Cambridge Auto Center AutoNet TV

Busting Automotive Myths In SAN ANTONIO TX

Posted January 23, 2015 5:30 PM



Myths passed around our SAN ANTONIO TX community start with a grain of evidence and are then built up with a lot of imagination and very elastic logic. And the internet is a breeding ground for automotive myths. Some bloggers recall the sedans of yesteryear and declare their modern decedents to be virtually maintenance free and that anyone who says otherwise is out to rip you off.

To get the truth about auto myths you hear around the SAN ANTONIO area, come over to Cambridge Auto Center.
You'll find us at 9823 Fredericksburg Road, SAN ANTONIO, TX 78240.
Give us a call at 210-697-9600 to make an appointment for your next auto service.

Let's examine a couple of the more popular rants and look at the truth behind them.

The first one is that the chassis no longer needs lubrication for suspension, steering and the driveline. They declare that anyone who has charged you for lubrication is a charlatan.

The truth on which this myth is based is that many new cars come from the factory with sealed joints and cannot be greased. However, there are still some grease points on many cars around SAN ANTONIO. A grease fitting may have been installed in conjunction with a repair. And most trucks and truck-based SUVs driving in SAN ANTONIO still require chassis lubrication. This is because they are more heavy duty and proper greasing is still required to keep them going.

Another common rant you'll hear around SAN ANTONIO is that modern cars don't need tune-ups. That depends on your definition of a 'tune-up', which has changed as technology has progressed. Before engine control computers, electronic ignition and fuel injection, a tune up meant replacing mechanical parts that wore out. Cambridge Auto Center would manually adjust fuel and air mix and timing. When these adjustments were off, spark plugs would foul and need to be replaced.

This definition just doesn't apply to modern vehicles. Service centers like Cambridge Auto Center generally consider a tune-up to be the major service visit, recommended by your manufacturer, every 30,000 miles or so.

Of course you can't lubricate a sealed joint. Of course you can't adjust a carburetor if your car doesn't have one. You probably don't need to change spark plugs every year if your manufacturer says they can go 30,000 miles. What are these bloggers getting so worked up about?

The danger with these modern-day myths, is that they prevent people in our local SAN ANTONIO community from taking care of the routine preventive auto maintenance that manufactures recommend. Check out this partial list of things you still need to do to take care of your car. How many of them are really any different today than they were 20 or 30 years ago?

Oil change, cooling system service, transmission service, tire balancing, tire rotation, wheel alignment, suspension service, power steering service, proper tire inflation, brake service, differential service, battery maintenance, engine air filer, PCV valve, breather element, fuel filter, belts, hoses, timing belt, windshield wipers . . .

You get the picture. Your sedan is still a machine that needs to be maintained. And, hey, your service advisors at Cambridge Auto Center have always adapted to keep pace with automotive technology. Next time you come across an angry voice about your car care, talk to your SAN ANTONIO service advisor at Cambridge Auto Center, or do some research of your own.


Posted in the Maintenance category

Fuel Saving Tip: Dirty Oil In Your SAN ANTONIO sedan

Posted January 15, 2015 2:46 PM



If you're a quart low in your sedan, there isn't enough motor oil to lubricate your engine properly. The extra friction causes drag that reduces fuel economy while you're driving around the Atascosa area.

Clean Oil for your sedan The same goes for dirty oil; it doesn't reduce friction properly. The result is you get to watch those numbers at your local Atascosa gas pump rolling higher and higher.

The transmission also needs the proper amount of clean fluid to do its work. When it's in need of service, the transmission drags your fuel economy down.

So keep it clean and give yourself a fighting chance.

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

Posted in the Fuel System category

Water Pump

Posted January 6, 2015 11:34 AM



Your cooling system is very important. It circulates coolant through the radiator and your engine to protect your car from overheating. There are five main components to the cooling system:

  • the radiator
  • the radiator cap
  • the hoses
  • the thermostat and
  • the water pump

The cooling system is critical for SAN ANTONIO car owners. It circulates coolant through the radiator and your engine to protect your sedan from overheating. There are five main components to the cooling system:

the radiator
the radiator cap
the hoses
the thermostat and
the water pump


The water pump’s like the heart of your cooling system, circulating the fluid throughout your sedan. It’s a small pump that’s driven by the engine; usually by belt, but sometimes by a chain or gear.

The water pump only operates when the engine’s running. Water pump failure is pretty routine. We see it often at Cambridge Auto Center. Some start failing at around 40,000 miles, but most fail by 100,000 miles. Consult your automobile manufacturer's owners’ manual or considerate Cambridge Auto Center tech to see what’s recommended.

Since a water pump either works or it doesn’t, you need to change it when it fails. Water pumps fail in one of two ways: the bearings fail or they begin to leak. It’s possible to have a leak from a cracked water pump, but it usually leaks at the gasket where it attaches to the engine.

So how can SAN ANTONIO motorists tell when the water pump is failing? If you can hear a low-pitched grinding sound coming from the water pump – it’s got a problem. If you can see coolant in that area, you’ve got a leak.

Some water pumps are driven off the timing belt. They might be under a plastic cover so you can’t see the water pump. Look for coolant on the driveway. If you see some, have your Cambridge Auto Center service professional check it out.

Most timing belts need to be changed at 60,000 miles – some longer. It’s a good idea to change your water pump at the same time if it’s one of those that’s driven off the timing belt. To start with, 90% of the work’s already done with the timing belt change. And, if you don’t, and develop a leak later, you’ll have to change the belt again along with the water pump because the belt will have been contaminated by the leaking coolant.

SAN ANTONIO drivers can replace a failed water pump with a brand spankin’ new one or with a rebuilt pump. Rebuilt will save you some bucks, but ask your considerate Cambridge Auto Center service specialist what he thinks. Don’t feel too bad if your water pump gives out. They will all wear out eventually. Your Cambridge Auto Center service advisor can get you back on the road and on with your life.


Posted in the Cooling System category

Get Where You're Going With Power Steering Service In SAN ANTONIO

Posted December 31, 2014 5:39 PM



Today we're going to talk about power steering service in SAN ANTONIO. If you took an informal poll around SAN ANTONIO you'd probably find that most have never heard of power steering service. That's not surprising. Even though power steering is standard on every vehicle, most people in SAN ANTONIO aren't aware that it needs periodic service.

If you're younger than a certain age, you've probably never driven a car or truck without power steering. To get an idea of the difference; if you've ever cut a board with a hand saw, you know it's a lot of work. Using a power saw is easy-peasy by comparison.

Without power steering, your arms have to do all the work to steer the wheels, and that's hard, especially around downtown SAN ANTONIO. That's why old cars had such big steering wheels; to get enough leverage to steer.

Steering Most vehicles in SAN ANTONIO have a hydraulic power steering system. The serpentine belt from the engine powers a pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid. This actuates a hydraulic cylinder that provides power to help steer.

Some vehicles in SAN ANTONIO use an electric pump to pressurize the fluid rather than a belt driven pump. We're also seeing vehicles with electric motors providing the power assist, not using power steering fluid at all. We'll see a lot more electric systems as more hybrids and electric vehicles hit the market.

At least for now, the vast majority of power steering systems use power steering fluid that needs to be serviced. The fluid needs to be changed for a couple of reasons. For one, it attracts moisture. Water has different hydraulic qualities than power steering fluid, and that makes a difference in steering performance. Water is also corrosive and can damage power steering components. The fluid also just gets dirty and needs to be changed. Removing the old fluid and flushing out the system gets rid of dirt and deposits. The clean, fresh fluid lubricates and provides better corrosion protection.

So ask your SAN ANTONIO service advisor at Cambridge Auto Center or check your owner's manual to see when power steering service is recommended. It'll extend the life of your power steering components.


Posted in the Steering category

Introduction to Diesels for SAN ANTONIO, TX

Posted December 26, 2014 1:49 PM



Something you’re going to be hearing a lot about around SAN ANTONIO, TX is diesel engines. We’re not talking about semi-trucks and buses – We’re talking about diesel engine cars, pick-ups and SUVs.

Most people in SAN ANTONIO, TX are surprised to learn that around half the cars on the road in Europe have diesel engines. Nearly all import automakers offer a range of diesel engines abroad – even the ultra-luxury brands like Mercedes and BMW. For the most part, these diesel engines haven’t been available in SAN ANTONIO, TX. But that’s about to change.

In the past, North American diesel fuel has had a much higher sulfur content than European fuel. Recent environmental laws have required changes in diesel formulation and emissions standards here in SAN ANTONIO, TX so we are now ready to start seeing more diesel options offered to SAN ANTONIO auto owners over the next few years.

Why are so many SAN ANTONIO motorists interested in diesel engines? Well first off, diesel fuel is more energy dense. There’s more power in a barrel of diesel fuel than there is in a barrel of gasoline. The result? Better performance and improved fuel economy.

Diesel powered vehicles get about 20 percent better MPG. And as for power – why do you think that the majority of new heavy duty pick-up trucks are being sold in SAN ANTONIO with diesel engines?

If you think back to the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, you may shudder when you think of the diesel powered cars of the day – noisy, smoky, under-powered beasts that rattled and shook their passengers. Modern diesels sold in TX have evolved considerably.

They are quiet, clean – and powerful. They’re so refined that many SAN ANTONIO car owners can’t even tell they’re riding in a diesel powered sedan. In addition to fuel savings, diesels generally last longer than gasoline engines because of their heavy duty construction.

Another thing the SAN ANTONIO green crowd takes advantage of is the use of bio-diesel in diesel vehicles. Bio-diesel is made from vegetable oil – even recycled cooking oil from SAN ANTONIO restaurants. There is a lot of buzz about Hybrid cars in TX. Look to diesel-electric hybrids in years to come to make a good idea even better.

Every year, car makers introduce new diesel models. Look for diesels in domestic light trucks, SUVs and passenger cars. Import auto makers have plans to bring more of their outstanding diesel engines to SAN ANTONIO, TX as well.

New SAN ANTONIO diesel owners need to know that properly maintaining a diesel engine is somewhat different than a gasoline engine. Fluid change intervals are different. Emissions control devices have to work harder to filter diesel fuel and to scrub the exhaust so you will need to pay attention to that. And the fuel injection system operates at much higher pressures than gas fuel injection systems, so it’s important to keep your fuel system clean with a diesel.

The good news is that Cambridge Auto Center in  SAN ANTONIO is keeping up with the new diesel technology and will be able to advise you on maintaining your diesel.

When we tell you to look for more diesels on SAN ANTONIO streets, you won’t be looking for smoky tail pipes as a clue. You also won’t be listening for that familiar big rig rattle. And, you certainly won’t be waiting for them at the stoplight, because modern diesels are as quick as their gasoline counterparts.

From all of us at AutoNetTV, ten four, good buddy.


Posted in the Fuel System category

Engine Air Filter From Cambridge Auto Center

Posted December 16, 2014 5:12 PM

Many SAN ANTONIO motorists have found themselves in the following situation: they go to get their oil changed and their considerate Cambridge Auto Center service professional recommends a new engine air filter. They say yes, but don't know what an air filter is or what it does.

If this has happened to you, rest assured that you did the right thing by getting a new one. But you should never be too embarrassed to ask your Cambridge Auto Center service professional for more information. It's your income and you have a right to understand what you're paying for.

Let's review: "What does an air filter do??":

Air is the focus of this discussion. What is the air like outside in SAN ANTONIO right now? Can you see any smog? Is it full of pollen? How about dust? Anyone in TX with hay fever can tell you that there's plenty in the air that you can't see. Well, the engine air filter's essential job is to clean that air before it goes into your sedan engine, to mix with the fuel and be burned. Without an engine air filter, the inside of your sedan engine would be extremely dirty from all the gunk that was burned in the cylinders.

In fact, for every gallon of gas you burn, your sedan engine needs 12,000 gallons of air. That little filter does a very big job. It's no wonder that the air filter gets dirty and needs to be replaced. Think about a vacuum cleaner. When the bag gets full of dust and dirt, the vacuum doesn't clean as well. It can't move enough air to create good suction. A clogged engine air filter is the same way - the sedan engine can't get enough air to burn the fuel efficiently. That means less power and reduced fuel economy.

That's why your vehicle manufacturer has recommended that you change your filter at regular intervals. Of course the SAN ANTONIO conditions you drive in will affect how quickly the filter gets dirty. If you drive in TX where it's very dusty or where there's lots of pollen or pollution, you may need to change the filter sooner. The filter is easy to check visually, so your considerate Cambridge Auto Center tech can quickly make the call. He might recommend immediate replacement, or simply let you know that it is getting close and that you'll need to replace it soon - like at your next oil change.

Because a severely dirty sedan air filter hurts your gas mileage, many SAN ANTONIO car owners find that a new air filter pays for itself in better MPG before the next oil change. They also make premium air filters that have been proven to increase your horsepower and torque. If more power is important to you, a high performance air filter is some of the cheapest horsepower you can buy.

The better your car breathes, the better it runs - kind of like SAN ANTONIO people. And don't worry - if you have a question or don't understand a recommendation just ask your Cambridge Auto Center tech.

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


Posted in the Fuel System category

Lease Or Buy?

Posted December 12, 2014 5:10 PM



Lease? Or buy? These are the options for SAN ANTONIO car financing. It's always a tough question for SAN ANTONIO auto owners. But here is some info that'll help you make an informed decision.

If you buy, you'll pay the full cost of the car, with maybe an initial down payment, then monthly payments on the balance that pays down the loan principal, and the finance charge.

SAN ANTONIO drivers who lease, finance the portion of the cost of the car that's used up during the term of the lease. You'll pay some money up front; fees, security deposit, first month's payment and maybe a capital reduction. The monthly payments include a depreciation cost and a finance charge. When the lease is up, you return the car to your local Atascosa area dealership. 

So how do SAN ANTONIO drivers decide?

First, how much do you have for a down payment? A lease usually requires a smaller down.

How much monthly payment can you afford? Again, lease payments will be much lower for any given down payment.

A lease needs requires better credit, so that's a factor.

How long will you keep the car? SAN ANTONIO motorists who keep their cars around for a while will pay less if they buy. But just two or three years? Then leasing is the way to go.

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

If your car might suffer a ding or two, like, say a work truck would, then buying's better. The SAN ANTONIO auto leasing company will want their vehicle back at the lease end in tip top shape, and if repairs are needed, you'll pay.

How many miles do you drive in and around the Boerne area? Important to consider because leases have a mileage limit, and if you go over, you pay a hefty charge per mile when the lease is up. So high mileage TX auto owners should definitely buy.

Will the car be used in your SAN ANTONIO business? Check with your SAN ANTONIO accountant, but both financing options have different tax benefits, depending on your circumstances.

Over the short term, leasing is much cheaper for SAN ANTONIO car owners. Medium term, leasing and buying costs are about the same. Over the long haul, leasing always costs more in TX.

Leases may sound a bit complicated, and the typical lease decision weighs more on the monthly payment, rather than price. So sometimes SAN ANTONIO leasers may pay on a higher purchase price than a buyer would.

Here is a tip: If the SAN ANTONIO salesman asks if you'll be leasing or buying, say you're not sure yet. Make your best deal, then look at your SAN ANTONIO financing options.

Here's another: With a buy or a lease, if you total the car, you'll owe the full amount of the loan, or the balance of the lease payments, and usually, it's less than the car's fair Atascosa market value  – and that's all your TX auto insurance company will pay. But ask your SAN ANTONIO agent about gap insurance, which pays the difference between fair market value and what you owe. Big consideration for a lease.

Remember, you have to return your leased vehicle in excellent condition, and may need to do all the auto manufacturer's recommended service and maintenance, or face penalties. So see your local technician at your SAN ANTONIO auto repair shop  or Cambridge Auto Center on a regular basis, get the required work done and save the service records. It's well worth it.


Posted in the Automotive News category

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Wheel Bearings

Posted December 4, 2014 8:52 AM



Why are wheel bearings important for SAN ANTONIO car owners? It's simple: your wheel bearings keep the wheels on your vehicle. In today's Cambridge Auto Center post, we’ll discuss more about wheel bearings and how you can make sure they can do their very vital job while you drive around Boerne, TX.

Come see us at: 9823 Fredericksburg Road in SAN ANTONIO, TX 78240

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visit the automotive professionals at Cambridge Auto Center for a wheel bearing inspection, or for fuel filter. Call 210-697-9600 for an appointment.


Posted in the Tires and Wheels category

Serpentine Belt Service At Cambridge Auto Center In SAN ANTONIO

Posted November 28, 2014 9:04 AM

If you’ve ever heard a squealing sound under your sedan hood, chances are it was your serpentine belt. Your serpentine belt is a long belt that’s driven by your engine. It winds around several accessories that power important automotive systems in your sedan. Let’s go over them.

First, the serpentine belt drives your air conditioning system. It spins the compressor that makes the cool air that takes the edge off the summer heat in SAN ANTONIO.

Serpentine Belt Service At Cambridge Auto Center In SAN ANTONIOMore importantly, the belt powers the alternator
. The alternator creates electricity that’s used by your sedan’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 sedans, 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 auto owners realize that if it breaks, it affects a lot of systems. That’s why auto manufacturers outline recommended replacement guidelines in the owners manuals. If this important maintenance component is not included in your owners manual, come see us at Cambridge Auto Center.

At Cambridge Auto Center in SAN ANTONIO, your considerate service specialist 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 considerate service professional at Cambridge Auto Center. 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 Center, we recommend SAN ANTONIO auto owners 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 sedan.

All in all, the serpentine belt’s is essential to the operation of your sedan. And it’s not that pricey to replace at Cambridge Auto Center – so it’s good to do so before it fails.


Posted in the Maintenance category

I Can See Clearly Now: Wiper Blade Replacement In SAN ANTONIO

Posted November 21, 2014 1:49 PM



About 90% of our driving decisions in Atascosa are based solely on what we see. So having a good pair of windshield wipers is extremely important.

Most SAN ANTONIO drivers have experienced the frustration and fear of not being able to see clearly during a storm, or when our sedan windshield is just dirty. In fact, it’s estimated that 46,000,000 motorists across the nation are driving with wipers that can’t adequately clear their windshield in a storm.

It seems like our wiper blades are always at their worst when we SAN ANTONIO car owners need them the most. If that sounds like you, you’ve got plenty of company in the Atascosa area. 78% of drivers only change their wiper blades after the blades function so poorly that they become a safety hazard.

SAN ANTONIO motorists need to change their thinking. Instead of blades being something to replace when they fail, we need to consider wiper blades as a key sedan safety component. Then we’ll stay ahead of the storm.

SAN ANTONIO auto owners really ought to replace wiper blades twice a year; in the spring and the fall. If you live in the colder parts of TX, you may even want to get special winter blades in the fall.

Winter blades are made to resist freezing. Speaking of winter and freezing Atascosa conditions, if your sedan has been sitting for a long time and the windshield becomes frozen, don’t use your wipers to clear off snow and ice. That can shred your blades and may even damage the wiper motor.

Your wiper blades live outside in the freezing cold and blistering SAN ANTONIO sun. Over time, they become hard and brittle, and then tear. They also lose their flexibility and just don’t clear the sedan windshield effectively. Worn wiper blades aren’t just a safety hazard for SAN ANTONIO auto owners; they can also scratch their windshield. That may require replacing the entire sedan windshield – that's a costly consequence for neglecting such a small part.

AutoNetTV and Cambridge Auto Center recommend SAN ANTONIO auto owners replace worn blades right away. Your SAN ANTONIO service center can provide you with a quality replacement blade. At Cambridge Auto Center, they cost about the same as they would at the store – but installation is included.

Of course you also need washer fluid to help your blades do their essential work. Even though Cambridge Auto Center will top off the washer fluid with a full service oil change, it is a good idea to have some extra fluid at home. Bring it with you if you’re heading out on a road trip.

Always use windshield washer fluid. Plain water, even that fancy French bottled water, just doesn’t cut it. It can freeze in the fluid reservoir or on the windshield itself, making things worse. Besides, water won’t clean your windows as well.

So follow these tips to keep your windshield clear and your eye on the road.

Find us at:

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


Posted in the Maintenance category

Older Posts