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Old 25th March 2012, 15:57   #61
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Mechanical Empathy | Preserving the Car While Driving

Dear SS-Traveller and all - first of all, I think this is one of the best threads on teamBHP. Thank you SS-Traveller for starting it. My comments are as follows. These are some very basic things which will preserve the driver while driving, who in turn will hopefully preserve the car while driving:

1. Tires - the most important part of the car is the tire. It is the only point of contact with the road. Never ignore your tires and never compromise here, your life depends on it.
2. Tire Pressure - a tire inflated to less pressure does not remain a tire, it becomes a rubber band. A tire inflated to more pressure does not remain a tire, it becomes a football. You cannot drive on four rubber bands or on four footballs. Please maintain correct tire pressure. Manufacturers go to extreme lengths to specify what is correct tire pressure, please use the information mentioned on the sticker available on the driver door / B pillar.
3. Seat - the second most important part of the car after the tire is the seat. It is the only point of contact with you. Please do not compromise by purchasing after market "seat covers" because they will prevent you from sitting properly, which will in turn prevent you from steering / braking the car properly.
4. Sitting Posture while driving - please sit properly in the driver seat before you even think of driving. I have seen innumerable people pushing the seat forward and sitting, the posture is so bad, I wonder how they can even articulate their basic body postures, let alone control a car. When I try to explain, the resistance to change is so great that in 99 out of 100 cases, it is prudent for me to back off / give up. It's not worth the effort breaking my head against a wall.

Life of a typical car - the life of a typical car is 3,50,000 kms. Just for academic information, the clutch assembly is expected to last for the life of the car. I have seen "life cycle test" clutch and car examples exceed this distance @ running 1000 kms/day, day after day.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar

Last edited by DHABHAR.BEHRAM : 25th March 2012 at 15:59. Reason: add info
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Old 25th March 2012, 16:19   #62
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Mechanical Empathy | Preserving the Car While Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM
3. Seat - Please do not compromise by purchasing after market "seat covers" because they will prevent you from sitting properly, which will in turn prevent you from steering / braking the car properly.
Might be OT.
I experience this on our Indigo XL Grand Dicor which I fitted Seat Covers. The car comes with Lumbar Support for Front Seats. But due to Seat Covers I cannot use this feature.

The car came with Leather Seats as Standard and the Climate in our area is hot during day all around the year. Also I was unable to source a good Leather Seat Cleaner. Hence I fitted Seat Covers.
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Old 25th March 2012, 21:00   #63
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Default Re: Mechanical Empathy | Preserving the Car While Driving

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Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
You mean, what would anyone prove by driving a Nano up to Leh or an Alto around the GQ in 4 days or whatever?
Hi,
No, my emphasis was different. Lets take it to an extreme.

Our yellow/ black and yellow city cabs. It is the source of the cabbies income. So reasonably certain that it runs everyday. = Reliable. No take it for a high speed long distance run. What would you expect?

Regards
Sutripta
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Old 26th March 2012, 00:32   #64
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Mechanical Empathy | SEATING

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Originally Posted by swiftnfurious View Post
3. Take a break for 10 mins every 2 hours or so during a long distance travel. Use that time to stretch yourself while the car breathes too!
Not really a requirement. Modern-day cars and their fuels and lubricants are capable of running without a break till you run out of fuel, provided you run them with a little empathy. I have and still regularly run my cars, from tankful to empty, with over 600 km covered without switching off the engine. In fact, a hot engine does NOT like being suddenly switched off, without a bit of cooling off while idling.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sutripta View Post
Our yellow/ black and yellow city cabs. It is the source of the cabbies income. So reasonably certain that it runs everyday. = Reliable. No take it for a high speed long distance run. What would you expect?
I know what to expect, and why... because it has happened to me more than a few times! Let's hear what others have to say.
Quote:
Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM View Post
Thank you SS-Traveller for starting it.
OTOH, thank you for the appreciation. Was missing you on the forum for quite a while!

I loved that point about the seat adjustment. There are some standard seat settings that are to be necessarily followed by all drivers, to avoid poor coordination and car control, but too often, like you, I notice that the driver is not even aware of the basic necessities. I learnt to keep my seats extra-cover-free and as original as possible, by practical demonstration & experience (and rebuilding our Ambys! ), but today plenty of videos and web pages explain things quite well. Here goes... How to Adjust the Driver's Seat for Proper Leg Room




Just a little thought about how to properly adjust the driver's seat, can let you stay more alert and retain greater control over the car. And that's a big issue when it comes to preserving your car!

Last edited by SS-Traveller : 26th March 2012 at 00:48.
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Old 26th March 2012, 01:11   #65
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Mechanical Empathy | WASHING

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Originally Posted by TaurusAl View Post
Like everyone, I have appointed a person where I live to wash my car.
Gentlemen, unlike you, your car does not sweat. It also does not have little glands in its armpits that secrete a smelly substance and leave it with BO (body odour for the uninitiated!). And in the middle of a hot and dry summer, all it collects on its body is some dust. Ergo, it does NOT need a daily bath.

OTOH, most cars are made of steel. Steel rusts. Oh yes, the best cars rust too! Don't be duped into believing that expensive cars are rust-proof, just because they have some paint applied on them. Ergo again, your car does NOT need a daily bath - you do.

During the rainy season, sure, the guy who washes your car does a good job of massaging and smearing the mud well into the pores of the paintwork. And he does not clean where the car really needs cleaning - the underside and wheel wells. So, if you have a messed up and muddy car, take the trouble of taking it in for a pressure wash once in a week (certainly NOT any more frequently than that!) during the rainy season - and hire a fellow during the monsoons to wash away the mud from (and not massage it into) your car's paintwork.

For the rest of the year, when it doesn't rain and all you get is dust on the paintwork, use something as simple as a feather duster (or if you have a serious love affair going with your car, maybe use this (Jopasu Car Duster - A mini review)). Use water to wash once a week, or even once a fortnight.

Your car's metalwork will thank you for it, and so will the environmentalists who have been shouting themselves hoarse asking you to preserve water.
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Old 26th March 2012, 11:16   #66
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Mechanical Empathy | WASHING

Quote:
Originally Posted by SS-Traveller View Post
Gentlemen, unlike you, your car does not sweat. It also does not have little glands in its armpits that secrete a smelly substance and leave it with BO (body odour for the uninitiated!). And in the middle of a hot and dry summer, all it collects on its body is some dust. Ergo, it does NOT need a daily bath.
I endorse this view, if anyone cares My routine has been

Summer:
Wash and wax once or twice a month. Use a good quality duster (I recommend California duster) EVERY day (morning or night). Extensive interior and exterior detailing every 3 months.

Monsoons:
Invest in a pressure washer.

Dust the car daily, albeit very gently. Allow your car to gather muck for
about a week or 10 days. Every week/10 days:

- Dust the car
- Pressure wash (roof, wheel arches)
- Soap the complete exteriors (I prefer to do it with my bare hands)
- Rinse and wipe clean
- Professional wax and sealant every 2 months (sometimes due to lack of time or other pressing business, this doesn't get done)
- Special conditions: driven in the monsoons on a long trip > 1500kms. I would take it for an underbody wash.

It's important not to overdo it in the washing/cleaning part.

Last edited by ssh1979 : 26th March 2012 at 11:18.
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Old 26th March 2012, 15:18   #67
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Mechanical Empathy | Preserving the Car While Driving

Dear all, this piece is not mechanical care but very important hence putting it in this thread.
Another most important thing which gets neglected is your “Wind shield glass & Wiper blades”. While many of us care a lot not to get swirl marks on the painted surface of the car, we forget to give the same care for windshield. Many people use the wiper along with built in water spray to clean the dirty windshield while starting the vehicle. You can see many cars with clear glass of wiper area on windshield whereas the remaining portion stays dirty. What this does to your windshield is to give micro scratches in the beginning and as the days go by/you do the same over and over, permanent scratches. This leads to reduction in visibility, glaring in the nights and while it is raining, the wiper blades are not able to clean the water fully in its area of travel. Another annoying thing is some people have the habit of running the wiper even after the rain stops and you start hearing the scratching noise on the glass… all these leads to reduced life span of your windshield glass and more importantly your visibility. My suggestion to cleaning the dusty/dirty windshield glass is as follows.
a. Keep the wipers off the glass
b. Pour water on the windscreen liberally so that the dust/dirts gets washed down
c. Use a micro fiber cloth to clean it
d. Clean the wiper blades using the same cloth to remove any dirt/dust then put them back on to the windshield
e. Once you are sure the glass is free of dirt, wipe it dry with used/old newspaper (this gives you a streak free glass – You might have seen lot of bus and lorry wind shield are dried like that – Age old good technique). Ensure this is the last step. If you do earlier, you may end up scratching the glass.
f. Change the wiper blade when it warrants. with time & exposure to tempratures it becomes hard and starts scratching the windshield. So change it when its time.

I am not suggesting people not use the built in windshield fluid / wash+wipe function, but if possible and you are just going to start the car for drive and you see a dusty windshield, please take few mins to clean it in a healthy way. Please have a bottle of normal tap water in your car to clean windshield if possible. Your windshield costs anywhere between Rs.5K to 10K or bit more for high end cars and your wiper blades cost anywhere from Rs. 75 to 1000 or more in some cases. More than all these things, the safety is not measurable in cost.

The last thing to put on your windshield is the sun control film (for the whole glass) which reduces the amount of sunlight/heat coming in through windshield. This, in turn reduces your visibility during nights and you end up putting more powerful head lamp to cope up with reduced visibility, which is rally a road hazard and cause lot of discomfort to the oncoming traffic.
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Old 26th March 2012, 16:00   #68
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Mechanical Empathy | Preserving the Car While Driving

@ SS-Traveller this is quite an outstanding write up. I follow most of the stuff you pointed in your article. As a matter of fact I have never had a chance to regret about my car since 2007. The only thing is that some spares dont really come easy. The only things I had to change in my car since 2007 were some suspension bushes and so on. And like you add fuel to the fire, your article was really spot on!!. Really loved the driving manuals which you had in your post. Specially the one from Finland. That was so down to earth and informative. Thanks a million for your effort. "You deserve a beer cannon for this one
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Old 26th March 2012, 16:05   #69
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Mechanical Empathy | Preserving the Car While Driving

I live in a Industry Oriented City and vehicles here have to cope up with several kinds of dust (Coal dust, Metal Ore Dust, Sand Particles etc) and fumes (While inside the Steel Plant).

I bought a Jopasu duster but use it very less. The deposition of dust particles is so high that I fear, even the jopasu would leave behind swirls.

Therefore i wash the car myself every Sunday and wax it twice a month. I wash the windshield with a bottle of water and run the spray/wiper 1-2 times whenever i see the windshield dirty.

By Saturday the Car's white color looks off-white but it is Squeaky White again on the Sunday.

Last edited by Blow Horn Ok : 26th March 2012 at 16:06.
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Old 26th March 2012, 16:14   #70
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Mechanical Empathy | Preserving the Car While Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM View Post
2. Tire Pressure - a tire inflated to less pressure does not remain a tire, it becomes a rubber band. A tire inflated to more pressure does not remain a tire, it becomes a football. You cannot drive on four rubber bands or on four footballs. Please maintain correct tire pressure. Manufacturers go to extreme lengths to specify what is correct tire pressure, please use the information mentioned on the sticker available on the driver door / B pillar.
Hello SS- Traveller and other contributors
A very informative and eye-opening thread.Thank you all.

I have a question on tire pressure and tire upsizing. Tire upsizing is a very common procedure these days. Is there any change in ideal tire pressure mentioned by manufacturer when a tire size is changed? If yes , do we have any calculators available to arrive at right tire pressure incase we upsize/downsize the tire?

Thanks
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Old 26th March 2012, 17:34   #71
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Mechanical Empathy | Preserving the Car While Driving

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Originally Posted by S5157 View Post
I have a question on tire pressure and tire upsizing. Tire upsizing is a very common procedure these days. Is there any change in ideal tire pressure mentioned by manufacturer when a tire size is changed? If yes , do we have any calculators available to arrive at right tire pressure incase we upsize/downsize the tire? Thanks
Dear S5157 - I understand and empathise with your query. While customers resort to tire upsizing, more often than not it is for reasons other than technical. Let me clear some misconceptions before I mention my take on tire pressure. The first misconception in India is that "the tires that come with the car are useless and must be replaced on the very first day of purchase". The second misconception is that "imported tires are better than Indian tires". The third misconception is that "my local tire shop owner knows more about tires for my car than the manufacturer of my car knows". All three are absolute misconceptions. The tire that comes with the car is tuned to provide controlled performance attributes like coefficient of rolling resistance (Cr), coefficient of drag (Cd), cornering stiffness, straight line stability, resistance to abrasion characteristics, wash-out performance, aquaplaning capability etc. Many of you may not know, but control over acceptable value of conicity in a tire plays an extremely important role in the driving dynamics performance attribute area. All the hard work done goes for a toss when customer replaces the tires for reasons unknown. My sincere request is, please refrain from changing tires "just like that".

Now coming to instances where the customer feels a genuine need to upgrade the tire to an alternate size because the car needs it. A manufacturer may have supplied the car with a particular tire size to meet stringent cost targets in a particular segment. This does not mean that the standard tire having optimum cost does not meet the requirements as specified in the CMVR, but a better tire could do a better and a safer job. A typical example is upgradation from 155/80R13 to 175/70R13 or upgradation from 175/65R14 to 195/60R15. These are very straightforward examples as these sizes are very commonly used in India. In the first case, for making optimum use of the 70 BHP supplied by the engine, this enhanced rubber size makes a lot of sense as it transforms the driving dynamics completely without sacrificing all the attributes that I mentioned above. The cornering confidence rating on a scale of 1 to 10 goes up from 5 to 8. Also, in the second case, as the wheel rim width changes, so do the characteristics change. The 90 BHP supplied by the engine is put to much better traction on the road, making the car not only more pleasurable to drive but also safer to operate. However, care must be taken to ensure that the inset as recommended is adhered to without any compromise. A 10mm change in inset can drastically curtail the driving dynamics performance of a car. Also, optimal articulation clearance with the tire envelope in GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) condition in extreme turns, lock to lock must be maintained. Whew! .

Now coming to tire pressure, to answer your question, even after upsizing, at first drive, please go by the placard value. Use the car for around 3 weeks and monitor the sound / behavior / performance of the tires in straight ahead / cornering / transient modes. If you get a slightly dead feel from the steering wheel about the center, lift the tire pressure on the front wheels by 1 psi (not 2 psi). Again repeat the exercise till you get optimum performance. The maximum variation from placard value that I had optimized my tires to is 4 psi, generally on the higher side. But remember that you must avoid all the 3 misconceptions that I have mentioned above. If you put junk, you will get junkyard performance.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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Old 26th March 2012, 18:04   #72
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Mechanical Empathy | Preserving the Car While Driving

Dear Behram Sir,

Thanks a ton for the detailed explanation. I expected a one or two liner reply to my query and see what I have got. I am sure that a lot of people who read the above will be enlightened and will think twice before planning to drive their cars staright out of showrooms to a local tire shop.

Once again thanks a lot for taking time out of your busy schedule and explain in detail.
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Old 26th March 2012, 22:06   #73
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Mechanical Empathy | Preserving the Car While Driving

Quote:
Originally Posted by DHABHAR.BEHRAM View Post
...even after upsizing, at first drive, please go by the placard value. Use the car for around 3 weeks and monitor the sound / behavior / performance of the tires in straight ahead / cornering / transient modes. If you get a slightly dead feel from the steering wheel about the center, lift the tire pressure on the front wheels by 1 psi (not 2 psi). Again repeat the exercise till you get optimum performance.
@BD: Sir, what is your suggestion about different tyre pressures for the front and rear axles, while upsizing? To elucidate:
  • Car X is a FWD sedan with 175 profile tyres that were recommended to run at 32 psi all around. After upsizing to, say, 195 profile tyres, we titrate the tyre pressure 1 psi at a time, till we get almost ideal steering and cornering feel at, say, 35 psi. Would you suggest running the rear tyres at, say, 32-33 psi, to retain higher rear end grip and stability, with lesser understeer characteristics? Or would you prefer to advise that, since the manufacturer recommended equal tyre pressure at all 4 corners, let all the tyres run at 35 psi?
  • Car Y is a RWD sedan with 175 profile tyres that were recommended to run at 32 psi at all corners. After upsizing to, say, 195 profile tyres, we titrate the front tyre pressure 1 psi at a time, till we get almost ideal steering feel at, say, 35 psi. For cornering feel again, we calibrate the rear tyre pressures till we arrive at (what we feel to be) an ideal oversteer/understeer balance, and the tyre pressure is now at 36 psi. Would you recommend leaving this as the ideal pressure to use? Or should all tyres run at the same pressure because the manufacturer said so in the first place?
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Old 26th March 2012, 22:33   #74
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Mechanical Empathy | Preserving the Car While Driving

Some points from my side:
1)One should raise the engine rpm's as less as possible while engaging the clutch.Once the clutch is engaged fully now you can raise the engine rpm's as needed. Many people press the accelerator hard while engaging the clutch which causes terrible wear on the clutch.
2)Shift to neutral rather than pressing the clutch on a signal for long.It will surely eat away your clutch release bearing.
3)If any bird leaves its signature on your car body do not scrub. Pour water and give it some time to dissolve and then slowly try removing it. If it doesnot comeout the first time let it be. Slowly it will come out. Its better rather than having scratches.
4)Sun's Heat is the biggest enemy of car so park in shade or put cover. Yes it protects from children who like to decorate your car with scratches.
5)Do not park a car in one position for long it damages a local area of your tyre.So shift your car so that another area of your tyre bears the load.
6)I am going to order a tyre pressure gauge. The same tyre when measured at different petrol pump outlets showed air pressure from 32 to 45 psi and I am confused who is correct. Petrol pump air gauges are never callibarated so do not bank on them.
7)One over friendly guy in our building kept a brick on my car roof to avoid my car cover getting flown away due to wind. Now I am left with lots of scratches on my car roof.
8)While parking always have a look at whats above the car like coconut trees or unfriendly neighbours who drop kitchen utensils to give you a cracked windshield.
9)Make it a habbit to look at your gauges to check temperature and also to check whether your handbrake is on!(Yes I did drive a shocking 25kms with my handbrake on in my early car driving learning stages.I had a brake fail and my rear rims were burning red hot nearly.After the brakes cooled down everything was normal but yes the packed sealed lifetime greased wheel bearings had let out a lot of grease which is going to affect their life)
10)Try to change gears at speeds considering that you have a constant mesh gearbox.I mean try to match the speeds of the gears which you are shifting gears to reduce synchronizer cone wear.
11)Do not use wiper to clean dirty windshield. Instead get down and pour water and clean it manually, will save a lot of scratches.
12) Request your office security guys to gently close your bonnet and rear dicky door which will save the cost of replacing door locks.My office security guard closes the dicky door so hard I get a big thump in my heart when he does it!
13)Many people lug the engine a often neglected fact.
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Old 27th March 2012, 10:30   #75
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Default Re: ARTICLE: Mechanical Empathy | Preserving the Car While Driving

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Originally Posted by amit_purohit20 View Post
One should raise the engine rpm's as less as possible while engaging the clutch.Once the clutch is engaged fully now you can raise the engine rpm's as needed. Many people press the accelerator hard while engaging the clutch which causes terrible wear on the clutch.
Dear Amit Purohit 20 - Normally your right foot comes off the accelerator pedal during gear shifting. People perform this operation in an uncontrolled way. In today's design releases, we have what is known as "tip-in / tip-out" performance built into the system, programmed into the ECU. This provides just the correct dip of engine rpm during gear changes so as not to get the engine rpm into a trough which will cause a jerk, nor to overspeed the engine in this transient phase which will slip the clutch, both being harmful to the well being of the driveline as well as safe operation of the car. There are specialist engineers who do this job only, day in and day out for all platforms.

Dear SS Traveller - there is no hard and fast answer to both your case studies. As we are discussing the very fine dividing lines between exhilarating performance as a result of tire pressure v/s mundane performance, in each case, final decision rests with the individual operator. There is nothing wrong in having differential tire pressure front to back.

Dear S5157 - (I wonder what this means). Thank you for your gracious comment, I appreciate. My teachers have ingrained into me that there is only one way to do a job and that is the perfect way. "Behram - No Compromise" is what he used to say! I am fortunate to have learnt under such teachers, and if I may humbly add, I was their best student. If you have to understand what I tell you, I must tell you in a simple way in which you can understand. Unfortunately, there are many who believe in MBC (Management By Confusion). I am not one of them.

Best regards,

Behram Dhabhar
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