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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 car 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 it was vibrating when idle and heard a “glug glug glug” sound. When he pressed the accelerator, the noise transitioned into a “putt putt putt”.

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.

Nissan
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.

Nissan
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. 

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Signs that mice are living in your car

In Uncategorized by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Chilly months are ahead, which increases the likelihood of mice making your car their new home.

To mice and other animals, including squirrels and frogs, vehicles are warm and offer protection.

It only takes one cold night to draw them in.

Certain smells attract them, as well.

Some parts – like fuel lines – that are produced with a soy-based substance can draw rodents in.

Normally, mice keep themselves hidden by burrowing deep in the engine. They build nests and will chew wires and insulation. 

Usually, drivers won’t find out that a mouse has been living in their car until something stops working and a mechanic or auto repair shop that’s working on it sees broken wires.

You may also notice insulation or what appears to be ground up newspaper around your vehicle, which indicates that they are moving it from another place.

Mouse droppings and damage to upholstery – which can be used to make nests – are other symptoms.

If you turn on the blower motor and it sounds unbalanced or loud – like something is flopping around – it’s a good sign that there’s a mouse nest.

Mice love to build nests in the air box. That’s a common area we see them when we’re performing oil changes or checking the cabin air filter.

You can deter mice by cleaning your car regularly and using mouse traps in your garage.

If you are having a big problem with mice living in your car, try putting dryer sheets in the engine compartment – mice hate the smell. But make sure to tuck the dryer sheets away so they don’t catch on fire.

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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Symptoms of a bad rack and pinion

In Uncategorized by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Do you have a stiff steering wheel?

It could mean there’s a problem with your rack and pinion.

The rack and pinion is connected to the steering knuckles, which turn the steering wheel left or right.

We installed a new one on a Honda Odyssey last month. Our technician determined that it needed to be replaced when he noticed it was leaking.

rack and pinion
New and old rack and pinion

This is a good reason why you should have the rack and pinion inspected.

To replace this part, the technician needed to remove a bracket for the engine mount.

This rack and pinion was relatively simple to install. For vehicles that have switches and multiple sensors, it can be more complicated.

A stiffer steering wheel is one sign that the rack and pinion could be going bad. This problem can be caused by leaking steering fluid that’s getting bound up, or the system being low on fluid.

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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Installing a new starter on a Honda Pilot

In Uncategorized by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Is your car refusing to turn over?

It could mean that you need a new starter.

Other signs include a clicking sound when you try start a vehicle and a slight grinding sound.

Bolted into the transmission housing, the starter has a gear that turns the flywheel. The flywheel is responsible for turning the engine over.

A new starter was installed in a 2005 Honda Pilot.

First, the battery was tested. When the technician found that the battery was good, he checked the starter and found it wasn’t working properly.

To get to this component, the technician needed to remove the battery, the tray the battery sits on, and the wires connected to the starter.

A jump box was used to bench test the new and older starters. Through this process, he was able to compare their power.

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.