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

Your Vehicle is NOT Maintenance Free, Spring Car Owners

A generation ago, Spring car owners seemed to be more inclined to keep their vehicle’s preventive maintenance on schedule. One reason for this may be that vehicles back then were a lot less reliable than they are today. Having your family car in to your Spring shop every year or two for repairs seemed to be a good reminder to keep the oil changed.

For example, almost everyone in Spring used to take their vehicles in for regular tune-ups. Vehicles had mechanical ignition systems, which meant ignition points, spark plugs and coils had to be replaced and the timing adjusted every few years. As long as the family car was in for a tune-up at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair, the vehicle was inspected and you took care of any needed repairs at the same time.

Today’s engines have electronic ignition systems and engine control computers. Spark plugs can last for up to 100,000 miles. Vehicle reliability has vastly improved in the last few decades, and surveys report fewer problems with new vehicles than ever before. That also means that our family cars don’t experience a huge performance drop when they’re ready for some car care. But it doesn’t mean that they don’t need it.

Modern Spring auto owners need to rely on calendars and mileage intervals to know when to schedule maintenance. Owner’s manuals contain recommendations on when different types of maintenance should be performed. Also, your Spring service center can provide advice about auto maintenance schedules. At C&A Transmission & Auto Repair in Spring, we know that benefits of staying on top of preventive maintenance are substantial. First, you’ll get better engine performance and MPG. Those two things alone return the cost of preventive maintenance: in fuel savings and safety. Also, routine maintenance has been proven to prevent major car repairs later on. Again, the cost savings can be significant. As the old saying goes, “Spend a penny, save a dime.”

Modern family car engines may be more durable and reliable than their predecessors, but they’re more sophisticated and complex as well. For this reason, preventive maintenance today is even more critical than the old tune-up. Modern engine systems have a lot of critical parts that have to stay lubricated. These parts can be made of aluminum, plastic or steel. Special additives in lubricants are required to keep each of these materials from breaking down or corroding. Over time, these additives are depleted, even if the family car isn’t driven. This makes fluid changes a critical part of scheduled maintenance if you want to keep your car on the road.

As an example, coolant fluid in your engine is a sophisticated mix that not only keeps your family car engine cool but also protects and maintains its components. However, this fluid gradually gets contaminated and anti-corrosion additives are depleted. It can become corrosive and actually damage the family car engine parts it was designed to protect. It can actually eat holes in your radiator and other engine parts. Changing the coolant could have prevented this costly damage, and it’s a whole lot easier and cheaper than replacing a radiator.

Timely oil changes are more critical for Spring motorists than they used to be. Skipping just one oil change can start the build-up of oil sludge in your engine. Sludge can clog small engine passages, which cuts off the supply of lubricant to critical engine parts. Just this small bit of sludge can reduce the life expectancy of your engine. If the build-up continues, it could lead to engine failure within two or three years.

One word of warning to anyone in Houston who purchases used automobiles: take care when buying a leased vehicle. Spring folks who lease vehicles only intend to drive them for two or three years, generally the years when the vehicle is least likely to experience any problems. One of the reasons people lease vehicles is that they don’t want to be bothered with maintenance or car care. Before buying a pre-leased vehicle, be sure to inspect it for signs of damage that result from lack of proper care.

Spring auto owners can all be grateful for the improved reliability of our modern vehicles. With proper maintenance and care, we can expect them to last longer, perform better, get better fuel efficiency, and require fewer repairs than ever before. We just have to be more conscientious about scheduling time for their care.

Keys to a Long Lasting Vehicle

Spring drivers live in a disposable society. Everything from elaborate packaging to our clothing. Even cell phones are disposable. When replacement is cheaper than repair, the term “built to last” goes by the wayside. An exception is our vehicles. They’re still a very big investment and Spring drivers want to make them last as long as possible – and we want to make keeping them as cheap as possible. When talking cars, it’s all about preventive maintenance. There is an old saying that says, “a stitch in time saves nine” and that is really true when it comes to taking care of your car. A great example is coolant service in Spring.

Your coolant not only protects your engine from overheating and freezing – it must also protect cooling system components from corrosion. Over time, coolant becomes corrosive and actually starts to damage your radiator and other parts. That’s why you need to have your cooling system serviced on a regular schedule.

The same is true for your power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning system, differential and transmission. And of course, Spring drivers shouldn’t forget those oil changes right on schedule. Skipping even one change can start the build up of harmful oil sludge.

Our engines are full of gaskets and seals. Fresh fluids condition those gaskets and seals to keep them from drying out and leaking. Automotive fluids contain additives that help clean and lubricate the various systems they protect. Over time, the additives are used up and the fluid just does not provide the protection it did when it was fresh. And don’t forget the mechanical systems. Changing brake pads before they are worn to the point that they cause damage to rotors is a great way to keep your operating costs less pricey.

Replacing serpentine belts and timing belts on schedule is much cheaper for Spring drivers than repairing the damage that can be caused by failure. Also, air filters, fuel filters, PCV valves and batteries are all important. Regular wheel alignments, tire rotation and balancing will make your tires last longer. And don’t forget to replace your shocks and struts when they wear out. Your fuel system needs regular cleaning to keep running well, prevent costly mechanical damage and improving fuel efficiency.

Now this is a lot to remember for Spring car owners – too much really. But it is your Spring automotive technician’s job to keep on top of this stuff. At C&A Transmission & Auto Repair we can tell you what your manufacturer recommends and help you with a plan to take care of it. We can advise you about which  maintenance schedule you should use – the regular schedule or the severe service schedule – depending on the kind of driving you do. We also know the right fluids for your vehicle and may even suggest higher mileage formulations for your older family car.

Bottom line – take care of this stuff on schedule and you will reduce operating costs, prevent pricey damage and maintain your warranty coverage.

Of course, you want your car to look as good as it runs. Regular washing will prevent rust and protect your finish. Take advantage of cleaners, waxes and protectants for your interior and tires. Your vehicle will look great and you’ll be proud to drive it longer.

Most of us Spring car owners can’t afford to throw away our car when it breaks down. By budgeting for regular preventive maintenance, we can prevent many inconvenient – and pricey – problems down the road, and can keep driving “old faithful” for years to come.

Why A Trip Inspection Is A Good Idea

At C&A Transmission & Auto Repair we get a lot of Spring drivers asking about car trip preparation. That’s a big deal. You could be driving through mountains and deserts in some pretty lonely areas outside of Spring so it’s important to know that the car is up to the task and won’t leave you stranded.

Smart Houston motorists plan ahead for a major road trip – there are a lot of things to get ready. Where should you start? You could start with the tires. Look them over for tread wear and check to see that they are properly inflated. Take a quick test drive around Spring to see if you can feel any vibrations: are the wheels in balance? Is the car tracking straight? Is the alignment ok? Come to C&A Transmission & Auto Repair for a peace-of-mind trip inspection.

20336 Holzwarth Road
Spring, TX 77388

The next thing is a full service oil change to make sure all of your important fluids are topped off and you have fresh oil for the trip. And if your car has over 75,000 miles, you may consider putting in the high-mileage formulation to clean harmful sludge deposits in the engine. You may also need a new PCV valve and an engine air filter.

How about your transmission and brakes? Have you had your transmission and brakes inspected in the last six months?

How are your wiper blades? There’s nothing like not being able to get rid of the bug juice on a long road trip away from Spring.

Check your owners’ manual for any other critical recommended service and have C&A Transmission & Auto Repair in Spring do the multi-point inspection before you head out in TX.

Consider also having the coolant system serviced at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair – you want to stay within the automobile manufacturer’s recommendations. If you’re towing a trailer in Spring you’ll want to be keep in mind that you’ll be going a long way under severe conditions.

A lot of Spring folks overlook severe conditions like towing, or Spring summer heat, or driving on dirt roads in TX. Plan ahead for your next road trip – C&A Transmission & Auto Repair wants you to get there and back.

Does Your Car Have A Recall Item?

No matter how well they’re made, cars are bound to have problems with their design or manufacturing. Think of all the moving parts. When the government thinks a problem is really serious, they require the auto maker to issue recall notices to Spring residents and to fix the affected cars free of charge. The auto manufacturer then tries to contact all Spring auto owners who own that type of car so they can have it taken care of at their Spring service center.

To find out if your car has any recall issues, give us a call:
C&A Transmission & Auto Repair
20336 Holzwarth Road Spring, TX 77388

These recalls always affect safety, so Spring auto owners would be wise to take them seriously. It’s really easy to find out if a vehicle is being recalled. For links to government sites, look in the AutoNetTV website.

Other website include: carfax.com; autobytel.com; and dmv.org. All of these sites have free recall searches.

Recalls are pretty serious for Spring auto owners and don’t happen all that often. But sometimes cars have less serious problems that Spring car owners still might want to know about. For these less serious cases, car makers issue what is known as a Technical Service Bulletin – or TSB. These bulletins tell Spring service centers (including C&A Transmission & Auto Repair)  how to repair a problem that occurs frequently or is especially difficult.

Your Spring technician receives updated information through subscription plans, which are sometimes available in consumer versions too. Spring motorists can buy access to these for an annual fee.

Whatever your source, pay attention to Spring vehicle recalls to keep you and your passengers safe.

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

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.

Commitment to Make Your family car Last At C&A Transmission & Auto Repair

For advice on how to make your family car last longer, visit us at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair
20336 Holzwarth Road
Spring, TX 77388

These days many people in the Houston area are really committed to making their cars last a long time. First thing: you’ve got to start with what you’ve got. It’d be ideal if people started with a brand new car, never missed a scheduled service item, paid attention to the severe service maintenance schedule and had regular inspections. But if you’ve had the vehicle for a while, or bought it used, its maintenance history is what it is; and that’s where you start.

Go through the maintenance schedule for your family car and see what’s been done and when. Have your Spring service advisor at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair do an inspection and come up with a list of stuff that needs to be done. Review the list and prioritize the work, talk about budget and make a plan to get caught up.

Making a plan is so important. Suppose you go in for an oil change and learn you need your cooling system serviced, a transmission service and are coming up on a timing belt replacement in the next 5,000 miles. You might be pretty overwhelmed.

To make it even more stressful, these are all very important systems that are expensive to repair if there’s a failure. In consultation with your Spring service advisor, you might decide to take care of the transmission on this visit, set an appointment for the cooling system service next month and get an estimate for the timing belt replacement so you’ll be prepared for it in a few months.

Having a plan for taking care of these important services will set your mind at ease.

Keeping Your ‘Old Faithful’ Auto Running

At C&A Transmission & Auto Repair we’ve had a lot of Spring, Hufsmith, and Tomball clients asking how they can make their vehicles last longer. These questions are actually a reflection of a trend that’s been building for several years in TX. The median age of personal vehicles is now over nine years. And 33 percent of all vehicles on the road have over 75,000 miles on them. It looks like it’s going to keep heading in that direction for a while. With high fuel prices, a lot of Houston folks are putting off buying a new car. Thanks to AutoNetTV, we can provide you with a video answer to this important question.

So let’s say you’re one of the average drivers in the Houston area; you’ve got a nine year old car with 80,000 miles on the odometer. What can you to do make it last another year or two?

Let’s start with the premise that there’s no reason that a modern car can’t run for 200,000 miles with proper care in Spring. The engineering and manufacturing quality is there.

Of course, some parts will wear out along the way, but there’s no reason for a catastrophic meltdown if quick Spring motorists stay on top of their recommended car maintenance. The maintenance schedule in some auto maker’s owner’s manuals runs out at 60,000 miles or so: how do Spring motorists know what to do when they’re way past that?

It is a challenge, for example: If a service is recommended every 15,000 miles for the first 60,000 miles you can just keep getting it done at least every 15,000 miles after you hit 60,000 miles. But, it gets more complicated because older engines lose some efficiency, are dirtier inside and are just more stressed. That means it’s very important to not miss any scheduled services. Skipping just one oil change at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair in Spring, for example, leaves an opportunity for dangerous sludge to build up. Talk to your personable C&A Transmission & Auto Repair tech.

So all the usual things like oil changes, transmission service, coolant service, brakes, power steering, fuel system cleaning – all that stuff needs to be maintained. People responsible for fleet vehicles around Spring are sticklers for scheduled maintenance. They know that money spent on maintenance saves them three ways:

  1. it keeps MPG from decreasing;
  2. it prevents costly repairs, and;
  3. they can postpone purchasing new vehicles.

Having the oil changed may be the most important thing car owners can do. A full-service oil change at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair means that all of your other fluids get topped off so they are never low enough to cause damage. It also gives your personable C&A Transmission & Auto Repair service specialist a chance to spot problems in the early stages so that you can fix them before they get pricey. And it gives you a touch point with an automotive professional along the way to remind you of things that aren’t scheduled as often – things like differential service and timing belt replacement.

If you live in the Spring area and have an older vehicle, you may need to follow the severe service maintenance schedule. Check your owner’s manual and talk with your service advisor at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair. Conditions inside an older engine, transmission and cooling system can arguably be considered severe – so shorter intervals could well be called for.

And, the team at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair strongly encourages Spring auto owners to consider using high mileage formulation fluids. They’re fluids like engine oil, transmission fluid and coolant that are formulated for older engines. They have special additives to clean deposits, and to condition and restore seals and gaskets that dry out with age. Some Spring auto owners start using higher mileage formulations at around 50,000 miles as a preventive measure.

Of course you also want to still look marvelous in your older car as you drive around Houston. Salt and road grime wreak havoc on your paint job and can lead to body rust – so regular washing is very important. Also, a good quality waxing is recommended at least twice a year.

Give us a call for more information:

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

Can Your Car Last Another Year?

Have you checked out the price of new vehicles at Spring car dealers? Ouch! Add financing and insurance and – well a new ride may not seem so attractive. A lot of Spring, TX folks are hoping to make their cars last a lot longer.

Fortunately, with the current state of automotive engineering and manufacturing, there’s no reason a modern vehicle can’t be made to last for a 150,000 miles or more for smart Spring car owners.

The old adage: ‘a stitch in time saves nine’ is really true for Spring drivers when it comes to car maintenance. A great example is coolant service.

Over time, coolant becomes corrosive and actually starts to damage your radiator and other parts. Smart Spring auto owners have their cooling system service taken care of right on schedule.

Ditto for your power steering system, brake fluid, air conditioning system, differential and transmission. Of course, oil changes should be done right on schedule to avoid the build-up of harmful oil sludge.

Don’t let your brake pads go too long before they are worn to the point that your rotors are at risk. Preventative auto maintenance at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair is a great way to keep your operating costs down in Spring.

Replacing belts and hoses is much cheaper than repairing the expensive damage that can be caused by failure.

We know that this is a lot for busy Houston area drivers to remember. Let the team of automotive professionals at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair keep on top of this stuff for you. We can tell you what your vehicle manufacturer recommends and help you develop an affordable plan to take care of it.

Bottom line – do routine maintenance on schedule and you will reduce operating costs, prevent costly repairs and maintain your warranty coverage. Call C&A Transmission & Auto Repair today for an appointment; you can reach us at 713.960.4534.

Let us take good care of your car at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair in Spring, and it’ll take good care of you.

C&A Transmission & Auto Repair
Give us a call today at 713.960.4534.
Or stop by at 20336 Holzwarth Road, Spring, TX 77388

Are Modern Vehicles Maintenance Free?

In our auto video today we’ll be talking with Alan Peterson about myths surrounding automotive maintenance. You can lump these myths into the statement that “modern cars are so reliable, they are virtually maintenance free”.

Any good myth has some elements of truth. No offense to Spring Bigfoot fans, but this maintenance-free myth has more evidence than most. If we look at some isolated areas of auto maintenance, we could conclude that maintenance isn’t so important. But other areas would just as easily lead you to believe that maintenance is more important than ever.

Here are some examples for our friends in Spring.

  • Some cars in Spring no longer require chassis lubrication. They’re made with self-lubricating materials and have sealed joints. There’s literally is no way to grease those joints.

-Chalk one up for the myth.

On the other side, some vehicles come with sophisticated variable valve timing. A lot of complicated parts up in the valve train that didn’t even exist not that many years ago. These parts are very vulnerable to oil sludge.

  • So, skipping an oil change here and there could lead to very expensive damage.

-A point to maintenance.

  • Electronic ignition has eliminated replacing points.

-Myth gets a point.

  • Fuel injectors on direct injection engines are very expensive to replace so one must be sure to get a fuel system cleaning on schedule.

-Point for maintenance.

I think you get the picture. As automotive technology advances, it eliminates or reduces some maintenance requirements. And maintenance becomes more critical for some items. Most others remain very similar to what they’ve always been.

So the maintenance mindset is still important for car owners in Spring if we want our vehicles to last a long time. The checklist may change over time, but there’ll always be a check list.

Let me mention a couple of items on modern vehicles that folks need to be aware of. One of the most of the most important is timing belt replacement. Used to be that all engines had timing chains – you know, metal chains. They rarely broke.

It’s cheaper to make engines with timing belts rather than chains, so replacing the timing belt is on most engines’ maintenance list. The money the manufacturer saves by using a belt is more than off-set by what the vehicle owner has to pay to replace the belt. And it’s a drop in the bucket compared to the cost of repairing the damage if the timing belt breaks.

So make sure you know when your timing belt needs to be replaced. You don’t want to miss that. If you have 60,000 miles or more, break out your owner’s manual or ask your Spring service advisor at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair to check on the recommendation right away.

Another is sealed wheel bearing assemblies on some vehicles. As you might have guessed, it’s cheaper to make a sealed unit than one that has access to inspect or service the wheel bearings. The problem is that when the bearings fail, you have to replace the entire unit, not just the bearings. That’ll cost 5 or 6 times as much.

For our friends in Spring, we hope this has underscored the importance of knowing and following your maintenance schedule. Come in and see us at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair. You’ll find us at 20336 Holzwarth Road in Spring, TX 77388. Just give us a call at 713.960.4534.