Here is how you prepare your pre-owned car for the rains and guarantee yourself a trouble-free drive.
Monsoons are here already and motorists should prepare their cars in anticipation of the problems posed by excessive rains, especially for the older pre-owned vehicles. These preparations will not only help minimise the risks you and your car would face in the rains, but also ensure a hassle-free experience.
The following are some key points that you should get checked or fixed before the onset of the monsoons.
Tyres are one of the most overlooked parts of the car, yet they are extremely important and have a major impact on the way a car drives. Having tyres with a good amount of tread is a must during the monsoons. This is down to the fact that traction on wet roads is already severely compromised, when compared to dry roads, and it is made even worse when the water collects to form pools or mixes with leaked oil and other vehicular fluids. Tyre treads help in this situation by channelling the water away from the contact patch, hence improving your car’s grip. Nowadays, most tyres come with tread-wear indicators – a small rubber bar between the grooves on a tyre. As the tyre rubber wears down, the tread indicator starts thinning out, too. Once the tread indicator wears off, it’s definitely time to replace the tyres.
Having a properly working battery is an essential requirement throughout the year, though it becomes even more important in the monsoons. Due to the rains and overcast weather causing poor visibility, you will end up using your wipers and lights more than you would at other times of the year. This takes a heavy toll on the battery, which if not in working shape will cause trouble. It is best to have it replaced beforehand, if required.
Another thing to watch out for is the condition of the exposed wiring running around your car. Improper wiring or wires that have insulation peeling off have a good chance of shorting, especially when they come in contact with water. This can be a major safety hazard to you and others as well.
Making sure that all your lights, including the headlights, tail-lights, fog lights and turn signals are in working order is a crucial step. Heavy rains and overcast weather can make for hampered visibility, and this is where you require your car’s lights working properly to be noticeable to other road users.
Begin with running all lights together – the headlights (in both, low and high beams), brake lights and hazards/indicators. If you’ve noticed your lights get dimmer or inconsistent, you need a new set of bulbs. Flickering or fluctuating lights can also indicate a weak battery. Getting your headlights and tail-lights fixed or replaced, if they have moisture in them or are hazy, is another important task – as you want to see and be seen as clearly as possible when
visibility is bad. Also, ensuring your headlights have an even beam is equally crucial to your safety, as well as that of oncoming vehicles.
Wet roads also have an adverse impact on the braking distance of a car. As with a number of items in this list, properly functioning brakes are a necessity, no matter the circumstances or weather. However, worn out brakes could further increase braking distances, and there is also a chance of failure. Make sure to have your car’s braking system properly inspected by a professional and change worn-out components as soon as possible. During the monsoons, a well-maintained set of brakes is a massive plus – particularly considering braking distances are longer on wet roads.
It might seem like a no-brainer, but not checking the condition of the wipers and washer system is a common oversight. Seeing as they will be used regularly over the monsoons, check your wiper blades to see if they leave behind any smudges or lines of water on the windscreen. If they leave either, it is time to have them changed, as during the monsoons you will be required to use them almost every day.
Ensure the washers are spraying properly, both at the front and rear (where applicable), as debris can clog the noses, or the water pump can fail – leading to the washers not working. Keeping the wiper-washer fluids topped up with soap water (or windshield water fluid) is also important, as sticky debris can be difficult to clear from the windshield and might also damage it. Make sure to keep an eye on the washer reservoir level and top it up as and when it runs low.
Proper functioning of the air-conditioning (AC) system of the car is of utmost importance during the monsoon season when extreme humidity in the weather can leave you drenched in sweat while driving. A ship-shape AC will not only ensure that you are able to maintain full concentration on the road but will also avoid fogging up of the windshield and other glassses of the vehicle when the windows are rolled up due to heavy downpour outside.
Do take your vehicle to an authorised service centre to get the AC system inspected and if the cooling isn't appropriate, things such as the condensor, cooling coil and refrigerant might need some overhaul and top up. A functional AC will also keep the cabin devoid of any unwanted odour due to the high moisture in the atmosphere.