Acquiring a vehicle is a
fairly easy task... the tough bit comes later.
You are already late, but never mind. With the car at your disposal, long
bus queues are passe.
You'll be there, not
exactly on time, but yeah, almost. Then, calamity strikes...the vehicle
refuses to move...grunts, groans, fumes, and stops. Why, oh why... Maybe
because you forgot that it too needs to be looked after, maintained,
'regular servicing...'were those the words?
The best and most efficient method of
knowing about your car and keeping track of it is through the owner's manual
which provides complete information on how to go about it. You can inspect
your car every time you enter it, or on a daily or weekly basis or at
intervals specified in the manual.
In this section, we deal with those facts that are not mentioned in the
A few while driving tips.
At times, strange smells may emanate from
inside your car. The possible causes may be:
Strange smells are an early warning
signal that need to be heeded if much more time and money are to be saved
- Musty odours indicate the existence of
some trapped water, usually under the carpet. This will ruin the carpet
and also speed up corrosion. The proper solution would be to remove the
carpets and dry up both the carpet and the floor.
- Smoky smells are of various kinds.
Electrical smoky smells are the most dangerous and it is advisable to
shut down, open the bonnet, disconnect the batteries and seek
professional help. Other smoky smells may occur when the sound or heat
proof lining inside the engine space burns. Trace the cause.
- Fuel smells occurs either when the fuel
tank venting gets choked or if there has been an overflow.
- Sometimes, oil or exhaust smells from
the engine occur. This maybe caused either due to too much engine oil,
or if the engine oil has grown old and is burning, or if it has been
- A typical sweatish smell emanates when
varnish is being burnt which occurs when your dynamo or alternator is
about to pack up and would, usually be accompanied by flickering lights.
- Burning rubber smells tend to come when
you drive with your brakes on. Overheated tyres may also be the cause.
Strange sounds tend to be
sidelined in the bustle and din of our roads, and by the car stereo playing
in the background. However, if the problem persists, the car will make its
condition known every time you take a corner or ride over a bump. Some
easily recognizable sounds are
At times, your car give personal
signals which can be deciphered by only the user. Strange 'hiccups'
while driving indicate faulty fuel which would in turn cause faulty carb or
fuel injector. If there is unequal or wrong air pressure in tyres, it is
evident on braking. Unexplained shudders in braking indicate problems in
suspension or linkages.
- Strange clicking while taking a turn
from the front wheels means that the front shaft is about to fall apart.
Get it fixed before it actually does.
- A fan-belt squeal means that another
one is needed.
- Rhythmic clicks from the wheel indicate
faulty bearings at worst or just large pebbles stuck in the tread
pattern at the best.
- A change in engine tone usually
indicates engine overheating, especially if you have been driving at
constant speeds for a long time. Stopping or varying the engine speed
should be enough if there is no severe problem. Otherwise, let the car
cool down and then check radiator and water levels.
- Backfiring while normal driving means
serious problems and should be properly investigated. Promptly.
- Engine knocks means that it is time to
get into a lower gear. If it persists, however, it is time to get your
engine and engine oil checked.
Finally, you can avoid strange repair bills if
you have been going in for regular check ups!
In this section, we deal with car parts that need regular care.