Okay, like other important maintenance projects that I've put off, I finally went out and got an undercoating put on the Mighty Fit, in the hopes of preventing it from turning out like this. Undercoating is something you would never dream of doing if you lived in California. In fact, you've probably never even heard of it, I know I never had. But when you live in New England, the frame and chassis of your car take a beating from the brutal winters. Our last car, the Mazda, was running fine when part of the frame rusted out and the back wheel essentially broke off. I was driving around town, thankfully going slowly, when the back wheel disconnected from the frame. It was a bit of a bummer.
It did, however, highlight the fact that cars are vulnerable to the elements, especially corrosion and rust from all the salt on the roads. Granted, up here they don't salt as heavily as they do in the bigger cities, and I think the Mazda suffered from our time in Providence. Also, we didn't care for it as well as we could have, which meant regular and frequent car washes with particular attention paid to the undercarriage. This is key.
Since we've owned the Fit we've washed it regularly and I think (hope) that it is in decent condition. Undercarriage washes are a regular part of any car wash, so it gets done fairly frequently. Even still, I've been told by several people in the know, including the Amazing PR Man, that an undercoating is a good idea up here. For those of you who don't know what it is, an undercoating is basically spraying a protective film over the metal on the bottom of your car. In the past they've used petroleum products, which is essentially oil, but are now moving more toward wax/paraffin based undercoats. That's what I got.
Since it's wax based, I've been told that they don't apply it in the summer, and usually wait until fall. That way you get the protection before the winter comes. Winter is too late, and in the spring it's not as critical because you don't have road salt. So I guess fall is pretty much the only time they do it. Hey, I'm new at this, too.
Next came deciding where to go, which is never a simple thing when neurotic dad is involved. As with everything in life, there are too many choices, coupled with the fact that every business that has anything to do with automotive repair is jumping on this procedure. It's becoming fairly regular when you live up here, and more and more people in the know are recommending it. From first hand experience I can see why.
I ended up asking our local Honda dealer, and they pointed me to two places, one of which I ended up choosing - Kidder. It's funny because I've driven past them countless times and didn't really give them much thought, until now. I washed the car the day before and then took it over to the shop, where it took about 30 minutes. It's been something I've been meaning to do, and now that I've started it, I feel much better. It was explained to me that you should do it for a couple of years and then go every other, so that's something to keep in mind. Also, don't do any hot undercarriage washes, which is kind of a drag because what else is there?
Too much to think about, for now I can rest a little easier when that first snow comes. Then again, that just means I'll have to start shoveling, right?
Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Stephan Ridgway for the pic.