View Post

BG MOA provides additional protection to engine

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

Staying on top of your car’s oil changes can prevent expensive repairs in the future.

Recommended every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, this service keeps your engine working right.

You can read more about oil changes and why they are important by checking out one of our previous articles.

There is a way to protect the engine even further – BG MOA

About BG MOA

BG MOA prevents sludge build up and reduces engine wear. 

This oil additive also helps your oil protect the engine better and last longer.

It can help improve fuel efficiency, as well.

During a BG MOA oil change, our technicians change the oil and oil filter and add the BG MOA.

This supplement offers great protection for stop-start engines as well as turbocharged engines, which are becoming more prominent on so many vehicles today because of fuel economy and power.

Some people talk about oil additives taking regular oil and turning it into synthetic oil. That isn’t the case. The BG MOA takes regular oil and not only gives more protection but helps it last longer.

All of the stop and go traffic many of us experience while commuting in Northern Virginia is really hard on these engines.

If you’re like a lot of people who miss their oil change interval, this helps keep your engine protected, even during your busy time of life.

Another myth is that you can’t add BG MOA to synthetic oil. That’s not true. For many years, we have been using synthetic oil in oil vehicles and do add the MOA to it. The additive just helps protect the engine even better. 

Even though it does help extend the life of oil and its synthetic fluid – which you would normally have a longer oil change interval anyway – we still suggest changing the oil at about 5,000 miles for synthetic oil, or whenever your car’s manufacturer recommends. Because of the stop and go traffic, you want to keep the engine clean and prevent expensive repairs down the road.

The amount of money it costs to add MOA to your oil change – whether it’s conventional oil or synthetic oil – is minute compared to the cost of replacing an engine. 

Engines today are made up of variable valve timing, multiple camshafts and turbo chargers that have bearings with tight tolerances. Preventing sludge build up and making sure those parts are working correctly is one of the best things you can do to maintain your car.

BG Lifetime Protection Plan

If you have your oil changed at HomeTowne and decide to have BG MOA added, ask a service adviser if your vehicle qualifies for the BG Lifetime Protection Plan.

It covers several areas, including the engine, power steering, transmission and brakes.

We had a customer who had regular BG Transmission Fluid services performed on their Dodge, which are notorious for having transmission problems. It had nothing to do with the fluid, they just broke. This customer did have a transmission problem and BG held into its end of the bargain. 

So, there can be benefits with using BG services.

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.

View Post

Car AC repair and maintenance

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Spring has arrived. 

With the warmer temperatures beginning to settle in, now is a good time to make sure your car’s air conditioning is working correctly. That way you’re not realizing there’s a problem when it’s 80 degrees out.

Possible air conditioning problems

There are several possible culprits behind air conditioning problems, including a constricted air conditioning condenser and being low on freon. You can read about other causes in this article we wrote last year.

If you find out the system isn’t working, you should pay attention to whether the car AC has lost its performance over time, if the problem is intermittent, or the system stopped abruptly. This information will help us narrow down the cause and diagnose it faster. 

We have found that a good portion of the time, the system will gradually stop working due to a refrigerant leak. 

Intermittent problems are more complicated. They could indicate that components, like the compressor, are going bad or that you have a weak relay.

Car AC repair services

HomeTowne Auto Repair performs car AC repairs on all makes and models. 

Before 1995 and 1996, vehicles used refrigerate 12, or R-12. They switched to R-134, and today manufacturers are moving to R-1234yf.

R-1234yf’s Global Warming Potential and impact on the Earth’s climate in less than R-134. It also doesn’t deplete the ozone layer.

We can service vehicles that use R-134 or R-1234yf.

In addition to replacing components, our technicians can look for leaks and perform electrical diagnostics.

How to maintain your air conditioning

Not all car AC problems can be prevented. Sometimes, parts simply go bad from everyday use. 

However, you could prolong the life of certain components, such as the air conditioning condenser, through maintenance. Cleaning the condenser is one way to take care of it, especially if it has a lot of bugs and debris. 

But you have to be careful while cleaning the condenser. Don’t scrub it with a brush or use a high pressure hose, because you don’t want to bend the fins. To learn more about how to clean it, check out this article we wrote.  

We also recommend changing the cabin air filter once or twice a year. How often you should replace it depends on different factors, like if it’s parked outside and under trees. It’s a good idea to get a new filter right after pollen season. As the air is coming through, especially on recirculation, that helps your air conditioning work more efficiently.

You can also have a BG Evaporator Service performed. This foaming service cleans out the dirt and kills mold. 

If you have an older vehicle and the A/C isn’t working as well, that’s a good time to have it serviced or to have an evac or recharge. Putting in synthetic air conditioning oil could help your system last longer.

Before the temperatures rise to unbearable conditions, we recommend checking your car’s A/C. This way, you can receive relief from those hot spring, summer and fall days.

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.

View Post

Why you should have a power steering fluid exchange performed

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Your vehicle’s power steering system undergoes a lot of heat and pressure to help you maintain control. 

The high pressure and temperatures eventually lead power steering fluid to deteriorate and lose its ability to lubricate parts.

Over a period of time, power steering fluid – just like oil, brake fluid, and transmission fluid – will start to break down. 

Contaminants collect in the fluid and may cause components to wear out earlier than expected. 

Some metal and material from oil seals start to deteriorate and float around the system. As it does, it can put more wear on the power steering pump and – on most cars – the rack and pinion system.  

To keep the system running properly, it’s a good idea to have regular power steering fluid exchanges. HomeTowne Auto Repair and Tire suggests this service every 30,000 miles.

Some manufacturers, like those of performance cars, recommend you have it performed at shorter intervals.

Thirty thousand miles is a good time to do it, because that’s when you need to change other fluids.

What happens during a power steering fluid exchange?

Our technicians use a cleaner, BG Quick Clean for Power Steering, when they are conducting a power steering fluid exchange. The cleaner, which goes in the reservoir, collects contaminants as it travels through the power steering system. 

We use a push and pull strategy to remove old fluid. Then, we add in new fluid, BG Power Clean.

What are the benefits?

In addition to cleaning the power steering system, power steering fluid exchanges ensure that steering remains smooth. 

They also extend the life of the power steering pump, rack and pinion, power steering hoses, and electric steering components that are exposed to the fluid. This service delays break downs, as well.

Overtime, your steering may feel a little wonky or loose. With new fluid, it’s going to feel much more firm and steady as you’re heading down the road. That can depend on the type of car.

What are signs that you need a power steering fluid exchange?

When you need a power steering fluid exchange, the power steering fluid will be dark.

In addition to seeing dark fluid, you might have trouble steering. It may feel choppy, rather than smooth. A whining or grinding noise could also be heard.

When repairing a vehicle, certain parts may require a power steering fluid exchange.

It’s important to make sure that your service center is using the right type of power steering fluid on your car.

Certain vehicles, such as Volkswagens and Audis, use mineral hydraulic fluid. Some older cars use transmission fluid. Most use what we call “regular power steering fluid”. 

BG produces a wide variety of power steering fluid products.

We use BG Power Clean, a synthetic fluid that guards against heat and wear. We also have the mineral hydraulic fluid as well as regular power steering fluid, which is made by BG and features additives that help the system last longer.

BG Universal Synthetic Power Steering Fluid provides even better protection when it’s very hot or cold. It can also stand up against sub-zero conditions.

BG Full Synthetic Electric Power Steering Fluid is made for vehicles that have electric-hydraulic power steering systems.

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.

View Post

Does my car need new brakes?

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Typically, drivers don’t know that their car needs new brakes until they bring it to a repair shop for an oil change or to address a problem.

While performing an oil change, our technicians do a tire rotation and look over the vehicle. During this courtesy inspection, we may find that it requires new brakes or they are reaching the end of their lifespan.

To pass the annual state inspection, brakes must be a least 2/32 of an inch. However, we suggest replacing them when they get to 3/32 or 4/32 of an inch, depending on the vehicle and driving conditions.

Read more about brakes and the Virginia safety inspection.

When you go in for your next oil change, it’s a good time to have all four of your brakes checked.

Signs that new brakes, brake repair are needed

Overtime, you may start to notice certain signs, such as squealing and the vehicle taking longer to stop.

If you put off replacing brakes, it will likely lead to further damage down the road.

How often brakes need to be replaced depends on many factors, including the make and model. Driving behaviors, how much someone drives, and stop and go traffic also play a role.

Generally, brakes can last anywhere from 36,000 to 80,000 miles. We have replaced them at 18,000 miles, which was extremely low. 

It’s important to make sure the types of brakes put on your car are of good quality and meet Original Equipment (OE) specifications, because the way the vehicle safety system works they are programmed to operate with certain types of parts. 

If you put inferior parts on, the systems like Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS), Traction Control System (TCS), Anti-lock Braking System (ABS) may not perform correctly.

Sometimes, brake repair is needed between brake jobs.

These are some symptoms that a vehicle is in need of brake repair.

Brake services we offer

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire offers an array of brake services.

Our technicians can replace various components. These include: the master cylinder, vacuum or hydraulic boosters, brake lines, calipers or wheel cylinders, brake pads and rotors, and brake drums and shoes. 

We are also able to replace the entire parking brake system, whether it’s electric or not. The parking brake is made up of the handle or pedal, and linkage from the handle or pedal to the rear caliper or shoe. 

Brake fluid exchanges are performed at HomeTowne Auto Repair, as well. 

Recommended every 30,000 miles, this service prevents corrosion from building up on the inside of the calipers.

If your Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS) warning light comes on, we can look into that too.

The brake system is made up of many parts, and it’s important to keep up with it. If you notice something out of the ordinary, it won’t hurt to call a local repair shop and ask them about it.

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.

View Post

My car is making a clunking noise

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Are you hearing a clunking noise when you’re driving? Don’t worry, you’re not going crazy (well … hopefully not).

Clunking and rattling sounds may indicate problems with your car’s steering and suspension.

Parts can wear out over time and cause a clunking noise, such as strut mounts and bushings.

The issue could have to do with the drag link, control arms or coil springs, as well.

Other culprits include: idler arms, pitman arms – which are part of a drag link-type steering system – and tie rod ends.

Sway bar end links and sway bar bushings are common problems that are often misdiagnosed because they sound worse than they are.

We recently worked on a Range Rover that had a clunking sound. Not only had the ball joint come out of the steering knuckle, but the sway bar end link was broken.

Struts can also make a clunking noise if they’re bottoming out.

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. 

View Post

Diagnostic testing on a Toyota Tacoma

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Diagnostic testing is a process of elimination.

As our technicians work on vehicles, they determine where the problem lies and, through research and communication with the customer, figure out the cause.

Some issues, however, aren’t so cut and dry.

A Toyota Tacoma was brought in because it would occasionally stutter when going uphill, even after the driver let off of the accelerator. The symptom started recently and was growing worse.

First, we took the truck on a couple of test drives and checked for Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs). 

Then, one of the techs performed a transmission drain and fill to get rid of any contaminants. While the problem did get better, it didn’t go away completely.

This led us to take a look over parts and determine that it may need a new transmission.

There’s not always one way to approach everything. Sometimes, cars have mechanical failures that don’t trigger a trouble code, which acts as a starting point. 

In the case of the Toyota, the symptom being described felt like many problems – a shift shutter, a misfire, a bad tire – and was intermittent. 

Rather than following a diagnostic tree that a manufacturer provides, we need to use logic and experience to isolate the issue. 

This includes checking fluid levels and, sometimes causing a fault to ensure that components are working. For example, we may purposefully leave a sensor unplugged to see if it will cause a circuit code.

With the Tacoma, it was a mixture of possible misfires, differential problems and transmission problems.

This is why we can’t say that one level of diagnostic testing is needed to address an issue. It could require further investigation. We just don’t know until we start working on it. 

Read about why diagnostic testing is important.

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.

View Post

Coolant fluid exchange keeps cooling system running correctly

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Your vehicle’s cooling system helps prevent the engine from overheating by ensuring that it’s running at a safe temperature.

Because of the important role the system plays, it’s important for it to be maintained.

As time goes on, coolant breaks down and supplements that hinder corrosion start being used up. This causes the coolant to turn acidic and parts, including the water pump and radiator, to corrode. 

Reasons to get a coolant fluid exchange

A coolant fluid exchange keeps the system clean and restores coolant that has diminished over time.

It gets rid of any rust that has accumulated on the coolant lines and cooling system fins, and also removes sludge and scale. 

Buildup of rust, scale and sludge impacts circulation and makes it more difficult for engines to release heat.

To keep your cooling system running correctly, we recommend coolant fluid exchanges every 30,000 miles.

We use a cooling system cleaner and additive when performing this service.

How to know if you need a coolant fluid exchange

There are also a few symptoms you may notice when a coolant fluid exchange is needed.

These signs include leaks, hose failure and a vehicle having trouble starting. An increase in temperature and losing coolant are other clues.

You may also notice that the coolant is darker, which occurs as the fluid breaks down. 

Because coolant that needs to be changed is acidic, technicians may check it with a test strip. This helps them determine the PH level. 

Having a cleaner system that works better is only one benefit of a coolant fluid exchange.

It can also extend the coolant’s lifespan, improve performance, and decrease the likelihood of a vehicle overheating.

You’ve heard the lifetime coolant. What the manufacturers are referring to is the life expectancy of you owning that vehicle before getting a new one. But that might not be the same as your expectancy. If you’re someone who plans to own their vehicle for 12 + years, it’s important to change your engine coolant every 30,000 miles.

Make sure the right coolant is used

It’s also important to use the correct type of coolant. Most people think the coolant is green, but it can also come in blue and yellow. Actually, the color of coolant is clear, and the color you see is just dye.

The dye helps manufacturers identify that it’s the coolant approved for the type of metal the engines are made out of.

The metal used in Asian vehicles differs from what’s used in the USA. So using the wrong type of engine coolant can actually hurt certain vehicles.

Coolants for European cars, such as BMWs and Mercedes, are manufactured not only to protect their engine but also engine concerns if it leaks out of the vehicle.

You can use a universal green type of coolant. But just because it’s green doesn’t mean it’s correct. It’s OK to use green, but you need to make sure that it’s high quality.

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.

View Post

Fuel induction service restores engine performance

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

As your vehicle gets older, you may notice that it isn’t running the way it used to.

If it seems to be struggling to start or feels rough when idle, it could mean that carbon deposits have built up in the engine because of ethanol. 

In addition to particles in the engine, ethanol can cause corrosion to develop, impact your vehicle’s ability to drive properly, and cause parts to fail.

These deposits can be removed through a fuel induction service, which we recommend every 30,000 miles. 

How often you have it performed also depends on the vehicle.

Some BMWs with direct injection for the fuel system and some vehicles with GDI engines actually have carbon build up problems, and it may be a good idea to conduct this service more often.

Other signs of carbon buildup

Difficulty starting your vehicle and rough idle are only a couple of symptoms of carbon buildup.

Poor gas mileage and knocking in the engine are other indicators. 

You may also experience stalling, engine surges, loss in power and more emissions that are being released.

fuel induction service
Carbon buildup

Perks of the fuel induction service

Regular maintenance, such as clearing out carbon buildup, prevents engine damage. This helps you save money down the road.

Having a cleaner air induction system and fuel injection system isn’t the fuel induction service’s only perk.

It also restores engine power and decreases the amount of emissions the tailpipe emits. Improved air and fuel flow and increased fuel economy are other benefits of this service.

Fuel induction service process

A fuel induction service begins with adding BG Fuel System Drier to the fuel tank. This soaks up and suspends moisture that collects due to condensation.

Then, our technicians add BG Ethanol Fuel System Defender, a fuel system cleaner that cleans out various components, including the fuel lines, fuel injectors, and the backs of the valves. 

In addition to removing particles in the fuel system, it provides protection against ethanol-related damage.

Lastly, they run an air intake system cleaner, which removes grime on the intake manifold and cleans the valves in the intake system.

It’s important to keep up with this service, especially with the stop and go traffic common in the Northern Virginia area.

How BG 44K benefits your fuel system

In between the fuel induction services, it may be a good idea to use BG 44K to help keep that fuel system clean and make sure your car is in tip top shape.

BG 44K cleans the fuel system and gets rid of particles that accumulate on many components, including combustion chambers, oxygen sensors and injectors. 

Enhanced engine performance, better combustion, and a cleaner catalytic converter are other benefits of using BG 44K.

This product, which can be used on diesel engines and turbocharged engines, can also decrease issues that carbon buildup causes. 

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.

View Post

How HomeTowne Auto Repair gives back to the community

In Community Involvement by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Giving back to the community is important to us.

It’s one of the ways we stand out. (You can read more about how we’re different from other repair shops here.)

To meet our goal of supporting the community, HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire partners with local non-profits.

They include The Arc of Greater Prince William, the National Museum of Americans in Wartime, and Action in Community Through Service (ACTS).

The Arc of Greater Prince William serves individuals with mental and physical disabilities.

In addition to working on the 50 vehicles The Arc operates, we provide the organization with free oil changes and safety and emission inspections.

“And sometimes, when a vehicle breaks down with somebody with a disability on the vehicle, they are on the spot immediately to make sure that we care for our folks, get the vehicle back and running or bring a replacement vehicle so we continue the mission that we have each and every day,” The Arc of Greater Prince William Director of Resource Development Chris Caseman said.

Through our media arm, What’s Up Prince William (WUPW.news), we are able to share The Arc’s programs and fundraisers.

“Every time we have a program that’s coming out, What’s Up Prince William will help us put a program together, help us put the promotional material together and make it happen,” Caseman added.

The National Museum of Americans in Wartime (NMAW) seeks to honor those who served in the military and on the homefront. It is constructing an education center and landscapes of war off of Dale Boulevard in Dale City. 

“That organization is a little bit unique where it actually can bring some tourism to the Dale City area, and they talk about the military in a little bit different way than some of the other museums do, where these tanks actually – they’re able to drive around,” HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire Co-Owner and WUPW.news Publisher ST Billingsley explained. 

With WUPW.news, we promote the annual Tank Farm Open House and support the museum’s newsletter.

Billingsley has worked alongside Neabsco District Supervisor Victor Angry to share any news from the supervisor’s office as well as promote the Dale City Volunteer Fire Department (DCVFD) and the Americans in Wartime Museum. 

“What’s Up Prince William, and ST, and everyone that’s a part of it spends a lot of time, a lot of hours putting together marketing – productive videos, spending time out on the Tank Farm, really telling the story of Americans in wartime, which is something that this community and this nation really need to never forget – the stories of the sacrifices that our veterans have endured to allow us to have the freedoms that we have here in America today,” Angry said.

ACTS is a Dumfries-based non-profit that provides various services to community members.

WUPW.news shares information about programs, news and events. It promotes the IWALK for ACTS on Facebook and through videos, including one that runs at Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center.

“ACTS’ annual IWALK would not be the same without What’s Up Prince William. Every year, they’re the media sponsor and they’re the ones who help get everybody to come out and support,” ACTS CEO Steve Liga said. “When I look around and I see blue shirts by the hundreds, I know What’s Up Prince William helped get them there.”

The news site also works on projects that focus on various topics, including the organization’s 50th anniversary. It created videos about the Prince William Food Rescue app, as well.

“That’s another way in which we’ve [been] able to partner to get our message out and to be able to communicate with the community very clearly about our program, and that’s just been fantastic,” Prince William Food Rescue Program Director Aaron Tolson.

The Arc, the Americans in Wartime Museum and ACTS are just three ways we support the community throughout the year. WUPW.news promotes other non-profits and area businesses.

“We are from here, we work here, and we support here,” Billingsley said. “Please support us.”

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.

View Post

Tire rotations and their importance

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

As a car owner, you are an investor – you invest in oil changes, needed parts and new tires.

We all know that taking care of a car isn’t cheap. Maintenance may feel like a burden sometimes, however, it can prevent future expenses.

One service we offer is tire rotations, where the front and back tires change places. 

This service might not sound exciting or important, but it can actually be very beneficial.

First of all, it helps your tires last longer.

The suspension in the front and back are set up differently. For example, the engine and heavy weight is in the front. So, if the front tires aren’t rotated to the back they will wear irregularly and start feathering – which are lips that create tire noise.

Tire rotations not only protect your tires, they also allow us to take a look at the brakes. Additionally, our technicians are able to move the lug nuts, where corrosion tends to develop, and check anything else that the tires are hiding. 

We provide free tire rotations during oil changes, which we suggest having done every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.

A free courtesy inspection is performed, as well. During this check, we look at the car battery, lights and other components.

While working on a vehicle, our techs complete digital inspections that provide details, photos and videos of any needed repairs.

Customers may access the inspection via text or email.

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.