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.

Serpentine Belt Replacement Near The Rowlett AreaNovember 13, 2012

Don’t you hate it when you hear that squeal from under the hood when you’re driving aroun Rowlett? It usually means there is a problem with the serpentine belt. The serpentine belt powers a lot of engine accessories. It runs the alternator-which charges the battery, the water pump-which cools the engine, the air conditioning and the power steering pump. All pretty important parts. It is called a serpentine belt because it snakes around a bunch of engine components.

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

Serpentine belts are especially tough. They can last for years and go for tens of thousands of miles. But, with time they wear out. If your belt breaks while you are driving, everything will come to a halt within minutes. You have to stop the car or it will overheat, potentially causing major engine damage. And it probably won’t be at a convenient time or place. You might even need to get your car towed to a service center. That is why manufacturers recommend a belt replacement on schedule. You really should get it done on schedule because a belt failure will definitely take you off the road.

If you hear a squeal when accelerating or a slow, slapping sound at idle, you should have your serpentine belt looked at. Your Rowlett area service technician at Lewis Complete Auto Repair will visually inspect your belt to see if it needs to be changed sooner than scheduled. If the belt has more than three or four cracks an inch, has deep cracks that penetrate half the depth of the belt, is frayed, is missing pieces or has a shiny glazed look, it needs to be replaced regardless of age or mileage.

Serpentine belt replacement is relatively inexpensive, especially compared with the cost and inconvenience of being stranded or getting a disabled vehicle back to Lewis Complete Auto Repair for repairs.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

Why People In Rowlett Hesitate to Get their Vehicle ServicedNovember 7, 2012

A recent report stated that over 80 percent of the vehicles on our Rowlett TX roads have one or more service or repair that’s needed, but hasn’t been taken care of. Now that’s a lot of undone service. That translates into something over 160 million vehicles in the U.S. alone. Some of the neglected items are minor. Others are serious safety concerns.

There are several reasons why we hesitate to take care of recommended services; especially services that our Rowlett TX automotive advisor recommends when we’re in for something else, like an oil change.

The first issue boils down to comfort with car care. We don’t always feel we know enough to make good decisions. Some of that can be attributed to the fact that vehicles are so reliable these days. They almost become an appliance. Of course you love your truck, but if you don’t have to worry about it breaking down all the time, you’re not forced to think as much about preventive maintenance.

Perhaps your dad knew a lot about cars and always made sure they were taken care of. He was very comfortable dealing with his local Rowlett TX service advisor. People who don’t know as much about cars hesitate to ask questions because they don’t want to look ignorant.

It’s human nature. But, there’s so much to know in this world, we can’t all be experts in everything. So we specialize. It’s very important to ask questions of any specialist, whether it’s your doctor, financial advisor or your automotive technician in Rowlett, TX.

Your auto technician at Lewis Complete Auto Repair wants your questions. We want you to understand the recommendation and why it needs to be done.

That brings us to the next issue; people say that they don’t always know if they really need the service or if they are just being sold something.

At the heart, it speaks to trust. Do you trust your Rowlett service center and your service advisor? Trust has to be earned and that takes time and experience. But you can shortcut the process when you realize that most of the recommendations are based on manufacturer’s maintenance schedules.

In other words, “you don’t have to trust me, you can trust your owner’s manual”.

Your Rowlett service center has computer databases that contain the manufacturer’s recommendations for almost all vehicles, so they don’t need to rummage through your glove box to look for your owner’s manual to know what to do.

Basically, the engineers who designed the car say “here’s when you need to have it serviced”. That’s who makes the recommendation, not the technician. He’s just reminding you.

Now you do need to trust your Rowlett technician’s experience and judgment from time to time. When he inspects your vehicle, he may find problems or concerns. He will explain things so that you can prioritize the concern and make a good decision about whether or not to have something done.

That brings us to the third issue; money. Often the concern is about spending the money to take care of a recommended service. Our money has many places it needs to go. And we have another list of places we want it to go. Auto maintenance isn’t usually on either of those lists.

Look, everyone who works at Lewis Complete Auto Repair has a family budget, too. They can relate. Maybe a little look behind the scenes would be helpful.

Service centers like Lewis Complete Auto Repair invest heavily in training, diagnostic equipment and tools so that they can make repairs and perform services as efficiently as possible. And like any other business, they have labor costs, insurance, rent, utilities, shop and office supplies, taxes and so on.

We work hard to make sure that we diagnose the problem correctly and fix it right the first time. That’s the only way we can maintain our reputation and remain in business. If we’re not satisfying our customers and providing a good value, you won’t come back and the service center won’t be around for long.

When there is a real budget concern, your Rowlett service center can help you prioritize the work that needs to be done and come up with a plan for taking care of it that works within your budget.

Let’s say you have a serious problem with your brakes. That’s a safety concern so a technician can’t ethically say, well, let’s put that off for a couple of months. What they can do is take care of the brakes now and address the cabin air filter or transmission service next month.