Know Your Car

Knowing your car in and out is very important. When your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere, your knowledge on auto parts can help you get started again. Get to know your vehicle thoroughly and completely.

Working of a battery:
The potential or voltage difference created between two metals which are immersed in an electrolyte (acid), is called 'cell voltage'. A battery converts chemical energy of the metals submerged in electrolyte into electrical energy by means of an electrochemical oxidation-reduction process.

Steps to care your car

Battery Care:
•  Hydrometer Test: Using a hydrometer, measure the specific gravity (corrected to 27 degrees) of the electrolyte in each cell.
•  Load Test: The load test is meant to gauge the battery's ability to withstand the load when the vehicle has to be cranked. Usually a fixed load tester is used for this purpose. Connect the load tester to the battery terminals with the help of metal spring clamps. Ensure that the clamp-terminal contact is firm. Apply test load and note the voltage after 5 seconds. The voltage reading of a healthy battery after 5 seconds of discharge should exceed a required minimum voltage as specified by technical specs.
•  Retention of Charge Test: The battery should be charged and kept undisturbed for at least 7 days before checking the charge. Results obtained in the first two tests should not increase the specific gravity by 20 points. If the loss is not greater than 15 points, assume that the battery has passed the first two checks. In case the loss is greater than 20 points, battery replacement is recommended.
•  Check earth leakage in the vehicle: Switch off all the on-off switches, cassette player, clock, etc before earth testing your battery. Leakage upto 2V is within limits. If there is no leakage proceed to Step 4. If there is earth leakage, identify the leak and take corrective action.

Car Clutch:
The clutch is an essential part of manual transmission systems. The hidden parts include a clutch plate, typically of 8" to 10" diameter, with friction material on both faces and splined to the gearbox input shaft. The clutch diaphragm is bolted to the engine flywheel; it is essentially a very strong spring, which can clamp the clutch plate to the engine flywheel and force it and thus the gearbox input shaft to rotate with the engine. A clutch disengagement mechanism can release the diaphragm and allow the clutch plate and the engine to rotate independently for the purpose of changing gear.

A clutch can last the life-time of the vehicle but it is vulnerable to misuse and to maladjustment. Problems arise from various causes: oil can get onto the clutch plate past leaking engine or gearbox oil-seals and make it slip. Faults and Possible Causes:

•  Clutch slip
•  Oil on clutch plate, or water (e.g. from wading).
•  Worn clutch plate (replace).
•  Weak clutch diaphragm spring (replace).
•  Difficulty engaging gears
•  Insufficient travel - adjust clutch.
•  Clutch fluid level low (check for leaks), or air in system (bleed).
•  Slave or master cylinder seals failed (replace and check cylinders too).
•  Clutch plate sticking on splines and dragging.
•  Clutch diaphragm dragging, e.g. broken finger.
•  Judder on releasing clutch:
•  Oil on clutch plate.
•  Warped clutch plate (replace).
•  Noise when clutch pedal lightly depressed:
•  Clutch throwout bearing failing (replace).
•  Noise when clutch pedal fully depressed:
•  Failed spigot bearing for gearbox input shaft in flywheel.
•  Don't: rest foot on clutch pedal while driving, slip or ride the clutch for long periods, use old or contaminated hydraulic fluid.
Do: check clutch hydraulic fluid levels weekly, replace clutch fluid annually or more often, fit wading plug to drain hole in clutch housing for water crossings and remove afterwards.

Car Paint: Car Paints-Do's & Don't's
-Always use wet cloth for wiping the car, after rinsing the paint surface with water first
Don't -Never wipe dust off your carwith a dry cloth or duster
Do -Wax your carafter it's been washed, to avoid sealing in the dirt
Don't - Do not wash, polish or wax your carin the sun when the sun is hot. It could streak or stain the paint surface
Do -For carcovers use natural fabrics that breathe, like cotton. Make sure the carcover is secure
Don't -Never use vinyl or plastic carcovers in humid conditions. They trap moisture and could cause fungus.
Do -Always use soft (normal) water to wash your car.
Don't -Do not use hard water (which contains minerals). It will leave a film on paint surface.
Do -Use carshampoos or polishes to wash your car.
Don't -Never use laundry detergents or similar harsh soaps to wash your car. Harsh soaps will remove any protective wax plus the paints oil, which will dry out the paint and make it look flat.
Do -For acrylic finishes, use non-abrasive liquid polishes specifically designed for such finishes.
Don't -Never use polishing or rubbing compounds on paints with a clear acrylic coating, the coating will become dull.
Do -Use rubbing compounds only when the paint surface is extremely oxidized (chalky) and does not shine, even after wax has been applied.
Don't -Abrasive cleaners are extremely dangerous and can easily remove the paint & primer, leaving bare metal.
Do -Choose light colors, they retain their brilliance over the years than dark colors do.
Don't -Dark colors are more susceptible to oxidation from the sun.
Do -Use covered parking or shade wherever possible.
Don't -Avoid parking the carin the sun for an extended period of time. It will cause the paint to blister.
Do -Immediately touch up paint blemishes with the appropriate color and type of automotive paint. Consult your vehicle specification sheet for correct paint.
Don't -Do not let Paint chips go unattended. Exposed metal could begin to rust when exposed to water and salt. Changing a Flat tyre:

Changing a flat tyre can be a miserable experience for anyone. But if you have a jack, a lug wrench and a spare tyre, your half work is done. So let's get started.The following is a detailed explanation on the steps involved for changing a flat tyre.

First Step

  • When you're driving and feel the rumble of a flat tyre, slow down, turn on your hazard lights and try to park the caron level ground as quickly as possible.
  • Put the automatic transmission into park and put the emergency brake on. If you have a manual transmission, leave it in first gear and pull the emergency brake.
  • If you have to park on even a slight incline, try to find a heavy object to wedge up against the good tyres. This will help to keep the carfrom rolling when you have it jacked up.
  • Once you've parked, take out the lug wrench, jack and the spare tyre from the trunk. Make sure the spare tyre has enough air in it.
Second Step
  • Remove the hubcap and loosen the lug nuts.
  • Pry off the hubcap with a screwdriver. Sometimes the lug wrench has a screwdriver at the end of it. If it does, use that. Some cars don't have hubcaps at all.
  • Now use the lug wrench to loosen the lug nuts, which are the hexagonal bolts under the hubcap. If the lug nut has an L on it, turn clockwise. If it has an R or doesn't have anything on it, turn counterclockwise. Try to loosen the nuts an equal amount.
  • Very important: Don't remove the lug nuts yet. Just loosen them.
Third Step
  • Put the jack on the ground near the flat tyre, under the carframe. Make sure it is under something structural that can support the weight of the car.
  • Start pumping the jack, so that the top of it reaches the bottom of the car. When it does, keep going until the flat tyre lifts off the ground. If the carseems unstable, lower the car, reposition the jack and try again.
  • Very important: Never get under the car when it is jacked up.

Fourth Step
  • Now that the flat tyre is in the air, remove the lug nuts and place them in the upturned hub cap, or someplace easy to reach later.
  • With all the lug nuts removed, pull the tyre off by pulling it toward you. It will be heavy, so be careful it doesn't fall on you.
  • Put the spare tyre on, positioning it so that the holes line up with the lug bolts.
  • Replace the lug nets and tighten them, turning the opposite way you did when you removed them. But don't tighten them all the way yet.
  • Lower the car with the jack so that the tyre is just touching the car but not supporting the car's weight. Now tighten the lugs the rest of the way so they are at least as tight as they were when you removed them. Then lower the jack even further and remove it.
  • Put the flat tyre, hubcap, jack and the lug wrench back in the trunk.
  • Don't forget to remove the wheel blocks.
  • Get your original tyre fixed as soon as you can. Your spare may be only good for short distances at low speeds.
Winter Car Care :
Winter is a time when car troubles increase. So before the onset of this winter make sure your car is in a fit shape.
  • Make sure your battery and charging system are up to mark. Your mechanic should check the battery, charging system and belts.
  • Check the cooling system, making certain the antifreeze will protect your car to the winter temperatures you'll experience in your area. For most areas, you'll need a 50-50 mix of coolant to water.
  • Make sure your windshield wipers are in good shape. Winter wipers--with the rubber coverings.
  • Keep your gas tank close to full.
  • Once fog does arrive, take some extra time to make sure your car is clean and your visibility is good. Make sure every glass surface is clear and transparent.

Last Updated on 1/3/2012