Beware Dangers of Spring Driving (Seasonal Driving Tips)March 20, 2022

Sure, winter is quickly fading in the rearview mirror, but the peril of icy roads is replaced with a whole new set of driving challenges in spring.

Deer and other wildlife. You are not the only one who gets spring fever.  Animals do, too, and spring is the time they start looking for mates and food.  Be extra careful at dawn and dusk when deer are especially active.  Hitting a deer (or having them jump into your path suddenly) is a frightening experience, and even a deer/vehicle collision at slow speeds can cause injury and/or loss of life for both animal and humans, let alone expensive damage to the vehicle.  Be extra vigilant during spring.

The angle of the light.  As the seasons progress, you’ll notice sun angles change.  The sun is rising earlier every morning and setting later at light.  When the sun is low in the sky, that glare can render you almost completely blind.  Make sure your windows and windshield are clean; don’t forget the inside glass, too, which can build up a haze over the winter. 

Potholes. The freezing and thawing of pavement is shockingly effective at busting up asphalt and concrete. The holes left behind can seem like moon craters, and if you hit one or more hard, they can cause you to lose control of your vehicle, increasing your chances of an accident.  They also can cause some significant damage to your vehicle. If you feel your vehicle pulling to one side, notice it has a rough ride or hear noises you haven’t heard before, have your suspension’s integrity inspected at your vehicle service facility.    

Children playing.  Kids are excited to get back outside, running wild, playing with balls and toys… just being kids.  These newly-rediscovered outside thrills can also steal away their attention from what’s going on around them and they may dart out onto the street before you know it. Spring is a time to be vigilant and devote extra concentration to roads and neighborhoods. 

Spring is such a breath of fresh air. Remember to be super careful of a whole new set of hazards winter made you forget about for a while.

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

Do you have a Clue (Get the Most Out of a Service Visit)March 13, 2022

When you head to the doctor, you probably have it in your mind what you’re going to say about why you don’t feel good.  That way your doctor can use that information to diagnose your problem. You might want to think of that same approach when you take your vehicle in for a repair.

Experts say what will help the service advisor most is for you to bring in some well-organized descriptions about your vehicle’s issues.  You might even want to write them down so you don’t forget.  Is there an unusual smell?  What does it smell like?  Does the problem happen first thing after starting out? If there’s an odd sound you hear, is it dependent on speed?  Does it change when you turn a corner?  

Keep your expectations realistic.  Some conditions may take a long time to diagnose and repair.  If you go thinking you’ll be in and out in no time, you might be disappointed when you’re told there are other customers ahead of you and you may have to come back tomorrow.  If you can make alternate plans to have someone pick you up and take you back when the vehicle is finished, that way you won’t feel like you’ve wasted your time. 

Most importantly, be available for any communication from the service advisor.  If they have your cell phone and they have a question or need an approval for a repair, the sooner they reach you, the sooner things can move forward. 

The service facility wants your experience with them to be good just as you do.  With a little help from you, they’ll get your vehicle back on the road and you’ll have a smile on your face.

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

Slipping into Fall (Driving with ABS Brakes)March 6, 2022

As the weather changes over from hot to colder, drivers will have to deal with more slippery streets.  And it’s important to know how to drive with the brakes you have on your vehicle. 

In the 1970s, anti-lock braking systems (ABS) started to be installed on vehicles and they’ve been a game changer for drivers.  Most modern vehicles have ABS and it’s important to know how to drive with them.

In older vehicles without ABS, the driver applies the brakes by pushing down the pedal.  That, in turn, sends braking pressure to all four wheels at once.  But all four tires don’t have the same traction because the road surface they’re each on isn’t exactly the same.

ABS allows sensors to determine when particular wheels are slowing down more quickly.  The ABS then reduces braking pressure to the wheels that are about to lock up.  That way the wheel turns and the tires keep some grip. (You have to have grip to stop.) It’s kind of what drivers try to achieve when they pump the older-style brakes without ABS.

Another engineered feature of ABS is that it makes sure your front wheels will continue to rotate and maintain some traction.  That’s important because the front wheels are used to steer, and being able to steer gives a driver more control in a quickly-changing situation.  So ABS is all about stopping as fast as the road surface will allow but at the same time enabling the driver to maintain control. 

ABS is designed for the driver to put steady pressure on the brake pedal and let the vehicle’s computerized system handle the braking.  Pumping the pedal in a vehicle with ABS can defeat what the system is trying to do to help you maintain control.

Because stopping techniques in a vehicle with ABS are different than those without, it’s important to know which brakes you have so you can operate them accordingly. 

If you have any doubt, consult your service advisor.  ABS involves sophisticated technology and must be maintained in order for it to work properly.  Your service advisor can recommend a maintenance schedule for you to follow so your ABS is always on the ready to help you stop when you need to.

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

Hitting the Brakes in RowlettFebruary 27, 2022

Safety should always be an element of your vehicle care. So even if you don’t care about how your vehicle looks, you should practice preventive maintenance to protect yourself — and other Rowlett drivers — on the road. And good safety starts with good brakes.

Brakes need a regular inspection. There are  parts that wear out or wear down, and it’s best to replace them before you have serious problems.

Of course, if you are having trouble with your brakes, NOW is the time to fix them. If your brake warning light is on, that’s a good sign that you need your brakes checked. You can also tell something is wrong with your brakes by the feel of the pedal or unusual sounds while braking. If the brake pedal is low, feels spongy when you press it or is hard to push, that indicates a problem with your brakes. If you hear squealing, grinding or clunking noises when you brake, that can also indicate serious problems. If vibrations accompany braking, then it is to get your brakes checked.

Brakes come in two basic types. With disc brakes, a rotor is attached to the axle of the vehicle. Padded calipers straddle the rotor and close when the brakes are applied. The resulting friction causes the rotor — and the axle — to stop turning. With drum brakes, brake pads (also called shoes) press against the inside of a drum to create friction and stop the drum, and hence the vehicle’s wheels, from turning.

When Lewis Complete Auto Repair services your brake system, your friendly and knowledgeable service advisor checks all of the brake pads for wear. If they are too thin, they need to be replaced. This is an inexpensive repair at Lewis Complete Auto Repair compared to what procrastination will cost you. If pads wear away completely, then the rotors and drums can be damaged. They will have to be either resurfaced or replaced, and that can be expensive. But if your vehicle brake pads are worn out, then your brakes are compromised and your stopping power is greatly reduced. You could easily wind up in an accident.

Brake pads come in several different grades such as regular, metallic and ceramic. The higher grades are more expensive, but they also work better. TX drivers who want better and smoother braking should consider upgrading. However, Rowlett drivers should NEVER use a brake pad that is lower than their vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation.

After your brake pads are checked at Lewis Complete Auto Repair, it’s also wise to have your brake fluid checked. This is a critical element in your brake system. When you press your brake pedal, you are compressing the brake fluid, creating pressure that activates the brake pads. If your fluid pressure is low, it will decrease your braking power. The pads just won’t be able to press hard enough against the rotor or drum to stop your vehicle. Just as with worn pads, insufficient brake fluid can lead to an accident in Rowlett.

Water can build up in your brake fluid, which can cause corrosion in your braking system. Eventually this can cause your brake fluid to leak. So Rowlett drivers should also change their brake fluid periodically. Your vehicle owner’s manual will have guidelines on how often it should be replaced, or you can ask a service advisor at Lewis Complete Auto Repair. 

Remember, Rowlett folks, safety first. It’s auto advice for all Rowlett drivers on the road. You’re not just protecting others; you’re protecting yourself.

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

Cold Weather Vehicle No-Nos (Items to Avoid Storing in a Freezing Vehicle)February 20, 2022

It’s always easier to leave a few things in your vehicle so you’ll have them on hand.  But in cold weather, while it’s a good idea to carry items such as a phone charger, blanket and shovel, there are some things you shouldn’t store in your vehicle.

  • Medicines and drugs.  Cold temperatures can affect the chemical makeup of some drugs.  Avoid leaving them in a vehicle, especially those in a liquid form like insulin, eye drops and cough syrup.
  • Latex paint.  They are water based, and when they freeze, they get lumpy and lousy.  Your paint job will not be what you had in mind.
  • Cellphones and computers.  Most of these have lithium ion batteries.  If they get colder than freezing (0 degrees C, 32 degrees F), if you try to charge them, you’ll more than likely ruin the batteries. 
  • Bottled water, soda, wine or beer.  OK, here’s the scoop.  All of these can freeze and split the container they’re in.  Yes, soda, wine and beer will take a lower temperature to freeze than water, but all of these can easily freeze if the mercury plunges low enough.  The problem isn’t when they’re frozen; it’s when they unfreeze, drip out of their containers and leave you with a colossal mess. 
  • Musical instruments.  Guitars are made of wood.  When a guitar freezes and you bring it quickly into a warm room, you may hear cracking sounds that tell you that guitar will be not-so-gently weeping from the damage that can occur.  The same goes for wind instruments and others.  Don’t ever subject musical instruments to quick temperature extremes.

 

Take a little time and effort not to leave these things out in a frigid vehicle.  You’ll likely spend far more time and money tending to the resulting consequences than if you’d just brought them inside in the first place.

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