Got it Covered! (Timing Cover Maintenance)January 16, 2022

You may have heard at one time or another about something called a timing belt or timing chain in your engine.  And you may know that if they fail… well, let’s just way that there can be some major engine damage.  So obviously, we want our timing belts and chains to be in tip-top shape.

One part that helps keep them running the way they should is the timing cover.  As you can probably guess, it’s something that covers the belt or chain.  The timing cover protects both belts and chains from dirt and road debris.  Timing belts also need to be lubricated so their covers allow them to be lubricated as well.  They have a gasket that insures a good seal for the engine.  If that gasket breaks or develops a leak, then engine oil can escape, and loss of lubrication is never good for an engine component.

Other symptoms of a failed timing cover are leaking coolant, a metallic sound coming from the front of your engine or your Check Engine light coming on.  You might also notice a drop in power when you’re going uphill.

It’s important that your timing cover be in good condition and functioning properly.  Your repair facility will check out that part of your engine to make sure gaskets are in good shape and the cover is doing the job it’s meant to do.  Catch that leaking or broken timing cover in time and your engine will thank you for avoiding some serious damage and an expensive repair.

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

Stay Safe in Rowlett by Putting Your Cell Phone on ICEJanuary 9, 2022

We don’t want to think about it, but each Rowlett resident who drives or rides in a vehicle is potentially an accident victim. In the worst-case scenario, those people are unconscious and unable to communicate with TX rescue workers.

Rescue workers and Rowlett police are well aware of this difficulty, even if the rest of us don’t stop to think about it. They can all recount stories of searching through glove compartments, pockets, wallets, purses and cell phone directories for a person’s name and for contact information for someone who can help them get the person the medical care they need.

This contact information is critical in an accident because Rowlett medical workers need to know about allergies and potential drug interactions. Also, in TX, some medical treatments can’t be provided without authorization or consent, and there can be insurance and billing issues if the person’s medical care is not properly arranged.

ICE provides a solution for these concerns. ICE stands for In Case of Emergency and is a way for others to quickly identify emergency contacts in your cell phone.

Bob Brotchie, a paramedic from Cambridge, England, developed the idea for ICE in 2005. It soon spread around the globe. The system is simple, affordable and highly functional. Rowlett rescue workers can tell you that they can’t always find purses and wallets at the scene of an accident. But these days, almost no one in TX goes anywhere without their phone.

To add ICE to your phone, simply put ICE in front of the names of those people who should be contacted in case you are in an emergency. For example, “ICE-Dad,” or “Ice-Deborah,” or “ICE-Dr. Mitchell.” Rowlett rescuers can quickly identify and access this information, saving valuable time. The only thing Rowlett drivers have to do after that is to keep their contacts current. Every time you change the batteries in your smoke alarm, it is a good idea to double-check your phone and make sure your ICE cell phone numbers are up-to-date. Of course, we’d rather avoid an accident in the first place. It’s good advice to keep up with preventive maintenance (we can help you with that at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett) and practice good car care and driving habits. Those can go a long way to keeping you safe on the road. Planning for the unthinkable helps your rescuers find the information they need quickly. Let’s put the world on ICE.

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

 

 

Bad Vibes (Disc brake rotor problems)January 2, 2022

If you were to name the most important safety feature on your vehicle right now, what would your answer be? A lot of driving experts would agree that it’s your brakes.  Most newer vehicles use a well-engineered and efficient style of brakes called disc brakes. 

The name disc brakes comes from one of the components: a disc attached to the wheel hub that is squeezed by parts called calipers.  If you’ve ever ridden a bicycle with hand brakes, you probably have seen how they squeeze against the rim of the bike wheel to stop the bike. It’s similar to the way your vehicle’s calipers squeeze against the disc rotor, with added parts called brake pads attached to the calipers that are what create the friction and stop your vehicle.

Here’s why disc brakes need regular maintenance.  Over time, that friction creates wear and tear on the brake pads and the rotors, and you’ll start to see the signs.  Your brakes may have one of the 3 “S” sounds: squeaking, squealing, or scraping. The sound is usually the first sign of brake pad wear which can lead to rotor damage.  Soon you may notice a pulsating or vibration when you brake. That’s because your once smooth and straight rotor disc is warping from the heat generated from friction. Or it may be due to wear.  Eventually, your brakes will take a longer distance to stop your vehicle, and the rotors can have grooves carved into them.

When you start noticing any of these signs, it’s a good idea to have them inspected by a trained technician.  They will measure the rotor thickness, check wear patterns for grooves and heat discoloration, and see how much of the brake pads remain. They will also check to make sure all brake components are moving freely, check your brake fluid, and look for corrosion.

Most vehicle manufacturers require worn or damaged rotors to be replaced, not resurfaced. It’s all part of a complete brake job, replacing pads and the brake hardware parts along with the rotors. It reduces the chance of premature failure.

How often you will need your brakes serviced depends on the manufacturer’s recommendations, your driving habits, and the environment you live in.  Your service facility can recommend the best replacement parts based on those factors. 

Regular maintenance and attention are vital for keeping your brakes performing like they are designed to. Remember, your brakes are your vehicle’s most important safety feature.

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

Motor Oil—The Synthetic Advantage (Synthetic oil vs Conventional)January 1, 2022

You’ve probably already heard that regular oil changes are extremely important for the health of your vehicle’s engine. That’s sound advice.  But what you might not know is when it comes to motor oil, the real thing may not be the best thing for your engine.

There are different types of motor oil:

  • Conventional oil, extracted from the ground and refined.
  • Synthetic oil, manufactured from high-quality base oils and artificially-made chemical compounds.
  • Synthetic oil blend, a mixture of conventional and synthetic oils.

The first thing you need to know is that most new engines require synthetic oil.  If synthetic oil is recommended for your car – you MUST use it.

For the rest, there are many advantages to using synthetic oil over conventional oil.

  • Synthetic oil provides better protection for your engine while helping it to perform better.
  • Conventional oil breaks down over time, while synthetic oil lasts longer.
  • Synthetics can stand higher temperature extremes, both heat, and cold.

Synthetic oil can be a better choice if you live in an extremely hot or cold climate or put a lot of strain on your engine by towing or carrying heavy loads.  It also may be good for older engines that sometimes have a tendency to develop sludge.

Synthetic oil is a more expensive option, but you likely won’t have to have your oil changed as often.  Some synthetics are recommended to last 10,000-15,000 miles/16,000-24,000 km between changes.

You might also consider a synthetic blend that gives you some of the advantages of synthetic oil at a lower cost. Have a talk with your service adviser about recommendations for what will best suit your vehicle and driving habits.

It’s interesting to note that in recent years, more than one out of two vehicle owners are opting for synthetic oil or a synthetic blend when they get their oil changed. Sounds like they’re on to something. In the long run, if you have fewer oil changes with synthetics, you’ll use less oil, a bonus for our environment.

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

No Strain, No Gain (The Basics of Oil Filters)December 26, 2021

Ever wonder what one of the best things is to ever happen to your vehicle’s engine?  It’s the little thing that usually looks like a can, the oil filter.

Just like your kitchen sink strainer filters out errant particles of food from clogging your drain, the oil filter cleans out small particles that could cause your engine harm.

Your engine operates in a dirty, hot environment and gathers a lot of tiny contaminants like dirt, dust, little metal shards and unlucky bugs that get sucked in.  Get those things circulating in your engine and those little particles can cause friction, which starts wearing out those finely machined metal parts. 

You know how important it is to change your oil regularly.  It’s vital that you change your oil filter at the same time to keep the oil as close to brand new as possible.

Most oil filters look like a metal can with some holes in the bottom.  Inside there are carefully chosen materials that can screen out the contaminants while at the same time allow the lubricating oil to pass through.  Early oil filters had steel wool, metal mesh or actual screens.  Then they tried fabric filters using material such as linen and cotton.  Finally, a less expensive disposable filter using paper and cellulose did the trick.

Cellulose or other synthetic media are used in most oil filters today.  Cellulose is inexpensive and effective.  Fibers filter out particulates and let the oil flow.  The other synthetic media have the ability to screen out even tinier particles while not significantly restricting the oil from getting through.  Engineers continue to work on even more advanced filter material.

Choosing the right oil filter is something our pros at Lewis Complete Auto Repair can help you with  because there are a lot of them out there.  Factoring into that decision are your driving habits, how far you drive and the temperatures to which your engine will be subjected.  While some filters will cost more than others, they may be worth it to extend the life of your engine. 

But most important is remembering to come have your oil changed at Lewis Complete Auto Repair regularly at the intervals recommended by the vehicle’s manufacturer. Just like you wouldn’t want to have a plumber come over to fix a clogged kitchen drain, you certainly wouldn’t want to have to pay for major engine repairs if they could be prevented by regular oil and filter changes.

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