Cambridge Auto Center AutoNet TV

Diagnosing Your Vehicle at Cambridge Auto in San Antonio

Posted May 1, 2016 10:00 AM

When we San Antonio residents get a car repair bill, we really shouldn't be surprised to find “diagnostic fees” as one of the line items. When we get a computer fixed, there is usually a charge for the time it takes to diagnose the problem. When we go to a medical doctor, most of his fee is for his ability to diagnose what's wrong. It's no different with our vehicles.

Some diagnoses are fairly simple. Brake repairs at Cambridge Auto usually require only a visual inspection, for instance. But other problems are much more difficult to diagnose. An intermittent engine problem, for example, takes time and expertise to pinpoint.

Modern vehicles have multiple computers that monitor a variety of sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of those sensors has a reading that is higher or lower than the standard parameters, the computer turns on the check engine light. Technicians at a service center such as Cambridge Auto in San Antonio can scan the engine's computer for a trouble code. This code tells the technician which reading is too high or too low.

That's where some San Antonio residents get confused. They think that this reading concludes the diagnosis, and they don't understand why the diagnostic fee is as much as it is when all the technician did was to scan the computer. But the truth is the trouble code is only the beginning of the diagnostic procedure.

Remember, the trouble code only tells which reading is out of parameter. It doesn't say what is causing the reading to be too high or too low. Your Cambridge Auto service technician still has to find the underlying problem. It's a lot like going to the doctor. He can take your temperature and discover that you have a fever, but that doesn't tell him what is causing your fever.

Automotive diagnostic technology can cut down the time it takes to figure out what's wrong with a vehicle that isn't running right. But it doesn't do away with the need for your friendly and knowledgeable Cambridge Auto service technician to make a proper diagnosis. Car care, like medical care, still requires the human touch.

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



New Life for Your Older Car in San Antonio

Posted April 25, 2016 11:49 AM

Isn't it amazing how much of our stuff is disposable these days? Clothes, electronics, housewares, furniture.

Remember the days when San Antonio families mended their clothes, polished their shoes and neatly put away their toys every night? If something was lost or ruined through neglect, your parents just told you to do without, that you should have taken better care of it. They considered the loss a “life lesson.”

But today many San Antonio drivers tend to neglect one of the more expensive and important purchases we make: our vehicles. Vehicles are a lot more reliable today than back when we polished our shoes, and that reliability can sometimes make us take them for granted. Drivers in San Antonio neglect good car care practices and procrastinate preventive maintenance. What we're really doing is heading straight for one of those dreaded “life lessons.” Eventually we'll pay for our neglect in repair bills and a shorter life for our vehicle.

Is procrastinating routine maintenance really so terrible? Consider procrastinating brushing your teeth or washing your clothes or getting the dishes done. Gunk builds up, makes the job harder, and ultimately damages your teeth, clothing or dishes. It's the same with your car. Some of the best auto advice out there for San Antonio drivers is to stay on top of routine oil changes by bringing their car into Cambridge Auto. Even a few thousand miles extra between oil changes can result in oil sludge, which can clog passages in your engine. This means oil can't get to some of the engine components, and they'll wear out faster without lubrication. Every time you procrastinate an oil change, the problem gets worse, eventually cutting years off the life of your engine.

The same is true if you skip cooling system service. Corrosion inhibitors in the fluid become depleted over time, opening the system up to damage. Consistent neglect will lead to holes in your radiator. Talk to your friendly service advisor at Cambridge Auto for suggestions and feedback.

Neglect of other fluids can also result in engine damage. Brake fluid, transmission fluid, differential fluid—all of these need to be serviced on a regular basis. In addition, your fuel system needs periodic cleaning or it can start to break down and cause permanent damage to your engine.

The good news is that it's never too late to get on track and start getting good, regular preventive maintenance for your vehicle at Cambridge Auto. You may not be able to reverse damage that's already been done, but you can prevent further damage.

It really does all start with an oil change. With a full-service oil change at Cambridge Auto, your fluids will be checked and your car inspected for wear and tear. Our pros at Cambridge Auto can also advise you of other inspections and maintenance items that are coming due. If you're on top of oil changes, your service advisor will keep track of your maintenance schedule and remind you what needs to be done.

Older vehicles are going to need repairs. But with good maintenance, those repairs will involve fairly routine stuff like alternators, water pumps, belts and batteries. But the cost of these replacement parts at Cambridge Auto is much cheaper than the repair bills that come with serious engine damage, and they're certainly less than the cost of a new car.

We may not need to polish our shoes anymore, and tossing out that outdated cell phone may not be such a loss, but when it comes to our vehicles, they're just too valuable to be treated as disposable. Let's take a step back, listen to our parents, and take care of our stuff. If we don't, we could be on our way to a “life lesson” involving our bank account and a bus pass.

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



How To Get Better Gas Mileage In San Antonio

Posted April 18, 2016 9:37 AM


There is no escaping it: things work better when you take care of them. Something most of us in San Antonio can relate to is our computers. You've probably noticed how they get slower and slower over time. It takes longer to start up and programs take forever to load. Eventually, many of us just get a new computer at our nearest San Antonio computer store. But computer experts know that there are things you can do to delay the need for a new computer purchase. You can run utilities that clean off temporary files and clean your memory registry. You can optimize your hard drive and a number of other things.

What you're doing is maintaining your computer to make it efficient. It's the same thing with your car or truck. You maintain it to make it more efficient. It works the way it was designed to and that means it uses less fuel while you drive around San Antonio. better And you save money.

To help organize our discussion, let's think of things that rob us of fuel economy in two ways: increased friction and inefficient fuel combustion.

Friction. Anything that increases friction increases drag or load on the vehicle engine. It has to work harder to overcome the drag – and that takes more fuel. The first thing that comes to mind is engine oil. Low oil means there's not enough to fully lubricate the engine so there's more friction. Dirty oil won't lubricate as well as clean oil. The same principles apply to transmission fluid. Getting your oil changed and transmission serviced on schedule at Cambridge Auto will reduce friction and help you get better gas mileage.

Another friction related problem is under-inflated tires. When your vehicle tires are low on air, it's like driving on Texas highways through sand – your vehicle has to work harder to move every mile. Check your tire pressure at least once a month.

Wheels out of alignment and dragging brakes also increase friction. And your tires and brake pads will wear out much sooner as well. At Cambridge Auto, we provide quality brake and wheel alignment services.

Let's move on to Fuel. You have to get the right amount of clean fuel to the combustion chamber at precisely the right time. A dirty fuel system has varnish and gum interfering and the fuel injectors may be unable to deliver the correct amount of fuel at the right pressure and in the spray pattern that the engineers intended. A vehicle fuel system cleaning at Cambridge Auto will get all of that working right and really improve fuel economy.

Replacing your fuel filter on schedule will help keep your fuel clean. Replacing a sticky PCV valve will allow unburned fuel from the engine to be returned to the intake system to be used. Replacing worn spark plugs will burn your fuel as efficiently as possible.

All of these things can help you save money on gas at San Antonio pumps.

Give us a call

Cambridge Auto
9823 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, Texas 78240



Cambridge Auto Advice on What to Pour into Your Vehicle

Posted April 10, 2016 3:04 AM


Changes in vehicle design and manufacture have resulted in changed fluid requirements for our vehicles. With the sophistication of engines, transmissions, differentials, etc., it's best for San Antonio residents to always use the proper type of fluid for their vehicle. Using incorrect fluids can actually damage your engine.

As engines have become more sophisticated, new weights (or grades) of engine oil have been introduced. Today, there is a much wider range of weights for engine oil as well as a variety of formulations for different types of engines.

Transmission fluid, brake fluid and coolant/anti-freeze have changed because the materials that go into making the systems they protect have changed. The fluids in our vehicles generally have two jobs: to lubricate and to prevent corrosion. The fluids formulated for your vehicle are specifically designed to protect the materials that make up its engine parts. Using the wrong fluid may leave some parts vulnerable to corrosion. Further, using the wrong fluids can also void your vehicle's warranty. So Cambridge Auto recommends San Antonio drivers follow the fluid recommendations in their owner's manuals.

Vehicle fluids, including engine oil, are also designed in special formulas for higher mileage vehicles. These formulas contain additives that help clean older engines and transmissions as well as recondition older seals and gaskets. These fluids are perfectly okay for your vehicle, as long as you match the original fluid recommendations in your owner's manual. In other words, a high-mileage oil is fine as long as it is the same weight as the oil recommended by your vehicle's manufacturer.

Good car care always includes proper attention to your vehicle's fluids. Understanding and using correct fluids will keep your vehicle running well and will help prevent early corrosion and wear of vital engine parts.

Talk to your Cambridge Auto service advisor for more information.

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



Gas Savings In San Antonio: Sharpen Your Pencil

Posted April 3, 2016 6:44 AM


High gas prices in San Antonio increase the cost of living for Texas drivers. You've probably budgeted a certain amount for vehicle related expenses. Increased fuel costs now consume a larger portion of our incomes, causing some San Antonio vehicle owners to skimp in other areas – like scheduled maintenance.

According to Texas news reports and automotive industry studies, this is becoming increasingly more common. In fact, nine out of ten personal vehicles on the road have at least one maintenance or repair item that hasn't been done. Some of these items pose serious safety risks. Others are just more likely to make it more expensive to drive.

Gas

In this area, we can take a lesson from professional San Antonio vehicle owners. I'm talking about fleet owners and operators. You know, San Antonio folks like the trucking companies and delivery services. Because their livelihood depends on it, they have gotten scheduled maintenance down to a science. And the last thing they skimp on is regular maintenance.

Why is that? Well, for one thing they know that routine maintenance prevents expensive repairs and costly breakdowns. They also know that a well-maintained vehicle uses less fuel. For them, even a small decrease in may put their San Antonio business in the red.

So what does this mean to San Antonio drivers? Well, there's a ninety percent chance that you're missing some service that would improve your . Here's a quick reminder list:

Fuel system cleaning, transmission service, differential service, engine air filter, wheel alignment, oil change, tune up.
Ring any bells? Can most San Antonio vehicle owners honestly say that there isn't at least one thing on the list that hasn't been done?

Let's suppose you chose to spend one hundred and fifty dollars and get caught up on some of these services at Cambridge Auto. Figure that they combine to improve your by fifteen percent. What would that mean to your pocketbook?

Well, the average personal vehicle in San Antonio is driven about twelve thousand miles a year. If you get twenty miles per gallon in your vehicle, over the course of one year you would pay for the hundred and fifty dollars worth of service and save an additional hundred and sixty five dollars if gas is at three dollars and fifty cents. If gas is four fifty, you would save two hundred and fifty-five dollars. And you'd rack up savings of three hundred and forty five dollars with gas at five and a half bucks.

 

GAS PRICE
$3.50
$4.50
$5.50

20 MPG
$165
$255
$345

From this you can see that the more fuel costs, the more it pays to keep up on scheduled maintenance. Some of us drive trucks in San Antonio for work or recreation – or want a large SUV for family needs. A fifteen percent improvement in can generate huge savings – six hundred and sixty dollars a year if gas is four fifty a gallon in San Antonio. Take a look at this table to see where your savings could lie.

 

GAS PRICE

A) $3.50, B) $4.50, C) $5.50

10 MPG: A) $480, B) $660, C) $840

20 MPG: A) $165, B) $255, C) $345

30 MPG: A) $60, B) $120, C) $180

 

So catch up on those services you've been neglecting at Cambridge Auto. Get a couple done now and a couple next time. Chances are you'll save a lot of money at San Antonio gas pumps this year – and a lot more on repairs in years to come.

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

 

 



Differential Service at Cambridge Auto

Posted March 28, 2016 4:27 AM


Here at AutoNetTV, we have national viewers, like your neighbors in San Antonio, who write to us with questions or feedback. One common question we're asked is: "What is a differential and what does it do?" You may have been told by your Cambridge Auto service advisor that your differential needs serviced, or seen it as an option up on the service menu. Differential service at Cambridge Auto covers a lot of things, so let's first talk about what a differential does.

As you drive through a turn, your outside wheels and inside wheels turn at different speeds. Kind of like the cars going around a race track - the ones driving in the outside lanes have a greater distance to travel than the cars in the inside lanes. The differential is what allows the outside and inside drive wheels to rotate at slightly different speeds so that the tires don't hop or skip while taking corners, or lose traction in dirt or snow on San Antonio area roads. Differentials have gears in them that transfer the power from the drive train to your wheels - which is why they're often referred to as gear boxes. The gears need to be very strong to do this work, and they need to be properly protected so that they'll last.

All vehicles in San Antonio have some form of differential. If you have a front-wheel drive car, your differential is sometimes called a transaxle and is located in the front. If you have rear-wheel drive, the differential is in the back of the car. San Antonio auto owners with a four-wheel drive vehicle have a differential in the front and the back - and in the middle as well. The center differential adjusts for differences in speed between the front and rear wheels.

Differential fluid lubricates and cools the gears. Over time, the fluid can get dirty from bits of the gears grinding off. The additives that keep the fluid clean and protect the differential break down over time. So your vehicle manufacturer has scheduled intervals for you to have your differential fluid changed. Talk to your friendly and knowledgeable Cambridge Auto service advisor if you are not sure about your recommended schedule.

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



Fuel System Cleaning the Professional Way at Cambridge Auto

Posted March 20, 2016 2:42 AM

Your fuel system needs to be clean to do its job properly. When it gets dirty, the results are lower engine performance, reduced fuel economy and impaired safety. It can even lead to costly repair bills for San Antonio drivers. So keep your fuel system clean as part of your routine preventive maintenance.

Fuel injectors have replaced carburetors in most of today's vehicles. These injectors deliver better fuel economy than a carburetor, but they can be compromised by rust, dirt and other contaminants. They need to be clean to maintain the correct pressure, spray pattern and volume of delivered fuel so that the vehicle engine can run at peak efficiency.

There are products on the market that San Antonio vehicle owners can add to their gas tank that will help keep your fuel injectors clean. These products will keep a clean fuel system clean, but have trouble cleaning a system that has already gotten gummed up.

If your fuel system needs a major cleaning, Cambridge Auto can help. We have the tools and chemicals necessary to clean up your fuel system. We can remove accumulated carbon, grit, gum and varnish and get your fuel system and those all-important fuel injectors back up to snuff. Once your fuel system is clean, you'll notice the difference in improved power and better . You may not notice that your vehicle is now producing fewer emissions, but our Texas environment will be better for it.

San Antonio drivers should consider adding a cleaning product to their gas tank after a fuel system cleaning. Those cleaners will help prevent your fuel system getting gummed up again, plus they can prevent rust and corrosion in your fuel system.

Ask your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Cambridge Auto if your car is in need of a fuel system cleaning. That kind of auto advice can save you big bucks in repair bills down the road.

Your owner's manual and Cambridge Auto advisor can help you with other car care advice that can help improve the safety and performance of your vehicle. Cambridge Auto in San Antonio can also help you set up a schedule to perform that maintenance and help you customize that schedule so it accounts for the climate and road conditions in your area.

San Antonio drivers should remember that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. When it comes to car care, that old adage has proven itself true.



Higher Mileage Service Intervals For San Antonio

Posted March 13, 2016 8:59 AM




San Antonio drivers have probably noticed that the government mandates a lot of equipment on cars: emission devices and control computers; safety equipment like airbags; and crash worthiness requirements. All of this is great for the motoring public in the San Antonio area but it does add quite a bit to the price of a new car.

Because new cars are more expensive, San Antonio residents are driving their old cars longer. The average car is now over nine years old. 68% of vehicles on the road have more than 75,000 miles/120,000 kilometers. As cars age, their performance drops, they have difficulty idling for long periods and are more sensitive to weather extremes. Fortunately today's cars are up to the challenge - but they need a little help to keep on going.

Some owner's manuals don't outline service requirements and schedules at higher mileage. Of course, that doesn't mean it doesn't have to be done. In fact, it's more important than ever for San Antonio drivers to stay on top of routine auto maintenance for cars with more than 120,000 miles/190,000 kilometers. Just extend regular service intervals out: for instance a service that's recommended every 24,000 miles/38,000 kilometers should be performed at 24,000 mi/38,000 km; 48,000 mi/77,000 km; 72,000mi/116,000 km, 96,000 mi/154,000 km; and on and on.

Because of the additional stress older engines experience, the severe service maintenance schedule may be more appropriate than the regular schedule. Watch for leaks - seals and gaskets dry out over time and do not hold the fluids as well as they used to. If you don't already have one, it is more than ever to get a good , like any one of the automotive professionals on our team at Cambridge Auto. There are some services and replacements that are scheduled after you put some clicks on the odometer, like timing belts, valve train adjustments, suspension, anti-lock brake service, air bags, etc. And unexpected repairs down the road are just par for the course.

Check for unusual sounds, smells or the way your car feels. These could be hints for San Antonio vehicle owners that trouble is brewing. Better to catch it early before it turns into repair. Regular wash and wax will help maintain your car's appearance. One of the things San Antonio drivers can do to really help a high mileage vehicle is to begin using high mileage formulation fluids. There are special engine oils, coolants, transmission fluids and power steering fluids that are formulated for cars that have higher mileage.


High mileage oil is designed to condition seals and gaskets, reduce wear and avoid premature burn off. Older vehicle engines are dirtier inside - and dirty engines contaminate their oil faster. High mileage oil has special additives that clean the engine, removing sludge deposits over time. The result is less stress on the engine, better and excellent wear protection. Come into Cambridge Auto in San Antonio for a checkup.

Studies have even shown that using high mileage fluids early will actually prevent some of the problems of high kilometer vehicles. So once you hit around 50,000 mi/80,000 km, consider stepping up to high mileage formulations. The fluids cost a bit more than standard fluids in San Antonio because of the additional additives, but they can be worth their weight in gold in terms of preventing repair costs down the road.

It does cost more for  to properly maintain a higher mileage vehicle in San Antonio - but it's much cheaper than a new car payment!

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



Your Vehicle Is NOT Maintenance Free, San Antonio Car Owners

Posted March 7, 2016 1:18 AM


A generation ago, San Antonio drivers seemed to be more inclined to keep their vehicle's preventive maintenance on schedule. One reason for this may be that vehicles back then were a lot less reliable than they are today. Taking your vehicle in to your San Antonio shop every year or two for repairs seemed to be a good reminder to keep the oil changed.

For example, almost everyone in San Antonio used to take their vehicles in for regular tune-ups. Vehicles had mechanical ignition systems, which meant ignition points, spark plugs and coils had to be replaced and the timing adjusted every few years. As long as the vehicle was in for a tune-up at Cambridge Auto, the vehicle was inspected and you took care of any needed repairs at the same time.

Today's engines have electronic ignition systems and engine control computers. Spark plugs can last for up to 100,000 miles. Vehicle reliability has vastly improved in the last few decades, and surveys report fewer problems with new vehicles than ever before. That also means that our vehicles don't experience a huge performance drop when they're ready for some car care. But it doesn't mean that they don't need it.

Modern San Antonio drivers need to rely on calendars and mileage intervals to know when to schedule maintenance. Owner's manuals contain recommendations on when different types of maintenance should be performed. Also, Cambridge Auto in San Antonio can provide advice about auto maintenance schedules. At Cambridge Auto in San Antonio, we know that benefits of staying on top of preventive maintenance are substantial. First, you'll get better engine performance and fuel economy. Those two things alone return the cost of preventive maintenance: in fuel savings and safety. Also, routine maintenance has been proven to prevent major car repairs later on. Again, the cost savings can be significant. As the old saying goes, “Spend a penny, save a dime.”

Modern vehicle engines may be more durable and reliable than their predecessors, but they're more sophisticated and complex as well. For this reason, preventive maintenance today is even more critical than the old tune-up. Modern engine systems have a lot of parts that have to stay lubricated. These parts can be made of aluminum, plastic or steel. Special additives in lubricants are required to keep each of these materials from breaking down or corroding. Over time, these additives are depleted, even if the vehicle isn't driven. This makes fluid changes a critical part of scheduled maintenance if you want to keep your car on the road.

As an example, coolant fluid in your engine is a sophisticated mix that not only keeps your vehicle engine cool but also protects and maintains its components. However, this fluid gradually gets contaminated and anti-corrosion additives are depleted. It can become corrosive and actually damage the vehicle engine parts it was designed to protect. It can actually eat holes in your radiator and other engine parts. Changing the coolant could have prevented this damage, and it's a whole lot easier and cheaper than replacing a radiator.

Timely oil changes are more critical for San Antonio drivers than they used to be. Skipping just one oil change can start the build-up of oil sludge in your engine. Sludge can clog small engine passages, which cuts off the supply of lubricant to engine parts. Just this small bit of sludge can reduce the life expectancy of your engine. If the build-up continues, it could lead to engine failure within two or three years.

One word of warning to anyone in San Antonio who purchases used automobiles: take care when buying a leased vehicle. San Antonio folks who lease vehicles only intend to drive them for two or three years, generally the years when the vehicle is least likely to experience any problems. One of the reasons people lease vehicles is that they don't want to be bothered with maintenance or car care. Before buying a pre-leased vehicle, be sure to inspect it for signs of damage that result from lack of proper care.

We can all be grateful for the improved reliability of our modern vehicles. With proper maintenance and care, we can expect them to last longer, perform better, get better fuel economy, and require fewer repairs than ever before. We just have to be more conscientious about scheduling time for their care.

Give us a call or send us an email for more helpful tips.

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

 

 



Serpentine Belt Service at Cambridge Auto in San Antonio

Posted March 1, 2016 9:31 AM


If you've ever heard a squealing sound under your vehicle hood, chances are it was your serpentine belt. More importantly, the belt powers the alternator. The alternator creates electricity that's used by your vehicle's electrical systems and also charges your car battery. Without the alternator, the battery will go dead in a few miles.

The serpentine belt may also run the pumps for both the power steering (some are electric) and power brakes (some use vacuum boost).

And, on most vehicles, the serpentine belt powers the water pump. The water pump circulates coolant through the engine to keep it within optimal operating temperatures. On some San Antonio cars, the water pump is powered by the timing belt instead of the serpentine belt.

When they understand what it does, San Antonio drivers realize that if it breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That's why vehicle manufacturers outline recommended replacement guidelines in the owner’s manuals. If this important maintenance component is not included in your owner’s manual, come see us at Cambridge Auto.

At Cambridge Auto in San Antonio, your professional technician can perform a visual inspection of the belt to see if it has any cracks that signal the belt could fail soon. If the belt has more than three or four cracks every inch, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.

If it has lost a significant amount of thickness, it also needs to be replaced. Talk to your service advisor at Cambridge Auto. There's a special spring-loaded pulley attached to the engine called the tensioner pulley. Its job is to make sure there's a constant tension on the serpentine belt so that it doesn't slip. The spring can become worn and no longer provide the necessary pressure to keep the belt tight. At Cambridge Auto, we recommend that the tensioner be replaced at the same time as the serpentine belt.

As mentioned, a squealing sound could alert you that the serpentine belt needs to be replaced. It may be loose if you hear a slow, slapping sound when idling your vehicle.

All in all, the serpentine belt is very important to the operation of your vehicle. And it's not that expensive to replace at Cambridge Auto – so it's good to do so before it fails.

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



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