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How HomeTowne Auto Repair gives back to the community

In Community Involvement by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Giving back to the community is important to us.

It’s one of the ways we stand out. (You can read more about how we’re different from other repair shops here.)

To meet our goal of supporting the community, HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire partners with local non-profits.

They include The Arc of Greater Prince William, the Americans in Wartime Experience, and Action in Community Through Service (ACTS).

Assisting The Arc of Greater Prince William

The Arc of Greater Prince William serves individuals with mental and physical disabilities.

In addition to working on the 50 vehicles The Arc operates, we provide the organization with free oil changes and safety and emission inspections.

“And sometimes, when a vehicle breaks down with somebody with a disability on the vehicle, they are on the spot immediately to make sure that we care for our folks, get the vehicle back and running or bring a replacement vehicle so we continue the mission that we have each and every day,” The Arc of Greater Prince William Director of Resource Development Chris Caseman said.

Through our media arm, What’s Up Prince William (WUPW.news), we are able to share The Arc’s programs and fundraisers.

“Every time we have a program that’s coming out, What’s Up Prince William will help us put a program together, help us put the promotional material together and make it happen,” Caseman added.

Our support of the Americans in Wartime Experience

The Americans in Wartime Experience seeks to honor those who served in the military and on the homefront. It is constructing an education center and landscapes of war off of Dale Boulevard in Dale City. 

“That organization is a little bit unique where it actually can bring some tourism to the Dale City area, and they talk about the military in a little bit different way than some of the other museums do, where these tanks actually – they’re able to drive around,” HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire Co-Owner and WUPW.news Publisher ST Billingsley explained. 

With WUPW.news, we promote the annual Tank Farm Open House and support the museum’s newsletter.

Billingsley has worked alongside Neabsco District Supervisor Victor Angry to share any news from the supervisor’s office as well as promote the Dale City Volunteer Fire Department (DCVFD) and the Americans in Wartime Museum. 

“What’s Up Prince William, and ST, and everyone that’s a part of it spends a lot of time, a lot of hours putting together marketing – productive videos, spending time out on the Tank Farm, really telling the story of Americans in wartime, which is something that this community and this nation really need to never forget – the stories of the sacrifices that our veterans have endured to allow us to have the freedoms that we have here in America today,” Angry said.

How HomeTowne Auto Repair helps ACTS

ACTS is a Dumfries-based non-profit that provides various services to community members.

WUPW.news shares information about programs, news and events. It promotes the IWALK for ACTS on Facebook and through videos, including one that runs at Stonebridge at Potomac Town Center.

“ACTS’ annual IWALK would not be the same without What’s Up Prince William. Every year, they’re the media sponsor and they’re the ones who help get everybody to come out and support,” ACTS CEO Steve Liga said. “When I look around and I see blue shirts by the hundreds, I know What’s Up Prince William helped get them there.”

The news site also works on projects that focus on various topics, including the organization’s 50th anniversary. It created videos about the Prince William Food Rescue app, as well.

“That’s another way in which we’ve [been] able to partner to get our message out and to be able to communicate with the community very clearly about our program, and that’s just been fantastic,” Prince William Food Rescue Program Director Aaron Tolson.

The Arc, the Americans in Wartime Experience and ACTS are just three ways we support the community throughout the year. WUPW.news promotes other non-profits and area businesses.

“We are from here, we work here, and we support here,” Billingsley said. “Please support us.”

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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Tire rotations and their importance

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

As a car owner, you are an investor – you invest in oil changes, needed parts and new tires.

We all know that taking care of a car isn’t cheap. Maintenance may feel like a burden sometimes, however, it can prevent future expenses.

One service we offer is tire rotations, where the front and back tires change places. 

This service might not sound exciting or important, but it can actually be very beneficial.

Benefits of tire rotations

First of all, it helps your tires last longer.

The suspension in the front and back are set up differently. For example, the engine and heavy weight is in the front. So, if the front tires aren’t rotated to the back they will wear irregularly and start feathering – which are lips that create tire noise.

Tire rotations not only protect your tires, they also allow us to take a look at the brakes. Additionally, our technicians are able to move the lug nuts, where corrosion tends to develop, and check anything else that the tires are hiding. 

Our courtesy inspections

We provide free tire rotations during oil changes, which we suggest having done every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.

A free courtesy inspection is performed, as well. During this check, we look at the car battery, lights and other components.

While working on a vehicle, our techs complete digital inspections that provide details, photos and videos of any needed repairs.

Customers may access the inspection via text or email.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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Why your car AC is important during the winter

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

It’s cold outside. So, why should I worry if my car’s air conditioning works or not? 

Well, there’s actually a very good reason. 

An a/c system’s role in winter

During the winter, obviously we use our defroster a lot – especially in the morning – to clear the windshield and side windows. Normally, you put it on full blast as you’re warming up the car. 

But on today’s vehicles, when you turn it to the defrost setting, the air conditioning does come on to help dehumidify the air before it goes across the heater core.

It’s kind of like your house – when you have the air conditioning running during the summer, condensation develops as the moisture is being pulled out of the air. It’s the same concept when you have your car AC on for the defroster. If you’re putting dry, warm air on the windshield – rather than moist, warm air – it helps keep the windows clear.

The moisture that is removed from the air goes out the drain tube through the evaporator.

Even though we’re talking about this in the winter time, it also comes into effect during the rest of the year when it’s raining or the temperature drops a bit. A car’s air conditioning keeps the windshield clear of the fog compared to clearing the windshield of ice and snow.

Your car AC system helps you drive safer by enabling you to see.

Car AC problems

Common problems that can affect the air conditioning for the defroster include being low on freon and the AC compressor not working. There may also be a control problem from an air conditioning module, AC switch or defrost button. 

If you’re having an issue with the mode selector for the vent controls, it could have to do with a switch or blendor motor, which controls where the air goes – the windshield, vents or the floor.

Here are five possible reasons why the air conditioning isn’t working.

Right now is a perfect time to check to make sure everything is working. If not, have it checked out at your local, independent repair shop.

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 causes an engine misfire?

In Vehicle Maintenance by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

It’s important to note any abnormal sounds and behaviors when using your vehicle. These symptoms may indicate an underlying issue that could grow worse overtime. 

Engine misfires are a significant problem that you should be aware of.

What is an engine misfire?

An engine misfire is when the air in the fuel isn’t ignited correctly, which leads to a decrease of engine performance. It could be computer, electronic or mechanical related.

What are signs that an engine is misfiring?

The check engine light turning on is one sign of a misfire. However, you shouldn’t assume that your car is misfiring just because this icon illuminated. A check engine light may also come on for other reasons, like being low on oil or catalytic converter problems.

Check engine light on Kia Optima.

Other symptoms include a vehicle running rough and stalling.

Your vehicle may seem to have trouble accelerating or stuttering. If it’s bad enough, it might feel as though it’s stumbling.

On a really bad misfire, you could get a popping sound through the intake manifold.

What causes an engine to misfire?

Components that have gone bad, including ignition coils and spark plugs, may result in an engine misfire. A bad timing belt or fuel injector might be the culprit too.

Spark plugs.
Spark plugs

A vehicle needs to have the right amount of air and fuel. Misfires can occur if there is too much or too little air or fuel.

Timing plays a role, as well. If the timing isn’t in line, then the camshaft sensor and crankshaft sensor aren’t able to communicate.

Another cause behind a misfire is a mechanical engine problem. There could be camshaft lobe wear, a rocker arm issue, a valve problem, or a mixture of the three. Maybe the valves aren’t opening and closing the way they should.

An engine misfire could even be caused by contaminated fuel, or it might be the result of a malfunctioning sensor that’s preventing the computer from igniting the fuel or controlling the spark correctly. 

How do we figure out what’s causing an engine misfire?

We perform diagnostic testing to determine why a misfire is occurring. 

Diagnostics can be anything from hooking up the scan tool and reading the codes from the computer, helping indicate that a misfire is being picked up. It may not tell you the underlying issue, but you have an idea of what cylinder to start on. 

It’s not uncommon for there to be a misfire and not have any codes. It’s also possible to get a code for something else and not a misfire code. Another sensor may be picking up something outside of the typical parameters and flagging for a code. That’s why it’s important to look into it – it’s not always clear cut.

What happens if you ignore a misfire?

If you believe your car’s engine is misfiring, it’s very important to have it checked out by a mechanic or auto repair shop as soon as you can. The problem could start happening more frequently or worsen if you don’t.

In fact, misfires that aren’t addressed can negatively impact the catalytic converter – a very expensive part that helps cut down on pollution. The items that this component is made up of change exhaust gasses from bad to good. 

When you have a misfire and you’re getting raw fuel or rich conditions in the exhaust, the catalytic converter gets really warm and starts melting from the inside out. When that happens, it can prevent air in the exhaust from being released.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.

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Why you should get your wheel alignment checked once a year

In Vehicle Alignment by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

It’s important to have your car’s alignment checked once a year or when new tires are installed. This service can prevent tires from wearing prematurely.

While performing a wheel alignment on a Honda CR-V, we noticed that one of its tires needed to be replaced. 

Not only was the tire worn down to its tread wear indicator, it was going down to the secondary rubber. On the inside, the tire’s steel belts were showing.

A worn tire.
worn tire

In this particular case, the problem had to do with the camber adjustment being too negative which allowed for accelerated inner tire wear.

Camber, caster and toe are the main specifications our technicians check when conducting a wheel alignment.

A computer screen that's showing a vehicle's wheel alignment.
Honda Wheel Alignment

Worn or bent suspension components and a vehicle being overloaded consistently cause this problem, as well.

Sometimes, items and their weight could impact an alignment.

If you’re consistently driving around with 1,000 newspapers in the back, for example, you may want to have the alignment done with the newspapers in the car.

A lot of cars now have specifics on how much weight is in the car, if the fuel tank is full. and the ride height, because the engineers try to compensate for this problem. However, they can’t make up for extreme conditions.

On most Hondas, you do perform a four-wheel alignment because you can adjust the rear toe from the factory settings.

How worn parts can impact a wheel alignment

When it comes to worn suspension components – like rear upper control arms on Honda CRVs and elements – the bushings go bad and the top of the tire looks like it’s leaning toward the inside of the car. 

Replacing them with upgraded upper control arms – which comes with adjustments – you can then adjust the rear camber.

The strut assemblies can wear down over time and cause problems, as well.

Hitting potholes, curbs and objects in the road can bend control arms or struts and steering knuckles, which can also cause a tire wire/wheel alignment problem.

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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Did your check engine light turn on? Here’s what you need to know.

In Automotive Diagnostics by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

The check engine light turning is one problem that can be worrisome for drivers. 

When this indicator refuses to go off when someone is starting their car, or when it appears as they’re heading down the highway, it tends to come with the “Uh-oh,” reaction.

So, what should you do when a check engine light turns on?

If the symbol is flashing, you need to have it looked at right away. 

A flashing check engine light means that there’s a problem with the engine. Choosing to wait it out could damage the catalytic converter.

If the indicator is solid, it doesn’t need immediate attention. However, it’s important to have a mechanic check it out as soon as possible.

Can you drive with a check engine light on?

You shouldn’t drive if the light is flashing.

It’s OK to keep driving if it is solid, but it’s a good idea to have it checked out that same day. 

We recommend this because if it’s dangerous you’ll want to have it fixed immediately. Secondly, if you put it off too long you can get several more codes that could be related to the first one. You will likely spend more money on diagnostic testing so the auto repair shop can sort it all out.

What can cause a check engine light to come on?

There are many reasons why the light turns on, some are simple while others are more complex.

It could be anything from low oil to issues with a component, such as the catalytic converter or the coolant system.

Others causes include problems with the ignition system, fuel injection system, evaporative system – which has to do with your gas tank and gas cap – and sensors that are on various parts of the engine.

Check engine light causes graphic.

What do we do during check engine light diagnostic testing?

Diagnostic testing starts with performing a basic check, which helps us rule out any simple problems.

Our technicians then do a preliminary code scan, which gives us a starting point, and start testing related parts.

We follow the testing procedures the manufacturers recommend and look for any Technical Service Bulletins (TSBs) and updates.

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 is HomeTowne Auto Repair different from other businesses?

In Community Involvement by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Northern Virginia has quite a few auto repair shops.

So, what makes HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire different from the rest?

We are a locally owned and operated business that helps cover the health care of our employees.

“That way, everyone has a chance to be covered, so it’s not actually coming out of their paycheck,” Co-Owner ST Billingsley explained.

Training is an important focus for us. We want to stay up-to-date on the latest technology, so we can better serve our customers.

Building long-lasting relationships is very important to our business. Some of our customers have been coming to us for many years now, and even their children are starting to drive and have us work on their vehicles.

“We want to do a great job, and we want people to be able to trust us and rely on us to keep their families safe on the road,” Billingsley added.

HomeTowne Auto Repair is a supporter of women entering the automotive industry. Instructors have even reached out asking us to give students a chance.

“Every woman that we’ve had come in here trying to get a foothold in this business have actually gone on to bigger parts of their career, whether they ended up going back to school or actually going to a different part of the industry,” Billingsley said.

Our support of the community is another way we stand out.

We give back by helping fund What’s Up Prince William (WUPW.news), a news site that provides free coverage and event promotion for non-profits.

Each year, WUPW.news does tens of thousands of dollars worth of video and content production for as many as 20 organizations.

“It really helps keep the community connected but also is a way for the non-profits to actually get the word [out] about all the good that they’re doing in the community,” Billingsley said.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located in Woodbridge, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics. 

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My car won’t start. What’s wrong?

In Automotive Diagnostics by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

It is very inconvenient when your car won’t start, especially if you have somewhere to be.

There are many possible culprits behind this issue.

The problem could be as simple as a car battery, alternator or starter going bad. It could also be a more complex issue.

Dead Battery 

If you hear a clicking sound or the check engine light turns on, the battery might need replacing.

Batteries can go bad for a number of reasons. Leaving your lights on is one that many of us are familiar with. 

There could also be a problem with the charging system or corrosion on the battery terminals. Electronics in your vehicle, such as clocks and computers, can eventually cause your battery to die.

Old and weak car batteries are more likely to go bad when it’s extremely hot or cold outside.

Starter going bad

A vehicle may not turn over if it has a bad starter, which is responsible for starting the engine.

It has a gear that shoots out and quickly spins, starting the flywheel.

A clicking sound can be a sign that you need a new starter. However, a car with a bad starter won’t easily start even when a jumper box or jumper cables are used. Here are some other signs that your starter is going bad.

A starter will, at times, stop working without warning.

If you turn you over a few times, you may be able to hit it right and get your car started. 

However, if this tactic doesn’t work you probably need to have it towed to a repair shop.

Alternator problems

The alternator is responsible for generating electricity, which is used for electronics or to recharge the battery.

An alternator going bad is another reason why a car won’t start.

This can be indicated by the battery light turning on or flickering. The alternator may be struggling to charge the battery, which can make it difficult to start a vehicle.

In addition to the alternator going bad, the problem may have to do with brushes or diodes. A serpentine belt could also have gotten caught around the alternator.

Other reasons why a car won’t start

Issues with a vehicle refusing to start could be more complicated and lie with a sensor or control system not functioning.

The transmission sensor, for example, could be the reason.

There may also be a problem with the fuel system, such as a bad fuel pump or the fuel filter becoming clogged.

Whatever the reason behind your car not starting, you should bring it to a mechanic or auto repair shop as soon as possible. 

Even if you’re able to get it started again, you might not be as lucky next time.

Also, the sooner you can bring it to a repair shop, the sooner they can pinpoint the issue and have you back on the road again.

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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HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire offering financing option

In Uncategorized by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire in Woodbridge, Virginia is now offering financing.

We understand that times are tight, and you may need some tires or work done on your vehicle but you don’t have the cash right now.

Customers can receive up to six months of interest-free financing on any purchases that exceed $200.

We don’t push to financing, because there is a minimum monthly payment that needs to be made.

If you are interested, make sure you pay all of it off before the six months. Otherwise, you will be charged with all the interest.

Of course, with those financing options, the interest rates can be higher than normal. But if that helps you out, we do have that option.

You can apply online through the Synchrony website before you get here, or we can complete the application for you.

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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Uniroyal tire that offers good grip year-round

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Many of us are on the road for extended periods – whether it’s for road trips, commuting, or weekend activities.

With the amount of time we spend traveling, we might as well feel comfortable while embarking on those adventures. Plus, it can help the miles melt away for drivers and their passengers.

This is possible when you’re using a high quality tire, like the Uniroyal Tiger Paw GTZ All Season 2 Tire.

The comfortable, quiet ride it provides – a trait that can be attributed to the tread design – is one of the all season tire’s perks. 

Reliable in wet, snowy conditions

The ride that the Uniroyal Tiger Paw GTZ All Season 2 Tire offers isn’t just comfortable and quiet. It’s a confident ride, as well.

Made up of wide, circumferential tread grooves and an all season compound, it can be trusted in dry and wet conditions. 

The Uniroyal Tire also features traction snow bars, allowing it to provide good traction in areas that see some winter weather.

This makes it a good option for those living or working in Northern Virginia, where the winters tend to be pretty mild. Other than a snowstorm that occurs every once in a while, the region typically gets a little snow and ice.

Virginia weather can be a bit unpredictable – freezing temperatures one week and feeling like summer the next. It’s nice to have a tire that can handle both.

Simply put, the Uniroyal Tiger Paw GTZ All Season 2 Tire does what a lot of drivers need it to – perform well in any season.

Uniroyal Tiger Paw GTZ All Season 2 Tire lasts up to 50,000 miles

The last thing you should be concerned about when driving down the road is whether your tires are going to make it to your destination.

Anyone who purchases the Uniroyal Tiger Paw GTZ All Season 2 Tire doesn’t need to be concerned about it wearing out anytime soon. 

Tru-Last Technology handles stress this Uniroyal tire experiences, enabling it to wear evenly and over a long period of time. Because it comes with a 50,000 mile warranty, it can last the average driver a few years.

The Uniroyal Tiger Paw GTZ All Season 2 Tire comes in a wide range of sizes and can be found on vehicles that use a sporty size tire, including Mercedes, Audis, or Honda Civics.

Uniroyal Tire has been around for many years. It produces dependable tires that enable drivers to stay on budget. The Uniroyal Tiger Paw Touring A/S Tire is another great option. 

If you aren’t sure what tire is best for your vehicle and fits your budget, contact a local tire shop near you. The staff should be able to share the different options available and discuss the benefits they offer. 

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.