Spring Car Checkup
by Pat Goss
With spring comes potholes, and potholes can do a lot of damage to a car. So one of the things that you want to do, is you want to make sure that you get your car up in the air and you have a look underneath it, to make sure that that last “mother of all potholes” you hit, didn’t do some serious damage that may be concealed. Now the most typical thing that gets damaged by hitting potholes is going to be the alloy wheels. So you want to inspect each wheel very carefully. All the way around, especially on the inside of them, and you’re looking for dents or cracks, from the edge going up into the center OR a crack going along this little ridge that’s in here that reinforces the wheel.
Now what happens with this is, you get a tiny crack, it doesn’t leak air or anything , but later on, you’re out on the highway at high speed, and the wheel just opens up like this. That can lead to serious consequences and loss of control. So check the wheels very carefully.
Also, look at the control arms and other parts of the suspension, especially if you’ve slid and tapped a curb or anything like that, during bad weather. You’re looking for any signs of tiny little bends, or cracks in the painted parts. That usually signifies that something is bent.
Look at the steering; all of the linkage components; look at the drive axels and boots on them; the rubber boots are sometimes damaged by ice and things like that. Also, look at the splash pans underneath. These are actually there to channel air when the car is moving, and sometimes even when it’s in traffic. They’re attached by plastic push pins; here we have a couple examples of them. They’re very simple devices, but they break quite easily sometimes. So you want to make sure that all of this plastic is in place.
Alright, now the next thing is a general looksee at everything underneath the vehicle. See if anything is damaged, if anything is falling apart or anything like that.
And also look for salt residue. And if you have salt residue, well one way to get rid of it is a sprinkler, such as we have here. Use that with a garden hose; it’s going to take all day because you’re going to put it here over in this quadrant first; then you’re going to leave it there for about an hour. Then you’re going to put it over here, then you’re going to move it to the middle of the car, one side and then the other, and finally to the back of the car. Now, about an hour in each position and this will get rid of most of the salt and the nasty stuff that can eat away at the underneath of your car. And if you have a question or comment, drop me a line, right here at MotorWeek.