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How to deal with sun glare

In News by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

It’s that time of the year where the sun is at a bad angle and blinds drivers during their commute.

Here are a few tips for addressing the sun glare.

  • Using a sun visor is one solution.
  • Drivers should also make sure their windshield is clear by cleaning it inside and out.
  • They can also set their defroster to the warm setting and turning the fan up.
  • It’s also a good idea to keep a pair of sunglasses in your 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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Is your battery light on?

In Automotive Diagnostics, News by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

If your battery light comes on or flickers on your dashboard, it could be a sign of an alternator going bad.

The alternator is driven by the engine to produce electricity to run the accessories in a vehicle and recharge the battery.

Some common problems that could lead to an alternator not working correctly can be normal wear and tear, and the brushes or diodes going bad. A common overlooked problem is a drive belt — or serpentine belt — becoming loose or stretched and slipping around the alternator.

The large number of electronics in today’s vehicles and all the accessories drivers like to plug in puts a heavy load on the alternator. The alternators actually have to be more heavy duty than before so they can charge the battery at a consistent rate. 

The battery light coming on steady or flickering, especially when you come to a stop, are some signs that you’re having an alternator problem.

If you’re having a problem starting your car, it could be because the alternator is struggling to charge the battery.

If you believe you’re having any problems, you’ll want to have your vehicle checked with good electrical diagnostic equipment at your local auto repair shop. Because of the demand on the electrical system and the way alternators are designed, the old way of checking alternators isn’t always accurate.

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 receives ‘Best Tire Store’ award

In News by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire was recently awarded “Best Tire Store” in Prince William County. 

The shop received the title from InsideNOVA’s 2019 Best of Prince William.

Best of Prince William is an annual contest influenced by members of the community voting for services and organizations throughout the county. 

“We appreciate the support from members of the community,” HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire Owner ST Billingsley said. “We aim to exceed our customers expectations of an auto repair and tire shop. Thank you for voting for us.” 

This is the third consecutive year the repair shop won “Best Tire Store.”

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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Free shuttle service available at HomeTowne Auto Repair and Tire

In News by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Having regular maintenance performed on your vehicle can lengthen its lifespan and save you money.

However, it’s not always convenient.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire offers a few amenities that allow you to complete your daily tasks while your vehicle is being worked on.

Need a lift?

We a free shuttle service to customers who are heading home or to work, starting at 7 a.m. Monday through Saturday.

Car and booster seats are available for families.

Those who choose to stay at the repair shop, may relax in our family-friendly waiting room. It offers a chalkboard that children can use.

Free WiFi and outlets are available for your devices, as well.

During your visit to HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire, you may also enjoy our free snack bar, coffee and cold water.

Before you leave, don’t forget to grab a “Thank you” bag for yourself and the kids. Our children “Thank you” bags contain coloring and activity sheets that were designed by a staff member.

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 and Tire supports local business, community

In Community Involvement, News by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Two area businesses are supporting their community.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire recently purchased a meal package at a Boys & Girls Club fundraiser. Dyvine BBQ in Motion donated the food.

“One thing that’s very important that I’m a big believer in is supporting businesses that support our community,” HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire Owner ST Billingsley said.

He encourages others to consider doing the same.

“When you see these fundraisers or you go to them, pay attention to who’s supporting those organizations and please support those businesses,” Billingsley said.

Dyvine BBQ in Motion Owner Derrick Wood brought the meal to HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire on Friday.

Wood, who also serves as the Mayor of Dumfries, contributes to Boys & Girls Club fundraisers because the organization gives children an outlet.

He appreciates businesses and individuals who purchase the packages.

“The money actually goes to get these kids off the streets to get them recreational programming and to actually help develop and stimulate them for a lasting lifetime, to build better citizens in this community,” Wood 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.

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Meet Calli: HomeTowne Auto Repair and Tire’s newest Service Writer

In News by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Calli Thacker recently joined the HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire family. The auto repair shop’s newest Service Writer has been working in the automotive industry for 10 years.

What brought you to the automotive industry?

I started the year after I graduated high school. It was, actually, just a job after high school that I thought was just going to be a temporary thing, and here I am 10 years later.

What do you like about being a Service Writer?

I enjoy the fact that you never stop learning … You’re never going to be at a standstill, you’re always going to be able to learn more … I like that you get to work with people, and meet all different types of people, and help people. For me, personally, I like being able to interact with people all day compared to being stuck in an office by myself.

How is HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire different from other businesses you’ve worked for?

I’ve worked at car dealerships and independent shops, but this independent shop in particular does things their own way, for sure. They have a unique way of doing things, which works out for them and for their clientele base … Their customers seem to feel taken care of and safe, and they’re trusting of us.

What challenges have you faced as a woman in the automotive industry?

Being a younger woman … at first some people can be standoffish, and not sure if you are going to take care of them the right way or the same way as a man would, or if they can trust you, or if you’re going to know what you’re talking about. But once they get to know you and once they see, “Oh, you know, she does know what she’s talking about and she is able to help me in the same way,” then that puts them at ease and they feel better. And then they learn to know you and once they keep seeing your face, they realize, “OK. I can go to her. I know she’s going to take care of me.” But just being young and being a girl, it’s hard … Once you talk to them, and once they hear you speak and see how you speak, and see that you know what you’re talking about, they feel better and they feel confident. And I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had people say, “Oh wow. I’m sorry for underestimating you. I didn’t realize that you could help me perfectly.”  

What do you recommend to women who are considering a career in the automotive industry?

I recommend if it’s something that you truly want to do and you are ready to learn — because there’s so much to learn and you never stop learning — you have to be open minded, you have to be willing to learn new things and take advice, and have people explain things to you and show you things. If you’re willing and wanting to do all those things, then definitely go for it, definitely try it out. You have to have thick skin and you have to be accepting to all different types of people, but if you have patience and you can handle stressful situations well, then definitely go for it. But you’ve got to keep in mind that it’s not easy, and it takes a lot of time and patience and learning.

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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Meet Heather: Service Writer for HomeTowne Auto Repair

In News by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Heather Skerry, a service writer at HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire, began working in the automotive industry in 2012. She started out selling cars before transitioning into the service arena.

What brought you to the automotive industry?

In one sense, it was kind of by accident. In another sense, it was kind of destined to happen. Both my grandfathers were master [technicians]. Several uncles, cousins, one of my brothers — they’re all mechanics. So, it’s kind of in my blood, but it was one of those things of finding a new direction in my career, and sometimes the best things you seem to stumble upon … My uncles were very much like, “Yeah, you were kind of supposed to go this direction.”   

What do you like about being a Service Writer?

I like it, because it’s a challenge. It’s not something that I knew a lot about, and so there was definitely something that was going to constantly occupy me in the sense of learning. So, you’re mind is being stretched. You’re having to learn this whole new set of skills. I worked primarily in the movie and book industry with what I was doing, so you go from that — which is more artistic and everything — to this mechanical side. You’re having to use a whole other side of your brain, and then also bring in the aspects of customer service, and empathy, and not just downloading information. So, it’s you learning about the information you need to give but then also finding the best way to give that to your customers. So, I like to empower people and I like people to understand what’s going on. So, it kind of gives me the best of both worlds — you know, always constantly learning something new and then getting the chance to help other people out.   

How is HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire different from other businesses you’ve worked for?

Well, I came from a fairly large corporate environment … so coming from there to here — there’s a big difference when it comes to the way we’re able to assist our customers, which is a little bit more tailored to their unique experience, what they’re going through. So, there’s things I’m able to do and help out my customers with in a small town sense that I wouldn’t have been able to do in a more corporate environment. I don’t think it’s one of those things where it’s like, “That’s a terrible environment.” It’s just that I’m able to have more ways to help out my customers and change things up, and I have a lot more suppliers I can through to give some competitive pricing.

What challenges have you faced as a woman in the automotive industry?

I think it is such a predominantly male-driven type of job — you know, it’s predominantly what most people think, traditionally, this is more for guys. So, I think I’ve experienced the same type of thing that anytime you get into [something] one group of people [are] doing, you’re going to have some push back. But, primarily, I’ve had a lot of people who have supported it. Things have been changing, and there’s are a lot more woman out there who do this job than we think. So, even though there are some times that you get somebody who goes, “I would like to speak to the man,” … predominantly, I’ve had a lot more men and women who feel comfortable, because I don’t pretend to know what I don’t and they can see, as they get to know me, that “Well, she does know her stuff.” You can’t expect people to trust you right off the bat, so you have to earn that trust.

What do you recommend to women who are considering a career in the automotive industry?

Do not be afraid to change the status quo,, don’t be afraid to jump into this. You don’t have to know a ton about it, but if you are going to go and jump into this, get yourself some “How a car works” books. I’ve done that. Find yourself — whether it’s a technician, or whether that’s YouTube or something — to really immerse yourself. You’re going to have to work hard, especially if you don’t come from an environment or a background with it. And that’s on you, that’s on you to say, “I’m going to go that extra step” — and not use a pretty face, or anything like that, but to really know your stuff. And don’t be afraid to stay that you don’t know something. That doesn’t make you weak or unknowledgeable. You’re honest, and people are going to respond to that. So, do the extra time. If you’re working in a shop already, go ahead and find a tech who’s willing to spend time with you. I was blessed that I had a [technician] who did that with me, who took the time — he saw I wanted to learn and he would take me through, and Tommy would be like, “We’re going to go here, we’re going to look at this, look at this, get the hands-on experience.” And then go for it. Have the confidence to take a step, if this is what you want to do.

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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Meet Jessica: Service Writer at HomeTowne Auto Repair and Tire

In News by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Jessica Ulrich is a Service Writer at HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire. She has been working in the automotive industry for about 2 and a half years.

What brought you to the automotive industry?

Well, I used to help out with my dad, just basically watched for a long time. But then I kind of strayed off the path into [Emergency Medical Services] EMS world, and then when I strayed from that path … my first automotive job was working for a fire truck repair shop. So, then I liked getting into that process and then traversed over to just regular, everyday vehicles that have seemed a little bit less complicated than a fire truck and an ambulance.

What do you like about being a Service Writer?

I like being able to interact with different people every day. I like that we have a lot of regular customers, which is great because then you start to get to know them, they get to know you a lot more. But meeting a bunch of new people is fun — to understand their wants and their needs, and just kind of form a relationship with new people that we see.

How is HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire different from other businesses you’ve worked for?

Here, it’s a lot more home-friendly — everybody cares about each other here. At the other places, it’s more ‘You’re on your own. Good luck.’  

What challenges have you faced as a woman in the automotive industry?

Certain people don’t think you understand what’s going on with their vehicles, at all. You get underestimated quite often … Mainly, it’s just getting underestimated and being looked past to say ‘Let me talk to the man that knows this,’ instead of actually letting me tell you what’s wrong with the vehicle and cutting me off. You might be surprised, I might know a thing or two.

What do you recommend to women who are considering a career in the automotive industry?

If you know you’re stuff, and you understand cars, and it’s a passion for you, you need to go do it. I, honestly, can’t really see myself breaking away from this now. I like it enough. But if you know your stuff … just keep progressing and understand what you need to do next.

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 & Tire covering employees’ health care

In News by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Health care is more affordable for HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire employees.

Last month, the Woodbridge-based business began paying for 100 percent of the basic health care plan.

This is providing relief to a General Service Technician, who is recently married and is expecting a child.

“He was concerned about paying for health care for his whole family,” General Manager Rich Campbell said. “He will now be able to afford it.”

Employees are also receiving additional Paid Time Off (PTO) days, which they can use when they’re sick or need to take care of their family.

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Drop off used batteries at HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

In News by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Community members who have used batteries don’t have to worry about making a special trip to the landfill.

They can drop them off at HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire.

The Woodbridge-based car repair shop is accepting used laptop, car and motorcycle batteries. It will make sure the batteries are brought to the appropriate recycling facility.

Some landfills may only accept batteries on certain days or charge a fee.

“Here at HomeTowne we’ll take them — free of charge — that way we can do our part to help the environment,” General Manager Rich Campbell said.