The Harm In Skipping An Oil Change For Rowlett DriversJanuary 8, 2014

People in Rowlett have been hearing a lot about higher oil change intervals these days. Maybe you’re wondering: What are the key issues?

Some new vehicle manufacturers in Rowlett are now recommending much higher oil change intervals than they have in the past. As much as 5,000 to 8,000 miles or more. This practice came under scrutiny when four of the largest new car manufacturers announced that owners like those in Rowlett were experiencing engine damage resulting from these higher oil change intervals.

The manufacturers’ standard oil drain service for particular vehicles was scheduled at around 7,500 miles. People following these recommendations were experiencing engine damage. It turns out that oil sludge was building up. This caused small oil passages to clog and engine parts to fail.

What causes oil sludge? It’s a factor of time and mileage. There are hot spots in every engine that cause oil burn off that leads to sludge. Also, water from normal condensation can build up in the oil. This water also creates sludge. Severe driving conditions lead to more rapid sludge formation.

Visit Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett, TX 75088

Severe driving around Rowlett includes short trips under four miles or trips under ten miles in freezing conditions. The engine just doesn’t get warm enough for the water in the oil to evaporate.

Severe conditions are at the heart of the problem. Stop-and-go driving, towing, dusty conditions, heavy loads, very hot or very cold temperatures, a car top carrier – these are all conditions that would suggest that the severe service schedule should be considered.

The severe service schedule has much shorter oil change intervals. People in Rowlett just need to honestly evaluate how they drive to determine if they should change their oil closer to the severe service schedule, or to the standard schedule.

Some types of truck will give oil change reminders. But it’s important to know how that reminder is determined. For some, the reminder simply comes when the standard mileage interval has rolled around. Others use a computer algorithm that takes into consideration the number of cold starts, trip length, engine temperature and so on. It’s programmed to approximate where on the standard/severe service spectrum you fall. Some more expensive vehicles actually have sensors that test the cleanliness and effectiveness of the oil.

For the rest of us, better safe than sorry should be the guiding principle. Talk with your Rowlett service advisor at Lewis Complete Auto Repair and work it out together. Find out what kind of oil the factory sends out in your vehicle. Sometimes it’s a premium grade that costs more than standard oil – but it may be what’s needed to meet a higher factory recommended interval.

If you’re realistically conservative, standard grades of oil will take care of you year after year. If you want to push the limits, ask for a premium grade oil to give you extra protection.

So, what happened with those manufacturers with the problems from higher oil change intervals? They ended up extending the engine warranty for parts that were affected by oil sludge. But they had a stipulation – they lowered the oil change interval and the vehicle owner had to provide proof of oil changes at the new lower interval to keep the extended warranty.

Budgeting for Maintenance In Rowlett TXDecember 31, 2013

Life’s full of surprises in Rowlett TX, some of which cost money. A leaky roof, a broken tooth, or an unexpected car repair. Lewis Complete Auto Repair of Rowlett TX and AutoNetTV have done some research on how we can budget for proper vehicle care.

Everyone in Rowlett TX does our best to budget for scheduled vehicle maintenance. What’s hard is unexpected repairs. The truth is that our vehicles can stay on the road longer than ever before with proper maintenance. That’s because of improved vehicle design and manufacturing quality. But some of those same improvements also lead to higher repairs costs.

Let’s take the fuel pump. Previous generations were often stranded by the side of the road by vapor lock. This occurred when the gas vaporized between the gas tank and the fuel pump. Fuel just stopped flowing.

You had to sit and wait until the car would start again. To alleviate the problem, fuel pumps are now located inside the gas tank. This is a great solution, but when the fuel pump fails, it’s a much more expensive proposition to replace it.

Sealed wheel bearing assemblies are another example. These wheel bearings can’t be serviced – you just have to replace the entire assembly when it starts to fail. That costs several times as much as service on non-sealed bearings.

So we all benefit in Rowlett TX from design improvements, but we need to plan for repairs down the road.

There’s a tool that can be found on Edmunds.com that you can use to prepare your service and repair budget.

Let’s suppose you have a 2003 Toyota Camry – a very popular car in Rowlett TX. It’s now paid for and you’d like to keep it running for the next three years. You can go to Edmunds’ True Cost to Own calculator and enter your vehicle’s data. The calculator will provide estimates of what it’ll cost to service and repair your vehicle over the next five years. The estimate is based on where you live in or near Rowlett TX, manufacturers’ recommendations and repair experience for your particular model.

Of course these are just estimates – there’s no way to predict what’ll actually happen to the car in your driveway, but it’s a good starting point.

The calculator also has estimates for depreciation, financing, insurance, taxes and fuel costs.

Let’s focus on maintenance and repair. This table shows that the average monthly cost of maintenance and repairs is eighty-three dollars. That may sound like a lot, but compare it to a new car payment.

Budgeting for Maintenance

So if you set aside eighty-three dollars a month, you’d go a long ways towards taking care of routine maintenance and being prepared for the unexpected repairs that arise.

Of course, you can’t predict when something will go wrong or what it’ll cost, but at least you have a reasonable target to shoot for.

Some people around Rowlett TX are afraid of what can go wrong with their older car so they buy a new one. That’s fine if you really want a new car, but if you properly maintain your older vehicle, you’ll save a lot of money on new car payments and insurance. It just makes good economic sense.

Get with your Rowlett TX service advisor at Lewis Complete Auto Repair and work out a plan for keeping your vehicle on the road.

You can visit Lewis Complete Auto Repair at 5110 Grisham Dr. in Rowlett, TX 75088 or just give us a call at 972.475.4800.

Technician Training at Lewis Complete Auto RepairDecember 24, 2013

Your car is important to you and keeping it running properly is critical to your Rowlett lifestyle. That’s why you’re smart to have it serviced regularly at Lewis Complete Auto Repair in Rowlett. And even though it may just be routine maintenance, you want it done right by automotive professionals.

It’s also very important to your Rowlett service center to keep you happy and on the road. You might be surprised at the amount of money our Rowlett auto service center spends annually to make sure our friendly technicians are properly trained.

Lewis Complete Auto Repair offers a variety of automotive services for many kinds of vehicles. We need to be current on the latest techniques and parts so that we can give you quality service. Our Rowlett centers subscribe to data services that list the high quality parts and fluids recommended by your manufacturer.

And each service has a checklist of standard procedures. Lewis Complete Auto Repair technicians follow these procedures so they can safely deliver a consistent level of high-quality service.

Some services at Lewis Complete Auto Repair require the use of specialized equipment. Lewis Complete Auto Repair technicians are trained extensively on this equipment so that they can service your car quickly and efficiently.

Classroom, video and hands-on training is provided by the company and outside trainers. It’s not only important that friendly technicians be able to perform a given task, they also need to be thoroughly trained in inspection and diagnostic techniques. One of the great services they perform is to detect potential problems before they become serious (and pricey).

The automotive service industry has standards for classifying and communicating problems to motorists. For example, it’s one thing to learn that your manufacturer recommends that you change your serpentine belt every 30,000 miles and another to learn that the belt is on the verge of failure. These standards help you understand the urgency of recommendations, letting you make better automotive service decisions.

TX folks may be interested to know that service technicians are trained in compliance with federal and local Rowlett laws and regulations, including environmental regulations regarding the disposal of used parts and fluids.

It’s the goal of Lewis Complete Auto Repair to provide fast, courteous service. You should feel free to ask your technician or one of the managers about your service or for more information about their recommendations.

Well-trained service providers, established procedures, industry standards, and, of course, AutoNetTV, combine to give you the best service experience possible.

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