“Everything Auto” Blog – You’ve Got Questions, We’ve Got Answers

Our focus is to keep you and your family safe on the road. We employ the most qualified people who will accurately determine your needs, clearly communicate the best solutions and execute all work with integrity.

When you have questions, please use us as a trusted resource for honest information. We will provide high-quality auto repair work and trusted pre-owned auto sales, we love this stuff so much we even want to blog about it!

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Summer Car Care Tips

Beach days and car rides with the windows down are finally upon us and few can complain, but is your car up to the challenge of longer, hotter days? Extreme heat like we experience in Hampton Roads can do a number several of your vehicle’s most important components, but there are steps you can take to help prevent disaster before it gets too hot to handle.

  1. First things first, and we admit that this is more about your comfort than your car’s functionality, but…get the air conditioning system checked and repaired if necessary! No one likes a hot car cabin in the middle of summer, so now is the time to make sure that yours can blow cold consistently. If it seems like the AC is having problems, don’t settle for a single freon recharge, as leaking freon often signals a cracked hose. If that crack isn’t repaired and the hose replaced, you’ll be back for another recharge before you can wipe the sweat from your brow (See: Why is my AC Blowing Hot Air? Pt 1).
  2. Park in the shade when you can. This protects a vehicle’s cosmetic exterior and helps keep in the inside of the car cooler. Invest in a sun shade to put under your windshield when parking out of the sun isn’t possible.
  3. Summer is a time for vacations and lengthy road trips. That means you should pay special attention to your vehicle’s routine maintenance schedule in the way of recommended filter changes, fluid changes and oil changes. And don’t forget to check the condition of your tires. Dirty filters (and worn down tires) can lessen fuel economy and put undue stress on all
  4. Remove any salt from the chassis. We had a cold, snowy winter, and unless you stayed inside through the whole season, it’s likely that road salt accumulated on your vehicle’s undercarriage, which ultimately causes rust. If you haven’t yet, take a trip through the car wash, and for extra measure, get the entire vehicle’s exterior waxed afterward.
  5. When was the last time you replaced or serviced your car battery? If it’s been a while, it is especially important to get the battery checked before temps skyrocket. According to the Car Care Council, “Excessive heat and overcharging are the two main reasons for shortened battery life. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, thus damaging the internal structure of the battery.” For less of a chance of diminishing battery life this summer, keep conductors on the top of the batter clean and top off when necessary.
  6. Service all belts as needed. If your timing belt or serpentine belt is due for service or replacement, make sure you have the service performed as soon as possible. Heat can exacerbate the disintegration of a cracked and old belt.  Have your timing belt kit replaced by American Pride by May 31 and receive $150 off the service.

Get your car ready for summertime by scheduling an appointment at our Yorktown, Williamsburg or Toano American Pride Automotive locations. We are a full service auto repair shop that will get you on the road safely and with integrity.

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Low Rates and Deferred Payments for Your New Car!

Now is the time to buy a vehicle at American Pride Automotive. With tax season coming to a close and a refund you can put to great use, we are confident that the we can find the perfect car for you and help you finance it at an incredibly low rate.

From now to May 31, 2015, you can take advantage of these rates and defer payments for 45 days. This is a great option for a young adult financing his or her first vehicle or a parent looking for an affordable deal on a car for a college student. Just present this coupon at delivery of the new vehicle.

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Have an idea of the kind of car you want? Let American Pride do the guess work for you with the “Find My Car” tool.  Enter all the specifications that you deem necessary and we will do our best to find a vehicle that fits the bill. You can also look at our current inventory online or give us a call at any of our three American Pride Automotive locations to make sure that the right options are on the lot when you arrive.

 

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Take $150 Off Timing Belt Kit and Installation for a Limited Time

The timing belt is one of those vehicle components that is only as good as its maintenance (arguably, a trait of all quality car parts). If your auto technician recommends replacement of the timing belt kit and you’re on the fence, consider having it replaced at American Pride Automotive. Now is the time! Until May 31, you can take $150 off a new timing belt kit (water pump, hydraulic tensioner, idler pulleys and of course the timing belt itself) and installation.

Why replace the timing belt?

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See the full post here.

Schedule an appointment at your most convenient American Pride location today and present the following coupon at time of service.

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Beyond Boobs: Our New Community Star

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At American Pride Automotive we perform all sizes of repairs and all types of auto maintenance, but the State Inspection service remains one of our most important offerings.  We have taken the mundane State Inspection process and made it meaningful by donating $5.00 from every inspection performed to a local charity, and we need your help.  Throughout 2014 American Pride donated more than $10,000 to local charities such as March of DimesHospice House and Support Care of Williamsburg and the Heritage Humane Society. 

Through the end of June we are aggressively raising money for an incredible charity, Beyond Boobs, an amazing local organization that provides education for young women whose lives have been impacted by breast cancer. They focus on bringing women action steps for preventing breast cancer and most importantly, ways to live well after diagnosis. American Pride is proud to partner with Beyond Boobs as they “pack some punch into the pink ribbon.

 We have a company goal of raising more than $8,000 for for this worthy cause and we need your help. We ask that you share what is happening with your friends, co-workers and family so they too can choose to have American Pride perform their inspection enabling us to meet our fundraising goal.

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Spring Potholes Can Wreak Havoc on Your Tires & Suspension System

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The warmth and fresh energy of spring is well on its way, but that warmth can spell hazards for your vehicle’s tires and suspension system. How?

After an especially cold, icy winter, our formerly smooth interstates and side streets thaw out and develop cracks that eventually turn into potholes. Water that seeps into the ground under the road expands when it freezes, so when it thaws (read: contracts) the pavement contracts as well. This newly weakened pavement can’t withstand the weight of cars and trucks, and develops the craters we know as potholes.

You may have already started to notice annoying potholes on your morning commute that cause your car to jolt and coffee to splash, but those aggravating craters may be also be causing serious damage to your suspension system. Driving over a large pothole stresses shocks or struts unevenly and transfers the stress of the impact to other suspension and steering components like wheel bearings, ball joints, control arms and more.

Damage caused by spring potholes is one of the main reasons we see people come in for wheel alignments and suspension system repair. If you’ve driven over a few bad ones this year and are experiencing these problematic signs, consider calling American Pride for a suspension checkup or wheel alignment.

  • Uneven tire wear or prematurely worn tires
  • A vehicle that pulls one way or another
  • Tires that squeal
  • A shaky or crooked steering wheel

Potholes can also damage tires and wheel components. Possible effects include tire punctures, jarred wheel balance weights and bent rims.

If you suspect that your suspension system or tires have been damaged or misaligned, call or contact any of our three American Pride Automotive locations to schedule an appointment.  And to report potholes, contact VDOT here.

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Why Should I Choose an ASE-Certified Mechanic?

What makes a great auto technician? We like to think that skill, passion, a commitment to staying up-to-speed on industry developments and, most importantly, integrity, are the key characteristics. Because of this, we maintain that not every mechanic is a great mechanic and that our customers deserve the best. That’s why we hire ASE-certified technicians.

The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) is the gold standard for auto service training, certification and continuing education. Through thorough testing, ASE certifies auto pros in Engine Repair, Engine Performance, Electrical/Electronic Systems, Brakes, Heating and Air Conditioning, Suspension and Steering, Manual Drive Train and Axles, and Automatic Transmissions. The service professionals who take the time to become certified in some or all of these areas display a commitment to their craft and to the customers whose vehicles they maintain and repair.

It’s also important to note that ASE credentials are not forever. In order for a mechanic to stay certified, he or she must retake an updated exam every five years. This means that these technicians are stay up to date on the latest technologies, methods and industry news.

At American Pride, we only hire automotive service professionals who exhibit distinct dependability, thorough knowledge and innate skill. We want you to trust that your vehicle is in the best hands possible when it is time for routine service or a major repair. Contact any of our three locations in Yorktown, Williamsburg or Toano to schedule an appointment with an ASE-certified auto technician today.

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Forget About Gas Prices for Two Months When You Buy a Used Vehicle at American Pride

Buying a vehicle is a big, exciting investment, and the sales team at American Pride wants to make your experience the best it can be! That’s why through the end of March, we’re saying “thank you” by paying your fuel costs for the first two months of driving.

When you purchase and take delivery of a quality pre-owned vehicle from American Pride by March 31, 2015, you will receive a pre-paid gas card good for 100 gallons of gas.*

Simply download and print the coupon below and present it when you take delivery of your vehicle.

 

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* Value of card based on 100 gallons of gas at $2.05 per gallon. Offer subject to change if there is a significant change in gas prices. Does not apply to diesel fuel powered vehicles. Must complete purchase and take delivery of vehicle on or before March 31, 2015. Offer limited to pre-paid gasoline only. Does not include other expenses associated with vehicle ownership or operation.

 

Ready to find the perfect quality pre-owned vehicle? At American Pride, we give you options. Check out our sales inventory online, have us track down the vehicle you want with the Find My Car tool, or give us a call at any of the three convenient American Pride Automotive locations.

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5 Signs Your Brakes Are Going Bad

If you’re going to go, you need to be able to stop safely and completely, too. Brakes are one of a vehicle’s most important components, and without proper care and maintenance, they can pose a serious danger while on the road. 5 signs that your brakes are going bad include:

  1. Squealing or Squeaking. The first symptom of bad brakes that many people notice is a squeal upon depression of the brake pedal.  While the squeak can merely be a result of moisture build up overnight (which goes away after a few miles), those sounds can also indicate worn brake pads that need replacement.
  2. A Grinding Noise. If you hear a deep grinding sound when braking, it’s likely that your brake pads are worn down to the rotors. Brakes generally squeak before they grind, so it’s best to catch the problem before the rotors are damaged.
  3. A Vibrating Vehicle. Does your car shake when you brake? This is another symptom of brake pads that are worn down to the rotors, and probably warped and in need of replacement. Warped rotors are especially likely if you do a lot of driving uphill or towing heavy loads. Learn more about this phenomenon by reading, “Why Does My Car Shake When I Brake?
  4. Less Responsiveness. What happens with the pedal when you apply the brakes? Does it go down slowly and with less control than it has in the past? If so, you should suspect a brake fluid leak. In the morning, check under the front of the vehicle for any fluid leaks (brake fluid, specifically, is clear-yellowish with a medium consistency). This  can be caused by a crack in the fluid line. Another, separate reason for a pedal with poor response time is an air leak in the brake hose.
  5. Pulling to One Side. If your car seems to pull to the left or the right when braking, it’s important to diagnose the problem. In most cases, pulling is caused by unevenly adjusted brake pads or dirty brake fluid.

Even if you don’t notice any of the aforementioned signs, you should still have your brakes checked and serviced every 10,000 miles. And now is the best time for brake service at American Pride! If you know that you need your brakes and rotors resurfaced but have been putting it off, take advantage of our limited time offer: $50 off new brake pads and rotor service. 

Download the coupon below and present it when you bring your car in for service.

 

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Schedule an appointment for brake service at any of our three American Pride Automotive locations today (Toano, Yorktown or Williamsburg)!

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Tire Buying Tips for Everyone

If the tires on your car, truck or SUV have worn treads, cracked or blistered rubber, or just don’t seem to handle rain like they used to, it is very likely that you need new tires (remember the penny test). Most people have to replace tires ever 2 to 3 years, and making tire buying decisions isn’t always easy. There’s a lot to keep in mind when it comes to safety, long-term vehicle maintenance, and of course, affordability. We have 5 helpful tire buying tips for anyone who doesn’t know what to do next.

  1. No matter what anyone tells you, don’t buy used. Used tires, though far cheaper than new ones, are not good investments. In addition to the added labor costs of mounting and balancing pre-owned tires, you may be putting your family at risk by choosing tires with unknown pasts.
  2. Go with the manufacturer recommended tire. Most makes and models of vehicles can roll with a few tire grades. To learn what your manufacturer recommends, check the side of the driver door for a sticker with the information or consult the owners manual. It’s important that you choose a tire that is at least as highly rated as that recommendation.
  3. Go for reliability and long-range value (aka maybe not the cheapest option). No one wants to dole out top dollar for new tires, but you’d be wise to go for the middle-range, quality tire over the cheapest value option. Good tires are one of your most critical allies when it comes to efficient gas mileage and keeping your family safe on the road.
  4. Replace all four tires at once, lest you encounter uneven wear. If, at anytime (as in the case of a flat), you replace one or two tires before the rest, you may notice uneven tread patterns and even pulling to one side of the road when driving. This imbalance wreaks havoc on the suspension system. Even if one of the tires still has a few thousand miles on it, don’t take any chances. Replace all four at the same time.
  5. Drive with caution at first. New tires may make you feel like the king of the road, but hold your horses, friend! Brand new tires are also slick tires,  so it’s smart to drive carefully until you can break them in (the first few hundred miles). This is especially important in rain, sleet and snow when the roads are the slickest.

American Pride Automotive is here to help you with any of your automotive service and repair needs. With 3 locations in Williamsburg, Yorktown and Toano, we are a close, convenient and locally owned source of knowledge and service. Call or contact us today.

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Introducing Our New Community Star: NATASHA House

In the last part of 2014, American Pride Automotive set a high goal. Through the State Inspections for Our Community program, we aimed to raise $6,000 for Hospice House and Support Care of Williamsburg, an important organization in the area that provides free, high-quality end of life care and support for caregivers. Because of your generous participation and referrals,  knocked that goal out of the park and were able to donate $7,094 to Hospice House!

How does the State Inspections for Our Community program work? American Pride chooses an organization and we donate a portion of each state inspection fee to that organization. In the case of Hospice House, we donated $5 of every fee. This means that when you choose American Pride Automotive for your state inspection, you aren’t paying any more than you would anywhere else–but the expense is doing something great for the community.

As we enter 2015, we are thrilled to announce our new Community Star: NATASHA House!

 

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Located in Yorktown, NATASHA House is “a safe place for women and children that allows them to rebuild productive, thriving lives as they transition to permanent housing. The letters in “NATASHA” stand for “New Alternative Toward A Secure Home Atmosphere.”

As this New Alternative, NATASHA House provides more than just shelter to displaced women and children. It also helps meet its patrons’ emotional, psychological and educational needs through special life skills programs, all of which are geared toward helping these women achieve thriving self-sufficiency.

Through February 28, a significant portion of each American Pride state inspection fee will benefit this true “community star.” Read more about NATASHA House and schedule a state inspection appointment today. If your vehicles aren’t due for inspection anytime soon, be sure to tell your friends about this opportunity to get a necessary auto service while doing a great deal of good.

 

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