Budget for Maintenance in RowlettJune 19, 2016

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Sometimes busy Rowlett residents dream about going back to the “simpler” days of our grandparents. But if you could travel back in time and take a road trip around TX in a Model T, you might change your mind. The improved designs and quality of today’s automobiles have significantly reduced the amount of time Rowlett residents spend at the side of the road during breakdowns. With proper maintenance, today’s vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before.

Some of those improvements, however, have led to higher repair costs. For example, older cars often broke down from vapor lock. Gas vaporized while traveling from the gas tank to the fuel pump. No gas, no power. The car quits going. The solution was simple — you just sat by the road until the car would start up again. Today’s Rowlett drivers would hardly tolerate that kind of inconvenience; and it’s likely that yesterday’s Rowlett drivers didn’t care much for it, either. So on today’s vehicles, the fuel pump is actually located inside the gas tank. Problem solved. No more vapor lock. The downside is that now it costs a lot more to repair or replace a fuel pump at Rowlett area auto service centers.

Rowlett drivers should certainly should be grateful for the improvements in auto design that keep us off the side of the road, but it comes at a price. Car care in TX is simply more  than it used to be. So if you think about it, Rowlett drivers can avoid many vehicle repairs by preventive maintenance. If we plan for maintenance, we can avoid a lot of costly repairs.

Just a bit of auto advice from Lewis Complete Auto Repair: If you like new cars and can afford them, then buy them. But if you are buying a new car every few years because you’re afraid of the higher repair costs for older vehicles, then you ought to take a second look at the numbers. You can save a lot of money on car payments and TX auto insurance with an older vehicle, and preventive auto maintenance can help you avoid most car repair bills. And if you budget for preventive maintenance you have done at Lewis Complete Auto Repair, it can become as routine as a car payment — only a whole lot less!

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

Battery Basics for RowlettJune 12, 2016

It’s important for Rowlett drivers to know battery basics. First, let’s talk about which is harder on a battery – hot or cold TX weather. Most Rowlett area drivers think it’s cold weather because that’s when we call on our batteries to have enough power to start a cold vehicle engine.

However, heat does more damage to a battery than cold. Truth is, our batteries start to die a little from day one. Keeping a full charge slows the process, which is hard with short Rowlett trips because the alternator doesn’t have time to fully recharge the battery from starting the engine. Rowlett drivers can top off the charge with a computer controlled battery charger – say, once a month in the summer and every three months during the winter.

As far as how long a battery will last, statistics show that 70% have given up the ghost within four years. By that time, they aren’t capable of taking a full charge like they used to, and your vehicle alternator has to work overtime to keep up. This causes your alternator to wear out early.

If you’re pushing 4 to 5 years on your battery, see your friendly and knowledgeable Lewis Complete Auto Repair service assistant for a battery test to see if it’s recommended to replace it. Not only can you avoid getting stranded with a dead battery on a TX road, but you’ll save unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle alternator.

Give us a call.

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

 

Keeping Your Engine Cool in Rowlett, TXJune 6, 2016

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The cooling system keeps TX vehicle’s engines from overheating while they are driving around Rowlett. Its job is to move heat away from the engine. Let’s talk about the various components of the system and how they make this happen.

The radiator is the part most Rowlett drivers associate with the cooling system. Coolant flows through the radiator which has fine cooling fins that draw the heat out of the coolant and dissipate it into the air. To make sure there’s enough airflow over the radiator, a fan pulls air over the cooling fins even when the vehicle is idling.

In some vehicles, the fan is powered by the serpentine belt. On others, an electric motor runs the fan. Electric fans turn on and off as needed. You may have heard the fan kick on shortly after you turn your vehicle off. The sensor has determined that the engine needs a little help cooling down to a safe temperature.

A hose connects the radiator to the water pump. The water pump pushes the water into the vehicle engine block. Now the engine block and cylinder heads have passages for the coolant to pass through without getting into the oil or the combustion chamber. In the automotive community, these passages are referred to as the “water jacket”.

While the coolant is passing through the water jacket, it absorbs heat from the vehicle engine on its way to the radiator for cooling. Between the engine and the radiator is a gatekeeper called the thermostat. The thermostat’s job is to regulate the temperature of the engine just like your home thermostat regulates the temperature in your house. It gets your engine up to the correct operating temperature and then keeps it from overheating.

When you first start the engine, it’s very cold and needs to warm up. So the thermostat blocks the flow of coolant to the radiator. As the engine warms up, the thermostat starts to let coolant flow through the system.

The final component the team at Lewis Complete Auto Repair wants to point out is the overflow reservoir. This bottle is designed to hold some of the coolant. It’ll have a mark that indicates whether or not you have enough coolant. This is where you should add coolant if you just need to top it off.

Caution: never open the reservoir or the radiator cap when the car’s hot. The cooling system is pressurized and opening them while it’s hot can cause hot coolant and steam to escape resulting in serious burns.

Cooling system failure is the most common mechanical failure in vehicles around Rowlett, TX. At Lewis Complete Auto Repair, we can do a periodic inspection of the components for  leaks, loose connections and weakening hoses.

Your vehicle manufacturer has also specified a cooling system service interval. With a cooling system service at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett, the old coolant is replaced with correct clean fluid that contains the additives required to prevent corrosion. The additives are depleted over time and you need fresh fluid for adequate protection. Your radiator pressure cap should be replaced at this service as well.

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

Automotive Tips from Lewis Complete Auto Repair: Serpentine Belt OverviewMay 30, 2016

The technicians at Lewis Complete Auto Repair know your serpentine belt drives important engine accessories like your alternator, air conditioning compressor, and power steering. In some cars it may also power the power brakes or water pump. The serpentine belt is powered by the engine and winds around pulleys and the accessories. Some cars in Rowlett have two serpentine belts.

The serpentine belt, the belt tensioner (which maintains the appropriate tension on the belt) and the idler pulleys are together known as the accessory drive system.

Now your serpentine belt and the belt tensioner will just wear out over time – that’s why your vehicle manufacturer has a scheduled belt replacement interval. The team at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett can inspect your serpentine belt for wear and get it replaced if it’s time.

Give us a call.

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

 

Check Your Shocks and Struts at Lewis Complete Auto RepairMay 24, 2016

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Today we’re talking to Rowlett drivers about shocks and struts. They’re so easy for TX folks to forget about because they last so long and wear out so slowly. But your shocks are really responsible for keeping your tires on the road – so they’re very important.

Without shocks, your wheels would be bouncing over bumps and lifting on corners. The shocks push the tire down to the road to maximize traction. Good shocks equal good ride quality and safe handling for Rowlett drivers.

There’s a difference between shocks and springs. Springs support the weight of the vehicle, keeping it suspended up off the axles. The shocks moderate the rebound motion as wheels hit bumps. Now a strut combines a shock and a coil spring in one compact unit.

It’s best to replace all four shocks at the same time. That way you’ll have even, predictable handling at all four corners. Anything less could be dangerous.

Visit Lewis Complete Auto Repair to have your shocks and struts inspected by a professional.

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