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

Fall and Spring Checkup In Spring

When I was a kid in Spring, my dad always made sure he took the cars in for Spring and Fall checkups. I was telling a friend that it’s about time to get into C&A Transmission & Auto Repair for my checkup and he said that he read on the internet that modern cars don’t need seasonal service.

My friend is (technically) right about some things, but from a practical standpoint, a seasonal check up still makes sense.

Back when my dad was teaching me about how to take care of the family family car, most cars used a different weight of oil in the winter and in the summer. But most of today’s modern engines run the same oil year round. High-tech engines and high-tech motor oils are better able to handle the seasonal changes.

Your owner’s manual or Spring service advisor at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair can tell you the right oil to use.

Of course, you’re concerned about the coolant or antifreeze. You don’t want to overheat in the TX summer or freeze up in the winter. Your engine cooling system protects against both of these things. And modern coolant, or as it’s sometimes called; ‘antifreeze’, is up to doing both very well. It’s designed to last for more miles than most people drive in a year or two.

So how does a Spring and Fall check-up fit in? Let’s start with Spring. Summer is coming. That means heat, more miles driven and road trips. It just makes sense to check your fluid levels and do a visual inspection to see that everything is up to snuff.

You may not be scheduled to drain and replace the coolant for some time, but you need to make sure you have enough coolant, and that you don’t have any leaks or hoses that are about to fail.

That’s pretty practical; a check-up to see if there are any problems or emerging conditions that could later become a problem, like a cracked belt.

And the same principle applies for getting ready for winter. Cold weather means lots of failed batteries. It takes more power to crank up a cold engine, and cold also decreases the available cranking power the battery has available.

So a battery test in the Fall could tell you if you’ve got a battery that is running on its last legs. And of course, if you live where winter temperatures get below 45 degrees or you have ice and snow, you’ll want to consider changing to winter tires.

So Spring and Fall auto checkups at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair are practical reminders to get ready for the demands of the hot and cold seasons to come.

And odds are that you have one or more routine services that are due anyway. Like a transmission service, brake or power steering fluid, differential service – stuff like that. Are your wiper blades still good? Are your headlamps starting to dim?

So Spring and Fall: change your clocks, replace the batteries in your smoke detectors – and get a check-up for your cars.

See, dad was right again.

Come and see us at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair for your Spring and Fall automotive checkup.
C&A Transmission & Auto Repair
20336 Holzwarth Road
Spring, TX 77388

Is Your Spring Driving Severe?

People near Spring TX often ask C&A Transmission & Auto Repair how often they should have a particular service done. It’s a great thing to ask. You can look at your owner’s manual, or have your Spring TX service advisor at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair look up your vehicle in a service database. What you find is often a surprise to people – there are actually two service schedules.

One is the regular schedule and the other is the severe service schedule. Service intervals are shorter on the severe service schedule. When asked, most folks in Spring TX will say that their driving is normal and that the ‘regular’ schedule probably applies to them. ‘Severe service’ sounds pretty extreme – ‘I don’t drive like that’.

Well, here is what the manufacturers say constitutes severe driving conditions; you can draw your own conclusions.

  • Most of your trips are less than four miles.
  • Most of your trips are less than ten miles and outside temperatures are below freezing.
  • The engine is at low speed most of the time – not on the highway. You operate your vehicle in dusty areas.
  • You regularly tow a trailer or carry heavy loads.
  • Drive with a car-top carrier.
  • Stop and go driving.
  • Driving in very hot or very cold weather.

If that’s severe driving, what constitutes regular driving? Well, it would look something like this: I live somewhere with moderate temperatures all year round – I’m thinking San Diego here. And I live close to a freeway on-ramp. Everywhere I need to go is right off the freeway, at least four miles from my home. I can drive at a steady 60 miles per hour when I’m on the freeway.

I don’t know about you, but that doesn’t sound like my normal driving. It sounds more like ideal conditions. I live where it gets hot in the summer and cold in the winter. I run short errands around Spring. Occasionally we load up for family trips.

For me, normal driving includes elements of severe service driving. So here’s what I tell people: think about how you drive, where you live, where you go and what you are expecting to with your vehicle in the near future.

Picture a line with ‘regular’ on one end and ‘severe’ on the other, and make a judgment on where you fall. If your regular oil change recommendation is 5,000 miles and the severe service recommendation is 3,000 – when should you change your oil? For me, it’s closer to 3,000 miles. For my wife, it’s closer to 5,000 miles. Your Spring TX auto service advisor at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair will be happy to have this discussion with you and help you sort it out.

Just a quick word on why severe service intervals are shorter. One has to do with heat. That can either be external heat from the weather or engine and transmission heat from stop and go driving or working extra hard moving heavy loads or towing. The heat causes the fluids like oil and transmission fluid to break down more quickly and then they aren’t as effective.

Another factor is water. Moisture naturally collects in fluids as they cool. In your motor oil, for example, if you don’t drive long enough for the oil to fully heat up, the water won’t evaporate. Water in the oil can lead to the buildup of damaging sludge.

If you live where the air is dusty or polluted, fluids will become contaminated and filters will get dirtier more quickly.

So make an honest evaluation of your driving conditions. You’ve made the commitment to take care of your vehicles, so it only makes sense to follow the right schedule.

Custom Wheels and Tires For Your Spring Ride

It seems like everywhere you go in the Houston area you see custom wheels. Big trucks, little cars, mini-vans – it doesn’t matter, auto owners are expressing themselves with custom wheels. Some TX auto owners want smaller tires and wheels – some want larger – and some want them enormous. So where do you start if you want new wheels? We suggest you start with your budget. We know, that sounds so practical. But if the look you’re after goes beyond just new tires and wheels and enters into the world of suspension modifications, you need to be prepared for the additional cost.

Let’s start with something easy – you want to give your ride a unique look and the stock wheel size is just right for you. One of the concerns you will have is that the new wheels have the same offset as your family car factory wheels.

First, what is offset? The wheel bolts onto the hub on the family car’s axle. The distance from the inside edge of the wheel to the point at which it bolts on, is the offset. If the new wheel has a different offset from the factory, the tires may rub on the inside or outside of the wheel well. That could lead to catastrophic tire failure.

Your tire and wheel professional at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair in Spring can help you find the right size wheel – or install adapters to make your new wheels fit. All you have to do is pick from the hundreds of styles available.

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

So, what if you want to upsize? Well, if it is just bigger wheels you want, but you want to keep the same overall tire diameter, that’s pretty easy. The same offset concerns apply. You need to know that the tires will likely be a little bit wider than the originals and could rub when you make sharp turns. Your tire professional at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair will help you avoid this.

It is also important to keep the same overall tire diameter because changing the rolling diameter can mess with your family car anti-lock brakes and stability control systems. Are you starting to see why you want to consult with your tire and wheel expert at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair in Spring? Is “super-size me” your motto? If it is, you are going to have to lift your vehicle to make room for those huge tires. A mild lift doesn’t require extensive modifications. An extreme lift means a lot of new hardware under the vehicle. It also means a lot of stock electronic systems need to be recalibrated to the new tire size. For example, your speedometer and odometer will give false readings if they aren’t recalibrated. (You don’t want to risk getting speeding tickets on TX interstates because your speedometer shows a lower-than-actual speed.)

You should also be aware of possible performance issues. Bigger tires and wheels weigh more. TX automotive experts refer to this as unsprung weight because it isn’t held up by your family car suspension system. Increased unsprung weight affects performance in different ways than an equivalent amount of groceries or little soccer players in the family car passenger compartment. Acceleration is negatively affected. Stopping distances may also be increased – sometimes significantly. If you want really big tires and wheels, you might need to upgrade your brakes to compensate.

Heading the other direction, some auto owners like to run smaller than standard wheels and lower the suspension. All of the same fitment issues still apply as well as calibration issues. Don’t think that family car suspension modifications are a bad thing. Many systems actually improve ride, function and performance over the stock set-up.

Regardless of your budget, you want your family car to continue to do all the things you need it to do. Some of those show cars and trucks you see on TV look fantastic, but have been modified in ways that may not suit your needs. For example, if you put large rims on your SUV with low profile tires, you may be in for busted rims if you go off-roading a lot around Houston. There just isn’t enough sidewall to absorb the impact of thumping over rocks.

Some auto owners stuff the largest tires and wheels possible in their vehicles but have to severely restrict suspension travel so that the tires aren’t rubbing all day. That can lead to a very harsh ride. Again, talk with your C&A Transmission & Auto Repair wheel professional about all of these things: how you drive in Spring, what look you are going for, your budget and what compromises you are willing to make.

At the end of the day, you’re going to be rollin’ out of there with one sweet ride.

Your Well Trained Technician At C&A Transmission & Auto Repair

When your family car has a problem, or just needs some routine service, you might get a little nervous. Your car’s so important to your life in Spring, 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 C&A Transmission & Auto Repair 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.

Your Well Trained Technician At C&A Transmission & Auto Repair

Our engines are more and more powerful and at the same time their fuel economy keeps inching up – even with steep Spring gas prices. They are also amazingly reliable: Kudos to the automotive engineers at the leading vehicle manufacturers. But the advances come at the price of simplicity. The modern cars Spring car owners drive around TX freeways are so much more complex from a mechanical standpoint that it makes your head spin – not to mention the electronics.

Some family cars have several networked computers controlling most of the engine functions and many other vehicle operations as well. Spring motorists take all of this sophistication for granted – but somebody has to fix it when it breaks. It’s a real challenge for Spring C&A Transmission & Auto Repair 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 Spring service centers as well.

C&A Transmission & Auto Repair technicians receive training through a combination of formal classroom training, training provided at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair by parts and equipment manufacturers, on-line courses and home study courses.

In addition to the expensive training, there’s the financial commitment for C&A Transmission & Auto Repair to purchase the diagnostic and repair tools.

There are many independent certifications available at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair all the way up to Master Technician. The ability to repair your family car requires a strong combination of training and resources. No one can know everything, so Spring 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 C&A Transmission & Auto Repair, we want everything to be simple, straightforward and inexpensive – but sometimes it just isn’t.

The next time you bring us your family car, don’t worry. You’re in good hands at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair.