Many SAN ANTONIO car owners have been hearing about technological advances in power steering, specifically, electric power steering. Some very high-end cars have been featuring electric power steering for a few years now. An electric motor directly provides the power assist to make steering easier. Undoubtedly we’ll see much more of this in SAN ANTONIO as full electric cars and electric hybrids become more common.
The vast majority of cars and trucks serviced at Cambridge Auto Center in SAN ANTONIO use a hydraulic power boost system. With hydraulics, fluid is pressurized by a pump which actuates a hydraulic cylinder to reduce steering effort. Some of these pumps are powered by an electric motor. Most pumps are powered by the serpentine belt driven by the engine.
Power steering fluid has the necessary hydraulic properties and the ability to lubricate the internal parts. The power steering fluid also protects sedan components from rust and corrosion.
SAN ANTONIO car owners should be aware that auto makers recommend that the fluid be replaced on schedule. At Cambridge Auto Center, the old fluid is drained and the system cleaned thoroughly. Fresh fluid is then installed.
Unfortunately, many SAN ANTONIO drivers don’t realize how critical it is to service their power steering, and some may not even know that it's necessary in the first place. A neglected power steering system can develop leaks that will shorten the life of the pump.
SAN ANTONIO drivers should be aware of warnings that indicate possible power steering problems: the need to constantly add power steering fluid, a loud whining from the pump, erratic power assist or high steering effort. If you’re experiencing any of these problems, have your power steering checked out at Cambridge Auto Center in SAN ANTONIO.
In addition to the pump and hydraulic system, there are important mechanical parts in the steering system. The rods, arms, joints and knuckles that actually turn the wheels can become worn or damaged. A standard alignment service at Cambridge Auto Center includes an inspection of steering components.
If you notice any play in the steering wheel, that the steering wheel is off center, or a noise coming from your front wheels, especially when turning, have your considerate Cambridge Auto Center service specialist do an inspection so the problem can be corrected. Waiting too long could cause uneven tire wear and may even lead to steering failure. Call Cambridge Auto Center today at 210-697-9600.
Posted in the Alignment category
The government mandates a lot of equipment on cars in SAN ANTONIO TX: emission devices and control computers, safety equipment like airbags and crash worthiness requirements. All of this is great for the SAN ANTONIO TX motoring public, but it does add quite a bit to the price of a new car.
Because new cars are more expensive, people in the Atascosa area are driving their old cars longer. The average car is now over nine years old. Two thirds of vehicles on the road in Atascosa have more than 75,000 miles. As cars age, their performance drops, they have difficulty idling for long periods and are more sensitive to weather extremes. Fortunately today's cars are up to the challenge – but they need a little help to keep on goin'.
Give Cambridge Auto Center a call to schedule your next maintenance.
9823 Fredericksburg Road
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78240
Some owner's manuals don't specify service requirements at higher mileage. That doesn't mean it doesn't have to be done. In fact, it's more important than ever to stay on top of routine maintenance for cars with more than 75,000 miles.
First, just extend regular service intervals out: for instance a service that's recommended every 15,000 miles should be performed at 15,000, 30,000, 45,000 and 60,000 miles, and so on. Because of the additional stress older engines experience, the severe service maintenance schedule is more appropriate than the regular schedule – ask your service advisor. Watch for leaks – seals and gaskets dry out over time and don't hold the fluids as well as they used to.
It's also time to make sure you have a good SAN ANTONIO TX technician. There are some services and replacements that are scheduled after you put on some clicks, like timing belts, valve train adjustments, suspension, anti-lock brake service, air bags, etc. And unexpected repairs down the road are just par for the course. Check for unusual sounds, smells or the way your car feels. These could be hints that trouble's brewing. Better to catch it early before it turns into a costly repair.
And a regular wash and wax will help maintain your car's appearance. One of the things you can do to really help your high mileage vehicle is to begin using high mileage formulation fluids. There are special engine oils, coolants, and transmission and power steering fluids that are formulated for cars that have a few clicks on the old odometer.
High mileage oil is designed to condition seals and gaskets, reduce wear and avoid premature burn off. Older engines are dirtier inside – and dirty engines contaminate their oil faster. High mileage oil has special additives that clean the engine, removing sludge deposits over time. The result is less stress on the engine, better fuel economy and excellent wear protection.
Studies have even shown that using high mileage fluids early will actually prevent some of the problems of high mileage vehicles. So once you hit around 50,000 miles, consider stepping up to high mileage formulations. High mileage fluids cost a bit more than standard fluids because of the additional additives, but they can be worth their weight in gold in terms of preventing repair costs down the road. It does cost more to properly maintain a higher mileage vehicle – but it's way cheaper than a new car payment!
Posted in the Maintenance category
When it comes to preventive maintenance and car care, most SAN ANTONIO car owners know how essential it is to check their brakes. But brakes are more than just brake pads and shoes. There are a lot of components in the brake system, and they all need to be in good working order.
The pads and shoes are known as the friction materials in the brake system. They push together, providing friction, which stops the vehicle. It’s no wonder they have to be checked regularly for wear, and that brake pads and shoes need to be replaced periodically.
Brake pads/shoes gradually wear out, but that doesn’t mean your braking gradually becomes less effective. The pads are engineered so that they maintain good braking until they wear too thin to provide adequate friction. At this point, they need to be replaced.
But your braking system also has mechanical parts. These pistons and springs can also gradually wear out or get gummed up by oil, dirt and other road spatter. A brake inspection in SAN ANTONIO at Cambridge Auto Center includes a check of these parts as well as the pads and shoes. Your considerate Cambridge Auto Center service advisor can then advise you of any parts that need cleaning or replacement.
The fluid component to the brake system needs a regular check-up at Cambridge Auto Center as well. The brake fluid cools and protects your brake system. Protective additives are gradually depleted by the operation of the brake system, and moisture build-up inside the fluid can diminish its effectiveness. When you have your brakes serviced at Cambridge Auto Center in SAN ANTONIO, the fluid should be checked and, if needed, replaced, which will clean out water, debris and dirt.
It is critical to remember that your brake system also includes your tires. No matter how well your brake system is performing, if your sedan tires are worn, you won't get good stopping power. Traction is the gripping power of your tires to the roadway. Traction is always better on tires with a good tread. Good traction translates to good braking.
This is particularly essential on wet Boerne roads. A good tire will give you good braking on either wet TX roads or dry. But stopping distance increases dramatically when worn tires meet wet roads. Tread on a tire acts to channel away water as the sedan passes over the wet road, thus maintaining contact between the tire’s surface and the road, which maintains traction. But the thinner the tread, the less effective the water channels become, and water can get between the tire and the roadway, reducing friction. A loss of friction means a longer stopping distance and possibly the loss of control.
Braking depends on two things: the weight of your sedan and the speed of the vehicle. The heavier the vehicle or the faster the vehicle, the more braking power it requires. Thus, brake systems vary from vehicle to vehicle. For example, a pickup that is designed for heavy loads has a more powerful braking system than a compact car. Sports cars also have higher-grade braking systems than minivans.
Regardless of what kind of car you drive in SAN ANTONIO, it is always good auto advice to keep your brake system in good repair, and that means ALL of your brake system. Just one more way to keep your travels accident and worry-free.
Posted in the Brakes category
Our vehicles are not massage chairs. While we may enjoy a good vibration in an overstuffed recliner, us SAN ANTONIO auto owners generally want as smooth a ride as possible in our vehicles. One way to achieve this is to keep a vehicle’s wheels in balance.
When a tire is mounted onto a wheel, it is usually out of balance. This means that as the wheel spins, there is a slight wobble to the path of the tire. For best handling performance and safety on the road, SAN ANTONIO auto owners want to minimize this wobble as much as possible. So we balance our tires. To balance a tire, your considerate Cambridge Auto Center service professional spins it on a machine or drum to determine where it is off-balance. He then attaches weights that counter-balance the uneven weight. Most SAN ANTONIO drivers are surprised at how much balancing improves the smoothness of their ride.
High-quality tires generally hold their balance well. But over time, wear and tear take their toll and tires can become unbalanced. SAN ANTONIO auto owners can tell when a front tire is unbalanced if they feel a vibration in the steering wheel. If a back tire is unbalanced, you’ll feel a vibration in your seat. You may not notice these vibrations until they get fairly serious — or until someone else drives your sedan — because they usually develop slowly. If a vibration starts abruptly, it usually means you’ve lost a balancing weight.
The average tire rotates at about 850 revolutions per minute at 60 mph. When a tire is out of balance, it actually hops down the freeway, rather than rolling. So at 60 mph it is slamming into the pavement 14 times a second. That’s what creates the harmful vibration. When SAN ANTONIO auto owners' tires are out of balance, they wear out more quickly. The lack of balance also causes extra wear on shocks, struts, steering components and critical suspension parts.
Getting a balance job at Cambridge Auto Center in SAN ANTONIO can prevent pricey repair bills and even an accident. It will improve the safety of your sedan as well as its handling performance, and it will improve your MPG. When you change your rims or get a flat repaired at Cambridge Auto Center, you’ll need to get your tires balanced as well. When you rotate your tires, you may want to have them balanced as well.
Some SAN ANTONIO vehicle owners, however, only balance their wheels every other rotation. You can check your owner’s manual to see what the recommends for your sedan. Balancing your tires is part of critical preventive maintenance. It keeps your vehicle in good repair and prevents damage to many of its components, including some expensive ones. So practice good car care and make it a point to keep your tires balanced. It’s quality auto advice from Cambridge Auto Center. Massages chairs may vibrate away our worries, but unbalanced tires will just rattle SAN ANTONIO auto owners' nerves.
Posted in the Tires and Wheels category
There was a man in Atascosa who learned that most car accidents occur within a mile of home – so he moved. (Just Kidding!)
When we think of defensive driving, we often focus on our local TX highway situations. The fact of the matter is we need to be just as careful close to home in SAN ANTONIO, because that's where we do most of our driving. We can't let our familiar surroundings keep us from driving defensively.
Defensive driving begins with the proper attitude. Have in mind that you won't let anyone take your safety away from you. You'll be aware of your surroundings, road conditions, other vehicles and hazards. And the first person to be concerned with is you: start with your own environment.
Don't leave without securing all occupants including children and pets. Watch for loose items that can become projectiles during evasive maneuvers.
Driving too fast or too slow increases the chance of an accident.
Never drive impaired: Alcohol is a factor in half of all fatal crashes. Never drink and drive.
Other impairments include being sleepy, angry, daydreaming or talking. If you suddenly wonder how you got where you are – you're not paying enough attention.
Keep your windows clean and uncluttered. No fuzzy dice and stickers.
Keep your car in good shape so that it handles properly: Maintain tires, lights, brakes, suspension, wheel alignment and steering.
Always use your turn signals while driving around SAN ANTONIO TX. Avoid other vehicles' blind spots.
Don't drive faster than your headlights – if you can't stop within the distance you can see, you're going too fast.
Avoid driving over debris in the road. Even harmless looking items can cause damage or an accident.
Keep your wheels straight when waiting to turn at an SAN ANTONIO TX intersection. That way if you're hit from behind, your car won't be pushed into on-coming traffic.
My daddy always said that when you drive, you're actually driving five cars: yours, the one in front, the one behind and the ones on either side. You can't trust that other drivers will do the right thing, so you've got to be aware of what they're doing at all times.
If you see another car driving erratically, weaving, crossing lanes, etc., stay back. Take the next right turn if you're downtown SAN ANTONIO, or take the next exit on the TX highway. Notify the police if you see someone driving dangerously in our SAN ANTONIO community.
Never follow too close. The minimum distance is the two second rule. Pick a landmark ahead, like a tree or road marker. When the car in front of you passes it, start counting: 'one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand'. If you pass the landmark before reaching two-one-thousand, you're following too close.
Remember that the two second rule is the minimum – it assumes you're alert and aware. Three seconds is safer. Move out to five seconds or more if it's foggy or rainy.
Someone will inevitably move into your forward safety zone – just drop back and keep a safe distance.
If someone follows you too closely, just move over.
Don't play chicken by contesting your right of way or race to beat someone to a merge. Whoever loses that contest has the potential to lose big and you don't want any part of that. So stay alert, constantly scan around your car and arrive safely.
Cambridge Auto Center
9823 Fredericksburg Road
SAN ANTONIO, TX 78240
Posted in the Steering category
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
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.
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
Posted in the Fuel System category
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 cap
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
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.
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
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