Monday, May 2, 2016

Vehicle Safety Report

Only nine students showed up with their vehicles due to a change of venue from the usual spot in front of the activities building. This was disappointing. Usually we get around thirty to forty vehicles total on Vehicle Safety Day.

Although on dry days we will continue to held Vehicle Safety Day at the Activities Building, our vehicle safety team will be exploring ways to get better custom during rainy days at the Unity House garage, since clearly at least twenty vehicles that should otherwise have been checked were not. Hopefully no-one gets hurt as a result.

If you planned to get your vehicle checked and were not able to because of the change of venue, email and ask for an appointment.

Most safety checks were routine. The following specific problems were noted and are reported here so other vehicle owners can learn from them:
  1. One vehicle had an oil leak and was probably also burning oil. The vehicle was two quarts low. The leak could not be seen with the equipment we had available, but a small spot of oil was left on the driveway once the vehicle departed, and the low oil level indicated a leak, although with over 100,000 miles on the clock (and an older Chrysler product to boot), the car may easily be leaking and burning oil at the same time. The owner had also been told by a "professional" mechanic, erroneously as it turned out, that she had a coolant leak. We were able to rule out a coolant leak because the radiator was brim full. The level in the coolant overflow reservoir was slightly low, but just because the level in the coolant overflow reservoir is low, doesn't mean you have a coolant leak. The overflow reservoir is to allow for expansion and contraction of the coolant in the system due to hot or cold weather, variation in air pressure, or hotter and colder engine operation. The actual coolant level is best checked at the radiator cap, but only when the vehicle is cold. Never open a radiator cap on a hot engine. If there is an actual leak, the overflow reservoir will be empty and the radiator level low. (It also goes to show that not all "professional" mechanics know what they are talking about.)
  2. One vehicle had a loose, noisy muffler. It's usually best to fix this right away because otherwise large exhaust parts can fall off, creating a road hazard. In some states drivers are responsible for damages from road hazards they create.
  3. One vehicle that presented with uneven tire pressures also had a tire worn away on one edge. This vehicle needs an alignment, and will probably not handle well or safely as a result. However, the vehicle was older, and so may not be worth the investment of an alignment.