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Why you shouldn’t use cheap brakes

In Brakes by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

The quality of the parts used on a vehicle can play a large role in how it runs.

Brakes are no exception.

We don’t recommend installing cheap brakes, which promote noise, vibrations, and road symptoms — such as rapid wear.

Another reason why you don’t want to use cheap brake pads and rotors is because the Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) is programmed to have a certain amount of braking force and the computers know when the brakes are cold or hot. 

If you replace them with inferior parts, the control systems can be affected in an emergency situation. They may not grab as hard or they could have too much of a fade, impacting the safety of those in the car.

Brakes are one of the parts checked during the Virginia Safety Inspection.

The minimum Virginia State Safety recommendations is no less than 2/32 of an inch. 

Depending on the make and model of the vehicle and your driving conditions, it’s a good idea to start changing your brakes around 3/32 of an inch to 4/32 of an inch. For some vehicles, the manufacturer’s recommendation could be higher.

Brake rotors should be changed with a brake job because most of the rotors on today’s vehicles wear down. Rotors need to be able to dissipate heat so you don’t get a pulsation or vibration type feeling in the steering wheel and brake pedal. That pulsation symptom can impact the ADAS system. 

Some indications you may need a brake job are grinding noises and brake pedal pulsation. You may also notice a low pedal or a high end squeak noises, which could be the pad low indicator rubbing on the brake rotor.

Keep in mind, if it has rained or been humid recently, you may notice squeaking when you first start braking early in the morning. If it goes away after you’ve pressed on the brake a couple times, it’s most likely a little bit of rust built up due to the humidity or the brake rotors being wet. 

At HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire, part of our inspection process during our oil change is to do a visual inspection of the brakes to see if they’re getting low or if we notice any other problems. Many of the vehicles today have electronically controlled components, such as steering and brake callipers, that can hide some of the normal symptoms you would notice in older cars.

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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Michelin tires sold at HomeTowne Auto Repair

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

When it comes to tires, Michelin is top of line.

The Defender Tire has become a favorite among drivers. It’s one of the Michelin tires we sell.

Recently, more tire sizes have become available. Not only is it offered for SUVs and trucks, it can also be used by passenger vehicles and smaller cars.

Michelin has begun designing the Defender Tire with a new compound that excels in wet weather traction, which helps prevent hydroplaning. It also offers traction in dry weather conditions.

This quiet tire also has a warranty that can last up to 80,000 or 90,000 miles, as long it receives regular maintenance, such as tire rotations. The investment you put in is worth it.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire offers a road hazard warranty that’s good for three years or until the tire tread measures at 3/32 of an inch, which is the lowest you can go to safely repair a tire.

The road hazard warranty is good nationwide, so if you’re traveling you don’t have to wait to get in touch with us to access it. 

This month, if you buy four tires and a wheel alignment, you can get the road hazard at no cost. Road hazard normally amounts to 10 percent of the tire’s cost.

Other Michelin tires and those produced by other manufacturers can be purchased at HomeTowne Auto Repair.

We are a tire shop that can repair tires, depending on the injury and where it’s located.

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 are oil changes important?

In Oil Change by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Regular checkups are important to one’s health. The same proves true for vehicles.

Between every 3,000 and 5,000 miles, it’s a good idea to have the oil changed. 

This is one way you can maintain your car and its engine.

When changing the oil, our technicians remove the drain plug, which releases oil from the engine.

After we catch the oil, we replace the drain plug and change the oil filter. The oil filter is located on the top or bottom of the engine, depending on the vehicle’s design.

Then, the technicians put the correct viscosity and amount of oil in the car, place a reminder sticker on the windshield, and reset the reminder on the dashboard. 

We use full synthetic oil.

Oil changes
Oil change

When performing an oil change, our technicians also do a courtesy inspection where they check various components, including the lights, tires and brakes.

Read more about the courtesy inspection and our switch to synthetic oil.

Why should I get an oil change?

Oil changes help ensure that an engine is functioning properly, and avoiding them can lead to damage down the road.

For example, if your car takes five quarts of oil and you’re running it on three and a half or four quarts, it may run and sound fine. However, you’re destroying the engine, because it’s not reaching every part it’s supposed to. 

You may not experience a problem until 30,000 or 40,000 miles later when metal particles are found in the oil. By this point, parts have started to break down.

Earlier this year, one of our technicians discovered metal shavings when doing an oil change on a 2014 Jeep Cherokee SRT8. The engine on the Jeep was replaced soon afterwards.

Many new, fuel-efficient cars have high compression, which means your car may be burning oil without you knowing it.

They also have oil lubricated turbos that can be destroyed overtime. 

Another reason it’s extremely important to change your oil is that the engines have much tighter tolerances. A lot of engines have variable valve timing, and if sludge starts to build up that can cause problems with the oil solenoids that control the camshafts and can actually plug return galleries from the top of the engine so the oil can’t get back down to the oil pan as quickly.

Having your oil changed early isn’t a bad idea. We also suggest checking your oil every other time you fill your gas tank, because you can’t tell when you’re driving your car if it’s low.

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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Car backup sensor repairs offered at auto shop in Woodbridge, Virginia

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

One malfunctioning sensor can throw a car’s system off.

Jason replaced a backup sensor on a 2011 Cadillac CTS. There was a code that the rear object detection system wasn’t working properly.

When this system is disabled, the vehicle isn’t able to identify an object a driver can’t see.

This affects parallel parking and how close the car is to another car, a tree, or a curb.

The rear object detection system is one component we can address through our Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS) system.

Driver assist, which can be found in many cars, also includes emergency braking, traffic sign recognition and surround view.

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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New subframe installed on Dodge Charger

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

A Dodge Charger came into HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire for a tire alignment earlier this month. 

Before performing an alignment, our technicians check the vehicle’s suspension.

During his inspection, Ray noticed clay on the lower ball joints on the left, front side and recommended a new lower control arm and a ball joint.

When installing the lower control arm, he found the subframe was bent from some sort of impact.

Because the subframe holds the engine, Ray needed to use a special hoist to hold the engine while he put in the new subframe.

This situation is a good example of why you shouldn’t hide or leave out information when talking to a technician or service adviser.

You can save time and money by sharing as much information as possible.

Here are some other reasons why you shouldn’t lie to your mechanic.

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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Wheel alignments can help your tires last longer

In Vehicle Alignment by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Potholes aren’t a rare sight in Northern Virginia, where a lot of road work and construction can be seen.

Because potholes can knock the wheels of your vehicle out of alignment, it’s a good idea to get the tire alignment checked once a year.

An alignment can also be impacted by curbs and suspension wear.

We also recommend having wheel alignments performed when you’re buying new tires.

Tires are a large investment in a vehicle and you want to make sure they last as long as possible. 

A crooked steering wheel, uneven tire wear, and a car pulling to one side are signs of bad wheel alignments.

If you put off an alignment, it can lead to tire wear problems.

Here are some issues that can be mistaken for a wheel alignment problem.

Our technicians use computer aided alignment with up to date specifications to make sure your tires are aligned properly. 

With today’s vehicles being technically advanced, it’s not just a matter of going under the car with the wrench and adjusting the toe, or the caster, or the camber. It’s also about making sure the steering wheel angle sensors are reset and — in some cases — ensuring the Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS) are calibrated.

We do have an alignment system for the ADAS systems in a vehicle.

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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Replacing tires on a BMW

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

A BMW I8 recently received a couple of new tires.

The car was brought to HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire after its Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) light turned on. 

The tread depth of the BMW’s rear tires was below 2/32 of an inch, which is the minimum specification for the Virginia Safety Inspection.

A manufacturer might suggest that you get new tires when the tread depth reaches 3/32 of an inch to 5/32 of an inch.

If you drive a BMW and are in need of tire repair services, we may be able to repair them, depending on the injury and its location.

Learn about when a tire is repairable.

HomeTowne Auto Repair doesn’t just repair tires. We also sell tires, including Michelin, BFGoodrich and Uniroyal.

Before replacing tires on a vehicle, our technicians make sure that they have the correct tires and that they don’t have any punctures. 

Then, they use a tire machine to separate the tire from the rim.

Tire paste is used to prevent a tire from tearing as it goes on or comes off the rim.

After that, our technicians balance the tires, place them on the vehicle, and twerk them to the correct specification.

When getting new tires, it’s a good idea to have a wheel alignment performed. We also suggest road hazard warranty for the tires.

Read about how we, as a tire shop, differ from a discount tire place.

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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BG Frigi Fresh kills bacteria, viruses

In Cabin Air Filter by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Do you want to clear the air inside your vehicle?

BG Frigi Fresh, a disinfectant and air freshener, is one product HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire uses to do that.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) registered product removes odors and kills harmful bacteria, molds and viruses.

We spray BG Frigi Fresh into the air intake system when replacing the cabin air filter.

It goes through the vent system, including the heater core and evaporator.

The cabin air filter blocks some dirt, dust and bacteria from coming into the front of your vehicle.

Most cars use one filter, but some higher engineered vehicles — including Mercedes and BMWs — have two.

They should be changed at least once a year, but — depending on the travel conditions and how bad the pollen is — it could require additional changes.

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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Does my car need a new rear differential?

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

The rear differential on a Ford Escape has been replaced. 

A bearing noise could be heard. After performing a diagnostic test, Jason determined that the part needed to be replaced.

Located between the rear wheels, the rear differential takes the rotational energy created by the drive shaft and splits it equally to the wheels.

Overall, they’re pretty durable. However, they can go bad overtime, due to normal wear and tear or if you regularly take the vehicle off-roading.

If they wear out and you don’t address the issue, the wheels can lock up. 

You may need a new rear differential if you hear noises, there’s looseness, or your car has been damaged in an accident.

One of the ways you can prolong the life of your differential is to replace the differential fluid every 30,000 miles. We suggest using BG Full Synthetic Differential Fluid. Some other vehicles — or depending on use — may have a shorter service time.

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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HomeTowne Auto Repair supports local non-profits

In Community Involvement by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Prince William County is made up of many organizations that do good things in the community.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is a supporter of local non-profits, including the Prince William Humane Society (PWHS) and The Arc of Greater Prince William.

“We live and work in the community and want to give back to worthwhile causes,” HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire Owner ST Billingsley said.

We offer free oil change services as well as free Virginia Safety Inspections and emissions tests to The Arc of Greater Prince William.

The Arc of Greater Prince William is a non-profit that serves individuals with developmental disabilities.

Last year, HomeTowne Auto Repair helped the humane society acquire its new Paw Bus and get it road worthy. 

PWHS, an animal welfare organization that finds homes for adoptable pets, is using its new to transport pets to shelters, events and vet appointments.

HomeTowne shares information and flyers from K9s Serving Vets with customers, as well.

K9s Serving Vets is a non-profit that helps Veterans who are seeking a service dog.

We also support our community by helping fund What’s Up Prince William (WUPW), a news site that covers non-profits, community issues, and good things that people and organizations are doing in Prince William County.

In 2019, WUPW was able to do more than $66,000 of in-kind services to 20 non-profits, at no cost to the non-profits.

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.