The Fairfax Auto Repair Guide to Dashboard Warning Lights

Anyone who drives a car knows all about those warning lights on our dashboards. The Check Engine light is probably the most widely known, and perplexes drivers every day. “Check engine light” is always one of the most popular search terms for anything automotive related. Modern cars, however had warning lights for tire pressure, the cooling system, engine oil and other fluids, and more. So, if you see one of these lights, what would you do? Keep going? Panic? Pull over? Should you stop where you are, or is it safe to get home?

Check Engine – Flashing vs. Solid

We all know about the Check Engine Light. This light can indicate many different things, but you may not know that there is a distinction between a solid one and a flashing one. A check engine light that is lit and solid means a problem has occurred more than once – usually an emission-related problem – and you should get it checked out soon. Sometimes a check engine light will resolve itself, and one of the most common causes is a loose or damaged gas cap. In general, a solid check engine light is no cause for immediate alarm, but get it checked when you can. A flashing check engine light, on the other hand, is an urgent warning. When this light is flashing, you are actively doing damage to your engine and you should stop driving as soon as possible.

Battery Warning Light

This light, like many others, appears when you start your car, and probably vanishes soon after. If it doesn’t, or if it appears while you are driving, then there could be either a problem with your battery, an alternator fault (which charges the battery), or a problem with the drive belt that spins the alternator, if it has a dedicated one. In most modern cars, a single serpentine belt controls this and many other automated functions, and you’ll know if it fails by the loss of power steering, brakes, and many other functions. In any case, a battery warning light should be taken seriously. No one wants to be stranded anywhere. If your battery is over 2 years old, it may need replacing, and if not, suspect an alternator problem.

Oil Pressure Warning Light

This is another of those lights that appears when you start your car and promptly vanishes. If you ever see this light while driving, stop when you can and check your oil level. If you’re low on oil, just top it up, and start the engine again. If this doesn’t fix the problem, or if you weren’t low on oil, it could be an indicator of a more serious problem, so give a reputable mechanic like Fairfax Auto Repair a call.

ABS Light

This indicator signifies trouble with your anti-lock braking system. It doesn’t usually mean that you have no brakes, but the ABS system isn’t functioning. While this means you’ll likely be able to stop if you need do, if your vehicle has an ABS system, then it’s important, so get it checked out ASAP.

Brake and ABS Warning Light

If you see this light by itself, or this one along with ABS, stop driving as soon as possible. Don’t brake suddenly, just slow down gradually and safely and get yourself some assistance. This shows a problem with your brake system that is serious and dangerous.

For more essential car care knowledge, stay tuned to the blog here at Fairfax Auto Repair, and if you have a dashboard light puzzling you, contact us online or call 703-425-3440

Happy Earth Day! Green Driving Tips from Fairfax Auto Repair in Fairfax, VA

In April we like to focus on keeping things green, and since April is also National Car Care Month, Fairfax Auto Repair in Virginia is bringing you some excellent tips on better Earth-Friendly car care.

When it comes to green driving in Fairfax, many people choose to drive hybrid or electric vehicles – but for those of us still piloting gas guzzlers, it’s still possible to drive greener, and save money on fuel while you’re at it. As our expert technicians here at Fairfax Auto Repair can attest, there are many ways to improve your fuel economy and reduce emissions without switching to an electric vehicle.

Green Driving Tips in Fairfax VA: Keep Your Weight Down

Many of us are guilty of leaving extra bulk in the car, because it’s a hassle to remove it. Extra clutter like sporting gear, leftover supplies from winter, bottled water, or any such additional weight can mean lower fuel economy for you. In fact, an extra 100 pounds in your trunk can mean up to 2% reduced gas mileage, and clutter on the roof rack can reduce your mileage by 5%. Take a day to “spring clean” your vehicle to save gas, and reduce your environmental impact – for every gallon of gas you save, you prevent 20 pounds of CO2 from entering the atmosphere.

Green Driving Tips in Fairfax VA: Be Cool Under Pressure

Most of us have heard this one already, but when is that last time you checked your tire pressure? Checking it each month and keeping those tires properly inflated can mean 3% better fuel economy. Sure, 3% doesn’t sound like much, but those savings can add up – it’s about a half gallon of fuel per tank in a 16-gallon gas tank, and that’s a lot of fuel to save by something as simple as properly inflating your tires. Driving with low tire pressure can increase your resistance, causing the engine to need to work harder to move the vehicle.

If you don’t own a tire gauge, pick one up – check your tire pressure every month, or always before you embark on a long trip. For the correct tire pressure, don’t look at the sidewall of the tire! Your correct tire pressure will be located on your driver’s side door, or in your owner’s manual.

Green Driving Tips in Fairfax VA – Avoid Idling

An idle engine gets no miles per gallon – but it’s still producing the same emissions. We all turn off lights when we leave the room to save electricity – this principle is no different. Idling for 15 minutes can expend up to ¼ gallon of fuel, so if you’re stuck at a railroad crossing, waiting at a long traffic light, waiting your turn in the drive-through, or waiting to pick up a friend, turn off the engine while you’re not moving.

Some drivers like to “warm up” the engine in the morning, but take it from the experts at Fairfax Auto Repair in Fairfax VA – unless you live somewhere very cold, there’s no need to warm your engine any longer than 30 seconds – the engine actually will warm much more quickly once you’re in motion.

For more Green Driving Tips in Fairfax VA, stay tuned to the Fairfax Auto Repair blog. For a green driving checkup, schedule an appointment or contact us at 703-425-3440

3 Ways Fairfax Auto Repair is a True Dealership Alternative Service Center for Virginia Drivers

Since we opened in 2008, we have made it our number one goal to listen to our customers and focus on their concerns and only those concerns. That practice has become the core of every auto repair in Fairfax Virginia that we perform here, and since then we have seen tremendous growth – all because we have placed our customers first. No visit to an auto repair center near Falls Church or Vienna, VA is something most people look forward to, but here at Fairfax Auto Repair, we are confident that our commitment to honesty, integrity, transparency, and customer satisfaction above all make us the best choice for auto repair in Fairfax Virginia. Here are 3 ways we believe Fairfax Auto Repair is a cut above the rest, and a true dealership alternative service center in Fairfax, VA.

An Unparalleled Commitment to Customers

Here at Fairfax Auto Repair, we serve customers from Falls Church, Vienna, Alexandria, and across the Washington, DC area, many of them regulars who have been bringing their cars to us for years, and we credit that loyalty to our commitment to customer satisfaction. When you visit Fairfax Auto Repair, you can be sure that your specific concerns are going to be our focus – not up-selling or offering non-essential services.

ASE Certified Technicians

Here at Fairfax Auto Repair, all of our technicians are ASE Certified who have received comprehensive training, and continue to receive ongoing training, in automotive technology and auto repair near Fearfax, Virginia. That means when you visit us, you’re getting the same level of expertise and professional care you’d receive at a dealership – at a fraction of the cost.

Female Friendly Auto Repair in Fairfax, VA

Finally, Fairfax Auto Repair is proud to say that we’re an auto service center in Fairfax VA where anyone can feel comfortable. The auto repair industry has a reputation of being shrewd and dishonest, particular to women. However, at Fairfax Auto Repair, we understand that women are the majority decision makers in nearly all families – particularly in automotive purchases, and we take women seriously. As a testament to our commitment to providing respectful, comfortable, and truly female friendly auto repair in Fairfax Virginia, we have received five awards from Angie’s List, and we are proud to be AskPatty Certified Female Friendly. We will always be an auto service center in Fairfax where all drivers – including women – can feel completely comfortable, be treated with respect, and receive second-to-none auto service and repair.

Need Auto Repair in Fairfax, VA? Schedule an appointment online, or call Fairfax Auto Repair at 703-425-3440

To Lease or Not to Lease

buyleaseThe decision to buy or lease can be a biggie.

A lease is a long-term rental, a car you’ll have to give back to the dealer at some point. A purchase is, well, yours for the long haul. Often your choice will come down to price.

If you want a nicer car but aren’t in the position to make high payments, a lease is the way to go. If you feel the value of ownership outweighs higher monthly payments, a purchase is the right fit.

Of course, if it were as simple as that the guide would just end here. Good thing we’ve also got incentives, monthly payments, insurance, and customization to cover, so watch for those in future posts.

To Shell out or Not to Shell Out

Typically, monthly lease payments are lower than loan payments. So rather than paying off the total cost of the car, lease payments just cover the smaller cost of depreciation. But what does this mean in terms of overall value?

Well, with a loan your monthly payment will eventually hit zero, and then your car’s cash value is yours to use as you like. Plus, if you’re planning to own the car for a long time, you can spread out the month-to-month payment, bringing it way down. Typically, loan terms are four to five years, while lease terms are two to four.

It’s also worth understanding what your car’s residual value is (what it’ll be worth down the road) because all cars depreciate, some faster than others. Brands like Honda tend to hold their residual value, while brands like Chevy might not. Check out ALG’s residual value winners to see which brands might be good short-term buys.

In terms of leasing, incentives can play a big role in determining value. Let’s say you want a small or midsize SUV. There are certain periods of time manufacturers or dealers will issue very attractive lease rates, and those incentives should help inform when you’ll get the best value possible on a lease.

– See more at: “To Lease or Not to Lease”

For more news and information please contact Fairfax Auto Repair in Fairfax, Virginia at 703-425-3440 or contact us at

2016 Toyota Camry: Just What Jane Q. Public Wants in a Mid-Sized Sedan


Toyota has been deft at combining its quality engineering with an eye for what Jane Q. Public wants in a mid-sized sedan.

The Camry received a significant makeover in 2015 with just small upgrades for the 2016 model year. The Camry — built in Georgetown, Kentucky — can boast being “America’s Car” as it has been among the country’s best-selling cars for many years.

The Toyota Camry remains the top-selling mid-sized sedan in America, but it has plenty of competition nipping at its rear tires. To Toyota’s credit, it has improved the Camry’s handling and steering responsiveness compared with the previous version. The Entune connectivity set-up works well to integrate your smart-phone and deliver app-based services to the cabin. A supremely competent sedan that checks all the boxes for most buyers.

Pricing: MSRP starting from $23,070


– See more at: 2016 Toyota Camry: Just What Jane Q. Public Wants in a Mid-Sized Sedan

For more news and information please contact Fairfax Auto Repair in Fairfax, Virginia at 703-425-3440 or contact us at

AskPatty’s Tips to #Green Your Car and Save Gas: Park Green

begreenPark in the shade or a garage whenever you can. The cooler you can keep your car while it’s parked, the less fuel you need to use to run the air conditioning to cool it off when you start driving again. Parking in a garage also decreases the energy needed to warm up on cold winter mornings. If you can’t park in the shade, consider using an electric or solar car fan, or a reflective windshield shade to help keep your car’s interior more comfortable.

Get all 13 Tips to Green your Car and Save Gas Here

For more news and information please contact Fairfax Auto Repair in Fairfax, Virginia at 703-425-3440 or contact us at

2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS: Luxury, Performance — and Practicality

GLSAt the large end of its utility offerings is the three-row 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS, the only full-fledged seven-seater in the European premium SUV segment. Like the GL before it, the new GLS — the “S-Class among SUVs” — combines spaciousness and luxury with impressive comfort, high-performance engines, and best-in-class safety.


– Continue reading: 2017 Mercedes-Benz GLS: Luxury, Performance — and Practicality

For more news and information please contact Fairfax Auto Repair in Fairfax, Virginia at 703-425-3440 or contact us at

Do You Need A New Vehicle: Have You Really Thought This Out?


We have read and heard a lot recently about the “how tos” of selecting, buying, and financing a vehicle, and can enjoy the developing awareness on how women can make the best of visiting a dealership and avoid being taken advantage of in transactions.

From our beginning, AskPatty has considered this information as vital to the education and assistance of women buying vehicles, as well as the dealerships with which they deal.

But there are even more basic thoughts about procuring a vehicle that we tend to gloss over in our excitement to get a vehicle. These fall under the categories of “Why.”  If you’re considering buying a vehicle, either new or used, then here are some questions that we strongly suggest you study and approach honestly:

– Continue reading: Do You Need A New Vehicle: Have You Really Thought This Out?

For more news and information please contact Fairfax Auto Repair in Fairfax, Virginia at 703-425-3440 or contact us at

2016 Mercedes-Benz G-Class Offers Exclusive Luxury and Off-Road Durability

Over the past 34 years, the iconic Mercedes-Benz G-Class has undergone quite a transformation from its origin as a military vehicle specifically built to tackle the toughest of terrains.

Since it was brought to the civilian market in 1979 as a luxury vehicle for traversing tough off-road terrain, the boxy G-Class — also known as the Gelaendewagen or G-Wagen — has provided the DNA for the other SUVs built under the Mercedes-Benz brand.

-Continue Reading: 2016 Mercedes-Benz G Class

For more news and information please contact Fairfax Auto Repair in Fairfax, Virginia at 703-425-3440 or contact us at

Summer Travel Tips: Practice Good Road Etiquette

etiquetteMemorial Day weekend has recently passed, signaling the beginning of summer travel season. As one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, AAA Travel projected more than 37.2 million Americans would journey 50 miles or more from home over the Memorial Day weekend, with 33 million of those travelers driving to their destinations.

A number of economic factors are contributing to the large increase in holiday travelers this year. “A strong employment market and low gas prices have driven consumer optimism to new highs and boosted Americans’ disposable income. This is welcome news for the travel industry,” said said Marshall L. Doney, AAA President.

With the Fourth of July just around the corner, and plenty of warm weather drives ahead for all of us in the next few months, we thought you might want to brush up on the most-ticketed driving infractions in the U.S., and freshen up on some road etiquette tips.

– Continue Reading: “Summer Travel Tips: Practice Good Road Etiquette”

For more news and information please contact Fairfax Auto Repair in Fairfax, Virginia at 703-425-3440 or contact us at