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Potholes are present in almost every road and street no matter how well maintained they are. Spring and winter seasons, in particular are known for causing potholes. One would think that avoiding these hindrances on the road would be quite straightforward but it really isn’t. Sure, you may be able to drive away from a few of them but you are bound to hit one sometime or the other.
Once your vehicle starts coming in contact with potholes on a regular basis, it will go through a significant amount of wear and tear, leading to long as well as short term damage.
. Your vehicle will go through significant wear and tear if it hits enough paved roads, which could lead to short term and long term damage.
When and How do Potholes Develop
Potholes generally tend to develop once water goes inside the ground and gets frozen. This mostly happens in the winter season, freezing and expanding the water. Whenever this happens, the area beneath the road goes through a lot of wear and tear and it gets worse when vehicles run over the road, resulting in potholes of different sizes.
Avoiding a Pothole
As mentioned earlier, while it is relatively easy to drive around some potholes, you are bound to hit one sometime. This is because there are plenty of these holes present in places you wouldn’t expect. For all you know, the puddle ahead of you could contain a pothole large enough to damage your wheels with just one hit.
So, it would be best to remain completely cautious when driving on high traffic roads, making sure you can prevent your car from taking pothole damage. Follow the tips mentioned below to avoid running into too many potholes.
People often think that driving their cars fast could help them prevent pothole damage. This simply is not true – if anything, your car may endure more wear and tear than you initially imagined. This could result in flat tires, especially if you hit a large pothole. Therefore, it would be best to slow your vehicle down as much as possible, making sure your car remains safe from paved roads.
Don’t Hit the Brakes Too Hard when approaching a pothole
You must be very cautious when hitting your brakes near potholes. This is because hitting them too abruptly could cause your vehicle to slip. So, whether you are driving on a high traffic road or a low traffic one, ensure your speed is on the lower side.
If your vehicle has taken too much damage from potholes, make sure you take it to a professional auto repair service to increase its longevity and overall condition.
Using ATPMS can be helpful for noticing a tire is low on air. Having flat tires can be quite a pain no matter how long or short your trip is. Some people even notice flat tires when they open their garage. Whatever the case, having deflated tires is the last thing anybody wants. Have your vehicle’s tires flattened during a trip or while parked? If yes, you would agree that it can be quite frustrating. While you can change your tires and get your vehicle up and running, there are plenty of other solutions as well.
Taking some precautionary steps and performing regular maintenance are excellent ways to maintain your tire’s air for long periods. Let us talk about some proven ways to prevent PSI leaks, ensuring your tires remain inflated for long periods.
Tire Rotation and ATPMS
Rotating your car’s tires every now and then is an excellent way to improve longevity as it reduces wear patterns caused due to excessive driving. The NHTSA suggests that tire rotation is one of the best tips to make sure a tire lasts long. Some people prefer taking their car to the mechanic while others are capable of doing it all by themselves.
If you want to rotate your tire’s all by yourself, consider checking your car’s manual to ensure you are following the right steps. While performing tire maintenance, ensure to check the tire’s treads and sidewalls for any faults while ensuring each tire has adequate PSI levels.
Don’t Overload Your Vehicle
Most car owners know the PSI levels their vehicles require and you may be one of them too. However, you should still consider re-checking them to make sure you aren’t making mistakes. This will also help find out the exact weight your vehicle can carry. Ensure, that you keep the number in mind whenever trying to load your vehicle up to avoid any damage.
What’s more, every experienced mechanic will tell you that putting too much load on your car can cause a lot of damage to its tires. If you do intend to carry heavy luggage, it would be best to increase the tire’s PSI levels to make sure it can bear the weight. You should also observe the sides of your tires to determine if they can carry heavy loads.
If you don’t think that the tires are capable of bearing too much weight, consider inflating them to maximum pressure. Otherwise, removing some luggage may be the only solution.
Check PSI with an ATPMS
Many car owners tend to slack off when it comes to checking the PSI levels of their tires, and it is one of the reasons why they become deflated so quickly. Fortunately, avoiding this problem is relatively straightforward as all you need to do is check tire pressure with the help of an ATPMS. This monitoring system offers tremendous results and can help you determine the right amount of pressure for your tires.
Driving without a care in the world is the last thing you would want to do during winter. You may have even come across loads of drivers who just speed by you. Make sure you don’t try to emulate them, as it could lead to terrible consequences. The more slippery the road, the harder it is to drive, but it doesn’t mean that you have to give up on driving altogether. Instead, follow the tips mentioned in this piece to remain collected, calm, and most importantly safe.
It is important to look far ahead when the roads are too slippery. While it may seem like an insignificant thing, doing so will help you think in advance, allowing you to avoid potential hazards. When you can anticipate what is about to come up ahead, you can strategize and create mental maps that would help you drive safely no matter where you are.
Slow your car down as often as you can and double the current stopping distance that you would generally use, and you will significantly reduce the risk of crashes.
Be Careful of the Skids
No matter where you are driving, you are eventually bound to hit a slippery spot which may cause your vehicle to slide towards danger. Whether it’s a big skid or a small one, managing them is indeed possible. What’s more, you can even control your car after encountering a dangerous skid. Just make sure that you don’t hit the brakes too hard.
You’d be surprised to learn that merely being gentle with your brakes can prevent car crashes. As simple as it may seem, don’t panic when you encounter a skid. Instead, calm your nerves down and assess your particular situation. You can ease off on the gas if there is a front wheel skid. This will help your vehicle to regain composure and traction.
However, if you encounter a rear wheel skid, it would be best to steer your vehicle in the exact direction its wheels are turning. For instance, if the rear wheels are moving towards the left, slow your accelerator down and steer towards the left. If they are moving towards the right, however, steer your wheels on the right.
Keep the Stopping Distance in Mind when Driving
Merely being aware of your stopping distance can help you avoid accidents. Generally, people tend to maintain a stopping distance of four to five seconds. However, things are massively different during winters as cars tend to slip and slide too much. This is why, maintaining a braking distance of eight to ten seconds would be more ideal.
While following some basic winter driving tips can be a life saver, you should also prime your vehicle for the winter season. You can do this by showing your car to a renowned auto repair service, making sure you are ready for the hurdles of driving on slippery roads.
Even though lead batteries discharge more than other batteries, extreme weather can increase the discharging process. A lead battery can last almost three to four years. That is why winter can be dangerous for your battery’s life. In severely high or low temperatures, your battery experiences an increase in the build up of lead sulfate particles, which evaporates the electrolytes.
On the other hand, the harsh winter weather slows down the battery’s chemical reactions. This reduces productivity and leads to battery failure. The sluggishness of oil and the cold engine requires more energy to start up, but deforestation and heat rapidly discharge the battery.
Causes of Battery Failure
1. Loose Cable Connections or Corrosion
Like any other battery, your car’s battery also includes positive and negative plates. Every car’s battery has these terminals. When the cables start loosening or corrosion develops close to the terminals, it becomes challenging to start your car’s engine. To solve the problem, you need to check the cables and clean the battery.
2. Chilly Temperature
Cold weather slows down everything, even the electrolytes in your car’s battery. This slows down the chemical reaction that powers the engine. When the temperature is around 32 degrees Fahrenheit, your car loses 30 percent of its strength. When the temperature goes down to 0 degrees Fahrenheit, turning on the engine becomes difficult. Nonetheless, you can try numerous techniques to keep your battery from freezing.
You can visit Lloyd’s Automotive in St Paul, MN, for a pre-winter inspection. They have experience in fixing cars with frozen batteries. Early inspection will help them prevent the battery from failing. Furthermore, you can warm your engine by blocking the heater, so the battery does not have to force it to start and drain additional power.
3. Excessive Use
Your car may stop working because of how your drive. Your battery will wipe out if you forget to turn off the headlights overnight. The battery already experiences a lot of stress due to chilly weather. Using excessive and unnecessary accessories, such as radio, heating, and cooling systems, expedites the decaying process. Winters are a hard time for you and your car’s battery, so why don’t you give it some rest by parking it indoors? But before you do so, ensure that your battery is full.
How to Know Your Battery is Becoming Weak
Your battery grows weak if you encounter any of these signs:
- You start to smell rotten egg or sulfur smell from your car
- The engine takes a lot of time to start
- A lot of jump starts
- You can hear cranking and clicking, but the battery fails to start the engine.
- Different accessories stop working
Lloyd’s Automotive in St Paul, MN, will not only help you with pre-winter inspection, but will also help restore your car’s battery. The professional team at Lloyd’s Automotive has extensive experience in solving battery problems. They will also help you with tips and techniques to prevent battery failure due to chilly weather.
You’ve probably seen it. A vehicle stopped on the side of the road with smoke coming out of the hood. That’s an overheated engine, and it’s not a problem anyone wants to deal with. If you take good care of your cooling system, chances are you’ll never have to deal with this problem. Regularly scheduled coolant flushes help keep your cooling system in superior condition. Today, we’ll talk about what a coolant flush is, and why you need to incorporate it as part of your car’s maintenance plan.
How does the cooling system work?
The cooling system works to control the massive amount of heat produced by the engine. It circulates coolant throughout your engine parts to keep them at optimal temperatures. In addition to coolant, the cooling system is also made up of the following:
- Temperature sensor
- Water pump
- Pressure cap and reserve tank
- Intake manifold gaskets
- Head gaskets
- Heater core
- Bypass system
- Radiator cooling fans
- Freeze plugs
Without the cooling system, heat would destroy your entire engine.
What is a coolant flush?
As your engine ages, rust develops, which flakes off and pollutes the coolant fluids. The purpose of a coolant flush is to replace the contaminated coolant with clean fluids. A coolant flush is different from simply topping off the coolant floods. Topping off is done to make sure there’s enough fluid in the system to function properly. However, this doesn’t strip the coolant of its impurities. The only way to remove these particles is by flushing out and replacing your system’s antifreeze.
Why is it important to get a coolant flush?
There are lots of reasons why getting your coolant flushed regularly is a good idea. For one, it refreshes your antifreeze. As antifreeze ages, two things happen. It loses its anti-corrosion properties, making it less effective, and it gets increasingly more acidic. Too much acidity is bad for your engine, and can even damage some of its components over time. Another benefit to a coolant flush is that this is the only way to remove harmful pollutants from the coolant liquid. These particles can obstruct the thin tubes in the heater core and radiator, which leads to overheating.
Coolant flushes also help keep your water pump in peak condition. It lubricates the water pump and helps ensure unwanted particles stay out of it. Both of these things help your water pump last longer.
How often does it need to be done?
The answer to this question is different for everyone, depending on the make and model of your vehicle. To get specifics on this, it’s a good idea to take a look at your owner’s manual. You can also speak to one of our licensed technicians, who can help you determine a maintenance plan that meets your needs. Since some coolants last as long as 5 years and others only last up to 2 years, it’s a good idea to seek professional guidance with this.
We encourage all vehicle owners to get a complete inspection of their cooling systems every other year at a minimum. This examination should include:
- System power flush and coolant refill
- System pressure level check
- Pressure test
- Internal leak check
- Engine fan test
- Thermostat check
- Visual inspection of all cooling system parts
Do you have questions about your cooling system? Give Lloyd’s Automotive a call today at (651) 228-1316.
Everything You Need to Know About Your Vehicle’s Brake Fluid
Anyone who knows cars knows how important brake fluid is to the health and safety of your
vehicle. Far too often, it’s neglected and underappreciated. Today, we’ll take a look at what
brake fluid does and why it’s so important. We’ll also discuss some tips for keeping your brake
fluid in prime condition.
What is Brake Fluid?
Brake fluid is a hydraulic fluid that transports force throughout the braking system. Since it’s
incompressible, it converts force into pressure and moves it out of the master cylinder to the
calipers. With this pressure, the calipers can clamp down onto the rotors. This is what prevents
your wheels from spinning and brings your car to a complete stop. Without brake fluid, the
entire braking system wouldn’t be able to operate.
Since car engines produce a lot of heat, the brake fluid needs to be able to endure extreme
temperatures. The fact that it has a very high boiling point stops it from all vaporizing. If this
happened, the brakes would give out because there would be no fluid to create hydraulic
pressure. Brake fluid can also maintain a stable viscosity, even when exposed to extreme heat or
cold. Since brake fluid has to travel through complex engine parts, consistent viscosity is
Most brake fluid is glycol-ether-based and absorbs water from the surrounding atmosphere. This
means that your brake fluid always contains some amount of water. However, too much water in
your system can be problematic. For one thing, water can corrode metallic engine parts.
Furthermore, too much water can reduce the boiling point of the brake fluid. This could cause
the brake fluid to vaporize, leading to decreased stopping power. To prevent these issues, test the
water content of your brake fluid and replace it periodically.
How often does brake fluid need to be changed?
Over time, brake fluid gets polluted by engine debris, such as rust particles. Depending on the
make and model of your vehicle, we generally recommend a complete flush and replacement of
brake fluids every year or so. It’s important to note that there are several different types of brake
fluid. Each variety comes with recommended changing intervals. If you’re not sure what type of
brake fluid your vehicle needs, don’t worry. Our friendly technicians can help you figure out a
brake fluid plan that’s best for your vehicle.
Signs Brake Fluid should be Changed
The appearance of your brake fluid changes as it ages. New brake fluid is usually clear or
amber-colored. As it’s gradually contaminated by engine debris, its appearance becomes dark
and murky. This is the most apparent sign that you need your brake fluid replaced.
Your vehicle’s fluid levels are always something to be mindful of. From a preventative
maintenance standpoint, it’s especially important to keep an eye on your brake fluid. It’s
perfectly normal to see a small decrease here, but it shouldn’t happen too often. If you’re
experiencing this often, it probably means there’s an underlying issue in your system that
Does your brake fluid need to be replaced or tested? Our licensed professionals at Lloyd’s
Automotive are happy to help. Give us a call today at (651) 228-1316.
The Importance of Transmission Fluid and How to Take Care of It
Getting your oil changed isn’t the only fluid that needs replacing in your vehicle. There’s also the transmission fluid. In this article, we’ll talk about everything you need to know about your transmission fluid, including how to keep it in top condition. Let’s dive in.
What is transmission fluid, and why is it important?
The transmission is the part of your engine that allows you to shift into different gears. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to reverse, drive, or park. Over time, this gear changing takes its toll on the transmission. That’s where the transmission fluid comes in. This lubricant minimizes the friction of metal transmission components and works as a cooling agent. The result is smooth gear changing and decreased damage and wear.
Types of transmission fluid
There are several types of transmission fluid. The formula you need depends on the specifics of your vehicle. When in doubt, it’s always best to refer to your owner’s manual or manufacturer. Transmission fluids are generally classified as either automatic or manual.
Automatic transmission fluid is needed for vehicles with automatic transmissions. Some manual transmission vehicles require it as well. It’s a hydraulic fluid that has a lower viscosity than manual transmission fluid. This pressurized fluid plays an important role in many engine functions, including the following:
- Gear lubrication
- Transmission coolant
- Clutch operation
- Valve body operation
- Torque converter operation
- Brake band friction
Manual transmission fluid is thicker. This makes it trickier to shift in and out of gear, especially in colder weather. Because of this, lots of newer manual transmission vehicles require automatic transmission fluid.
Another difference in transmission fluids is traditional or synthetic. Traditional transmission fluid is made of crude oil. As a result, it can oxidize at high temperatures. Synthetic transmission fluid is specifically designed to stand up to heat. That means it won’t be affected by the extreme heat emitted from the engine.
How to check your transmission fluid
Transmission fluid needs to be changed out at specified intervals. Most manufacturers recommend replacement every 30,000 to 60,000 miles. If you’re not sure about the status of your transmission fluid, a visual inspection can be helpful. First, locate the transmission dipstick. This is typically found beneath the hood in the engine compartment. If you can’t find it, then your transmission might be sealed. Some newer vehicles don’t require transmission maintenance. Refer to your owner’s manual for more information on this matter.
Assuming you can check the transmission fluid, remove the dipstick and clean it off. Then, slowly replace it and take it out again. After removing it, you’ll be able to read your fluid level against the markings on the dipstick. If your fluid level is low, it’s important to figure out why that’s happening. Often, it’s indicative of a leak somewhere in your engine. If you suspect this, then reach out to a service provider to identify the root of the problem.
While the dipstick is out, take note of the fluid color. Heathy transmission fluid has a pinkish-red hue. A brownish-red color indicates it’s due for replacement. A dark brown or black shade points to a serious issue with the transmission. This usually only happens when regular service intervals are skipped or delayed.
Avoid expensive repair or replacement of your transmission by keeping its fluid in good condition. Do you have questions about your transmission fluid? Give Lloyd’s Automotive a call today at (651) 228-1316.
Have you ever stopped to think about how comfortable your car is? Considering that the earliest automobiles were open-air vehicles, we’ve come a long way. Today, we’re taking a look at how automotive comfort has changed over time. Here we can go over how the comfort has changed in the auto industry.
The early 1900s
Open-air vehicles presented many challenges to drivers. They got exposed to all sorts of poor weather. However, in 1910, Cadillac saw a need to address this problem. They came out with the first closed body car, which protected drivers from the weather. Automakers worked to make their interior spaces as comfortable as possible.
Over the next few years, several inventions made notable improvements to auto interiors. In addition, in 1912, Cadillac installed electronic self-starters, lighting, and ignitions in their vehicles. The next development came from Scripps-Booth in 1914, when they started installing power door locks. These additions have made driving more comfortable and enjoyable.
Since early automobiles didn’t have temperature controls like we do today, they were often too hot or too cold. The first interior heating system was introduced by Ford in 1929. In 1940, the Packard Motor Car Company created the first in-car air conditioners and power windows. With these inventions, cars now had heating and cooling. In 1960, Cadillac made an automatic climate control system. This allowed drivers to select an interior temperature for their cars. By 1980, Cadillac released a fully electronic version of this system. This is what is used in the vehicles made today to help you stay comfortable.
Seating in vehicles has gotten more and more comfortable over the years. In 1966, Cadillac came out with the first heated seats. Similarly, in 1998, Saab came with ventilated seats, which cool you down when sitting in them. Therefore, in the early 2000s, Mercedes added a massage addition in their luxury vehicles. Driving now is comfortable as well as safe for you. Each make and model of vehicle is slightly different, so remember to check the features.
Vehicle sound systems have gone through major changes throughout the years. Audio’s introduction occurred in the 1920s, with the first in-car AM radios. These were standard features by the 1930s. In 1950, the first AM/FM radios were introduced. This was followed briefly with in-car record players. These often malfunctioned and were difficult to use.
The next thing came with the Ford Mustang’s 8-track player in the 1960s. These were eventually superseded by cassette players, which were more functional and compact. In the 1980s, car CD players were invented and took off. These stayed popular until the shift toward compact digital storage media in the early 2000s. These days, there is the ability to stream music from our devices to our cars.
Modern technology and human-machine interfaces
Modern cars are designed with smart ways to interact for technology. This technology is called human-machine interface, or HMI for short. HMI lets you integrate your smartphone with your car for easy control. You can customize a wide range of interior features like Advanced lighting and sound systems, Interior temperature and seat comfort, or Internet and cloud connectivity. There is also the option for Wireless communication, Touch interfaces, and GPS.
HMI technology gives drivers easy access to all these things with the tap of a screen. Auto convenience and comfort has certainly come a long way. Do you have questions about your car’s interior features? Our experienced technicians at Lloyd’s Automotive have answers. Give us a call today at (651) 228-1316. We can inspect your vehicle to help ensure safety and reliability when on the road this year.
Can you believe it? Thanksgiving is almost here. With COVID-19 concerns, our travel plans will undoubtedly look a little different this year. With many people opting to drive rather than fly, there’s an anticipated increase in car travel. To make sure your trip goes smoothly, we’ve compiled a list to help get your car ready for a road trip.
1. Inspect the belts and hoses
Your belts should be tight when you push down on them. If they hang slack, or if any teeth come loose, they need maintenance. Inspect the hoses for signs of fraying or cracks, and keep an eye out for fluid leaks. If you come across any of these things, then your car will need repairs before your trip this Thanksgiving.
2. Fluids and filters
Before leaving, make sure all your fluids are topped off. This includes your brake fluid, antifreeze, power steering fluid, windshield washer fluid, and transmission fluid. Additionally, get your oil changed before your trip if you’re due. Air filters in the engine and cabin should be switched out once a year. They affect air quality, fuel economy, and engine performance. If you’re not sure when yours were changed out, it can’t hurt to do so before a long car trip.
3. Listen to the brakes
Whenever your brakes make odd noises, you should probably get them checked. A squealing sound often means you need new brake pads. Brake pads provide the friction that’s needed to slow your vehicle to a stop. Over time, they wear down and need to be replaced. It’s always a good idea to make sure your brakes are in top condition before a road trip.
4. Check the electrical before driving on Thanksgiving
Check your car’s lights to make sure they’re functioning properly. This includes the blinkers, taillights, and headlights. If you’re traveling by motorhome or truck, inspect their electrical functions as well.
5. Inspect your tires
Checking your tires before a road trip is always best practice. Specifically, check the air pressure. If your tires are underinflated, you’ll have poor gas mileage. If they’re overinflated, it’ll negatively impact your ride quality. The wrong air pressure can reduce the lifespan of your car’s tires, so you should check this before leaving. Also, check it every 1,000 miles of travel. To ensure your tires wear evenly, they should be rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. Since this helps increase the lifespan of your tires, it’s not a bad idea to get this done before taking off. Tires will generally last anywhere from 25,000 to 50,000 miles. If you’ve had your tires for this long, it’s important to have a professional evaluate them and let you know if you need to replace anything before your trip.
6. Check the battery
Always check your car’s battery before leaving. It should be free of corrosion and connected properly. If your battery is over 2 years old, you should be getting it checked annually. In general, car batteries will last about 3 to 5 years. With all the unknowns of holiday travel, especially this year, the last thing you want is an unexpected breakdown. Make sure your road trip goes as planned by taking care of your car before you leave. Do you need your vehicle inspected before the holidays? You’re in luck. Our experienced technicians at Lloyd’s Automotive are here to help. Give us a call at (651) 228-1316 to schedule your appointment today.
There’s no question that one of the most essential systems in your car is the brakes. Over time, automakers have experimented with many different types of brake systems. Today we’re discussing the evolution of brakes. By the time we’re done, I think you’ll have a stronger appreciation for how well our brakes work these days. Let’s dig in.
Wooden block brakes
The first automobiles used a wooden block brake system. This was made up of wooden blocks and a lever. When the lever pushed the wooden blocks, they got wedged against the steel-rimmed wheel. This created friction, which made the wheels slow down to a stop. Wooden block brakes had some limitations. For one thing, they only stopped vehicles that were going slower than 20 miles per hour. If the vehicle went any faster, the wooden block brakes wouldn’t work. In addition, they only worked on steel-rimmed vehicles. When manufacturers switched from steel-rimmed wheels to rubber tires in the 1890s, wooden block brakes fell out of use.
Automotive Mechanical drum brakes
Since wooden block brakes became obsolete with rubber tires, automakers needed to find another system to use. In 1899, an engineer named Gottlieb Daimler came up with an idea. He hypothesized that a cable-wrapped drum could stop a moving vehicle if it was attached to the base frame. In 1902, Louis Renault used this concept to build the first mechanical drum brake. This is considered the basis for the braking systems we use today.
Expanding internal shoe brakes
Mechanical drum brakes had a major design flaw. Since they were on the exterior of the car, they got exposed to dirt, water, and fluctuating temperatures. As a result, these brakes needed tons of maintenance. Eventually, an internal system was developed. Since this new system was shielded from the natural elements, it didn’t malfunction and lasted much longer than exterior brakes.
These expanding internal shoe brakes were housed inside a metal drum, which was connected to the wheel. When pistons expanded the brake shoes, they brushed up against the inside of the drum. This created friction, which slowed the moving car to a stop.
In 1918, Malcolm Loughead invented hydraulic brakes. Until this point, braking a car took a lot of physical effort from the driver. Hydraulic brakes made this process a lot easier. This four-wheel system used brake fluid to move hydraulic force from the pedal to the brake shoes. Since these brakes were much easier to use, they became extremely popular by the late 1920s.
Hydraulic brakes needed lots of maintenance because they often developed leaks. Since all four brakes were connected, a single leak could cause all of the brakes to go out. In the 1950s, automakers switched over to disc brakes that had hydraulic functions. Even though disc brakes had been around since the early 1900s, they didn’t really gain traction until this point.
Anti-lock brakes were first used in airplanes back in the 1920s and ‘30s. In the 1950s and ‘60s, automakers began using them as well. Anti-lock brakes prevent wheels from locking up when in use. When a lock is detected by the speed sensors, hydraulic valves reduce the pressure of the brake on one of the wheels. This stops the car from spinning out, and gives drivers more control. By the 1970s, anti-lock brakes became a popular and affordable safety feature.
Does your car need brake repair? Our experienced technicians at Lloyd’s Automotive are here to help. Give us a call at (651) 228-1316 to schedule your appointment today. We look forward to seeing you soon.
Master Cylinder and the History and Mechanics of it for the Automotive industry
The master cylinder is one of those car parts that always gets ignored. People don’t give it the respect it deserves. If you know a little bit about it, you’ll understand why some car lovers refer to it as the heart of your car. Today we’re talking all things master cylinder, so stick around and enjoy the ride.
What is an Automotive master cylinder?
First things first, what is it? The master cylinder is a tube that moves hydraulic force from the brake pedal to your rotors. Your foot hitting the brake produces a force. That force travels through the cylinder to the brake lines. The brake lines transport the force to your calipers, which clamp down on your rotors. This is what stops your wheels from spinning, bringing your car to a stop.
Let’s talk about why we like to think of the automotive master cylinder as the heart of your car. When you think about it, they both serve the same purpose. Their jobs are to pump fluid out and transport it elsewhere. If your master cylinder is the heart, think of the brake fluid as blood. The brake fluid gets pumped out through brake lines. Think of the brake lines as arteries. The similarities in these two systems illustrate just how vital your master cylinder is. Without it, the brake fluid couldn’t get to where it needs to go.
Mechanics to Know
Let’s get into some of the mechanics. When your foot presses down on the brake, it forces the pushrod into the sealed, dual-chamber master cylinder. Inside of the master cylinder, there is a spring and two pistons. Think of the pistons as plungers. They move brake fluid through the cylinder in each chamber. As the pistons move forward, hydraulic pressure builds. This pressure gets transported to the calipers, and causes them to clamp down onto the rotors. When this happens, your wheels stop spinning and your car comes to a stop.
The automotive hydraulic brake system needs to be totally sealed so no air can get in. A reservoir of brake fluid sits on top of the master cylinder to keep the master cylinder airtight. When you take your foot off the brake pedal, two things happen. One is that the spring in the master cylinder pushes the pedal back into place. The other is that brake fluid moves back through the brake lines and into the reservoir.
How did the Automotive master cylinder come to be?
Let’s talk about some auto history. Brake systems weren’t always this advanced. In fact, there were some big problems with them. The first hydraulic system was invented in 1918 by Malcolm Lougheed. Since he only used one cylinder, the brakes on all four wheels were connected. This meant that a single leak could cause all of your brakes to go out. Talk about dangerous. Even so, Lougheed’s invention got popular, and Chrysler eventually picked it up. They made some improvements and re-branded them as Chrysler-Lockheed hydraulic brakes. These were in use from 1924 until 1962.
In 1960, Wagner Electric came up with a solution to make hydraulic braking systems much safer. Instead of having one cylinder, they created the dual-cylinder system that we use today. With two cylinders, there are two brake lines. Each of these brake lines is connected to two of your car’s four wheels. That way, even if there’s a fault or a leak in one of the brake lines, your brakes won’t completely go out. In fact, the government issued a federal mandate in 1967 stating that all vehicles have dual-braking cylinders. It’s estimated that this safety innovation prevents around 40,000 car accidents each year.
Now you know a little bit more about the cylinder and how it came to be. Thinking about how far the cylinder has come probably makes you appreciate it a little more. Have questions about your master cylinder? Lloyd’s Automotive has answers. Give us a call at (651) 228-1316 to schedule your appointment today. Our experienced technicians are here to help.
Never Ignore These 7 Signs of Automotive Brake Problems
You never want to neglect maintenance on your car, especially when it comes to the brakes. If you pay attention, you’ll see that your car is actually pretty good at telling you when something’s wrong. Today we’re discussing 7 of the most common signs your car has brake problems.
1. Brake light illuminated on the dashboard
The most obvious sign of a brake problem is an illuminated brake light on the dashboard. When your car’s diagnostics system detects a problem with your brakes, it’ll trigger the brake light. There are several reasons why this happens. To get a clear picture of what’s going on, it’s best to get your brake system checked out by a professional.
2. Pulling to one side while braking
Veering to one side is another sign of a malfunction with your brakes. This usually affects your vehicle’s front two brakes. It could point to a worn out brake hose, a misaligned rotor, or a caliper issue. As a result, one side of your brake system tries to compensate for the other side. This causes your car to brake unevenly, and you’ll feel a pull in one direction.
3. Soft or spongy brake feel or leaking fluid
When there’s moisture in your brake system, you know you have a problem. This will cause your brakes to have a soft or spongy feeling when you push down on the pedal. Oftentimes, excess moisture in your system is due to a hydraulic fluid leak. Since your brakes rely on hydraulic force, a leak could cause your entire system to malfunction.
4. Burning smell while driving
If you think you smell something burning in your engine, you should always pull over. A burning, chemical odor could indicate overheating of your brakes. If this happens, then your brake fluid has hit a boiling point. This could lead to a complete system malfunction. If you think your brakes are overheating, stop driving and give your car enough time to cool down.
5. Grinding sound from the brake pedal
If you hear a grinding noise while braking, it could point to several different issues. It’s possible that your rotor is brushing against the brake pad wear indicator, which could lead to serious damage. It’s also possible that you have a pebble stuck inside the caliper. This is a relatively minor issue. Rusty brake parts could also cause a grinding noise. No matter the problem, professional diagnostics can easily get to the bottom of things.
6. Squealing noise when braking
Brake pad wear indicators alert you when the brake shoes or calipers wear out. These metallic indicators brush up against the rotor and make a horrendously high-pitched sound. Hearing your brake pad indicators is a clear sign of brake issues.
7. Wobbling or vibration
An uneven rotor could cause you to feel a wobbling or vibrating sensation while driving. Over time, rotors develop variations on their surfaces. Because of these differences in thickness, you’ll experience wobbling when you step on the brakes. A problem with your calipers could also cause a vibrating motion in your car. If the caliper’s piston is encased with rust or other debris, it won’t be able to retract.
Being aware of these common warning signs can help you be proactive when it comes to repairs and maintenance. Regardless of the issue, our experienced technicians at Lloyd’s Automotive are always here to help. Give us a call at (651) 228-1316 to schedule your appointment today. We look forward to seeing you soon.
What Every Car Owner Needs to Know About Replacing the Brakes
Brake replacement isn’t an easy job. In fact, it’s almost always more complicated than it seems. That’s because your brakes are an interconnected system. Discovering one problem can impact the functioning of other parts. Even so, there’s a general process for replacing the brake system that we’ll talk about today. Knowing this can help you decide whether it’s a job you can take on, or if you’d prefer to seek professional care.
Steps to replacing the brake system
Experts follow these general steps when replacing the brakes:
- Loosen the lugs: Once the emergency brake is engaged, loosen the lugs by turning a lug wrench counter-clockwise. Don’t remove the lugs; just loosen them up.
- Raise the vehicle: Put the jack beneath the frame rail of your car. Make sure your car can rest on the jack stands, and ensure that the car’s weight can’t shift. Once you know it’s stable, remove the wheels.
- Slide out the caliper: Disconnect the bolts and remove the caliper. If it’s stuck, use a flat head screwdriver to help dislodge it. Once it’s out, set the caliper on the suspension so there’s no strain on your brake lines.
- Remove the caliper carrier: Take off the bolts and remove the caliper carrier.
- Remove the rotor: Look for a rotating screw on your rotor. If you see one, it needs to be removed before taking out the rotor. Removing the rotor itself can sometimes prove to be a challenge. This is especially true if it’s rusty or old.
- Install new rotor: Before installing, remove surface rust from the hub with a wire brush. Then, use a degreaser to wipe down your new rotor. This will remove excess oily residue. Once you’ve done this, you’re ready to install your new rotor.
- Assemble caliper carrier: Fasten the caliper carrier with new bolts.
- Compress the caliper: Check that the cap is removed from the reservoir so you don’t blow a line, and then compress the caliper. Use an old brake pad and a c-clamp to push the caliper’s piston down so it’s lined up with the housing of the caliper.
- Install caliper and brake pads: Place the brake pads in the caliper carrier and attach the bolts. After ensuring the caliper can move without binding, tighten the bolts.
- Reattach the wheels: Fasten the lugs. Once your car is back on the ground, tighten them with a torque wrench.
- Repeat, pump, and break in: Complete these steps for all your wheels. Then, pump your brake pedal to get pressure back into your system. This should take around 3 pumps of the pedal. Once you have pressure, take your car for a ride to break in your new brakes. Go through a few rounds of speeding up and gradually slowing back down. Your automotive will probably make some odd noises at first, but this is normal. These noises will eventually subside as your system breaks in.
Should I replace my own brakes?
Unless you have lots of experience in troubleshooting brake issues, replacing your own brakes isn’t recommended. Since it’s usually more involved than anticipated, it’s a job that’s best left to the professionals. Vehicle safety isn’t something you want to be unsure about. Trusting an expert gives you peace of mind that your system is installed properly and with care.
Do you have questions about brake replacement? Lloyd’s Automotive has answers. Give us a call at (651) 228-1316 to schedule your appointment today. We look forward to seeing you soon.
History of the "Check Engine" or "Service Engine Soon" Light
How often have you stopped to think about your car’s check engine light? Probably not a ton. You might be surprised to hear that its history dates all the way back to the 1930s. Interested? Stick around to learn all about the evolution of this handy invention.
How do check engine lights work these days?
Let’s go over a few basics before we get into the details. A check engine light is sometimes called a malfunction indicator lamp, or MIL. It’s the red or orange light on your dashboard that appears when there’s an engine malfunction. It’s operated by your car’s computer, or diagnostic system. When the diagnostic system detects an engine fault, the check engine light is triggered. A fault code is simultaneously saved. This code, called a DTC (diagnostic trouble code), is what our technicians at Lloyd’s Automotive use when performing vehicle diagnostics.
Where did the idea of the light come from?
The earliest form of the check engine light came from the Hudson Motor Car Company of Detroit, Michigan. In the 1930s, they began installing idiot lights (real name) into their vehicles. Idiot lights were warning lights that served as tell-tales for serious engine malfunction. These lights were binary, so they only switched on when there was a big problem with the car. That means they didn’t give much advance warning before your car broke down. Idiot lights weren’t very helpful, but they remained a popular feature until the 1980s. At that point, they were phased out to avoid confusion with a new technology.
Manufacturer-specific check engine lights
In the early 1980s, automakers began selling vehicles with computerized engine controls. These cars had internal computers with entire diagnostics systems. This system was much more comprehensive than an idiot light because it could alert you of a wide range of issues. However, these manufacturer-specific systems weren’t flawless. The main issue was the lack of regulation. Each automaker used their own system, making the auto technician’s job quite difficult.
History of the Check Engine Light
In 1996, the U.S. government mandated the use of an on-board vehicle diagnostics system, called OBD2. OBD2 triggers a vehicle’s check engine light anytime fuel emissions exceed the federal limit by 1.5 times. Since all new cars had the same technology, it resulted in the standardization of DTCs. This allows auto technicians to read DTCs with a scan tool, which saves time when pinpointing an issue.
Thankfully, technology has come quite a long way since the 1930s. Scan tools let auto technicians assess any vehicle, regardless of the make or model. Since check engine lights get triggered for a number of reasons, they often alert you to non-urgent issues. This leads to preventative maintenance, which saves you both time and money in the long run.
There you have it. A brief history of the check engine light and how it’s changed over time. The next time you notice the check engine light in your vehicle, think about how far it’s come. Consider it your car’s way of talking to you, and give us a call.
8 Reasons Your Car’s Check Engine Light is On and What You Need to Do About It
Nothing ruins a great drive by looking down at your dashboard and seeing your check engine light. While it may be tempting to ignore, doing so will only cause you a bigger headache. The check engine light can indicate a problem with any number of things, and at Lloyd’s Automotive, we’re experts at figuring out exactly what’s going on. Let’s discuss 8 of the most common reasons you’re seeing the check engine light in your car.
1. Catalytic converter
Your engine’s catalytic converter transforms carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. Although it doesn’t need routine maintenance, it can get clogged. This prevents it from functioning properly, which will activate the check engine light. If that’s the case, chances are there’s another problem in your engine that’s causing it to clog.
If your light is triggered by your vehicle’s battery, it means that it’s not charging correctly. These days, batteries are maintenance-free and they last around 5 to 7 years. If it’s malfunctioning, your car’s computer will pick up the low voltage and alert you that it may be time for a replacement.
3. Loose or missing fuel cap
The fuel cap keeps debris from entering the gas tank, and also seals it off so no fumes can leak out. Your check engine light will turn on if the fuel cap is cracked, missing, or loose. This is a really simple and inexpensive fix, as long as you don’t put it off. Without it, your vehicle’s emissions will increase and you’ll have poor fuel economy.
4. MAF failure
The MAF (mass air flow) sensor tells how much air is in the engine. This tells your car computer how much fuel is needed for it to run properly. If there’s a problem with it, your check engine light will turn on. If left unrepaired, a faulty MAF sensor could damage your spark plugs, catalytic converter, or oxygen sensor.
5. Spark plugs and spark plug wires
Spark plugs and wires light up the fuel and air in your engine’s combustion chamber. If these are faulty, it can cause your engine to stop running. As long as they’re replaced right away,
you’ll have a minor repair on your hands. If you put it off, you may wind up with a damaged catalytic converter or oxygen sensor.
6. Vacuum leak
There are lots of vacuum lines in car engines. These are made of rubber, so they develop cracks and stretch out over time. When this happens, your check engine light will activate. Vacuum lines are cheap and easy to replace, but finding the source of the leak can be time-consuming.
7. Oxygen sensor
The oxygen sensor detects the amounts of gases in the engine to ensure there’s enough oxygen. Your check engine light may be on because of a faulty sensor. Delaying this pair could ruin your catalytic converter or spark plugs, costing you thousands of dollars in damages.
8. EGR valve
Your check engine light can sometimes be triggered by the EGR (exhaust gas recirculation) valve. Although this part doesn’t need regular maintenance, it can get clogged by carbon build-up. The EGR valve is controlled by your car’s computer. It gets opened or closed to control vehicle emissions by sending a portion of the exhaust gases back to the intake manifold. A clogged valve won’t do its job and will need maintenance.
As you can see, the CEL can be turned on by any number of issues. One problem could be connected to another faulty engine component. The only way to get to the bottom of it is to get your vehicle inspected. That’s where we come in.
Give us a call at (651) 228-1316 to schedule your appointment today.
Steps to Take When Your Check Engine Light Turns On
No one wants to deal with a check engine light problem. The truth is, that warning light can alert you to a number of engine problems, from simple to complex. No matter what, don’t just ignore it. Read on to find out what you should do when you see the check engine light in your car.
Should I pull over?
This is the first thing most people think about when they see their check engine light. Here are the facts. Your check engine light will either show up as a blinking or solid light. If it’s solid, it’s indicating a non-emergency problem. You should be safe to continue driving, but you need to get your vehicle serviced as soon as possible. If the check engine light is blinking, it’s telling you there’s a major problem, possibly an engine misfire. If this is the case, pull over as soon as you can.
No matter how your check engine light looks, you should always pay attention to your vehicle’s performance. Do you notice anything strange? Some obvious signs of engine trouble are smoke, odd noises, or loss of power. If any of these things are happening, stop driving right away. If you continue driving with a major vehicle malfunction, you could cause irreversible damage to expensive parts. Get your car towed to the nearest service provider.
Can I fix the check engine light problem myself?
If you don’t have a major vehicle issue, there are a few easy fixes that may turn your check engine light off and send you on your way. The first spot to look at is your gas tank. Something as minor as a loose fuel cap can activate your check engine light. Make sure it’s tightly screwed on. You’ll also want to check for any cracks or damage, since this can trigger the check engine light as well.
Another place to examine is your oil dipstick. If it’s not seated properly, your check engine light can turn on. In addition, a loose oil filler cap can also trigger your check engine light. Make sure the filler cap, located above the engine valve cover, is fastened correctly.
Another troubleshooting option is an OBD2 scanner. This handy tool detects the DTC (diagnostic trouble code) associated with the check engine light. To get the DTC, connect the OBD2 scan tool to the data link connector in your car. It’s typically located underneath the driver’s side dashboard.
OBD2 scanners can cost up to $100. They give you a pretty good idea of how serious your engine problems are, but they don’t tell the full story. Knowing the severity of your issues can help you decide how you want to move forward with repairs.
The check engine light is no reason to panic. When you see it, try to stay calm. Pay attention to what’s going on with your car, and make a plan. Remember, if you think you have a major vehicle malfunction, the safest thing to do is pull over as soon as you can.
When your car needs care, Lloyd’s Automotive is here to help. We diagnose and repair engine issues fast, getting you back on the road in no time. Give us a call at (651) 228-1316 to schedule your appointment today. We look forward to serving you.
A coolant flush is essential for regular maintenance of your car that can help you keep your engine smooth and running for longer years. A coolant flush or a cooling system service eliminates debris or sediments.
The temperature plays a huge role in the engine’s performance. Drivers face a hard time turning their vehicles on during extreme summers and winters. Make sure to get the radiator checked by a mechanic to avoid any issues related to debris or rust or chocking.
Coolant Flushes and how they are done
Sometimes you go to the mechanic for some other reason, and he ends up recommending a coolant flush repair. Most people end up saying no since they are not very well informed on this solution. They then decide to ignore the issue. The coolant flush is a quick fix to turn your radiator to operate smoothly.
WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO FIX IT?
The best time to get your engine cleaned is after five to six years. The change after such services is effortless to spot. Once you get coolant running in the radiator, the engine and overall performance are almost as good as new.
Depending on your car and the coolant, the average time between flushes is three years. Get your coolant fixed as soon as you face trouble in your car’s engine while driving. A simple act here can prevent you from so many damages.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
Not only does the coolant flush clean all the dust, but it also makes your vehicle smooth and saves from other costly issues. This small and affordable service can save you from spending a fortune and keep your vehicle’s engine protected for a more extended period.
Now that you know the importance of getting the coolant flushes to hire a professional to check your engine for you! Lloyd’s Automotive provides you with both experience and expertise to help you keep your item clean. And you can acquire these services right here in Inver St Paul, MN. Don’t hold your vehicle waiting and keep the air inside your car clean!