View Post

Car shaking when driving

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Have you noticed your car shaking? If so, it may be telling you that there’s a problem.

One of our customers felt a vibration when driving. It was taken on a test drive and it seemed that the issue was somewhere in the drive train.

We put it up on a lift and when we ran it at about 40 miles per hour, we were able to move the drive shaft, which should be tight. This indicated that the transfer case was failing.

car shaking
Old transfer case

There were also metal flakes in the fluid coming out of the seal where the driveshaft goes into the transfer case.

When removing the transfer case, our technician needed to drain the fluid. As he did this, he saw metal chunks coming out of the drain band.

What is a transfer case? How do you maintain a transfer case?

Found on four-wheel drive vehicles, a transfer case connects the transmission to the front axle.

We recommend having regular transfer case fluid exchanges performed to extend the component’s lifespan.

During this maintenance service, old transfer case fluid is exchanged with new fluid. Transfer case fluid is responsible for keeping components, such as gears and bearings, lubricated. Overtime, it isn’t able to do its job as well and needs to be changed. 

Make sure that the correct type of fluid is being used. We see more problems with transfer cases, because somebody put the wrong fluid in.

It’s also a good idea to have your vehicle looked over to ensure that the transfer case isn’t leaking and any nearby parts don’t need to be replaced.

Symptoms of a bad transfer case

Even if you do keep up with transfer case maintenance, this part can still go bad from daily use.

A vehicle vibrating is just one indicator of a bad transfer case. Other symptoms include a growling noise.

You may also notice issues with the 4-wheel-drive. When you engage the system, the  4-wheel drive light might start flashing, which means that there’s a computer code indicating a problem. The system might also engage intermittently or not work at all.

Is your car shaking? Here’s what you should do.

If you notice your car is vibrating, you should have it checked out at a nearby car repair shop.

Drive shafts

The problem may have to do with the transfer case, or it could lie with another part. Unbalanced drive shafts and can cause a vibration.

Bad carrier bearing

Bad carrier bearings may also lead a vehicle to shake.

Constant velocity drive shaft

Other possible causes behind this symptom include bad constant velocity joints and bad universal joints.

Because various components could be the culprit, it’s best to have an expert take a look at your vehicle and perform any needed diagnostic testing. They will be able to pinpoint the issue and get your vehicle back up and running the way it should be.

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 to save gas and get better gas mileage

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

As gas prices have increased throughout the year, a lot of commuters are considering how they can cut down on their bill at the pump.

While you can’t change how much gas costs, there are many things you can do to make the fuel you do buy last.

How to save gas while driving

  • Clean your vehicle (including the trunk): Clear out the clutter and dirt, which can add weight and cause you to travel slower.
  • Reduce the amount of time you leave your engine running at idle: Many of us have the habit of running the engine when we first get into the car or are about to get out. This is especially true during colder months, when we run the defroster. While it’s a great idea to let the engine warm up, we suggest limiting it to a couple of minutes. And when you arrive at your destination, turn the vehicle off when sending a text or gathering your items.
  • Minimize trips around town: Try to combine stops at the grocery store, dry cleaner, the post office, and other errands into one trip. That way, you are reducing the amount of trips out and back home.
  • Reduce your speed and use cruise control: Do you have a lead foot? Consider letting up on the gas pedal and using cruise control. Both of these strategies can help improve your gas mileage.
  • Brake gradually: Bumper to bumper traffic is a common trait of Northern Virginia. If you are experiencing heavy congestion, give yourself enough space between your vehicle and the one in front of you, and brake slowly. Your gas usage is lower when you don’t brake suddenly.

How to get better gas mileage

  • Make sure your oil isn’t low: When you don’t have enough oil in the system, engine components aren’t properly lubricated. This also means that the engine needs to put in more effort, in order to function correctly.
  • Use high quality oil and change the oil filters: Regular oil changes are a very important part of maintaining your vehicle. This service should be done every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, depending on the vehicle. Simply having the oil filter changed can reduce the chance of gas being wasted.
save gas
  • Have spark plugs replaced: Spark plugs are responsible for igniting the fuel in the cylinder head under high compression. Replacing them when needed ensures that you will be able to start your car and that it is fuel-efficient.
  • Regular tune-ups: Tune-ups enable mechanics to take a deeper look at a vehicle and spot any problems. These include any issues that may impact gas mileage, like bad spark plugs and any needed transmission services.
save gas
  • Take care of the fuel system: Maintaining the fuel system is another great way to improve fuel economy. This can be done through a fuel induction service, which we recommend every 30,000 miles. The service also restores engine power and reduces emissions that are released through the tailpipe.

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

What does a tune up consist of?

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

When was the last time you had a mechanic thoroughly check over your vehicle?

Although it is important to make sure basic car maintenance – like oil changes and inspections – is performed, automobiles also require a tune up every once in a while.

“Tune up” is a term you may have heard or read in reference to regular automotive work. 

Because cars are made up of many computers and updated equipment, the procedure of a tune up looks a bit differently than years past. In the old days, you would replace the distributor cap, rotor, spark plug wires, spark plugs, PCV valve, fuel filter, air filter, and set the timing.

A tune up now could involve spark plugs, ignition coils, ignition coil boots, PCV tubes, and injector cleaning.

Even though there may not be as many parts being changed, tune ups are still just as important.

tune up

What is the purpose of a tune up?

Through tune ups, technicians are able to catch issues you may not notice in your daily travels before they become major problems.

They are also able to ensure that your vehicle is up to date on all maintenance needs. This includes mileage based services, like the fuel induction service.

The fuel induction service, which should be performed every 30,000 miles or so – depending on the vehicle – gets rid of carbon that has built up in the engine. In addition to restoring the engine’s performance, it helps prevent engine damage.

Parts may be replaced during a tune up, as well.

Spark plugs, which ignite the fuel in the cylinder head under high compression, are one example. Years ago, they were changed around 30,000 miles. Nowadays, they have a longer lifespan and can typically last for as long as 60,000 to 105,000 miles.

How much is a tune up? 

There isn’t one set answer for the cost of a tune up. Usually, it can range from $100 to $500 (or more). 

The price tag varies based on the type of vehicle, where you have it serviced, the work that the auto repair shop provides, and if new parts need to be installed.

Keep in mind that some cars require special tools in order to replace components. 

The type of work needed may also impact the cost because of the labor required. Various parts may need to be removed in order to install new spark plugs, a process that could take several hours. 

It’s important to use the correct type of spark plug. Just because it fits, it may not be the right spark plug for the vehicle. Different engines and manufacturers have different tolerances. That’s why we like to use O.E. manufacturer recommended spark plugs. Since today’s vehicles operate under much closer tolerances, it is worth spending the money on the right plug over a cheap alternative.

What happens if you don’t do a tune up?

When you hear an estimate for a tune up, it may be more than you feel like spending. But the money that you put in now may be saving you from receiving an unexpected (or possibly more expensive) bill.

For example, if bad spark plugs aren’t replaced it could ruin your catalytic converter, which can cost between $700 and $1,200 each. Some vehicles have three or four of them.

Additional parts that may need to be replaced, including intake plenum caskets as well as rubber and plastic vacuum lines, as they get brittle with age.

Avoiding a tune up doesn’t just prevent you from making sure all pieces are functioning. You could also miss out on an opportunity to help your vehicle run more efficiently and last longer.

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

Do I have a battery problem?

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

How do you know if your battery is going bad? 

The first indication is that you’re getting a slow crank or that your battery light is flashing or staying on. Keep in mind, that could also be a sign that the alternator is going bad. But usually the battery is the first place to check.

Here are some common problems that we see going on with the battery. 

Drivers not having a battery hold down is one of them. It’s important to securely keep the battery in place. 

Believe it or not, that $15 to $50 battery hold down – depending on the type of vehicle you have – is actually very important, not only for state inspections but also so your battery doesn’t go bad. 

Some people will try to hold them in with bungee cords, but it just doesn’t work. If it’s able to bounce up and down while you’re driving, the plates can break or become separated. The glass that separates the plates on glass mat batteries may also break and cause problems. 

Battery problem

Corrosion on the battery terminals is another battery problem. A little bit of acid seeps up from those batteries due to the electrons going through. The type of metal that the battery cables and the battery materials are made out of start to corrode and appear as though someone poured baking soda on it. That corrosion not only gets between the terminal and the battery cable That restricts the amount of electricity that’s able to flow through to the starter or the car, and if the alternator is trying to charge it up the power can’t get back to the battery.

The life of the battery may also be impacted when you use cheap, universal battery terminals. Don’t get me wrong, they’re great when you’re working on an older vehicle or trying to get down the road after a cable breaks. We’ve used them for years. However, if you don’t protect them and use battery sealant, moisture can get in and cause the battery cable going into the terminal to corrode or rust.

How to maintain a car battery

When you think you have a battery problem, you should visit a nearby repair shop, and they can perform a battery test. Our technicians conduct battery tests as part of our courtesy inspections

You should make sure the auto repair shop you go to is using a good tester. There are a lot of cheap ones on the market, but it’s important that the battery tester they have is able to check many different types of batteries. The universal testers may indicate that your battery is bad when it isn’t. 

Certain models, such as Mercedes, use an auxiliary 12 volt battery that has to do with brakes or other subsystems. So you could have a 12 volt battery for the car, another 12 volt battery for the brakes, and on some hybrids you may have a hybrid battery. For the electrical system on most vehicles, it’s the 12 volt that’s experiencing a battery problem. 

Some batteries that are serviceable do use battery water. In a pinch, just use distilled water. You can’t do anything on the ones that are sealed up. Certain car batteries contain a battery eye, which is a clear disc that will show green or red and let you know if it’s bad.   

A good battery will last four to six years, depending on the climate and where the battery was produced. A cheap battery may not last as long. Sometimes they go bad, due to age. They only last so long.

HomeTowne Auto Repair uses Interstate Batteries, because of the way they are constructed, the warranty that comes with them, and we know – with experience – the batteries last a while.

When you replace the batteries, you will want to place corrosion pads underneath the terminal. These help prevent corrosion from building up. 

Helpful tip: Say you’re at home and your car’s not starting. You can tell it has a little bit of power, you open the hood, and you notice you have a lot of corrosion on your battery terminals. You pour some baking soda and water (mixed together) on the corrosion. Also, believe it or not, a can of coca cola will sort of do the same thing. You just need to make sure to wash all the sugar off. So, if you use one of those two options and a wire brush or a piece of sandpaper to clean inside the terminal it may be just enough to get it cleaned up and create a connection so you can start your car. These are just some things you can do in a pinch  

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

What we do during an oil change

In Brakes, Oil Change, Tires & Wheels, Vehicle Fluids, Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Oil changes are a form of maintenance that most drivers are familiar with.

This service is necessary for your vehicle to run properly. Oil is needed to lubricate many components and some parts feature oil pressure sensors. 

Regular oil changes, which are suggested every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, prevent engine damage from occurring down the road. You can read more about why they are important in this blog post we wrote.

During this service, the oil and oil filter are replaced. HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire takes it a few steps further by providing additional services.

What an oil change looks like at HomeTowne Auto Repair

While completing an oil change, we always use seat covers, floor mats, and steering wheel covers to protect the vehicle.

In addition to replacing the oil and oil filter, our technicians perform a courtesy inspection. This includes several safety checks, such as testing the battery. They also examine the air filters and look over the belts and pulleys. 

The fluids are checked, as well. We look at the windshield washer fluid, brake fluid, coolant, power steering fluid, and transmission fluid.

Not all of the fluids have a warning light when they’re low and you may not know until something happens. Being low on oil or coolant might cause an alert. That isn’t the case with power steering fluid and transmission fluid.

Measuring the brake pad depth is another part of the process. To pass the Virginia state inspection, they must be at least 2/32 of an inch. We start suggesting replacing the brakes when they reach 3/32 or 4/32 of an inch, but some manufacturers recommend them sooner.

The tires are also measured and rotated, which helps them last longer.

To confirm there isn’t any play or damage, the steering and suspension are inspected. Parts can become loose or go bad overtime. If they aren’t replaced early on, they could lead to more expensive repairs in the future.

Additionally, our technicians make sure the lights are working properly.

The courtesy check and tire rotations are services provided at no additional charge.

We believe in maintaining your car before it breaks down. If we can catch problems early, then we can potentially save people money.

Digital inspections

Any observations our technicians make while performing an oil change or courtesy inspection are noted in digital inspections.

Through digital inspections, we are able to share photos, videos and information about the health of your vehicle. This includes details about what’s looking good, repairs that need to be made, and services we recommend.

These reports can be sent via text or email, allowing you to receive an update wherever you are.

Is your vehicle due for an oil change? You can schedule one at HomeTowne Auto Repair by calling (703) 594-4646.

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

All about axles: Different types and signs that they’re going bad

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

In our daily rush with work, errands and family activities, we heavily rely on our vehicles.

Axles play the important role of making sure that the wheels keep turning. These parts connect the wheels and bear a car’s weight.

A few kinds of axles are found on automobiles today. 

CV Axles

Constant-Velocity Axles, or CV Axles, are found on most front wheel drive vehicles and can be used on four wheel drive cars. 

Four wheel drive trucks with CV Axles typically have them on the front wheels due to independent suspension. 

Some vehicles, like Subarus, have all wheel drive and CV Axles on four corners because they have independent suspension on the front and rear.

Certain trucks use CV Axles up front and Solid Axles in the back.

CV Axles have CV joints, which enable the transmission to run the front wheels evenly.

Straight Axles

Straight axles used to be used all the time. Now, they are usually on heavier duty trucks.

A rear differential is normally a straight axle.

They feature a simple setup and can be found on various types of suspension. 

You may see this kind of axle on the front of work vehicles.

It’s also popular among lifted trucks and Jeeps, especially if their owners go offroading. Some Jeeps have u-joints up front with four wheel drive, which allow the wheels to turn.

Rear Axles

Rear axles are made up of axle shafts that are connected through the differential. Different types of rear axles are produced, such as semi-floating and full-floating axles.

A Semi-floating axle links the wheel and the flange. Cars, SUVs and light trucks use this type.

Heavy duty trucks or some that are mid-size or have four-wheel drive require a full-floating axle, which is able to “float” due to the support of two bearings.

Signs of a bad axle

Your mechanic or the auto repair shop you bring your car to should be able to tell when your axle is going bad.

The technicians at HomeTowne recently let me know when I brought my Volkswagen in for another service that we will need to keep an eye on one of my axles.

There are also some symptoms to be watchful for.

Clicking: As an axle goes bad, you might notice a clicking sound as you turn or speed up.

Grease: Grease on the edge of a tire can be another indicator that the axle needs to be replaced. This can begin to leak if a boot is torn.

Vibrating: Axle problems could cause a vehicle’s steering wheel to start shaking (so much so that you can’t ignore it).

Leaking axle seals: If the bearings on a Solid Axle start going bad, they can start to put grooves in the axle shafts. If your axle seals are leaking, you definitely want to have that addressed. If the bearings wear out due to a lack of lubrication or water gets in there, then it can cause premature wear and do more damage than just the bearings. 

Squeaking u-joints: If the u-joints are squeaking or making noises, that can be an indicator that the u-joints on the Straight Axles are bad. 

Other maintenance

Depending on the type of vehicle you have and whether it uses four-wheel drive, there are u-joints that you need to keep greased and check to make sure they aren’t wearing out or experiencing play. 

If your car or truck has CV Axles, you should have the boots looked over during an oil change.

The owners of vehicles with solid axles should also ensure that the vent cap is functioning.

A lot of the time solid axles have a tube that runs from the differential to the body and a vent cap. Due to everyday use, heat and bugs, the vent cap may stop working correctly. As it heats up, lubrication could be pushed out of the seals.

For straight axles, you want to make sure that the correct type of differential fluid is used. Also, some of them need a limited slip additive and it’s important to confirm that it’s in there. Otherwise, you could cause problems just by servicing the differential.

Why you should have them replaced

Although you don’t need to have a bad axle replaced immediately, it’s a good idea to have a new one installed soon.

Choosing to put it off will cause the problem to become worse overtime.

The issue could also impact other components. For example, brakes may not work the way they should if grease leaks on them. 

If CV Axles are bad and causing problems, such as lots of clicking or you’re feeling shaking in the steering wheel, that could put extra wear on the bearings that are going into the transmission.

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 to tell if your car radiator is going bad

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

To work correctly, the items we use regularly and for long periods of time need to be able to release heat.

That is the role a car radiator plays – it helps keep the engine cool.

This component sits out front, where the air is coming in. Coolant entering the radiator is hot and must leave at a cooler state.

Radiators don’t necessarily go bad. However, they may start leaking or become clogged. 

Symptoms of car radiator problems

Car is overheating: A vehicle overheating multiple times may be an indicator that the radiator is failing. Keep in mind that just because it’s overheating doesn’t mean the radiator is bad. The coolant needing to be changed is another possible reason.

Low on coolant: As we mentioned, sometimes coolant simply needs to be replaced or topped off. But if you’re noticing a recurring low coolant issue, there may be a leak in the radiator.

Coolant is leaking: You may see coolant under a car if there’s a problem with the radiator. It may be green, orange, pink, red or yellow. In addition to the radiator, this can be caused by a bad hose or water pump.

Coolant is a different color: The coolant changing colors could hint at rust, scale and sludge buildup in the coolant lines.

Cheap vs. good radiators

It seems like just about every manufacturer has some kind of small engine that has one or two turbos on it. That’s a lot of heat that is generated. 

Not using a good radiator with the full amount of flow that is going to hold up under pressure can be detrimental to your engine. 

If the vehicle overheats or the side tanks blow out due to cheap manufacturing, you have a chance of ruining a $5,000 to $25,000 engine. Buying that $150 radiator compared to the $300 to $500 radiator can make the difference of whether or not you could have an engine problem.

Just because it fits doesn’t mean it’s the right radiator. 

Radiator replacement

Radiator maintenance

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your vehicle’s coolant level. If you notice that it’s low, make sure to have it topped off or – if it’s a continuous problem – checked for leaks.

Coolant fluid exchanges are another way you can maintain your vehicle’s cooling system. On top of cleaning out the system, this service restores coolant. We recommend it every 30,000 to 50,000 miles, depending on the vehicle and manufacturer’s recommendations.

You should also make sure that a high quality coolant is being used. With today’s engines and how they’re manufactured you want to make sure you’re using the right type of coolant for that vehicle. Putting the wrong one in can actually cause overheating problems.

In addition to replacing the radiator and conducting coolant fluid exchanges, our technicians perform cooling system repairs. This includes installing new components, such as the thermostat and water pump. 

With most cooling system repairs, we offer to change the thermostat, which determines the amount of coolant that flows between the radiator and engine.

For example, say you have a leaking radiator and your car overheated. That maxed out your thermostat, and it might not always bounce back.

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

Protect your transmission through transmission fluid exchanges

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Your vehicle’s transmission is responsible for sending power from the engine to the wheels.

Since it plays such an important role and is an expensive component, it should be taken care of.

Maintaining your transmission is one way to prevent problems from cropping up down the road.

How to know if you need a new transmission

There are a few indicators that your transmission is going bad. 

Those signs include trouble switching gears. Grinding or crunching sounds could be heard, as well. 

You can extend its lifespan through transmission fluid exchanges, which are important for both automatic and manual transmissions.

Reasons to have a transmission fluid exchange performed

The heavy traffic we travel through each day puts a lot of stress on the transmission. Due to the high temperatures this creates as well as oxidation, the transmission fluid degrades. Contaminants collect in the fluid and metal on components breaks down.

Transmission fluid is responsible for lubricating metal to metal surfaces. If it collects dirt and debris or water builds up – displacing the oil – it isn’t able to do that properly. 

Putting off a transmission flush can lead to heat and friction, and cause components to break down.

The service is especially important for automatic transmissions because the fluid relies on pressure to build in certain areas. 

There are also many more valves and solenoids, which can stick if it becomes too dirty. This can lead to non-shifting problems or “flairs” – when the transmission revs when the driver shifts gears.

Having transmission fluid exchanges performed regularly extends the lifespan of parts and can save you money in the long run.

When to get this service

How often you get a transmission fluid exchange depends on the manufacturer’s recommendation. We suggest having this service performed every 30,000 miles.

Many manufacturers won’t recommend it until you reach 100,000 miles, when the powertrain warranty runs up.

Unless you have a german vehicle that states not to have a transmission fluid exchange performed until a certain time, you don’t need to wait until your car hits 100,000 miles.

When your vehicle is due for this service, a couple of symptoms may appear. These indicators include a burnt smell or darker transmission fluid.

So, what happens during a transmission fluid exchange?

Our technicians begin performing a transmission fluid exchange by adding a cleaner that suspends dirt and particles that have accumulated in the fluid.

The contaminants and old transmission fluid are replaced with new fluid.

Then, we add a conditioner that enhances the fluid and helps it last longer. 

Transmission fluid exchanges are a great way to take care components, prevent non-shifting problems, and help you avoid costly work on your vehicle. 

We work on manual and automatic transmissions. Here is a video about manual transmission fluid exchanges:

This is a video about automatic transmission fluid exchanges:

Any money that you put toward maintaining your car – whether it’s oil changes or mileage-based services – are worth the investment.

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

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.