In the state of Colorado, tourism is a major, major industry.
It brings lots of revenue to the state for both tourists coming in and staying at hotels, visiting lots of great things to see in the state, at the same time at the automotive service industry brings lots and lots of repairs here. Because Colorado sets at a high elevation, there’s less oxygen in the air, meaning your vehicle, just like your lungs, physically has to work harder to do the same amount of work it would do otherwise.
Once you get to the mountains and you’re hitting five to ten thousand feet in elevation, going up at 6 percent grade, your vehicle is only making between 50 and 65 percent of its normal horsepower and is going literally straight up a mountain. This is often when we’ll see major, major problems with Denver motor vehicles that did not rear their face until this point. In the case of today’s story, we have a Honda Civic from 2011 that came to us from Kansas. We call this a flatland car because it has never seen mountains in its life. The owner successfully made the 500-mile drive across the state, was able to make it up into the mountains of Colorado and made it almost to their destination.
Well, the last five miles of the road they were traveling became very, very rough and even though they were able to slowly and cautiously navigate the road and successfully make it to the top where they were beginning their hike and their adventure, in the process of doing such, their Honda vehicle wasn’t quite up to the task. And the small bumps and clunks that they were hearing along the way were actually rocks hitting the undercarriage of the vehicle. In this case, the vehicle did successfully make it to the top and make it right back down into George Town, here in the mountains, and it was able to get back on the highway.
However, during its travels off-road, the oil pan which is made out of aluminum on Honda vehicles was punctured. This allowed all of the oil to vacate out of the engine, leaving zero lubrication occurring inside. The engine’s oil temperature then increased substantially, exponentially almost instantly. But motor vehicles often do not have an engine oil temperature gauge. They only have an engine coolant temperature gauge. As a result, the owner of this vehicle had no indications on the dashboard that the engine was low on oil or low on oil pressure, or that the engine’s oil temperature was increasing. The only indication they would’ve had would’ve been oil on the ground in the rearview mirror, not something very easy to see while you’re driving.
Unfortunately, because the engine vacated all of its oil, it literally drove until it ceased and there is no lubrication left. The engine completely ceased and its housing is unable to rotate and is totally and completely destroyed. Well, this is an insurance claim because the vehicle was physically struck by a rock and that’s what caused it. Many times these are not covered by insurance and we see owners facing extremely large repairs as a result of minor off-road driving with vehicles that really weren’t up for that task. Here at Saul’s Automotive, we wanna make sure that your vehicle is up to the task. Not only can we do the major surgery required of removing the engine, transmission, front suspension assembly out of this vehicle in order to replace the engine, we also install skid plates to protect your vehicle from this type of damage.
Many front-wheel-drive Sedans that we drive daily to work and back, whether they’d be Honda Acura product, Volkswagen Audi product, Toyota Lexus product, Honda Kia product, Ford, Chevy or Dodge, all of them have plastic or aluminum skid plates underneath them that are not strong enough for any kind of serious impacts. Here at Saul’s Automotive, we install many aftermarket replacement skid plates that are made out of quarter-inch-thick steel to prevent this kind of damage from happening. Additionally, if somebody does not make one readily available for your vehicle, we’re more than happy to custom fabricate one here in-house and put a warranty behind it that says we will guarantee this will not damage the undercarriage of your Denver vehicle because we see these types of repairs every day.
If you’re concerned about taking your vehicle to places a little bit more strenuous than it’s designed to be, you’re probably just living in Denver Colorado. But if you’d like to be able to do such safely, consistently, and without worry, stop by. Let us make sure that your vehicle’s undercarriage is safely protected so that you don’t face repairs like these assembly lines.