Why Is My Check Engine Light On?June 12, 2018

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The Check Engine Light strikes fear into the hearts of some Rowlett drivers, and is totally ignored by just as many. Just what it means is a mystery to most people.

Let’s get the urgency issues out of the way first. If your Check Engine light is flashing, that means that something is wrong that could cause engine damage. Naturally, you need to get that taken care of right away. If your check engine light is flashing, you shouldn’t drive at high speeds, tow or haul heavy loads. Take it easy all the way to your Rowlett service center.

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If the light is glowing steadily, you should keep an eye on it for a day or two. If the light doesn’t go off, schedule an appointment with your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Lewis Complete Auto Repair to get it checked out.

Some more information on how the Check Engine light works may be helpful for Rowlett drivers. Most of your engine functions are controlled by a computer, not surprisingly, called an engine control computer. The computer is able to adjust many engine parameters for environmental conditions, engine condition and even the way you drive.

In order to make these adjustments, the computer relies on a network of sensors to provide data. The computer knows the proper operating range for each sensor. When a sensor reading is out of range, the computer runs some tests and may turn on the vehicle’s Check Engine light.

A simple example is a loose or missing gas cap. This may cause one of the sensors to read out of range. The computer doesn’t know if it’s a serious condition that caused the reading or just a loose gas cap, so it stores a trouble code and turns on the Check Engine light.

Now when you tighten up the gas cap, the sensor readings will be in the correct range. The computer will keep checking on the report for a day or two. Since a bad reading didn’t come up again, it turns off the Check Engine light. The computer will also try to make adjustments to compensate for some readings. If it can do so, it’ll then turn off the Check Engine light.

If the problem can’t be resolved then the light will remain on, and you should get your vehicle looked at. Your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Lewis Complete Auto Repair will plug a scanner into the on-board diagnostic port and read the trouble code stored in the computer. The trouble code will give the technician a starting place as he diagnoses the cause of the problem.

 

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

Things Aren’t Always What They SeemJune 6, 2018

If you drive, you know at some point, something’s going to go wrong with your vehicle.  And sometimes, it’s pretty easy to figure out what’s wrong, like a flat tire.  But sometimes your vehicle’s symptoms can be really puzzling.

One driver in TX was heading to work on a hot July day and noticed when he pressed the accelerator, sometimes it wouldn’t do anything. He also noticed his cruise control wouldn’t work and his traction control light was constantly on, very unusual.

He was trying to figure it out, but none of it made any sense.  His cruise control had always worked perfectly, his traction light never had gone on before and there was never any issue pressing on the accelerator.

It was time to take his car in for a professional diagnosis, and boy, was he surprised that it was a freak accident he’d had the previous WINTER that was the root of his problems.  You see, in January, his car had slipped on ice when he was in reverse and had gently tapped a tree.  That caused a tiny crack in his rear stoplight. 

That crack had gone unnoticed until that July day.  Turns out a summer rain allowed water to seep into the taillight casing, so this time when he drove to work, there was enough moisture inside it to cause his stop light to stick on.

When the stop light is on, the car’s computer is programmed to act as if the driver is pressing the brakes. It also disables the cruise, accelerator and cruise control when the brakes are on, producing all of the symptoms.  Replacing the stop lamp switch fixed everything.

So, while some things that go wrong with your vehicle are pretty obvious, many seemingly defy all logic. That’s when a trained technician can scope things out, replace the right part and get you going again.

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

Know Your Towing Limits in RowlettMay 27, 2018

Some Rowlett drivers figure that anything they can attach to their trailer hitch can be towed by their vehicle. Nope. If you’re going to do any towing around Rowlett, you should be aware of safety issues, TX towing laws and potential liability.

Understanding tow ratings is important for safe towing. A tow rating is the weight limit that your vehicle can safely tow. They calculate the tow rating for every vehicle, but different options on the vehicle can affect that rating. Rowlett drivers need to read the towing section in their owner’s manual to get the specific tow rating for the vehicle they own.

Your trailer hitch also has a weight limit, and it may not match the tow rating for your vehicle. Your vehicle may be rated for 10,000 pounds (4,500 kg), but if you have a 2,000-pound (900 kg) hitch limit, you shouldn’t be towing more than 2,000 pounds (900 kg). If you tow a 10,000-pound (4,500 kg) trailer on that hitch, it could break free and you would be liable for any resulting damages.

Another example, one popular pick-up truck has a tow rating of 10,300 pounds (4,600kg). But in the owner’s manual, it specifies that a sway control device be used for trailers weighing over 2,000 pounds (900 kg) and that a weight-distributing hitch is required for trailers over 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg). If the vehicle owner tows a 6,000-pound (2700 kg) trailer without a weight-distributing hitch and ends up in an accident, the owner will be held liable for not complying with the towing requirements in TX.

Rowlett auto owners also need to keep in mind that tow weights include the weight of passengers and cargo inside the tow vehicle. So if your tow rating is 7,000 pounds (3,200 kg), and you’re carrying 700 pounds (320 kg) of passengers and cargo, you can only tow a trailer weighing up to 6,300 pounds (2,880 kg).

Two numbers that Rowlett drivers should be aware of are the GVWR and the GCWR. These codes are usually imprinted on the inside of the driver’s side door. GVWR stands for gross vehicle weight rating. Take GVWR and subtract the total weight of the vehicle, and you have the maximum weight the vehicle can safely carry in passengers and cargo. GCWR stands for Gross Combined Weight Rating. Take that number, subtract the weight of the tow vehicle and the trailer, and you have the maximum weight of passengers and cargo that the tow vehicle and trailer together can safely carry.

This may seem a bit complicated, but you ignore these ratings at your own peril. If you haul or tow loads over the maximum ratings around TX, you become liable in event of an accident.

Local Rowlett laws require that safety chains be attached when towing a trailer. Some TX jurisdictions may require trailer brakes as well. Others mandate trailer brakes only in certain situations. If you are going to tow a trailer, you should find out the local Rowlett laws regarding trailer brakes and hitches, as well as weight and length restrictions.

To tow safely, TX drivers also need the proper tires on the tow vehicle. Tires need to be in good condition with adequate tread, and they need to have a load rating high enough to handle the weight of the trailer. Your trained Lewis Complete Auto Repair tire professional can help you select the right tire to use when towing around Rowlett.

Your ‘s owner’s manual is your primary source for auto advice regarding towing since it is specific to your vehicle. Be sure to read it carefully before doing any towing. And as always, keep your preventive maintenance up-to-date, and practice good car care to ensure the safety of your vehicle on the road—especially when pulling a trailer.

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

Suspension Service at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in RowlettMay 21, 2018

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During an inspection at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett, your friendly and knowledgeable automotive service technician will check for worn, broken or missing parts.

Here’s a quick rundown of suspension system components:

There are the springs which hold the weight of your vehicle. There are several varieties of springs. Springs are heavy duty parts that rarely break or wear out. Shock absorbers work in conjunction with springs to smooth out the ride and help keep the tires on the road. Good shocks are essential for handling performance and ride comfort.

You’ve probably heard of struts. They combine a shock absorber and a coil spring in one unit. Shocks and struts will wear out over time. If your tires develop a cupped wear pattern, your shocks or struts may be wearing out. This is from the shocks bouncing unevenly. You may notice a floaty or drifting sensation when cornering. If the front of your vehicle dives excessively when stopping, or rocks back and forth after you’ve stopped, your shocks may be worn out. And if they are leaking fluid, it’s definitely time to replace them at Lewis Complete Auto Repair.

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, visit Lewis Complete Auto Repair for a suspension inspection. Same applies if you’ve been in an accident that involved one of your wheels. If your vehicle suspension actually fails, it could lead to a serious accident, so don’t put it off.

When you replace your shocks, it’s usually a good idea to replace all four at the same time. That’ll give you more even handling. Talk with your friendly and knowledgeable pros at Lewis Complete Auto Repair because you don’t want a big difference between the performance of your shocks from wheel to wheel, and replacing all may be the safest bet.

There are different grades of shocks and struts. You always want to use a replacement shock or strut that equals the one that came as original equipment when your vehicle was new. But remember, they were designed to meet the expected needs of the broad range of Rowlett people who buy that particular vehicle. Your needs may be more specialized.

For example, if you want increased handling performance, your Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor can recommend an upgraded shock or strut specially designed for improved handling. If you haul heavy loads or trailers in Rowlett, we can recommend some heavy duty shock absorbers.

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

 

The Lewis Complete Auto Repair Basic Guide To Synthetic OilMay 13, 2018

Synthetic motor oil has been around for a long time, and more and more new vehicles are leaving factories with synthetic in their engines. But a lot of drivers don’t really know much about it.

Let’s start with conventional oil – the kind folks are used to. Conventional oil is made up of naturally occurring hydrocarbon chains, which means its molecules are long and have various lengths. Like a pile of pencils, some of them new and some of them used.

Synthetic oil is man-made. Its molecules are more uniform and regular in shape – more similar to marbles than pencils. Some synthetic oil starts with a petroleum base that’s modified and others are entirely synthesized from other materials.

Synthetic motor oil works better in both hot and cold temperatures. It’s more chemically stable so it doesn’t readily evaporate or break down in the high heat produced inside your vehicle engine. This means it resists turning to sludge, which is a real engine killer.

Remember that marbles and pencils thing we were talking about? Well, that makes synthetic oil slipperier than conventional oil which means less friction in your engine. Your vehicle engine runs cooler, wears less and lasts longer. You also get a boost in power and maybe even an improvement in fuel economy.

Synthetic oil also lasts longer so you change it less often – which is great for the environment. With longer oil change intervals, you need an oil filter specifically built for the longer service life of synthetic oil. Talk with your friendly and knowledgeable Lewis Complete Auto Repair service adviser about synthetic oil and synthetic blends – they might be just what you need to improve engine performance and extend the life of your vehicle.

Give us a call.

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