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You don’t have to be a diehard DIY-er to want to keep your vehicle in great condition and take care of some simpler and easier tasks yourself. This is especially true for those moving things that may stick, creak, or fail to budge at all from time to time. But before reaching for that trusty can of spray lube, consider that, regardless of its reputation or advertising claims, it definitely isn’t the cure-all for everything.
Lubricants come in a wide variety of types and compositions and while some, like the legendary WD-40 have multiple uses, others can contain substances that may be harmful to common materials used in vehicles. One fairly safe rule of thumb – if it contains any oil, keep it away from plastics, natural and synthetic rubbers, wiring, and other non-metal materials.
Door hinges are probably number one on the lube hit-list and are the easiest to take care of. Heavier spray lubricants such as lithium grease work best, but even good old-fashion axle grease can take out the most stubborn creak or squeak.
Be careful when applying any lube to the rear door hinges on any four-door ride, because it’s easy for your clothes to come into contact with them when getting in and out through the front doors. It’s always a good idea to wipe down any excess lube because it can trap grit and dirt leading to more problems that you might solve.
Door lock cylinders are a definite taboo area when it comes to any thick oil-based sprays. The tumbler mechanisms and springs are very lightweight and will gum up easily when the wrong lube is used. As many vehicles come with keyless entry and smart key systems, it’s easy to not bother. But when either the battery in your remote or the vehicle’s main battery dies, you’ll definitely appreciate a working lock cylinder.
About the only dose of lube you need here is found in any good quality lock de-icer. A few squirts, once or twice a year is pretty much all it takes. Don’t forget the trunk or lift-gate unit. This area collects more road salt and moisture than anywhere else on a vehicle. And finally, use the key in all these cylinders from time to time because nothing keeps things moving like, well, moving them.
Hood latches, being the most exposed-to-the-elements component on any vehicle need attention at least two or three times a year with a shot of spray lube. WD-40 or lithium spray work best. If your ride is older any you’ve noticed it’s hard to get the hood to pop up when released, check the adjustment on the two rubber bumper knobs located just inside the hood’s edge on the radiator support panel. Most of these can be easily adjusted simply by rotating them. A small counterclockwise twist will raise them up to put more pressure on the hood when the release is activated.
Fuel cap door latches are one of the most aggravating things when they don’t work. Just try to slap the fuel door with one hand while you stretch to activate the release inside the car. Almost all of them use a plastic plunger/latch so using anything oil-based is a definite no-no. Silicone lubricating compound is the best solution and a few quick shots several times a year (especially just before winter) will avoid a lot of frustration at the pumps.
London News & Search