Winter Driving's Hidden Damage

By: The Auto Guy Email
By: The Auto Guy Email

Sometimes it’s easy to tell when you have damaged your vehicle, but there are a lot of times in the winter when you damage your vehicle without even knowing it.

Remember those big piles of snow that you had to plow through during the blizzards this winter? Chances are pretty good that you did some damage underneath your vehicle.

There are a lot of plastic parts, wires, exhaust and even sensors that can be easily damaged, so have your mechanic check the undercar all out the next time you are in the shop to make sure that things are okay.

The undercar also takes a beating from all of the salt and sand that is thrown out on the streets. You want to get all of that blasted off of the bottom of your vehicle whenever the weather warms up a little bit.

There are a lot of metal parts underneath that can corrode if the salt and sand are left on. Make sure that you get that blasted off at the car wash every so often, even if it’s just going to get dirty all over again.

If you slid into a curb on the ice, it may not have seemed like a big deal at the time, but some suspension parts on vehicles are pretty flimsy these days and they bend very easily. If you kissed a curb this winter, the only way to be sure that no real damage occurred would be for your mechanic to check the alignment.

The tires should be inspected as well because they can be ruined when you bump into a curb or a pothole. If there is a bulge or a cut in the sidewall, or you have a bad shimmy at lower speeds, there is a decent chance that you have a bad tire and it is going to need to be replaced before you have a blowout.

Getting stuck in the snow is always a bad thing, but getting unstuck is not always the end of the bad news and here’s why. When you spin your tires for an extended period of time, you are going to overheat the transmission fluid.

When you overheat the fluid, it is ruined and needs to be replaced. If you don’t service that transmission in the near future, you might get stuck again, this time with a huge repair bill to replace your transmission.

Since there is still snow on the ground, you might be tempted to wait until it all melts before you get things checked out. But if you are having a serious problem with any of the things discussed above, I would recommend getting it checked out soon to avoid breaking down out on the road.

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