How do you know if an odometer is telling the truth?
Well, back in '86, Congress passed the Truth-in-Mileage Act to protect Texas consumers against mileage fraud. It says a Texas seller must certify the mileage reported is the Actual Mileage.
To have your odometer checked in San Antonio Texas, stop by Cambridge Auto:
9823 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, Texas 78240
If it isn't, the seller must say why; like maybe the odometer is past its mechanical limits. Some older odometers only go to 99,999 miles and then start over at 0. Or, the odometer has been tampered with, broken or replaced.
If the seller tells you the mileage isn’t accurate, there’s not much chance of putting a good number to it; And there’s the unscrupulous seller who claims the reading is true, but it’s not so. What can you do?
First, you can go to www.CarFax.com, where for a small fee, they’ll give you a comprehensive vehicle history search on your sedan, showing local San Antonio Texas ownership history, accident reports, total-loss events, Manufacturer buybacks, Lemon reports and warranty status.
You can get a mileage history by checking with the local San Antonio Texas DMV (or wherever you happen to be) and other verified sources looking for inconsistencies in the mileage reported when the car’s bought and sold. If there are signs odometer rollback, now you’ll now.
If so, proceed with caution. Or, negotiate a lower price. Or just walk away. There’s always another.
Posted in the Older Vehicles category
There are some things San Antonio consumers should know about San Antonio automotive service and repair. First and foremost, Cambridge Auto cares about you and your family’s safety. And we really appreciate your business. Cambridge Auto in San Antonio wants to build a trusting relationship that becomes the foundation for a mutually beneficial experience for years to come.
Building on that foundation, there are some things that would help you understand the auto service and repair business better. First, it can be really hard to fix cars. The days of shade tree mechanics are long gone. The majority of automotive systems are computerized. It takes a lot of training and very expensive equipment to diagnose and repair modern vehicles. The technicians that work for Cambridge Auto need extensive computer training – not just how to run the diagnostic systems, but also searching for the right parts, networking with other technicians to help them with a difficult problem and pulling together a job order that makes sure that each step of the process is addressed.
The threshold for getting started as a technician gets higher all the time and there is a huge commitment to on-going training every year. This training takes time and money. It contributes to business overhead. The average Boerne or Kirby driver may not realize the business and environmental regulations Cambridge Auto must comply with. Of course that costs money too. Like any business, overhead is a big factor.
When you go into a San Antonio restaurant you don’t value the meal by what the food would cost at the grocery store. The restaurant has rent, wages, insurance, taxes, utilities, professional fees, equipment, supplies – you get the picture. The restaurant has to charge enough to not only pay for the ingredients, but for all these other things as well while making enough profit to remain in business. If you value the meal and are satisfied with your dining experience, you’ll come back and tell your friends.
It’s the same for Cambridge Auto. The value of its service is not the cost of the parts they replace, but in your satisfaction with the results. If they deliver a good product at a fair price, San Antonio customers are happy to see them succeed as a Texas automotive business.
Contact Cambridge Auto to learn more about our extensive auto service training.
You can find us at:
9823 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, Texas 78240
Or call us at 210-697-9600
Your San Antonio service center loves to see its customers whenever they come in, but they would much rather see them three or four times a year for routine maintenance than once a year on a tow truck. They want to work together with you to avoid breakdowns. Tell your San Antonio area friends and family to go in for their scheduled maintenance too. That lowers the service center’s marketing costs and helps keep its labor rates down. That’s good for everyone.
Cambridge Auto appreciates this great review of automotive service from AutoNetTV.
Posted in the Service Standards category
Most San Antonio motorists are all talking fuel economy right now. Better gas mileage. Fewer emissions. Texas folks want to save the environment and our pocketbooks.
And we San Antonio car owners all know — or should know — that preventive maintenance will help maintain maximum fuel economy. But is there something more we can do? After all, some of us San Antonio drivers can’t cut back on our driving, and others would like to do more to economize.
Weight is one major enemy of fuel efficiency. The more you lug around in your vehicle, the more fuel you have to burn to get from San Antonio to Boerne to Kirby. And that means buying more gas and producing more emissions.
Of course, your vehicle’s weight isn’t negotiable. And you can’t do much about the weight of your passengers. And this isn’t an article about diet and exercise.
But look around your car. Are you hauling a bunch of unnecessary weight around San Antonio? Do you really need your golf clubs every time you leave your San Antonio neighborhood? Store sports equipment in the garage. Load it when you need it and store it when you don’t. Who knows? The extra exercise just might reduce the other type of weight in your vehicle.
The same goes for anything else in your sedan: make-up kits, music collections, extra electronics, spare clothing; whatever your particular extras may be. Pack it when you need it; store it when you don’t.
Clean out your vehicle. You’d be surprised how much weight you’re lugging around in plain old junk. Toss old papers, leftover food, and regular old dirt. Even if it’s not a lot of weight, you’ll feel better when you get into your car. A good cleaning is also part of good car care.
Now, don’t toss stuff you really do need. You do need that spare tire — the one in your trunk. And a kit of emergency essentials is not a bad idea. But just carry around the day-to-day essentials. You can pack a more extensive kit and store it in your garage, then toss it in the car when you go on a longer trip, but you don’t have to lug it around San Antonio all the time.
After all, are you a driver? Or are you a junk chauffeur?
Lose the junk and save some bucks.
Posted in the Fuel Economy category
Warm weather or cold, San Antonio drivers still need to think about their sedan’s air conditioning. Most San Antonio people don’t service their air conditioning until after it fails. At Cambridge Auto, we can advise you on your vehicle manufacturer's preventive maintenance schedules for air conditioning service, just as we do for transmission service, oil changes and so on.
Maintaining your air conditioning system means that you always have enough refrigerant to properly do the job. Small leaks in the sedan's air conditioning system allow the refrigerant to escape and the system can’t cool the air as well. We see that a lot at Cambridge Auto in San Antonio.
The refrigerant also contains a special oil that lubricates air conditioning components, and keeps the seals resilient. Low refrigerant and lubricating oil means that the air conditioning parts will wear out prematurely, and all San Antonio car owners know that air conditioning repairs can be costly. At Cambridge Auto, we recommended that the air conditioner be run regularly, even during winter months, to keep the parts and seals lubricated.
Corrosion is what leads to many air conditioning system failures for San Antonio motorists. The small leaks mentioned earlier also mean that air and water can leak into the air conditioning system. This can lead to rust and dirt in the internal workings of the air conditioning components. This greatly accelerates wear and, ultimately, failure.
Air conditioning service at Cambridge Auto starts with a visual inspection of the components for signs of damage or leaks. The compressor is driven by a belt from the engine, most often the serpentine belt, so it’s inspected for cracks or wear. The air conditioning compressor and other components are checked for proper operation. Then comes the leak test. If a leak is detected, often in a hose or connection, it’s repaired and the system is retested.
Then the old refrigerant is evacuated and the system is recharged with clean, fresh refrigerant. A final test insures that the sedan's air conditioner is working, and you’re on your way.
How often this should be done varies from vehicle to vehicle. Your sedan owner’s manual will have the manufacturer’s recommendation and, of course, your Cambridge Auto service advisor can tell you. It’s typically every two years.
If you’re not getting enough cool air you know something’s wrong. Also, if you hear strange sounds when you turn the air on, there might be a problem with the compressor and you should get it checked out at Cambridge Auto. Replacing a bad A/C clutch in a sedan is cheaper than waiting for it to ruin the compressor.
San Antonio drivers need to be aware that there’s one more thing that isn’t directly related to air conditioning service, but does impact the quality of the air in your sedan. And that’s your cabin air filter. This filter cleans dust, pollen, pollution and other impurities in the air that comes from the heater and air conditioner. The cabin air filter needs to be replaced when it’s dirty. If you don’t it’ll start to smell. Not all vehicles have one, so ask your Cambridge Auto service advisor to check your cabin air filter at the same time they’re doing your air conditioning service.
Posted in the Air Conditioning category
Modern San Antonio vehicles have several computers on board that control all kinds of things like engine functions, transmission shifts, traction control, anti-lock brakes, stability control, emissions – and on some vehicles, even steering, braking and the throttle.
Think about that for a minute – things that used to be controlled by simple mechanical connections now have electronic controls that rely on computers, software and sensors. It’s no wonder that when something goes wrong with their sedan it can be pretty complicated for San Antonio auto owners to track down the source of the problem.
To help your Cambridge Auto technician figure out what’s wrong, your sedan is equipped with on-board diagnostics. The Check Engine Light comes on to tell you there’s a problem and the engine management computer stores a trouble code. Your friendly Cambridge Auto tech connects a scan tool to your vehicle’s diagnostic port and retrieves the trouble codes as well as other important data.
Trouble codes are like clues for the San Antonio technician to follow as he diagnoses what’s wrong with your sedan. In a way, it’s like going to your San Antonio doctor with a problem. She’ll run some additional tests and gather the information she needs to make a diagnosis and form a treatment plan. How much a vehicle diagnosis costs at Cambridge Auto in San Antonio depends on how much time it takes to sort out the symptoms and find the underlying problem.
Give us a call
9823 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, Texas 78240
Posted in the Diagnostics category
Today's Cambridge Auto post focuses on using the proper fluids for your vehicle. Significant advancements in automotive technology have lead to the development of high-tech fluids to keep modern cars operating at peak performance. This is due to both engineering advances and new high-tech materials used to build sedan automotive systems.
A simple example of this is the cooling system. For decades it was primarily made out of iron, steel and rubber hoses. There was one kind of coolant that protected these components from corrosion.
Now cooling system components are made with various metal alloys and plastics. These materials require different additives to protect them from corrosion. Since the materials used vary among sedan auto makers, we now have a number of different kinds of coolant.
It's essential for Boerne car owners to use the right coolant. If you pour in the wrong kind, it won’t protect the cooling system and may even void the warranty. Check your sedan owner’s manual. Of course, your Cambridge Auto automotive advisor will know the proper coolant for your vehicle.
Brake fluid is confusing for some Boerne drivers. Back when we opened Cambridge Auto 27 years ago, most vehicles used Dot 3 brake fluid. Now we have Dot 4 and Dot 5. Some San Antonio people mistakenly think the higher numbers are an upgrade. You know, if 3 is good then 4 must be better. That’s not how it works. They are different formulations to meet the demands of differences in brake systems. Only one of them is designed for your sedan.
Ditto for transmission fluid. For decades there were two basic types of tranny fluid used at Cambridge Auto: friction modified or not. With the tremendous engineering advances in sedan automatic transmissions, there have been several new types of fluids developed to protect and lubricate them.
Nowhere are the advances in automotive fluids more evident to Boerne drivers and Cambridge Auto professionals than in motor oil. Many new weights and formulations have been created to meet the demands of today’s high-tech sedan engine design. Modern engines have more parts and much tighter tolerances. Every year, engines make more power and (thankfully!) get better gas mileage. And along with all the complexity and sophistication, they still have to be durable.
That’s where the new grades of engine oil come in. They have to be formulated to lubricate, protect and clean all of those sedan engine parts, big and little. The oil has to be thin enough to get into little passages, yet resistant to vaporization.
At Cambridge Auto in San Antonio, we believe that in some ways modern automotive fluids are just as impressive as the new engines. Because weights of oil and types of coolant and transmission fluid are so carefully matched to the vehicle, make sure you always use the proper fluid if you are topping off at home.
Check your sedan owner’s manual or ask your Boerne service technician. The wrong fluid can cause damage to your sedan engine. If you drive a car or truck around Texas with 75,000 miles or more, consider high mileage formulations. These fluids contain extra detergent to clean dirtier older engines as well as additives to condition seals and gaskets. That’ll help prevent leaks. Always be sure that the high mileage fluid is the same weight or type of fluid recommended for your sedan.
Posted in the Fluids category
Call Cambridge Auto to make an appointment to check your transmission in San Antonio.
9823 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, Texas 78240
Do you have any plans around San Antonio Texas for the weekend? Maybe you and some friends and are taking the boat up to the lake. Maybe you'll be having a lot of fun water skiing and doing a little fishing.
You got the boat all ready. It's all gassed up. You packed lots of snacks and the cooler's stocked – ready to go.
How about your tow vehicle? It has plenty of gas and you've even vacuumed it out, but is your auto maintenance up to date?
Stop and think. You'll have some heavy traffic on your way out of town. Hilly terrain as you get to the lake. Some dirt roads – and it may be hot weather. And all the time you're going to be towing around several thousand extra pounds.
That all adds up a lot of severe strain on your engine, brakes and transmission. Your transmission's going to be working overtime, spending more time in lower gears. The internal transmission temperature is going to be much higher than normal. What's a fun little blast to the lake for you is really severe duty for your transmission.
It's important that you have enough transmission fluid. If you're running low, the transmission will run to hot and won't have the protection it needs to cope with the added stress of towing.
And if it's time for a transmission service, you really should have it done at Cambridge Auto before your trip. Transmission fluid breaks down and gets dirty over time. Whether you have an automatic or manual transmission, you need to have it serviced on schedule to make sure it runs efficiently.
Automatic transmissions contain a maze of passages that the fluid has to pass through to keep it shifting smoothly. If you neglect transmission service, the passages can get clogged up and you start to have problems. Neglect your transmission for too long, and it can fail. Believe us – you don't want to pay for a major transmission repair.
You know, most of us in San Antonio Texas do a lot of our driving under severe conditions. Towing or hauling a big load is obvious, but there are lots of other things that constitute severe driving conditions. Things like short trips or driving in very hot or very cold weather. Also, dusty roads, city driving around San Antonio, and basically any driving that's not at highway speeds or under ideal conditions is severe driving. We all need to think about whether or not we need to follow the severe service schedule.
So, consider going in for a full service oil change before you leave for the lake to make sure everything has been looked at. Ask for a trip inspection while you're at it. Your San Antonio Texas service technician at Cambridge Auto can check your belts and hoses and let you know if your brakes are in good shape.
Don't forget the sunscreen. And to thank your San Antonio service technician, how about bringing him back a nice trout?
Posted in the Transmission category
One might say the most challenging part of being an automotive service technician at Cambridge Auto in San Antonio Texas is diagnosing a problem before it can be fixed.
Cars are made up of a bunch of complex systems. There usually could be a number of reasons for any given symptom. So it's challenging to track down the actual cause of the problem. And it can be frustrating for the vehicle owner because it can take time and money to get to the bottom of a problem. If it's not something obvious, it's easy for the customer to focus on the fixing and not the diagnosing.
Let us introduce you to something we'll call Customer Detective Work – that is helping your San Antonio Texas technician find clues to what's wrong.
We start with the detective basics: What, Where and When. Play along with me. You come in to Cambridge Auto and your car is making a funny sound.
- Q: Where's the sound?
- A: Around the right front wheel.
- Q: What kind of sound?
- A: Kind of a clunk, clunk sound.
- Q: When do you hear the sound?
- A: When I turn and accelerate.
- Q: Right and left? Forwards and back?…
Do you see where we're going? You're gathering additional information to help your San Antonio Texas technician know where to start. Based on your car and the tech's experience, he'll know where to look and can start with the obvious suspects.
You can see how that would be more helpful than dropping the car off with a note that says "making a funny noise".
When you think you need to bring a vehicle in, make some notes about the problem. Rather than just saying "it's leaking", tell the tech the color of the fluid, and approximately where under the car you see the puddle.
Things like 'the car is stalling or sputtering' are often very hard to diagnose because they're intermittent. They may not happen every time you drive and usually aren't happening when you actually bring the car in. So, it is a big help for you to describe what's happening in as much detail as possible.
Your San Antonio Texas technician at Cambridge Auto will need to be able to duplicate the problem if possible so he needs to know details, like 'it stalls after it's been driven for about 20 minutes and I go over 50 miles an hour'.
If the tech can experience the problem personally, he's better able to make a diagnosis and repair. And, then test to see if the repair solved the problem.
Posted in the Service Standards category
Good brakes are obviously very important. If you've ever had your brakes go out while you're driving around the San Antonio area, you'll know how terrifying it can be. Today we'll focus on how to tell when you have a brake problem, and how to make good repair choices.
Often, the first indication that something's wrong with the brakes is an unusual sound. It could be a squeal, chatter or grinding sound.
Some brake pads have a little piece of metal embedded in them that will make a squeal or chirping sound when the brake pads have been worn down to the point that they need to be replaced. It's an early warning indicator.
When you hear that sound, schedule an appointment at Cambridge Auto soon.
Now a chattering sound is more urgent. That usually indicates that something is loose. It could be a brake pad or even the brake calipers. If one of those parts falls off, you could have some serious trouble stopping the vehicle. It would be a good idea to park it until you can get into the shop.
A grinding noise usually means that the brake pad is completely worn away and the metal parts of the brake are rubbing directly on the metal brake rotor. That means the rotor is being damaged and will need some work. More on that later.
Another warning sign is that your brake pedal may feel soft and spongy – or it may even feel very hard to push in. Both could mean trouble. And of course, you may get a dashboard brake warning light.
Now when it comes time to replace your brake pads, you have a choice to make. You can get the same pads that came standard on your vehicle. You can expect the same performance and durability as with the pads that came on the car from the factory.
Now you can also get a budget brake pad. Sometimes drivers insist on lower cost pads. That's OK if the budget demands it, but you need to be aware of the trade offs. Lower grade pads are usually noisier, so you'll have to live with more noise when you apply the brakes. They also tend to generate a lot more brake dust, you know, that black dust that accumulates on your wheels. And they probably won't last as long either. In our opinion, that's a lot of compromise for just a few dollars in savings.
You can also choose to buy premium brakes pads. These perform at higher specifications than the factory pads. You can expect quieter operation, less brake dust and better stopping power.
Now, getting back to the rotors. The rotors are the discs that the brake pads clamp down on to stop the vehicle. If you've been driving with completely worn brake pads, you've scratched grooves into the rotors. If the grooves aren't too deep, the rotor can be resurfaced. A thin layer of metal is cut off the surface of the rotor to make it smooth again.
Now, if the grooves are too deep or if the rotor has already be resurfaced before, there may not be enough material to resurface and still have a rotor that's thick enough to safely stop the vehicle. In that case, the rotor will have to be replaced.
Something that's often overlooked is the brake fluid. Your manufacturer has a recommended schedule for evacuating the old brake fluid, cleaning the system and refilling it with fresh brake fluid. This is really important to brake performance.
So here's the bottom line: if you suspect, inspect. If you notice any of these warning signs, have your brakes inspected. Your advisor can help you make the repair decision that's right for you.
Posted in the Brakes category
Virtually all vehicles come with power steering so many San Antonio car owners have never driven a car or truck without it. Power steering assists you when you turn your sedan steering wheel. Without it, it would be very hard to steer.
Now this power assist comes in a couple of forms. In recent years, a lot of San Antonio vehicles have an electric motor that reduces steering effort and helps improve fuel efficiency.
The other kind of power steering is hydraulic. This is the kind most older Texas vehicles, and a lot of newer ones, have. Power steering fluid is pressurized by a pump and is used to assist steering. Of course, San Antonio car owners need the right amount of fluid in the system. If it’s too low your steering is affected and you could damage your sedan pump.
Also, power steering fluid can become corrosive over time and damage the pump, hoses and connectors; leading to leaks and repairs. Power steering service at Cambridge Auto in San Antonio includes removing the contaminated fluid and replacing it with fresh fluid.
A word about power steering pumps: Some are powered by an electric motor. Others are driven by the serpentine belt. A worn serpentine belt stresses all of the sedan components it drives, including the power steering pump, so replace the belt at Cambridge Auto as advised to avoid undue repairs.
Losing your power steering while driving in San Antonio can be unsettling – just remember that you can still steer, it’ll just be harder. Check with your friendly Cambridge Auto service professional to see if it’s time to service your sedan power steering system.
In addition to power steering service, at Cambridge Auto we offer comprehensive automotive services including brake repair, transmission service and repair and free shuttle service.
Give us a call
9823 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, Texas 78240
Posted in the Steering category