TX Balance: Wheel Balancing and Tire RotationFebruary 21, 2013

Everyone in the Rowlett area wants our tires to last as long as possible. Two ways to maximize tire life are wheel balancing and tire rotation.

When wheels are out of balance, they wobble a bit. That makes the tires wear in a cupping pattern. And they vibrate. To fix this, your service technician at Lewis Complete Auto Repair puts weights on your wheels to balance them out. If a front wheel is out of balance you’ll feel it in the steering wheel. If it’s a rear wheel you’ll feel it through your seat.

That brings us to tire rotation. The front tires on a car wear out more quickly than the rear tires. As they push through turns from Rowlett to Sachse, the shoulders of the front tires wear down. So rotating front and rear tires allows them to all wear at about the same rate over the life of the tire.

Proper tire inflation will also help your tires last longer. Under-inflated tires wear excessively on the shoulder and may even overheat. This could cause tire damage or a blow out. Over-inflated tires wear to fast in the middle.

Four wheel drive trucks and SUV’s tend to wear their tires more unevenly so rotation is even more important with them. Give us a call to get our recommendation on your truck.

See your owner’s manual or ask your service technician at Lewis Complete Auto Repair for your recommended tire rotation schedule. It’s usually every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.

Tires cost a lot and they are one of the most critical safety components on your vehicle. Take care of them and they’ll take care of you.

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

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.