Have you ever gone to Houston to listen to an orchestra? The musicians take the stage early and tune their instruments. Each individual instrument must be in tune, but the critical thing is for the entire orchestra to be in tune with each other. That’s why they tune up together.
Now this is no surprise; I’m going to relate the orchestra to your car. Your engine has many component systems that each need to be working properly. And the components need to be working in sync, all timed up together in order for the engine to work efficiently.
We call this, (ta-da) a tune-up. When an orchestra’s out of tune you get a bad concert. When your vehicle’s out of tune you get bad performance and bad fuel economy.
Many Spring drivers 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 Spring as full electric cars and electric hybrids become more common.
The vast majority of cars and trucks serviced at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair in Spring 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 family car components from rust and corrosion. Spring car owners should be aware that manufacturers recommend that the fluid be replaced on schedule. At C&A Transmission & Auto Repair, the old fluid is drained and the system cleaned thoroughly. Fresh fluid is then installed.
Unfortunately, many Spring 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.
Spring 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 C&A Transmission & Auto Repair in Spring.
In addition to the pump and hydraulic system, there are 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 Spring 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 C&A Transmission & Auto Repair advisor 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 C&A Transmission & Auto Repair today at 713.896.1107.
Did you know that most of the cars driving around Spring TX carry more computer power than the Apollo 121 Lunar Module that landed on the moon in 1969?
New cars sold in the Houston area have as many as twelve networked computers and over five miles (eight kilometers) of wiring. In fact, for the last decade or so, auto computers have been controlling about 85 percent of your vehicle’s functions.
Cars have sensors for manifold air temperature, coolant temperature, manifold air pressure, airflow, throttle position, vehicle speed and oxygen content. All of this electronic wizardry is pretty complicated. So how do you know when there is a problem?
It’s simple; the Check Engine light comes on. The computer monitors all the sensors and uses that information to decide what to adjust such as the fuel mix, spark timing and idle speed. In addition, the computer monitors its own circuits. When it finds a fault, it turns on the Check Engine light and stores a trouble code in the computer.
It can be pretty disturbing when the Check Engine light comes on. We wonder just how urgent it is. Generally speaking, it is not critical like a temperature or oil pressure light. When you get one of those it means STOP NOW! When the Check Engine light shows up, you should come in to our service center at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair to find out what the matter is as soon as possible.
Since 1996, there has been a strong emissions control component to the Check Engine diagnostic. But if your Check Engine light flashes on and off, you know that it is more urgent and you need to get it checked immediately to prevent damage. You should slow down and avoid towing or heavy loads until you can get it checked out.
Your technician at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair has special diagnostic equipment that will retrieve the trouble code from the computer and help him determine what is wrong. From there, we can fix it and get you back on the road.
Welcome to the C&A Transmission & Auto Repair automotive blog. Today, let’s talk about the effect of tire tread depth on braking. When talking about stopping power, most Spring and Tomball drivers tend to focus on our brakes. But our tires are where the rubber meets the road. So having good brakes isn’t enough. Safe Tomball drivers need to have tires with enough traction to translate braking power into stopping power.
Let’s focus on stopping in wet Tomball conditions. In order for a tire to have good contact with the road, it has to move the water out of the way. If it can’t move the water, the tire will actually ride on top of a thin film of water.
That’s called hydroplaning. If it’s really bad, Tomball drivers can actually spin out of control – endangering themselves and the other drivers around them. At best, you won’t stop as fast.
So how does a tire move water? It has channels for water to flow through. Look at your family car tire and you’ll see channels: channels that run around the tire and channels that flow across the tire. They’re designed to direct water away from the tire so it can contact the road better.
And the deeper the channel, the more water it can move. A brand new C&A Transmission & Auto Repair tire has very deep channels and can easily move a lot of water. As the tire wears down, the channels become shallower and can move less water. When it wears down enough, it can seriously affect your ability to stop your family car on wet Tomball roads.
So that’s why it’s so important for TX drivers to replace their family car tires when they get worn. Consumer Reports and other advocate groups call for a standard of 3/32 of an inch and they have the studies to prove it.
By comparison, you’ve probably seen the wear indicator that’s molded into tires. When tires are worn 3/32 of an inch, the tread wear bar is visible. So the recommended standard has twice the tread depth as a completely bald family car tire.
At C&A Transmission & Auto Repair, we want our customers to know that the deeper recommended tread depth makes a big difference. Stopping distances are cut dramatically on wet Tomball highway. A safe stop from TX highway speeds with 4/32 of an inch of tread would result in a crash with worn out tires.
There’s an easy way to tell when a tire’s worn to 4/32 of an inch. Just insert a quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn’t cover George Washington’s hairline, it’s time to replace your family car tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.
Many Tomball drivers have heard of this technique using a penny and Abe Lincoln’s head – the old method. That measure gives you 2/32 of an inch – half the suggested amount. Of course, family car tires are a major purchase. Most of us in Tomball want to get as many miles out of them as we can. But there’s a real safety trade-off. It’s your choice.