View Post

BMW overheating: Possible causes and how to prevent it

In Cooling System, Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

BMW overheating problems aren’t uncommon occurrences.

We worked on a 2004 BMW that was brought in multiple times because it was overheating. 

When it first came to Steve’s Auto Repair, our technician noticed that it was low on coolant. He performed a pressure test on the cooling system and discovered the coolant reservoir was cracked.

Refrigerant cools a vehicle’s engine. It flows from the engine to the radiator, where some heat dissipates. The coolant then goes back to the engine.

Without coolant, the heat is confined to the engine.

Because the car couldn’t keep its coolant, we weren’t able to complete the diagnostic testing. 

The coolant reservoir was replaced, but the BMW was still overheating. 

Brian performed another pressure test to confirm there aren’t any other leaks. When he didn’t see any, he determined that the issue was with the thermostat or water pump.

Through further investigation, Brian noticed there was a difference in the temperature of the upper radiator hose and lower radiator hose, which usually indicates a bad thermostat.

The thermostat was sticking closed, preventing coolant from reaching the radiator and cooling the vehicle down.

Possible reasons behind a BMW overheating

Being low on coolant is the most common reason a BMW overheats. This is the result of a coolant leak. The technicians at Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire are able to look for and address coolant leaks.

Overheating can also indicate a thermostat issue. If the thermostat doesn’t open, coolant isn’t able to flow to where it needs to go.

A car could also overheat due to an electrical component, such as the electric cooling fan and electric cooling fan controller. Even a module or computer may be experiencing an issue that prevents the cooling fan from turning on. 

We have worked on vehicles that had functioning cooling fans that weren’t spinning fast enough to pull air through.

How to prevent your car from overheating

Some overheating problems can’t be avoided. However, there are some maintenance options available.

Coolant fluid exchanges, for examples, can help prevent the engine from overheating. It also extends the life of the cooling system components and overall life of the engine.

You can read more about coolant fluid exchanges in this article we wrote recently.

We recommend this service every 30,000 miles. Depending on a manufacturer’s recommendations, a vehicle could require it more often.

You might want to also consider a coolant fluid exchange if work is being done on the thermostat or you’re getting a new radiator or water pump. 

Depending on how much and where you’re driving, debris – such as dirt, bugs and grass – can start to build up in front of the radiator.

Getting it cleaned out to make sure the air is flowing through to the radiator can keep a vehicle from overheating.

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.

View Post

Why you shouldn’t store napkins in your car’s glove box

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

It’s time to turn on the air conditioning.

But when one of our customers did, they heard a noise. This led them to bring their Town & Country to Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire.

We found a few problems during our investigation.

First of all, a shop that had previously worked on the vehicle hadn’t properly installed the door for the cabin air filter.

The second issue was that napkins and some peanuts that were in the glove box had gotten sucked into the blower motor. 

Our employees also found a very dirty cabin air filter that appeared to have been chewed on by a squirrel or mouse.

The problems were addressed and the driver is back on the road.

However, based on this situation, there are a few recommendations we would like to pass on.

Take your car to a mechanic or repair shop you can trust

Overtime, you invest a fair amount of money in your vehicle – through oil changes, inspections, mileage-based services, new parts that go bad through daily use … You get the point.

You also most likely drive it each week (if not daily), and don’t want to end up stranded on the side of the road or in an unsafe situation. 

With that in mind, it’s important to make sure you’re taking it to a professional who knows what they’re doing. 

Yes, this may mean spending more money on a service that you could try to figure out on your own. However, going to a reliable mechanic or auto repair shop can not only give you ease of mind, it also saves you time and can help prevent expensive repairs in the future.

Don’t keep lightweight paper in the glove box

It’s OK to store items, like an owner’s manual, in the glove box.

However, we suggest that you avoid keeping napkins and lightweight paper in it.

The blower motor is drawing in air and sometimes if it’s not sealed quite right it will suck up those items.

We recommend that you store them in the center console, where there isn’t a vacuum or fan that’s bringing in air that will circulate throughout the vehicle.Dirty cabin air filter

Change out your cabin air filter regularly

Cabin air filters, which purify the air that enters a vehicle, become dirty and need to be changed on a regular basis.

This interval depends on a few factors, including the make and model of a car as well as driving conditions.

Drivers who live on a dirt road will probably need to replace it more often than those who mainly use major roads and the highway.

Keeping bacteria, dirt, dust and pollen out of your vehicle is one perk of changing out the cabin air filter. It can also prevent the heating core and evaporator from becoming clogged.

When performing this service, our technicians can also spray BG Frigi Fresh into the vent system. You can read more about the disinfectant and replacing the cabin air filter in this article we wrote

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.

View Post

Coolant fluid exchanges can prevent engine from overheating

In Cooling System by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Your car’s engine produces a lot of heat.

The cooling system keeps the temperature at a safe level.

Coolant that the engine heats goes to the radiator. Some of the heat disappears, and the coolant returns to the engine.

If the system isn’t working correctly, the water pump could fail. The heads may get warped and the head gaskets could become blown.

Because of the important role the cooling system plays, it’s important to take care of it. This can be done through regular coolant fluid exchanges.

Why should you get a coolant fluid exchange?

Prolonging the life of coolant and enhancing your vehicle’s performance are some perks of having regular coolant fluid exchanges conducted.

Due to normal everyday use, coolant breaks down and anti-corrosion supplements wear out.

If a coolant fluid exchange is put off, various parts can begin to corrode. These components include the water pump and radiator.

Additionally, rust, scale and sludge can accumulate and block the fins of the cooling system, preventing an engine from releasing heat properly.

Avoiding this service could result in the engine overheating and may lead to expensive repairs down the road.

When should this service be performed?

Coolant fluid exchanges are recommended every 30,000 miles. How frequently your car should receive this service also depends on what the manufacturer suggests.

It’s also a good idea to change the fluid when you have problems relating to your vehicle’s thermostat or certain parts are being replaced, like the radiator or water pump.

A car is also ready for a coolant fluid exchange if the coolant is dark. This indicates that the fluid is degrading. 

Using a test strip, we can check its PH level. This is helpful because the coolant turns acidic when the additives that prevent corrosion are used up.

What happens during a coolant fluid exchange? 

When performing a coolant fluid exchange, our technicians put in BG Universal Cooling System Cleaner, which suspends the contaminants. 

The impurities and old fluid are removed and replaced with new coolant. 

After that, Super Cool is added. This product stops leaks from occurring and prevents overheating.

Types of Coolant

There are different types of coolant produced today. Some fluids are designed for European vehicles, while others should be used on Asian makes and models. Cars made in the United States may use a different type.

BG has a universal coolant that can be used on gasoline and diesel engines. This fluid helps prevent corrosion in the cooling system.

Steve’s Auto Repair has coolant for all kinds of makes and models.

It’s important that you feel safe as you’re traveling to your next destination.

The last thing you want is to end up on the side of the road because your engine overheated.

By keeping up with your vehicle’s services, you can feel a little more at ease when you hit the road.

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.

View Post

Air conditioning repair performed on Chevy Silverado

In Cooling System by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

New parts have been installed on a Chevy Silverado.

One of our technicians replaced the vehicle’s thermostat.

The thermostat starts off closed. As the engine warms up, it opens, enabling coolant to flow through the radiator.

Thermostat

We also changed the condenser and drier, which are parts of the air conditioning system.

In the A/C system, refrigerant flows as a gas on one side and as a liquid on the other side.

The air conditioning compressor pushes the refrigerant through the system to the air conditioning condenser. 

It becomes a liquid as the air conditioning fan blows on the condenser.

The drier is responsible for taking moisture out of the system.

air conditioning repair
New drier and old drier

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire provides air conditioning repair. We also have a new air conditioning machine for 1234yf.

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.

View Post

New air conditioning machine now being used at Steve’s Auto Repair

In Cooling System by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Are you having car air conditioning problems?

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire has you covered.

We have purchased a new air conditioning machine for refrigerant 1234yf, or R-1234yf.

R-12 was previously used in older vehicles. It switched to R-134 around 1995 to 1996. A couple of years ago, automotive manufacturers began transitioning to R-1234yf. All of these changes have been put in place to help the environment. 

The Global Warming Potential (GWP) for R-134 is 1,430, while the R-1234yf GWP is 4, according to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Additionally, R-1234yf doesn’t diminish the ozone layer and it has a much lower effect on Earth’s climate.

When checking for leaks after repairing a R-1234yf air conditioning system, we use a dedicated electronic leak detector and put an inert gas in the system to check for leaks before adding refrigerant, or Freon. Specialized tools are used to make sure the repair is done correctly, especially since the R-1234yf is very expensive.

With our R-1234yf machine, we have the ability to do pre checks and post checks — not only for a functional test and pressure test, but a vent temperature check before and after repair. This is part of our digital inspection that we send to our customers by email and text.

Special oil is required for R-1234yf air conditioning systems. We don’t want any cross-contamination from oil or freon from R-134 to R-1234yf systems. If there is, it can actually ruin the compressor very quickly. That’s why we chose to get a seperate machine, as opposed to a dual machine.

If there is R-1234yf in the air conditioning system, the machine will take out R-1234yf so it doesn’t get released into the air.

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.