View Post

Toyota cabin air filter, air flow problems

In Uncategorized by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Things got a bit squirrely at Steve’s Auto Repair this week.

One of our customers brought their Toyota by, because they were hearing a rattling noise. There also wasn’t a lot of air coming through the vents.

Nuts that squirrels put in a Toyota’s air cleaner box.

Our Woodbridge mechanics looked into the problem and came across an unexpected sight – the air cleaner box was filled with nuts.

Squirrel nests that were built in the cabin air filter box of a Toyota.

Nests had been built in the cabin air filter box, as well. Some squirrels, apparently, decided to make the vehicle their second home. 

How often to change cabin air filter

The fix was a relatively simple – yet time consuming – one. The technician changed the cabin air filter, a component that purifies air going into the cabin area and blocks out dirt, dust, pollen, and bacteria. Depending on the vehicle and driving conditions, a new cabin air filter should be installed every 10,000 or 20,000 miles. 

As part of our courtesy inspection, we check the cabin air filter. When replacing them, our technicians also spray BG Frigi Fresh, a disinfectant, into the vent system.

To address the problem the Toyota was experiencing, we also called in some backup – the shop vacuum – to remove any nuts that had collected deeper in the car.

How to tell if there are rodents in your vehicle 

Animals setting up shop in a vehicle isn’t an uncommon occurrence, especially during the colder months. Automobiles offer several perks for mice, rodents and other creatures. Not only do they provide protection from predators, they are also warm and some parts even give off attractive smells.

The air conditioning air distribution box, the air box, and the engine are a few areas mice like to burrow into. Their presence, however, can’t go unnoticed for very long. 

Eventually, you may notice signs that you have mice living in your vehicle, such as mouse droppings, upholstery damage, and insulation that has been chewed up. Your car – like the Toyota we mentioned earlier – may also experience some problems. This could be the result of mice chewing wires, or animals building nests or making your mode of transportation their personal pantry.

How do you keep critters out of your car?

You may be wondering how to keep rodents out of car. There are methods you can try. Being watchful for insulation damage and nests is one step.

We also suggest tucking dryer sheets – a smell that mice hate – into the engine compartment, and regularly cleaning out old food, snacks and drinks, which can draw rodents in.

Placing mouse traps around any vehicles that are parked in a garage is another strategy. However, it’s important that you remember to set them aside when you go to move the cars.

You should avoid feeding animals – especially near your car – as well. We had a customer who would feed the squirrels. They decided to chew the wiring on her vehicle, and she needed to have it towed in. The customer continued feeding the squirrel near it, and the same problem happened two more times. Eventually, we had to convince her to stop.

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

White, blue or black smoke from your car

In Uncategorized by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

It can be a little concerning when you notice smoke from your vehicle’s exhaust.

This occurred to me recently when a friend started their Chevy Colorado. 

If this happens to you, you might think, “What’s wrong?” and “Is it safe to drive my vehicle?”

Before taking off down the road, you need to make sure your car is drivable. There are a few areas you can check:

  • Take a look at the temperature gauge, which tells you if the engine coolant temperature is where it should be.
  • Make sure there aren’t any warning lights or alerts on your dashboard.
  • Check the oil level and coolant level to ensure they aren’t low.

What to do if you notice smoke from your car

Wondering what to do if there’s white smoke from exhaust? What if you notice blue, gray or black smoke from your car? 

Having the car checked out by a trained automotive expert – like an ASE certified technician – is your best and safest option.

If you don’t see any warning lights and everything seems to be OK, drive the vehicle to a nearby auto repair shop as soon as possible.

If there is a problem, or something changes when you start traveling – if it starts overheating, for example – you should pull over at a safe location and call a tow truck. 

Choosing to ignore alerts, low fluid levels, or odd behaviors for too long could lead to more damage.

What do different smoke colors mean?

You can get a better idea of what’s causing the smoke by looking at different factors, like the color and the smell.

White smoke coming out of exhaust can be the result of a few different problems. It may indicate an engine problem or that coolant is going into the combustion chamber. A cracked cylinder head, a head gasket that’s leaking, or a cracked engine block are other possibilities.

A sweet smell is typically associated with antifreeze or coolant. Meanwhile, the smell of fuel can mean that the issue lies with the fuel system.

Blue, gray and black are other colors of smoke to watch out for. If the smoke from your car is gray or blue and you notice a smell that seems bitter, it might mean that the engine is burning oil. The situation could occur if valve seals are leaking, piston rings have become worn, a PCV valve is clogged, or the crankcase is overfilled with oil

Not using the correct kind of oil and not having regular oil changes performed may also cause this problem. We recommend oil changes every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, depending on the vehicle. 

Grey or white smoke coming out the back of the vehicle – but not necessarily the tailpipe – could be an external leak, such as engine oil dripping or transmission fluid leaking from a cooler line onto the exhaust.

Too much raw fuel burning could lead to black smoke that has a gasoline smell, a problem sometimes caused by a fuel pressure regulator that has failed, a bad engine sensor or ignition part, or a fuel injector that’s leaking. 

You should have your vehicle serviced at a car repair shop, because some of them – including Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire, an auto repair shop in Woodbridge, Virginia – perform visual inspections and note anything out of the ordinary, such as oil leaks and coolant leaks. Internal leaks are more difficult to diagnose, but your mechanic can help determine the problem and help you and your family stay 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.

View Post

Environmentally friendly actions we take

In Uncategorized by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

We believe in helping our community. Part of that support includes doing our part to help protect the place we live and work in.

From the services we offer to the parts that are replaced, Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire follows several environmentally friendly procedures.

Recycling products, environmentally friendly tires available

For example, many of the products we replace are recycled. A company is hired by us to process old oil and coolant. Car batteries, brake rotors, and other scrap metal are picked up and recycled, as well.

Recycling these fluids and parts enables us to reduce waste and discard them in a safe and appropriate way.

Tires also play a part in our goal to be eco-friendly.

On top of having tires recycled, we sell and inform customers about eco-friendly tires, which weigh less and require less force in order to move.

You can determine which tires are environmentally friendly by taking a look at the tread depth, which are going to start at a lower number.

When repairing flat tires, our technicians use plugs rather than Fix-A-Flat, which is bad for the environment. Anyone who uses this product is charged a hazmat fee. That way, we can have it recycled like our oil and coolant.

We offer emissions inspections and repairs

Steve’s Auto Repair is an emissions inspection and repair facility.

When performing Vehicle Emissions Testing – which is managed by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) – inspectors ensure that a vehicle isn’t leaking oil or has any audible exhaust leaks. They also make sure it has a catalytic converter, which is responsible for reducing how much air pollution is produced.

Conducted every two years, an emission test is required on vehicles that are parked in certain localities. Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park are among them.

We can repair problems that would prevent a car from passing the emissions inspection. The numerous issues that would cause a vehicle to fail include engine malfunctions, catalytic converter problems, misfires, and the check engine light turning on.

Our business’ emissions inspection program was recognized earlier this year for following license requirements and completing inspections in a “dedicated and commendable” manner.

Other ways we try to be eco-friendly

To keep our car repair shop clean, our staff uses biodegradable cleaning products. They contain natural substances and aren’t harmful to the environment or animals. 

When the building isn’t in use, we avoid wasting electricity by turning off computers and almost all lights – our security lights are the exception.

Even though we are already taking environmentally friendly actions, our company is considering other options for the future. Installing a waste oil heater is one idea we are looking into.

We are also planning to upgrade our lights, as they burn out, to energy saver lights.

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

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.