Lewis Complete Auto Repair Often Asked About Premium vs. Regular GasOctober 17, 2014

Rowlett auto owners often ask the question: “Will using premium gas make my car run better?” The answer is simple. But first, let’s talk about what exactly premium gasoline is.

Different grades of gasoline have different octane ratings. Regular gasoline has the lowest octane rating and premium the highest. Most gas stations around Rowlett, TX also carry a mid-grade that falls in between the two. The octane range for the different grades of gas varies by region due to altitude differences.

Engines require different octane ratings because of design differences. For example, turbocharged engines usually require premium gas.

There’s a sticker on your gas tank filler lid that tells you the minimum octane rating your vehicle manufacturer recommends.

For help identifying the type of gasoline your engine needs, come by Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett:

5110 Grisham Dr.
Rowlett, TX 75088
972.475.4800

Rowlett drivers should read their owner’s manuals carefully to see if it’s acceptable to use lower grades. With some cars in Rowlett, TX it is; the engine control computer can adapt. Rowlett auto owners will lose some performance, but won’t do damage. With other engines, using a lower grade of fuel could result in serious and expensive damage; so you don’t want to save a couple of bucks at the pump only to pay it out a hundred fold at your Rowlett repair shop.

Your car will run best on the type of gas recommended by the manufacturer.

Today’s computer controlled vehicles are optimized to run well on the recommended grade of fuel. Using a higher grade than is recommended will not give Rowlett car owners any additional performance or better MPG.

Regulations require detergents for all grades of gasoline, so your engine will have the same protection, regardless of the grade of fuel you use. If you do hear some knocking or pinging from your engine, take it seriously and get your truck into Lewis Complete Auto Repair. It may be a sign that you need a tune-up or some other repair.

In times of expensive gas prices, most Rowlett drivers are conscious of making their fuel dollar go further as we drive around TX. Be sure to use the right gas for your car. Keep your tires properly inflated and your vehicle well maintained and you will get the best fuel efficiency possible.

All Lined Up: Wheel Alignment Service At Lewis Complete Auto RepairOctober 9, 2014

When all of your vehicle’s wheels are lined up exactly with each other, your wheels are in alignment. Hitting a road hazard or even just the normal bumps and bounces of everyday driving in Rowlett can cause your truck’s wheels to be out of alignment.

Driving for an extended time in Rowlett when your wheels are out of alignment results in uneven tire wear. This is dangerous … and expensive. Worst case scenario, you have a blowout on a crowded TX expressway. It can also cause premature wear to your suspension system, which can be really expensive to repair. At the very least, you may have to replace your tires years too early.

Here are some alignment basics from Lewis Complete Auto Repair:

The first adjustment is called toe or do the wheels point in towards each other or away from each other at the front of the tire.
The next adjustment is called camber or do the wheels tip in or out at the top.
And finally, there is castor. Castor measures the angle where the front axles attach to the vehicle.

The ideal alignment for your truck was designed by its engineers. Alignment service at Lewis Complete Auto Repair starts with an inspection of the steering and suspension – to see if anything’s bent or broken. Then your friendly Lewis Complete Auto Repair technician will look at tire condition.

From there, the truck is put on an alignment rack and an initial alignment reading is taken. The wheels are then aligned to truck auto manufacturers’s specifications.

Your truck owner’s manual probably has a recommendation for how often your alignment should be checked – usually every couple of years. If you suspect an alignment problem, get it checked at Lewis Complete Auto Repair before you suffer expensive tire or suspension damage.

All About Your TPMS In RowlettOctober 1, 2014

Rowlett auto owners know that under-inflated tires wear out more quickly. Under-inflation is also a major cause of tire failure for TX auto owners. More flats, blow outs, skids and longer stopping distances are all results of under-inflated tires.

It’s hard for many Rowlett car owners to tell when a radial tire is under-inflated. If your vehicle manufacturer recommends 35 pounds of pressure, your tire is considered significantly under-inflated at 26 pounds. The tire may not look low until it gets below 20 pounds.

Uncle Sam to the rescue! A recent federal law required car makers to include a Tire Pressure Monitoring System – or TPMS system – in all vehicles. The system is a dashboard mounted warning light that goes off if one or more of the tires falls 25 % below the auto maker’s pressure recommendations.

The law covers all passenger cars, SUVs, mini vans and pick-up trucks. The system must also indicate if it has a malfunction. This technology has been used in race cars for years. They are able to head off problems from under-inflation by closely monitoring tire pressure on the track. It’s up to your car’s auto maker to determine which of many TPMS systems available they use to comply with the law.

Obviously, all of this doesn’t come free for Rowlett car owners. Government studies have estimated the net costs. Of course, the TPMS system itself will cost something. Maintaining the system will have a cost, replacement of worn or broken parts and tire repair cost increases. The net cost is estimated to be between $27 and $100.

The costs are partially offset by savings in fuel and tread wear. There is also a saving in property damage and travel delay. Also, the government predicts fewer fatal accidents. They estimate there will be between $3,000,000 to $9,000,000 for every life saved.

Your safety is our priority at Lewis Complete Auto Repair. We want you on the road and accident free. We’ve traditionally provided things like tire rotations, snow tire mounting and flat fixes to Rowlett auto owners at a very low cost. We’ve been able to quickly and cheaply provide the service, and we pass the low cost on to our valued Rowlett clients as an expression of our good will. That’s why we’re concerned about how you perceive the changes that this new law has required.

Every time a tire is changed: taken off to fix a flat, a new tire installed, or a snow tire mounted, the tech now has to deal with the TPMS system. Sensors need to be removed and reinstalled. The sensors have to be reactivated after the change. And, unfortunately, the very act of changing the tire damages some sensor parts from time to time – it’s inevitable and can’t be avoided.

Even a simple tire rotation requires that the monitor be reprogrammed to the new location of each tire. When a car battery is disconnected, the TPMS system needs to be reprogrammed. TPMS sensor batteries must be replaced periodically along with failed parts.

Rowlett service centers have purchased new scanning equipment to work with the TPMS sensors and updated expensive tire change equipment to better service wheels equipped with the new monitoring systems.

TX technicians have been trained on many systems and new tire-changing techniques. All of this adds up to significantly increased cost to the service center to perform what was once a very inexpensive service. So if you’ve noticed the cost of flat repairs, tire changes, and rotations going up, please keep in mind that it’s because of government mandated safety equipment. Your Rowlett service center just wants to keep you safely on the road – and it’s committed to do so at a fair price. Rememer, this change will help you avoid the most common vehicle failure, and possibly a catastrophic accident.

Coolant/Antifreeze Service At Lewis Complete Auto RepairSeptember 26, 2014

Anyone that drives a car in Rowlett knows that engines get hot when they run. But did you know that engines need to be cooled to keep running? Heat inside an engine can cause the metal parts to expand, which can seize up an engine and make it stop running. It can even ruin the entire engine! Good car care requires keeping your truck cooling system in good condition.

A vehicle’s cooling system circulates water and antifreeze (coolant) through the engine where it absorbs heat. It then flows to the radiator where the water and antifreeze are cooled by the air that flows over the radiator. Then it circulates back into the truck’s engine to absorb more heat.

Why shouldn’t Garland drivers just use water? Because water boils at temperatures that are often reached inside of an engine. Steam won’t cool your truck engine and is hard to contain within the cooling system. The antifreeze keeps the water from boiling.

So why do we call it antifreeze? Shouldn’t it be antiboil? Truth is, the antifreeze performs another critical task. Water freezes in cold TX weather. That would spell disaster for your truck’s engine. So antifreeze also keeps the water in your cooling system from freezing in all but the most extreme cold. Pretty neat stuff!

Taking care of your cooling system is part of good preventive maintenance for your truck. Rowlett motorists should check coolant level often and regularly inspect your cooling system for leaks.

That is just good auto advice. Your truck’s manufacturer has maintenance requirements for draining and replacing engine coolant. Consult your owner’s manual or ask your friendly Lewis Complete Auto Repair service professional for these recommendations, as they vary widely from among auto makers.

Changing your coolant is also part of good preventive maintenance. Water is great at collecting all kinds of dissolved substances, especially when it’s hot. Water circulating through an engine picks up dirt, debris, pollutants, and other stuff. It actually becomes corrosive over time. This can damage engine parts and your radiator.

Replacing your coolant regularly keeps the truck cooling system functioning well and doesn’t allow it to sneakily become the cancer that wipes out your engine.

But don’t just slop any antifreeze into your vehicle. Check your owner’s manual or ask your Lewis Complete Auto Repair service advisor if you don’t know what is the right type of antifreeze for your vehicle. Using the wrong kind can void the warranty on your truck cooling system.

You may have noticed that different types of antifreeze are different colors. Manufacturers tint them different colors to make them harder to mix up. It’s easy to notice that you have purple fluid when you normally use green! That way, you have less chance of damaging your truck engine by using the wrong antifreeze.

One last word of warning — a little outside the area of car care. Never, ever let anyone or pets drink coolant/antifreeze – it is deathly poisonous.

Take care of your car, and take care of yourself! Just some good car care tips from Lewis Complete Auto Repair to keep you on the road and help your life in Rowlett run more pleasantly.

Lewis Complete Auto Repair Advice On Buying New TiresSeptember 17, 2014

Today’s tires and wheels offer a lot of options for every Rowlett driver’s style, habits and driving conditions.

Tires are designed for high-performance in winter or summer and even come in a long-wearing variety for all TX seasons.

Rowlett off-roaders should be excited about the options available to them as well. The tread on off-road tires is designed to handle the wear from bumps and rocks. The tires’ high profile protects rims from damage.

But what if you own an SUV but aren’t interested in off-roading around Rowlett? You can change out those high-profile beasts for a lower, wider look if it suits your style.

Lewis Complete Auto Repair tire professionals can offer great auto advice on how to choose tires that match your needs and style.

The same goes for wheels. When Rowlett car owners shop for new wheels, they can be hard-pressed to make a selection from the thousands of styles available at TX tire stores. If they choose a wheel that is the same size as the ones that came with their vehicle, they can get them changed out and get back on the road, no worries. But if they change the wheel size, then they may need to make some critical adjustments to their vehicle.

Upsizing a wheel may mean changing the suspension on the truck. The wheel and tire need to fit inside the wheel well without any rubbing during turns or when driving over bumps. Rubbing can cause uneven tire wear and even damage the tires or cause safety issues.

Upsizing wheels also increases the unsprung weight of the vehicle which has a major impact on braking performance. The larger wheels increase rotational inertia, as well, which translates to longer stopping distance and lower brake performance. Upsized wheels may require upgraded brakes. Further, wheel size is used to calculate the speed and mileage of a vehicle. Changing wheel size will cause the speedometer and odometer to give inaccurate readings unless the vehicle’s computer is re-programmed to compensate for the difference.

So if you want to customize your truck with new wheels, you should consult with a wheel and tire professional at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett to ensure you get the style you want without sacrificing safety or performance — and without damaging your vehicle.

If you just need to purchase new tires, a tire professional can also help you select the tires that are best for your driving needs and habits. The right tires will protect you and your truck on the road.

So personalize your vehicle, but don’t forget that good car care will keep that sassy ride on the road in Rowlett a lot longer.