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Borgman How-To

Back To School: Basic Car Maintenance Survival Guide for Teen Drivers

September 5th, 2018

Photo of a teenage driver in West Michigan driving a Ford vehicle from Borgman Ford

The Borgman Service Center in Grand Rapids is always here for your automotive needs, and a part of that means working with you as a team to ensure your vehicle is operating smoothly and safely. Parents with new teen drivers can do the same, and while teaching the basics of auto maintenance with your teen driver will make them a more aware, responsible owner, it can also be a fun bonding experience.

Whether or not you have a new driver in the house, learning to care for a vehicle’s various systems will help everyone stay safe on the road and stave off expensive repairs. Join us in our latest Borgman How To as we go back to school for basic vehicle maintenance! Read the rest of this entry »


Borgman How To: Understanding Transmission Fluid

August 6th, 2018

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Borgman Recommends Checking Your Transmission Fluid Often to Extend The Life Of Your Vehicle

The Borgman Service Center in Grand Rapids is dedicated to keeping you out on the road to adventure in West Michigan. For this reason, we recommend having your transmission fluid checked or changed every 30,000 miles, despite what you may see in your owner’s manual.

We hope everyone who drives a vehicle in West Michigan understands why having your engine oil changed regularly is important. It’s the lifeblood of your engine, but we don’t often see the transmission getting the same love. The engine and transmission work as a team to keep you moving, and keeping an eye on your transmission fluid level is just as critical.

In this Borgman How To, we’re going to briefly touch on how automatic transmissions work and why having the fluid changed regularly is paramount for maintaining a healthy vehicle. Read the rest of this entry »


Borgman How To: The Tao of Towing

July 3rd, 2018

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Simple Guide to Towing Trailers, Boats, and Campers Across West Michigan

One of the best parts of driving a larger Ford Truck or SUV in West Michigan is being able to tow heavier toys along on your next adventure. Whether you’re towing a boat, a trailer loaded with dirt bikes or ATVs, campers, or even snowmobiles, there’s a rugged Ford vehicle that’s more than up to the task. Although, if you’re new to towing, you might have some questions about all the ins and outs. In this latest Borgman How To, we’ll cover some important mechanical, safety, and operating tips to get you towing like a pro in no time! Read the rest of this entry »


Keeping You & Your Vehicle Cool Through The West Michigan Summer

June 4th, 2018

Photo of the Climate Control System in a New Ford Vehicle
School’s out for the summer and many West Michigan families are getting ready to hit the road. Whether you’re going on a longer summer adventure, or just driving the family to the beach, understanding and maintaining two important systems in your vehicle will help avoid hot weather breakdowns.

Keep Cool With Well-Maintained Air Conditioner

A car, truck or SUV air-conditioner system does not simply blow cold air into the car. The air-conditioning system is actually designed to remove the hot air from within the vehicle cabin and dispel it to the atmosphere outside the car.

In order to do so, the air conditioner system relies on a number of components to operate effectively. Like all mechanical parts, these items are prone to wear and regular system servicing helps to protect them from breakdown. The air conditioning system is pressurized by a gas known as a refrigerant. Each vehicle specifies how much refrigerant is used to fill the system.

When the air in your air conditioning (AC) begins to lose power and the air doesn’t feel too cold, it may be time for an AC recharge. It must be noted, however, that recharging your AC is a temporary fix to a likely bigger problem. If your system is indeed missing refrigerant, your AC system has a leak and needs to be inspected and repaired. Refrigerant does not evaporate in an airtight system so air is leaking in.

During our A/C Inspection, we check the following for function:

  • Compressor
  • Condenser
  • Expansion valve or orifice tube
  • Receiver, drier, or accumulator
  • Evaporator

From a quick tuneup or air conditioner flush to replacing components, let the experts at Borgman attend to your car’s air conditioning system – while you wait!

Radiator Risks in Summer Heat

While cabin comfort is important to the humans in the vehicle, proper engine cooling is equally important for the health of your vehicle’s engine. Hot, summer air in heavy traffic or traffic jams can stress even a well-maintained radiator. Overheating is the #1 cause of summer breakdowns, according to ASE.

Low coolant levels in high heat can kill your engine. Also be aware that if you have a damaged radiator or hoses, the coolant may leak causing your engine temperature to rise even more. In summer weather, always keep an eye on vehicle’s temperature gauge.

Make sure your radiator is adequately filled with coolant at the right concentration — usually a 50/50 mix of water and antifreeze, but check your car’s specifications. The radiator should be flushed every two years. If it hasn’t been serviced, do so before you hit the road.

Also take time before a long trip to inspect your hoses, looking for leaks, cracks, peeling or separation. While the engine is still warm, squeeze along the hose’s length — it should feel firm, but not hard. If the hose is spongy or soft in even one section, consider replacing it before it fails and causes bigger problems.

Carry duct tape, which may serve as a very short-term fix for a blown hose while you seek help. However, remember that duct tape can’t stand too much heat.

Intermittent Overheating Causes

If your car is overheating at idle, but it’s fine the rest of the time, then there are a handful of different problems that you might be dealing with. The most likely reason for this type of problem is that your fan isn’t working, but the reason, and the fix, will differ depending on the car you drive. Intermittent overheating problems can also be caused by low coolant, air in the cooling system, a bad coolant temperature sensor, or even a faulty gauge.

Here are some of the basic things you can check when your car overheats at idle:

  • The coolant level
    • Only check when the engine is cool.
    • Low coolant can cause overheating.
    • Air bubbles in the cooling system can also cause issues.
    • Only use the specified type of antifreeze to top off the system.
  • Fan belt problems
    • If the fan is driven by a belt, check the belt.
    • A loose fan belt can result in overheating.
    • If the belt is loose, frayed, or missing, replace it.
  • Electric radiator fan problems
    • If the fan is electric, check to see if it’s plugged in.
    • You may be able to test the fans by turning on your A/C, which often causes the fan to turn on or cycle.
    • The fan motor may be burned out, or there could be a problem with the fan switch, a resistor pack, or wiring.

Visit Borgman for a cooling system checkup, and we’ll inspect your vehicle’s system and replace any damaged or worn components, such as water pumps, thermostats, and hoses.


Borgman How To: Understanding Your Vehicle’s Braking System

April 18th, 2018

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The Borgman Service Center – Your Home For Expert Brake Service in West Michigan

Brakes do an awful lot of work, even on a simple trip around Grand Rapids or to the grocery store. Bringing a moving vehicle to a complete stop is no small feat, even though we may take it for granted. On the other end of that brake pedal are some clever feats of engineering that harness the power of hydraulics and friction to turn a vehicle’s kinetic energy into heat.

The Borgman Service Center in Grand Rapids is your home for making sure your brakes and other systems within your vehicle are properly functioning and maintained. In our latest Borgman How To, we’ll give you a general idea of how this system works and enough insight to know when it’s losing performance. Read the rest of this entry »


Borgman How To: Tire Rotation & Balancing Explained

March 29th, 2018

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As crews around Grand Rapids work to patch up our numerous potholes, the best way to protect your tires from cracks, splits, and other shock-related damage is to rotate them regularly and keep them properly inflated. From the outset, the concept of a tire seems pretty simple. Their rubber construction and treads grip the road in many different driving conditions. They’re filled with air to act as a cushion, push back onto the road, and keep wheel weight down – and therefore fuel efficiency up.

In truth, there’s a bit more going on here. In our latest Borgman How To, we’ll expand upon our previous Tire Article and go over why it’s important to keep your tires balanced and rotated.

What a Tire Rotation Is and How It Saves You Money

Here’s a scenario: about a year ago you put four brand-new tires on your car. You notice that the rear tires still look fairly new, but the front ones, especially on the edges, look a little more worn. Instead of replacing the front tires, you can simply have them moved to a different position on the car, or rotate them. Read the rest of this entry »


Borgman How To: When Is It Time For New Shocks or Struts?

March 7th, 2018

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Shock & Struts Smooth Your Ride and Keep West Michigan Drivers Safe

After the West Michigan winter finally clears, you might be noticing your daily commute is a little bumpier than you remember, or that it’s a little harder to turn the steering wheel. If that’s the case, it could be a sign that you need new shocks or struts, and the Borgman Service Center is here to help!

 What Are Shocks & Struts? What Do They Do?

Depending on which vehicle you drive, it will be equipped with either shock absorbers, struts, or both. It’s worth noting that a single wheel will have one or the other – never both. Shocks and struts are parts of your vehicle’s suspension, and they control how your body interacts with the wheels. This affects your steering, stopping distance, and weight dynamics. They also filter out bumps from the road and smooth out your ride.

While these two parts have similar duties, they are not interchangeable. Read the rest of this entry »


How To Know If Your Vehicle Needs An Alignment

January 23rd, 2018

How to check your wheel alignment to drive safely in Grand Rapids and West Michigan

Now that we’ve made it about halfway through the winter season in West Michigan, it’s probably a good time to know where you stand in terms of your vehicle’s alignment. I don’t think anyone was surprised to find the roads an absolute horror show after the latest thaw, as we were reunited with our old friend the pothole. These gaps, pits, or large craters in the asphalt are formed when water seeps into cracks and expands when it re-freezes. While your vehicle will eventually need an alignment from normal driving, if you hit a pothole or a curb it may need one sooner. Read the rest of this entry »


Advanced Winter Driving Tips For West Michigan Roads

December 12th, 2017

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Learn How To Recover From Different Skids, Retrain Your Pedal Foot, and More!

The winter weather has arrived in Grand Rapids and West Michigan, and it looks like it’s staying for the season. While it’s undeniably beautiful to look at, snow and ice can make driving hazardous, especially with the influx of cars on the road during the holiday shopping and travel season. In the interest of making sure everyone arrives at their destinations safely, Borgman has put together a few advanced tips for winter driving, which include a quick hit on some vehicle physics plus 4 types of skids and how to recover from them. We’ve written an article that covers the basics of safe winter driving, which you can find here. To further sharpen your winter driving skills, keep on reading! Read the rest of this entry »


Borgman How To: Pre-Winter Windshield Wiper Check & Maintenance

October 30th, 2017

Photo of a 2018 Ford Escape driving safely in the West Michigan winter weather, with the help of well-maintained windshield wiper blades.

How To Inspect Your Wiper Blades Before The West Michigan Winter Hits

During the warmer months, we only really use our wipers during a rainstorm or cleaning gunk off of the windshield. However, once the snow flies, making sure wipers can do their job becomes more of a safety issue. At the very least, worn wiper blades will make a lot of horrible noise and leave streaks on the windshield. When they get really bad, and especially during a snowstorm, they leave you with no visibility in an already precarious driving condition.

When wipers are in good shape, they will smoothly and quietly remove all water from their path. Checking your wipers for wear is pretty easy. Just pick it up and take a look for any ripples or cracks in the rubber. If you don’t see any glaring issues, sit behind the wheel and spray the windshield with washer fluid. When the wipers engage, keep an eye open for the following issues:

  1. Wipers do not clear all of the washer fluid in one stroke or leave streaks.
  2. Wipers make a lot of noise, even when wet.
  3. Wipers bounce up and down or stutter as they travel – indicating that some part of the assembly is bent.

Windshield wipers should ideally be replaced every six months. However, if you’re looking for an easier way to tell if your wipers need replacing, visit the Borgman Ford Service Center and ask about Motorcraft Wiper Blades with wear indicator. These wiper blades have a spot that will change from black to yellow when they need to be replaced. Read the rest of this entry »


 

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