Make Your Vehicle LastFebruary 9, 2020

We live in such a disposable society. It’s amazing all the stuff we throw away. New stuff comes out so fast, we just toss the old and move on. In the old days, TX folks were real sticklers about taking care of their things. If something got lost or ruined by neglect, tough – they had to do without. Most Rowlett drivers couldn’t afford new vehicles very often, so they had to make them last as long as they could.

It’s a good thing that vehicles are more reliable these days. They just don’t break down as often. And the good news for us TX penny pinchers is that a modern vehicle can easily go 200,000 miles/320,000 km with proper care. The engineering and the manufacturing quality is tremendous. The missing ingredient is us Rowlett vehicle owners making sure we follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedules.

Every time you go a little farther between recommended oil changes, you have created an opportunity for sludge to be formed and for clogged passages. Then some vehicle parts don’t get properly lubricated and they start to wear out faster. Skip a cooling system service and the corrosion inhibitors become depleted; the radiator starts being damaged – one step closer to a failure. Same thing is true for transmission service, power brakes, fuel system cleaning – really everything on your schedule.

It is probably even more important for older vehicles. Those engines and other systems have had more time to get dirty, so they are a bit more stressed anyway. But it is never too late to get back on track with your auto maintenance and to hold off further damage.

And it really does start with the oil change. When you get a full service oil change in Rowlett at Lewis Complete Auto Repair, we top off all your fluids and check for other items that are on your maintenance schedule. It’s like your safety net. Go in for an oil change on time, and let your service advisor at Lewis Complete Auto Repair help you keep track of the rest.

Some things are going to wear out along the way, things like alternators, water pumps, etc. But fixing those at Lewis Complete Auto Repair is cheaper than a new car  payment for Rowlett drivers. And taking care of problems early means they have less time to mess with other things. It is like having high cholesterol – you don’t want to wait for a heart attack before you address it.

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

Not-So-Common Sense (Sensor Failures)February 2, 2020

So your vehicle won’t start.  What’s the first thing that comes to mind?  Battery dead? Starter motor worn out? Out of gas?  Well, those are all reasons that make sense.  But your vehicle may be refusing to start because one of its computers is being warned that to do so might damage it.  Here’s how that works.

You have lots of computers in your vehicle.  They need to know the status of things so there are several sensors monitoring various things going on.  These sensors send information to the computers that adjust the fuel and air mixture so you don’t waste fuel.  They know when things aren’t quite right and prevent you from starting your engine if that’s going to damage it. 

Other sensors make sure the coolant is the right temperature, check to see you are not polluting the air and make sure other electronic components are performing their tasks correctly.

Here’s an example of a sensor doing its job.  Your engine needs oil to lubricate metal components so the friction doesn’t damage them.  Your engine has an oil pressure sensor that tells a computer called the Electronic Control Unit (ECU) if things are good to go or if there’s something wrong, maybe the oil pressure is too low to keep things lubricated.  If it is, it gives a signal for the vehicle not to start, protecting the engine. 

Of course, the sensors can go bad, too, with some of the same results.  And so someone has to figure out if it’s the sensor that’s failed or if it really has detected a problem.  That is the challenge for technicians with specialized equipment to decipher the signs.  If a bad sensor is found, it may need to be replaced.  Sometimes a thorough cleaning can do the trick.  In either case, your service facility can track down the problem and get you back on the road.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?

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

Emergency Items for RowlettJanuary 26, 2020

Safe TX travel starts with preventive maintenance and good vehicle care at Lewis Complete Auto Repair. But there are other things Rowlett residents can do to prepare for emergencies on the road. Here’s some auto advice that can help you plan for emergencies, and just may save your life — or someone else’s.

First, Rowlett auto owners should consider keeping an auto emergency kit in their vehicle. The kit should contain items that will allow you to deal with common emergencies on the road.

Some items you should carry in your vehicle include jumper cables (or a booster box), flares, a flashlight and some basic hand tools. Other useful items include gloves, two quarts of oil, some antifreeze, water and everything you need to change a tire. You might also consider a can of tire inflator, which is a great temporary fix for minor flats.

But taking care of your vehicle is only part of emergency preparedness. It is to take care of the people in the car, too. For this reason, you should carry a first aid kit, drinkable water and blankets. Other items to consider include high-calorie food items (like energy bars), toilet paper, a towel, a hat and boots. And, of course, when you travel in TX and out-of-state you should always have your cell phone, some emergency cash and a credit card.

Depending on where you live, you may need to add other items to this list. For example, sunscreen, sunglasses and extra water would be good to have on hand in a hot climate. For the cold and snowy TX season, some salt, a hand shovelemergency blankets and matches might be in order. Also, if your area is prone to severe weather or earthquakes, you should check with your local Red Cross or disaster preparedness office for their recommendations on what to keep on hand in your vehicle for emergencies.

When you travel away from your Rowlett home, you should check the weather forecasts before you leave and pack appropriate emergency supplies. Also, do some research about the areas you will be traveling through so you can be prepared for the climate and terrain. Remember the basics: heat, water, shelter, light and food.

When you travel, it is important to leave your itinerary with a trusted friend or family member. Check in periodically at prearranged checkpoints. That way, if something does happen, someone else will quickly know you are in trouble and will be able to send help. These checkpoints will also help rescuers find you quickly, as they will have a better idea as to where you are.

The automotive professionals at Lewis Complete Auto Repair want Rowlett drivers to be safe. Preventive maintenance, proper planning, smart communication: these are the basics of safe travel.

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

Coolant Service at Lewis Complete Auto RepairJanuary 19, 2020

Rowlett residents’ vehicles have to operate in a wide range of TX temperatures which requires the engine coolant to be able to perform ‘no matter what.’ Think for a moment about the environment where the coolant does its thing. Very hot, high pressure, corrosive…

And all the while, it has to protect the components of the cooling system from corrosion. These components are made from steel and aluminum, plastics and rubber. The coolant has to be formulated to protect against corrosion for all of these different materials. That’s why vehicle manufacturer’s recommend different types of anti-freeze for our Rowlett, TX, vehicles.

There are several different ‘families’ of anti-freeze available to us here in Rowlett. Your owner’s manual will tell you what kind you should use. Of course, the automotive professionals at Lewis Complete Auto Repair will know the right kind for your vehicle.

It’s important to stay on top of this because coolant system failure is the most common mechanical problem people have here in Rowlett, TX. Regular service needs to be done at Lewis Complete Auto Repair to avoid failures and also to keep your warranty in place.

While the specifics of the service required may vary from vehicle to vehicle, your friendly and knowledgeable Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor will know what to do. You’ll be advised to replace the coolant at specified intervals.

Some recommend periodic coolant system flushes. A flush adds a cleaning step to the fluid replacement process. Again, check to see what your owner’s manual recommends.

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

Too Hot to Handle (Vehicle Overheating)January 12, 2020

In the hot weather, seeing steam coming from the engine compartment is something we all dread.  No one wants that to happen to them. But if you know the signs of overheating and how to deal with it, you may be able to reduce the risk of damage to your vehicle, maybe even prevent getting stranded on the road.

Besides the steam coming out of the engine compartment, here are a few signs of overheating.  Your vehicle has a heat gauge that may have a needle that can go into a red zone or up to the “H” (for High) position.  You may smell odors, perhaps a burning (could be hot oil) or a sweet smell (engine coolant leaking). 

When you encounter any of those signs, you know you have to do something to keep the engine as cool as possible to avoid potentially catastrophic damage.  Turn off the air conditioning and turn up the heat.  While that last part may sound odd, it helps draw heat out of the engine. 

If you can do it safely, pull off the road to a spot away from traffic.  Turn off the engine so it can cool down for a few minutes.  You may want to call for help at this point, then switch on the key to “accessory” position to see if the engine has cooled down to the normal range.  You may have to have your car towed to a service facility or, if there’s one nearby, you may be able to slowly drive to it.  But keep your eye on the heat gauge and immediately stop if it starts to overheat again. 

The best hedge against engine overheating is regular maintenance.  When the cooling system and other engine components are working like they should, your chances of an overheated engine are drastically reduced.  Your service facility will keep their eyes open for leaking hoses, cracked belts, rusted pipes and other things so they don’t fail at the most inopportune time.

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