Category Archive

Is your car ready for summer?

In Brakes, Cooling System, Maintenance, Safety, Tires and Wheels by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

The sun is shining, and it’s almost time for summer. While the summer offers plenty of fun and great weather, it also comes with summertime traffic, and the gridlock and bumper-to-bumper with the Washington, D.C. commute and beach traffic.

Keeping that traffic in mind, you’re going to want to make sure that your car is prepared. Here are some things you should check to get your car ready for summer.

Get your car ready for summer by checking the air conditioning system.

Make sure your car or trucks air conditioning works good for the summer months

Is your A/C blowing cold?

With your heat blasting during the winter months, chances are that you haven’t needed to use the air conditioning – which means that you may be unaware of potential problems with your A/C system. Nothing is worse than trying to head out for a long car ride – or even your morning commute – and realizing that your A/C is blowing hot.

If you’ve noticed that your A/C system is blowing warmer than it normally would, it’s good to bring it in and see if there are any leaks, and get replacement or repair done before the thermostat really starts to rise.

Are your brakes ready for stop-and-go?

Brake pads and rotors.

Front brake pads and rotors need to be checked to ensure proper vehicle braking

Checking the brakes is another way to ensure your car is ready for summer.

We all know that when you live in this area, there are bound to be traffic jams, regardless of the time of year. But with the summer, and all of the vacation and beach traffic in Northern Virginia, bumper-to-bumper can be a real challenge if you’re brakes aren’t in good shape.

Having quality brakes that aren’t worn down can make a huge difference in your vehicle’s stopping time, and can be the difference between a hard stop and a fender bender. For our customers we recommend that they change out their brake pads when they’re worn down below 4/32nds.

Make sure you’re cooling system is doing its job

Engine coolant cap.

Make sure your engine cooling system is working properly

When’s the last time you had your cooling system serviced or checked? The cooling system in your vehicle – different from the car’s air conditioning – is important, and needs to be checked on regularly.

The cooling system uses a radiator, water pump, and a cooling fan to help create circulation in your car’s engine, allowing it to release heat so that your engine doesn’t become overheated. Especially as the weather gets warmer, all of that heat outside can take a toll on your car’s engine if you don’t care for it properly.

Make sure that you’re getting the coolant fluids topped off, and that you’re getting cooling system flushes this summer, to keep from dealing with an overheated engine.

Are your tires worn down?

Tire tread.

Make sure your tires are safe, with Goodyear tires

Whether you’ve got winter tires on your vehicle, or you’ve been riding on your all-seasons for a while, you need to be thinking about the condition of your tires as the summer approaches.

Just like brakes, the condition of your tires makes a huge difference in your stopping time and speed, as well as the comfort and handling of your drive. At Steve’s we recommend that customers consider replacing their brakes when they’re down below 4/32nds. Especially with all of the bumper-to-bumper traffic ahead, it’s good to make sure that your tires are in excellent condition for the summer.

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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Winter’s over: it’s time to replace your shocks and struts

In Maintenance, Promotions, Shocks and Struts by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

High mileage.

Cars and trucks with high mileage can have worn out shocks and struts and show no signs of leaking

We made through a pretty bad winter, with a blizzard, ice, and variable temperatures, and we’re sure you’re looking forward to the warmer weather as much as we are. But now that the winter weather has subsided, we’re left with size-able potholes, and the damage that the winter inflicted on our cars.

One of the important services you should consider as we move into the warmer months is getting shocks and struts inspected. Here are five signs that you should replace your shocks and struts.

Signs to replace shocks and struts

Your vehicle’s handling is off

If you’re on your morning commute or off running some errands and you notice that your car isn’t handling like it used to, and it’s got more bounce or a rougher ride than normal, that’s a sign that your shocks and struts are worn down.

You’re going in for a nose dive

When you’re braking, turning, or speeding up you should always be able to maintain control of your vehicle – in large part because of the shocks and struts in your car. But if you’re noticing that the ‘nose’ or front of your car is starting to dive, especially when you’re applying the brakes, then that’s a good sign that your shocks and struts need replacing.

Your tires have patches

Tire wear.

Worn suspension components like shocks and struts can cause premature tire wear

Shock and strut wear can impact your tires, and uneven wear is a good visual sign that they’re worn out and need to be replaced. When they wear out, your tire will bounce more frequently and hit the ground, losing rubber in the process – which is called cupping. You’ll often find that when shocks and struts need to be replaced, your tires will show uneven wear and smooth patches.

The car is making squeaking sounds

If you drive over a bump or pothole in the road, are you hearing loud squeaking noises coming from the suspension? Or when you’re getting out of your vehicle or braking? Then that’s another possible sign that your shocks and struts are in need of inspection, replacement, or repair.

Your car has more than 50,000 miles on it.

At our shop we follow guidance from the Motorist Assurance Program that recommends that drivers replace their shocks and struts after 50,000 miles. There’s some variance on mileage before its necessary, based on the type of car and road conditions, but if your car is over 50,000 miles and you’re experiencing some of the other issues we’ve mentioned, then it may be time to swap out those shocks and struts.

To get the spring and summer started off right, we’re offering a special at the shop, where you can get your shocks and struts inspected and replaced for only $20 over cost. To take advantage of this deal, bring this coupon to us to redeem the special pricing, good through April 30, 2016.

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.

Shocks and struts coupon that expires on April 30, 2016.

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Metro closing down for a while? Get your car ready

In Fuel Economy, Fuel System, Maintenance, Tires and Wheels by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

The word on the street is that the Blue Line, and several other area Metro lines will be closed for an extended period of time. This temporary Metro closing inevitably means that you’re probably going to be in your car more frequently, to get to work.

While we can’t get you out of the impending traffic nightmare that’s ahead, we can get your car prepared for those extra miles, and wear and tear – and save you some money too.

How to prepare for the temporary Metro closing

Fuel maintenance

For starters, when was the last time you had a fuel maintenance service on your vehicle? Many people forget how dirty fuel injects and filters can impact their car’s fuel economy. And you’re going to need the best fuel economy possible, heading north toward Washington, D.C. each day.

At Steve’s, we offer a BG fuel induction service that will improve your fuel economy, and get your engine running more smoothly. During the service we’re able to clean the fuel injectors, which will help balance your vehicle’s air and fuel ratio. It’s a service that should be performed every 15,000 miles, but it’s especially important now to catch up on it, now that you’re going to be on the road more.

Air filter

You also should have your air filter checked regularly. Did you know that a clogged air filter can reduce your fuel economy by 15 percent? That really adds up!

Get new tires

Another thing you’re going to want to invest in with the Metro closing temporarily for repairs is your tires. A lot of people don’t realize this, but your tires can have a big impact on your car’s fuel economy, and your stopping speed.  It’s very easy for one of our technicians to take a look at your tires and assess the condition, before making some recommendations.

With all of those traffic-filled miles ahead, you’re going to want to focus on one of two things – fuel economy and stopping time. At Steve’s we’re a Goodyear dealer, and if you’re looking to save

Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max Tire.

Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max Tire

We all hate it, but short stops and being cut off are an unfortunate part of having to drive for the morning commute in Northern Virginia. And if you want to avoid an accident, then it’s going to be important that you get tires for your vehicle that are designed to deal with those challenges. Especially for when you’re trying to quickly merge or switch lanes, having a sporty performance tire with good stopping power is going to be an asset. Especially with the huge influx of vehicles that will be on I-95 and I-66, you’re going to need all of the help you can get. That’s why we would recommend the Goodyear Eagle Sport All Season Tire.

Goodyear Eagle Sport All Season Tire.

Goodyear Eagle Sport All Season Tire

The Goodyear Eagle Sport All Season Tire was designed with stopping ability in mind. Having those extra couple of seconds, thanks to a good set of tires, can be the difference between a near-accident and damaging your vehicle. It has an asymmetric tread that makes handling easier, and it has a fantastic grip for all seasons and essentially all weather conditions. Its full-depth siping and biting edges help with its stopping ability and response.

Regardless of if you’re worried more about fuel economy, or stopping speed, both tires are a great investment to make for the coming months. You can’t change the Metro being closed, but you can do everything you can to make sure your car will have peak performance while you’re stuck in the daily commute traffic.

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.

5 things to have checked on your car this spring

In Alignment, Brake Fluid Flush, Cabin Air Filter, Cooling System, Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

With the winter fading away, and the weather finally starting to warm up with the onset of spring, it’s time to get your vehicle ready with a little ‘spring cleaning’ maintenance.

These are the top five spring car maintenance tips:

  1. Have your vehicle’s fluids flushed
  2. Get your tires inspected
  3. Change your cabin air filter
  4. Make sure light bulbs aren’t out
  5. Get a wheel alignment

We provide more details about each one below.

5 things to have checked on your car this spring

Mercedes engine coolant flush

Have your vehicle’s fluids flushed – including the coolant

With winter on its way out, it’s a good idea to have all of your vehicle’s fluids flushed, checked, and refilled. It’s especially important for your coolant fluid to be flushed and topped off. Why? Because the warmer weather can raise the temperature of your vehicle, and coolant helps to keep things running smoothly.

“Given the fact that we’re going to start coming in to warmer weather, your car’s going to be running a little hotter because the ambient temperature’s going to be warmed up, so coolant’s a good fluid to get changed now,” said Rich Campbell, manager at Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire.

Checking tires at Steves Auto Repair and Tire.

Checking tires at Steves Auto Repair and Tire.

All that driving in the ice and snow wears away at the tread on your tires, and over time that means your tires are going to need to be replaced. When its springtime and the snow and ice have cleared, that’s the perfect time to have your tires inspected by a technician. If your tires are worn down and losing traction, that can make a huge difference when stopping on wet spring roads, so it’s important to get them inspected.

“You need to make sure you’ve got adequate traction,” said Campbe.

Dirty cabin air filter.

Have your cabin air filter changed

Cabin air-filter changes are an important part of maintenance year-round, but they’re even more important come springtime, because of the pollen and things floating in the air that can impair air quality.

“That cabin air filter filters your pollen, the dust, and getting ready for spring you want a good, fresh cabin air filter in there,” said Campbell.

Are your bulbs out?

Tail light bulb replacement at Steves Auto Repair and Tire.

Tail light bulb replacement at Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Bulbs go out on vehicles all of the time, and it’s important to get them replaced, no matter what time of year it is. But when you’re doing your spring car maintenance checkup on your vehicle, it’s worth checking if any of your lights are out, as they’re easily replaced during a trip to the shop.

Have your wheel alignment checked out

Bouncing around on potholes and that unexpected curb following a big snow storm can really throw your vehicle’s alignment out of whack. If you notice your car’s pulling, even slightly, or you’re noticing a very rough ride, then that’s a pretty good sign that you may need an alignment service. Many drivers get them during the spring, because of those potholes, left by the snow plows, we mentioned earlier.

5 things to have checked on your car this spring

Wheel alignment at Steves Auto Repair and Tire

If you want to make sure your vehicle is road-ready for all of the trips and events you’ve got planned for spring, then make sure that you take your car in for some spring maintenance at Steve’s.

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.

Noticing car problems after storm? Get them checked out.

In Alignment, Fluids, Maintenance, Safety, Tires and Wheels, Transmission by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Last weekend, the entire area was pelted with more than a foot of snow, with up to almost three feet in some places! Even though the snow has stopped and you’ve managed to dig out your driveway to get back on the roads, you may be experiencing some car problems following the storm.

Here are some common issues that our technicians at Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire has seen following the blizzard, that you should get checked out as soon as possible:

  1. Tires
  2. Transmission
  3. Windshield wipers
  4. Rim wheel
  5. Wheel alignment
  6. Windshield washer fluid

More information on each topic can be found below.

More about car problems

Tires

If you’ve been driving on icy roads in your neighborhood, hitting blocks of snow and debris on your travels, or even running into curbs hidden beneath the snow, then you run the risk of a flat tire. Our technicians will be able to assess the damage to your tires if you’ve got a flat, and make recommendations on repair or replacement.

Transmission

If you own a truck or you’ve been out plowing, the storm likely put a lot of strain on your vehicle. Particularly if you were moving over large amounts of snow, or were trying to plow streets, it’s not uncommon for a vehicle’s transmission to be damaged. We’re seeing several plows at our shop this week to fix transmission related issues.

Windshield wipers

One the most common things we’re seeing is damage to vehicles’ windshield wipers. Even if you lifted them up before the storm, the weight of the snow on the front of your car, or placing the wipers back on the windshield before all snow and ice were completely removed can cause them to be bent or broken. This is something our technicians can quickly switch out for you, and get you back on the road in no time.

Rim wheel

When heading out on the road after digging your car out, you may have noticed some shaking and vibration while driving. While this could be another more involved issue with your vehicle, a lot of the cars we’ve seen this week were having this shaking in their car because ice and snow were still in the rim wheel of the tires, throwing off the car’s balance.

Wheel alignment

Hitting curbs or icy patches won’t only cause a potential flat tire – it can also mess with your vehicle’s wheel alignment. Particularly after hitting chunks of ice or other debris, if you notice your car pulling to one side on flat pavement, then it’s a good idea to bring your car to a shop to have it looked at.

Windshield washer fluid

Not able to use your wiper fluid to clear your windshield? Drivers that didn’t check their windshield washer fluid to make sure it was at appropriate levels and the right mixture before the storm may be having issues with using their wipers correctly, as the wiper fluid is frozen inside.

The storm may have kept you from going out, but don’t let car problems stop you too. Our technicians and service advisers at Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire can inspect your vehicle to make sure that everything’s in working order, and get you safely back out on the road this winter.

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.