“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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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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State Inspections for Our Community: Almost to Our Goal!

APA_State_Inpections_Comm_Logo_Three Versions_V2Through our State Inspections for Our Community program, American Pride has devoted the past few months to supporting an amazing local organization, Hospice House and Support Care of Williamsburg with state inspection fee proceeds. Our “Community Star” through the end of 2014 (so close!), Hospice House provides end of life care to those with terminal illnesses in a “home-away-from-home” environment at no cost to the patients’ families and caregivers.

At the beginning of our partnership with Hospice House, we set a $6,000 donation goal, with $5 of every state inspection fee going straight to meeting this goal. As of December 2nd, thanks to our loyal customers and their referrals, we’ve raised $5,565. We are confident that by December 31st, we will have exceeded that $6,000 goal, but we’re not there yet!

When you choose American Pride for a state inspection, you aren’t paying more than you would anywhere else, but you are doing your part to help the local community and bring joy to others. Help us reach that $6,000 mark by bringing your vehicle into American Pride for inspection or by telling your friends and family about the program. Schedule an appointment today.  Again, thank you for your incredible support!

 

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December Only: $50 Off a Transmission Flush!

 

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A car’s transmission is one of its most essential components. In an automatic vehicle, the transmission keeps the engine running in pace with the wheels with no need for the driver to change gears based on speed. Put simply, the transmission transfers motor energy to the wheels with the aid of lubricating transmission fluid. This is a big job, and over time, the fluid oxidizes and becomes dirty, gritty and ultimately harmful to the transmission system and engine. (Curious as to what color healthy transmission fluid should be? Check out our color chart!)

 

Since a working transmission is such an integral part of engine health and the condition of a vehicle overall, it is important to maintain it according to manufacturer specifications. One aspect of the recommended maintenance schedule is a transmission flush, in which we drain the transmission fluid, clean the whole system, and add fresh fluid and premium conditioners. In December, American Pride is excited to offer a $50 discount on transmission flushes to our great customers.

 

If it has been more than 30,000 miles since your last transmission flush, don’t wait until you start experiencing costly transmission problems to service your vehicle. Take advantage of this special offer this month by scheduling an appointment today and feel confident that your car is in great shape for the New Year.

 Expect More Than Transmission Service

Remember, flushing your transmission is only part of what we do here at American Pride. Our bigger goal is to lower your overall cost per mile of driving with well-planned, affordable maintenance. We approach all repairs with integrity and a core concern for the customer, their family and the vehicles they drive. With this in mind, American Pride backs up all repairs with a minimum of a 2 year, 24,000 mile guarantee.  This approach to vehicle service is all about encouraging our customers to expect more from us as a company and as people. This means “extra-mile” customer service and an enthusiastic commitment to improving the lives of our customers and the community.

 

We sincerely appreciate your business and referrals of friends, family and co-workers. It is your loyalty to American Pride that allows us to support the community we share. One of the ways we get involved is through our State Inspections for the Community Program. Through the end of the 2014, we are donating $5 of every state inspection to Hospice House and Support Care of Williamsburg. See what’s happening with Hospice House here.

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Get Your Car Ready for Winter

Does anyone remember the snow, sleet and ice brought to us by last year’s “polar vortex?” The forecast for winter 2015 doesn’t look too much different, and that means that car owners like you must prepare for the worst, especially if you plan to travel.

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What should you do to get your vehicle ready for winter? It has everything to do with staying on top of routine maintenance and outfitting the car with appropriate cold weather gear where necessary.

Think About Cold Weather Battery Care

We can think of few things less pleasant than trying to start the car on a chilly winter morning and realizing that the battery is dead. Avoid this situation now by getting your battery tested and checking all connections for dirt and corrosion. Extreme temperatures are tough on vehicle batteries so you want to make sure that yours is in good condition from the get-go. Remember: Never try to jumpstart a frozen battery. How do you know if the battery is frozen? If temperatures have been in single digits for a number of days, if ice is forming around terminal connections, or if the vehicle won’t crank at all, there is a chance of that it is frozen. Attempting to jumpstart can result in a dangerous explosion. Instead, bring the battery inside for a a day or two to let it warm up and try again from there.

Make Sure All Lights and Signals are Functional

Though your vehicle’s dash light will likely alert you in the event of a fully burnt out bulb, it’s smart to check that all lights and signals are operating properly and to clean all headlights. Darker days and dangerous driving conditions mean that drivers must make every effort to maximize visibility. Another important tip to this end: replace old wiper blades.

Test the Heater and Defroster

It is uncomfortable and in some cases downright dangerous to have a malfunctioning car heater in the winter time. Reasons for a broken heater are generally related to the health of the cooling system and include low coolant, a plugged heater core, or a damaged thermostat. If the heat isn’t working, it is vital that you get your vehicle to a professional who specializes in engine repair, as it is often a signal of bigger engine problems.

Since it is a secondary function of a car’s AC system, issues with the defroster often come along with heater problems.  A windshield that won’t defrost is extremely unsafe.

Check Tire Tread

It seems like we mention this once a blog post, but proper tire maintenance is ESSENTIAL for safe winter driving. Tires that are thread bare will slip and slide on ice. Remember: if you do the “Penny Test” by placing a penny head down into several places on the tire tread and see Lincoln’s head…you need new tires.

Drive Smartly and Be Prepared

In addition to having an ice scraper or two on hand, we suggest that all families keep an emergency kit in the trunk that includes plenty of bottled water, non perishable food, a flashlight, extra medications, blankets, and flares.

When it comes to winter driving, one should always take care to accelerate and brake slowly and observe all posted speed limits (especially in inclement weather).

If you can, try to keep your gas tank at least half full when weather is below freezing. Failure to do so can cause the fuel lines to freeze.

Be mindful of exhaust. In the event of snow, be sure to keep your exhaust pipe free of snow, as a blocked pipe can filter carbon monoxide into the vehicle’s cabin.

Is your vehicle ready for winter and holiday road trips? Bring it into any of our 3 American Pride locations during the month of November and we will make sure it is with a free Travel Safe Checkup. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.

 

 

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