Serving All Makes & Models Since 1947

651-228-1316
 

982 Grand Ave • St. Paul, MN 55105
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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.

Inspect the Vehicle for Radiator Issues

 

Radiator repairs are one of the malfunctions that you may have to deal with as a driver. Since the nature of the heat and pressure that is contained within the cooling system, these types of problems are what we associate with the stereotypical cloud of steam coming from under a disabled vehicle’s open hood. The radiator is obviously the most well known part of the cooling system, but it is frequently not the culprit when it comes to a malfunction.

 

The thermostat is the most common culprit when a vehicle overheats. The thermostat is not actually part of the radiator itself, but a type of valve that controls how much coolant can flow into and out of the radiator. This helps keep the engine at optimum operating temperature. When the thermostat fails, the vehicle begins to overheat very quickly.

 

Another part to inspect is the radiator hoses. The hoses link the radiator to the engine and allow coolant to flow between the two. Radiator hoses are considered to be a wear component, which means that they should be replaced periodically, whether they are working well or not.

 

The main function of the radiator is to dissipate the excess heat generated by the engine as it burns fuel. It functions as a component of the larger cooling system. As engine coolant moves through the radiator, it goes through a few simple processes. The water pump produces a flow of coolant that runs in a specific direction into and out of the radiator. Once the flow of engine coolant moves past the thermostat, it enters the radiator through the upper hose. When the coolant enters the first tank, it flows into tiny passages that connect the two tanks. These small passages are connected to rows of fine metal fins, which are what give the radiator its distinct ribbed appearance. This process keeps heat from building up in your engine, preventing overheating. Once the engine coolant has moved through the cooling passages, it is collected in another tank on the other side of the radiator that stores the coolant until it is taken into the outlet hose. The radiator’s outlet hose connects the radiator to the water pump and it supplies the low-temperature coolant to the engine as needed. The outlet hose is subjected to suction force from the water pump, so it is usually re-enforced with a spring that keeps it from collapsing and blocking the flow of coolant.

 

If you notice that your vehicle is overheating constantly, make sure to schedule an appointment as soon as you can. This is important because if you vehicle starts to overheat, it could be doing more damage than you might realize. If it is ignored, it may cost you more time, money, and stress in the long run. It can also help to keep your vehicle lasting as long as possible.

Keeping the Windshield Clean

 

Having good visibility is essential for when you drive. Windshield wipers have a squeegee effect to them. Each time the thin rubber blade moves across the windshield, the droplets of water are then pulled away from your field of vision while driving. Some wiper blades may look okay, but they do a poor job of wiping the window when they are used. Other wiper blades are in worse shape and need replacing because they are cracked, split, or torn. No matter what the appearance is, if the wipers are chattering, streaking, or failing to wipe cleanly and consistently, the wiper blades should be replaced as soon as possible.

 

Over time, windshield wiper blades will begin to deteriorate because of environmental factors. Exposure to sunlight and atmospheric pollution can cause the rubber to age and wear down. As the windshield wiper blades age, they lose the flexibility and are less likely to wipe away cleanly. They may also develop a permanent curvature that prevents full contact with the window. The sun can harden the rubber on the wiper. When the wipers are used, they will smudge and chatter because they will not be able to follow the curvature of the window.

 

Heavy use on the wipers can be hard on them. Snow, ice, dust, and road grime will wear away at the edge of the blades that need to be smooth. As the edge begins to deteriorate, water will get under the blade and remain on the window. This results in poor visibility out the window. Any blade that is chattering or doing a poor job of wiping should be replaced. Also, if you notice the blade is cracked, torn, or has any other damage, you should have them replaced as soon as possible. An easy way to test your windshield wipers is to do so on a dry day. Turn on the windshield washer and if the wiper blades are not in good condition, there will be chattering or washer solvent left on the window. If there is any damage to the wiper blades, make sure to have them replaced so you are provided with the best vision possible.

 

Besides inspecting the windshield wipers, it is important to check the wiper fluid as well. Sometimes a nozzle may be plugged with dirt or debris. A hose may also become kinked or has come loose. The hose may also be clogged, kinked, or loose. Another thing to look at is the windshield washer reservoir. Most have a screen to filter out debris that could clog or damage the pump. If the screen has become blocked by debris, it can obstruct the flow of solvent to the washers. Make sure to bring the vehicle in if you notice any issues with it.

 

When New Tires Are Needed

Tires are critical to keeping your vehicle moving down the highway. But they don’t last forever. Periodically you are going to need to get new tires. Observing the wear to the tread of the tire is key in determining if it is time for new ones. As the tread begins to wear, the tires become less safe. You compromise handling in wet or slick conditions and run the risk of a flat when it is anything but convenient. Other things such as obvious slits or bubbles on a tire would warrant an immediate inspection and new tire purchase. Uneven wear on tire tread may also signal the need for new tires, as could excessive vibration at higher speeds.

To get the full benefit from your new tires you will want to practice good maintenance. You will achieve maximum life from your new tires if you rotate them on a routine schedule. Any uneven wear you notice should be an indication to bring the vehicle in as soon as you can. Check the tire pressure frequently to reduce any uneven tread wearing. With proper care, your new tires will run efficiently and save you money in the long run. Making sure the correct air pressure is in the tires will also increase their life. The tread should be checked on a regular basis as well.

 

To determine what the correct tires should be for your vehicle, consider the type of vehicle and the kind of driving you do most. All season tires are designed to perform reasonably well in many different circumstances. Different types of tires maximize certain benefits. Some have better traction or may be designed for longer life. If you are unsure what type of tires to purchase, make sure to contact us. We can advise you for what type is the best for your vehicle.

 

Safety when Driving in the Winter

 

There are a few steps that you can take to help ensure that the vehicle is ready for any poor road conditions that might arise. The most important thing is to have the vehicle in for regular maintenances. This can help to ensure that it is running effectively and efficiently for when you might need it. By bringing your vehicle in for scheduled maintenances, we can inspect those parts and components for any damage or wear they may have. The parts can then get replaced in a timely manor to help provide you with a safe and reliable ride.

 

Before setting out to drive, make sure to give the vehicle ample time to warm up. This can help to get the engine and other components warmed up before they are forced to operate under typical driving conditions. Driving after immediately starting the vehicle in the cold can cause parts to wear down.

 

Also make sure to clear off all the snow and ice from the vehicle. Places like the hood, roof, trunk, windows, lights, and even the license plates should be cleared away of any build-up of snow or ice. This way you do not have to worry about any snow or ice blowing onto the windows of your vehicle and obstructing the view as you drive. It is also a safety precaution for others on the road. Snow and ice may blow off your vehicle, and obstruct the vision of those behind you. It is important to clear away anything from the lights and signals so that others can see you and be aware of where you are.

 

To help be prepared for winter, make sure the fuel tank is always at least half full. This is a good rule to follow any time of the year, but it is especially important in the colder months. Having the fullest tank possible, you can help to ensure your vehicle will be ready to drive if needed. If you find yourself in an emergency situation, it always best the have the fuel tank be at least half full. If you become stuck or stranded on the roadway, having fuel in the tank can help to ensure you stay warm until help arrives.

 

It is important to follow the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance schedule. If you are unsure of how often the vehicle should be brought in for scheduled maintenances, we can help to set up a schedule for you. This way parts can be inspected as recommended. If between visits you notice an issue with the vehicle, make sure to bring it in as soon as possible and bring it to our attention.

 

Why the Alternator is Important

Lloyd's Automotive

The electrical charging system in your vehicle is generally made up of three major components: the battery, voltage regulator, and alternator. The battery and alternator will work together to generate power for the electrical components of a vehicle. Alternators are generally found near the front of the engine. They are driven by the crankshaft, which converts the up and down motion of the pistons into a circular movement. When this movement turns the components of the alternator it produces power through electromagnetism.

Alternators are usually small and lightweight. Most alternators found in passenger cars and small trucks are constructed using an aluminum outer housing since lightweight metal does not magnetize. Aluminum also dissipates the tremendous heat generated by producing the electrical power. If you look closely at an alternator, you will also see vents on the front and back also for relieving heat. A pulley is attached to the rotor shaft on the front of the alternator. When the engine is running, the crankshaft turns the drive belt, which spins the pulley to turn the rotor shaft. The alternator transfers this mechanical energy from the engine into electrical power for the vehicle.

If your alternator is not functioning, the electrical components of your vehicle will quickly drain your battery. Since automobiles cannot properly function without the electrical system, this can be a big issue. Alternators have moving parts, get dirty, and are subject to stress from the drastic temperature changes. All of these causes can make the internal parts gradually wear out. The most common is bearing failure. The needle bearings allow the rotor to spin freely to produce electricity. When these fail, the alternator will not work efficiently and can completely seize up. This failure will normally cause a loud grinding noise. Older vehicles with generators tend to require much more maintenance than newer models, but there’s no standard rule for how long an alternator will last. Generally, alternators are less expensive to replace than many other parts of the vehicle. If you are unsure what the issue could be, make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can inspect it for you.

 

Signs the Battery is Poor

 

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. Cold temperatures can cause the battery to drain excessively when the vehicle is not running. Sometimes incomplete charging can occur. This will then prevent 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 you are unsure if the battery is in good condition, make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can inspect it for you.

 

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 biggest factors of when a battery may start to fail is the temperature that the battery is exposed to. This is especially true if the temperature drops below zero degrees. If the temperature drops below this, it can drain quickly, even after the charge has been built up.

 

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. If you notice any issue with your battery, make sure to schedule an appointment and bring the vehicle in as soon as possible.

Inspecting the Tires this Winter

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When you own a vehicle, you will want to keep it in the best condition possible. Make sure to bring the vehicle in on a regular basis so we can inspect the parts and components for you. This will help the vehicle to be reliable and efficient when you drive. If you notice anything out of the norm with the vehicle make sure to contact as soon as possible. By noticing an issue at the first sign, you can help reduce further damage in the long run.

 

The tires are an important part of your vehicle. They are the only part of the vehicle that will make direct contact with the surface of the road. If there is an issue with a tire, make sure to contact us and we can inspect the tires for you. You will want to check the air pressure regularly. This is because when the colder temperatures arrive, the tire can lose air pressure quicker. You will need to check the air pressure after the vehicle has a chance to cool down after you drive, otherwise you could get a false reading.

 

Also remember to check the tread wear on each tire. The tread is important because it allows the tires to grip the surface of the road when the roads are wet or slick. You can check the amount of tread on the tires by placing a penny upside down in the tread groove. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, then the tread has worn down. Make sure to bring the vehicle in so we can inspect the tire and tread for you.

 

Another thing to do is inspect the overall condition of each tire. If you see cracks, bulges, or other damage, make sure the tire is fixed as soon as possible. By ignoring a visual issue, it can increase the chance for further damage and repair bills. Make sure to bring the vehicle regularly and alert us to anything that is out of the norm for the vehicle.

Winter Care for your Vehicle

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By keeping your vehicle in the best condition possible, you can have it operating efficiently and at top performance levels. By keeping these tips in mind, you can have your vehicle in proper working order for the winter.

The Battery

Your vehicle’s battery is especially hit hard when the mercury plummets. Cold temperatures reduce its cranking power. In fact, at about 0° F, a battery has only about half the cranking power it has at 80° F. If it’s more than five years old and shows signs of weakness, replace the battery with a top-rated model. You can also bring the vehicle in and we can test the battery for the charge and if it is time to have it replaced.

Windshield Wiper Blades

You have to replace wiper blades more often than you might think. Even the best-performing wiper blades start to lose their effectiveness in as little as six months. Streaks or missed expanses of glass are sure signs that the blades are ready for retirement. While it is possible to extend the life by cleaning the rubber edge of the blade periodically with a paper towel and glass cleaner, it is not safe to do that all winter long. Instead, get yourself new blades. We recommend replacing wiper blades as often as twice per year.

Clearing Windows

If you cannot see out the windows, you can be a danger to yourself and other drivers. Do not try to use the wipers and those brand-new wiper blades to remove ice from the windshield. Instead, use an ice scraper on frosty mornings. If you park outside, place the wipers in the raised position when it is going to snow overnight to keep them from freezing to the windshield. With snow, grime, and salt residue being kicked up off the road, it is likely that you will be using your windshield washers a lot, so keep your windshield-washer reservoir filled with a winter-blend washer solution that contains an antifreeze agent. Also make sure the heater is functioning properly and that plenty of warm air is being directed to the windshield when it is in the defrost mode. To help prevent your windshield from fogging up, run the air-conditioning system, with the temperature set at a comfortable level, to dehumidify the air.

If you notice anything out of the norm with your vehicle, make sure to schedule an appointment so we can inspect the vehicle. This will help it to be more reliable and safe this winter.

 

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