Fuel Injection Basics For RowlettDecember 19, 2013

All modern Rowlett vehicles come with fuel injection systems, so it’s a topic Rowlett drivers need to know something about. The mighty fuel injector is a valve that delivers the gas or diesel fuel to the right place, in the right amount, at the right time; to be mixed with air and burned in the engine.

So how many fuel injectors does your car have? There’s one for each cylinder. So four, six or eight for most folks in Rowlett, TX. Some vehicles have 10 or 12 cylinders. The engine control computer makes adjustments to the fuel injector as it monitors the engine and other sensors. Fuel injectors are a pretty high-tech.

Lewis Complete Auto Repair can help Rowlett motorists with a fuel injector cleaning service. What’s the benefit? In order to work right, the fuel injectors have to deliver the fuel at a precise pressure at a very precise time. The fuel needs to be sprayed in a particular pattern as determined by the engine design.

Over time, varnish can start to build up in the fuel injectors, effecting the pressure, pattern and timing of the fuel charge. The result is that the fuel doesn’t get burned as efficiently as it could. That robs performance and hurts fuel efficiency.

What about dirty fuel – how does that affect the fuel injectors? The fuel injectors are the last stop in the fuel system. It starts at the fuel tank. Frankly, the best way to keep your fuel injectors working well is to use high quality fuel. It’s tempting to shop for bargains in  Rowlett with fuel prices as high as they are, but major brands in the Rowlett, TX area have better detergents and additives and deliver consistent quality.

What about a good fuel filter? The fuel filter is a key component of the fuel system. Its job is to filter out the dirt and rust that collect in the fuel tank. If it’s clogged up, the dirt will bypass the filter and head upstream to the fuel injectors.

It’s important to replace the fuel filter when your vehicle manufacturer recommends it. That’s part of a comprehensive fuel system cleaning.

There are different kinds of fuel injection systems. Port fuel injection systems, the kind most gasoline engines have, operate at 60 pounds per square inch. The injectors for the new gas direct injection engines we’re starting to see require 10 to 30 times as much pressure. And some diesel engines for passenger vehicles have injectors that operate at 30,000 pounds or more per square inch. There’s no room for dirt and gum in a precision part like that.

There are a lot of good products available in Rowlett, TX that can clean fuel injectors. They’re best used to prevent fouling in the fuel injectors. Many can’t clean a seriously gummed up injector – that requires a professional deep cleaning, like those we offer at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett. But putting the cleaner in the fuel tank after you’ve had Lewis Complete Auto Repair take a look at your fuel system will help keep it clean. Be sure to read the label for directions.

Give us a call if you think your truck may be ready for a fuel injector cleaning.

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

The Lewis Complete Auto Repair Guide To Vehicle DiagnosisDecember 10, 2013

Why is my check engine light on?

Modern Rowlett vehicles have several computers on board that control all kinds of things like engine functions, transmission shifts, traction control, anti-lock brakes, stability control, emissions – and on some vehicles, even steering, braking and the throttle.

Think about that for a minute – things that used to be controlled by simple mechanical connections now have electronic controls that rely on computers, software and sensors. It’s no wonder that when something goes wrong with their truck it can be pretty complicated for Rowlett auto owners to track down the source of the problem.

To help your Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor figure out what’s wrong, your truck is equipped with on-board diagnostics. The Check Engine Light comes on to tell you there’s a problem and the engine management computer stores a trouble code. Your friendly Lewis Complete Auto Repair technician connects a scan tool to your vehicle’s diagnostic port and retrieves the trouble codes as well as other important data.

Trouble codes are like clues for the Rowlett technician to follow as he diagnoses what’s wrong with your truck. In a way, it’s like going to your Rowlett doctor with a problem. She’ll run some additional tests and gather the information she needs to make a diagnosis and form a treatment plan. How much a vehicle diagnosis costs at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett depends on how much time it takes to sort out the symptoms and find the underlying problem.

Give us a call

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

Keep Your Cool In RowlettDecember 3, 2013

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Rowlett drivers rely on their car’s coolant system to keep their engine cool. Coolant (also called antifreeze) mixed with water flows through your truck engine and absorbs heat. The mixture then flows out to the radiator where it’s cooled by air flowing over the radiator. From there the coolant/water mix circulates back through the engine to absorb more heat.

There’s a reason we mix coolant and water. Water alone actually does a good job transferring heat from the engine. The problem is that water boils at a temperature that’s easily reached inside your truck’s engine, so it can turn to steam which does not conduct heat as well and is harder to contain.

Also, if it’s freezing outside in Rowlett, the water in your engine could freeze while your vehicle is sitting out in the cold.

So, if you remember your Rowlett high school chemistry, you’ll know that a mixture has both a higher boiling point and a lower freezing point than either component alone.

Coolant, or antifreeze, is specially formulated to keep your engine safe in a wide range of environmental and operating temperatures in and around Rowlett.

Keep Your Cool In Rowlett Whenever the truck is running, the coolant in the cooling system is working to keep your engine from overheating. When it’s cold outside, the coolant acts as antifreeze to keep the fluid from freezing in your engine.

All that exploding fuel in your engine creates a lot of heat. Without coolant, the metal truck engine parts would expand so much that the engine would seize up and stop running. Expensive parts could be broken or warp so badly they would have to be replaced. It could even be so bad that the whole truck’s engine is ruined and has to be junked.

This is why it is critical that Rowlett drivers check coolant levels frequently and have their truck cooling system inspected for leaks. Also your truck manufacturer has a maintenance requirement for draining and replacing your coolant. These recommendations can vary widely, so check your owner’s manual or ask us at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett.

The reason you need to change the coolant is that it has additives in it to protect the cooling system. As you can imagine, with all the heat, the cooling system’s a pretty harsh environment. The additives keep the fluid from becoming corrosive and damaging the radiator and other truck cooling system components. Over time, the additives are depleted and the coolant just has to be replaced.

Many Rowlett auto owners ask Lewis Complete Auto Repair why there are different colors of antifreeze. It is very important that you use the correct type of antifreeze. The different types of antifreeze – or coolant – are different colors so you don’t mix them up.

Auto manufacturers use different materials to make the cooling system, and they require different types of antifreeze to protect them.

So check with us at Lewis Complete Auto Repair or your owner’s manual for the right kind because using the wrong coolant can void the warranty for your truck cooling system.

Nitrogen Fill For Tires in Rowlett TXNovember 27, 2013

So, everyone in the Rowlett TX area knows how great helium is – you know, party balloons, squeaky voices. But a lot of people around Rowlett still haven’t heard about the benefits of nitrogen in your tires, and how it can help your tires. Here’s some great advice from AutoNetTV, brought to you by Lewis Complete Auto Repair.

Nitrogen has actually been around for a long time in the Rowlett TX commercial sector, but it’s just starting to catch on for private vehicles in the 75088 zip code area.

Why nitrogen in your tires? Air is air, right? Actually, it turns out there is a difference.

Contact Lewis Complete Auto Repair to learn more about nitrogen in your tires
You can find us at:
5110 Grisham Dr.
Rowlett, TX 75088
Or call us at 972.475.4800

The heart of the matter is maintaining proper tire inflation. When your tires are properly inflated, they last longer, handle better and more safely, and save you money at the gas pump.

The problem is that tires filled in Rowlett with regular air can lose a pound and a half of air pressure every month. This just happens as the oxygen in the tire seeps out. So if you don’t check your pressure for a month or two, well, you can be significantly low – low enough to actually affect your handling, shorten tire life and waste money at the fuel pump.

How does nitrogen help? Regular air contains about 78% nitrogen. Nitrogen is the largest molecule in air. It’s dry and non-flammable. Air also contains 21% oxygen, which is smaller and seeps out of the tire three to four times faster than nitrogen.

So, a tire filled with nitrogen at Lewis Complete Auto Repair will take about six months to lose as much pressure as regular air does in just one month. So it’s more forgiving for those who don’t check their pressure every week.

Also, when oxygen is at higher temperatures – like those inside your tire when you’ve been driving for awhile – it oxidizes the inside of your tire. Getting the oxygen out of your tire means that it’ll last longer.

Who’s using nitrogen? Well, let’s start with NASCAR and Indy. These racers like nitrogen’s ability to maintain consistent tire pressure and reduce tire temperatures under very demanding conditions. The US government requires all commercial aircraft to have nitrogen in their tires. NASA and the US Military use nitrogen. The mining industry has been filling those “humongous” tires with nitrogen for years. And semi trucks and trailers are starting to use nitrogen extensively.

You may have heard some detractors of nitrogen. But the studies and white papers from tire and vehicle manufacturers demonstrate that the technology really works.

In fact, a prominent consumer research group did a study where they filled some tires with air and some with nitrogen and stacked them outside for a year. They observed that the nitrogen filled tires did hold their pressure better, but they couldn’t see the economic benefit. But that particular test has very little to do with the real world. Most tires are actually holding up cars and they also get driven around and do a lot of work. So if nitrogen helps them last longer, saves gas and gives safer handling, it’s worth considering.

Learn more about nitrogen in your tires by watching our attached auto tips video from AutoNetTV.

PCV Valve Service At Lewis Complete Auto Repair In RowlettNovember 21, 2013

Today, we are talking about your PCV valve. The PCV Valve is a little, inexpensive part that does a big job for Rowlett drivers. PCV stands for Positive Crankcase Ventilation.

The crankcase is the bottom area of the engine that holds the oil. When the truck engine’s running, fuel is burned to generate power. Most of the exhaust from combustion goes out through the exhaust system. But some exhaust blows by the pistons and goes into the lower engine, or crankcase.

These hot gases are about seventy percent unburned fuel.
PCV Valve Service At Lewis Complete Auto Repair In RowlettThis can dilute and contaminate the oil, leading to damaging engine oil sludge. It can also cause truck engine corrosion, something we see occasionally at Lewis Complete Auto Repair. At high speeds on Rowlett freeways, the pressure can build up to the point that gaskets and seals start to leak.

Back in the old days, car makers simply installed a hose that vented these gases out into the atmosphere. But starting in the 1964 model year, environmental protection laws required that these gases be recycled back into the air intake system to be mixed with fuel and burned in the truck’s engine.

This is much better for air quality and improves fuel economy also. (Budget-conscious Rowlett auto owners take note!) The little valve that performs this important function is the PCV valve. The PCV valve lets gases out of the engine, but won’t let anything back in. Over time, the vented gases will gum up the PCV valve and it won’t work well. That can lead to all of the problems I’ve already described, oil leaks, excessive oil consumption and decreased fuel economy.

Fortunately, it’s very easy to test the PCV Valve at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett and quick and inexpensive to replace. Even so, it’s often overlooked because many Rowlett drivers don’t know about it. Check your truck owner’s manual or ask your Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor. If this is the first time you’ve heard of a PCV valve, you might be in line for a replacement.

There’s another aspect to the PCV system. In order for the valve to work correctly, it needs a little clean air to come in. This is done through a breather tube that gets some filtered air from the engine air filter. Now some vehicles have a small separate air filter for the breather tube called the breather element. That’ll need to be replaced at Lewis Complete Auto Repair when it gets dirty.

Please ask your friendly Rowlett service advisor about your PCV valve. For the price of a couple of burger combo meals in Rowlett, you can avoid some very pricey engine repairs.