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After hours pick up offered at Steve’s Auto Repair

In Maintenance 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.

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How brake problem can cause AC problem and act like engine problem

In Brakes by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Squeaking, grinding and squealing sounds are normally associated with needing new brakes.

The steering wheel may also start shaking. (You can read more about when to get new brake pads and rotors in this article.)

However, sometimes a brake problem can be disguised as something else.

The other week, we worked on a vehicle that seemed to have an engine problem and the air conditioning was being impacted.

One of our technicians worked his dad’s 2009 Chevy Malibu. It was experiencing problems when it was driven for 30 minutes or longer at around 45 miles per hour, especially on hot days. The A/C would stop working and the vehicle would feel as though it was running rough or stumbling. 

How we diagnosed the brake problem

Our tech had driven it back and forth during his lunch break but wasn’t able to duplicate the issue. 

The other day, his dad brought it by the shop when he noticed it was occurring again. The Chevy was driven up the street and – when it hit 35 or 40 mph – there appeared to be a misfire. On top of that, the engine seemed like it wasn’t producing enough power and there was shaking coming from the front end. The mechanic noticed a sort of pulsation, as well.

After pulling over on the side of the road, he pressed on the gas and it took a great deal of effort for the car to accelerate. He could tell there was a braking issue.

It was a very odd situation – the engine felt like it was lacking power, but the brake pads were trying to bite down on spots of the rotor, causing a symptom that resembled a misfire. No codes were being stored, the check engine light wasn’t turning on.

New brakes and brake hose.

We think the vehicle was attempting to accelerate while the gas pedal was pressed, and it cut off the air conditioning to provide more power. 

When the technician returned to Steve’s Auto Repair, he could smell burning brakes. Using a temperature gun, he checked each of the wheels and found that the left front one was much hotter than the rest. In fact, the temperature of the front left wheel was off the charts. This occurred because the caliper was locking up and trying to apply the brakes even when the driver wasn’t stepping on the brake pedal.

Orange and white discoloration around the pads and the reddish hue on the rotors are some signs that the brakes are getting too hot. 

To address the issue, the front brake pads, rotors, calipers and brake hoses were replaced. 

If you were looking to save yourself some money, you could replace one of the brakes. However, we like to change them as a set.

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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Is it a dead battery or a bad alternator?

In Battery by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

If you’re having some starting issues or your car seems sluggish or cranking a little slow in the morning, it could be a sign of a dead battery.

Making sure the battery cables aren’t corroded is one quick step you can take. That could not only affect the power coming out of the battery but also the alternator’s ability to charge it.

While the car’s running and as you’re driving, the alternator is there to produce all of the electricity for your accessories and charge up the battery.

If the cells in the battery are going bad, or the battery terminals are corroded, or there’s a wiring issue,  it can impact the battery’s ability to be fully charged. So, when you go out the next morning it might crank but it may feel a tad slow. That’s a really good sign to get your vehicle’s electrical system checked. 

Bad alternator.

Problems with the alternator

When you’re driving down the road, especially as you’re hitting 1,500 rpm to 2,500 rpm, your alternator is going to produce about 14.2 volts. 

It can reach up to 15 or 16 volts, but if it’s getting too high all the time that can cause problems. You also don’t want it too low. 

An alternator may not be bad enough to turn on the battery indicator light on the dashboard, because it’s charging 12.8 or 12.9 volts. It’s enough to keep everything running during the day, but when you have the lights and windshield wipers on at night and you park in your parking spot, it’s really not enough to charge the battery like it should be.

When you’re starting to notice any of these symptoms, bring it to an auto repair shop near you and have a full electrical test performed. A lot of places will only do a voltage test or check the status of the battery at that time. 

Tests and dead battery replacement

The battery could be low on water. But you don’t want to just use tap water. Instead electrolyte water for batteries – or at least distilled water – should be used.

If it’s a sealed battery, well there’s nothing else to really check. You also want to check the charging system and the amperage. A lot of these quick testers that many places use don’t test the amperage. So, you’re almost missing half of the information. A good tester would be able to check the capacitance of the battery, the alternator, and the amperage of the alternator.

It’s important to consider the age of the battery, as well. When you hit 5 to 7 years on a battery – especially if it’s a 5-year-battery – it is time to change it. 

Extremely cold and hot temperatures is one of the factors that can cause a car battery to fail. So, why take a chance when winter time is coming?

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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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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Brake lines: Thing to keep in mind when replacing them

In Brakes by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Many people are choosing to hold onto their cars for longer. 

Over the years, rust can start to develop underneath them. This is caused by various factors, including the chemicals used on roads during the wintertime and the type of medal manufacturers are using.

As vehicles reach 7 to 12 years old, rust is more likely to build up. Some automobiles are just more prone to this problem.

Rust can lead to brake fluid leaks, which may impact your stopping ability. This can be kind of scary when you’re going down the road.

What we recommend when getting new brake lines

We can replace the lines individually. You do want to avoid trying to patch a line using compression fittings. That doesn’t really solve your problem for the long haul. It’s also a good idea to make sure that as you’re replacing brake lines you’re running them from one point to the other with a piece of tubing. 

You also have to start looking at how old the vehicle is, along with the brake hoses, the unions they may be going into. Sometimes, just trying to replace one brake line turns into a much bigger job, because now the other brake line is going into it. Even with just moving it they’ll start breaking. When you’re in that position, you might be better off replacing all of them at once. 

We can make them where we buy sections of tubing or have it in rolls and custom make the lines. However, you can now buy brake line kits from different manufacturers. For example, Chevrolet sells them for Chevy Tahoes and some other Silverados. You can even get the kits that come with pre-made brake lines, so they’re bent the right way and they have the correct fittings. 

If you plan to keep your vehicle for a while, it may be worth upgrading to stainless steel brake lines, which are more resistant to rust. While you’re having a brake line job done, double check the brake hoses to ensure that they aren’t cracking. 

We also recommend using a high quality brake fluid – Steve’s Auto Repair uses the BG fluid, which has a drier agent in it and helps the brake fluid last longer. If you’re putting in new brake fluid anyway, you might as well use a good product.

Once the job is done

After the work is finished, make sure to bleed the brakes correctly. For some vehicles, the old way of pressing the pedal and opening the bleeder is perfectly fine. Other cars may require a computer to activate the ABS modules and solenoids. Refer to manufacturer’s specifications on that. 

As of the time of the writing of this article, there are shipping and manufacturing delays due to the Coronavirus. We are even having a hard time getting a hold of brass fittings. So, if you are having new brake lines installed, please be patient with your auto repair shop. They may not be able to get the parts needed for a little while.

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.