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

Good Timing: Proper Timing Belt Replacement Saves Money for Spring Drivers

Knowing how their engine works can help Spring car owners make informed decisions about car care and prevent expensive repairs to their vehicles. This is especially true when it comes to timing belts.

An engine’s power is generated in the cylinders. Inside the cylinder is a piston that moves up and down while the engine is running. Power is generated in a cycle that includes four strokes of the piston. First, the piston drops and a valve at the top of the cylinder opens to let in fuel and air. The piston then rises, which compresses the fuel and air. At this point, the spark plug fires, igniting the fuel and pushing the piston down. This downstroke transfers energy to the engine, which provides the power it needs to run. The piston rises again, and a valve opens to release the exhaust.

All of this movement is orchestrated by a timing belt. The timing belt is so named because it keeps the pistons and valves operating in synch with each other, just as a conductor keeps all of the instruments in an orchestra in time with one another. Thus, the timing belt is critical to the proper operation of your engine.

Not all vehicles in the Spring area have timing belts. Some have timing chains. A timing chain is more durable and rarely breaks, but timing belts are cheaper, so many auto makers use them to save money.

Timing belts wear out and break, so a key part of preventive maintenance for Spring car owners is to replace the timing belt on schedule.

The results of failure of a timing belt depend on the type of engine in your vehicle, but they are always inconvenient and can be very costly for Spring motorists. If your engine is a non-interference engine and the timing belt breaks, the engine simply stops running. Now that can be an incredibly harmful situation depending on where you are driving around Spring when it breaks, but it won’t cause any engine damage. On the other hand, if your vehicle has an interference engine and the timing belt breaks, the valves on your cylinders will actually fall into the path of the pistons. Then things start getting chewed up by the motion of the engine and it will cost thousands of dollars to get everything sorted out again. Compounding the problem is that there aren’t any warning signs before a timing belt breaks. A visual inspection of the belt is difficult also. In some vehicles, parts of the belt may be visible, but most vehicles hide the belt under a cover.

The timing belt doesn’t even have to break to cause major engine damage. If it slips, even one notch, the result could be engine damage with repair costs in the thousands of dollars.

Our only car care option is to simply replace the timing belt periodically. You can check your owner’s manual to find out how often your timing belt should be replaced. Many vehicles need a replacement at 60,000 miles, but the recommended replacement mileage could be as high as 90,000 or 100,000 miles. If your owner’s manual recommends replacement at 60,000 miles, however, don’t wait until 65,000 miles to get it done. Remember what you’re risking.

Replacing a timing belt is not a cheap part of preventive maintenance for Spring motorists. The belt is usually difficult to get to and often requires removal of some of the engine accessories. The cost of the replacement, however, is a lot less than the repairs may cost if the timing belt fails.

For more auto advice on timing belts and other engine components, you can always consult with your personable C&A Transmission & Auto Repair tech. When it comes to car care, ignorance is not bliss. It can end up costing you in a big way.

Maintaining Your Diesel in Houston

Diesel engines have been used extensively in Europe and Asia for many years. They haven’t been as common in Houston because of the high sulfur content in our diesel fuel. But the government is now mandating lower sulfur content and, as a result, we are going to see more Spring auto owners driving diesel-fueled vehicles on the road, especially in passenger cars and SUV’s.

Diesels are popular in Spring because they get better MPG than gas-powered engines. They also last longer. Modern diesel engines are quiet and powerful. And if you associate diesel engines with black smoke, then you’re not up with the times. That smoke is a thing of the past.

Diesels don’t produce any more pollutants than gasoline engines. The pollution standards for diesel-powered vehicles are as strict in TX as for other vehicles.

Also, diesel engines can run on bio-diesel fuels as well as fossil fuels. Diesel fuel can be produced from vegetable oil or from cellulosic waste like wood chips and sawdust. In Houston, we may soon see bio-diesel produced from algae. These fuel sources will lessen Spring motorists’ dependence on fossil fuels and may even become truly renewable and sustainable.

Diesel-powered vehicles perform as well as other passenger vehicles, also. Most Tomball people don’t notice a difference in driving one or the other. If you haul heavy loads or tow a trailer in Spring, however, the diesel is a definite improvement.

So, you may be asking, if diesels are so great, why don’t all Houston car owners drive them? Surely there are disadvantages you haven’t told me about. That’s true. Diesel engines are heavier than gas engines, and they cost more in TX. The better gas mileage of the diesel engine is partially offset by the higher purchase price.

Because of higher fuel prices, diesel engines used to be more costly to drive in Houston. But now, with higher volatility in the prices of both gasoline and diesel fuel in TX, that cost difference is less definitive. Whether a diesel or gas engine is more expensive for Spring car owners depends now on the current price of fuel in TX and how many miles you drive.

Consider also that diesel-powered vehicles have a high resale value in the Houston area, and the costs of owning and operating a diesel vs. a gas-powered vehicle in TX becomes a real toss-up.

Preventive auto maintenance for diesel vehicles has also become similar to that of gas-fueled vehicles in recent years. The major difference is that diesels require cleaner fuel, air and oil, so their filters are more expensive in Spring than those for gasoline engines. The engine air filter must be changed more frequently as well.

The costs for car care and repairs in Spring are similar. Wait, you may be thinking, but you just told me that filters are more costly and have to be changed more regularly. True, but that is offset by the fact that diesel engines have a much longer lifetime than gasoline engines. So if you are the type of owner who prefers to hang on to a vehicle for a long time, you will be more than rewarded with a diesel engine.

So if you have been looking for C&A Transmission & Auto Repair auto advice on whether to switch to a diesel vehicle or stay with a gas-powered one, then we hope this helps. The answer as to which type of vehicle is better is that it depends on the Spring driver and their driving habits. Now that you know the facts, you can make an informed choice based on your own priorities and needs.

Odometer Rollback On Your Spring TX Auto


How do Spring auto owners know if an odometer is telling the truth?

Well, back in ’86, Congress passed the Truth-in-Mileage Act to protect TX consumers against mileage fraud. It says a TX seller must certify the mileage reported is the Actual Mileage.

To have your odometer checked in Spring TX, stop by C&A Transmission & Auto Repair:

C&A Transmission & Auto Repair
Spring, TX 77388 888.372.3223

If it isn’t, the seller must say why; like maybe the odometer is past its mechanical limits. Some older odometers only go to 99,999 miles and then start over at 0. Or, the odometer has been tampered with, broken or replaced.

If the seller tells you the mileage isn’t accurate, there’s not much chance of putting a good number to it; And there’s the unscrupulous seller who claims the reading is true, but it’s not so. What can Spring auto owners do?

First, you can go to www.CarFax.com, where for a small fee, they’ll give you a comprehensive vehicle history search on your family car, showing local Spring, TX ownership history, accident reports, total-loss events, manufacturer buybacks, Lemon reports and warranty status.

Spring auto owners can get a mileage history by checking with the local TX DMV (or wherever you happen to be) and other verified sources looking for inconsistencies in the mileage reported when the car’s bought and sold. If there are signs odometer rollback, now you’ll now.

If so, proceed with caution. Or, negotiate a lower price. Or just walk away. There’s always another.

Cool Running In Spring

Unless you live in Death Valley, you really don’t hear much any more about cars overheating. That’s because cooling systems in vehicles have been much improved. That doesn’t mean you can’t overheat your family car engine, though. Without proper preventive maintenance, you could still find yourself on the side of the interstate in Spring waiting for your family car engine to cool down.

When you service your cooling system at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair, your service advisor will check the condition of the coolant. It can become corrosive over time, which can damage a radiator — leading to an overheated engine. Changing the coolant periodically is good car care. Your family car owner’s manual can give you guidelines on how often to replace it.

If your engine overheated, your personable service specialist will also check your coolant system for leaks. Check the family car radiator for cracks and the radiator hoses for leaks. He’ll also check your water pump. They don’t need to be replaced on a regular schedule, but they do need an automotive analysis regularly. They can and do wear out.

The water pump is a critical component of your family car cooling system. It pumps the coolant to keep it circulating through the engine. The coolant is cooled in the radiator, then it travels through the engine, where it absorbs heat, then it returns to the radiator, where it releases the heat. And so on. But a water pump is something of a misnomer. The fluid pumped through your family car cooling system is not just water. It also contains coolant, which is actually poisonous. You should never consider your radiator as an emergency water supply.

There are many types of coolant. It varies from vehicle to vehicle, and using the wrong kind could damage your engine. Your tech will know which kind your vehicle’s manufacturer recommends. The team of automotive professionals at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair is always a good source for auto advice. We’ve been providing quality automotive services at our convenient location in Spring for 2 years.

Keeping your cooling system in good repair will help keep your engine running well, and keep you out of the Houston repair shop. This means that a regular cooling system inspection should be on your schedule for routine preventive maintenance of your vehicle. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often you need to do this. It varies depending on what kind of car you drive, what type of driving you do and where you live in TX.

At C&A Transmission & Auto Repair, we help you keep your cool which will keep you in the driving lane.

Transmission Service at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair in Spring

Let’s talk about transmission service. It can be easy for Spring car owners to forget about getting their transmission serviced because it doesn’t need it very often. It’s easier for TX car owners to remember to change the engine oil – you know, every 3,000 miles or 5,000 kilometers. But proper transmission servicing keeps your family car running smoothly and helps us car owners avoid expensive repairs down the road.

The transmission undergoes a lot of stress. The grit Spring drivers see in used transmission fluid is actually bits of metal that wear off the gears in the transmission. In addition to that, the transmission operates at very high temperatures. Usually it’s 100 to 150 degrees higher than engine temperatures. Those high temperatures eventually cause the transmission fluid to start to break down and lose efficiency.

As the fluid gets older, it gets gritty and doesn’t lubricate and cool the family car transmission as well – leading to even more wear. The fluid can actually get sludgy and plug up the maze of fluid passages inside the transmission. At best, your transmission won’t operate smoothly. At worse, it could lead to pricey damage.

When your transmission is running properly, it transfers more power from your engine to the drive wheels, and improves fuel efficiency. That’s why auto makers recommend changing your transmission fluid at regular intervals. Your owner’s manual has a schedule for transmission service and, of course, your personable C&A Transmission & Auto Repair service professional can tell you what your car maker recommends.

Hot and dusty Spring area conditions; towing, hauling, stop and go driving and jackrabbit starts all increase the load on the transmission and its internal temperature. That means Spring auto owners with these types of transmission requirements need to change the fluid more often. A good rule of thumb is every 35,000 miles, 55,000 kilometers or two years. If your auto manufacturer suggests more frequent intervals or if you’re driving under severe service conditions around Houston, you will need to change it more often.

Most Spring auto service centers (including C&A Transmission & Auto Repair) have the ability to perform a transmission service while you wait and the cost is quite reasonable. It’s downright cheap when you think about how much a major transmission repair can cost! Your personable C&A Transmission & Auto Repair tech will know the right type of transmission fluid to use. If it’s getting to be time to have your transmission serviced, do your family car a favor and have it done. If not this time, then on your next service stop.