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Frequently Asked Service Questions at North Brothers Ford in Westland

At North Brothers Ford in Westland, we want to help you with any vehicle service need you may have. Vehicle service comes with plenty of questions, which is why we’re here to give you some answers! Explore this categorized FAQ section on our website for any questions regarding vehicle service. If you have any questions and would like to speak with one of our experienced and certified technicians, feel free to give us a call at (855) 739-2023 or fill out the form above.


What is the main cause of tire damage?

Improper inflation can be a main cause of damage to your tires, however there are other situations like an object puncture or a faulty tire that can cause a flat tire or tire damage. We recommend regularly checking the air pressure in your tires to ensure proper inflation. If you need your tires checked, inflated, or repaired bring it by North Brothers Ford and we’d be happy to take care of it for you.

When should my tires be replaced?

Any noticeable or irregular tread wear, or “bald tires” could be an indication your tires need to be replaced. Improper inflation or lack of tire rotations on a regular schedule can cause uneven tread wear. A simple way to test your tire’s tread at home is the popular “penny test” (Check out our FAQ on Tire Tread Testing below for directions). Any abnormal bulges or cracks in the sidewall of the tire are signs that replacement may be needed. If you have any concern driving in inclement weather, you should have your tires checked.

How do I check my tire’s tread?

An easy and popular method to check your tire’s tread is the “Penny Test”. Follow the steps below on your tires to determine if you may need new tires.

  • Place your penny in the lowest tire tread grooves with the head of Lincoln pointing downward or upside down.
  • Move the penny along the groove.
  • If at any point while moving the penny Lincoln’s head isn’t covered by the tread, it means your tread is extremely worn and your tires aren’t equipped well enough to grip the road properly. This can be especially dangerous in winter weather.

If you discover very worn tire tread, you’ll want to have your tires inspected by our service experts to evaluate whether you need to replace them.

Why is it important to have the correct tire air pressure?

Having the correct air pressure in your tires helps you save on fuel, can help enhance your handling of the vehicle and can help extend the life of your tires. If you aren’t sure of the correct air pressure for your tires, you can find the recommended PSI in your owner’s manual or on the sticker in your driver’s side door. You can use a tire gauge to check yourself or bring your vehicle into our service center to have checked.

How do I know what the correct PSI is for my tires?

Your vehicle’s recommended PSI (pounds per square inch of air pressure) for it's tires is typically listed on a sticker on the inside of the driver’s door. If you can’t find it there, refer to your owner’s manual. Use the PSI listed on the inside of the door or owner’s manual and not the one listed on the tire itself as it’s the max PSI which can change the handling characteristics of your vehicle and decrease the life of your tires. Suggested PSI is usually between 30-35 PSI for optimal tire performance. If you’re unsure about the PSI measurements, consult our expert tire techs at North Brothers Ford in Westland.

How long can I drive on a spare tire?

Every situation is different, but it’s good to keep your distance under 50 miles on a spare and never go over 50 mph. Getting your tire replaced or patched is a simple fix that we at North Brothers Ford would be happy to take care of. Getting it done as soon as possible is necessary for your safety on the road.

How often should I get my wheels aligned?

Common conditions like potholes, driving on dirt roads, hitting the curb, and regular driving wear can affect your vehicle’s tire alignment, which can in turn affect the wear on your tires and your safety. Properly aligned wheels means optimal performance, proper fuel-efficiency, even wear, and cost savings in the long run. If it’s been awhile since your car has had a tire alignment, let us know and we can perform an alignment at your next oil change. If the conditions above sound similar to your regular driving circumstances, then it can be wise to get a tire alignment every other oil change to extend the life of your tires. Additionally, if you have a new set of tires installed on your vehicle, you’ll also want to have an alignment performed.

Why are tire alignments important?

Routine tire alignments are important because they ensure your tires remain perpendicular to the road and parallel to each other, which will allow even tread wear and better handling overall. With the proper tire alignment and tire pressure you can improve your vehicle’s fuel efficiency, and you can drive confidently knowing you are safe because your vehicle won’t pull to one side or another.

How often should I have my tires rotated?

Having your tires regularly rotated will help extend the life of them by creating even tread wear. We typically recommend that you rotate them every other oil change. If you neglect your tire rotations, they can wear prematurely.

Why does my tire light go on when it’s cold outside?

Cold air naturally compresses, meaning the air in your tires will too. The sensors in your tires are designed to signal the tire light to go on when PSI measurement is below normal. So, when the air in your tires compresses in cold weather it causes the PSI measurement to decrease. This is why sometimes you’ll notice the light will go off during the daytime when air temperatures warm up. If your tire light is illuminated, you can bring your vehicle into our service center to ensure your tires are inflated to the optimal level. Having your tires properly inflated also means optimal fuel efficiency.

How do I know what kind of tires to choose?

If you’re replacing just one or two tires, you should match the new tires as close as possible to the other tires you already have for the best handling and even tread wear. If you need a full set of new tires, you can ask for the same brand that you had before or ask about new tires. If you didn’t like the tires you previously had, we can help you explore the tire types to find the right tires that fit your needs and budget.


Where can I find the size of my wipers?

You may already know that each vehicle requires a certain wiper blade size, sometimes two different sizes for each side. You can find the wiper blade size in your owner’s manual, online, or simply by asking our service technicians.

How do I know what windshield wiper fluid to use?

When it comes to windshield fluid, there are two types. The most common form is already diluted and ready to pour into your tank, while the other is a concentrate you need to dilute with water. Whichever solution you use, make sure the fluid can withstand the temperatures of the climate where you live and drive. Some fluids have more antifreeze in them to combat freezing weather and very cold temperatures. You’ll find the temperature threshold on the label of the fluid. If you need help refilling or need help choosing the type, you can consult our service experts at North Brothers Ford.

How do I know if my wiper blades need to be replaced?

Your wiper blades are a true safety component to your vehicle as they can help you see clearly. If they aren’t doing their job and are leaving streaks, have cracked or dried out rubber, or are damaged in any way it may be time to have them replaced. At North Brothers we can get your vehicle fitted with new wiper blades in the correct size that will allow you to see clearly out on the road.


How often should I have my brakes checked?

Being one of the largest safety components on your vehicle, it’s a good idea to have your brakes checked regularly – 5 months or every 5,000 miles are intervals to consider having them checked. Depending on how you drive, you might need to have them checked more regularly. If you find yourself often driving in stop-and-go traffic, brake riding, or making hard brakes, your brakes may wear more quickly. If you hear any grinding or squealing noises, or your braking doesn’t feel right, bring your vehicle into our Service Center to have them checked.

What does it mean when my brakes are squealing?

Squealing sounds coming from your brakes isn’t uncommon, but you should pay attention. While it could be harmless in some situations, it can also mean your brake pads or rotors are having issues and need repair or replacement. If your brakes continue to squeal, bring it in to our service technicians to have them serviced as soon as possible.

Why is my steering wheel shaking when I brake?

The most common reason for a shaking steering wheel when braking is warped or too-thin brake rotors. If you’re experiencing this issue, it’s important to have your brakes looked at and repaired so you’re safe on the road.

How do I know if my brakes need to be replaced?

There are a few symptoms to look out for that may suggest your brakes may need to be replaced. They include:

  • Squealing or grinding noises when applying brakes
  • A soft pedal or the pedal goes to the floor when braking
  • Increased braking distances
  • Steering wheel vibration when stopping
  • Metal flaking on brakes

If you are experiencing any of these red flags, bring your vehicle into our service department so we can diagnose the issue and have you back on the road safely.


How often should I get my oil changed?

We recommend having your oil changed every 3,000-5,000 miles. Sometimes new cars, or synthetic oil can stretch the interval between oil changes so make sure to check your owner’s manual or consult our service experts. An oil change is an easy way to keep your vehicle running as it should.

Should I consider getting synthetic oil?

You might have heard that synthetic oil is better all-around for your vehicle. Synthetic is very beneficial to high-output, turbocharged, towing engines. Vehicles that operate in very hot or very cold climates will also benefit from synthetic. Because this oil is synthetic, it doesn’t break down as easily as conventional oil and will provide longer intervals between oil changes.

Why is my engine oil milky brown?

The milky brown color of your engine oil is typically an indication that there is coolant in the oil. A blown head gasket, a cracked casing, or a failed transmission cooler can all be causes of a coolant leak. If you’re seeing milky brown oil, bring it into our service department immediately to have it looked at, as it is a serious problem.


I have a burned out fuse, what should I do?

If you have a burned out fuse, it’s critical to have it replaced with a fuse of the same amperage. Check the fuse to find the amperage information – it should be printed on the side of the fuse. If your fuse burns-out again, it might be a defect in the circuit that’s causing the issue. Bring your vehicle in to our service center if you need a fuse replacement or have any further issues.

How do I know my car battery has a good connection?

Making sure to clean and inspect your battery cables and terminals regularly will ensure a good electrical connection. If you’re unsure about your connection, we can quickly check for you!

When should I have my vehicle’s fuel filter replaced?

Typically your owner’s manual will recommend how often, but we suggest replacing your fuel filter every 30,000 miles to keep your car running it’s best and dependable.

Why should I have my belts and hoses inspected?

Cracked or broken belts & hoses can cause serious problems for you and your vehicle, ending in costly repairs. By having your belts & hoses inspected regularly you can avoid needing repairs in the long run. Whining noises and even a disabled car might be thanks to worn or broken belts and hoses. If this is the case, you should bring your vehicle in right away. When inspected, our technicians will check for:

  • Loose or worn clamps
  • Glazing, fracturing, or softening of belts
  • Proper tension
  • Hardening, cracking, or softening of hose pipes
  • Leakages, cracks, and splits
  • Appropriate drive pulley alignment

How often should I have my belts and hoses replaced?

To ensure your vehicle’s best performance and to avoid serious problems that can be costly to repair, you should have your belts & hoses replaced every 30,000 – 60,000 miles. If you suspect any issues it’s important to bring your vehicle in right away to have diagnosed and repaired.

When should I get my spark plugs changed?

We recommend having your spark plugs replaced every 30 months or every 30,000 miles, whichever comes first unless you have a vehicle equipped with 100,000-mile platinum tipped spark plugs. Your vehicle’s spark plugs actually play a large part in fuel economy and overall engine performance.

When should I have my vehicle’s suspension serviced?

Uneven tread on your tires, excessive bouncing or swaying, nose-diving stops, and leaking shocks are signs your suspension needs to be serviced. If you notice any of the above with your vehicle, bring it into our service center for a complete inspection so we can get you back on the road safely.

How do I know if my car is having transmission problems?

The most common red flag when your car is having transmission problems is the “Check Engine” light illuminated on your dashboard. Other common signs of transmission problems include: transmission slipping (giving off a high pitch sound), fluid leaks, or a burning smell. If you experience any of the signs listed, or your engine light comes on, bring your vehicle into North Brothers to have diagnosed.

How do I know if my vehicle is having alternator problems?

You may notice your vehicle lights dim, the car may ‘growl’ or ‘whine’, or the battery may be dead. Typically if you’re having problems with your alternator, your check engine light will come on. Our certified service techs are experienced in resolving your vehicle’s alternator issues, so if you notice any of the signs above we’ll be happy to perform an inspection.

Why is my alternator important to my vehicle?

Your vehicle’s alternator sparks your engine to get it started, with the help of the battery, and recharges the battery it while your vehicle is running. It helps create the electricity your vehicle needs to power all your electrical devices. Without your alternator your vehicle would rely solely on your battery, which doesn’t have enough power by itself to control everything that runs on electrical power.

How often should I check my antifreeze?

We recommend getting into the habit of routinely checking not only your antifreeze, but also all of your vehicle’s fluids once per month. Some signs of an antifreeze problem include: your temperature gauge is higher than normal, your coolant light turning on, or you notice a coolant leak by seeing yellow, green, or pink puddles under your car. If you notice a leak or think you may have anti-freeze problems, bring your vehicle into our service center for an inspection.

How often should I have my coolant changed?

We recommend having your coolant changed every 24,000 miles or every two years – whichever comes first, as it is an important component to your vehicle running properly without overheating. You can schedule an appointment for a coolant flush online by visiting our Schedule an Appointment page.

When should I have my A/C serviced?

If your A/C system isn’t cooling off your vehicle as efficiently as it should be, bring your vehicle into our service center for an A/C inspection. Our expert service techs can resolve any A/C issues and get you back on the road and have you cooled down in no time!

How often should I have my battery inspected?

Your normal battery life is 3-5 years, so if your battery is over 3 years old we recommend having it inspected or tested every year. If your vehicle is having trouble starting, especially in cold weather it’s a good idea to have it inspected to avoid being stranded or needing a jump.


What should be in my car emergency kit?

Thinking about the medical needs of the driver or passenger, what you may need based on the type of emergency, and the weather or climate of the places you drive will help you pack a kit. While you should never expect to be in an emergency, there are plenty of items to keep on hand in your car that will get you out of an unfortunate situation. A first aid kit, flashlight, and jumper cables are a good start. Other items might include a multipurpose tool or Swiss army knife, a blanket, a piece of carpet or cardboard for traction, a snow brush, extra cash, etc.

What fuel is better for my car?

To see the correct type of fuel to use in your vehicle, refer to your owner’s manual. The correct fuel type is often based on your vehicle’s specific make, model, and engine. Premium might be assumed to be better, but it is only required for high-performance vehicles because of the high-octane percentage. Beware of mixing fuels, because it can damage your engine.

How does my driving style impact my vehicle?

Driving styles vary, especially because of the environment you drive in. It’s important to know your style so you can adjust to get the most out of your vehicle’s performance. For instance, if you’re an aggressive driver – fast accelerating, speeding, and braking quick and hard – you’ll likely notice a decrease in fuel-efficiency. If you often drive on rough roads, your cars alignment is more likely to be affected.

What is that weird smell coming from my car?

There are many sources that can cause the unusual smell coming from your car, and it can be alarming if you’re not sure what it is. Make sure to note what you’re smelling and where it’s coming from, like mildew when your fans are blowing, or a sweet smell coming from your vents. Bring it into our service department so we can diagnose the issue properly and get you back on the road smell-free!

How long should I warm my car up for in the winter?

In cold weather your vehicle needs no more than 30 seconds to warm up before being driven. It will actually warm up faster by being driven that it will just idling. Driving gently for the first 10 minutes after starting the car is beneficial to the engine in colder weather.

Why is it hard to start my car in cold weather?

There are a few reasons your car can have issues starting in colder weather. For instance, your battery could be weak which makes it hard to start. Another reason is that oil becomes thicker in cold weather, which makes it harder for the engine to spin. A bad fuel mixture, or low fuel can make it more difficult for your car to start in cold weather too. If you’re experiencing issues with your vehicle in the harsh winter weather, bring it by our service center so we can properly diagnose.

What should I do if the engine temperature begins to rise too high?

If the temperature gauge begins to rise too high, you can cool off your engine a few ways. Turning off your air conditioner will help as it puts a strain on your engine. In turn cranking up your heater will pull heat away from the engine. If your engine is still overheating, pull over to turn the engine off so you can avoid any damage and call for assistance.

What does it mean when my engine light comes on?

There are a variety of sensors on and around components on your vehicle to ensure that your vehicle is running correctly. If something is not working properly your check engine light will illuminate. To prevent damage, or long-term problems, bring your vehicle into our service center at North Brothers to have it looked at. We’ll get you back on the road without a check engine light in no time.

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North Brothers Ford

33300 Ford Rd.
Westland, MI 48185 734-928-2108
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Sales Hours

Mon & Thurs
8:30am - 9pm
Tues, Wed, Fri
8:30am - 6pm
9:00am - 3:00pm

Service Hours

Mon & Thurs
7am - 8pm
Tues & Wed
7am - 6pm
7am - 7pm
9am - 3pm

Collision Hours

Mon & Thurs
7:30am - 8pm
Tues, Wed, Fri
7:30am - 6pm
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