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Ripped CV Boots found during Virginia Safety Inspection

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Written by Erin Flynn

This week, I decided to have the oil changed for my Volkswagen Beetle at HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire.

Since it was already going to be in the shop, I also asked them to do a Virginia Safety Inspection.

While they were conducting the inspection, they discovered that the Constant-Velocity (CV) Boots have ripped.

The CV Boot is part of the CV Axle, and it holds in grease for the CV Joint. The CV Axle powers the wheels from the transmission.

If a vehicle loses the grease, it will cause more metal on metal friction overtime. This creates more heat and shortens the CV Joint’s shelf life.

If properly maintained, CV Boots can last 20 years. However, as soon as you get any type of oil or air mixture, it’s really bad for the rubber and causes the rubber to crack and break. 

I wouldn’t have known about the CV Boots being ripped if they hadn’t performed a Virginia Safety Inspection. Depending on where you go, that sort of problem can be missed during a regular oil change.

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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Tire shop compared to discount tire place

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire in Woodbridge is a Michelin, BFGoodrich and Uniroyal tire dealer.

We do sell other tires, depending on the needs of the customer and what kind of vehicle they have.

As a tire shop, we can repair tires, as well. We use a patch plug from the inside, according to the Tire Industry Association guidelines.

Doing a patch plug from the inside allows you to see if there is other tire damage on the inside that you wouldn’t be able to see if you used a string plug.

We have employees who have completed training on tires.

A tire shop is also able to check your vehicle’s wheel alignment and make any needed adjustments.

You should get an alignment when you’re getting tires. This helps with the longevity of the tires, so they don’t wear out too quickly because of a suspension or steering component  problem.

Some of the discount tire places only put on tires, they don’t perform alignments and they may not necessarily do a patch plug from the inside.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire also recommends road hazard warranty on the tires. Therefore, if you have a problem with your tire — like, if you hit a curb or something damages the tire’s sidewall — it would be covered. At discount tire places, they may not offer that. 

A lot of the time, the manufacturer’s warranty doesn’t cover items that puncture the tire while driving on the road.

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 overheating?

In Vehicle Fluids by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Last month, Jason worked on a 2012 Buick Enclave that had a leaking water pump.

The vehicle’s owner mentioned that it was overheating.

When he noticed that the vehicle didn’t have any coolant in it, Jason filled it up and pressure tested it. The coolant poured out of the water pump area.

Typically, water pumps can last between 1 and 140,000 miles. Their lifespan depends on the vehicle.

Sometimes, the seal can fail. There are also wearable items on pulleys, such as bearings, that can go bad.

A car overheating doesn’t necessarily mean that the water pump is leaking.

Jason also replaced the thermostat on the Buick Enclave. 

Thermostats have a thermal element, which tells it when to open. It’s preset to a certain temperature, and when it reaches it, the valve in the thermostat will open. This allows coolant to travel from the hot engine into the radiator. 

The radiator, then, cools off the coolant and returns it back to the engine 35 percent cooler than how it entered. That’s what prevents a vehicle from overheating.

If a car doesn’t have coolant, the heat is contained in the engine.

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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Brake service: When and why to have it done

In Brakes by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Written by Sydney Jones, General Service Technician for HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

The most crucial safety device in your car is the brakes. 

As Newton’s first law of motion tells us, an object in motion will stay in motion until stopped by an external force such as friction. We can’t rely on friction to stop our cars while going 70 miles per hour on the highway, so we have brakes to stop our wheels from turning. 

It’s not as simple as “hit the pedal, stop the car,” though. Laws of physics and elements of chemistry come into play, as well. 

You hit the brake pedal with your foot, yes. This action then sets off a chain of reactions. When you push down the brake pedal, you tell the master cylinder to apply pressure to the brake fluid running through the brake lines underneath your car. 

You have four brake lines, each one going to one of your four wheels. The pressurized brake fluid causes the calipers to press inward on the brake pads, which provide a much greater level of friction than the road and stop your car much faster.

Overtime, the fluid running through your brake lines will get old and obtain air bubbles, and condensated water is created when liquid is on the brake pads. More liquid in the system causes the brake fluid boiling point to decrease whereas it is normally very high to withstand the heat produced from braking. 

The lower boiling point will allow for metal pieces to begin to deteriorate. Since the brake lines are made of copper, they leave copper residue in the fluid, resulting in lower braking power and eventually the costly replacement of calipers and brake lines.

To combat this you should have your brake fluid serviced every 30,000 miles. The BG Brake Service is done by taking contaminated fluid out of the master cylinder, pressurizing it, and adding DOT 3 or DOT 4 Ultra Drive Flushing Formula Brake Fluid — depending on the needs of your car — into the master cylinder until only new fluid is coming out of the lines at each wheel. 

This removes air and condensated liquid, leaving only your incompressible brake fluid and giving you maximum braking power. 

It is important to get this service done every 30,000 miles in order to be covered under the BG Lifetime Protection Plan, which will protect your Master Cylinder, Brake Lines, and Calipers up to $4,000 should they ever fail. 

You can have brake service performed at any BG Certified shop, such as Hometowne Auto Repair & Tire.

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 change service levels

In Oil Change by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Written by Sydney Jones, General Service Technician for HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Most car owners know that they have to change their oil to keep their car running, but many don’t know the intervals between oil changes and how different types of oil can change that interval. 

Many GDI engine owners are unaware of the BG Oil Change service and the various levels of this service that each offer different things. 

In general, the basic rule is that you get your oil changed every 3,000 miles. However, this is if you use Conventional oil which is perfectly acceptable for most cars. 

Most mechanics will recommend synthetic oil, which costs a little more but improves the way your engine runs and lasts for 5,000 miles, leading to a more cost effective solution in the long run. 

Oil Change Service

If your car is registered under the BG Warranty, however, and you’ve kept up with your oil changes you are offered three different levels of an oil change service, each service providing more care to various parts of the engine.

Depending on where your car stands, you may need one of these services above your generic standard oil change. 

The Basic Oil Change is called “basic,” but is a step above your normal oil change and lasts much longer than 3,000 or 5,000 miles. 

The Premier Oil Service is a better option that also keeps your fuel system clean. 

If you’ve recently bought a new car either from the dealership or from an independent seller, you may want to consider having a Performance Oil Service done to give the car a fresh start. It completely cleans out the system, removes sludge, and allows the engine to run better. You should, then, routinely have this service done every 24,000 miles to keep your engine running at peak performance. 

The Premier Oil Service paired with the Fuel/Air Intake service would give you a fresh, clean engine with optimal running capabilities.

All of these Services can be performed at any BG Certified shop, such as Hometowne Auto and Tire 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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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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Air induction service for GDI engines

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Written by Sydney Jones, General Service Technician for HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

The GDI (Gasoline Direct Inject) fuel and air induction service is specifically catered to GDI engines, which aim to provide greater power in a smaller engine.

It was standard that a 4-cylinder engine had excellent gas mileage but not a whole lot of power. Meanwhile, a V8 engine had a huge amount of power but was a complete gas guzzler, so it wasn’t very cost effective. 

GDI engines are made to combine the best of both worlds by providing the gas mileage of a 4-cylinder engine with the power of a V8 engine. This is done by taking a 4-cylinder engine, adding a turbo, and running it like a diesel, making it the most powerful and efficient car currently available. 

Of course, nothing is completely perfect without proper maintenance and care.

The problem that GDI engines encounter most often is a build up of carbon on injectors. They are constantly subjected to the harsh environment of the combustion chamber, causing them to quickly clog up with carbon and misfire.  

In the advancement of the GDI engine, the injectors were placed where fuel does not get the opportunity to wash over the intake valves to prevent carbon build up.

Air induction service
Intake Manifold and Throttle Body

This is where the GDI Fuel and Air Induction Service comes into play. 

It is recommended to have this service performed every 15,000 miles, though it can be done earlier because carbon can start to build up as early as 3,000 miles. The induction services is done by a BG certified mechanic and they work to clean the areas that carbon has built up. 

The process is as follows:

  • BG 44k is poured into the gas tank as a cleanser that will continue to run through the engine until your next gas fill up.
  • Two 11oz cans of GDI Intake Valve cleaner are poured into the BG VIA — this is the machine that runs the actual cleaning process.
  • The solution is sprayed into the intake with the Air Intake Cleaning tool on the machine.
  • A can of fuel injection and combustion chamber cleaner is then poured into the BG VIA.
  • And the BG VIA is connected to the fuel rail and the fluid is sent into the engine.

Once this service is performed, the customer will notice quite an improvement in gas mileage, power, and a decrease in emissions. This service should be performed regularly in order to keep the GDI engine running smoothly and at peak performance.

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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Toyota Prius tire alignment problems

In Vehicle Alignment by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Are the tires of your Toyota Prius wearing unevenly? Is your car pulling to one side? Does the steering feel sloppy?

These are some signs of a bad tire alignment.

Various issues can be mistaken for a wheel alignment problem.

The steering wheel shuddering when you press the brake pedal is one of them.

Tire alignments should be performed when new tires are placed on the vehicle, and once a year — especially when you commute or are driving in an area that has lots of construction or potholes.

Tire Alignment
Tire Alignment

When you get new tires, you need to get a four-wheel alignment, because if the rear wheels are out, it can cause the vehicle to feel strange going around corners. 

If your Prius has Vehicle Stability Control (VSC), a point VSC calibration should be performed.

There are rear shims available to bring the rear wheels into the correct specifications, but they can only adjust so much. If the specs are out further than what can be done with shims, there could be bent components, such as a strut or spindle.

Another reason to make sure you have a good, four-wheel alignment is you can lose three miles per gallon if the tires are causing more resistance than they should be.

Toe, caster and camber are the main specifications that need to be checked during a wheel alignment.

Depending on where Toyotas come from and how well they’ve been maintained, a lot of rust can build up on the suspension components, especially where adjustments are made. 

The rust can cause components the seize up. This may require some parts to be replaced in order to perform the alignment correctly.

Some replacement parts for the Toyota Prius that are from the factory don’t come with needed adjustments. Aftermarket manufacturers do produce parts that offer them.

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 accepting Toys for Tots donations

In Community Involvement by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Are you looking for a way to help the less fortunate?

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is serving as a drop off location for Toys for Tots.

The annual Toys for Tots program collects new, unwrapped gifts for children in need.

Donations can be brought to the auto shop between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is located at 15698 Jefferson Davis Highway in Woodbridge. 

“We’ll start drop-offs next week and we’ll go ‘til December 14,” Service Writer Heather Skerry said.

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.