• Northwest

    8906 Maple St.
    Omaha, NE 68134
    (402) 393-7888
    Mon-Fri: 7:30am-5:30pm

  • Downtown

    2717 Leavenworth
    Omaha, NE 68105
    (402) 346-1040
    Mon-Fri: 7:30am-5:30pm

  • Bellevue

    301 Ft. Crook Rd. N
    Bellevue, NE 68005
    (402) 293-1800
    Mon-Fri: 7:30am-5:30pm

Omaha Auto Service News

Faces of Omaha

As we celebrate our 50th year of doing business in the Omaha metro and Bellevue areas, we’re excited to share the feature article about House of Mufflers & Brakes that recently appeared in Omaha Magazine’s special issue, Faces of Omaha!

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COVID-19 and the Automotive Industry

With respect to COVID-19, we just want to update you on how we at House of Mufflers & Brakes are handling our role as an Essential Services Provider.

The news is changing hourly and the Auto Care Association and the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA) are collaborating to keep us apprised of developments nationally that impact our industry. The Department of Homeland Security has identified automotive repair and maintenance facilities as essential services in its MEMORANDUM ON IDENTIFICATION OF ESSENTIAL CRITICAL INFRASTRUCTURE WORKERS DURING COVID-19 RESPONSE: https://www.cisa.gov/publication/guidance-essential-critical-infrastructure-workforce. While this guideline applies at the Federal level of government, we will, of course, observe any modifications that might be mandated by the state of Nebraska.

We remain open for business Monday through Friday from 7:30am to 5:30pm and are taking precautions to maintain a safe environment for our customers. Our staff of loyal, long-standing employees takes your safety very seriously; all have remained healthy during this crisis, they are wearing gloves, regularly disinfecting all touchable surfaces and practicing social distancing to protect you, themselves and their families.

What makes our industry great is the 4.7 million people that work every day to keep the nearly 280 million cars and light trucks on the road. Now more than ever, it is vital for us to be of service to ensure that first responders, caregivers and other essential services personnel have safe and reliable transportation here in the Omaha metro area. We’re here to deliver high quality and affordable auto repair services, performed to safely protect our customers and employees. We feel privileged to have the opportunity to serve you and wish you peace and good health in these trying times.

Jeff and Beth Moberg, Owners

Adapted from an open letter to the automotive industry, written by Bill Hanvey, President & CEO, Auto Care Association and Paul McCarthy, President, Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association

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Fall Driving Tips

This gorgeous season delights us with dazzling, but blinding sunlight and crisp mornings that can conceal an invisible sheen of frost. Fall driving can bring unexpected challenges for drivers of all ages and experience…from students who are new to the road to those with more than a few miles on their chassis (wink, wink)! Here are a few tips for everyone on the behind the wheel this fall:

  1. Avoid driving at a high rate of speed over wet leaves that can make streets and highways slippery and perilous. Get your tire treads and pressure checked (including the spare) and/or change out your tires to a seasonal set that’s more suitable to winter driving.
  2. When the clocks fall back (on November 24th this year), there’s more driving in the early morning hours and at dusk. Reduced visibility can create unfamiliar driving conditions, even on familiar routes. Keep your windshield clean and clear — replace your windshield wiper blades for fresh ones.
  3. Cold autumn mornings can bring in fog that will significantly impair your driving visibility and perception of distance. A common mistake that drivers make is to use their high-beam headlights — this will actually make visibility worse because the full beam lights will bounce off the fog and create glare. Simply slow down and stay well behind the car ahead to allow time to stop if you need to.
  4. Lower nighttime temperatures will also create a blanket of ice over your windshield and make the roads slick. Watch out for frost and slow down, particularly in shaded areas. Keep a little hand-held scraper at the ready to quickly clear your front and back windshields, side windows and mirrors.
  5. Have your car battery tested to make sure it’s got a full charge. Getting stranded with a dead battery will cost you time and possibly a tow. Save yourself the trouble and have a professional test your battery.

Let our professionals at House of Mufflers & Brakes help you with all of these services to prepare your vehicles for fall driving.

TAKE IT 2 THE HOUSE!

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Winter Driving Car Care Tips from the Pros

It’s foolhardy to head out in a poorly maintained vehicle in the dead of winter, so don’t get caught unprepared when it suddenly rears its blustery head!

“Regular, routine maintenance can help improve your gasoline mileage, reduce pollution, and catch minor problems before they become big headaches,” says Tony Molla, vice president of communications at the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), an independent group that tests and certifies the competence of auto technicians.

ASE offers these car care tips to give you peace of mind during winter driving:

  • Before you do anything else, read your owner’s manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommended service schedules.
  • Take note of engine performance and driveability problems — hard starts, rough idling, stalling, diminished power, etc.  Get these corrected sooner than later — cold weather makes existing problems worse.
  • Replace dirty filters, such as air, fuel, and PCV. A poorly running engine is less efficient and burns more gasoline.
  • As the temperature drops below freezing, add a bottle of fuel deicer in your tank once a month to help keep moisture from freezing in the fuel line. Keeping the gas tank filled also helps prevent moisture from forming.
  • Change your oil and oil filter as specified in your manual — more often if your driving is mostly stop-and-go or consists of frequent short trips. A poll of ASE Master Auto Technicians revealed that regular oil and filter changes is one of the most frequently neglected services, yet one that is essential to protect your engine.
  • The cooling system should be flushed and refilled as recommended. The level, condition, and concentration of the coolant should be checked periodically. A 50/50 mix of antifreeze and water is usually recommended. The tightness and condition of drive belts, clamps, and hoses also should be checked regularly by a professional technician.
  • The heater and defroster must be in good working condition for passenger comfort and driver visibility.
  • Replace old blades regularly. Purchase rubber-clad (winter) blades to fight ice build-up. Stock up on windshield washer solvent — you’ll be surprised how much you use during the winter months. And don’t forget to always carry an ice scraper.
  • Have your battery checked. The only accurate way to detect a weak battery is with professional equipment.
  • Inspect all lights and bulbs. Replace burned out bulbs; periodically clean road grime from all lenses. To prevent scratching, never use a dry rag. Clouded lenses can be refinished by many service outlets or by using a DIY kit found in major auto parts outlets.
  • Exhaust fumes inside your vehicle’s cabin can be deadly. Have the exhaust system examined for leaks and problems while the vehicle is on a lift. The trunk and floorboards should also be inspected for small holes.
  • Worn tires are dangerous in winter weather. Examine tires for remaining tread life, uneven wearing, and cupping; check the sidewalls for cuts and nicks. Check tire pressure once a month, letting the tires “cool down” before checking the pressure. Rotate as recommended. Don’t forget to check your spare, and be sure the jack is in good working condition. Under-inflated tires or poorly aligned wheels makes your engine work harder and thus use excess gasoline.
  • Have your brakes checked periodically for safety and to prevent costly repairs that can be caused by neglect.
  • The transmission is often neglected until a major failure. Routine checks and fluid changes at prescribed intervals can prevent very costly repairs down the line.
  • Always carry an emergency kit with you: extra gloves, a pair of boots and a blanket; a small shovel and sand or kitty litter; a flashlight and extra batteries; and charging cord for your cell phone. Throw a few “high-energy” snacks in your glove box in case you get stranded.

Take It 2 The House and have our ASE Certified Technicians at House of Mufflers & Brakes check your vehicle out before the snow really flies! Take advantage of our website specials to help you winterize and maintain your car’s safety.

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Plagued by Potholes

In case you haven’t noticed, the metro area’s streets are plagued with potholes! These cavities are formed as the ground freezes and thaws throughout the winter and driving through a deep one can damage your vehicle’s tires, rims, suspension and other steering components.A good jolt can even affect your wheel alignment and shorten the life of your tires, particularly if you don’t take care of the problem right away.

While we all try to do our best to drive around them, sometimes potholes are simply unavoidable. If you do hit one, here’s how to know when you should bring your car in to be inspected:

  • If your steering seems off-center after you hit a pothole, your wheel alignment needs to be checked, or it may be an indication of damage to a steering or suspension component.
  • If you notice the steering wheel shaking, this is an indication of a wheel balance problem or damage to either the tire or rim.
  • Does the car pull to one side? This is another indication of an alignment problem, but it could also indicate component damage.
  • Does the car ride rough and not handle on the road the way it used to? This may be an indication of damage to the springs, shocks or struts.

If you hit a pothole or notice any of the above symptoms, take advantage of our Spring Maintenance Special here and keep in mind that Monroe is offering a rebate on shocks and struts through the end of April. You can get up to a $100 Visa Prepaid Card for purchase combinations of 4 qualifying Monroe or Rancho ride control products.

Take It 2 The House for a complete bumper to bumper inspection by our professional Undercar Specialists!

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Winterize to Minimize Stress

As we move into near-zero temperatures, it’s important to get your car into winter mode.  There’s nothing more stressful than car trouble on a wintry day or night, especially during the holidays.

You should first have the freezing point of your antifreeze checked to make sure that the ratio of fluid to water is protective enough to prevent freezing inside your vehicle’s circulation system. It will first impact the water pump and then other components, such as the radiator, thermostat, frost plugs and hoses, which are much more costly to repair than changing your antifreeze.  We recommend using a mixture of antifreeze and water that is good to -35 degrees.

Tire treads and pressure should also be checked and your battery should undergo testing, as well, to make sure its cold cranking amps are good for the winter days ahead. Warn and brittle wipers should be replaced to keep a clear windshield. And don’t forget to change your windshield washer fluid, as it can also freeze. These are not expensive maintenance services, but make a big difference in winter safety.

Don’t wait until you are stranded or realize you can’t see out of your windshield when you can take advantage of our on-line Winterization Special now — for only $119.00, we can help you winterize your car before the snow flies!

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Some Like It Hot…Really???

Heating and air conditioning systems are maintenance-free for the most part, so when something bad happens, it’s seldom because the owner neglected to have it serviced. The systems just wear out over time. That includes the refrigerant for the air conditioner.  It’s in a closed system, and if the refrigerant is low, it’s because of a leak, not because you forgot to take it in to be topped off.

The main things you can do to maintain your heating and air conditioning systems is make sure there’s enough coolant in the radiator and that it has sufficient freezing, boiling and corrosion resistance, and to change the cabin air filter on a regular basis. Outside air passes through the cabin filter to the climate system, and if it’s clogged because it hasn’t been changed in years, less air will get through. Here are some common climate system issues:

  • If the air conditioner doesn’t blow cold air or cold air only comes out of some vents, it’s probably low on refrigerant because of a leak in the system. Topping off the refrigerant won’t fix a leak. Our ASE Certified Technicians can find the cause, and sometimes that includes adding refrigerant and dye to trace where the leak is.
  • Leaks can come from hoses or seals that are easy to find and fix, from a faulty compressor or corrosion on the condenser (located in front of the radiator). Compressors can leak or break, and they may signal they’re about to expire by making unusual noises.
  • Air conditioning evaporators, which do most of the cooling of the air, can also fail and corrode. They’re usually behind the dashboard and thus expensive to replace because of all the labor involved.
  • If not much air is flowing through the vents (hot or cold), then it could be because the blower motor for the fan, or a switch or resistor that controls fan speed, isn’t working. Another cause might be that electronically controlled “blend doors” that direct air flow are stuck or broken.

Don’t spend the rest of the summer being miserable in this heat – come on in and have your A/C checked. Our experts can diagnose and repair any signs or symptoms of trouble you’re having now. Check out our Specials for a discount on A/C repairs and services!

Adapted from the article “Common Heating and Air Conditioning Problems” by Rick Popely which first appeared on www.cars.com.

 

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The Big Chill is Just Around the Corner!

The method used to warm a car’s cabin isn’t a whole lot different from the one used to keep its engine cool. In fact, it’s all hooked together and runs on the same circuit. Coolant circulates through the engine and absorbs engine heat, which is exchanged with the outside air by way of the radiator. A much smaller radiator called the heater core uses the same hot coolant to keep the cabin toasty. In general, there are two things that can go wrong with this setup…

The first item to check is the engine temperature. To help cold engines warm up fast, the flow of coolant is restricted by way of the thermostat, a thermal valve that opens when it’s hot and closes when it’s cold. When the thermostat wears out, it remains stuck open or shut, which leads to either overheating or cool operation. A worn-out thermostat might be preventing the coolant from getting warm enough to heat the cabin.

If the thermostat is fine, the flow of coolant in the heater core may be restricted by built-up goop. Sediment and grime can accumulate between coolant changes and collect in the heater core.  A coolant flush may be in order.

Before you get caught out in the cold, bring your vehicle in for a heating system check and find out if it’s due for a cooling system flush. We’re offering a Winterization Special now — for only $119, you can get an oil change, tire rotation and coolant flush and have your front washer blades replaced and your starting and charging system inspected.  Take advantage of this $60 savings now and stay in the hot seat!

Adapted from the article “What’s Wrong with My Car’s Heater” by Ben Wojdyla published in Popular Mechanics.

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If I Hit a Pothole, Does My Car Need an Alignment?

pothole

Well, maybe…

You’ll notice right away if your car’s suspension has been compromised — bent struts or crooked wheels or broken tie rods, stabilizer links, control arms or ball joints call for immediate attention to prevent further damage.

But don’t ignore some of the more subtle signs that something is amiss, such as a crooked steering wheel or vibration when the car is driving down the road. If it pulls to the left or right or even if there is passive pulling and your car naturally “drifts” without a hand on the steering wheel, these are all signs that your vehicle may be out of alignment.

Uneven tire wear or noticeable differences in wear patterns between the two front tires or the back two tires can also indicate a problem. If the alignment is off, your tires will wear out faster. A four wheel alignment will not only prolong the life of your tires and prevent their warranty from being voided due to improper maintenance, but it will also reduce wear on the steering column and improve your gas mileage and how your car handles.

Take advantage of this month’s alignment specials and let our Undercar Specialists at House of Mufflers & Brakes get things straightened out for you!  Providing Total Car Care in the Omaha metro area for over 46 years.

                                    TAKE IT 2 THE HOUSE!

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Car Care Tips from the Pros Prepare You for Winter Driving

It’s foolhardy to head out in a poorly maintained vehicle in the dead of winter, of course, but even vehicle owners in temperate zones need a car care check as the days grow shorter, note the pros with the nonprofit National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), an independent group that tests and certifies the competence of auto technicians.

“Regular, routine maintenance can help improve your gasoline mileage, reduce pollution, and catch minor problems before they become big headaches,” says Tony Molla, vice president of communications at ASE.

Continue reading

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