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How do you do a complete brake job?

In Brake Fluid Flush, Brakes by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

This week, we replaced brakes on a Dodge Charger. They were low, due to normal wear and tear.

But doing a complete brake job doesn’t just consist of putting brake pads in and letting the car go.

Replacing brakes on a Dodge Charger

When working on the Dodge Charger, we measured the brake rotors and determined if they were machinable. 

Dodge Charger.

Dodge Charger

For most of these vehicles, it’s best to replace the rotors, even if they are machinable. That way, you don’t have to worry about warping or the brake pedal pulsating – which is when the car vibrates as a driver steps on the brake.

We recommend you use a good brake pad. Cheap does not equal good. There are businesses that will offer a lifetime warranty on brake pads, because they are cheap and can be thrown on anytime. However, these places will always find something wrong with your car.

You should also ensure that the caliper slides move. It’s also a good idea to clean them up and use the correct lubrication, so they can move back and forth freely.

Other services included in complete brake job

During a brake job, our technicians also replace the hardware, if present. Hardware is a spring tension piece of metal located between the brake pad and caliper bracket that prevents the pad from banging back and forth and reduces squealing. It needs to be lubricated correctly, as well.

Brake hardware.

Brake hardware

Making sure the caliper piston boot isn’t torn or leaking is also important. 

Once the brake system is reassembled, we test the brake fluid to see if there are any contaminants. Over time, moisture builds up in the brake fluid and old seals and metal cause contaminants to accumulate. That is why we perform brake fluid exchanges.

So, in summary, a complete brake job means:

  • Replacing the brake pads and rotors
  • Checking the caliper slides
  • Replacing the brake hardware
  • Performing a brake fluid exchange
  • Doing a test drive

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 you should come to Steve’s Auto Repair for an oil change

In Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

What’s the value of coming to Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire for an oil change, rather than other places?

Yes, you can get your oil changed pretty much anywhere. However, when you choose to have this service performed at Steve’s Auto Repair, you don’t just drive away with an oil change.

What’s included in our oil change

In addition to changing the oil and oil filter, our technicians look over your vehicle through a mini state inspection. They pull the wheels and rotate the tires, as well – which you would normally be charged an additional $20 for elsewhere.

With our digital inspections, which we can email or text to you, you can see recommendations we have for you without having to wait around at the shop. The digital inspection also gives you an update on various parts, such as the condition of your car’s air filter or how worn the brake pads are.  

Last year, we began using full synthetic oil for all vehicles, except for the few cars that require regular oil. With this switch, you no longer need to worry about the up sale of oil. 

As people start returning to work, they will be driving more. Synthetic oil allows you to travel 5,000 miles between oil changes and is better for the internal components of the engine.

For more information about why oil changes are needed, check out this article we shared.

Here is what we do during an oil change:

  • Change the oil
  • Change the oil filter
  • Check the filters
  • Perform a digital inspection
  • Rotate tires *
  • Check brakes
  • Check tire pressure
  • Test battery *
  • Check accessible fluids

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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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.