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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 !

Bike Maintenance Before And During Monsoon Season

Bike maintenance before and during rains
Bike maintenance during monsoon season

The Southernmost state of India has this unpredictable monsoon changes. Be it the regular rainy days at the ending months of the calendar. Or the sudden climatic changes due to the winds originating from Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean, the coastal regions have always been prey to the effects of the rains. As heavy property damages form the crux of the aftereffects of the monsoon, let us see how one important property of every household (other than the smartphones and televisions :P) – bikes and mopeds – can be protected.

Tyre pressures:

During and after rainy days, the streets are usually water-clogged, which means the tyres go deep down into the surface of water. It is a known fact that being submerged or partially submerged in water would increase the weight of a component. So, it is advised that the tyres should be pressurized only at a level slightly lower than the optimum, prescribed limit.

Full-on pressures would make the tyres subject themselves to more pressure while being under water, and a sharp stone or a glass piece would mean detrimental to their life.

Spark plug:

Spark plugs are located near the engine compartment of the vehicle. Spark plug is the accessory that ignites the engine initially thereby providing the starting torque. But prolonged exposure to watery roads would mean that the spark plugs also get cluttered with water droplets, eventually making them not function properly.

When there are increased chances of the engine being cooled down, spark plugs need to be taken care of effectively. This would come in handy during monsoon periods.

Starting troubles:

Since most (or all) of the vehicles that are rolled out today are equipped with the self-start facility by default innately, drivers tend to use them whenever the vehicle needs to be started from the off condition.

In reality, self-starter facility takes in a lot of energy than kick-start. It drains a lot of energy from the battery. During rainy days, it might not work as efficiently as the kick start because kick start delivers in more power and heat than this sophisticated method. Due to the moisture content and the other water-related contaminants being present inside the engine and the components surrounding it, more power will be required to produce the heat that would ignite the engine. So, always use kick starter during rains.

Tyre conditions:

Tyre pressure check is not only the single prerequisite that is to be done during rains. Due to the slippery roads, these wheels on motion do not get the gripping property as normally as that during the normal sunny hours. Moreover, constant exposure to water might make the rubber soften a bit and the constant friction with the roads might be lost.

Some parts of the tyre might also get worn out to such an extent that the outermost visible layer of the tyre would come out when rubbed with hands. When the layers get coming out one by one, the relative strength of the tyres with respect to the contact with roads get diminished gradually, thereby increasing the chances of skidding and sliding multifold.

So, it is mandatory to perform this simple test to see if the tyre is in an operable condition. Just hold your index finger and middle finger on the surface of the tyre with full strength and slide through the surface of the tyre. If there is even a slightest piece of tyre that comes out with the fingers, the tyre cannot be used to drive in watery roads.

Alternately, this test can also be performed with sharp fingernails. You can use a substitute temporarily and then use this one back after the monsoons are over.

Do not stress out the electronic accessories:

It is not a good practice to keep honking horns continuously or using the indicator blinkers every now and then, because they take a toll on the battery. If the battery is even slightly exposed to water at its terminals, this prolonged usage would imply that they are spending lots of energy, which might make them malfunction.

Use electronic components only during dire situations. For example, do not use indicators and horns at the same time. A hand signal would suffice if the road is not brimming with traffic.

Displays:

Penetration of water into the speedometer and odometer displays is one of the most commonly encountered problems in the rainy days. This hardship is majorly faced only when the vehicle is kept at a standstill for a long period of time at a rainy place (not that the problem does not occur while driving in rains at all, it is just a minor share). This is because while in motion, the air that blows around the vehicle tends to dissipate most of the water particles away from any particular place; this is not possible in case of static stationing.

The air that blows around a stationary body is always lesser in speed (due to the fixed frame of reference), than that around the moving object. This difference could particularly be felt while travelling in a direction opposite to that of the direction of the wind flow.

So, the water droplets that stay near the display meters tend to go into them, thereby making them inactive.

Fuel tanks:

Necessarily, do not fill up the tanks to the full during rains. A lot of water gets mixed up with the fuel and you do not want to dilute the fuel and make it futile and unfit. Moreover, the display meters may not work properly, making it all the more difficult.

So it is a welcome note to keep track of the daily distance versus fuel notification. A comparison with the regular mileage would indicate when the tank needs to refilled, and it also serves as a monitor of how much deviation the fuel undergoes during rains.

 

These are only some precautionary and preliminary measures in case of an emergency. It is better to consult with a credible service center or a mechanic to avoid serious and fatal problems to the vehicle as well as the driver.

Tyre Maintenance Tips for Car and Bike

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.
Tyre Maintenance Tips - Tyre Tread Types
Tyre Maintenance Tips for Car and Bike -Tyre Tread Types

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.

Improper pressure

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.

Tyre Maintenance Tips - Correct Tyre Pressure
Tyre Maintenance Tips for Car and Bike – Correct Tyre Pressure

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.

Wobbling

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.

Tyre Maintenance Tips -Tyre Change Test
Tyre Maintenance Tips for Car and Bike – Tyre Change Test

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!