I live on a dirt/gravel/rock road in Costa Rica. My wife insists on driving faster than I think she should “because it’s smoother.” When the road is bad enough to give her whiplash, she will slow to 5-10 kph… but when the road is “just” washboards she will drive 25-40 kph. Of course to her it does give her a better ride but the shocks and stuff are taking a terrific beating. Obviously I’m desperate by posting here… but any advice? (Moving is not an option.)
Um…er…hmm…wife…I got nothing.
You can win, but you will still loose! Married 25 years and I may win a battle, but she is winning the war. LOL
Which is more important, your wife’s happiness or your car’s shocks?
You cannot win this one. The only suggestion I can offer is to run the tires at the lower end of the recommended pressure to relieve a bit of the pounding. Of course, she might then speed up, but it’s the only suggestion I can offer.
what is this KPH you speak of?
Yep, after 40 some years, just buy extra shocks to have on hand and be happy. Not much else to do. Pick your battles wisely.
On washboards, once you hit around 35-40 miles an hour, the tire/wheel no longer has TIME to follow the washboard surface…You “get up on top of them” and it’s actually a lot easier on the suspension…As a matter of fact, if the average speed on a dirt road is 40 or better, washboards do not form…If the average speed is 15-20 MPH, the washboards will form quickly and become severe…
Washboards form when vehicles, especially vehicles with weak suspensions (poor shocks) accelerate from low speed…A drive wheel hits that first bump, it lifts and spins just a little, digging a little hole…The tire bounces again and again digging out the little trenches that quickly stretch out down the road…
Few cars suspensions can withstand 3rd world road conditions…That’s why pick-up’s or vehicles based on pick-up platforms are favored in these areas…My favorite, a Crown Vic, can take the pounding better than most…Unibody construction and McPherson strut suspension is made for well maintained paved roads…
My best advice if your wife is fully able the next time you have to change out something on the vehicle due to the abuse it is taking pull her out with you do to the repair. The best way to show a person is to get them hands on and show them.
Another issue is that a road like this can leave someone dead when the car starts hopping or skating.
A friend of mine who lived about 10 miles out in the country on a washboard gravel road lost his 16 year old daughter this way.
She was on her way home traveling at about 50 MPH with a posted speed of 45 MPH. The girl had driven this road daily for months with no problems but that one time lapse in judgment that may have had nothing to do with the 5 MPH extra caused the car to skid into the ditch and kill her.
I’ve been down that road at 35 and due to the loose gravel and washboard surface it can require both hands on the wheel and full concentration. Even that can be iffy in places.
The washboards around here are created by the guys running the road graders who go too fast, try to take too much of a cut, and/or not using a chatterband on the blade.
We have wash board roads on the hills and yes,you take them slowly if you want your car to last. Washboards on hills are caused by solid axle wheel hop of delivery trucks and pick ups. There is little you can do about them. After I grade them out on our road, they are back in a week. The only solution is to only drive independently sprung vehicles or only drive pick ups in 4wd and both, very slowly. Both are impractical. Btw…the faster any car drives over washboards…the worse the wash board gets !!! Your wife is making the road worse by speeding
My friend…you will be fighting a losing battle. The only way to win on this one is to get a close female friend of her’s to bring it up in a topic of conversation and agree with you. The downside is that she may such a good friend that she will “spill the beans” and tell her you put her up to it. It’s really a no-win situation for you no matter how you look at it.
It has been my experience that the faster the traffic on a dirt road, the fewer washboards form… The worst washboards seem to form on curvy roads or coming out of corners where speeds are low…An uphill sweeper is guaranteed to be badly washboarded, low speed and hard acceleration… A long straight stretch of decently graded road will seldom become washboarded if the average traveled speed is over 40 mph…
“You can win, but you will still loose!”
EVERYTHING will be loose if she continues to drive that way, and fighting her over this issue will truly be a losing proposition.
Lowering tire air-pressure to 20-25psi helps immensely… Let the TIRES absorb much of the pounding…This works FINE as long as you limit your speed…If you find yourself on a high-speed highway, having a 12 volt tire pump in the trunk makes this technique workable…
the wash boards here are also caused by the road graders
what is this “kilometer” you speak of?
Wes, humor is forbidden here.