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What is a tune up now?

In Maintenanceby Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Tune ups used to involve replacing parts, such as spark plugs, spark plug wires, and the distributor cap and rotor.

Mechanics would change the air filter and fuel filter, replace points in the condenser – if the car was old enough – and even perform an oil change, depending on the time frame.

It could also consist of adjusting the distributor to change the timing, cleaning the throttle plate and the choke on the carburetor, and making air fuel adjustments, including setting the base idol.

Through the years, as vehicles have become more advanced with fuel injections and computers, what is considered a tune up has changed.

Changing the spark plugs is one service that continues to be offered. However, the mileage between spark plugs has gone from 30,000 miles to between 60,000 and 105,000 miles in most vehicles today.

This increase is due to the ignition systems being Coil on Plug (COP) and the materials that the spark plugs are made out of, such as iridium and platinum, lasting much longer.

Of course there’s still air filters, but a lot of the time the fuel filters are integral with the fuel pumps in the gas tanks, depending on the vehicle. 

One service that helps greatly with today’s vehicles is cleaning the throttle body and doing an induction service. The way the PCV systems are made, more carbon gets built up in the intake and the valves than it used to.

While you’re driving, computers take care of a lot of adjustments you used to have to make. However, it’s more important than ever to maintain your vehicle or to do the tune up at the interval, even if your vehicle is running just fine. Computers will try to compensate for a problem that an automotive technician could catch during the regular tune up.

It is more important than ever to use the correct type of spark plugs for your car or truck. While a cheaper spark plug may technically allow your vehicle to run, you could be asking for the check engine to turn on for weird issues and possible damage to your engine.

The way vehicles are designed nowadays, it could be very difficult to get to the spark plugs. You used to be able to work on them in your driveway, but today it could take four or five hours to reach them, depending on what you have to take off to get to them.

SHOP TIP: Because some spark plugs are very hard to get to, when you go in for a tune up, ask to see your spark plugs. Unfortunately, when working with other shops, we have seen that the front three have been changed but not the three in the back.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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Regular maintenance can help your transmission last

In Transmission, Transmission Flushby Steves Auto Repair and Tire

It’s important for car owners to know what their vehicle needs and to go to a reputable mechanic or repair shop. 

If they don’t, there could be consequences down the road. 

One of our technicians installed a new transmission on a 2016 RAM 2500 SLT.

A few weeks ago, the customer came in after the check engine light turned on. They had also noticed the truck revved high when they were shifting into fifth and sixth gear.

Initially, we tried to address this problem by performing a transmission fluid exchange.

Unfortunately, due to a lack of maintenance, the transmission was too far gone.

To get to the transmission, the technician removed many components, including the front drive shaft, rear drive shaft, transfer case, and parts of the exhaust system.

What does a transmission do?

The transmission is a component that transfers the engine’s power to the wheels. Without it, a vehicle isn’t able to run correctly.

What are signs that a transmission is going bad?

Difficulty switching gears is one sign that a transmission is going bad. Drivers may notice a grinding or crunching noise, as well.

What happens during a transmission fluid exchange?

The contaminants in the transmission fluid tend to stick to the sides. So, we start a transmission fluid exchange by injecting a cleaner that suspends the contaminants in the fluid.

Doing this enables us to get the broken down fluid out.

Our technicians replace old transmission fluid with new fluid using a BG Transmission Fluid Exchange Machine. 

Once the exchange is complete, we add in a conditioner.

When should you have a transmission fluid exchange done?

How often you should do a transmission fluid exchange depends on the manufacturer’s recommendations.

We suggest having this service performed every 30,000.

Why should you have a transmission fluid exchange performed?

Transmission fluid exchanges clean the transmission, preventing it from going bad prematurely.

In the case of the 2016 RAM, regular transmission fluid exchanges were not done.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac a good tire for off-roading

In Tires and Wheelsby Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Are you a truck driver who does off-roading?

The Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac may be the tire you’re looking for.

We recently installed this tire on a Ford F150.

An all season tire, it features off-road and better winter traction and is severe snow certified.

This tire’s tread design includes wide gaps that enable it to barrel through mud.

Small teeth help provide you with better traction as you travel through mud and snow.

Improved traction isn’t the only perk.

The Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac is a quiet tire that has rim protection. It’s also backed by a 50,000 mile treadlife warranty.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire has a wide variety of Goodyear tires, including the Goodyear Assurance Fuel MaxLife, the Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar, and the Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady.

To learn more about these tires or others available, give us a call at (703) 670-8005. We are happy to help you find the right tire for your vehicle.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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Why is road hazard important?

In Tires and Wheelsby Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Having a flat tire is a problem many drivers have experienced.

Nails can easily be picked up when you’re heading down the highway or going by construction sites.

Whether tires are repairable depends on the location and angle of the injury.

Those on the sidewall or the inner or outer shoulder, for example, can’t be fixed.

The sidewall may also be damaged if you hit an object, pothole or curb.

It’s when the tire can’t be repaired or there are injuries to the sidewall that road hazard comes in handy.

road hazard
tire repair

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire sells a variety of tires, including Goodyear, Kelly and Dunlop.

A nationwide road hazard warranty is available with any you purchase from us.

This warranty can save you money.

Up to 100 percent of the cost of a new tire will be covered if the old tire can’t be repaired and is in the first 33 percent of its treadwear.

After that, the road hazard is prorated. For example, if 60 percent of the tread is left, then the insurance company would cover 60 percent of the amount you paid for the tire.

road hazard
damaged tire

So, how much is road hazard?

Road hazard tire insurance is typically 10 percent of the cost of the tire. The road hazard program that we use is good nationwide if the tire is unrepairable or there’s damage to the sidewall.

The plan is good for three years or until an area of the tire reaches 2/32 of an inch or less.

Considering the cost of not only high performance tires but also regular tires for SUVs, it’s a worthwhile investment.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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How do you do a complete brake job?

In Brake Fluid Flush, Brakesby Steves Auto Repair and Tire

This week, we replaced brakes on a Dodge Charger. They were low, due to normal wear and tear.

But doing a complete brake job doesn’t just consist of putting brake pads in and letting the car go.

When working on the Dodge Charger, we measured the brake rotors and determined if they were machineable. 

complete brake job
Dodge Charger

For most of these vehicles, it’s best to replace the rotors, even if they are machineable. That way, you don’t have to worry about warping or the brake pedal pulsating – which is when the car vibrates as a driver steps on the brake.

We recommend you use a good brake pad. Cheap does not equal good. There are businesses that will offer a lifetime warranty on brake pads, because they are cheap and can be thrown on anytime. However, these places will always find something wrong with your car.

You should also ensure that the caliper slides move. It’s also a good idea to clean them up and use the correct lubrication, so they can move back and forth freely.

During a brake job, our technicians also replace the hardware, if present. Hardware is a spring tension piece of metal located between the brake pad and caliper bracket that prevents the pad from banging back and forth and reduces squealing. It needs to be lubricated correctly, as well.

complete brake job
Brake hardware

Making sure the caliper piston boot isn’t torn or leaking is also important. 

Once the brake system is reassembled, we test the brake fluid to see if there are any contaminants. Over time, moisture builds up in the brake fluid and old seals and metal cause contaminants to accumulate. That is why we perform brake fluid exchanges.

So, in summary, a complete brake job means:

  • Replacing the brake pads and rotors
  • Checking the caliper slides
  • Replacing the brake hardware
  • Performing a brake fluid exchange
  • Doing a test drive

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Goodyear tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including BMW and Mercedes. Services include oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.