing and not the diagnosing.

    Let us introduce you to something we’ll call Customer Detective Work – that is helping your Wyoming Michigan technician find clues to what’s wrong.

    We start with the detective basics: What, Where and When. Play along with me. You come in to Bob & Dave’s Garage and your car is making a funny sound.

    • Q: Where’s the sound?
    • A: Around the right front wheel.
    • Q: What kind of sound?
    • A: Kind of a clunk, clunk sound.
    • Q: When do you hear the sound?
    • A: When I turn and accelerate.
    • Q: Right and left? Forwards and back?…

    Do you see where we’re going? You’re gathering additional information to help your Wyoming Michigan technician know where to start. Based on your car and the tech’s experience, he’ll know where to look and can start with the obvious suspects.

    You can see how that would be more helpful than dropping the car off with a note that says “making a funny noise”.

    When you think you need to bring a vehicle in, make some notes about the problem. Rather than just saying “it’s leaking”, tell the tech the color of the fluid, and approximately where under the car you see the puddle.

    Things like ‘the car is stalling or sputtering’ are often very hard to diagnose because they’re intermittent. They may not happen every time you drive and usually aren’t happening when you actually bring the car in. So, it is a big help for you to describe what’s happening in as much detail as possible.

    Your Wyoming Michigan technician at Bob & Dave’s Garage will need to be able to duplicate the problem if possible so he needs to know details, like ‘it stalls after it’s been driven for about 20 minutes and I go over 50 miles an hour’.

    If the tech can experience the problem personally, he’s better able to make a diagnosis and repair. And, then test to see if the repair solved the problem.

  • Make Your Battery Last

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    Today’s report from Bob & Dave’s Garage is on car batteries, why they die and what we can do to lengthen their life. Most of us have had a dead battery at one time or another. In fact, it would be very unusual if you hadn’t. You may be surprised to learn that only 30 percent of Wyoming vehicle batteries last for 48 months.

    Now that’s an average. How long a battery lasts depends on many factors. You may not know that one of the biggest factors is the temperature where you live and drive around Wyoming. You might suppose that cold weather was harder on batteries because it takes more power to crank a cold engine, but the opposite is actually true.

    For more information on your battery, please visit us:
    Bob & Dave’s Garage
    2863 Byron Center Ave
    Wyoming, Michigan 49519
    616-532-7209

    Batteries in very cold climates have a life expectancy of 51 months as opposed to 30 months in very warm climates. The reason is simple: batteries are chemically more active when they’re hot than when they’re cold.

    A car battery will actually start to discharge on its own within 24 hours in hot weather. It takes several days in cold weather. When batteries are left too long in a state of partial discharge, the discharged portion of the battery plates actually, for the lack of a better word, ‘die’. Recharging the battery will not restore the dead part of the battery plate.

    One of the big problems for the way most of us drive in the Wyoming area, is that our batteries are often partially discharged. The biggest job the battery does is to start the car. It takes some time for the alternator to recharge the battery after starting. If you’re driving short distances, especially if there are several starts and stops, your battery may not fully recharge.

    Another issue is that vehicles are coming equipped with more and more electricity hungry accessories like navigation systems, DVD players, CD and MP3 players, heated seats, heated steering wheels and so on. And we often plug in cell phones, computers and other gadgets. Combine that with short trips and it’s no wonder that our batteries are partially discharged.

    Experts say we can extend our battery life by topping off the charge periodically using a good quality battery charger. You may’ve heard these chargers referred to as ‘trickle chargers’. They’re attached to the battery and plugged into a wall outlet to slowly bring the battery up to full charge.

    Now there’s some science involved with how fast a battery should be recharged. If you buy a cheap manual charger, you’ll have to tend it. Frankly a learning curve on how to do it right and requires much attention. A computer controlled charger – or smart charger – monitors the process and determines the appropriate rate of charge. And it even stops charging when it’s fully charged. It costs more than the manual charger, but the automatic model is worth it.

    The suggestion is to charge once a month in warm weather and once every three months in cold weather.

    Another thing to avoid is deeply discharging your battery. Something like running the headlights and stereo with the engine turned off. That’ll take months off the battery life every time you do it.

    Now, as we discussed, heat is hard on a battery. A dirty, greasy battery holds more heat. You can wipe off excess dirt with a paper towel or ask your service advisor at Bob & Dave’s Garage to clean it for you. Bob & Dave’s Garage can even test your battery and tell you if it’s time to replace it.

    Batteries are fairly expensive, so taking a few steps to make them last longer is well worth it. Of course, the battery will eventually need to be replaced. Always make sure you get a new battery that meets the factory specifications for your vehicle. If you feel you need more battery capacity than what came with your vehicle, talk with your service advisor at Bob & Dave’s Garage about appropriate upgrades.

    If you have a dead battery, be careful to inspect it before you jump start it. If the case is bulging, cracked or leaking, do not jump start it. Damaged batteries can explode or catch fire. And deeply discharged batteries can freeze. Do not jump start a frozen battery.

  • Keeping Your Car Young In Wyoming

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    As Wyoming consumers, we live in a disposable society. It’s amazing all the stuff we throw away.

    New stuff comes out so fast in Michigan, and much of it is fairly cheap, so we just toss the old and move on. It seems like when we were kids in Wyoming, our parents were real sticklers about taking care of our stuff – especially parents who grew up in the Depression. You know, hang up your clothes, polish your shoes, put away your toys. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough, we had to do without. 

    Wyoming motorists couldn’t afford new cars very often, so we tried to make them last as long as we could. It’s a good thing that cars are more reliable these days. They just don’t break down as often. And the good news for us Wyoming penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles with proper care. The engineering’s there and so is the manufacturing quality. The missing ingredient is us making sure we follow the car maker’s maintenance schedules.

    Is it really that bad for Wyoming motorists to get off schedule? Well, it all adds up. Every time you go a couple thousand extra miles between oil changes, you’ve created an opportunity for dangerous sludge to form and clog passages. Then some parts don’t get oiled and they start to wear out faster. 

    Skip a cooling system service, and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted, and the radiator starts being damaged – one step closer to a failure. The same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning – really everything on your schedule.

    It’s also even more important for older vehicles in the Wyoming area. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they’re working harder anyway. But it’s never too late for Wyoming drivers to get back on track with essential maintenance and to hold off further costly damage.

    It’s just another example of our parents knowing what’s best. (Surprising how often that happens.) And it really does start with the oil change, just like Dad said. When you get a full service oil change they top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. That’s like your safety net; go in for oil changes on time, and let your service professional at Bob & Dave’s Garage in Wyoming help you keep track of the rest.

    Of course, it is inevitable for Wyoming auto owners that some things are going to wear out along the way – key stuff like alternators, water pumps and such – they don’t last forever. But that stuff is cheaper than a new car payment. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to cause other problems. It’s like having high cholesterol; you don’t want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.

    Bob & Dave’s Garage
    2863 Byron Center Ave
    Wyoming, Michigan 49519
    616-532-7209