Tag Archives: Maintenance

Used Car Purchase – Check Points

USED CAR PURCHASE – CHECK POINTS

Cars have become part and parcel of day to day sustenance but buying one is not a takeaway for everyone. Not all are gifted to get a brand new eye-candy to boast off, and some may have to settle with second-hand products. But why should one feel bad about getting a used car if it looks good, runs well and satisfies the needs? Here are a few pointers to check on before deciding on purchasing a used car.

Preliminary considerations:

The type of car, the purse amount and the type of usage must be taken into account before deciding to go for a car.

  • The type of car would essentially mean the number of people most likely to travel in it
  • The type of usage would mean long or short drives and the type of terrain the car would be subjected to while being driven.

Once the model is fixed up in mind, second-hand purchases become quite easy because there would be a single-minded set of questions to be asked to various people regarding that model only. Always ask two or three authorised dealers before fixing on an estimate.

Open the bonnet:

 

used car purchase - open the bonnet
Used Car Purchase – Check Points : Open the car the bonnet and check for issues.

Cars appearing like this from behind might have problems in the front like this.

used car purchase - the vehicle might have problems on the front side of the car
Used Car Purchase – The vehicle might have problems on the front side of the car

So it is always better to have a compartmentalised view of the car before deciding to go for it.

Engine:
used-car-purchase-car-engine-condition-checkup
Used Car Purchase – Always check the condition of the engine

The heart of the vehicle should be checked thoroughly, mostly with the help of a mechanic or a person with adequate hands-on experience with automobiles. The flywheels would get rusty after prolonged usage. Checking the engine also means investigating every small component associated with it right from the bearings to the valves.

The belt drives associated with the engines are also mandatory checkpoints. These belts are usually toothed and hence any deformation in the tooth would mean the car has been used too much. The degree of elasticity of the belt would also transform to the quality and quantity of usage. When the belt is slightly pulled and released, the vibratory oscillations should not be more than 1 to 1.5 centimetres.

Usage and distance:

This is one important perspective while buying a second-hand car. If a car is assumed to run for about 30 kilometres a day, it would mean 30 * 365 = 10,950, which can be translated to approximately 11,000 kilometres a year. So if a car (if it is not a taxi) has run more than 75,000 kilometres (which roughly equals 7 years of usage), there are high chances that that particular model has become obsolete. So think twice before buying these kinds of models, because used cars would require a lot of maintenance (at least initially) and hence the spares should be readily available.

Appearance and body:

 

used car purchase - appearence and body condition of the car india
Used Car Purchase – Make sure the paints are used only for the aesthetic needs and not to deceive the buyer.

The car must be examined visually and also by touch. There are certain minor bumps and dents which might not be visible to the naked eye but on sliding the hands over the exterior of the car, one might be able to sense the minor glitches.

The paint and coating also matters; if the car looks old after a sneak peek into the bonnet but it has been painted, there might be recent accidents and paints would mean effective cover-ups. So make sure the paints are used only for the aesthetic needs and not to deceive the buyer.

Tyres:
used car purchase - check points - tyre condition
Used Car Purchase – Tyres are usually meant to operate for around 25,000 kilometers before replacement.

Tyres, which literally set the wheels in motion, are potential sources of implied information. The distances shown in the odometer of the vehicle can be duped but the tyres would show up variations. Tyres are usually meant to operate for around 25,000 kilometers before replacement. Even if the odometer is being reset (in the case of a digital one) or tampered (in the case of a mechanical type), the tyres can act as good measures of guesstimating the approximate run.

For detailed information, the owner’s service log may be examined to check the history of services. This would give a clear-cut picture of how many services the car has undergone, which would eventually decide if one can buy it or not.

Driving condition:

This is where the steering and ABC (acceleration, brake and clutch) of the vehicles come into play significantly. The gears should be shifted by keeping the clutch partially pressed (this condition is called as half-clutch position); this would indicate the smoothness of the transmission system. While shifting, if the gear lever becomes rigid, or if it is harder for shifting, then it means the transmission needs to be looked into.

Also, the vehicle shouldn’t give a rugged feel while driving. Unnecessary wobbles and a roaring noise (typically like that of a note sustained in a bass guitar) at speed ranges of 50 to 70 kilometres per hour would imply the car might cause several problems like engine failure in the near future.

The differentials of the car can be put to test by performing slight turns. If the opposite pairs of tyres (right in the case of a left turn, and left for a right turn) tend to be a bit draggy during the turn, the car might very well be towards its finals stages.

Power steerings are not susceptible to failure very easily; they usually give warning signs before they fail permanently. The initial warning signals would be a freakish screech heard every time the steering is turned to beyond 50 to 60 degrees. This is a minor stage which can be overcome by replacing the steering fluid.

Another way to know the steering effectiveness is to serve it using a single hand. If there is a difficulty in taking a 60-degree turn within 10 meters at 20 km/hr, it is a warning sign that the steering might give in.

Legal documents:

Once the deal is settled, make sure to get all the required papers like RC book, insurance documents and other ownership transfer details from the owner so as to avoid any legal disputes and issues.

Cost and quality are two factors separated by a thin line, especially in the case of used car purchase. Be informed, look close and don’t fall for word magic. Think for a second to buy a second-hand car. Vrooom !

Car Pedal Maintenance and Safety Tips

If Bollywood movies are any indication, we know that car pedals usually fail, especially when you are on a long, dramatic road stretch. Why the cars don’t stop gradually due to deceleration beats our minds, but here’s a good read to avoid such melodrama in your real lives.

Car pedal maintenance and safety tips in India
Car Pedal Maintenance And Safety Tips – If you’re a new driver and get confused with what’s what, remember the popular acronym ABC, namely accelerator, brake and clutch.

A car, usually, has three pedals (don’t roll your eyes at the obvious statement, a lot of cars have been manufactured with only two), the accelerator, the brake, and the clutch.

If you’re a new driver and get confused with what’s what, remember the popular acronym ABC, namely accelerator, brake and clutch.

However easy the handling of three innocuous pedals might seem, if done roughly, the connections do deteriorate in any vehicle. Hence, always refer to your car’s bible, the reader’s manual, before trying to handle it.

Let’s examine problems with each pedal, and their solutions separately.

Clutch

Clutch has the notorious distinction of being the most problem giving pedal among the three. The clutch is the pedal you use for changing gears while driving, and having that out of order can lead to some sticky situations.

Now, when a clutch goes bad, you wouldn’t be able to switch gears, or at least switch them up easily. Driving in such a vehicle is possible, and also extremely hazardous.
Here are a few problems your clutch might be facing.

Brake

There shouldn’t be a need to explain why this arrear screams attention. Braking is simply too important of a driving tactic to have it not work perfectly.

One way with which mechanics start diagnosing brake issues is by pressing your brake pedal. If it goes in deeper than it’s supposed to go, you’ve most definitely got a problem.

The reasons to this are similar to a clutch; you’re either low on brake fluid, or either the master or the slave cylinder component of your braking unit has given away.

Accelerator

Referred to as the gas pedal sometimes, the accelerator owns up to its fair share of problems. Resolving a problem with the acceleration pedal is very cumbersome, as there are a lot of parts in a car that might blame the accelerator for having faults.
You’d probably want to suspect, change or fix the following components/parts if you’re facing accelerating issues.

  • Maybe a loose connection between some connections in the vehicle. You guessed it right, a job for your mechanic.
  • Suspect your spark plugs; if they’ve burnt out, chances are you won’t be able to start your car.
  • If there’s an efficiency issue with your engine, you won’t be able to derive output in the distance by pressing your gas pedal.
  • You might simply be low on fuel, or your car may be burning your fuel without giving proper output.

A lot of these issues are pretty hard to fix by yourself, and we wouldn’t recommend it; especially in the accelerator where connections are nimble. However, budding backyard mechanics/engineers may try. We wish you only the best in practicing car pedal safety.

Why Your Car Fails To Start ?

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:
why does your car fails to start car ignition
Why Your Car Fails To Start ? – If your ignition switch has gone malfunctioning, then this signal will fail to take place thus preventing your car from starting. Your car will not start even if your car battery works .

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!
why does your car fails to start spark plug
Why Does Your Car Fails To Start ? -For your engine to start a spark has to be ignited via the spark plug.

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?
why does your car fails to start fuel low
Why Your Car Fails To Start ? – Check the fuel gauge and confirm that your car has fuel left in the tank.

 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.

  • Burnt Cable/wires:

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.

So the next time your car fails to start even though your battery is in working condition , it could be because of the above-listed reasons.

Things To Check Before A Long Drive

Weekends are themselves a means to quench the thirst of long trips for bike and car lovers. What if there is a vacation? The thirst to drive becomes an insatiable hunger, which would get eradicated only on hearing the continuous vroom of the automobiles. With engines revving up and throttles roaring, here are a few tips for riders that would make the long drives more fruitful without any hiccups. Note that these are measures that need to be carried out at least five to seven days before the long drive so as to give complete effectiveness to the pleasure of the ride.

Checklist for a Long drive
Things To Check Before A Long Drive

The things that are about to be discussed below may vary in priority depending upon the make, model and various other factors like last servicing, condition, handling, maneuvering, etc. But all of these tips, if followed, would lead up to unforgettable trip that could forever be etched in the albums of memory.

Fuel related issues:

The tank must be checked and filled to the brim always en route to a long ride, especially when the passage of travail is new to the rider. This applies especially to bikes, because there might be problems like the fuel not reaching the engine from the reservoir (the fuel tank). This improper supply of fuel to the engine might mostly due to the blocks in the passage leading to the engine, due to the accumulation of foreign particles like dirt and impurities. The passages must be cleaned so that the driver does not find himself/herself in the middle of the road in the hot burning sun with nobody to come to help (except for GoBumpr, if it is Chennai, maybe).

Starting troubles:

This might be caused due to fuel injector problems (considering the diesel engines) or spark plug issues (in case of petrol variants). This would cause improper mix of fuel and air to be injected into the chamber, thereby rendering the operation of the vehicle gradually ineffective, regarding the diesel engines; for petrol engines, this would create increased starting troubles.

In bikes, the spark plug issue can be managed for quite some time if the vehicle is facilitated with both kick-start and self-start. While self-start facilitates the quick ignition of an engine than the kick-starts, it does not play an effective role when the vehicle has not been operated for quite some time (say two to five days); this is because the engine slowly comes to the temperature of the surrounding environmental conditions, and it takes some time for it to regain the temperature required for ignition. So at this point, even with vehicles with self-starts, it is sensible to use kick-starts to get the engine heated. Though this takes relatively higher time for the vehicle to start, it provides an effective solution for a long ride.

One common mistake that most of the bikers do is pressing the self-start switches continuously for longer period, say 5 to 8 seconds. In reality, the button should never be pressed beyond 2 to 2.5 seconds because it just acts as a contact point to start the engine. Pressing it continuously has two main disadvantages. Firstly, the main functionality of a self-start is to initiate the engine, which means it loses its effectiveness beyond 2 seconds, after which it needs to be pressed again. Secondly, it would overwork the accessories that lead up to the engine, thereby reducing the lifetime of the switch.

Display check:

Most of the riders would not mind this very much, but display comes as one of the notable points to be taken care of in both cars and bikes. Without the proper working of speedometer, the driver might tend to forget the gear at which the vehicle is running; this would eventually lead up to confusion, while coming to a halt.

The next accessory is the odometer. This is very much essential because one needs to keep track of the mileage of the vehicle and the distance covered consecutively between two successive fillings. This would also be an indicator to show if there is any regular maintenance checks required (for example, first servicing after driving 3,000 kilometers, etc.)

ABCs:

The accelerator, brake and clutch – the pulse of the vehicle – need to be checked for effective operation. In some cars, the pedals might become loosened up from their usual positions, thereby rendering them ineffective.

This problem is more prevalent in bikes where the clutch wires become slack and the clutch almost always remains in the half pressed position (technically referred to as the “off clutch” condition). The clutch is used to engage and disengage gears during the gear change, and it must either be fully pressed (during gear change) or not pressed at all (at top gears or constant speeds, called as cruising). This would spoil the gearbox in in the long run, causing jamming of gears.

Exhaust system:

Though this involves several components technically, the silencer is one accessory that requires a periodic check. Especially when long drives are on the cards, the silencers need to be cleaned up effectively so that the exhausts do not get clammed up there. Accumulation of solid exhausts would mean improper ejection of burnt gases, and when this problem builds up, the internal components get heated up, the vehicle might stop then and there, and in the worst case, there are possibilities of explosion.

The exhaust gases can also act as an indicator for the engine oil replacement; this can be understood better when thick black smoke comes out of the exhaust during throttling at neutral gear position. This would mean that the engine oil is dry and needs to be replaced soon. So before planning for long trips, keep track of the exhaust system, which usually does not seem important, also.

Engine oil:

Engine oil is in the correct concentration during initial stages. But as the vehicle gets driven, the concentration gets marginally high and hence the lubricating properties usually come down with usage. The engine oil might change color from pale brown to a kind of brackish black. The degree of this black color decides the fate of the engine oil, and it all boils down to periodic replacement. So even if it is not due for an engine oil replacement, it is better to use new oils for long travels.

things to check on car before long trip
Things To Check Before A Long Drive – Oil Change

Though this replacement of engine oils would mean variation in the physical properties like the viscosity and fluidity, this is one important aspect to be done before a long travel.

Riders for long distances are the true metaphors of the saying, “Miles to go before I sleep.” But miles can be covered with smiles only with all the checkboxes ticked successfully.