Clean Air for Your Engine: Engine Air Filters In RowlettFebruary 12, 2013

Every Rowlett car owner who has taken their car in for an oil change has been told that their engine air filter’s dirty.

Here’s what goes into the determination of when to change the filter: First, your truck owner’s manual will have a recommendation of when to change the filter. Second, a visual inspection by your Rowlett technician may determine that your filter it is visibly dirty and needs to be changed.

Clean Air for Your Engine Rowlett Engine Air Filter

So between your owner’s manual and your Rowlett technician’s inspection there’s really no guesswork involved.

Now, most air filters purchased in Rockwall, Garland, or Sachse don’t cost a lot to replace. It’s just that TX people hate getting caught with an unexpected expense. On the plus side, though, changing a dirty air filter at Lewis Complete Auto Repair can often save enough on gas to pay for itself before your next oil change in Rowlett.

Think about a dirty furnace filter in your Garland home. When it’s all clogged up, enough clean air can’t get through. In your truck, that means that your engine can’t get as much air as it needs to burn the fuel efficiently. So it makes do with less air and has to use more expensive TX gas to move your vehicle around Rowlett roads.

Your truck actually needs about 12,000 gallons of air for every gallon of gas it burns. Engine air filters don’t cost much in Rowlett at Lewis Complete Auto Repair. When it’s time to change yours, just get it done. You’ll buy less fuel, have better performance and protect your engine.

Rowlett Customer Detective WorkFebruary 7, 2013

One might say the most challenging part of being an automotive service technician at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett TX is diagnosing a problem before it can be fixed.

Cars are made up of a bunch of complex systems. There usually could be a number of reasons for any given symptom. So it’s challenging to track down the actual cause of the problem. And it can be frustrating for the vehicle owner because it can take time and money to get to the bottom of a problem. If it’s not something obvious, it’s easy for the customer to focus on the fixing and not the diagnosing.

Let us introduce you to something we’ll call Customer Detective Work – that is helping your Rowlett TX technician find clues to what’s wrong.

We start with the detective basics: What, Where and When. Play along with me. You come in to Lewis Complete Auto Repair and your car is making a funny sound.

  • Q: Where’s the sound?
  • A: Around the right front wheel.
  • Q: What kind of sound?
  • A: Kind of a clunk, clunk sound.
  • Q: When do you hear the sound?
  • A: When I turn and accelerate.
  • Q: Right and left? Forwards and back?…

Do you see where we’re going? You’re gathering additional information to help your Rowlett TX technician know where to start. Based on your car and the tech’s experience, he’ll know where to look and can start with the obvious suspects.

You can see how that would be more helpful than dropping the car off with a note that says “making a funny noise”.

When you think you need to bring a vehicle in, make some notes about the problem. Rather than just saying “it’s leaking”, tell the tech the color of the fluid, and approximately where under the car you see the puddle.

Things like ‘the car is stalling or sputtering’ are often very hard to diagnose because they’re intermittent. They may not happen every time you drive and usually aren’t happening when you actually bring the car in. So, it is a big help for you to describe what’s happening in as much detail as possible.

Your Rowlett TX technician at Lewis Complete Auto Repair will need to be able to duplicate the problem if possible so he needs to know details, like ‘it stalls after it’s been driven for about 20 minutes and I go over 50 miles an hour’.

If the tech can experience the problem personally, he’s better able to make a diagnosis and repair. And, then test to see if the repair solved the problem.

Lease verses BuyJanuary 29, 2013

Lease? Or buy? It’s always a tough question for residents in the Rockwall area. But here are a few ideas that’ll make the choice more clear.

Either option gives you a choice of how you might finance your car. If you buy, you’ll pay the full cost of the car, with maybe an initial down payment, then monthly payments on the balance that pays down the loan principal, and the finance charge.

If you lease, you’re financing the portion of the cost of the car that’s used up during the term of the lease. When the lease is up, you return the car to your local Rockwall area dealership. You’ll pay some money upfront; fees, security deposit, first month’s payment and maybe a capital reduction. The month payments include a depreciation cost and a finance charge.

So how do you decide?

First, how big a down payment can you make? A lease would require a smaller down.

How much monthly payment can you afford? Again, lease payments will be much lower for any given down payment.

A lease needs you to have better credit, so that’s a factor.

How long will you keep the car? If you tend to keep your cars around for a while, buying is cheaper. But just two or three years? Then leasing is the way to go.

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

If your car might suffer a ding or two, like, say a work truck would, then buying’s better. The leasing company will want their merchandise back at the lease end in tip top shape, and if repairs are needed, you’ll pay.

How many miles do you drive in and around the Rockwall area? Important to consider because leases have a mileage limit, and if you go over, you pay a hefty charge per mile when the lease is up. So high mileage means a buy.

Will the car be used for business? Check with your accountant, but both financing options have different tax benefits, depending on your circumstances.

Over the short term, leasing is much cheaper. Medium term, leasing and buying costs are about the same. Over the long haul, leasing is always costs more.

Leases may sound a bit complicated, and the typical lease decision weighs more on the monthly payment, rather than price. So sometimes leasers may pay on a higher purchase price than a buyer would.

Here is a tip: If a salesman asks if you’ll be leasing or buying, say you’re not sure yet. Make your best deal, then look at financing options.

Here’s another: With a buy or a lease, if you total the car, you’ll owe the full amount of the loan, or the balance of the lease payments, and usually, it’s less than the car’s fair market value – and that’s all your insurance company will pay. But ask your agent about gap insurance, which pays the difference between fair market value and what you owe. Big consideration for a lease.

Remember, you have to return your leased vehicle in excellent condition, and may need to do all manufacturer’s recommended service and maintenance, or face penalties. So see your local Rockwall service center on a regular basis, get the required work done and save the service records. It’s well worth it.

Hitting The Brakes In SachseJanuary 23, 2013

Hello Sachse, let’s talk about brakes. Braking, as all Sachse drivers know, is slowing or stopping a vehicle. As you can imagine, brakes are engineered to work well on a particular vehicle application. For example, you would expect more powerful brakes on a heavy-duty pickup that routinely hauls big loads and pulls trailers, than you would on a compact car. And a Corvette that can go over 180 miles per hour would have much different braking needs than the family mini-van you drive around Sachse.

Hitting The Brakes In SachseBut the mechanical aspects of the brakes themselves are just one issue. There’s also the power brake pump and brake fluid. And then there are the tires, which are critical to the effectiveness of the brakes.

Let’s step back. A new truck or truck rolls off a local Sachse dealer showroom floor. It has brand new brakes with brand new brake pads. The brake lines and pump are filled with fresh fluid and are completely clean inside. And the tires are brand new, with full tread.

Naturally, braking power is at its peak performance. Now the miles start to add up on the truck. We tend to focus on the brake pads. In the business, the pads, and shoes on drum brakes, are called the friction material. That’s because they provide the friction used to stop the vehicle. The pads are designed to be effective throughout their useful life – it’s not until they are worn so thin as to be out of spec that they lose stopping effectiveness.

The mechanical parts of the brakes have pistons and springs that get quite a workout while breaking. Over many miles, these wear and get gummed up. They start to lose effectiveness gradually and could even fail. That’s why a regular brake inspection is important for your truck. At Lewis Complete Auto Repair we can test the operation of the brakes and see if any parts need cleaning or replacing.

That leads us to brake fluid service at Lewis Complete Auto Repair. Some of the critical additives in the fluid that lubricate and clean the truck fluid system are depleted over time. That and moisture building up in the system deteriorate the performance of the brake fluid. A brake service at Lewis Complete Auto Repair cleans out deposits, water and dirt. Then the system is filled up with fresh fluid.

The tires are what connect the truck to the road. The stopping force is ultimately dependent on the traction provided by the tires. The better they grip the road, the quicker you’ll stop.

This is especially important on wet Sachse roads. Studies have shown that wet stopping distance increases significantly as tires wear down. Sachse drivers need to understand that they can have brakes that are operating at peak efficiency and yet still be in danger because their tires are worn out.

Maintaining Your Older Car In Rowlett TXJanuary 16, 2013

The government mandates a lot of equipment on cars in Rowlett TX: emission devices and control computers, safety equipment like airbags and crash worthiness requirements. All of this is great for the Rowlett TX motoring public, but it does add quite a bit to the price of a new car.

Because new cars are more expensive, people in the Rowlett area are driving their old cars longer. The average car is now over nine years old. Two thirds of vehicles on the road in Rowlett have more than 75,000 miles. As cars age, their performance drops, they have difficulty idling for long periods and are more sensitive to weather extremes. Fortunately today’s cars are up to the challenge – but they need a little help to keep on goin’.

Give Lewis Complete Auto Repair a call to schedule your next maintenance.
5110 Grisham Dr.
Rowlett, TX 75088
972.475.4800

Some owner’s manuals don’t specify service requirements at higher mileage. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t have to be done. In fact, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of routine maintenance for cars with more than 75,000 miles.

First, just extend regular service intervals out: for instance a service that’s recommended every 15,000 miles should be performed at 15,000, 30,000, 45,000 and 60,000 miles, and so on. Because of the additional stress older engines experience, the severe service maintenance schedule is more appropriate than the regular schedule – ask your service advisor. Watch for leaks – seals and gaskets dry out over time and don’t hold the fluids as well as they used to.

It’s also time to make sure you have a good Rowlett TX technician. There are some services and replacements that are scheduled after you put on some clicks, like timing belts, valve train adjustments, suspension, anti-lock brake service, air bags, etc. And unexpected repairs down the road are just par for the course. Check for unusual sounds, smells or the way your car feels. These could be hints that trouble’s brewing. Better to catch it early before it turns into a costly repair.

And a regular wash and wax will help maintain your car’s appearance. One of the things you can do to really help your high mileage vehicle is to begin using high mileage formulation fluids. There are special engine oils, coolants, and transmission and power steering fluids that are formulated for cars that have a few clicks on the old odometer.

High mileage oil is designed to condition seals and gaskets, reduce wear and avoid premature burn off. Older engines are dirtier inside – and dirty engines contaminate their oil faster. High mileage oil has special additives that clean the engine, removing sludge deposits over time. The result is less stress on the engine, better fuel economy and excellent wear protection.

Studies have even shown that using high mileage fluids early will actually prevent some of the problems of high mileage vehicles. So once you hit around 50,000 miles, consider stepping up to high mileage formulations. High mileage fluids cost a bit more than standard fluids because of the additional additives, but they can be worth their weight in gold in terms of preventing repair costs down the road. It does cost more to properly maintain a higher mileage vehicle – but it’s way cheaper than a new car payment!