Owning a car of your choice is certainly a dream come true. It is a prized possession. But maintaining a vehicle at its peak functionality involves considerable attention, care, and investment.
Atul, a resident of Mumbai, had been to Pune on business. For one, he is not much intrigued by automobiles and is happy driving around his father’s car. With him, is his friend Vikas who runs a car rental agency.
Atul and Vikas were discussing the takeaways from the meeting. The car stereo was playing one of Atul’s favorite tracks. But Vikas’s experienced ears picked up a sound above the music.
Vikas: What is that crunching and whining sound Atul? Why is the car sounding strange?
Atul: It is nothing! This car is old and such noises happen all the time.
Vikas: No, my friend. Such sounds should not be ignored. They may indicate other complicated faults in the system like overheating, battery problems, and cracks in the exhaust pipe or scraping of broken metal, for that matter. In my agency, we keep a regular check on such incidents.
Atul: I see!
As he finished, Vikas noticed Atul struggling a bit with the gear shift.
Vikas: Are you facing a problem with the shift?
Atul: Nope. The gear needs to be changed with some force.
Vikas:It is evident that there are issues with your gear shift. It’s not as smooth as it should be. Since the car is old, the gearheads may have worn away due to friction. It’s better to get them replaced.
While talking, Vikas’s eyes went on the rearview mirror. He could see a trail of grey exhaust behind the car. He could also smell burnt oil in the cabin.
Vikas: Your car is leaking oil, resulting in that grey cloud behind us. The smell of burning fuel is due to its dripping on hot engine parts. You should get it checked immediately.
Atul (sounding serious): Yes, I will. But we seem to be running low on fuel. I will pull over at the next station.
Vikas: But didn’t we top up before starting from Pune?
Atul: Yes, we did.
Vikas: Poor fuel economy is an indicator that your vehicle needs a change of engine oil. Prolonged usage increases oil viscosity, which offers increased resistance to the moving engine parts and consumes more fuel.
Atul found a fuel pump on the highway and pulled over. As he was taxiing in, Vikas noticed the shimmering heat inside the car. He checked the temperature gauge on the dashboard. The car was overheating due to excessive friction resulting from lack of engine oil.
Vikas: Ask if they have a facility for changing engine oil. It will take care of the mileage and the heating issue.
As they continued from the fuel station, Atul struggled with the starter twice. While the engine responded at the third attempt, it cut off shortly after. Finally, it started again.
Vikas: Once we reach Mumbai, it will be better if you get your batteries checked for loose connectivity and corrosion. Get it replaced if necessary. The engine stall may also result from blocked fuel filter or a dysfunctional spark plug.
Atul was paying attention now. He had started to realize the dangers of driving an un-serviced vehicle. They were approaching a crossing, and he applied the brakes. To his dismay, they were unresponsive. He used it again, this time with maximum force. The car stopped over the zebra line.
Vikas (Calmly, inspecting his seatbelt): Bad news brother. Your brake liner needs replacement. Next time you visit the garage, Next time you take Car Repair service, ask them to investigate the reduction in power as well. (Checking his watch) We are running way behind our schedule here.
As they were nearing Mumbai, Atul realized a newfound respect for his friend. He seemed to be a master in this trade.
Atul: But brother, tell me how can you know so much about my car over only a few hours’ drive? I have been driving this junk for years and never suspected a thing!
Vikas (Smiling): Experience, my friend. But you need to look at that (indicating at the flashing warning lights on the dashboard). They are supposed to tell you which part of the vehicle needs attention.
Atul checked the dashboard. The indicators for engine, battery, oil pressure and temperature were all flashing brightly.
Atul: I am taking this car to my regular A1 garage first thing tomorrow morning!