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

Timing Belt Replacement in Spring

Today we want to talk to Spring auto owners about timing belts. They’re something that many Spring drivers don’t know much about and yet your vehicle won’t run if it’s broken – and it could cause many thousands of dollars damage if it does break. A broken timing belt is usually a tale of woe. Even though timing belt replacement is scheduled in the owner’s manual, it’s not the kind of thing that most Houston car owners remember because it’s not well understood.

Let’s review what a timing belt does. As most Spring car owners know, the engine’s power is generated in the cylinders. A piston rides up and down in the cylinder. During the first down stroke, an intake valve at the top of the cylinder opens and air and fuel is drawn into the cylinder. Then the piston returns to the top, compressing the fuel and air mix. At the top, the spark plug fires, igniting the fuel pushing the piston down in the power stroke. As the piston once again returns up in the final stroke of the cycle, an exhaust valve opens at the top of the cylinder and the exhaust is pushed out. The timing belt is what coordinates the opening and closing of the intake and exhaust valves. It’s called a timing belt because the valves have to open and close at just the right time.

Now, not all Hufsmith and Spring vehicles have timing belts. Some have timing chains. Like the name implies, they use a chain rather than a belt to perform the function. It used to be that most engines used timing chains, which are extremely durable. The leading manufacturers started using belts rather than chains to save money in the manufacturing process. So now Spring auto owners and C&A Transmission & Auto Repair service advisors are left with a component that can break. They sort of shifted the problem to us. There are two broad categories of auto manufacturer engine design: interference and non-interference. If the timing belt on a non-interference engine breaks, the engine simply stops running. That could be very dangerous for car owners depending on where they are at the time, but it causes no internal engine damage.

Interference family car engines, on the other hand, will get real messed up when the timing belt breaks, because the valves will actually fall down into the path of the pistons. Things get chewed up when that happens and it’ll cost a chunk of income to repair the family car engine.

So, what are the warning signs? Unfortunately, there really aren’t any. There aren’t tell-tale sounds. In some vehicles, a technician from C&A Transmission & Auto Repair may be able to see part of the belt for a visual inspection, but many have a cover that’s in the way. The reality is that if the belt slips even one notch, it might as well be broken for all the pricey damage it’ll cause. There’s no middle ground.

So how can we avoid these problems? Simply replace the timing belt when your owner’s manual calls for it. It can be 60,000 miles; it might be 90,000 or 100,000 miles. The point is, if you have 60,000 or more miles, ask your C&A Transmission & Auto Repair service advisor right away if your auto maker requires a timing belt replacement.

Contact C&A Transmission & Auto Repair to learn more about your car’s Timing Belt
You can find us at:
20336 Holzwarth Road
Spring, TX 77388
Or call us at 888.372.3223

Sometimes Spring drivers can go quite a while without a failure, but we’ve seen them happen within a couple of oil changes of being due. It’s not worth the risk.

What does it cost to replace a timing belt in Spring or Tomball? Well, that really depends on what kind of car you have. I can tell you that it’s usually not very easy to get to the timing belt – you often have to remove some accessories to get at it. It isn’t a cheap procedure, but it’s a fraction of what it could cost to repair the expensive damage caused by a failure.

At C&A Transmission & Auto Repair in Spring we’re all about trying to prevent pricey repairs, keeping you and your passengers safe and increasing your driving enjoyment. Thanks to AutoNetTV for their great auto video tips.

Battery Replacement For Your family car

Modern cars and trucks in and around Spring run on 12 volt electrical systems. 12 volts is enough to get the job done for Spring drivers without having so much power that there is danger of electrocution. But today’s vehicles have more electrical components and do-dads than ever before. This really strains your electrical system, making it hard for the battery to keep up. Think about it: electric seats, seat heaters, power locks, windows and sun roofs. And then us TX motorists have all the power outlets for our cell phones, computers, and DVD players.

We also have navigation systems and powerful stereos. Plus there are all the engine and transmission computers, traction control, stability control, anti-lock brakes, sensors and on and on. Even the security system is running off the battery while the car is turned off.

Fortunately, battery technology has given Spring car owners resilient batteries that are able to meet these strenuous requirements. But the fact is, batteries just wear out over time. Eventually, every battery gets to the point where it cannot hold enough of a charge to start your family car. Sometimes batteries need to be replaced because they have just worn out. Or, in other cases, they have developed a leak which makes it even more vital to get it replaced.

Special safety precautions are taken when working with batteries in the shop at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair in Spring, TX. These precautions also apply to anyone who is poking around the battery. Batteries contain sulfuric acid that can damage your eyes and burn your skin, so safety glasses and rubber gloves are a must for any Spring auto owners working with their battery. Be careful to not spill acid on your clothes or the family car’s paint. Of course, avoid short circuiting the battery as well.

Replacement car batteries come in all shapes and sizes. Some cars have limited space that requires a specially shaped battery to fit. Larger engines require more powerful batteries to get them started. If you live where it gets cold in TX you will need a more powerful battery because engines are harder to start when it is cold.

Sometimes there is quite a price range in Spring auto part stores for batteries that will work in a particular car. Think of it as “good”, “better” and “best”. More expensive batteries have a longer warranty and are guaranteed to last longer. As with most things, paying a little more up front saves bucks in the long run for Spring auto owners.

C&A Transmission & Auto Repair
20336 Holzwarth Road
Spring, TX 77388
713.960.4534

PCV Valve Service At C&A Transmission & Auto Repair In Spring

Today, we are talking about your PCV valve. The PCV Valve is a little, inexpensive part that does an important job for Spring auto owners. PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation.

The crankcase is the bottom area of the engine that holds the oil. When the family car engine’s running, fuel is burned to generate power. Most of the exhaust from combustion goes out through the exhaust system. But some exhaust blows by the pistons and goes into the lower engine, or crankcase.

These hot gases are about seventy percent unburned fuel.
PCV Valve Service At C&A Transmission & Auto Repair In SpringThis can dilute and contaminate the oil, leading to damaging engine oil sludge. It can also cause family car engine corrosion, something we see occasionally at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair. At high speeds on Spring freeways, the pressure can build up to the point that gaskets and seals start to leak.

Back in the old days, auto manufacturers simply installed a hose that vented these gases out into the atmosphere. But starting in the 1964 model year, environmental protection laws required that these gases be recycled back into the air intake system to be mixed with fuel and burned in the family car’s engine.

This is much better for air quality and improves MPG also. (Budget-conscious Spring drivers take note!) The little valve that performs this important function is the PCV valve. The PCV valve lets dangerous gases out of the engine, but won’t let anything back in. Over time, the vented gases will gum up the PCV valve and it won’t work well. That can lead to all of the problems I’ve already described, oil leaks, excessive oil consumption and decreased MPG.

Fortunately, it’s very easy to test the PCV Valve at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair in Spring and quick and inexpensive to replace. Even so, it’s often overlooked because many Spring car owners don’t know about it. Check your family car owner’s manual or ask your C&A Transmission & Auto Repair service advisor. If this is the first time you’ve heard of a PCV valve, you might be in line for a replacement.

There’s another aspect to the PCV system. In order for the valve to work correctly, it needs a little clean air to come in. This is done through a breather tube that gets some filtered air from the engine air filter. Now some vehicles have a small separate air filter for the breather tube called the breather element. That’ll need to be replaced at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair when it gets dirty.

Please ask your personable Spring service advisor about your PCV valve. For the price of a couple of burger combo meals in Spring, you can avoid some very pricey engine repairs.

Have You Checked Your Headlights?

Like everything on the Houston automotive market, there have been great strides in headlight technology in recent years. TX motorists can be safer at night because of it. Good headlights improve visibility on Houston freeways, enabling you to see farther. They also improve your peripheral vision, helping you to see the sides more clearly. The more you can see, the quicker you can react to road conditions. This is essential because nearly half of traffic fatalities take place at night. And as Spring’s population ages, everything that helps older eyes is welcome.

Most new family cars sold in Houston come with halogen headlamps. A decade ago, halogens were exotic and expensive. Now that they are standard equipment, the price has come way down. Many luxury cars are equipped with high intensity discharge, or HID, headlamps. You have probably seen them on Spring freeways, they’re very bright and have a bluish tint.

From behind the wheel, there is no doubt that HID headlamps are the best thing going. However, many Spring motorists complain about HID lights in oncoming traffic or when they approach from behind. In fact, when the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration called for public comment, they received a record number of complaints about HIDs. This has lead to several studies – your tax dollars at work. Some expect future regulation of HID lamps.

All halogen headlamps dim over time. Your personable C&A Transmission & Auto Repair service advisor recommends that they be changed out once a year. AutoNetTV suggests you replace your headlamps in the fall at the end of Daylight Savings Time. It’s easy to remember – when you change your clock, change your headlamps. Remember to replace all headlamps at the same time – then all your lights will be equally bright. You will appreciate it during those long TX winter nights.

If you have an older family car with old-school headlamps, you might be able to get a halogen replacement. You’ll be amazed at the difference this upgrade will make.

In addition to regular halogen lamps, Spring car owners can upgrade to premium lamps that filter some of the yellow light, making a bright white light that’s more like natural sunlight. This light’s easier on the eyes and should improve reaction time.

Now, you may be able to step up to HID headlamps, depending on the kind of car you drive around the Houston area. These lamps should last the life of your car, but cost several hundred dollars a pair. If you want other Spring motorists to think you’re running HID lamps, you can even buy regular halogens that have a bluish tint. Does she or doesn’t she? Only her C&A Transmission & Auto Repair service advisor knows for sure.

Over time, plastic headlight covers can get cloudy or yellowed. In fact, AAA reports that nine out of ten headlights are dirty or yellowed, greatly reducing vision. In addition to helping you replace your headlamps, many service centers such as C&A Transmission & Auto Repair in Spring, TX can restore headlight covers. Headlights can be restored at a fraction of the cost of replacing.

Tomball Drivers: Is It Time To Replace Your PCV Valve?

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Improved fuel economy has two benefits for Spring car owners: less fuel is necessary and fewer emissions are released. Tomball cars and trucks run cleaner than ever. Spring car owners may not realize that the first federally mandated pollution control device came out almost fifty years ago.

TX car owners that were around in the early 60’s may remember that the PCV Valve came out on 1964 model cars. PCV stand for Positive Crankcase Ventilation. Tomball Drivers: Is It Time To Replace Your PCV Valve?The crankcase is the lower part of the engine where the crankshaft is housed and where the engine oil lives. The crankshaft is connected to the pistons that power the engine.

When fuel is burned in the family car engine, it pushes the pistons down and the crankshaft rotates and sends power to the transmission. Some of the explosive gases from combustion squeeze past the pistons and down into the crankcase.

Now this gas is about 70% unburned fuel. If it were allowed to remain in the crankcase, it would contaminate the oil and quickly turn it to dangerous sludge. Sludge is like Vaseline and clogs passages in the engine leading to damage.

Also, the pressure build up would blow out seals and gaskets. So in the old days, there was just a hose that vented the crankcase out into the air. Obviously, not good for our air quality in Spring.

Enter the PCV valve. It’s a small, one-way valve that lets out the 
harmful gases from the crankcase, and routes them back into the air intake system where they are re-burned in the engine. Fresh air comes into the crankcase through a breather tube. This makes for good circulation in the crankcase. And that gets the detrimental air out. As you can imagine, however, the valve gets gummed up over time.

Tomball drivers that skip oil changes now and then will notice that the PCV valve gets gummed up even faster. If the PCV valve is sticking in your family car, the gases won’t circulate as well, leading to increased pressure in the crankcase. That, in turn, can lead to oil leaks. Fortunately, the PCV valve is very inexpensive to replace at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair in Spring. Some can even be checked by your personable C&A Transmission & Auto Repair advisor.

Your family car vehicle manufacturers usually recommend they be changed somewhere between twenty and fifty thousand miles. Unfortunately, PCV valve replacement is left out of some family car owner’s manuals, but at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair, we will make sure your PVC is replaced if needed.

All of us Tomball car owners can do our part for the environment. Watch that lead foot, stay on top of our essential automotive maintenance and don’t forget to replace our PCV valve.

Serpentine Belt Service At C&A Transmission & Auto Repair In Spring

Don’t you hate it when you hear that squeal from under the hood when you’re zipping down a busy Spring interstate? It usually means there is a problem with the serpentine belt. The serpentine belt powers a lot of engine accessories. It runs the alternator – which charges the battery; the water pump – which cools the engine; the air conditioning and the power steering pump. All pretty essential parts. It is called a serpentine belt because it snakes around a bunch of engine components.

Serpentine belts are amazingly tough. They can last for years and go for tens of thousands of miles. Like all key moving parts, however, they eventually wear out. If your belt breaks while you are driving around Spring, everything will come to a halt within minutes. You need to stop the family car immediately or it will overheat, potentially causing expensive engine damage. You can be sure that it won’t happen at a convenient time or place. (As if there was a convenient time or place!) You might even need to get your family car towed to C&A Transmission & Auto Repair. It’s no wonder that car makers recommend a belt replacement on schedule. It’s one of those “have-to’s.”

Spring car owners who hear a squeal when accelerating or a slow, slapping sound at idle, should have their serpentine belt looked at. Your service professional at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair in Spring will visually inspect your belt to see if it needs to be changed sooner than scheduled. If the belt has more than three or four cracks an inch, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.

Serpentine belt replacement is relatively inexpensive, especially compared with the cost and inconvenience of being stranded or getting a disabled family car back to C&A Transmission & Auto Repair for critical repairs.

You’re mom was right: an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure.

C&A Transmission & Auto Repair
20336 Holzwarth Road
Spring, TX 77388
713.896.1107

PCV Valve Replacement

The energy from exploding fuel is what powers your engine. But some of the vapors from the explosions escape into the lower part of the engine, called the crankcase. The crankcase is where your engine oil hangs out. These gases are about 70% unburned fuel. If the gases were allowed to stay in the crankcase, they would quickly contaminate the oil and turn it to sludge. Sludge is one of the biggest enemies of your engine, clogging it up, eventually leading to expensive failures. Also, the pressure build up would cause seals and gaskets to blow out. Therefore, these gases need to be vented out.

Gasoline engines used to simply have a hose that let the poisonous fumes vent out into the air. In 1963, the federal government required gas engines to have a special one-way valve installed to help reduce dangerous emissions. Diesel engines are not required to have these valves.

The positive crankcase ventilation, or PCV, valve routes crankcase gases through a hose and back into the air intake system where they are re-burned in the engine. Fresh, clean air is brought into the crankcase through a breather tube. It’s really a pretty simple system, but does an important job. The re-circulating air removes moisture and combustion waste from the crankcase, preventing sludge. This extends not only the life of your oil, but the engine as well. The PCV relieves pressure in the crankcase, preventing oil leaks.

Eventually, the PCV valve can get gummed up. Then it can not move enough air through the engine to keep it working efficiently. If the PCV valve is sticking enough, you could have oil leaks, excess oil consumption and a fouled intake system. If you experience hesitation or surging or an oil leak, it may be a sign of PCV value problems. Your owners’ manual may give a recommendation for when the PCV valve should be replaced – usually between 20,000 mi/32,000 km and 50,000 mi/80,000 km. Unfortunately, some manufacturers don’t list a recommendation in the manual, so it can be easy to overlook.

Many PCV system problems can be diagnosed with a visual inspection. Fortunately, PCV valve replacement is both quick and inexpensive. Proper oil changes will greatly extend the life of the PCV valve. Skipping a few recommended oil changes can allow varnish and gum to build up in the valve, reducing its efficiency. So now when your Spring service technician tells you its time to replace your PCV valve, you will know what he’s talking about. If you have had your car for a while and this is the first you’ve ever heard of a PCV value, ask your tech to check yours out or call C&A Transmission & Auto Repair at 713.896.1107.