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Car windows on Subaru wouldn’t roll down

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Are your car windows refusing to roll up or down? There are a few different causes behind this.

A Subaru driver dropped off their vehicle at HomeTowne after realizing the passenger car windows weren’t working.

First, Charles checked the window switches. He then moved on to the motors for the passenger windows and learned they weren’t working.

Located in the car door, the window motor is one part that is needed to open and close the window.

When you press the switch, a current goes to the motor. This starts the regulator, which causes the window to go up and down.

For some vehicles, the motor and regulator can be ordered separately. In this case, they came as one assembly. 

car windows
Window Motor and Regulation Assembly

The motor going bad is one car window problem that can occur. It could also be installed incorrectly.

A window with automatic up and down may not roll down if a car battery has been changed or disconnected. Some drivers believe that the window is broken, when it just needs to be reprogrammed.

This issue can also happen with sunroofs. 

The window switch is another part that can stop working.

If your window isn’t opening or closing, it’s also a good idea to make sure the window lock button hasn’t been pressed.

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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Emission test required every two years

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Every two years, Northern Virginia drivers must have an emission test conducted on their vehicle.

This requirement applies to those who keep their cars in certain localities, such as Prince William County and the cities of Manassas and Manassas Park.

The emission test seeks to protect the environment by making sure the car releases the right amount of fumes into the air.

It is run by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ).

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an emissions shop. It became a Virginia Certified Emissions Repair Facility in 2017.

We confirm details about the car, including its weight and Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).

When testing a vehicle that’s older than 1996, inspectors use a sniffer tool that’s put inside the tailpipe. They also check for various components, including the catalytic converter, O2 sensors and the Evaporative Emission Control System (EVAP).

We use an OBD II connection device on newer cars. The DEQ computer plugs into the OBD II port on the car and checks for problem codes and system monitors.

Those monitors can include the EVAP system, catalyst (catalytic converter), 02 sensors, the EGR system, Oxygen Sensor Heater and secondary air system.

There are a few ways you can be rejected for testing: if there are bald tires, an audible exhaust leak, or fluid that’s dripping on the dyno machine.

Why does that matter?

We have to make sure the vehicle is safe to run on the dyno, in case the DEQ requires 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.

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Mercedes parts replaced after wheel falls off

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

One of our customers was driving down the road when a wheel on their Mercedes fell off.

The impact resulted in damage to the steering knuckle, which connects suspension and steering parts.

Mercedes parts
Steering Knuckle

It also damaged the hub bearing, which allows the wheels to rotate.

Mercedes parts
Old and New Hub Bearing

Charles replaced them and the brake dust shield last month.

Mercedes parts
Brake dust shield

This is one reason why it’s important to torque lug nuts correctly.

We hand torque all of our lug nuts when putting wheels back on a vehicle after completing a project, such as a tire rotation or brake repair. 

Our technicians use torque limiters and torque wrenches.

If you don’t torque the lug nuts enough, it will leave the wheel loose and ruin the wheel, the wheel studs, and wheel bearing. 

Overtightening the lug nuts, however, will weaken the threads on the wheel studs, which can cause a failure.

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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Dynamic engine service addresses sludge buildup

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Engine sludge buildup is a recurring issue in some vehicles.

Dynamic engine service can help address this problem.

This service was performed on a Honda Odyssey. It was running rough and the check engine light had turned on.

We started the process by adding engine cleaner. Once the engine reached its operating temperature, we drained the oil and changed the oil filter.

Draining engine oil

Engine cleaner was added again and the engine ran in neutral for 45 minutes.

Then, our technician drained the engine cleaner and replaced the oil filter before adding new engine cleaner and running the engine in neutral for 20 minutes. 

Afterward, the oil filter was changed, and new oil and oil conditioner was installed.

Throughout the dynamic engine service, we watched the engine oil pressure. If the pressure drops, it could mean that something is blocking the oil pump suction line strainer.

Monitoring engine oil pressure

This procedure is recommended for cars that experience sludge buildup as a repeat problem.

Sludge — old, thick oil that is sticking to the engine — can get sucked into solenoids and other components, causing them to go bad.

Some vehicles are prone to sludge buildup. It also depends on the driving style.

Having proper oil maintenance performed with high quality oil is another way to prevent sludge from building up.

With today’s engine and the variable adjustable camshafts, making sure the oil ports are clear are very important. It can cause rough running conditions, as was the case with this Honda. 

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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Rear differential repairs offered at HomeTowne

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Noises can tell us a lot about car problems.

Some may indicate that rear differential repairs are needed.

Charles recently installed a new rear differential on a 1998 Firebird.

The car was brought in when the driver noticed a rotational noise from the rear.

At first, we thought the universal joints — also known as u-joints — were the culprits, because they were older and dried out. 

U-joints connect different parts, such as the driveshaft and rear differential.

Replacing them, however, didn’t fix the problem.

After further investigation, we decided that the rear differential needed to be replaced.

Firebird

The rear differential sits between the rear wheels. It takes rotational energy the drive shaft creates and splits it to the wheels equally.

Read about how you can prolong the life of your differential and some signs it’s going bad.

We replaced the rear differential in this situation, but we also do rear differential repairs.

Sometimes axle bearings on the rear axle can go bad and make a growling or humming sound. That sound can depend on the type of vehicle and whether it’s coming from the left or right side of the vehicle.

The carrier bearings, which are attached to the ring and pinion, is a noise that people will hear in the car, especially if the pinion bearing is going bad. 

The pinion bearing is near the front of the differential, and that is where the driveshaft and the yoke of the differential connect. That’s also a common place for the front pinion seal to leak.

Another common problem is where the rear axle shaft seals begin to leak. It’s possible on some vehicles where the differential fluid could be slung around and actually get on the brake pads and rotors. 

This may reduce your braking ability — and in extreme circumstances — could catch on fire. Normally, you would just see smoke coming from the wheel, and it would stink.

Clutch packs, which can be found on some limited slip differentials or posi track differentials, can also cause some noise.

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 car needs a new clutch

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Last month, a customer brought in their 2005 Volvo S60 after noticing that it wasn’t accelerating correctly.

Ray, one of our technicians, took it for a test drive and could feel the clutch slipping when he went up hill.

After checking out the car, he determined that it needed one, pressure plate, and flywheel.

Clutch
Old clutch and old pressure plate

When you push in the clutch, it releases the pressure plate and is able to spin. As you let go, it presses against the pressure plate, connecting the transmission and the engine.

The clutch, pressure plate and flywheel should be replaced at the same time. If you don’t replace the flywheel at the same time, it can leave heat marks and scratches.

Clutch
New clutch and new pressure plate

This particular vehicle had a dual mass flywheel and a self adjusting pressure plate, meaning that it required a clutch that didn’t have spring dampeners.

A high release point — when the pedal has to go a really long travel to engage — is one sign that your clutch disc is going bad.

The problem can mask itself as something else.

Every day drivers become used to subtle changes over time and may suddenly feel the transmission is going bad because it’s not engaging all the way.

It can feel like it’s not staying in gear, that the engine is running rough, or the transmission isn’t shifting properly.

Clutch
Thickness of old and new clutch

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 air conditioning not working?

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

There are many reasons why a car air conditioning isn’t working correctly.

They can range from a leak to needing a new part.

A car being low on Freon, also known as refrigerant, is an indicator that there’s a leak.

Leaks can occur on rubber lines or fittings, because they undergo extreme temperature changes.

The rubber gaskets, which expand and contract, can become brittle overtime.

You should only need to recharge your car A/C if there’s a leak.

HomeTowne Auto Repair is able to recharge a car air conditioning, and we do offer air conditioning repair.

One part that may need to be replaced is the air conditioning condenser.

We installed a new one on a 2005 Acura after a customer noticed the air conditioning wasn’t as cool.

car air conditioning
Air conditioning condenser

When you turn on the air conditioning, Freon travels — as a gas — from the air conditioning compressor to the air conditioning condenser.

The air conditioning fan blows air over the condenser, cooling the Freon and causing it to turn into a liquid.

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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My experience with my car’s starter going bad

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Written by Erin Flynn

A couple of months ago, I stopped by a gas station while I was on my way to work. When I restarted my Volkswagen Beetle, the engine didn’t turn over. 

(Ironically, this was the same gas station I was at when my check engine light started flashing in November.)

I tried a few more times. It wouldn’t start, and all I heard was silence and — several seconds later — a “click … click … click.”

All of the dashboard lights did come on.

starter
Dashboard Lights

Since my battery had been replaced within the past few years, and I hadn’t left any lights on or electronics plugged in, I ruled out the battery. I called HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire and spoke with them about the issue.

The General Manager offered to drive down to the gas station, which is in Fredericksburg, and help. A friend of mine who lives closer came by and jumped my car.

After she arrived, we attempted to jump start my car multiple times and were unsuccessful. 

I spoke to the General Manager again who gave some suggestions. He asked me to try jump starting my car again. The first attempt — nothing. The second time — nothing. The third — my car came back to life.

starter
Jump Starting Car

I brought my car by HomeTowne Auto Repair and learned that I needed a new starter, which is responsible for starting the engine.

The starter has a gear — called a bindix — that starts the flywheel by shooting out and spinning quickly.

A clicking sound is one of the signs that it’s going bad.

Sometimes, a starter will stop working without showing any symptoms.

If you’re in the same boat I was in, your best bet is to keep trying to jump start your car and check the battery. 

If you turn it over three or four times, your starter may have a flat spot and get started one time. After that, it shouldn’t be trusted.

If it still won’t start after you’ve tried jumping it, you will probably need to have it towed to a mechanic.

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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Car backup sensor repairs offered at auto shop in Woodbridge, Virginia

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

One malfunctioning sensor can throw a car’s system off.

Jason replaced a backup sensor on a 2011 Cadillac CTS. There was a code that the rear object detection system wasn’t working properly.

When this system is disabled, the vehicle isn’t able to identify an object a driver can’t see.

This affects parallel parking and how close the car is to another car, a tree, or a curb.

The rear object detection system is one component we can address through our Advanced Driving Assistance Systems (ADAS) system.

Driver assist, which can be found in many cars, also includes emergency braking, traffic sign recognition and surround view.

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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New subframe installed on Dodge Charger

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

A Dodge Charger came into HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire for a tire alignment earlier this month. 

Before performing an alignment, our technicians check the vehicle’s suspension.

During his inspection, Ray noticed clay on the lower ball joints on the left, front side and recommended a new lower control arm and a ball joint.

When installing the lower control arm, he found the subframe was bent from some sort of impact.

Because the subframe holds the engine, Ray needed to use a special hoist to hold the engine while he put in the new subframe.

This situation is a good example of why you shouldn’t hide or leave out information when talking to a technician or service adviser.

You can save time and money by sharing as much information as possible.

Here are some other reasons why you shouldn’t lie to your mechanic.

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.