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Tires and passing Virginia Safety Inspection

In Inspection, Tires and Wheels by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

State inspections are an annual requirement that help keep drivers safe.

Why would my tires not pass Virginia Safety Inspection?

tire state inspection fail tread wear indicators

A tire that is flushed with indicators will fail state safety inspection.

There are many reasons why a vehicle’s tires may fail.

Inspectors must follow certain guidelines that are set forth by the state.

When it comes to tires, they will evaluate the tread depth and wearing patterns.

tire state inspection fail secondary rubber steel belts

When secondary rubber and steel chords are showing on a tire, it will not pass state safety inspection.

A tire won’t pass if secondary rubber or inner steel chords are showing.

Foreign objects, such as nails or screws, in the tires is another indicator.

 Other signs are if the tread is flushed with indicators or if the tread is under 2/32 inches in three locations.

tire state inspection fail nail screw in tread

Foreign object damage, such as nails and screws in tire, will fail state inspection

Vehicles that have bent or damaged wheels and rims will fail Virginia Safety Inspection. 

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.

tire state inspection fail large sidewall cracking

Rubber cracking on an older tire. A large crack will fail state safety inspection.

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When to replace a serpentine belt

In Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

The serpentine belt is a belt that goes around all of the engine accessories, including the power steering pump, air compressor and alternator.

Because the serpentine belt helps run these components, it’s important to have it checked regularly.

Manufacturers have recommendations for how often a vehicle’s belt should be replaced. 

Typically, they last about 100,000 miles, depending on the quality of the belt, the usage of the vehicle, and the environment that it’s in. 

You need to check not only the belt but the serpentine belt tensioner. Not enough pressure on the belt can cause it to wear, and the ribs can wear down on the belt and can actually start to slip.

Another factor is the serpentine belts can start to crack. If you start to get too many cracks per inch, then it’s definitely time to change the belt, no matter what the mileage is.

If you live near the ocean, where there’s a lot of salt in the air, the belts may only last 30,000 to 50,000 miles.

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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Check engine light on? Car doesn’t start?

In Diagnostics by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Does your car not start? Does it crank over, but the engine doesn’t run? Is the little light on your dashboard that looks like an engine on? All these indicate that you need engine diagnostics performed.

Check engine light

It takes quite a few years of training and experience to be able to diagnose today’s high-tech vehicles. 

Special scan tools are needed and access to a large database on information to work on your vehicle are needed. 

Many times automotive technicians need to start with the basics of a battery and alternator electrical system test to a visual inspection to see if something is obviously damaged to using multi-meters and digital oscilloscopes along with manufacturer scan tools to pinpoint the problem of the vehicle. 

These problems can range from broken wiring to components not working to software updates that are needed to make the vehicle operate correctly. 

Where there used to be only one computer in the car, there can be up to 30 or more controllers and electronic modules operating the vehicle. Not only do they have to perform their function in the vehicle, they also have to talk to each other. One not working correctly can cause some strange problems.

Dashboard Lights

Dashboard Warning Lights

How much are engine diagnostics?

Engine diagnostics can vary. You should be prepared for at least a one-hour diagnostics charge. Depending on how difficult the problem is more time may be needed.

At Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire, when we do get into engine diagnostics there have been time we have found the problem in 30 minutes, and we charge accordingly.

Do you do free check engine light diagnostics?

No. We do charge for what we do, because the equipment and talent required to do it isn’t free. A lot of places that do free check engine light diagnostics will do it if you have the work performed at their shop and they will bury the cost into the job. 

How can the parts store do check engine light diagnostics for free?

They’re not performing engine light diagnostics, they’re hooking up a generic scan tool and retrieving the codes and many times just make recommendations on what parts to buy that may or may not fix the vehicle. That is not engine performance diagnostics.

My car won’t start. What now?

We would start with a basic electrical check of the battery, alternator and starter. If all checks there, we would go to the computer and retrieve the codes and then find out what sensor or control system is not working correctly.

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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Mercedes alignment: Some things to know

In Alignment by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

If your Mercedes is pulling to one side or if its steering wheel isn’t center, it may need an alignment.

Many factors, such as potholes, curbs and everyday use, can cause tires to go out of alignment.

There are alignment requirements — caster, camber and toe — that make sure your car travels straight and is able to maintain control.

Another thing to consider when getting your Mercedes alignment done, depending on the year, make and model, you may need to make sure the shop can recalibrate (Automatic Driver Assist System (ADAS). This has to do with lane assist and vehicle avoidance systems. Since the system works with the steering components, this system may need to be recalibrated.

How much does a Mercedes wheel alignment cost?

A standard tire alignment can cost between $95 and $250 for a Mercedes. This doesn’t include taxes and fees. The cost can depend on what make and model the Mercedes is, what special tools are required, and what adjustments need to be made that require special kits.

What can throw out your tire alignment?

The wheel alignment of a Mercedes may be impacted by curbs, potholes and everyday use. Tie rod ends, ball joints and other parts affect it, as well.

Is a cheap Mercedes alignment good?

High end European vehicles, such as Mercedes, require the right alignment equipment to calibrate the steering system correctly. It takes knowledge and special tools to make sure it’s done right. Sometimes your budget alignment place may not be the best for your vehicle.

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What causes a car battery to fail?

In Battery by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Many factors can cause a car battery to fail.

Here are a few reasons:

  • Charging system: Charging systems that aren’t working correctly can cause batteries to die. If your vehicle’s tensioners are worn out, or if any belts are loose they can cause the alternator to stop functioning.
  • Corrosion: Corrosion can build up on the battery terminals when battery acid combines with other substances underneath the hood of your vehicle. You can prevent corrosion by checking a battery’s water levels and cleaning the terminals and cables. You can use anti-corrosion pads underneath the battery terminals. Learn about other ways to maintain your car battery.
  • Electronics in Your Vehicle: Vehicles have clocks, computers, alarm systems and electronic modules. If you leave your car sitting for two to four weeks, the electronic can drain your battery. If you’re going to be gone for a while, you can use a battery maintainer that will help it stay charged. You can also have a friend come by and start your car. If your vehicle sits outside, you may want to invest in solar panels that plug in.
  • Leaving your headlights or dome lights: Leaving your headlights and dome lights on drains the car battery. If you’re going to leave your vehicle unattended for long periods of time, make sure these lights are off.
  • Very hot or cold seasons: If you have an old or weak battery, it could die during the winter or summer. Batteries typically go bad during warmer months, because they don’t perform well in the heat. If you live in an area that has extreme hot or cold weather conditions, you need a batter that has more reserve power. They’re going to cost more money, but you should choose a quality battery that has more reserve and is manufactured better over a cheap battery.
  • Weak battery: It’s important to take care of your battery. Those that aren’t maintained properly can weaken more quickly.

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.