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GENERAL MAINTENANCE

The classic "tune-up" was once the heart of the automotive business and contrary to some beliefs, today's modern vehicles still need tune-ups to keep them performing at the most efficient levels.

As the pace of technology quickened, the procedures required to perform a traditional tune-up changed dramatically. Highly sophisticated ignition and fuel systems are now the norm, using one or more onboard computers to control critical engine and transmission management functions.

If the vehicle isn't being properly maintained, you're not going to get where you want to go. As part of the 21st Century Tune-up on today's modern vehicles, the following systems should be inspected: battery, charging and starting engine, mechanical powertrain control (including onboard diagnostic checks), fuel ignition, and emissions.

To help ensure good performance, fuel economy and emissions, the Car Care Council also recommends that motorists take the time necessary to become familiar with their vehicle. Study the owner's manual to become thoroughly acquainted with the operation of all systems. Pay special attention to the indicator lights and instruments.



Getting Your Vehicle Ready for Winter

Mechanical failure - an inconvenience anytime it occurs - can be deadly in the winter. Preventive maintenance is a must. A well-maintained vehicle is more enjoyable to drive, lasts longer, and could command a higher resale price.

Some of the following tips can be performed by any do-it-yourselfer; others require the skilled hands of a professional auto technician.

Engine Performance - Get engine driveability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good repair shop. Cold weather makes existing problems worse. Replace dirty filters - air, fuel, etc.

Fuel - Put a bottle of fuel de-icer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Note that a full gas tank helps keep moisture from forming.

Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual - more often (every 3,000 miles) if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips.

Cooling Systems - The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.

Windshield Wipers - Replace old blades. If your climate is harsh, purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent - you'll be surprised how much you use. Carry an ice-scraper.

Heater/Defroster - The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility. Newer models have a cabin air filter that should be replaced periodically. Check your owner's manual for the location and replacement interval.

Battery - The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.

Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.

Exhaust System - Your vehicle should be placed on a lift and the exhaust system examined for leaks. The trunk and floor boards should be inspected for small holes. Exhaust fumes can be deadly.

Tires - Worn tires will be of little use in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressures once a month. Check the tires when they are cold, before driving for any distance. Rotate as recommended. Don't forget your spare, and be sure the jack is in good condition.

Carry emergency gear - gloves, boots, blankets, flares, a small shovel, sand or kitty litter, tire chains, and a flash light. Put a few "high-energy" snacks in your glove box.



Getting Your Vehicle Ready For Summer

Summer's heat, dust, and stop-and-go traffic, will take their toll on your vehicle. Add the effects of last winter, and you could be poised for a breakdown. You can lessen the odds of mechanical failure through periodic maintenance. Your vehicle should last longer and command a higher resale price, too! Some of the following tips are easy to do; others require a skilled auto technician.

Air Conditioning - A marginally operating system will fail in hot weather. Have the system examined by a qualified technician. Newer models have cabin air filters that clean the air entering the heating and air conditioning system. Check your owner's manual for location and replacement interval.

Cooling System - The greatest cause of summer breakdowns is overheating. The cooling system should be completely flushed and refilled about every 24 months. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. (A 50/50 mix of anti-freeze and water is usually recommended.) DIYers, never remove the radiator cap until the engine has thoroughly cooled! The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses should be checked by a pro.

Oil - Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual - more often (every 3,000 miles) if you make frequent short jaunts, extended trips with lots of luggage, or tow a trailer.

Engine Performance - Replace other filters (air, fuel, PCV, etc.) as recommended - more often in dusty conditions. Get engine driveability problems (hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.) corrected at a good shop.

Windshield Wipers - A dirty windshield causes eye fatigue and can pose a safety hazard. Replace worn blades and get plenty of windshield washer solvent.

Lights - Inspect all lights and bulbs; replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean dirt and insects from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag.

Tires - Have your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles. Check tire pressures once a month; check them while they're cold before driving for any distance. Don't forget to check your spare as well and be sure the jack is in good condition. Examine tires for tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. An alignment is warranted if there's uneven tread wear or if your vehicle pulls to one side.

Brakes - Brakes should be inspected as recommended in your manual, or sooner if you notice pulsations, grabbing, noises, or longer stopping distance. Minor brake problems should be corrected promptly.

Battery - Batteries can fail any time of year. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment. Routine care: Scrape away corrosion from posts and cable connections; clean all surfaces; re-tighten all connections. If battery caps are removable, check the fluid level monthly. Avoid contact with corrosive deposits and battery acid. Wear eye protection and rubber gloves.

Emergencies - Carry some basic tools - ask a technician for suggestions. Also include a first-aid kit, flares, and a flashlight. Consider buying a cellular phone.



Keeping your vehicle in tune with the environment is definitely a win-win situation. Besides helping the environment, a properly maintained and operated vehicle will run more efficiently, will be safer, and will last longer - up to 50% longer, according to a survey of ASE-certified Master Auto Technicians.

The following tips should put you on the road to environmentally conscious car care.

  • Keep your engine tuned. A misfiring spark plug can reduce fuel efficiency as much as 30%.
  • Follow the service schedules listed in your owner's manual. Replace filters and fluids as recommended.
  • Check your tires for proper inflation. Underinflation wastes fuel - your engine has to work harder to push the vehicle.
  • Wheels that are out-of-line (as evidenced by uneven tread wear or vehicle pulling) make the engine work harder, too. Properly maintained tires will last longer, meaning fewer scrap tires have to be disposed.
  • Observe speed limits. Mileage decreases sharply above 60 mph.
  • Drive gently. Avoid sudden accelerations and jerky stop-and-go's. Use cruise control on open highways to keep your speed as steady as possible.
  • Avoid excessive idling. Shut off the engine while waiting for friends and family.
  • Today's vehicles are designed to "warm up" fast, so forget about those five-minute warm-ups on cold winter mornings.
  • Remove excess items from the vehicle. Less weight means better mileage.
  • Store luggage/cargo in the trunk rather than on the roof to reduce air drag.
  • Plan trips. Consolidate your daily errands to eliminate unnecessary driving. Try to travel when traffic is light to avoid stop-and-go conditions.
  • Join a car pool.

Remember, how your car runs, how you drive it, and how its fluids, old parts, and tires are disposed of all have serious consequences on the environment.


What Our Customers Are Saying

Lou and his team are unbelievable. Not only do they do incredible work but they are also incredibly fair and will have no problem telling you what should be done rather than what will make them the most money. They really care about the customer. That's why my family and I refuse to go anywhere else for service. Lou is the only place to go, in my opinion.


-Jonathan B.

Lou did a great job on my truck! He was very professional and punctual in working on my vehicle and getting it back to me in a very timely manner. I found his prices to be reasonable. I appreciate his keen insight in addressing all of my concerns, without any additional charge. I will be going back to him and highly recommend this place!


-J. C.

If you're looking for a good auto shop that specializes in transmissions and drivetrains, stop searching. Not only did they fit me in on a busy afternoon, but they returned my car same day, fixed the issue I was experiencing with my AWD subie, and did it all at a fair price. No surprises, no additional services, just a solid experience. I can see why Lou's has been an Ann Arbor institution for 20 years.


-L & J

Great prices and amazing service. Not just transmission work but all maintenance. Thanks again


-Stuart K.

Dan is a great guy who treats you fairly.


-Mike B.

Took my Buick there with transmission problems They were very upfront, helpful. They've been there forever and had great reviews. And with good reason. They do quality work and know what they are doing. Will try other things before overhauling if they have a chance to fix it. In my case a Trans flush & cooler (Very reasonable price to do it and I wanted to have one anyway). Trans was OK for a while but went back to not shifting right. The did a complete overhaul and at less than I feared. What are you gonna do? You can't throw away the car... Other repair places offered to do it but if I was going to do it I wanted someone that did it every day. Very happy with them and glad they are here in town. Oh, I didn't know as a Veteran I got a discount but they saw my Military licence plate and gave it to me without asking. That's Honest!


-Gary D.

Lou's staff from front end to back in the shop is PHENOMENAL. They treated me with the utmost respect and were nothing short of honest and transparent the entire time. Even after I paid for a complete transmission rebuild and still had problems with my 2009 Equinox, they held onto my car until they were sure they had made it right - free of charge. I would recommend their services to anyone with transmission issues.


-Kyle B.

Lou (and now Dan) always take care of me. Honest and quick. Thanks guys!


-Frank T.

I love the guys at Lou's! Dan always goes out of his way to help me save money and provides amazing service. Being a female, I have a hard time dealing with shops because people assume I don't know anything about cars and I've lost count how many times someone tried to pull the wool over my eyes. I know I can trust Don and the guys. They get you in and out and the pricing is beyond reasonable. I won't take my car anywhere else!!


-Leigh S.

Lou retired. The business is now owned by his Nephew, still out standing service and will still continue to use for repairs I'm unable to do myself or don't have the equipment to do. I had a second vehicle that had trans axle problems around January of 2018 and I took it into him. In 2013 I had the transmission for my 1998 ford ranger rebuilt. Two years latter, the transmission is still going strong.


-John N.

Had a catastrophic failure on the transmission of my old Explorer. It honestly looked like it might be totaled. Had it towed to Lou's, they jumped right on it (even though it was the Friday before Christmas). Replaced the leaking cooling lines, verified the tranny was still good and had me back on the road in just a few hours. Life savers.


-Kent K.

Lou got my trans replaced in my Super Duty in less than a week! My truck drives like a champ now, I cannot recommend him enough! Was straightforward, less expensive, and quicker than any other shop!


-Jeremy H.

Lou's has been GREAT to me every time Lucille (my car) has needed repairs. Courteous, friendly, knowledgeable & just good people work there. Rebuilt my transmission a year ago & she's still running good. No complaints whatsoever about Lou's.


-Christell O.
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