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State inspections for Hyundai vehicles

In Inspection, Safetyby Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Receiving a state inspection for a vehicle isn’t purposeless.

The law helps protect motorists throughout the year.

However, regular inspections aren’t required in some states, such as Maryland. Drivers are only expected to have their vehicle checked when they purchase it.

This contributed to a recent incident that brought a Maryland family to Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire.

The lower control arm of the family’s Hyundai Sedan rusted and broke off while they were traveling.

A lower control arm is connected to the frame of the vehicle and the steering knuckle by the lower ball joint.

Having their vehicle checked regularly could have prevented the issue.

“If they had been coming in for a yearly inspection, there would have been a better chance this would have been caught,” the General Manager at Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire said.

The broken part didn’t lead to any injuries.

“Fortunately — in this case — they weren’t going too fast and didn’t hurt anyone, but imagine if they had been going down the highway like this,” the General Manager said. “So, this isn’t just about the individual, it’s about the safety of all drivers 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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Are your vehicle’s headlights clear?

In Headlamps, Inspection, Safetyby 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.”

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Tips for battling the sun in Northern Virginia

In Safetyby Steves Auto Repair and Tire

The fight with the sun has begun for many drivers.

“This is the time of year, especially when you’re commuting to work and commuting home — depending on what time it is — where the sun is coming through the windshield,” Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire Owner Scott Whitling said.

Using a sun visor is one solution to the issue.

Some sun visors now come in two parts and can be used for a windshield and side window.

“If you’re not sure about your car, look at the owner’s manual, which most people don’t do,” Whitling said. “You’d be surprised what your sun visors actually do now.”

Drivers should also consider purchasing a pair of sunglasses and remove any ice on their windshield.

“If you haven’t defrosted your windshield, that just makes that problem worse,” Whitling said. “There are a lot of accidents because of this problem.”

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How drivers can address frost, prepare for winter months

In Fluids, Maintenance, Safety, Windshield Wipersby Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Drivers are discovering an unwelcome guest in the morning — ice on their vehicle’s windows and windshields.

A few techniques can help speed up the defrosting process.

When preparing for the commute, it’s important to spend a few minutes getting rid of the frost.

“You want to make sure that your windows aren’t frosted up on the side, so you can see that car coming or that kid walking across the street,” Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire Owner Scott Whitling said.

Motorists should let their car run for 1 to 3 minutes before hitting the road.

“It allows heat to start to build up and, if you already have your defroster on, you can go ahead and start defrosting the windshield,” Whitling said.

Pointing outer vents to the side windows can help thaw any ice on them.

Whitling suggests drivers tests certain parts of their vehicle.

“It’s a good time to check your windshield washer fluid and make sure that it’s going to protect down to the correct temperature,” he said.

They should check their rear window defroster, as well.

Electricity runs through the lines on the window to melt frost that has accumulated.

“It can take anywhere between, depending on how powerful the rear defroster is, 1 minute to 5 minutes. So, give it a little bit of time, make sure that it works,” Whitling said. “If not, now’s a good time to get your vehicle in to get it checked out.”

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Need a New Year’s resolution? Take care of your vehicle

In Maintenance, Safety, Windshield Wipersby Stephanie Tipple

Every year, many of us make a commitment to do better than the year that has passed, making New Year’s resolutions that speak to our larger goals – whether that’s getting more sleep, exercising more, or taking care of something we’d like to achieve during the year.

Windshield wiper

While these are all great resolutions, have you thought about making a commitment to taking better care of your vehicle this year?

It’s simpler than it sounds. By committing to invest in some basic maintenance, and getting repair and maintenance work done on a regular basis, you’re not only saving money from a long-term perspective, but you’re also extending out the life of your vehicle as well.

Here are just a few items that will help you make that resolution a reality.

Replace your windshield wipers.

If you’re noticing streaks when you use your windshield wipers, or they’re not effective at clearing things from your windshield, then it’s likely time to replace them.

Windshield wipers keep your windshield clear safety inspection

“There are cheap windshield wipers, and there are expensive windshield wipers. You can get expensive windshield wiper blades, but you should still expect to replace them once a year. You can get cheaper wiper blades, but expect to replace them twice a year,” said Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire own ST Billingsley.

According to Billingsley, your decision on the price point to choose for wiper blades determine on the conditions you’re driving in, and how often you’re driving in your vehicle.

Get your oil changed on a consistent basis.

Everyone knows how important it is to get the oil in your car changed, but it can be a struggle for some to get the oil changed on a regular interval.

Billingsley says that many manufacturers are recommending 7,500 to 10,000 miles between oil changes, depending on the vehicle, but that may not be suitable for cars driving around in Northern Virginia.

“Depending on what kind of oil you use, whether you’re changing the oil filters in between oil changes, and there are many other factors that come into play with these oil change intervals,” said Billingsley.

Headlights Woodbridge Virginia

Even if your car takes synthetic oil, if you’re driving around in Northern Virginia traffic, Billingsley says it’s ideal to do an oil change every 5,000 miles.

“If you’re out in the Midwest and you’re driving mostly on the highway on your way to work, well I could see 7,500 miles being an okay interval, but around here, that’s just a little too far,” said Billingsley.

It’s also a good time to rotate your tires, if you’re getting an oil change at 5,000 mile intervals.

Replace or recondition your headlights.

Over time, the clear coating on your headlights will start to get worn down, and you may notice that the lights look foggy.

“With all of the road salt, dirt, and highway driving, and everything that goes on around here, the plastic headlights lens covers – the clear part – is essentially getting sandblasted all of the time,” said Billingsley.

In some cases you can restore the headlight covers, and there are different levels of restoration.

“Sometimes you get so many micro-cracks in them, you can try to clean them up, but it just doesn’t work that well and you end up needing to replace them,” said Billingsley.

In addition to taking care of the covers, replacing the bulbs after an extended period can make your headlights brighter, adding visibility during night driving or inclement weather.

Commit to taking better care of your car this year, and not only will you save money in the long run, but you’ll also feel better knowing you’re adding reliability to your drive, and extending the life of your vehicle.