The Basics Continued….. 3 Battery, Temperature, Engine Oil..

3.1 Battery Indicator – When you turn the ignition on you will see an icon/picture of battery getting displayed for a few seconds and goes away. If it does not, then, you have a problem with the battery. Please get the battery checked. You can also check the battery yourself. Nowadays, most of the batteries come with an indicator. If the battery is healthy there will be a light glowing inside the battery (it usually is on the side of the negative terminal where you connect the black wire). If the light is not glowing, you have a dead battery. A good battery is very critical for your car to start. The function of the battery is primarily to start the car and once the engine is running, the alternator takes over.

3.2 Temperature Gauge – Some vehicles come with meters with temperature readings, some vehicles come with just icons/pictures for cold and hot engines. When the gauge shows high temperature or the red light comes on, there is a problem with the cooling system of the vehicle.

Turn off air conditioner if your vehicle is equipped with one (that is additional load on the cooling system of an already struggling vehicle). Immediately park the vehicle on to the side of the road and switch off the vehicle. An abnormally hot engine can blow (not in literal sense) and can be very expensive to repair.

If you can get help from the service center or your known mechanic get them to come and attend to the vehicle. If that is not possible, wait till the engine cools off for a while. Start the car, move at a moderate speed and reach the nearest location where you can park the car or to the garage, preferably.
Things that could go wrong in the cooling system;
a) As simple as there is no coolant in the reservior
b) Radiator fans not working (can be a connection problem or fan gone bad)
c) radiator blocked (dirt and grime has got in)
d) radiator leakage (may have to replace radiator)
e) radiator hose pipes have leak/s

3.3 Engine oil indicator – This normally is an icon resembling an oil can. When you turn the ignition on, this light comes on for a few seconds and goes off. It continues to stay on, please check the engine oil level – normally, it would have gone low, or gone bad or drained out. If it has drained out, don’t use the vehicle, if you do, it is an expensive rebuild of the engine. Without lubrication, your engine will be destroyed.

3.4 Fuel Level Gauge/Meter – This can be analog or digital. It has readings from Empty to Full (E=empty, F=Full). Do not drive the vehicle with very low fuel (that is close to E or less than that). There is usually a reserve of 4-5 litres (check your vehicle’s manual) of fuel even after E indication but then the fuel pump is working hard to pump the fuel into the fuel lines and chances are when the fuel level is very low, the fuel pump can fail. Older vehicles, the fuel pump used to be outside the fuel tank, modern vehicles have the fuel pump inside the fuel tank. If it fails, it is a time consuming and expensive affair to replace a not so expensive fuel pump.

Many vehicles do have an indicator that lights up when the fuel gets into  the reserve mode, better fill the fuel at the nearest fuel station and save yourself being stranded in the middle of the road and also the possibility of expensive fuel  pump replacement.


The Basics Continued….. 2. Speedometer

2. Now, coming to speedometer, this normally is a combination of speedometer and odometer. The function of the speedometer is to display at what speed the vehicle is moving.

The Odometer shows how many kilometers the vehicle has been driven from the beginning. For a new vehicle it will be very less, for extensively used vehicles, this might run into 100s of 1000s of KM (example, Taxis).

This may also have a combination of trip meter/s. The function of the trip meter is to find out what was the distance covered in a particular trip.

For example, a trip from Bangalore to Chennai may show around 350-370 KM depending on your starting and end point. Some vehicles have more than 1 trip meter and it is convenient for those who use their personal vehicles for official use. You can use one trip meter for personal and the other one for official use (for reimbursements on expenses :))


The Basics – Continued…. 1. RPM Meter

The dials and indicators on the dashboard may look dull or boring or jazzy. That might be from an aesthetics point of view, Irrespective of that, all of them are telling the driver of the car about how the car is functioning.

1. RPM Meter – Tells you at what RPM (revolutions per minute) the engine is running. You will also notice that part of the dial is marked in red after a certain point on the dial. That is called the red line.

Never rev up your engine beyond the red line. That is the maximum limit set by the manufacturer of the vehicle for the engine, if you do exceed that limit, chances are you will have a blown engine and that is going to be really expensive. It is nice to watch “Fast and Furious” with the drivers hitting high RPMs and revving, zooming like mad men…. Leave it to the movies not for real life… You can, if you don’t mind rebuilding the engine or worse still buying a new engine!

In general, petrol engines have a red line of 6000 to 6500 rpm, diesel engines have a red line of around 4000 rpm. There can be exceptions, please check your vehicle’s dashboard for the correct information.




First The Basics

Most of the modern cars are quite a bit of complex blend of mechanical, electrical and electronics. Let us not get into all the technical stuff now. Start with simpler things and move forward.

First and foremost, here is a question. Have you looked at all the meters, indicators in your car?

Typically, there is a speedometer (current speed of the vehicle), odometer(how many kilometers the car has run so far), trip meter (sometimes more than 1 are available) RPM meter (engine running speed in number of revolutions per minute).

Coming to indicators, temperature gauge (sometimes greenlight if it is cold or redlight if it is hot), battery indicator (will glow for a while when you put the ignition key in and goes off. If it does not go off, then you are in trouble), engine oil indicator (similar to battery indicator), check engine indicator (this also goes off, if it does not, check your engine – might be a trivial problem or a big dent on your pocket), then doors open indicator, seat belt indicator and so on……….

Please refer to  your owner’s manual for respective model of the car that you own.

In the next post, we shall be discussing few basic preventive maintenance procedures which will keep your car running smooth and nice and save you the trips to service centres.



One of my hobbies – Taking care of my car and save money!

Hi Friends,
From today, I will start posting information and tips about how to take care of your car and hopefully save lot of $$$$$

Welcome to the year 2012

Dear Friends, welcome to the new year 2012.

After a few turbulent years, we still continue to see the aftermath in some parts of the world. Hopefully, this year, we shall see a better progress overall. Wishing all of you a wonderful and prosperous years ahead.