Enough..we waited this year for the monsoons to arrive. Even now we don’t feel if it has arrived, so instead of waiting a bit more we are here with a new set of things to follow to make this monsoon rains even more enjoyable even if you will take your Maruti Suzuki 800/Alto or TATA nano to the hills or anywhere at a place similar to the pic below:

This pic is quite old now but still gives Us that same feeling, tell us what car is this by the way.

So, here is a list of what to do and what to take care of while driving in monsoons. Mentioned below are pointers which we will talk about:

  • Lights
  • Tyres
  • Paint
  • Rusting
  • Rubber and Plastic Parts
  • Electricals
  • Fuel
  • Engine Oil and Lubes
  • Brakes
  • Suspension

 Lights:

Rain means lesser visibility almost every time. No matter how lesser it is raining, with the real bad habit of most two-wheeler riders of not wearing a helmet, lightest drizzles makes them half blind. So make sure to have enough lights up front and down rear to warn them early. Make this a habit to check all the lights round the car and inside it whether they are in working condition or not, failure to perform these checks may result in huge repairing costs.

Tyres:

Now this is getting serious. Importance of tyres are known to everyone though only a few know what type of tyres to use when. Commonly there are three types of tyres used in the country:

  • Asymmetric Tread Pattern
  • Symmetric Tread Pattern, and
  • Directional and Non-Directional Tread Patterns.

Consult the photos below to see what type of tyre looks like what:

This is Asymmetric Tread Pattern and these tyres are often confused with Directional Tyres while they ain’t.
This is a Non-Directional Symmetrical Tread Pattern. Notice that the tyre can rotate in both the directions with same efficiency.
This is a Symmetrical Tread Pattern with Unidirectional mounting on the rim.

So, now You can understand what’s with tyres’ treads. But what they do? Or say, what the difference in design does, especially in rain? Well, here the tread pattern has not much to do with grip on dry surface but when it comes to cross water, these treads push the water out and prevent Aqua-planing.

Aqua-planing is, when the car hits a water logged area, the tyres lose contact with the tarmac thus a loss of steering control and braking is suffered. Choose a tyre with the best possible tread pattern as per your driving conditions. If you live near a mud pond and if you will mount tyres meant for road use only, You will only end up spinning whole day in the mud. Same way an over tread-ed tyre not only reduces top speed but also demands more fuel on a paved road.

Paint:

Look at this refurbished Impala, the glare of the paint shows how much precision was involved. Now take a look at the picture below.
Notice the lack of glare and the image formed on the surface of the paint is distorted too. The places at which these pics were taken can be discussed and argued later though.

Paint has a lot to do with rain and monsoon. Usually people think of covering the car with cover during the monsoon while they don’t know that ignorantly they are ruining the paint. And getting a car re-painted isn’t as easy as it looks like in NFS Series of games, in fact a company performed paint job can’t be matched by local painters.

Car paint gets damaged when water stays on it, while running water is quite fine. So the cover actually helps the water to stay on the paint for quite a long time then required to ruin it. Also a re-painted car part can be easily identified by looking at it from a certain angle, ‘grains’ can be seen. Re-paint also drops the value of the car. Try  your best to avoid it.

Rusting:

Rusting is a huge issue. We ourselves have survived quite deadly results of not paying attention to one of our car which met an accident, or simply, tumbled twice after hitting a divider, the windshield came of! All that just because the windshield’s mounting, where it was stuck to the body was rusted.

Anyway, we got saved but not everyone is lucky enough. Check every hidden spot especially for any signs of rusting, if found either get it done else take a Sandpaper and rub it until you see shining metal and get the part re-painted. Also check rusting around the places like suspension mountings, engine mountings, wheel hubs, etc.

Rubber and Plastic Parts:

Rubber and Plastic parts, unless employed for sealing work such as inside engine and transmission or in suspensions, usually don’t require a check. Still, always keep an eye on door gaskets and window trims else driving in rains can make you ‘wet’ at the wrong time. 😉

Electricals:

(Don’t go by the picture, it looks awesome though)

Now this is important. You might get ‘shocked’ if even slightest bit of electricity will reach you which reaches the spark plug. We don’t feel like telling that it operates on 33,000 Volts, anyway, We do feel like telling that’s enough to kill a human if exposed for even a bit of time, thank engineers who invented multi-cylinder engine with a bit of gap in sparks.

To avoid sudden or surprising shocks get your car’s wiring checked at a reliable workshop or a good authorised service center.

Fuel, Engine Oil, Lubes and Brakes:

Get all the liquids checked and changed if required, also get your fuel tank checked for rusts or water inside it. Even small amount of waters at the wrong places can leave you stranded in the middle of nowhere, same applies for other other fluids, especially for Brake Fluid.

Brake Fluid is hygroscopic, it actually absorbs water-vapor from atmosphere under normal conditions and when the brakes are used, the water in the fluid gets heated from the heat of brake-pads and turns into steam making air-pockets in the channel taking slight or full effectiveness of brakes away! That’s scary! Else use DOT 5 fluid which might not be available right now in the country, but is silicon based and is non-hygroscopic.

Somehow, if found, MAKE SURE TO FLUSH THE BRAKING SYSTEM THOROUGHLY AND CONSULT THE MANUFACTURING COMPANY OF THE BRAKING SYSTEM BEFORE USING. And yeah, that is a WARNING ESPECIALLY FOR CARS FITTED WITH ABS, ESP AND TRACTION CONTROL. Other thing is, as per experts, DOT 3, DOT 4 and DOT 5.1 fluids must be changed at a regular interval of 1-2 years depending up on how humid conditions are in your vicinity.

For Brakes, put the car up a jack, remove the tyre. Now check the Brake-pads, disc-rotor and hose-pipes which carry oil from your foot to the braking system for cuts, rusts, wear and tear etc. Wet brakes squeal a lot, that’s because they get swollen, dry them by driving with the brakes applied for a bit of distance so they can regain their effectiveness and the sound goes away.

While driving in wet conditions, always make sure not to skid the wheels, not even once, We have always written that rolling wheels are the stopping wheels i.e. If the wheels are rotating then they will provide braking force and that’s what ABS does. So if you don’t have an ABS system on your car, try pumping the brakes so that the wheels don’t get locked though mastering this to perfection can be a headache but is life-saving for sure.

Suspension:

So, now let’s talk Suspensions. This thing demands comfort as well for its own. Check the suspension for oil leaks, if found, get it changed and NOT repaired. Only the damper is changed most of the times, the coil spring remains the same. Similar is with leaf springs, only the damper is changed if no leaf is broken.

Dampers are of 2 types, Gas filled and Oil filled. Gas filled dampers have two things inside, gas and oil. oil filled have just oil. Then how come the Gas filled ones are better? Because we all know (We assume of all of Us) that Gases are compressible substance, so with light load, the suspension performs well and when the load is heavy, all the gas is now stored in the reservoir and oil takes place of the gas making the suspension stiffer and thus providing the desired stability.

 

Keeping these short-listed points up-to-date can keep you enjoying one of the best weathers in which Mother Nature gives us everything we ask for. The best of greenery, insects and everything else that keeps us alive and our mind healthy, keeping us optimistic for the future of ours and the generations to come. With a wish to give You guys out there as much knowledge about automobiles as We can and change a bit of automotive scenario is our motive. We ask for healthy and safe driving and riding culture on Indian roads.

Pachmarhi, Madhya Pradesh (Clicked on 9th of July 2010)

Do not hesitate to ask queries or questions based on these. Also, point out any mistakes if you feel. Images are taken from the internet and a copyright of respective owners.

We wish you a happy, enjoying and no-trouble Monsoon Drives always 🙂

 

By,

Ankit Tiwari

Team MotorBash


Comments

SHARE