Ice on undercarrige/wheel

Yesterday I drove home from work in a very wet slushy snow. I also live on a gravel road so the wet snow was mixed with mud in several places. This apparently stuck to the undercarriage of my car as well as the wheels. Overnight, it all froze solid. So, when I start my car this AM, horrible sounds emmitted from underneath the car. When it first cranked over, I thought my muffler had fallen off, it thunked and rattled horribly. Then something broke loose and slid strangely to the passengers side. What the heck was going on down there I thought?! I grabbed my flashlight and looked under the car. Ice…on just about every surface. OK, so I think, drive it, it’ll fall off right? Some did, felt like I was pushing thru concrete rubble as I backed up out of the carport. I headed down the road slowly, thumping rattling, it sounded horrible. But I had to go to work. So I get on the highway. High speeds will knock it off right? Now, the vibration and noise is so bad, I’m thinking I must have a flat tire, this can’t possibly just be ice! Its still very dark and I don’t want to pull off to the side of the interestate so I slow down to 60 (its 70 mph speed limit) and pray I make it the 6 miles to the next exit so I can get off and check out the tires. I see the 1 mile to exit sign and my heart is in my throat…feels like I’m loosing power. Then I hear a huge THUNK! and all is well. Like nothing was ever wrong! I wished I could’ve seen the hunk of ice that fell off the car but it was too dark.

Sorry for the long post but I want to know if it was damaging to the car to drive it like that? I don’t know how else I would have gotten the ice off except a car wash…which I would have had to drive miles to. Just starting the car seemed tramatic, I’ve never heard such a racket! Suggestions on how to avoid this or is it no big deal??


Even if you are a compulsively punctual individual, as I am, there are still those rare mornings when you must break down and admit to yourself, “Today has to be a late day for me.” Yesterday should have been such a day.

I cannot assess the damage, if any, that your car has sustained. Hopefully there has been none. If any has indeed occurred then it is too late now to do anything about it. What you must do is prepare for repeats of such incidents. Clearly this involves knocking off most of the slush as soon as you get home, while it is still soft enough to enable you do so. It is not a fun chore I know, but it sure beats the days of my youth when I had to trudge six miles to school through snow up to my neck even though I was on horseback.

It can’t be avoided. Usually thes sorts of noises come from buildup in the wheelwells. That can be either kicked off with your foot or dug off with a stick. Without having actually seen the car, it’s impossible to speculate what yours was.

Sounds like it didn’t do any damage. If you feel spooked, you can alway have the underside looked at on a lift.

I have had this happen on the way back from a mountain ski resort. The noise of ice chunks falling off and banging against the wheel wells is scary, but I have never sustained any damage. On a previous post I suggested carrying a sawed off hockey stick with the end shaped to a chisel. That works great before the stuff freezes up, and gets really hard.

About the only things you could do about this is park in a heated place, spray the underside of your car with calcium chloride solution or hose it off with water. The first two would promote corrosion of your car, especially the CaCl2. Hosing it off is not real practical either.