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How to prepare your car for fall

In Maintenanceby Steves Auto Repair and Tire

It’s hard to believe that fall is just a couple of weeks away.

As the temperatures begin to drop, we recommend that drivers be watchful of a few items.

Tire pressure

Drastic changes in temperature can lead to tire pressure loss. Tire pressure should be checked at least a couple of times each year, or when an oil change is performed.

Read more about when and how to check your car’s tire pressure.

If all of the tires have low tire pressure, it’s most likely due to the temperature change. However, if one tire is much lower than the others, it may indicate a leak.

Having low tire pressure can cause additional tire wear and makes it more difficult to control your vehicle in an emergency.

Fall
Checking the tire pressure

Car battery

Weak car batteries tend to go bad when it’s extremely hot or cold outside. A car not starting could mean that the battery is dead. 

Learn about other possible reasons why a car won’t start.

You should also watch for the battery alert light, which is a sign that there is a problem with the battery or it’s low on power.

Fall
Testing the battery

Windshield Washer Fluid Concentration

As strange as it sounds, your vehicle’s windshield wiper fluid concentration is something you should consider as it gets colder. 

During the summer, some people dilute windshield washer fluid to save money. If that diluted fluid is in the system during the fall and the temperature drops low enough, it can freeze.

Fall
Windshield

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 Uncategorizedby 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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Tire rotations prolong life of tires

In Tires and Wheelsby Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Good, reliable tires can be pricey.

Tire rotations are one way you can prolong their treadlife.

We perform tire rotations during oil changes, which we recommend every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.

Read about why oil changes are needed.

The suspension in the front of a vehicle, where the engine is located, is designed differently from the back, which has less weight.

If we leave the tires on the front or the back for too long, they will adapt to that particular weight and cause feathering on the edge of the tires.

Normally, our technicians switch the front tires with those on the back. 

For certain vehicles — like Jeep Wranglers, which have a full-size spare on the back — we perform five-tire rotations, where the tires are rotated clockwise.

This will prevent drivers from having a full-size spare that’s bigger than the tires as they wear down.

Cross tire rotations are provided upon request.

We do not move front tires that are at 4/32 of an inch or less to the back. Doing so increases the probability of hydroplaning.

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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Air conditioning repair performed on Chevy Silverado

In Cooling Systemby Steves Auto Repair and Tire

New parts have been installed on a Chevy Silverado.

One of our technicians replaced the vehicle’s thermostat.

The thermostat starts off closed. As the engine warms up, it opens, enabling coolant to flow through the radiator.

Thermostat

We also changed the condenser and drier, which are parts of the air conditioning system.

In the A/C system, refrigerant flows as a gas on one side and as a liquid on the other side.

The air conditioning compressor pushes the refrigerant through the system to the air conditioning condenser. 

It becomes a liquid as the air conditioning fan blows on the condenser.

The drier is responsible for taking moisture out of the system.

air conditioning repair
New drier and old drier

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire provides air conditioning repair. We also have a new air conditioning machine for 1234yf.

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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Noise diagnostics: What we go through to track down sounds

In Diagnosticsby Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Noise diagnostics can be complicated.

Vehicles make lots of sounds, and any of them can mean many things.

A growling noise could have something to do with a car’s wheel bearing, or it may indicate that you have bad tires.

Meanwhile, a squeaking sound can be caused by dry, moving parts.

Diagnosing noises is also difficult, because cars act like tuning forks — noise travels. 

You may hear a sound coming from one area when it’s actually coming from a different place. 

We worked on a vehicle recently where the front differential was going bad. However, the sound was traveling to the back of the car.

Our technicians first start noise diagnostics by taking the vehicle for a test drive.

Noise diagnostics
Test Driving

It’s important that we receive a good description from customers about what type of sound they’re hearing, where it’s coming from, and any other characteristics they noticed — such as a vibration.

Then, we try to verify it. 

Because some noises only occur during certain circumstances, the technicians attempt to recreate it.

If it’s a clunking sound, for example, the car may be taken on a road that contains potholes.

Wayne worked on diagnosing a noise on a 2008 Toyota Highlander last month.

The customer had noticed a screeching sound when driving down the hill on a certain road. During his test drive, Wayne took it on that road to listen for it.

After recreating a sound, we use a process of elimination to determine what part of the car the sound is connected to, such as the suspension or the engine.

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.