C&A Transmission and Auto Repair

Servicing Spring, Houston, and surrounding areas since 1988

C&A Transmission and Auto Repair - Servicing Spring, Houston, and surrounding areas since 1988

Breathe Deep With Your Cabin Air Filter

Bad air quality while you’re driving around Hufsmith is nothing to sneeze at. But seriously, more and more vehicles these days come equipped with a cabin air filter. Since they’re fairly new on the scene, a lot of folks don’t know about them yet.

These filters clean the air in the passenger compartment, or cabin, of your car or truck. They do the same job as the furnace filter you have at home. They can filter out particles as small as thee microns. By contrast, a grain of sand is about 200 microns.

So your cabin air filer can clean out dust, pollution, pollen and spores, to keep the air in your car nice and clean. And just like your furnace filter, they need to be replaced when they get dirty. Check your owner’s manual, but they typically need to be replaced at around twelve to fifteen thousand miles.

The filter is usually either under the hood or under the dashboard. Some are a little tricky to get to, so you’ll want to have your Spring TX service center, C&A Transmission & Auto Repair, take care of replacing them.

As we said, many people don’t realize they have a cabin air filter and go to their shop complaining about a funky smell in the ventilation system. It turned out to be a cabin air filter that was long overdue for replacement – really dirty and starting to smell. A quick replacement and they were on their way and smelling fine.

People who are allergy sensitive can really benefit from a cabin air filter, as it keeps allergens to a minimum. If you’re one of them, you’ll want to stay on top of your filter replacement schedule.

Of course if you do a lot of driving in dusty or polluted conditions, you’ll need to change your cabin air filter more often.

E-85 Fuel Safety Advice From C&A Transmission & Auto Repair

Today at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair we want to talk with you about a very important safety issue. This automotive safety warning is coming from a very unusual source: fire fighting experts. You’ve probably heard of E-85 gasoline being offered in the Houston area. Some newer vehicle models are specifically built to run on E-85 – the rest are not.

Does your vehicle use E-85 gasoline? Bring it down to C&A Transmission & Auto Repair at 20336 Holzwarth Road in Spring, TX 77388 to find out, or give us a call to make an appointment by calling 888.372.3223.

E-85 gasoline has been developed to fight air pollution and reduce oil consumption. E-85 fuel is a mix of 85% ethanol, a grain-base alcohol, and 15% gasoline. So-called Flex-Fuel vehicles are designed to use either normal gasoline or E-85 gas. The result is lower dangerous exhaust emissions to our local Houston community.

All gas engines can run with up to 10% ethanol and in fact a lot of gasoline sold in the Spring, TX area does contain some ethanol. The problem comes when well meaning drivers without Flex Fuel certified vehicles put E-85 into the tank.

At a 15% concentration, the potential for problems arises. Because of the chemical differences between ethanol and gasoline, special seals and gaskets are needed for Flex Fuel vehicles in Spring TX. In a normal engine, the ethanol in E-85 gas will eat away vital seals and gaskets. This leads to gas and oil leaks.

You Spring motorists can imagine the fire hazard caused by leaking gasoline. TX fire fighting experts caution auto owners to only use E-85 if they know they vehicle is certified to handle it. They expect vehicle fires to increase because of using the wrong fuel in non-Flex Fuel vehicles.

So are motorists who don’t have a Flex Fuel vehicle but use E-85 to help the environment actually putting themselves at risk? Yes. In fact, service and repair centers in Spring, TX are being warned to purchase fire extinguishers that use the special foam needed to extinguish ethanol fires as a precaution in case starting-up an ethanol damaged engine leads to a fire.

Obviously, this isn’t something you want to have in your Spring, TX garage at home, either. If you have a Flex-Fuel certified vehicle, feel free to protect the environment by using E-85 gasoline. If not – please do not use E-85 in an engine that’s designed to run on unleaded gasoline only. At C&A Transmission & Auto Repair we are concerned about your safety. If you have questions or want to find out how to determine if your vehicle can safely use E-85, go to www.e85fuel.com for more resources.

Take a look at our attached auto safety tips video from Auto Tips Videos.

Automotive Tips from C&A Transmission & Auto Repair: Serpentine Belt Tensioner

The serpentine belt tensioner applies pressure to the serpentine belt, maintaining best tension to drive the accessories like the alternator and A/C compressor. The service life of the belt tensioner is the same as the belt itself, so they should always be replaced together. A worn tensioner inhibits the accessories from spinning properly, leading to premature wear and noise.

Your vehicle manufacturer has a recommended mileage interval for serpentine belt replacement. A complete accessory drive system service replaces the serpentine belt, the belt tensioner and any idler pulleys your automobile might have. Your personable C&A Transmission & Auto Repair technician can survey your system and let you know if it’s time for a replacement.

Give us a call

C&A Transmission & Auto Repair
20336 Holzwarth Road
Spring, TX 77388

Automotive Tips from C&A Transmission & Auto Repair: When to Replace Your Wiper Blades

There are several essential factors that go into how often Spring car owners should replace their wiper blades. Of course, the more you use your wipers, the faster the blades will wear out – especially if you use them on an icy windshield. Whether it’s a lot of bugs and road grime from TX highway  driving or lots of wet weather – your blades get a work out and start to wear.

But your wiper blades break down even when they aren’t used frequently. They are damaged by sunlight and temperature changes as well. The rubber in the blades can dry out and crack and eventually fall apart. Check your wipers: If they’re not doing their important job, have them replaced.

Talk to your C&A Transmission & Auto Repair service professional about how you drive – we can guide you on the optimal blades for your needs.

Give us a call

C&A Transmission & Auto Repair
20336 Holzwarth Road
Spring, TX 77388

Keep Your Tires Well Rounded in Spring: Tire Rotation and Wheel Balancing at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair

Taking care of our tires is an essential part of car care for Spring drivers. We know they have to be replaced when they wear out, but tires also require some important preventive maintenance. This maintenance will improve fuel economy and extend the life of the tires, so it’s well worth the effort and expense for Spring motorists to get it done. Tire maintenance includes keeping tires properly inflated, rotating tires and balancing wheels.

The recommended tire pressure for a vehicle’s tires is printed on a sticker on the inside of the driver’s side doorjamb. A lot of engineering goes into calculating the correct pressure, so it’s a key number for Spring auto owners to know. Not following this recommendation can throw off the suspension system and can lead to pricey tire damage. Underinflated tires wear out more quickly than properly inflated tires. Vehicles also get better traction, handling and fuel economy on properly inflated tires. Check your tire pressure at least once a week and add air if necessary.

Don’t be tempted to add a bit of extra air to your tires when you fill them. Overinflated tires will cause the center tread to wear unevenly because of improper contact with the road. It will also reduce the handling performance of your vehicle.

Rotating tires allows all four tires on a vehicle to wear evenly. Front tires get more wear than rear tires because they do most of the work on turns. Tire rotation allows all of the tires to spend time on the front of the car so they all experience the extra wear.

For most vehicles, tire rotation is simply a matter of moving the front tires to the rear and vice versa. Some vehicles, however, recommend a cross-rotational pattern. Other vehicles use asymmetrical tires, which means the right tires have to stay on the right side of the car and the left tires on the left. Some vehicles use differently sized wheels on the front and back of the car and should not have their tires rotated.

What kind of rotation do you need? Check your owner’s manual or talk to your personable C&A Transmission & Auto Repair service specialist. Your owner’s manual will have information about how to rotate your vehicle’s tires as well as letting you know how often you should get it done. For most vehicles, that’s usually every 5,000 miles. Your personable C&A Transmission & Auto Repair service professional can also offer auto advice about tire rotation. A quick tire inspection can also indicate whether or not your tires are due to be rotated.

When it comes to tire maintenance for Spring motorists, wheel balancing is usually what we know least about. Balancing a wheel is necessary to keep it in constant contact with the road. If a tire is not balanced properly, it actually hops along the roadway. You can feel this hopping as a vibration in your steering wheel if the unbalanced tire is a front tire. You’ll feel the vibration through your seat if a rear tire is unbalance. Properly balancing your tires is essential and will extend their life span, improve handling and improve the safety of your vehicle. When you replace your tires, the new tires need to be balanced.

Never use different sized tires on the same axle of a vehicle. In other words, your front tires need to be the same size and your rear tires need to be the same size. Mixing sizes can lead to some serious handling problems for Spring car owners.

If you have an all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive vehicle all four tires need to be the same size. If your tires are wearing out, you can sometimes make a new tire purchase fit within your budget by only buying two tires at a time. When you do this, the new tires should be installed on the rear of the vehicle. Rear tires are more in need of the traction than your front tires to avoid spinning out on slippery surfaces. If you drive a vehicle around Houston, you need tires, so Spring drivers need to know how to care for them. The safety of your family car can depend on the condition of your tires.

Buying the Right Tires and Wheels In Spring TX

Everyone in Spring TX eventually replaces their tires, whether it’s because they’re worn out or they’re just looking for something different. There are so many great tire choices in Spring TX, it can be difficult to sort them out. Let’s group the broad spectrum into several categories that will help in the selection process.

One category is often referred to as “summer tires”. Summer tires are designed to be driven on the road when temperatures are generally above 45 degrees. Their tread design is optimized for traction on dry roads in Spring TX and they’re also able to effectively displace water on rainy roads.

Spring Selecting Tires and Wheels Now the rubber compound gets a little hard and stiff as temperatures drop below 45 degrees as it occasionally does here in Spring TX. And the tread which handles dry roads so well, can get packed with snow or mud – which provides very little traction in those conditions.

So if you live where its summer all year round, these tires will work well for you. If you like maximum performance in warm weather, but still live where it gets cold and snowy, you’ll want to change your summer tires for winter tires as the weather starts to change.

Summer tires can be purchased with an emphasis on handling performance, smooth ride or long life. Your Spring TX tire professional at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair can help you find the right tire for the way you drive.

As you can imagine, winter tires are designed to work very well in snow and ice. Their tread is designed with many channels and grooves that throw the snow out of the tread as the wheel turns. This means the tire is always be able to bite into the snow.

The rubber compound used in winter tires is specially formulated to be flexible at temperatures below 45 degrees. This maximizes cold weather traction. When it gets warmer, the softer rubber will wear faster on warm dry pavement than summer tires, so change them out once the weather has turned.

There’s a range of tires within the winter tire category. If you live where there’s a lot of snow and ice, look for the mountain and snowflake icon that signifies a severe snow rating. If you have milder winters and still want a performance component, they make a winter tire for you as well.

For many people, an all-season tire is the answer. You will give up some of the performance at the extreme ends of the summer tire/ winter tire spectrum, but you will find a long wearing tire that gives both good highway performance and winter traction on our Spring TX roads.

Within the all-season category, there are many choices that you tire advisor can help you evaluate.

C&A Transmission & Auto Repair
20336 Holzwarth Road
Spring, TX 77388

Outside of these three main categories, some people in Spring with trucks and SUVs like a tire that is designed for both on-highway and off-highway use. They can handle the rocks and bumps off-road, but still work well on the street. Again, many options depending on the relative emphasis on on-road verses off-road.

You may want new wheels to go with your new tires – well, there are hundreds and hundreds of styles to choose from. That’s a matter of personal taste. If you want to change the size of your wheels and tires, do get some professional help.

The computers on your vehicle are programmed to the size of wheel and tire combination that comes from the factory. Tire size affects various computer controlled functions like anti-lock brakes, traction and stability controls, speedometer and odometer. Of course, you want these systems to work properly. The computers can be re-programmed for different tire sizes.

And if you want to increase the size of your wheels and tires, you’ll want so help to make sure they’ll fit in the wheel wells of your vehicle without rubbing during turns or over bumps.

Timing Belt Replacement in Spring

Today we want to talk to Spring auto owners about timing belts. They’re something that many Spring drivers don’t know much about and yet your vehicle won’t run if it’s broken – and it could cause many thousands of dollars damage if it does break. A broken timing belt is usually a tale of woe. Even though timing belt replacement is scheduled in the owner’s manual, it’s not the kind of thing that most Houston car owners remember because it’s not well understood.

Let’s review what a timing belt does. As most Spring car owners know, the engine’s power is generated in the cylinders. A piston rides up and down in the cylinder. During the first down stroke, an intake valve at the top of the cylinder opens and air and fuel is drawn into the cylinder. Then the piston returns to the top, compressing the fuel and air mix. At the top, the spark plug fires, igniting the fuel pushing the piston down in the power stroke. As the piston once again returns up in the final stroke of the cycle, an exhaust valve opens at the top of the cylinder and the exhaust is pushed out. The timing belt is what coordinates the opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves. It’s called a timing belt because the valves have to open and close at just the right time.

Now, not all Hufsmith and Spring vehicles have timing belts. Some have timing chains. Like the name implies, they use a chain rather than a belt to perform the function. It used to be that most engines used timing chains, which are extremely durable. The leading manufacturers started using belts rather than chains to save money in the manufacturing process. So now Spring auto owners and C&A Transmission & Auto Repair service advisors are left with a component that can break. They sort of shifted the problem to us. There are two broad categories of auto manufacturer engine design: interference and non-interference. If the timing belt on a non-interference engine breaks, the engine simply stops running. That could be very dangerous for car owners depending on where they are at the time, but it causes no internal engine damage.

Interference family car engines, on the other hand, will get real messed up when the timing belt breaks, because the valves will actually fall down into the path of the pistons. Things get chewed up when that happens and it’ll cost a chunk of income to repair the family car engine.

So, what are the warning signs? Unfortunately, there really aren’t any. There aren’t tell-tale sounds. In some vehicles, a technician from C&A Transmission & Auto Repair may be able to see part of the belt for a visual inspection, but many have a cover that’s in the way. The reality is that if the belt slips even one notch, it might as well be broken for all the pricey damage it’ll cause. There’s no middle ground.

So how can we avoid these problems? Simply replace the timing belt when your owner’s manual calls for it. It can be 60,000 miles; it might be 90,000 or 100,000 miles. The point is, if you have 60,000 or more miles, ask your C&A Transmission & Auto Repair service advisor right away if your auto maker requires a timing belt replacement.

Contact C&A Transmission & Auto Repair to learn more about your car’s Timing Belt
You can find us at:
20336 Holzwarth Road
Spring, TX 77388
Or call us at 888.372.3223

Sometimes Spring drivers can go quite a while without a failure, but we’ve seen them happen within a couple of oil changes of being due. It’s not worth the risk.

What does it cost to replace a timing belt in Spring or Tomball? Well, that really depends on what kind of car you have. I can tell you that it’s usually not very easy to get to the timing belt – you often have to remove some accessories to get at it. It isn’t a cheap procedure, but it’s a fraction of what it could cost to repair the expensive damage caused by a failure.

At C&A Transmission & Auto Repair in Spring we’re all about trying to prevent pricey repairs, keeping you and your passengers safe and increasing your driving enjoyment. Thanks to AutoNetTV for their great auto video tips.

Fuel Saving Tip: Slow Down Around Spring

There’s not much we can do about the price of gas in Spring TX, but we do quite a bit about how much we use as we’re driving on our Spring streets.

Our driving habits can dramatically affect our fuel economy.

Slow Down In Spring for Fuel Economy The first thing we can do is watch the ‘go-pedal’. Hard acceleration just sucks the gas. Gently leave stop lights and plan lane changes so you don’t need to floor it. That can save you hundreds of dollars a year.

Go a little slower on the freeway to Houston. Once you’re going more than sixty-five miles an hour your fuel economy starts to drop dramatically. Leave early so you don’t need to rush to be on time. And cruise control is your friend – steady speed uses less gas.

Plan errands ahead. Make fewer trips by combining errands.

Hey at current gas prices, a lead-foot might as well be a gold foot.

C&A Transmission & Auto Repair
20336 Holzwarth Road
Spring, TX 77388

C&A Transmission & Auto Repair Vehicle Maintenance Tips and Videos: Knowing When Your Timing Belt Should Be Replaced

The timing belt in your engine controls the opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves. Spring auto owners need to replace it on a schedule to avoid failure.

Timing belts are very problematic to get to, requiring quite a bit of labor to access. Timing belt replacement is one of the more pricey maintenance services, but the cost to fix an engine damaged by a broken timing belt is much, much more.

The timing belt has a tensioner to help maintain proper belt tension. The tensioner should be replaced along with the timing belt and any idler pulleys at the automobile manufacturer’s specified service interval. Your personable C&A Transmission & Auto Repair technician can help you with the timing.

Give us a call

C&A Transmission & Auto Repair
20336 Holzwarth Road
Spring, TX 77388

Fuel Saving Tip: Dirty Oil In Your Spring family car

If you’re a quart low in your family car, 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 Houston area.

Clean Oil for your family car The same goes for dirty oil; it doesn’t reduce friction properly. The result is you get to watch those numbers at your local Houston 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.

C&A Transmission & Auto Repair
20336 Holzwarth Road
Spring, TX 77388