It’s easier to wipe away those oil stains on your bike’s engine and forget all about it. You may not even have given much thought about that ugly bike engine oil stain on your parking spot. Vehicles do leak a bit of oil. Is it that big a deal to worry about?
Well, here’s putting it in perspective for you. Oil leakage is equivalent to your engine bleeding its life out and hence should be a priority.
Lifeblood of the engine
The engine oil acts as the lubricant between the moving parts of the engine, so as to keep the components moving, without friction. The components inside the engine are subject to a lot of heat due to steady combustion and continuous movement. Hence, there is a need for an external agent to cool the engine down and lubricate it, reducing the wear and tear of the components, thereby enabling it to perform at its best. And that external agent here is the engine oil.
Oil leak means one thing- oil inside the engine is falling below safe levels. The parts are being subject to excess stress and consequent wear and tear. This not only impacts their efficient performance but reduces their life too. And always check and change bike engine oil before going on a long drive .
Causes for bike engine oil leak?
Oil leaks could be due to a variety of reasons. Most common reasons are improper installation of the engine components and/or design failure of the engine itself. Failure of minor rubber components like seals, gaskets, o-rings or connection tubes can also cause engine oil leakage in your beloved motorbike.
What should I do?
Act fast and you could get the job done in less than a hundred rupees. Neglect it and it affects the engine and the vehicle as a whole. It might even result in engine seizure and burn a hole worth Rs.10,000 in your pocket.
So keep an eye out for those dreadful oil stains or traces of oil on the engine surface and arrest it before it costs you a sad lot of money.
“With each replacement of parts, a vehicle slowly becomes Chinese.”
One important aspect of daily maintenance check that every car and bike owner faces has to do is related to the tyres. These structures that fulfill the dynamic responsibilities of an automobile also take the entire load of the vehicle and rider; so, it becomes quintessential to keep track of the health of the tyres now and then to ensure a safe ride and prolong life of tyres. The following tyre maintenance tips will help you achieve just that .
Basic things one needs to know about tyre maintenance:
Before we delve deep into the maintenance of the tyres, let’s learn a few jargons that the garage people use to make us feel out of the league.
Cold tyre pressure – this is the pressure of the tyre when the car is at a halt and it has exhausted all the heat that gets aggravated after driving on road.
Hot tyre pressure – this is the pressure when the tyre is being driven, or that when the vehicle has just come to a halt (say, near a fuel station or a traffic signal, etc.)
Tread – Tread is the passage in the tyre that makes actual contact with the road. There are various types of Tyre treads. While a directional tread has V-shaped pattern that provides a rough contact (for rough terrains and rocky slopes), the symmetrical tread has a straight seam that facilitates easy driving across smooth travails.
What, why and how do tyres get affected?
Before we have had time to realize, the day mean temperature is hot enough to fry eggs on roads. The tyres, which experience the frictional effects due to their rolling contact with the road, are the components that face the brunt of this heat.
Tyres are designed for specific pressure ranges, which would be influenced by the external environmental factors – the most significant of them being the temperature. So any variation in the prevalent temperature may affect the tyres, negatively.
Major problems with tyres:
There are many different problems that affect tyres in a drastic way. Some of the day-to-day hardships are detailed as follows:
Deflation and Punctures
With the prevalent road conditions in the city and in most parts of the country, the tyres get wounded very easily. Puncture is one common difficulty that would be the devilish nightmare of office goers. Punctures may be caused due to the vehicle being static for a very long time, constant high temperature exposure, long drives through tough terrains, or other external factors like thorns or nails.
It is always a good practice to park the vehicle at a place free of too much garbage and wastage, because there are high chances of sharp items being spilled around, which would target the rubber.
While the maximum pressure given in the manual indicates the endurance limit of the tyre, it is not a good practice to inflate it to the maximum level. The optimum pressure as specified must be taken care of and it should not go beyond or below a particular permitted tolerance range.
High cold pressures (over-inflation) in the tyres would result in their outer surface bulging out because of constant frictional contact with the road, and this would result in cracks near the treads. This could also create imbalance in the load bearing capacity of the vehicle, thereby making it unstable at full load drives.
Low cold pressures (under-inflation) would result in the outward protrusion of the surface, thereby creating chances of tear and burst of tyres. Low pressures also create the disadvantage of the ground clearance getting comparably lower which might create serious problems gradually.
One easier way to prolong the life of tyres is to rotate them periodically. Rotation refers to the change of tyres from their original position (that is, change of tyres from front to back, and vice-versa). This would ensure that the tyres are exposed to various pressure ranges, thereby making them resistant to faults. Standard tyre rotation periods are between 3,000 and 5,000 kilometers for bikes, and 8,000 to 10,000 kilometers for cars. Maintaining proper tyre pressures can help you increase mileage of your car or bike .
Moreover, in the case of cars, where the engines are located at the front part of the body, front pairs of tyres are usually made to withstand higher loads in comparison to that of the pair at the back. Hence, the periodical rotation would extend their life to a considerable extent.
This problem may occur due to blowouts or improper pressures across all tyres, and may cause fatal aftereffects to the vehicle as well as the driver. Wobbling may also be a result of misalignment in wheels. This could be felt during sharp curves especially and may affect the differentials of the vehicle.
Cracks and blisters
Cracks are the results of the causes discussed so far. No tyre can stay true to its ideal capabilities after the vehicle is being driven on road for so long. But the indication that the tyres need to be replaced can be examined and detected by using one’s fingers.
Try inserting a fingernail into the visible crack. If it does not penetrate, then the crack is not serious and there is absolutely no need of changing the tyres. If the nail can go into the crack but you cannot tear away a piece of tyre, it implies the tyre can be used for further driving at least for 500 to 800 kilometers more. But if the fingernail goes inside the crack and you could remove a piece of tyre that are as wide as two fingers (note that this is the width of two fingers and not the length), that is a clear indicator the tyres need to be replaced immediately.
Permanent wear and tear
This is the final stage of the tyre and it has reached a stage where it cannot tolerate more stresses applied to it. Hence, it becomes mandatory to change the tyres at or beyond this stage.
The coin test may be an easy way to see the tread wear of the tyre (in case of a car only). Normally, the tread should not be shallower than 1/16th of an inch or around 1.6 mm. The scales could be used to check this out, but for easier diagnostics, it is recommended that you use a 1 rupee coin to test it. If the Rupiah text in Hindi is visible (in case of older types of coins), then it is a warning signal that the tyre needs to be replaced or repaired.
So while looking around the building, take care of the basement also. Once the foundation is stronger, the entire construction gets a boost. The same applies to the dynamic devils – your cars and bikes. Don’t tire the tyres until the tyres tear apart. Happy riding! May the frictional force be with you!
‘Feeling the heat’ has become quite a literal phrase nowadays with temperatures skyrocketing to 40 degree Celsius effortlessly. As we take care of our physical well-being by switching according to the climatic conditions, maintenance of one of the most important mechanical contraptions – the cars and bikes – becomes a necessity rather than a luxury.
Whenever the term ‘heat’ is uttered in mechanical jargon, ‘friction’ automatically comes into play. Got the drift? Yeah, this exactly is about the TYRES. There are simple yet effective ways to prevent tyres from blowing out easily. As we see in even the simple vehicles like bicycles, the tyres tend to protrude a bit on the outwards when the pressure becomes less. This will induce uneven load distribution in the tyres causing wobbling; continuous operation of the cars and bikes in this condition would result in a tyre tear. High pressures would mean improper response to the control inputs (braking, acceleration, etc.). Don’t tire the tyres until the tyres tear themselves.
Like we recharge ourselves with jars of juices and tumblers of water, it is important to maintain the liquid levels of the vehicles too. Guess what? LUBRICATION. Since all the oils that are used in the systems tend to be volatile, it is significant to replace them by keeping track every now and then, particularly during high temperatures. Standard vehicle techniques say that it is better to replace oils after every 5,000 kilometers or 3 months (whichever comes first), and the oil filters after every 12,000 kilometers for cars, and the engine oil be changed after 3,000 kilometers for their two wheeler counterparts.
BATTERY is one significant part that always aids in the proper functioning of numerous accessories. Similar to the checking of the liquid levels in the battery of our UPS systems in houses, it becomes mandatory to follow the same in case of car batteries also. Yo6u don’t want your wiper or headlights to just not work when you need them badly. Make sure you take good care of your battery.
With the amount of pollution we are facing particularly in a densely-populated country like India, it becomes noteworthy to stress a bit on cleanliness. Oh man, the AIR FILTER! This part may get clogged particularly after long drives in highways due to the amount of dry dust that fills in the cavity of it. Make it a point to dust them out, or else you might feel the heat of it, quite literally!
One may get bored and stressed at the never-ending signals, particularly in the city. Throttling of your vehicle in the stationary condition would result in overheating of the engine. More than being vroomed, let the automobile be groomed.
Having discussed about the driven equipment, there are also certain prerequisites for the driver. HELMETS have become mandatory for a good reason, yet there are certain precautions to be followed while wearing one. Do ensure that the head gear has adequate free space between the nostrils, mouth cavity and forehead. Suffocation problems may arise due to congested helmets. Most importantly, it is primary to have an absorbent material as a covering inside the top most layer of the inner surface; this would ensure that the sweat and liquids get absorbed well, leaving you fresh (at least in the appearance perspective, though it needn’t be mentioned that drivers will be gasping after a long drive in this summer :P).
There are also other components like radiator, air conditioner and others that require diligent care and trustworthy maintenance. More than anything, remember that ‘Every action has an equal reaction’. One general piece of mind would be to opt for short travails during noons and to make use of the span between 6 PM and 9:30 PM for huge passages. As the summer gets grimmer, enjoy your rides by taking sides as per the environment. Beat the heat and drive safe!