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 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
Posted in the Alignment category
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
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
Posted in the Parts category
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
Having trouble with your fuel system? Bring your sedan into Cambridge Auto Center for a check up.
9823 Fredericksburg Road
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78240
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
Hello SAN ANTONIO auto owners! You would never like to drink a glass of mud, right? Well, your sedan feels the same way. It needs a steady supply of clean fuel in order to run well and deliver good fuel economy. The fuel filter's job is to clean dirt and rust out of the fuel before it gets to your engine. A clogged fuel filter can actually choke off the engine so that it won't start or run. Some fuel filters have a bypass valve that allows fuel to go around the clogged filter so your car will still run. But, then the contaminated fuel can clog your fuel injectors and allow harmful particles into your engine.
A car with a partially clogged fuel filter might run well around SAN ANTONIO, but sputter and strain on the freeway because it's starving for gas. There are two things that affect how often you need to replace the filter. They are: where you drive in TX and the gas you buy. If you drive a lot on dirt or gravel roads in rural TX, your fuel filter will have a harder time keeping the fuel clean.
And, we hate to say it, but buying the cheapest gas from bargain Atascosa area stations sometimes means dirtier fuel that'll clog the filter sooner. Major brands tend to be cleaner and certainly have higher levels of detergent additives.
Of course, manufacturers recommend intervals for changing the fuel filter. But, it's a little more complicated than that for SAN ANTONIO car owners. Some vehicle manufacturers stopped listing recommended intervals for fuel filter replacement or have very long intervals like every five years or eighty thousand miles. So you may need to look to other sources for recommendations. Cars older than six or seven years are especially at risk because they have had time for dirt and rust to build up in the fuel tank. A clean fuel filter keeps the gas flowing. Even a partially clogged filter puts added strain on the sedan fuel pump. That can shorten its life and result in a costly repair.
As is often the case, spending a little money now on something as inexpensive as a fuel filter can save money for SAN ANTONIO auto owners down the road by improving fuel economy and preventing pricey repairs. At Cambridge Auto Center in SAN ANTONIO, we can check your fuel filter. It is better than fixing a burned-out sedan fuel pump or ruined fuel injectors.
Posted in the Fuel System category
When SAN ANTONIO car owners talk about vehicle safety, they think of tires and brakes. But do we think about our windshields? Isn’t the ability to see a prime safety factor when it comes to driving around TX? Yet we often don’t even notice our windshields until we can’t see through them, or until our wiper blades fail.
It’s estimated that around 46 million people are driving with wipers that won’t keep their windshields clear during a storm — that’s 46 million people with impaired vision during a storm. For safety’s sake, SAN ANTONIO auto owners need to change the way they think about wiper blades. Most of us, 78% in fact, only change our wiper blades after they fail. In other words, we don’t get new ones until the old ones become a dangerous safety hazard. Instead, we SAN ANTONIO auto owners need to make wiper blades a critical part of our preventive maintenance routine.
Wiper blades should be changed twice a year, in the spring and in the fall. In TX areas that experience harsh winter weather, special blades are available that prevent ice and snow from collecting on the wiper. Ask your considerate Cambridge Auto Center tech about wiper blades that repel ice and snow.
No matter what blades you use on your vehicle in the winter, don’t expect them to clear the ice and snow from your windshield after your vehicle has been parked for a while. Using your wipers will shred your blades and may even damage your wiper motor. And don’t drive on SAN ANTONIO roads with a frosted windshield. That’s a serious safety hazard. It can cause accidents, and you could be held liable.
Wiper blades are subjected to harsh conditions in SAN ANTONIO. They’re out in the Atascosa sun and in the cold. Over time, they become hard and brittle and lose their flexibility. Then they start to tear. Without flexibility, wipers just can’t clear a windshield of water or snow. And torn wipers can actually scratch your windshield. Then the entire windshield has to be replaced — along with the wiper blades. It’s a prime example of how preventive maintenance could have saved you a significant repair bill.
SAN ANTONIO motorists can purchase new wiper blades at an auto service center or at any SAN ANTONIO auto parts store. They cost about the same. But the auto service center will throw in the installation.
Once you have good wipers installed, don’t forget to top off your windshield washer fluid. If you take your vehicle in for a full-service oil change at Cambridge Auto Center in SAN ANTONIO, your washer fluid will get topped off then. But it’s good auto advice to purchase a jug of washer fluid to keep at home — just in case. And pack it in the car when you go on long trips.
While we’re on the subject, Cambridge Auto Center advises SAN ANTONIO car owners to always fill their washer fluid reservoir with window washer fluid. Don’t ever use water. Water can freeze in the reservoir, which can damage it. It can also freeze onto your windshield. Besides, plain water just can’t get a windshield clean. Think about it. Do you use plain water to clean your bathroom mirrors? And a bathroom mirror doesn’t get exposed to anything near the gunk that can end up on your windshield. Windshield washer fluid was designed to do one thing — to clean windshields. Let it do its vital job.
A clean windshield is not just good car care for SAN ANTONIO auto owners — it’s a key safety feature. Let’s keep it that way.
Posted in the Windshield Wipers category
When your sedan has a problem, or just needs some routine service, you might get a little nervous. Your car’s so important to your life in SAN ANTONIO, you need to back on the road as soon as possible – with the problem fixed right the first time.
If you’ve ever checked into some of the technician training Cambridge Auto Center professionals receive, you may be surprised at how much specialized knowledge and skill goes into diagnosing and repairing a modern car. For example: Today there are four cylinder engines that generate more power than the 1980s-era V-8’s. I mean a new V-6 Toyota Camry could beat Sonny Crocket’s Ferrari in a race to sixty.
Our engines are more and more powerful and at the same time their fuel economy keeps inching up – even with steep Castroville gas prices. They are also amazingly reliable: Kudos to the automotive engineers at the leading auto manufacturers. But the advances come at the price of simplicity. The modern cars Castroville motorists drive around TX interstates are so much more complex from a mechanical standpoint that it makes your head spin – not to mention the electronics.
Some sedans have several networked computers controlling most of the engine functions and many other vehicle operations as well. Castroville motorists take all of this sophistication for granted – but somebody has to fix it when it breaks. It’s a real challenge for SAN ANTONIO Cambridge Auto Center technicians to keep up, but we work hard to stay ahead of the technology. It requires a high level of commitment on the part of the technicians and the Castroville service centers as well.
Cambridge Auto Center technicians receive training through a combination of formal classroom training, training provided at Cambridge Auto Center by parts and equipment manufacturers, on-line courses and home study courses.
In addition to the expensive training, there’s the financial commitment for Cambridge Auto Center to purchase the diagnostic and repair tools.
There are many independent certifications available at Cambridge Auto Center all the way up to Master Technician. The ability to repair your sedan requires a strong combination of training and resources. No one can know everything, so Castroville auto service centers subscribe to data services, technical libraries and even on-line communities that can help them when they run into a difficult problem.
It’s like those medical diagnosis shows on TV. Here are the symptoms – what’s the diagnosis and treatment? Diagnosis is every bit as much an art as a science. At Cambridge Auto Center, we want everything to be simple, straightforward and inexpensive – but sometimes it just isn’t.
The next time you bring us your sedan, don't worry. You’re in good hands at Cambridge Auto Center.
Posted in the Service Standards category
Okay. You went to your local SAN ANTONIO car wash and while your sedan was under the dryer, the check engine light started flashing. Panic! What did you just do? Something is seriously wrong with the sedan! You head for the nearest SAN ANTONIO service station, but on the way, the check engine light stops flashing, and just glows red. Hmm. Maybe things aren’t as bad as they seem. You decide to wait until payday to take your sedan in to get serviced. In the meantime, the check engine light goes off. What? You decide the light must be faulty, or that when it comes on it doesn’t mean anything, or that it’s just in your sedan as some sort of scam to get you to pay for unnecessary pricey repairs. You’re glad you didn’t take your car to the SAN ANTONIO repair shop and resolve to ignore that engine light in the future.
Whoa! Let’s look at what really happened. Your sedan was under an air dryer. Your air intake sensor measured too much air running through the engine. It sent its report to the engine computer, where a warning was triggered: there shouldn’t be that much airflow when the sedan engine is idling. This is a serious problem that could cause permanent engine damage. Warning! The check engine light starts flashing, letting you know you need to take immediate action to prevent that damage.
You drive out from under the dryer, and the air intake sensor sends a new message to the computer. The computer realizes that everything is normal and tells the check engine light to stop flashing. The sedan doesn’t need immediate attention; but there was a problem, and it should be checked out by your service advisor. After a few days the computer senses that the problem is gone, so it turns off the warning light.
You may think this story illustrates the uselessness of a check engine light, but you should remember that a computer can’t think for itself, it can only follow its programming. It doesn’t know the difference between a car wash air dryer and a serious malfunction in your sedan engine. That doesn’t make it useless. It just means you have to be the smart one.
Being smart doesn’t mean ignoring your sedan check engine light. It lets you know when something is wrong, and you can prevent a lot of damage to your vehicle by paying proper attention to it.
Your engine computer is constantly collecting data about what is going on inside your sedan engine. It knows what parameters are normal, and when a reading may indicate a problem. It uses the check engine light to let you know when something isn’t right. It then stores a code in its memory that a tech can retrieve that indicates which reading was abnormal.
The tech uses this code as a starting place to find out what’s wrong with your sedan. It’s like going to the doctor with a fever. The fever is the reading that is abnormal — your temperature is too high — but the doctor still has to figure out what’s causing it. It’s probably an infection, but what kind? Sinus infection? Appendicitis? Flu? The problems and their solutions are quite different. But a fever also tells a doctor what’s NOT wrong with you. Fevers don’t accompany stress headaches, ulcers or arthritis, so there’s no sense in testing for those conditions.
Your SAN ANTONIO technician responds to a trouble code in your sedan’s computer in the same way. The code doesn’t say exactly what’s wrong, but it does give the technician a good indication of where to start looking —and where he/she doesn’t need to look.
Now, you wouldn’t consider diagnosing yourself with a serious medical problem; good medical advice — unless you’re a doctor. So you shouldn’t consider trying to diagnose your vehicle’s troubles by yourself; good auto advice — unless you’re a trained mechanic.
There are cheap scanners available on the market and some SAN ANTONIO auto parts stores offer to read trouble codes from your sedan engine computer for you, but these are really not good alternatives to taking your vehicle to a qualified service center such as Cambridge Auto Center in SAN ANTONIO. Your engine’s computer has both short-term and long-term memory, and there are some codes that are specific to a particular make of vehicle. Cheap scanners can’t read an engine computer’s long-term memory nor can they interpret manufacturer - specific codes. That’s why manager Dewayne Allen at Cambridge Auto Center spends a lot of money on high-end diagnostic tools.
It’s as if you had a choice between a doctor who had a tongue depressor and a thermometer and one who had all the latest medical diagnostic equipment on hand. Honestly, which would you choose?
Getting your codes read at your Atascosa auto parts store isn’t really a money-saver, either, unless you’re a trained mechanic. You’ll end up with a code that tells you a symptom. What usually happens next is that the Atascosa parts store sells you something that directly relates to the symptom. It may or may not fix the problem. It’s actually cheaper to just go to the Cambridge Auto Center in SAN ANTONIO and get things fixed right the first time.
Remember, a fever can indicate a sinus infection or appendicitis. An antibiotic may be okay for that sinus infection, but it won’t help your appendicitis. Is it really wise to wait around to see if the antibiotic helps when you might have appendicitis?
Part of good car care is knowing where you can get a problem fixed, and fixed right. Preventive maintenance goes a long way to keeping you out of the repair shop, but eventually, we will all have a problem that needs fixing. Let’s do it right the first time at Cambridge Auto Center. In the long run, it’s actually the less pricey choice.
Posted in the Diagnostics category
The price of gas in TX has got SAN ANTONIO drivers talking. It seems that SAN ANTONIO folks who need a bigger vehicle to carry family and gear, or provide four wheel drive, are hit especially. That is why we thought it would be good to review some things that anyone can do to improve gas mileage.
First let's start with how we drive in the Atascosa area. SAN ANTONIO car owners may not realize that they can really save cash on gas by just changing a few driving habits. One of the biggest is jackrabbit starts - you know, flooring the gas as soon as the light turns green. That really wastes a lot of fuel. Building up your speed at a slower pace uses less fuel and is easier on your engine and drive train. And don't drive with one foot on the brake. That's also a drag on fuel efficiency, and it wears out your brakes faster too.
Another thing SAN ANTONIO auto owners can do is drive slower - but only when it's safe. Sometimes on the interstate we drive an extra five ... ten . . . twenty ... over the speed limit. We do it to save time, but it only saves a few minutes out of maybe an hour long drive, and we may use 10 to 15 % more gas. Just leave SAN ANTONIO a little bit earlier, save some money and arrive more relaxed.
SAN ANTONIO motorists can also try and combine all of their errands for the day into just one trip, rather than several. If you can put off a trip today that can be combined with one tomorrow - you can save some time and cash.
Using your cruise control can save bucks too. Driving in Atascosa at a constant speed really improves fuel economy. Be sure to only use your cruise control in TX under safe conditions - you can look in your owner's manual for some critical good tips on using your cruise control.
Did you know that reducing the weight in your sedan saves gas? Clean out the trunk or back seat from time to time so that you are not paying to carry around a lot of stuff around Atascosa you do not need in the car. If you live in TX where there is snow and ice, clear it off your car. They add weight and mess with aerodynamics too.
Another tip is to avoid long idle times, which includes warming it up when you start. Modern engines do not require a long warm up to get going - just take it easy for a couple of miles.
Be sure to get a new gas cap if yours leaks or is worn.
Now, let's start talking mechanical. Bottom line - the better you maintain your vehicle, the less fuel you will use. It all adds up in a big way. For example, replacing your dirty engine air filter will pay for itself in improved gas mileage before your next oil change - and will keep saving you cash after that.
A clean, well-maintained fuel system really pays big dividends in fuel economy for SAN ANTONIO car owners. A clogged fuel filter wastes gas. So does a dirty fuel system, grimy fuel injectors and plugged up PCV valves. A fuel system service decreases the gas you use, and increases the power - so SAN ANTONIO car owners can't go wrong with that.
Some of us SAN ANTONIO car owners ignore our Check Engine light. But fixing the problem that caused the light to come on will usually save some fuel as well. It may be a bad oxygen sensor that can really rob your fuel economy.
And, it may be time for a tune-up. Tune-ups should improve your MPG. Don't overlook the important routine maintenance items, like scheduled oil changes, transmission and cooling system service. Dirty or low fluids actually use more fuel. Just look at your auto manufacturer'a recommended service intervals in the owner's manual, or ask your Cambridge Auto Center service advisor for the schedule.
Don't forget your tires. Under-inflated tires waste gas. And if your wheels are out of alignment you won't get the gas mileage you need.
None of these things are very complicated or expensive for SAN ANTONIO motorists to stay on top of. When you maintain your car properly, you save gas today, and prevent expensive repairs tomorrow.
Posted in the Fuel System category