View Post

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.

View Post

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.

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

BG MOA protects engine, extends lifespan of oil

In Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Most drivers have become accustomed to oil changes and having them done regularly.

Performing this service is an important way you can take care of your engine.

By having this service performed every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, you ensure that parts are staying lubricated and prevent damage.

For more information about when and why oil changes are needed, check out this article we wrote last year.

Nowadays, the time period between oil changes are becoming longer for certain vehicles. Due to this extended interval and the heat of engines, oil undergoes a lot of stress.

You can enhance the oil’s effectiveness with BG MOA.

BG MOA and why you should use it

BG MOA is added after the oil change is performed.

It can be used on all kinds of vehicles, including those that have stop-start engines and turbocharged engines. Contrary to what some people believe, BG MOA may be added to cars that use regular oil or synthetic oil.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire uses full synthetic oil. We also carry Mobil 1, which is needed by some vehicles, like BMW’s and Mercedes.

The oil additive offers several perks, such as protecting the engine and maintaining its performance. 

It also stops the oil from oxidizing and becoming thick and extends its lifespan. This is especially helpful if you get your oil changed past its due date. However, we still recommend having this service done at regular intervals to ensure that your engine is clean and help you avoid future expenses. 

In addition to boosting oil performance, BG MOA decreases wear on the engine and improves a vehicle’s fuel economy. 

It can help prevent too much oil from being consumed, as well.

The supplement reduces the amount of sludge that builds up on the engine, as well. This keeps various parts, such as variable valve timing and camshafts, functioning the way they should.

Engines put in a lot of work, especially when you’re dealing with traffic. BG MOA gives your vehicle and the oil it uses that extra protection.

Protection plan available for maintenance services

BG offers a Lifetime Protection Plan that can be used for different systems. 

Engine services, including the use of BG MOA, fall under the BG Lifetime Protection Plan.

Maintenance to brakes, power steering and transmissions are other services it covers.

This offering provides coverage if you have certain services performed on a regular basis. It sort of acts as a safety net and could save you money if you run into a problem in the future.

One of our customers experienced a transmission problem on their vehicles. BG helped them out, even it didn’t have to do with the fluid or the service they received.

To learn more about the BG Lifetime Protection Plan and whether your vehicle qualifies, talk to a service adviser.

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

Steve’s Auto Repair and Tire: Who we are and what we do

In Alignment, Inspection, Maintenance, Tires and Wheels by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire has been serving the Woodbridge area for more than 32 years.

We are located at 2603 Hanco Center Drive – off Route 1 and Neabsco Mills Road – and provide a variety of services to meet your vehicle’s needs.

Services offered at Steve’s Auto Repair

State inspections and emissions inspections are among the services we offer.

Our technicians also perform oil changes and tune ups, and take care of your check engine light if it turns on.

During oil changes, they conduct mini state inspections. We will look over your vehicle and point out anything that may be a safety issue, a maintenance issue, or a service we recommend based on its mileage.

If you notice a strange noise or your car is acting strange, we can help with that too.

Steve’s Auto Repair is also able to service vehicles that use Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS), including camera and targeted systems.

To keep you updated while your car is at the shop, our technicians perform digital inspections that provide you with photos, videos and information about repairs and recommendations.

Tires and tire services available

Steve’s Auto Repair is an authorized Goodyear Tire dealer. If you’re driving on or past Neabsco Mills Road, you may notice our big Goodyear sign.

We also sell other types of tires, including Kelly, Dunlop and Hankook.

If you’re looking for new tires, our staff is happy to help you find the right fit for your vehicle and budget.

In addition to selling tires, we do mounting, balancing, tire rotations and tire repair.

Our technicians perform wheel alignments, as well.

Pick up and drop off services

There are many ways you can drop off your car for service.

“You can either drop it off in the night owl night service or you can come into the office during hours that we’re open,” Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire Owner Scott Whitling said. 

We are open between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Staff members are also available to meet you in the parking lot and collect the keys and information.

Need a ride? We also have a free shuttle service that can pick you up or drop you off.

A pick up and delivery service is available, as well. Please give us a call to arrange it.

More about Steve’s Auto Repair

Some repair shops try to hit you for everything at once, because they are concerned you won’t come back.

We want to give a good evaluation of your car, so you know what condition it’s in. We don’t care about getting the sale today, we want to take care of you and your family for many years.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is a family-owned business. 

We support local non-profits and believe in the importance of giving back to our community.

“If you’ve been here before, we really appreciate you coming,” Whitling said. “If you haven’t been here, please give us a try.”

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.