Its June and the MONSOON SEASON has arrived!!!!
Many of us just love this time of the year!! The rain gods, giving us a much needed break from the scorching summer heat… Nice plush greenery everywhere.. A relief to the drought ridden farmers.. The romantic atmosphere.. Aur chai k sath garam garam pakoday mil jaye toh… Wha wha wha!!! Baat he kuch aur hoti hai!!!! (Onion fritters with tea.. An absolute delight on a cold rainy day!!)
But for you beloved car… Monsoon is the worst season it has to go through!!
If proper precautionary measures aren’t taken.. All the water, humidity and moisture can wreak havoc on your car!!
Don’t worry fellas, sit back and go through the following article.. And I am pretty sure that you’ll have an enjoyable monsoon motoring experience!!
Before you start looking out for specialised monsoon measures, check the holistic health of your car. If there is a scheduled service in the next few weeks, it would be a great idea to get it done a bit in advanced, as this will ensure that your car is in its best shape to tackle the rains.
Brand new cars need less care during the monsoons as they are in near perfect condition and are capable enough to handle whatever nature can throw at them!!
As for cars which are two years old or older (depending on the condition of your car) you’ll need to take extra care through the monsoons to make sure that neither your car, nor you bear the brunt.
FOLLOWING ARE SOME IMPORTANT TIPS FOR THE MONSOON SEASON:
FOR THE CAR:
Apart from getting a full service done before the onset of the monsoons and regularly checking all fluid levels, you should take the following precautions:
Due to pollution in the air, rain water is mildly acidic and your car’s paint could start to wear off due to prolonged exposure. To avoid this get your car wax polished. The wax will form a thin protective layer on top of the car’s paint and water will slip right off!!
Get the small scratches in the paintwork touched up in order to prevent the exposed metal from rusting. Get an anti-rust solution sprayed on all metal parts that would be exposed to rain water.
Also get an under body anti-rust treatment done (once every two to three years depending upon usage) as it will keep rust away from metal parts on the undercarriage of your car, hence improving the life of spares.
Make sure your car’s tyres have good amount of tread left on them. If the tyres are bald or if its tread is of less than 2mm, then they should be changed, because rain water makes the road slippery and such tyres would find it hard to maintain grip on these wet roads. Loss of grip could result in a catastrophe. To ensure that such incidence does not occur, see to it that your tyres have adequate treads, they do not have cracks and that they are in proper condition. Always maintain tyre pressure as recommended by the manufacturer. Tyres in proper condition will have a reasonable amount of grip and they will bring your car to a safe halt under hard braking during the rains.
Lastly, ensure that you are carrying your toolkit and check your spare tyre for punctures, if any, get it repaired, maintain its pressure as recommended by the manufacturer and keep it in an usable condition.
Make sure your wheels are properly aligned to avoid any imbalance. Get the alignment checked from the service centre or from a reputed workshop.
One of the cheapest and most ignored precautionary measures, bad wiper blades can really give you and your car a tough time.
The rubbers on wiper blades tend to harden overtime resulting in reduced effectiveness. When your wipers start slipping on the windscreen it is time to get them replaced, because apart from providing a hazy view, a bad wiper leaves permanent scratches on your expensive windscreen!!!
The rains can disrupt your car’s electrical systems. While at the service centre, have all the important connections double-checked, such as the wiring for the battery and the alternator for proper insulation.
Ensure that your car’s headlights, indicator lights and tail lights are working properly, so that other drivers and pedestrians can see you under heavy rainfall.
Replace bulbs that are not working. All lights are essential as the visibility is low during the monsoon rains. Also check your wiper motor and make sure it is working efficiently.
If your car is equipped with heated windows, check if the demisters are working properly. An effective defogger must clear the mist from the windows quickly on a cold monsoon morning.
Check the rubber lining on the doors of your car, if they are coming loose or look as if they are out of shape, its time to get them replaced. Water can easily start seeping through, when it rains.
Same applies to the rubber lining on the sunroof!!
Make sure that the water channels/ gutters around the bonnet and boot are cleaned of all the accumulated leaves, dust, etc. Because if water accumulates in these channels, it may rust over a prolonged period of time.
Make sure the air conditioning in your car is working efficiently. If it is not cooling the car effectively, you should consider refilling gas in the compressor.
During the monsoons, the air conditioner does more than just cooling the cabin. The dry air is very useful in preventing your windscreen and windows from misting up.
Accumulation of moisture could result in fungal growth in the air conditioning system which can emit a foul odour. A simple trick to eliminate this foul odour is to spray a solution, that is one part regular household disinfectant and one part water into the vent which is located right underneath your windscreen also known as the cowl vent. While you do this remember to keep your air conditioner running in ‘fresh air’ mode. Keep your windows rolled down for about an hour and let the disinfectant escape before you start driving again.
When it is raining always use the air conditioner and close all the windows. Because if water enters the cabin, it will make the plastics on the doors age faster than usual and the seats and floor carpets would get wet. Getting the seats and floor carpets wet will also lead to foul smells.
Also, water can get into the power window switches which may cause the windows to malfunction.
During this monsoon a lot of mud, water and slush will find its way into your car, courtesy your shoes. Getting the floor carpets wet will lead to foul smells that will stay in the car’s cabin well past the monsoon season. Cleaning mud and slush off your carpets or cloth mats is tricky, time consuming and can get expensive if they tear.
Use washable carpets and mats (rubber mats) in your cars during the monsoons. These mats can be easily taken out of your car, washed and dried without much fuss.
Upholstery (Seat Covers/ Fabric):
Always keep an umbrella in the car. If you get wet and sit in the car, the seats and upholstery will soak up the water. Damp seats are very hard to dry and they will soon emit a foul odour in your car which will be very difficult to get rid off.
If the seats and upholstery in your car gets wet, make sure to dry them off as soon as possible because not only will you car’s cabin start smelling damp but also there are chances of fungal growth on your seats and upholstery.
While at the service centre request your mechanic to ensure that all the drain plugs are closed. These plugs will prevent the flow of rain water entering the passenger compartment from below the car.
A missing drain plug will let in muddy water from the roads and will soil your car’s carpets and it may also give rise to a stink that you would find hard to get rid of later.
So make sure that these drain plugs are closed.
Have a look at your car’s foot pedals. If the rubber covers on them have worn out, you should seriously consider getting them replaced, as foot pedals tend to slip when you are driving with wet footwear.
Doorsills are one of the most easily ignored parts of your car.
Do not forget to clean them and wipe off any water accumulated on your doorsills as it may rust over a prolonged period of time, if not dried.
FOR THE DRIVER:
Considering you now have a healthy car, remember, it is finally you who will be in its control. Monsoon brings with them a fair share of challenges for the driver.
Hence here are some tips for the drivers:
Gauge the approximate water level:
Driving through flooded areas is avoidable. However, if you must drive through a water-logged zone, make sure you let another vehicle pass through before you, so that you can gauge the depth of the water accurately and chart your course through the flood accordingly.
Venture out only if the water level is half a foot lower than the engine’s air inlet to avoid the water from entering the engine.
Driving through stagnant water:
If you have to drive through stagnant water on the road, do not panic. Put you car in first gear and gently accelerate. Do not drive fast!! Maintain the same speed while crossing the water. In case you have to stop or slow down do not lift your foot off the accelerator pedal because water may rush into the tail pipe and flood the engine in which case the engine will die. To slowdown or stop, depress the clutch and do not lift your foot off the accelerator, the car will slow down and come to a halt. Release the clutch to get the car moving again.
After driving out of stagnant water, rev the engine a bit to force water out of the exhaust, if there is any. Pump the brakes to dry the brake shoes, so that they function effective again.
If you suspect that water has entered the engine, immediately turn off the car to avoid any further damage.
Caution: While driving through stagnant water, if the engine dies out or if your car stalls midway, do not try re-starting your car. Doing so might cause hydrostatic lock which will wreck your car’s engine!!!!
During Heavy Rains:
In case it starts raining very heavily and you can’t see ahead, turn on the headlights and fog lamps. Continue driving forward at a cautious speed and look for brake lights from the car in front and judge the road speed according to them.
Do not stop the car right in the middle of the road as the cars coming from behind could hit you. If there is visibility, try to park your car off the road and keep all the lights on.
Driving in wet conditions causes the car to get muddy. Mud that gets onto the paint of the car should be washed off everyday. Use a hose to spray water onto the mud on the car and underneath the wheel arches. Once the mud becomes loose a soft cloth along with running water can be used to gently remove the mud from the car.
Take your car to a ramp once in every two or four weeks (depending upon usage) during the monsoons to hose off the mud that accumulates in the under body.
Slow down when it is raining. Braking is not as effective in the wet as it is when it is dry. The tyres may skid on the road while cornering at high speeds.
Speeding is one of the main factors causing accidents during the monsoons. Hence, while on wet roads, it is highly recommended that you should drive at least 30 percent slower than usual.
Having electronic driver’s aid devices such as ABS (Anti-lock Braking System) and EBD (Electronic Brakeforce Distribution) helps, but please do exercise extreme caution.
Always remember, taking preventive measures while taking care of your beloved car will save you a lot of money in the long run. Drive safe.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
What do I do if I am driving in the rain and my car’s wipers stop working?
In this case, check if the fuse to the wiper motor has burnt. If so, replace it. If you aren’t able to figure out what the problem actually is, stop at the nearest cigarette stall and buy a couple of cigarettes, take out the tobacco and smear it all over your windshield. The starch in the tobacco will cause the water to drip away, making it easier for you to see through the windshield. Make sure you get those wipers fixed as soon as possible, because the tobacco trick is a short term remedy.
What should I carry in my car at all times?
During the monsoons make sure you are carrying the following items:
- It is recommended that you carry a few biscuits and chocolate bars, in case you get stranded for an extended period of time.
- Make sure that there is a moisture dispelling spray, a torch and a first aid kit in your car.
- A few people would recommend carrying a small hammer to smash the windows in case you get stuck in your car due to flash floods and the doors and windows won’t open. But personally, I feel the two rods at the bottom end of your seat’s headrest would do an equally good job.
- Make sure your spare tyre is in usable condition and properly inflated.
- Make sure that you are carrying your toolkit at all times.
Do any of the anti-rust coatings sold in the market actually help?
Getting an anti-rust coating as specified by your car’s manufacturer is a good idea. Remember to get it done at your authorised service centre or from a reputed workshop only. A good quality anti-rust coating works by preventing contact between the car’s metal and moisture, thereby reducing corrosion. Anti-rust coating is recommended once every two to three years, depending upon usage. It approximately costs from Rs.2,500 to Rs.3,500 and has excellent long-term benefits, so make sure you get that done before the onset of the monsoons.
Drive Safely. Enjoy Monsoon Motoring.
If you guys and gals have any questions just write in a comment and i will surely post a reply!!