For 4x4s (Maintenance of 4×4 Vehicles)March 10, 2019

Some people love 4×4 vehicles, the true 4-wheel drive works of engineering like Jeeps and 4×4 pickups that allow you to seemingly go anywhere on the planet. You can climb up a 40-degree rock trail with some planning and skill (always careful to protect the environment, of course), or you can get through the deepest snow.

But with that added capability comes additional complexity, drive-train components and other systems that less capable vehicles don’t have.  And that is why when it comes to 4x4s, you have to maintain them a little differently from those vehicles that spend their lives on pavement.  Here are some of the key things to keep an eye on:

  • Transfer case—This transfers power from the engine to the wheels.  A transfer case has fluid in it that needs to be changed at intervals recommended by the manufacturer.  Your service advisor will let you know how often that is and will keep track of your service dates.  You will need to make sure the transfer case seal is working properly.  Otherwise, transmission fluid could get in and cause damage that is costly to fix.  Some transfer cases have an electric motor that shifts it through gears, and its connections are often exposed to the elements, making them vulnerable to damage and corrosion.  Proper maintenance will keep those connections working like they should
  • Front and rear differentials—These also have to have the right amount of fluid and should be checked regularly.  Your service advisor can let you know when you need that fluid changed as the owner’s manual recommends.  It’s important the service is performed correctly with the proper lubricant so it will work the way it is designed to.
  • Brake lines—Those 4x4s practically beg to go into wet spots. They also are great machines to conquer snow: road salt, brine and all.  Moisture, salt and brake lines are a recipe for corrosion, so brake lines need to be inspected regularly.  There are anti-corrosion sprays or white lithium grease that can retard corrosion.  Remember, getting there is half the fun, but not being able to stop is no fun at all.

So enjoy your 4×4 and what it can do that other vehicles can’t.  Just remember that even though it’s tough on the outside, it needs special care to keep it going.  Oh, and remember to take care of the environment when you go off-roading, too. 

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

How to Get Better Gas Mileage in RowlettMarch 3, 2019

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There is no escaping it: things work better when you take care of them. Something most of us in Rowlett can relate to is our computers. You’ve probably noticed how they get slower and slower over time. It takes longer to start up and programs take forever to load. Eventually, many of us just get a new computer at our nearest Rowlett computer store. But computer experts know that there are things you can do to delay the need for a new computer purchase. You can run utilities that clean off temporary files and clean your memory registry. You can optimize your hard drive and a number of other things.

What you’re doing is maintaining your computer to make it efficient. It’s the same thing with your vehicle. You maintain it to make it more efficient. It works the way it was designed to and that means it uses less fuel while you drive around Rowlett. And you save money.

To help organize our discussion, let’s think of things that rob us of fuel economy in two ways: increased friction and inefficient fuel combustion.

Friction. Anything that increases friction increases drag or load on the vehicle engine. It has to work harder to overcome the drag – and that takes more fuel. The first thing that comes to mind is engine oil. Low oil means there’s not enough to fully lubricate the engine so there’s more friction. Dirty oil won’t lubricate as well as clean oil. The same principles apply to transmission fluid. Getting your oil changed and transmission serviced on schedule at Lewis Complete Auto Repair will reduce friction and help you get better fuel economy.

Another friction related problem is underinflated tires. When your vehicle tires are low on air, it’s like driving on TX highways through sand – your vehicle has to work harder to move every mile. Check your tire pressure at least once a month.

Wheels out of alignment and dragging brakes also increase friction. And your tires and brake pads will wear out much sooner as well. At Lewis Complete Auto Repair, we provide quality brake and wheel alignment services.

Let’s move on to Fuel. You have to get the right amount of clean fuel to the combustion chamber at precisely the right time. A dirty fuel system has varnish and gum interfering, and the fuel injectors may be unable to deliver the correct amount of fuel at the right pressure  and in the spray pattern — that the engineers intended. A vehicle fuel system cleaning at Lewis Complete Auto Repair will get all of that working right and really improve fuel economy.

Replacing your fuel filter on schedule will help keep your fuel clean. Replacing a sticky PCV valve will allow unburned fuel from the engine to be returned to the intake system to be used. Replacing worn spark plugs will burn your fuel as efficiently as possible.

All of these things can help you save money on gas at Rowlett pumps.

Give us a call.

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

On Board Diagnostics for Rowlett MotoristsFebruary 24, 2019

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Some Rowlett vehicle owners wonder why Lewis Complete Auto Repair and other Rowlett auto repair shops charge a fee for vehicle diagnostics.

Receiving a diagnostic charge at Lewis Complete Auto Repair for a tricky automotive problem shouldn’t be a surprise. In the Rowlett area, automotive diagnostics can cover quite a range. If you hear a noise in your vehicle brakes when you slow down in rush-hour traffic on a busy TX road, you pull off at the next off-ramp and take a quick visual check. That is usually enough to know what needs to be done. If you’re having an intermittent problem with your vehicle engine, however, a Lewis Complete Auto Repair diagnosis may be much more involved.

Much of the Rowlett driver’s confusion comes when the problem involves the Check Engine light. The Check Engine light comes on when the engine management computer has sensed a problem.

There’s a common misconception among TX drivers that the trouble code tells the Lewis Complete Auto Repair technician exactly what’s wrong. They wonder why there is a diagnostic charge because the scanner quickly gave the diagnosis.

In reality, it is not that easy and straightforward. The computer monitors many sensors throughout the vehicle. When one of these sensors has a reading that’s out of parameters, the computer will record a trouble code and turn on the Check Engine light.

The vehicle computer’s trouble code just tells the Lewis Complete Auto Repair technician what engine parameter is out of range, not what’s causing it. The technician needs to determine the underlying problem that’s causing the malfunction.

There are many problems that could cause a troublesome sensor reading for Lewis Complete Auto Repair customers. The service advisor makes a list of the most likely causes and begins tracking down the source of the problem. This takes time.

Rowlett service centers subscribe to databases that document possible causes for all the possible trouble codes. The databases outline procedures for confirming a diagnosis and provide the documented repair. These  databases are specific to each vehicle and engine combination.

Some diagnoses are quick and easy. Others are more involved, time-consuming and difficult. Of course Lewis Complete Auto Repair wants to figure out what’s wrong with your vehicle and get you back on the road as quickly as possible.

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

Automotive Tips from Lewis Complete Auto Repair: Brake NoiseFebruary 17, 2019

Your brake pads are the important parts that rub against the rotor (or disc) to slow and stop your car when driving in Rowlett. They eventually wear down.

When your pads are worn too much, they won’t stop your vehicle as well. When the friction material is worn away, metal parts of the pad are exposed and you’ll hear a squeal or grinding sound.

That’s when Rowlett drivers should replace their brake pads at Lewis Complete Auto Repair. Not only will new pads restore your stopping power, but replacing them on time will prevent damage to the rotor.

If your brakes are making noise, ask your Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor to inspect your brakes. Addressing problems early will restore your safety and prevent expensive brake damage.

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

Procrastination Prevention in RowlettFebruary 10, 2019

Every one of us has a little procrastinator inside us. Some put off getting our teeth cleaned. Others put off answering our emails. Yet others put off calling friends and family (sorry, Uncle Joe). And there are those of us who put off getting our vehicle’s service done, whether it’s a repair or regular maintenance. You may make the excuse that you don’t have time, it can wait until tomorrow, you have other things to do.

Well, there are some things you should NEVER put off when it comes to your vehicle because that procrastination could have dire consequences down the road.

The biggest one is changing your oil. Yes, it’s one of those things you may hear somebody nag you about, but changing your vehicle’s oil regularly is probably the one thing that will do the most to keep things running smoothly… and well. It’s the lubricant that keeps metal engine parts from wearing out. Oil doesn’t last forever and it gets dirty, so you have to swap it out for fresh every so often. How often? Your Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor can tell you, and your owner’s manual has the manufacturer’s recommendations, too.

You have to keep the right amount of air in your tires. They don’t inflate themselves! You may have a newer vehicle that has a tire pressure monitor built in and lets you know when a tire is over- or under-inflated. Don’t ignore those warning lights! If your vehicle doesn’t have those electronic monitors, have our pros at Lewis Complete Auto Repair check your pressure every so often. If your tires have the right amount of air in them, they’ll last longer, save you money and keep you much safer on the road.

Make sure you have the right amount of vital fluids in your vehicle. The important ones (besides oil) are brake fluid, transmission fluid and coolant. Without the right amount of brake fluid, your vehicle may be hard to stop. Without the right level of transmission fluid, gear shifting may be erratic. And without the right amount of coolant, your engine may overheat.

Ok, so if you put off calling your Uncle Joe today, he probably will be ok with that. But when it comes to these important vehicle maintenance points, prevent procrastination… and prevent problems down the road.

We’d love to hear from you. Let us know if you have any questions.

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