Track Day Suspension Cleaning Tips
A track day car gets dirty. Running off the track, braking and the natural wearing of tires creates junk that sticks to the underside of your car. Sometimes, racers can neglect the cleaning of underbody components, prioritizing other more visible surfaces like the body. This article will help you understand why and how you should clean your suspension parts.
Benefits of Cleaning Suspension and Underbody Parts
Why should you go to the extra effort of cleaning your suspension system? Nobody ever sees it right? There are several reasons.
Dirt contains salts that react with the metals used in car components. Once the top coat of paint or powder coat breaks down, then rust and corrosion can form. On suspension parts, that could mean the shock fails prematurely or works less efficiently. Seals and other parts like bushes can be torn up by the ragged edges of corrosion and compacted dirt.
Shock absorbers need to be able to release the heat they generate in operation into the atmosphere. If the shock body is covered with a thick layer of dirt and trash, this will insulate the damper and prevent it working as efficiently.
Detect Failures Faster
When parts are covered in layers of muck, you cannot see the part itself. Underneath, your shocks could be leaking oil or your brakes might be leaking and you can't see the condition they are in. Once cleaned, it's easy to spot leaks and trace them to the source.
Cleaner when Working on Car
There's nothing worse when working underneath a car and you accidentally dislodge a build up of dried dirt. It goes everywhere, in your eyes, ears, hair, you name it. Cleaning your car ahead of time means you stay cleaner when wrenching and you're less likely to contaminate bearings and sensitive components with damaging grit.
Looks more Professional
Nothing says you are a small race outfit like having a dirty car. When working on your car in your pits, it doesn't look very professional for them to be mucky. If you're looking to secure a sponsor, they'll expect your car to be clean. It shows that you are hardworking and committed to performance, someone who can be trusted to represent their brand.
Makes Future Cleaning Easier
Periodically deep cleaning your wheel wells and enclosed parts means that in-between cleans, you might be able to just give it a quick once-over.
How to clean your suspension system and underbody components?
The trick to cleaning off your suspension is to jack up the car and remove the wheels. This gives you full access to all parts of the suspension, wheel wells, control arms, and brakes. Work one wheel at a time.
There are a number of different products on the market designed for cleaning wheel wells. Some of these products are degreasers that require dilution, others will deepen the color of plastics and repel water.
Whichever product you decide on using, make sure it is safe for use on rubber seals and bushes, otherwise, you could cause damage to them. If in doubt, you can't go wrong with some dishwashing detergent and a soft brush. Rinse off with clean water. If you like, you can dry surfaces off with compressed air, a cloth or a heat gun.
Cleaning your track day or race car will prolong the life of components, help parts work as efficiently as possible and give you an edge when looking for sponsors or brands to work with. It's simple to do and well worth the effort, so bust out your brushes and get scrubbing!