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How Steve’s Auto Repair performs oil changes

In Battery, Brakes, Fluids, Inspection, Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Oil changes are typically offered at most places that perform automotive services or repair. 

A lot of them will do the required work – change the filter and replace the oil – and leave it at that.

At Steve’s Auto Repair, we care about you and your vehicle, and want to make sure that your car is running safely when it leaves our shop. 

During an oil change, we perform a visual digital inspection, checking many points on the car or truck. This includes a range of items that tend to be overlooked.

Parts checked during oil changes

So, what does this mini inspection look like? 

The battery is one of the many parts we check. Car batteries weaken overtime, and extremely hot or cold temperatures can cause them to die. Testing a car battery may prevent you from getting stranded.

Looking over the belts and hoses, as well as the steering and suspension are also on our checklist. Hoses can become loose, and everyday use could result in components cracking or going bad. You can save yourself a trip to an auto repair shop – and possibly some money – if we address the problem early on.

Brake pads and tires get inspected too. Brakes should measure at 2/32 of an inch to pass the state inspection in Virginia. Steve’s Auto Repair recommends having them changed at 3/32 or 4/32 of an inch, depending on the make, model and manufacturer’s recommendations.

Accessible fluids, such as the coolant and windshield washer fluid, are looked over and topped off. Some can become low without you knowing it and could lead to future problems if they are ignored.

If applicable, a tire rotation is included as part of our oil change. This service can prolong the life of tires.

This work comes at no additional cost.

Other ways we take care of your vehicle

While servicing your vehicle, we use floor mats, seats and steering wheel covers to protect the interior.

Do you want to stay up to date on what’s going on with your car? We complete digital inspections, which provide you with photos, videos and notes on the vehicle’s health. These updates will share which components are good, any safety concerns, or maintenance suggestions we have. They are sent via email and text. Therefore, the customer can see what we see.

To schedule your next oil change at Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire, please call (703) 670-8005.

You can drop off your vehicle while we’re open – between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. If you do not want to come into the building, staff members are available to meet you outside.

We also have a night owl night service and a free shuttle service.

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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Coronavirus and car problems

In Battery, Cabin Air Filter, Tires and Wheels by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

We hope everybody is getting through this time of staying home. We know it’s been tough on a lot of people. 

As people are starting to go back to work over the next few weeks, it’s a good idea to go out and check your car. There are some car problems you can expect.

Car problems to be aware of

Dead car battery

Vehicles have a lot of electronics on them, including the radio, clocks, alarm systems, and computers. Over a two week period, that can drain the battery. These are other factors that can cause a car battery to fail.

Jump start your car using jumper cables or a jump box have it run for at least 30 to 40 minutes.

Low tire or TPMS light on

Having a low tire or flat tire, or the tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) light turning on are some other issues that could come up. 

While a vehicle is sitting, its tires can lose air over time, or there may be a small leak that wasn’t noticed before.

TIP: Be careful when using gas station air pumps. Most of the time, the gauges are wrong.

Brakes

Once you get on the road, you might notice a rotating grinding noise, especially when you step on the brake. Most likely, this is from rust building up on the rotors and drums. Most likely, it will go away between 12 and 15 minutes. If it doesn’t, you may want to have it looked at.

Check engine light

The check engine light could also turn on. We have been getting a code for the Evaporative Emission Control System (EVAP) and finding that the gas cap seals are the culprit. We recommend clearing the code, top off the car with some fresh gas, replacing the gas cap, and driving it to see if the light comes back on. If it does, we know that we need to do check engine light diagnostics.

Cabin air filter

We also suggest having your vehicle’s cabin air filter changed — not just because of the Coronavirus, but because of pollen season.

This is a perfect time to change the filter, which purifies the air that goes into the front of a car

Part of our replacement service includes using BG Frigi Fresh, a disinfectant that gets rid of viruses and bacteria.

If you have any problems, call Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire at (703) 670-8005.

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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What causes a car battery to fail?

In Battery by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

“Do you have a dead battery?” is usually one of the first questions someone will ask when they hear that a car won’t start.

A car battery going bad is a common problem that may leave you stuck at work, outside the store, or in the driveway.

Other possible issues include having a bad alternator or a bad starter.

High quality batteries can have a lifespan of 4 to 6 years. However, due to a variety of reasons, they may stop working correctly.

Reasons why a car battery can go bad

There are many factors that can cause a car battery to fail, aside from age.

Here are a some of the culprits:

  • 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 electronics 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.

If it has been a while since you replaced your battery or you are heading on a road trip, we recommend having it checked. Our technicians can tell if a car battery is going bad using a battery tester. The battery is one of the components they look at when performing a courtesy 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. 

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Dashboard lights: What do they mean?

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

When you first turn the key to your vehicle, a lot of the times you will see dashboard lights turn on as it does a system check.

But when they stay on, the various icons can indicate that there’s a problem.

Types of dashboard lights

Here is more information about what the lights mean:

Check engine light.

Check engine light Woodbride, Virginia

Check Engine Light

The Check Engine Light can come on for many reasons. When it blinks, there is a more immediate concern with an engine problem that could cause catalytic converter damage. When it’s blinking, in this condition, you should not wait to go to your auto repair shop.

If the check engine light comes on and stays on, the reason could range from a loose gas cap to an internal engine problem. It’s just an indicator that something is going on with a car or truck and should be looked at soon.

 

Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) Warning Light.

ABS light Woodbride, Virginia

Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) Warning Light

Your Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) Warning Light that is yellow indicates that there’s an issue with the anti-lock brake system, which prevents your brakes from locking up in an emergency to help you maintain steering control.

 

 

Brake Warning Light.

Brake warning light Woodbridge, Virginia

Brake Warning Light

This light is red, which would warn you of a hydraulic brake failure. If this light comes on, you shouldn’t drive your vehicle because you could lose hydraulic pressure and may not be able to stop your car.

 

 

 

Oil Pressure Alert Light.

Oil pressure light Woodbridge, Virginia

Oil Pressure Alert Light

A vehicle’s Oil Pressure Alert Light means that the engine oil pressure is decreasing. You should stop as soon as it’s safe to do so and check your engine oil.

Before bringing your vehicle to an auto repair shop, make sure that your oil level is correct.

 

Battery Alert Light.

Battery light Woodbride, Virginia

Battery Alert Light

The Battery Alert Light indicates that your vehicle’s battery is short on power. There could be a problem with the battery or it might be charging accurately.

When this icon appears, it could mean you have a bad battery, a bad alternator, an electrical issue or a broken wire.

You should bring it to an auto repair shop to have it checked out.

 

Tire Pressure Monitoring Light.

Tire pressure light Woodbridge, Virginia

Tire Pressure Monitoring Light

When a Tire Pressure Monitoring Light turns on, it’s saying that one of your tires is too low. It may mean that there’s a problem with the tire pressure or tire sensor.

If the light stays solid, it means that there’s a tire pressure issue. If it blinks for a minute before going solid, it’s a sensor or module problem.

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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Challenges you can face when off-roading in your Jeep & how to be prepared

In Battery, Cabin Air Filter, Cooling System, Fuel System, Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

If you own a Jeep and enjoy off-roading, then make sure your vehicle is prepared.

Jeep running problem after going through water getting into air intake.

Jeep running problem after going through water getting into air intake

“Driving Jeep Wranglers, or any kind of Jeep is fun – especially going off-roading – but one of the things that you have to be aware of is where the air intake is on a lot of these Jeeps,” said Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire owner ST Billingsley.

According to Billingsley, most intake systems are behind the right headlight of the Jeep, and this can be the source of some issues after your off-roading trip.

“So, as you’re driving through a creek, or going through a pond or something like that, and the water starts coming up over that hood, well you know you have a chance of getting that water sucked up in the intake, and if the water goes through too much it can actually damage the engine,” said Billingsley.

Jeep water and mud soaks the air filter causing rough running.

Jeep water and mud soaks the air filter causing rough running

You could also see a reduction in your vehicle’s power because the air filter is wet or has mud in it, or it has impacted the connectors to the car’s computer system.

“The computer on that is actually bolted right on the firewall, right next to the battery, so it’s another place that gets a lot of water and mud,” said Billingsley.

Other issues include water and mud on the ignition coils, and overheating with your radiator, as the fans struggle and can’t get air through the radiator, because of mud and water that is stuck. Your water pump can also suffer through similar struggles.

While it may sound bleak, there are things you can do to prepare your Jeep for off-roading, and hopefully prevent some of the issues you could run into.

Battery electrical issues after water damage off-roading.

Jeep battery electrical issues after water damage off roading

“If you are going through creeks or are off-roading, where you can get a lot of dirt and mud inside your vehicle, you want to pay attention to the radiator and wash it out. Also, if you’re going to be going through deep water, you may want to get an air intake relocation kit – you can run a tube up that runs out to the top of the windshield so it gives it an air intake, like a snorkel,” said Billingsley.

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.