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Oil changes: When and why are they needed?

In Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Car costs can add up.

Maintaining your vehicle through regular oil changes is one way you can prevent engine damage — and essentially — cut down on future spending.

Some cars burn oil overtime. If a vehicle doesn’t run on the correct amount of oil, the oil won’t be able to lubricate engine components. Items actuated by oil pressure also won’t work as efficiently. 

We suggest having it replaced every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. 

Types of oil available

Different oil change options are available. Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire used to carry multiple oil types, such as regular oil and semi-synthetic oil. 

Last year, we switched to full synthetic oil, which has lowered the cost of synthetic oil for oil changes. Synthetic oil helps extend the lifespan of engines that normally operate on regular or semi-synthetic oil.

We also offer Mobil 1, an oil option that is used in various cars, including BMWs and Mercedes.

What happens during our oil changes

In addition to changing the oil and oil filter, we also perform a tire rotation and conduct a courtesy check during an oil change.  When doing a courtesy inspection, we look over parts of the car, such as the lights and brakes.

Our technicians can write notes about the car in a digital inspection.

The inspection report, which also provides information about the car and recommendations, can be accessed by our customers via email or text.

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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Servicing vehicles with driver assist

In Alignment, Maintenance, Safety by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Today, many vehicles use Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS).

For the automotive field, servicing vehicles with driver assist has started to become a challenge, even when it comes to regular maintenance.

Parts of the ADAS system can include: adaptive cruise control, emergency braking, pedestrian detection, collision avoidance, lane departure warning, traffic sign recognition, cross traffic alert, surround view, blind spot detection, park assist, rear collision warning, and rear park assist/back up park assist with surround view.

Some of the things that work with the sensors are: long range radars, LIDAR, cameras, short-medium range radars, and ultrasound.

Driver assist features graphic.

Driver assist

Driver assist resets

Depending on the vehicle, there are different levels of ADAS system resets — some of them are passive, some are hard resets where you have to use targets.

Some vehicles have different radar set ups and blind spot detection, which require different targets on certain vehicles, and they can be kind of tricky to reset.

Replacing a windshield with the incorrect kind of windshield may not allow the ADAS system to work correctly. Even body shops putting metallic paint on a car can impact the sensors located on the front bumper.

An ADAS system reset may also be needed after a wheel alignment or if technicians remove the bumper to replace the timing belt.

Why ADAS system resets are important

Another challenge is that a lot of people don’t know that a reset is needed. There’s no direct warning light for ADAS, unless you have a driver’s information center. So, you could be driving the car and not know the system isn’t set up correctly to help you in an emergency situation. 

In extreme conditions of the ADAS system not working correctly, the car may try to compensate for your regular driving.

So, if your vehicle has an ADAS system and you bring it to a repair shop, you may want to ask them if the work will affect your driving assist system. That way you can make sure that it does get reset.

What we see is a lot of people in the industry don’t even know that they’re supposed to do it.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire has invested in the complete ADAS system — everything from Fords, Chevys, Subarus, Mercedes, BMWs. We even can do the camera systems and the targeted systems.

It’s quite an investment, but we know that we need to make sure that we’re fixing these cars correctly, and we’re keeping your family safe on 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.

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Having the timing belt replacement done right can save you money

In Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

When having work done on your vehicle, cutting corners can lead to costly mistakes.

The driver of a 2011 Volvo learned this after bringing his car into Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire.

They expressed concerns about a moaning or clunking sound the car made when traveling at 25 miles per hour. The sound would go away a little when the vehicle accelerated.

While working on the vehicle, the technician discovered that a couple of camshaft seals were leaking oil on the timing belt and serpentine belt.

Surrounding the pulleys, a timing belt makes sure that the timing of the crankshaft and camshaft is correct. The serpentine belt runs the power steering and the alternator.

Both belts and the camshaft seals needed to be replaced.

Correct way to perform timing belt replacement

How often you should replace the timing belt depends on the vehicle and manufacturer’s recommendations. Some timing belts should be replaced every 60,000 miles and others need to be changed every 100,000 miles.

When performing a timing belt replacement, it’s important to replace the camshaft seals at the same time.

Some auto shops will choose to do the work for a cheaper price and won’t install new seals.

This can lead to massive oil leaks and disintegration parts. It also means that the customer needs to pay for new parts and have the work done all over again.

Cheap doesn’t always equal good. Doing the job right using good, high quality parts will save you in the long run by preventing you from doing the job over or breaking down on the side of 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.

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New differential housing needed after lack of maintenance

In Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

A Chevy Tahoe is in need of a new differential housing.

The driver of the vehicle heard a grinding sound and decided to have it checked out.

Differential housing problems

Its differential gear lube was too low and the vehicle hadn’t been checked over a long period of time.

There wasn’t enough fluid to push up to the pinion bearing, which seized up on the pinion shaft and began to spin in the differential housing.

The pinion bearing also started hitting the carrier of the ring and pinion, which move the axles of the rear differential tires.

Having your vehicle checked regularly can prevent this issue and many others from occurring. It can also save you money by addressing minor problems early on.

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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Windshield washer fluid: Blue does not equal good

In Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Just because your windshield washer fluid is blue does not mean that it is good. You should use a windshield washer fluid tester to make sure the temperature protection level is good to negative 40 degrees.

It’s important to make sure it has adequate protection so during cold weather, the washer fluid doesn’t freeze in washer fluid reservoir, washer pump. This will prevent any fluid from coming out of the washer nozzles when you try to use it to clear ice off your windshield.

It can also cause the plastic to break. 

The way vehicles are designed nowadays, the windshield washer reservoir in buried behind bumpers and fenders, and replacement can be difficult and costly.

Windshield washer fluid reservoir.

Washer fluid reservoir

Having the right windshield washer fluid protection

A lot of places use windshield washer fluid concentrate and one or two pumps can turn a gallon of water blue, but that doesn’t mean it’s providing the correct amount of protection.

During the winter months, there are many choices of fluid.

Washer fluid is normally blue, but can be other colors depending on the manufacturer.

“I particularly like RainX Winter Fluid, because it does help clear the windshield and it puts a light RainX coating for when it rains,” Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire Owner ST Billingsley.

As long as you have washer fluid that is at the correct protection level, blue will do you just fine. 

Windshield Washer Fluid Warning Light.

Washer Fluid Warning Light

If you’re not sure if you need more washer fluid, go to your local, independent auto repair shop and have them check it for you.

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.