For many of us, running out of vehicle before we run ou […]
For many of us, running out of vehicle before we run out of car payments is a normal circumstance. And our penchant for road salt and tough Canadian winters doesn’t help much. It’s no wonder that the number one vehicle on our roads should have ‘rust-bucket’ on the rear panel instead of their rather imaginative monikers. But other than an eyesore and a source of embarrassment, what’s the harm with driving around in an auto with a few corrosion scars? Fortunately you don’t need an advanced degree in engineering to determine if it’s time for your ride to head off into the rust-coloured sunset.
Severe corrosion that has cause perforations is far more than just a cosmetic problem. Just about all jurisdictions in our country have vehicle safety regulations that ban vehicles from public roads if they have any body panels with sharp or jagged metal components that could pose a hazard to pedestrians. While it may be uncommon to get pulled over just because your ride has a few small holes in a fender or door, many police services complete road-side safety blitzes every season and more than a few drivers are shocked when they’re ordered to remove their license plates and get their vehicle towed away for excessive corrosion, among other reasons.Keep in mind; body panels do a lot more than simply make a vehicle look good.
Even though fenders and door panels might seem thin, they are engineered and designed to assist in protecting the passenger cabin in the event of a collision. They also prevent exhaust fumes from getting in. If your ride has a rust-hole on an exterior panel, chances are pretty good that other, less obvious parts are in the same shape. For example, if a lower quarter panel behind the rear wheels is perforated, get down and take a good look at the wheel wells and flooring in the same area. Holes in these areas (near the tail pipe) are a perfect entry spot for exhaust gases.Perforation can also let another nasty substance into your ride: water. And while you might be able to live with a little moisture from time to time while driving, the electrical systems in the vehicle may not.
It’s not always easy to get a good look under your vehicle without the use of a hoist, but a cellphone and a selfie stick can get you great and sharp images without getting down and dirty. Any holes in the floor in almost any area represent a real risk of exhaust entry (see above). Take a close look at the sub-frames and frame rails. Sub-frames (or cradles) are the steel units that run side to side at the front and often rear of a vehicle and have suspension arms and sometimes steering components attached to them. Frame rails are reinforcements to the flooring that run lengthwise, usually on the outer edges of the floor pan. Any perforation in these areas brings the real risk of either dislocating a suspension or steering component when hitting a pothole (or other such hazard) or having the passenger cabin’s protection zone fail in an impact.