Anyone that drives a car in San Antonio knows that engines get hot when they run. But did you know that engines need to be cooled to keep running? Heat inside an engine can cause the metal parts to expand, which can seize up an engine and make it stop running. It can even ruin the entire engine! Good car care requires keeping your sedan cooling system in good condition.
A vehicle’s cooling system circulates water and antifreeze (coolant) through the engine where it absorbs heat. It then flows to the radiator where the water and antifreeze are cooled by the air that flows over the radiator. Then it circulates back into the sedan’s engine to absorb more heat.
Why shouldn't Kirby motorists just use water? Because water boils at temperatures that are often reached inside of an engine. Steam won't cool your sedan engine and is hard to contain within the cooling system. The antifreeze keeps the water from boiling.
So why do we call it antifreeze? Shouldn't it be antiboil? Truth is, the antifreeze performs another critical task. Water freezes in cold Texas weather. That would spell disaster for your sedan's engine. So antifreeze also keeps the water in your cooling system from freezing in all but the most extreme cold. Pretty neat stuff!
Taking care of your cooling system is part of good preventive maintenance for your sedan. San Antonio drivers should check coolant level often and regularly inspect your cooling system for leaks.
That is just good auto advice. Your sedan’s manufacturer has maintenance requirements for draining and replacing engine coolant. Consult your owner's manual or ask your friendly Cambridge Auto service professional for these recommendations, as they vary widely from among car makers.
Changing your coolant is also part of good preventive maintenance. Water is great at collecting all kinds of dissolved substances, especially when it's hot. Water circulating through an engine picks up dirt, debris, pollutants, and other stuff. It actually becomes corrosive over time. This can damage engine parts and your radiator.
Replacing your coolant regularly keeps the sedan cooling system functioning well and doesn't allow it to sneakily become the cancer that wipes out your engine.
But don't just slop any antifreeze into your vehicle. Check your owner's manual or ask your Cambridge Auto technician if you don't know what is the right type of antifreeze for your vehicle. Using the wrong kind can void the warranty on your sedan cooling system.
You may have noticed that different types of antifreeze are different colors. Manufacturers tint them different colors to make them harder to mix up. It's easy to notice that you have purple fluid when you normally use green! That way, you have less chance of damaging your sedan engine by using the wrong antifreeze.
One last word of warning — a little outside the area of car care. Never, ever let anyone or pets drink coolant/antifreeze – it is deathly poisonous.
Take care of your car, and take care of yourself! Just some good car care tips from Cambridge Auto to keep you on the road and help your life in San Antonio run more pleasantly.
Posted in the Cooling System category
Most Texas auto owners know that their vehicles need regular preventive maintenance like changing the oil and filters, rotating the tires and refilling the washer fluid. But did you know that your air conditioning system needs routine maintenance as well? Taking care of your air conditioning system can extend its life and prevent costly repair bills.
Why is it important for San Antonio auto owners to get routine maintenance on their air conditioning system? First, the refrigerant contains an added lubricant. As the refrigerant circulates through the air conditioning system, its parts are lubricated. This constant lubrication keeps the parts functioning well. But over time, this lubricant is used up, and without it, the parts will eventually seize up and fail.
San Antonio folks should understand, however, that the air conditioner will continue to pump out cool air even without the lubricant, so you won’t know the system is sick until it actually dies. So good car care includes regularly checking the refrigerant and lubricant in your sedan air conditioning system and replacing it if needed.
The second reason your air conditioning system needs preventive maintenance is that air and water can get into the system. Air, water and the contaminants they contain will reduce the efficiency of the air conditioning system and can cause corrosion of the system’s parts. Keeping the air conditioning system clean is a key practice and will extend its life and keep you from losing your cool on hot San Antonio days.
How often should you get a routine car air conditioner inspection? It varies from vehicle to vehicle. Check your owner’s manual for the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation.
Here’s a good piece of auto advice for Texas car owners that will extend the life of their air conditioning systems: You should run your air conditioner in the winter every once in a while. This circulates the refrigerant, which lubricates the seals. That way, they won’t dry out during cold San Antonio weather.
Your air conditioning system doesn’t just cool the air in your sedan; it dries it out as well. So if you have trouble with a foggy windshield, flip on your air conditioning on the defrost setting. You may be surprised at how quickly it takes care of the problem. Of course, some vehicles can’t run the air conditioner and defroster at the same time; you should check your owner’s manual or with the automobile manufacturer if you are uncertain whether this feature works in your car or not.
So, after learning about preventive maintenance for your A/C, you might now be wondering if your air conditioner is in trouble. Two early warning signs of a failing air conditioner are (1) the air just isn’t getting as cold as it used to and (2) there’s a strange noise when the air conditioner turns on. If you notice either of these symptoms in your sedan, you should bring it to Cambridge Auto in San Antonio as soon as possible.
Just some good auto advice to keep you cool in San Antonio and keep you on the road!
Posted in the Air Conditioning category
San Antonio service centers have a menu board that lists the services they provide. Some San Antonio drivers may not be familiar with all of the items on the board so here is a quick description of some of the typical services that might be listed.
Cambridge Auto fuel system cleaning: Over time, the sedan fuel system gets gum and varnish built up. A fuel system cleaning gets rid of that and cleans out the fuel injectors. Saves gas, by the way.
Cambridge Auto headlamp replacement: Halogen and standard headlamps gradually fade. It’s usually good to change them every year or so.
Cambridge Auto inspections: San Antonio drivers get inspections for many reasons. Maybe they’re going on a trip or just want to make sure their vehicle’s ready for Texas summer or winter. Maybe they just bought a used sedan and want to give it the once over. An inspection may reveal some things that are broken or are getting close to having a problem.
Cambridge Auto oil change: – there are several options: Some San Antonio centers offer just an oil change and new filter as an option. Most will also check and top off all of your other fluids and do a quick visual inspection with a full service oil change. In my way of thinking, the full service option is best because it makes sure you have adequate fluids and may uncover an emerging problem. There may also be options for higher mileage fluids or an upgrade to synthetic oil.
Cambridge Auto PCV valve replacement in San Antonio: PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation valve. It’s a little part that releases pressure from the engine. It can get gummed up and that can lead to engine damage. Just needs to be changed now and then.
Cambridge Auto power steering service: Often overlooked. Your friendly Cambridge Auto technician will evacuate the old fluid, clean out the system and replace it with clean fluid. Keeps the sedan system running well for a long time.
Cambridge Auto serpentine belt service: That’s the belt that powers the sedan engine’s accessories like the alternator, air conditioner, power steering and brakes. You’ll want to replace the serpentine belt before it breaks, because that’ll shut you down.
Cambridge Auto shocks and struts: This starts with an inspection of the suspension components. Shocks last a long time and wear out slowly, so many San Antonio people don’t notice when it’s time to change them. If they’re worn or leaking, they need to be replaced.
Cambridge Auto transmission service: This involves removing the transmission fluid and replacing it with clean fluid. It’s like an oil change for your transmission.
Cambridge Auto tire rotation and wheel balancing: The tires are rotated from front to back using the recommended rotation pattern. This helps tires wear more evenly. Wheels need to be balanced from time to time to keep them turning without any wobble or bounce. Helps the ride and saves tire wear.
Posted in the Maintenance category
Like everything on the San Antonio automotive market, there have been great strides in headlight technology in recent years. Texas auto owners can be safer at night because of it. Good headlights improve visibility on San Antonio highways, enabling you to see farther. They also improve your peripheral vision, helping you to see the sides more clearly. The more you can see, the quicker you can react to road conditions. This is key because nearly half of traffic fatalities take place at night. And as San Antonio's population ages, everything that helps older eyes is welcome.
Most new sedans sold in San Antonio come with halogen headlamps. A decade ago, halogens were exotic and expensive. Now that they are standard equipment, the price has come way down. Many luxury cars are equipped with high intensity discharge, or HID, headlamps. You have probably seen them on San Antonio highways, they're very bright and have a bluish tint.
From behind the wheel, there is no doubt that HID headlamps are the best thing going. However, many San Antonio drivers complain about HID lights in oncoming traffic or when they approach from behind. In fact, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration called for public comment, they received a record number of complaints about HIDs. This has lead to several studies - your tax dollars at work. Some expect future regulation of HID lamps.
All halogen headlamps dim over time. Your friendly Cambridge Auto technician recommends that they be changed out once a year. AutoNetTV suggests you replace your headlamps in the fall at the end of Daylight Savings Time. It's easy to remember - when you change your clock, change your headlamps. Remember to replace all headlamps at the same time - then all your lights will be equally bright. You will appreciate it during those long Texas winter nights.
If you have an older sedan with old-school headlamps, you might be able to get a halogen replacement. You'll be amazed at the difference this upgrade will make.
In addition to regular halogen lamps, San Antonio car owners can upgrade to premium lamps that filter some of the yellow light, making a bright white light that's more like natural sunlight. This light's easier on the eyes and should improve reaction time.
Now, you may be able to step up to HID headlamps, depending on the kind of car you drive around the San Antonio area. These lamps should last the life of your car, but cost several hundred dollars a pair. If you want other San Antonio drivers to think you're running HID lamps, you can even buy regular halogens that have a bluish tint. Does she or doesn't she? Only her Cambridge Auto technician knows for sure.
Over time, plastic headlight covers can get cloudy or yellowed. In fact, AAA reports that nine out of ten headlights are dirty or yellowed, greatly reducing vision. In addition to helping you replace your headlamps, many service centers such as Cambridge Auto in San Antonio, Texas can restore headlight covers. Headlights can be restored at a fraction of the cost of replacing.
Posted in the Parts category
Working up a sweat is a great thing to do in a gym around San Antonio, but not in your car. When San Antonio auto owners' car's AC System has a problem, they'll often feel it right away. The question is, how long do you put up with it? You know, the old comfort versus cost dilemma. But a more comfortable drive around San Antonio has a lot of benefits, and keeping the AC System well maintained can help prevent costly repairs.
A common cause for AC failure is water and air in the system. The system does not work as well with air in it. And water can cause rust that leads to damage of the A/C components. Also refrigerant, the stuff that makes the air cold, can leak out, reducing the efficiency of the system, making it work harder to try to cool the air. That is why periodically evacuating the air conditioning system and recharging it keeps the proper amount of clean refrigerant in the system for San Antonio auto owners so it cools better and lasts longer.
San Antonio drivers should also run the air conditioner regularly, even in the winter, so that it lubricates itself and keeps the seals from drying out. The seals can crack and that leads to leaks. Your automobile manufacturer's owner's manual will have recommendations for how often to service your air conditioner. Some service centers also have this information as part of their computer databases. Your friendly Cambridge Auto service advisor can give you more information.
9823 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, Texas 78240
Of course, if your AC currently isn't working right, then now is the time to get it checked. Many service centers in San Antonio such as Cambridge Auto can inspect and test your air conditioning and offer evacuation and recharge services. This goes a long way to avoiding having to bring your air conditioner in for costly repairs.
Recent environmental laws have stopped the manufacture of Freon, a refrigerant that was common in cars made before 1993. There is a very limited supply of Freon so the price is very costly in Texas. It may not be worth its weight in gold, but it probably is worth its weight in silver. If you have an older vehicle that uses Freon, you may want to consider having it retrofitted to use the new EPA-approved R134a refrigerant. It will pay for itself in the long run.
Posted in the Air Conditioning category
If you've ever been in a car accident around San Antonio Texas, even a minor one, you know how upsetting it can be. It's hard to think straight and know what to do.
Let's review what you should do in case of an accident in San Antonio, Texas:
When an accident occurs, you should always stop. Leaving the scene of an accident is considered a crime in Texas - even if it's not your fault. And hit-and-run penalties are fairly severe, possibly resulting in steep fines, loss of your driver's license or even jail time in our local San Antonio lockup.
Most states, including Texas require that you try to help someone who is injured by calling for help or performing first aid if you are able.
Warn other San Antonio motorists by putting out flares, using your flashers or lifting your hood.
Call 911 as soon as possible. Tell the operator if medical or fire help is needed.
Always file a police report. It's tempting to skip this if everything seems to be ok. But without a police report, the other guy can say whatever he wants about the accident later, and you won't have an objective report to help defend yourself.
Discuss the accident only with the police. Emotions are strong after an accident and we naturally want to talk about it – don't. Never admit fault or guilt to anyone including the police officer. Sometimes we may feel at fault, but in the eyes of Texas law, the other guy may be responsible.
Truthfully give the officer the facts: such as "I was going 35 miles per hour" not "I wasn't speeding". Remember, anything you say to the officer or anyone else can be used against you.
Also get the officer's name and badge number and ask where you can get a copy of the accident report.
Get the facts on the driver and owner of the other vehicle:
- Phone number
- Date of birth
- Driver's license number and expiration
- Insurance information
Also take down a description of the other vehicle, license plate and vehicle identification number. Most insurance companies don't record license plate numbers, so the VIN number is the best way to track the vehicle.
Ask witnesses, including passengers, to wait for the police. If they can't wait, ask for contact information and request that they write a brief description of what they saw. If someone refuses to leave their name, write down their license plate number so the police can track them down later if necessary.
Always call your insurance agent or your Texas auto insurance company's 800 number.
Call or see your local San Antonio physician if you think you may have been injured.
We here at Cambridge Auto hope that you never have to use this information and wish you happy travels.
Posted in the Windshield Wipers category
A fuel injector is a valve that delivers fuel to a vehicle’s engine. It has to deliver the precise amount of fuel, to precisely the right place, precisely when the engine needs it. The fuel also has to be mixed with air before it can burn in the engine.
Fuel injectors are engineered to spray fuel in a specific pattern into the engine. (The pattern varies by engine type and design.) In order to achieve these spray patterns, the fuel must be pressurized.
The pressure in a fuel injection system varies depending on its type. Many gasoline engines use port injection systems, which operate with a pressure of 60 pounds per square inch. Newer direct injection systems operate at 10 to 30 times that pressure. Some diesel passenger vehicles have fuel injectors that operate at 30,000 pounds or more per square inch.
Vehicles have one fuel injector for each cylinder in the engine. Your vehicle’s control computer constantly monitors the engine and various sensors in the vehicle and adjusts the fuel injectors accordingly so that they can deliver the proper amount of fuel to the engine. As you can see, fuel injectors are a sophisticated and vital part of your vehicle’s engine.
Because fuel injectors are such precision instruments, dirt and contaminants are a serious detriment to their performance. When an injector gets gummed up, it affects the pressure, pattern and timing of the fuel delivery. The result is a decrease in fuel economy and loss of engine performance.
So it’s critical to keep your fuel injectors clean. That starts with keeping the fuel in your tank clean. High-quality fuel contains detergents and additives that help clean your engine. Brand-name Texas fuel companies also deliver a more consistent quality of fuel than do bargain stations in the San Antonio area.
The second way to keep your injectors clean is to keep your fuel filter clean. This filter screens dirt and rust out of the fuel as it travels from the tank to the engine. If the filter clogs up, fuel will bypass it and carry its load of dirt into the engine.
Check your owner’s manual or Cambridge Auto in San Antonio to find out how often you should change your fuel filter. This should be part of your regular preventive maintenance. Also, remember that if you use bargain-brand or low-grade fuels, or if you drive an older vehicle, your filter will need to be changed more often.
You can also purchase cleaners that will protect your fuel injectors. These cleaners are added to the fuel tank. They work best at preventing build-up in your fuel injectors and can clean up small amounts of carbon, gum and varnish. But they won’t be able to clean a fully gummed-up injector. Read the labels before using any of these products for full directions on their use.
If your fuel injectors are gummed up, you can get a professional deep cleaning service at Cambridge Auto in San Antonio that will result in better gas mileage and improved vehicle performance.
Good car care will prevent serious damage to your fuel injector system. And this is one system that you want to keep in perfect condition.
Posted in the Fuel System category
Imagine you've left San Antonio and you're up in the arctic on a dog sled.
Your dog team is pulling straight and true. You can cover a lot of ground quickly. Now imagine what would happen if one or two of the dogs wanted to go their own way and were pulling off to the side.
That would slow you down. You would have to work harder to keep the sled going where you want it. The dogs are all working as hard as before, but you're covering less ground for the same effort.
You're wasting kibble.
The same is true of your sedan when the wheels are out of alignment. That wheel that's pulling to the side is dragging down the rest of the car; so you push a little harder on the gas pedal to keep up your speed. You're wasting gas.
So have your wheel alignment checked at least once a year. It is important to get it checked right away if you feel the car pulling to one side.
Sometimes we San Antonio motorists bump a curb or hit a pothole and knock our wheels out of alignment. An accident can take the wheels out of alignment as well.
San Antonio car owners need to make sure they're tracking straight. You'll get better gas mileage and your tires'll last longer. Now, mush!
9823 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, Texas 78240
Posted in the Alignment category
Most San Antonio car owners have experienced a flat tire. You know it’s inconvenient and a pain. Our tires are important. Keeping them in good working order isn’t just a big safety issue for Texas drivers – it also has a financial impact. With high San Antonio gas prices, we’ve all heard about the importance of keeping proper tire pressure to get the best possible gas mileage. In addition, proper inflation promotes even tread wear so your tires last longer.
There’s another danger to under-inflated tires for San Antonio car owners. Low tire pressure puts added stress on the structure of the tire itself, causing it to break down prematurely. Also, under-inflated tires generate more heat which also reduces tire life. So get those slow leaks fixed quickly – don’t just keep airing them up every few days. You want to avoid pricey tire damage.
Tires can also be damaged by road hazards in and around San Antonio. Punctures, cuts and unfortunate encounters with curbs or potholes can also cause damage that could lead to tire failure. Sometimes, it’s something that an inspection would reveal. Try to remember to check your tires when you’re pumping fuel. Look for slashes, missing chunks, nails or screws in the tread or just uneven wear. Of course check the air pressure too.
Now tire damage can be on the inside where San Antonio car owners can’t see it until it’s removed from the wheel. Such damage could come from a severe impact, driving on a flat around San Antonio or even just low pressure. Some punctures can cause internal damage that is too extreme to be repaired. You may see our Cambridge Auto tire professionals take the time to remove your flat from the rim and inspect the inside before repairing it, which means we're just following best practices.
Of course, some tires just can’t be repaired at your San Antonio service center or Cambridge Auto. A puncture may be too large to plug. Also, the puncture could be in a location that’s not safe to repair like in the sidewall or outer portion of the tread. So called run-flat tires should not be repaired because their design is such that internal damage can’t be detected by a visual inspection by your friendly Cambridge Auto service advisor.
San Antonio motorists should only hire qualified tire professionals to perform repairs - we have a whole team of them at Cambridge Auto. San Antonio folks can buy self repair kits, but we advise you to save those for emergencies, like when you’re off-roading and need a quick fix so you can hobble back to San Antonio civilization and get professional help. If you need to use a repair-in-a-can product, remember it’s a temporary measure only and your tire needs to be properly repaired as soon as possible.
Here are some other considerations: A DIY flat repair may void your tire manufacturer’s warranty – just something to keep in mind. Also, if you repair a speed rated tire, you should not use it in any motorsports or operate it above legal speed limits. Your friendly Cambridge Auto tire specialist will repair your tire whenever it’s safe to do so and he’ll advise you when it’s better to replace it. So watch those curbs and keep the air – on the inside.
9823 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, Texas 78240
At Cambridge Auto we install quality NAPA replacement parts.
Posted in the Tires and Wheels category
When winter approaches in Texas, San Antonio drivers break out the sweaters, coats, boots and mittens. We want to be ready for San Antonio area winter conditions. Your sedan needs to be ready for winter as well. The last thing San Antonio auto owners want is to get stranded out in the cold. You need your sedan to be safe and reliable. It's a good idea to get caught up on any neglected maintenance items anytime - but the stakes are higher in cold Texas winters.
There are some specific things San Antonio drivers we need to do to have their vehicle ready for winter. The most obvious is having the antifreeze checked. If the antifreeze level is too low, it can't properly protect your engine, radiator and hoses from freezing. If your car does not seem to be making enough heat to keep you warm, your antifreeze level may be low or you could have a thermostat problem. Get it checked out at Cambridge Auto in San Antonio. If you are due for a cooling system service, now is a perfect time to have it done.
In the cold months around San Antonio we always worry about being able to stop in time when it's slick out. The first thing to remember is to slow down and allow yourself plenty of room to stop. Of course, you want your brakes to be working properly. A thorough brake inspection will reveal if the pads or any other parts need replacing. Check with your friendly Cambridge Auto service specialist to see if it is time to replace your brake fluid. It accumulates water over time which really messes with your stopping power.
It is also a really good idea for San Antonio drivers to have their battery tested. A battery's cranking power really drops with the temperature. If your battery is weak in the fall, it may not be up to a Texas car owners. There is nothing like a dead battery in a snow storm.
Which leads us to an emergency kit. You should always have a blanket or something to keep you and your passengers warm if you get stranded on a remote Texas road. If you will be venturing away from civilization, pack more items such as food and water to help you survive. Keeping at least half a tank of gas is key if you get stuck and need to run the car to keep warm and it will help keep your gas lines from freezing up.
9823 Fredericksburg Road
San Antonio, Texas 78240
Winter in San Antonio, Texas always makes motorists think of their windshield wiper blades - usually during that first storm when they aren't working right. That's why it's a really good idea to replace your blades in the fall before the Texas winter storms. If you live where there's a lot of snow and ice, you might want a special winter blade that resists freezing up. And be sure to have enough windshield washer fluid.
The final thing for San Antonio motorists to consider is their tires. Any tire can lose pressure over time - up to one pound every six or eight weeks. For every 10 degrees the temperature drops you lose another pound of pressure. So if it was 80 degrees outside when you checked your tire pressure two months ago and now it's 40 degrees out, you could be down 5 pounds of pressure. That's enough to be a real safety issue and it hurts fuel efficiency too. You may need special winter tires in San Antonio as well. Your friendly Cambridge Auto tire professional can help you find the right tire design for your expected road conditions.
If you're getting winter tires, it is always best to put them on all four wheels. If you are only getting two, have them put on the rear - even if you have a front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle.
This is a an essential safety measure recommended by tire manufacturers. Sliding or fish-tailing on ice and snow on Texas s is a matter of not having enough traction at the rear end. That is why your newest tires should always be on the rear.
Posted in the Tires and Wheels category