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Why is my car air conditioning not working?

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

There are many reasons why a car air conditioning isn’t working correctly.

They can range from a leak to needing a new part.

A car being low on Freon, also known as refrigerant, is an indicator that there’s a leak.

Leaks can occur on rubber lines or fittings, because they undergo extreme temperature changes.

The rubber gaskets, which expand and contract, can become brittle overtime.

You should only need to recharge your car A/C if there’s a leak.

HomeTowne Auto Repair is able to recharge a car air conditioning, and we do offer air conditioning repair.

One part that may need to be replaced is the air conditioning condenser.

We installed a new one on a 2005 Acura after a customer noticed the air conditioning wasn’t as cool.

car air conditioning
Air conditioning condenser

When you turn on the air conditioning, Freon travels — as a gas — from the air conditioning compressor to the air conditioning condenser.

The air conditioning fan blows air over the condenser, cooling the Freon and causing it to turn into a liquid.

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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My experience with my car’s starter going bad

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Written by Erin Flynn

A couple of months ago, I stopped by a gas station while I was on my way to work. When I restarted my Volkswagen Beetle, the engine didn’t turn over. 

(Ironically, this was the same gas station I was at when my check engine light started flashing in November.)

I tried a few more times. It wouldn’t start, and all I heard was silence and — several seconds later — a “click … click … click.”

All of the dashboard lights did come on.

starter
Dashboard Lights

Since my battery had been replaced within the past few years, and I hadn’t left any lights on or electronics plugged in, I ruled out the battery. I called HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire and spoke with them about the issue.

The General Manager offered to drive down to the gas station, which is in Fredericksburg, and help. A friend of mine who lives closer came by and jumped my car.

After she arrived, we attempted to jump start my car multiple times and were unsuccessful. 

I spoke to the General Manager again who gave some suggestions. He asked me to try jump starting my car again. The first attempt — nothing. The second time — nothing. The third — my car came back to life.

starter
Jump Starting Car

I brought my car by HomeTowne Auto Repair and learned that I needed a new starter, which is responsible for starting the engine.

The starter has a gear — called a bindix — that starts the flywheel by shooting out and spinning quickly.

A clicking sound is one of the signs that it’s going bad.

Sometimes, a starter will stop working without showing any symptoms.

If you’re in the same boat I was in, your best bet is to keep trying to jump start your car and check the battery. 

If you turn it over three or four times, your starter may have a flat spot and get started one time. After that, it shouldn’t be trusted.

If it still won’t start after you’ve tried jumping it, you will probably need to have it towed to a 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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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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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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Signs that your gas tank is leaking

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Do you smell gas?

You could had a fuel leak.

That is the case of 1990 GMC Sierra, which was brought into HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire.

The owners of the vehicle mentioned that they can smell fuel and see fuel when adding it.

When Jason started working on the GMC Sierra, he noticed the two seams of the gas tank are leaking. It will need a new gas tank.

If you smell fresh, raw fuel away from the gas station hours or days after you fill up your tank, then you probably have a fuel leak.

In the 1980’s, when cars were carbureted, it was normal to smell fuel when walking by the hood of a vehicle. Nowadays, everything is electronically controlled and the gas needs to be contained within the evaporative (EVAP) system at all times. 

A vehicle needing a new gas tank is rare.

Today, tanks are made up of plastics and are resilient. They take impact very well and don’t typically rust or deteriorate.

Some tanks, however, are made with plastic and have a metal ring where the pump sits. The rings do corrode, which causes gas leaks and the releasing of vapors.

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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Is your vehicle’s sunroof clogged?

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Over time, the sunroof of a vehicle can become clogged.

Charles from HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire faced this issue when he was working on a 2012 Toyota RAV4 last month.

The vehicle had come in because of a dead battery. 

As he was looking into the problem, he noticed that the check engine light and oil pressure light stayed on, even when the key wasn’t in the ignition.

Sunroof
Check engine light and oil pressure light

The floor on the passenger side was also saturated with water.

Many of the connectors were soaked and the sunroof was open.

Sunroof
Soaked floor

Cars with sunroofs have a tube that runs down the vehicle. 

If the sunroof is blocked with leaves or the bottom of the tube becomes clogged, it won’t drain properly. Instead, any water will overflow into the vehicle.

Charles cleared the hoses and, after closing the sunroof, ran water over it to make sure there weren’t any leaks in the tube.

Leaks can be the result of a poor windshield installation. Door seals can leak, as well.

As fall comes to an end and winter approaches, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for this problem and make sure your drains are clear.

You can do this by checking the sunroof for any leaves or buildup. 

To check for any clogs in the tube, pour a bottle of water over the closed sunroof and look for any water that’s come out the bottom of the car. If you don’t see any water, you could have a clog.

If you suspect that there’s a clog in the tube, you should bring it into an auto repair shop to have it addressed. 

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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Check engine light started flashing

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Written by Erin Flynn

My work week had an unexpected start.

I had filled up the gas tank for Volkswagen Beetle and was leaving the parking lot when my vehicle began to shudder. 

It stopped and then started shuddering again a few minutes later. Then, the check engine light began to flash and eventually became solid.

Check Engine Light
Check Engine Light

Thankfully, I made it to HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire safely. When checking my car, the automotive technicians found out that it needed a new ignition coil. 

The technicians used to a scan tool and noticed there was a misfire, which indicates that a spark plug or ignition coil has gone bad.

After the misfire occurred on cylinder 3, they swapped out one of the ignition coils with another one and saw the misfire followed to cylinder 2.

If there had been an issue with the spark plug, the second misfire would have happened on cylinder 3.

Ignition Coil

Ignition coils, which can be found in most makes and models, command a spark plug to spark. 

Poor connection and oil intrusion can cause them to fail. They can also go bad over time. 

If your vehicle starts shuddering or your check engine light comes on, you should bring it in as soon as possible.

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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Oil leaks in Toyota Tundra’s and Sequoia’s

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Oil leaks are a common problem with some Toyota Tundra’s and Sequoia’s.

HomeTowne Auto Repair and Tire has certified technicians who can help solve them.

This week, HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire Automotive Technician Ray addressed an oil leak by replacing a camshaft cover seal. 

The seal was located between the camshaft housing and head of the Toyota V8 engine.

To get to the seal, he needed to remove the valve covers, front cover, timing chain, and camshafts.

Drivers can have their vehicles checked during oil changes to make sure there aren’t any issues.

Parking on a clean surface will allow them to see if a puddle is forming. 

Typically, engine oil is black, brown or yellow. These are a few other reasons why a vehicle may be leaking.

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 animals living in your car?

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Are animals making themselves at home in your vehicle?

As the cooler temperatures begin to creep in, it’s a good idea to keep an eye out for various creatures that seek shelter in or near it.

“I’ve removed anything from mice, rats, squirrels, and their nests,” HomeTowne Auto Repair and Tire Owner ST Billingsley said. “I’ve removed cats, snakes, and even a chinchilla.” 

Many critters are drawn to your car’s warmth.

The normal operating temperature of engines are 220 degrees, and they stay warm for hours after the vehicle is turned off. 

Others view it as protection from predators.

An owl can see a frog through a leaf, but can’t see it through metal.

The sweet smell of coolant can also attract animals.

So, it’s important to pay attention, especially right now. 

You should check your oil once a week. That’s a perfect time to check to make sure nests aren’t being formed and installation isn’t getting chewed up.

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.