Driving in the monsoons is bliss! But that’s just one side of the coin. Driving in the rains is as hazardous as it is fun as the chances of a breakdown or a mishap increase manifold. It’s imperative for you to take extra care of your vehicle to make sure that you enjoy your drive in the monsoons without any hassles. Here are a few things about your car you should take care of as the rain gods smile upon you:
1. An eye for the leaks:
With constant rains and accumulation of muck under your car, things can get sneaky – it becomes difficult to tell if it’s the rain water that’s dripping or valuable fluids like the coolant or oil! The solution is simple. Make sure you pressure wash the under-belly of your car every now and then and then check if any liquids are still dripping. Coolant is generally green, blue or yellowish in colour. Such leakage may cause over heating of the engine and in turn a seizure. Keep checking the coolant level if you suspect leaks.
Oil on the other hand would look red, golden or black depending on its age and forms a multicolour halo as soon as it falls on a wet surface. If you see your car leaving either of these trails, its time to see the mechanic ASAP! It’s also recommended to wash the radiator fins to avoid muck from settling in. Accumulated muck can reduce the cooling efficiency of the radiator, again leading to over heating of the engine.
2. Protect the exteriors:
Before the monsoons set in, it’s a good practice to have your car’s paintwork coated with a durable wax polish. The polish will not only make your car look handsome and shiny, but will also prevent the rain water from corroding your car’s paintwork.
3. A car is not meant for rain harvesting:
Constant downpour will mean that the rainwater is going to accumulate in all the nooks and corners of you car – especially the areas like the bumper slots, indentations below the wipers/windscreen, outside rear view mirrors, door/boot handles, door rubber linings etc. Make sure you drain of all this water every time you return home as this stagnant water can cause rusting of the surrounding metal parts, while the rubber linings will lose their elasticity. To prevent the rusting further, spray an anti-rust solution every week on metal parts like the bolts, nuts, spark-plug mounts, welding lines, etc. Also make sure that the headlight and taillight assemblies don’t have holes or leaks, as water can accumulate in them and lead to short circuiting of the bulbs and related electrical components.
4. Be visible:
Make sure that the head/tail/blinker lights of your car are clean and not covered with dirt or muck. This will ensure maximum visibility of your car to oncoming/tailgating traffic even in heavy rains and reduce chances of a collision. If the need be, its also a good idea to keep the parking/fog/hazard lights switched on in case of a heavy rainfall to ensure further visibility to the traffic elements.
5. See more:
Just the way you should be visible to the traffic, it’s imperative that you can clearly see what’s around you too! A fogged up windscreen is one aspect that will hamper your visibility. To get rid of the fog, switch on the air-conditioning of your car and direct its flow onto the windscreen. Make sure that the A/C is serviced before the monsoon starts, or you’ll have to live with a fogged up windscreen in the rains. Also make sure that the wiper blades are serving their purpose properly, else replace them.
6. Don’t lose grip:
Make sure the tyres are in proper shape with enough depth in the grooves. This will ensure maximum stability and traction on wet surfaces. Keep checking the tyre surface on a regular basis as sharp objects lying on the road may leave cuts on the rubber which can turn into a big hazard with time.
7. Protect yourself:
Rain induced flood situations in metros like Mumbai are not an unknown phenomenon and it could happen in your city too. In case of such an event; there are a couple of things you could do to ensure the car’s as well as your own safety. If you are entering a patch of road which has deep water (up to the bumper, refer to the photo below), make sure you keep the engine running even if you need to stand still at the same spot for quite some time. You may need to keep revving in order to counter the force of water even when standing still. In spite of this, if the engine stalls, then do not attempt to start the car again as it may suck water into the engine and permanently damage it! Instead wait for the situation to subside and call for a tow-truck.
If the water level is above the bonnet of the car (refer to the photo below), it is recommended to shut off the engine for the same reason. In case the water level rises further, make sure that you keep the windows at least half open to make an emergency exit if the need be. You won’t be able to push down the windows manually to make an exit if the electrical system of the car goes kaput and the doors lock themselves.
8. Beware of aquaplaning:
Aquaplaning can be a driver’s nightmare! Water puddles often form when the road surface in not flat and even. When a car drives over a big water puddle at high speed, the tyres tend to lose contact with the road surface and instead try to grip the surface of the water. In simple words, the car skis over the water like a surfboard. But since it’s not designed to act like a surfboard, the car may go haywire, losing complete control and may lead to a fatal crash. Though good tyres with deep grooves can help to an extent, it’s recommended that you just avoid such puddles. Such instances occur frequently on highways.
We hope our tips will help you maintain the car better this monsoon. Enjoy the ride!