Automotive Tips from Lewis Complete Auto Repair: Alignment InspectionNovember 29, 2016

Uneven tire wear, the car pulling to one side or a steering wheel that is off-center are signs for Rowlett drivers that their wheels may be out of alignment.

When doing an alignment inspection, the service advisor at Lewis Complete Auto Repair will inspect your tires for uneven wear as well as suspension and steering parts for signs of wear or damage. He’ll also compare your current alignment with the vehicle manufacturer’s settings.

Your vehicle owner’s manual will have a recommendation for when to check alignment. Of course, this recommendation is based on normal driving. If you have been in a crash, hit a curb/pothole, frequently drive off-road around Rowlett, or notice any symptoms of misalignment, have your Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor perform an important alignment check.

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

Drive Train Service in Rowlett at Lewis Complete Auto RepairNovember 22, 2016

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The drive train in your vehicle includes all the components that transfer power from the transmission to the wheels. Those components differ depending on what type of vehicle you drive, namely, front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive or four-wheel drive. The preventive maintenance your driveshaft needs will also differ by what type of vehicle you drive.

Let’s start with front-wheel drive. In this vehicle, the transmission and the differential are combined in one component, known as the transaxle. The transaxle is connected to two half-shafts (axles), which are then connected to the wheels with a constant velocity (or CV) joint, which is protected by an airtight rubber boot.

Lewis Complete Auto Repair service for this type of driveline includes servicing the transaxle and inspecting the CV boot. If the boot is damaged, the CV joint will need to be inspected, and the boot will need to be replaced. If you hear a clicking noise in your wheel wells when you turn, you may have a damaged CV joint. A damaged CV joint should be replaced.

Rear-wheel drive vehicles generally have a transmission in the front of the car and the differential in the back. A driveshaft (it looks like a long tube) connects the transmission to the differential. Some vehicles may have a two-piece driveshaft, which are connected to the differential with universal joints or U-joints. Again, the differential is connected to two half-shafts that go out to the wheels.

Lewis Complete Auto Repair service on the drive train on a rear-wheel drive vehicle starts with servicing the differential. It will need its fluid drained and replaced regularly. The seals on the axles should also be inspected for wear or leaks. Leaking or damaged seals may mean the axle needs to be serviced as well. Also, U-joints can wear out. If you hear clunking or feel a jolt when you shift into drive or into reverse, it could indicate a driveline problem.

All-wheel drive vehicles provide power from the transmission to all of the wheels, instead of just to the front or rear. The advantage is that the vehicle can adapt to different driving conditions and transfer more power to the front or back wheels as needed. The disadvantages are that the driveline is more complicated, and the vehicle weighs slightly more.

Many all-wheel drive vehicles are based on a front-wheel drive set-up. They also have a differential in the rear and one in the center of the vehicle that allows power to transfer to the front and rear. A shaft runs from the transfer case to the center differential, and another from the center differential to the rear differential.

Servicing an all-wheel drive at Lewis Complete Auto Repair involves servicing ALL of the differentials and inspecting the joints and seals for wear, leaks or damage.

Four-wheel drive vehicles are rear-wheel drive vehicles that have an option to transfer power to the front wheels. In other words, they can be driven as either rear-wheel or four-wheel drive vehicles. These vehicles are specifically designed for the harsh driving conditions Rowlett drivers encounter off-road. The driveline in a four-wheel drive vehicle is similar to that of an all-wheel drive vehicle. The center differential, however, is a transfer case. Maintenance requires servicing both of the differentials and the transfer case, as well as an inspection of the joints and seals.

Rowlett auto owners would be wise to check with their owner’s manual for recommendations on how often to service their vehicle drive train. It’s also good auto advice to check with your friendly and knowledgeable Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor as well. You may live in an area in TX where weather or driving conditions require more frequent servicing of the drive train.

Good car care at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett always includes taking care of your driveline. Without it, your vehicle becomes a very large paperweight.

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

What You Need to Know from Your Lewis Complete Auto Repair Service AdvisorNovember 13, 2016

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Rowlett drivers may feel intimidated when they take their vehicles to a service center. They have questions but aren’t sure how to ask. They don’t want to feel embarrassed about their lack of knowledge. They don’t want to make the service technician feel that they don’t trust him.

If your service advisor at Lewis Complete Auto Repair uses a term you don’t understand, just ask him to explain. Remember, they are the auto service experts. If they came to your place of work, they probably wouldn’t understand the jargon, either. When you take your car in to be serviced, make sure you understand the financial issues up-front. Ask about payment policies, warranties and, of course, the cost of the work being done.

It helps to understand basic services your vehicle needs. Know the difference between a quick check-up and a thorough inspection, which you are getting, and which you are asking for. Understand that diagnosing a problem takes time, and time isn’t free. If you have concerns about cost, negotiate your limits before service is done. Don’t be afraid to ask your service advisor for auto advice on how to keep your vehicle on the road within your budget. He can help you prioritize your vehicle’s needs. Some repairs are for the safety and future health of your vehicle. Others can wait. Your Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor can help you set up a plan to get all the work done as you can afford it.

It may be tempting for Rowlett drivers to save money with budget parts. Your service advisor can help you to sort through the options to work within your budget. High-quality parts are always preferable for any auto repair. Your service advisor will make sure the parts used won’t compromise the safety of your vehicle.

Don’t leave your Rowlett service center without your paperwork, either. Ask about warranties for parts and labor. You may need these for claims or if there is a problem in the future. Get detailed explanations of the work done on your car. These records will help you keep track of repairs, service and warranties.

Those records may also help close a deal when it comes time to sell your vehicle. After all, the biggest concern most people in Rowlett have when buying a used vehicle is that they are inheriting someone else’s problems.

Records of repairs and service are a good picture of your vehicle’s condition and performance and what problems a new owner can expect. People are always happier to purchase a vehicle they know has been well-maintained. Whenever we climb into a vehicle, we are entrusting our health and safety to it. Perhaps it’s time to take our vehicles’ health a little more seriously. Open up; ask and learn.

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

 

Transmission Service at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in RowlettNovember 6, 2016

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

The transmission undergoes a lot of stress. The grit you can 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 vehicle 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 worst, it could lead to damage.

When your transmission is running properly, it transfers more power from your engine to the drive wheels, and improves fuel economy. That’s why it is recommended to change your transmission fluid at regular intervals. Your owner’s manual has a schedule for transmission service and, of course, your service advisor at Lewis Complete Auto Repair can tell you what is recommended.

Hot and dusty Rowlett area conditions; towing, hauling, stop and go driving and jackrabbit all start to increase the load on the transmission and its internal temperature. That means Rowlett vehicles 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 owner’s manual suggests more frequent intervals or if you’re driving under severe service conditions around the Rowlett area, you will need to change it more often.

Most Rowlett auto service centers (including Lewis Complete 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! Our pros at Lewis Complete Auto Repair will know the right type of transmission fluid to use. If it’s getting to be time to have your transmission serviced, do your vehicle a favor and have it done.

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

 

Fresh Air Inside Your Car in RowlettOctober 31, 2016

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Air quality has certainly become a hot issue in our modern world. We install air filters on our ventilation systems and in our vacuum cleaners. There’s a filter that cleans the air going into our vehicle’s engine — so why not one for the air in the passenger compartment?

Foreign and domestic vehicle manufacturers haven’t been ignoring the issue. Cabin air filters are becoming a standard feature on newer vehicles. These filters can clean particles out of the air down to three microns, which accounts for pollen, dust and most pollutants. Rowlett residents who suffer from allergies or have a respiratory disorder should be a lot more comfortable. And even if you don’t have a medical need for the filter, the cleaner air in your car just might help you breathe better, figuratively as well as literally.

Cabin air filters are still fairly new in the Rowlett area, so you’ll have to check your vehicle owner’s manual to see if you have one. If you do, your routine car care will have to include changing the filter as part of your preventive maintenance. The owner’s manual will give recommendations on how often the filter has to be changed, but if the air where you live in TX is particularly dirty or if you’re prone to hay fever, you may want to change it more often.

Your friendly service advisor at Lewis Complete Auto Repair can also offer suggestions on how often to change your cabin air filter in your Rowlett area. They’re the ones who actually see the dirty filters, after all.

There is no standardized location for cabin air filters. Rowlett residents can usually find them in the vehicle engine compartment or under the dashboard, but they might be somewhere else. So the ease of changing the filter will depend on its location. Some are readily accessible, but others make you wonder how they got installed in the first place. Bring your car into Lewis Complete Auto Repair and we will locate your cabin air filter for you.

However, if you have a newer vehicle, it’s good auto advice to find out if it has a cabin air filter. If it does, you should change the filter regularly. A sure sign that a filter needs to be changed is that the interior of your vehicle will start to smell bad. That smell is exactly how some Rowlett drivers discovered that they had cabin air filters in the first place!

Cabin air filters are just one more way we have to stay safe, stay healthy, and stay on the road in TX.

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