Automotive Tips from Lewis Complete Auto Repair: Making a Battery Last LongerSeptember 25, 2016

One thing all Rowlett drivers can do to extend the life of their battery is to keep it clean. A greasy, dirty battery holds in damaging heat. Same goes for removing corrosion from the terminals. Lewis Complete Auto Repair can help maintain your battery.

Allowing your battery to be deeply depleted – like from using your headlights when the engine is off – is very harmful to your battery. Most automotive batteries can only take that about 10 times before they are ruined.

Also, making sure you have a full charge every month or so extends battery life. Either an extended drive at freeway speeds around the Rowlett are or using a battery charger will preserve your battery’s ability to hold a full charge.

Give us a call.

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

Improve Your Night Vision When Driving in RowlettSeptember 18, 2016

Night driving in Rowlett is not as safe as daylight driving as evidenced by the increased accident rate at night – much of that simply because it’s dark outside.

Visibility is important to safe driving. Ninety percent of our driving decisions are based on what we see. And at night, we just can’t see as much as we can during the day. In fact, if you have 20/20 vision during the day, your night vision is only 20/50. To translate, that means that an object you can clearly see 50 feet away during daylight, only becomes visible to you at 20 feet at night.

Reaction time is also related to visibility. Rowlett motorists don’t react to a situation until they see it. So at night, we’re reacting to situations later just because it takes longer to see them. But we don’t have to stop driving at night to stay safe. We just need to practice some preventive maintenance and car care that will maximize our night vision.

The most crucial item that helps us see while driving at night is, of course, our headlamps. Rowlett drivers should ensure that their headlamps are as bright as they can be. Headlamps dim over time, but they do it so gradually that it’s difficult to notice. Because of this, experts recommend replacing headlamps once a year.

That’s good auto advice for Rowlett drivers, but it doesn’t apply to all headlamps. Some vehicles use HID, or high-intensity discharge, headlamps. These are bright headlamps that are designed to last for the entire life of a vehicle. Depending on your vehicle, you may be able to upgrade to HID headlamps. Consult with your friendly service advisor at Lewis Complete Auto Repair to learn your options.

Most vehicles use standard or halogen headlamps. If you use standard headlamps, you might want to upgrade to halogen, which offers a brighter headlight. Halogen headlamps come in a variety of grades, also, so evaluate your options the next time you replace your headlamps and upgrade if you want a better light.

It won’t do much good to upgrade or replace your headlamps, however, if your headlight lens is dirty or yellowed. Studies have shown that about 90% of the vehicles on the road have impaired headlights due to dirty or yellowed headlight covers. You should get into the habit of washing your headlights every time you gas up. Simply grab the window washer squeegee, run it over your windows, then swish it across your covers. No cost involved at all.

Plastic headlamp lenses yellow or become hazy over time. If your lenses have this problem, they can be restored with a special polishing process. You may be able to get this done at your Rowlett service center. If not, they should be able to tell you where you can.

Now, what good is a quality headlamp if you can’t see through your windshield? Your windshield needs to be clean and streak-free if you plan on driving at night in Rowlett. You should also keep your windshield washer fluid replenished and your wipers in good condition.

Wiper blades should actually be replaced twice a year. The changing of the seasons at spring and fall, or daylight savings time, can be a good reminder to do this. And while you’re at it, fall is the perfect time to replace your headlamps. Those long winter nights add up to a lot more night driving for people in Rowlett.

Stay alert. Stay awake. And keep those headlamps burning bright.

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

Time Out: Suspension Problems in RowlettSeptember 11, 2016

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Your vehicle’s suspension system has two jobs: to prevent the passengers from getting tossed around inside the vehicle every time it hits a bump in the road and to keep the tires firmly planted on the road around every corner and over every bump.

To see your suspension system, you’ll have to look under your vehicle. Anything that connects the wheels to the vehicle’s frame is part of the suspension system. They’re heavy-duty parts that work hard while you’re driving and take a lot of wear and tear. Because of this, you should have your technician at Lewis Complete Auto Repair look at them once a year as part of your preventive maintenance routine. A good time for it is every time you get your alignment checked.

If your suspension is in trouble, you often feel it in how your vehicle drives. If the vehicle pulls to one side or wanders, if the steering is erratic, if your ride isn’t as smooth as it should be, or if your vehicle handles poorly, you should get a check of your suspension system. Uneven tire wear can also indicate worn parts in your suspension system. If your shocks are leaking oil then they definitely need to be replaced. All in all, if you don’t feel in control when you’re driving, go get your suspension inspected.

Shocks and struts wear out. Wheel bearings may need to be repacked every few years. Some parts of your suspension may need to be lubricated whenever you change your oil. Preventive maintenance is the key to keeping your vehicle under control. Good car care can prevent accidents for Rowlett drivers.

If you are in an accident, even a minor one, it can damage your suspension system or knock your wheels out of alignment. Even hitting a curb, pothole or large rock can damage your suspension. A wheel balancing or alignment won’t correct a suspension problem, and after any suspension work, you may need to get an alignment.

At Lewis Complete Auto Repair, we advise Rowlett drivers never to procrastinate repairs to their suspension system. A damaged suspension system can lead to loss of control of a vehicle in an emergency situation and serious accidents.

Potholes are unsightly nuisances around Rowlett, but they’re also a major cause of suspension damage for Rowlett vehicles. To avoid this, Rowlett drivers should always keep their tires properly inflated. This gives the tires maximum resiliency. When you’re driving around the Rowlett area, avoid potholes if possible. If you can’t avoid one, then slow down before driving over it. Slower speeds limit pothole damage. But if you’re a little late detecting a pothole, don’t brake on top of it. This will throw the vehicle’s weight forward and increase the damage.

The suspension system may not be pretty to look at, but it provides you with a safe, comfortable ride — as long as you maintain it properly. You don’t have to show it off, but you should be proud of it.

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

 

Power Steering Service in RowlettSeptember 5, 2016

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Most Rowlett drivers are too young to remember life before power steering – cranking those great big steering wheels! It was a pretty good workout. Now power steering is standard. Let’s look at how it works. The heart of any power steering system is its pump. The pump pressurizes the power steering fluid that provides assist for steering. Most pumps are driven by a belt that is run by the engine – a few are electrically powered. A high-pressure hose passes fluid from the pump to the steering gear. A low pressure hose returns the fluid back to the pump.

These hoses can develop leaks, so it is a good idea for Rowlett drivers to have them inspected at every oil change. Low fluid can damage the power steering pump. That is why fluid level is on the checklist for a full-service oil change. The fluid needs to be compatible with the hoses and seals, so check your owners’ manual for the right type – or just ask your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett.

The fluid cleans, cools and lubricates the power steering system. It breaks down as the years go by and collects unwanted moisture, so Rowlett drivers need to replace it from time to time. Many vehicle manufacturers specify power steering service intervals. Unfortunately, this important service is sometimes left off the car maintenance schedule for many of us. So, when in doubt, every 25,000 miles/40,000 km or two years is a good fallback. Your technician at Lewis Complete Auto Repair will use a detergent to clean the system, flush out the old fluid and replace it with the good stuff.

Here are some  warning signs of trouble with your power steering: It’s harder to turn the wheel, there’s erratic power assist, you hear loud whining coming from the pump (which may be difficult to hear over the loud whining coming from the backseat), you have to top-off the fluid frequently, or you hear squealing belts. Remember to never hold the steering wheel to the far right or left for more than a few seconds at a time. That will wear out your power steering pump real fast.

Other steering components can be bent or damaged from wear or hard knocks. Ball-joint, idler-arm, steering-gear, steering-knuckle and tie rod to name a few. Warning signs here are steering play, wandering, uneven tire wear, and off-center steering wheel. An annual alignment check at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett will reveal bent or damaged steering components.

Most SUV’s, pick-ups and rear-wheel-drive cars need regular front-wheel-bearing service.

The bearings should be cleaned and inspected. If they are excessively worn, they need to be replaced. The bearings are then repacked in clean grease. The team at Lewis Complete Auto Repair also recommends the wheel-seal be replaced when the bearings are serviced. Like everything else, check your owners’ manual maintenance schedule. It’s usually required around every two years or 40,000 miles/64,000 km. If you drive through water in the Rowlett area, the bearings will need service more often.

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

 

Maintenance on My MindAugust 30, 2016

Ask any Rowlett man or woman if they’ve taken their vehicle in for preventive maintenance lately, and the answer may well be “no.” Surveys indicate that over 80% of vehicles on the road today are in need of some kind of repair or maintenance. Now, ask that same person why he hasn’t taken his car in for care. The answer will probably be that he forgot or that he just didn’t think about it. Most Rowlett residents seem to have a hard time remembering about scheduled maintenance for their vehicles.

Funny, because most of us in Rowlett have no trouble remembering to wash our clothes, mow our lawns or brush our teeth. It isn’t that we can’t remember to take our vehicles for service; it’s a matter of making it a priority.

When it comes to our vehicles, Rowlett drivers like myself, need to be a little more maintenance-minded. The fact is, we can choose to do it, or we might find ourselves being compelled to do it.

For example, when we consistently forget to brush our teeth, a major consequence usually follows. The pain of that experience usually compels us to be more mindful of our teeth and take better care of them.

The same goes for our vehicles. If we ignore them long enough, a painful experience is sure to follow—painful for our pocketbooks, that is. People in Rowlett who have gone through that experience are usually more conscientious about proper car care.

So, if you’re not a fan of the school of hard knocks, at least when it comes to vehicle maintenance, remind yourself to look after your car. Pay attention to the little oil change tag on your windshield. When it’s time take your car in, do it. But don’t just change the oil. Get a full-service oil change at Lewis Complete Auto Repair. Your technician will then check all of your fluids. He can advise you if any of them need to be changed, or if any of them are low.

Low fluid levels can indicate leaks or a worn hose or seal, so they can check those for you as well. Other signs of wear are also immediately evident when you get a full-service oil change, such as a cracked serpentine belt or corroded battery cable. Your Lewis Complete Auto Repair technician will also check the vehicle manufacturer’s service recommendations for your vehicle and advise you of any other routine service that is coming due.

It’s like a one-stop shop for auto advice that will keep you on top of your vehicle’s maintenance.

If there is more to be done than the budget allows, you can get a picture of what needs to be done, then create a plan with your Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor and budget for it during the coming months. It’s a whole lot less painful than unexpected car repairs.

Vehicles are more reliable than they ever have been. They can take a lot of abuse and neglect. But they’re also expensive and complicated machines. Rowlett drivers can’t expect them to run forever without proper fluids and filters. Preventive maintenance at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett will improve the reliability and life expectancy of your vehicle, as well as ensuring your safety on the road in TX.

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