The monsoons are here. And with it all the muck, floods and incessant traffic jams that we have become so used to. The monsoon is also the worst season of the year for your car as it starts to accumulate mud, dirt and of course water in all the smaller crevices and gaps which can result in rust. So here are a few tips to keep your car spic and span in the rains and also some tips and tricks to help you drive safer and to keep your car protected from all the harm that it can go through.
Protecting your car's exterior:The Simplest way to protect your car's exterior is to make sure dirt and muck don't settle on it. If you do get the time to do so, always try and wipe down or wash off all the gunk from your car's body post driving in the rain. This will ensure that the dirt and muck gets washed off and cant stick around and in turn damage paint. Every morning too, wipe your car down to get rid of all the leaves and twigs from your car's paint.
The underbody of the car can be protected by spraying a mixture of diesel and used engine oil. This mixture keeps moisture and dirt/grime away and can be integral to protect mechanical moving parts and the underfloor of the car from rust. The combination can also be used on the likes of the front suspension. Avoid spraying it on the engine/exhaust components due to fire hazards and on the brake discs as it can form a film that can cause loss of braking.
Applying a paint protection film is the best way to protect your paint from the effects of rain and moisture. However, these are very very expensive so as an alternative measure, you can apply a ceramic paint protection to make sure water tends to flow away. You also also use simple car wax or polish your car's paint to make sure the water doesn't stay on the surface and tends to flow away.
Protecting your car's Interior:The interior of your car takes one of the worst brunt in the monsoon. Wet and muddy shoes, wet clothes and very high level of moisture can cause the insides of your car to smell. The best way to keep the water and muck off the carpets is to use old newspapers. Newspaper absorbs water instantly and is cheap to buy too which makes it a great alternate to using cloth to clean the carpets and mats.
If your car is not equipped with an automated front defogger, turn the blower speed to full and move the intake to fresh air mode, while positioning the vent to the front defogger position. This will instantly de-fog your windscreen. Never clean the condensation with a towel as this could leaves streaks. Most cars also come with a rear defogger, which can prove to be very useful in the monsoon.
Tyres are prone to severe wear and tear in the monsoons as they work overtime in wet conditions to give your car all the grip it needs. Check how worn your tyres are by a visual inspection to see if the tyre wear markers are still visible. Alternatively, you can check if your tyres still have enough tread by inserting a Rs 10 coin and to see if the golden rim is still visible. If it is, you need new tyres. Contrary to popular belief, getting only front tyres changed is more dangerous since worn rear tyres might result in over steer. And while most drivers can handle the sensation of under steer, over steer needs a lot of skill to counter.
Safety Tips For Your Car:
Always double check your spare tyre every weekend to make sure it has enough air in the tyres. If you do get a puncture, find the first tyre repair shop and get it fixed or do it yourself with a tyre repair kit.
As far as possible, try and stick to the centre lane while driving in the monsoon. This lane has the least possibility of water logging or patches of still water as it is usually set slightly higher than the side lanes.
If you do have to drive through water logged areas, drive slow with constant throttle and avoid using the brakes. Keep space between you and the car in front and if you do stall the car and the water levels are high, do not restart as it will cause engine damage. Turn your hazard lights on and get out of the car as soon as possible to try and push it to a safer place.
Turning your hazards on when it is raining heavily and you are driving around normally though is incorrect and dangerous habit. If you are used to doing this, you need to loose the habit and stop!
Keeping your headlamps clean in the rain is crucial for better visibility. The best way to keep your reflectors as shiny as possible is to clean them with some white toothpaste. Remember, only white toothpaste and not the gel based ones are effective. Apply some on the faded headlamp covers and then rub them in a circular motion till the whole surface is coated. Take a wet cloth and wipe the toothpaste off and this will result in a sparkling new headlamp.
Aftermarket HID headlamps might look cool and might offer more immediate illumination but if fitted in reflectors meant for halogen bulbs is actually much worse. Revert back to the original halogen bulbs or slightly upgraded ones in the monsoons that give a much better beam. Driving lights or fog lamps can also be added but must be kept clean.
Changing your wipers before the monsoon sets in is a no brainer. Some newer wiper blades from the likes of manufacturers like Bosch offer a single piece blade that is more effective. However, there are thousands of fakes in the markets too which are much worse than the standard wiper blades offered by the OEM manufacturers. Always buy from a reputed shop and avoid cheaper Chinese imitations.
Keep your windscreen washing liquid topped up in the rain as it is crucial to keep your windscreen as clean as possible. Adding a bit of soap solution can also help keep the dirt and grime off your car.
And finally, the monsoon can result in low grip and low visibility. Drive slower than you usually would to ensure reaction times are not affected in case you do have to counter an obstruction of some sort.