Hyderabad: As we wait for the skies to open up and burst upon us with a deluge of rain, there is one question that we should be asking ourselves: Is the car ready to take the wear and tear of the monsoon? It is no mystery that the monsoons are rough on your car. What most people are not so sure about are the measures they can take to ensure that their car runs smoothly during this period.

“It’s a great idea to get your car serviced ahead of the monsoons to ensure that all the mechanical components work just fine. Be sure to tell your mechanic to grease the joints and suspension components. The rains can wash away most of the grease and it’s best to be starting the season with freshly greased car parts. It is better to be safe during the rains,” informed Neelkanth Parmar, servicing professional.

Neelkanth gives a checklist you can follow to make sure you and your car are ready to face the rains.

WIPERS: Car wipers are your best friends during rains. Ideally you should replace your wipers every year as the blades are best when they are new. Check if the blades have any cracks on them or any leaves or twigs obstructing them. Hard or cracked wiper blades will cause scratches on the glass. If the wipers are making an unusual sound while swiping across the glass, it’s better to get them changed as this indicates that the blades are brittle.

TYRES: The car tyres are the only point of contact with the road and should be kept in good condition, especially when it is slippery. Keep a spare tyre in the car for emergencies. Carrying a puncture repair kit is also a good option. Ensure that ideal tyre pressure is maintained. Get the wheels aligned properly before torrential rains start. Avoid driving over puddles. Drive slowly.

EXTERIORS: If you’ve ignored minor scratches on the surface of the paint, now is the time to take care of it. Scratches are an easy way for rust to start setting in the car. Before the onset of the rains, wax polish your car. This protects the paint and prevents rusting. After a drive in the rain, be sure to wipe your car dry and wash the mud from the underside of the car. Always keep your car covered when you are not using it. Get your mechanic to grease all the door locks and other components that can be greased. Also check the condition of the battery and top-up if needed.

INTERIORS: It does tend to get stuffy in the car during rains and the floor and upholstery might start to smell. Use a car air freshener to clear out the smell. It is advisable to use the freshener which can be directly glued to the AC vents. Also ensure that the rear wiper and heater are working right. Check and double check all the lights. Place your feet on the pedal and check if you have an adequate grip on the pedal. Your feet might slip if the pedal doesn’t provide adequate slip. Be sure to replace the pedals if you suspect a loose grip.

WATERPROOF YOUR CAR: Make sure that your car’s engine is watertight. There are rubber beadings and mounts on the corners of the doors to prevent the rain water from entering the car. Check that the beadings are not worn out and they fit properly. An ill-fit beading can, not only wet the insides of your car, but it can also cause short circuits. If you notice water seeping inside the car, there might be a chance of short circuit. In such a case, have your beading checked immediately.

DRIVING ON HIGHWAYS: While driving on highways, try and maintain a steady speed. It takes longer for the car to slow down on wet roads. Try to maintain a safe distance from the car ahead of you and don’t try tricky overtaking maneuvers. Increase the distance between cars if you feel the visibility reducing. Be cautious when you are following trucks. Accelerate smoothly and start breaking well in advance to avoid skidding.

Make it on time
How often has it happened that you have been late for an appointment during monsoons? Too many times can’t be just a co-incidence. The wise thing to do is to allocate more travel time during monsoons. The roads are wet during the rains so ideally you should be driving slower and more carefully. The traffic also moves slower during rains. Then, there might be a possibility than your pre-planned route is jammed or flooded. When all goes wrong, time will come to your rescue. Leave for your appointment earlier and drive safe to get there on time.

When taking a long drive in the rains…
Drive slower than usual and be more alert. Maintain a comfortable distance from the vehicle driving ahead of you.
Do not follow large buses or trucks too closely. The spray from their rear wheels will block vision. It also takes longer for a vehicle to stop on wet surfaces.

Avoid abrupt braking. Brake smoothly. If you push the brake pedal to the limit, the car will probably slip. It is preferable to come to a lower speed before coming to a complete halt.

Avoid fitting tinted film on your windshield – it reduces visibility. Windscreen fogging is a common problem during the rains which can be solved by using the de-frost mode with AC switched on. Open your front windows a few centimeters to help with the de-fogging.

Visibility is a problem even in daylight. If it is raining in the daytime, keep your headlights on low beam. It helps your visibility and helps others spot you. Tail lights and fog lights are your friends in monsoons.

Don't lock the power doors when driving through floods. If the power fails, you could get trapped inside the car.

(Courtesy: City Plus)