“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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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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For a Limited Time: $50 Off Brake and Rotor Service

When was the last time you had your brakes serviced? If you’re like most people, it was probably the last time you had a significant, observable brake issue like squealing, grinding or a fluid leak. But did you know that automotive service professionals recommend having brakes checked and/or serviced (brake pads replaced and rotors resurfaced as needed) every 10,000 miles? After all, brakes are perhaps the most important safety component on your vehicle. It’s imperative that you keep them in good condition to avoid dangerous problems like unevenly adjusted brake pads and warped rotors (both of which can lead to brake failure).

At American Pride, we want to make vehicle maintenance as easy and accessible as possible for you and your family. We are offering $50 off brake pad replacement and rotor resurfacing through March 31, 2015. Let our experienced, ASE-certified technicians give you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that your vehicle can stop safely on a dime.

Just print this coupon and present it to the American Pride sales consultant to take advantage of the special offer. Some restrictions may apply.

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 Schedule an appointment for brake service at your preferred American Pride Automotive location today. We look forward to exceeding your expectations.

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January Only: Half Off Wiper Blades with an Oil Change

Love Your Windshield This Month with 1/2 Off Windshield Wiper Blade Replacement With Any Oil Change!

Wiper blade discount savings, 1/2 off with oil change

Start the year off with better vision and an oil change for your car.  Winter means tougher driving conditions, more rain (and possibly snow) and it’s the perfect time to take care of your vehicle.  An oil change helps protect the life of your engine and keep critical moving parts property lubricated.  That’s more important than ever with cold starts and shorter trips that may not allow the engine to reach full operating temperatures.

Plus, the rain, sleet, snow and even salt from the roads can all play havoc on your windshield and vision.  Unfortunately, we usually don’t realize our wiper blades need to be replaced until we’re in bad conditions.  Start the year off right with new windshield wipers and you won’t have to worry when the rain shows up!

Our January special is 1/2 off wiper blades with any oil change!  Schedule an appointment today at one of our three locations (Williamsburg, Newport News / Yorktown and Toano) and show your car, truck, van or SUV how much you love seeing clearly this winter.

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What Is Leaking From My Car?

Sometimes one of the first signs of a car trouble is a mysterious puddle of fluid under the vehicle on the driveway. The first instinct for many car owners is to assume an oil leak, but that may or may not be the case. In fact, there are several different kinds of common leaks, each  with its own auto repair implication (and some that don’t require repair at all!). Next time you notice fluid under the car, consult this post to get an idea of the possible cause. Then call American Pride Automotive for official vehicle diagnosis and repair.

What to Look For

You should be able to get an idea of the source of the leak based on the liquid’s color, location and consistency.

When you encounter a fluid leak, it’s likely that the surface (a concrete or gravel driveway, asphalt, etc) will obscure the color of said fluid. Since color is the most indicative aspect of fluids in a vehicle, you’ll want to put a light colored material under the car and check again the next day. Newspaper or white cardboard are ideal. Once you have the color profile, you can compare it to the following descriptions:

Black or Light Brown

Black or light brown fluid with a moderate consistency generally indicates an oil leak. The color may vary based on how long it’s been since your last oil change. A little drip of oil here or there isn’t critical, but if you notice significant puddles, get the vehicle into an ASE certified mechanic ASAP. It could indicate a bad gasket, improperly secured oil filter or oil plug, or another old/corroded part of the oil system. Ultimately, if a car loses too much oil, it will have adverse effects on the engine and vehicle as a whole.

Light to Dark Red/Reddish Brown

Thick fluid of varying shades of red is almost certainly transmission fluid.  You’ll find this leak under the middle-front  of the vehicle. You most likely have a loose pan or drain plug, cracked gasket or a corroded seal.   Because transmission fluid is such an essential component of keeping the transmission cool, lubricated and functional, it’s important to locate the source of the problem quickly. Neglecting to do so will can lead to transmission failure and a need for repair or replacement. Sidenote: Some power steering systems use transmission fluid as lubricant (while others use a dedicated fluid). If the leak is directly under the wheel and you are having trouble turning the steering wheel, you may have a power steering fluid leak.

Green, Yellow, Pink or Blue

Brightly colored leaks are almost always engine coolant. These indicate a problem with the cooling system and are often caused by a blown gasket, cracked radiator hoses and seals, or a broken engine block. Unless you have an older model vehicle (older cars blow off excess coolant when the engine gets especially hot…so in that case a “leak” might just be excess fluid), you should get the vehicle into a mechanic right away.

Clear or Yellowish

If you notice clear or yellow fluid of a moderate thickness near the wheels or under the brake pedal, you may have a dangerous brake fluid leak. Don’t try to drive your car if you suspect a brake fluid leak, as insufficient fluid can lead to brake failure.

Clear 

Especially during summer when running a car’s AC frequently, you may notice consistent, clear, watery fluid that appears to be a leak. Don’t panic. This is almost certainly water–condensation from the air conditioner and does not signal a problem.

For quick info, consult this chart: 

what's leaking under my car

No matter the nature of your leak, the expert auto technicians at American Pride Automotive are here to help. We specialize in engine repair, cooling system service, brake repair and replacement, and transmission repair. Call or contact us today to schedule an appointment.

 

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