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?

Does Your Car Have A Recall Item?January 21, 2014

No matter how well they’re made, cars are bound to have problems with their design or manufacturing. Think of all the moving parts. When the government thinks a problem is really serious, they require the vehicle manufacturer to issue recall notices to Rowlett residents and to fix the affected cars free of charge. The auto manufacturer then tries to contact all Rowlett drivers who own that type of car so they can have it taken care of at their Rowlett service center.

To find out if your car has any recall issues, give us a call:
Lewis Complete Auto Repair
5110 Grisham Dr. Rowlett, TX 75088
972.475.4800

These recalls always affect safety, so Rowlett motorists would be wise to take them seriously. It’s really easy to find out if a vehicle is being recalled. For links to government sites, look in the AutoNetTV website.

Other website include: carfax.com; autobytel.com; and dmv.org. All of these sites have free recall searches.

Recalls are pretty serious and don’t happen all that often. But sometimes cars have less serious problems that Rowlett motorists still might want to know about. For these less serious cases, car makers issue what is known as a Technical Service Bulletin – or TSB. These bulletins tell Rowlett service centers how to repair a problem that occurs frequently or is especially difficult.

Your Rowlett service advisor receives updated information through subscription plans, which are sometimes available in consumer versions too. You can buy access to these for an annual fee.

Whatever your source, pay attention to Rowlett vehicle recalls to keep you and your passengers safe.

Tire Tread Depth for Rowlett, TXJanuary 15, 2014




Driving on bald tires is like playing roulette. Though you may be fine today, eventually your luck is going to run out.

The Feds don’t have any laws for tread depth, but 42 of the states, and all of Canada, do have regulations. They consider two-thirty-seconds of an inch to be the minimum legal tread depth. Two other states, including California, consider one-thirty-second to be the minimum and six states have no standards at all. Call us at Lewis Complete Auto Repair; (just call 972.475.4800) to find out what your requirements are in the Rowlett, TX area.

Since 1968, U.S. law has required that a raised bar be molded across all tires. When tires are worn enough that this bar becomes visible, there’s just 2/32” of tread left. But does that older standard give you enough safety?

Consider this: Consumer Reports recommends tire replacement when tread reaches 4/32”. And the recommendation is backed by some very compelling studies. Now before we go into the studies, you need to know that the big issue is braking on wet surfaces.

We tend to think of the brakes doing all the stopping, but you also need to have effective tires to actually stop the car. When it’s wet or snowy in Rowlett TX, the tread of the tire is critical to stopping power.

Picture this: you’re driving in Rowlett over a water-covered stretch of road. Your tires actually need to be in contact with the road in order to stop. That means the tire has to channel the water away so the tire is actually contacting the road and not floating on a thin film of water – a condition known as hydroplaning. When there’s not enough tread depth on a tire, it can’t move the water out of the way and you start to hydroplane.

This is where the studies come in. We think you’ll be surprised. A section of a test track was flooded with a thin layer of water. If you laid a dime flat on the track, the water would be deep enough to surround the coin, but not enough to submerge it.

A car and a full-sized pick-up truck were brought up to 70 mph and then made a hard stop in the wet test area. Stopping distance and time were measured for three different tire depths. First, they tested new tires. Then tires worn to legal limits. And finally, tires with 4/32” of tread were tested (the depth suggested by Consumer Reports.)

When the car with the legally worn tires had braked for the distance required to stop the car with new tires, it was still going 55 mph. The stopping distance was nearly doubled. That means if you barely have room to stop with new tires, then you would hit the car in front of you at 55 mph with the worn tires.

Now with the partially worn tires – at the depth recommended by Consumer Reports – the car was still going at 45 mph at the point where new tires brought the car to a halt. That’s a big improvement – you can see why Consumer Reports and others are calling for a new standard.

Now without going into all the details, let us tell you that stopping the truck with worn tires needed almost 1/10 of a mile of clear road ahead to come to a safe stop. How many Rowlett motorists follow that far behind the truck ahead? Obviously, this is a critical safety issue.

The tests were conducted with the same vehicles, but with different sets of tires. The brakes were the same, so the only variable, was the tires.

How do you know when your tires are at 4/32”? Well, it’s pretty easy. Just insert a quarter into the tread. Put it in upside down. If the tread doesn’t cover George Washington’s hairline, it’s time to replace your tires. With a Canadian quarter, the tread should cover the numbers in the year stamp.

Now you may remember doing that with pennies. But a penny gives you 2/32” of an inch to Abraham Lincoln’s head. The quarter is the new standard – 4/32”.

Tires are a big ticket item and most people in Rowlett, TX want to get thousands of miles out of them. Just remember: driving on bald tires is like playing roulette.

Have Mr. Washington look at your tires today. If he recommends a new set, come see us at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett.

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