Let’s talk about dirt. In Fairbanks we make it through seven months of ice and snow and then comes Spring and the Mud Season. Vehicles are never able to relax in this climate. Mud seems innocuous enough compared with ice and -40F, but to suspension, brakes and wheels, it’s just the next pestilence to navigate. Once things dry up, we are into Summer! Surely it must be the easy season for vehicles? Possibly? No matter what the make—Toyota, Honda, Subaru—dirt is a surprising vandal.
If you drive most major dirt roads in Alaska, your vehicle will experience an “involuntary undercoating” process which has a palpable effect on both driveability and repair. Calcium Chloride, a dust suppressant, is used on these roads which mixes with fine silt and creates a glue-like substance which adheres to every surface under the vehicle. Calcium Chloride is effective in road maintenance because it reduces the effects of erosion under wet conditions and helps the road surface become hard and stable. However, for your vehicle, it is like coating the underside with pavement!
The photo in this blog is a rim coated on the inside with the Calcium Chloride and road-surface mixture, which makes the wheel wildly out of balance. You know when this has happened because being behind the wheel of your CRV feels like driving a load of towels wadded up on one side of your washer in the spin cycle.
If you drive on dirt, schedule an inspection following a dirt road-trip. Safe and Happy Travels!