How Much is Enough for Rowlett Auto Owners? Tire Tread DepthJune 17, 2018

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Most Rowlett drivers know that tires wear out and that the wear has to do with tread depth. Most of us have heard that “bald” tires are dangerous, but most of us picture a tire with no tread at all when we think of a bald tire. And when we take our vehicles in for preventive maintenance, the technician tells us they’re need to be replaced long before all the tread is worn off. Just <a href="” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>how much tire tread wear is too much? And how can you tell? Tires are and their condition is important to the safe handling of a vehicle, so it’s for Rowlett vehicle owners to know the answers to these questions.

First of all, it’s important to understand that there may be a legal limit to tread wear. If your tires are worn past this limit, you have to replace them to be in compliance with TX auto safety laws. That’s why measuring your tread wear is part of a vehicle safety inspection.

In some jurisdictions, tread must be at least 1.6 millimeters or 2/32 of an inch thick. This standard has been in effect since 1968. But this standard has recently been called into question, and some TX professionals are arguing that it be changed.

The safety issue that has brought this standard under scrutiny is the ability of a vehicle to stop on a wet surface. When a vehicle has trouble stopping, most Rowlett drivers immediately look at the brakes as the source of the problem. But tires are crucial to safe stopping distances because they provide the traction required in a stop.

A tire’s contact with the road surface creates traction, which allows for effective braking. On a wet surface, a tire only has traction if it can get to the road’s surface. So tire tread is designed to channel water out from under the tire to allow it to stay in contact with the road. If the tire can’t shift the water, then it starts to “float.” This condition is called hydroplaning. It is very dangerous for Rowlett drivers since the vehicle won’t stop no matter how hard the driver presses the brakes. Steering control is also lost.

A recent study tested the stopping ability of a passenger car and a full-sized pick-up on a road surface covered with only a dime’s depth of water (less than a millimeter). The vehicles were traveling at 70 mph (112 kph) when they stopped on the wet surface. At 2/32 (1.6 mm) tread depth, the stopping distance was double that of a new tire. The passenger car was still traveling at 55 mph (89 kph) when it reached the stopping distance it experienced with new tires.

Let’s suppose that you’re on a busy Rowlett road in a light drizzle and a vehicle stops suddenly in front of you. You just bought new tires and you brake hard, missing the vehicle with only inches to spare. If you hadn’t bought those new tires, you would have crashed into that vehicle at 55 mph (89 kph). That is a major difference.

What if your tires had a tread depth of 4/32 (3.2 mm)? You would have crashed into that vehicle at 45 mph (72 kph). Still not a good situation. But it’s better.

Now what if you were driving that pick-up truck? You wouldn’t have missed that vehicle in the first place, and you would have crashed at higher rates of speed in both of the other scenarios. The heavier your vehicle, the longer its stopping distance. It’s a matter of physics.

The results of this test has led Consumer Reports and others to ask that the standard for tread wear be changed from 2/32 (1.6 mm) to 4/32 (3.2 mm). The increased standard will improve safety on the road and save lives here in TX and nationally.

Of course, until the standard changes, you’ll have to decide whether you’ll be willing to replace your tires a little sooner.

You can use an American quarter to tell if your tread wear is down to 4/32 (3.2 mm). Place the quarter into the tread with George’s head toward the tire and his neck toward you. If the tread doesn’t cover George’s hairline, you’re under 4/32 (3.2 mm). With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the digits of the year.

You can measure the 2/32 inch (1.6 mm) tread wear with a penny. If the tread touches the top of Abe’s head, it’s at 2/32 (1.6 mm). Tires are super important when it comes to vehicle care. But their condition has a major impact on safety. We need to decide whether to sacrifice safety for economy. Keeping our tread wear above 4/32 in (3.2 mm) is good auto advice.

Lewis Complete Auto Repair
5110 Grisham Dr.
Rowlett, TX 75088
972.475.4800
http://lewis-complete-auto-repair.autotipsvideo.com

Why Is My Check Engine Light On?June 12, 2018

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The Check Engine Light strikes fear into the hearts of some Rowlett drivers, and is totally ignored by just as many. Just what it means is a mystery to most people.

Let’s get the urgency issues out of the way first. If your Check Engine light is flashing, that means that something is wrong that could cause engine damage. Naturally, you need to get that taken care of right away. If your check engine light is flashing, you shouldn’t drive at high speeds, tow or haul heavy loads. Take it easy all the way to your Rowlett service center.

<a href="” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener noreferrer”>Why

If the light is glowing steadily, you should keep an eye on it for a day or two. If the light doesn’t go off, schedule an appointment with your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Lewis Complete Auto Repair to get it checked out.

Some more information on how the Check Engine light works may be helpful for Rowlett drivers. Most of your engine functions are controlled by a computer, not surprisingly, called an engine control computer. The computer is able to adjust many engine parameters for environmental conditions, engine condition and even the way you drive.

In order to make these adjustments, the computer relies on a network of sensors to provide data. The computer knows the proper operating range for each sensor. When a sensor reading is out of range, the computer runs some tests and may turn on the vehicle’s Check Engine light.

A simple example is a loose or missing gas cap. This may cause one of the sensors to read out of range. The computer doesn’t know if it’s a serious condition that caused the reading or just a loose gas cap, so it stores a trouble code and turns on the Check Engine light.

Now when you tighten up the gas cap, the sensor readings will be in the correct range. The computer will keep checking on the report for a day or two. Since a bad reading didn’t come up again, it turns off the Check Engine light. The computer will also try to make adjustments to compensate for some readings. If it can do so, it’ll then turn off the Check Engine light.

If the problem can’t be resolved then the light will remain on, and you should get your vehicle looked at. Your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Lewis Complete Auto Repair will plug a scanner into the on-board diagnostic port and read the trouble code stored in the computer. The trouble code will give the technician a starting place as he diagnoses the cause of the problem.

 

Lewis Complete Auto Repair
5110 Grisham Dr.
Rowlett, TX 75088
972.475.4800

Things Aren’t Always What They SeemJune 6, 2018

If you drive, you know at some point, something’s going to go wrong with your vehicle.  And sometimes, it’s pretty easy to figure out what’s wrong, like a flat tire.  But sometimes your vehicle’s symptoms can be really puzzling.

One driver in TX was heading to work on a hot July day and noticed when he pressed the accelerator, sometimes it wouldn’t do anything. He also noticed his cruise control wouldn’t work and his traction control light was constantly on, very unusual.

He was trying to figure it out, but none of it made any sense.  His cruise control had always worked perfectly, his traction light never had gone on before and there was never any issue pressing on the accelerator.

It was time to take his car in for a professional diagnosis, and boy, was he surprised that it was a freak accident he’d had the previous WINTER that was the root of his problems.  You see, in January, his car had slipped on ice when he was in reverse and had gently tapped a tree.  That caused a tiny crack in his rear stoplight. 

That crack had gone unnoticed until that July day.  Turns out a summer rain allowed water to seep into the taillight casing, so this time when he drove to work, there was enough moisture inside it to cause his stop light to stick on.

When the stop light is on, the car’s computer is programmed to act as if the driver is pressing the brakes. It also disables the cruise, accelerator and cruise control when the brakes are on, producing all of the symptoms.  Replacing the stop lamp switch fixed everything.

So, while some things that go wrong with your vehicle are pretty obvious, many seemingly defy all logic. That’s when a trained technician can scope things out, replace the right part and get you going again.

Lewis Complete Auto Repair
5110 Grisham Dr.
Rowlett, TX 75088
972.475.4800

Know Your Towing Limits in RowlettMay 27, 2018

Some Rowlett drivers figure that anything they can attach to their trailer hitch can be towed by their vehicle. Nope. If you’re going to do any towing around Rowlett, you should be aware of safety issues, TX towing laws and potential liability.

Understanding tow ratings is important for safe towing. A tow rating is the weight limit that your vehicle can safely tow. They calculate the tow rating for every vehicle, but different options on the vehicle can affect that rating. Rowlett drivers need to read the towing section in their owner’s manual to get the specific tow rating for the vehicle they own.

Your trailer hitch also has a weight limit, and it may not match the tow rating for your vehicle. Your vehicle may be rated for 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg), but if you have a 2,000-pound (900 kg) hitch limit, you shouldn’t be towing more than 2,000 pounds (900 kg). If you tow a 10,000-pound (4,500 kg) trailer on that hitch, it could break free and you would be liable for any resulting damages.

Another example, one popular pick-up truck has a tow rating of 10,300 pounds (4,600kg). But in the owner’s manual, it specifies that a sway control device be used for trailers weighing over 2,000 pounds (900 kg) and that a weight-distributing hitch is required for trailers over 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg). If the vehicle owner tows a 6,000-pound (2700 kg) trailer without a weight-distributing hitch and ends up in an accident, the owner will be held liable for not complying with the towing requirements in TX.

Rowlett auto owners also need to keep in mind that tow weights include the weight of passengers and cargo inside the tow vehicle. So if your tow rating is 7,000 pounds (3,200 kg), and you’re carrying 700 pounds (320 kg) of passengers and cargo, you can only tow a trailer weighing up to 6,300 pounds (2,880 kg).

Two numbers that Rowlett drivers should be aware of are the GVWR and the GCWR. These codes are usually imprinted on the inside of the driver’s side door. GVWR stands for gross vehicle weight rating. Take GVWR and subtract the total weight of the vehicle, and you have the maximum weight the vehicle can safely carry in passengers and cargo. GCWR stands for Gross Combined Weight Rating. Take that number, subtract the weight of the tow vehicle and the trailer, and you have the maximum weight of passengers and cargo that the tow vehicle and trailer together can safely carry.

This may seem a bit complicated, but you ignore these ratings at your own peril. If you haul or tow loads over the maximum ratings around TX, you become liable in event of an accident.

Local Rowlett laws require that safety chains be attached when towing a trailer. Some TX jurisdictions may require trailer brakes as well. Others mandate trailer brakes only in certain situations. If you are going to tow a trailer, you should find out the local Rowlett laws regarding trailer brakes and hitches, as well as weight and length restrictions.

To tow safely, TX drivers also need the proper tires on the tow vehicle. Tires need to be in good condition with adequate tread, and they need to have a load rating high enough to handle the weight of the trailer. Your trained Lewis Complete Auto Repair tire professional can help you select the right tire to use when towing around Rowlett.

Your ‘s owner’s manual is your primary source for auto advice regarding towing since it is specific to your vehicle. Be sure to read it carefully before doing any towing. And as always, keep your preventive maintenance up-to-date, and practice good car care to ensure the safety of your vehicle on the road—especially when pulling a trailer.

Lewis Complete Auto Repair
5110 Grisham Dr.
Rowlett, TX 75088
972.475.4800

Suspension Service at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in RowlettMay 21, 2018

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During an inspection at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett, your friendly and knowledgeable automotive service technician will check for worn, broken or missing parts.

Here’s a quick rundown of suspension system components:

There are the springs which hold the weight of your vehicle. There are several varieties of springs. Springs are heavy duty parts that rarely break or wear out. Shock absorbers work in conjunction with springs to smooth out the ride and help keep the tires on the road. Good shocks are essential for handling performance and ride comfort.

You’ve probably heard of struts. They combine a shock absorber and a coil spring in one unit. Shocks and struts will wear out over time. If your tires develop a cupped wear pattern, your shocks or struts may be wearing out. This is from the shocks bouncing unevenly. You may notice a floaty or drifting sensation when cornering. If the front of your vehicle dives excessively when stopping, or rocks back and forth after you’ve stopped, your shocks may be worn out. And if they are leaking fluid, it’s definitely time to replace them at Lewis Complete Auto Repair.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, visit Lewis Complete Auto Repair for a suspension inspection. Same applies if you’ve been in an accident that involved one of your wheels. If your vehicle suspension actually fails, it could lead to a serious accident, so don’t put it off.

When you replace your shocks, it’s usually a good idea to replace all four at the same time. That’ll give you more even handling. Talk with your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Lewis Complete Auto Repair because you don’t want a big difference between the performance of your shocks from wheel to wheel, and replacing all may be the safest bet.

There are different grades of shocks and struts. You always want to use a replacement shock or strut that equals the one that came as original equipment when your vehicle was new. But remember, they were designed to meet the expected needs of the broad range of Rowlett people who buy that particular vehicle. Your needs may be more specialized.

For example, if you want increased handling performance, your Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor can recommend an upgraded shock or strut specially designed for improved handling. If you haul heavy loads or trailers in Rowlett, we can recommend some heavy duty shock absorbers.

Lewis Complete Auto Repair
5110 Grisham Dr.
Rowlett, TX 75088
972.475.4800