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Using walnut blasting treatment to address carbon buildup

In Fuel System by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Walnuts are a snack that many people enjoy. But did you know that they can also be used to clean the intake manifold of a vehicle?

This service, called walnut blasting, is one of the services offered at Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire.

It addresses carbon buildup, which is a common problem among BMWs and mini coopers.

We use walnut blasting to help clean the intake, intake valves and cylinder head. 

One of our technicians performed it on a mini cooper, which was running rough.

How we perform walnut blasting

During walnut blasting, the intake manifold is removed. Then, we are able to spray directly into the cylinder head and the intake valves. 

The shells are ground to a powder and that will help break up the carbon deposits, which is usually unburnt fuel and oil that has leaked out and hardened on the valve surfaces, valve stems and the cylinder head. 

It almost acts like a jet of sandpaper that’s knocking the carbon off the valves.

Any remaining walnut shell residue can be broken or burned up by the engine.

Once the carbon deposits are cleared away, drivers may notice an increase in power and, most importantly, the fuel economy. This service will also help the engine breathe better and lower the vehicle’s emissions.

Another benefit of walnut blasting is that it won’t hurt anything, like the pistons or seals. It’s also environmentally safe.

Indicators that you need this service

So, how do you know that carbon is building up in the intake?

Poor fuel economy and running rough are the two of the most common signs.

You might also notice that your vehicle seems sluggish.

For example, drivers who bought their car at 5,000 miles and are now at 60,000 miles may feel that it isn’t running the way it used to. A walnut blasting could help with that.

Preventing and address carbon buildup

Performing regular oil changes, which we recommend every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, can help prevent carbon buildup.

Cleaning may also be a needed maintenance option, depending on the type of vehicle you have.

Part of the problem with the buildup is oil seeping by the valve stems or valve guides. There’s no way to fix it without taking the cylinder head off and taking the valves apart.

Some of these European cars, especially BMWs, tend to burn oil. So, if they’re leaking oil, cleaning the intake will be a common practice. This can be done with walnut blasting or a chemical cleaning, like the BG Fuel Induction Service.

The Fuel Induction Service helps clean out the fuel system. We suggest this service every 30,000 miles, but some manufacturers recommend it more frequently. To learn more about this maintenance option and why you should get it, check out 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.

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Fuel system problems and maintenance

In Fuel System by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

The fuel system on a vehicle is responsible for getting fuel to the engine, enabling the car to move. 

Because of this critical role, taking care of the system is a necessary part of car maintenance.

Fuel doesn’t automatically make it to the engine as you’re filling up at the gas station.

There are several components that work together to ensure that it gets there.

How the fuel system works

When you get gas, the fuel enters the fuel tank. From there, it’s brought out by the fuel pump and transported along fuel lines to the filter and injectors. 

The fuel filter keeps contaminants out of the fuel and fuel injectors feed it to the engine cylinders.

Common problems

Overtime, the fuel system can experience various problems. Here are some common ones:

Fuel filter is blocked: The fuel filter becoming blocked is one fuel system problem. It may simply need to be changed.

Fuel injectors aren’t working correctly: One or multiple fuel injectors may need to be cleaned or replaced. Some indicators include rough idle, difficulty starting the vehicle, and an increase in the amount of fuel being used.

Fuel pump is going bad: If the fuel pump is failing, the fuel is unable to move from the tank. Misfires, loss in power, and clicking or whining sounds when idle are symptoms you may notice when the fuel pump is going bad.

A variety of other fuel system issues can arise. 

Some vehicles have transfer pumps, which can go bad and aren’t able to transfer to the main tank. 

High pressure fuel pumps, which are found under the hood of certain vehicles, may also fail.

Signs of fuel system problems

A few symptoms can pop up when there’s a fuel system problem.

If you smell fuel, you could have a leak. But when it comes to smelling the fuel, sometimes you only smell it when you first start the car or turn the heat or air conditioning on. 

Sometimes, it may not be a big leak – like a fuel line – but the injectors could be seeping or a seal might be going bad, causing a little bit of fuel to leak. Trying to find those can be tricky and may mean that the vehicle needs to stay at a repair shop overnight.  

Other symptoms of fuel system problems include rough running issues. If the fuel pump or fuel pressure regulator is failing, the fuel pressure may be too high. Generally, the pressure is too low if you have a bad fuel pump, and it will feel like the vehicle doesn’t have enough power. Computer controlled cars lack a fuel volume and pressure as drivers travel uphill, making it seem like the transmission is bad.  

Bad fuel or gas that contains water can create some weird misfires. The water will collect in the tank, so when you turn a corner water may be sucked up and result in the engine running rough.

Fuel injectors not working correctly is another potential problem. They can become clogged or not be able to distribute the fuel right, leading to misfires and running issues. 

Ways to maintain the fuel system

Upkeep on your vehicle can help you save money and avoid breaking down on the side of the road.

We recommend having a fuel induction service performed every 30,000 miles. Some manufacturers suggest it more often.

This service cleans out the fuel system and improves fuel economy. Other benefits include decreasing emissions and restoring lost power.   

Depending on the type of vehicle you have, the fuel filter may need to be replaced on a regular basis. The ones that are serviceable are generally recommended to be changed every 30,000 miles.

Most filters nowadays are built into the fuel pump. Diesel vehicles typically need a new one every other oil change, depending on the diesel vehicle.

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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Fuel induction service helps maintain engine

In Fuel System by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Engines perform quite a bit of work and produce high amounts of heat to run vehicles and get drivers where they need to go.

In order to continue working properly, engine components require some upkeep. If you travel through traffic on a daily basis, taking care of your engine is even more important.

These maintenance methods span from having oil changes performed regularly to mileage-based services.

In addition to using BG MOA when replacing the oil, we recommend conducting a fuel induction service.

About the Fuel Induction Service

Engines are made up of various parts, including combustion chambers, fuel injectors and intake valves, that needed to be cleaned out. 

Overtime, ethanol can cause carbon to accumulate in the fuel system. These deposits can impact combustion and result in problems with driveability.

Signs of carbon buildup include rough idle, stalling, difficulty starting the vehicle, and a decrease in gas mileage. Engine surges, less power, and an increase in emissions emitted can also be symptoms.

The fuel induction service gets rid of the particles.

Why you should get the Fuel Induction Service

There are several benefits of getting the Fuel Induction Service.

It cleans various components, including the fuel injectors, throttle body, and intake valves.

Not only does it clean out the fuel system, it also lowers the amount of emissions a vehicle releases.

Improving the fuel economy and how well the engine runs, and restoring power are a few other perks. 

When to get this service

The Fuel Induction Service is suggested every 30,000 miles. However, some manufacturers recommend it more often.

For example, cars that have GDI engines or a fuel system with direct injection may require the service sooner.

If you are noticing any symptoms of carbon buildup, that’s also a good time to have this maintenance option conducted.

Adding fuel system drier into fuel tank.

What happens during a Fuel Induction Service

We begin this service by putting a fuel system drier, which absorbs moisture, in the fuel tank.

A fuel system cleaner is added to remove carbon buildup and prevent damage that’s caused by ethanol.

The technicians complete the Fuel Induction Service by running an air intake cleaner through the system. This product cleans the intake manifold and valves.

Adding BG 44K into the fuel system.

Between services

Fuel systems can receive some extra support in between fuel induction services. 

We recommend adding BG 44K, which cleans the fuel system and gets rid of any carbon buildup. This item improves how well the combustion and engine works, as well. It can be used on all types of vehicles, including those that have diesel engines and turbocharged engines.

Engines experience a significant amount of stress on a daily basis. Fuel induction services are one way you can do your engine a favor and ensure that it’s able to function for many more years. 

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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EVAP system repair on a Toyota

In Fuel System by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Problems with a vehicle’s Evaporative Emission Control System (EVAP) system can be difficult to pinpoint.

We recently worked on a 2002 Toyota Forerunner that had a leak in the EVAP system. 

After performing a smoke test, the technician realized it was leaking from one of the switching valves. He replaced the valves as well as hoses and the charcoal canister.

New charcoal canister installed.
New charcoal canister

Bad EVAP System signs

The EVAP system prevents gas fumes from being released into the air and having harmful effects on the environment.

Rough idling, the check engine light turning on, and a vehicle having trouble starting are symptoms of a bad EVAP system.

Our customer who brought in the Forerunner noticed the check engine light had turned on. He scanned the codes himself and it kept coming up as an EVAP code.

Problems with the system can be flagged during the emission test if there’s a code or the test is incomplete. The emission test is required every two years if your vehicle is housed in certain localities, including Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park.

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.

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


Jeep overheating problem water pump

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

“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

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.

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.