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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. 

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Why an independent repair shop may be better for your tires than big box stores

In Tires and Wheels by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

If you’re thinking about getting your tires from the big box stores – such as Costco, BJs, Sam’s Club, or Walmart – you may want to consider an independent repair shop.

While you may save some money at big box stores, local auto repair shops can take better care of your car’s needs overall.

Independent repair shop vs. big box stores

Let’s face it, these bigger stores are ordering train loads of tires and get better deals than an independent repair shop – hence the cheaper price.

However, they won’t repair your tire if you didn’t buy it from them. We will.

Most likely, you can’t set up an appointment at a big box store. Instead, you may need to wait until someone is available to help. This could encourage you to browse through the store and spend money you weren’t planning to.

At local auto repair shops, you can make an appointment or drop off or pick up your vehicle at your convenience.

If you need a ride in the local area, we can shuttle you both and forth – for free.

Independent businesses, like Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire, are not only able to repair and replace tires and provide mounting, balancing and road hazard warranties. We perform wheel alignments, brake repair, and state inspections, as well.

This actually makes us a one stop shop, even if our prices on Goodyear, Kelly and Dunlop are a little higher.

Local auto repair shops take care of basic maintenance, including oil changes, mileage-based services – such as air filter, cabin air filter and fuel filters – and fluid exchanges – like transmission, power steering and engine coolant. 

Some of these fluid exchange services may give you a little extra warranty coverage, depending on the repair shop.

As they work on your car, independent repair shops can keep you informed about the status of your brakes and other parts, which help you plan for needed maintenance and repair and can prevent potential breakdowns.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire does this through digital inspections.

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 living in your car.

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. 

Indicator of mice living in your car

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.

How to keep mice at bay

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.