How tire quality and tread depth can impact your safety on the road

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

How tire quality and tread depth can impact your safety on the road

Worn out tire edge dry rot, at tread bar indicators, string plug in tire. Time for a NEW one..!!

Have you noticed that your tires are low? Are you having difficulty gripping the road in your vehicle in the rain? Then it may be time to get your tires assessed. If they do need to be replaced, there are some things that you need to think about when you are selecting new ones.

Many people think that tires aren’t something that needs to be invested in, just because they wear out, and the urge is to slap on the cheapest set of wheels a shop can offer. But there are safety considerations that you need to take into account before you opt for those cheaper tires.

How tire quality and tread depth can impact your safety on the road

worn out tire edge wear

All tires start out with a tread that measure between 8/32ths and 10/32ths, depending on the tire. As you drive on the road, the tire starts to wear, due to resistance and the weight of the car as you drive. This is completely natural, and happens over time. Each tire has grooves and siping, that aid in stopping your vehicle safely – especially in bad weather. When you’re dealing with a cheaper, entry level tire – as you drive on the tires, and the grooves wear down – you’re dealing with a tire that is not as good at stopping you safely.

This is different from higher quality tire that tire manufacturers understand that this happens, and incorporate this into their design – like the Michelin Premier.

How tire quality and tread depth can impact your safety on the road

Michelin Premire tire safe when new model

How tire quality and tread depth can impact your safety on the road

Michelin Premire tire safe when worn model

“As that tread starts to drop, as you put miles on it, it starts to lose its ability to maintain traction like when it was new. Whereas the new Michelin Premier is designed to be safe when new, safe when worn. So when it starts to wear down, you can see some of the emerging grooves, and those grooves start to open up as the tires wear down. And some less expensive tires don’t have that,” said Rich Campbell, manager for HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire.

Once the tread hit 5/32ths and 4/32th, that’s when you will start to get recommendations from our technicians about replacing your tires.

“Once you start to reach 5 and 4/32ths, the tire isn’t going to be helping you very much in the rain. And you’ll start to feel that in your performance, and you’ll feel it kind of hydroplane a little bit. That’s because your tires are having difficulty gripping the road,” said Campbell.

A more expensive tire tends to have a higher speed rating, which also improves your safety when driving. The higher a tire’s speed rating, the softer the rubber. And soft rubber in high end tires is much better at gripping the road, than a stiffer and cheaper tire.

How tire quality and tread depth can impact your safety on the road

new tire deep tread and sips

“The higher the speed rating, the better the grip, the better it stops,” said Campbell.

When something as minor as 1/32ths of a tire’s tread can make a huge difference in stopping time, grip and safety, you need to take replacing your tires regularly seriously. By investing in more expensive ones, you’re actually prolonging the life of your car and the tires, as they will wear down more evenly and provide less risk as they wear down because of the added safety features.

Keep yourself and your family safe, and make sure that you are purchasing high quality tires for your vehicle. Our technicians at HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire will be able to explain all of the high quality tires that we offer, and help you to choose the best ones for your vehicle.

Why you should choose HomeTowne Auto Repair and Tire for your oil changes

In Oil Change, Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire


    Toyota Sienna Rear Brake Check during an oil change

    Toyota Sienna Rear Brake Check during an oil change


    Qualified technicians to perform oil changes and maintenance

    Qualified technicians to perform oil changes and maintenance

  • oil change honda vtec

    oil change honda vtec

  • oil change correct type and weight of oil

    oil change correct type and weight of oil

  • Honda Civic Belt check during an oil change

    Honda Civic Belt check during an oil change

  • Honda Civic Battery Corrision

    Honda Civic Battery Corrision

  • Ford Mustang oil change tire inspection

    Ford Mustang oil change tire inspection

  • Dodge Charger tire rotation during an oil change

    Dodge Charger tire rotation during an oil change

  • BMW oil change quality oil filter and synthetic oil

    BMW oil change quality oil filter and synthetic oil

Getting your vehicle’s oil changed is a regular part of good maintenance, and there are many quick service locations and auto shops that offer oil changes. So why make the decision to go to HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire for your oil change? There are many reasons.

When you come to HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire versus a quick service location, you’re going to get a much more comprehensive oil change and service.

“We inspect the car top to bottom. We look at the recommendations for each car, recommended by the manufacturer for that mileage,” said Jason Dean, one of our Master Technicians.

During an oil change we offer a full inspection of the car including brakes, suspension, tires, lights, wiper blades, window glass and leaks. Essentially we offer a mini state inspection, with a check sheet of important things to look for to keep your car operating smoothly and safely.

We also offer a great value. Our standard oil changes cost $39, but we go the extra mile for our customers, offering a tire rotation with the oil change as part of your service – which is a $20 to $30 value alone. This is much different than what you’ll get at a quick service location.

Part of the reason we offer this tire rotation service, is so that our certified technicians can see your brakes clearly, to look for signs of wear or damage. This can end up saving you hundreds or being in an accident, by finding problems early and preventing them.

In addition to our standard oil change service, we offer premium packages for $59 and $79 that can include installing an engine oil supplement, fluid analysis, fuel supplements and new filters, all with that same superior level of service.

One thing that is important to us at HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is listening to our customers. We want to know all of your concerns about the car before your oil change, so that during our inspection we can look for those issues.

“We look at the car to address, first and foremost, the customer’s concerns. That’s the first thing that we look at – if they have a concern such as noise, or anything that the car’s doing, and then we go from there,” Dean said.

So if you want a technician to put time and care into your car during an oil change, then we’re the right shop for you.

“You’re going to get an honest evaluation of the car, we honestly care about what we do, we care about the customer and you’ll get a fair price,” Dean said.

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HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire’s little library becomes chartered, and joins international little free library group

In Community Involvement by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

HomeTownHomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire’s little library becomes chartered, and joins international little free library groupe Auto Repair & Tire – one of the first partners in the Greater Prince William Little Free Library initiative – has now been internationally chartered under

This means that our car-shaped library is listed on a map with thousands of other little free libraries around the world.

The HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire little library is located outside of the shop off of Route 1 in Woodbridge.

ST Billingsley, the owner of HomeTowne, received a plaque of recognition from the organization, which he has added to the little free library.

“We are so proud to be part of an international network of little free libraries. We know that promoting literacy is important to our community, and we had fun working on the project and creating our library. Now we hope residents can use our little free library to find their new favorite book,” said Billingsley.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire wins Boy Scouts award

In Boy Scouts, Community Involvement by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire wins Boy Scouts award

ST Billingsley received an award on behalf of HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire from the Boy Scouts.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire wins Boy Scouts award

Last night, HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire received an award for our involvement with the Boy Scouts’ 2015 Community Friends for Scouting campaign.

At the Community Friends of Scouting ceremony, HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire was acknowledged for our continued support and involvement with the Boy Scouts.

“At HomeTowne we’re proud that we can support local organizations like the Boy Scouts that help children and the community we live and work in,” said ST Billingsley, owner of HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire was one of the event’s Silver Sponsors, along with Management and Training Consultants, Inc. and the Rotary Club of Lake Ridge, Virginia.

10 basic things every car owner should know – plus one more

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

10 basic things every car owner should know - plus one more

Checking the oil in your car on a regular basis can give you an indication if something is wrong with your engine

Here are a few basic things every car owner should know:

Check your oil

1. Learn how to check your engine oil on your own. Oil being the simplest thing you can do for your car to ensure that the motor is taken care of. Check your dipstick to make sure you have the correct amount of oil in the engine. Even though you can go several months between your oil changes, do not solely rely on your car to tell you when it needs something. The use of synthetic oil will lengthen the time between oil changes. Call and schedule an appointment with us to show you how to check your own oil (free of charge).

Spare tire
2. Familiarize yourself with where your jack and spare tire are located. The spare tire for your vehicle can be located underneath the car, inside the trunk or inside the trunk panel. Make sure the spare is inflated! There is nothing worse than going to fix a flat tire and realizing your spare is flat as well.

Maintenance service schedule
3. Car maintenance schedules can vary. Looking at things like: batteries, oil, brakes, belts and transmission fluid, just to name a few, should be part of your car’s regular “checkup”. A good place to start is with your vehicle’s owner’s manual. This manual will give the recommended service intervals for your vehicle. Following these recommendations will allow you to maximize the life of your car. Some fluids should be changed as early as 15k miles depending on the operation of the vehicle, the average is about 30k miles.

Vehicle owner’s manual
4. While it may not be your number one choice in reading material, always look over your owner’s manual in its entirety. In doing so, it becomes easier to determine what the lights mean when they come on in your dashboard. For many cars you can also find the owner’s manual online.

Windshield wiper blades
5. Check the condition of your windshield wiper blades periodically. When wipers become torn or cracked your vision can be impaired. Wipers will start to deteriorate even if not used extensively due to exposure to sunlight, pollution and related factors. Check your wiper fluid reservoir and make sure you always have plenty of wiper fluid. Never use just water unless it’s an emergency, as during cold weather it will freeze and crack the reservoir.

Battery and jumper cables
6. Know where your battery is, you should always carry jumper cables in your vehicle just in case you leave your lights on and it drains the battery. There are also portable jump start devices that you can keep in your vehicle in case this situation should arise. Always remember, “Red is hot and black is not” The red is the positive and black is the negative where the jumper cables go.

Shocks and struts
7. If you come to a stop and your car feels like it is rocking back and forth most likely, your shocks and struts are worn and not doing their job, dampening the movement of your vehicle. When driving an older vehicle, even rattling going over bumps can be a good sign that the shocks and struts have seen better days. Many drivers don’t notice their shocks and struts going bad because it happens over time.

Brakes and rotors
8. If you press your brake pedal and feel the steering wheel shake while you are applying the brakes and/or feel the brake pedal move back and forth that is a sign that your brake disc rotors have excessive run-out or what is referred to as pulsation. This can actually affect the ABS (anti-lock braking system) and the stability control system.

Engine air filter
9. One of the simplest and most important things you can do is to change your engine air filter. Doing so helps your engine last longer and improves your fuel economy. Change your engine filter at least once a year around the Washington DC area. In our region, air filters get dirty with fine particles not necessarily large leaves.

Flashing check engine light
10. If the check engine light flashes, get your vehicle looked at as soon as possible. A flashing light indicates that there is something seriously wrong and should not be ignored and driven. When the light is flashing it means there is some kind of misfire and this can cause catalytic converter damage.

Non-flashing check engine light 
+1. A check engine light that comes on but does not flash can mean anything. This is just a symptom, but without diagnostics you cannot find the cause of it. Much like developing a fever, you know you have a fever but don’t know where the infection is coming from. Your check engine light should be diagnosed, don’t just go throwing parts into your car, or self-diagnosing, you may be wasting your money by guessing, just as you would not self-diagnose an illness.

Five costly mistakes of car ownership

In Auto Parts, Automotive Diagnostics, Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Did Ybattery-corrosion-honda-civicou Know?
If a modern car is treated with care, it can last for over 100,000 miles without needing major costly repairs. However, neglecting you car’s maintenance needs can leave you with a large bill that could have been avoided. Do you really want to be spending extra money?

Here are five commonly-made mistakes to avoid. Doing so will not just save money, but keep you and your passengers safe as well.

Putting off an Oil Change
1. While oil technology has improved dramatically over the past couple of decades, it is still important to change your oil as recommended by your car’s manufacturer. Motor oil gradually breaks down as it is circulated through your engine. After a certain number of miles, the oil doesn’t provide adequate lubrication. In modern engines, many manufacturers use some form of variable valve timing or hydraulic pressure from the oil pump to help make the cars more powerful and efficient. Not changing the oil greatly affects these systems. Changing your oil is one of the kindest, simplest things you can do for your vehicle to insure your engine performs like it is supposed to for a very long time. Skipping this simple task can shorten the life of your car.

Changing Tires without an Alignment
2. An alignment ensures that the wheels of your car are positioned properly on the road. When a car is out of alignment, the tires wear out prematurely or in places where they’re not supposed to. If you are replacing two or more tires it is important to have this checked to get the most life out of the tires.

Installing Oversized Aftermarket Wheels
3. While some aftermarket wheels are carefully designed to be compatible with certain vehicles, getting the wrong wheels can harm your vehicle’s suspension and ride comfort. Also, if you buy wheels that are too large for your car, you can damage your fenders and wheel wells. Even though, the wheels and tires may technically fit on the vehicle it puts more force on the wheel bearing and brakes and can make them wear out prematurely although it looks cool, (and I agree) be prepared for some extra repairs.

Buying a Cheap Battery
4. A dead battery is a huge hassle. Often times, it means waiting for a jump start, or having to wait for a ride to get a battery to put in your car. And it’s important to find the exact battery for your car. A less expensive battery generally has fewer cells and less reactive material in it then a higher end battery so therefore the cold cranking amp ability and the longevity will generally be less. Going to a garage with ASE certified technicians with the right battery test equipment can help you avoid an inconvenient break down.

Getting Cheap Body Work
5. If you have a dent on your car, sometimes you can be approached by a “professional” in a shopping mall parking lot, or a friend might offer to take care of the problem. Beware, because sloppy body repair can cost more to correct than the original damage. Once an amateur has damaged the paint, a dent that could have been repaired by a professional for $100 dollars or (3 egg laying hens, and 5 pounds of bacon) * according to google July 29th, 2014, might now cost five times as much to be fixed.

Car care myths

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Car care mythsFixing your car at home is the same as taking it to a shop
While fixing your car at home – for example a brake job – is less expensive. You don’t get your car up in the air to take a look at brake lines and brake hoses, you are most likely not going to do a brake fluid flush or going to have a tester to measure if the brake fluid is bad. You may not have access to information on the ABS (antilock brake system) and cause damage to the system while replacing brake pads or shoes. Thus, this may actually cost more money if these things are overlooked.

Transmission flushes are bad
To keep your transmission is top working order you do need to change your transmission fluid just like you change your engine oil, just not as often. Manufactures dont like to give a fluid change interval since they want you to drive a car for about 100k miles then buy a new one. But like most people we like to keep our cars longer. Every 30k miles is a good time to do this service depending on driving conditions. Dealers recommend this around the same mileage interval.

Fuel injectors do not need to be cleaned
If you happen to have the good fortune of living somewhere that there is no traffic then this is probably correct, however if you are in stop and go traffic with lots of idling depending on your vehicle it is likely that you will need to clean fuel injectors in order for the vehicle to run correctly.

Car care myths

You can use any oil in your car
Today’s engines have much closer tolerances and with the electronically controlled engines that are controlled by solenoids and oil pressure it is more important than ever to use the correct weight of oil, if you use the wrong weight of oil you can have engine performance problems.

Dealerships can fix your car better than independent shops
Like any business both of these rely on the people who are actually working for them. Auto techs have a wide range of skills and experience and like most professions there are good and bad.

You must go to a dealership for vehicle maintenance to keep you warranty valid
As long as maintenance is performed on schedule according to your owner’s manual the vehicle can be taken to any shop or even done by the owner if records are kept.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire sponsors Family Shoot Out fundraiser

In Boy Scouts, Community Involvement, Quail & Upland Wildlife Federation, Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire sponsors Family Shoot Out fundraiser

Last weekend, Hometowne Auto Repair & Tire was one of the sponsors for the Quail & Upland Wildlife Federation’s family shoot out fundraiser in Fredericksburg.

More than 77 people attended the fundraiser, doubling last year’s numbers.

According to Jerry Saggers, 80% of the participants were related to the Boy Scouts organization.

24 of the participants took part in the skeet and trap shooting portion of the day.

“One of the winners of a big prize was a girl – probably about 8-years old. She won the top gun shoot of .22 and bebe gun shooting,” said Saggers.

Many of the Boy Scouts we helped sponsor at the fundraiser were able to begin work on their rifle shooting merit badge.

“Nobody got a [merit] badge, they got partials, because we didn’t have time to do the whole entire merit badge – there are two parts to it. One is the classroom part, the otheHomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire sponsors Family Shoot Out fundraiserr one is the hands on shooting portion of it,” Saggers commented.

The Quail & Upland Wildlife Federation was able to raise $4,500 at the event, which they will use for their programs.

“The money’s going to be used for two purposes…one is for habitat resource projects, and the other is for our youth and outreach program,” said Saggers.