It Is Time to Check Your IntervalsApril 24, 2017

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Part of the engineering that goes into designing a vehicle is testing the components to ensure that they meet durability and safety standards. Because of this, manufacturers have a good idea as to how long the parts in your vehicle will last under normal driving conditions. For this reason, they give us guidelines to follow regarding how often to inspect the various parts and systems on our vehicles.

Vehicular components are required to meet certain standards. The government mandates some of these standards. Others are set by the auto industry. Recommended car maintenance schedules are designed to help Rowlett vehicle owners maintain these standards. Disregarding routine maintenance or procrastinating preventive maintenance will result in lowered performance and reduced safety for a vehicle.

Maintenance schedules are designed to ensure three areas of automotive performance for Rowlett drivers: protection of the vehicle itself, efficiency and safety.

Protection

Your vehicle’s components need protection from dirt, road damage, rust, corrosion and fuel and combustion by-products. Protective components include filters and fluids.

Most of the fluids in your vehicle are there to keep the vehicle running smoothly and to protect the vehicle from corrosion, damage or harmful contaminants. These fluids need to be changed regularly in order to continue protecting your vehicle.

For example, motor oil lubricates your engine; that keeps it running well, but it also contains detergents and other additives that clean your engine and protect it from corrosion. Your vehicle’s engine was engineered for best performance with a specific weight and type of motor oil. Rowlett drivers should always be careful to use the right motor oil for their engine.

Over time, the  additives in motor oil are depleted, and the oil becomes contaminated by dirt, water and waste gases from combustion. So in order to keep your engine clean and to continue to protect it from corrosion, the oil has to be changed periodically.

Efficiency

Over time, your vehicle’s systems will get dirty and parts will wear down. Cleaning dirty systems and replacing worn parts will improve the efficiency of your vehicle, which is usually measured in terms of and power output.

For example, your fuel system components gradually get clogged up with gum and varnish from gasoline. This restricts fuel flow, which lowers your engine’s efficiency. Gas mileage drops as a result. Cleaning your fuel system will restore and improve gas mileage.

Safety

Some of your vehicle’s systems must be maintained for safety reasons. Your brakes are a prime example of this. Brake pads and brake fluid need to be replaced in order to ensure good braking power. Poorly maintained brakes lead to accidents.

Your owner’s manual is your first resource when it comes to knowing when and how to maintain your vehicle. Of course, you can consult with your Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor. He can give you good auto advice on how to adjust your service schedule to account for climate, local road conditions and your driving distances.

Beyond routine maintenance, your vehicle also requires regular inspections. These inspections are usually recommended at specific mileage intervals, like 15,000 or 20.000 miles (24,000 km or 32,000 km). The interval is based on the known life expectancy for particular components in your vehicle. Regular inspections will identify vehicular components that need to be repaired or replaced before damage is done to the vehicle or safety is compromised. They are also designed to safeguard the efficiency and performance of your vehicle.

The multi-point inspection that comes with a full-service oil change does not cover all of the regular inspections your vehicle needs for peak performance and safety. Check with the automotive professionals at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett to find out what additional inspections your vehicle needs and how often. Good car care requires regular and consistent maintenance. But good maintenance pays for itself in better and fewer repairs. It may even save your life.

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

Problems with Suspension Solved at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in RowlettApril 18, 2017

A vehicle’s suspension system is tough. It can last for years and after lots of driving for Rowlett drivers. But it can be damaged quickly by hitting a pothole, curb or rock, and it can wear more quickly if you frequently drive off-road or on bumpy roads. A workhorse vehicle — one that hauls heavy loads — is also going to be hard on its suspension system.

Because the useful life of your suspension system contains these elements of unpredictability, it is important for Rowlett drivers to have them inspected periodically. Worn, broken and missing parts can be identified during an inspection at Lewis Complete Auto Repair . An ineffective suspension system will decrease the driver’s control over a vehicle, so when it is damaged it frequently leads to the worst kind of vehicular damage — dangerous accidents.

The suspension system is composed of springs and shock absorbers (or shocks). Springs suspend the weight of the vehicle above its axles. They allow the vehicle to “bounce” over bumps, which reduces the force of the impact on the vehicle. Shocks reduce the rebound of the “bounce,” smoothing out the ride of the vehicle. They also force the tires to retain constant contact with the road. Shocks are responsible for “handling performance,” or the ease with which the driver controls the vehicle.

The springs in the suspension system are heavy-duty and rarely break or wear out. Shock absorbers are tough, too, but they will wear out.

Your vehicle might be equipped with struts. Struts are a combination spring and shock absorber. Struts, like shocks, have a limited life span.

Inspecting shocks or struts for damage and wear should be part of your preventive maintenance routine. Since a good suspension system is ultimately a safety feature of your vehicle, it’s always better to be proactive about its care. In this case, good car care can prevent accidents.

There are some signs that will warn you that your suspension system may be in need of attention. One of the signs might be a cupped wear pattern on your tires. This is caused by the shocks bouncing unevenly. Other signs of bad shocks manifest themselves in the handling performance of your vehicle. You may notice a drifting sensation when cornering, often referred to as a “floaty” feeling. If the front of your vehicle dips significantly when you brake or if it rocks back and forth after stopping, it’s time for new shocks. Your technician at Lewis Complete Auto Repair will check your shocks visually. If they’re leaking, they need to be replaced.

Any one of these symptoms warrants an inspection of the suspension system. You should also get your suspension system inspected if you are involved in an accident involving one of your wheels. Rowlett drivers should never put off suspension repairs. If you experience suspension system failure, it can cause a serious accident. If one of your shocks needs to be replaced, then replace all four of them. This allows for even handling of the vehicle. Replacing just one of the shocks is rarely good auto advice.

When you replace your shocks or struts, use parts that are equivalent to — or better than — the original shocks on the vehicle. The original equipment was for the weight and expected use of the vehicle, and Rowlett drivers should never downgrade.

Upgrading, however, is another matter for Rowlett drivers. If your suspension system gets a workout or you just want to improve your vehicle’s handling performance, then you should upgrade to a better shock. If you haul heavy loads around Rowlett or tow a trailer, then you should definitely be getting heavy-duty shocks.

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

Rowlett Drivers: What Is the Risk of High Oil Change Intervals?April 11, 2017

Rowlett residents may have heard that vehicles don’t need their oil changed as often as they used to. That’s true. But it’s not the whole story.

Owing to improved engine technology and higher oil quality, most newer vehicles can go longer between oil changes than their older counterparts.

So what is a good time interval for oil changes? How do Rowlett residents know when to change it? And why do we change it in the first place?

Oil lubricates a vehicle’s engine, which protects it from friction damage. Over time the oil can collect dirt and contaminants that inhibit its performance. But dirty oil isn’t the only problem for Rowlett residents. What you really want to avoid is called oil sludge.

Oil sludge is caused by moisture in the oil and by hot spots in your engine that burn off oil. This sludge is a gooey gel that can clog engine passageways, which can block lubricants from reaching vital engine parts. The result can be engine wear or even engine failure.

Sludge forms rapidly in an engine that is driven under what are termed “severe conditions.” A vehicle’s owner’s manual includes recommendations for oil change intervals under both normal and severe conditions. Severe conditions include towing a trailer, driving in polluted or dusty TX conditions, hauling heavy loads or using a car top carrier. Also, extremes in climate such as very hot or very cold temperatures constitute severe conditions for Rowlett drivers.

Rowlett residents may be tempted to overlook the severe conditions preventive maintenance schedule in their ‘s owner’s manual because of the word “severe.” But consider this: the most common form of severe conditions is stop-and-go driving, or only driving your vehicle on short trips around Rowlett.

When a vehicle only makes trips under four miles/six kilometers, or under 10 miles/16 kilometers in freezing conditions, the engine doesn’t get warm enough for condensation in the oil to evaporate. The result? You get oil sludge build-up. If your driving patterns are the same as any of the conditions that count as severe, you should be changing your oil more frequently under the severe conditions schedule. 

The team at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett can help you understand what type of oil to use in your vehicle and how it can affect your oil change schedule. Some vehicles are filled with synthetic or synthetic-blend oil at the factory. The owner’s manual will recommend that this oil continue to be used in the vehicle, and oil change intervals will be based on this type of oil.

Also, if your vehicle uses conventional oil, but you have some of those severe driving habits we talked about, you can switch to a premium-grade oil to give your vehicle extra protection. The answer to why we change our oil is fairly simple: to protect our engines and make our vehicles last longer and run better. But the answer to how often to change our oil is more complex: it depends on our vehicle, our driving habits, where we live in TX and what kind of oil we use.

When it comes to oil changes, a little information can go a long way to helping Rowlett residents save money and extend the life of their vehicles. Stay safe, and stay on the road.

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

Why Synthetic Oil Is Best for Rowlett DriversApril 3, 2017

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Hello Rowlett! Today’s Lewis Complete Auto Repair vehicle care topic is: Synthetic Oil vs. Petroleum Based Oil. Synthetic motor oil is a substitute for petroleum based oil. If you aren’t currently using it, why not? Synthetic motor oil maximizes engine power and fuel economy. To see why, we’d need a microscope, so we’ll have to settle for using our imaginations. The molecules of conventional motor oil are long hydrocarbon chains. Synthetic motor oil, on the other hand, has uniform, round molecules. Which is slipperier, a pile of pencils or a pile of marbles?

Synthetic motor oil lubricates better because there’s less friction. This results in myriad benefits: better wear protection, cooler operating temperatures, more power and better fuel economy. And synthetic oil doesn’t sludge up like conventional oil so it prevents those small oil passages from clogging up. (We see that all the time at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett.)

Some manufacturers are extending oil change intervals for many models. The added protection of synthetic oil covers you for these longer intervals. Talk with your Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor about how you drive in Rowlett and see if he thinks you can benefit from synthetic oil for your vehicle. Also ask about the appropriate oil change interval for synthetic, because it may very well be longer than for conventional oil.

Most Rowlett drivers have a busy life and occasionally miss an oil change; go ahead, admit it. Since we’re not perfect, doesn’t it make sense to use a motor oil that’s got your back?

What about price? Petroleum based oil may appear to win out on this point, but let’s consider all the facts. Though synthetic oil costs more in Rowlett, it lasts longer, protects your vehicle engine better and increases fuel economy. You’ll likely save money in the long run. If you’re serious about making your vehicle last longer, start using synthetic motor oil right away.

Give us a call.

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

 

Rowlett Safety Systems: Tire Pressure Monitoring SystemMarch 28, 2017

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Flats, blow outs, skids and longer stopping distances can all be the result of driving around Rowlett on underinflated tires. Admittedly, it’s hard to tell when a radial tire is underinflated. If your vehicle manufacturer recommends 35 pounds of pressure, your vehicle tires are considered significantly underinflated at 26 pounds. The tire may not look low until it gets below 20 pounds.

New laws require all vehicles to include a tire pressure monitor system, or TPMS. This technology has been used by race car drivers for years. They are able to head off problems from underinflation by closely monitoring tire pressure on the track. It’s up to your vehicle’s manufacturer to determine which of many TPMS systems available they’ll use to comply with the law.

Obviously, all of this doesn’t come free for Rowlett drivers. Government studies have estimated the net costs. Of course, the TPMS system itself will cost something. Maintaining the system will have a cost, replacement of worn or broken parts and tire repair cost increases.

Your safety has always been a priority at Lewis Complete Auto Repair. We want you on the road and accident free. We’ve traditionally provided things like tire rotations, snow tire mounting and flat fixes at a very low cost. We’ve been able to quickly and cheaply provide the service and pass the low cost on to you as an expression of our good will.

Like all other Rowlett service centers, here at Lewis Complete Auto Repair we’ve had to purchase new scanning equipment to work with the TPMS sensors and to update expensive tire change equipment to better service wheels equipped with the new monitoring systems. Our friendly and knowledgeable service technicians at Lewis Complete Auto Repair  have been thoroughly trained on many systems and new tire-changing techniques. All of this adds up to significantly increased cost to perform what was once a very inexpensive service for you.

So when you start so see the cost of tire changes, flat repairs and rotations going up at Lewis Complete Auto Repair, please keep in mind that it’s because of government mandated safety equipment. We want to keep you safely on the road – and we’re committed to doing it at a fair price. This safety equipment will help you avoid the most common types of vehicle failure in Rowlett, and possibly a catastrophic accident.

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