Virginia state inspection sticker getting a new location on Jan. 1

In Car Safety, News by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Starting on January 1, things are going to change a bit with your Virginia State Safety Inspection sticker.

At the beginning of 2018, inspection stickers will no longer be placed in the bottom center of your windshield. Now they’ll be located on the bottom left-hand corner.

“The reason they’re doing this is because new cars these days have a crash avoidance system that utilizes the center of the windshield,” said HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire General Manager Rich Campbell.

While you won’t be required to move or remove the existing sticker to be in compliance until your normal state inspection due date, if your windshield is tinted, you may need to have that addressed sooner rather than later.Virginia State Inspection Sticker

“The important thing is to let your inspection station know in January, if you have prescription window tint – communicate with your inspection station, your inspector, as well as maybe the company that does your window tinting for you, because the center of the windshield is no long going to be utilized by the state inspection,” said Campbell.

If you’re in the military service, we can also assist with moving military stickers to another appropriate location on your windshield, so they’re not blocked by the safety inspection sticker.

Learn more about the Virginia State Safety Inspection program.

 

Why Virginia state inspections are important for all vehicles

In Car Safety, Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

When people think about state inspections, they often only think about the hassle of bringing their vehicle in the shop, and the potential repair order they’ll get when certain parts of their vehicle don’t pass inspection.

And while for people with work, families, and a busy schedule it may be difficult, there are many reasons why having the state inspections for all vehicles in Virginia is important.

The state inspection program in Virginia is managed by the Virginia State Police.

“This program is an integral part of highway safety and a program the Virginia State Police is proud to provide to the citizens of the Commonwealth,” said Virginia State Police Captain Ron Maxey.

According to Maxey, there are more than 4,500 licensed inspection stations in Virginia that employ around 15,000 licensed state inspectors.

One of the reasons that the state inspection program is so crucial is that it can prevent accidents that can hurt yourself, loved ones, and other drivers on the road.

“As a father and as a husband, I feel that all cars that are on the roads should be safe. Not only safe for the occupants that are inside the vehicles, but for the vehicles that surround them, for pedestrians walking down the street, even for bicyclists,” said Woodbridge resident Joseph George.

Mike Fortune, the owner of Cloverleaf Tire & Auto, said that state inspections each year is often times the first time a driver becomes aware of an issue with their vehicle, so it provides an opportunity for repairs and changes to be made to the vehicle before they become more costly or you end up on the side of the road.

“Imagine driving down the road next to a car that has less than 2/32nds, with almost bald tire and the danger that is, especially in rainy weather or slick conditions,” said Fortune.

Make sure your vehicle is ready for the winter – what to look for

In Car Safety, Tires & Wheels, Vehicle Fluids, Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

The colder months are approaching in Virginia, and with that cold comes snow, ice, and changing road conditions.

As a driver in the Northern Virginia area, it’s always a good idea to keep your eye on the condition of your vehicle. Especially as a driver in the Washington, D.C. area you need to be following the severe service intervals per the owner’s manual for your vehicle, in order to ensure that your car is ready year round. This is a great basic service interval to go off of, because the wear and tear on the cars from traffic and congestion. And when the seasons change, it is very important that you get some key things looked at on your vehicle, to make sure you’ll make it through the winter safely.

Here’s what we recommend that you have inspected at a qualified automotive shop, before the winter weather really sets in.

check your tire pressure monthly as the tempurature drops

Check your tire pressure monthly, as the temperature drops

Your tires.

Your vehicle’s tires need to be in good shape in the winter, as they’re what help you to brake quickly and steer through icy road conditions. If you typically use a summer tire for your vehicle in the warmer months, then it’s time to change over to an all season or winter tire, depending on your vehicle and driving needs.

In addition to potentially switching the set of tires on your vehicle, you need to also make sure that the tires are being checked for air pressure and tread depth. Your tires need to be properly inflated in order to work effectively – and prevent you from ending up on the side of the road with a flat tire. The tread depth is equally important, as worn down tires with minimal to no tread make it more difficult to brake and handle the vehicle safety in adverse weather conditions.

Your lights.

Especially with it getting dark earlier in the day, it is important that all of your vehicle’s lights are working properly, in order to ensure full visibility. You can walk around your vehicle with the lights on to check that no bulbs are blown out – grab a friend to help if need be. We can also assist you with checking the bulbs and replacing them.

Your vehicle’s battery.

get your battery checked and tested before winter sets in

Get your battery checked and tested before the winter

When it gets colder, a lot of drivers find that they have issues with their car’s battery – often in cases where you need it the most. At our shop we’re able to hook up our battery analyzer to your vehicle to test that the battery is in good condition, and that it can still produce the electrical load that your vehicle requires for starting.

We can also help to make sure that the cells on the battery are good, which can help you to avoid electrical problems with your car.

The vehicle’s cooling system.

Your vehicle’s cooling system makes sure that parts of your vehicle don’t freeze up, and that everything works smoothly. So when the winter comes, you need to make sure your cooling system has been services. The first thing you’ll want to have done is to have a technician check the antifreeze in your car. Is it the correct level? Does the fluid look dirty? What is the alkaline level? These are all things that need to be checked to make sure your cooling system is working properly.

Changing out the fluids is also an important part of servicing your cooling system before the winter season. The coolant fluid needs to have a proper mixture in order for it to work properly and keep your vehicle from freezing up. We can replace those fluids, and drivers should have their coolant inspected and changed out around every 60,000 miles as a standard.

check your cars heater and defrost controls before winter sets in

Check your car’s heater and defrost controls before winter sets in

Your heater and defroster functions on the vehicle.

While this may sound simple, going through each of the modes on your cars temperature controls with heating, air conditioning, and defrosting functions, is important to ensure that they’re working. Especially with the defrost function, you need to test this to make sure air is fully blowing air on the windshield.

Your wiper blades.

In the winter your wiper blades can take a serious beating, especially when you’re dealing with rain, ice, and snowfall. Before winter hits, consider changing out your wiper blades, and have them inspected to see if they’re still in good shape. You should be looking for small cracks or if the rubber is hard – good signs that they need to be swapped out. Also, if they haven’t been changed in one year, it is most likely time to invest in a replacement.

Your vehicle’s transmission.

replacing your dirty air filter can save money on gas

Replacing your dirty air filter can save money on gas

Regardless of what season it is, it is very important for drivers to take care of their vehicle’s transmission. You want to have the transmission inspected to make sure that the levels are correct and that there are no signs of burning – which is the wear from the friction material in the car – that could cause issues for your vehicle later.

Also, make sure you’ve got a snow brush and ice scraper, so that you’re prepared when the snow and ice does come.

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HomeTowne celebrates National Tire Safety Week, May 29 – June 4

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

On May 29 through June 4, HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire will be celebrating National Tire Safety Week.

National Tire Safety Week is an excellent chance for you to have your tires inspected to make sure that they’re keeping you safe out on the road, or to get your tires repaired or replaced.

“It’s a reminder to make sure you’ve got your air pressure checked. You also want to make sure that any time you have an oil change that they look for anything in the tires – nails, screws – and make sure they’re properly repaired with a plug patch,” said HomeTowne General Manager Rich Campbell.

According to the Rubber Manufacturers Association, to make sure that your tires are safe you need to check the pressure, alignment, rotation, and tread.

At our shop we offer free flat repair to all of our customers – regardless of if you bought your tires with us.

We also fill tires with nitrogen air at no charge, which is better not only for your tires, but the environment as well.