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Customer review of the BFGoodrich g-Force Comp tires

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

Our customer Ashley came to HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire to replace her tires recently, and opted for the BFGoodrich g-Force Comp 2 A/S tires on her Mazda 3.

Here’s what she had to say about her new tires, and how they perform on the road.

“I can’t say more things about how much I love about them. When it comes to performance, these things, you know, you really feel planted. You really feel the grip in each turn. I had previous to this, Michelin Pilots, and I really enjoyed those, I just kind of wanted a little bit more of a grip with when I’m taking turns, and I was referred by Eddie here in the shop to try these out. And I was really open to trying them out, and I’m really happy. I feel a difference. I really feel like each turn I take, it’s going to take it. I think you guys in the performance industry, or just in the performance community, if you want to try some really good tires that will take each turn how you want it, these are the ones to go. And I think this is a good tire for you guys,” Ashley said.

At our shop we offer several tires for a variety of vehicles, seasons, and preferences, and the BFGoodrich g-Force Comp 2 A/S Tire is definitely a fan favorite. They’re specifically designed to accelerate faster, corner harder, and brake quickly – even in wet and slippery conditions.

UPDATE: The BFGoodrich Comp 2 A/S Plus Tire has replaced the BFGoodrich Comp 2 A/S Tire. You can read more about the BFGoodrich Comp 2 A/S Plus Tire in this article we published.

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.

5 signs it’s time to replace your shocks and struts

In Auto Repair Promotions, Shocks & Struts, Suspension by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Yes, the winter has finally subsided with it’s cold, ice, and snow piles. But while the cold weather has gone away, the damage the winter inflicted on your cat hasn’t. With the large potholes and other damage your car has endured, it may be time to replace your shocks and struts.

Vehicle in park.

Keeping your vehicle maintained will keep repair costs down over the long run.

These are 5 signs that it’s time to get your shocks and struts inspected, repaired, or replaced.

1. Your car is going in for a nose dive.

When you’re turning, speeding up, or braking, are you having more difficulty controlling your vehicle? When you’re stopping, do you notice that the ‘nose’ of your car is diving forward, even when you’re only lightly braking? That is a common sign that the shocks and struts on your vehicle are worn and need to be replaced.

2. Overall, the handling is off.

If you drive your car frequently, you know it well – how it drives, how it performs under different conditions. And if all of a sudden you’re noticing that the handling of your vehicle – maybe a bumpier or rougher ride – then chances are that your shocks and struts are in need of repair or replacement.

Suspension Strut Assembly on a car.

Suspension Strut Assembly on a car, these can start to show signs of wear around 50,000 milesYou’re hearing squeaking sounds coming from your vehicle.

3. You’re hearing squeaking sounds coming from your vehicle.

When your car squeaks, that’s a pretty good indication that there’s some kind of issue. Whether you’re just driving down the road, braking, or you’re running over a pothole or rough patch, if you’re hearing squeaking from your suspension then it’s time to bring your car in to have your shocks and struts inspected for wear.

4. There’s uneven wear on your tires.

This sign is the easiest to visually see. When your shocks and struts are worn down, there’s more bouncing and that bouncing means that your tire is also moving around as it hits the ground, losing rubber in the process. This is called cupping. If you see uneven wear or smooth patches on your tires, then it’s important for you to come in and have the shocks and struts looked at.

5. Your vehicle has more than 50,000 miles.

A tire wear pattern that can be caused by worn shocks and struts.

A tire wear pattern like this can be due to worn shocks and struts.

While every car is different, and road conditions impact the life of car parts, if your car is over 50,000 miles and you’re having some issues, then it could be because of your shocks and struts. We follow the guidance from the Motorist Assurance Program that recommends that drivers replace their shocks and struts after 50,000 miles.

If it is time to replace your shocks and struts, the time to do it is now. Our shop is offering an inspection, repair, and replacement on shocks and struts now for only $20 over cost until April 30, 2016.

Shocks and struts special that expires April 30, 2016.

7 things to do, to get your car ready for spring

In Brake Fluid Flush, Cabin Air Filter, Oil Change, Tires & Wheels, Vehicle Fluids, Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Now that the hard winter months are behind us and we’re moving into spring, it may be time for you to do some ‘spring cleaning’ and bring your car to the shop for some maintenance.

Here are some seven things we recommend to get your car ready for spring:

Dirty cabin air filter.Get your cabin air-filter swapped out.

While getting your cabin air-filters changed regularly is an important part of regular maintenance, it’s even more important when it’s springtime, in order to keep pollen and other things in the air out of your car.

“That cabin air filter filters your pollen, the dust, and getting ready for spring you want a good, fresh cabin air filter in there,” said Rich Campbell, manager at HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire.

Get your car’s fluids flushed, especially your coolant.

Radiator hose replacement at HomeTowne Auto Repair and Tire.

Radiator hose replacement at HomeTowne Auto Repair and Tire

Now that winter is pretty much over, it’s a good idea to get all of your car’s fluids checked, flushed, and refilled – especially your coolant, as the coolant keeps your car cool and working properly, as temperatures continue to climb.

“Given the fact that we’re going to start coming in to warmer weather, your car’s going to be running a little hotter because the ambient temperature’s going to be warmed up, so coolant’s a good fluid to get changed now,” said Campbell.

Get your tires inspected, to make sure they’re in good shape.

Brake fluid flush on Jeep.

Brake fluid flush on Jeep at HomeTowne Auto Repair and Tire

During the winter, driving through snow and ice can really take a toll on your tires. Having your tires inspected, to make sure that they’re still safe to drive and have enough tread on them is huge as spring rains move through the area. If your tires are worn down, you won’t be able to have the traction you need, for stopping time on wet surfaces. A few seconds may not sound like much when it comes to traction on your tires, but can make a huge difference when your stopping time is impaired.

“You need to make sure you’ve got adequate traction,” said Campbell.

If you use winter tires, it’s time to swap them out.

While many people now opt for an all season tire, if you’ve invested in winter tires for the bad weather in Virginia, then now it’s time to preserve the life of those tires, and switch over to some all season or summer tires.

Get all of your bulbs and lights checked.

Replacing tail light bulb.

Replacing tail light bulb at HomeTowne Auto Repair and Tire

This is another part of good vehicle maintenance that you should be doing year round, but as part of your vehicle ‘spring cleaning’ it’s a good idea to make sure that all of your lights and bulbs are working correctly, and replace the ones that have fizzled out.

Get your hoses checked for dirt and grime buildup.

During the winter time, things like salt and grime can work their way into your car, specifically your houses, and cause a problem later if it goes unchecked. You don’t want to wait until you’re having a problem with your hoses, to find it was something that could have been prevented with a little maintenance.

“Dirt and grime accumulates from the winter salts we’ve endured. That salt’s pretty tough on the underside of a car,” said Campbell.

Wheel Alignment at HomeTowne Auto Repair.

Wheel Alignment at HomeTowne Auto Repair and Tire

Get your alignment checked.

In the winter you’re bound to deal with all of the potholes that have accumulated from snow and plowing, and maybe you even ran into a few curbs during a storm. No matter what the reason is, getting your alignment checked and corrected, and having a technician check for tire wear are important parts of getting your car ready for spring.

The multi-point courtesy check that HomeTowne does will pick up a lot of these issues and more, and comes free with all of our standard oil changes. Be smart this spring, and make sure your car is ready to go for spring and summer road trips, not stuck in the shop for costly problems.

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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Get a pre-purchase inspection before buying your next used car

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

Pre-purchase inspection.

Pre-purchase inspections can help to spot problems with a used vehicle you want to purchase.

Are you looking to purchase a used car? Buying a used car can be nerve-wracking, even if you already know a fair bit about cars. That’s where HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire can help.

At our shop we offer a pre-purchase inspection service for used cars – perfect for if you’re planning on buying a car and want to check it out first.

Our technicians will do a thorough inspection of the vehicle, looking for any damage, system failures, problem areas and indicators of a lack of regular maintenance. We also run a test on all of the systems in the vehicle, to pinpoint any issues.

We offer different levels of pre-purchase inspections, depending on your needs and what you already know about the vehicle. With our most basic inspection we offer a state inspection-style check with an oil change, to look for problems with the vehicle.

In our more in-depth pre-purchase inspections we’ll hook the car up to our computer diagnostics and look for error codes, and check the entire vehicle’s body, frame and suspension for even minor issues that could be costly later on.

Hometowne pre-purchase checklist.

We inspect the entire car and test it’s systems to look for failures and a lack of maintenance.

With our third level inspection check, we’ll also test all of the buttons in the vehicle to ensure that they’re working properly and do a function test that includes climate control (heating and air conditioning) which can be costly fixes when buying a used car.

If you’re interested in getting a pre-purchase inspection on a used vehicle, give our advisers at HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire a call. The inspection can take up to an hour and a half, so we recommend scheduling ahead of time.

We care about our customers, and we’re hoping that getting an inspection with help you to make a decision on whether or not it’s right to purchase the vehicle you’re considering, and to help you make sure that you know what you’re getting.

It’s always good to double check, as buying any car is a huge investment. We’ve seen firsthand, with previous pre-purchase inspections, how it can save you thousands of dollars in repairs down the road.

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.

Do you need winter tires?

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

Tire tread.

Winter tires

Before you know it, snow will be falling and ice will be accumulating on the roads. You may be thinking that your regular tires will do the trick, and will be able to get you around safely this winter, but that may not be the case. Being in Virginia, it may not be as prone to snowy weather as other parts of the country, but it does snow here, and snow and ice can put you and your vehicle at serious risk.

Chances are that your current set of tires are either summer performance, or all-season tires. Like the name ‘all-season’ implies, you will hypothetically be able to drive with your tires in winter weather, but that doesn’t mean they’re the safest option. If you want to make sure you’ve got the best chance of avoiding crashes and damage, you need to invest in a good set of winter tires.

Let’s talk about the benefits of winter tires:

  • More traction. They’re designed with tread patterns that are meant to have better traction when driving on snow and ice. The more traction, the safer it is to drive on slippery winter roads.
  • What they’re made of. What they’re made of plays a big role in how they handle snow and ice. Quality winter tires have rubber compounds like silica and sunflower oil in the tire, which makes it ‘softer’. This softness allows the tire to maintain grip, instead of freezing and locking up, like what happens with a traditional tire.
  • Increased brake performance and stop time. You never know when an extra 10 to 15 feet of stopping time could prevent a collision, especially when there are inclement weather conditions. When you get winter tires on your vehicle, you’re maximizing your braking performance and stop time on icy and snowy roads. Recent tests have shown up to a 35 percent improvement in braking capacity with winter tires, according to Tire Rack.
  • It’s a good investment. Other than the fact that you’re investing in your safety and the safety of your vehicle by purchasing winter tires, you’re also going to be saving money in other ways too. Yes, buying a set of tires up front is an investment. But there is nothing you can do to stop the snow and ice this winter, and when you’re driving on icy and snowy roads, it will eat up your all-season tires far quicker than winter tires. You can alternate between sets for the seasons, and extend the life of your tires overall. This in turn will save you money.
Side of tire.

Winter tire benefits.

Now is the time to head in to HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire, to see what tires will work best for your car. You don’t want to wait until snow is actually falling, or you’ve been in a collision to make your seasonal switch over. Our advisors are here to help, and we will walk you through all of the options that will work with your vehicle. We carry an extensive line of quality tires, including some of the best tires on the market.

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Five tips for when you’re driving in fog

In Car Safety by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Fog can make it really difficult and dangerous when you’re out there driving on the road. At HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire, we’re committed to keeping our customers safe, so we’ve put together some important tips to help you when you’re driving in fog.

  1. Slow down. It may be frustrating when you’re trying to get somewhere, but slowing down is one of the best ways to prevent incidents from occurring. When slowing down, you’re going to want to keep an eye on your speedometer to double check your speed, because thick fog has the ability to mask your speed, due to the fact that you’re not able to see objects around you.
  2. Turn on your low-beams. When it’s difficult to see, a lot of drivers have a default of turning on their high-beams, but that’s actually the opposite of what you want to do. The high-beams in foggy weather actually make it more difficult for you to see, because the illumination from the high-beams can reflect off of the fog and back to your vehicle.
  3. Use your fog-lights. Not all vehicles have them, but if you do have front fog-lights, it will make it easier to light up the road, and make your car more visible to other people driving on the road. If you have rear fog-lights, it’s also a good idea to turn them on because it allows drivers that are following behind you to see your vehicle more clearly.
  4. The right-side pavement line should be your guide. Especially when there’s thick fog in the air, the clear and thick white line painted on the right side of the road is going to be a huge guide for you as you’re driving. You might be tempted to use the pavement lines in the center of the road, but they are more difficult to see, and it can lead to accidents if other drivers can’t see as clearly and veer toward the center.
  5. Don’t stop. If you’re having difficulty seeing while driving in the fog, you may be inclined to want to drive very slowly, or even stop in the road. But when it’s driving in fog, you should not be stopping on the road at all. If you absolutely have to, what you need to do is find a safe area to pull over away from traffic, and then turn off your lights. If you pull over and leave your lights on, drivers could think that your lights show a travel lane, which could potentially lead to a collision.

Follow these tips and exercise caution on the road when there’s fog, and it will go a long way to help avoid a collision or incident.

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.


Foggy parking lot.

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HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire assisting Salvation Army with Angel Tree

In Community Involvement, The Salvation Army by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is stepping in to help with this year’s Angel Tree program, run by the Prince William Salvation Army.

This year, the Salvation Army is hoping to assist more than 6,200 families in the area, with holiday assistance. According to the Salvation Army, more than 14,000 children need toys, bikes, clothing and educational games this holiday season.

ST Billingsley, owner of HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire, was at the Manassas Mall this weekend, manning the Angel Tree, and helping residents select tags to provide gifts to families in need. Each year, we sponsor children from the Angel Tree, as well as fill in the gaps for any items children in the program have requested.

“At HomeTowne, we’re proud to support the Salvation Army, and their effort to provide gifts with the Angel Tree program for the holidays,” said Billingsley.

To get involved, all you need to do is go to one of the Angel Tree locations and select a tag with the wish list of a child in the program, then purchase the items and return them to the tree where you selected the tag, or HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire, which is a designated drop-off location.

Locations in Prince William.

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.

All-season versus snow tires: What’s the difference?

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

All-season tire.

All season tires can perform reasonably well in most weather, but not quite as much on snow and ice.

When you think of ‘all-season’ tires and ‘winter’ or ‘snow’ tires, do you think that they’re the same, or that they perform equally?

Many people think that all-season tires work equally well in all weather conditions, but when it comes to snow and icy patches on the road this winter, those tires may not be your best option.

According to HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire manager Rich Campbell, all-season tires are designed to perform reasonably well in all seasons, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best tires to put on your car for the winter months.

“In an all-season tire you’ll feel relatively comfortable, but as soon as you get some snow and ice in there, they don’t perform nearly as well. You may lose the ability to brake – which in winter driving, is one of the important things is being able to stop. You can get moving on almost any tire, but they will lose grip when you start to apply the brakes, whereas a winter and snow tire, you’ll gain that grip back,” said Campbell.

Winter tire.

Winter and snow tires give you extra grip on those icy roads.

One way to ensure that you get additional traction, grip and safety without purchasing winter or snow tires is to select tires with the mountain snowflake rating. But if you’re serious about ensuring that your vehicle has as much traction as possible in the snow and ice, then snow tires are the way to go, according to Campbell.

“Typically snow tires are purposefully built. They have a chemical compound that keeps them pliable – or soft – in the extreme cold, to maximize grip. They also are designed with certain siping, a certain tread block, to give maximum traction. Also, some of those come with the ability to be studded,” said Campbell.

Many performance vehicles, like Audi and BMW, tend to come with a summer tire, which won’t safely get you through the winter months.

“You can’t really put a price on being able to stop 10 to 15 feet sooner, to avoid an accident,” said Campbell.

Snow tire.

Those extra 10 to 15 feet of brake time you gain with snow tires can make a huge difference.

Drivers can invest in a good set of winter or snow tires for the colder months, and then store them during the summer, and switch over to summer or all season tires. This helps keep your vehicle and passengers safe in all weather, throughout the year.

There are many options available for winter and snow tires. HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire carries winter and snow tires from several established tire companies including Michelin, Bridgestone, Goodyear and Pirelli.

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Here’s what you need to have in your vehicle’s emergency supply kit

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Being prepared is one of the smartest things you can do in life. Many people keep supplies in their homes for an emergency, but what about your car?

So many people spend hours driving in their vehicle each day, and anything can happen when you’re out there on the road. That’s why it’s so important to make sure you keep a well-stocked emergency supply kit in your vehicle at all times. Especially with the winter weather coming, it can make a huge difference if you have a kit ready for when problems arise.

Here are some important things to include in your emergency supply kit:

A cell phone charger. If you’re stuck or in an accident, having a fully charged cell phone can be a real lifesaver.

First aid kit: Make sure you have a small and portable first aid kit with all of the basic medical essentials.

Jumper cables: Sometimes your car won’t start in cold weather, so make sure you have some jumper cables on hand.

Flares: If there’s an accident or situation, having flares in your car ensure that you’ll be visible to the police and other drivers.

A full tank of gas: Whether you’re traveling long or short distances, having a full tank of gas will ensure that you can get to your destination safely.

Bag of sand or cat litter: Having this will give you weight in the back of the car, help with traction, and you can use it to get over patches of ice.

Shovel, ice scraper and snow brush: When you’re getting ready for your daily commute in the winter, it’s important to have tools to remove snow from your vehicle.

Tow rope: If you’re stuck and person with a four wheel drive vehicle comes along, they can assist you and get you back on the road.

Blankets, mittens, and warm clothes: If you get stuck on the side of the road, or you need to leave your car for any reason, having these on hand can mean the difference between being chilly and frostbite.

Flashlight: In storms or for nighttime driving, having a flashlight on hand will make it easier to see and be seen.

Water and snacks: With car trouble and bad traffic, you never know how long you’ll have to wait for help or to make it home. Having water and snacks on hand is a good idea in any season.

Snow tires: Snow tires are important, especially if you live in areas that get a lot of snow. Not only do they perform better in the snow to get you going, but they also make it possible for you to safely stop in the snow and ice.

At HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire we sell a wide range of snow tires that will ensure that your car is as safe as possible this winter.

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Get the Facts on Virginia State and Emissions Inspections

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Understanding what you need to do to ensure you car is in compliance for state and emissions inspections can be confusing. We’ve created this post to try and help answer any questions you may be having.

So you’ve just moved to Virginia. What do you need to do to register your car?

Well, the first thing you need to get is the Virginia Safety Inspection. That’s the sticker you see in your window that is related to safety items. The safety inspections are regulated by the Virginia State Police. During a safety inspection an inspector is going to look at your tires, steering, and suspension – hundreds of items in your car – to make sure that those items are working properly, and are safe to operate on the roads.

Aside from a safety inspection, the second item you’re going to need is called the Virginia Emissions Inspection. This is related to your license plates which come from the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The Virginia Emissions Inspection is regulated by the Department of Environmental Quality.

The Virginia Safety Inspections are conducted every year, prior to the end of the month that’s currently on the sticker. The Virginia Emissions Inspection is conducted every two years.

What inspections you need may be confusing for some individuals, like our military members who have moved to Virginia from another state. We checked with the Quantico Marine Corps. Base, to ask what inspection documentation was needed to access Virginia military bases.

If you’ve just moved here from your home state, wherever that may be, you may have your vehicle still registered there, and that’s perfectly legal. However, if your home state requires some sort of safety inspection – and then that inspection has expired on your windshield – Quantico, which is the base we contacted, requires you to have a current safety inspection.

And you can use the Virginia Safety Inspection to qualify to still get on base, even if your vehicle is not from Virginia.

Another important point to know about Virginia Safety Inspections are the rules for cars that are issued a rejection sticker for a safety issue with your vehicle. Once the rejection has been issues you have 15 days to make those repairs, and then you can come back to the original inspection station to have that re-inspection performed.

With safety inspections, it’s important to understand that those rules can change on a yearly basis. We do our best to keep up on those rules. There is a Virginia State Police website to help you understand some of those rules, but that can be confusing, so please ask your service advisor at HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire if you have any questions, prior to these inspections being performed.

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.