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Are my tires getting old?

In Alignment, Tires and Wheelsby Steves Auto Repair and Tire

One of the tires on your vehicle is looking a little low, and you decide to have it checked out.

When you grab your phone — or computer — and Google “Tire shop near me,” many businesses will mostly likely appear.

In addition to finding a shop that’s conveniently located near you, it’s a good idea to check out their reviews and services.

Tire repair is one of the services Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire provides.

Over time, tires wear out and are in need of replacing.

The latest you should wait to replace your tires is eight to 10 years. We recommend that you begin planning for new tires at six years, depending on the climate.

If you live in Northern Virginia, tires tend to last a long time. Those residing near the beach — where it’s saltier — may need to replace their vehicle’s tires every four to six years.

You can tell the age of a tire by looking at its date code. A date code tells you the week and the year it was manufactured. This can help you determine if the tire is getting too old.

An example is if the last four digits of the DOT code are 0304. That would mean the tire was produced during the third week of the year 2004.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire, which is a Virginia Safety Inspection station, looks at tires during the annual Virginia Safety Inspection.

The minimum tread depth Virginia Safety Inspection specification is 2/32 of an inch, but the manufacturer may recommend that the tires need to be replaced by 3/32 of an inch to 5/32 of an inch, depending on the tire. 

The spare tire may be as old as your vehicle. When getting new tires, you should also consider replacing the spare, even if it hasn’t been used. Spare tires that are stored in a vehicle can deflate over time. Those located underneath vehicles, such as trucks, are out in the open, where they face weather conditions and debris.

Having a wheel alignment performed when you replace your tires and every 15,000 miles is also important.

If you don’t do a regular wheel alignment, your tires can experience premature wear. A tire with a 60,000 mile tread life can decrease to 30,000 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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How complicated is a BMW alignment?

In Alignment, Tires and Wheelsby Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Potholes, curbs and normal wear and tear can throw off your wheel alignment. Overtime, they can also cause abnormal tire wear, which will shorten the life expectancy of your tires.

Here are a few signs that your BMW needs a wheel alignment:

  • Your vehicle is pulling to one side
  • You notice abnormal tire wear
  • If your Automatic Driver Assist System (ADAS) is engaging when it’s not supposed to 
  • Your steering wheel isn’t centered

When performing a BMW alignment, you need to make sure that the auto repair shop has qualified automotive technicians, up-to-date wheel alignment machines, and current software to give your vehicle the best alignment.

On today’s complicated vehicles, one thing that often gets missed is recallibrating the steering angle sensor after performing a wheel alignment. This can affect steering, handling and braking.

Another thing to be aware of is to make sure that you may need to recalibrate the ADAS, which includes lane assist and vehicle avoidance systems. With all of the electronic systems tied together to make sure that everything is safe, a simple tire alignment isn’t so simple anymore.

Discount alignments are not always the best, as you may not have a knowledgeable mechanic working on your vehicle that would know about these systems. Setting the toe and letting it go is not a good alignment.

On many BMW models, there may not be an adjustment for camber and toe, but there are aftermarket parts that can be installed that will bring the alignment into specification. This will help your tires last a long time and allow your vehicle to provide the best handling.

Even when a BMW is new, they are set up to basic specs, but may not have an accurate alignment. After that, it’s recommended that when you get new tires — or every 30,000 miles — you should get your BMW alignment checked. If you live in the Northern Virginia area, your alignment should be checked once a year.

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 Alignmentby 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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Jeep alignments impacted by tires, parts used in lift kit

In Alignmentby Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Jeeps are very popular.

Not only are they rugged, but they’re also one of the easier vehicles to customize.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is equipped to perform alignments on stock Jeeps as well as Jeeps that have lift kits and larger tires.

A lifted Jeep’s alignment can be impacted by the type of tires used. They can give it a pull as it’s driven down the road.

The type of parts used in the lift kit is another factor.  

The higher quality lift kit, the easier it is to bring everything into specification.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire checks the suspension components, such as ball joints and bushings. They also check the steering components, including tie rod ends.

The alignment of a Jeeps should be checked when new tires are put on. It should also be checked once a year.

Jeeps owners who go off-roading should have the alignment checked at least twice a year or when they feel that there’s an issue as they’re driving down the highway.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is asking those who use their Jeeps for off-roading to power wash underneath the vehicle before bringing them in for an alignment.

This allows the repair shop to fix it more quickly.

5 things to have checked on your car this spring

In Alignment, Brake Fluid Flush, Cabin Air Filter, Cooling System, Maintenanceby Steves Auto Repair and Tire

With the winter fading away, and the weather finally starting to warm up with the onset of spring, it’s time to get your vehicle ready with a little ‘spring cleaning’ maintenance.

These are the top 5 things you should do, to get your car ready for spring:

5 things to have checked on your car this spring

Mercedes engine coolant flush

  1. Have your vehicle’s fluids flushed – including the coolant.

With winter on its way out, it’s a good idea to have all of your vehicle’s fluids flushed, checked, and refilled. It’s especially important for your coolant fluid to be flushed and topped off. Why? Because the warmer weather can raise the temperature of your vehicle, and coolant helps to keep things running smoothly.

“Given the fact that we’re going to start coming in to warmer weather, your car’s going to be running a little hotter because the ambient temperature’s going to be warmed up, so coolant’s a good fluid to get changed now,” said Rich Campbell, manager at Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire.

  1. 5 things to have checked on your car this spring

    Checking tires at Steves Auto Repair and TIre

    Have your tires inspected.

All that driving in the ice and snow wears away at the tread on your tires, and over time that means your tires are going to need to be replaced. When its springtime and the snow and ice have cleared, that’s the perfect time to have your tires inspected by a technician. If your tires are worn down and losing traction, that can make a huge difference when stopping on wet spring roads, so it’s important to get them inspected.

“You need to make sure you’ve got adequate traction,” said Campbell.

  1. 5 things to have checked on your car this springHave your air cabin filter changed.

Cabin air-filter changes are an important part of maintenance year-round, but they’re even more important come springtime, because of the pollen and things floating in the air that can impair air quality.

“That cabin air filter filters your pollen, the dust, and getting ready for spring you want a good, fresh cabin air filter in there,” said Campbell.


Tail light bulb replacement at Steves Auto Repair and Tire

4. Are your bulbs out?

Bulbs go out on vehicles all of the time, and it’s important to get them replaced, no matter what time of year it is. But when you’re doing your ‘spring cleaning’ checkup on your vehicle, it’s worth checking if any of your lights are out, as they’re easily replaced during a trip to the shop.

  1. Have your alignment checked out.

Bouncing around on potholes and that unexpected curb following a big snow storm can really throw your vehicle’s alignment out of whack. If you notice your car’s pulling, even slightly, or you’re noticing a very rough ride, then that’s a pretty good sign that you may need an alignment service. Many drivers get them during the spring, because of those potholes, left by the snow plows, we mentioned earlier.

5 things to have checked on your car this spring

Wheel alignment at Steves Auto Repair and Tire

If you want to make sure your vehicle is road-ready for all of the trips and events you’ve got planned for spring, then make sure that you take your car in for some spring maintenance at Steve’s.