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

The C&A Transmission & Auto Repair Guide to Saving Fuel: Car Weight

The team at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair in Spring and TX car owners are all talking fuel economy right now. Better gas mileage. Fewer emissions. Spring car owners want to save the environment and their pocketbooks.

And we all know—or should know—that preventive maintenance will help maximize MPG. But is there something more Spring motorists can do? After all, some of us Spring folks can’t cut back on our driving, and others would like to do more to economize.

Weight is one major enemy of fuel economy. The more you lug around in your vehicle, the more fuel you have to burn to get from Spring to Hufsmith. And that means buying more gas in Spring and producing more emissions.

Of course, your family car’s weight isn’t negotiable. And you can’t do much about the weight of your passengers. And this isn’t an article about diet and exercise.

But look around your family car. Are you hauling a bunch of unnecessary weight around TX? Do you really need your golf clubs every time you leave your Spring home? Store sports equipment in the garage. Load it when you need it and store it when you don’t. Who knows? The extra exercise just might reduce the other type of weight in your vehicle.

The same goes for anything else in your car: make-up kits, music collections, extra electronics, spare clothing; whatever your particular extras may be. Pack it when you need it; store it when you don’t.

Clean out your Spring. You’d be surprised how much weight you’re lugging around Spring in plain old junk. Toss old papers, leftover food, and regular old dirt. Even if it’s not a lot of weight, you’ll feel better when you get into your car. A good cleaning is also part of good car care.

Now, don’t toss stuff you really do need. You do need that spare tire—the one in your trunk. And a kit of emergency essentials is not a bad idea. But just carry around the day-to-day essentials. You can pack a more extensive kit and store it in your garage, then toss it in your Spring when you go on a longer trip, but you don’t have to lug it around all the time. After all, are you a driver? Or are you a junk chauffeur?

Lose the junk and save some money in Spring

Keeping Your Car Young in Spring

As Spring consumers, we live in a disposable society. It’s amazing all the stuff we throw away.

New stuff comes out so fast in TX, and much of it is fairly cheap, so we just toss the old and move on. It seems like when we were kids in Houston, our parents were real sticklers about taking care of our stuff – especially parents who grew up in the Depression. You know, hang up your clothes, polish your shoes, put away your toys. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough, we had to do without. 

Spring car owners couldn’t afford new cars very often, so we tried to make them last as long as we could. It’s a good thing that cars are more reliable these days. They just don’t break down as often. And the good news for us Spring penny pinchers is that a modern car can easily go 200,000 miles with proper care. The engineering’s there and so is the manufacturing quality. The missing ingredient is us making sure we follow the automobile manufacturer’s maintenance schedules.

Is it really that bad for Spring motorists to get off schedule? Well, it all adds up. Every time you go a couple thousand extra miles between oil changes, you’ve created an opportunity for dangerous sludge to form and clog passages. Then some parts don’t get oiled and they start to wear out faster. 

Skip a cooling system service, and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted, and the radiator starts being damaged – one step closer to a failure. The same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning – really everything on your schedule.

It’s also even more important for older vehicles in the Spring area. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they’re working harder anyway. But it’s never too late for Spring car owners to get back on track with critical maintenance and to hold off further expensive damage.

It’s just another example of our parents knowing what’s best. (Surprising how often that happens.) And it really does start with the oil change, just like Dad said. When you get a full service oil change they top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. That’s like your safety net; go in for oil changes on time, and let your service professional at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair in Spring help you keep track of the rest.

Of course, it is inevitable for Spring car owners that some things are going to wear out along the way – vital stuff like alternators, water pumps and such – they don’t last forever. But that stuff is cheaper than a new car payment. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to cause other problems. It’s like having high cholesterol; you don’t want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.

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

Under Pressure in Spring: TPMS

Have you noticed an increase in price when you get a flat fixed in Spring or your tires rotated? It might be the result of your TPMS, or Tire Pressure Monitoring System.

The federal government began requiring a TPMS system on 2008 model year passenger vehicles and light trucks. Some 2006 and 2007 models may have them as well. The system has a warning light that is mounted on the dashboard that will go on if one of the tires becomes severely under inflated.

Why the new requirement? Because underinflated tires are the number one cause of tire failure. Tire blowouts cause detrimental and sometimes fatal accidents. Underinflated tires also need longer stopping distance and can skid, both of which also present dangers on TX roads. Many flat tires can also be prevented by proper tire inflation, and though this may seem an economic consideration, Spring motorists who have changed a flat on the side of the road recognize that this has serious safety concerns as well.

Advances in tire technology, specifically the development of radial tires has made it harder for Spring auto owners to recognize when a tire is underinflated. At a recommended pressure of 35 psi, a tire is seriously underinflated at 26 psi. But the tire doesn’t look low on air until it reaches 20 psi. This raises concerns about vehicle owners being able to tell when their family cars are a safety hazard on the road. Hence, the TPMS.

So, like seatbelts, the essential TPMS system is expected to save a lot of lives. The technology has been in use in race cars for years, and now it’s being mandated for all passenger cars, SUV’s, mini-vans and pick-ups. Besides warning Spring auto owners when their tires need air, the system is required to indicate when it is malfunctioning.

This increased safety won’t come without increased costs to Spring auto owners. Estimates regarding the cost of maintaining the TPMS on your vehicle run from $27 to $100. Also, there will be an added cost for tire repair. Spring service centers have had to purchase new scanning equipment to work with TPMS sensors and other vital equipment to repair tires and wheels equipped with TPMS. C&A Transmission & Auto Repair techs have to be trained to use the new equipment. These costs will have to be passed on to Spring car owners.

Further, whenever a tire is changed, the C&A Transmission & Auto Repair service advisor will have to deal with the TPMS. Sensors will have to removed, then re-installed and re-activated. Sometimes the act of changing a tire will damage a sensor, and it will need to be replaced. These extra services will come at an added charge to Spring drivers.

Tire rotations will require that the TPMS be re-programmed. And whenever a vehicle’s battery is disconnected, the TPMS will require re-programming as well.

The TPMS itself will require attention – it contains batteries and sensors that will wear out and need to be replaced.

So, if you’ve noticed an increase in the cost for car care at your Spring tire center, it may not be the economy. It could be the cost of the TPMS in newer vehicles. Before you dash off an angry letter to Congress, however, stop and consider what you’re paying for. If predictions are correct, the TPMS will save lives, and that will be a benefit to all of us.

Of course, no warning system will save lives in Spring if drivers don’t pay attention to it. And remember that the warning doesn’t come on until the tire is severely under inflated – you still should check your tire pressure at least once a month. Spring car owners can prevent accidents and potentially save lives without a warning system by keeping their tires properly inflated.

The Harm In Skipping An Oil Change For Spring Drivers

People in Spring have been hearing a lot about higher oil change intervals these days. Maybe you’re wondering: What are the key issues?

Some new vehicle manufacturers in Spring are now recommending much higher oil change intervals than they have in the past. As much as 5,000 to 8,000 miles or more. This practice came under scrutiny when four of the largest new car manufacturers announced that owners like those in Spring were experiencing engine damage resulting from these higher oil change intervals.

The manufacturers’ standard oil drain service for particular vehicles was scheduled at around 7,500 miles. People following these recommendations were experiencing engine damage. It turns out that oil sludge was building up. This caused small oil passages to clog and engine parts to fail.

What causes oil sludge? It’s a factor of time and mileage. There are hot spots in every engine that cause oil burn off that leads to sludge. Also, water from normal condensation can build up in the oil. This water also creates sludge. Severe driving conditions lead to more rapid sludge formation.

Visit C&A Transmission & Auto Repair in Spring, TX 77388

Severe driving around Spring includes short trips under four miles or trips under ten miles in freezing conditions. The engine just doesn’t get warm enough for the water in the oil to evaporate.

Severe conditions are at the heart of the problem. Stop-and-go driving, towing, dusty conditions, heavy loads, very hot or very cold temperatures, a car top carrier – these are all conditions that would suggest that the severe service schedule should be considered.

The severe service schedule has much shorter oil change intervals. People in Spring just need to honestly evaluate how they drive to determine if they should change their oil closer to the severe service schedule, or to the standard schedule.

Some types of family car will give oil change reminders. But it’s important to know how that reminder is determined. For some, the reminder simply comes when the standard mileage interval has rolled around. Others use a computer algorithm that takes into consideration the number of cold starts, trip length, engine temperature and so on. It’s programmed to approximate where on the standard/severe service spectrum you fall. Some more expensive vehicles actually have sensors that test the cleanliness and effectiveness of the oil.

For the rest of us, better safe than sorry should be the guiding principle. Talk with your Spring service advisor at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair and work it out together. Find out what kind of oil the factory sends out in your vehicle. Sometimes it’s a premium grade that costs more than standard oil – but it may be what’s needed to meet a higher factory recommended interval.

If you’re realistically conservative, standard grades of oil will take care of you year after year. If you want to push the limits, ask for a premium grade oil to give you extra protection.

So, what happened with those manufacturers with the problems from higher oil change intervals? They ended up extending the engine warranty for parts that were affected by oil sludge. But they had a stipulation – they lowered the oil change interval and the vehicle owner had to provide proof of oil changes at the new lower interval to keep the extended warranty.