Save Fuel By Watching Your WeightFebruary 25, 2014

Most Rowlett drivers are all talking fuel economy right now. Better gas mileage. Fewer emissions. TX folks want to save the environment and our pocketbooks.

And we Rowlett motorists all know — or should know — that preventive maintenance will help maintain maximum fuel economy. But is there something more we can do? After all, some of us Rowlett motorists can’t cut back on our driving, and others would like to do more to economize.

Weight is one major enemy of fuel economy. The more you lug around in your vehicle, the more fuel you have to burn to get from Rowlett to Rockwall to Garland. And that means buying more gas and producing more emissions.

Of course, your vehicle’s weight isn’t negotiable. And you can’t do much about the weight of your passengers. And this isn’t an article about diet and exercise.

But look around your car. Are you hauling a bunch of unnecessary weight around Rowlett? Do you really need your golf clubs every time you leave your Rowlett neighborhood? Store sports equipment in the garage. Load it when you need it and store it when you don’t. Who knows? The extra exercise just might reduce the other type of weight in your vehicle.

The same goes for anything else in your truck: make-up kits, music collections, extra electronics, spare clothing; whatever your particular extras may be. Pack it when you need it; store it when you don’t.

Clean out your vehicle. You’d be surprised how much weight you’re lugging around in plain old junk. Toss old papers, leftover food, and regular old dirt. Even if it’s not a lot of weight, you’ll feel better when you get into your car. A good cleaning is also part of good car care.

Now, don’t toss stuff you really do need. You do need that spare tire — the one in your trunk. And a kit of emergency essentials is not a bad idea. But just carry around the day-to-day essentials. You can pack a more extensive kit and store it in your garage, then toss it in the car when you go on a longer trip, but you don’t have to lug it around Rowlett all the time.

After all, are you a driver? Or are you a junk chauffeur?

Lose the junk and save some bucks
.

Differential Service At Lewis Complete Auto Repair: Vive ala DifferenceFebruary 21, 2014

Every truck on TX highways has a differential, and it is important to the proper operation of the vehicle, but most Rowlett auto owners don’t have a clue what it is.

The differential compensates for differing wheel speeds. For example, when you turn, the inside tire on the turn travels a much shorter distance than the outside wheel. So the inside wheel of the truck must move at a slower speed than the outside wheel. Without a differential, the wheels would hop and scrape while turning.

Differential Service At Lewis Complete Auto Repair: Vive ala Difference Have you ever seen the large bugle-shaped object in the middle of the rear axle of a truck? That’s the differential. In a rear-wheel drive vehicle, the differential is located on the back axle. Four-wheel drive vehicles and SUV’s have differentials on both the front and the rear axle.

You might expect that the differential is located on the front axle of a front-wheel drive vehicle. You’d be right. But the differential is called a transaxle on a front-wheel drive vehicle because its location allows it to be combined with the transmission.

In an all-wheel drive vehicle, an additional differential or transfer case is located between the front and rear axles. Differentials are strong: They have to be because of the important job they do. But those tough parts need proper lubrication. You don’t want your differential to seize up. That results in expensive damage to your truck.

So you need to have your truck differential serviced regularly. It’s not a complicated job. At Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett we’ve been servicing differentials for 9 years. The used lubricating fluid is simply drained and then replaced. Some vehicles require specific additives in the differential fluid; your Rowlett service center will ensure you are getting what your truck needs.

The intervals in time or mileage for servicing your differential vary greatly from vehicle to vehicle. Check with your owner’s manual or Lewis Complete Auto Repair to find out how often your truck differential needs to be serviced.

Generally, however, front-wheel drive vehicles need their differential serviced more often than rear-wheel drive vehicles. Also, if you spend a lot of time off-road or on Rowlett area dirt or gravel roads, or if you drive through water, you will need to service your differential more often than the standard recommendation – check with your friendly Lewis Complete Auto Repair technician.

Preventive maintenance for your differential is good car care that can spare you expensive repair bills. Knowing what your differential is and how it operates is vital and will help you understand why this is good auto advice. Remember, take care of your truck, and it will take care of you.

Emergency Items For Rowlett auto ownersFebruary 11, 2014

Safe TX travel starts with preventive maintenance and good car care at Lewis Complete Auto Repair. But there are other things Rowlett motorists 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 car owners should consider keeping an auto emergency kit in their car. The kit should contain items that will allow you to deal with common emergencies on the road.

Some critical items you should carry in your truck 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 truck is only part of emergency preparedness. It is important 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 vital 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 shovel, emergency blankets and matches might be in order. Also, if your TX 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 truck 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 vital 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 motorists to be safe
. Preventive maintenance, proper planning, smart communication: these are the basics of safe travel.

Water PumpFebruary 4, 2014

Your cooling system is very important. It circulates coolant through the radiator and your engine to protect your car from overheating. There are five main components to the cooling system:

  • the radiator
  • the radiator cap
  • the hoses
  • the thermostat and
  • the water pump

The cooling system is essential for Rowlett motorists. It circulates coolant through the radiator and your engine to protect your truck from overheating. There are five main components to the cooling system:

the radiator
the radiator cap
the hoses
the thermostat and
the water pump

The water pump’s like the heart of your cooling system, circulating the fluid throughout your truck. It’s a small pump that’s driven by the engine; usually by belt, but sometimes by a chain or gear.

The water pump only operates when the engine’s running. Water pump failure is pretty routine. We see it often at Lewis Complete Auto Repair. Some start failing at around 40,000 miles, but most fail by 100,000 miles. Consult your auto maker’s owners’ manual or friendly Lewis Complete Auto Repair technician to see what’s recommended.

Since a water pump either works or it doesn’t, you need to change it when it fails. Water pumps fail in one of two ways: the bearings fail or they begin to leak. It’s possible to have a leak from a cracked water pump, but it usually leaks at the gasket where it attaches to the engine.

So how can Rowlett motorists tell when the water pump is failing? If you can hear a low-pitched grinding sound coming from the water pump – it’s got a problem. If you can see coolant in that area, you’ve got a leak.

Some water pumps are driven off the timing belt. They might be under a plastic cover so you can’t see the water pump. Look for coolant on the driveway. If you see some, have your Lewis Complete Auto Repair service specialist check it out.

Most timing belts need to be changed at 60,000 miles – some longer. It’s a good idea to change your water pump at the same time if it’s one of those that’s driven off the timing belt. To start with, 90% of the work’s already done with the timing belt change. And, if you don’t, and develop a leak later, you’ll have to change the belt again along with the water pump because the belt will have been contaminated by the leaking coolant.

Rowlett motorists can replace a failed water pump with a brand spankin’ new one or with a rebuilt pump. Rebuilt will save you some income, but ask your friendly Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor what he thinks. Don’t feel too bad if your water pump gives out. They will all wear out eventually. Your Lewis Complete Auto Repair tech can get you back on the road and on with your life.

Rowlett Road Trip PreparationJanuary 29, 2014

People from Rowlett TX love their cars. And nothing goes with cars better than a TX road trip. Freedom from daily schedules, new sights and the open road – it’s great! But there’s nothing like car trouble to bring the fun to a grinding halt.

Now you can’t always avoid problems, but you can take steps to reduce the probability of getting sidelined on your trip.

Heading out on a TX road trip? Stop by Lewis Complete Auto Repair before you head out to make sure everything is in good repair.
5110 Grisham Dr., Rowlett, TX 75088
Call us at 972.475.4800

Let’s look at some of the auto maintenance related problems you might encounter on a road trip and what you might do to avoid them.

It all starts with a thorough trip inspection by your Rowlett TX service professionals at Lewis Complete Auto Repair. Let’s talk about some of the items on the trip inspection checklist.

The most common vehicle component to fail is the tires. Of course, you can’t always avoid a road hazard that leads to a flat, but you may be able to head off some maintenance-connected tire problems.

A good tire inspection will start with looking over the condition of the tire itself. Are there signs of uneven tire wear? Are the tires properly inflated? Is the tread worn to the point that the tire should be replaced? The answers to these questions may lead to a recommendation to balance or rotate your tires. It may also be time to have an alignment service.

Your brakes should be inspected for function as well as to determine how much life is left in your brake pads. You’ll also want to know if it’s time to service your brake fluid. Over time water and contaminants make their way into your brake fluid and the system needs to be flushed, cleaned and filled with fresh fluid.

While looking under your car, your Rowlett auto technician should also inspect your suspension system for worn or damaged parts. If you need new shocks or struts, you’ll really notice the difference on your trip once you have them replaced.

Now the second most common vehicle failure is the cooling system. It may be time for a coolant exchange or flush. These services remove old fluid that has become corrosive and replaces it with fresh, clean fluid that restores the effectiveness of your cooling system.

The cooling system inspection will reveal leaks and weakened hoses. Replacing worn parts, like the radiator cap or water pump may be indicated. Even though cooling system failure is fairly common, it’s easy and relatively inexpensive to prevent with proper maintenance.

Another thing people often overlook their transmission service. This is very important before a road trip because transmission problems tend to take some time and money to get fixed. Not the way you want to spend your vacation.

Your technician will inspect your belts to see if they should be replaced. A failed belt is at best an inconvenience. He’ll also give your exhaust system the once over to make sure there aren’t any dangerous leaks that could harm you and your passengers.

Of course, there are the usual things as well. An oil change, engine air filter, fuel system cleaning, a tune up. If you need any of these things, get them done today at Lewis Complete Auto Repair – the improved fuel economy will be appreciated on your road trip.

If your heater or air conditioning isn’t working as well as you’d like, let your Rowlett TX service consultant know at Lewis Complete Auto Repair.

Some important items that are often overlooked are power steering service, differential service and timing belt replacement. If these things don’t ring a bell, have your service consultant check to see if they’re due.

Now while you’re out seeing the sights, you’ll want to make sure you can see the sights. Replace your windshield wipers if they aren’t working well. And don’t forget your headlamps. They gradually lose their brightness and you don’t even realize it. Many people replace their lamps once or twice a year.

All the items mentioned are part of any good vehicle maintenance plan. These are things that you want to take care of anyway, but they all come into focus as you plan for your trip. They’ll always save you money in the long run and may prevent inconvenient delays on your trip. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss the world’s largest ball of string, would you?