Dekho Baarish ho rahi hai… Are we ready for the Monsoon? The Shanty Chaddha Diaries
Time: 9:00 AM.
Location: Somewhere in New Delhi
Event: People leaving their homes to go to work.
Weather: It’s raining man…
Song playing on the radio: Aaj Rapat Jaaye toh humein na uthaiyo (If I was to slip and fall, don’t pick me up) from the movie Namak Halal with Amitabh Bachchan & Smita patil in the lead.
As I run towards my car in pouring rain covering my super gelled hair with one hand, I see my neighbor pull up in his parking space and come to halt with a screech & slide. I am in my car now, wiping of drops of water mixed with the hair gel from my forehead & my eyes (Note to self: Do not use hair gel in Monsoon season).
I pull my window down just enough so that my voice can reach out to my neighbor. Change your tyres mate, I shouted out to him. Change my tyre? What for? I just saw you skid at a speed of less than 10 kmph.. I guess it is about to time to change them or at least get them tested, I said. In a very nonchalant manner he just waved his hand while shouting back “These tyres still have at least 5,000 km left in them. I’ll change my tyre in a couple of months. Maybe you can suggest a brand then.
As my neighbor walked towards his door & I hit the ignition on my car, I took a big sigh of relief knowing that I’d only gotten my car tyres replaced roughly a month ago. However, the very next thought that hit me was the fact that just because I have new tyres fitted in my car does not guarantee a safe drive in the Monsoon season that’s why they have special tyres for different types of weather but more on that later.
I want to talk about some safety measurements first. Call it some tips to keep your car tyres in shape & as safe as possible during the monsoons.
So here is a quick list of checks & precautions you must always take to get your car & car tyres ready for a safe Monsoon drive.
Air pressure – I know a lot of people will advise you to get your tyre pressure checked but, what is the right pressure for your tyre? Different cars have different tyre pressure measurements set to give you the best performance out of your vehicle & the tyres. If the tyre is under inflated or overinflated you may find that the stability, handling, cornering & breaking performance of your car drops significantly. Always make sure that the tyre pressure on your car is set as per the car manufacturer’s recommendation. You can find the correct tyre pressure suggested by your car maker on both the driver’s door panel & in the car manual.
Having the right tyre pressure will not only give you better handling & breaking performance but will also reduce the chances of a flat tyre thus, saving you from the discomfort of changing a tyre in the pouring rain.
Tyre Tread – One of the most overlooked parameter on a tyre in India in my opinion. We wait till we can see the threads & steel wires peek through the tyres before changing them. A dangerous practice which I also believe is changing as the customers are getting more and more education about it (Thanks to the responsible tyre manufacturers like Apollo, JK, Goodyear & Ceat.).
The purpose of tyre tread is to help in displacement of water away from the tyre contact area while maintaining the road-tyre friction. There are some really good all season tyres available in India that come equipped with specific technology to avoid aquaplaning. What we need to understand is that, a tyre with poor tread will make the car skid on a wet surface & might even result in aquaplaning (Aquaplaning occurs when a layer of water builds between the wheels of the vehicle and the road surface, leading to a loss of traction).
Depth of the tread can be checked easily since lot of tyre makes now include a wear marker that tells that it’s time to replace tyres.
A quick suggestion: If you are looking to change the tyres on your car this Monsoon you may go ahead & check for tyres such as Goodyear Assurance Triplemax amongst other brands. These tyres come equipped with ‘Hydrogrip’ technology which provides power breaking reducing the breaking distances by a significant margin. (Just to make it very clear: This is my personal suggestion you are free to go ahead and search for other brands with similar qualities). Almost every manufacturer is providing excellent wet grip & breaking capabilities & various pattern. Some are just a wee bit better.
Tyre Valves – Another part & parameter on the tyre which is often overlooked. Tyre valve is made out of rubber, and as we all know rubber deteriorates over time. A valve’s internal mechanism can also get damaged over time due to road debris accumulating inside if a valve cap is not used. During monsoon, valve caps should always be used since dirty water and muck can easily get in the valves.
Wheel Alignment – Your tyres should never be out of alignment, if they are, then they will wear unevenly & you may face handling problems & vibrations. Potholes & rough roads can contribute to problems with alignment. An unbalanced tyre & wheel assembly may result in an uneven ride and also wear & tear of the overall suspension of your vehicle.
Tyre Rotation – Rotation of your tyres can increase its life expectancy. Since each tyre supports a different weight uneven weight distribution can cause your tyres to wear at different rates. By rotating your tyres, you can extend their useful life. Refer to your vehicle’s owner manual for rotation recommendations. If no rotation period is specified, tyres should be rotated approximately every 8,000-10,000 kilometers.
So guys follow these tips to have a happy driving experience during the Monsoons. I have reached my shop now, time to sell some good Monsoon tyres.
P.S. I happily accept invitations to have chai-pakoras while the rain falls chamma cham cham on the roof. You know where to contact me..