The monsoon is on its way in from the Southern parts of the country, heading towards the north, and that means in a few days everything will be better as the days will be cooler. The temperature will fall, the hot loo winds will be replaced by a cool soothing breeze, hell, even chai tastes better in the rain. While the monsoon’s je ne sais quoi may mean happy days for us, they are nothing short of hellish for our cars, and we aren’t just talking about how traffic comes to a grinding halt every time it rains. Fret not, This list of pre-monsoon measures for your car should ensure that your car makes it through the monsoon hitch free.
Pre-monsoon care 101 involves ensuring that your windscreen wipers are at the top of their game. Most OEMs say that the average life for a windscreen wiper will range from 2-3 years, we, however, feel that given the conditions in the sub-continent wipers should be replaced at least once a year and what better time than ahead of the monsoon. Wipers may not seem like an integral part of a car's mechanicals, in fact, it's unlikely that you will even notice them till they can be a matter of life and death if they aren’t working effectively. If your wipers leave a watery residue on the windscreen even after two wipes, they need to be changed. The other important aspect is to ensure that your windscreen fluid is always topped up. It is advisable that you check levels for this at least once a week. And although a mixture of water and liquid soap usually does the trick. In our experience, actual windshield fluid does work the best especially on that strange oily grime that accumulates on the screen in monsoons.
Now while we aren’t going to be expecting you to take your family compact sedan water wading, it's always advisable to be prepared for the frequent floods on our roads. Get your electricals checked using an amp meter to check for leakage or false earthing on the lines. That should be followed up by a check for exposed wire bits, three times over if you have got some aftermarket electronic doodah installed. Aftermarket mechanics are notorious when it comes to wiring and you don’t want your car going shot the first time water rises above the lower lip.
There’s, quite literally, a thin line between you getting through the monsoon skid free and a huge aquaplaning disaster. The tread on your tyre is designed to expel water as you go over a puddle and ensure you have grip, so before the monsoon does hit check whether there is enough tread on your tyres. Additionally, you might want to deflate them a PSI or two, to increase the contact patch. If you have a high-performance machine parked in the garage then it might be time to whip out the wet-weather tyres. And although, this article is mostly about pre-monsoon car care, if you do find yourself in the driver's seat of an aquaplaning car, and you feel the steering going light. DO NOT BRAKE! Keep the throttle steady and steering inputs to a minimum and you should find grip safely at the other end of the puddle.
If your cars have all four disc brakes, a cursory evaluation of the disc surface for scratches and rust should keep you covered. But if you’re in the more likely scenario of having two drums in the rear or even worse all four drums, then you might want to have them properly serviced, before and after the monsoon. Everything in a drum brake from the mechanical drum activator to the asbestos pads tends to take the moisture badly, losing grip is one thing, losing your brakes is something that should never happen to you.
Now in most non-coastal cities like Delhi, there isn’t the kind of humidity that would require an underbody coat (although it’s never too bad) but if you live in Mumbai, Kolkata or Chennai, it probably bests that you get it done ahead of the monsoon to ensure that you don't find early winter rust on the runner (which strangely in most cars is very prone to rust). Rust is pretty much the equivalent of cancer to cars, once it’s started there is very little you can do aside from replacing the entire chassis. Even though it might be mildly more expensive than our other suggestions an underbody could potentially save you to the tune of lakhs. Another great practice is to generously grease all joints, to ensure that your doors close with a reassuring thud even after the monsoons and it doesn’t sound like the start of a horror movie every time you egress. Whether you do or don’t go for an underbody paint, monsoons call for a little more than your standard car care. Get your underbody washed at least once a fortnight. Additionally, a periodic interior thorough cleaning will get you ahead of that musty stench wet carpet stench that doesn’t go away.
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