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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.

Technician in apprenticeship program next to tool box and Steve's Auto Repair co-owner.Participants 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.

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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.

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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.

Removing the vehicle interior to replace airbag wiring harness

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.

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Winter preparation tips from Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire

In Uncategorized by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Winter will be arriving later this month.

There are a few ways drivers can get their vehicle ready for it.

We recommend having a mechanic look over various components to avoid possible problems in the future.

Here are some parts that should be checked:

  • Heat and defroster
  • Belts
  • Car battery
  • Windshield wiper blades
  • Fluid levels
  • Tire pressure
  • Headlights

More information about these parts can be found below.

How’s your heat?

When I first get in my car on a chilly day, my first thought is to turn on the heat. But a lot of us don’t actually think about whether the heat controls and defroster are actually working. 

Now is a good time to check them. The last thing you want is to find out something is wrong when it’s freezing outside.

You should make sure your belts and battery are in good working order, as well. Overtime, belts can break, fray or get caught around other components. Drastic changes in temperatures – both in the winter and summer – can kill a weak car battery.

Seeing that we do experience frost and occasionally see some snowy days, we also recommend taking a look at and replacing the windshield wiper blades.

Fluid levels for winter preparation

Windshield washer fluid is mainly used in the summer, but it’s also needed to get frost off your windshield in the winter. 

Some people pre-dilute their windshield washer fluid when it’s warmer and don’t give it another thought. When the temperature drops, the tank can freeze and crack, causing the windshield washer fluid to leak out. 

Taking a look at your basic fluid levels, such as coolant, is another way you can get ready for winter. 

Since we’re not using the heat during the rest of the year, we don’t really consider if the coolant is low. Coolant plays an important role in temperature control, so it’s a good idea to have someone check it out.

Antifreeze is another fluid that needs to be looked at. Make sure that it is at a safe level and it has a good protection level for temperature.

Tire pressure check

During this time of year, it’s also important to watch the tire pressure. When the temperature in the tire decreases, so does the PSI

Many will notice that their tires are lower and automatically think that all of them are flat. If all tires look low, it’s probably because of the temperature. 

If one tire is lower than the others, you may want to have it checked, because it could mean there’s a leak.

Taking steps to ensure that your vehicle is ready to tackle winter weather could extend its lifespan and can help keep you and your family safe. 

If you have any questions about winter preparation, give us a call at (703) 670-8005 or visit us at 2603 Hanco Center Drive in Woodbridge.

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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Why is my Nissan vibrating when idle?

In Uncategorized by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Slower performance and rough idling can be signs that there’s a problem with a car.

A Nissan came in due to sluggish performance. 

One of our service writers noticed that the Nissan vibrating when idle and heard a “glug glug glug” sound. When he pressed the accelerator, the noise transitioned into a “putt putt putt”.

Cause behind Nissan vibrating when idle

While working on the vehicle, the technician realized that one of the camshaft adjuster solenoids was open.

Like fuel injectors, camshaft solenoids open and close. This enables the correct amount of oil to enter the variable valve timing system, which includes the timing chains and sprockets.

Oil was also leaking through the spark plug tube seals and backing up in some of the spark plug tubes.

Oil in a spark plug tube.

Oil in a spark plug tube

Too much oil in the spark plug tube can cause a misfire.

Because Nissan builds spark plug tube seals into the valve cover, we also needed to replace the valve cover.

New and old valve cover.

New and old valve cover

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.