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Engine replacement on a Volvo Cross Country

In Diagnostics by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Usually, we’re able to determine the cause behind an engine problem. But a Volvo Cross Country is leaving us scratching our heads.

The customer noticed the red oil light come on as she was driving and pulled into a local parts store. The employees checked the oil level and said it was full. Upon hearing this, the customer drove down to our Woodbridge auto repair shop. 

By the time she reached Freedom High School and Northern Virginia Community College on Neabsco Mills Road, the engine shut off. Remaining calm during what can be a very stressful situation, she switched it into neutral and coasted down the hill and into our parking lot.

Because the engine locked up, engine replacement is necessary.

Engine lockup causes

An engine lockup can occur when there is a failure of various parts, like the spun bearing, crankshaft or wrist pin.

Why did this engine lock up? We don’t have the answer.

The driver has regular maintenance performed and takes care of her vehicle very well. This situation is also shocking, because that’s a very reliable engine that tends to see very high mileage before failing. It’s currently sitting at a little more than 100,000 miles.

When engines lock up, sometimes you’re able to determine what the lock up is from, but you don’t always know.

Our guess in this case is that the problem has something to do with the spun bearing and it just creates too much resistance for the engine to turn.

Engine replacement using salvage yard engine

Because of the car’s age, we are using a salvage yard engine. When we have to use parts like that, we want to get them from reputable salvage yards. 

The one we received this one from specializes only in Volvos. So, they took it out without damaging anything and they know how to take them apart before sending them to us. We also know that they’re sending us the right part, because they can look up particular vehicles. 

Even though it’s a salvage yard engine, there are some things we want to replace while it’s out, because it’s easier to get to them and it helps extend the lifespan of the used engine. These components include the water pump, the timing belt, some of the camshaft and crankshaft seals. It’s worthwhile spending a little extra money. If you’re going to go through the time and effort, you want to make sure it’s right.

Due to the price of today’s vehicles – used and new – it may be worthwhile putting a bit of money into your existing car and keeping it on the road. The taxes and insurance are lower. You might be spending $4,000 to $8,000 fixing a vehicle, but that’s quite a difference compared to $30,000 to $60,000 for a new vehicle. 

If you are in this type of situation, it’s a good idea to get an evaluation of the rest of your vehicle before you proceed with this type of repair, so there aren’t any surprises down the road.

In addition to engine replacement, we perform engine repair and engine maintenance. Check out this article we posted to learn about what engine repair means today.

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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Common electrical problems on vehicles

In Diagnostics by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Common electrical problems on vehicles today can range from something as simple as a fuse being blown to a computer or charging system problem. 

Some possible issues include:

  • The alternator going bad
  • A fuse that has blown
  • Problems with the throttle body
  • Corrosion buildup on the battery terminal
  • A bad car battery

Below is a more detailed explanation about each problem.

Common electrical problems

Bad alternator

Having a malfunctioning or bad alternator is one possible culprit behind electrical problems. Alternators take on the electrical load of the vehicle. On a nice, sunny day, there may not be a lot of electrical power used. However, on a rainy or winter day, you’re running the heater, the wiper blades are going, the lights are on, and you’re using the power windows. That’s a lot of power. The alternator helps adjust how much power is needed and recharges the battery. Some hybrid vehicles have two batteries – one is the hybrid battery, which helps propel the car, and a 12 volt battery that runs 12 volt accessories.

Blown fuse

Another common problem is if your cell phone or GPS stops working. With all of the accessory outlets – what used to be known as the cigarette lighter – when you start plugging four or five things into one outlet, that pulls a lot of power and can blow the fuse. Typically, you just have to check the fuse and fix it yourself. Take a look at the owner’s manual to figure out where the fuse block is and what fuse needs to be replaced. Or look it up on Google.

Throttle body.Throttle body problems

There may also be an issue with the throttle body, which is the flap that opens and lets air into the engine when you press the gas pedal. The one pictured above is electronically controlled, so it has everything from power and ground to a position sensor. These types of throttle bodies could also have a barometric pressure sensor, which tells the vehicle what the altitude of the car is – whether it’s at the beach or in the mountains. Depending on the make and model of the vehicle, there could also be a temperature sensor.

Corrosion on battery terminals

Arrow pointing to corrosion buildup on car battery terminals.

This photo shows a battery terminal that someone performed a quick repair on. Over a period of time, corrosion starts to build up. Copper doesn’t rust like iron rusts, but it does get a corrosion coating on it, making it difficult for electricity to get to the terminal. This can cause electrical issues and running issues. It’s even possible that your car won’t start or the starter may crank slow. That’s because it takes more power to travel through the corrosion than it does to go through a nice, neat terminal connection.

Dead battery

Car batteries don’t last forever. A battery’s lifespan depends on the type of battery, where it was made, and how it was designed. Generally, it can go 4 to 6 years before needing to be replaced. Vehicles with a lot of electrical accessories, such as safety lights or snow plows, or another feature used by work trucks, use a bit more power and could shorten the lifespan of the battery. If you travel on a lot of rough roads, the battery can bounce around, possibly disturbing the plates inside and impact how long it lasts. That’s why it’s important to ensure there is a secure battery hold down.

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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Honda Accord not blowing cold air

In Diagnostics by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

If you’ve noticed that cold air isn’t blowing through the vents when you turn on your car’s ac, it may be a sign of an ac leak.

A Honda Accord not blowing cold air was one problem we addressed earlier this week. Our Woodbridge mechanics solved the issue by replacing the air conditioning condenser.

You can read about how to maintain the condenser in this article we shared.

This particular car is using refrigerant 1234yf.

Air conditioning condenser problems

With the way certain vehicles are being manufactured, the metal for the condenser is thinner than it used to be.

Depending on the type of metal, we’re seeing that they’re corroding from the inside out. So, it could be the freon reacting to that metal. That’s why you may see certain types of cars and trucks having more problems with condensers than they did previously. We’re seeing that now where – for a specific kind of car – we’re seeing more condensers than we ever have.

Why you shouldn’t fix an ac leak with sealant

Now, you can buy a product that has sealer built into it from the auto parts store. Please don’t use that, because when you come to a shop we have to identify it and that can cause other problems with your repair. If you have an ac problem, just bring it to your service center so they can determine what’s going on and perform the correct repair without using sealant.

If you’re getting rid of the vehicle and you want to seal up a small leak, great. However, when we – as a repair facility – reclaim that freon, that sealant gets into the recycling machine and can contaminate the rest of the freon. It can even gum up and ruin the machine, which costs anywhere from $6,000 and $10,000. 

This may also be detrimental, because the sealant is going through the system. If the leak is too large and doesn’t seal up or you get another leak the sealant doesn’t address and the freon leaks out, then the air is now inside the system. So, everywhere the sealant is hardens up, potentially impacting the evaporator, condenser, and other parts. When that happens, you sometimes have to replace components.   

You also don’t want to just use the can with the red, yellow, and green gauge, because it can depend on the temperature outside, the humidity, and what RPM your vehicle is running at. The gauge may show green, but there could be air in the system and you could overcharge it.

In a lot of these vehicles that use R-1234yf, they don’t use as much freon as they were. So, you aren’t talking about 2 pounds, it may be more like 0.9 pounds or 1.1 pounds. You can easily overcharge, which can result in other issues, like damaging the air compressor and making the leak larger.

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 Assurance MaxLife Tire: Goodyear’s longest lasting tire

In Tires and Wheels by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Nowadays, many people want the items they purchase to be worth the investment.

This mindset extends to the tires they choose for their vehicle.

The Goodyear Assurance MaxLife Tire is a good value. It’s one option that we suggest drivers turn to if they are hoping to stretch their dollar.

Goodyear Assurance MaxLife Tire backed by an 85,000 mile warranty

How does the Goodyear Assurance MaxLife Tire save users money?

The answer can be found in the lengthy lifespan.

Backed by an 85,000 mile tread life warranty, it’s considered Goodyear’s longest lasting tire. 

Depending on the warranty, good tires don’t need to be replaced for a few years. This all season tire could last the average driver 6 and a half or 7 years.

You can thank the rubber compound it’s made with for that benefit.

Goodyear Assurance MaxLife Tire a reliable all season tire

The Goodyear Assurance MaxLife Tire’s ability to take on many miles is a nice perk. However, it isn’t the only one.

In addition to long lasting, this tire can be trusted across the different seasons. It’s dependable year-round, because it’s designed with TredLife Technology.

The Goodyear Tire also features wide grooves and biting edges, which provide the grip needed to power through various types of weather.

Are you wondering how your tires are wearing? When you have the Goodyear Assurance MaxLife Tire, you don’t have to.

Built-in wear gauges unveil this mystery. These gauges allow you to quickly and easily determine the status of the tire’s tread depth. Plus, a tool isn’t required.

Some tires are made for certain kinds of vehicles. But this one can be found on a variety of vehicles, including sedans, SUVs, crossovers, and trucks.

Other Goodyear Tire options

Do you want to stay in the Goodyear family but feel the Goodyear MaxLife isn’t the right fit for you? There are plenty of other options available.

There’s also the Goodyear Assurance ComfortDrive Tire, Goodyear Assurance All-Season Tire, and Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady Tire. We also sell Kelly Tires and Dunlop Tires, which are owned by Goodyear Tire. 

If you need help narrowing down your search, stop by our Woodbridge auto repair shop or reach out to us. One of our team members can provide you with more information about a specific tire. They can also offer recommendations based on your vehicle and driving conditions.

Goodyear rebate available

Goodyear Tire is currently offering a rebate on certain Goodyear tires. So, those interested or planning to buy a set soon could save money.

Drivers can get up to $150 back on four select Goodyear tires when they use the Goodyear credit card.

If you purchase four Goodyear Assurance MaxLife tires, you may get up to $100 back. Feel free to reach out to us for more information.

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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AC repair on Chevrolet vans

In Diagnostics by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Chilly temperatures are lingering in Northern Virginia. However, AC repair has already begun for the year at Steve’s Auto Repair.

Last week, one of our technicians performed A/C diagnostics on a small bus body that’s used by a local Boys & Girls Club.

Our Woodbridge mechanics are able to do AC repair on Chevrolet vans and GMC vans.

These particular types of vans – so the 1500, 2500 and 3500 series of Chevrolet vans and GMC vans – basically use all of the same air conditioning components. 

A/C diagnostics: Blockage in the compressor

On the Boys & Girls Club vehicle, the A/C compressor stopped working and actually ended up even throwing the air conditioning belt. So, it had a belt on it, and we saw the compressor was really dragging down. 

Through some testing and by taking some lines apart, we were able to find out where a blockage was. You could tell that there was some blockage with the compressor just by reading the gauges. The high-pressure side was going way too high. 

This one has a dual AC system. Your normal vents in your dash is the front A/C. There’s also a small evaporator in the back where some more lines run to, but that also has its own receiver dryer.

Desiccant material and compressor material create little balls that clogged the line.

Desiccant material and compressor material create little balls that clogged the line.

Desiccant material helps collect moisture that might be in the system, and it acts like a little filter. In this case, desiccant material and compressor material – such as seals and oil – was cooked together, creating little balls and clogging up the line. So, as the compressor was trying to force Freon through the line, it couldn’t go anywhere.

 

How we performed the AC repair

So, we flushed the lines with some special solvent, and  – afterwards – made sure that they were all dry. We got everything all cleared up and put a new receiver dryer in the back. On the front, our technician added a new A/C accumulator. It kind of works the same way, but it contains what’s kind of like a holding tank for Freon. 

A new compressor, A/C compressor belt and seals were also installed. New oil was added, and an EVAC and recharge on the system were performed, as well. We wrapped up the air conditioning repair by putting in the correct amount of R134 Freon and retesting the system. Everything was working fine. 

When you’re looking at doing an air conditioning job on a vehicle, sometimes you need to look below the surface. Yes, the compressor was bad, but it can also be important to find out what was the problem that made it go bad. Sometimes, the compressor just fails. 

But even with that, you want to make sure that you’re changing the expansion valve or an orifice tube – if that’s what goes in the particular vehicle – and the accumulator and/or the receiver dryer. Changing all of those necessary parts is the correct way to do the job, so your money is well spent and it lasts.  

A lot of problems could lead to car AC repair. Common reasons why an air conditioning system can stop working are explained in this article we shared.

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 is co-authored by Contributing Writer Lily Brown.