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Borgman How To: Pre-Spring Vehicle Checkup

February 7th, 2019


With the West Michigan winter weather’s ups and downs this season, we’re going to be seeing more and more potholes spring up around Grand Rapids. While drivers can learn to spot them and move around them, sometimes it just isn’t safe to do, or they’re hidden beneath puddles. Striking one of these isn’t subtle, and hitting enough of them will do damage to your wheels and suspension. Between this and the salt spread on the roads, winter can take its toll on your vehicle.

Hopefully spring is right around the corner, and the Borgman Service Center can help you get your vehicle ready for the warmer weather. Our highly-trained staff will inspect your vehicle for suspension damage, check your fluid levels, replace your ice-damaged wiper blades, align your wheels, and inspect your vehicle top to bottom for other winter-related concerns. In this Borgman How To, we’ll cover some easy things you can do yourself to scrub the salt from your vehicle inside and out, and explain how to tell if you need to bring it in for more than a checkup.

Hit a Pot Hole? Here’s What To Watch For:

Potholes are formed when water seeps down between the cracks in the pavement and washes away the soil beneath. When the water re-freezes, it expands and breaks up the pavements making pits. Since there has been a lot of this going on this season, you’re bound to see a few of them while out driving in West Michigan. While making sure your tires are properly inflated and your suspension is aligned can help protect your vehicle if you hit one, it’s still best to avoid them if at all possible.

There are a few components they get the worst of it when you hit a big one or at high speeds, and those are your tires, wheels, and suspension. The sharp edges of a pothole can strike the tire at angles they’re not designed for, causing sidewall breaches or separating the treads. Rims can become dented and let air out if the tires aren’t fully inflated, and suspension components can become bent or misaligned.

Spotting the first two issues is pretty straight-forward: if the tire doesn’t go flat you’ll be able to see a dent in the rim by crouching down to look. Be sure to check both sides very carefully, and sometimes it helps to move the vehicle a little bit to rotate the wheel. When in doubt, Contact the Borgman Service Center as soon as possible for an expert inspection.

Catching suspension damage is a little more nuanced, as sometimes it manifests itself gradually. Symptoms of damaged or misaligned suspension include uneven tire wear, squeaking or clunking while turning, a rougher ride, or just “something feeling off” about the steering. These issues can lead to even bigger, costlier issues if left ignored, so if you suspect something isn’t right Schedule an Appointment right away.

How To Remove Salt and Winter Buildup From Your Vehicle Body

Salt, and compounds like it are torturous to vehicles, but they’re necessary to keep motorways free of ice in the winter time. Unfortunately the treated water works its way into the underside of your vehicle and promotes rust. Frequent car washes guard against this, but what they can’t do is remove contaminants from the paint job itself. Little bits of dirt and gunk work their way into tiny scratches in the clear coat and will eat away at it until they’re removed. Once the weather warms up, this is something you can do yourself.

After washing the car, use a detailing clay kit on every inch of the body work to pull this stuff out before buffing and shining. Spray an area with clay lubricant and rub the clay back and forth across this spot to pull the contaminants out. Once you stop feeling resistance, that spot is clean. Rework the clay and move on to the next spot. Follow the directions on the box carefully, as you’ll also need to seal the paint when you’re done with a good waxing.

How To Lift Salt Stains From The Interior Carpeting

Unfortunately those of us with black carpeting in our vehicles notice it first, but the salt water we track in with our shoes will dry, leaving unsightly salt stains behind. These aren’t easy to remove, but it’s not impossible to do yourself. All you need is some white vinegar, a scrub brush, a spray bottle, and some water. Remove the carpet floor mats from the vehicle first, as there may very well be stains below them too. Spray the affected areas with the vinegar/water mixture and gently brush the stain. Blot the area with a dry towel to pull the salty water out, repeating as necessary. Remember not to scrub too hard as you’ll damage your carpet.

Vinegar works really well here but if you’re put-off by the smell, there are a number of different carpet cleaners in the automotive section of the supermarket. Follow the directions on the can, but they usually involve spraying foam onto the area, loosening the stain with a brush, and vacuuming up the residue when it dries. It often takes about 2-3 times to get it out, but your mileage may vary. If you’d like to permanently skip the floor mat step of this yearly ritual, visit Borgman and ask about all-weather floor mats for your vehicle.

Wipers, Fluids, and Other Components That Need To Be Inspected

Windshield wipers are usually the first thing you’ll notice need replacing in early spring. They’ll streak, squeak, and if the winter ice has really done them in, they’ll split and crack. Don’t wait for more rain or sleet to let you know it’s time for new ones, and visit the Borgman Service Center for a fresh set. Having us replace them ensures you’re getting the exact size your vehicle needs, and they’ll be replaced with high-quality Motorcraft wipers.

While you’re here, it wouldn’t be a bad idea to have our technicians check all of your fluid levels, change your oil if it’s getting to be about that time, and inspect all of your belts and hoses for cracks or signs of wear. After our inspection is complete, we’ll give you a full run-down of the condition of your vehicle, including the tires, brakes, battery health, possible leaks, and more. Check out our latest Service Coupons, Schedule Your Appointment Online, and come see why We’re the Best in the West!


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