The wet or rainy season is here again and bad weather conditions are amongst the top causes of accidents on our roads. Last week, we looked into “Unhealthy driving habits car owners indulge in.” Today, we are focusing on tips to keep us safe on the road, as the rains are here again. It’s that time of the year when we should look into how we treat our cars especially in coastal cities like Lagos where saline water and flash floods cause more harm than good to cars. In no particular order, the following should be noted:
1. Brakes: When it rains, the road become very slippery and some of the water gets into the brake disc and caliper. Due to the corossive nature of the materials and the saline content of rainfall, rusts become inevitable with time. Failure to check and service the brakes more frequently results to brake bindings or brake overheating, which affects the operations of the braking system.
2. Air Conditioning should operate optimally. It gets foggy when the glasses are up during rainfall. The AC is important to clear off this, thereby increasing visibility.
3. Relying on some car operating modes like the cruise control or forward collision warning system may not be efficient during the rains. However, having the electronic stability control features such as the ABS or lane – keeping assistant will also be a plus.
4. Avoid driving through flooded areas as much as you can. The water enters the engine if this happens abi causes a breakdown. The higher the water levels, the bigger the potential it has to damage the car engine. So, don’t drive through flood if water level is higher than exhaust pipe.
– Control engine rotation: Pushing the accelerator pedal down hard when driving through flood is merely an unreasonable solution. Drive the car in low engine rotation of around 1500 – 2000 rpm. The higher the engine rotation is, the more water is being sucked into engine, causing engineer damage easily. And after your car manages to “swim” through the flood, do check the following components.
a. Starter motor– This component works with the ignition of the car and it isn’t friendly with water. Have it checked when car is driven through flood to avoid failure unexpectedly.
b. Radiator/AC condenser – Dirts, pebbles get sticker on the face of the radiator as the car moved through the flood, this blocks ambient air from hitting the radiator, as the car moves thereby affecting the cooling of the engine. Once a while, a radiator/condenser flush is necessary to clear this.
c. Air filter – Immediately change the air filter if driven through flood. Water and other filth sucked into combustion chamber through the air filter can be dangerous.
5. Keep your car clean: Many believe that it is not necessary to wash or clean their cars because it rained. That’s wrong! In fact, rain drops damages the exterior of your car because it leaves acidic deposits that erode the metallic parts of the body. Waxing and regular washing using sponge and water in removing the deposits goes a long way in ensuring the exterior of your car lasts longer.
In addition to the above, you also need to check for rusts, especially beneath the car, other mostly affected areas include the electronic control module (ECU) popularly known as the “brain box” located mainly inside the dashboard of most cars, the alternator, sockets/harnesses, fuse, relays and injectors.
Are there other helpful car maintenance tips you know of?
Kindly read and share your comments on the comment box.
Thank you for reading.
Written by Adeniyi Balogun