Serving All Makes & Models Since 1947


982 Grand Ave • St. Paul, MN 55105
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The Importance of Inspecting the Windshield and Wipers



Being a safe driver means being aware of your surroundings. To accomplish this, the windshield wipers must be in a good working condition. This means the wipers will leave the windshield clean and clear from any dirt, debris, or inclement weather conditions. If the wipers are worn, they will not be able to remove the dirt and debris on the window. This often results in smearing the mess and obstructing your vision even more. If the windshield is streaked or cloudy, it can impair your vision and cause an accident. Regularly cleaning and replacing your windshield wipers can help prevent these problems.




When the wipers are operating, you may notice some streaking and smearing that occurs on the windshield. If this occurs, the water or debris will remain on the windshield since the wipers are missing that section when working. The water may also collect in droplets upon the windshield. A hazing effect on the windshield can take place if any road debris becomes stuck to the wiper itself. Also listen for any strange noises made by the windshield wipers. You may also hear a chattering sound when your wipers are in need for replacing. This is because the wiper is not properly aligned with the glass anymore. Make sure to check the wiper to see if the rubber part has been damaged or split. If you notice the edges looking worn or torn, it is time to replace them.




One reason the wiper blades might need to be replaced is if they are used heavily. Dust, road grime, or other debris will wear away at the edge of the blade that wipes the window cleanly. As the blade loses the edge, water can then get under the blade and remain on the glass. This results in reduced visibility and poor wiping action. The wipers might also go bad if there are strong winds that can lift and bend the arm of the windshield wiper. Cold weather also affects the wipers as it causes the rubber to become hard and brittle. This makes it easier for the wiper blade to crack or tear. If you notice any issues with your wipers, make sure to have them replaced as soon as you can.

Signs of a Weak Battery



Having a weak battery can cause a major disruption for the vehicle. It can affect the starting ability and sometimes prevent the vehicle from starting at all. A vehicle relies on the battery power to operate the entire electrical system. The vehicle also relies on the battery in order to have the starting system work efficiently. A battery that is weak will typically produce a series of signs and symptoms that point to the eventual failure. If you notice anything, make sure to bring the vehicle in as soon as you can. We can test the battery to see if it is losing the charge quicker than it should. We can also inspect the battery to help make sure it is clean and fitted properly in the vehicle. If cables or terminals are loose, it could lead to the vehicle having a weaker connection to the battery.



You may be aware the battery is starting to wear out if you notice dim or weak headlight beams. This is because the battery will lack enough power to operate the electrical accessories of the vehicle. This could also mean that other accessories, like the heated seats and radio may become weak as well.



A common sign of a weak battery for the vehicle is if a clicking sound comes from the starter when you turn the key in the ignition. The clicking sound comes from the start solenoid. This is a small electrical component that receives a current from the battery of the vehicle. A weak battery will have a decrease in power when trying to activate the starter solenoid. This can result in the clicking sound that you can hear.



One way to notice if you have a weak battery is noticing how the vehicle starts. If the vehicle starts hard, it can be a result of battery that has sufficiently low levels of charge. A poor battery will have low levels of amps that are needed quickly to start a vehicle. Starting the vehicle requires a large amount of battery power. A weak battery will lead to the vehicle to start difficult or not at all.



A battery does not have to be completely dead to prevent the vehicle from starting. On occasion, a battery that is very weak can lack sufficient power to turn the starting motor of the vehicle. This can also affect how the crankshaft of the vehicle turns.



Another sign of a weak battery is if it cannot recharge fully. This typically means the battery has been worn to the point where a replacement is necessary. Even if the battery has a charge at a low level, it cannot be recharged back to the full strength. It is then recommended to purchase a new battery.

Noises to Alert you of an Issue with your Vehicle

When you drive, you will never want to hear a strange or odd noise. If you notice something that sounds out of the norm, make sure to schedule an appointment with us so we can inspect the vehicle for you. If you hear an odd noise, try to notice where the sound is coming from and what you were doing when it happened. This could include applying the brakes, turning, or accelerating. By catching an issue at the first sign, you can help prevent further issues from forming later on.

Sometimes a car noise requires nothing more than a minor adjustment. Other times, however, this will call for a major repair that sets you back a few dollars. Make sure that you schedule an appointment at the first sign of an issue. Here are some common car noises you might notice.


Sizzling under the hood

Do you hear this when you shut off your vehicle? If so, it is likely related to some type of leak, such as oil or coolant. Always make sure that your fluid levels are topped off, and they are in good condition. If the oil is old, it cause parts to wear harder and against one another.


A Flapping noise you hear

This may not be the most annoying noise, but it typically means something is wrong with a belt or the fan. Either way, this type of problem will only get worse with time. Make sure to have the belts inspected on a regular basis. If a belt snaps, chances are you will not be able to drive the vehicle until it is replaced. This can also happen we wear or age for the belt.


Clunking when braking

Do you hear this noise every time you hit the brakes? Is it accompanied by a strange feeling in the brake pedal? This could be the result of a damaged brake caliper, among other problems. The best recommendation is to contact us so we can inspect the brake system for you. You will want the brakes to be in the best condition possible, so make sure to bring the vehicle in if you notice it.


You will never know the cause of a noise until you visit us and we inspect it. If your car is making a strange noise, contact us to setup an appointment. We can test drive your vehicle, pinpoint the problem, and provide a solution. This can help you to have a safe and comfortable ride.


Transmission Problems to be Aware of



As you are driving, you may start to notice the smell of something burning. This may be an indication that the transmission is overheating. The transmission fluid not only helps to keep the moving parts of the transmission properly lubricated, but it helps prevent the unit from burning up. A common cause of the smell can be from low transmission fluid. When this happens, this can mean there is a leak or dirty fluid that needs to be changed.



Noticing any noises while your vehicle is in neutral could mean an issue with the transmission. Sometimes a quick and easy fix can be replacing the transmission fluid. The vehicle owner’s manual will provide the best kind of transmission fluid needed for your vehicle. If there are noises while your vehicle is in neutral, it could mean that some parts may be in need of replacing.



An easy sign to know that your transmission may need attention is if you notice any leaking transmission fluid. The transmission fluid helps to maintain your vehicle’s shifting capabilities. If you check the transmission fluid, it should be bright red in color. If the fluid is dark in color, you should bring your vehicle in so we can have it replaced. Unlike the oil, the transmission does not consume or burn off any fluid during operation. If you notice that the transmission fluid is low or empty, there is probably a leak somewhere in the system.



If the check engine light comes on, it may be an early indication that there is an issue with the transmission. There may be other reasons why the check engine light comes on rather than with the transmission. It is important to make sure to bring your vehicle in as soon as possible if you notice the light on, especially if it is blinking. When you bring in the vehicle, you can help to save time, money, and stress in the long run. If there is an issue and it is identified, then you can help to prevent further wear and tear of other parts of the vehicle as well.


Regular Inspections are Important for your Vehicle


To help keep your vehicle lasting as long as possible, it is important to have it maintained on a regular basis. This can help to notice if any parts need to be repaired or replaced. This can help to save you money in the long run from any costly repair bills. Between visits it is important to inspect some areas of the vehicle. This can help it to run efficiently and at top performance levels.




The tires should be inspected on a regular basis. This can help improve the mileage of your vehicle. If the tires are in poor condition, they will need more power and fuel to have them rotate efficiently. Also make sure the proper amount of air pressure is in the tires. This can help to ensure the tires rotate properly. The tread on the tires will also have to be inspected. The tread helps to grip the surface of the road when you travel. Without proper tread, the vehicle will be more difficult to control and steer. If you notice an issue with how the vehicle handles, make sure to bring it in so we can inspect the tires. Also make sure to inspect the spare tire of the vehicle. Incase you have to use the spare tire, it should be in a condition that is ready to use. If the spare tire always needs to be filled with air, consider investing in a new one.




Along with inspecting the tires, take a look at the fluids for the vehicle. Each fluid should be at the line indicated on the reservoirs. If a fluid needs to be replaced more frequently, it is an indication there is a leak somewhere in the system. Also make sure to check the oil. The oil in the vehicle will have to be changed when recommended. This can help provide nice clean oil to the engine. The oil will help lubricate the moving parts in the engine. Without oil, moving parts will cause extra strain and stress to them. This will eventually cause the engine to seize up completely. When recommended, the oil filter should also be changed. The filter is designed to capture pollutants and contaminants that are in the oil. With time, this will become clogged and will no longer be efficient. If you notice that the vehicle is overdue for an oil change, or if the oil light comes on, make sure to bring the vehicle in as soon as you can.




The windshield wipers are also important for the vehicle. Without them, you will not be able to see when the windshield becomes dirty or it is raining out. The windshield wipers help to clear off any precipitation or road grime that might be on the windshield. If you notice any rips or tears on the wipers, make sure to have them replaced as soon as you can. This can help ensure the best visibility possible when you drive, while also making for a safe drive.

Remember that the Brakes Need Maintenance

A way to help keep the vehicle operating at top performance levels is to make sure it is maintained properly. One part that will need to be inspected regularly is the brake system. This system is important because it allows the vehicle to slow down or stop when you need it to. Proper brakes can also decrease the chance of an accident, like a collision or rear-ending another vehicle.


The brake system can benefit on your vehicle with a regular maintenance check just like having regular oil changes helps the engine. They can even be done at the same time. Getting the brakes checked every 3,000 miles might be a little much, unless you have a commute where you are heavy on the brakes and stuck in traffic often. Then it might be a good idea to check on the wear and tear of all the parts and make sure they still look good and will keep you safe, even while sitting in a traffic jam.


Having the brakes checked works best when the tires are completely off and the brake pads can actually be seen. It is possible to estimate the brake pads with the tires on, but a more accurate estimate of their life is when the tires are off. Checking the brakes can happen each time the tires get rotated, when you get new tires put on or if there is going to be a tire alignment.


Ideally, the pads should all be worn evenly, but in reality, this might not always happen. Therefore, all four brake pads should be checked. If one is lower than the others, then they should all be changed at the same time. Besides the brake pads, we will inspect the rotors and the calipers that work the braking system. Even though the brake pads see the most amount of work and get used up, the other parts sometimes need frequent checking too. When the brake pads are replaced, sometimes the rotors will also need replacing. If the brake pads got too low, then it could cause wearing on the other parts behind it. When those parts get bent, they need to be replaced so that they will hold the brake pads correctly and be positioned over the wheels to stop the vehicle correctly every time you step on the brake pedal.



Signs of an Engine Problem



If a warning light illuminates on the dashboard of your vehicle, make sure to take note of which one it is. It is important to bring your vehicle in as soon as possible so we can inspect it for where the issue is. If the light starts blinking, it will indicate a much more serious problem. These lights are connected to sensors that monitor all that your vehicle does. If something is wearing or has become damaged, the computer will use these lights to alert you to what the issue might be. Common lights could be low oil pressure or the check engine light. The check engine light could mean one of several things wrong with it, so it is important to bring the vehicle in as soon as you can. The issues could range from the gas cap not being on tight, all the way to a severe issue with the engine.



Driving the vehicle should be a smooth and pleasant experience. It should be free of any jerking, surging, or pulling. If you notice the vehicle pulling or surging, it could indicate an issue with the spark plugs. Another reason for the poor driving could be clogged fuel lines or a clogged fuel filter. It is always best to bring the vehicle in at the first sign of any of these issues. Preventive maintenance can help to reduce the chance of this happening. Also, regular oil changes and belt replacements are needed at the correct intervals to help provide your vehicle with the best driving experience. If you are unsure how often this should be, we can help to set you up with a schedule best suited for your vehicle.



Another way to notice if there is an issue with the engine is if you hear a tapping or clinking noise. This could mean that there is an issue with the cylinders of the vehicle. Another noise to notice is a grinding noise. If you hear the grinding noise when you attempt to start the vehicle, the motor might need to be inspected. If the grinding happens when the vehicle is shifting between gears, it could indicate an issue with the transmission. Try to make note of when the noise happens and where it is coming from. This can help us to pinpoint the issue quicker when you bring the vehicle in. Fixing a small problem now can help prevent a larger issue and more costly repair bill later.

Why the Alternator Is Important for Your Vehicle


When driving your vehicle, it is important to make sure all the parts and components are working efficiently with one another. One part to inspect is the alternator of your vehicle. The alternator is an important part because it helps to power your vehicle when you travel. The alternator takes the mechanical energy, generates electricity, and sends it to the motor that is recharging the battery. The current in-turn powers the electrical components of your vehicle like the exterior lights, interior lights, and instrument panel.



The vehicle alternator is most often found near the front of the engine and is bolted with brackets at a specific point. One of the brackets is usually fixed and the other bracket is adjustable which allows for drive belt tightening. The crankshaft drives the alternator and most new vehicles have one belt for both alternator and the crankshaft pulley. If you notice any odd noises coming from under the hood, make sure to bring the vehicle in as soon as you can. We can inspect it for the source of the problem. This will help you get back to a pleasant driving experience.



Most alternators are relatively lightweight and small. The alternators are lighter in weight because alternator housings are constructed of aluminum, which does not magnetize. Not only does aluminum help keep the weight of the alternator down, it also helps to dispel the heat caused from generating the electrical current. Keeping the heat low is essential to the alternator’s operating efficiency. Older alternators will actually have external fan blades on the rotor shaft behind the pulley. Newer alternator models have cooling fans inside the alternator housing. The rotor shaft is located at one end of the alternator and at the other end are the slip rings. The alternator also has vents on both the front side and the backside, which helps to dissipate heat. Also on the back of the alternator are several terminals, which are connecting points in the electrical current. These terminals do various things including sensing battery voltage, closing the circuit to the warning lamp, bypassing the regulator, turning the voltage regulator on, and connecting to the battery. The rotor and the stator are two components of the alternator that actually produce the power.



Like many components of your vehicle, the alternator has moving parts, which tend to get dirty. The alternator can also start to fail as a result of stress from extreme heat or cold. Thus, the alternator can wear out. Sometimes you know when the alternator is failing because the radio begins to cut out, the dash lights start to dim, the headlights stop shining brightly, and the engine may die. One of the most common sources of an alternator going bad is bearing failure. Alternator bearing failure is often characterized by a loud grinding noise. Once you start hearing this noise, it is only a matter of time before your alternator fails. Most car dashboards will show an indicator light when your car alternator is having problems. If you start to notice an issue, make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can inspect it for you.


Check the Condition of the Tires on the Vehicle



The first thing you will want to inspect is the overall condition of the tires. Check for any damage like cracks, gaps, or puncture marks in the tires. If there is a crack, make sure to keep an eye on it. Over time, it may cause air to be leaked out from the tire. If there are nails, screws, rocks, or any other sharp object in the tire, be sure to bring the vehicle in. We can safely remove it from the tire. We can also repair the tire so it is in the best condition possible for when you drive. If you notice the rubber on the tires look like it is becoming dry and several cracks in it, this may be a sign of dry rot. This can cause an issue with the tires when you would least expect it.



Also make sure you check the amount of air pressure in your tires. This is important because the tires should be at the amount that is specified in the vehicle owner’s manual. Tires that are under inflated could lead to a blow out. They can also cause the vehicle to have poor fuel mileage when you drive. If the tires are over inflated then there will be less contact with the surface of the road. This can also make for an uncomfortable ride as you are driving. Over inflated tires are also more prone to pick up sharp objects that might be on the surface of the road you are driving on. If you are unsure about the correct air pressure, you can also bring the vehicle in and we can inspect it for you, as well as alerting you to what the correct amount should be.



The tread on the tire is important. The proper amount of tread can improve the handling and control that you have with your vehicle. If the tread has become low or poor, it may lead to the vehicle pulling from side to side as you drive. You can place a penny upside down to inspect the amount of tread on the tires. If you see the top of Lincoln’s head, there is not enough tread. It is then recommended to buy a new set of tires to help improve the safety and reliability of your vehicle.

Inspecting the Windshield Wipers for your Vehicle


It is important to have windshield wipers that are in good condition for your vehicle. Having proper windshield wipers can increase your visibility, as well as your safety. If you notice any signs of poor windshield wipers, make sure to have them replaced as soon as possible. We can also help to inspect the wipers and recommend which ones are right for your vehicle. If you notice streaking or hazing on the windshield when it snows, there might be worn out wiper blades. There could also be an indication of noises coming from the wipers. This means they are not wiping away smoothly or efficiently. The wiper blades may also pull away from the windshield at higher speeds rather than fitting snugly against the windshield. The rubber portion of the windshield wiper blade should also be inspected. If the rubber edges look worn or torn, the wipers should be replaced as soon as possible. It is also recommended to inspect the metal arm of the wipers. If it is bent or cracked, new windshield wipers will be needed.



One of the most neglected components on a vehicle is the wiper blades. Many blades are cracked, torn, split, or brittle. If the windshield wiper blades look like this, they should be replace as soon as possible. This is because they can no longer be efficient at clearing away the windshield. It is necessary to clear off any water or road debrisfrom the windshield. The holders can also become clogged. This prevents the holder from distributing spring tension evenly over the blade. Heavy usage of the windshield wiper blades can be hard on them as well. It can result in the blades wearing down and needing to be replaced. Anytime you notice the windshield wipers not being effective, they should be replaced as soon as possible.



It is important to inspect the windshield wipers regularly. This can help to ensure they are in the best condition possible. Check the wipers for any wear or tear they might have. Also make sure there is not a build-up of debris on them. Also make sure that the back windshield wiper is efficient if your vehicle is equipped with one. The windshield wiper fluid should also be topped off to the recommended amount indicated on the reservoir.



The windshield wipers may need to be replaced if you notice a poor condition of the wiper arms and holders. This could allow sloppy wipers that will not effectively clear away the windshield. If you notice any issues with how the wipers are working, make sure to bring your vehicle in. We can inspect the windshield wipers to make sure they are in good condition and effective at cleaning the windshield of your vehicle.

Lloyd’s Automotive has served the greater St Paul area
for over 30 years