Monday, March 2, 2015

5 Reasons To Keep Your Car Well-Maintained

5 Reasons To Keep Your Car Well-Maintained

auto repair grand rapids
At Spaanstras we believe that regular maintenance can help you avoid costly repairs!

Here are 5 reasons to keep your call well-maintained:

1. Keeps you Safe!
A well-maintained car doesn’t put you and your passengers at unnecessary risk. Think brakes, headlamps, tires.

2. Save Gas Money
Regular maintenance is an investment in optimum gas mileage. Inadequate tire pressure, a dirty fuel system, and a clogged air filter are just a few things that reduce gas mileage.

3. Better Resale Value
How many Grand Rapids used car buyers will pay full blue book for a car with a filthy engine, clogged filters and bald tires?

4. Your Warranty is key
Your warranty claims may be denied if your service history doesn’t fulfill the minimum requirements recommended by the car maker.

5. Save Time and Money

Regular maintenance prevents catastrophic, costly repairs.

Here are some Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service tips to help you remember the main items:

First: Fluids. Oil, transmission fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, brake fluid, differential fluid, etc. We can take care of all of these for you at Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service in Grand Rapids.

Then think Tires. Air, rotation, balancing, and alignment. And while you’re thinking tires, think brakes and shock absorbers.

Air and Fuel. Air filter replacement, fuel filters and Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service fuel system cleaning.

This doesn’t cover everything, but our service advisor will help you with the rest.

Contact Us
Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service
939 Fulton Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

At Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service we install quality NAPA replacement parts.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

MAF Sensor and Engine Air Filter for your Vehicle

 Today’s post focuses on the importance of protecting your mass air flow sensor or MAF. 

Air and fuel are mixed together to be burned in your engine. The amount is controlled by how hard you press on the accelerator or by external factors like climbing hills or hauling loads. Based on how much air you need – and how much is available – your engine management computer tells your fuel injection system how much fuel to send to your engine. But what if the computer is getting the wrong information about how much air is coming into your engine? Well, it would send the wrong amount of fuel and your engine performance would suffer. 

The Mass Air Flow (MAF) sensor measures the volume, temperature, and density of the air flowing into your engine. With that essential information, the computer calculates how much oxygen is available to burn and adjusts the amount of fuel it sends. A dirty or damaged MAF sensor can give the wrong readings, hurt your fuel economy, damage the catalytic converter, reduce engine performance, trigger the Check Engine Light, and, worst case, stop your engine.
Remember that you can drive your car if the Check Engine Light is on – unless it’s flashing. If your CEL indicates a MAF problem, Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service recommends that you take action before you damage your catalytic converter.

How does an MAF sensor get damaged? Well, let’s look at this process again. As air comes into your engine, it first passes through the engine air filter. Dust, road grime, pollen, and other harmful contaminants are, hopefully, trapped in the filter. If the engine air filter becomes clogged, some of the pollutants can pass through and hit the MAF sensor. Thus, a clean engine air filter protects your MAF sensor. Reason number 47 to replace your engine air filter as recommended.

If your MAF sensor is contaminated, you may be able to clean it with an air induction cleaning service at Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service in Grand Rapids. This service also cleans your throttle body and other fuel system components. In those circumstances where the MAF sensor is not only contaminated but actually damaged, it will need to be replaced. (And it costs a whole lot more than an engine air filter.)
We can quickly inspect your engine air filter to see if you need a new one. A caution: low-line air filters may actually contribute to MAF sensor failure as filter material can come loose and contaminate the sensitive sensor elements – filter material is just as harmful as outside gunk.
When your considerate Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service service professional recommends you replace your engine air filter, look at how much is riding on that inexpensive but important part.

Give us a call
Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service
939 Fulton Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Power Steering Maintenance

Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service Car Care Advice: Power Steering Maintenance

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Did you know that the first cars were steered with a tiller? They also took a lot of muscle to turn – especially at low speeds. Francis W. Davis developed hydraulic power steering which has been enjoyed by generations of MI drivers who can steer with one finger while sipping coffee or even with a knee while they stir in a packet of sugar. (We don’t recommend either of these dangerous practices.) With hydraulics, fluid is pressurized by a pump which actuates a hydraulic cylinder that does the heavy lifting, so to speak. Some of these pumps are powered by an electric motor but most pumps are powered by the serpentine belt.
Many Grand Rapids drivers take effortless, smooth steering for granted and fail to realize that this vital system can’t be ignored. If you are experiencing troubles with your power steering such as loud whining, extra play in the wheel, uneven tire wear, inconsistent power assist or if you find that it has become more difficult to turn the wheel, it is time to have your modern horseless carriage looked at by your considerate Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service service specialist.
Power steering fluid is the lifeblood of your steering system. Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service recommends that the fluid be replaced on schedule for optimum performance and to protect the parts from rust and corrosion. It’s best to check power steering fluid at every oil change.
Power steering service includes a thorough cleaning of the system and inspection of all the parts. The steering system and the suspension system work in tandem – an alignment service at Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service in Grand Rapids also includes an inspection of steering components.
In addition to protecting costly parts, properly maintaining your power steering system is necessary for keeping everyone safe – you, your passengers, and other Grand Rapids drivers on the road.
At Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service in Grand Rapids MI (49503) we install quality NAPA replacement parts. Give us a call at 616.459.8941.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

5 Tips for Buying Used in Grand Rapids

5 Tips for Buying Used in 

Grand Rapids

Many budget-conscious Grand Rapids auto owners who need a reliable vehicle can’t even consider buying a new one. So they are forced to take their chances with a used one. If you are in this situation, how can you find a vehicle that is going to serve you well for many years to come? Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service presents five tips for used car buyers:

1. Ask for service records. Most owners who document regular maintenance service take care of their vehicle.

2. Inspect the vehicle thoroughly. Check for uneven tire wear, alignment issues, suspension issues, strange sounds and funky odors.

3. If everything checks out up to this point, bring it to Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service for a thorough used car inspection. Your considerate Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service service specialist can give you a heads up on any pressing issues or emerging problems that will need to be addressed eventually. If the seller won’t let you do this before you buy, move on.

4. Buy a CarFax report. This will show any major collisions and title status concerns including whether it is a salvaged vehicle. You don’t want a car that was underwater for a week after Hurricane Sandy.

5. After you buy, stay on top of regular maintenance (and save the records). Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service will help keep your car running well and you will enjoy not having a car payment.

Spaanstra Bros Auto Repair in Grand Rapids MI 49503, we install quality NAPA replacement parts. Give us a call at 616.459.8941.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Automotive Service: Your Vehicle's Alternator!

Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service Car Care News and Information: Alternator

my battery keeps going dead
My battery keeps going dead. I had it tested and it is fine – what could be the problem?

Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service Answer:
Well, your trouble could be caused by several things. Let’s start with a likely suspect: your alternator. The alternator is like a little electrical generator. It is spun by the serpentine belt on your engine and makes electricity. This electricity is used to power the important electrical systems required to run your sedan. It also powers all of your electronic accessories like your stereo, navigation, heated seats, and air fans, as well as charging all the electronics you have plugged in.
After the alternator has handled all that, any electricity that’s left over is used to charge your battery. You can see where we’re going: if the battery isn’t getting enough electricity to stay charged the trouble may have something to do with the alternator.
Now it could be that the alternator is bad – they do wear out over time. There are a number of failure points within the alternator, but in practice, it is less pricey to simply replace the alternator than to take it apart and repair it.
At Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service in Grand Rapids, we can test your alternator to see if it needs to be replaced. We find that typically the alternator tests out as being OK – but for some other reason it’s not putting out enough electricity to keep the battery charged. Remember we said that the serpentine belt drives the alternator? Well the trouble can often lie with the serpentine belt system.
The serpentine belt transfers power from the engine to the alternator. When the belt wears away to a certain point, it is no longer able to provide enough grip and the belt can slip on the alternator pulley so that it is not spinning fast enough to generate all the electricity that your sedan needs.
A possible related problem for Grand Rapids car owners is a worn serpentine belt tensioner pulley. This pulley provides tension on the serpentine belt so that it is tight enough to spin the alternator and other accessories. When the belt is too loose, it can slip on the alternator pulley and, once again, not enough electricity is made.
So, when you battery is going dead – test it. If the battery is still good – test the alternator. If the alternator is still good – inspect the serpentine belt and belt tensioner. Chances are good that your service center or the team of considerate service specialists at Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service will get to the root of your issue. Give us a call

Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service
939 Fulton Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

At Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service in Grand Rapids MI (49503) we install quality NAPA replacement parts. Give us a call at 616.459.8941. To learn more about NAPA AutoCare, visit

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Auto Repair Grand Rapids: Disc Brakes

Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service Auto Service and Maintenance Guide: Disc Brakes

Auto Repair Grand Rapids
Disc Brakes

What are the signs that I need a brake job?

Our Answer:
Signs of brake problems often fall into one of two categories for Grand Rapids car owners: making noise or a pulsation in the brake pedal. Let’s start with the noise.
Most brake pads have an audible brake wear indicator. This is a small piece of metal that rubs on your brake rotor when the brake pads are worn to the point they should be replaced. The noise is a chirp or soft squeal. This noise gives Grand Rapids drivers enough vital warning to get their brakes serviced while there is still enough brake pad left to enable you to stop safely.
Grand Rapids drivers who ignore the chirp frequently find that the sound changes to a grinding noise. That is more serious. It means that the friction material on your brake pad is worn away and metal parts of the brake are grinding against the rotor when you press on the brakes. Obviously, this harmful metal-on-metal means that your brakes aren’t stopping very well. It also means that your rotor is being damaged. It may need to be resurfaced or even replaced.
Pedal pulsation is another noticeable issue. When your rotor is not in perfect alignment, it pushes against the brake pads unevenly as you apply the brakes. There could be a number of reasons for this. The rotor and wheel hub may not be mating well, causing the rotor to be spinning out of vertical alignment. This dangerous misalignment can be caused by either the rotor or the hub, or a combination of the two. If this trouble persists, the rotor may even start to wear unevenly to the point that its thickness varies, causing an even more noticeable pulsation. This uneven mating of the brake pad and the rotor when braking means less contact and it will curtail braking power.
Your service center or the team at Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service in Grand Rapids can determine the cause of the dangerous misalignment and remedy the trouble.
Either unusual brake noise or pedal pulsation are signs for Grand Rapids car owners that there are brake problems. Grand Rapids drivers should have a tech at Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service check their brakes thoroughly and recommend any vital steps necessary to correct the issue.
A regular brake inspection is on every sedan’s recommended list. Ask your considerate Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service service advisor if it’s time for a vital brake inspection.

Give us a call
Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service
939 Fulton Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503

At Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service in Grand Rapids MI (49503) we install quality NAPA replacement parts. Give us a call at 616.459.8941

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Antilock Brakes - Auto Repair Grand Rapids

Grand Rapids car owners count on their brakes to safely slow and stop their vehicles.

 You’ve probably had the experience where you’ve slammed on your brakes and started to skid. When your wheels are locked up, you are just sliding over the road. And if the road is wet or slick or covered with gravel – you really get out of control. Steering is next to impossible. That is why anti-lock brake systems (ABS) were invented: to help you maintain important control in extreme stopping conditions on MI roads.

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As mentioned, when wheels lock up, this curbs your control. ABS keeps your brakes from locking – helping you stop while maintaining your power to steer. Sensors on each wheel equipped with ABS, monitor wheel spin and compare it with vehicle speed sensors. When drivers are pressing on the brakes, still traveling forward, but the wheels are not turning, the ABS system quickly steps in and modulates the brakes.

The ABS speedily “pumps” the brakes, not allowing the wheels to lock-up while still applying braking pressure. This is all done automatically without any intervention on your part. You will feel a pulsation through the brake pedal and will hear a clunking as the brakes are rapidly being applied and let off over and over again. The first time this happens to you, you may be surprised and think something is wrong. Well, it isn’t – so just keep your foot on the brake and allow the ABS to do its thing. In fact, remember the critical 3 S’s of anti-lock brakes: Stomp, Stay, & Steer. Stomp on the brakes, keep the pedal down, and steer as required.

When you first start your vehicle, the ABS does a quick self-check to make sure everything is OK. The ABS warning light will briefly illuminate with all of the other warning lights on your dashboard and then go out. If the system detects a fault, the ABS light will come on and stay on. Grand Rapids drivers should definitely take their vehicle in to Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service in Grand Rapids for a check if the critical ABS warning light is on.

Proper brake system service is the best way to protect your ABS. Replacing brake fluid that is depleted and/or contaminated will help preserve proper ABS operation and protect it against harmful corrosion. Grand Rapids car owners can meet with their considerate Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service tech to see if it’s time for a diagnostic examination of their vital braking system.

Spaanstra Bros. Automotive Service
939 Fulton Street NE
Grand Rapids, MI 49503