View Post

Windshield washer fluid: Blue does not equal good

In Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Just because your windshield washer fluid is blue does not mean that it is good. You should use a windshield washer fluid tester to make sure the temperature protection level is good to negative 40 degrees.

It’s important to make sure it has adequate protection so during cold weather, the washer fluid doesn’t freeze in washer fluid reservoir, washer pump. This will prevent any fluid from coming out of the washer nozzles when you try to use it to clear ice off your windshield.

It can also cause the plastic to break. 

The way vehicles are designed nowadays, the windshield washer reservoir in buried behind bumpers and fenders, and replacement can be difficult and costly.

Windshield washer fluid reservoir.

Washer fluid reservoir

Having the right windshield washer fluid protection

A lot of places use windshield washer fluid concentrate and one or two pumps can turn a gallon of water blue, but that doesn’t mean it’s providing the correct amount of protection.

During the winter months, there are many choices of fluid.

Washer fluid is normally blue, but can be other colors depending on the manufacturer.

“I particularly like RainX Winter Fluid, because it does help clear the windshield and it puts a light RainX coating for when it rains,” Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire Owner ST Billingsley.

As long as you have washer fluid that is at the correct protection level, blue will do you just fine. 

Windshield Washer Fluid Warning Light.

Washer Fluid Warning Light

If you’re not sure if you need more washer fluid, go to your local, independent auto repair shop and have them check it for you.

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. 

View Post

Is my transmission bad?

In Diagnostics by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

In today’s vehicles, it may be difficult to determine if you’re having an engine running problem or a transmission problem.

Since the vehicles have a lot of computer control in them, an engine running problem can mask itself as a transmission problem, and vice versa. 

Transmission.

Transmission problem indicators

One way to tell if you’re having a misfire problem over a transmission shaking problem is to take a look at the check engine light. If the check engine light is flashing, then it is most likely a misfire. If the symbol is steady and you’re still having that issue, then it could be a transmission problem.

Some other symptoms will be delayed engagement when you’re stopped and then you press the gas pedal. This can mean that there’s a clutch problem, a solenoid problem, or even low fluid.

Another direct indication is the drive indicator on the dashboard may start to flash. 

If you have to press the gas pedal much further than normal to get moving, this could be a transmission problem, but you should have an auto repair shop take a look. Catalytic converters can get clogged up and give you the same symptom.

Very dark and burnt smelling fluid are a couple of other indicators you should keep an eye out for.

One of the things you can do to help make this component last is to have a transmission fluid exchange performed about every 30,000 miles. This will not only put new fluid through the whole transmission, it can help get the clutch material and contaminants out of it.

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.

View Post

Virginia safety inspection of headlights

In Inspection by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

It’s important that drivers are able to see, even at nighttime and when there’s inclement weather.

To make sure that motorists are traveling safely, inspectors check a car’s headlights when conducting the Virginia safety inspection.

Headlights.

Problems with headlights

Headlights must have proper aim and mounting to pass the annual requirement. Vehicle safety inspectors shouldn’t be able to move the assembly.

They also look for cracks in the lenses and anything that distorts the light’s aiming pattern.

Headlights can also fail if they are discolored or they don’t have the correct candlepower — meaning that they’re too dim or too bright.

A headlight aligner machine can be used to check the candlepower and aiming.

Headlight aligner machine.

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. 

View Post

Why you should change your cabin air filter

In Cabin Air Filter by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Does your car smell musty?

It could be time for you to get a new cabin air filter. This cartridge filter purifies the air that enters the cabin area from the vents.

It’s similar to an air conditioning filter found in most homes.

When and why to replace a cabin air filter

Clean Cabin Air Filter.

Clean Cabin Air Filter

How often the filter should be changed depends on the make and model of a vehicle and its driver.

Someone who lives on a dirt road may want to get a new one every 10,000 miles. Those who travel from their driveway to the interstate might need to change it every 20,000 miles.

This filter helps prevent your vehicle’s heating core and evaporator from clogging up.

Having it changed regularly helps keep dust, dirt, pollen and bacteria out of the front of your vehicle so you don’t breathe it in.

Before setting up an appointment to change the filter, you might want to make sure your vehicle has one. Some cars, such as Volkswagen beetles, don’t have them.

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. 

View Post

Windshields, windows, mirrors: What won’t pass Virginia Safety Inspection

In Inspection, Windshield Wipers by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Vehicle safety inspectors check over many parts of a vehicle when conducting the Virginia Safety Inspection.

Overtime, problems can crop up and go unnoticed. During the state inspection, we keep an eye out for potential issues that could become bigger overtime and jeopardize the safety of those on the road.

A vehicle’s windshield, windows and mirrors aren’t exempt from this annual requirement. Below, we give more details about what exactly we’re looking at.

Virginia Safety Inspection: Windshields

Windshield wipers are one of the items automotive technicians check for while inspecting windshields. We make sure that they aren’t torn and that the defroster works the way it should.

To pass Virginia Safety Inspection, there shouldn’t be cracks that go from one part of the windshield to another. 

Star cracks, which resemble a spider web, can’t be larger than 1 and a half inches in diameter. 

Rocks and debris that fall off moving vehicles or come up from the road can cause star cracks.

Windshield repair.

Windshield repair

It’s a good idea to check with your insurance company and see if it offers windshield coverage. If you notice a star crack in your windshield, some companies will address the problem at little or no cost.

You need to be able to see out of both sides of the windshield in order to pass inspection. 

A windshield will fail state inspection if the tint is too hazy or if it falls below the AS-1 line. If a vehicle doesn’t have an AS-1 line, windshield tinting that features words, letters, numbers or pictures can’t go more than 3 inches below the top of a windshield, unless it’s approved by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). 

Checking the windows

In addition to the windshield, our state inspectors check the windows. 

Like the windshield, they make sure windows aren’t cracked, scratched or broken. Cloudiness, distortion and anything else that obstructs your vision are other problems we look for.

The window on the driver’s side must roll down. That way, if your turn signal is malfunctioning you are able to provide hand gestures out the window when changing lanes.

Mirror problems we look for

The side view mirrors are looked over during state inspection, as well. 

Mirrors can’t be cracked or broken and must show one solid view. Additionally, the 200 feet behind you needs to be clearly visible. Truck mirrors are required to extend beyond the body’s edge at least halfway.

If there’s tinting on the back windshield and it’s bubbling it – making it difficult for you to see – that can cause you to fail the Virginia safety inspection.

The mirrors need to be firmly mounted, as well. We recently worked on a vehicle that had a loose side view mirror on the passenger side. We were able to move it up and down very easily. This car would have failed state inspection for that reason.

Windshield, windows and mirrors are just some of the areas that state inspectors check. They also take a look at the tires, brakes, exhaust system, steering and suspension, headlights and other lights, and under the hood.

On top of Virginia state inspections, Steve’s Auto Repair performs Emissions Tests, which are required on vehicles that are parked in certain cities and counties, like Prince William County and the cities of 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.