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Check engine light on? Car doesn’t start?

In Diagnostics by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Does your car not start? Does it crank over, but the engine doesn’t run? Is the little light on your dashboard that looks like an engine on? All these indicate that you need engine diagnostics performed.

Check engine light.

Check engine light

It takes quite a few years of training and experience to be able to diagnose today’s high-tech vehicles. 

Special scan tools are needed and access to a large database on information to work on your vehicle are needed. 

Many times automotive technicians need to start with the basics of a battery and alternator electrical system test to a visual inspection to see if something is obviously damaged to using multi-meters and digital oscilloscopes along with manufacturer scan tools to pinpoint the problem of the vehicle. 

These problems can range from broken wiring to components not working to software updates that are needed to make the vehicle operate correctly. 

Where there used to be only one computer in the car, there can be up to 30 or more controllers and electronic modules operating the vehicle. Not only do they have to perform their function in the vehicle, they also have to talk to each other. One not working correctly can cause some strange problems.

About engine diagnostics

You may have questions about diagnostics. We have provided some answers below.

Dashboard Warning Lights.

Dashboard Warning Lights

How much are engine diagnostics?

The cost of engine diagnostics can vary. You should be prepared for at least a one-hour diagnostics charge. Depending on how difficult the problem is more time may be needed.

At Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire, when we do get into diagnostics there have been time we have found the problem in 30 minutes, and we charge accordingly.

Do you do free check engine light diagnostics?

No. We do charge for what we do, because the equipment and talent required to do it isn’t free. A lot of places that do free check engine light diagnostics will do it if you have the work performed at their shop and they will bury the cost into the job. 

How can the parts store do check engine light diagnostics for free?

They’re not performing engine light diagnostics, they’re hooking up a generic scan tool and retrieving the codes and many times just make recommendations on what parts to buy that may or may not fix the vehicle. That is not engine performance diagnostics.

My car won’t start. What now?

We would start with a basic electrical check of the battery, alternator and starter. If all checks there, we would go to the computer and retrieve the codes and then find out what sensor or control system is not working correctly.

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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Mercedes alignment: Some things to know

In Alignment by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

A Mercedes alignment may be needed if your vehicle is pulling to one side or if its steering wheel isn’t center.

Many factors, such as potholes, curbs and everyday use, can cause tires to go out of alignment.

There are alignment requirements — caster, camber and toe — that make sure your car travels straight and is able to maintain control.

Another thing to consider when getting your alignment done, depending on the year, make and model, you may need to make sure the shop can recalibrate the Automatic Driver Assist System (ADAS). This has to do with lane assist and vehicle avoidance systems. Since the system works with the steering components, this system may need to be recalibrated.

How much does a Mercedes wheel alignment cost?

A standard tire alignment can cost between $95 and $250 for a Mercedes. This doesn’t include taxes and fees. The cost can depend on what make and model the vehicle is, what special tools are required, and what adjustments need to be made that require special kits.

What can throw out your tire alignment?

The wheel alignment of a Mercedes may be impacted by curbs, potholes and everyday use. Tie rod ends, ball joints and other parts affect it, as well.

Is a cheap Mercedes alignment good?

High end European vehicles, such as Mercedes, require the right alignment equipment to calibrate the steering system correctly. It takes knowledge and special tools to make sure it’s done right. Sometimes your budget alignment place may not be the best for your vehicle.

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 causes a car battery to fail?

In Battery by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

“Do you have a dead battery?” is usually one of the first questions someone will ask when they hear that a car won’t start.

A car battery going bad is a common problem that may leave you stuck at work, outside the store, or in the driveway.

Other possible issues include having a bad alternator or a bad starter.

High quality batteries can have a lifespan of 4 to 6 years. However, due to a variety of reasons, they may stop working correctly.

Reasons why a car battery can go bad

There are many factors that can cause a car battery to fail, aside from age.

Here are a some of the culprits:

  • Charging system: Charging systems that aren’t working correctly can cause batteries to die. If your vehicle’s tensioners are worn out, or if any belts are loose they can cause the alternator to stop functioning.
  • Corrosion: Corrosion can build up on the battery terminals when battery acid combines with other substances underneath the hood of your vehicle. You can prevent corrosion by checking a battery’s water levels and cleaning the terminals and cables. You can use anti-corrosion pads underneath the battery terminals. Learn about other ways to maintain your car battery.
  • Electronics in your vehicle: Vehicles have clocks, computers, alarm systems and electronic modules. If you leave your car sitting for two to four weeks, the electronics can drain your battery. If you’re going to be gone for a while, you can use a battery maintainer that will help it stay charged. You can also have a friend come by and start your car. If your vehicle sits outside, you may want to invest in solar panels that plug in.
  • Leaving your headlights or dome lights: Leaving your headlights and dome lights on drains the car battery. If you’re going to leave your vehicle unattended for long periods of time, make sure these lights are off.
  • Very hot or cold seasons: If you have an old or weak battery, it could die during the winter or summer. Batteries typically go bad during warmer months, because they don’t perform well in the heat. If you live in an area that has extreme hot or cold weather conditions, you need a batter that has more reserve power. They’re going to cost more money, but you should choose a quality battery that has more reserve and is manufactured better over a cheap battery.
  • Weak battery: It’s important to take care of your battery. Those that aren’t maintained properly can weaken more quickly.

If it has been a while since you replaced your battery or you are heading on a road trip, we recommend having it checked. Our technicians can tell if a car battery is going bad using a battery tester. The battery is one of the components they look at when performing a courtesy inspection.

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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Steve’s Auto appreciates being voted ‘Best Auto Repair Shop’

In Community Involvement by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

This year, Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire in Woodbridge has been voted “Best Auto Repair Shop” in InsideNOVA’s 2019 Best of Prince William.

Voting through Best of Prince William allows for members of the community to show their support for local businesses and non-profits.

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire wants to thank everyone who was a part of making this award possible. Without your support we would never have been selected as the ‘Best Auto Repair Shop.’  We are honored that we were voted ‘Best Auto Repair Shop’ for the second consecutive year. Thank you to all of our supporters.

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.

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.

This article was written by Contributing Writer Aaron Billingsley.

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Power steering pumps in Toyotas

In Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

The power steering pumps on Toyotas can produce a few thousand pounds per square inch (PSI) of pressure, depending on the required load. 

The pump pushes the fluid through the hoses to the power steering rack and pinion, which is connected to the steering knuckles that move the steering wheel left or right.

As with any part on a vehicle, over time components can leak.

If you start to hear a whining noise while you’re turning the wheel, you should check your power steering fluids. This could mean that there’s a leak in your hoses, rack or pump.

Maintenance on power steering pumps

Doing proper maintenance on your power steering system, such as changing the fluid every 30,000 miles, will help prolong the lifespan of the components and can reduce the cost of replacing power steering parts.

With today’s vehicles being as high-tech as they are, you must use the correct type of power steering fluid. Otherwise, you could do damage to the system.

One of the things that Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire does while doing an oil change is look over systems like these to let you know about any existing problems.

If the system runs out of fluid or the power steering pump stops working, it can be hard to turn the steering wheel.

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.