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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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How you can maintain your Subaru

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Subaru vehicles last a long time. 

But to keep them going, you do need to take care of them.

Subaru maintenance items

Some of the easiest things you can for Subaru maintenance are to change your oil and check the air filter to see if it needs to be replaced.

You can pull out the air filter to see if it has a lot of dirt and leaves in it. Sometimes, if the particles are big enough, you can knock it on the ground to remove them. If it still looks good enough, you can wait until your next oil change.

Another reason that the air filter needs to be checked and changed is because if the vehicle has a turbo. You don’t want dirt ruining the impeller. 

Even if your vehicle doesn’t have a turbo, you do want to have a good air filter to improve your gas mileage.

If you live in a place where there is heavy traffic and dusty conditions, it can actually reduce the amount of time between changing your air filter.

Another maintenance item is to change the fluids. An example of this would be to change the drivetrain fluids, such as the transmission and rear differential, the engine coolant, brake fluid and power steering fluid.

Depending on driving conditions, those may need to be done anywhere from 15,000 to 16,000 miles.

Keeping your tires rotated and checking the brakes can also improve your vehicle’s lifespan.

When choosing an auto repair shop to maintain your Subaru, such as oil changes, filters and fluids, don’t focus just on the price. Consider the best air filter parts, service and warranty when making your decision.

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.

Below is more information you should know about when and how to check the 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 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 checking the 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 it. 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 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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What is making that car noise?

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

Every once in a while, you might hear something out of the ordinary as you drive out of a parking spot or travel down the road.

There are many reasons why these sounds appear.

Car noise can come from anywhere, such as your suspension and tires. They may occur as engine components wear out, belts loosen, and your vehicle experiences normal wear and tear.

What you’re experiencing could be stemming from the air conditioning system or the brakes, as well.

Because they can be symptoms of car problems or indicate that maintenance is needed, it’s a good idea to pay attention to the noises you hear and have an expert look into them.

How we perform noise diagnostics

Determining the source of what’s heard can take time, especially if it can only be heard under certain circumstances.

There is a wide variety of sounds – grinding, squealing, groaning, clicking and others – and one of them could be associated with a number of parts.

Another challenge is the location of car noise, which is sometimes misleading. It might be generated in one part of the vehicle and seem to be appearing in a different spot.

Our diagnostic testing process starts with collecting information about any sounds and behaviors noticed from the customer.

Test driving a Toyota Venza.
Test driving a Toyota Venza

Then, we take the vehicle for a test drive and try to recreate it. That may mean traveling on certain road conditions, accelerating, slowing down, or making turns.

We also look for any surface level problems through a visual inspection 

Once our technicians are able to hear the sound for themselves, they can narrow down where it’s coming from.

When and where you are hearing car noise

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.

 

Technician looking over car.

You should also note any other problems (even if they don’t seem related). Did any dashboard lights appear? Do you feel a vibration? Does the vehicle seem to be running rough?

Sharing details about recent events, like hitting a curb or repairs that have been performed, can also be helpful as we look into a car noise.

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 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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Are you going on vacation?

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Are you going on vacation this year?

Here are a few maintenance checks you should make before heading down the highway.

Vacation preparation checklist

Tire tread

Prior to your trip, you want to make sure that the tire tread is thick enough. The tires are the only things that contact the road, which has everything to do with how well you go and stop. If it’s too low, it could cause issues with stopping, and you might skid across the road when it rains.

Tire tread must be at or above 2/32 of an inch. We start recommending new tires when it hits 4/32 of an inch. After that, you start to lose your wet traction.

Tire pressure

Tire pressure that’s too low could cause damage to the overall tire. If you continue to drive on a tire that’s too low, you can damage the inside of the tire — and then a perfectly good tire has to be replaced. It can impact your fuel economy, as well.

A lot of cars today have a tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS). You may also notice symptoms when your tire pressure is low, such as sidewalls that are wider at the bottom.

You can learn about how to check your tire pressure by reading this article we wrote.

Windshield wiper blades

Windshield wiper blades are a wearable component and, as they wear down, they won’t clear as well as they should. If a windshield wiper is torn, it’s not clearing at all. 

If that blade comes off, you could scrape your windshield. Most of the time, people don’t check windshield wiper blades before they’re on the road.

It’s important to make sure that your windshield wipers are up to date, especially if you hit any rain on your drive.

Windshield washer fluid

Windshield washer fluid is going to help you clear your windshield if it’s dirty. Make sure the fluid isn’t low in the weeks leading up to your next adventure.

Fortunately, if you keep a bottle of it in your vehicle, adding windshield washer fluid is the simplest task to do.

Oil level

It’s important to make sure that your oil level isn’t too low. With the newer types of engines, the oil pressure has a lot to do with engine performance. 

Running on too little oil can prevent it from getting to parts. If it’s too low, you can also experience lower fuel economy, rough running and other engine problems. 

Watch for warning lights and, if they come on, stop your engine immediately to prevent further engine damage.

Antifreeze level

The antifreeze is what circulates through the radiator and the engine, keeping it cool. It can prevent your engine from overheating.

Before hitting the road, it’s a good idea to check the antifreeze level and confirm there aren’t any leaks.

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 All-Terrain T/A KO2 Tire can be used for off-roading vehicles

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

A lot of travelers tend to stick with the main roads. However, many adventures can be found along the paths that see less traffic.

Off-roading is an enjoyable task for some. For others, it’s a necessary part of their jobs or hobbies.

Today, there are quite a few vehicles that are built for off-roading, including trucks and Jeeps. Tires are also produced for this purpose.

If you drive an off-roading vehicle and are looking for a new set of wheels, you may want to consider the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Tire.

This all season tire goes on light trucks, SUVs and CUVs.

All-Terrain traction

The BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Tire isn’t just able to weather the elements we see in Northern Virginia on a daily basis. It’s also severe snow certified.

Motorists who choose this option are able to maneuver through soft soil as well as deep snow.

Made up of serrated shoulders, the BFGoodrich Tire offers additional traction when traveling through mud, rocks and snow. Its aggressive, all-terrain traction allows you to travel confidently.

There are also 3-D sipes, which allows it to bite down and provides the tread blocks with more stability. This trait and the optimized tire footprint shape enables the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Tire to wear more evenly.

This tire is backed by a 50,000 mile warranty, meaning that the average driver will be able to enjoy all of the perks it offers for a few years.

BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Tire features tough sidewalls

Because this BFGoodrich Tire has tougher sidewalls, sharp rocks are less likely to puncture it.

Thanks to CoreGard Technology, the rubber on the sidewall is able to withstand bruises and other injuries. The rubber is also thicker and its design causes objects to bounce off.

“What I have found best about the BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A 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.”

BFGoodrich KO2

Wheel alignments and other tires we recommend

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

Placing road hazards on tires is also a good idea, especially if you often drive in construction areas. You’re more likely to pick up a nail that may become lodged in a spot that can’t be repaired.

Owned by Michelin, BFGoodrich produces reliable, high performing tires. The BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2 Tire is just one we recommend. There’s also the BFGoodrich Advantage T/A Sport Tire and BFGoodrich Advantage Control Tire. 

The Michelin Defender Tire and the Uniroyal Tiger Paw GTZ All Season 2 Tire are some other trusty choices.

If you’re looking for a different type of tire, reach out to our Woodbridge tire shop. One of our team members can provide some guidance.

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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The importance of wheel alignments

In Vehicle Alignment by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

You can get the most out of your vehicle’s tires through one check: wheel alignments.

Wheel alignments help prevent premature tire wear. Tires can get out of alignment due to several conditions:

  • Potholes
  • Curbs
  • Suspension wear
    • Ball joints
    • Tie rod ends
    • Lower control arms
    • Control arm bushings
    • Idler arms
    • Pittman arms
  • Gravel roads
  • Speed bumps
  • Small animals
  • Construction zones
  • Driving over ice-covered roads

So, having this service performed on a regular basis helps tires last as long as possible. It also allows them to wear evenly across the tread.

We recommend alignments once a year, when you get new tires, or after suspension work is performed on a vehicle.

Other ways wheel alignments help

Making sure tires last and wear the way they should aren’t the only perks of tire alignments. 

Through this process, our mechanics are able to see if your vehicle’s steering capability is accurate and make sure the safety features are in good working order. 

Alignments can help improve a vehicle’s fuel efficiency, as well.

This article we shared talks more about the benefits of this maintenance option.

Signs that you need a wheel alignment

We mentioned before that alignments are needed every year or when certain repairs are done. But a bad wheel alignment may also be revealed through a few symptoms.

The alignment may need to be adjusted if you notice that the steering wheel appears crooked or uncentered. With the electronics on today’s vehicles, there could be a steering wheel sensor reset needed. So, the alignment could be correct, but if the sensor isn’t done correctly (or at all) it could cause the steering wheel to be crooked.

Feeling as though the car is pulling to one side is another indicator to watch out for. (However, it’s important to note if this is happening regularly or just on certain roads. It could just be how a road or certain section of it is designed.)

Uneven tire wear can also be a sign that you need an alignment. This could be due to the toe and/or camber setting being out of specification. Over a period of time, that can either cause the edges of the tires to wear out or even get a wavy pattern on the tire.

Performing wheel alignments 

Most cars nowadays require a four-wheel alignment. Even though most pickup trucks require a two-wheel alignment, it’s a good idea to make sure all the wheels are checked. This will ensure that something isn’t bent.

Tire alignment on Hyundai Tucson.
Tire alignment being performed on a Hyundai Tucson

A qualified technician will be able to see if the castor, camber and toe are within specifications. They would also be able to evaluate if you need to replace any parts, such as ball joints, lower control arms, tie rod ends, and struts.

Once the alignment is complete, Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) – like emergency braking, park assist, and lane departure warning – may need to be reset, depending on the vehicle.

We explain more details about the alignment process in this article.

Wheel alignments may seem like another thing to add on your checklist, but this service will be worth the time and investment in the long run.

Other tire services we offer

HomeTowne Auto Repair conducts wheel alignments on all makes and models. But alignments aren’t the only tire-related service offered.

We also perform tire repair (when an injury can be fixed) and tire replacement. Our autoshop sells many tires, including Michelin, BFGoodrich and Uniroyal.

Tire rotations are another service available. This is one of the tasks that’s included in the oil change process. Tire mounting and balancing are provided, as well.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located near convenient Manassas, Virginia. Our service area includes 20112. 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 Brakes 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.

Disc brake caliper replacement

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 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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Does your vehicle have a water pump problem?

In Vehicle Fluids by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

A few signs could mean that there’s a problem with an important vehicle part.

Those who find engine coolant on the ground, notice that their vehicle’s temperature gauge is running higher than normal, or see the check engine light turn on may have water pump issue.

Water pumps help keep engines from overheating by circulating antifreeze through the engine to the radiator.

How to handle water pump problems

It’s recommended that motorists experiencing these issues have their vehicle checked at an automotive service center.

Technicians should do a visual inspection and perform a cooling system pressure test to determine where the leak may be.

“External leaks are easier to find than internal engine leaks, but with today’s cars being so compactly built the technician may need to remove shield and other items to see where the coolant is leaking from,” the General Manager for HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire said.

A Dodge Charger that had a leaking water pump was recently brought to HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire.

“To address the issue, we replaced the timing chain and timing chain guides,” the manager explained. “We also used high quality valve cover gaskets to avoid future oil leaks.”

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 diagntics.

Water PumpWater Pump

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Toys for Tots gifts being accepted at HomeTowne Auto Repair

In Community Involvement 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.”