Fuel Saving Tip: Car Weight And Your TX DrivingDecember 20, 2012

Weight is the enemy of fuel economy. Everyone from here to Sachse knows this makes sense.

Some of us in the Sachse area carry a bunch of unnecessary weight, and I’m not talkin’ what you see in the mirror.

truck Weight Guys; sports equipment and tools. Ladies; well, just take a look around the passenger compartment and trunk. I think my car has about forty-five pounds of French fries on the floor.

All that extra weight wastes gas as you drive between here and Sachse, and everywhere else.

Lose the junk and save some money.

…And you really only need one of those spare tires.

Rowlett Exhaust And Emissions ServiceDecember 11, 2012

Sometimes when we talk about exhaust service in Rowlett, we think about exhaust pipes and mufflers. And if you can see smoke, or if it’s too loud. But, exhaust service at a place like Lewis Complete Auto Repair is really a lot more comprehensive these days.

For example, in the U.S., the federal government mandated catalytic converters for all cars in Rowlett in 1976 and on-board emission control computers in 1990. TX and federal emissions requirements have forced manufacturers to come up with much more sophisticated ways to comply with environmental regulations. Cars sold in Canada follow the same guidelines.

So, exhaust service has really become exhaust and emissions service. High-tech computer-controlled emissions devices are now a big part of that. And because it’s so sophisticated, your vehicle manufacturer recommends having your emission system checked out by a qualified technician, like the ones we have at Lewis Complete Auto Repair, regularly to make sure everything’s working right – which is usually every six months or 6,000 miles.

If your ‘check engine light’ comes on while you are driving around the Rowlett area, especially if it’s flashing, then you need to get your car looked at right away. Chances are it’s an emission related problem. You might have exhaust or emissions trouble if your car is hard to start, runs rough, or if it’s noisy or smoking.

So let’s review the exhaust system. Everything starts with the exhaust manifold. That’s the part that attaches to the engine and collects the exhaust from the cylinders and directs it into the exhaust pipe.

The exhaust gaskets help seal the connection with the manifold and other joints along the way. Now, if the manifold is cracked or loose, or a gasket is leaking, then dangerous gases could escape into the passenger compartment, where you ride. Carbon monoxide can be deadly, so it’s important that your exhaust system doesn’t leak.

The exhaust pipes connect the various components. They can rust or be damaged by a rock, so they need to be inspected periodically.

Next comes the catalytic converter. This part actually looks like a muffler. It changes chemicals that are dangerous to your health, and to the local TX environment, into harmless carbon dioxide and water. Now it doesn’t require any maintenance itself. But eventually they wear out. If it has, you’ll probably find out when your car fails an emissions inspection.

Now the muffler. Its main job is to quiet engine noises. Mufflers work by either absorbing or baffling sound. And you can actually customize your car’s sound with different mufflers – which is pretty cool because you can change the look of your car, and the way it sounds.

Rusted or road-damaged mufflers can actually leak and they need to be replaced right away. The exhaust system is attached to the car by a series of hangers and clamps that hold the system in place. And when these hangers come loose or break then hot exhaust components can touch and melt wires, hoses and lines. Just think of the damage a hot curling iron can do – but worse. It’s not good to have that waving around.

And finally, we end at the tailpipe. Appropriate name. This is the final outlet for the exhaust. And one other component is the oxygen sensor. It monitors the oxygen content of the exhaust so the engine-control computer can adjust the fuel-to-air mix to keep the car running right.

We hope this hasn’t been too ‘exhausting’ of a discussion, but these things impact everything from life and death safety due to exhaust leaks, to just fine-tuning the sound of your ride. And talk with your service advisor at Lewis Complete Auto Repair if you feel you need any of these items inspected on your vehicle, because a quick look can sure save a lot of pain down the road.

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Your Well Trained Technician At Lewis Complete Auto RepairDecember 6, 2012

When your truck breaks down, or just needs some routine service, you might get a little nervous. Your car’s so important to your life in Garland, you need to back on the road as soon as possible – with the problem fixed right the first time.

If you’ve ever checked into some of the technician training Lewis Complete Auto Repair professionals receive, you may be surprised at how much knowledge and skill goes into diagnosing and repairing a modern car. Let me give you some perspective. Today there are four cylinder engines that make more power than the V-8’s in luxury cars twenty years ago. I mean a new V-6 Toyota Camry could beat Sonny Crocket’s Ferrari in a race to sixty.

Your Well Trained Technician At Lewis Complete Auto Repair

Our engines are more and more powerful and at the same time their fuel economy keeps inching up – even with steep Garland gas prices. And they’re so reliable. This is all due to engineering. But the advances come at the price of simplicity. The modern cars driving around Garland roads are so much more complex from a mechanical standpoint that it makes your head spin – not to mention the electronics.

Some cars have several networked computers controlling most of the engine functions and many other vehicle functions as well. Garland motorists take all of this sophistication for granted – but somebody has to fix it when it breaks. It’s a real challenge for Lewis Complete Auto Repair technicians to keep up, but we work hard to stay ahead of the technology. It requires a high level of commitment on the part of the technician and the Garland service center as well.

In addition to the training, there’s the financial commitment to purchase the diagnostic and repair tools. Lewis Complete Auto Repair technicians receive training through a combination of formal classroom training, training provided at Lewis Complete Auto Repair by parts and equipment manufacturers, on-line courses and home study courses.

There are many independent certifications available at Lewis Complete Auto Repair all the way up to Master Technician. The ability to repair your truck requires a strong combination of training and resources. No one can know everything, so Garland auto service centers subscribe to data services, technical libraries and even on-line communities that can help them when they run into a difficult problem.

It’s like those medical diagnosis shows on TV. Here are the symptoms – what’s the diagnosis and treatment? Diagnosis is every bit as much an art as a science. At Lewis Complete Auto Repair, we want everything to be simple, straightforward and cheap – but sometimes it just isn’t.

So try to be more relaxed next time you bring us your truck. You’re in good hands.

Lewis Complete Auto Repair Tire Safety: Washington vs. LincolnNovember 30, 2012

Welcome to the Lewis Complete Auto Repair blog. Today, let’s talk about the effect of tire tread depth on braking. When talking about stopping power, most of us Sachse drivers tend to focus on our brakes. But our tires are where the rubber meets the road. So having good brakes isn’t enough. Safe Sachse drivers need to have tires with enough traction to translate braking power into stopping power.

Lewis Complete Auto Repair Tire Safety Washington vs. LincolnLet’s focus on stopping in wet Sachse conditions. In order for a tire to have good contact with the road, it has to move the water out of the way. If it can’t move the water, the tire will actually ride on top of a thin film of water.

That’s called hydroplaning. If it’s really bad, Sachse drivers can actually spin out of control. At best, you won’t stop as fast.

So how does a tire move water? It has channels for water to flow through. Look at your truck tire and you’ll see channels: channels that run around the tire and channels that flow across the tire. They’re designed to direct water away from the tire so it can contact the road better.

And the deeper the channel, the more water it can move. A brand new Lewis Complete Auto Repair tire has very deep channels and can easily move a lot of water. As the tire wears down, the channels become shallower and can move less water. When it wears down enough, it can seriously affect your ability to stop your truck on wet Sachse roads.

So that’s why it’s so important to replace our truck tires when they get worn. Consumer Reports and other advocate groups call for a standard of 3/32 of an inch and they have the studies to prove it.

By comparison, you’ve probably seen the wear indicator that’s molded into tires. When tires are worn 3/32 of an inch, the tread wear bar is visible. So the recommended standard has twice the tread depth as a completely worn out truck tire.

At Lewis Complete Auto Repair, we want our customers to know that the deeper recommended tread depth makes a big difference. Stopping distances are cut dramatically on wet Sachse roads. A safe stop from TX freeway speeds with 4/32 of an inch of tread would result in a crash with worn out tires.

There’s an easy way to tell when a tire’s worn to 4/32 of an inch. Just insert a quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn’t cover George Washington’s hairline, it’s time to replace your truck tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.

Many Sachse car owners have heard of this technique using a penny and Abe Lincoln’s head. That measure gives you 2/32 of an inch – half the suggested amount. Of course, truck tires are a big ticket item. Most of us in Sachse want to get as many miles out of them as we can. But there’s a real safety trade-off. It’s your choice.

Coolant Antifreeze Service In Rowlett TX”November 20, 2012

You may know that most automotive failures in Rowlett TX are tire related, but do you know the second most common cause for vehicle failure? Nope, it’s not teenagers. It is the coolant system. But, if you take good care of your coolant system, it will take good care of you.

A car’s engine creates a lot of heat – so much heat, that if it is not properly cooled, the engine can lock up, resulting in massive damage and repair bills. But when everything is working right, your engine operates at the proper temperature and all is well. Without antifreeze in your cooling system, the water could freeze and cause engine damage. This could be very expensive, not to mention inconvenient.

The right mix of water and antifreeze protects the engine against damage from freezing and overheating. Antifreeze also protects the coolant system against corrosion that could cause the system to fail. The thing to remember is this: coolant system failure is very common, but it is also very easy to prevent. Your Rowlett service center knows the manufacturers’ recommendations, and can tell you when the coolant needs to be changed. They can also perform a coolant system service.

Give us a call or stop by for a coolant service or checkup.
Lewis Complete Auto Repair
5110 Grisham Dr.
Rowlett, TX 75088
972.475.4800

Even the best antifreeze cannot completely protect the coolant system from harmful deposits forever. The anti-corrosion additives are used up over time, so the coolant must be replaced. A coolant service cleans out the system and replaces the old fluid with fresh coolant. A coolant system service is a low-cost way to protect against major engine repairs down the road. Prevention is the key. Be sure to watch out for the two main warning signs: if your temperature gauge is in the “hot” zone or if you get a message warning you to check your coolant. If you take a look under the hood, you will see the coolant overflow bottle. You can see there are lines that indicate the proper level of coolant … if your engine is cold – or if it is hot.

You can add water or antifreeze to that bottle yourself, but be careful. First, you never want to open the radiator pressure cap. The steam could severely burn you. Second, try to get to your service center immediately if your coolant is low. If that is not possible, follow the directions in your owner’s manual. Third, remember that you need a proper mixture of water and antifreeze, or you will damage your engine. If you make an emergency addition to your cooling system, follow-up with your service center where they can make necessary corrections. Fourth, not all cars use the same type of antifreeze.

You will need to check your owner’s manual to make sure you use the right kind. Mixing antifreeze types or using the wrong kind of antifreeze may void the manufacturers warranty on your cooling system. If you’re not sure, ask your service technician at Lewis Complete Auto Repair for guidance.