Serving All Makes & Models Since 1947

651-228-1316

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

Buying Tires and the Options

buying tiresBuying tires does not need to be difficult. If you have any questions, make sure to come in so we can advise you. There are many differences between summer tires, winter tires and all season tires. The differences are mainly evident in the tread patterns of the tires, and each tire consists of different compounds. Below, this article will discuss which tire performs the best in what conditions so that you can choose between the three.

The summer tires, like the name suggests, performs best when the temperature is warm outside, regardless of the surface condition. On the other hand, winter tires offer maximum performance when the surface is snowy or icy. The all-season tire is instead, the combination of the summer and winter tires as it possesses qualities of both.

Summer Tires

In the summer tires, you can spot a continuous center rib that has good straight line stability. Moreover, you will also find a large contact area on the outside of the tire. The contact area allows the car to grip the road whenever you make a sharp corner turn.   Summer tires tend to have less tread depth, which helps in making the car more responsive and adds to the handling quality of the car.

Winter Tires

Winter tires have a slightly more complicated tread pattern. The design of the winter tread is one that evacuates water and snow from the roads. The grooves of the tires are also very deep grooves and an increased tread depth. This tread depth provides the car with good grip and traction on when the tires come in contact with the snow.

Some tires also have zigzag patterns across the tires that provide incredible grip on icy and snowy conditions. This pattern helps to improve the rigidity of the treads and also allows for increased traction whenever you are making sharp turns.

All-Season Tires

The design of the all season tire is somewhat of a combination between the two tires. Therefore, in the center of the tires you will find the elongated stripe like the summer tires, and for snowy conditions, you will find the tire to have stripes on the outside as well to improve traction.

Compounds

Each of these tires performs best in different temperatures. Summer tires consist of compound that is meant for temperatures that go beyond the 40 degrees Fahrenheit mark. The winter tires on the other hand can perform well below freezing temperatures, and allows for the rubber compounds to remain soft and flexible.

The all-season tire is the compromise option for both of these tires as it still remains somewhat flexible in the freezing temperatures, while still being operable in the higher temperature where winter tires are softer in quality and wear out much quicker. Now that you understand the differences between the tires, you can make the better choice when replacing your tires.

Buying Tires

In the rain and wet surfaces, summer tires perform the best, while winter tires are great for snowy and freezing conditions. Picking out the best tire for your depends on where you live, and the most frequent climate of that location.

Important Inspections that you must Make In your Car

The inner workings of your car are complex, and if you are not an automotive engineer, then you can find yourself helpless in the face of a malfunction. However, some inspections are very basic, even for the average car owner. Adhering to them every other month contributes vastly to your car’s running condition, and fortunately, they are easy to do as well.

Windshield Wiper Fluid

Not many people worry about wiper fluid, and most will ignore inspecting the wiper and the fluid inside. However, windshield wipers are components that rid you an obstruction in road visibility. This can be critical in bad weather conditions and potentially life-saving.

Thus, washer fluid helps clear your windshield from precipitation and road grime, and checking whether the reservoir is filled with washer liquid couldn’t be easier. All you have to do is pop open the hood and look for washer fluid cap and pour it in.

Fluid is not the only thing you need to inspect, but, you should also be very critical of the windshield wipers. If you find any damages, scratches and other signs of wear on the wipers, then replacing it with a new one is the way to go.

Change Engine Oil

The engine oil is one of the most crucial lubricating fluids for your car. You not only have to check whether it is at an optimum level, but you also have to check whether the oil needs replacement. Checking the oil level will require you to park your car at a level surface.

Then, wait a while and let the oil drain back into the pan completely. This will eradicate any possibilities of a false reading. After that, you have to simply pull the dipstick out of the engine, and wipe it off with a cloth so that it is clean.

Then, you have to put the clean dipstick back into the engine column and pull it out to get the reading. If the oil line appears between the low and full mark, this means that the level is perfect. Another thing you need to be aware of is the viscosity of the oil. If the oil is milky and does not have good density, then it may be time that you need to replace it.

Tire Pressure Inspections

Tire inspections are important. They are parts of your vehicle that are responsible for moving the vehicle and giving them good road grip. This is a very easy task, requiring car owners to just remove the stem cap and insert a tire pressure gauge into it.

You then want to check the reading and make sure that it matches with company-recommended PSI level. If the pressure is more than the optimum level, then you have to deflate the tire. Alternatively if the pressure is falls anywhere below, then you have to inflate it to the optimum PSI.

Making sure that your car is nourished with the essential fluids, has good tire PSI levels, and is not leaking from anywhere, allows the car to last you a lifetime.

 

Catalytic Converter Theft & How to Protect your Car

Catalytic converter theft is on the rise and over the year, the number of catalytic converter cases saw an incredible increase. The reason for this increase is various, one of the primary ones entailing to the increase of unemployment rate along with the high market value of these catalytic converters. Below are measures that you can take to protect your vehicle from catalytic converter theft.

Why a Catalytic Converter is stolen

The reason why catalytic converters are such an easy target for thieves is that it does not take a person much effort to steal them. All they need to do is squeeze inside your car, use a mechanical grinder, and cut the catalytic converter from the ends of the exhaust pipe.

This process is very simple, and it can take an experienced thief only a minute to maneuver. Ultimately, to remove your catalytic converter a person requires one or two cutting tools and access underneath your car. Hence, if you want to stop them, you have to create an obstacle for them that keeps them from exploiting one of the elements.

Preventive Installments to prevent Catalytic Converter Thefts

You can find products on the market that covers your converter, blocking the exposure to your catalytic converter. Products include devices that you can install in your car that will wrap around the converter, bolt onto the ends and create a frame for the catalytic converter.

However, finding this tool for your specific car can be difficult. Some companies make them to perfect scale for certain cars and it may not fit your specific vehicle. Another option is a steel cable. Some companies manufacture steel cables for the exact purpose of theft prevention for catalytic converters.

Steel Cables

You can purchase these cables for only about 7 dollars at Home Depot, making it the cheaper and convenient option. Installing steel cables is easy, you will have to simply wrap it around the entire length of the catalytic converter. This may not offer a hundred percent protection, but it can definitely make stealing your catalytic converter a more difficult pursuit. On top of that, the low price makes it a worthwhile installment.

Skid Plate

If you are very serious about theft prevention, then you will benefit from installing a Skid Plate. The installation will be costly, but a proper plate takes away all the access to both ends of the pipe, making it nearly impossible to steal. Another alternative to the steel plate is a metal cage installment. Overall, it involves a technician installing some kind of a shield on your converter to completely cut off access.

Alarm System

If your car does not already have one, then you should consider getting an installation. Alarms can send an instant loud warning whenever the thief tries to invade your car. This will either result in creating panic for the culprit, making them flee from the scene, or, it will alert you or your neighbors so they can intervene on time.

You can find many anti-theft solutions for your converter. However, the one that suits you the best should match your price range and the probability of theft in the specific area you park your car.

Brake Pads and Signs that your Car Needs them

brake pads

 

The brakes on the car are one of the most important components. They must function most optimally when driving the car, otherwise, it can result in dire consequences. In the face of a potential accident, the brakes are your savior, which is why you must be vigilant over any signs that indicate even the slightest malfunction of the brake pads. Below are few common red flags that of your car’s poor braking condition.

Unusual Sounds When You Brake

If you hear a sound at the instance of braking, the chances that your braking pad is wearing out are high. Most of the time, the brakes will produce recurring sounds, which should alarm you that the braking pads need immediate professional attention.

Some brake pads consist of a slot, which acts as a wear indicator. This allows the brake to make a squealing noise to alarm you of any discrepancies in the brake’s conditions. The squealing noise comes from the grinding of the wear indicator against the rotor.

The Brake Pads Begin to Thin

To check whether your brake pads are in good condition, check between the spaces of your wheel spokes. The optimum thickness of the braking pad should be a quarter of an inch. Anything less than that is a red flag in regards to braking pad condition.

Dust Accumulation

If your wheel accumulates a large amount of dust, make sure to check the brake pads. Many times, it is not the thickness, but dust particles that settle on top of the brake pads and obstruct the contact between the pads and the wheels. This makes the brake pads less efficient when it comes to braking. Alternatively, a cleaner wheel is also an indication that you need to replace the brake pads. This is because when brake pads wear out, they lose their surface area, giving less space for the dust to settle.

Your Steering Wheel Vibrates When you hit the Brakes

This can happen because of numerous reasons. It can be an indication that leads to many problems in the car. One of the problems that cause the steering wheel to rotate can involve braking, while other problems have to do with the rotation of the tires. If the vibration happened only at the time when you apply the brakes, there is a high probability that your brake is at fault.

Sponginess in the Brake Pedal

In some occurrences, you will notice that you have to press down on the brakes more than usual to get the car to stop. In other words, the brakes do not provide you with the prompt response that they use to earlier. This is another sign of brake pad wear and can lead to disastrous occurrences. Even a second’s worth delay in the braking distance can be detrimental to your life. Make sure you do not ignore these signs when driving our vehicle and be swift in brake pad inspection. Prioritizing brake pad maintenance above all else can ensure a safe time on the road.

 

Timing Chain Vs Timing Belts – Which One is Best for an Engine

timing chainYour vehicle’s engine will either have a timing belt or a timing chain to keep the engine’s efficacy and mechanics in check. As the name suggests, timing belts or timing chains have a design that fits into the teeth of the camshaft and crankshaft and allows them to rotate with precise and accurate timing. Before timing chains or timing belts, combustion engines had a complex gear system, which connected the movements of the camshaft and crankshaft.

This gear system consisted of many gears that you could attach and rotate in a synchronized fashion. However, the gear system posed a challenge when it came to mass production and assembly. The manufacturing process of the gears was expensive, and they made a disturbingly loud noise inside the car’s engine.

This was when they realized that they have to look towards cheaper alternatives. This led to the innovation of gear chains. After a couple of years, automakers started facing troubles with manufacturing timing chains because they were large metallic components that were also relatively costly, so carmakers had to come up with an even cheaper alternative such as a rubber timing belt.

Differences between Timing Belts and Timing Chains

Timing belts and timing chains both serve a similar purpose, which is to connect the crankshaft with the camshaft so that they can rotate in unison. This is important because for the car to function, the valves have to open and close at the correct timing.

The primary difference between the two belts is their material composition. The timing chain consists of a metallic chain, while the timing belt is mainly rubber. Cars that have either timing chains or timing belts may even differ in terms of performance, however, that depends on the car’s engine assembly.

Why Some Cars have Timing Belts Rather than Timing Chains

Since timing belts are cheaper and quicker to manufacture. Carmakers that produce Automotives in bulk quantity benefit from installing timing belts into the engine instead of timing chains. One example is Toyota.

Most of their cars consist of a non-interference engine, which means that timing belts are favorable. Moreover, carmakers want to make quieter cars that are appealing to the consumer, hence, they settle for timing belts because they are better at absorbing the vibration and neutralizing harmonics of the engine. This gives way to a quieter car.

On the other car, some carmakers opt for timing chains because of their various benefits. One of which includes their incredible lifespan. Unlike timing belts, timing chains can last for the entirety of your car’s life and you may never have to replace them.

 

Both timing belts and timing chains are applicable for a combustion engine. However, depending on the car you have, timing belts can lead to costly circumstances if they deteriorate and snap. Deciding which one is best for your engine will require you to consider multiple factors.

 

Tips for Car Tire Maintenance in the summer!

tipsDespite their strength and durability, tires are vulnerable to the surrounding atmosphere. Extreme heat and extreme cold can both impact air pressures inside the tires. If you want to make sure your tire lasts this summer, the tips below will help tire wear, pressure, and rotation.

Tips to Check the Tire Pressure

The summer heat, depending on how hot the temperature is, can be very disruptive to your car’s tire pressure. Your tire is nothing more than a rubber vessel with air inside. The air inside a vacuum reacts to the external temperature. How does it do that? Well, the air molecules tend to vibrate at a faster rate at hot temperatures.

This vibration causes them to bounce off the inner walls of the tires, which will result in either the tire bursting or the air escaping from the tire. This is why you should know the right types of equipment and tools that help you check the tire pressure. Most people resort to a tire gauge for checking tire pressure.

To rightly check the tire pressure, check the manual of the car to find out the optimal tire pressure of the car. You can also look at the sticker that is on the inside of the front passenger door to find out the exact tire pressure of your car. You can also check the owner’s manual to find out the air pressure of your car.

Using the air gauge is easy, you just have to insert it into the air nozzle and check whether you have to fill or deflate some of the air. Having underinflated tires will result in certain gripping problems for your tires, especially when the road surface is wet.

Similarly, over inflation of tires can also be harmful to your tires. Over inflation of air is likely to cause inflation in the center treads of the tires. The summer heat can cause this tread damage, not only because heat causes over inflation, but over-exposure to UV can cause dry rot to occur in the treads.

Importance of Tire Pressure

Uneven tire pressure due to the summer heat can cause uneven wear on your tires, which will cause you to replace them much more often. Having the right knowledge over the tire pressure and keeping it maintained will cause your tires to last longer and ultimately save you money in the long run.

Tips for Prevention

The onset of summer will bring about plenty of challenges for tire maintenance. Prevention will mainly involve checking the tire pressure, and keeping your car tires away from direct sunlight and heat. Hence, it is crucial that you keep covering your car as much as possible, and park it in a shaded and cool environment.  If you notice constant low pressure, make sure to bring your vehicle in for an inspection.

 

 

What To Do If Your Catalytic Converter Is Stolen?

catalytic converterA catalytic converter can be stolen quickly. You come out of your house and start your car. Instead of the normal and mellow engine sound, you hear different machines growling together. What could it be? Just slide underneath the car and have a look at the space near your exhaust pipe. If there is a large gap there, this means that your catalytic converter is gone.

Since it didn’t go out on its own, this means that your catalytic converter was stolen. You may be scratching your head, wondering why somebody would steal such a thing. These converters are installed into the car’s exhaust system to take harmful pollutants from the engines. It will then convert them into harmless gases before they are released into the atmosphere.

Plus, converters are more valuable than you think. Let’s have a look at what you can do if your catalytic converter is stolen.

What is so Valuable about them?

Catalytic converters have palladium, platinum, and rhodium inside them. These precious metals enable it to convert the harmful gases to harmless ones. Also, these metals are more expensive than gold, and this is why catalytic converters are expensive. This is one major reason why thieves target catalytic converters.

There is a high demand for second-hand catalytic converters in the market, since the new ones are very expensive. So, this demand is met by car thieves who take out thousands of converters and sell them to dealers who move second-hand parts.

Some car models are targeted more than others, such as the Toyota Prius. Since it is a hybrid vehicle, it has relatively low emission levels. The metals inside it aren’t as worn out as other cars. Therefore, thieves have their eyes on the Prius more than other cars. They also target SUVs and trucks because it is much easier to slide under them.

What to do if Your Catalytic Converter gets Stolen?

First and foremost, you should call the police and avoid moving your car from the spot, since the police would want to include the exact location of the car in your report. While the police may not be able to catch the thief or get you your catalytic converter back, they would provide you with a report that you can send to the insurance company for claims.

Once you have called the police, you should also call your insurance company and find out whether your policy covers catalytic converter theft or not. Moreover, to ensure that this doesn’t happen in the future, you can ask your mechanic to install an aftermarket protective casing on top of the new catalytic converter, so that it doesn’t get stolen again.

As you can see, catalytic converter theft is growing day by day, and thinking that you are safe from it won’t help. Therefore, it is always best to cover your car or park it in the garage, so that it becomes difficult for thieves to slide underneath it. Plus, you can also add cameras and security lighting to your driveway for better visibility and surveillance.

Wiper Blades and How to Choose the Right one For Your Car?

wiperWindshield wiper damage can happen in the winter months. Although they are largely unnoticed, windshield wipers play a major role in keeping your windshield clean and ensuring better visibility for you. However, most people forget to replace their windshield wipers on time, and they only realize it when they get stuck in heavy rainfall or snow and need to clean the windshield.

Other than replacing the windshield wiper of your car, it is also important to choose the right ones for their proper function. Let’s have a look at how you can choose the right size and type of windshield wipers.

Choosing the Right Size of Wipers

Windshield wipers come in different sizes and in some cars, both the wipers are of different sizes. If you have no clue of the size of your windshield wiper, then you can look up the owner’s manual of your car, which can be easily found on the website if you don’t have it at home. Other than this, you can also visit any auto parts store and tell them the make and model of your car. They will be able to give you the right size windshield wipers for your vehicle.

Choosing High-Quality Wiper Blades

Another important thing to do is to check the quality of your wipers. You may be tempted to buy inexpensive or generic windshield wipers, since you would have to replace them every few months. However, these may not work as properly as high-quality windshield wipers do, and these wipers are also known to cause a screeching and scratching sound when you turn the wipers on. Therefore, don’t slack off or compromise on the quality of your windshield wipers, and always buy top-quality wipers, preferably replacement parts that are endorsed by the car manufacturer.

Choosing the Type of Wiper Blades

There are different types of wiper blades that you can choose from, and it is important to choose the right one. Let’s have a look at some of them.

Conventional

Conventional wiper blades are attached to a metal frame and make use of springs to push the rubber blades to the glass. They are commonly found in most older models of cars.

Hybrid Wiper Blades

Hybrid blades are a more optimized form of conventional and beam blades, and they have an aerodynamic design that makes them suitable for all weathers. Apart from these blade types, there are also different types of connectors that attach the blade to the metal arm: hook style, side lock, pinch tabs, and many others. Whichever one you choose, it is very easy to replace windshield wipers, and you can do them on your own. Make sure to replace your wipers every two to three months, so that you always have proper visibility in all weather conditions.

 

Why You Should Get Wheel Alignment Checked After Winter

wheel alignmentRemember to have a wheel alignment done. As soon as winter takes an exit, people start looking forward to the warmer climate and light clothing, and they await the time when they can hit the road again. However, winters can be quite harsh on your vehicle, which means that they are in need of a thorough maintenance.

If you have been using your vehicle through the tough winter season, this means that it would be in desperate need for an alignment. A wheel alignment is done to ensure that your wheels are all set at the proper angle, which eventually results in the smooth drive of your car.

Getting your wheel alignment checked after every winter is highly important, and here is why you should get it done as soon as possible.

What Does Wheel Alignment Do?

Simply put, wheel alignment keeps your wheels “aligned”. Alignment isn’t just for the wheels, but also for the entire steering system, which consists of the axles or suspension in your vehicle. It involves setting all four wheels at the proper angle. For instance, when your car is off and the steering wheel is in the straight position, all four wheels should also be straight. If you can see a visible difference in their position, this would mean that they are misaligned.

Driving in the winters causes a major impact on your vehicle’s wheels, causing their angle to deviate by a few degrees.

Benefits of Getting Wheel Alignment Done After Winter

Now that we have an idea of what wheel alignment is, let’s have a look at the benefits of getting it checked in the springtime.

Tire Protection

Your tires are the only part of the vehicle that are in contact with the road, so they have a lot of friction, naturally. This also means that if you drive your car on rough or rocky roads, they would wear out faster. Also, when you drive in difficult conditions, especially during the winters, it takes a toll on your car’s steering system and also throws off the wheel alignment. Therefore, getting it checked after the winter is highly crucial.

Smooth Driving

As mentioned above, wheel alignment is also related to your car’s steering system through the axles and suspension. During winters, the roads are covered with snow or are slippery, so you can’t navigate properly if the road is already rocky or has any bumps or potholes on it. This causes the wheels to get misaligned and as a result, you would have to work harder to move the car and turn it as well. Through wheel alignment, you will be able to ensure that your car drives smoothly, just the way you want it to.

Basically, if you notice your car swerving sideways or feeling heavier when you drive it, there might be a problem with your wheel alignment. All you need to do is to find a reliable alignment workshop and get your alignment checked by an expert professional. Getting your alignment done periodically keeps your car running properly, and ensures that you can enjoy your road trip always.

Things Every Vehicle Owner Needs to Know About Pothole Damage

pothole

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.

Don’t Rush

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.

 

 

Lloyd’s Automotive has served the greater St Paul area
for over 50 years