Serving All Makes & Models Since 1947


982 Grand Ave • St. Paul, MN 55105
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Proper maintenance this fall

Inspect the tires this fall

Proper Maintenance this Fall

Now is a great time to make sure your vehicle is ready for winter. Taking a few simple steps now can save you the headaches and cost of an emergency breakdown later.

Keep the battery connections clean, tight and corrosion-free. Cold weather is hard on batteries, so it is wise to check the battery and charging system. Because batteries don’t always give warning signs before they fail, it is advisable to replace batteries that are more than three years old.

Check that the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system are working properly as heating and cooling performance is critical for interior comfort and for safety reasons, such as defrosting. Fall is also a great time to check your air filters. Wiper blades that are torn, cracked or don’t properly clean your windshield should be replaced. As a general rule, wiper blades should be replaced every six months. When changing the blades, be sure to also check the fluid level in the windshield washer reservoir.


Check the tires, including the tire pressure and tread depth. Uneven wear indicates a need for wheel alignment. Tires should also be checked for bulges and bald spots. If snow and ice are a problem in your area, consider special tires designed to grip slick roads. During winter, tire pressure should be checked weekly as tires lose pressure when temperatures drop.

Have the brake system checked, including brake linings, rotors and drums. Brakes are critical to vehicle safety and particularly important when driving on icy or snow-covered roads.

Getting your vehicle ready for winter while temperatures are still mild is a proactive approach to preventive maintenance that helps ensure safety, reliability and fewer unexpected repairs when severe winter weather strikes.


Check the Fluids this Fall


It is important to check the fluids in your vehicle on a regular basis. The liquid should be up to the amount indicated by each reservoir or the amount recommended in the vehicle owner’s manual. Ensuring that the fluids are at the adequate amount can help to prevent issues when you travel.



Check the oil of your vehicle on a regular basis. By checking the dipstick, you will know how much is in the reservoir. If the oil is low, make sure to add the appropriate amount so you will have enough oil for your vehicle to operate efficiently. It is also recommended that you carry extra quarts of oil in your vehicle, incase the low oil light comes on at an inconvenient time. Also make sure to have oil changes done as recommended by the vehicle manual. This can help to ensure clean oil is lubricating the engine.



Along with checking the oil for your vehicle, make sure to check the transmission fluid regularly. Reading the dipstick that is located near the fill line of the reservoir is an effective way to tell the amount that is there. The transmission fluid should be clean and free of any debris or contaminants that may be there. If you feel there is an issue with the transmission of your vehicle, make sure to bring it in. We can inspect the transmission and the fluid of the vehicle. If the transmission fluid needs to be changed or more needs to be added, we can do so. Keeping the transmission fluid in a clean condition can help prevent any premature wear or damage to the transmission itself.



If the brake fluid is low, make sure to bring it in to a professional to have them inspect it. This is because brake fluid can draw in moisture from the air and could cause contamination to the system. You should not have to add any brake fluid to the system unless there is an issue. The issue could be a leak in the brake line or if the brakes need to be replaced. If brake fluid needs to be added frequently, there could be a major leak somewhere in the brake line. Bring the vehicle in and bring it to our attention so the issue can be resolved. Most new vehicles have a sensor built into the brake system that will let you know if the brakes need work done. This light is activated by the amount of fluid in the reservoir.

Regular Maintenance is Important to the Vehicle

Going to regularly scheduled maintenances can help keep your vehicle lasting as long as it should. It can also help to save you money from costly repair bills from worn or damaged parts. We can inspect it to help provide a safe and reliable ride for you. If parts have been damaged, we can replace them so you can have a pleasant driving experience again. Regular maintenances can increase the efficiency of your vehicle. There can also be other benefits of having maintenances done. You can have vehicle that is more efficient, as well as a reliable one. Between visits, make sure to bring your vehicle in if you notice an issue. Any strange noise or sound could indicate a problem.

Having several maintenance tasks done can help to increase the fuel economy and efficiency of your vehicle. Make sure to have the tires checked on a regular basis. Tires that are not properly inflated can lead to poor fuel efficiency. In the winter, every ten-degree decrease in temperature can lead to a pound of air pressure being lost in the tires. Tires that are not inflated to the correct amount can also lead to a blowout. If you are unsure how much air should be in the tires, the recommended amount is in the vehicle owner’s manual. Make sure the tires are filled to this amount to ensure the longevity of the tires. The tires should also be inspected to make sure they are aligned, balanced, and rotated as needed. The air filter should also be inspected on the vehicle. If it is clogged, it can negatively affect the fuel efficiency as much as twenty percent.

Regular maintenances are important for the reliability of the vehicle. We can inspect it to make sure that the parts have not been worn or damaged. If they are repairable, we can fix them in a timely manner. This can help to make your vehicle more reliable in the long run. Maintenances performed on a schedule can help to diagnose any issues your vehicle may have. Make sure to bring your vehicle in, and we can inspect it thoroughly. That way any issues can be fixed before they turn into a larger problem and costly repair bill.

Having maintenances done regularly can help improve the life of the vehicle. We can inspect the tires to ensure they are properly inflated and are in good condition. The recommended tire pressure can be found in the vehicle owner’s manual. This can help keep the tires lasting as long as they should. Tires that are not properly inflated can lead to blowouts, damage, and replacement. The brakes can be inspected so the will be as effective as possible when you apply the brake pedal. If you notice anything out of the norm between scheduled visits, bring your vehicle in as soon as possible.

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.

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