Niagara Gazette

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January 30, 2014

TOM'S CORNER: Helping your vehicle survive the frozen tundra

Niagara Gazette — Wintertime is hard on vehicles, period. There are common vehicular failures that are winter related, typically they settle into six distinct categories:

• Undercarriage

• Steering/suspension

• Engine cooling system

• Transmission/drivetrain

• Starting/charging systems

• Body/wipers

UNDERCARRIAGE

Twisted and/or broken fuel, EVAP & brake lines — During wintertime ice and snow builds up on the roadways creating obstructions. When the vehicle passes over these steel lines are torn from their positions resulting in a fuel leak, check-engine light or loss of brakes. These lines must be replaced and shielded. When techs replace damaged lines, they typically tie them up close to the vehicle’s underside to shield them from road hazards.

Frozen gas lines — Ice forms inside the gas lines from condensation buildup. To avoid this keep your gas tank at least half full at all times. Also, use gas line antifreeze with isopropyl; it’s compatible with today’s computer controls and fuel injection systems. Use gas line antifreeze at least twice a week during the extremely cold weather.

Ice & Snow packed ABS Exciter Rings — ABS relies upon a signal that is sent from each wheel to the control module. The module analyzes these signals and doles out commands to the wheels that it “sees” locking up to control braking. When ice & show gets packed tightly in the signal generators (exciter rings) the system “thinks” the wheels are locked up, hence every time you hit the brake, ABS activates. The best way to stop this from happening when winter sets in is to have your vehicle washed at a carwash that also cleans the underside of the vehicle weekly. This will slow the ice & snow buildup in the exciters.

Electronic sensors — Electronic sensors get knocked off from ice and snow buildup when the weather gets bad. Oftentimes you will find an ABS, fuel or lighting connector dislodged. Simply have your shop check the vehicle over and reconnect/repair connectors.

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