Toyota Corolla Splash Shields: Diagnosing Trouble and Keeping Out of It
The splash shields on your Toyota Corolla help to protect your very costly engine and your very critical tires. They function simply and passively: being a strong wall that keeps water, mud, dirt, debris, away from the components that they protect. As simple as they are, it's still important that we take care of them because their breaking down usually means costlier damage to your engine and wheels. It's simple enough to take care of them-if we think about them at all. The fact is, however, that we tend to ignore them altogether as they are out of sight and out of mind. Here are a few things to look out for-these will clue you in that something is amiss with your splash shields.
Rattling in the wheel well and the engine block
While you should ideally check up on the condition of your splash shields as often as you can, it's understandable that you sometimes can't. Fortunately, there's an audible cue you can depend on as a guide. When you hear rattling in the engine block and wheel well, chances are that some debris managed to make their way in via a breach in the splash shield. At that point, it's best if you get to stop and inspect the shields to find the damaged area. Epoxy putty or even duct tape is enough to cover the seal so you can decide whether you want to replace the whole thing altogether-this is a good idea, by the way, and not too costly too.
Micro-cracks and small holes
If you do happen to inspect the shields regularly and find small bits of damage, it should clue you in that something along your regular drive might be causing damage-a newly asphalt-topped road perhaps? Maybe you drive too fast across a rough-hewn country road? While a change in driving habits towards greater care might be a good idea, a solution for the damage is application of epoxy putty to prevent the damage from growing. If it's not too big and not too many, you can stay away from a full replacement for the time being.
How to Keep Your Toyota Corolla Engine Splash Shield in Good Shape
There are two very good reasons why an engine splash shield is a very important addition to your Toyota Corolla. For one thing, your engine heats up spectacularly when it's running. When you splash water on anything that's really hot, you get a lot of steam, which is terrible for visibility. For another thing, any water that enters the engine disrupts its normal functioning-sometimes with catastrophic and expensive results. In case you're wondering "doesn't the hood keep the water out?" The answer is yes-but from the top only. Every puddle and wet road you drive over with your fast turning tires churn up water that can get to your Corolla's engine. That's why it's important to maintain your engine splash shield diligently.
Keep it squeaky clean.
It might seem strange to clean a splash shield-which would require you to, well, splash water onto it-but it serves a practical purpose. Mud and dirt tend to cover up the physical damage of a splash shield, and cleaning it all up can uncover the amount of damage that you have to deal with. Besides, cleaning up the splash shield doesn't really involve the full blast of a hose and some soap-all you need is a damp, clean rag to wipe all the gunk off. The splash shield is, after all, under the car and not something you'll likely show off to your friends.
Repair damage as you find it.
If you manage to spot even the tiniest of cracks or breaches on the splash shield, it's important that you seal it right away with epoxy putty or sealant. A compromised splash shield will not do you much good, as it leaves a small opening that allows water and other harmful particles to get in your engine. If the cracks and breaks happen to be rather large already, it might be a better idea to just replace the splash shield altogether. In the end, buying a new engine splash shield comes off cheaper than having to perform costly engine repairs or-worse-costlier engine replacements.