Are you buying a “flood car”? Warning signs and how to avoid it

In Inspection, Maintenance, Safety by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

If you’re in the market for a new vehicle beware of “flood cars,” especially following the devastating hurricanes in Texas, Florida, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico.

“‘Flood cars’ are one of the things we saw after 2008, was that the Midwest had their big floods out there through Missouri and Iowa…and Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana,” said Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire Owner ST Billingsley.

Flood cars are vehicles that have been salvaged from disaster areas, which are cleaned up, auctioned, and resold to often unsuspecting consumers across the United States. And in some cases, these cars have clean CarFaxes that don’t even have information about the flood water damage in the vehicle, making it difficult for buyers to make an informed decision.

“There are places that do a really good job of cleaning them up, even to where you can’t even smell where water’s been in it,” said Billingsley.

And buying one of these flood cars can be a costly mistake.

“They have the car, it looks good, it’s what they wanted – and then they’re frustrated because they’re going to the mechanic all the time because of these weird issues,” said Billingsley.

Buyers of these cars will run into issues like their car battery going dead for no apparent reason, the car horn blaring or the doors locking sporadically, rust, and other electrical problems – sometimes intermittently.

According to Billingsley, this is a result of water getting into the wire harness and shorting out terminals and fuse boxes in the car.

“Especially with the way these cars are computer controlled – all of the electronics – there are multiple fuse boxes in all of these vehicles. Some are low, some are high up in the car. When that water sits in there, corrosion starts to build up,” said Billingsley.

While it may be difficult, there are ways to tell if the car you’re interested in may be a flood car.

“When you have the car up in the air, and having somebody looking for items like this…if you just bent down to look, you wouldn’t necessarily see any dirt or any water lines,” said Billingsley.

Trained technicians can spot residual mud and dirt, as well as waterlines underneath the dash, if they have the vehicle up on the rack. There are also voltage tests and related components that can be tested to determine if the car is working properly.

Want to avoid buying a costly flood car? Taking a car you’re interested in to a shop like Steve’s Auto for a pre-purchase inspection is an important step. Our qualified technicians will fully inspect the vehicle from top to bottom, noting any issues or potential issues, and make sure you’ve got as much information as possible as you decide whether or not to continue with the purchasing process.

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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Goodyear Tire Assurance Comfortred Touring Tire All-season

In Tires and Wheels by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Goodyear Tire makes many different kinds of tires. If you are looking for an all-season tire that’s comfortable on the road? Then take a look at the Goodyear Assurance ComforTred Touring Tire.

The tire is all-season, so it holds up in a range of weather conditions; even light snow – and is built with comfort in mind.

“It’s actually a very comfortable tire – it offers 20% more cushion for your typical passenger car,” said Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire owner Scott Whitling.

Goodyear Assurance ComforTred Touring Tire features

Goodyear Assurance All Season Tire

Goodyear Assurance Comfortred Tire All Season

The Goodyear Assurance ComforTred Touring Tire has an absorbent rubber layer that helps to reduce road vibration.  The symmetric tread design not only enhances the traction of the tire, but helps to reduce road noise. This helps to make your drive more smooth and comfortable.

 

Not only do you get the powerful traction on wet surfaces that the Assurance line offers. These tires also have ComfortEdge sidewalls that allow for more comfortable handling.

This Goodyear tire also has a polyester cord body and twin steel belts. This enhances the durability and extends the life of the tire.

Steve’s Auto is proud to be a Goodyear Tire dealer, and we carry a full range of Goodyear tires in stock.

We offer tire alignment services, and our team is happy to help you select the product that’s right for you and 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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Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire donates Honda CR-V to NOVA automotive program

In Community Involvement by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

This week, Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire donated a manual transmission Honda CR-V to Northern Virginia Community College’s (NOVA) automotive program.

“This donation from Steve’s Automotive will greatly enhance our automotive program because it’s hard to get vehicles with manual transmissions,” said NOVA Automotive Instructor Gary Phares.

Steve’s has donated several other vehicles to the NOVA program over the years.

Steve’s owner ST Billingsley also serves on the NOVA Advisory Committee as a representative of the automotive industry.

About the automotive program

“We get donations wherever we can, so we can have a variety of automobiles to teach our automotive students. In our classes, they’re set up as 50% lecture and 50% hands on. So with this, students that are working in Honda dealerships can actually do their hands on training,” said Phares.

According to Phares, NOVA offers certificate and degree programs for indiivduals that want to work in the automotive industry.

“Right now there’s a huge shortage of automotive technicians in the field and I try to encourage students to go on and finish a two year degree,” said Phares.

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 wins ‘Best Automotive Repair Shop’ from Virginia Living

In Shop Talk by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Virginia Living magazine cover.Our Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire team is proud to be listed as the ‘Best Automotive Repair Shop’ in Virginia Living Magazine’s Best of Virginia 2017 list.

Each year the magazine highlights the best places to eat, shop, have fun – and get your car repaired. More than 50,000 people voted for this year’s winners.

Steve’s was selected as the best shop not only because of the repairs and customer service we provide, but for the work we do to give back to the community.

Here’s our blurb from Virginia Living Magazine:

Steve’s Auto Repair & Tire; StevesAutoRepairVA.com: An official Goodyear dealer, Steve’s Auto Repair offers services, including inspections, tune-ups and engine repairs and replacements. The team is committed to community outreach and has opened the shop to help Cub Scouts build Pinewood Derby cars for their annual race, and donated a bus to a local Boys and Girls Club.Best Automotive Repair Shop – Steve's Auto Repair & Tire.

“We’re incredibly proud to be the recipient of Virginia Living’s ‘Best Automotive Repair Shop’ award. While we’re not in the business to win awards, it’s always encouraging to be recognized for our commitment to provide top-notch automotive repair, and contribute to the Prince William County community,” said Steve’s owner ST Billingsley.

We’d like to give congratulations to second place winner Shannon Auto Repair and third place winner Olde Towne Auto Repair.

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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How can I maintain my car battery and keep it from corroding?

In Battery, Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

The battery is one of the most important parts of your vehicle – it gets your vehicle started – and like with all parts of your vehicle, you need to do your best to maintain and care for it. If you don’t, you run the risk of battery corrosion, and ending up on the side of the road.

What is battery corrosion?

Corrosion happens on the battery terminals when hydrogen gas is being released from the acid in the battery. This acid mixes with other things in the air under the hood of your vehicle, causing the corrosion you can see.

The battery corrosion can range in color – it can be white, green, and even brown – and the color you’ll see depends on the type of car battery and the metal that the battery terminals are made out of.

How do you maintain your car’s battery?

Part of how you maintain your vehicle’s battery is determined by the type of battery it is. Some batteries are “maintenance free” which means you don’t need to check the water levels inside.

Battery protection pads.

Battery protection pads BG replace battery Dale City, Virginia

But for those that do require maintenance, you’re going to want to check if there’s water in the battery cells every five to six months. And if you notice that your battery is low on water, make sure you’re refilling with distilled water – not tap water.

Another important piece of maintaining your battery and preventing corrosion is to keep your battery terminals and cables clean. One way of doing this is using a battery terminal protectant spray, which seals and prevents moisture in the battery terminal, and blocks battery acid from escaping from inside the battery.

For preventing corrosion from happening in the battery terminals another method is to use BG Battery Protector Pads. These felt pads are soaked in a chemical, which you then place on the terminals of the battery before reattaching the battery cables to the terminal. While weather conditions can impact the life of these pads, the protector pads often last the life of the battery, and should be changed with every battery replacement.

As part of normal car battery maintenance, you should be having your battery and alternator checked at least once a year. That way if there’s any problem, a technician should be able to detect it and suggest a replacement. It’s important to get the alternator checked too because if it’s not working properly, it can ruin your battery.

One last thing to be aware of when it comes to maintaining your battery: Be careful when the temperatures are on the rise. Most people think that car batteries go bad during the winter, and while some do, more actually go bad during the warmer months and have to be replaced, because the battery doesn’t perform well in the higher temperatures.

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.