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Engine noise on an Infiniti QX80

In Diagnostics by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

As your vehicle ages, you may begin to notice abnormal sounds or behaviors.

Maintaining your car through oil changes, mileage-based services, and the replacement of old parts can prevent a lot of problems. Some issues, however, can’t be avoided.

An Infiniti QX80 was making an engine noise recently. The driver brought it to our Woodbridge auto repair shop after hearing a whining sound that would go away when the vehicle warmed up. The car wasn’t too far along in its mileage – just a little over 120,000 miles.

Engine noise diagnostic testing begins

Our technician started his investigation, which involved the removal of many parts. This included the oil pan, the timing cover, and the 32 bolts that hold the cover on. Timing chain.

The cause of the engine noise, he found, was the timing chain rubbing against the timing cover. The tensioner was also out further than it should be.

Timing chains ensure that the camshaft and crankshaft, components that control the opening of an engine’s valves, are in correct timing. Overtime, they can stretch and begin to bounce around.

In addition to getting new timing chains, the Infiniti QX80 will receive a new timing chain tensioner and new timing chain guides.

New timing chains, timing chain guides, and a timing chain tensioner.

New timing chains, timing chain guides, and a timing chain tensioner.

The timing chain’s connection with other parts

For one of these engines, you may or may not get a PO340 code, which has to do with the camshaft position. It’s a sensor, so sometimes it can pick up if there’s some slack in the chain. 

Along with this particular vehicle, it would actually make a whining noise, not necessarily a rattling noise. If the chain was loose enough, you would have a rattling noise.

The other thing that’s important with these timing chains is the oil pump is right in front of the engine and is driven by the timing chain. On a couple of the camshafts, you have variable camshaft sprockets that are all oil controlled and driven off of the timing chain. There are many components that are connected with the timing chain.

Depending on what year it is, there could be an updated crankshaft timing gear. 

It’s also important to know that as the timing chain begins to stretch it can start to damage the oil sprayer. This requires a special tool to pull out and put back in to make sure the timing chain has the correct amount of oil, so it will last.

Maintenance and research

This timing chain problem is one that the company has had with its engines. Unfortunately, there isn’t really anything you can do to prevent this issue. It’s going to happen, even if you do take care of the vehicle.

But don’t let that discourage you from maintaining your car. A lot of other problems can be avoided with regular checkups. (Regular oil changes, for example, can prevent engine damage.) Also, if something were to happen to a part – knock on wood – you may be eligible for warranties, because you kept up with the recommended maintenance services.

Other than making sure your car’s basic needs are met, we recommend doing your research. Read your owner’s manual, and look up whether there are any common problems associated with your particular vehicle. That way, you have an idea of some potential issues to watch out for.

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 ComfortDrive Tire offers a comfortable ride

In Tires and Wheels by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

If you’re looking for new tires, Goodyear Tire is a brand that other drivers may recommend to you. And there’s a reason for that. 

Goodyear produces a large collection of reliable options that motorists have been putting their trust in for years.

​​The Goodyear Assurance ComfortDrive Tire is one that drivers shouldn’t disregard. It comes with a ton of awesome features that are beneficial to motorists.

This tire can be used on various types of vehicles, including SUVs and sedans.

Drive comfortably and confidently

When you first hear or read the name, you may notice that it has “comfort” in it. That isn’t just a word that the manufacturer slapped on. It describes a key feature. 

When using the Goodyear Assurance ComfortDrive Tire, you can sit back and enjoy the ride. Because it’s made with ComfortFlex Technology, transitions are smoother and any bumps from the road are absorbed.

Driving without feeling the rough road does make it a more pleasant experience. But the benefits don’t stop there. Its tread pattern decreases any noise you hear.

Not only do you feel comfortable behind the wheel, you can feel confident and in control, as well. This all season tire offers superb handling as you’re going around corners.

Goodyear Assurance ComfortDrive Tire provides support in wet weather

The control you experience with the Goodyear Tire isn’t limited to those sunny days. You can be assured that it will continue during colder months and when wet weather conditions arise. This trait can be accredited to Evolving Traction Grooves and Tredlock Technology.

Plus, there is a lower chance of hydroplaning, thanks to AquaChannel grooves. In addition to helping you avoid sliding on slick roads, the grooves push away as much water as possible.

The Goodyear Assurance ComfortDrive Tire is a tire you can enjoy for quite some time. Backed by a 60,000 mile tread life warranty, it’s able to last as long as four or five years, for the average driver.

Rebate available on select Goodyear Tires

You have a chance to save even more on a set of four Goodyear Assurance ComfortDrive tires. Until March 31, 2022, you can get up to $200 back when you purchase four Goodyear Assurance ComfortDrive tires with the Goodyear credit card.

Feel free to reach out to us, if you have questions or would like to learn additional information about this rebate.

The Goodyear Assurance ComfortDrive Tire is one of many tires our Woodbridge tire shop sells. If you’re looking for a Goodyear Tire, but this one isn’t the right fit for your vehicle, there are plenty of others to choose from. The Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady Tire, Goodyear Assurance All-Season Tire, and Goodyear Eagle Sport All-Season Tire are also solid choices.

One of our staff members would be happy to help you decide which tire would best meet your vehicle’s needs.

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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Toyota cabin air filter, air flow problems

In Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

Things got a bit squirrely at Steve’s Auto Repair this week.

One of our customers brought their Toyota by, because they were hearing a rattling noise. There also wasn’t a lot of air coming through the vents.

Nuts that squirrels put in a Toyota's air cleaner box.

Nuts that squirrels put in a Toyota’s air cleaner box.

Our Woodbridge mechanics looked into the problem and came across an unexpected sight – the air cleaner box was filled with nuts.

Squirrel nests that were built in the cabin air filter box of a Toyota.

Squirrel nests that were built in the cabin air filter box of a Toyota.

Nests had been built in the cabin air filter box, as well. Some squirrels, apparently, decided to make the vehicle their second home. 

How often to change cabin air filter

The fix was a relatively simple – yet time consuming – one. The technician changed the Toyota cabin air filter, a component that purifies air going into the cabin area and blocks out dirt, dust, pollen, and bacteria. Depending on the vehicle and driving conditions, a new cabin air filter should be installed every 10,000 or 20,000 miles. 

As part of our courtesy inspection, we check the cabin air filter. When replacing them, our technicians also spray BG Frigi Fresh, a disinfectant, into the vent system.

To address the problem the Toyota was experiencing, we also called in some backup – the shop vacuum – to remove any nuts that had collected deeper in the car.

How to tell if there are rodents in your vehicle 

Animals setting up shop in a vehicle isn’t an uncommon occurrence, especially during the colder months. Automobiles offer several perks for mice, rodents and other creatures. Not only do they provide protection from predators, they are also warm and some parts even give off attractive smells.

The air conditioning air distribution box, the air box, and the engine are a few areas mice like to burrow into. Their presence, however, can’t go unnoticed for very long. 

Eventually, you may notice signs that you have mice living in your vehicle, such as mouse droppings, upholstery damage, and insulation that has been chewed up. Your car – like the Toyota we mentioned earlier – may also experience some problems. This could be the result of mice chewing wires, or animals building nests or making your mode of transportation their personal pantry.

How do you keep critters out of your car?

You may be wondering how to keep rodents out of car. There are methods you can try. Being watchful for insulation damage and nests is one step.

We also suggest tucking dryer sheets – a smell that mice hate – into the engine compartment, and regularly cleaning out old food, snacks and drinks, which can draw rodents in.

Placing mouse traps around any vehicles that are parked in a garage is another strategy. However, it’s important that you remember to set them aside when you go to move the cars.

You should avoid feeding animals – especially near your car – as well. We had a customer who would feed the squirrels. They decided to chew the wiring on her vehicle, and she needed to have it towed in. The customer continued feeding the squirrel near it, and the same problem happened two more times. Eventually, we had to convince her to stop.

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 All-Season Tire great all year long

In Tires and Wheels by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

There are many tires being produced that can be used throughout the year.

If you are searching for a tire that will be dependable for all types of weather, the Goodyear Assurance All-Season Tire is the way to go.

Is snow or rain expected? What about sunshine? Living up to its name, this Goodyear tire is able to take any of it in stride. 

It’s the type of tire you want on your vehicle when the weather seems a bit uncertain, or a storm comes up unexpectedly.

Drivers who choose this option can safely travel to their destination, no matter what mother nature has in store.

The Goodyear Assurance All-Season Tire isn’t just for a certain make or model. It can go on various kinds of vehicles, including sedans, SUVs, crossovers, and trucks.

Tire tread offers traction

This tire has become the “go to” among lots of motorists for several reasons.

Earlier, we mentioned that it’s reliable, a characteristic that stems from the way the tire is designed.

When you take a close look at the tire tread, you will see biting edges running across it. These small features play the important role of making sure you have traction all year long.

You will be able to confidently maneuver your vehicle whether the sun is out, it’s pouring, or snow is falling. 

Located in the middle are wide grooves, which improve the tire’s grip in wet weather by pushing away water and slush.

So, you can be confident that it will maintain contact with the road and you have a lower chance of hydroplaning.

Goodyear Assurance All-Season gives you control

Traction isn’t the only perk that the tread provides. It’s able to decrease the amount of noise you hear when driving, as well.

The Goodyear Assurance All-Season Tire also has large shoulder blocks that give you better control in dry and wet conditions.

Another benefit is it comes with a long lifespan.

Backed by a 65,000 mile warranty, this tire will be there to weather the elements with you for years to come.

Other Goodyear Tires available

The Goodyear Assurance All-Season Tire is a great option for the different seasons. However, it isn’t the only all season tire that Goodyear Tire produces.

Other reliable tires we recommend include the Goodyear Assurance WeatherReady Tire and the Goodyear Eagle Sport All-Season Tire.

Before setting your eyes on a specific tire, talk to someone who works in the automotive industry or a local tire shop. 

If you don’t take your car to a particular tire store in Woodbridge, feel free to contact us. We sell a wide range of tires, including Goodyear Tire, Kelly Tire and Dunlop Tire. Our staff would be happy to help you choose the right one 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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Timing belt: When it should be changed

In Maintenance by Steves Auto Repair and Tire

In order for a vehicle’s engine to work properly, its timing needs to line up correctly. The timing belt has a part to play in this. Located around engine components, it ensures that the crankshaft and camshaft are running at the same rate.

Because of age and day-to-day use, timing belt replacement is sometimes necessary. 

A new one is normally installed when the vehicle hits a certain mileage. Some manufacturers recommend changing it every 60,000 miles, while others say every 100,000 miles. You should also get a new one if it’s cracked or jumps time.

Whatever the reason, it’s best if you don’t avoid changing the belt. Internal engine damage may occur if it breaks, or if components are banging against one another because it’s out of timing by too much. 

Bad timing belt signs

So, how do you know if you need a new timing belt?

Since timing belts have other parts over them, you won’t be able to just pop up the hood and see if they have become worn or are broken.

But a bad timing belt can result in some problems you may notice. These issues include engine misfires, which may occur if the engine is out of timing.

The car not starting is another indicator. This happens because the timing-related parts aren’t turning and compression isn’t being created by the engine.

You might hear noise the components are creating, as well.

Timing belt replacement cost

There isn’t a set answer for how much getting a new timing belt costs. Depending on the vehicle, the cost to replace a timing belt can be anywhere from $300 to $3,000. It could really run such a wide range, because of the amount of work involved.

The job isn’t only limited to changing the belt. Sometimes the job is as simple as installing a new belt and tensioner. However, the job may also be a little more complicated or involve other components. One of our technicians, for example, recently put a new timing belt on a Volkswagen when he went to replace the turbocharger. 

Many vehicles have two timing belts, multiple tensioners, and idler pulleys, and certain cars have water pumps that are driven off of the timing belt. Those are the type of parts that you will want to replace while you’re there.

We also like to change the camshaft and crankshaft seals at the same time, because if they start leaking after you finish that work then you need to do it all over again. This happened with a Volvo a couple of years ago.

Yes, performing the extra maintenance will cost more because of the additional time and parts needed, but it will be much less time consuming and expensive in the long run.

This is how timing belts can be a little bit of an investment, but it’s well worth 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.