View Post

After hours pick up offered at Steve’s Auto Repair

In Uncategorized by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

When you’re having work done on your car at a local auto repair shop, a bit of planning may be needed to bring the vehicle by or pick it up. 

Steve’s Auto Repair has a few different pick up and drop off options to make it easier for customers.

Some drivers can’t pick up their vehicle while we’re open. For that reason, we are now providing an alternative – our after hours key return.

This option allows you to acquire your car keys without having to worry about them being left in an unlocked vehicle.

After hours pick up option

If you are unable to come by between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, you may pay for any repairs or services through text or email. 

Once the payment has been processed, you will receive a code to use in our after hours key return. This will allow you to get your key.

When you are available, swing by Steve’s Auto Repair, which is located at 2603 Hanco Center Drive in Woodbridge. Then, type the code into the after hours key return.

By offering this after hours pick up option, we hope to make it easier for you to get back 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.

View Post

Apprenticeship program offered for automotive technicians

In Uncategorized by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Training is very important at Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire in Woodbridge.

Not only does it allow our staff members to strengthen their skills, it also enables us to better assist our customers.

We recently embarked on another training opportunity. Some of our employees are now participating in an apprenticeship program that was established by NAPA Auto Parts. The program seeks to help prospective automotive technicians get their foot in the automotive industry door.

For each employee who is taking part, Steve’s Auto Repair is purchasing $2,500 in tools through Carlyle Tools. The cost of tools are often pricey, especially when a mechanic is just beginning their career.

Apprenticeship programParticipants are also receiving a mentor and can watch videos, and take classes and tests using the NAPA online training center.

Four ASE certifications must be completed during the two year program. Classes are available to help prepare them for the ASE tests. By earning these certifications, the technicians will be able to increase their income.

Performing oil changes and installing tires are some ideas that many people think of when it comes to auto repair. However, our work isn’t limited to those tasks. As technology has changed over the years, we have focused more on electronics. Electronics are used for all sorts of functions on vehicles today, including opening the windows, power steering, and ensuring the tire pressure is at a safe level.

Our employees who are going through the apprenticeship program will learn about electronics as well suspension, performing diagnostic testing and driveability.

Working in the automotive industry is a great option, especially if someone isn’t planning to attend college or they are looking for an evolving career. Those who work hard have the opportunity to move up in the field. A lot of training is also offered online, allowing for more flexibility.

It’s important to keep in mind, though, that some automotive programs do not provide participants with the needed experience. Even people with associate degrees may find themselves learning new things.

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

Changing the air conditioning condenser on Mazda

In Uncategorized by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Is your car still feeling warm, even though the A/C is running?

If so, there may be a problem with the air conditioning.

The system wasn’t working properly on a 1996 Mazda pickup truck. It ended up receiving a new air conditioning condenser.

The condenser, which is one component of a car’s air conditioning system, is responsible for turning refrigerant from a gas to a liquid.

They can leak or become clogged.

Condenser maintenance and other possible problems

Overtime, bugs, leaves and debris can collect in the condenser. So, it’s a good idea to clean it regularly.

You can do this by using a shop vacuum to get rid of debris and spraying it with air conditioning cleaner. Make sure to rinse off the cleaner afterward.

It’s important to be careful when cleaning this component. If it isn’t done correctly – or if there’s an impact – the fins can become bent, blocking the airflow. 

A constricted condenser is among the common air conditioning problems. The vehicle could also be low on refrigerant or experiencing Electronic Climate Control System issues. Other possible culprits include a bad expansion valve and user error – hey, we all make mistakes.

Why you should replace the air conditioning condenser

When changing the condenser on the Mazda pickup truck, the technician saw that refrigerant and oil had started leaking. If the leak becomes serious enough, a pool of oil can form underneath the vehicle.

Choosing not to replace a bad air conditioning condenser can cause the A/C system to stop working. This is because the correct amount of refrigerant isn’t reaching the compressor, which has a pressure sensor.

Other air conditioning services

Replacing the condenser is one type of air conditioning repair we offer. Our technicians can also look for air conditioning leaks and replace other components, including the drier and thermostat.

They perform basic EVAC and recharge, as well. This service is done on vehicles that have lost refrigerant. The process consists of removing refrigerant, applying a vacuum to the system, and adding dye and oil. To work, we need to recharge the system, which is serviced by the oil.

We are also able to change cabin air filters and spray BG Frigi Fresh, a disinfectant, into the vent system.

We are able to work on older and newer vehicles.

Last year, Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire invested in a new air conditioning machine for refrigerant 1234yf, which is being used in a lot of cars that are being manufactured.

During the hot months, having a malfunctioning air conditioning system can make long car rides almost unbearable. 

If you notice that it isn’t working the way it should, reach out to an automotive professional. That way, the problem can be addressed early on and you can stay cool this 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.

View Post

Parts shortages and thieves stealing parts from cars

In Uncategorized by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

The amount of time it takes to repair a vehicle can be impacted by certain requirements and how long it takes for a mechanic or auto repair shop to receive the parts needed.

We recently worked on a Toyota in the shop that had its seats stolen. But when the thieves took them, they actually ripped the wiring on the connectors that went to the seats for the side airbags.

On vehicles with side airbags, they are actually in the seat closest to the door so when they pop open they kind of shield you from the door or the glass. 

In this particular case, the thieves stole all of the seats – probably because they had a vehicle that was in an accident and couldn’t get parts but wanted their car back on the road. If the airbag light is on, you do not pass the state inspection.

Airbag wiring harness

Airbag wiring harness

Replacing the wiring harness

In order to get the Toyota back on the road, our technicians needed to replace the whole airbag wiring harness that went from the dashboard and the modules all the way to the back of the vehicle, because you’re not allowed to repair wiring on airbag systems.

Removing the vehicle interior to replace airbag wiring harness.jpg

Removing the vehicle interior to replace airbag wiring harness.jpg

This work included removing the vehicle interior.

If you do not use the correct gauge of wire – which is the thickness of the wire – or you use a connector and corrosion builds up, or there’s too much resistance, the airbag may not go off in the correct amount of time. It has to deploy in milliseconds.

Since you’re not allowed to repair wiring, according to the guidelines, we had to replace the whole wiring harness.

So, to the car part thieves out there: If you are going to steal parts like this out of the car, please disconnect the connector because this just turned into a huge job. This is basically 20 hours of work just to replace the wiring harness. Not only does that affect insurance rates, it also takes longer.

Airbag wiring connector

Airbag wiring connector

Parts shortages

We know there’s a shortage of seats with the airbags because we were only able to get one seat to install in the vehicle, and we needed to wait for the others to come in.

There are parts shortages because manufacturing isn’t up to speed due to COVID-19. With all of the shipping, there are also a lot of delays at the ports. So, for parts that might have been a two-week delay the time frame is now extending to a month or a month and a half.

When having work done on your car’s airbag system, make sure that the person repairing it knows what they’re doing.

It is very important to not take the cheap way out because your life or someone else’s is at stake. You want to make sure that this system works exactly the way it’s supposed to.

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

Signs that your vehicle needs a new turbocharger

In Uncategorized by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

A lot of newer vehicles today are coming with smaller engines.

To run the air conditioning, computers, and electronics, extra power is needed.

Turbochargers provide that support.

This component takes pressure from the exhaust that spools up and forces air into the intake. That adds power. Then, the car adds more fuel, resulting in more boost.

Sometimes, turbochargers need to be replaced.

We recently installed a new one on a BMW that had its check engine light turn on.

While working on the vehicle, the technician realized that the wastegate had gone bad. As you’re driving down the road, the turbo puts pressure into the engine through the intake. When you let off the gas and are decelerating, that pressure has to go somewhere. The wastegate operates as a pressure relief valve, allowing the pressure from the turbo to go off without damaging the engine.

He determined this was the problem because the turbocharger going bad is a common issue with BMWs. Work had also been done on this vehicle previously.

A couple of years ago, we replaced the wastegate solenoid.

At the time, we thought the turbocharger may need to be replaced at some point. Installing a new solenoid was a cheaper option that we hoped would address the issue.

How to tell if you need a new turbocharger

The check engine light turning on is one symptom that a new turbocharger is needed. This light can be triggered if your turbo doesn’t hit the pressure it’s supposed to.

Keep in mind that a check engine light can come on for many reasons. It doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a problem with the turbocharger. 

You may also notice the engine making a whining noise and loss of power.

Blue or gray exhaust smoke is another indicator.

What causes it to go bad?

There are various reasons why turbochargers stop working. 

Not having enough oil and using dirty oil or the wrong type are the most common causes.

These newer cars are very oil specific, because the turbo continues to run after the engine is off and it needs to be lubricated.

The turbocharger can also go bad simply from everyday use and if dirt, rocks and other debris enter it.

A “turbo underboost” code could indicate that the turbo is going bad. However, that isn’t always the case.

When we get this code, our technicians determine the location of the boost leak by performing a smoke test on the turbo and intercooler.

Sometimes, the turbo is bad. However, we need to check that, because there may be a leak between the turbo and boost sensor.

Ways to maintain your vehicle’s turbocharger

Turbochargers are expensive. So, it’s important to make sure they’re maintained.

Regular oil changes are one way to take care of turbocharged engines. We recommend this service every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.

It’s also a good idea to give your engine time to warm up before heading to your next destination and allowing it to cool down afterward.

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.