Keeping it New Part 5: Beyond Engine Oil: Lubricating other parts

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As enthusiasts, we are aware of the importance of lubrication for our vehicles. After all, there are lots of moving parts that will wear out if not lubricated. Wear leads to increased gaps and tolerances, leading to seizing, loose fitting and improper function before failure. But there is a lot more to lubrication than just engine oil.

Of course, engine oil is the most important lubricant in the car, and keeping on top of regular oil changes is common knowledge and practice for most. This short article will deal with lubricating other parts that may not be as evident or well known, in order to preserve a new car feeling for as long as possible.

So let us assume that you have just changed the engine oil and filter in your pride and joy. Before you sit back and express satisfaction over your (or someone else’s) work, lets us go over a few other parts and there need for lubrication, as well as how to do it efficiently and effectively.

Hinges need a small amount of oil to work smoothly and silently. There are many hinges in routine use: doors, hood, trunk (or hatch), rollers, spring stoppers etc. A spray lubricant is best, but even used engine oil, applied sparingly with the tip of a small screwdriver, will be quite effective. Be sure to move the part in question as the lubricant is applied so that it can work itself into the inner surfaces too.

After hinges, check the locks on the doors, trunk and hood latch for smooth operation. Depending on the design, these will benefit from small amounts of either oil or grease to coat the moving parts. Of
course, these will work for a long time without this care, but they will become loose with time and may even fail, leading to hesitant operation and refusing to lock when closing a door, or worst, failing to open at the worst possible time, like the hood not opening when the car won’t start for some reason, usually at night by the roadside in a rainstorm (remember Murphy’s Law?).

All large openings in a car body flex a little while going over bumps and during normal driving stresses. This means that doors, hood and trunk/hatch deals are rubbed by the moving panels, and thus will wear out with time, making the panel fit loosely and even start rattling if the wear is bad enough. Here engine oil is not a good choice. A general purpose lubricant like WD-40 or similar is best, but any light oil that is safe for rubber parts can be used. Don’t use a spray. Rub down the seals with a damp cloth to remove loose dirt first. Then squirt some WD-40 onto a clean piece of lint free cloth and rub down the seals again to lubricate and preserve them. Pay special attention to high wear areas, like sills and similar frequent or high movement areas.

Next consider linkages. This includes throttle and clutch cables, spring loaded connecting arms, brake, clutch and accelerator pedal pivots, their associated springs and linkages on both sides of the firewall as applicable, and even the hand brake cable and pivots under the car. These are specific to models and thus no further specific advice can be given expect that find out this information for your ride and lubricate them regularly.

Occasionally, check the window channels for any buildup of dust or crud and clean them out with, and, if need be, use a dry lubricant like graphite powder to keep the windows moving easily and prevent any undue load on the motor. If this does not help, then consider opening up the door car, and checking and lubricating the internal channels and scissor links.

Lastly, clean off the wiper blade edges by running a folded up piece of newspaper over them while pinched gently. This will keep the wiped area of the windscreen clean and scratch free.

If there are similar parts that are not mentioned, at least this will give the reader an idea of what could benefit from this cleaning and lubrication specific to their own car.

After all this effort, your car may not look appreciably different, but this effort will help all the parts mentioned above will work smoothly and trouble free, thus helping to keep your car new, Pakwheels style.

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1 Comment
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