Cambridge Auto Center AutoNet TV

Hitting The Brakes In Helotes

Posted June 26, 2015 9:20 AM

Hello SAN ANTONIO, let's talk about brakes. Braking, as all TX motorists know, is slowing or stopping your vehicle. As you can imagine, brakes are engineered to work well on a particular vehicle application. For example, you would expect more powerful brakes on a heavy-duty pickup that routinely hauls big loads and pulls trailers, than you would on a compact car. And a Corvette that can go over 180 miles per hour would have much different braking needs than the family mini-van you drive around between SAN ANTONIO, Atascosa and Helotes.

Hitting The Brakes In HelotesBut the mechanical aspects of the brakes themselves are just one issue. There’s also the power brake pump and brake fluid. And then there are the tires, which are critical to the effectiveness of the brakes.

Let’s step back. A new sedan or truck rolls off a local SAN ANTONIO showroom floor. It has brand new brakes with brand new brake pads. The brake lines and pump are filled with fresh fluid and are completely clean inside. And the tires are brand new, with full tread. It is ready to go.

Naturally, braking power is at its peak performance. Now the miles start to add up on the sedan. SAN ANTONIO motorists tend to focus on the brake pads. In the automotive business, the pads, and shoes on drum brakes, are called the friction material. That’s because they provide the friction used to stop the vehicle. The pads are designed to be effective throughout their useful life – it’s not until they are worn so thin as to be out of auto makers' specs that they lose their ability to stop.

The mechanical parts of the brakes have pistons and springs that get quite a workout while breaking. Over many miles around TX, these wear and get gummed up. They start to lose effectiveness gradually and could even fail - a scary possibility That’s why a regular brake inspection at Cambridge Auto Center is important for your sedan and your family's safety. At Cambridge Auto Center we can test the operation of the brakes and see if any parts need cleaning or replacing.

That leads us to brake fluid service at Cambridge Auto Center. Some of the critical additives in the fluid that lubricate and clean the sedan fluid system are depleted over time. That and moisture building up in the system reduce the performance of the brake fluid. A brake service at Cambridge Auto Center cleans out deposits, water and dirt. Then the system is filled up with fresh fluid.

The tires are what connect the sedan to the road. Stopping force all comes down to traction. The better the tires grip the road, the quicker you’ll stop.

This is especially important on wet Atascosa area highways and surface streets. Studies have shown that wet stopping distance increases significantly as tires wear down. TX drivers need to understand that they can have brakes that are operating at peak efficiency and yet still be in danger because their tires are worn out.


Posted in the Brakes category

Are Modern Vehicles Maintenance Free?

Posted June 19, 2015 10:18 AM



In our auto video today we'll be talking with Alan Peterson about myths surrounding automotive maintenance. You can lump these myths into the statement that "modern cars are so reliable, they are virtually maintenance free".

Any good myth has some elements of truth. No offense to SAN ANTONIO Bigfoot fans, but this maintenance-free myth has more evidence than most. If we look at some isolated areas of auto maintenance, we could conclude that maintenance isn't so important. But other areas would just as easily lead you to believe that maintenance is more important than ever.

Here are some examples for our friends in SAN ANTONIO.

  • Some cars in SAN ANTONIO no longer require chassis lubrication. They're made with self-lubricating materials and have sealed joints. There's literally is no way to grease those joints.

-Chalk one up for the myth.

On the other side, some vehicles come with sophisticated variable valve timing. A lot of complicated parts up in the valve train that didn't even exist not that many years ago. These parts are very vulnerable to oil sludge.

  • So, skipping an oil change here and there could lead to very expensive damage.

-A point to maintenance.

  • Electronic ignition has eliminated replacing points.

-Myth gets a point.

  • Fuel injectors on direct injection engines are very expensive to replace so one must be sure to get a fuel system cleaning on schedule.

-Point for maintenance.

I think you get the picture. As automotive technology advances, it eliminates or reduces some maintenance requirements. And maintenance becomes more critical for some items. Most others remain very similar to what they've always been.

So the maintenance mindset is still important for car owners in SAN ANTONIO if we want our vehicles to last a long time. The checklist may change over time, but there'll always be a check list.

Let me mention a couple of items on modern vehicles that folks need to be aware of. One of the most of the most important is timing belt replacement. Used to be that all engines had timing chains – you know, metal chains. They rarely broke.

It's cheaper to make engines with timing belts rather than chains, so replacing the timing belt is on most engines' maintenance list. The money the manufacturer saves by using a belt is more than off-set by what the vehicle owner has to pay to replace the belt. And it's a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of repairing the damage if the timing belt breaks.

So make sure you know when your timing belt needs to be replaced. You don't want to miss that. If you have 60,000 miles or more, break out your owner's manual or ask your SAN ANTONIO service advisor at Cambridge Auto Center to check on the recommendation right away.

Another is sealed wheel bearing assemblies on some vehicles. As you might have guessed, it's cheaper to make a sealed unit than one that has access to inspect or service the wheel bearings. The problem is that when the bearings fail, you have to replace the entire unit, not just the bearings. That'll cost 5 or 6 times as much.

For our friends in SAN ANTONIO, we hope this has underscored the importance of knowing and following your maintenance schedule. Come in and see us at Cambridge Auto Center. You'll find us at 9823 Fredericksburg Road in SAN ANTONIO, TX 78240. Just give us a call at 210-697-9600.


Posted in the Maintenance category

TPMS: Tire Pressure Monitoring For Your SAN ANTONIO Auto

Posted June 12, 2015 4:49 PM



SAN ANTONIO drivers may know that all 2008 model year and newer cars, mini-vans and light trucks in SAN ANTONIO come with a tire pressure monitoring system. Many slightly older vehicles around Atascosa have these systems as well. A tire pressure monitoring system – called TPMS – consists of sensors on each wheel that measure tire pressure.

If tire pressure drops 25 percent below the auto manufacturer’s recommended pressure, the sensor sends a signal to a monitoring unit that causes a warning to light up on the dashboard. When Atascosa car owners see the warning light, they know it’s time to put some air in the tires.

There are many benefits to SAN ANTONIO drivers who drive with properly inflated tires around SAN ANTONIO. First is cost savings. Running at the correct air pressure improves fuel economy. Driving on under-inflated tires is like driving through sand – it drags down your fuel efficiency. SAN ANTONIO motorists will also see longer, more even tread wear so your tires’ll last longer.

Another important benefit of properly inflated tires is increased safety for SAN ANTONIO drivers. Under-inflated tires become hotter and that heat can actually lead to tire failure – possibly resulting in an accident. Your car and the tires themselves will just perform better and more safely around SAN ANTONIO with properly inflated tires.

Local SAN ANTONIO consumer groups, law-makers and manufacturers advocate TPMS systems hoping that they will save lives, property damage and inconvenience. While you can’t put a value on saving a life, SAN ANTONIO drivers should keep in mind that TPMS systems aren't free.

The systems themselves are added into the price of the car. The batteries in the sensors will have to be replaced from time to time. Parts will break and need to be replaced. In colder climates around TX, ice and salt are frequent causes of failure.

In addition, there are other behind-the-scenes costs we want SAN ANTONIO motorists to be aware of. Every time a tire is replaced, repaired, rotated or balanced, the tire technician has to deal with the TPMS system.

SAN ANTONIO service centers such as Cambridge Auto Center must purchase expensive equipment used to scan and reactivate the TPMS system after every tire service. Because older tire change equipment can damage TPMS sensors, your Atascosa service center may need to buy expensive, new tire changers.

Since there is no uniformity among automakers, techs need to be trained on several TPMS systems. These behind-the-scenes costs are very real to SAN ANTONIO service center managers like Dewayne Allen at Cambridge Auto Center.

That’s why the team at Cambridge Auto Center is anxious for Atascosa drivers to understand the important financial impact of TPMS systems. In the past, we've been able to quickly and cheaply provide tire services to motorists, and then pass the low cost on to Atascosa customers as an expression of our good will. But now even these simple jobs take much longer and require expensive equipment.

Sensors will need to be removed and reinstalled. Even a tire rotation will require that the monitor be reprogrammed to the new location of each tire. When a car battery is disconnected, the TPMS system will need to be reprogrammed.

So when you start so see the cost of tire changes, flat repairs and rotations going up in TX, please keep in mind that it’s because of this important new safety equipment. The team at Cambridge Auto Center just wants to keep you safely on the road – and we're committed to doing it at a fair price.

It’s vital to remember that the TPMS warning only comes on when a tire is severely under-inflated. You’ll still want to check your tire pressure regularly. At every fill-up is best, but you should check pressure at least once a month. Here’s wishing you safe travels.

Contact Cambridge Auto Center for more essential information about Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems.


Posted in the Monitoring System category

Drive Train Service in SAN ANTONIO at Cambridge Auto Center

Posted June 4, 2015 5:39 PM

The drive train in your vehicle includes all the critical components that transfer power from the transmission to the wheels. Those components differ depending on what type of vehicle you drive, namely, front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The preventive maintenance your driveshaft needs will also differ by what type of vehicle you drive.

Let’s start with front-wheel drive. In this vehicle, the transmission and the differential are combined in one component, known as the transaxle. The transaxle is connected to two half-shafts (axles), which are then connected to the wheels with a constant velocity (or CV) joint, which is protected by an airtight rubber boot.

Cambridge Auto Center service for this type of driveline includes servicing the transaxle and inspecting the CV boot. If the boot is damaged, the CV joint will need to be inspected, and the boot will need to be replaced. If you hear a clicking noise in your wheel wells when you turn, you may have a damaged CV joint. A damaged CV joint should be replaced.

Rear-wheel drive vehicles generally have a transmission in the front of the car and the differential in the back. A driveshaft (it looks like a long tube) connects the transmission to the differential. Some vehicles may have a two-piece driveshaft, which are connected to the differential with universal joints or U-joints. Again, the differential is connected to two half-shafts that go out to the wheels.

Cambridge Auto Center service on the drive train on a rear-wheel drive vehicle starts with servicing the differential. It will need its fluid drained and replaced regularly. The seals on the axles should also be inspected for wear or leaks. Leaking or damaged seals may mean the axle needs to be serviced as well. Also, U-joints can wear out. If you hear clunking or feel a jolt when you shift into drive or into reverse, it could indicate a driveline problem.

All-wheel drive sedans provide power from the transmission to all of the wheels, instead of just to the front or rear. The advantage is that the vehicle can adapt to different driving conditions and transfer more power to the front or back wheels as needed. The disadvantages are that the driveline is more complicated, and the vehicle weighs slightly more.

Many all-wheel drive vehicles are based on a front-wheel drive set-up. They also have a differential in the rear and one in the center of the vehicle that allows power to transfer to the front and rear. A shaft runs from the transfer case to the center differential, and another from the center differential to the rear differential.

Servicing an all-wheel drive at Cambridge Auto Center involves servicing ALL of the differentials and inspecting the joints and seals for wear, leaks or damage.

Four-wheel drive vehicles are rear-wheel drive vehicles that have an option to transfer power to the front wheels. In other words, they can be driven as either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles. These vehicles are specifically designed for the harsh driving conditions SAN ANTONIO car owners encounter off-road. The driveline in a four-wheel drive vehicle is similar to that of an all-wheel drive vehicle. The center differential, however, is a transfer case. Maintenance requires servicing both of the differentials and the transfer case, as well as an inspection of the joints and seals.

SAN ANTONIO car owners would be wise to check with their owner’s manual for recommendations on how often to service their sedan drive train. It’s also good auto advice to check with your considerate Cambridge Auto Center technician as well. You may live in an area in TX where weather or driving conditions require more frequent servicing of the drive train.

If you drive off-road, it is vital to service your driveline more often frequently than the typical recommendation. Conditions encountered off-road around the Atascosa area are particularly hard on your driveline.

Good car care at Cambridge Auto Center in SAN ANTONIO always includes taking care of your driveline. Without it, your sedan becomes a very large paperweight.

Cambridge Auto Center is located at 9823 Fredericksburg Road in SAN ANTONIO. We provide comprehensive auto repair and maintenance services for residents of SAN ANTONIO, Castroville, Helotes, Boerne and Atascosa.


Posted in the Drive Train category

Fall and Spring Checkup In SAN ANTONIO

Posted June 3, 2015 8:54 AM



When I was a kid in SAN ANTONIO, my dad always made sure he took the cars in for Spring and Fall checkups. I was telling a friend that it's about time to get into Cambridge Auto Center for my checkup and he said that he read on the internet that modern cars don't need seasonal service.

My friend is (technically) right about some things, but from a practical standpoint, a seasonal check up still makes sense.

Back when my dad was teaching me about how to take care of the family sedan, most cars used a different weight of oil in the winter and in the summer. But most of today's modern engines run the same oil year round. High-tech engines and high-tech motor oils are better able to handle the seasonal changes.

Your owner's manual or SAN ANTONIO service advisor at Cambridge Auto Center can tell you the right oil to use.

Of course, you're concerned about the coolant or antifreeze. You don't want to overheat in the TX summer or freeze up in the winter. Your engine cooling system protects against both of these things. And modern coolant, or as it's sometimes called; 'antifreeze', is up to doing both very well. It's designed to last for more miles than most people drive in a year or two.

So how does a Spring and Fall check-up fit in? Let's start with Spring. Summer is coming. That means heat, more miles driven and road trips. It just makes sense to check your fluid levels and do a visual inspection to see that everything is up to snuff.

You may not be scheduled to drain and replace the coolant for some time, but you need to make sure you have enough coolant, and that you don't have any leaks or hoses that are about to fail.

That's pretty practical; a check-up to see if there are any problems or emerging conditions that could later become a problem, like a cracked belt.

And the same principle applies for getting ready for winter. Cold weather means lots of failed batteries. It takes more power to crank up a cold engine, and cold also decreases the available cranking power the battery has available.

So a battery test in the Fall could tell you if you've got a battery that is running on its last legs. And of course, if you live where winter temperatures get below 45 degrees or you have ice and snow, you'll want to consider changing to winter tires.

So Spring and Fall auto checkups at Cambridge Auto Center are practical reminders to get ready for the demands of the hot and cold seasons to come.

And odds are that you have one or more routine services that are due anyway. Like a transmission service, brake or power steering fluid, differential service – stuff like that. Are your wiper blades still good? Are your headlamps starting to dim?

So Spring and Fall: change your clocks, replace the batteries in your smoke detectors – and get a check-up for your cars.

See, dad was right again.

Come and see us at Cambridge Auto Center for your Spring and Fall automotive checkup.
Cambridge Auto Center
9823 Fredericksburg Road
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78240
210-697-9600

Posted in the Maintenance category

Fuel Saving Tip: Alignment For Your SAN ANTONIO sedan

Posted May 14, 2015 3:14 PM



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.

Alignment 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 critical to get it checked right away if you feel the car pulling to one side.

Sometimes we SAN ANTONIO auto owners 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 fuel economy and your tires'll last longer. Now, mush!

Cambridge Auto Center
9823 Fredericksburg Road
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78240
210-697-9600



Posted in the Alignment category

Helping SAN ANTONIO Drivers Get the Right Tires

Posted May 5, 2015 2:03 PM

Every SAN ANTONIO vehicle owner has to purchase tires at some time or another, so it’s a good idea to understand what the choices are. The best seasonal performance is achieved by purchasing tires to match the season you are driving in. Summer tires are designed for hot temperatures. The tread is engineered for good traction on dry or rainy TX roads. But the rubber compound in summer tires gets stiff when temperatures drop below 45°F, and snow and mud can pack into the tread, reducing the traction of the tire.

Winter tires are designed for good traction on snowy surfaces. The tread actually throws snow off of the tire as the wheel turns. The rubber compound in a winter tire is soft so that it will remain flexible at Atascosa temperatures below 45°F. At higher temperatures, however, the softer rubber wears down rapidly.

All-season tires sacrifice some of the extreme performance of summer or winter tires, but they maintain adequate traction in either type of SAN ANTONIO weather.

So your first consideration when buying a tire is where you live in TX and where you usually drive. If you require maximum summer and winter performance you can go with dedicated summer and winter tires; you would just need to change out your tires each spring and fall.

For serious winter driving in TX, look for tires with a severe snow rating. These tires are labeled with a mountain-and-snowflake logo.

Your second critical consideration is the quality of tire to purchase. Summer, winter and all-season tires come in a variety of grades and styles at TX tire stores. SAN ANTONIO drivers will want to purchase a tire that will give them good wear and that will handle their driving style and road conditions. Your Cambridge Auto Center tire professional can give you auto advice as to which type of tire will best fit your needs.

SAN ANTONIO drivers who drive off-road around TX may want to look at a high-grade tire that is designed for off-road use. These tires are designed to handle the extra wear of off-roading while still giving good performance on SAN ANTONIO streets and expressways. There are a number of options to choose from so that you can find the right tire whether you are only an occasional off-road explorer or a serious rock climber.

New wheels can be purchased in SAN ANTONIO as a statement of style or to add personality to your sedan. There are almost unlimited options. If you change the size of the wheels on your sedan, however, you will need to get some professional help to make your vehicle compatible with its new wheels. Talk to your Cambridge Auto Center service professional for more information about tires.


Posted in the Tires and Wheels category

Serpentine Belt Service At Cambridge Auto Center In SAN ANTONIO

Posted April 30, 2015 2:46 PM



Don't you hate it when you hear that squeal from under the hood when you're zipping down a busy SAN ANTONIO interstate? It usually means there is a problem with the serpentine belt. The serpentine belt powers a lot of engine accessories. It runs the alternator - which charges the battery; the water pump - which cools the engine; the air conditioning and the power steering pump. All pretty critical parts. It is called a serpentine belt because it snakes around a bunch of engine components.

Serpentine belts are amazingly tough. They can last for years and go for tens of thousands of miles. Like all vital moving parts, however, they eventually wear out. If your belt breaks while you are driving around SAN ANTONIO, everything will come to a halt within minutes. You need to stop the sedan immediately or it will overheat, potentially causing expensive engine damage. You can be sure that it won't happen at a convenient time or place. (As if there was a convenient time or place!) You might even need to get your sedan towed to Cambridge Auto Center. It's no wonder that vehicle manufacturers recommend a belt replacement on schedule. It's one of those "have-to's."

SAN ANTONIO motorists who hear a squeal when accelerating or a slow, slapping sound at idle, should have their serpentine belt looked at. Your technician at Cambridge Auto Center in SAN ANTONIO will visually inspect your belt to see if it needs to be changed sooner than scheduled. If the belt has more than three or four cracks an 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.

Serpentine belt replacement is relatively inexpensive, especially compared with the cost and inconvenience of being stranded or getting a disabled sedan back to Cambridge Auto Center for important repairs.

You're mom was right: an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.

Cambridge Auto Center
9823 Fredericksburg Road
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78240
210-697-9600


Posted in the Parts category

Synthetic Oil For SAN ANTONIO Autos

Posted April 21, 2015 7:07 AM



If you aren’t currently using synthetic motor oil in your SAN ANTONIO vehicle, maybe now’s the time to consider it. Need more information? Well, synthetic motor oil is a substitute for petroleum based oil.

Synthetic oil doesn’t gel or gum-up like petroleum based oil and it doesn’t vaporize as easily. It protects better in severe driving conditions like stop and go driving around SAN ANTONIO, as well as in very hot or very cold conditions. More and more new vehicles are being delivered with full synthetic motor oil; with the recommendation to use synthetic for the life of the vehicle.

Why is this? Synthetic motor oil maximizes engine power and fuel economy. To see why; we’d need a microscope, so we’ll have to settle for using our imaginations.

The molecules of conventional motor oil are long hydrocarbon chains. Synthetic motor oil, on the other hand, has uniform, round molecules. Which is more slippery, a pile of pencils or a pile of marbles?

Synthetic motor oil lubricates better because there’s less friction. That means better wear protection, cooler operating temperatures, more power and better fuel economy. And synthetic oil doesn’t sludge up like conventional oil, so it prevents those small oil passages from clogging up.

Some manufacturers are extending oil change intervals. The added protection of synthetic oil covers you for these longer intervals. Talk with your service advisor about how you drive and see if he thinks you can benefit from synthetic oil. Also ask about the appropriate oil change interval for synthetic, because it may very well be longer than for conventional oil.

Most of us here in SAN ANTONIO have a busy life and might occasionally miss an oil change; go ahead admit it. Since we’re not perfect, doesn’t it make sense to use a motor oil that’s got your back?

Now synthetic oil costs more. But it lasts longer, protects better and increases fuel economy. You’ll likely save money in the long run. If you’re serious about making your car last longer, start using synthetic motor oil right away.

Give us a call at 210-697-9600 to schedule an oil change, or visit us at our Cambridge Auto Center website.


Posted in the Maintenance category

Deep Clean Your Fuel System At Cambridge Auto Center

Posted April 14, 2015 4:05 PM



Having trouble with your fuel system? Bring your sedan into Cambridge Auto Center for a check up.

9823 Fredericksburg Road
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78240
210-697-9600


In today's Cambridge Auto Center auto post, we're talking about fuel system cleaning. The first thing to know is how important it is to have a clean fuel system. SAN ANTONIO drivers need fuel to go, and the cleaner the fuel system, the more efficiently the fuel will burn. That means more power and better MPG.

A clean fuel system saves money for SAN ANTONIO car owners at TX gas stations. We guess you could say, it all starts and ends at the pump. One of the most important things SAN ANTONIO car owners can do to keep their sedan fuel system clean is to buy good quality gas. Major brands have detergents that keep gum and varnish from rapidly building up in the fuel system.

So buying cheaper gas in TX can actually be more costly for SAN ANTONIO motorists in the long run. Now, most cars on TX freeways are more than five or six years old. That means they've had time for some dirt and rust to start accumulating in the fuel tank. This junk needs to be filtered out of the fuel before it hits your sedan engine. That's the fuel filter's job.

When the fuel filter is clogged, the dirty fuel will bypass the filter and go on up to the engine where it can clog fuel injectors and get into the cylinders. That could be harmful. So SAN ANTONIO motorists should have their fuel filter changed when recommended. Check your owner's manual or ask your considerate Cambridge Auto Center tech if your fuel filter is due for replacement.

The fuel then goes up into the throttle body. This is another area where varnish and gum can accumulate. A professional fuel system cleaning at Cambridge Auto Center in SAN ANTONIO will use a combination of special cleaning chemicals and old fashioned swabbing to clean out the throttle body. Now, the fuel injectors are the last stop in the fuel delivery system.

It's essential for SAN ANTONIO motorists to keep those fuel injectors clean. The fuel injectors need to deliver a precise amount of fuel, at exactly the right time, in a particular spray pattern. They just can't do that if they're dirty. Dirty fuel injectors really rob power and hurt MPG.

It is important for the fuel system proper, but there are a couple other things that will help keep your sedan engine clean as well. Of course, air is mixed with the fuel before it's burned. Dirty air means dirt gets into your engine, so you need to replace your engine air filter when it's dirty.

The PCV value routes unburned fuel that escapes into the lower engine back up into the intake system to be burned. A sticky PCV valve needs to be replaced at Cambridge Auto Center to make sure that system is working properly for SAN ANTONIO motorists and the breather filter needs to be replaced if it's dirty as well.

Do all these things and your sedan engine's air and fuel will be as clean as possible. You'll get much better gas mileage and better power.


Posted in the Fuel System category

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