Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Winter's Toll, Part 1: Car Damage

As we continue to dig out from and clean up after the record-setting snowfall in northern Virginia, we're starting to uncover the damage done by the storm.  It's too early to say how our plants will come out; one of the blueberry bushes is still completely buried, as are several of our holly bushes, though at least two are toast, completely demolished by the weight of the snow.  More on that later, and with pictures (I promise!).

But first, I'm a bit annoyed at the amount of damage done to my car by this weather.  I'm not talking just about the corrosion from road salt; that's an issue, to be sure, but a minor one compared to a few other problems wrought by the snow.

First, I've got some sort of exhaust leak; my guess is incredibly bumpy roads--rutted sheets of solid ice, mostly--knocked something loose somewhere between the exhaust manifold and the catalytic converter.  (Because the upstream and downstream oxygen sensors read normally, I don't think the leak is after the converter.)  Also, those jarring, potholed, ice-sheet-rutted roads have done a number on my shocks and suspension, too; my car used to ride very smoothly, but now you feel every single bump in the road.  I'm not going to contemplate what's been done to my alignment; I'm afraid I'd go on an undeserved rant about VDOT and mail them a bill.

Next, because of some idiot the other day who refused to pull even remotely to the side of the road--and forced me to plow into a snowbank to avoid a head-on collision--there's a big panel that runs inside one wheel well which is completely wrecked.  Best I can figure, going up on that snow mound snapped the plastic panel along its front edge--luckily, the body panels around it seem fine.  But that plastic panel has been rubbing against something and getting hot enough to melt in places (that's how I discovered the damage to begin with: the day after said idiot ran me off the road, I smelled burning plastic after a drive).

At least the sound I thought was a possible wheel bearing issue has gone away in wake of the weather.  Some Forester experts suggested it was actually the backing plate for the disc brake causing the sound, due to uneven rust.  I guess all this bouncing around knocked the rust free.

Next up: a look at our poor plants.  We put backbreaking effort into our landscaping last year, and I'm afraid of what I'll see as the still-more-than-18-inches of snow melts away.

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