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

 

Good Service at Lewis Complete Auto Repair Equals Good Fuel Economy in RowlettMarch 21, 2017

Whether we’re trying to save money, save gas, or save the environment, most of us Rowlett drivers have an interest in decreasing fuel consumption. We’ve all heard about ways to save money on gas in TX, but does it really add up to much? How much can we boost our fuel economy through preventive maintenance and more courteous driving?

The US government has a website that actually answers that question. Let’s look at some of the data and find out if any of these fuel-saving ideas are really worth the effort. We’ve all heard that a tune-up can improve gas mileage. It turns out that it can save us 4% at the pump. At $3.50 a gallon, that’s 14¢ per gallon in savings, and at $4.00 a gallon, that’s a 16¢ per gallon savings.

Other common repair items can also save you at the pump. For example, if your oxygen sensor is faulty, it’s not delivering the information to your engine’s computer that allows it to calculate the right fuel-to-air ratio. The result? The fuel doesn’t burn efficiently. Replacing that faulty sensor can save you 40% at the pump. That’s certainly a reason to improve your car care and have the automotive professionals at Lewis Complete Auto Repair inspect things once in a while.

A faulty oxygen sensor will activate the check engine light. So will a lot of other problems that are big fuel wasters. Finding out why your light is on and fixing the problem will also improve your fuel economy. Bring your car into Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett and we will take care of it for you.

What about tires? Rowlett drivers have all heard that keeping them inflated will improve our gas mileage. True? Yep. It’s a 3% savings for that one. And even small drops in tire pressure can start to add up, so a weekly tire check is in order.

Using the correct weight in motor oil is another way you can save at Rowlett area gas pumps. It adds up to a 2% savings.

What about that courteous driving? That doesn’t cost us anything and doesn’t require our Rowlett service center to implement anything. Is it worth the bother?

Again, the answer is yes. Sudden acceleration, such as charging away from stoplights, sudden stops and quick lane changes all add up in lowered fuel economy. Taking it easy when you drive on TX roads amounts to a 5% savings around town and a whopping 33% savings on the freeway. Is it worth your time to slow down? How much do you get paid?

Speeding is another way we ding ourselves at the gas pump. We’ve all heard that it’s okay to drive five miles over the speed limit, but that actually hurts our wallets. Eventually it could add up to more than a speeding ticket. An extra five miles over the speed limit ends up costing us 7% per gallon. Fifteen miles over? 23% Now there’s a reason to slow down.

Another thing Rowlett vehicle owners can do to improve that costs nothing is to toss the junk out of our trunks. In other words, clean out the car and stop hauling around non-essentials. Don’t treat your vehicle like a storage locker. Dumping one hundred pounds of extra weight adds up to a 2% savings at the pump.

So when you tell someone you were going somewhere anyway and they’re welcome to come along, that’s okay. But if someone tells you they need to come along and it’s no harm to you since you were going anyway—well, now you can tell them, “Sorry, dude, but you’re an extra fifteen cents a gallon!”

All joking aside, let’s all do ourselves a favor and fatten up our wallets by practicing good car care and better driving habits in TX.

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