For a very long time, only cars came with inbuilt warning lights on the dashboard. But lucky for us, these days motorbikes come equipped with emergency lights and options of analogue or LCDs.
Dashboard warning symbols are also designed in different colours to create awareness and convey information about the current state of the vehicle. Usually, blue and green lights inform the rider that a service is active or that the vehicle is functioning normally; while red and yellow lights indicate that there is a fault. When the red light is displayed, then it is necessary to take action.
What does it mean when they light up?
If the ignition light is lit up, it means that the engine has some problems with the electrical system, the battery needs to be replaced or it is failing to charge. Your bike would not start if there is a fault in the battery.
Engine Temperature Warning Light:
This sign indicates that the engine coolant level may be running low or there may be a leak in the coolant system. This occurs when the temperature has crossed the normal level and can damage your bike’s engine.
Oil Pressure Warning Light:
This symbol indicates low oil pressure. It lights up when there is a variation in the oil levels which can damage the engine. For your safety, switch off the bike engine once you notice it.
This neutral light illuminates in green and indicates to the rider that the bike is in a neutral state. When switching gears, this green light will disappear.
The indicator light also illuminates in green colour. If you are turning left, the left directional arrow will flash, for the right, the right directional arrow will flash. In case of hazard warning, both lights are activated.
Full Beam Light:
The full-beam light indicates that your headlight is on at full beam. Put off your high beam when you notice another car coming towards you on the other side of the road. It’s better to avoid high beam in the daytime so that you can save your battery life.
Warning lights can prevent a lot of mishaps from happening and save you from unnecessary troubles. If proper action is taken at the right time, it can even save lives and keep you safe.
Everyone who owns a car has experienced a no-start condition irrespective of the battery status. When your car denies your command, it can be quite depressing. Now you must be wondering why on the face of the Earth won’t your car start when you just got your batteries checked last week, and they were in top-notch condition.
Well, as a car owner you must know the science behind starting your car. Before you hear the sound of the turned-on engine, there are certain connections which have to be made in the ignition circuit. If any component of the ignition circuit goes malfunctioning, then you would face troubles starting your car engine and be late for work again.
Let’s see what could be the possible causes for your car to fail on you.
Faulty ignition switch:
Imagine your ignition circuit with six components arranged linearly. The first component being the battery and the last one being the starter motor. Now the ignition switch forms the second component of this linear arrangement. It indicates the battery to start the engine. If your ignition switch has gone malfunctioning, then this signal will fail to take place thus preventing your car from starting.
Problem with the starter:
Still have the picture of the ignition circuit in your head? Ok, so the last component of the circuit was a starter motor. If your motor is flawed, you can expect a defective car. The starter basically takes the electric current from the battery to start the engine. Well if it can’t do that, it is no good to you. Consider replacing your starter or check if the connection isn’t too flimsy.
No supply of fuel:
Of course, everything requires energy to function. If your car isn’t getting its nutrients, then it is not going to run to its full potential. For the engine to start the fuel must be supplied smoothly into the ignition chamber. If you fail to do proper maintenance of your fuel pump filter, and other components which allow the fuel to be transmitted to the engine effortlessly then, your car might fail to start.
The spark is gone!
Relationships are as good as dead when there is no spark. It’s the same with cars. For your engine to start a spark has to be ignited via the spark plug. If the spark plug has gone dysfunctional due to over-heating, dirt, or any other reason, then your car will not start.
Did you check the gas bar?
Well well, did you check if your car has any fuel at all before deciding to take your girlfriend on a date?
Is your anti-theft system on?
Sometimes when your anti-theft system is on you will be unable to turn the key after inserting it in the keyhole. You can try fidgeting the steering wheel and simultaneously turn the key.
Wires form an integral part of any electrical circuit. And for a circuit to come alive all the wires must be in working condition. Considering checking your ground wire, connecting cables, and other wires if your car doesn’t start.
Automobiles – both bikes and cars – can no longer be categorized exclusively into the sphere of mechanical engineering, with the increasing emphasis on electronic components. From the spark plug to sensors, and gear shift to cruise control, contemporary vehicles have become an ensemble of various other fields that come to the limelight based on their functionality, other than the traditional ones – the most important of them being the electronic ones.
Batteries are one of the most, or rather the most important components that form the nucleus of the electrical and electrical side of the vehicle. Be it horns or wipers or air conditioners, the conglomerate of cathode, anode and electrolyte are the saviours coming to the rescue.
The prescribed battery life for any automobile ranges from 4 to 5 years, but not every battery lasts till the “calendar life”. Before we delve deep into the battery life extension, let us give a glimpse into the basic aspects of a battery.
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Sneak peek into battery ratings:
Batteries used in on-road automobiles are usually of 12 V capacity, but the current rating or amperage can vary depending upon the size and capacity of the vehicle. The overall charge and discharge rates of the battery are described by the term ampere-hour (A.h). Some of the ratings are 26 A.h, 40 A.h, 90 A.h, etc.
For example, the indicator lights of a Tata Indica takes up to 2 A of current. Considering 40 A.h battery for this scenario, this means that 40/2 = 20 hours. Hence, the battery would last for 20 hours from the full charge condition before draining, provided indicator is the only electronic component being operated. This is arrived at by taking into account another bullet point that it is not being continuously charged by a medium.
How do the car batteries charge themselves during the operation of a vehicle?
A: What if the battery drains while the vehicle is being driven?
B: It wouldn’t.
A: You kidding? How come?
Here comes the alternator. Alternator is a device which runs throughout the operation of a vehicle, charging the batteries and enabling them to act as the source for fulfilling the functions of the accessories. Alternator is coupled with the battery in series to provide a constant current charging to it.
Some more information about batteries:
Batteries are of different types like lithium ion batteries, nickel cadmium batteries, etc. but the lead acid accumulators are the most commonly used type in automobiles, because they are cheap and provide long life. With the advent of electric vehicles (EVs) and hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), the lithium polymer batteries are coming to the fore now, but still the dominance of lead acid accumulators cannot be shaken.
Tips and tricks:
The various issues with batteries that can be solved with proper maintenance are as follows:
Corrosion in the terminals is one of the simplest yet fatal problems that tend to bog the battery’s performance down. Corrosion happens due to the continuous usage of battery for long time, and the corroded particles may be found forming patches near the terminals.
This problem can be overcome by cleaning the terminals with a mixture of three spoons of baking soda and one spoon of warm water, and then wiping away the residues with a piece of clean cloth free of any dust particles.
If the issue is not properly addressed, the corrosion may form a separate layer and would prevent the conduction of current from and to the battery thereby disabling the function of the automobile.
Mounting the battery with appropriate supports is always essential. Mounting will mostly be in the form of clamps that hold the battery in place. This would prevent the dynamic vibration of battery; vibration would cause electrical disasters like short circuits, fluctuations, sparks and would damage the components under the hood (bonnet).
Maintaining the water level of the battery could be commonly seen in the households with UPS installed. There are several knobs that usually show the increase or decrease of water levels in the battery. For example, if there are four such knobs and at least two of them do not contain water in the lids, it is time to quench the thirst of the battery, only with DISTILLED water. This is available in all petrol pumps nowadays.
Insulating the battery with a proper covering layer would increase its longevity significantly; insulators are surfaces with no or negligible electrical conductivity. Facilitation of these surfaces would mean that even if there are some wires dangling out, making contact with the battery, there are absolutely no or very less chances of short circuiting. Dielectric grease is popularly used for insulation purposes.
Isolate the battery and disconnecting the battery terminals from the contact positions, during a certainty that you would not drive the vehicle for a long time, say a week. The batteries would be draining minimal quantities of the stored energy even when the vehicle is switched off because there are components like the clock, which keep running. So it is always advisable to keep the batteries disconnected during long absence of driving.
Make sure all the electronic accessories like the air conditioner, wiper, head lights, indicators, etc. are switched off before you start the vehicle from halt. This would prevent the battery from getting drained immediately and is also a significant indicator of its longevity.
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Make long trips as much as possible, because batteries require some time to get charged. Short trips would mean that the batteries are charged for only limited time, which implies that they are not fully charged. The problem is that charging and discharging, is alternated at a rapid rate, would repeatedly modify the temperatures of the chemicals in the battery, thereby making them susceptible to failure.
Batteries are the arteries of automobiles. Charge them and treat them well, so that they don’t demand much charge from your pocket every now and then. Safe journey!