Car preparation and winter driving tips

In Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

It may not be ideal, but it’s true: winter weather can be hard on your car, SUV or truck. If you want to make sure that your car is prepared and safe this winter, then you need to follow some important car preparation and winter driving tips:

  1. If your vehicle is stuck on ice, or just can’t seem to get traction on those wintry roads, then you’ll want to have sand or kitty litter on hand, to get yourself unstuck and back on the road.
  2. Your windshield wipers are one of your greatest assets when it comes to dealing with snow and ice. When there’s snow accumulation, snowfall, rain or sleet, you need your wipers working properly. As part of your proper winter care, make sure that the washer fluid in your wipers is full, and that it has the correct mixture so that the fluid won’t freeze.
  3. Have a technician check your antifreeze (AKA coolant) levels for your engine, to make sure that they’re at the right temperature to protect the engine. Getting your coolant flushed and drained and the radiator filled during the winter season will help to keep the system protected.
  4. Is your car all-wheel drive or four wheel drive? It’s important to know, as you drive during the winter months. All wheel drive vehicles have the system on at all times, whereas four wheel drive vehicle drivers need to engage their transfer case first.

Those are some of the big things to keep in mind with your vehicle as the winter weather hits, but even smaller things like knowing where you heated mirror button is located – if you’ve got one – can become very important in bad weather. Know your vehicle, how it can handle and perform in adverse conditions, and make sure you get it serviced before winter weather strikes and you’ll have a much easier time out there on difficult winter roads.

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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Getting your vehicle stocked and prepared for winter

In Maintenance, Safety by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Are you prepared if something happens while you’re in your vehicle this winter? It’s important to be prepared for winter, and when it comes to having supplies in your car it’s no exception.

Keeping a small emergency kit on hand in your vehicle is the best way to make sure that you have what you need, whether it’s getting stuck in a snowbank or a dead battery.

Here are the supplies you should keep in your car’s emergency kit:

  • A jumper cable. You may also want to include some flares and a reflective triangle for breakdowns.
  • Flashlight with extra batteries.
  • First aid kit with any of your medications included.
  • Formula and diapers (if you have a small child).
  • Non-perishable food items, including canned food and protein-dense foods, and a manual can opener to open any cans.
  • Water. Preferably a gallon of water per person a day. Try to prepare for three days’ worth.
  • Some tools, including a screwdriver and pliers.
  • A radio.
  • Cat litter or sand, to get better traction in icy areas.
  • An ice scraper and shovel to remove snow from your vehicle.
  • Warm clothing or blankets.
  • A cell phone charger.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire wants to make sure that all of our customers are safe and prepared, especially with the winter weather coming. In addition to your emergency kit, making sure to get your car serviced and installing snow tires are a good investment in your safety and your vehicle 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.

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The Price and Value of Oil Change Service at Steve’s

In Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Oil change service varies from location to location, and so do the prices depending on the area. No matter where you go, you want to ensure that your car is in good hands. So, what makes  Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire the right place to go for your next oil change? Let’s talk about it.

We do so much more than just change your oil.  We offer many different packages to accommodate your personal needs.

Our basic Bronze service starts out at $39.95, and covers up to 5 quarts of motor oil and your filter.

One perk to note when you choose us for an oil change, is that we will do a tire rotation for no charge. Our competitors charge an additional $20 for this service. Why pay more, when you can entrust your car to us, and get it as an added bonus?

The next step up is our Silver service for $59.99, which includes up to 5 quarts of motor oil, a filter and our BG MOA engine oil supplement.

Checking brakes, tires and suspension component during an oil change.

Checking brakes, tires and suspension component during an oil change.

Our premium service, which is called the Gold service – for $79.99 –  includes up to 5 quarts of motor oil, a filter BG MOA engine oil supplement and BG CF5 Fuel supplement.

What we check during our oil change service

Looking for additions to your oil change service that improve the quality and stability of your vehicle? At Steve’s we offer full synthetic oil, for an additional fee, that makes a big difference in the performance of your vehicle.

Checking the brake fluid for moisture content, to much moisture can cause brake pedal fade.

Checking the brake fluid for moisture content, to much moisture can cause brake pedal fade.

During the service, our technicians check all of your vehicle’s vital fluid levels and test their condition. If you’re low, we will top them off for you.  This includes the following fluids:

  • Washer fluid up to 1 gallon
  • Power steering fluid
  • Transmission fluid (dipstick type only)
  • Radiator engine coolant
  • Brake fluid

In addition to the fluids we top off, we also inspect the following during our service:

  • Visual inspection of brake pad and rotor condition
  • Battery corrosion
  • Battery life
  • Belts for cracking and wear
  • Radiator hoses to make sure they are not worn
  • Fluid leaks
  • Tire pressure
  • Lights to make sure the bulbs are all working
  • Maintenance reminder light
  • Exhaust
  • Windshield wipers to make sure they are not torn
  • Inspection sticker to make sure you are not expired or about to expire
Battery terminal corrosion found during and oil change, this can cause shorter battery life and a no start problem.

Battery terminal corrosion found during and oil change, this can cause shorter battery life and a no start problem.

Our goal is make sure your vehicle is maintained properly to help you avoid major costly repairs, so if we see something that may potentially develop into something bigger, we will alert you in plenty of time for you to address the problem before it becomes a major mechanical breakdown.

The Price and Value of Oil Change Service at Steve's

Checking wiper blades and brake lights during an oil change.

So when it’s time for that routine oil change, don’t just go to any shop. Go to a shop that cares, and goes the extra mile to inspect and take care of your car, and stop by Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire for your next oil change.

*Prices subject to change. Prices reflect service on August of 2015.

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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Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire partners with Caarmo on new auto technology in Woodbridge

In Maintenance, Monitoring System, Safety, Service Standards by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire partners with Caarmo on new auto technology in Woodbridge

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire has partnered with Caarmo to bring our customers more information and reliability to their vehicle maintenance.

Steve’s is one of 18 auto repair shops to offer Caarmo’s car diagnostic device, which will give consumers information about their car’s needs and allows them to connect with auto technicians to speak about their car and schedule service.

“One of the biggest expenses that people have is their vehicles. And that can be for businesses or consumers. They spend a lot of money, and a lot of time on them – but they don’t know what’s happening. So we’ve created sort of a really sophisticated ‘Fitbit’ for a car,” said Vinay Raman, CEO of Caarmo.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is partnering with Caarmo to create a better car-care experience for customers.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire is partnering with Caarmo to create a better car-care experience for customers.

According to Raman, the device is smaller than a pack of cards, runs off the car’s power and plugs into the diagnostic port in your vehicle to begin transmitting diagnostic information.

“Since 1996, every car in the United States has got this diagnostic port…we use that same port [with our device] but we partner with a repair shop, to help their customers understand more of what’s happening with their vehicle,” said Raman.

Perks of the auto technology

One of the biggest benefits for customers is peace of mind that they will have information about what is going on with their vehicle, and that certified technicians will also be keeping an eye on the health of their car.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire partners with Caarmo on new auto technology in Woodbridge

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire owner ST Billingsley places the Caarmo device in a car’s diagnostic port.

“[We put] these devices in the vehicles to let them know, ‘Hey your car is operating just fine’ or if a check engine lights comes on – some people kind of freak out when they see that – we can take a look at that and say, ‘Based on the make and model of your vehicle, let me give you a sense of what’s actually happening.’ It gives you more of a sense of what’s going on than just a light on your dashboard – you have an expert on the phone,” said Raman.

Staff at Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire will be able to open their mechanic’s portal at the shop, or use a phone app that will be able available to the shop and customers with the device. From the portal, technicians will be able to see if a customer’s car is in need, call to schedule maintenance, or reassure them that everything’s okay.

“If something goes wrong with one of the vehicles, a light will pop up on the screen…it’s an opportunity to call the customer and give them some peace of mind,” Raman commented.

Consumers will only pay $80 a year for the constant service, and the application will give you diagnostic information, service reminders and GPS tracking.

For those in the auto industry, using Caarmo’s technology is also a good way to work with fleets that need to ensure that their vehicles are functioning properly at all times.

ST Billingsley, owner of Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire, is proud to be partnering with Caarmo.

“We know how important it is to keep our customers informed and on the road. By offering Caarmo devices to our customers, we hope to ensure that their vehicles are getting the best care possible,” said Billingsley.

Steve’s will be offering the auto technology to customers in the coming months, when Caarmo officially launches the device.

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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5 Summer Car Care Tips from Scott, Gabe and S.T.

In Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

With summer comes sun, fun and increased driving, which may take a toll on your vehicle! To better prepare you for summer on the road, we present our top 5 summer car care tips from your Steve’s Auto Repair Staff!

Since we live in an area that our summer months can reach over 100 degrees, there are a few things to consider. These tips could save you time, and prevent costly breakdowns that could leave you on the side of the road.

Summer Car Care Tips

Check the tire pressure
Tire pressure is important at all times. It’s critical to have properly inflated tires, as this assures the best possible contact between the tire and the road. Especially if you’re doing lots of high-speed driving on a summer-vacation road trip. Properly inflated tires will also last longer and improve gas mileage. Also, an improperly inflated tire can heat excessively, potentially leading to a blow-out on the highway.

Inspect the belts and hoses
The belts and hoses in modern cars last a long time. But that doesn’t mean they don’t have the potential to fail. Before summer begins, have the belts and hoses inspected on your vehicle. And if you’re not sure when they were last replaced, consider having them changed, especially before commencing a long road trip.

Inspect the wipers and wiper fluid
Visibility is always important and our experience tells us that summer storms can be quite severe in some parts of the country. The life expectancy of a wiper blade is six month to one year. If your car’s blades are dried out and not making full contact with the windshield, replace them.

Check the battery
A battery gives little warning before it goes dead. And it’ll likely do so when you least expect it. Hot weather can put additional strain on a battery similar to what is experienced in cold weather. If your vehicle battery is more than three years old, have it tested at a certified automotive repair facility. Also, make sure the posts and connections are free of corrosion. If you’re embarking on a long trip, consider replacing the battery if you don’t know how old it is. These days, batteries are not very expensive, and it’s cheap insurance when you’re out on the open road. We also recommend that you always carry jumper cables, as mentioned below in the emergency kit section.

Check coolant/antifreeze mixture
The ideal mixture of coolant and water inside your vehicle’s radiator is 50/50. If the mixture deviates from this norm, then hot-weather performance (and cold) can be compromised. If you were to put pure water in your vehicle’s radiator, it would boil at 212° Fahrenheit. But if you combine the water with an equal amount of antifreeze, the new mixture boils at a much higher temperature. You can check the composition of a radiator’s mixture by using an antifreeze tester. You can find these at all auto parts stores, and they are inexpensive and easy to use. If the mixture’s balance is off, adjust it by adding either coolant or water.

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.