Serving All Makes & Models Since 1947

651-228-1316
 

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

Regular Brake Inspections are Important

 

The brake system for your vehicle is one of the most important systems for your vehicle. The brakes help to slow down and stop the vehicle when you drive. If you notice an issue with the brakes, even a slight one, it should not be ignored. Each and every time you drive a vehicle with poor brakes, you are putting yourself and those around you at risk of an accident.

 

 

The brake pads are typically the part of the brake system that wears out the quickest. The brake system involves the use of calipers that grip the brake rotor in order to stop the vehicle. The brake pads provide a cushion during this process, which helps reduce the wear and tear on the rotors. If you notice any change in the amount of pressure that is needed to slow down or stop your vehicle, the brake pads are probably worn out. Also, you may notice a slight vibration in the brake pedal when you apply it. If there is a squealing or squeaking noise when you apply the brakes, it may be a sign that the brake pads need to be replaced.

 

 

If you do not maintain the brake pads, the brake rotors will wear out quicker than they should. Worn brake rotors can significantly affect the ability to slow down or stop when you need to. Sometimes you may need to pump the brakes while trying to slow down. This is because there is air in the brake system due to worn brake rotors. Poor brake rotors can also affect the ability to maintain control of your vehicle. If the brake rotors become warped, it may affect the suspension system with time. The warped brake rotors are generally caused by worn brake pads that are being used.

 

 

The brake fluid is part of a hydraulic system that causes compression of the fluid when the brakes are applied. This allows the calipers, with assistance from the brake pads, to grip the brake rotors and slow down the vehicle. Moisture can get into the brake lines and turn to steam when it is heated. The steam is not good for the brake fluid, and can affect the braking performance of your vehicle. If you notice your vehicle is not slowing down or stopping as well as it used to, make sure to bring your vehicle in as soon as possible.

The Importance of Oil Changes for Your Vehicle

Engine sludge is old and congealed oil resulting from excessive contamination, heat and oil additive breakdown. Sludge typically forms over a long period of time and generally builds up when a vehicle owner skips oil changes or travels many miles past the recommended oil change interval.

If you are unsure how often to change the oil, make sure to contact us. We can advise you on the recommended oil change interval your vehicle should have. If you delay changing the oil, this can cause the issue. Over time, motor oil becomes contaminated with engine metals, acids and air humidity, eventually transforming into sludge. Waiting too long to change your oil will increase the likelihood of sludge infecting all the parts where it is contact with the oil.

Excessive heat from the engine causes the oil to breakdown resulting in sludge and engine deposits. The high temperatures also cause oil to thin out. This typically results in metal on metal grinding or wears in your engine. This problem typically can become even more severe if you tow heavy loads or if you leave your vehicle running idle for extended periods of time. A higher-grade oil will greatly benefit your vehicle in this situation. Repeated short distance driving means your oil may not have time to reach optimal operating temperatures. This enables water and combustion bi-products, such as smoke, to dilute oil, accelerating the breakdown of your oil and shortening the lifespan of your engine components.

Very hot or very cold temperatures will cause faster oil breakdown, requiring oil changes sooner. The oil gets thicker as the temperature drops. Oil is harder to pump during startup, potentially leading to accelerated engine wear and difficulty starting your vehicle. Remember, thinner oils are ideal during winter. The lower the grade, the thinner the oil, and the easier your vehicle will start during those deep freezes. By keeping up on regular oil changes, you can help prevent further damage to your vehicle. If you inspect the oil and notice dirt and debris, it is recommended to have it changed so fresh clean oil can run through your vehicle. When the oil is changed, the oil filter can also be checked. The filter helps to collect dirt and other contaminants that are in the oil.

The Dangers of Potholes to Vehicles

 

Potholes can be a hazard to the vehicle. While the tires and wheels are easy to visually inspect, there could also be damage to other areas of your vehicle. The suspension, steering, and alignment systems can all become damaged as well. It is important to schedule an appointment to bring the vehicle in so it can be inspected after hitting a pothole.

 

 

Potholes occur during the spring months when the water permeates the pavement. This is typically from a crack in the road due to heavy wear and tear of the traffic. This will then cause it to soften the soil below it and it will then create a depression into the surface of the road. The freezing and thawing weather cycles can accelerate this process. After a few cycles, the road will have a pothole in it. If there is flooding or rain, this can disguise where the potholes are. That is why it is important to make sure to approach water puddles carefully. Water can hide how deep the puddle or pothole may actually be.

 

 

By hitting a pothole, it may cause damage to the tires on the vehicle. It could cause them to have low tire pressure, dent the rim of the tire, or produce bulges or blisters on the sidewalls. While these issues can be visible, it is always recommended to bring the vehicle in for an inspection. Depending how serious these issues are, it could cause a safety hazard when you drive. Bring the vehicle in and we can inspect the parts and components of the vehicle. If there is an issue, we can help to make you aware of it. This can get you back to driving a safe and reliable vehicle again. It can also help provide a pleasant ride for you and your passengers. It is also recommended to have the steering and suspension systems checked at least once a year.

 

 

Another sign of damage from hitting potholes is if the vehicle pulls in one direction or another. This can be especially noticeable when driving in a straight line. The tires may no longer be aligned properly and cause an issue when driving. Having the vehicle pull in a direction may also indicate an issue with how the tires are wearing. Make sure to bring the vehicle in and we can inspect it for the issue that causes it to pull. It is also advised to go to inspections regularly, so we can ensure the vehicle is in top condition for you. If you are not sure how often to bring the vehicle in, contact us and we can recommend the schedule for you.

Inspect the Tires this Spring

As spring arrives, there are a few things you should check on your vehicle. This is a good time to get your vehicle back into shape after a tough season facing frigid temperatures, snow, ice, and now potholes. There are some spring car tire tips to get your vehicle ready for the upcoming road travel season. The tires are important because they are the only part of the vehicle that makes direct contact with the surface of the road.

 

Some people delay or do not bother removing their winter tires. While winter tires offer impressive traction on snow and ice, they often compromise stopping performance on dry and wet roads, do not handle as well as all-season tires, and wear out quickly. If you have your winter tires on dedicated wheels, be sure to wash the tires and wheels thoroughly to remove winter salt spray that can cause wheel corrosion and store them in a cool, dry place.

 

Roads filled with potholes can make winter driving tough on the suspension of your vehicle. Whether you had winter or all-season tires on your vehicle, check the evenness of the wear across the width of the tread. If you observe uneven tire wear, you might need a wheel alignment. Ignore it and your tires will wear out quickly and need to be replaced sooner than you thought.

 

With spring and summer around the corner, you will want a tire that can resist hydroplaning in heavy rain and slide on slick, wet roads. To check if your tires are well worn, try the penny test. This is a good tool to determine how much performance you have left. Place the penny upside down in the groove of the tire. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, then the tread has worn down and the tire should be replaced.

 

Make sure to bring the vehicle in and we can inspect the tread of the tires for you. We suggest buying four new ones at a time for the best balance of handling and dry and wet grip. Then rotate your tires routinely to promote even wear. But if you are like many drivers who do not rotate tires regularly and need only two new ones, then be sure to have the new tires placed on the rear of the car for secure handling. Also remember to check the inflation of the tires regularly. Under inflated tires can cause heat build-up. You can also bring the vehicle in and we can check the air pressure for the tires for you. This will help ensure they rotate efficiently when you drive.

 

Maintenance Tips for the Battery

 

The battery is an important part under the hood of your vehicle. The battery helps to send power to the alternator and the rest of your vehicle in order for it to start and operate properly. If you notice that the vehicle is slow to start or it is becoming more difficult, there could be an issue with the battery. If the battery is starting to go out, we can alert you to what the issue may be and the options you have to fix it. There are also some other tips you can do to help keep the battery lasting as long as possible.

 

 

 

One of the most important things you can do is to make sure the battery is clean. A dirty battery connection can weaken the charge of it. Make sure to clean away any grease, dirt, or debris build up that might be on the battery. Also check the terminals and posts of the battery. This can help to make sure the power is able to go through other parts and components with a strong current. If there is a build up of dirt and debris, it could result in a poor connection for these parts. It can also result in a poor electrical currant for the rest of your vehicle. If you notice that the lights are becoming dimmer on the vehicle, it could be an indication that there is an issue with the battery. If the battery is old, it could be wearing out.

 

 

Another important thing to look at is how secure the battery is. If the battery is lightly sitting it the spot and wiggles a lot, it could end up tipping over. A loose battery could also hit other parts of your engine. This is a problem because it could cause more issues and a costly repair bill to have it fixed. Another issue with a loose battery is that it could lead to battery acid spilling over the motor of your vehicle. Make sure to keep the battery clean so it can sit securely and correctly in place. If you suspect that the battery is loose, bring your vehicle in as soon as possible.

 

 

 

Alignments can Improve the Safety

 

Having the wheels aligned can also help keep the vehicle perpendicular to the surface of the road. It will also keep the tires parallel to one another. If you notice an issue with how your vehicle is handling, make sure to bring it in as soon as you can. This way we can inspect it for the condition and reliability of the tires.

 

 

One of the most important reasons to get an alignment done is it can improve the safety of your vehicle. If you notice that the vehicle pulls in one direction or another, it may be time for an alignment to be done. Tires that are not aligned can increase the chance from an accident or issue occurring.

 

 

By having the wheels aligned, you can make sure there is even pressure on the tires. If they are not aligned, it can cause them to wear faster, and increase the fuel mileage. This is because more fuel will be used to correct the tires. Tires that are not aligned will tend to push against one another when they rotate. Uneven friction and more resistance from the surface of the road can cause you to spend more on fuel each time. When the wheels are aligned properly, there is less resistance from the surface of the road. This not only helps to provide a smoother ride, but also it can save on fuel mileage.

 

 

Tires that are not aligned and driven on can start to become bald on a certain side. This could mean the tires would need to be replaced sooner than they typically should. It can also decrease the safety for your vehicle. You may also notice that the vehicle starts to pull in one direction or another. This could indicate a problem with the alignment. Eventually, it will start to cause issues with the steering system as well. Not having the wheels aligned can also affect the suspension of your vehicle. This can make it harder to handle and control when you drive. Any odd feelings or vibrations you feel when you drive should not be ignored. Make sure to schedule an appointment with us so we can inspect the vehicle for you.

Obtaining the Best Fuel Mileage when you Drive

When owning a vehicle, you will want to have it last as long as possible. One way to help increase the life of it is to go to regular maintenance inspections. Also, between maintenances, make sure you inspect parts of the vehicle yourself. This can help notice an issue at the first sign of it. It can also decrease the chance for a costly repair bill in the future. By having the vehicle maintained, you will be able to have the best fuel mileage possible when you travel.

From tires to fluid checks to oil changes, you want to do everything possible to get the maximum value from the money that you spend on gas. Keep your tires at the proper pressure level. If your tires have too little or too much air in them, this will affect the handling of your car, which can cause drag on the engine causing you to use much more fuel than you should. Tire air pressure not only helps with your fuel efficiency, however, it also helps to lengthen the life of your tires. This is a maintenance issue that is very simple to take care of, so you want to be sure that you learn how to use a tire pressure gauge to keep your tires at the pressure level that is recommended by the tire manufacturer.

 

Keep to your oil change maintenance schedule. The manufacturer will have a schedule of how often that you need to change your oil. By sticking to that, you will be able to keep all of the engine parts lubricated to make sure that everything works as efficiently as possible. Old oil that is full of dirt and debris or not enough oil can cause your engine to lock up and cause it to have to work harder to keep your car running efficiently, which can impact the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. If you notice that oil has to be added often, it could mean there is a leak in the system somewhere. Bring the vehicle in, and we can locate the source of the issue. This can save you money, as well as poor wear on your vehicle.

 

If you want to keep your vehicle running as fuel efficiently as possible, you want to keep the tires in as good of condition as possible. Make sure the tires are properly inflated. By having good air pressure, the tires will be able to rotate, as they need to. If you notice a tire going flat more often than normal, it could be a sign of a leak. This should be repaired as soon as possible so your vehicle is safe and reliable on the road. By keeping it running as efficiently as possible, you will be able to get the maximum fuel efficiency when you drive. If you are not sure what the proper air pressure should be for the tires, make sure to bring the vehicle in, and we can inspect the tires and air pressure for you.

Signs there may be Issues with your Brakes

 

One of the most important parts on your vehicle is your brake system. This is because the brakes are the part of the vehicle that allows you to stop safely. It is important to bring your vehicle in for regular inspections.

 

There are several signs you might notice if the brakes are starting to go out in your vehicle. The brakes may start to make odd noises or produce vibrations when the brake pedal is applied. If you notice anything out of the norm, make sure to bring your vehicle in as soon as possible. This way the issue can be looked at and repaired before it gets worse.

 

Noises

 

The brakes may produce a squeal or squeaking noise. This is caused from unwanted movement of the brake components, sometimes causing friction. Make sure to have the brakes properly inspected on a regular basis. We can also check for corrosion, worn parts, or damaged components. If there is grinding noises, there could be an issue with the brake pads and rotors.

 

Brakes

 

Excessive wearing can be caused from lack of maintenance, hard driving, or vehicle characteristics. Overloading the vehicle or making shorter trips can cause wear to the brake system. This can also lead to the brake pads wearing and failing sooner than they should.

 

Pulsations are another issue that can be obvious to you when driving. The brake pads and rotors may also need to be inspected. They should be checked for the thickness and how they are wearing. If the brake pads have been worn down completely, the will start to wear unevenly against the brake rotors.

 

Brake Dust

 

When applying the brakes, small amounts of material gradually scrape from the brake pads. This is known as brake dust. Brake dust will typically deposit on the braking system and the surrounding wheel. The proper friction material choice can affect the dusting. Different brake pad formulations create different amounts of dust. Some formulations such as metallic brake pads can create more dust than others. Ceramic brake pads can contain significantly less metal particles. This results in them producing less abrasion of surrounding metal parts. Brake dust can become more than just a nuisance visually. Brake dust can damage the finish of most wheels if it is not washed off. Removing the brake dust can also eliminate other problems in the long run as well.

 

Response Time

 

The stopping performance of your vehicle is crucial for the safety of you and those around you. If you notice the vehicle is slow to stop when you apply the brakes, it may be a sign they are going out. The response time is important because you need to rely on your brakes to ensure that the safety is the best it can be when you drive. Make sure to contact us if you notice an issue with your vehicle, and we can inspect it for you.

Common Transmission Problems to be Aware of

 

The transmission in your vehicle is the part of the vehicle that directs the power from your engine to the driveshaft, which in turn helps to turn the wheels on your vehicle. Following good preventive maintenance procedures for your transmission will always help your transmission perform better, last longer, and require fewer repairs. However, in the event that your transmission does have problems, knowing what some of the more common types of transmission problems are can help you quickly diagnose and repair them.

 

Low levels of transmission fluid or transmission fluid leaks are by far the most common type of transmission problem. Low levels of transmission fluid are usually caused by leaks in the transmission system itself. The seals in the transmission or driveshaft may become faulty and leak fluid. Occasionally, transmission gasket seals may need to be replaced to seal the leaks in the transmission. On some occasions, transmission fluid may be contaminated from coolant in the radiator. This is called cross-contamination and does occur on occasion. Typically, symptoms of low fluid levels or fluid leaks will include gear slippage or slow shifting.

 

Torque converters and transmission can be the source of several types of problems that can result in transmission damage or failure. One of the most common problems associated with the torque converter is worn or damaged needle bearings. If the needle bearings become warm, you will generally hear strange noises coming from the transmission while in driving gears. When the vehicle is in neutral, the transmission will probably not make any strange sounds, but when in a driving gear will make grinding or brushing sounds.

 

The clutch is located within the torque converter and can occasionally become jammed. When the clutch jams, the solenoid may become locked and the amount of transmission fluid in the torque converter may not be correctly calculated. These type clutch problems in the torque converter also appear very similar to low fluid levels. Clutch problems will also normally cause violent shaking underneath the vehicle and may produce very high heat levels in the transmission. You will normally also notice a very sharp drop in the power output of your engine.

 

The solenoid controls the flow of fluid throughout the transmission. Many times, the solenoid can become damaged because of insufficient fluid levels or other electronic problems with the solenoid. Problems with the solenoid are usually similar to those of inadequate fluid levels or fluid leaks. No matter what issue you notice for the vehicle, always make sure to schedule an appointment as soon as possible, so you can get back to having a safe and reliable vehicle on the road.

Mistakes to Avoid Making while Driving

 

Driving in the winter can become difficult at times. One of the most important things you can do is to make sure that you slow down. This is one of the best things you can do if the roads are in bad condition or the weather is poor. Slowing down can also help to prevent an accident to you or those around you. Also make sure that your vehicle is brought in for regular scheduled maintenances. This can help to ensure the vehicle is in the best condition possible when you drive.

If the vehicle is equipped with four-wheel driving, it can typically perform better in snowy and icy driving conditions. This could end up being a disadvantage to you because it could give you a false sense of safety and security. Four-wheel drive is used to send a specific amount of torque needed to each of the four tires. This helps to allow it to gain traction and move forward through the snowy roads. This does not help to provide you with stopping capability that you would normally have on perfectly conditioned roads.

 

Before traveling out on the road, make sure you are well prepared for the upcoming trip. Make sure to check the weather of the areas you will be traveling. Also make sure to inspect the tires. The tread of the tire should be checked to ensure it is at least one sixteenth of an inch. Also check the air pressure in the tires. The correct amount can be found in the vehicle owner’s manual. By having tires that are in proper condition, they can help to handle well in poor driving conditions.

 

It is important to not drive to closely to the vehicle in front of you. This is because if they need to slam on the brakes quickly, you will not have an adequate amount of time to do so as well. Leaving enough space in front of you can help reaction time or if you need to swerve to avoid an accident. It is recommended that you double or triple your driving distance between vehicles. Also look ahead for any stoplights, stop signs, or curves that might be in the road. This can help to give yourself adequate time to brake or steer around them. It is also recommended to not slam on the brakes. Try to slowly brake as you approach an issue. This can help prevent the brakes locking up and sliding from occurring. If you notice that there is an issue with the brake system of your vehicle, make sure to bring it in as soon as possible.

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