Hello there! The monsoons have arrived. The meteorology department is going crazy with their innate predictions. While we can choose to either ignore them or just take nearly all the precautions you can including taking a foldable boat to work. If you drive to work, this is one thing you cannot ignore. If you are one of those who take their cars out just once in a while, then you definitely should not ignore these driving tips that will follow.
Prevention is better than cure
Nothing can be as truthful as this idiom. Especially in the case of monsoon. So why not begin by giving your car a thorough check-up. If you are time-bound or don’t know where to start, then your car manufacturer may be running a free check-up camp this monsoon (as they all do). A few pointers that I will be writing down may help you.
Check the tyres. Don’t be stingy. Replace them if necessary. They are your only contact point with the road. Ensure that they are in ship shape. Check the spare tyre too and make sure its usable. Keep the air pressure as recommended by the manufacturer. Your owners manual will be a good guide to tell you what is the recommended pressure. Better still, open the driver side door and check on the beam next to the driver’s seat. Most of the manufacturers note down the required tyre pressure there. Also, remember to get the pressure checked when the tyres are cold or in simpler words within 2-3km of driving. The 8th standard science class lessons come handy here – heat expands the air volume.
Get the wheel alignment and balancing fixed as well. The last thing you may want is your car pulling to the left where the government’s benevolence in the form of a big puddle of water is waiting for you.
I have often seen people crying about how they got to replace the wipers of their cars and how its been only last monsoon that they had fixed new ones. Well, wipers are made of rubber components and give or take, they are exposed to the elements 90 per cent of the times. It is advisable to replace them every monsoon. If your car has a rear wiper, don’t forget to replace it as well. A small sachet of shampoo can be poured into the wiper fluid can. This will ensure that your wiper blades clean the entire glass surface effectively, thereby leaving no marks and providing for clear vision.
More often than not, we tend to ignore the dents and scratches taking them to be a part and parcel of the everyday driving chores. However, if not tended to, these dents will cause body rust. A car with a rusting body depreciates very fast. Try to get a fresh coat of paint done on that very part or at least get that part treated with an overcoat.
Engine and electricals
The engine of a car is its heart and you don’t want anything to stop the heart from beating, will you? It is advisable to get the engine and electricals checked by a mechanic before the showers set in. The last thing you want is a short circuit inside the car during the monsoon. Replace the engine oil, gear oil, coolant and other consumables. The brake pads too have to be given a correct dekko. If necessary, replace them. The beadings on the door as well as on the boot of the car deserve a special look. These components are made of rubber, however unlike the wiper blades they don’t have to be replaced each year. If they appear broken or have punctures in them, then they need to be replaced. Else, due to the accumulated moisture, the car will start to rust from spots that aren’t visible easily.
Make sure that all your headlights, fog lights, brake lights as well as tail lamps are working properly. If they aren’t, now is a good time to get them replaced. Visibility, both to you as well as the ones travelling behind you, is very important in the rain.
Use rubber floor mats in the car and replace those rug ones. A rubber mat will not soak the water from those wet shoes and hence will not accumulate moisture, something a rug mat will do. Dampness in the cabin will lead to fungal growth and a foul smell. Avoid using paper over the floor mat too. A special mention must be made of the AC unit as not only is it effective in the peak summer but also during the rains. When misting happens inside the car, remember to put on the airconditioner in the heater to windshield setting. This will remove the mist and help you drive in a safer manner.
In the next installment, we will talk about how to be a safe driver in the rainy season without affecting or hampering the progress of others on the road.