Long weekends are typically the most popular time to schedule vacations, particularly road trips. While it is typically regarded as a time to unwind and escape from the daily grind, it is extremely possible that you are not the only one booking a trip for that specific weekend. Most of the time, such events result in considerable traffic on expressways leading out of major cities. The Mumbai-Pune expressway is a frequent witness to this issue. There were numerous reports of automobiles halting on the side of the road due to breakdowns during the three-day Christmas 2023 weekend, resulting in a reportedly 12-kilometer-long traffic bottleneck.
Such traffic nightmares can put enormous strain on numerous automotive components. However, the extensive sections of sloping surfaces as this expressway snakes through the ghats make it more stressful, which is likely why many of the breakdowns reported were related to overheating and clutch damage. To avoid becoming stuck or stranded in a similar circumstance, these are the Tips To Protect Your Car In Traffic to keep your car from breaking down:
Regardless of the instrument cluster, there will always be a gauge that indicates engine temperature (look for letters C and H). Better-equipped vehicles can also display temperature readings on the MID or digital driver’s display. If the gauge approaches ‘H’ or above 100 degrees Celsius and you notice an engine temperature warning light, you should immediately pull over to the side of the road and turn off the engine to avoid major damage. A faulty radiator, coolant pump, or thermostat could be the source of the overheating.
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Kill The Engine Power
Leaving the engine running for extended periods in heavy traffic might also cause the engine to malfunction. So, if you believe you will be stuck in traffic for an extended amount of time, turn off the engine. This is where the idle stop/start feature comes in handy, as it may limit how long the engine stays on while the car is stopped in traffic. We also recommend keeping an eye out for the engine warning check light, which can indicate a variety of problems such as engine misfiring and fuel system malfunctions.
Roll Those Windows Down
One thing to remember at such times is to turn off the air conditioning and roll down the windows. This comfort adds extra pressure to the system when driving uphill or in dense vehicular sections, which is not an issue in normal circumstances but might pose problems in protracted traffic jams. It could also be one of the causes of engine overheating. In warmer weather, you can use the air conditioner sparingly rather than leaving it on for long durations while stopped in traffic. This can also help to improve your vehicle’s fuel economy on highways and can be kept in mind as an Tips To Protect Your Car In Traffic.
Time To Shift Gears
Heavy clutch usage when going in bumper-to-bumper traffic or on steep stretches of asphalt has been a primary cause of automobiles breaking down or overheating at such times. Constant clutch plate engagement to avoid stalling or rolling back places undue strain on the clutch plates, potentially burning them out.
To avoid the aforementioned scenario, regardless of whether you own a manual or automatic transmission automobile, it is recommended that you change to neutral and use the handbrake anytime your car is stopped.
Take It Slow, Keep Distance
In extended traffic jams, keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front of you in case it rolls back on inclines or abruptly brakes in an unexpected event. It is especially crucial to obey this basic guideline if there is a large car ahead that prevents a clear vision up front.
A Quick Pre-check Of The Car
If you anticipate long stretches of traffic on your trip, you can try to be proactive about maintaining your vehicle. Before going on a trip, it’s always a good idea to get your automobile tested or serviced to verify that all of the components are in good working order. This includes things like engine oil, fluids, battery health, tire pressures, and brakes.
Patience Is The Key
The most important thing to remember in such situations is to be patient and to be cool. You don’t have to try to weave between lanes of slow-moving traffic or maneuver your automobile to keep an inch-perfect distance from the car in front of you. It will not only help you drive more efficiently, but it will also help you deal with any unfavorable situations in the best way possible.
Finally, we recommend our readers follow these simple tips when embarking on a traffic-clogged, lengthy road journey to ensure that not only you but also your automobile do not encounter any stressful conditions. That being said, we wish you fond memories and safe travels.