It is easy to forget about your vehicle’s undercarriage. What you don’t typically see is easy to forget about, which is why the undercarriage is often overlooked when performing regular maintenance. But neglecting the maintenance of the undercarriage can lead to bigger car problems. It is a vital part of keeping your vehicle clean and working.
Why Does the Undercarriage Require Maintenance if No One Can See it?
Just like the vehicle components under the hood or in the car’s interior, the undercarriage carries important parts of the vehicle that need to be taken care of to keep them working properly.
The undercarriage of the vehicle is in close proximity to the road’s surface, which means it takes the brunt of the salt, rain, sleet, and mud you drive through. While not generally visible, the undercarriage comprises many important car parts such as the muffler, the front and back axles, the transmission system, brake lines, and exhaust. These are all placed underneath the vehicle, and it is important to take care of them.
You should check the undercarriage periodically to keep it clean from dirt, rocks, ice, salt, and other debris. Keeping your vehicle’s undercarriage maintained and clean will help prevent physical damage as well as rust and deterioration.
What Problems Will Your Vehicle Have if You Neglect the Undercarriage?
While there are lots of good reasons for keeping the undercarriage clean, the biggest issue is salted roads in colder climates. Salt applied to the roads during snow or ice storms can cause serious problems. Salt buildup will begin to rust and corrode undercarriage components. This can lead to other problems and expensive fixes and replacements.
What are the Benefits of Taking Care of the Undercarriage?
- Keep Parts from Rusting: Debris and salt from the road will chip and corrode at the coating on the undercarriage parts and will expose the metal, allowing it to rust. When you clean and detail the undercarriage, this will help restore damaged parts and get rid of moisture buildup, preventing rust formation.
- Keep the Vehicle from Overheating: If there is dirt and grime all over the undercarriage then this could prevent heat from being dispersed effectively in the engine and transmission. Maintaining a clean undercarriage will help heat-generating parts to continue working at a normal temperature.
- Help You Avoid Costly Repairs: If you let dirt and moisture corrode and damage the undercarriage, then you may be looking at irreversible damage and the cost of replacing the key, expensive parts. If you don’t want to spend a small fortune on important car parts, then take the time to keep the undercarriage clean.
How Often Should You Clean the Undercarriage?
You can clean the undercarriage less often than you regularly clean the rest of the vehicle, but it is essential to keep a regular cleaning schedule. Depending on your driving habits and road conditions, you should either wash the undercarriage once every season or more often if you regularly drive in off-road conditions.
If you are especially concerned about salt buildup, then you may want to clean the undercarriage soon after getting back from a trip driving over salted roads. That way, you’ll avoid the risk of rust.
How Should You Clean the Undercarriage?
Depending on how much time and effort you want to spend on cleaning the undercarriage, you can choose to get it professionally cleaned or you can go down the DIY route. Because the undercarriage has lots of difficult to get spots, cleaning it without more specialized equipment can be more involved than a general wash and wax on the upper exterior. If you choose to go the DIY route, then you will need a pressure washer and a quality degreaser. You may also require a car lift. Together, a pressure washer and degreaser will allow you to clean hard-to-get areas, as well as provide a complete rinse.
General maintenance is key to keeping your vehicle running reliably for as long as possible. While other internal parts and needed fluids often have alerts inside of the vehicle to help remind you that you need to get a part checked or something refilled, the undercarriage is easily neglected because it doesn’t draw any attention to itself. But since it is so close to the road where it accumulates debris, damage, and moisture, it needs to be cleaned regularly so that it doesn’t suffer irreversible damage.
For help or advice on the best way to maintain your car, including the undercarriage, contact a trusted Utah auto repair shop. They can help you keep on track with routine maintenance and keep your car operating safely through the harsh Utah winters.
The undercarriage is often neglected and overlooked because it is out of sight. However, you should give it the same TLC you give to the rest of your vehicle. Otherwise, you will suffer from the consequences of costly repairs and serious issues. Learn about the common undercarriage issues, the benefits of maintaining them, and how to clean it properly.