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Avoid breaking down on your next road trip

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

Summer is here, which means that many are taking at least one road trip.

While you and your family or friends are having fun, you want to avoid any hang ups. That includes breaking down on the side of the road.

In the days and weeks prior to your next adventure, you should make sure the vehicle you’re taking is ready for the journey. You can’t plan for everything, but there are some things you can do to avoid a problem.

Below is a checklist of items we recommend.

  • Battery test: Weak car batteries can fail when it’s extremely hot outside. We have a battery tester that lets us know if it needs to be replaced. Checking the battery beforehand can save you from tracking someone down to jump your vehicle and a trip to the store.
  • Oil change: Having your oil changed regularly – every 3,000 to 5,000 miles – helps prevent engine damage. If you’re going to be due for this service soon, it’s a good idea to have it done before your road trip. That way, you know that it’s up to date. The technicians performing the oil change may also notice safety concerns that need to be addressed. 
  • Check tires: You want your tires to be at an optimum level. So, make sure they are at a good tire pressure and they have thick tread depth. The tire tread should be at least 2/32 of an inch, but we suggest replacing the tires when they reach 3/32 or 4/32 of an inch, depending on the vehicle. The tire pressure must also be at the recommended level, otherwise tire damage can occur. Also, make sure that none of your tires have collected any nails, and that your spare tire is in good shape.
  • Make sure the brakes are working: You never know when the person driving in front of you will stop suddenly or a deer will run out in front of your car. In those situations, it’s important to know that your brakes can be trusted. To pass Virginia state inspection, brakes must be at 2/32 of an inch or more. We recommend them when they get down to 3/32 or 4/32 of an inch. That also depends on the car and manufacturer’s recommendations.
  • Replace windshield wipers: Depending on your destination, you may hit some rain along the way. Having the windshield wipers replaced can prevent streaks and scratches. If you have torn windshield wipers, it’s time for some new ones.
  • Inspect the lights: Your car features an assortment of lights, including brake lights, headlights and tag lights. It’s a good idea to make sure that none of them are out, especially if you’re planning to travel at night or in areas that experience heavy amounts of traffic.
  • Look at fluid levels: Having someone check the fluid levels – including the oil, coolant, antifreeze, and windshield washer fluid – is another recommendation. This is a great way you can confirm there aren’t problems or spot any issues early on. For example, being low on coolant – especially if it’s a constant issue – can indicate a leak.

Our technicians look over all of the items mentioned above during our courtesy inspections. If you’re planning to go on a road trip soon, feel free to give us a call to schedule an appointment.

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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Are your vehicle’s headlights clear?

In Headlamps, Inspection, Safety by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Traveling during late hours can be stressful and dangerous.

Addressing hazy headlights can improve safety and visibility.

Over time, a vehicle’s headlamps can grow foggy as their clear coat finish wears off and the headlight cover becomes pitted.

Steve’s Auto Repair and Tire in Woodbridge has the ability to restore them.

According to Steve’s Auto Repair and Tire Manager Jon Conner, changing a headlight cover can fix the issue. Some lights must be replaced entirely.

“You can make an appointment with us and we will evaluate the headlights on your car, truck or SUV and give you a recommendation if they can be restored or need to be replaced,” Conner said.

The headlamps don’t just impact a driver’s safety or ability to see at night.

They can also cause issues in an annual check up.

“During a state inspection, headlights are checked for alignment and for candle power — or how bright they are,” Conner said. “For example, the headlights might require an 8,000 candlepower rating to pass the inspection. If it gets to low, you can actually fail it.”

3 things to watch out for with all this rainy weather

In Headlamps, Safety, Tires and Wheels, Windshield Wipers by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

It’s been raining for several days now, and you’re probably wondering when it’s going to end. While we can’t predict the weather or make the rain go away, what we can do is tell you about things you should be on the lookout for with all of this rainy weather.

3 things to watch out for with all this rainy weather

Wiper blades need to be replaced to keep the windshield clear for safe driving.

Check to see how your windshield wipers are doing

Your car’s windshield wipers see a lot more use when there’s rain for long stretches of time, and eventually like all things do, the wipers will wear out with frequently use. Having worn out windshield wipers can be a hazard, particularly at night or when there’s heavy rainfall, because they’re not as effective at removing the water from your windshield. They can also leave streaks and splotches that can make it difficult to see on the road. If you notice that your windshield wipers aren’t working very well, stop in and we can get those fixed quickly for you.

3 things to watch out for with all this rainy weather

Check to see if you have a headlight out even daytime runnig lights can burn out.

Are your headlights working?

Much like the windshield wipers, if you’re using your headlights during the day and night because of gloomy and dark conditions, then you could see that one of your headlight bulbs has gone out. Sometimes people don’t notice that a headlight is out until it’s dark and they’re visibility is impaired, and that’s not the time when you want them to stop working on you. Checking your headlights regularly, especially during long stretches of rainy weather, is an easy way to see if your headlight bulbs need to be replaced.

Do your tires help you to stop at a safe distance?

Regardless of the conditions outside or the tires you have, over time your tires will wear down from frequent use on the road. You want to make sure that your tires are at safe wear levels even when it’s sunny and bright, but days when it’s raining or snowing are really when you need those tires the most, as they’re what gives you traction and helps you to stop safely on the road. Now is definitely a good time to check the tread depth on your tires, and make note of how good your car’s traction is on the road. If your tread depth is worn, it could be time for a new set of tires, or you may risk sliding around on the road in wet conditions.

 

3 things to watch out for with all this rainy weather

Worn tire down to the tread bar indicators definetly time to change these tires.

3 things to watch out for with all this rainy weather

New tires have deep grooves andsipes to channel water away to keep you safe on the road.