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Old 4th July 2010, 13:43   #1
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Default When car abuse is inevitable

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We all take pains to treat our cars as well as possible, and take care to run them and maintain them properly. However, there are some situations I came across, when it is not possible/practical not to abuse the car. Let us discuss some of them, if there are any workarounds.

Please add any similar situations you have faced, so we can mutually exchange suggestions on how to work around these situations.

I have been forced to abuse my car in some situations:

  • Riding the clutch:
This is the most common, I face it almost every day. At speeds when even the 1st gear's lowest speed is too fast, but the traffic is crawling, I don't see what else to do. Unfortunately this is a daily situation in my commute route. I have even gone to the extent of trying a roundabout route which is literally double the distance to avoid riding the clutch, but I found that doesnt help much because it sometimes happens on that route too. How to avoid?
  • Switching the diesel engine on/off without idling:
I am religiously following the thumb rule of idling the diesel engine at least 30 seconds after switching on/before switching off. However, what happens when the car stalls in the think traffic? When this happens, I have to switch on the engine immediately with a wince.
  • Switching on the AC immediately after switching on the ignition:
In Chennai, it is difficult (almost impossible) to drive the car for some time before switching on the AC. I still do it, roll down the windows and drive for some time, and then switch on the AC. However, when my 80-year-old grandma or 60-yr-old mom gets in the car, all this goes out of the window and I switch on the AC immediately. Their comfort is paramount. This is another unavoidable car abuse situation.
  • Holding the car on handbrake:
Situation - uphill climb, VERY slow moving traffic jam. I know if I stand on my brakes, I will burn them out quickly. I am forced to use the parking brake, thereby abusing it. I try to achieve a balance between abusing the clutch and abusing the handbrake, use handbrake mostly. But it is still abuse isnt it? Any thoughts?
  • Holding the car on brakes:
Situation - even worse, slow moving traffic jam DOWNHILL. What to do? Not possible to put the car in 1st gear like we do when going uphill. Only brakes and handbrakes are there. What is the best method i.e method of least abuse?

These situations make me go , any thoughts?
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Old 4th July 2010, 13:52   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
  • Switching the diesel engine on/off without idling:
I am religiously following the thumb rule of idling the diesel engine at least 30 seconds after switching on/before switching off. However, what happens when the car stalls in the think traffic? When this happens, I have to switch on the engine immediately with a wince.
Not a problem because you would be at crawling speeds. Turbo charged diesels need a mandatory 30 sec idle before shutting off, only after some high speed runs.

Quote:
  • Switching on the AC immediately after switching on the ignition:
In Chennai, it is difficult (almost impossible) to drive the car for some time before switching on the AC. I still do it, roll down the windows and drive for some time, and then switch on the AC. However, when my 80-year-old grandma or 60-yr-old mom gets in the car, all this goes out of the window and I switch on the AC immediately. Their comfort is paramount. This is another unavoidable car abuse situation.
This is no abuse. You can turn on the AC immediately after starting the engine.

Quote:
  • Holding the car on handbrake:
Situation - uphill climb, VERY slow moving traffic jam. I know if I stand on my brakes, I will burn them out quickly.
I fail to understand, why.
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Old 4th July 2010, 14:36   #3
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Originally Posted by DRIV3R View Post
Not a problem because you would be at crawling speeds. Turbo charged diesels need a mandatory 30 sec idle before shutting off, only after some high speed runs.



This is no abuse. You can turn on the AC immediately after starting the engine.




I fail to understand, why.
not really, especially when you start the car in the morning and the engine is cold, It needs some warming up to perform efficiently. If you switch on the ac it puts extra load on a cold engine and is probably harmful in the long term.
In my camry . If i switch on the Ac at start, it turns on the blower only and after a little time , the AC starts i guess so this is some kind of protection on certain cars with climate control systems.
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Old 4th July 2010, 14:50   #4
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Cars are engineered devices to get you from place to place in relative comfort and safety. That's their primary function. And if you are not using the controls provided to do that for the fear of abusing the car - you are failing the primary objective of the car, imho!

I don't know if there's any merit in keeping the engine idling before you turn off after a drive that lasted at least 20 mins. The only time where I would leave the car running for a few minutes is at the start of the drive, especially on cold mornings.

Holding the car on handbreak - if you are referring to using the hand break to stop the car uphill - there's absolutely nothing wrong in it, and it is the correct / safe way to do. Hand break is not 'parking break', it has many other uses including uphill starts. I don't think anything will go wrong with it by just using it for the reasons its' designed for, imho!
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Old 4th July 2010, 15:14   #5
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By load, you do mean the extra 100 rpms the engine does when the AC is turned on, right? I don't think that an idle speed of extra 100 rpms would do any harm to the engine.

Last edited by DRIV3R : 4th July 2010 at 15:15.
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Old 4th July 2010, 20:31   #6
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Repeat after me: The car is a machine. It is made of steel. It is not a human, and it is not an animal, it is not even alive. It doesn't have feelings. All its parts are failure prone, are repairable, and replaceable. The worst abuse you can ever think of doing to a car is to drive it on the Indian roads. If you love your car too much, drive it only on a flat smooth surface. O, wait! OMG! That is going to wear out the drivetrain. Better jack it up on blocks!
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Old 4th July 2010, 20:40   #7
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Originally Posted by rajushank84 View Post
Note to mod: I did try searching with a few keywords, couldn't find this topic. If such a topic does exist, please merge.
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......We all take pains to treat our cars as well as possible, and take care to run them and maintain them properly. However, there are some situations I fic jam DOWNHILL.

These situations make me go , any thoughts?
All the scenarios you described are inevitable if you drive in modern India. This is why most manufacturers redesign their cars for use here. What may work a million miles in Europe most probably doesn't even work 15000kms in India.

Riding the clutch: Well, impossible not to do in traffic, and even if you use an A/T, the clutch is still being ridden if you come to stop in D mode (which is why A/Ts require frequent transmission maintenance) & in a manual, you will probably need a new clutch set in 15000kms/50000kms depending upon level of exercised caution.

Switching the diesel engine on/off without idling: If caught in an hour long jam and suddenly the traffic moves, my driver can't wait another eternity(relative) so that the turbo's up. This is the way the engine is designed, you can't do anything about it.

Switching on the AC immediately after switching on the ignition: A/C switch on and starting will only increase engine RPM & is much less sinful than redlining immediately after start which most 'drivers' do.

Holding the car on brakes: This will wear them out faster but they are not a bomb to replace.

Holding the car on handbrake: Well, most cars are towed with the handbrake on but not all require rear drum replacement.

All I can say that these are the lesser perils while driving in India, where driving itself is more like war.
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Old 4th July 2010, 22:55   #8
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Hmm, yes I agree its just a machine. Just a desire to make it last long and keep it in good shape, thats all. Nothing emotional.

@JustCause, thanks.
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Old 5th July 2010, 01:25   #9
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Default Ford Figo not too happy with the traffic

I am in the same dilemma as you`r with riding your car in the pathetic road conditions of our cities.

i have a ford figo which i just dread to drive in traffic prone areas of Mumbai.
  • Riding the clutch:
This is the exact problem that i even i am facing the most and would like to know/learn from another mumbaikar or another traffic affected soul with regards to what they actually while they themselves are in this situation and what they to protect their car and its parts ?
  • Switching the diesel engine on/off without idling:
I do follow this rule every morning before i leave from home and after i reach the parking at my place, but if in between my car stalls while taking some really slow U-Turns or Climbing an uphill area, i just ignite the car asap and ride it.
people in our cities r too impatient for us to even care for our turbochargers at this point of time
  • Switching on the AC immediately after switching on the ignition:
i dont know if it`s really wrong or not, but i have been doing the same mistake (if it really is) with regards to switching my AC on as soon as my car is in motion.
  • Holding the car on handbrake:
is there any other alternative for this ?
  • Holding the car on brakes:
is it really that bad ? i mean, are there any other alternatives ? if Yes, i would like to know too, if not, then its just imperative for us to do so i believe
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Old 5th July 2010, 01:46   #10
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Most modern cars inch forward when you put the care in gear (usually 1st and 2nd) and release the clutch, without having to press on the gas. My understanding is that it isn't riding the clutch since the clutch is fully released, and it is pretty useful in bumper to bumper traffic.

Is that harmful in any way (other than burning more fuel)?
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Old 5th July 2010, 13:31   #11
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Originally Posted by chncar View Post
Most modern cars inch forward when you put the care in gear (usually 1st and 2nd) and release the clutch, without having to press on the gas. My understanding is that it isn't riding the clutch since the clutch is fully released, and it is pretty useful in bumper to bumper traffic.

Is that harmful in any way (other than burning more fuel)?
Problem is, even that lowest speed is too fast for crawling traffic. One is forced to ride the clutch in such situations .

Reg hill down-slope: I am actually paranoid about this. I read about an Esteem owner who had burnt his brakes so bad that they went all they way down like the clutch with no braking effect. The exact same thing happened when I drove up to Ooty, without knowing about this. This was in peak season time, so traffic jams in Ooty hill are common. I was paranoid about what will happen if the same thing happens while going down. I became so paranoid about it that I started on the downward journey at 6am when I could expect relatively less traffic. Went all the way down with just engine braking and hardly had to touch the brakes a couple of times. But it still scares me when I think of it, what will happen if I am stuck in a jam in downward slope, when the 1st gear's lowest speed is too fast?

One option - can we engage reverse gear and use the clutch to moderate the movement? (kind of engine braking in reverse) I know this is very very bad for the clutch plate, but in worst case scenario, is this an option?
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Old 5th July 2010, 13:37   #12
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Except the diesel idling part i dont see how the rest can be called abuse.

Pretty much every car goes through such situations. So you need not worry too much about it.

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Old 5th July 2010, 13:54   #13
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+1 dileepKS

couldn't agree more.

@ rajushank84
buddy all that you have listed is just how you are supposed to use your car everyday. please remember there is absolutely no way anywhere in the world where you would not get in these situations ever.
i am glad you do realise (and practice) that comfort of elders is of utmost importance.

rest everything that you have concerns about, are just the usual wear and tear of the car. good to know that you are being careful and trying to keep the wear and tear to the minimal.

when you think you are riding the clutch in heavy traffic. try keeping some distance between you and the car in front of you so that when you move, you can easily roll the car in neutral. (after getting the required momentum)

i am still not convinced about keeping the engine running at idle BEFORE switching it off. usually whenever we are switching off the engine, we are parking our cars. and i am sure none of us park our cars as they show in the movies. we always are at really low speeds. so idling it further makes no sense to me (people with experience/logic please do correct me)

switching on the AC immediately after starting the engine is nor recommended by various reasons. primary being that the gasses collected after the last use of the car should be vented out. along with it on a cold engine, the additional load DOES make more impact than what we think. always prefer switching on the AC after the engine is at it's optimal running temperature, though throw this idea out of your car's window if any of the family members are sitting in and are uncomfortable.
try keeping all the windows rolled down by a centimeter or so whenever you park the car. will not buildup the gases as much because of cross ventilation.

holding the car on handbrakes - well what other option do you have?? maybe carrying few big stones so that each time you think you might have to use the handbrake, you can use the stones as stopper instead of breaks!!
jokes apart - please do remember that it's a piece of machinery which WILL require regular maintenance. if the brake pads need to be changed because you have used them, accept the fact that you have USED them - not abUSED them.

please don't take it otherwise but i am glad that you didn't bring up the issue of tyre wear because you are driving the car.
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