Automotive Tips from Lewis Complete Auto Repair: Signs of an Alignment ProblemJuly 24, 2018

When properly aligned, all of your wheels are pointed in the same direction. Your vehicle will track true and handle the way it is designed. Rowlett drivers often associate our wheels being “knocked” out of alignment with an event like an accident, hitting a pothole, curb or some other object.

While these can certainly take your wheels out of alignment, the bumps and bounces of everyday Rowlett driving take their toll on wheel alignment as well.

In addition, your vehicle can lose alignment over time with just normal driving. When your wheels are out of alignment, Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett can return your wheels to the vehicle manufacturer’s factory settings. Most owner’s manuals suggest an alignment check every year or two. 

Give us a call.

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

 

By the Numbers: Tire Replacement at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in RowlettJuly 16, 2018

Ever notice that your tire is covered with writing? It’s like some hieroglyphic art form. Of course, Rowlett drivers know that it’s not just graffiti, but to most of us, it might as well be. Would you like to know what all those codes on your tire mean? It won’t lead you to buried treasure, but it could help you make a better tire purchase at your local Rowlett tire store.

Prominently featured on your tire is a set of numbers and letters that looks something like this: 225 50 R 16 92 H. The first number is the width of the tire in millimeters, or the width between the sidewalls of the tire when it is fully inflated and not carrying a load. When Rowlett drivers replace tires, they need to match this width number, or the tires won’t fit properly in the wheel wells.

The 50 is the aspect ratio of the tire, which is measured by taking the height of the sidewalls and dividing it by the tread width. If you drive off-road around the Rowlett area, it should have a high aspect ratio. For high performance on the road, you want a lower aspect ratio.

The R simply means this is a radial tire.

The 92 is the load rating index, or in other words, a rating of how much load a tire can safely carry. If you frequently haul heavy loads around Rowlett, you will want a tire with a high load rating.

The last letter in our “code” sequence is the speed rating on the tire. Not all tires have this rating. In general, the closer the letter is to the end of the alphabet, the higher the speed rating. In other words, Z is the highest rating and A is the lowest. One exception: H comes between U and V. Why? Your guess is as good as mine.

If you’d just as soon ignore all of the markings on your tire, that’s okay. When you need to replace your tires just ask your friendly and knowledgeable Lewis Complete Auto Repair tire professional for his auto advice on the best tires for you and your vehicle. Replacing tires is a standard part of preventive maintenance for Rowlett drivers vehicles. We all have to do it sooner or later. And the better we understand what we’re buying, the better our vehicle will perform and the safer we will be on TX roads. Good vehicle care is informed vehicle care.

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

Hold the Oil! (Oil Pan Gasket Replacement)July 9, 2018

You’ve likely heard how important oil is to your vehicle’s engine. Did you know that there’s one part that’s responsible for holding that oil so you can use it every day? It’s called the oil pan, and it sits at the bottom of the engine.

The oil pan is a vital, though simple, part of your engine’s lubrication system. Oil circulates through parts of your engine to keep them lubricated. It reduces friction so everything works smoothly. Without oil, friction would quickly destroy your engine. The oil pan keeps that oil contained in the lubrication system, so it’s important that the oil doesn’t leak out. Since it’s a metal part attached to another metal part, there is a gasket between the oil pan and the part of the engine it attaches to.

Various things can put stress on the oil pan and gasket, including weather extremes, the speed you’re traveling and the condition of the oil. You may drive over a couple of bad roads and kick up debris onto your oil pan. All this wear and tear, heat and time can take their toll. So after a while, the gasket can just wear out and start leaking. It usually starts pretty slowly. If you see oil visible under your vehicle where you park it, that might be a sign of a leaky oil pan gasket. Another sign? You smell burning oil coming from your engine. If the leak is bad and your engine has lost a lot of oil, you may eventually see the oil light go on.

Let your service advisor know if you are experiencing any of these things. Driving with insufficient oil can badly damage your engine. And it can do it quickly. A Lewis Complete Auto Repair trained technician will check to find the source of the leak. It may just be a gasket, but it also could be the oil pan is damaged and needs replacing as well.

This is a repair you should get taken care of. Your engine needs its lubrication system intact to provide you many years of service.

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

Rowlett Drivers Severe Service Maintenance SchedulesJuly 2, 2018

Since driving requirements and lifestyles differ among Rowlett drivers, your vehicle manufacturer publishes two auto maintenance schedules: the regular schedule and the severe service schedule. Which schedule should Rowlett drivers follow? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

Are most of your trips less than four miles/six kilometers around Rowlett?
Are most of your trips less than 10 miles/16 kilometers in below-zero TX temps?
Are most of your trips off-highway in TX?
Do you drive often in dusty Rowlett areas?
Do you regularly tow a trailer or carry heavy loads around Rowlett?
Do you drive in very hot or very cold TX weather?

Think about your typical week. Do you live by your nearest Rowlett on-ramp and enjoy a non-stop commute? Or, do you drive the neighborhood car pool in stop-and-go traffic on Rowlett surface streets?

Let’s suppose your owner’s manual says the severe service oil change recommendation is 3,000 miles/5,000 kilometers and the standard recommendation is 5,000 miles/8,000 kilometers. You know that you need to change the oil somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 miles/5,000 and 8,000 kilometers. Analyze your driving patterns and Rowlett weather and road conditions to determine which end of the spectrum you’re closer to.

Why should Rowlett residents care about this? Normal condensation causes moisture accumulation in the engine oil. Short trips around Rowlett or winter driving means that the engine doesn’t heat up enough for the moisture to evaporate. The water in the oil turns to oil sludge that clogs up your engine and doesn’t let the oil protect it adequately. That’s why TX residents need to change their oil more often – to clean the sludge out before it causes problems.

Carrying heavy loads (with or without a trailer) in TX summer weather causes your engine and transmission to run at higher temperatures and with more stress. The fluids will break down more quickly. Additives that clean and prevent corrosion will be depleted sooner. Air pollution and dust cause fluids to get dirty faster. Ditto for filters. All of these things can lead to premature wear and eventual repairs. If you want some expert advice, talk with your friendly and knowledgeable Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor. We can help you restore your vehicle to good working order and help you know the best schedule to follow.

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

Speak Up: Talking with Your Lewis Complete Auto Repair Service AdvisorJune 25, 2018

About 80% of the vehicles on Rowlett roads today are behind on their preventive maintenance schedules. That translates to about 160 million vehicles in the United States that aren’t performing as well as they could be – thousands right here in TX. Some of the maintenance issues are minor. Others represent serious safety concerns.

There are many reasons Rowlett drivers neglect their routine car care. Some of the more common ones are complacency, lack of confidence, lack of trust and budget issues.

Modern vehicles are amazingly reliable compared to their older counterparts. They can run for years without any repairs, and we sometimes translate that to mean they don’t need any maintenance. The trouble is that without maintenance, parts in the vehicle are gradually wearing out, fluids are getting dirty, oil is developing sludge — a lot of stuff is happening that we can’t see, and it is destroying the vehicle. The first time we learn there is a problem, we have a major repair bill on our hands.

Older vehicles just couldn’t keep going without frequent maintenance; they broke down without timely vehicle care. Modern vehicles are designed to keep running even when they’re not fully healthy. Unfortunately, that convenience has led some of us to become complacent and ignore vehicle care — until we have to fix something. And fixing something today takes a whole lot more than it used to.

Some people in Rowlett just don’t feel comfortable taking their vehicles to their local Rowlett service center. They don’t know much about engines or auto mechanics, so they don’t know what questions to ask. They don’t want to appear foolish or ignorant.

Your physician doesn’t expect you to understand what a ligament is or how it works. But if you have a problem with one, she’s going to explain to you what it is, what’s wrong with it and how it can be fixed. It’s in her best interest as well as yours to do so. You’ll both feel more comfortable with the treatment.

That’s what you can expect from the pros at Lewis Complete Auto Repair. They have to be highly trained and work with a lot of complex, high-tech systems. They don’t expect their Rowlett customers to understand car care. So ask questions. You need auto advice from a service specialist, just as you need medical advice from a doctor and financial advice from a financial advisor.

Which brings us to the next concern: trust. A lot of rumors fly around Rowlett about auto repair scams. You may have heard about some local auto shops taking advantage of customers and replacing parts that weren’t broken. Frankly, this is just bad business practice. Rowlett auto service centers won’t stay in business long if they’re engaged in this type of activity.

It’s in the best interest of Rowlett service centers to diagnose a problem correctly and fix it right the first time. That’s how they keep their businesses open.

Trust must be earned. But just as it took time for you to establish a relationship and rapport with your doctor, it will take time to build a relationship with your service center.

Also, realize that when your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor at Lewis Complete Auto Repair recommends routine maintenance, he is generally relying on your vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations. In other words, your trust lies both with your service advisor and your vehicle manufacturer. You’ll find that most of the service recommendations from Lewis Complete Auto Repair you receive coincide with what’s in your manual.

Those recommendations were set up by the engineers who designed your vehicle, not Lewis Complete Auto Repair. The team at Lewis Complete Auto Repair is just offering you a friendly reminder — a helpful reminder really, since most of us don’t post our owner’s manuals to our calendars.

Money is behind most neglect of vehicle maintenance. First, they worry that they can’t afford it. Second, they worry that they’re being overcharged.

The simple truth is, car care is like health care. We can’t afford not to have it. Preventive maintenance is cheap compared to repair work. It extends the lives of our vehicles and saves us money on fuel. It also makes our vehicles safer to drive, which can prevent accidents. Putting off preventive maintenance can be very expensive.

Rowlett area service centers have to be competitive. Like any business, they can’t afford to overcharge customers or they go out of business. But vehicle care today does cost more in TX than it used to. Vehicles are more sophisticated, complex and high-tech. That means technicians have to be better trained. They have to purchase high-tech diagnostic equipment and tools. They have to keep up with the latest advances in vehicle engineering and subscribe to computer databases. Like any business, they also have labor costs, insurance, rent, utilities, taxes, office supplies, etc.

If you are strapped for cash, Lewis Complete Auto Repair can offer auto advice to help you keep your car running safely and manage your budget. For example, let’s say you need new brake pads, transmission service and a new cabin air filter. A technician can’t ethically recommend you delay brake service: that creates a safety hazard for you and other Rowlett drivers. You need to get that done now. But they can let you know if the transmission service can wait a month and how long you can put off changing the cabin air filter. They can also estimate what these services will cost. That gives you the time and information you need to save up for the other services.

The key to modern car care is preventive maintenance. Our modern vehicles are safer, more fuel efficient and more reliable than ever before. But to keep them that way Rowlett drivers have to be more proactive about caring for them. It’s good to know there are knowledgeable professionals at Lewis Complete Auto Repair who can help us do just that.

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