2890 Jackson Ave.  |  Ann Arbor, MI 48103  |  M-F 8 AM - 4 PM

Auto Repair Ann Arbor

Common Types of Auto Service You May Need in Ann Arbor – and Why

As drivers, we may not spend as much time as we should thinking about the maintenance of the vehicles that take us to and from our work, school, and recreation activities. It seems we only pay attention when something goes wrong or fails. 

Failures can stop your vehicle or keep it from starting. That’s why knowing a great place to take your car for service is necessary. Complete Auto Service of Ann Arbor wants you to think of us as your vehicle’s life partner: a center that provides fast and excellent service and treats you like we want to be treated.

Brake Service

When brakes fail, the results can be catastrophic. How can you know if there’s something wrong with your brakes?

  • Do you hear grinding, squealing, or screeching? Could your brake pads be worn out? Getting them checked out as soon as possible is required for your protection. You don’t want to risk losing the ability to stop your vehicle safely. 
  • Do you feel the vibration? Does your steering wheel, your brake pedal, or your whole car shake? Something is warped.
  • Do you have to press down farther on the brake pedal to stop? If so, it should scare you because it means you’re getting closer to having no brakes.
  • Does your car pull to one side when you brake? 
  • When you’ve been braking, do you smell something burning, especially at the bottom of a hill? 
  • Did your ABS light come on and stay on?  

As with most complex systems, there are two ways to discover problems: get your brakes inspected or wait for them to break. Which would you choose?

Heating and Air Conditioning Repair Service   

With Michigan’s weather, vehicles need great heaters and air conditioners. Winter driving requires heat for your feet and defrosting for your windows, while summer driving without A/C is miserable.  

What are some ways the system can fail you? You may be leaking refrigerant; the condenser (it cools the refrigerant) is clogged or broken; the fans aren’t working, or the compressor is bad. Like every other system in your vehicle, the heating and cooling systems are complex and depend on other systems to work well. If your feet and face are cold in the winter or hot in the summer, you’ll need help to isolate and correct the problem.  

Depending on your vehicle’s needs, we will recycle and refresh your coolant, check and repair your compressor’s seals, and check that your system’s pressure is correct.

Wheel Alignment Service

Why worry about wheel alignment? Why don’t my wheels stay straight? Unfortunately, daily driving can take a toll. You might hit a curb, drive into a pothole, or just hit an object on the road. Maybe you drive on rocky roads. Are you aware that rocky roads can cause your wheels to twist so they don’t contact the road straight? You may notice your car pulling to one side or the steering wheel vibrating. It could be that it doesn’t brake well, or your tires may not be wearing evenly.

A wheel (or tire) alignment adjusts your vehicle’s suspension so that the wheels meet the road correctly. To do that, we inspect and adjust the camber (the curve angle or the inward or outward tilt of the tires when looking at the car from the front), the caster (the steering tilt visible from the side of the car), and the toe (alignment when seen from above the vehicle). It’s not easy, requires complex equipment, and differs from tire balancing.

Tire Rotation Service

Rotating your tires is simpler than aligning your wheels. Tire rotation means moving the tires (on the wheels) around the car. The rotation pattern changes depending on your tire type and whether your vehicle is front-, rear-, all-, or four-wheel drive. It’s good to have this done every 3000 to 5000 miles to make you wear your tires evenly. Depending on your oil change schedule, your tires can be rotated during the same appointment.

Electrical System Service

Your car’s electrical system is like your nervous system: the web that makes all the pieces work together. All electrical systems work best when the network is stable, when it’s not moving or exposed to the weather or other corrosive elements.

It’s hard to find an environment less stable than a car that’s always in motion, driving through rain, traveling on salted roads, covered with dirt, and exposed to bad weather or high humidity.  

When things go wrong and things that should work don’t work, what can you do? A few symptoms:

  • Nothing happens, not even that click from a dead battery.  
  • You smell burning plastic or electrical insulation. Overloading the circuit with excessive power can cause a short circuit, which can be dangerous. Stop and don’t drive; this could indicate a severe electrical problem and cause your car to burn and even explode!
  • All your lights are dim. The battery is not being charged, or some wires may be broken.

It would help if you found out what is causing your problems – it could be anything from blown fuses to a dead Engine Control Unit. You need expert help.

Timing Belt – And Other Belt Service

Timing belts may be made of rubber, polyurethane, or Kevlar. They have hard teeth and keep all the moving parts of your engine and other components working together. The “belt” may be a chain in some cars, but they all do the same thing. 

On a timing belt made of rubber, the teeth will wear down or fall off over time, and the belt itself can eventually break. (Timing chains often last the life of the vehicle.) Timing belts should be replaced at the mileage intervals your vehicle manufacturer recommends, usually 60,000-100,000 miles.

There is little cost associated with timing belts themselves. Labor is the most expensive part since a lot of parts must be disassembled to get to the belt. Timing belts can cost up to $2,000 or more to replace after they break, especially if the belt breaks and other damage occurs.  

Your car has several other types of belts. You may have a serpentine belt, V-belts, and a fan belt. How can you know if a belt is close to breaking? Check it for wear. Can you see cracks, fraying, or splits on the top? How about glazed or slick spots on the sides or underneath? If the underside of the belt is slick, it can slip on the metal parts it goes around rather than moving them. 

The serpentine belt may even be missing chunks. A belt that’s slipping can make a squealing noise, and that slipping belt won’t be cooling your engine. Check your engine temperature and your odometer.  

Transmission Auto Service in Ann Arbor

Your vehicle’s transmission, whether it’s a car, truck or SUV, is similar to your own body. Minor transmission problems can become critical faster than you think. 

One of the easiest ways to track the health of your transmission is to check your transmission fluid level, color, and smell. Your vehicle’s transmission needs the right type and amount of fluid to keep the gears lubricated. Knowing how to check the fluid is essential – and remember that you’re checking the container for transmission fluid, not your engine’s oil.

Even if there are no signs of trouble, getting your transmission flushed every two years or 30,000 miles is a good idea. We check your transmission fluid, flush the transmission, add new fluid, clean or replace the filter, and check the pan.  

Oil Change Auto Service in Ann Arbor

Auto engines are made (mostly) from metal. The metal parts must work together at high speeds and temperatures, so they need constant lubrication – your oil provides that. The additives in motor oil also help clean your engine since the oil picks up tiny pieces of metal and dirt and deposits them in the filter, which needs to be changed regularly. Oil’s third purpose is to cool those fast-moving engine parts. 

Why change the oil and filter? Why not just check the oil level and keep adding more? 

Remember what we said above about oil cleaning and lubricating? Look at the color of the new oil in the can and the color of the oil on your dipstick. The used oil has picked up dirt and debris and has broken down from heat so that it no longer works well. We’ve all seen old “oil burner” cars with black smoke coming from the tailpipe – that’s what happens as your engine wears out.  

At Complete Auto Service of Ann Arbor, we change your oil using regular or synthetic oil – whatever your vehicle needs. We will also change your filter and dispose of all used materials.  

Come to Complete Auto Service of Ann Arbor for All Your Vehicle Repair Needs

Nothing is more beneficial to your vehicle than taking it to a trustworthy repair company. One with a good reputation for being thorough can tell you about an impending problem with other systems while they’re doing simpler things like changing your oil. 

auto service Ann Arbor

Photo by Maxim Hopman on Unsplash 

That’s where Complete Auto Service of Ann Arbor comes in. We know you count on your car to get around town and across the country, doing work and having fun. Our pledge to you is that you can count on us. Call us today or drive on over, and we’ll take good care of you.