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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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Michelin tires available for different vehicles

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

An important part of maintaining your vehicle is having its tires checked and replaced when needed.

The make and model of your vehicle, how its used, and the number of miles you drive each day are some things you should keep in mind when buying new ones.

These are a few Michelin tires that are available:

  • Michelin Defender Tires LTX: The Michelin Defender Tires LTX offers a better tread life for SUVs and trucks. The tire can help you save up to 65 gallons in gas during its lifespan. Its miles-based warranty is up to 70,000 to 80,000 miles. They’re great highway tires and excellent for larger vehicles, such as SUVs. More information on Michelin Defender Tires LTX is available on the Michelin website.
  • Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3: The Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3 is a good, all-season tire that’s typically used on Mercedes and BMW’s. It has a 45,000- to 55,000-mile warranty. To learn more about the Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3, visit the Michelin website
  • Michelin Primacy MXM4: The Michelin Primacy MXM4 can be used in all types of weather conditions and is used for luxury vehicles, including Mercedes and BMWs. If offers good grip on dry and wet surfaces and has treadlife of up to 55,000 miles. Additional details about the The Michelin Primacy MXM4 can be found on the Michelin website.

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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When and how to check your vehicle’s tire pressure

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

It’s important to stay safe when behind the wheel.

Checking your tire pressure is one way you can protect yourself. It can also prevent your vehicle’s tires from wearing out too quickly.

Having your own tire pressure gauge is a good idea. Not every gas station pump is calibrated, and they can’t be trusted all the time.

Here is more information you should know about tire pressure:

When should I check my tire pressure?

You should check your air pressure daily. Most newer vehicles are equipped with tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS), which will give you a signal on your dashboard when your tire pressure is low.

If your vehicle isn’t equipped with this, there are some indicators you can look out for. These include a tire’s sidewalls being wider at the bottom and poor handling.

Under Inflated tires will promote outer tire edge wear. Overinflated tires are just as dangerous, as they can wear out the center of a tire.

What are the steps to check my tire pressure?

Verifying the correct pressure is the first step in checking your tire pressure. You can find it on the door jam on the driver’s side of the vehicle or on the sidewall of the tire.

The next step is removing the valve stem cap and using a tire pressure gauge to measure the pressure. A basic tire gauge will have a stem that pops out and gives you a reading. You may also use a digital gauge, which will give you a digital number.  

It’s important to double check the tire pressure to make sure you don’t have a false reading.  

After checking your tire pressure, make sure to replace the valve stem cap. This can prevent corrosion of the valve stem and TPMS sensor, and help you avoid a costly 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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Why is my car making that noise?

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

There are many reasons why your car can make noise. If you’re married, most of them come from the passenger seat. If you have kids, most of the noise is coming from the back seat.

All kidding aside, noises can come from anywhere, such as your suspension and tires. They may also occur as engine components wear out, belts loosen, and your vehicle experiences normal wear and tear.

The hardest part sometimes is trying to describe the noises to your auto repair shop. So, when something is irritating you, pay attention to when and where the noises are happening.

We’ve had instances when the car only made noises when it was below 45 degrees and they were turning left. Another common noise description is when a driver is in a parking lot and turning the wheel.

Information about how fast you’re going, how far you’re turning the wheel, and whether you’re pressing the gas pedal can help us find your problem faster.

The other thing to consider when you’re bringing your vehicle into the shop is to schedule time to ride with the automotive technician. That way they can ride with you and you can make the exact condition that produces the noise — which saves time and money when repairing your car.

So, if you’re the only one in your car and you still hear noises, and you’re tired of turning the radio up to tune them out (Get it? Radio — tune … ) then try to be descriptive as you can and take a ride with your mechanic.

Check out this fun video we created.

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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BFGoodrich KO2 tire can be used for off-roading vehicles

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

If you drive an off-roading vehicle and are looking for a new set of wheels, you may want to consider the BFGoodrich KO2 tire.

The BFGoodrich KO2 tire offers a longer treadlife and aggressive all-terrain traction, which allows you to travel confidently.

Its notched shoulder allows motorists to maneuver through soft soil as well as deep snow.

Sharp rocks are less likely to puncture the tire because of its tougher sidewalls.

“What I have found best about the KO2 Tire is when I’m not paying attention while driving down Dale Boulevard,” HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire Owner ST Billingsley said. “You can run over the curb while going 45 miles per hour and maintain control coming back on the road without experiencing any damage to the side wall.”

Having an alignment check performed is recommended when new tires are placed on a vehicle.

Placing road hazards on tires is a good idea, especially in construction areas.

You’re more likely to pick up a nail that may become lodged in a spot that can’t be repaired.

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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When is a vehicle’s tire repairable?

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Whether a tire is repairable can’t be decided at a glance.

When inspecting tires, HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire uses guidelines set by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).

Injuries that are located on the inner or outer shoulder can’t be repaired, according to General Manager Rich Campbell.

“The reason why is that’s where the tire curves on the inside, causing it to flex,” he said.

The Woodbridge-based repair shop doesn’t use older plugs to address the damage. It also isn’t allowed to use patches on those that have been previously repaired with plugs.

Tires that have been punctured in a safe area could still have invisible injuries.

“We have to keep in mind too is that — even if the screw, or nail, or whatever debris … looks to be in the repairable zone — we must remove it from the rim to establish that the inside of the tire [has] not been damaged,” Campbell said.  

Automotive technicians can address some damage using plug patches.

They apply them using rubber cement, which prevents water or dirt from accumulating in the holes.

“This is a[n] acceptable and safe method of repair,” Campbell said. “This keeps the tire usable throughout its remaining life.”

Providing safe and effective repairs is a priority for HomeTowne Auto Repair.

“Please understand that, while we may make you upset because we’re not going to be able to repair your tire, we’re doing that to keep you safe, your loved ones safe, and those that are driving on the roads with you safe,” Campbell said.

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HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire voted ‘Best Tire Store’

In News, Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

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

The repair shop received the recognition in InsideNOVA’s 2018 Best of Prince William Awards, an annual contest where members of the public can vote for organizations and services.

“We’d like to thank everyone who voted for us. We really appreciate their support,” General Manager Rich Campbell said. “We strive everyday to be a repair shop that everyone wants to come to. We really believe in supporting our community.”

This is the second consecutive year that the repair shop is receiving the award.

Last year, it was also named “Best Automotive Repair Shop,” “Best Inspection Station,” and “Best Place to Work.”

Here’s a New Year’s resolution: Take better care of your car

In Cabin Air Filter, Oil Change, Tires & Wheels, Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

We’re now in the new year, and it’s time to make the annual commitments to improving your body, spending more time working on something you care about, saving money for vacation, etc.

But what if you made your New Year’s resolution a commitment to taking better care of your car?

It’s a win-win – by taking care of your car, and investing in some basic maintenance items, you’re not only extending the life of your vehicle, but you’re saving money in the long run.

Here are some ways you can take better care of your car this year.

tire pressure is important to your tires lasting a long time and helps save on gas

Tire pressure is important to your tires lasting a long time and helps save on gas

Keep an eye on the tire pressure.

If the air pressure in your tires is too low, it can cause several issues, so it’s important to keep an eye on the pressure level, and keep your tires full per the manufacturer’s guidelines.

If your tire pressure is low, it can cause steering issues, which leads to abnormal tire wear. And over time, that abnormal wear means your tires wear down faster. That also means you’ll be spending money on replacing your tires sooner than you would normally.

“Buy a good tire gauge, because some of the cheap ones are like a dollar, and they may not work that well. You need to spend $5 and $20 for a good tire gauge. Therefore, you know you’ll have the correct pressure in the tire,” said HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire owner ST Billingsley.

Billingsley also recommends keeping a 12-volt air pump in your vehicle at all times. That way, if you find one of your tires is low, you can simply add air wherever you are, instead of trying to find a gas station with a working pump that offers air.

Wash your car.

washing your car underneath helps keep the metal from rust and corrosion

Washing your car underneath helps keep the metal from rust and corrosion

It sounds simple, but keeping your car washed regularly is an important part of upkeep.

“The reason you want to wash your car, especially with all of this road salt through the winter time – even in the summertime though – if you wash your car…you’re helping to remove road grime and road salts, whatever you’re picking up while driving,” said Billingsley.

According to Billingsley, when you’re driving, dirt and mud can fly underneath your car and pack in near the car’s ball joints and bushings. If moisture is left to collect there, it can rust the parts and lead to the need to repair and replace these components more often.

Replace your cabin air filters regularly.

People have started to understand the importance of cabin air filters, and how they provide clearer air when driving in your vehicle, but making sure they’re regularly changed is something you need to commit to as well.

cabin air filters clean up the air coming into the passenger compartment of a car or truck

Cabin air filters clean up the air coming into the passenger compartment of a car or truck

According to Billingsley, the key is to change them at least twice a year, depending on manufacturer’s guidance and the environmental conditions where you live.

“You really need to be changing them twice a year. And a good time to change it is right after pollen season, because it’s going to be clogged with pollen, and right before wintertime – right before Thanksgiving,” said Billingsley.

While no one’s perfect, if you commit to making even some of these changes this year, you’ll be on your way to better maintenance and upkeep of your vehicle, which will save you in the long run.

Wheel Alignment -What happens during a wheel alignment?

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

Wheel Alignment Dodge Neon

Wheel Alignment Dodge Neon

When you bring your vehicle in for a wheel alignment, you’re likely wondering what happens during the alignment service.

During an alignment, a vehicle is put on the rack and the wheels are rotated and adjusted, so they’re properly aligned to fit your vehicle, driving preferences, and manufacturer recommendations.

With the alignments, the wheels can have camber, caster, and toe adjustments done. Camber refers to how much a tire tilts inward and outward from the vehicle. Caster is how much a tire is angled forward or backward. Toe is how much a tire is tilted inward or outward from a bird’s eye view.

Another thing that may happen during a wheel alignment is resetting a vehicle’s steering angle sensor.

BMW Wheel Alignment

BMW 328 wheel alignment, getting a tire alignment after replacing lower control arms

“The steering angle sensor measures the position of the vehicle steering wheel and the rate of turn. The steering angle sensor plays a role in steering pressure along with braking and acceleration in many of today’s vehicles,” said HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire General Manager Rich Campbell.

The speed of your vehicle will determine how hard that sensor must work to keep your vehicle stable. If you’re on the highway driving at a high speed and the tire moves, you’ll want to be sure that the sensor is in working order as it can help with braking, reduce steering pressure, and reduce acceleration for more driving control.

wheel alignment pickup

Wheel Alignment on a Dodge Pickup after installing new tires

If you get an alignment and the steering angle sensor is not reset, you may see a warning light illuminate on the dash, that you’ll want to get checked out right away as it will disable certain safety features.

To learn more about alignments and tire maintenance, click here.