Lewis Complete Auto Repair And The Maintenance MindsetJanuary 8, 2013

When it comes to their vehicles, some Rowlett people don’t have a maintenance mindset. They know they need to take care of their cars, but it just seems really hard to get them to remember to do it. Rowlett drivers generally accept that many things in life require regular maintenance, but just may have not applied it to their trucks.

For example: the lawn. You water it and mow it every week. And weed the flower beds and rake the leaves. Lewis Complete Auto Repair And The Maintenance MindsetThere are other things that Rowlett people are good about maintaining. Going to the dentist twice a year. Clothes to the dry cleaner. Flu shots. Taking the kids to your Rowlett doctor for a checkup before school starts.

So Rowlett people really are maintenance minded. They just have to learn to apply that mindset to cars. I mean, if you never brush your teeth or go to the dentist, you’ll become painfully aware of your neglect when you get a big cavity. Once the damage is done, we learn our lesson and start to take better care of things.

Unfortunately, Rowlett truck owners too often learn the hard automotive lesson when they bring their vehicle to Lewis Complete Auto Repair on a tow truck. So many times a little routine maintenance would have prevented a breakdown.

So how can Rowlett drivers get into the habit of taking care of their truck? It’s so easy to forget. If you skip cutting the grass, you see it every time you pull in the driveway.

Here’s something that will help: The key to good vehicle maintenance starts with the oil change. Think about it – when you go in for a full-service oil change, your Lewis Complete Auto Repair tech will check all your fluids. If one of them is low, he can look for the reason why. If your serpentine belt is cracked, he’ll see it and let you know. Corroded battery cable – they’ve got you covered. And at Lewis Complete Auto Repair, we check to see if your truck manufacturer has recommended any services at your current mileage.

The oil change becomes kind of a focal point, a way to check in to see what needs to be done.
The fact is that vehicle inspection surveys consistently reveal that over 80% of vehicles have one or more unperformed repair or maintenance service. Vehicles are generally very reliable and can take a lot of abuse and neglect. But, you’ve got to remember that trucks are complicated machines. There are parts and fluids that are critical to their function. Without them, the truck won’t run at all.

So when you come in to Lewis Complete Auto Repair for an oil change, you get a visual inspection from your friendly service advisor and a reminder for recommended services so you can avoid a total failure. And remember that your Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor can help you work out a maintenance and repair plan, prioritizing and scheduling the work to make sure you and your family are safe, and avoid expensive breakdowns.

The Fallacy of Cheap TiresJanuary 2, 2013

Do you ever shop for shoes in one of our Rowlett area shoe stores?
When buying a running shoe, is quality important?
Does durability matter as long as the shoes look fabulous?
Would you rather have one pair of long lasting shoes or two pair of lower quality shoes at the same price?

Is the warranty important when buying tires?

When you choose new tires in Rowlett, what’s the most important factor for you?

Give us a call at Lewis Complete Auto Repair at 972.475.4800 for tire recommendations.

You know, buying tires in Rowlett is a big deal. It’s a big ticket item so you know you’ll be spending a lot. You’re not only concerned about the price, but you want to know that it’ll be a long time before you need to buy new tires again.

And of course there’s the safety aspect as well. The tires do a lot of work – they carry the weight of the vehicle and you and your passengers. They need to be up to the task. You want to be sure they hold the road and provide good traction. If you carry heavy loads or tow a trailer, the tires need a high load rating to be up for the job.

As a tire professional, I think it’s important that people understand the effect of price on a tire’s performance and durability. When I was a kid, my dad had a saying. He said, “Pay twice as much and buy half as many”.

Dad applied that to a lot of things. He thought that one high quality suit would last longer and look better than two cheap suits. The saying really seems to hold true when it comes to shoes and boots, too.

I buy high-quality work shoes because I spend a lot of time on my feet. They’re more comfortable, have important safety features like steel toes and non-slip soles – and they last at least twice as long as cheap shoes. I feel I get very good value for my money.

I apply the same thinking to tires. The major tire brands that you’re familiar with are known as Tier 1 tires. These tires are well-engineered and very high quality. Comparable tires are usually in the same price range from brand to brand.

Stepping down in price you come to private label tires. Some large tire store chains carry tires with the chain’s own brand. It’s important to know that most private label tires are built by the same Tier 1 brands that you are familiar with – so they are a quality product. You can ask your tire professional who makes their private brand.

The lowest priced tires on the market are Tier 3 tires. These tend to be imported from China or South America. Since you get what you pay for, you can’t expect a Tier 3 tire to deliver the same performance and durability as the others.

So let’s say you need new tires. You’ve determined the features you need. So you have several options, including price options. Now, you’ve probably heard the term ‘it’s a 40 thousand mile tire’ or ‘it’s a 60 thousand mile tire’. Simply put, the manufacturer warrantees the tire for ‘X’ number of miles. If that’s important to you, look for the warranty.

What’s the difference in the tires with higher mileage warranties? It’s the rubber compounds and the amount of tread material. As you might expect, you’ll pay more for the longer-lasting tire.

Now the cheapest tires you can find won’t have a manufacturer’s mileage warranty or if it does, it’ll be relatively low. That brings us back to dad’s saying; if you buy the cheapest Tier 3 tire you can, you will likely go through two sets in the time it would take to wear out one set of good quality tires. And the good tires won’t cost twice as much, so you’ll end up paying more per mile driven with the cheap tires.

Hey, I realize that sometimes the budget will only allow for a Tier 3 tire. I make them available for my customers who need them because I would rather see them driving with safe, new tires than pushing their old tires beyond their safety limits. But I always counsel my customers to buy as much tire as they can afford, because it will be much less expensive in the long run.

Your tires are the only part of your vehicle that touch the road. You’re only as safe as your tires are well built.

Buy value – not price.

Deciphering the Lewis Complete Auto Repair Menu BoardDecember 28, 2012

Let’s talk about deciphering the auto service menu board. Rowlett, TX service centers like Lewis Complete Auto Repair have a board that lists the routine services they provide. But some people don’t know what these services really are unless they ask. Let’s go down a typical list, in alphabetical order, starting with air conditioning service.

Feel free at any time to give Lewis Complete Auto Repair a call at 972.475.4800 to learn of the many services we offer, or stop by our Rowlett, TX auto center at 5110 Grisham Dr. 75088.

First remember that all of these services are recommended by vehicle manufacturers. They set how often or at how many miles the service should be done.

Air conditioning service involves purging the old refrigerant and capturing it for proper disposal. Then fresh refrigerant is installed. The fresh refrigerant will lubricate the system and will also help it cool better.

Alignment. Service centers like Lewis Complete Auto Repair make sure all four wheels are lined up and track with each other. This reduces tire and suspension wear and improves safety and handling.

Battery service. Service centers like Lewis Complete Auto Repair inspect the battery for corrosion, leaks or damage. Test the battery’s ability to hold a charge. If the battery’s still strong, clean it up. If not, replace it.

Brake service. This could be two things. A brake inspection to see if the brakes are working well mechanically and to see if the pads are still safe. If not, replace the pads and make any repairs that might be in order.

The other thing is to evacuate the brake fluid, clean out the system and replace it with fresh fluid. This is important, but often over looked.

Cabin air filter. The cabin air filter is the filter that cleans the air that comes into the passenger compartment. It works like the filter on your furnace at home. It gets dirty and needs to be changed often.

Cooling system. This is the cooling system for your engine. Replace the old coolant with fresh to protect your radiator and other cooling system components from corrosion.

Differential service. Every vehicle has at least one differential. They don’t require service very often, so people don’t think of them much. The differential transfers power from the drive train to your wheels. Drain the old fluid and add fresh lubricant.

Engine air filter. This filters the air that’s burned in the engine. It also gets dirty and needs to be replaced often.

Fuel filter. This filter cleans the fuel before it gets to the engine. Like the other filters, it too gets clogged and needs to be replaced in order to maintain good flow.

Contact Lewis Complete Auto Repair, your Rowlett, TX auto repair center, by calling us at 972.475.4800.

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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