How do I fix damage from snow on my car?
December 27, 2004 8:50 AM   Subscribe

Broke the car, now what?
Due to rather large amounts of snow and ice being piled up around my son's car, which was parked on the street, the act of getting it out has caused some damage.

I was hoping someone out there might have first hand information (favorite race to watch, best viewing locations, past experiences, nice places to grab a bite while waiting for people to pedal by, etc). Google seems to offer me nothing but tours (cycling or otherwise), which I'm not interested in. I will most likely have a rental car so I can get to places other than urban centers.
posted by kamylyon to Travel & Transportation (16 answers total)
If there's ice built up on the wheels it throws the balance out of whack and can cause vitrations like this. Check the insides of the wheels as well. Simple solution is to park it in a warm place for a while and let it melt.
posted by SteveInMaine at 8:58 AM on December 27, 2004

Well, it's simple enough to determine if it _is_ the alignment (which it really, really sounds like to me).

$20 at any tire place should get you a wheel rotation and a realignment.
posted by Laen at 9:01 AM on December 27, 2004

I echo SteveInMaine. Vibration problems that occur independent of braking are almost always related to wheel balance.
posted by Kwantsar at 9:06 AM on December 27, 2004

and $20 gets you a front toe adjustment, not a real alignment.
posted by Kwantsar at 9:07 AM on December 27, 2004

Response by poster: We'll be looking into that as well as the steering linkage [another possible cause]

thanks for the input :c)
posted by kamylyon at 9:10 AM on December 27, 2004

I've had the same thing happen to me and it turned out to be snow & ice in the wheels. When that stuff was cleared out, vibration went away. So either (1) Park the car in warm place for several hours, or (2) Remove each wheel and clear the ice and snow off. Only after doing that would I take it to a mechanic. And, yeah, an alignment is usually closer to $60, wheel balance is about $7 per wheel (unless these are covered under an extended warranty for the tires).
Best guess is wheel imbalance due to ice, though.
posted by Doohickie at 9:22 AM on December 27, 2004

When I went it was about $80 for realignment, rebalancing, rotation, etc. but it was good for 1 year. I figure if I take it in before the year is up, that's really a $40 jobby. Look for a deal like this.
posted by geoff. at 9:50 AM on December 27, 2004

Check, too, that the CV boots weren't shredded.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:48 AM on December 27, 2004

Response by poster: No snow or ice, he says the cv boots are fine.

He's decided it's the power steering and is going to work on that as soon as he can, probably taking it down to manual steering by putting on a shorter belt and bypassing the 'power' part of it.
posted by kamylyon at 11:09 AM on December 27, 2004

Maybe I'm being dense, but I can't think of how power steering could possibly contribute to this problem. I hope he's right, though, as it also occurred to me that he could have cooked his differential as he was rocking and gunning to escape. What kind of transmission does the car have?
posted by Kwantsar at 11:30 AM on December 27, 2004

The power steering isn't the problem because it's speed dependent, it sounds like he bent one of the control arms. I had the same exact problem after hitting a curb with the front wheel in icy conditions. To the dealership with thee.
posted by SpecialK at 12:26 PM on December 27, 2004

Response by poster: It's front wheel drive, 5 speed - no diff.

It's a 93, the dealership would charge more than the car is worth...

To the junkyard!
posted by kamylyon at 5:48 AM on December 28, 2004

Well, I'm pretty sure it still has a differential. If you're going to the junkyard, what are you buying?
posted by Kwantsar at 8:44 AM on December 28, 2004

No, kwantsar, it doesn't have to have a differential. In fact, many cars esp. in the early nineties didn't, and there's quite a few that don't today.

kamylyon, has he taken it over to the local Ye Olde Tire Shop to get the alignment checked on it yet? I know he says that it couldn't be an alignment problem, but I'd *swear* it's a control arm. The reason I said 'to the dealership' is because they'd take one look at it and go 'control arm'. A new control arm would be cheaper than a new car.
With a differential or something else, like a frame tweak, you wouldn't see the 'smooth until x speed' thing. It'd be, uh, unsafe at any speed.

Dontcha love winter?
posted by SpecialK at 12:06 PM on December 28, 2004

In fact, many cars esp. in the early nineties didn't, and there's quite a few that don't today.

Passenger cars? Really? I'm surprised. Would you mind naming a few?
posted by Kwantsar at 12:26 PM on December 28, 2004

SpecialK you may be confused by transaxle packages which contain both transmission and differential. Any car driving more than one wheel needs a differential (exception: powertrains dedicated to loose conditions which allow the tires to normalize different travel distances).

I can't think of any us/Canada street legal vehicle sold post war that drives more than one wheel and doesn't have a diff.
posted by Mitheral at 4:01 AM on December 30, 2004

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