Your Corner Wrench: A few areas you might have missed while spring cleaning
|driving.ca 30 Jun 2020 at 11:55|
When you re cleaning your car, don t forget about the wiper cowl, spare tire, and even under the hood.Supplied / iStock.com via Getty Images
Most of us pay a bit more attention to our rides when warmer weather arrives. It’s all part of good maintenance and an easy way to wash away the bad memories of yet another season of Canadian winter driving.
However, those Saturday morning wash routines usually pay a lot of attention to the surfaces we see, and not much else. And like most things we have to deal with, those underlying and unseen issues can come back to bite us hard.
That plastic cover at the bottom of the windshield wipers hides a perfect trough to collect leaves, tree needles, and every other manner of flora that you can think of. It also has substantially sized drains at both sides, which deposit water under the vehicle just behind the front wheels.
When doing any type of car wash, it’s worth shining a light through the grill slots to see if anything collects at the bottom. When moisture gets trapped here, it can create an almost irreparable corrosion problem. In most cases, a little extra water pressure applied through the slots can wash things away, but with stubborn build-ups, you may need to remove or loosen the cover and get your hands dirty.
Troubleshooter: 4 areas you should inspect after a long winter
A lot of vehicles on the road today still have spare tires, and many of them stow them in a waterproof tub under the rear floor. Popping the spare out once a year to check for any moisture build-up, as well as ensuring the jack and other tools aren’t corroded or seized, is a good idea. You’ll also likely to find that missing something you turned the rest of the vehicle upside down looking for.
Engine bays are places that few DIY cleaners want to tackle. There’s plenty of wiring and electronic devices that could be damaged, not to mention any environmental issues caused by rinsing oil residues onto the ground, but it’s worth taking a close look to see if any winter road grit has accumulated on any horizontal surfaces. This can trap moisture, leading to rusted metal.
If using water is risky due to nearby electronics, use a shop vac or blower nozzle on an air compressor unit to get things clean. If you want a professional shine on under-hood components, try a little silicone lubricating compound from an aerosol. It can bring dull plastics and rubbers to life, as well as providing some water-shielding. Just avoid any chance in voltage or resistance signals and don’t spray directly onto any electrical connections with open cavities where wires are connected. Instead, spray the silicone onto a clean ship cloth and wipe.
You can spend some uncomfortable time on your knees or back using a pressure washer or garden hose to dislodge accumulated grit from your vehicle’s undercarriage. Or, you can just head to a touchless automatic car wash and select the underbody blaster to do the work for you.