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.

Check Engine Light Diagnosis At C&A Transmission & Auto Repair

Hello Spring drivers. Have you ever had your check engine light come on? Did you panic? Or just scowl and ignore it? What should you do? Pull to the side of the road and call a tow truck? Or just keep driving? What does that little light really mean for Spring car owners?

First of all, the Check Engine or Service Engine light does indicate that something is wrong. That’s why it is called a warning light. But the something that is wrong might be a loose gas cap, or it might be serious family car engine trouble. That’s why Houston auto owners often don’t know how to respond to it.

The check engine light has two modes: it flashes or it stays on. A flashing light is serious. You need to get your vehicle to C&A Transmission & Auto Repair in Spring ASAP. No, you don’t need to call a tow truck, but, yes, you can’t wait to get your car serviced. If your check engine light is on and flashing, you should not tow trailers, haul heavy loads or drive at TX expressway speeds. Any of these could lead to serious damage that could result costly repair bills for Spring motorists who ignore it.

A steady check engine light is less serious, but that doesn’t mean it can be ignored by Tomball car owners. You should plan to get your vehicle inspected at your local Spring automotive service center the first realistic opportunity. Not the first convenient opportunity, but the first realistic one.

Before you take your family car in, however, check the gas cap. A loose gas cap can trigger the check engine light. If it is loose, twist it until it clicks three times. If that was the problem, your Spring engine light will reset after several days. However, if it stays on, then you need to schedule an inspection at your Spring auto repair center center or C&A Transmission & Auto Repair.

Modern automobiles have a computer in the engine that monitors and controls many of the engine functions. When the computer senses something wrong, it first tries to fix the problem itself by adjusting the family car engine. If the problem persists, the computer signals the check engine light to come on.

This process stores a trouble code inside the family car engine’s computer. Your service specialist scans the computer and reads the code. This does not tell the tech exactly what is wrong with the car, but it gives him a good idea as to where to start looking.

It is NOT good auto advice to deal with a check engine light by disconnecting the battery. Yes, this makes the light go off, but it doesn’t solve the problem. It’s rather like trying to put out a fire by disconnecting the smoke detector. Also, disconnecting the battery will erase your family car’s computer memory. An engine’s computer, over time, learns to adjust for peculiarities of the specific family car engine, for driving conditions in your Spring area, and for your driving habits. Losing its memory means it has to learn and adjust for these things all over again.

Also, don’t buy a cheap consumer scanner or get a trouble code read at your nearest Spring auto parts store, then try to fix a problem yourself — unless, of course, you are a trained Houston mechanic. Today’s auto repair equipment is fairly high-tech and knowing a code is only an indication of where a problem might be, not the answer to what is wrong. Trying to save a little money by doing it yourself may end up costing you big in the long run.

Of course, the best thing to do is to keep that pesky check engine light from coming on in the first place. Good car care and routine preventive maintenance go a long way to keeping your family car out of your Spring auto repair shop. But, if that light does come on, be smart. Take care of the problem early, and take care of it professionally.

Defensive Driving In Spring TX

There was a man in Houston who learned that most car accidents occur within a mile of home – so he moved. (Just Kidding!)

When we think of defensive driving, we often focus on our local TX highway situations. The fact of the matter is we need to be just as careful close to home in Spring, because that’s where we do most of our driving. We can’t let our familiar surroundings keep us from driving defensively.

Defensive driving begins with the proper attitude. Have in mind that you won’t let anyone take your safety away from you. You’ll be aware of your surroundings, road conditions, other vehicles and hazards. And the first person to be concerned with is you: start with your own environment.

Don’t leave without securing all occupants including children and pets. Watch for loose items that can become projectiles during evasive maneuvers.

Driving too fast or too slow increases the chance of an accident.

Never drive impaired: Alcohol is a factor in half of all fatal crashes. Never drink and drive.

Other impairments include being sleepy, angry, daydreaming or talking. If you suddenly wonder how you got where you are – you’re not paying enough attention.

Keep your windows clean and uncluttered. No fuzzy dice and stickers.

Keep your car in good shape so that it handles properly: Maintain tires, lights, brakes, suspension, wheel alignment and steering.

Always use your turn signals while driving around Spring TX. Avoid other vehicles’ blind spots.

Don’t drive faster than your headlights – if you can’t stop within the distance you can see, you’re going too fast.

Avoid driving over debris in the road. Even harmless looking items can cause damage or an accident.

Keep your wheels straight when waiting to turn at an Spring TX intersection. That way if you’re hit from behind, your car won’t be pushed into on-coming traffic.

My daddy always said that when you drive, you’re actually driving five cars: yours, the one in front, the one behind and the ones on either side. You can’t trust that other drivers will do the right thing, so you’ve got to be aware of what they’re doing at all times.

If you see another car driving erratically, weaving, crossing lanes, etc., stay back. Take the next right turn if you’re downtown Spring, or take the next exit on the TX highway. Notify the police if you see someone driving dangerously in our Spring community.

Never follow too close. The minimum distance is the two second rule. Pick a landmark ahead, like a tree or road marker. When the car in front of you passes it, start counting: ‘one-one-thousand, two-one-thousand’. If you pass the landmark before reaching two-one-thousand, you’re following too close.

Remember that the two second rule is the minimum – it assumes you’re alert and aware. Three seconds is safer. Move out to five seconds or more if it’s foggy or rainy.

Someone will inevitably move into your forward safety zone – just drop back and keep a safe distance.

If someone follows you too closely, just move over.

Don’t play chicken by contesting your right of way or race to beat someone to a merge. Whoever loses that contest has the potential to lose big and you don’t want any part of that. So stay alert, constantly scan around your car and arrive safely.

C&A Transmission & Auto Repair
20336 Holzwarth Road
Spring, TX 77388
888.372.3223

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.

What Spring Automotive Service Consumers Should Know

There are some things Spring auto owners should know about Spring car service and repair. First and foremost, C&A Transmission & Auto Repair cares about you and your family’s safety. And we really appreciate your business. C&A Transmission & Auto Repair in Spring wants to build a trusting relationship that becomes the foundation for a mutually beneficial experience for years to come.

Building on that foundation, there are some things that would help you understand the auto service and repair business better. First, it can be really hard to fix cars. The days of shade tree mechanics are long gone. The majority of automotive systems are computerized. It takes a lot of training and very expensive equipment to diagnose and repair modern vehicles. The personable service advisors that work for C&A Transmission & Auto Repair need extensive computer training – not just how to run the diagnostic systems, but also searching for the right parts, networking with other service specialists to help them with a difficult problem and pulling together a job order that makes sure that each step of the process is addressed.

The threshold for getting started as a technician gets higher all the time in TX and there is a huge commitment to on-going training every year. This training takes time and money. It contributes to business overhead. Average Spring or Spring car owners may not realize the business and environmental regulations C&A Transmission & Auto Repair must comply with. Of course that costs money too. Like any TX business, overhead is a big factor.

When you go into your favorite Houston restaurant you don’t value the meal by what the food would cost at the grocery store. The restaurant has rent, wages, insurance, taxes, utilities, professional fees, equipment, supplies – you get the picture. The restaurant has to charge enough to not only pay for the ingredients, but for all these other things as well while making enough profit to remain in business. If you value the meal and are satisfied with your dining experience, you’ll come back and tell your friends.

It’s the same for C&A Transmission & Auto Repair. The value of its service is not the cost of the parts they replace, but in your satisfaction with the results. If they deliver a good product at a fair price, Spring customers are happy to see them succeed as a TX automotive business.

Contact C&A Transmission & Auto Repair to learn more about our extensive auto service training.
You can find us at:
20336 Holzwarth Road
Spring, TX 77388
Or call us at 888.372.3223

At C&A Transmission & Auto Repair, we love to see our Spring customers whenever they come in, but we would much rather see them three or four times a year for routine maintenance than once a year on a tow truck. We want to work together with you to avoid breakdowns. Tell your Houston area friends and family to come in for their important scheduled maintenance too. That lowers our marketing costs and helps keep its labor rates down. That’s good for everyone in Spring.

C&A Transmission & Auto Repair appreciates this great review of automotive service from AutoNetTV.

Shake It Up in Spring!: Why Wheel Balancing

Our vehicles are not massage chairs. While we may enjoy a good vibration in an overstuffed recliner, us Spring car owners generally want as smooth a ride as possible in our vehicles. One way to achieve this is to keep a vehicle’s wheels in balance.

When a tire is mounted onto a wheel, it is usually out of balance. This means that as the wheel spins, there is a slight wobble to the path of the tire. For best handling performance and safety on the road, Spring motorists want to minimize this wobble as much as possible. So we balance our tires. To balance a tire, your personable C&A Transmission & Auto Repair service specialist spins it on a machine or drum to determine where it is off-balance. He then attaches weights that counter-balance the uneven weight. Most Spring drivers are surprised at how much balancing improves the smoothness of their ride.

High-quality tires generally hold their balance well. But over time, wear and tear take their toll and tires can become unbalanced. Spring car owners can tell when a front tire is unbalanced if they feel a vibration in the steering wheel. If a back tire is unbalanced, you’ll feel a vibration in your seat. You may not notice these vibrations until they get fairly serious — or until someone else drives your family car — because they usually develop slowly. If a vibration starts abruptly, it usually means you’ve lost a balancing weight.

The average tire rotates at about 850 revolutions per minute at 60 mph. When a tire is out of balance, it actually hops down the freeway, rather than rolling. So at 60 mph it is slamming into the pavement 14 times a second. That’s what creates the detrimental vibration. When Spring drivers’ tires are out of balance, they wear out more quickly. The lack of balance also causes extra wear on shocks, struts, steering components and critical suspension parts.

Getting a balance job at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair in Spring can prevent expensive repair bills and even an accident. It will improve the safety of your family car as well as its handling performance, and it will improve your fuel economy. When you change your rims or get a flat repaired at C&A Transmission & Auto Repair, you’ll need to get your tires balanced as well. When you rotate your tires, you may want to have them balanced as well.

Some Spring vehicle owners, however, only balance their wheels every other rotation. You can check your owner’s manual to see what the recommends for your family car. Balancing your tires is part of important preventive maintenance. It keeps your vehicle in good repair and prevents damage to many of its components, including some pricey ones. So practice good car care and make it a point to keep your tires balanced. It’s quality auto advice from C&A Transmission & Auto Repair. Massages chairs may vibrate away our worries, but unbalanced tires will just rattle Spring drivers’ nerves.