When Are Your Tires Worn Out?June 16, 2019

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Hey Rowlett area drivers, are your tires worn out? What is the standard for our TX streets? How can you tell on your vehicle?

While there may be legal requirements for the Rowlett area, there are safety concerns that go beyond meeting minimum replacement mandates.

Two-thirty-seconds of an inch is the depth of the tire tread wear indicator bars that US law has required to be molded across all tires since August 1, 1968. When tires are worn so that this bar is visible, there’s just 2/32 of an inch – 1.6 millimeters – of tread left. It’s that level of wear that’s been called into question recently.

We’re referring to the tread depth on a tire, it can’t move surface water out of the way and you start to hydroplane.

In a safety study, a section of a test track was flooded with a thin layer of water. If you laid a dime on the track, the water would be deep enough to surround the coin, but not enough to cover it.

A car and a full-sized pick-up accelerated to 70 miles per hour, or 112 kilometers an hour, and then made a hard stop in the wet test area. Stopping distance and time were measured for three different tire depths:

  • New tire tread depth
  • 4/32 of an inch, or 3.2 mm
  • 2/32 of an inch, or 1.6 mm

So what happened with the 2/32 inch/1.6 mm tires on the car? Get this – when the car had traveled the distance required to stop with new tires, it was still going 55 mph/89 kph. Stopping distance was nearly doubled to 379 feet/116 meters, and it took 5.9 seconds.

Wow! That means if you barely have room to stop with new tires, you would hit the car in front of you at 55 mph/89 kph with the worn tires.

Now, with the partially worn tires – at 4/32 of an inch, or 3.2 mm – the car was still going at 45 mph/72 kph at the point where new tires brought the car to a halt. It took nearly 100 feet, or about 30 meters, more room to stop and 1.2 seconds longer. That’s a big improvement. We can see why Consumer Reports and others are calling for a new standard.

Of course, stopping distances were greater for the heavier pick-up truck.

How do you know when your tires are at 4/32 inch or 3.2 mm? Easy; just insert an American quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn’t cover George Washington’s hairline, it’s time to replace your tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.

You may remember doing that with pennies. A penny gives you 2/32 inch, or 1.6 mm, to Abraham Lincoln’s head. The quarter is the new recommendation – 4/32 inch, or 3.2 mm.

How do people feel about replacing their tires earlier? Well, tires are a big ticket item and most people want to get the most wear out of them that they can. But do you want that much more risk just to run your tires until they are legally worn out?

For us, and we would guess for many, the answer is “no”.

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

 

To Save Gas Around Rowlett: Keep up with Your Scheduled ServiceJune 9, 2019

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One topic that hits the news in TX on a regular basis is the price of gas. The answer for some TX drivers is to buy a vehicle that gets better fuel economy. For those of us in Rowlett who don’t want to add a car payment to our monthly expenses, we need to improve our fuel economy any way we can.

Following recommended service intervals by coming into Lewis Complete Auto Repair is one of the best ways people in Rowlett can keep their vehicle running efficiently. That means better fuel economy. When you give it some thought, it only makes sense. Dirty oil or transmission fluid can’t lubricate or clean. That means more drag which reduces fuel economy.

Keeping up with scheduled oil changes and transmission services will save gas for TX drivers.

Dirty engine air filters are another efficiency pirate. They rob your engine of enough air to effectively burn the fuel, so you need more gas to get the job done. Replacing a dirty air filter can pay for itself in fuel savings before the next oil change.

You can imagine what dirty fuel injectors can do to your vehicle as you drive around Rowlett. If your owner’s manual recommends a fuel system cleaning, come into Lewis Complete Auto Repair and ask us to get it done for you.

A simple, but very effective way for drivers to save gas is to keep their tires properly inflated. Low tires can cost you up to a mile per gallon/.425 kilometers per liter. Check your tire pressure when you gas up – or at least once a month.

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

Why Wheel Balancing and Tire Rotation Save You Money on TiresJune 2, 2019

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Rowlett drivers want their tires to last as long as possible. Two ways to extend tire life are wheel balancing and tire rotation.

When wheels are out of balance, they wobble and vibrate. That makes the tires wear in a cupping pattern. If a front wheel is out of balance you’ll feel it in the steering wheel. If it’s a rear wheel you’ll feel it through your seat. To fix this, your technician at Lewis Complete Auto Repair puts weights on your wheels to balance them out.

That brings us to tire rotation. The front tires on a vehicle wear out faster than the rear tires. As they push through turns, the shoulders of the front tires wear down. So rotating front and rear tires allows them to all wear at about the same rate over the life of the tire.

Proper tire inflation will also help Rowlett folks’ tires last longer. Underinflated tires wear more on the shoulder and may even overheat. This could cause tire damage or a blow out. Overinflated tires wear too fast in the middle.

Four-wheel-drive trucks and SUV’s tend to wear their tires more unevenly so rotation is even more important with them. Give Lewis Complete Auto Repair a call to get our recommendation for your vehicle.

See your owner’s manual or ask your service advisor at Lewis Complete Auto Repair for your recommended tire rotation schedule. It’s usually every 5,000 to 8,000 miles, or 8,000 to 13,000 km.

Tires are among the most important safety components on your vehicle. Take care of them and they’ll take care of you.

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

Automotive Tips from Lewis Complete Auto Repair: A Broken or Damaged Timing BeltMay 26, 2019

The timing belt rotates the cam shafts which open and close the valves that allow air, fuel, and exhaust to flow through the engine as it powers your car when you drive around Rowlett.

An old timing belt can lose a “tooth” in the belt allowing it to slip. The engine could stop or misfire. Timing belt slips – or a broken timing belt – can be disastrous on some engines. In “interference” engines, open valves can get in the way of the piston when the timing belt breaks or slips. When that happens one or more valves can be bent requiring expensive engine repairs.

It is important for Rowlett drivers to replace their timing belts as recommended in their owner’s manual to avoid unnecessary breakdowns. Ask the team of professionals at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett if it’s time for your timing belt to be replaced.

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

Bad VibesMay 19, 2019

Your vehicle has a way of letting you know when something’s wrong. Consider a vibrating steering wheel. It certainly didn’t do that when it was new, so that shake is trying to tell you something.

There are a few things that can cause your steering wheel to vibrate as you drive down the road.  One of the most common is out-of-balance tires.  You may not only feel that wobble in your steering wheel, you might also feel it in the tires.  Sometimes it’s not there when you’re driving at lower speeds through residential areas, and sometimes it starts when you hit highway speeds. 

So what is tire balance anyway?  Well, you have a rubber tire that fits around a metal wheel.  It should have the same weight all the way around.  If it doesn’t, it will start getting the shakes.  Ever load your washing machine so that all the clothes are at one side of that drum that spins?  When it hits the spin cycle, it can throw that washer against the wall. 

That’s the same thing that’s happening with an out-of-balance tire/wheel combination.  A technician has special equipment to figure out where to put small weights on the wheel to get things back in balance again.  But it could be that you hit a pothole some time ago and bent the rim.  Or your tire isn’t as round and even as it once was.  That could be due to age, damage or wear and tear. The technician will know and offer you options.

Another possibility for that vibrating wheel is a faulty brake, such as warped rotors or a sticky caliper.  All of these issues can be evaluated as part of regular, routine maintenance with us.  There are many things that cause vibrations in your wheels.  But you don’t want any bad vibes when it comes to your vehicle. 

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