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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.

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Signs that your starter is going bad

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Click. Click. Click.

It’s a dreaded sound for many drivers, especially when they are trying — unsuccessfully — to start their car.

The noise is one sign that a vehicle’s starter is going bad.

Another giveaway is if your vehicle won’t start, even when a jumper box or a jumper cable are attached to it.

You may also hear a slight grinding noise.

When you turn your key in the ignition, the bendex shoots out and spins at a high rate, starting the flywheel. This is what starts your car.

A grinding sound could mean the bendex is wearing down. 

If you suspect that your starter is going bad, you should have it checked and diagnosed at an auto repair shop. It may prevent you from getting stuck out in the middle of nowhere.

Keep in mind that sometimes a starter doesn’t show any signs of going bad. It just stops working.

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 leaking?

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

When moving your car from its parking spot, you may notice that a puddle has formed.

The location and color of the leak can help you determine what’s causing it.

Antifreeze: Antifreeze can be blue, green, red or yellow, depending on the vehicle. 

Brake Fluid: Brake Fluid is clear, yellow or brown. Don’t drive your vehicle if you notice brake fluid near the wheel well. It may be a sign that your brakes are failing.

Coolant: Coolant is used to maintain the temperature of your vehicle’s engine. When you see a puddle that’s a green, orange or pink, it could indicate that your coolant is leaking. It can be red or yellow for some vehicles. The coolant can begin to leak if a water pump or hose fails. Some electric and hybrid vehicles have another coolant system that runs to the back to keep the electronics cool. You can get a coolant leak near the back of the vehicle, which most people aren’t used to.

Engine Oil: Engine oil can be yellow, brown or black. If it’s leaking, there might be a failure with a gasket or seal. If you have had an oil change recently, bring your vehicle back to the auto repair shop.

Transmission Fluid: Transmission fluid appears as gold, pink, red or black. If any of these colors are seen near your vehicle, it could mean that a seal or gasket isn’t working.

You might also see clear water, and that’s generally from your air conditioner, where the moisture is condensing and the fluid is draining out from underneath your car. That isn’t something you should be concerned about.

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 a disc brake caliper seizes up

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

A disc brake caliper seizing up is one problem that may occur in a brake system.

This issue is caused by various factors, including dirt, lack of maintenance and rust.

Rust that builds up over time can prevent the brake caliper piston from resending back into the disc brake caliper.

It will keep holding constant pressure on the brake pad that pushes against the disc brake rotor and will produce heat.

In extreme circumstances, it can actually boil the brake fluid and cause a very low brake pedal. This is one of the reasons why you want to change the brake fluid when automotive technicians are working on brakes.

When an automotive technician is performing a brake check, they can determine whether you need to replace the brake caliper. You don’t need to replace them every time, but may want to consider replacing them if the vehicle has a lot of age or miles on it.

If you’re having a problem with one disc brake caliper, you can change that one. However, it’s a good idea to replace both on the front or the rear, because if one goes bad — even though the other one is functioning — it’s not a guarantee that it won’t go bad in the near future.

Another thing that the automotive technician will do is lubricate the metal contact points of the disc brake caliper and pads.

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.

ford expedition rear brake suspension

ford expedition front wheel discolored from brake caliper siezed

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HomeTowne Auto Repair and Tire accepting Toys for Tots gifts

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Want to help a child in need this year?

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire in Woodbridge is collecting donations for the Toys for Tots program.

Run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve, the campaign provides gifts to children who are in need.

It was founded by Major William L. Hendricks in 1947.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is accepting toys through December 14.

“We are here from Monday through Friday, 7 to 7, and Saturday, 7 through 5,” Service Advisor Jessica Ulrich said. “Come by and drop off a new, unwrapped toy for donation.”