Monsoon car care


What do I do if I’m driving in the rain and my car’s wipers go kaput?
Check if the fuse to the wiper motor has burnt. If so, replace it. If you can't figure out what the problem is, stop at the nearest cigarette stall and buy a couple of the cheapest cigarettes on sale. Take out the tobacco and smear it all over the windshield. The starch in the tobacco will cause the water to drip away, making it easier for you to see through the windshield. Make sure you get those wipers fixed soon though, because the tobacco trick is a stop-gap measure.

What should I carry in my car at all times, especially during the monsoons?
Fill a dry and clean bag with biscuit packets and chocolate bars in case you get stranded for an extended period of time. Also pack in some insulation tape, moisture dispelling spray like WD-40 for example, a screw driver, a torch, a first aid kit and a small hammer. The hammer is to be used to smash the windshield in case there’s a flash flood and the car doors won’t open.

What checks should I carry out on my car to make it ready for the rains?
Make sure that your car’s tyres are in good condition. Replace them if their treads have worn out or if they are cracked or abnormally hard. Get your mechanic to check the brakes and replace the worn components. All rubber beadings should be soft and pliant. Make sure the gutters around the bonnet and boot are cleaned of all the accumulated leaves, dust, etc. Make sure all the chassis water drain points are not blocked. Make sure the stepney tyre is properly inflated and the jack, tyre spanners and tommy rod are where they should be in the car. Get the mechanic to ensure the electricals, including the lights and wiper motor, are working properly.

Do any of the anti-rust coatings sold in the market actually help?
Getting an anti-rust coating as specified by your car's manufacturer is a good idea. Get it done at an authorised service centre only. A good quality anti-rust coating works by preventing contact between the car's metal and moisture, thereby reducing corrosion. However, these coatings require periodic touch-ups, so make sure you get that done before the monsoons.

What about driving on flooded roads?
Driving through flooded areas is avoidable. However, if you must drive through a water-logged zone, make sure the water is not above half the height of the car’s wheel. Make sure you let another vehicle pass through before you, so that you can gauge the depth of the water accurately and chart your course through the flood. Proceed slowly in the first gear, all the time revving the engine at high revs to prevent the ingress of water into the tail pipe. If the car stalls midway, do not try re-starting the car at all costs. Doing so might cause hydrostatic lock which will wreck your car’s engine. Push it out and then get an authorised mechanic to inspect the car thoroughly before the car is driven again.