Automotive Tips from Lewis Complete Auto Repair: Timing Belt OverviewSeptember 4, 2017

In your engine, valves over each combustion chamber open to allow fresh air in, close during the combustion event, and then other valves open to let out the exhaust. All of this happens over and over thousands of times a minute when you are driving around Rowlett. The timing belt’s important job is to make sure that all of this happens as it should – at precisely the right time. If the timing is off, your engine won’t run efficiently or maybe not at all – so a good timing belt is important. If it should break, you could end up at Lewis Complete Auto Repair with expensive engine damage.

Ask your friendly and professional Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor when your timing belt is scheduled for replacement.

Give us a call.

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

Wheel Balancing at Lewis Complete Auto RepairAugust 27, 2017

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So you love your job, and your family life is great. Congratulations! You have achieved balance. But can you say the same for your wheels? Rowlett drivers can tell if their tires are out of balance by vibrations at higher speeds on TX roads. If one of the front tires is out, you feel the vibration in the steering wheel. If it’s a back tire, you’ll feel the vibration in your seat.

Tires and wheels are pretty heavy. When a tire is mounted on a wheel at Lewis Complete Auto Repair, it is usually not perfectly balanced. So the technician will spin the tire on a machine to determine where it’s too heavy. He will then place weights on the wheels in strategic locations to balance it out. When a tire is out of balance, it actually bounces down the road instead of rolling smoothly. Since the average size tire rotates at about 850 revolutions per minute at 60 mph/97 kph, it is actually slamming into the pavement 14 times a second. That’s where you get your vibration.

Most people in Rowlett are surprised at how smoothly their car rides after balancing all four wheels.

Most high-quality tires sold in Rowlett hold their balance pretty well. They just get out of balance gradually with normal wear and tear. If you suddenly feel a vibration, it is probably because you lost a wheel balancing weight along the way. Definitely get a balance at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett if you feel a vibration, change your rims or have a flat repaired. Putting off a needed balance job leads to excessive and tire wear, wear to your shocks, struts, steering and suspension parts. Wheel balancing not only improves your ride and handling, but also can save you some repair bills and possibly an accident. Additionally, you will get better fuel economy.

Some Rowlett area drivers have their tires balanced at every rotation. Others do it every other time. Check your owner’s manual for your requirements, or ask your friendly service advisor at Lewis Complete Auto Repair. Doing this will put you on the path to mechanical wheel balance.

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

 

What Is a Differential and Do You Have One?August 22, 2017

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With front-wheel drive being so common these days in Rowlett, TX, the differential is just taken care of during a transmission service, so most Rowlett drivers don’t even have to think about it. And rear-wheel drive differentials don’t need to be serviced for years, so it’s understandable that it’s not something on the top of Rowlett customers’ minds. It’s not uncommon for drivers to not know they have a differential let alone know that it needs service.

Call Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett at 972.475.4800 for information about differential service, or stop by our Rowlett, TX, auto center at 5110 Grisham Dr., 75088.

To better understand what a differential does, think about our local Rowlett high school track. There are lanes marked off on the track. For the longer distance races, the starting lines are staggered. The starting lines for the outside lanes are ahead of the starting lines for the inside lanes. That’s to compensate for the longer length of the outside lanes. Staggering the starting lines means that each runner has the same distance to run.

The differential compensates for the difference in speeds between the inside wheel and the outside wheel in a turn, because they have to travel together through slightly different distances.

It’s a very important function. When you think of it, all the power to get a vehicle moving goes through the differential. Most cars in the Rowlett, TX area weigh between 3,000 and 6,000 pounds (1,400 and 2,800 kg) – trucks even more. The power from the engine goes through the transmission and then through the differential to the drive wheels.

That’s a lot of work and requires very heavy duty parts. And those parts need protection. The differential fluid lubricates the gears in the differential and keeps them cool.

The fluid eventually gets dirty and worn down. Some kinds of differentials require special additives that break down over time. So vehicle manufacturers recommend intervals for replacing your differential fluid.

The professionals at Lewis Complete Auto Repair will drain the used fluid and check it out for metal bits, which could be a sign of excessive wear on the gears. Then they’ll replace the fluid and install the additives if necessary.

Your Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor can look up the vehicle manufacture’s recommended service interval or you can check your owner’s manual. Give us a call at 972.475.4800 for more information about your differential service.

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

What’s up with Diesels in Rowlett?August 16, 2017

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Would you be surprised to learn that about half of the passenger cars in Europe have diesel engines? You might also be surprised to learn that most manufacturers produce a variety of diesel-fueled cars for purchase abroad.

Diesel-fueled vehicles haven’t been as popular in the North American markets like TX. But that won’t be true for long. North Americans are seeing a lot more diesel-fueled vehicles on the road. And we’re not talking about buses and trucks. These vehicles will be passenger cars, pick-ups and SUV’s.

There are two reasons for this. The first is a recent change in environmental laws that have upgraded emissions standards for diesel fuel in North America. Diesel fuel in North America used to have higher sulfur content than European fuel, meaning that it was a dirtier fuel to burn. That was okay for larger vehicles, but the lighter-weight engines in passenger vehicles just couldn’t tolerate it.

But that high sulfur content is now a thing of the past. Fuel producers are now required to sell cleaner diesel fuel in Rowlett. That opens the North American market to more diesel-powered vehicles. The second reason we’re going to see more of these vehicles in Rowlett is that they’re more fuel-efficient than their gasoline-powered counterparts. Diesel fuel has higher energy density than gasoline. That translates to more power per barrel of fuel. In your tank, that translates to better engine performance and about 20% better fuel economy.

People in Rowlett may associate diesel engines with black smoke, noise and a definite “shake, rattle and roll.” That’s also a thing of the past. Modern diesel engines are smooth, quiet and produce cleaner emissions than gasoline engines. Also, forget that three-second wait behind a diesel vehicle at a stoplight. Modern diesels are just as quick to accelerate as other vehicles on Rowlett roads.

Diesel engines have other advantages over gasoline engines. Diesel engines are heavier than gasoline engines because they require more heavy-duty parts, but that means the engines are more durable and can last longer than gasoline engines. Also, diesel engines may be the engines of the future since they can burn many of the new bio-fuels.

Bio-diesel can be manufactured from vegetable oils, including used cooking oil from Rowlett restaurants. Just think, one day you could fuel your vehicle on stuff that was once considered waste—one step closer to a cleaner environment here in TX. And if you think hybrid cars are environmentally sound, consider what a diesel-electric hybrid could mean. 

Rowlett drivers who are considering buying a diesel-fueled vehicle should know that  preventive maintenance and inspection schedules are different for a diesel engine than a gasoline engine. Diesel fuel is harder on emissions systems than gasoline, so the filters and other devices have to be changed and checked more often. Also, the fuel injection system operates at much higher pressures for diesel than for gasoline, so keeping it clean becomes a higher priority.

When you switch from a gas vehicle to a diesel, you’ll have to learn some new rules of vehicle care. But you won’t be alone. Most Rowlett service centers are aware that diesels are coming to North America and are already prepared to provide service for diesel engines. At Lewis Complete Auto Repair, we are well-versed in diesel technology. You can rely on our team of automotive professionals to provide quality service for diesel-powered vehicles.

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

 

It Pays to Take Care of Your Transmission at Lewis Complete Auto RepairJuly 31, 2017

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If you’ve been paying attention, you’ve noticed that vehicle engines are getting more and more powerful in Rowlett. At the same time, they are getting better and better fuel economy. I’ve gotta tell ‘ya, most of that’s because of technological advances in transmissions. To get a better understanding of why that is, let’s talk bicycles.

You’ve probably seen plenty of cyclists on Rowlett roads. Perhaps you ride yourself. Then you know that a cyclist’s cadence is the number of times per minute he or she pedals. The ideal pedal speed is the zone where they can most efficiently generate power over a sustained period of time. The experienced TX cyclist uses her gears to keep her pedal speed in the ideal zone whether she’s climbing a hill, cruising on a flat stretch or killing a downhill.

Think of it this way: if you have a 1-speed bike, you really have to pump hard to get up to speed. Your top speed is limited by how fast as you can pedal. And if you’re climbing a steep TX hill – forget about it.

Now let’s add a couple of gears: one lower and another one higher. With the lower first gear, you can get up to your ideal pedal speed more quickly. When you shift to second, your pedal speed drops below ideal for a while as you work to get back to peak efficiency. Same thing happens when you shift to third, but now you can go much faster than you could with a 1-speed bike using the same effort. Add more gears and you can see that it’s much easier to maintain ideal pedal speed. The result, quicker starts, better hill climbing, higher top speed and, most of all, a lot less fatigue for the Rowlett rider.

Like a cyclist on a bike, every vehicle engine has an ideal engine speed called its power band. When an engine is running in that zone, it can make power very efficiently. It’s the vehicle transmission’s job to keep the engine in the power band over a wide range of operating conditions. Today 5 or 6 speed automatic transmissions are pretty much the minimum, and 7 and 8 speeds are fairly common in Rowlett.

Obviously these sophisticated transmissions are very expensive. In fact, next to your vehicle engine, your transmission is the most expensive component in your vehicle, so it pays to take good care of it. Your manufacturer has a recommended service interval for changing your old, contaminated transmission fluid. Servicing your transmission on schedule at Lewis Complete Auto Repair keeps it operating at its best and can prevent costly damage. Ask your friendly and knowledgeable Lewis Complete Auto Repair advisor if it’s time for transmission service. Come see why smart Rowlett drivers trust their transmissions to Lewis Complete Auto Repair.

Give us a call.

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