Category Archives: Car Breakdown

Car Safety Checklist for Holiday Trips

When preparing for long road trips, it is always wise to make a complete checklist before you start, as you can never know when your car will break down.

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A good tip is to store an emergency vehicle kit fully equipped at all times in your car. A few must-haves include:

  1. First Aid Kit
  2. Reflective triangle
  3. A jack
  4. Flashlight with extra batteries
  5. Jumpstart kit
  6. Tyre inflator kit
  7. Extra fuel

Always get your car thoroughly checked and be ready for any emergencies. Remember, when in doubt, just follow the car manual.

The RPM Gauge and ‘Redlining’

All cars come with multiple dials on its dashboard. While most of us are familiar with the fuel gauge and the speedometer, there is that one other dial that’s a bit more complicated – the tachometer or RPM gauge. So, what exactly is a tachometer? By definition: It is an instrument which measures the working speed of an engine, typically in revolutions per minute (RPM). In short, it helps inform us how fast the engine is turning and rotating. The tachometer aims to read the rotation of the engine’s crankshaft and it also lets you know when to shift.

These days, cars with automatic transmissions are slowly discontinuing tachometers, but they are an absolute necessity in manual models to let drivers know when there is a problem with the transmission as well as precisely when to shift.

What is ‘redlining’?
You will also notice that compared to a speedometer, the RPM gauge displays smaller numbers such as 1-8, with red lines on the higher digits. These red lines are the danger zones for your engine. When you fail to shift to a higher gear, the needle moves to the red line. If your tachometer reaches these red levels, it can cause overheating and excessive wear on the engine. But although some believe this will cause your engine to explode, all modern cars incorporate a fuel cut-off that will stop an engine from reaching the point where it could cause permanent damage, typically just past the redline itself. The tachometer is just a way to tell you that your engine has reached its maximum RPMs. The best way to avoid this is by shifting gears within the range of your engine’s maximum performance whenever possible.

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What happens if you redline?
The red lines are there for a reason; but if you do accidentally end up in the red for a fleeting instant, you have little to worry about as long as you don’t do it again. You could also book a check-up for your car if you’re worried.

Prevention:
Most cars these days have a rev-limiter built-in and prevent you from redlining by setting up the system to cut off the fuel flow to the engine, or to disable the ignition system until the engine falls to a safer speed. The safest bet, however, is to avoid over-speeding the engine and not upshifting the gear.

Safety Reminder: Monsoon Driving Ahead

We all love the “pit, pit, patter of the raindrops”; the weather cools down, the air smells fresh and clean…but with more rains comes more responsibility – driving responsibility. When commuting in the rain, we have to be extra careful of everything, especially with the state of our city roads and traffic. Here’s a couple of reminders for that little extra precaution.

Check your tyres!
Make it a habit to check your tyre condition before you leave. Do the one rupee coin test to check if your tyres need replacing. If your tyre tread is below the minimum depth of 2 mm, it’s time to change your tyre. When driving in the rain, if your tyre tread is worn down, there is no place for the water to be dispelled out, which leads to loss of traction with the road. This can cause your car to start hydroplaning.

Inspection!
Inspect everything at least once before you set out. Check your brakes, your windshield wipers, and your fuel level. Check that your headlights, fog lights and blinkers work. You don’t want any of these failing if you get stuck in a heavy downpour.

Go Slow!
We get it; you want to get off the wet roads, out of traffic and to your destination. But that doesn’t mean you need to risk your own and everyone else’s safety. It’s always the right choice to drive slower than your usual pace during the rainy season for the simple fact that it takes longer for your car to slow down on wet roads. Braking doesn’t guarantee that your car will stop on time. Wet roads are extremely slippery, making it difficult to get enough traction to stop.

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Plan Ahead!
Traffic is bad on regular days, but on rainy days, it’s gonna be worse. Always plan ahead and give yourself ample travel time to get to your scheduled day.

Light it up!
It’s always advisable to turn on your headlights – on low beam only – when driving in rainy conditions. This will let other drivers know you’re there when visibility is low.

Sink or Swim?
Well, in this case, don’t do either! Avoid flooded roads as much as possible. All your electronic systems and controls will be put at risk. Not to say if there is a pothole under all that water, your car is more than likely to get stuck in the ditch. Never try to drive through water that is higher than the bottom of your doors.

Be Prepared!
Always, always have an emergency kit in your car at all times; extra clothes, shoes, flashlights, tools and even some non-perishable food. You never know when you might need them.

Don’t Ignore These 5 Car Engine Noises

Every car comes with some metal parts in the exterior, and fibre in the interior. It is very common for these parts to start producing noises over years of use, largely because of vehicle usage.

Engine knocking sounds:
This is heard when you drive your car by changing gears or by acceleration. It is caused because the early ignition of the air-fuel mixture has not produced the minimum power at the right time. In this case, check your engine oil level. If you find any faults, take it to your nearest service centre. Sometimes proper tuning of the engine could fix this issue.

Pinging on cold start:
This noise is caused by the fuel mixture in the engine cylinder being ignited too early by the heat of compression. We can hear this noise during acceleration of the vehicle. As the engine gets older, it will start to ping more on cold start.

Tapping sound from the engine:
The tapping sound from the engine is due to the low oil level or loose components. You can check your oil level using the dipstick. When you rev, the engine tends to produce more tap or upper valve train noises.

Loud squealing:
Loud squealing noises come from the internal engine and is caused by the belts. In a car, there are multiple belts: one for power steering pulley and one for the AC compressor. The belts generally slip from the pulley because it’s worn out. This sound is louder when you start the engine cold and fades away as you accelerate.

Grinding noise:
This is one of the common engine noises heard frequently. This noise is caused by the driver when shifting the gears; because when you apply the gear with half clutch, then there will be a grinding noise. If you are doing so, avoid it because it can damage the entire engine system.

Check the oil level regularly; because in a car, noises arise primarily because of the low level of oil. The other common thing is a bad belt, which can cause squealing noises. If you find worn-out belts, it’s time to replace them.