Weekly Wire
Weekly Alibi Skeletons in the Closet: High Maintenance Wheels

By Sue Schuurman

APRIL 19, 1999: 

Riding in an automobile must have been a risky venture in the '20s, judging from all the nuts and bolts that you were expected to tighten to ensure a safe ride. The following Albuquerque Morning Journal column devoted to auto care goes into great detail as to all the required adjustments, lubrication and body paint care--all the while assuming that the owners, not mechanics, would be getting their hands grimy.

Your Automobile--Timely Tips on Its Care
By E. H. Scott

"When a car requires to be taken to the repair shop before it has run 5,000 miles, it is fairly conclusive evidence that the owner has been driving at excessive speeds or has not been giving it proper attention. Few owners realize that especially during the first 500 miles a new car must be treated very carefully and not driven over 20 miles an hour. ...

"However, fast driving is not the only thing that must be guarded against during that first 500 miles. When it leaves the factory all bolts and nuts are drawn up as tight as possible but after it has been on the road for about a hundred miles these bolts and nuts as they 'bed in' become slack and you must get out your wrenches and test the tightness of every one.

"Most of the important nuts are castellated and secured with split pins, while the others are prevented from slackening off by means of lock washers. Sometimes the split pins are left out by a careless mechanic and it is a good idea when you take your car home to make a careful examination of every nut and bolt to see that all are secured by either a split pin or lock washer.

"The first nuts to test should be those that are on the clips that hold the springs to the axle. ... Make sure that the bolts holding the fenders to the running board are tight. ... The bolts holding the body to the chassis should be kept tightened, otherwise rattles and squeaks will quickly develop. ... Carefully inspect the rear axle and gear box housings. ... The brakes should be checked up and adjusted if necessary after you have completed about a hundred miles. ...

"After tightening and adjusting is finished, you should get out the oil or grease gun and thoroughly lubricate the spring shackles, steering gear connections, universal joints and all connections that require lubrication. Consult your instruction book to find out where all parts that require lubrication are located, and do not miss one of them. ...

"Do not allow your car to be overloaded. ... Keep out of holes on the road as much as possible. ... Use plenty of clean water when washing the body. If you have a hose do not allow it to play with any force on the finish or you will drive the mud and grit into the glossy surface. Do not on any account use soap on the body, for this will quickly kill the finish. Frequent washings with clean cold water especially when the finish is new will improve and harden it. ... "

Source: Albuquerque Morning Journal; April 19, 1925

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