Serving All Makes & Models Since 1947

651-228-1316
 

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

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.

The Importance of a Transmission

Your car’s transmission uses the power of your vehicle to move the engine at various speeds. There are two designs of transmissions; automatic and manual. Automatic vehicles perform all the work for you such as shifting from precise operating systems. Manual transmissions are run entirely by the driver. Drivers must know when the maximum gear range is reached in order to shift without ruining the vehicle’s transmission, which is a costly part to replace.

 

Transmission fluid is used to lubricate all the components of your car’s transmission. This allows for the parts to move among one another more smoothly and produce less friction and heat. It also helps your engine operate at its peak performance, so having it under your hood is important. Transmission fluid is typically red or green and every car requires a specific type of transmission fluid in order to operate correctly. Automatic and manual transmission fluid is different in how it is made. Automatic transmission fluid is made up of synthetic liquids and oils that are combined with chemical compounds. Manual transmission fluids are made up of motor oil, gear oil and occasionally of automatic transmission fluid. Because of the harmful chemicals that are associated with transmission fluid, it is important to keep it up and out of reach of individuals.

 

It is important to understand when your transmission might be failing in order to save you from a potentially dangerous situation and costly repair. You should watch your RPMs while you drive and shift. If your vehicle is revving much higher than it normally does at lower speeds, this is a sign of internal problems with your transmission. By listening to your engine, you are able to notice a loud sound while accelerating. This may signify that your manual transmission could be having difficulties shifting gears and your parts are grinding together. Be aware of odd smells coming from your engine. Anything smoky or burning is not a good sign. If odors or smoke are detected, you should pull your vehicle over immediately. If your vehicle is not responding as it should, this is an indicator you might have a failing transmission. By making yourself aware of signs that something might be wrong with your transmission, you can detect and diagnose problems much faster.

 

Without your transmission your vehicle will not be able to operate, which is why you should take steps to prolong the life of the transmission. By down shifting your automatic transmission while exiting off a highway off-ramp, you are making your engine slow down too quickly. This can cause gears to wear against each other, which can potentially cause a leak or crack in your transmissions components. Make sure to only shift your automatic transmission for instance, from reverse to drive, when you are completely stopped. Shifting when your vehicle is still in motion overworks the u-joints and causes additional stress on the transmission. Always check your engine for leaks because a leaky transmission can become damaged and put a lot of pressure on your gears. By taking care of your transmission, you are able to get more mileage out of your transmission and you can enjoy a safe trip down the road.

Why Tire Alignments are Beneficial

 

Alignments can allow for the tread to wear evenly on the tires. If you notice that the tread is becoming uneven, make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can inspect it for you. Having an alignment done can also help improve the handling and stability of the vehicle. This will improve the fuel mileage of your vehicle, because it will not have to use as much stress and power to operate the vehicle effectively.

 

All vehicles are different when it comes to their alignment setting. While positive camber is used to improve ride quality and vehicle stability, high performance vehicles may require better cornering performance. Either way, the vehicle manufacturer will have the exact angles for this setting. We will use those angles to properly align the wheel camber. Part of your suspension has these things called rubber bushings. Bushings can break down over time, allowing excessive movement to occur in the suspension. This additional flexibility leads to poor turning performance and accelerated and uneven tire wear.

 

The caster is the reason your vehicle steers in a straight line. When the vehicle travels straight down the road with little handling on your part that is due to your caster setting. If you are driving down a straight path but start pulling to one side, that is a sign the caster is off. The caster angle is determined by your vehicle’s suspension design and the intended vehicle use. If you have a high speed, high performance ride, your vehicle will need more caster to handle better on the straightaway and when coming out of turns. The most obvious and easiest sign to detect is if you feel your vehicle pulling to one side.

 

Total toe is meant to be at zero or close to zero while you are cruising. If the total toe is off, severe tire wear can result. Proper toe settings make it possible for the least amount of resistance to occur when your tires spin. If the total toe is out of whack, you will experience uneven wear on the outside or inside part of your tires depending on whether your vehicle toe-in or toe-out setting is compromised. Toe problems are the leading cause of most tire problems and tire wear. It is easy to miss the signs of a toe alignment problem. If you notice anything out of the norm, make sure to bring the vehicle in as soon as possible.

When Oil Changes are Recommended

 

 

 

 

 

Part of helping keep the vehicle in the best condition possible is to make sure the oil is changed when scheduled. The oil is an essential lubricant that is needed for the engine of your vehicle. The oil helps to allow metal to press against metal without any damage to parts or the vehicle. Also, the oil lubricates the pistons as they move up and down in the cylinders of the vehicle. Without the oil, the metal against metal friction will create an excessive amount of heat. This could then cause the surfaces to end up welding themselves together. This can also result in the engine seizing up and making your vehicle quit. By keeping up with regular oil changes that are needed, you can help ensure that the vehicle will be as reliable as possible. It can also help to improve the efficiency of the parts and components of the engine.

 

 

 

 

Oil changes are beneficial because they help to keep the engine running as long as possible. The motor oil lubricates and cools the moving parts for the engine of the vehicle. Without new clean oil, the engine will begin to wear down. This is because the metal on metal components can grind against one another. This will lead to extensive wear and tear to these parts. Not having clean oil, or having a level that is too low, can cause serious issues for your vehicle. By going to oil changes, you can help to alleviate the build up of sludge or varnish. Motor oil will degrade over time because of temperatures, pressure, and contamination it will have. If you are uncertain how often to change the oil, contact us. We can help to set up a schedule that works for you. With time, dirt will start to accumulate in the oil. This can lead to the oil filter becoming clogged. The filter is designed to remove dirt from the oil.

 

 

 

 

The oil will need to be checked and changed based on the schedule. An oil change consists of removing the old oil from the vehicle and replacing it with new clean oil. When it is needed, we can also change the oil filter. As the engine parts begin to move and move against one another, friction will occur. This will then create heat. Oil lubricates the engine and will absorb the heat. This will then allow the internal parts of the vehicle to work together and effectively without any issue of overheating. With time, the oil will start to break down and wear out. After this, it will become less effective at lubricating the engine, as well as absorbing the heat. So it is important to have the oil changed, before issues start to form. Anytime there is an issue with the vehicle, it should be inspected to help reduce the chance of further issues.

 

 

 

Noticing Issues with the Battery

 

One of the biggest factors in determining if the battery will work, is what temperate the battery is exposed to. If the terminals of the vehicle are loose, the proper connection may not be made. There might also be a build up of dirt or debris that causes poor connections between the battery and the vehicle. Sometimes incomplete charging can occur, which prevents the charge from building up in the battery. Another issue of the battery not charging could be that the charge is depleted when the electrical components are used extensively in the vehicle. Running these components while the vehicle is off can also create a problem.

 

 

 

If the terminals on the battery are loose, it could result in a poor connection to the rest of the vehicle. It could also cause them to get dirty. This will result in not enough charge being needed by the electrical system. You may notice an issue if you hear a click when trying to turn the key in your vehicle. The terminals may need to be cleaned or tightened up on the battery.

 

 

 

One of the fastest ways to drain a battery is to leave on the electrical components of your vehicle. Without the vehicle running, the battery cannot charge back up. This will then cause the battery to die completely. If the poor battery charge happens too often, then a new battery may be needed in order to replace the older one that would be damaged.

 

 

 

Incomplete charging is a common problem with batteries. It can also occur because a variety of reasons. If you make several short trips, then the battery will not be able to charge sufficiently. Instead try to combine all the errands into one stop to help save on the battery. It can also help to save on wear and tear for your vehicle, as well as improve the fuel efficiency.

What should be Inspected on the Tires

When you drive, you will want the vehicle to be as safe and reliable as possible. To make sure the vehicle is in the best condition, bring it in for regular maintenance inspections. We can inspect the parts and components of it so that the vehicle works in the best condition possible. Between inspections, there are some things you can check yourself. When you inspect the vehicle, make sure to check the tires. The tires are important because they are the only part of the vehicle that will make direct contact with the surface of the road. If a tire is in poor condition, then it can cause damage to the steering and handling of the vehicle.

When you check the tires, one of the first things you should look at is the air pressure. Tires that are over inflated can be prone to picking up sharp objects that are on the surface of the road. Tires that are under inflated have an increased chance of blowing out. The will also result in poor fuel mileage. This is because the tire will take up more of the road and will not rotate properly. If you are not sure how much air should be in the tires, make sure to contact us.

Besides checking the air pressure, you should also inspect the tread wear on the tires. The tread helps to grip the surface of the road when you travel. This will improve the handling and stability when you drive. If you notice that the vehicle pulls in one direction or the other, there could be an issue with the tread. You can take a penny and place it upside down in the tread groove. If you see the top of Lincoln’s head, then there is not enough tread.

Besides inspecting the tires, also take the time to check the spare tire. The spare tire is important because you will have to rely on it until the regular tire is fixed. It is important to check the spare for the air pressure, tread wear, and overall condition of it. If there is any sign of damage to it, make sure to have the tire replaced. If you are not sure how to inspect the tires, you can always bring the vehicle in and we can inspect them for you. This can help you to have a safe and reliable vehicle when you drive.

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