Service to Improve Fuel EconomyJuly 23, 2013

The price of gas has got everyone talking. It seems that people who need a bigger vehicle to carry family and gear, or provide four wheel drive, are especially hit hard. That is why we thought it would be good to review some things that anyone can do to improve fuel economy.

First let’s start with how we drive. People may not realize that they can really save on gas by just changing a few driving habits. One of the biggest is jackrabbit starts – you know, flooring the gas as soon as the light turns green. That really wastes a lot of fuel. Building up your speed at a slower pace uses less fuel and is easier on your engine and drive train. And don’t drive with one foot on the brake. That’s also a drag on fuel economy, and it wears out your brakes faster too.

Another thing is to drive slower – but only when it’s safe. Sometimes on the highway we drive an extra five … ten . . . twenty … over the speed limit. We do it to save time, but it only saves a few minutes out of maybe an hour long drive, and we may use 10 to 15 % more gas. Just leave a little bit earlier, save some money and arrive more relaxed.

You can also try and group all of your errands for the day into just one trip, rather than several. If you can put off a trip today that can be combined with one tomorrow – you can save some time and money.

Using your cruise control can save money too. Driving at a constant speed really improves fuel economy. Be sure to only use your cruise control under safe conditions – you can look in your owner’s manual for some good tips on using your cruise control.

Did you know that reducing the weight in your vehicle saves gas? Clean out the trunk or back seat from time to time so that you are not paying to carry around a lot of stuff you do not need in the car. If you live where there is snow and ice, clear it off your car. They add weight and mess with aerodynamics too.

Another tip is to avoid long idle times, which includes warming it up when you start. Modern engines do not require a long warm up to get going – just take it easy for a couple of miles.

Be sure to get a new gas cap if yours leaks or is worn.

Now, let’s start talking mechanical. Bottom line – the better you maintain your vehicle, the less fuel you will use. It all adds up in a big way. For example, replacing your dirty engine air filter will pay for itself in fuel savings before your next oil change – and will keep saving you money after that.

A clean, well-maintained fuel system really pays big dividends. A clogged fuel filter wastes gas. So does a dirty fuel system, grimy fuel injectors and plugged up PCV valves. A fuel system service decreases the gas you use, and increases the power – so you can’t go wrong with that.

Some of us ignore our Check Engine light. But fixing the problem that caused the light to come on will usually save some fuel as well. It may be a bad oxygen sensor that can really rob your fuel economy.

And, it may be time for a tune-up. Tune-ups should improve your fuel economy. Don’t overlook the routine maintenance items, like scheduled oil changes, transmission and cooling system service. Dirty or low fluids actually use more fuel. Just look at your manufacturer’s recommended service intervals in the owner’s manual, or ask your Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor for the schedule.

Don’t forget your tires. Underinflated tires waste gas. And if your wheels are out of alignment you won’t get the economy you need.

None of these things are very complicated or expensive to stay on top of. When you maintain your car properly, you save gas today, and prevent costly repairs tomorrow.

Fuel Saving Tip: Auto Myths Around RowlettJuly 18, 2013

With high fuel prices in Rowlett TX comes lots of gas saving advice. Some of it, like what you hear on AutoNetTV, is really great. Some is myth. And some is just designed to prey on Rowlett TX people desperate to save some money on gas.

Auto Myths When you get one of those e-mails that’s going around telling you how to save gas, try to think it through.

Does it really make sense? Does it defy the laws of physics?

Do some research on the internet or ask your Rowlett TX service advisor at Lewis Complete Auto Repair.

There aren’t any magic pills you can drop in your gas tank and the government hasn’t suppressed a device you can clamp on your fuel line to make your car run on air. Not even in Rowlett!

So next time you get one of those e-mails, check it out with an automotive professional. You’ll get more bang for your buck with an oil change or an engine air filter replacement.

We’re Lewis Complete Auto Repair, give us a call at 972.475.4800 for good honest advice about your car.

Lewis Complete Auto Repair: Good Service And Good Fuel EconomyJuly 9, 2013

Most Rowlett and Garland drivers want to save on gas and seek our advice on improving fuel economy. At Lewis Complete Auto Repair, we are frequently asked, however, if it is really worth the extra effort. Just how much money can Garland drivers actually save?

The US government has a website dedicated to helping us use less fuel. It presents the cost savings in a way Garland drivers can relate to and is relevant for all vehicles. Let me give you an example: Having your truck engine properly tuned, can save up to 4%. If you’re paying three-fifty for a gallon of gas, you could save fourteen cents a gallon.

Lewis Complete Auto Repair: Good Service And Good Fuel Economy

In today’s Lewis Complete Auto Repair article, we’re focusing on the things you can do to improve your truck fuel efficiency driving around TX. We’ll tell you the potential savings per gallon of gas at three dollars and fifty cents, and we’ll show a chart that also shows the savings at three and four dollars.

DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.00 $3.50 $4.00
TUNE UP 4% .12 .14 .16

The next item is replacing a clogged engine air filter. Your engine needs enough air to burn fuel efficiently for the best fuel economy. A clean air filter means you get plenty of air. The fact that the air’s clean protects your engine. That can save you up to ten percent or thirty-five cents a gallon.

DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.OO $3.50 $4.00
AIR FILTER 10% .30 .35 .40

Fixing a faulty oxygen sensor can improve economy by up to forty percent. That’s a whopping dollar forty in savings per gallon. Bring your car to Lewis Complete Auto Repair and we’ll check your oxygen sensor.

DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.00 $3.50 $4.00
FAULTY O2 SENSOR 40% 1.20 1.40 1.60

Chances are that if your oxygen sensor is kaput your check engine light will come on. Now, there’s any number of things that could cause your check engine light to come on besides oxygen sensor problems. But if it’s on, get it checked out as soon as you can at Lewis Complete Auto Repair.

Here’s an easy one. Inflate your tires to the recommended pressure. That could save you three percent or eleven cents a gallon. Even a little drop in pressure will bring down your fuel efficiency, so check your tires every week.

DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.00 $3.50 $4.00
TIRE INFLATION 3% .09 .11 .12

Your truck manufacturer has recommended a specific weight of motor oil. The recommendation is based on engine design and will give you the best protection. Using a heavier weight could cost one to two percent in reduced fuel efficiency, or up to seven cents a gallon.

DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.00 $3.50 $4.00
RIGHT GRADE MOTOR OIL 2% .06 .07 .08

Here’s one that’s free: Take it easy when you drive. Aggressive driving (we’ve all seen this on Garland roads), rocketing away from stop lights, standing on the brakes, punching it for lane changes – really takes a toll on your fuel efficiency.

Cutting out aggressive driving around Garland can save five percent or eighteen cents a gallon. Now on the interstate it gets really costly: thirty three percent or a buck sixteen a gallon. Think about that – and leave a little earlier.

DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.00 $3.50 $4.00
DRIVE AGRESSIVELY – MIN. 5% .15 .18 .20
DRIVE AGGRESSIVELY – MAX. 33$ .99 1.16 1.32

A related item is exceeding the speed limit. For example, if the speed limit is sixty miles per hour an additional five miles will cost seven percent or twenty-five cents a gallon. Fifteen miles per hour will cost you upwards of eighty cents a gallon.

DOLLARS PER GALLON $3.00 $3.50 $4.00
SPEED LIMIT – MIN. 7% .21 .25 .28
SPEED LIMIT – MAX. 23% .69 .81 .92

The last thing we’ll talk about is excess weight. Our trucks tend to accumulate a lot of things and the weight adds up. Clear out the trunk and only haul stuff when you really need it. For every one hundred pounds you can save two percent or seven cents a gallon.

Sorry honey, your brother can’t come with. It’d cost an extra thirty cents a gallon.

10 Services Rowlett motorists Often OverlookJuly 2, 2013

We live such busy lives nowadays: work, social events, running the kids all over Rowlett. Some days it’s all we can do to keep track of everywhere we need to be. That’s why you’ve gotta be organized. Smartphones, calendar apps – we have to keep track of it all.

So let’s talk about schedules. Specifically, automotive service schedules. And particularly, the scheduled services that are sometimes forgotten.

Here is a list of 10 service items that are often overlooked by Rowlett auto owners. They’re all very important and need appropriate attention. So here we go, in no particular order.

1. Power Steering Service
Be honest; have you ever thought of this on your own? Your power steering fluid gets dirty and builds-up moisture over time. Cleaning out your power steering system means that dirt and gum are removed and your power steering parts are protected from corrosion. Next time you’re in for an oil change, ask your Rowlett service advisor if it’s time for a power steering check-up.

2. Wheel Alignment
When your wheels are out of alignment your truck pulls to one side. It’s pretty annoying, but it’s also dangerous. And it causes your tires to wear out really fast; which is an unneccessary expense! Most vehicle manufacturers owners manuals suggest you get your alignment checked once or twice a year.

3. Differential Service
Did you even know you had a differential? Well, you do – one, two or three in fact. Differentials are often called gear boxes and they’re part of the drive-train that transfers power from your truck engine to your wheels. They don’t need service that often, but you can’t completely forget them. Check with your Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor.

4. Cabin Air Filter
More and more Rowlett cars these days have cabin air filters (a great feature, in my opinion) to clean the air in the passenger area where we sit. They filter out dust and pollen. When they’re clogged up, they can get smelly. Change your cabin air filter on schedule to enjoy fresh, clean air, which can also help with allergies.

5. Timing Belt Replacement
Most cars and some vans and trucks driven around the Rowlett area have timing belts. Without going into a lot of detail, let’s just say that your car won’t run without it – period. And if it breaks while you’re driving it can do thousands of dollars worth of engine damage. Check your owners’ manual or with your Rowlett service advisor. If you’re approaching 60,000 miles; definitely look into it right away.

6. Transmission Service
Transmission service is very basic, but it’s often forgotten. Your truck transmission needs clean fluid from time to time to keep operating efficiently and avoid pricey repairs. And it can also improve your fuel efficiency.

7. Air Conditioning Service
Most of us don’t think about our air conditioning until it fails on a hot day. If you’re lucky, you just need to add refrigerant. If you’re not, some of the components may have been ruined. Of course, these components are not cheap. Regular air conditioning service adds clean refrigerant which cools and lubricates your air conditioner and conditions the seals.

8. Brake Service
No we’re not talking about squealing, grinding brakes here. We’re talking brake fluid. Over time the fluid gets a lot of water in it. Because water compresses differently than the brake fluid, your brakes won’t work as well. It may even get dangerous. The water can also rust out brake system components and then your brakes can fail altogether. Check with your Lewis Complete Auto Repair technician for recommendations.

9. Coolant System
Another thing that’s so easy to forget about: When you don’t change your antifreeze on schedule it becomes corrosive. Fresh coolant contains additives that maintain the pH balance in the coolant. These additives wear out and the fluid in the radiator can actually eat holes in the radiator or hoses. Then you’re stranded – bummer.

10. Fuel System Cleaning
In these times of high fuel prices, fuel system cleaning is so important. Fuel gums up a bunch of parts as it moves from the gas tank and through the engine. A thorough fuel system cleaning will keep clean gas flowing into the engine. Your fuel injectors also get gunked up over time and need to be cleaned. Having your fuel system cleaned on schedule at Lewis Complete Auto Repair will really help your fuel economy.

There you have it; 10 services that are often overlooked. Did you know that a recent survey showed that 90 percent of vehicles on the road have at least one scheduled maintenance service that hasn’t been performed? Considering our busy lives, we’re not surprised.

We know it takes some thought and effort to actually maintain your vehicle; but it not only saves money in the long run – it saves time too. And we can all use a little more time.

Lewis Complete Auto Repair can help with any of these services. Give us a call at 972.475.4800.

Go Straight: Wheel Alignment For Rowlett AutomobilesJune 28, 2013

Rowlett drivers may have an alignment problem if their car drifts or pulls to one side, the steering wheel’s off center, they notice uneven tire wear or the car doesn’t feel like it handles right as they drive down Rowlett TX streets and expressways.

When all of a vehicle’s wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Running into potholes, smacking a curb or other objects around Rowlett, TX are great ways for Garland drivers to knock their car out of alignment. Then one or more of your wheels starts pulling in a slightly different direction and the problems begin.

Driving for an extended time when your car is out of alignment causes your tires to wear unevenly and excessively. Sometimes the tire can be worn so badly that it will fail.

At the very least, you’ll have to replace your tires sooner. You could end up with premature wear to your suspension system, which can be expensive. The front wheel alignment is adjustable on all vehicles, and the back wheels are also adjustable on some cars.

Now, let’s discuss some alignment basics. Wheels are adjustable for toe, caster and camber. The ideal alignment for your car was designed by its engineers.

So, what is involved in an alignment check at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett? First, there’s an inspection of the steering and suspension to see if anything is bent or broken. Tire condition will also be evaluated.  Next, the vehicle is put on an alignment rack and we take an initial alignment reading.

If all four wheels are adjustable, they are lined up perfectly parallel with the vehicle’s centerline. If the back wheels aren’t adjustable, the direction they push is determined and the front wheels are aligned to match.

Like most things, vehicle manufacturers have recommended a mileage interval for having alignment checked. But if you run into a curb, pothole or something else that’s given you a big jolt, pay attention to whether your vehicle is pulling to one side when you drive around the Rowlett area. It’s better for Rockwall drivers to have their alignment checked before waiting to see if there is uneven tire tread wear – by then, the damage is done.

Getting your alignment checked at Lewis Complete Auto Repair when necessary is a great way to extend the life of your tires and suspension parts. It also makes sure that your tire meets the road properly for maximum performance and safety in TX.

Come see us at Lewis Complete Auto Repair for more information about your tire alignment. We look forward to serving you.