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The Truth Behind Diagnostic and Testing Charges

The Truth Behind Diagnostic and Testing Charges

Your check engine light comes on.  Panic sets in. What do you do? You call the shop, dreading what they are going to say.  "What do you charge for diagnsotics?" you ask. "Testing starts at $95 for a check engine light" the service advisor responds. GASP.  Why so much? Can't I just go to AutoZoom down the street for a free test? Here's what you're paying for: "For example, the P0503 code, which indicates a malfunctioning vehicle speed sensor, has forty-one steps spanning eleven pages in a shop manual after the code has been set. Examining those forty-one steps takes time and expertise to examine" The code pull is just the first step.  The rest of the story happens while we test different sensors and systems to find out which one is the culprit.  The sensors are dumb, they report what they see, not what the cause is.  You may have an oxygen sensor that is reading out of range, but is that because the sensor is ... read more

Antique Auto Repair and Maintenance at Muskegon Brake & Tire

Antique Auto Repair and Maintenance at Muskegon Brake & Tire

Here at Muskegon Brake & Tire we eagerly await the time of year when the old cars come out.  It's a magical time of year, and we are always excited when the first antique vehicles start rolling into the shop.  Old cars pose a special challenge when it comes to vehicle repair.  Not every shop has technicians that are familiar with how these special vehicles need to be cared for.  Not every shop has the supplier network to find parts for the vehicles at a reasonable price.  We do have a special affinity for Corvettes.  We stock, sell and manufacture parts for antique Corvettes from 1963-1982.  Not many people in our area know that we specialize in corvette repair, but we are well known in the Corvette world.  People bring their cars from all over the state (and sometimes outside the state) for service here at Muskegon Brake & Tire.  If you have that special vehicle that only comes out in good please know that we can keep it in tip ... read more

When's the best time to check your A/C? Before you need it!

When's the best time to check your A/C? Before you need it!

Are you ready for summer heat?  Keeping cool in your car means maintaining the operational condition of the A/C system.  How do you do that?  Honestly, there isn't much you can do to keep the A/C running right. It's a sealed system and most problems are a result of the system having a leak. When the system has a leak the best way to find it is to introduce a florescent dye into the system to identify the location of the leak along with the refrigerant.  Once we identify the leak we can go about the business of repairing it. Another likely issue is a failed compressor.  This will usually require the replacement of multiple components to remove any debris or contamination from the system.  If you have an air conditioning question we are available

What is "Ask Patty Certified" and what does it mean at Muskegon Brake & Tire?

What is "Ask Patty Certified" and what does it mean at Muskegon Brake & Tire?

Over the past 20 years we've made a lot of changes in our business.  Most of these changes have been made with the purpose of creating a positive customer service experience.  But that then begs the question: who is our customer?  We serve a diverse swath of the local population, so it's hard to pin down the answer to that question.  One thing we did notice is the increase in women being responsible for either their own or their family's auto repair decisions. With this realization in mind we found a program that would help us focus on this growing segment of our customer base.  That leads to the next question: what do women want in an auto repair experience?  How do we tailor our service to meet their needs?  That is what we are constantly asking ourselves.  We know that the technical needs for all car owners are the same: a car that runs and drives safely.  Why do we focus on answering this question in re ... read more

Cold weather and your car

Cold weather and your car

Here in Michigan we get to experience all four seasons, which can be magical.  Our cars experience those same four seasons!  The weather is finally turning colder and that can bring to light some vehicle issues that the warm weather masks. The first issue that usually shows up in winter is the weak battery.  As the temperature drops you may notice that your car takes longer to start or takes multiple tries.  The slow starter usually usually indicates a weak battery that could leave you stranded, especially after short trips. A new battery can save you a call to the tow company for a jump-start.  Once a battery gets to this point charging it will not be enough to cause it to perform as needed in cold weather.  Muskegon Brake & Tire offers Interstate batteries with an industry leading warranty so that you have peace-of-mind. The second issue that may rear it's head is tires.  Once you get your car started you may find that you don't have ... read more

The "dealership" doesn't love you

The "dealership" doesn't love you

  I just got off the phone with yet another customer that is tired of getting the run-around from "the dealership".  Which one?  Does it matter?  I field these calls regularly and I spend my time commiserating with customers that just want to be heard.  They want to know what the urgency of the recommended repair is.  They are tired of scare tactics and huge estimates that "HAVE TO BE DONE IMMEDIATELY" because the car is broken.  Do I want to fix all the things that are wrong with your car?  Of course!  Am I going to try to scare you into a repair that doesn't need to be done today?  Of course NOT!  Why?  Because that's not how I like to be treated.  *whew* Sometimes you just have to vent.  Why does this upset me so much?  Because every time a person comes out of an experience like this their impression of the auto repair industry as a whole suffers.  It makes my job harder be ... read more

For those who "don't know anything about cars"

For those who "don't know anything about cars"

We constantly hear the phrase "I don't know anything about cars" from our clients, customers and friends.  Guess what?  Most people are in the same boat.  A new vehicle rolling off the production line today can have 25 or more modules (computers) that control every function in the car.  With the advent of fuel injection, "drive by wire" and CANbus systems your car works nothing like a car produced 30 years ago.  When you push the gas pedal there is no mechanical link between the pedal and the engine, it's all sensors, wires and computers.  There are no more relays and switches, the turn signal stalk sends a signal to the computer to turn on the turn signal. What this means is that most people have a vague notion at best of the inner workings of their own vehicle.  Unless you are in the automotive profession and have kept up with the changes in vehicles there is no reason for you to know exactly what's going on un ... read more

Summer Car Care Tips

Summer Car Care Tips

Summer is here, and with warm weather comes a new set of operating conditions for your car! Here are a few tips to keep your car running great all summer long: Don't leave your car idling for long periods. Your radiator fan may not keep up with the engine cooling needs on a hot day and you risk overheating your engine Have your belts and hoses checked. Warm weather is hard on rubber components and can cause accelerated wear.  This can lead to broken belts and leaking hoses. Don't leave children or pets in a sealed vehicle. On a warm day the interior of your vehicle can reach 130 degrees in only a few minutes, cause heat stroke and even death in children and animals. Have your fluids checked.  Coolant and oil levels are key to keeping your engine running at the proper temperature and increase the life of your vehicle

Valentines day for your car

Valentines day for your car

What are you doing to show your car some love this Valentines day?  Cars need love too!  Here are a few ideas: Battery terminal cleaning Brake fluid flush Windshield wipers Coolant flush Transmission service Tire rotation and balance Alignment check Power steering fluid service Wheel face cleaning These are just a few ideas.  Now you may ask "why get my car a Valentines Day gift?"  Just think about all the things your car does for you!  It keeps you warm in the cold weather, it takes you where you want to go, it entertains you while you drive, and it rarely complains!  Give Muskegon Brake & Tire a call, and we'll make it easy to keep your car happy

Waking up with Muskegon Brake - Convenient Auto Repair

Waking up with Muskegon Brake - Convenient Auto Repair

Have you ever tried to get your car into the shop and just couldn't make it work?  Your husband couldn't pick you up, your friend was busy, or your co-workers had to work early or late?  Muskegon Brake & Tire works hard to make auto repair and maintenance easy.  Drop your car off on your way to work, we'll give you a ride to work in our shuttle!  Is your car staying overnight?  We can arrange a loaner vehicle at no charge (subject to availability, of course).  Stuck at home with a sick kid?  Have to see patients all day?  We will come get your vehicle from your home or work!  We make it easy

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