Cambridge Auto Center AutoNet TV

Beware of Cheap Tires in San Antonio

Posted August 23, 2016 5:45 AM


Do you like to shop for shoes in San Antonio?
When buying a running shoe, is quality important?
Does durability matter as long as the shoes look fabulous?
Would you rather have one pair of long lasting shoes or two pairs of lower quality shoes at the same price?

Is the warranty important when buying tires?

San Antonio drivers should also think about the safety aspect of tires. The tires do a lot of work – they carry the weight of the vehicle and you and your passengers. You want to be sure they hold the road and provide good traction on Texas freeways and surface streets. If you carry heavy loads or tow a trailer on Texas highways, the tires need a high load rating.

Ask your friendly and knowledgeable San Antonio tire professional at Cambridge Auto. I think it's important that San Antonio residents understand the effect of price on a tire's quality, performance and durability. When I was a kid, my dad would say, “Pay twice as much and buy half as many.”

The same principle applies to tires. The major tire brands that you're familiar with in San Antonio are known as Tier 1 tires. These tires are high quality and well-engineered. Comparable vehicle Tier 1 tires are usually priced similarly.

Stepping down, you come to private label tires. Some large Texas tire store chains carry tires with their own brand. It's important to know that most private label tires are built by the same Tier 1 companies that you are familiar with – so you are pretty safe in choosing them. To be sure, you can ask your Cambridge Auto tire professional which manufacturer makes their private brand.

The lowest priced tires on the market in San Antonio are Tier 3 tires which are usually imported from China or South America. Since you get what you pay for, you can't expect a Tier 3 tire to deliver the same performance and durability as the others.


What's the difference in the tires with high mileage warranties? It's the rubber compounds and the amount of tread material. As you might expect, you'll pay more for the longer-lasting tire.

Your tires are the only part of your vehicle that touch the road. You're only as safe as your tires are well built. Buy value – not price.

Give us a call.

Cambridge Auto
9823 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, Texas 78240
210-697-9600
http://www.cambridgeauto.com

 



Exhaust Service at Cambridge Auto: Passing the Smell Test

Posted August 16, 2016 1:22 AM


The exhaust system on a vehicle is more complex than most San Antonio residents realize. It contains everything from old-fashioned pipes and clamps to sophisticated computers and sensors. All Texas folks know a properly functioning exhaust system is good for the environment, but sometimes we forget that a damaged exhaust system can be deadly. That's why preventive maintenance on your exhaust system is so . We can help you with that at Cambridge Auto in San Antonio.

The exhaust manifold is the first component in your exhaust system. The manifold is attached to the engine. It collects the gases that are produced by the engine and directs them into the exhaust pipes. At this point, these gases are both hot and chemically dangerous.

One of the gases produced in your engine is carbon monoxide. This gas is colorless and odorless. Breathing it can cause headaches, dizziness, nausea and drowsiness. Continue breathing it, and you will die.

To keep this gas, and others, from entering your vehicle passenger compartment, the connections from the manifold to the engine and from the manifold to the exhaust pipes are sealed with gaskets. These connections should be routinely inspected at Cambridge Auto for cracks and to check if they have come loose.

The exhaust pipes can also get damaged, allowing dangerous gases to leak into your passenger compartment. These pipes can rust or be dented or broken by rocks and other roadway debris, so they need to be inspected regularly.

The catalytic converter is the next component in your vehicle exhaust system. You can breathe a sigh of relief now, because this is where the dangerous engine gases are converted into carbon dioxide and water, greatly reducing the amount of harmful emissions in your exhaust. You'll also be happy to know that your catalytic converter doesn't require maintenance. However, it will wear out. If you fail an emissions inspection because of a faulty catalytic converter, you need to replace it.

The muffler's job is far less critical, but far more noticeable, than the catalytic converter's. It dampens or absorbs the noise from the engine. Most San Antonio residents don't realize that we can actually customize the noise our car makes with a custom muffler. You can upgrade to a muffler that will make your car sleuth-quiet, or you can advertise your presence in San Antonio with a sassy rumble.

Mufflers can also rust or be damaged by road debris. But just because their main function is to dampen out engine noise doesn't mean they can be ignored. If your muffler is leaking, you need to get it replaced quickly. Exhaust fumes need to exit through your tailpipe, not your muffler.

The exhaust pipe contains at least one oxygen sensor. The sensor monitors the oxygen content of the exhaust, which allows it to adjust the fuel-to-air ratio in the engine. This keeps your vehicle engine running smoothly and maintains good gas mileage. So, besides keeping you and the environment healthy, a well-maintained exhaust system also keeps your vehicle healthy. The tailpipe itself can rust or get damaged by road debris, so it needs a quick inspection once in a while, too.

The whole exhaust system is mounted on the vehicle with clamps and hangers. These clamps and hangers can come loose, rust or get dinged up by road debris. Remember that the gases in your exhaust system are hot, so the exhaust system itself gets hot. The clamps and hangers keep the exhaust system attached to the vehicle, but they also prevent the heated components from touching things they shouldn't. If you don't inspect and replace broken, loose or damaged clamps, you may end up with melted wires, hoses or lines. And that can spell some expensive repairs.

You should schedule an exhaust system inspection as recommended in your vehicle owner's manual. Because this system is critical to your health and the health of your car, and because of its sophistication and complexity, you need to have the work done at a qualified service center such as Cambridge Auto in San Antonio.

Maintaining your emissions and exhaust system is not just good auto advice: it's good health advice for all San Antonio residents and their families.

Cambridge Auto
9823 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, Texas 78240
210-697-9600
http://www.cambridgeauto.com



New School: Automotive Cambridge Auto Technician Training

Posted August 7, 2016 8:10 AM

San Antonio consumers are demanding. We want a safe, reliable vehicle that handles well and is comfortable to ride in. Oh, and we want good fuel economy, too. We also want car repairs that are cheap, fast and easy. Unfortunately, one usually comes at the cost of the other.

Today's vehicles have made significant improvements in reliability and performance over the last few decades. They also deliver more power to San Antonio drivers more efficiently than ever before. For example, some of today's 4 cylinder engines are equal to yesterday's V-8's. Our vehicles also offer an amazing range of features that make them more comfortable and convenient than ever before.

But all of that improvement has come at a price for San Antonio vehicle owners. Our vehicles are more complicated and difficult to repair than ever before. They have numerous mechanical and electrical systems. Fuel systems are so complex they have to be run by a computer. Our vehicles are covered with sensors and high-tech electronic equipment. Our dashboards rival the control panel of the first manned space flight.

With all that complicated equipment, it's no wonder we call mechanics service technicians these days. You can't learn to repair cars in the backyard with your dad anymore. Today's Cambridge Auto technicians have to go to school. School may come in the form of classroom instruction, on-line courses or both. Technicians are also trained on-site at the San Antonio service centers where they work (including Cambridge Auto) to keep them abreast of constant improvements in vehicle engineering, diagnostic equipment and repair techniques.

Today's technicians need to be certified to work on our vehicles. They can earn a variety of certifications in Texas, but the highest of these is Master Technician. It's like a graduate degree in auto repair.

Vehicle repair at Cambridge Auto in San Antonio requires more than just training and certification, though. It also takes information and creative thought. San Antonio area auto service centers subscribe to data services, technical libraries and on-line repair communities in order to get the information they need to work on various makes and models of vehicles, to get recommended maintenance schedules, to learn about non-standard features, and even to locate hard-to-find parts in an unusual engine. They also use this information to help diagnose rare or difficult vehicle problems. Many auto repair problems also require a bit of creative thinking for the team at Cambridge Auto to solve. San Antonio service technicians at Cambridge Auto act much like doctors in these situations. They're given a set of symptoms, and they have to come up with a diagnosis and treatment that will fix the problem. This process becomes as much of an art as it is a science.

A proper diagnosis, even by a highly qualified technician, can take time. And a technician's time is going to cost us. It's just the price of progress.

Of course, the best car care for San Antonio vehicle owners is planned preventive auto maintenance. This is also the least way to keep your vehicle in good repair. Regular inspections and replacement of worn parts will prevent most repairs from ever being needed in the first place.

And with the amazing complexity of today's automobiles, isn't it good to know there's someone out there with the knowledge, training and skill to give us good auto advice? Whether we need preventive maintenance or repairs, the team of automotive professionals at Cambridge Auto can help us keep our vehicles on the road. We just can't do it on our own anymore.

Cambridge Auto
9823 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, Texas 78240
210-697-9600
http://www.cambridgeauto.com



Tracking True in San Antonio: Wheel Alignment

Posted August 2, 2016 11:56 AM


At Cambridge Auto, we occasionally see severe tire damage that could have been prevented with proper wheel alignment. During a Cambridge Auto alignment service, your vehicle is put on an alignment rack where the tires, steering and suspension parts are inspected for problems. Then the alignment is charted and checked against the vehicle factory settings. Adjustments are made to bring the wheels back into alignment. This gets all four wheels moving in precisely the same direction.

If you don't remember hitting a pothole, how do you know if your wheels are out? The most obvious sign is that your car pulls to one side. Also, your steering wheel may not be centered when you're going straight. If you're in the habit of checking your tire wear regularly, you may notice the edges of one or more tires rapidly wearing down. You should have your San Antonio auto service center look it over. Of course, if you've been in an accident, you should get your alignment checked.

It's not surprising that a forceful impact can seriously knock tires out, but remember that a series of smaller ones can add up. That's why your vehicle manufacturer recommends periodic alignment checks. If your vehicle owner's manual doesn't advise a specific interval, once a year might be appropriate. Check with your Cambridge Auto service advisor. As with most other preventive maintenance services, the cost of the alignment is a heck of a lot cheaper than having to purchase new tires earlier than expected.


Give us a call.

Cambridge Auto
9823 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, Texas 78240
210-697-9600
http://www.cambridgeauto.com



Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Wheel Bearings

Posted July 26, 2016 7:49 AM




Why are wheel bearings for San Antonio vehicles important? It's simple: your wheel bearings keep the wheels on your vehicle. In today's Cambridge Auto post, we'll discuss more about wheel bearings and how you can make sure they can do their very job while you drive around San Antonio, Texas.

Wheel bearings are pretty simple parts. They're made of high quality steel and are engineered to last 100,000 miles or more if properly cared for. The bearings do two jobs: First, they allow the wheel to freely rotate with as little friction as possible. Second, they support the weight of the vehicle. For example, if your car weighs 3,600 pounds, each wheel has to support approximately 900 pounds. That's a lot of heavy lifting over many, many thousands of miles.

Even though wheel bearings are pretty straightforward, they need to be in near perfect condition to do their job for San Antonio vehicles. The bearings are packed with heavy grease to lubricate and protect them. A seal keeps the grease in and water and dirt out. It's when the seal starts to leak that problems begin. The grease can become contaminated; causing the wheel bearings to overheat and ultimately fail.

The first sign that your wheel bearings are in trouble is an unusual noise coming from a wheel. It could be a chirping, growling, rumbling or a cyclic sound. The noise could get louder or even disappear at certain speeds. Your technician at Cambridge Auto can inspect for bearing wear by lifting the vehicle and checking for play in the wheel.

Now some wheel bearing assemblies are factory sealed. That means that they cannot be serviced – they can only be replaced. Those that aren't sealed can be serviced on schedule at Cambridge Auto. The bearings are removed, cleaned and inspected. If the bearings are still good, they're re-installed – if not, they're replaced. They are then packed in grease and a new seal is installed.

If your vehicle has a factory sealed wheel bearing assembly, the entire assembly needs to be replaced when trouble arises. Unfortunately, the parts are pretty – but they usually last about 150,000 miles as long as the seals hold up.

Now, even a good seal cannot keep out water that's exerting pressure on the seal. So if you've driven through hub deep water your bearings should be cleaned and repacked if they're serviceable. If you have factory sealed bearings, you just need to watch for signs of premature failure. If your wheel bearings can be serviced, your 's owner's manual will recommend an interval, usually around 30,000 miles.

If you have any sort of trailer, don't forget its wheel bearings. They probably need to be serviced even more frequently. This is especially true for boat trailers that are used to launch the boat by backing it into the water. These should be serviced every year, usually at the end of the season so that the bearings don't have the opportunity to rust all winter.

So what happens to San Antonio vehicles if wheel bearings fail? Well, the wheel can literally fall off the vehicle. I don't need to tell you how that could be. So check with your service advisor at Cambridge Auto and see if your vehicle's wheel bearings can be serviced and when it's recommended. Listen for warning signs. If you've been fording streams or puddle surfing after rainstorms, be especially vigilant.

Visit the automotive professionals at Cambridge Auto for a wheel bearing inspection. 

Cambridge Auto
9823 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, Texas 78240
210-697-9600
http://www.cambridgeauto.com



Know Your Towing Limits in San Antonio

Posted July 19, 2016 9:31 AM


Some San Antonio drivers figure that anything they can attach to their trailer hitch can be towed by their vehicle. Nope. If you're going to do any towing around San Antonio, you should be aware of safety issues, Texas towing laws, and potential liability.

Understanding tow ratings is important for safe towing. A tow rating is the weight limit that your vehicle can safely tow. They calculate the tow rating for every vehicle, but different options on the vehicle can affect that rating. San Antonio drivers need to read the towing section in their owner's manual to get the specific tow rating for the vehicle they own.

Your trailer hitch also has a weight limit, and it may not match the tow rating for your vehicle. Your vehicle may be rated for 10,000 pounds, but if you have a 2,000-pound hitch limit, you shouldn't be towing more than 2,000 pounds. If you tow a 10,000-pound trailer on that hitch, it could break free and you would be liable for any resulting damages.

Another example, one popular pick-up truck has a tow rating of 10,300 pounds. But in the owner's manual, it specifies that a sway control device be used for trailers weighing over 2,000 pounds and that a weight-distributing hitch is required for trailers over 5,000 pounds. If the vehicle owner tows a 6,000-pound trailer without a weight-distributing hitch and ends up in an accident, the owner will be held liable for not complying with the towing requirements in Texas.

San Antonio auto owners also need to keep in mind that tow weights include the weight of passengers and cargo inside the tow vehicle. So if your tow rating is 7,000 pounds, and you're carrying 700 pounds of passengers and cargo, you can only tow a trailer weighing up to 6,300 pounds.

Two numbers that San Antonio drivers should be aware of are the GVWR and the GCWR. These codes are usually imprinted on the inside of the driver's side door. GVWR stands for gross vehicle weight rating. Take GVWR and subtract the total weight of the vehicle, and you have the maximum weight the vehicle can safely carry in passengers and cargo. GCWR stands for Gross Combined Weight Rating. Take that number, subtract the weight of the tow vehicle and the trailer, and you have the maximum weight of passengers and cargo that the tow vehicle and trailer together can safely carry.

This may seem a bit complicated, but you ignore these ratings at your own peril. If you haul or tow loads over the maximum ratings around Texas, you become liable in event of an accident.

Local San Antonio laws require that safety chains be attached when towing a trailer. Some Texas jurisdictions may require trailer brakes as well. Others mandate trailer brakes only in certain situations. If you are going to tow a trailer, you should find out the local San Antonio laws regarding trailer brakes, hitches, as well as weight and length restrictions.

To tow safely, Texas drivers also need the proper tires on the tow vehicle. Tires need to be in good condition, with adequate tread, and they need to have a load rating high enough to handle the weight of the trailer. Your trained Cambridge Auto tire professional can help you select the right tire to use when towing around San Antonio.

Your 's owner's manual is your primary source for auto advice regarding towing since it is specific to your vehicle. Be sure to read it carefully before doing any towing. And as always, keep your preventive maintenance up-to-date and practice good car care to ensure the safety of your vehicle on the road—especially when pulling a trailer.

Cambridge Auto
9823 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, Texas 78240
210-697-9600
http://www.cambridgeauto.com



Ask Cambridge Auto: What Happens When a Serpentine Belt Breaks?

Posted July 12, 2016 8:46 AM


The serpentine belt is aptly named since it snakes around under your hood. It may lack its namesake's fangs, but it sure packs a wallop when it breaks.

The serpentine belt powers a lot of engine systems. It runs the alternator, which charges the battery; the water pump (on some vehicles), which cools the engine; the air conditioning, which cools the driver and passengers; and the power steering pump, which allows for easier steering. When the belt breaks, all of these systems shut down.

Okay, so maybe you can live without air conditioning and power steering for a while, but your battery can't live very long without an alternator, and when the cooling system goes down, your vehicle engine will overheat. That's why San Antonio drivers should never wait to get a serpentine belt replaced.

Serpentine belts are fairly inexpensive at Cambridge Auto in San Antonio. And they look downright cheap when you compare them to the cost of an overheated vehicle engine, a tow truck, time lost on the road, inconvenience, and the potential safety consequences of being stranded.

Good car care means never putting off preventive maintenance. Do yourself a favor. Ask your friendly and knowledgeable Cambridge Auto  technician to glance under your hood and give that serpentine belt a quick look-over.

Cambridge Auto
9823 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, Texas 78240
210-697-9600
http://www.cambridgeauto.com



Automotive Tips from Cambridge Auto: Serpentine Belt Tensioner

Posted July 6, 2016 2:52 AM

The serpentine belt tensioner applies pressure to the serpentine belt, maintaining optimal tension to drive the accessories like the alternator and A/C compressor. At Cambridge Auto we know that the service life of the belt tensioner is the same as the belt itself, so they should always be replaced together. A worn tensioner prevents the accessories from spinning properly, leading to premature wear and noise for San Antonio drivers.

Your vehicle manufacturer has a recommended mileage interval for serpentine belt replacement. A complete accessory drive system service replaces the serpentine belt, the belt tensioner and any idler pulleys your car might have. Your friendly and professional Cambridge Auto service advisor can inspect your system and let you know if it’s time for a replacement.

Give us a call.

Cambridge Auto
9823 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, Texas 78240
210-697-9600
http://www.cambridgeauto.com

 



Will Proper Auto Maintenance at Cambridge Auto Really Save Gas?

Posted June 26, 2016 9:51 AM

Have you ever thought about all the little things we do to keep our lives running smoothly - like vacuuming? It makes a room feel fresher and more comfortable. We may not consider that we're also prolonging the life of the carpet by keeping it clean. But San Antonio drivers don't always extend those good habits into the garage. Our vehicles need regular maintenance just like our rugs need vacuuming. We may not notice a difference in the feel or appearance of the vehicle, but, just as cleaning a carpet carries the hidden reward of prolonging its life, maintaining our vehicles incurs a hidden reward that becomes noticeable at San Antonio gas stations.

When it comes to reduced fuel economy, there are two culprits: increased friction and inefficient fuel combustion. That means that anything San Antonio drivers can do to decrease friction and increase the efficiency of their engines will translate to savings on fuel. Friction increases the amount of energy it takes to move something. So if we can reduce friction, we can decrease the amount of fuel it takes to run our vehicles. Engine oil is usually at the heart of friction problems in an engine. Too little oil means parts are not getting lubricated, which increases friction and dirty oil doesn't lubricate as well as clean oil. So one secret to good fuel efficiency is to stay on top of oil changes. Don't skip them and don't procrastinate. The same auto advice applies to transmission fluid. Keep it full and keep it clean, and your vehicle will run with less friction and better fuel economy.

If your tires are under-inflated, it increases the friction between the tire and the road. Again, there is increased drag, and it takes more fuel to move your vehicle. San Antonio drivers should check their tire pressure every month and keep their tires properly inflated.

Alignment and brake problems can also increase friction. Besides saving fuel, keeping these systems in good repair has the added benefit of saving you on tires and brake pads since these items wear out more quickly when the alignment is off or when the brake system isn't in good working order. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Cambridge Auto .

The second culprit that stealthily steals our gas is inefficient fuel combustion, which depends on the engine getting the right amount of clean fuel to the right place with the right pressure at the right time in the right pattern. The key to peak engine performance is to keep the fuel system clean. Varnish and gum can build up in a fuel system, which will interfere with the fuel injectors. The fuel injectors are responsible for all those “rights” we spoke of. If they're dirty, amounts, timing, pressure and spray patterns can all get out of whack. The result? Reduced fuel efficiency. A fuel system cleaning at Cambridge Auto in San Antonio can get your injectors back on track, improving performance and efficiency.

There are a few other maintenance items that can improve your fuel economy. One is to replace your PCV valve when it gets sticky. This valve allows unburned fuel in your engine exhaust to return to the engine. San Antonio drivers can also replace worn spark plugs and dirty fuel filters. A well-maintained vehicle will require fewer repairs and save at San Antonio gas pumps.

Cambridge Auto
9823 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, Texas 78240
210-697-9600
http://www.cambridgeauto.com

 



Relax When the Wind Blows in Texas: Winter Car Prep for San Antonio Drivers

Posted June 19, 2016 2:55 AM

When autumn comes around in San Antonio, leaves fall, nights get longer, and there's a definite nip in the air. Time to unpack the boots and gloves and fold some extra blankets onto the beds. It's also time for San Antonio drivers to winterize their vehicles.

Here is some expert auto advice for San Antonio drivers on what vehicles need to keep everyone safe and rolling throughout the Texas winter months.

1. Check your antifreeze. Top it off or change it if necessary. You don't want your radiator, engine or hoses freezing up. If your vehicle isn't generating enough heat to keep you warm, your antifreeze might be low, or you might have a thermostat problem. Either way, you should get it checked out before the full force of Texas winter sets in. If you are due for a cooling system service at Cambridge Auto in San Antonio, get that done as well.

2. Check your brakes. The slushy wet conditions of winter increase stopping distances. Ice exacerbates the problem. Your first concern, of course, is to make sure you adapt your driving habits to winter weather: slow down, and give yourself plenty of room to stop. Get your brakes checked at Cambridge Auto and replace any worn pads or other parts. Check your brake fluid. It can accumulate moisture and decrease your stopping power.

3. Test your battery. A battery's cranking power drops in the cold, so if your battery is already weak, the onset of winter will do it in. The last thing you want is to be on a snowy Texas road in the dark and cold with a dead battery.

4. Pack emergency supplies. Toss a blanket into the trunk. If you do find yourself stranded, your first concern will be to stay warm. If you're traveling away from Texas population centers, then pack some emergency food and water as well. Also, it's a good idea to top off your tank in winter. That way, if you get stuck, you'll have some fuel to burn to stay warm, and it'll keep your gas lines from freezing up.

5. Check your wiper blades. They may be able to handle a light San Antonio summer rain shower, but they might not be up to the ice and snow that collect on a windshield in winter. If you experience particularly harsh winters or really wet ones, you can purchase special blades that resist freezing. And don't forget to top off your wiper fluid.

6. Check your tires. Tires lose pressure over time, but they lose pressure fast when it's cold outside in San Antonio. Tires lose about one pound of pressure every six to eight weeks; they also lose one pound of pressure for every 10°F drop in temperature. If the last time you checked your tires it was 80°F outside and it's 40°F now, your tires could be down five pounds in pressure — and that's serious. It's a safety issue and cuts down on your fuel economy.

7. Driving conditions in the San Antonio area may warrant special winter tires. Check with your friendly and knowledgeable Cambridge Auto tire professional to get the right tires for your area and for your driving habits. If you are getting winter tires, it's always best to get them for all four wheels. But if you're only going to get two, put them on the rear wheels, even if you drive a front-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicle. Traction is more important on the rear of a vehicle if you want to prevent sliding or fish-tailing on slick surfaces.

So there you have it: a quick checklist to winterize your car in Texas. When it comes to car care, preventive maintenance is always the best practice for San Antonio drivers, especially when it comes to winter weather. None of us want to be caught out in the winter cold.

Cambridge Auto
9823 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, Texas 78240
210-697-9600
http://www.cambridgeauto.com



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