Talk to Lewis Complete Auto Repair About New Shoes for Your VehicleOctober 22, 2017

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Custom wheels are one way that Rowlett folks express themselves and personalize their vehicle. But they aren’t as cheap and easy as sticking decals on your back window. There are several factors that need to be considered, including cost, the fit of the wheel, modifications that will have to be made to the vehicle, how the new wheels and tires will affect the operation of the vehicle, your driving habits and, of course, the style of the wheels. Most Rowlett drivers start with the last factor: the style of the wheels. But that should be the last thing we choose.

When considering custom wheels, you should first carefully consider your budget. Some wheels may require adjustments to your vehicle suspension system, brakes, or traction systems. You need to know what you can afford before you start shopping or get your heart set on a particular type of wheel.

There are three basic ways you can change your wheels. First, you choose a wheel that is already the same size as the ones on your vehicle. Second, you can choose larger wheels and third, you can choose smaller wheels. Mounting wheels that are the same size as the ones already on your car sounds easy enough. But even though the wheel may be the same diameter as your current wheels, that doesn’t mean it will fit your vehicle. Besides diameter, wheels also have an offset. This is the measurement from the inside edge of the wheel to the point at which it bolts on. If your new wheel does not have the same offset as your current wheels, your vehicle tires can rub on the inside or outside of the wheel well. This can lead to blowouts, uneven tread wear and other mechanical problems.

The tire and wheel professionals in Rowlett at Lewis Complete Auto Repair on 5110 Grisham Dr. can help you select a wheel that has both the correct diameter and offset for your vehicle. Or, if you really want a specific wheel in spite of the offset difference, your technician may be able to install adapters that will make the wheels fit.

Mounting larger wheels is a more involved process. There are several ways of doing this. You can mount larger wheels but keep the overall tire diameter the same. Or you can “supersize” your tire/wheel combo. Mounting larger wheels while maintaining the same overall tire diameter is the easiest way to increase wheel size. You still need to adjust for offset. Generally, this alteration means that your new tires will be wider than the originals, so you will have to install adapters to keep them from rubbing on the wheel wells. Consult your service advisor at Lewis Complete Auto Repair by calling 972.475.4800.

If you want to install larger wheels and increase the overall tire diameter, it is important that the package fits in the wheel well; you may have to do some minor modifications to your suspension. More importantly, you will have to reprogram your vehicle engine’s computer to calibrate for the larger tire size. The computer calculates your speed based on the rotation of your tires, so increasing the size of the tires will render it inaccurate. Inaccurate speed calculations can mess up your anti-lock brakes and your stability control systems, as well as your speedometer and odometer.

As you can see, the more modifications you make, the more it becomes important to have your friendly and knowledgeable Lewis Complete Auto Repair tire and wheel professional help you with your car care.

If you really want those “super-sized” tires, great: just factor in the issues listed above, plus you may have to have modifications done to your suspension system.

The larger wheels and tires will add weight to your vehicle. This weight is not held up by the suspension system, so is referred to as “unsprung” weight. Adding unsprung weight affects your car differently than just adding loads inside of your car. Unsprung weight can affect acceleration and braking. Putting large wheels on your vehicle may require an upgraded brake system.

Also, you may not get the performance from your vehicle that you’ve been used to. It may be sluggish when accelerating or harder to handle when turning. You may also find that the ride is bumpier than it was before. Of course, done right at Lewis Complete Auto Repair, a good wheel job can sometimes improve a vehicle’s ride or performance. It just depends on your vehicle, the type of wheels you choose and what you are hoping to accomplish.

Now let’s suppose you want smaller wheels on your vehicle. That should be easier, right? Not really. You still have to worry about offset, and it is important that your computer be reprogrammed to account for calibration issues. And you may need adjustments to your suspension system.

Remember your budget? All of these scenarios require that you shell out some money. Perhaps now you can see why it is good auto advice for Rowlett drivers to make that consideration first, before setting their heart on a specific type of wheel.

Another consideration should always be your driving habits. Do you do a lot of off-roading on the outskirts of Rowlett? Do you carry heavy loads? Do you tow a trailer on TX roads? All of these factors must be considered when replacing your tires and wheels. Some wheels just may not be up to the work you need them to do.

For example, if you mount large rims on your vehicle, then add low-profile tires to avoid major adjustments to other systems, they won’t be able to handle off-roading as well as larger tires. There won’t be enough sidewall on the tires to absorb the impact from off-roading. You could end up with dented or broken rims.

At the end of the day, Rowlett drivers should always put safety ahead of appearance. That’s why you shouldn’t add custom wheels to your vehicle without consulting with your Lewis Complete Auto Repair tire and wheel professional. Cutting corners when installing custom wheels by not making necessary adjustments to all of the systems impacted by the change can result in dangerous operating conditions as well as repairs down the road.

The friendly and knowledgeable auto professionals at Lewis Complete Auto Repair want to remind Rowlett drivers of the basics of vehicle safety: preventive maintenance, emergency preparedness and professional repairs. Stay safe, and stay on the road.

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

Another Couple of Years: Making Your Vehicle Last With Help From Lewis Complete Auto RepairOctober 17, 2017

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A while back, the Cash for Clunkers program was all over the TX news. Rowlett people could trade in their old vehicle for a new one that got better gas mileage and receive a government rebate.

A lot of Rowlett motorists had so-called clunkers that they wanted to keep. They’re good commuters, grocery getters or toy haulers. They enjoy that fact that they’re paid off, or soon will be. They would gladly like to keep their vehicles for 200,000 miles (320,000 kilometers) or more – as long as it’s economical to do so.

There are plenty of Rowlett drivers whose vehicles are running after 150,000 or 200,000 miles (240,000 or 320,000 kilometers). We can learn from what they’re doing to keep our own vehicles on the road in TX.

The Rowlett drivers of high-mileage cars often report a common denominator of never skipping an oil change.

That may sound a bit unsophisticated, but it’s really not. First off, oil is the life blood of your vehicle’s engine and it needs to be clean to properly lubricate. Skipping oil changes leads to clogged oil filters and sludge that is bad for your engine.

There’s another reason the scheduled oil change is so important for Rowlett car owners. It’s simple – a Lewis Complete Auto Repair professional is going to be looking at your car. All of your fluid levels will be inspected and topped off so they won’t get so low that damage can be done. If there is a significant fluid loss, let’s use brake fluid as an example, your Lewis Complete Auto Repair technician can look for the cause of the loss and find the problem before it leads to an accident or repair.

Your friendly and knowledgeable Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor will also visually inspect your vehicle for worn belts and hoses, uneven tire wear, leaking shock absorbers and more. Problems get addressed before they lead to repairs that cost more than the car’s worth.

Realistically, things are going to wear out as your vehicle gets older. On the way to 200,000 miles (320,000 kilometers) you’ll go through several batteries, probably a couple of alternators and water pumps, a set of shocks and likely some brake rotors.

Of course, these things cost some money, but they are less than new vehicle payments in Rowlett. With proper service at Lewis Complete Auto Repair and regular inspections, you’ll keep surprise repairs to a minimum and more money in your wallet.

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

Automotive Tips from Lewis Complete Auto Repair: Air Conditioning InspectionOctober 8, 2017

Most auto manufacturers recommend an interval for an air conditioning system inspection. The inspection uncovers leaks, worn hoses and assesses the condition of the other components.

Environmental laws in some around Rowlett require leaks to be repaired before refrigerant can be added. Also some parts manufacturers require other components to be replaced along with certain failed parts in order to maintain the new part warranty. This is because a given failure may be the result of another worn or damaged part that will, if not replaced, prematurely damage the new component.

Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett is fully equipped to restore your flow of cool air.

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

 

Picking the Right Tires in RowlettOctober 2, 2017

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Shopping for tires in Rowlett can be bewildering because there are many choices. Let’s simplify. There are four main classifications of tires, each designed for different purposes.

First off, there are summer tires. Those who buy summer tires in Rowlett are looking for maximum summertime performance. The rubber is a little softer to help stick to the road on fast corners on TX roads. The tread has wide blocks at the shoulder to stiffen the tire in turns. The tread design can handle rain but really isn’t set up for snow and ice.

Next comes winter tires. Rowlett people buy winter tires because they still like performance driving when it’s cold and slippery on TX roads, so they need a tread design that’ll really bite into ice and snow. The rubber compound is formulated to stay pliable when temperatures drop below 45 degrees F/7 degrees C so they get great traction even on dry roads. On the other end of the winter tire spectrum are tires designed to handle well in severe ice and snow conditions.

The third category is all-season tires. Most new cars in Rowlett showrooms come with all-season tires. This is a tire that is designed to be used all year round. The tread design and rubber compound is a compromise that won’t give you the extreme capabilities of summer or winter tires; but if you’re driving and weather conditions aren’t at the extreme ends of the range, all-season tires might suit you just fine.

The last category is what you might have on your SUV or pickup. All-terrain or off-road tires are designed for both highway and off-road use – a tire that gets good traction in the dirt and on off-road obstacles, but still performs well on paved Rowlett roads.

Choosing the right tire is important for Rowlett car owners. Talk with your Lewis Complete Auto Repair tire professional about your driving requirements and receive valuable guidance on tires that will meet your needs.

Give us a call.

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

Does My Choice in Oil Affect Change Intervals?September 30, 2017

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Oil changes are probably the most recognized service on a vehicle. Almost all Rowlett residents know about them. But do we know enough?

Several decades ago, oil changes were fairly standard: every three months or 3,000 miles or 5,000 kilometers. But recent advances in both engine technology and oil quality have led to longer oil change intervals.

Delayed or skipped oil changes are a problem for Rowlett residents because they lead to the build-up of oil sludge in your engine. Oil sludge forms when engine oil breaks down, which happens with both time and miles. Obviously, driving will take its toll on engine oil, but the oil also breaks down even as the vehicle just sits in the garage. This is why oil change intervals are listed in both time and distance traveled, and the phrase “whichever comes first” is applicable.

Oil sludge is essentially petroleum jelly. Imagine this stuff squishing around in your vehicle engine, pushing into small engine passageways and blocking passage of oil to vital engine parts, shortening your engine’s life expectancy.

To prevent sludge, you have to get your oil changed regularly, as often as the manufacturer recommends. Check your owner’s manual for every vehicle you own to know the interval for each one. Don’t assume they will be the same.

If you tow a trailer, haul heavy loads, make a lot of short trips around Rowlett, usually engage in stop-and-go (or around-the-town) driving, drive in cold or hot TX weather, or drive in polluted or dusty conditions, you may need to change your oil more frequently. Check your vehicle’s owner’s manual for a “severe service” recommendation.

If the manual doesn’t give you the advice you need, talk to your friendly and knowledgeable Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor. He will be able to answer any questions about preventive maintenance or vehicle care that you may have, including how often to change your oil.

Rowlett residents need to get the right weight and type of oil recommended for their vehicles. More and more are using synthetic oil in their vehicles. Synthetic oil typically lasts longer and is more resistant to sludge formation than conventional motor oil. But it is also more expensive. So it can be tempting for Rowlett residents to ask for conventional oil, but if you replace synthetic oil with conventional oil, you will have to change your oil more often to prevent sludge build-up. In the end, you’re probably not saving money at all.

Also, your engine may not be designed for the conventional oil. Check your owner’s manual before replacing synthetic oil with conventional.

Talk to your Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor for more information.

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