It’s fun to drive in the rain but it is arduous if the car breaks down in traffic. It will be even harsher if the car suddenly stops on a long drive in the rain. In Section-1 I talked about Driving in the Rains – Why does the car stop? I explained what can go wrong with the car and why does it stop during rains. In Section-2, I want to talk about how to prepare the car for the rains. The title I have chosen is Driving in the Rains – Preparing the Car for the Rains.
The graphic below describes some important checks you should undertake before the rains. I have divided the checks into 3 categories –
These checks are a must for regular driving, but more importantly for the rainy season. During no rains, you can get away with bad tires or weak wipers, but you are taking a huge risk during the rains.
The points mentioned in this section are important to minimize the risk of breakdown but not dangerous for driving in the rains.
To better prepare for further contingencies, these points will not only save you from a possible breakdown but also increase the life of your car.
Let’s dig into these points –
The horrid roads, reduced visibility and aimless oil atop rainwater can create dangerous driving surfaces. Water creates a barrier between the road and the tires, which can cause the car to lose traction and hydroplane (hydroplaning explained in the video below). If the tires do not have enough tread or grip then it will make it even worse. Tires should have more than 2/32-inch tread depth. So, check the tires and replace them before rains if required.
What is Hydroplaning?
I watch out for 3B’s while doing the main check for the rains – Bald (Tires), Brakes and Battery. We have to keep these 3 things in top condition especially during rains. When it comes to brakes if you think you are pressing harder than normal to stop the car or if there is sound while breaking, then get the carbon deposits and brake pads checked immediately. It is ideal to maintain distance while driving so that you have enough time to break. But if you have to brake harder than you will need a good set of tires and brakes to stop the car.
Do not ignore the battery. People do not bother about a battery in the car because it usually lasts for a few years. Battery’s performance depends on the weather and its maintenance. During the rainy season, the atmosphere is cooler and some car needs the extra push to start, giving more work to the battery. So, it is important to maintain the battery and check the loose connection before rains.
I have seen people looking from the side window because their wipers were not working. You cannot take wipers lightly. Well maintained wipers can last for 2-5 years depending on weather and driving conditions. If you see the wipers forming lines or making sounds then it’s time to service or change the wipers. I will suggest changing the wipers every 2-3 years. I prefer Bosch wipers. Do check size of both the wipers before ordering.
Head & Tail Lights
I cannot emphasize the importance of head and tail lights when there is low visibility. Replace the bulb if it is not working, shine or buff the light cover to increase the brightness and get the loose connections fixed. Poor or no lights cause danger not only to you but also for people ahead of you or behind you.
Gas Tank / Fuel
It’s always best to keep the fuel tank full during the rains. It’s better to have more fuel than usual for the trip especially when we are crawling in traffic for hours during rain. It also helps to avoid the chance of rust when you keep the tank full.
We have to roll the windows up during heavy rains. It leads to the forming of moisture and fog. Therefore, the air conditioner plays a very important role to defog the windows. Get the air-conditioner checked prior to rains for safe and fog-free driving.
Replace the damaged mudflaps. Would you like the car ahead of you splattering water or dirt on your car? Surely not!
The exposed and damaged electrical components can worsen because of moisture and rain. Therefore, a thorough check is advisable before rains and patch it if there is damage or lose connection.
Additionally, keep extra fuse as back up in the car in case you need to replace it in middle of nowhere.
Wax and Sealant
The rainwater comes with minerals and pollutants which can harm the car surface. Apply wax or sealant prior to rains to reduce the possibilities of damage even further. A good wax and sealant will enhance the colors, give shine and protect from the onslaught of rains.
The leakage in the car creates dampness, smell, and damaged parts. Find the source of the leakage and close it. If you find dampness, water in the car and wet seats then run the air conditioner with hot air while driving the car and keep the windows open. You can also use the hair dryer to dry if it’s too wet. And the most favorable solution is to let the car dry in the sun with the windows open. Of course, the car should be in your sight and safe when you keep the windows open to dry in the sun.
There are many reasons for the battery to die down. Possibly, when someone forgot to switch off the headlights, the battery was old and weak, tried to crank it up too many times but did not start. Just keep a set of jumper cables for starting the car with the help of battery from any other car.
If the car does not have an Air conditioner or is not working then chalkboard duster is very handy to get rid of the fog instantly. Swipe the fog from windscreen the way you would clean the blackboard. The duster absorbs the moisture immediately.
Who does not like to enjoy a drive in the rain? If the car stops in the middle of rains we are usually stranded, we contribute to the piling of a traffic jam, and a mechanic will struggle to reach you. Whether you are driving in the city for an important meeting or taking a long drive in the rains, it will be frustrating. It is better to service your car before rains or undertake the repairs you have been postponing for a while. I hope the above tips will guide you in preparing the car for the rains.
Give the extra love and care to your car during rains and it will be your best friend. Enjoy the beautiful and rainy drive!