It’s that time of year: switching from summer to winter tires

In Tires and Wheels by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

It’s that time of year: switching from summer to winter tires

Michelin Xice xi3/ snow tires

The weather is getting colder, and any day now there’s going to be snow on the ground. You know that driving in the snow can be a hassle, and sometimes even dangerous. And just like you change over from your summer wardrobe to your winter wardrobe, you need to swap out your tires for the season.

Summer tires have a lot of advantages. If you have a performance vehicle, like a BMW or an Audi, then you’re going to want a quality set of wheels to get more traction and tread for the best response when turning and braking on the road. And while summer tires are created to handle rain, hot pavement, and other summer weather factors, they’re not going to be able to perform nearly as well on slick and icy roads.

Many drivers opt for an all-season tire, because – as the name implies – they are built to be used in all seasons. All-season tires are designed to stand up to many weather conditions, across the seasons, but they’re no substitute for winter or snow tires, particularly if you’re in an area where there’s a moderate to severe amount of snowfall each winter.

Winter tires are created to perform in icy and snowy driving conditions, and provide the maximum amount of traction and grip on the roads. When you need reliability and you want to ensure safety out there on the roads this

It’s that time of year: switching from summer to winter tires

BF Goodrich performance tire

winter, the best way to make sure that happens is to have a set of quality winter wheels on your vehicle. They have the ability to perform on drive pavement, but they’re designed with inclement weather in mind. That extra traction is going to give you extra stopping time when braking, and when you’re driving around other vehicles, and you start to slide, those extra couple of feet can make a major difference in the outcome.

So when it comes to the safety and reliability of your vehicle in every season, making sure you have a set of summer and winter tires to alternate between the seasons is an excellent idea. At Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire we have technicians and staff that can answer all of your questions about the different types of tires, and which ones work best for your vehicle in all seasons, and all weather.

Getting your vehicle stocked and prepared this winter

In Maintenance, Safety by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Getting your vehicle stocked and prepared this winterAre you prepared if something happens while you’re in your vehicle this winter? It’s always important to be prepared, and when it comes to having supplies in your car it’s no exception.

Keeping a small emergency kit on hand in your vehicle is the best way to make sure that you have what you need, whether it’s getting stuck in a snowbank or a dead battery.

Here are the supplies you should keep in your car’s emergency kit:

A jumper cable. You may also want to include some flares and a reflective triangle for breakdowns.

Flashlight with extra batteries.

First aid kit with any of your medications included.

Formula and diapers (if you have a small child).

Non-perishable food items, including canned food and protein-dense foods, and a manual can opener to open any cans.

Water. Preferably a gallon of water per person a day. Try to prepare for three days’ worth.

Some tools, including a screwdriver and pliers.

A radio.

Cat litter or sand, to get better traction in icy areas.

An ice scraper and shovel to remove snow from your vehicle.

Warm clothing or blankets.

A cell phone charger.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire wants to make sure that all of our customers are safe and prepared, especially with the winter weather coming. In addition to your emergency kit, making sure to get your car serviced and installing snow tires are a good investment in your safety and your vehicle this winter.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire donates minivan to NOVA automotive program

In Community Involvement by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire donates minivan to NOVA automotive program

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire donated a minivan and automotive parts to NOVA’s auto program.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire was proud to donate a minivan and automotive parts to the Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) Automotive program, based out of Manassas.

“Steve’s has been loading the van up with starters and air conditioning compressors…a half shaft, a steering rack,” said Gary Phares, an automotive instructor at (NOVA).

According to another automotive instructor at NOVA, John Hicks, the program currently has 150 students in day and night classes.

“We train in all eight areas of ASE [certification]…brakes, alignments, suspension, electrical, AC, engine repair, engine performance, automatic transmission, manual transmission,” said Hicks.

At NOVA there is a 2 year automotive degree program, or a one year certificate program with job placement assistance.

While the program is popular, Hicks and Phares said that they rely mainly on donations from automotive shops, like Steve’s, to get parts they need.

“We use a variety of things in the program, so it’s not so much a question on what we need, it’s what can we get…we pretty much rely on donations,” said Hicks.

Phares said there is especially need for manual transmissions and manual transmission vehicles.

The instructors will pick up any vehicles or parts that are donated to the program, according to Phares.

Do you know the street safety rules around school buses?

In Safety by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

The school year in Virginia has just begun, and that means that school buses will be back out on the road.

Do YOU know the rules for driving and stopping around school buses?

  1. When you see a school bus stopped with flashing red lights and an extended stop sign on the side of the bus, you must stop your vehicle from any direction, if you are on a highway, private road or school road. You must stay stopped until the area is clear, and the bus is moving again.
  2. If a bus is loading or letting off passengers and the signals are not on, you still must stop.
  3. If you are driving on a road in the opposite direction with a road that has a median or a barrier, and the bus is on the other side, then you do not have to stop.

Make sure to follow the rules of the road and be safe this school year.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire donates to Hilda Barg homeless shelter in Woodbridge

In Community Involvement by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire donates to Hilda Barg homeless shelter in Woodbridge

Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Center in Woodbridge Virginia.

ST Billingsley, owner of Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire, visited the Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Center in Woodbridge.

After hearing that the shelter was in dire need of pillows for its residents, Billingsley wanted to help.

“Being a part of the community is important to us, and we always want to help when we can. We’re proud at Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire to be able to donate these pillows and help out residents in need,” said Billingsley.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire donates to Hilda Barg homeless shelter in Woodbridge

Delivering pillows to the Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Shelter.

He went to deliver a month’s worth of pillows to the volunteers, who were very excited about the donation.

“You don’t realize you need things like that, until you don’t have them,” said a shelter volunteer.

The Price and Value of Oil Change Service at Steve’s

In Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

The Price and Value of Oil Change Service at Steve's

Valvoline 5W-20 oil for a Honda, using the correct type of oil helps keep you car or truck on the road.

Oil change service varies from location to location, and so do the prices depending on the area. No matter where you go, you want to ensure that your car is in good hands. So, what makes  Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire the right place to go for your next oil change? Let’s talk about it.

We do so much more than just change your oil.  We offer many different packages to accommodate your personal needs.

Our basic Bronze service starts out at $39.95, and covers up to 5 quarts of motor oil and your filter.

One perk to note when you choose us for an oil change, is that we will do a tire rotation for no charge. Our competitors charge an additional $20 for this service. Why pay more, when you can entrust your car to us, and get it as an added bonus?

The next step up is our Silver service for $59.99, which includes up to 5 quarts of motor oil, a filter and our BG MOA engine oil supplement.

The Price and Value of Oil Change Service at Steve's

Checking brakes, tires and suspension component during an oil change.

Our premium service, which is called the Gold service – for $79.99 –  includes up to 5 quarts of motor oil, a filter BG MOA engine oil supplement and BG CF5 Fuel supplement.

Looking for additions to your oil change service that improve the quality and stability of your vehicle? At Steve’s we offer full synthetic oil, for an additional fee, that makes a big difference in the performance of your vehicle.

During the service, our technicians check all of your vehicle’s vital fluid levels and test their condition. If you’re low, we will top them off for you.  This includes the following fluids:

The Price and Value of Oil Change Service at Steve's

Checking the brake fluid for moisture content, to much moisture can cause brake pedal fade.

– Washer fluid up to 1 gallon
– Power steering fluid
– Transmission fluid (dipstick type only)
– Radiator engine coolant
– Brake fluid

In addition to the fluids we top off, we also inspect the following during our service:

The Price and Value of Oil Change Service at Steve's

Battery terminal corrosion found during and oil change, this can cause shorter battery life and a no start problem.

– Visual inspection of brake pad and rotor condition
– Battery corrosion
– Battery life
– Belts for cracking and wear
– Radiator hoses to make sure they are not worn
– Fluid leaks
– Tire pressure
– Lights to make sure the bulbs are all working
– Maintenance reminder light
– Exhaust
– Windshield wipers to make sure they are not torn
– Inspection sticker to make sure you are not expired or about to expire

Our goal is make sure your vehicle is maintained properly to help you avoid major costly repairs, so if we see something that may potentially develop into something bigger, we will alert you in plenty of time for you to address the problem before it becomes a major mechanical breakdown.

The Price and Value of Oil Change Service at Steve's

Checking wiper blades and brake lights during an oil change.

So when it’s time for that routine oil change, don’t just go to any shop. Go to a shop that cares, and goes the extra mile to inspect and take care of your car, and stop by Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire for your next oil change.

*Prices subject to change. Prices reflect service on August of 2015.

Why do auto repair shops not want to use my own parts?

In Shop Talk by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Why do auto repair shops not want to use my own parts?

Brake pads and rotors from Car Quest are to original equipment specifications

Keeping your car well maintained is important. And for some people, letting a technician isn’t enough – they want to take the extra step and order their own parts and really be a part of the process. And while that effort is appreciated, there are several reasons why many auto repair shops will not install parts that you bring to them when you’re getting your vehicle serviced.

The easiest way to explain why is to give you some example scenarios.

Why do auto repair shops not want to use my own parts?

Alternator and Air Filter from a quality aftermarket parts supplier

Let’s say you order your water pump and timing belt off of the internet or purchase them at a local parts supply house.  When you bring in your parts, you are feeling all happy because you feel like you just saved yourself some money. In this scenario, let’s pretend we agree to install them.

One of our technicians gets your car into the bay, and sets it up on the lift. We go to install your part – but oh, wait –the water pump does not fit. Then you’re in a position where we’ve begun labor, and now you’re stuck with a part that doesn’t fit, waiting for days or weeks until you can get the appropriate part from an internet parts retailer or taking time to run back and forth to the store to complete the job, all the while the car is stuck in the repair shops bay.

Why do auto repair shops not want to use my own parts?

Genuine GM parts from the dealer

Or say, maybe we installed that part, and six months down the road, you return to our shop and say the water pump and timing belt we installed are making noise and are not working properly. If we had installed your parts – and not our own – then you aren’t covered with the 2 year, 24,000 mile warranty that we offer our customers with our parts. And while yes we do need to sell auto parts in order to keep our shop open, another important reason why we do that is so we can offer the great warranty.

In this scenario, you would now be paying our shop two times for the same job to be performed, and overall you haven’t saved any money.

Now let’s look at another scenario so you can better understand the hazard of using your own parts, instead of those from an auto repair shop.

Why do auto repair shops not want to use my own parts?

Radiator for a Nissan from an aftermarket parts supplier

Say you call the shop to get a price on replacing an oxygen sensor.  You say you have been to a local auto parts house and have the code and they say it’s your oxygen sensor. You are asking us to put in the part that you have, and go off of another person’s word that this will fix your problem with the check engine light.

Then comes in the fact that as an auto repair shop, we absorb the liability when you walk out the door with your car keys in hand. If you were to have someone install a customer supplied part and it’s wrong, it could cost cause further car problems, an accident, or even put your safety at risk.

Why do auto repair shops not want to use my own parts?

Radiator cap from an overseas parts supplier

When you allow us to diagnose and replace the products that we purchase we are guaranteeing your money is well spent.  If the part fails, you will not be paying labor again, nor will you be paying for the part. We as a company have to absorb the expense when a part fails within its warranty time and that is why we use quality parts from our trusted suppliers.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire partners with Caarmo on new auto technology in Woodbridge

In Maintenance, Monitoring System, Safety, Service Standards by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire partners with Caarmo on new auto technology in Woodbridge

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire owner ST Billingsley holds a new diagnostic device created by Caarmo in Woodbridge.

 Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire partners with Caarmo on new auto technology in Woodbridge

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire has partnered with Caarmo to bring our customers more information and reliability to their vehicle maintenance.

Steve’s is one of 18 auto repair shops to offer Caarmo’s car diagnostic device, which will give consumers information about their car’s needs and allows them to connect with auto technicians to speak about their car and schedule service.

“One of the biggest expenses that people have is their vehicles. And that can be for businesses or consumers. They spend a lot of money, and a lot of time on them – but they don’t know what’s happening. So we’ve created sort of a really sophisticated ‘Fitbit’ for a car,” said Vinay Raman, CEO of Caarmo.

According to Raman, the device is smaller than a pack of cards, runs off the car’s power and plugs into the diagnostic port in your vehicle to begin transmitting diagnostic information.

“Since 1996, every car in the United States has got this diagnostic port…we use that same port [with our device] but we partner with a repair shop, to help their customers understand more of what’s happening with their vehicle,” said Raman.

One of the biggest benefits for customers is peace of mind that they will have information about what is going on with their vehicle, and that certified technicians will also be keeping an eye on the health of their car.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire partners with Caarmo on new auto technology in Woodbridge

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire owner ST Billingsley places the Caarmo device in a car’s diagnostic port.

“[We put] these devices in the vehicles to let them know, ‘Hey your car is operating just fine’ or if a check engine lights comes on – some people kind of freak out when they see that – we can take a look at that and say, ‘Based on the make and model of your vehicle, let me give you a sense of what’s actually happening.’ It gives you more of a sense of what’s going on than just a light on your dashboard – you have an expert on the phone,” said Raman.

Staff at Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire will be able to open their mechanic’s portal at the shop, or use a phone app that will be able available to the shop and customers with the device. From the portal, technicians will be able to see if a customer’s car is in need, call to schedule maintenance, or reassure them that everything’s okay.

“If something goes wrong with one of the vehicles, a light will pop up on the screen…it’s an opportunity to call the customer and give them some peace of mind,” Raman commented.

Consumers will only pay $80 a year for the constant service, and the application will give you diagnostic information, service reminders and GPS tracking.

For those in the auto industry, using Caarmo’s technology is also a good way to work with fleets that need to ensure that their vehicles are functioning properly at all times.

ST Billingsley, owner of Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire, is proud to be partnering with Caarmo.

“We know how important it is to keep our customers informed and on the road. By offering Caarmo devices to our customers, we hope to ensure that their vehicles are getting the best care possible,” said Billingsley.

Steve’s will be offering the technology to customers in the coming months, when Caarmo officially launches the device.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire partners with Caarmo on new auto technology in Woodbridge

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is partnering with Caarmo to create a better car-care experience for customers.

 

5 Summer Car Care Tips from Scott, Gabe and S.T.

In Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

5 Summer Car Care Tips from Scott, Gabe and S.T.With summer comes sun, fun and increased driving, which may take a toll on your vehicle! To better prepare you for summer on the road, oil filter change Lake Ridge, VA we present our top 5 summer car care tips from your Steve’s Auto Repair Staff!

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12 Tips to Help you Save Fuel

In Fuel Economy by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

12 Tips to Help you Save FuelSo, you’ve got more interesting things to do with your money than use it on fuel. But how do you save money for the fun stuff?

Here are a few tips compiled by our service writer, Teresa Anderson, perfect for the upcoming spring months.

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