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Oil changes: how are we different than other shops

In Oil Change, Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Having your oil changed regularly is one way you can make sure your engine continues working properly.

So what do we different than other shops during an oil change?

In addition to changing the oil and oil filter, we do a courtesy inspection. 

The inspection covers safety items, such as your wiper blades and brakes, and maintenance items — whether something is leaking or if a part is wearing out.

Tires is one thing we check out.

Maybe the tires are at 4/32 inches, and they don’t have to be changed right this minute but we give you a heads up that you’re getting close to the end of the service life.

It’s not just the oil change that we do, it’s looking over your vehicle to make sure we can stay on the road.

Tire rotation is another service that we try to include with oil changes.

A lot of shops charge an extra $20 or $25 to perform a tire rotation.

We are able to include it up to a certain size tire rim.

Our switch to full synthetic oil

When doing an oil change, our automotive technicians use full synthetic oil.

Manufacturers having many different vehicles and various types of engines that require certain oil specifications — regular oil, semi-synthetic oil, or full synthetic oil. 

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire decided to use full synthetic oil in all vehicles rather than carry 30 different types of oil.

The change has allowed us to reduce the price of full synthetic oil for oil changes. 

Synthetic is also better for vehicles that use regular or semi-synthetic oil. It has better properties that help their engines last longer.

We still use the weight that manufacturers recommend for each vehicle.

If you own a car that requires Mobil 1 oil, such as a BMW or a Mercedes, we do offer it as a full synthetic option.  

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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How does an auto repair shop fit in the Prince William Chamber?

In Community Involvement by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Written by ST Billingsley, Owner of HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

I was cleaning out the crap in my office the other day when I came across a couple of items.

One of them was a picture of HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire’s ribbon cutting ceremony that was held with the Prince William Chamber of Commerce on November 1, 2014. 

The other was the ribbon that was signed by those who attended.

When an event is going on like that, you don’t necessarily remember those who come out to support you, such as Bennett Whitlock from Whitlock Wealth Management.

Over the years, you get to build relationships with people who participate in the chamber. 

It reminded me about what how being members of the chamber has benefited HomeTowne.

The chamber offers networking opportunities through its various meetings, Business After Hours, and events. 

This has allowed HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire to connect with other local businesses, and stay up-to-date on legislation and economic development.

HomeTowne has also been able to share its own news, such as being named “Best Tire Store” in InsideNOVA’s 2018 Best of Prince William Awards and HomeTowne’s decision to cover its employees’ health care, with other members.

Additionally, the chamber gives a voice to the business community when local officials are considering legislation that would impact it.

Over the years, due to business constraints, there have been times where I have not been very active with the chamber or very active with the chamber. 

You have to figure out what works best for you, but don’t expect things to just happen if you sign up to be a chamber member. You have to participate and good things happen to those who do.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

Prince William Chamber of Commerce

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Michelin tires available for different vehicles

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

An important part of maintaining your vehicle is having its tires checked and replaced when needed.

The make and model of your vehicle, how its used, and the number of miles you drive each day are some things you should keep in mind when buying new ones.

These are a few Michelin tires that are available:

  • Michelin Defender Tires LTX: The Michelin Defender Tires LTX offers a better tread life for SUVs and trucks. The tire can help you save up to 65 gallons in gas during its lifespan. Its miles-based warranty is up to 70,000 to 80,000 miles. They’re great highway tires and excellent for larger vehicles, such as SUVs. More information on Michelin Defender Tires LTX is available on the Michelin website.
  • Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3: The Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 is a good, all-season tire that’s typically used on Mercedes and BMW’s. It has a 45,000- to 55,000-mile warranty. To learn more about the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3, visit the Michelin website
  • Michelin Primacy MXM4: The Michelin Primacy MXM4 can be used in all types of weather conditions and is used for luxury vehicles, including Mercedes and BMWs. If offers good grip on dry and wet surfaces and has treadlife of up to 55,000 miles. Additional details about the The Michelin Primacy MXM4 can be found on the Michelin website.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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How you can maintain your Subaru

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Subaru vehicles last a long time. 

But to keep them going, you do need to maintain them.

Some of the easiest things you can for Subaru maintenance are to change your oil and check the air filter to see if it needs to be replaced.

You can pull out the air filter to see if it has a lot of dirt and leaves in it. Sometimes, if the particles are big enough, you can knock it on the ground to remove them. If it still looks good enough, you can wait until your next oil change.

Another reason that the air filter needs to be checked and changed is because if the vehicle has a turbo. You don’t want dirt ruining the impeller. 

Even if your vehicle doesn’t have a turbo, you do want to have a good air filter to improve your gas mileage.

If you live in a place where there is heavy traffic and dusty conditions, it can actually reduce the amount of time between changing your air filter.

Another maintenance item is to change the fluids. An example of this would be to change the drivetrain fluids, such as the transmission and rear differential, the engine coolant, brake fluid and power steering fluid.

Depending on driving conditions, those may need to be done anywhere from 15,000 to 16,000 miles.

Keeping your tires rotated and checking the brakes can also improve your vehicle’s lifespan.

When choosing an auto repair shop to maintain your Subaru, such as oil changes, filters and fluids, don’t focus just on the price. Consider the best air filter parts, service and warranty when making your decision.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics. 

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When and how to check your vehicle’s tire pressure

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

It’s important to stay safe when behind the wheel.

Checking your tire pressure is one way you can protect yourself. It can also prevent your vehicle’s tires from wearing out too quickly.

Having your own tire pressure gauge is a good idea. Not every gas station pump is calibrated, and they can’t be trusted all the time.

Here is more information you should know about tire pressure:

When should I check my tire pressure?

You should check your air pressure daily. Most newer vehicles are equipped with tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS), which will give you a signal on your dashboard when your tire pressure is low.

If your vehicle isn’t equipped with this, there are some indicators you can look out for. These include a tire’s sidewalls being wider at the bottom and poor handling.

Under Inflated tires will promote outer tire edge wear. Overinflated tires are just as dangerous, as they can wear out the center of a tire.

What are the steps to check my tire pressure?

Verifying the correct pressure is the first step in checking your tire pressure. You can find it on the door jam on the driver’s side of the vehicle or on the sidewall of the tire.

The next step is removing the valve stem cap and using a tire pressure gauge to measure the pressure. A basic tire gauge will have a stem that pops out and gives you a reading. You may also use a digital gauge, which will give you a digital number.  

It’s important to double check the tire pressure to make sure you don’t have a false reading.  

After checking your tire pressure, make sure to replace the valve stem cap. This can prevent corrosion of the valve stem and TPMS sensor, and help you avoid a costly repair.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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Why is my car making that noise?

In Suspension, Tires & Wheels, Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

There are many reasons why your car can make noise. If you’re married, most of them come from the passenger seat. If you have kids, most of the noise is coming from the back seat.

All kidding aside, noises can come from anywhere, such as your suspension and tires. They may also occur as engine components wear out, belts loosen, and your vehicle experiences normal wear and tear.

The hardest part sometimes is trying to describe the noises to your auto repair shop. So, when something is irritating you, pay attention to when and where the noises are happening.

We’ve had instances when the car only made noises when it was below 45 degrees and they were turning left. Another common noise description is when a driver is in a parking lot and turning the wheel.

Information about how fast you’re going, how far you’re turning the wheel, and whether you’re pressing the gas pedal can help us find your problem faster.

The other thing to consider when you’re bringing your vehicle into the shop is to schedule time to ride with the automotive technician. That way they can ride with you and you can make the exact condition that produces the noise — which saves time and money when repairing your car.

So, if you’re the only one in your car and you still hear noises, and you’re tired of turning the radio up to tune them out (Get it? Radio — tune … ) then try to be descriptive as you can and take a ride with your mechanic.

Check out this fun video we created.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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Are you going on vacation?

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Are you going on vacation this year?

Here are a few vehicle maintenance checks you should make before heading down the highway.

Tire tread

You want to make sure that the tire tread is thick enough. The tires are the only things that contact the road, which has everything to do with how well you go and stop. If it’s too low, it could cause issues with stopping, and you might skid across the road when it rains.

Tire pressure

It may cause damage to the overall tire if the tire pressure is too low. If you continue to drive on a tire that’s too low, you can damage the inside of the tire — and then a perfectly good tire has to be replaced. It can also give you lower fuel economy.

Windshield wiper blades

Windshield wiper blades are a wearable component and, as they wear down, they won’t clear as well as they should. If a windshield wiper is torn, it’s not clearing at all. If that blade comes off, you could scrape your windshield. Most of the time, people don’t check windshield wiper blades before they’re on the road.

Windshield washer fluid

Windshield washer fluid is going to help you clear your windshield if it’s dirty. Fortunately, if you keep a bottle of it in your vehicle, it’s the simplest task to do.

Oil level

It’s important to make sure that your oil level isn’t too low. With the newer types of enginers, the oil pressure has a lot to do with engine performance. If it’s too low, you can get lower fuel economy, rough running and other engine problems. Watch for warning lights and, if they come on, stop your engine immediately to prevent further engine damage.

Antifreeze level

The antifreeze is what circulates through the radiator and the engine, keeping it cool. It can prevent your engine from overheating.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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BFGoodrich KO2 tire can be used for off-roading vehicles

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

If you drive an off-roading vehicle and are looking for a new set of wheels, you may want to consider the BFGoodrich KO2 tire.

The BFGoodrich KO2 tire offers a longer treadlife and aggressive all-terrain traction, which allows you to travel confidently.

Its notched shoulder allows motorists to maneuver through soft soil as well as deep snow.

Sharp rocks are less likely to puncture the tire because of its tougher sidewalls.

“What I have found best about the KO2 Tire is when I’m not paying attention while driving down Dale Boulevard,” HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire Owner ST Billingsley said. “You can run over the curb while going 45 miles per hour and maintain control coming back on the road without experiencing any damage to the side wall.”

Having an alignment check performed is recommended when new tires are placed on a vehicle.

Placing road hazards on tires is a good idea, especially in construction areas.

You’re more likely to pick up a nail that may become lodged in a spot that can’t be repaired.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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The importance of wheel alignments

In Vehicle Alignment by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

You can get the most out of your vehicle’s tires through one check.

Wheel alignments, which should be conducted once a year, can prevent premature wear.

If you notice that the steering wheel isn’t centered or that it’s pulling to one sign, you may need an alignment.

Several conditions can cause tires to get out of alignment, including potholes, curbs and suspension wear.

Most cars nowadays require a four-wheel alignment. Even though most pickup trucks require a two-wheel alignment, it’s a good idea to make sure all the wheels are checked. This will ensure that something isn’t bent.

A qualified technician will be able to see if the castor, camber and toe are within specifications. They would also be able to evaluate if you need to replace any parts, such as ball joints, lower control arms, tie rod ends, and struts.

Read about what happens during an alignment.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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When a disc brake caliper seizes up

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

A disc brake caliper seizing up is one problem that may occur in a brake system.

This issue is caused by various factors, including dirt, lack of maintenance and rust.

Rust that builds up over time can prevent the brake caliper piston from resending back into the disc brake caliper.

It will keep holding constant pressure on the brake pad that pushes against the disc brake rotor and will produce heat.

In extreme circumstances, it can actually boil the brake fluid and cause a very low brake pedal. This is one of the reasons why you want to change the brake fluid when automotive technicians are working on brakes.

When an automotive technician is performing a brake check, they can determine whether you need to replace the brake caliper. You don’t need to replace them every time, but may want to consider replacing them if the vehicle has a lot of age or miles on it.

If you’re having a problem with one disc brake caliper, you can change that one. However, it’s a good idea to replace both on the front or the rear, because if one goes bad — even though the other one is functioning — it’s not a guarantee that it won’t go bad in the near future.

Another thing that the automotive technician will do is lubricate the metal contact points of the disc brake caliper and pads.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

ford expedition rear brake suspension

ford expedition front wheel discolored from brake caliper siezed