Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire wins ‘Best Automotive Repair Shop’ from Virginia Living

In Shop Talk by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Our Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire team is proud to be listed as the ‘Best Automotive Repair Shop’ in Virginia Living Magazine’s Best of Virginia 2017 list.

Each year the magazine highlights the best places to eat, shop, have fun – and get your car repaired. More than 50,000 people voted for this year’s winners.

Steve’s was selected as the best shop not only because of the repairs and customer service we provide, but for the work we do to give back to the community.

Here’s our blurb from Virginia Living Magazine:

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire; StevesAutoRepairVA.com: An official Goodyear dealer, Steve’s Auto Repair offers services, including inspections, tune-ups and engine repairs and replacements. The team is committed to community outreach and has opened the shop to help Cub Scouts build Pinewood Derby cars for their annual race, and donated a bus to a local Boys and Girls Club.

“We’re incredibly proud to be the recipient of Virginia Living’s ‘Best Automotive Repair Shop’ award. While we’re not in the business to win awards, it’s always encouraging to be recognized for our commitment to provide top-notch automotive repair, and contribute to the Prince William County community,” said Steve’s owner ST Billingsley.

We’d like to give congratulations to second place winner Shannon Auto Repair and third place winner Olde Towne Auto Repair.

What is a cabin air filter and an engine air filter? What’s the difference?

In Cabin Air Filter, Maintenance, Safety by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

“It’s time for a cabin air filter change.” When you hear that, you’re likely wondering what a cabin air filter is and why you have to replace it.

ery dirty cabin air filter

A very dirty cabin air filter, maintenance has not been performed on this vehicle

A cabin air filter is a filter located either behind the glove compartment, under the hood or under the dashboard, depending on your vehicle, and is designed to remove dust, pollen, and other airborne contaminants from the inside of your vehicle.

The cabin air filter will filter air that comes through the vehicle’s HVAC system to make the air cleaner for you. This can be a lifesaver if you’re stuck in airs with lots of traffic or pollution, or if you have allergies. For those suffering from seasonal allergies, keeping your cabin air filter clean can make a big difference.

An engine air filter has a similar purpose to the cabin air filter. An engine air filter helps to keep dirt, buildup, and debris from getting into your vehicle’s engine system. Just like a cabin air filter, over time things build up in the filter that can cause problems for your vehicle down the road if they’re not taken care of.

honda air filter

Honda air filter being checked during an oil change

In order to reap the full benefits of a cabin filter and an engine air filter, you need to make sure it’s swapped out regularly. Just like any filter they get dirty and clogged, and lose their effectiveness over time until they’re replaced.

But how often should you be changing out these filters? It depends on the type of vehicle, your preferences, and the conditions you drive in regularly.

“Both should be checked every oil change and replaced when dusty or dirty,” said Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire Owner ST Billingsley.

So next time you’re getting your vehicle serviced, make sure they check your cabin filter and your engine air filter, and see if they need to be replaced.

 

Car safety tips to keep you on the road this winter

In Safety by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

We’ve already had some minor snowfall this winter season, and it looks like we’ve got more ahead before spring arrives.

So especially when it comes to your daily commute or rush hour traffic in Northern Virginia, you need to make sure your car is in good shape and is ready for bad weather when it strikes.

Regular maintenance on your vehicle is always advisable – regardless of the time of year – but here are some tips that are especially important for snow and ice on the roads:

Check the tread on your tires.

If you just had a state inspection or your automotive repair shop does a thorough inspection of your vehicle when you come in for a service, chances are that you’d know if the tread on your tires is sufficient. But when it comes to your safety, you should always take a look for yourself, and see if your tires have enough tread. Tread is important because the more tread your tire has, the more traction you’ll have on snowy and icy roads. You never want your tires to be below 2/32nds.

Also check the tires’ air pressure.

Your tires should be regularly checked to make sure they’re properly and fully inflated, but your checks on the air pressure should increase during the winter months. Cold temperatures many times cause tires to lose air pressure, and when tires aren’t properly inflated it can cause flats or other tire damage that can be costly to fix. On the inside of your vehicle door, the manufacturer’s recommended air pressure level is listed. When checking the pressure, make sure your tires are at or near that level.

Make sure you have enough fluids.

In the winter, making sure that your vehicle has enough coolant, window washer fluid, and gas – especially before a storm hits – are very important. Coolant will help your vehicle properly defrost, and you need your windshield wipers able to push away snow or water from your windshield. And if you’re trying to get around in a winter storm, having a full gas tank could be crucial. You should also consider replacing your windshield wipers if they’re getting worn out.

Remove snow and ice from your vehicle before driving.

It sounds simple, but so many drivers do not remove ice and show from their windshields and the tops and sides of their vehicle before they head out on the road. Taking the extra time to clear your car off will ensure that you know everything is working correctly, and that you won’t be sending sheets of ice and snow off of your car onto the road, potentially hitting other cars or pedestrians.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire now a Dunlop tire dealer

In Shop Talk, Tires and Wheels by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire now a Dunlop tire dealer

Dunlop Direzza Sport Performance Tire

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is proud to say that we’re now a certified Dunlop tire dealer.

By being a Dunlop tire dealer, Steve’s will now be stocked with the full line of Dunlop tires, with the most updated equipment and tools to help take care of your vehicle.

“All Dunlop tires come with a 30 day pledge. This gives our customers 30 days behind the wheel to determine if Dunlop tires are the right fit for their vehicle and driving style. And if they aren’t 100% satisfied, we can exchange them with another set of eligible tires within 30 days of that purchase,” said Steve’s Service Manager Gabe Guarino.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire now a Dunlop tire dealer

Dunlop Rover All Terrrain Tire for Trucks and SUV’s

There is the added bonus that all Steve’s customers can now take advantage of any rebates that Dunlop offers on their tires.

Dunlop carries several popular models in stock that you can get at Steve’s, including the Direzza DZ102, the Dunlop Signature II, and the Dunlop Grandtrek SJ6.

The Direzza DZ102 tire is popular for Acura TLs, the Ford Focus, Mustangs, Honda Accords, Nissan Altimas and Maximas, Toyota Camrys and Corollas, and VW Jettas.

The Dunlop Signature IIs are popular for Chevy Cobalts and Equinoxes, Chrysler 300s and Sebrings, the Ford Focus and Ford Fusions, Honda Civics, Nissan Sentras and Versas, and Toyota Echos and Solaras.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire now a Dunlop tire dealer

Dunlop All Season Tire

The Dunlop Grandtek SJ6s are popular for Acura MDXs, BMW X5s, Buick Enclaves, Cadillac Escalades, Dodge Rams, Chevy Silverados and Trailblazers, and Ford Explorers.

Steve’s offers a road hazard warranty for Dunlop tires that can be purchased.

“At Steve’s were happy to be able to offer our customers Dunlop tires as a Dunlop dealer. The Dunlop brand is known for its reliability and durability, and the 30 day guarantee Dunlop offers and allows our customers to be confident in the decision. Tires are an important investment,” said Steve’s Owner ST Billingsley.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire in Woodbridge now a certified Kelly tire dealer

In Shop Talk, Tires and Wheels by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Kelly Springfiled Tire Charger GT Performance Tire

Kelly Springfield Tire Charger GT Performance Tire

If you’re in need of Kelly brand tires in the Woodbridge area then you’re in luck, as Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire now a fully certified Kelly tire dealer.

As a certified dealer, Steve’s is now fully stocked with the full line of Kelly tires, and have the equipment needed to make sure Kelly tires are properly installed and cared for.

Kelly Springfield Edge A/S all season tire

Kelly Springfield Edge A/S all season tire

“As with all Goodyear tires, Kelly tires come with a 30 day test drive program. This means that our customers get up to 30 days with Kelly tires on their vehicle, to make sure that they like the tires and that they’re a good fit for their needs. If they aren’t happy with the tires, as a Kelly dealer we’re able to exchange them for another set of eligible tires within those 30 days,” said Steve’s Service Manager Gabe Guarino.

In addition to this guarantee, Steve’s customers with Kelly tires can also instantly take advantage of all Kelly tire offers.

At the shop, Steve’s has several popular Kelly tire models that will work with your vehicle including the Kelly Charger GT, the Kelly Edge All Season, and the Kelly Safari ATR.

Kelly Springfield All Terrain Tire

Kelly Springfield All Terrain Tire

The Kelly Charger GT is a sporty tire with enhanced traction, and all season grip, and a black serrated sidewall design. This tire model works well with the Acura Integra, Audi A4 and A6, the BMW 5 and 7, the Cadillac CTS and Seville, Honda Accord, Civic, and Prelude, the Mercedes E Class, and the Nissan Altima and Maxima.

The Kelly Edge All Season is an all season tire with enhanced grip, long treadwear, and enhanced handling. And the Kelly Safari ATR is great for all terrain driving, with self-cleaning traction grooves to move through mud and snow in any season.

Kelly Springfield Tire HP Performance Tire

Kelly Springfield Tire HP Performance Tire

Steve’s also offers an additional road hazard warranty that can be purchased for Kelly tires.

“We’re excited to be a certified Kelly tire dealer. By being a Kelly dealer, we can make sure that our customers have access to the full line of Kelly tires, and that they can take advantage of the 30 day guarantee, as well as the instant rebates Kelly offers,” said Steve’s Owner ST Billingsley.

Make sure to follow these driving and school bus safety tips

In Safety by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Today is the first day of school in Prince William County, and that means all of those school buses will be out on the road transporting students.

Here are some important rules for parents and drivers out there, on how to drive and stop when near school buses:Make sure to follow these driving and school bus safety tips

  • If you notice that a school bus is stopped and has flashing red lights and a stop sign on the side of the bust, you need to make sure you stop your vehicle and wait until the bus begins moving again, whether you’re on a highway, private road, or school road. This makes sure that students can exit the bus safely.
  • Even if the signals are not flashing on the bus, if a school bus is letting passengers off, you still need to stop your vehicle and wait for them to safely exit. Sometimes yellow lights on a school bus will start flashing before the red lights, and you need to stop and be aware of these lights as well.
  • If you are on the opposite side of the road as a school bus and there is a median or barrier in between, then you are not required to stop your vehicle if a buses’ lights are flashing.

“This time of year, you’re going to have an increase in bus traffic because school’s about to start. It’s really important that, as you drive, you are aware of your surroundings. If you see that you’re approaching a bus, slow down. Take that extra time to maintain that safe distance,” said Officer Nathan Probus with the Prince William County Police Department.

In Virginia, passing a school bus when their lights are activated is a misdemeanor crime that can be punishable by up to 12 months in prison, or a $2,500 fine.

Make sure you stay safe and start this school year off right.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire now a Goodyear dealer

In Shop Talk, Tires and Wheels by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Goodyear Tires in Woodbridge Virginia

Goodyear Tires in Woodbridge Virginia

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is now a certified Goodyear dealer.

As a Goodyear dealer, the shop offers the full line of Goodyear tires, with up-to-date tire machines, technicians that can fix your tire light, and nitrogen – a better option than compressed air for your tires.

“The benefit for the customer is that if they have any type of Goodyear tire warranty or recall information, they can come directly to us to get that fixed. We’re the only Goodyear dealer currently in the Woodbridge area,” said Steve’s Service Manager Gabe Guarino.

Customers can now also take advantage of Goodyear tire rebates at the shop.Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire now a Goodyear dealer

Some popular Goodyear brands Steve’s now has in stock are the Wranglers, Assurance, Eagle LS-2, and the classic Eagle RS-A.

“Those came in stock, all the way back from 1990 Nissan Maximas. The Goodyear RS-A is also what every single police Interceptor Cruiser uses,” Guarino said of the RS-As.

Steve’s Auto offers road hazard warranties for all Goodyear tires, with a 3-year, 2/3nds of wear warranty.

Goodyear Tires in Lake Ridge Virginia

Goodyear Tires in Lake Ridge Virginia

“We’re proud to be able to offer Goodyear products in our shop. Goodyear is known for their durability and quality, and we’re able to help our customers by becoming the only Woodbridge area Goodyear dealer,” said Steve’s Owner ST Billingsley.

 

Is your car ready for the summer?

In Brakes, Cooling System, Maintenance, Safety, Tires and Wheels by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

The sun is shining, and it’s almost time for summer. While the summer offers plenty of fun and great weather, it also comes with summertime traffic, and the gridlock and bumper-to-bumper with the Washington, D.C. commute and beach traffic.

Keeping that traffic in mind, you’re going to want to make sure that your car is prepared. Here are some things you should check, to see if your car is ready for the summer.

Make sure your car or trucks air conditioning works good for the summer months

Make sure your car or trucks air conditioning works good for the summer months

Is your A/C blowing cold?

With your heat blasting during the winter months, chances are that you haven’t needed to use the air conditioning – which means that you may be unaware of potential problems with your A/C system. Nothing is worse than trying to head out for a long car ride – or even your morning commute – and realizing that your A/C is blowing hot. If you’ve noticed that your A/C system is blowing warmer than it normally would, it’s good to bring it in and see if there are any leaks, and get replacement or repair done before the thermostat really starts to rise.

Are your brakes ready for stop-and-go?

Is your car ready for the summer?

Front brake pads and rotors need to be checked to ensure proper vehicle braking

We all know that when you live in this area, there are bound to be traffic jams, regardless of the time of year. But with the summer, and all of the vacation and beach traffic in Northern Virginia, bumper-to-bumper can be a real challenge if you’re brakes aren’t in good shape. Having quality brakes that aren’t worn down can make a huge difference in your vehicle’s stopping time, and can be the difference between a hard stop and a fender bender. For our customers we recommend that they change out their brake pads when they’re worn down below 4/32nds.

Make sure you’re cooling system is doing its job.

Is your car ready for the summer?

Make sure your engine cooling system is working properly

When’s the last time you had your cooling system serviced or checked? The cooling system in your vehicle – different from the car’s air conditioning – is important, and needs to be checked on regularly. The cooling system uses a radiator, water pump, and a cooling fan to help create circulation in your car’s engine, allowing it to release heat so that your engine doesn’t become overheated. Especially as the weather gets warmer, all of that heat outside can take a toll on your car’s engine if you don’t care for it properly. Make sure that you’re getting the coolant fluids topped off, and that you’re getting cooling system flushes this summer, to keep from dealing with an overheated engine.

Are your tires worn down?

Is your car ready for the summer?

Make sure your tires are safe, with Goodyear tires

Whether you’ve got winter tires on your vehicle, or you’ve been riding on your all-seasons for a while, you need to be thinking about the condition of your tires as the summer approaches. Just like brakes, the condition of your tires makes a huge difference in your stopping time and speed, as well as the comfort and handling of your drive. At Steve’s we recommend that customers consider replacing their brakes when they’re down below 4/32nds. Especially with all of the bumper-to-bumper traffic ahead, it’s good to make sure that your tires are in excellent condition for the summer.

3 things to watch out for with all this rainy weather

In Headlamps, Safety, Tires and Wheels, Windshield Wipers by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

It’s been raining for several days now, and you’re probably wondering when it’s going to end. While we can’t predict the weather or make the rain go away, what we can do is tell you about things you should be on the lookout for with all of this rainy weather.

3 things to watch out for with all this rainy weather

Wiper blades need to be replaced to keep the windshield clear for safe driving.

Check to see how your windshield wipers are doing

Your car’s windshield wipers see a lot more use when there’s rain for long stretches of time, and eventually like all things do, the wipers will wear out with frequently use. Having worn out windshield wipers can be a hazard, particularly at night or when there’s heavy rainfall, because they’re not as effective at removing the water from your windshield. They can also leave streaks and splotches that can make it difficult to see on the road. If you notice that your windshield wipers aren’t working very well, stop in and we can get those fixed quickly for you.

3 things to watch out for with all this rainy weather

Check to see if you have a headlight out even daytime runnig lights can burn out.

Are your headlights working?

Much like the windshield wipers, if you’re using your headlights during the day and night because of gloomy and dark conditions, then you could see that one of your headlight bulbs has gone out. Sometimes people don’t notice that a headlight is out until it’s dark and they’re visibility is impaired, and that’s not the time when you want them to stop working on you. Checking your headlights regularly, especially during long stretches of rainy weather, is an easy way to see if your headlight bulbs need to be replaced.

Do your tires help you to stop at a safe distance?

Regardless of the conditions outside or the tires you have, over time your tires will wear down from frequent use on the road. You want to make sure that your tires are at safe wear levels even when it’s sunny and bright, but days when it’s raining or snowing are really when you need those tires the most, as they’re what gives you traction and helps you to stop safely on the road. Now is definitely a good time to check the tread depth on your tires, and make note of how good your car’s traction is on the road. If your tread depth is worn, it could be time for a new set of tires, or you may risk sliding around on the road in wet conditions.

 

3 things to watch out for with all this rainy weather

Worn tire down to the tread bar indicators definetly time to change these tires.

3 things to watch out for with all this rainy weather

New tires have deep grooves andsipes to channel water away to keep you safe on the road.

Winter’s over: it’s time to replace your shocks and struts

In Maintenance, Promotions, Shocks and Struts by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Winter’s over: it’s time to replace your shocks and struts

Cars and trucks with high mileage can have worn out shocks and struts and show no signs of leaking

We made through a pretty bad winter, with a blizzard, ice, and variable temperatures, and we’re sure you’re looking forward to the warmer weather as much as we are. But now that the winter weather has subsided, we’re left with sizeable potholes, and the damage that the winter inflicted on our cars.

One of the important services you should consider as we move into the warmer months is replacing your shocks and struts. Here are five signs that your shocks and struts are due to be inspected and replaced that you should be on the lookout for.

Your vehicle’s handling is off.

If you’re on your morning commute or off running some errands and you notice that your car isn’t handling like it used to, and it’s got more bounce or a rougher ride than normal, that’s a sign that your shocks and struts are worn down.

Winter’s over: it’s time to replace your shocks and struts

Replacing the struts on a vehicle can improve handling

You’re going in for a nose dive.

When you’re braking, turning, or speeding up you should always be able to maintain control of your vehicle – in large part because of the shocks and struts in your car. But if you’re noticing that the ‘nose’ or front of your car is starting to dive, especially when you’re applying the brakes, then that’s a good sign that your shocks and struts need replacing.

Your tires have patches.

Shock and strut wear can impact your tires, and uneven wear is a good visual sign that they’re worn out and need to be replaced. When shocks and struts wear out, your tire will bounce more frequently and hit the ground, losing rubber in the process – which is called cupping. You’ll often find that when shocks and struts need to be replaced, your tires will show uneven wear and smooth patches.

The car is making squeaking sounds.

Winter’s over: it’s time to replace your shocks and struts

Worn suspension components like shocks and struts can cause premature tire wear

If you drive over a bump or pothole in the road, are you hearing loud squeaking noises coming from the suspension? Or when you’re getting out of your vehicle or braking? Then that’s another possible sign that your shocks and struts are in need of inspection, replacement, or repair.

Your car has more than 50,000 miles on it.

At our shop we follow guidance from the Motorist Assurance Program that recommends that drivers replace their shocks and struts after 50,000 miles. There’s some variance on mileage before its necessary, based on the type of car and road conditions, but if your car is over 50,000 miles and you’re experiencing some of the other issues we’ve mentioned, then it may be time to swap out those shocks and struts.

To get the spring and summer started off right, we’re offering a special at the shop, where you can get your shocks and struts inspected and replaced for only $20 over cost. To take advantage of this deal, bring this coupon to us to redeem the special pricing, good through April 30, 2016.

Winter’s over: it’s time to replace your shocks and struts