Serving All Makes & Models Since 1947

651-228-1316
 

982 Grand Ave • St. Paul, MN 55105
Mon-Fri: 7am - 6pm • Saturday 8am - Noon

Warning Lights on the Dashboard

warning lights

The warning lights on the dashboard will illuminate when there is an issue with your vehicle. It is always best to pay attention to which ones these are, as they are clues for what the issue is. Make sure to schedule an appointment, and you can bring the vehicle in. We can inspect it and check the issue that is making the warning light come on. It could be something as minor as a faulty sensor or a broken wire, but it could be something more serious. If left unchecked, it will cause lasting and expensive damage to your vehicle. Regular servicing and maintenance can help protect your vehicle from causing an issue. Keep a close eye on your vehicle and the warning lights to save you money in the long run.

The Oil Warning Light

You might see the oil warning light flash up if oil temperature gets too high. This can also happen if the level is low or the oil pressure is too low. Oil is what lubricates your engine, with the oil pump used to spray the fluid to all corners of your engine. If temperatures get too high, or the level is low or drops, the effectiveness of the lubrication can be reduced. This can result in expensive engine damage. If you see this warning sign, schedule an appointment with us as soon as possible.

Battery Charge light illuminating

You should see your battery charge warning light when you first turn your car on. If it does not go out a few seconds after the engine starts, there could be a problem with your car’s electrical system. This could be to do with a faulty alternator, faulty battery, a bad connection or damaged cabling somewhere in the engine bay. If your car isn’t charging the battery when moving, then you could eventually run out of electrical power.

If there is a light that comes on when driving, pay attention to it. If it starts blinking, make sure to pull over when it is safe to do so. This can help prevent further damage to your vehicle.

Check the Vehicle for Summer Driving

 

 

Keeping your vehicle maintained is important for the overall efficiency of it during the summer when you drive. Part of this includes several inspects to various parts of the vehicle. Tires are the single most important part of your car. They have an enormous impact on performance and safety. A worn or underinflated set of tires can be detrimental to handling and braking and can lead to blow-outs at speed. Check for bulges in the sidewalls, uneven wear, or visible wear bars. If you see any of the above, replace the tire. Any time there is an issue, it is important to have it checked as soon as possible. By doing so, you can help save time, money, and stress in the long run.

Check Your Brakes

Brake pads often suffer extreme thermal cycling. Huge temperature changes due to the high heat of use meeting with water or deep puddles. Removing your wheels often helps with a brake inspection. They can be checked for wear and cracking. They will also be inspected so the brake rotors or drums have no significant cracking.

Get A Car Wash

Interiors become filled with dirt and tracked-in grime. Clean your car top to bottom, inside and out. Use good, high-quality cleansers and high-pressure water on the outside to get rid of salt and trapped sand, and be sure to hit the wheel wells and underbody. Clean all that junk out of the trunk and remove litter from under the seats. Vacuum and wash the funk-filled carpets and clean the inside of the windows. Also take time to properly wash and treat the engine bay. It may sound unnecessary, but it’s much easier to diagnose leaks or aging parts when everything is clean.

Check Your Oil

summer

Pull out your car’s dipstick and check the level and color of the oil. If it is still a shade of amber and meets the fill mark, you’re fine. If it’s amber but low, top it off. If it’s black and nasty, change it as soon as possible. Regular oil should last 4000-5000 miles with no problem; synthetics should go for 6000-7000 miles between changes.

Check the Other Fluids

Inspect your coolant level and coolant mix. The overflow or radiator tank should be full, and a coolant tester available at any auto parts store will tell you if the water to ethylene glycol ratio needs to be adjusted for maximum cooling. Change your coolant at least once a year for maximum performance.

Power-steering fluid is often overlooked in general servicing, but it’s important to keep it topped off and clean. Low steering fluid can lead to increased steering effort and premature failure of your power steering pump; dirty fluid can lead to premature failure of the entire system, which is never cheap to fix. Check your owner’s manual for specifics on how to check your fluid level. If the fluid is low, fill to the maximum. If it’s dark brown have the power steering system flushed and refilled.

 

Noticing a Transmission Issue

 

transmission

 

The transmission for your vehicle is important. When it goes out, you will not be able to drive your car. There are some signs to be aware of if the transmission is going out.

Transmission slipping

If you’re experiencing automatic transmission slipping, there could be an issue. It can feel like you’re driving in a certain gear and then it changes for no apparent reason. The noise from the engine may change in pitch or start to sound like whining. Your car may also seem like it’s struggling. It can be suddenly underpowered, or isn’t accelerating like it should.

Rough shifts

Your car may feel like it’s refusing to change gears as it normally does. You may also notice the gear shifts aren’t very smooth. Sometimes you can feel or hear a noticeable clunk or thud when the car shifts gears. You may also notice the car has difficultly getting up to speed. If there is a delay, you will notice it before the car actually engages into drive and starts moving forward. When you shift out of park and into drive, there may be a long pause where the car revs the engine as you give it gas. The first indication is it is not moving forward as it should.

Fluid leak

Transmissions are generally sealed units that should never leak fluid. If you’ve noticed leak spots on your driveway or garage floor, lay down cardboard under your car in the front and middle to determine if they’re active leaks. If your transmission is leaking, the fluid is bright red. It can also be a dark red or brown. Before refilling any transmission fluid, factory specifications should be followed because overfilling can create a bigger transmission issue.

Transmission warning light

A warning light alone, like the check engine light, typically doesn’t mean you have a transmission problem, but if any of the above symptoms are occurring in conjunction with an illuminated warning, have it diagnosed by us. A warning light typically means the computer is generating an error code that can be checked with diagnostic equipment. If a light comes on, and starts blinking, make sure to bring it in as soon as possible so we can check it for you.

 

Brake Issues to Notice

brake issues

 

There are several issues you might notice when there brake issues with your vehicle. Pulling to one side could be caused by a brake hose gone bad or a caliper problem. One brake caliper may be applying more or all the pressure during braking, resulting in unbalanced stopping. If the vehicle continues to pull when you are braking, make sure to bring it in so we can inspect it for you.

Burning Smell While Driving

A sharp, chemical odor after repeated hard braking on steep roads is a sign of overheated brakes or clutch. Pull over immediately in a safe place, check your parking brake to make sure it’s fully released and allow the brakes to cool. If you don’t, you risk heating up the brake fluid to boiling, which can cause brake failure. If there’s any smoke coming from a wheel, it may be a stuck brake caliper and possibly unsafe to continue driving on without repairs.

Bouncing when Stopping Short

If your vehicle rocks or bounces with sharp braking, it’s probably not a brake problem at all. Your shock absorbers may need to be replaced. Not every brake noise or symptom is going to cost you. It could be a harmless squeak from certain types of material in brake pads. There may be dust or moisture somewhere in the braking system that isn’t causing damage. You may just need to add new brake fluid. Brake parts wear out over time. Self-diagnosing symptoms or delaying brake servicing could put you and your passengers at unnecessary risk. Make sure to schedule an appointment and bring the vehicle in as soon as you can. We can inspect the vehicle and the brake system of your vehicle. By doing so, you can help to save time, money, and stress in the long run.

Air conditioning Issues with your Car

air conditioning

 

The air conditioning system may be something you take for granted. This is until you encounter a hot or humid day. No matter if it is taking too long to cool the air inside your car or your windows are not defogging properly, some of your car’s air conditioning problems can become costly if you do not take the proper precautions. If you notice an issue, make sure to bring the vehicle in as soon as possible, so we can inspect it for you. No matter if you think the issue might be minor, it is always best to have it

How air conditioning works

The first air conditioners were known as weather conditioners. They were offered to limousine and luxury car owners in New York City in the thirties. The system has served to eliminate humidity and heat trapped inside the passenger compartment. This service is now a standard car feature.

The air conditioning system works by using a belt that allows the air conditioning compressor to compress a refrigerant and pump it throughout the system. The refrigerant is pressed through a valve that reduces pressure and temperature. Then it moves through the evaporator in the passenger compartment. It delivers cool dry air to those in the vehicle.

Signs of an Issue

The air may not be cooling for many reasons. One of the most frequent causes can be a low refrigerant level. This is because it can diminish by as much as 15% per year. You may also have a broken condenser. Compressor has cracked or damaged belt, defective clutch, inactive pressure switches or idle valves

Noises

Noise usually comes from a dying compressor. Some other common causes can be a cross-contaminated refrigerant or the use of the wrong lubricant. Holes or other broken parts could also be the source of the problem. Also, the common cause for moist air inside your car is usually moisture or debris trapped inside your air conditioning system.

Not being used

When your car’s air system has not been used for a while, it can cause issues. Microorganisms such as bacteria and fungus can begin to populate and produce a foul smell. Watch for leaks coming from your air conditioning system since leaking refrigerant is a dangerous chemical that can harm the environment as well as your car’s engine. Detection and repair of any issue in your car’s air conditioning system could prevent additional damage that will in turn save you time and money.

Make sure to check the air conditioning compressor belt for cracks and damage on a regular basis. Also watch for any leaks or damage in the air conditioning system. Regularly check the function of the air conditioning system and other components. You may also need to recharge the air conditioning system by using the right refrigerant type and quantity as specified by the manufacturer.

Noticing a Blown Head Gasket

head gasket

When the failure of a head gasket occurs between the cooling system and combustion chamber, you may notice several signs. The first is coolant loss and overheating problems. This can be especially troubling because overheating often only shows in fits and starts, such as when a vehicle has been on the road for some distance.

Head gasket

In cars where overheating does not become readily apparent, damages caused by combustion gasses could occur. This can be damage to the cooling system. You may also have failure of the radiator. With time, erosion of the hoses can occur as well. If you are not sure if your vehicle has an issue, make sure to bring it in.

Other issues

Another source of trouble is when a head gasket fails between the coolant and lubrication components. A sign of this is when the fluid from one seeps into the other. Typically, the first symptom to show in such cases is when the radiator cap swells. However, the problem can be harder to spot in cars that use glycol oil, which is less likely to take on a milky appearance when corrupted. When a problem like this occurs, the viscosity of the oil is affected, and this will ultimately decrease the engine’s lubrication.

Regular maintenance

If you notice anything out of the norm with your vehicle, it is always best to have it inspected. Regular maintenance can help prevent severe issues from occurring. If you are not sure how often to have the vehicle inspected, make sure to contact us. We can advise you on the correct schedule based on your vehicle and driving conditions. Also always be aware of odd noises or smells from your vehicle. These can be signs of an issue. By having the issue fixed right away, you can save time, money, and stress in the long run.

 

How Power Steering Affects your Car

power steering

 

The power steering greatly eases parking and other low-speed driving. It is a necessity for heavier vehicles that are not very strong. The power steering also helps with how your vehicle handles, as well as when you turn.

What it is

Power steering is pretty much what it sounds like. It is a power steering system helps the driver turn the wheels using hydraulic or electric power. The system may just provide a helpful push or it may do all the work itself in response to the motion of the steering wheel. Turning a vehicle with power steering requires less effort than it otherwise would.

Automotive power steering systems vary greatly in design, but a typical hydraulic setup includes several parts. A sensor attached to the steering wheel will detect force or torque. The system knows when the driver turns the steering wheel and the car’s wheel haven’t caught up yet, so the system can provide assistance when it is needed.

Power steering pump

A pump, driven by the car’s engine, is to raise the pressure in the power steering fluid up to as much as 100 times atmospheric pressure. A collection of valves that direct the high-pressure fluid through hoses or metal tubes to one side or the other of the steering system according to how the steering wheel has been turned. Actuators with which the high-pressure power steering fluid helps push the front wheels to one side or the other.

Why it fails

Reasons for power steering failure can be caused by several things. Fluid loss, from a slow or sudden leak can be one of the main causes. You may also notice that the pump fails, if your system is hydraulic. Another sign is a loss of power. This can be because of engine failure or because of loss of power to the steering system alone.

If your steering goes out it can become very difficult to steer the vehicle. A steering system that is designed to operate with power assistance is not meant to be driven without that power. A drag in the system can be surprisingly hard to turn the wheel when this happens. If it happens when you’re traveling at high speed, the result can be frightening because it may feel like you’ve lost steering control. Make sure to stay calm, and pull over when it is safe to do so.

Reasons for Tire Rotations

Tire rotations

Tire rotations are important for your vehicle. Having a tire rotation means moving them from one wheel to another. This can be from left to right or back to front, or even diagonally. Tire rotation is needed to help keep your vehicle lasting as long as possible. Tires tend to wear unevenly. The front tires tend to wear on the outside edges because the tire leans over when you turn a corner. The rear tires just follow the fronts, so they usually wear more evenly. If you leave tires in place, those outside edges on the front tires will wear down much faster than the rest. You will have to replace the tires miles sooner.

Uneven wear

A poor alignment or unbalanced tires can also cause uneven wear. Rotating tires keeps them from wearing unevenly. That will make your ride smoother and handling safer. It also extends the life of your tires, saving you time and money in the long run. There are three things that happen during a rotation. First, each tire and wheel is removed from your vehicle and moved to a different position. The air pressure will then be checked. If it is too low or has too much air, it will be adjusted to the recommendation. The brakes can also be checked while the tires are off.

Rotating the tires

Tires tend to wear unevenly. Front tires tend to wear most on their outside edges, but all tires can wear unevenly due to even the slightest imbalance or misalignment. To get the most life from your tires, it’s a good idea to have them rotated regularly. Having your tires rotated twice a year helps them wear longer and more evenly. If you have front wheel drive, rotation is even more important. If you notice any issues with your vehicle, make sure to contact us. By scheduling an appointment we can inspect the vehicle for you. If there is a problem, it is always best to have it resolved as soon as possible.

Learn about Car Care this Month

car care

April is National Car Care month! During the winter, vehicles are neglected because of the cold and snow. They sure could use a little extra care by now. It is recommended setting aside a little time during National Car Care Month, to get your vehicle ready for the spring and summer driving season.

Your vehicle goes through a lot in the winter. The harsh conditions, extreme cold, potholes, and road salt all take a toll. Since you rely on your vehicle nearly every day to get to work, school, and everywhere in between, taking a little time for car care now can save headaches and money in the long run.

Having a Clean Vehicle

Regular car washes and waxes protect the paint and body of your car from corrosive debris. In parts of the country where salt is used on the roads, regularly washing is especially important. By washing the vehicle, you are reducing the chance of rust occurring. Also take a few minutes and clean out the interior of your vehicle. Remove any garbage that might be in the vehicle. Also take out things you will not need or will not use.

Remember Maintenance

Every vehicle has a manufacturer recommended maintenance schedule. Following a routine service schedule is essential to keeping your car in safe and dependable working order. If you are not sure how often to bring your vehicle in, contact us. During Car Care month, take the time to ensure your vehicle will run efficient and effective.

Notice Issues

When you see your car needs attention, do not ignore it. Your windshield wipers aren’t cleaning as well as they should? Your gas tank is missing its cap? There’s a warning light on your dashboard?   Repairing small things now can help avoid more costly problems down the road, and add years of useful vehicle life. No matter what issue you notice, hear, or see, contact us. With an appointment, we can check the vehicle for you.

 

Tips when you Tow a Boat or Trailer

tow

When you tow a boat or trailer, you will have to adjust your driving. You will also want to make sure that your vehicle has been properly maintained. If you are not sure how often this should be, contact us. We can advise you on the correct schedule to ensure it is in the best condition. Besides being maintained, we can also make sure your vehicle can handle towing something. This will help prevent an unexpected breakdown on the side of the road.

Take Wider Turns

It’s easy to forget when you’re cruising along that you have an extra length to your vehicle. Turning quickly into an available gas station or fast-food drive through without considering your wide load can be an issue. Your trailer has a tighter turning radius than your tow vehicle. Period. If you’re barely clearing that curb with your truck, your trailer won’t.

Adjust your Distance

Since you will be towing more weight, consider how much longer it will take to come to a stop. You will not want to wait until the last second to slam on the brakes. One of the side effects of slamming on the brakes is that it can lead to jackknifing or cause dangerous trailer sway. Gradually apply pump brakes to bring the heavy load under control. Also know how to hang onto the wheel. When you’re backing up, place your hands on the bottom of the steering wheel. Then, move your hand in the direction you want the trailer to go. Aim toward the passenger side of your tow vehicle and the trailer will go right. Face forward and let your mirrors be your guide. If you need to have vehicle checked over before you tow a boat or trailer, contact us. We can have it inspected to ensure it will handle it efficiently.

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