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When to replace drum brakes

In Brakes by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

With the stop-and-go traffic found across Northern Virginia, it’s especially important to make sure your brakes are taken care of.

A 2002 Ford Explorer Sport had its drum brake shoes replaced recently.

Drum brakes are one of two types of brakes a car will have, with disc brakes being the other one. The parts of each brake type and how they work differ.

For drum brakes, two shoes push out and pull the drum up.

Disc brakes are found on the front and rear of most vehicles, but some have both.

Replacing drum brakes

Brakes should be a minimum of 2/32 of an inch to pass the Virginia state inspection.

We recommend drivers begin replacing their brakes when they hit 3/32 of an inch or 4/32 of an inch, depending on the vehicle. Some manufacturers may suggest they get changed sooner.

Because the brake shoes press against the drum, you may hear a squealing or grinding sound when they’re getting low.

The parking brake not holding as well might also be an indicator.

Sometimes, an adjustment can fix the parking brake. But if it needs to be adjusted too much, it may be time to replace the brake shoes.

Pulsation could mean that brake repair is needed. However, that sign is normally associated with the drum being out of round.

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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What can cause an airbag light to come on?

In Safety by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Airbags are an important safety feature that protect you and your family in case an accident occurs.

Sometimes, the airbag light will come on. This occurs whenever the airbag system senses a problem. 

The light can turn on for a few reasons.

What can cause the airbag light to turn on

Airbag module is damaged: An airbag light can turn on if the airbag module, which stores information, is damaged because of rain or flooding. If this is the case, the airbag module will need to be replaced.

Airbag backup battery needs recharging: Has your car battery died recently? If so, the backup battery for the airbags could have drained with it. The issue may become resolved when the car battery is charged, or the airbag backup battery might need to be recharged. 

Sensor not working: There are various sensors connected with parts of a car, including the airbag. For example, some vehicles have a sensor that measures the weight in the passenger seat. If a sensor is going bad, the airbag light could be triggered.

Bad airbag clock spring: Vehicles have an airbag clock spring that links the steering wheel with other components, such as the airbag. The airbag clock spring could stop working properly.

Other problems that may trip the airbag light include a broken wire and a bad resistor in the seat belt buckle.

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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EVAP system repair on a Toyota

In Fuel System by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Problems with a vehicle’s Evaporative Emission Control System (EVAP) system can be difficult to pinpoint.

We recently worked on a 2002 Toyota Forerunner that had a leak in the EVAP system. 

After performing a smoke test, the technician realized it was leaking from one of the switching valves. He replaced the valves as well as hoses and the charcoal canister.

New charcoal canister installed.
New charcoal canister

Bad EVAP System signs

The EVAP system prevents gas fumes from being released into the air and having harmful effects on the environment.

Rough idling, the check engine light turning on, and a vehicle having trouble starting are symptoms of a bad EVAP system.

Our customer who brought in the Forerunner noticed the check engine light had turned on. He scanned the codes himself and it kept coming up as an EVAP code.

Problems with the system can be flagged during the emission test if there’s a code or the test is incomplete. The emission test is required every two years if your vehicle is housed in certain localities, including Prince William County, Manassas and Manassas Park.

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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Causes and signs of oil leaks

In Fluids by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Oil leaks can occur unexpectedly. 

When they do, you shouldn’t wait long before addressing them.

Oil leak symptoms

A puddle of oil near a car and being low on oil are some signs of an oil leak.

Drivers may also notice engine noise – such as a chattering. 

Possible running conditions could be prompted by a leak, as well.

For example, vehicles that have a variable valve timing are operated by oil pressure. When it’s low on oil, it won’t work correctly and might appear to be struggling or misfiring.

Causes of oil leaks

Different culprits can result in oil leaks. They include:

  • Missing oil filler cap
  • Loose oil drain plug
  • Bad oil filter
  • Damaged oil pan
  • Worn out valve cover gasket

Another possible cause is if the PCV system all vehicles have becomes clogged, putting too much pressure on the seals.

If you think you have an oil leak, you should bring it to a mechanic or auto repair shop as soon as you can. Driving your vehicle on too little oil can damage the engine because the oil can’t lubricate necessary components.

This is also why it’s important to have regular oil changes performed. We recommend oil changes every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. This article we wrote talks about why they’re needed.

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.