Monsoon special: Tips to keep your car in top shape during rainy season
Monsoon and car care
The monsoons have hit India! It’s time to gear up for the rains and get into your car and go for that long drive in the cool weather. But before that you need to get your car ready so that it works without glitch and you can enjoy the journey. Preventive maintenance is the key as neglecting your vehicle in the monsoons will lead to mounting garage bills. Monsoons can be harsh on a car’s exterior. Rain water mixed with pollutants form a corrosive mixture that, over time, strips the car paint of essential oils. Get your car washed after you reach your destination. This will get rid of the pollutants and muck. The safe way is to do is park your car under shelter, or, invest in a waterproof body cover. Get your car thoroughly checked and serviced before the onset of the monsoons. Worn tyres, wipers and lights should be replaced as these are components important for safe driving in the monsoons. Make sure your engine and electricals are in perfect condition, as breakdowns and getting stranded in the rains can be an ordeal. Minor dents expose metal to the elements which is likely to rust during the rains, leading to expensive repairs.
The exterior surface of the vehicle is exposed to dirt, grime and pollutants all the time. This situation is especially aggravated during the rains. The rains in metros especially come in contact with pollutants creating a phenomenon called acid rain. This rain is corrosive and can strip your car paint of its protective clear coat. It is a good idea to wash your car after returning home as the corrosive rain water will evaporate, leaving behind a thin film of acidic sludge. Pay special attention to the bottom three-fourths of the vehicle as this area is most prone to be covered with muck thrown up by the tyres.
Engine and electricals
Ensure your car has been serviced properly as the last place you want to be is stranded is at a remote location with the car going nowhere. Check all wires for cuts as exposed wires are likely to come in contact with water and short out. Exposed electrical connections like battery terminals are prone to corrosion. To prevent this, apply a liberal dose of petroleum jelly on the connectors.
For optimum visibility, replace your car’s wiper blades before the onset of the monsoons as they tend to harden over a period of time. Also check the rubber beading lining the doors and windows and replace if cut or worn out.
Seat carpet cleaning
Fabric seats and carpets tend to get damp and start to smell when they get wet. They also form a petri dish for moulds and fungi which can be detrimental to health. So dry off the seats and mats as soon as possible. All-weather mats help too. A good way to get rid of damp interiors is to roll down your windows to let dry air in. In case the seats get wet, a simple trick is to use newspapers to soak off excess water. Another option is to use a vacuum cleaner to dry the interiors.
A neglected but important component is the air-conditioning system. The AC helps reduce the humidity level in cars, thus preventing fogging up of the windshield and windows. Get it serviced for maximum efficiency. Also, over time, moisture inside the AC system leads to the growth of fungus, so getting the system disinfected is a good idea. Availing professional treatments at periodic intervals is recommended.
As odd as it may sound, tyres are the most important aspect of the car. A crucial link between the road and the car, the condition of the tyres may be the difference whether you reach home safely or spend time in a hospital or worse. Ensure that tyres are in a good condition with no cuts or bubbles. Tread depth is a very important factor to ensure maximum grip on wet roads. The treads also help in expelling water from the tyres and prevent aquaplaning – a phenomenon where water gets between the contact patch where the tyre meets the road and essentially the vehicle loses grip. The tyre tread depth should be about 3-5mm. A simple way to check this is by inserting a coin into the thread. A quarter portion of the coin should be covered by the tread. Also ensure optimum tyre pressures.
The brakes need to be in optimum shape as they lose a bit of efficiency owing to wet roads. So get them checked to make sure they are up to the mark.
Any dents on the car will result in rust formation which will eventually eat into the metal, so getting it fixed is recommended. 3M offers a paint protection film which covers your car with a patented hi-grade utherane film designed to resist scrapes and scratches.
Wax coat and polish
Getting your car waxed before the rains is a good way to protect the paint as the wax layer provides a sacrificial film over the body. The wax layer also repels water droplets. Most commonly used is Carnauba wax which offers a good protective layer while adding gloss to the painted surface. 3M performance finish provides protection to the car surface for a longer duration than wax. Often as long as up to 8-10 months, it also prevents fading of the paint, reduces occurrence of swirl marks on clear coat in addition to giving protection against the sun and rain.
Make sure your headlights and tail lights are in working order and the lenses aren’t cracked or fogged up as this will reduce visibility, which is hazardous especially driving in the night. Clean your headlamps and fog lamps before setting off as dirty lamps will not give optimum brightness. Headlamp lenses tend to get dull over a period of time, reducing effectiveness. An alternative to getting it replaces is to avail of headlamp restoration treatment offered by 3M.
Rust underbody treatment
Getting an underbody rust treatment done is also beneficial, as the area is most prone to dings, water and grime – the perfect catalyst for rust to set in. These treatments are inexpensive and generally last for as long as two to five years depending on the warranty.