Car Sizzler Tech-Tics Tech-Tics in CarSizzler What?s most important for any vehicle? What’s most important for any vehicle? If you are thinking of fuel, well you also think like rest of us, if only that was correct. It’s insurance, without any iota of doubt. The amount of labor required to get it proves my point. You have to fill tons of data, data that you don’t even remember. All this effort, just to get a quote. Yes with the rise of online platforms the hassles have reduced and the introduction of m-commerce has even smoothed the experience but filling up loads of data has been a deterrent. Let me share a personal experience with you. A year ago I had to take a road trip to my home-town ,Lucknow. This was an all of a sudden plan without any time to prepare. I got a call from my father informing me about my mother being in ICU due to cardiac arrest. I checked for flights none in my budget were available so I decided to drive instead, little did I know what was about to happen. My car insurance had expired a day before and between filling up loads of data and keeping it for some other day, I opted the later. So I started my road trip in my uninsured car. After 3 hours of continuous driving I decided to give my full of drowsiness eyes a little comfort , so I parked my car in the middle of nowhere took my bottle of mineral water and stepped out of my car. I sprinkled some water on my eyes took few sips of it too and was about to lit a cigarette when all of a sudden three armed men appeared in front of me out of nowhere. They took my car, my wallet, my mobile and left me stranded in the middle of nowhere, carless, moneyless and even contactless. I stood there cursing my stars as they left in my car with all my beloved belongings. This is something which can be easily avoided with thorough planning but you can plan for an adverse hour as it comes unannounced. But now with RGI’s new initiative, nobody will have to suffer the way I did. Reliance General Insurance Company Limited, a part of Reliance Capital, has launched a first-of-its- kind single field quick quote feature for its private car insurance and two wheeler insurance products online. This customer –friendly facility enables instantaneous quote generation by entering only the vehicle registration number. In India, people require to fill up a huge amount of information for buying a policy, which is a time-consuming and tedious process. Further, a shift to the online platform hasn’t made buying insurance hassle free since customers are still being asked to fill multiple data fields. India has approximately 55 million online shoppers and the numbers are increasing by the day. The introduction of m-commerce has only added impetus to the increasing number of online buyers. However, filling up loads of data for buying a product or registering for a service has been a deterrent. As per a survey conducted by RGI, 60% of customers drop out of the sales funnel as they are unable to recall or remember multiple  information that is asked for while buying a policy. Identifying this trend, RGI has come up with a novel solution in the GI sector, a single data field forgetting an instantaneous quotation for car and two wheeler insurance, ensuring swift, seamless and better insurance deals. And with this RGI becomes a pioneer in generating instantaneous quotation by filling only the vehicle registration number. Now you must be wondering how it works? Once a customer enters the vehicle registration number, the system fetches requisite information like make/model, state of registration, etc. and generates an instantaneous quote. Not only is the customer saved from the hassles of punching in multiple details, the entire process is quicker, more efficient and extremely user-friendly. Moreover, RGI’s single field quick quote scores high on the compatibility front too with the feature available on both desktops and hand-held devices such as smartphones, allowing users to avail tailor-made car insurance at any time and from anywhere, at the best price and at lightning speed. All you need to do is download the app if you plan to use it on your smartphone or visit the website if you are still old school. As if this much was not enough they are even providing free Roadside Assistance up to 25 km as a mouth-watering dessert. This is an Avant Garde release in the Insurance sector. It includes jumpstarting, diagnosing and repairing the problem in case of a breakdown, helping with flat tyres , towing assistance, delivering backup keys ,organizing hotel accommodation , organizing taxi etc. With over 2400+ network garage at their disposal, it’s a dream come true for all the motorists. Reimbursement of towing charges up to INR 1500 is also provided by the insurers. In a nutshell, RGI’s latest technological innovation breakthrough has allowed customers to get vehicle insurance policies in a more convenient and faster manner, guaranteeing a smooth, safe and stress free ride! Fixing Car, Steering, Pedal Vibrations When you notice any problem in your car such as noise, vibration or any other issue, one should immediately check for the problem.         Some of the major issues which every car owner notice in their cars are with the tyre and wheels, steering, engine, suspension and brakes.      Symptoms   When the car starts vibrating, it can be related to the engine rpm. One can feel the vibration in the car even when the car is idle.  The vibration is also felt when driving at high speeds. When the car speed changes, the car starts vibrating.       Solution   Always keep the wheels of the car properly balanced and inflated Check for any wear and tear on the tyres and any bends on the wheels. When the brakes are applied aggressively, the car can vibrate.  Check for brake disc, brake pads/brake shoes. Check for a broken wheel bearing, suspension strut / control arm or a loose bolt Car breakdown: what to do? There are many reasons why your car won’t start. It can be due to any of the reason such as the engine breakout, low fuel, ignition light on, electrical etc. One should not panic in such cases and look for the fault in the vehicle.       Before fixing the issue, one should:     Push the car to the side of the road safely to unblock the way of the ongoing vehicles on road. Look for the fault in the electrical. The engine of the car starts with the battery is fully charged. Check whether there the battery is working or not by turning on the headlamps or blowing horn. If it’s working then the battery is charged if not it is dead.     Check for the fuel capacity of the car. If the fuel is low, go to the nearby fuel station and fill your car’s fuel tank. If your car still doesn’t start if the fuel tanks is full, then disconnect the fuel feed pipe in the engine and hold its tip inside the mouth of the jerry can. Then turn on the ignition. This will cause the electric fuel pump to run and you should be able to see a steady stream of petrol filling the can up. If no fuel comes out, the fuel pump inside the tank isn't working. It could be a blown fuse or relay. On the other hand, if the fuel pump has failed, you need to tow the car  to a service station and get a replacement.       Try to push start your car. If the battery is not charged, the push start won’t work as the system will not get power.  Turn on the ignition switch, but don't crank the starter. Check for all the telltale lights on the dashboard coming on & fully illuminated. If the battery is dead, hook up cables to another car and try to start the car. Check for a loose connection at the battery terminal. Check your owner's manual to locate the main fuse. Replace the fuse and try again. How to Run-In your new car Cars are generally made of various components joined together or connected together specially the engine of the car, with bolt and other metal parts. When any part is joined together, there is always a slight mismatch which is known as tolerance. Therefore, these parts need to be settled for the smooth working through the tolerances is known as running-in.   This process is well mentioned in the car’s owner’s manual which usually states that the driver should run the car smoothly and gently without exceeding the specified RPM limit.   Besides this, there are other points to remember to run-in your new car:   Always read the user’s manual. Before start driving your car, one needs to first warm up the car engine first. During the initial period, always run your car within the 2,500 rpm for the first 1,000 km. After the first service is done, one can increase the speed limit of the car above 2,500 rpm to 3,000 rpm to 1,500 km and then gradually increase it to the maximum by 2,500 km.   Avoid driving in jam-packed traffics or slow traffic. Change the engine oil after the first 1,000 km. The engine churns out metal parts that get collected in the engine oil. To avoid these metal parts to damage the engine, it is recommended to change it after the first 1,000 km. Engine Decarbonisation Engine decarbonising is a process of removing carbon deposits from the engine mechanically or by using chemical methods.   There are different ways of removing carbon deposits from the engine such as removing the cylinder head and scrapping off the deposits from the pistons and the use of decarbonising machines to remove the carbon deposits.   ·         Without opening the engine, the spring of the engine can be cleaned from inside. The entire fuel system can be decarbonised including the O2 sensor and catalytic converter. ·         Reduces harmful emissions initially but later emits carbon from the exhaust that pollutes the air. ·         Reduces engine noise & vibration. ·         Improves driveability ·         Even if we do not remove the carbon deposits from the engine, the car still runs safely. One just needs to maintain the car properly and service the car on time.     ·         The heavy carbon deposit include pre-ignition and an increase in cylinder compression pressure. ·         Engines manufactured today are highly advanced and the fuel is burned inside an IC engine completely and efficiently than before. If the combustion is done completely, there will be no carbon deposit. ·         Decarbonising may improve performance temporarily, but it won't last long. One needs to keep a check on the injector or fuel pump settings to prevent any carbon deposits and not clean it up afterwards. If your oil control rings are not working properly and the engine oil comes up, one needs to replace the ring immediately. Removing the carbon by decarbonising can worsen oil control in this situation. ·         Fuel additives present in the fuel tank help in cleaning the carbon deposits. These are the cheaper ways than using a decarbonising machine.   Important points to remember: •        Decarbonising doesn't improve engine health to any great extent. •        Avoid frequent decarbonising. •        Overuse of decarbonising chemicals is harmful to the engine. •        Decarbonising doesn’t increase fuel efficiency. •        Decarbonising is expensive. Anti-lock Braking System You must be familiar with the term “ABS” or “Anti-lock Braking System”. Many vehicles, cars or bikes and even trucks and buses, come equipped with ABS, but some of us do not really know how it works. If you have a car fitted with ABS, you should first refer to user manual of your vehicle and understand its working and features.   We will discuss what ABS is, its functioning and types in this article.   ABS or Anti-lock Braking System is a safety feature that helps in preventing the wheels from locking up when one applies brakes. When a driver presses the brake pedal, the ABS allows the wheel to keep traction with the road surface and prevents the wheels from locking, this in turn avoids uncontrolled skidding of a vehicle that can cause an accident. ABS improves vehicle control and decreases the stopping distance to a great extent on any road surface.   ABS not only prevents the wheels from locking but also electronically controls the all four wheels. The ABS has four components:   •           Speed sensors •           Pump •           Valves •           Controller   ABS is also known as anti-lock brake controller or Controller Anti-lock Brake (CAB). The controller keeps a record of speed and when the driver applies brake or lowers the speed, it activates the valves to reduce the hydraulic pressure of the brake, thus reducing the braking force. It then makes it easier to steer the wheels even if the brakes are applied. When the ABS system operates, one feels a throb in the brake pedal due to quick opening and closing of valves.   There are three types of ABS depending on the type of brakes which are used:   1.         Four-channel, four-sensor ABS: There is a speed sensor on all four wheels and a separate valve for all four wheels. In this, the controller monitors each wheel individually to make sure it is getting the required braking force.   2.         Three-channel, four-sensor ABS: It has a speed sensor on all four wheels and a separate valve for each of the front wheels, but only one valve for both of the rear wheels. Earlier, the vehicles were fitted with this type.   3.         Three-channel, three-sensor ABS: It has a speed sensor and a valve for each of the front wheels, with one valve and one sensor for both rear wheels. It provides individual control of the front wheels to get maximum braking force. While the rear wheels are monitored together. The rear wheels have to start to lock up before the ABS will activate on the rear. In this type, it is also possible that one of the rear wheels will lock during a stop, thus, reducing brake effectiveness.   4.         Two-channel, four sensor ABS: It was commonly used in vehicles produced in 80’s. It uses a speed sensor at each wheel, with one control valve each for the front and rear wheels as a pair. If the speed sensor detects lock up at any individual wheel, the control module pulses the valve for both wheels on that end of the car.   5.         One-channel, one-sensor ABS: It has one valve, which controls both rear wheels, and one speed sensor, located in the rear axle. This system operates the same as the rear end of a three-channel system. The rear wheels are monitored together and they both have to start to lock up before the ABS starts operating. It is also possible that one of the rear wheels will lock, reducing brake effectiveness. This system is also easy to identify, as there are no individual speed sensors for any of the wheels.   Things to remember when applying brakes with ABS vehicle:   First and foremost, one should never pump brake pedal in a vehicle with ABS as this will take longer to stop a vehicle. One just needs to press the brake pedal firmly and let the ABS do its work. If you keep pumping brake pedal, it will disengage the ABS system and it will not work accordingly.   Always brake and steer your vehicle when using four-wheel ABS. press the brake pedal firmly and steer your vehicle normally until the car comes to a standstill.   ABS works great on wet or icy pavements but can take a longer stopping distance on loose gravel or during snow fall.   There is difference between four wheel and rear wheel ABS. In a four wheel ABS, it prevents the entire four wheels to lock up giving the driver and the maneuver easily. However, in rear wheel ABS, the front wheels will lock up when the brakes are applied. In this case, the driver should ease up on the brake pedal with just enough pressure to allow the front wheels to roll again so that the driver can steer. Turbocharged and Supercharged Engines     Usually whenever we talk about performance of cars, words like “Turbocharger, Turbocharged Engine, and Supercharger” come across. Chances are you might even have one of these in your car but are unaware of what exactly they do. Let’s see how these work and how do they differ.                                                                                                              Turbochargers & Superchargers   The combustion engine in our cars generates some power, which is usually more than enough to make them run. Turbochargers are usually employed in high capacity diesel engines. What they do is, they boost an engine’s horsepower without making any modifications to the engine. Many car aficionados, who are power hungry, end up fixing a turbocharger into their beasts.   Technically, turbocharger is a type of forced induction system that compresses the air that gets sucked in by the engine. Compressing the air allows more air (by volume) to enter into each cylinder of the engine. The same mixes with more fuel that finally leads to more power. More importantly flow of the exhaust air is used for the turbocharger turbine to spin the air-pump. Another way to add more power to your engine is to engage a supercharger. What turbochargers and superchargers do is the same thing (boost the engine power), a supercharger is however bolted onto your car’s engine as it runs from the engine itself, much like the A/C components, and Supercharger is powered mechanically by chain or belt drive system from the crankshaft. So it actually takes off a chunk of power generated from the engine, making it work more for the power that you needed it to provide you with. Key Differences Between Petrol & Diesel Engines   The main difference is the ignition process. Both petrol and diesel engines are internal combustion engines, designed to convert the fuel added into mechanical power for the pistons inside the cylinders to move in a vertical manner. We wouldn’t go into the technical details of how an engine works. Basically, both petrol and diesel engines convert these fuels into energy by all the small scale multiple explosions that happen in each cylinder.   In a petrol engine, fuel is mixed with air ignited by sparks from a spark plug while in a diesel engine; first the air is compressed and then injected with fuel. A diesel engine doesn’t have a spark plug to ignite the fuel, it needs to compress it resulting in the air heating up and igniting the fuel injected directly into the chambers, hence called direct injection. Certain diesel engines use what is known as glow plugs, they heat the diesel well in advance before reaching the chamber, making it easier for diesel cars to start up in winters.   Both petrol and diesel engines use a four-stroke engine, the stroke being as follows: Intake Stroke, Compression Stroke, Combustion Stroke, Exhaust Stroke.   A petrol engine over a longer runtime allows a faster revolution rate churning out more power than a diesel engine, which is one of the main reasons why diesel engine is never used for racing cars. Petrol engines are capable of performing at higher RPMs while the diesel engines provide much more torque at lower speeds. Diesel engines also produce approx. 12-13% more CO2 per liter of diesel burned against petrol, meaning diesel pollutes more than petrol. A diesel engine is always known to give out lag, why does this happen? The accelerator pedal doesn’t exactly respond to a quick throttle response, it has to consider other pressure conditions as well before being able to release more power to the driver, remember, this happens with diesel engines without turbo. However, with the advent of CRDi engines and turbo charged souped up diesel engines are close enough and sometimes even better than a petrol engine. If you drive a petrol engine car then you must have noticed this plenty, the moment you press the accelerator pedal the engine gives an immediate throttle response while releasing more petrol and air to burn for that extra power. Dual-Clutch Transmission If you ask any random person about types of transmissions available, he is more likely to tell you that one is the usual manual gearbox, where the driver changes the gears and the second one being the automatic gearbox where all you have to do is simply put the gear stick in D mode and squeeze the accelerator. Dual-Clutch Transmission is something that not many people are aware about or aren’t bothered.   But now more and more automatic transmission cars are coming with the Dual-Clutch Gearbox, reason being faster gear changes and better fuel efficiency. A Dual-Clutch Gearbox is something very normal with racing cars. Once again the primary reason being faster gear changes that is obviously required for the race-car in the middle of a race.   In a Manual gearbox, when the driver changes from one gear to another, he sinks in the clutch pedal which moves the clutch disconnecting the power from the engine to the gearbox, while also shifting the gear lever to shift it to the other gear, this moves a belt from one different sized gear to the other, now when the driver has shifted the lever and releases the clutch pedal, the other gear is synchronized with again re-engaging connection with the engine in order to start receiving the power for the wheel to move.   In a Dual-Clutch Transmission, there are basically two clutches without an actual clutch pedal. Smart computerized electronics manage the clutches in order for the gearbox to continue shifting gears to manage power to the wheels, just like in the usual automatic transmission. But the catch in Dual-Clutch gearbox is that the flow of power is uninterrupted unlike the manual transmission where the clutch breaks off from the engine in order to the gears to shift, also the two clutches operate on their own. One clutch controls the odd numbered and reverse gear while the other operates even numbered ones. In simple terms, why Dual-Clutch is better is because, it can select the next gear even before the current gear is released, which means no interruption in power to the gearbox. Automatic Manual Transmission - Future of Pocket Friendly Automatics?   Two basic types of gearboxes are in present in the market, one is the standard manual transmission and the other is the automatic transmission. Now, we all know how the manual transmission works, driver presses clutch pedal and shifts the lever into the new gear position releasing the clutch pedal and initiating the gear. In case of the automatic transmission, driver puts the lever into D mode and simply use punch the accelerator to drive around without any fuss.   However, Automatic Manual Transmission, is the new kid on the block, it’s an automatic gearbox mated with a manual gearbox, while the driver enjoys the fun of an automatic gearbox while being able to shift gears like in a manual gearbox, also getting a better fuel efficiency than a standard automatic gearbox.   In an Automatic Manual Transmission (AMT), there isn’t a clutch pedal, so the driver doesn’t actually get to decide the gear but simply shift up & down. There’s an onboard smart computer that will manage all the gear numbers, all the driver will manage is the up & down shifting. The usual automatic gearbox use something known as a “torque converter”, like in manual cars there’s a clutch that disconnects the gearbox from the engine, in automatic transmission cars there is a torque converter which allows independent movement of the engine.   For example: When you have stopped on the side of the road on neutral, the engine passes small amount of torque through the converter, because at idling the engine doesn’t need much power, which you do by applying less pressure on the brake pedal in an automatic transmission car. So, basically if you try to press the accelerator while the brakes are applied, you’ll have to squeeze the brakes harder for the car to not move from its position. Why this happens is because, when you press the accelerator pedal, the engine pumps in more fluid to the torque converter, meaning more power to the wheels. Meaning the torque converter decreases the fuel efficiency.   The automatic manual transmission gearbox doesn’t have a torque converter, hence gives better fuel efficiency. Fiat Group’s component division “Magneti Marelli” makes this gearbox for them. Chances are vast that the AMT will enter Indian market soon. With automatics being accepted by the Indian buyers nowadays more than earlier when even the knowledge of a car variant offered in automatic was dreaded just because of its low fuel efficiency. What Are ISOFIX Child Seats? You might have seen these seats in many cars but may not know the right name for it, ISOFIX is basically an international standard for attachment points for child seats also known as LATCH (Lower Anchor Tethers for Children) in USA and CANFIX in Canada.   Child seats hold babies and small children in place on the car seats as they are too small to be able to sit straight in a car along with a seat belt holding them tightly in place. There are special mountings inside the car seats that safely and strongly hold the seats in place using connectors and attachments. ISOFIX come equipped with fixing device.   These can be fitted in mostly all the modern day car seats by simply removing the seat cover on the bottom part of the backrest of seat. Child seats have two mountings that fix to the seat body. Many car manufacturers give ISOFIX as part of either standard equipment in high end models or fewer models. Most major car manufacturers feature the ISOFIX mountings as part of standard feature in either all of their car models or the higher end models. Recently ISOFIX has been made mandatory for all Indian car manufacturers as a part of standard feature. With the coming of Bharat Stage V norms, this will be applicable. As passenger and child safety will be a priority. ISOFIX is a must have for any car. Car To Car Communication   Car-To-Car Communication is a very good technology, the kind of technology that one used to think of in a sci-fi Hollywood movie will soon be a reality and you & I will be able to use it soon in our cars every day.   This technology uses cars connected using wi-fi signals within certain proximity to communicate information related to accidents, signals, traffic and other safety related information. Car-To-Car Communication has a huge potential in terms of reducing crashes, traffic jams, further advancements in the tech will eventually allow drivers to simply prevent accidents at all.   Priority for Car-To-Car Communication is safety first while eliminating common errors that drivers usually make while driving that then result in fatalities. The tech also helps in reducing jams at given point of time at a location and automatically searching for a better route using real-time processing to your destination, saving both your time and additional fuel that you would have lost while stuck in a traffic jam on your previous route.   Car-To-Car Communication will work through information that will be exchanged between cars like speed, location, direction headed, ETA and any safety warnings and detailed traffic updates and all this will be real-time.   Some key points that will majorly be in use:   Electronic sensors in cars will inform any difference in speed or lane changing to other vehicles. In emergency cases, for example at traffic signals, if an ambulance needs way to go faster, which would require other cars to clear the way, Car-To-Car wi-fi communication will alert all vehicles ahead about the emergency hence allowing the ambulance to go faster through the traffic without honking or anything. Accidents will be reported to every vehicle on course about a collision ahead, advising them to slow down. Road construction in progress ahead. Broken down car ahead information. Weather alerts, again Real-Time, for example: heavy snowfall caused roads to be closed for 3 hours; heavy rainfall caused land-slides resulting in closing of roads for the day. So drivers will be able to plan their routes or destination timing. This can be really helpful in India, where landslides in the mountains cause cars to wait for days stuck there. Electronic payments (RFID) at toll stations will cause in no long lines for toll payments. Long lines at tolls cause a jam everyday in India. Majorly at the New Delhi-Gurgaon toll station, sometimes even a 2 hour jam. And of course, there will be online connectivity in your car, so you can always surf the web and take care of business while parked in a petrol pump for refueling. Your Car-To-Car Communication will also assist you in looking for the nearest ATM, petrol pumps and public convenience. Panoramic Sunroof   Sunroofs, the all time luxury that is now more and more common in almost every top variant of most cars. Weather seems perfect for a long drive, pop the sunroof open for that cool breeze to blow through the car and your hair. Everybody loves a sunroof and even more if it’s electrically operated. Just one click to open it and another to shut it close. The ultimate style statement you can have in your car. Girls love standing through the sunroof and feeling that constant breeze blow on their face. Kids love doing that as well. Although you do need to be cautious while doing this, because it can be dangerous while the car is in motion.   Panoramic Sunroofs allow extra light into the car, refreshing and lighting up the entire cabin with loads of sunlight and a wider view of the sky without having the windows open. Panoramic Sunroof in particular, covers the entire roof of the vehicle instead of a metal (aluminum or steel) sheet covering it up and blocking the view of that beautiful evening orange hued sky. Panoramic sunroofs offer a wide angle view for both the passengers in the front and rear seats. Star-gazing while parked near mountain ranges can really be a beautiful experience with friends. Also, the car feels bigger from the interiors with all that light coming in from up top panoramic roof.   Made up of solid glass panels, in some vehicles, only the shutter slides open while the glass panel remains fixed and cannot be opened (Moonroof). Whereas in some cars, first the shutter is open and then you can open the glass panel to your liking. Some cars just have the glass panel that is operational, either electrically or manually.   Other types of sunroofs are: Spoiler Sunroof, Pop-Up Sunroof, Built-in Sunroof, Rag-Tops or Folding Sunroof, Top Mount Sliding Sunroof, Removable Sunroof. Your car might come factory fitted with a sunroof or as an optional upgrade as part of some premium package or you can always get a sunroof mounted on your existing car from aftermarket sunroof makers. Just get the right size and from a known branded sunroof manufacturer that will sit on your roof perfectly without any gap. Gaps or leaks in a sunroof can be disastrous for your car’s interiors. Rain shower will leak literally drip through the roof and kill the leather upholstery along with all the other electrical equipment your interior might be carrying. Defogger - Working & Operation     A defogger/ defroster is a system that is used to get rid of any condensation and frost formation on the back glass, windshield or side windows as well as the side view mirrors. The defogger is probably the most helpful innovation after the power-steering that actually assists the driver during rainy weather and winter ice frost on the windows and side-view mirrors which the driver needs to have a clear vision of. I remember when I had to drive a car without a rear defogger, hated the mist formed all over the rear glass, totally killed the visibility.   One type of defogging is using the dry air that is blown through heater core and ducted to and distributed all around the surface of the glass by your car blower. The dry air is able to absorb the water from the glass.   If you’re curious by nature, then chances are that you might asked yourself this question many times- Why are there these thin parallel lines running across the back glass of your car? Well, today your question gets answered; those lines that you see are actually heating elements in the form of thin strips. A current is passed through that grid of lines to heat the back glass and melt any frost or mist formation on it. That defogger switch on your car’s dashboard is used to turn it on and off.   Certain new cars these days come with integrated moisture sensors that automatically detect formation of frosting/mist on the windows and activate the heating of the thin strip lines/coil running through the entire glass, so that they warm up and melt fogging/frost. The front windshield defogger blows air instead of those running lines that are used in the back glass and side view mirrors. Monsoon season will be the time when you’ll be mostly using your defogger as the outside temperature is high yet the humidity has either increased or remained constant. Low-Ratio Gearbox Low-Ratio Gears   These gears work exactly as the name goes. They take the drive from the normal gearbox and then lower its gear ratios so that the road wheels move slow than they usually would through the normal gears, allowing better traction, which becomes very important while the car climbs a steep hill or more importantly while off-roading.   You might have seen a mini gear lever next to the normal gear lever in some SUVs (cars like the Land Rover, Ford Endeavour and Toyota Fortuner have these). You can either select or deselect low ratios.   Advantages of selecting Low Ratio Gears-   Low ratios provide slower speed, which means greater control over your vehicle in tough weather or bad road conditions, like mountain slide prone regions filled with rocks and sludge of mud. Control over the car becomes very important in such terrain. A bigger turning force at the road wheels allows steep hills to be climbed in a steady and controlled manner without the engine stalling. Safe when there are other cars behind you on your way up. Powerful braking is applied by the engine while on a hill descent the moment you stop throttling, which allows the vehicle to be steered normally, this was good when ABS wasn’t invented yet (For more info. on ABS, please refer to our previous post about “How ABS Can Be a Lifesaver). Low ratio provide massive torque at the road wheels, in case you need to tow some other vehicle stuck in mud, towing becomes easy and gives massive power to the wheels without the engine having any problems with the extra load or without stalling the engine. This same massive low range torque will make driving through thick muddy routes as normal as driving on a tarmac, since the wheels have great turning force due to lower ratios. Conventional Engine Oil Vs. Synthetic Engine Oil     I am sure this must have happened to you many times. You go to your service station to get your car serviced on a regular basis. After analyzing any trouble that you probably had with the car or just routine maintenance, the mechanic asks whether you want to go for the conventional or the synthetic engine oil. And your immediate natural response is “How much do they cost?” The mechanic tell you “that the conventional engine oil costs less than the synthetic engine oil but performance wise the synthe”...... You stop him right there and tell him that you would like to go for the usual conventional engine oil. In your mind you’re thinking you made the right decision by saving a ton of money!! BUT- did you really? Read on for what CarSizzler has to say.   The engine oil serves multiple purposes. Since metal parts tend to create friction, the oil coats the metallic parts while allowing them to run on a smooth layer of lubrication. Therefore, better quality of oil is definitely a big YES!   Synthetic Engine Oil   It’s better than conventional oil in terms of function as well as quality. Synthetic oil has a much longer longevity and stronger ability to withstand extremely high temperatures without breaking down. It produces less resistance in the engine, meaning more power and efficiency the engine gets. The engine continues to perform at the same level but with added horsepower, all this while also being fuel efficient. It is made through different chemical reactions by combining different molecules to create a lubricant that is free of unwanted elements making it cleaner and efficient. Although, the fact remains, synthetic oil costs two times more than your conventional oil.   Conventional Engine Oil   Conventional oil is not exactly bad for your engine; after all it is most widely used across the world. Just that synthetic oil does its job better and efficiently as compared to conventional engine oil. However, both conventional and synthetic engine oil are oils and are petroleum derived. But the synthetic oil’s process goes a tad different in manufacturing as they process and refine it better than conventional oil. Conventional engine oil doesn’t work well under extreme conditions. In extreme cold weather it tends to get thicker and gooey whereas under extreme hot temperatures the oil eventually breaks down. The general cycle of changing your engine oil is 3-4 months or 5000 km (whichever comes first). However, if you are running on synthetic engine oil, then this cycle period increases, as the life longevity of synthetics as explained earlier is better than that of conventional engine oil. So you wouldn’t have to make that trip to the service station more often. But it is advisable to use any of the two types of engine oils for a regular period before coming to a conclusion. As you cannot actually measure their performance if you put in conventional engine oil the first time and synthetic engine oil the second time then again conventional engine oil third time around. Consistency is the key here. Cruise Control     Nowadays more and more entry level sedans have started coming with Cruise Control in their top end models. Earlier this was a feature for the mid-level sedans and luxury cars only. While in countries like USA, cruise control comes in almost all modern cars now.   What is Cruise Control? When activated, cruise control accurately maintains a constant speed that the car will continue cruising on unless brakes are applied or the cruise is deactivated. Driver sets the cruise control with the specific cruise control buttons on either the steering wheel or the turning signal/windshield wiper stalk, this differs from manufacturer to manufacturer that where they place the cruise control switches for easy and quick access for the driver.   Usually, you will find these switches- ON/OFF, RESUME SET/ACCEL and COAST. Now what do they do exactly?   The ON/OFF switches are pretty much self-explanatory, so when you hit ON the cruise control is activated while the OFF turns off the cruise control programme. The ON/OFF switches are recent additions, before this if the driver hit the brake pedal it would turn off the cruise control too and turn back on when the driver would hit the SET/ACCEL switch. Say you’re driving at 60 km/hr and you’re tired of squeezing the accelerator while on a highway drive, you simply hit the SET/ACCEL switch, which will tell your car to continue on the set speed (60 km/hr in this case). Now, if you keep the SET/ACCEL switch pressed, this will accelerate the car, tapping it once should increase the speed by approximately 2-3 km/hr. Hitting the brakes will turn off cruise control while hitting RESUME switch will tell your car to get back to the last set speed. COAST button will de-accelerate your car, very similar to when you remove your foot from the accelerator.   Cruise control is very useful feature for long highway journeys and specially countries where people actually drive in their own lanes instead of the maniac driving pattern in India. Also, for cruise control to actually ease your driving, the roads need to be in perfect conditions so you’re not continuously turning the cruise control ON/OFF. You’d often need to brake if driving on Indian roads. Where someone changing lanes by the lanes (that is if they actually are able to see the white/yellow lines painted on the tarmac. With cruise control, also come the chances of crashing into the car ahead, because since you aren’t controlling the accelerator, you tend to forget the car is cruising at a constant set speed, making you prone to crash if you’re not alert. So, be careful whenever you activate the cruise control feature on your car. Auto-Start/Stop- Is It The Right Feature For Indian Cars?   The Auto Start/Stop system is the new talk of the town these days. Most high-end sedans have it and many other luxury sedans have started coming with the function as well. What it basically does is that every time you stop on traffic signal while your engine idles and precious fuel is burned, the Auto-Start/Stop system automatically shuts down the engine (in case of an automatic) when you put your car into “N” or Neutral) and then when you press the accelerator again the engine turns back on through electronic sensors and motors seamlessly allowing you to then drive along without your engine burning fuel in jams and traffic signals.   On a manual transmission, you can activate auto-start/stop by stopping the car and shifting to neutral and remove your foot from the clutch pedal. The engine wouldn’t stop while you’re driving the car; it only works while the car is in no motion at all. The engine might turn on in case the air-conditioning requires extra power to pump in.   It is a way of saving fuel or using less of it? Manufacturers say it results in overall less fuel consumption. They say it’s a simple fundamental; some people already have this habit of turning off the car manually while stuck in a bad traffic jam or a long traffic signal. The start/stop function just does the same thing automatically and every time you stop at a red-light and turn your car back on seamlessly.   While this feature when read on seems just fine print desirable and great, turns out to be a nightmarish thing when you actually go ahead and actually use it. For one, after it turns off the engine, when you again want to move, it is simply frustrating to wait for the sensors to kick in and turn the engine back on, till the time you’re able to move even an inch, people behind you will honk like a 1000 times. In case you aren’t wearing your seat belt the car wouldn’t turn on, call it a safety feature, but it is a kind of irritating after a few days. But what is good about the Auto Start/Stop Function is that it can be totally deactivated at just the press of a button. Auto Start/Stop system makes use of the ECU to get all the information from all other systems at work in the car to make sure whether it is the right time to kill the engine or spring it back to life. Climate control air-conditioners work just as normal too, till the time the set cabin temperature is not reached, the engine wouldn’t be auto-turned off. Same goes for the engine temperature as well. Till the time the engine hasn’t achieved its optimum performance temperature, it wouldn’t be automatically turned off. Wheel Balancing And Alignment Wheel Balancing and Wheel Alignment are the two things that are confused by many motorists.   Wheel Balancing is done so that all your tires can spin freely without any vibration. It is done by checking for spots on your car tires to see if there is any difference and is then compensated by applying a measured weight on the opposite side of the tire where the spot was. The mechanic/tech. guy at the workshop will place your tire on a balancing machine that will spin the wheel to locate the heavier spot, he will then compensate for it by attaching a measured weight on the opposite side. Once your wheels are balanced, you will actually be surprised to find your car driving so smoothly.   Whereas, Wheel Alignment is adjusting the angles of the car tires to keep them perpendicular to the ground and parallel to each other, alignment ensures longer and safer life of the tires. Also, the car will run straight. New age alignment machines feature a clamp device that is fixed to your car wheels while the car is raised up in the air on hydraulics stands and the device is linked to a computer that will make the precise measurements. In case you drive a four-wheel drive (all-wheel drive) car, then your tires will get a four-wheel alignment, where both the axles will be properly aligned so all of your car’s four tires form a rectangle while perpendicular to the ground. If you’re driving a front wheel drive or rear wheel drive (basically 2-wheel drive) then you’ll get the front-end alignment in which the front-axle is adjusted. Once the process is done, drive your car on a leveled tarmac to check whether it’s going straight on a line or it still going the wrong direction. Also, the steering wheel spoke should align straight now.   How to know that its time you got your tires balanced and aligned or either one of the two.   Symptoms to watch out for out of balance tires:   Cruising on highway, speeds gives harsh vibration, Steering wheel vibrates while driving at a faster speed, Uneven patterns on tires.   Symptoms to watch out for out of alignment tires:   Steering wheel turned to some odd direction in order for the car to go straight on the tarmac, Tires seem to wear off quick, When you leave the steering wheel for even a second, the car goes on to other direction, not going straight. Inside a Diesel Engine   Diesel engines and petrol engines, though both use different fuels but are the same, they are called internal combustion engines, which are designed to convert the chemical energy from the fuel into mechanical energy. The mechanical energy moves pistons in the engine’s cylinders up and down, the linear motion of the pistons that are connected to crankshafts then use the power to turn the wheels at ground.   Inside a diesel engine, the fuel is converted into energy through a series of small explosions. Air is compressed and then fuel is injected, because air heats up when it is compressed, the heat ignites diesel. Similar to a petrol engine, a diesel engine also uses a four-stroke combustion cycle.   Four strokes being-   Intake Stroke- Air is let in via the intake valves which move the pistons down. Compression Stroke- Pistons move back into original position to compress air. Combustion Stroke- While piston reaches the top position, diesel is let in (injected would be the right word) at just the right moment and ignited, making the pistons come back down. Exhaust Stroke- Piston goes back up, throwing out the exhaust from the combustion.   The one most different thing in a diesel engine is that it doesn’t have a spark plug like in a petrol engine; spark plug ignites petrol in the engine. But the diesel engine intakes air and compresses it, compressed air becomes hot which in turn ignites the diesel that was let in directly into the combustion chamber. A Diesel engine hence diesel fuel, powers a whole variety of vehicles, Starting from commercial trucks, fishing boats, buses, cranes, trains, farm tractors and other heavy farm and construction vehicles to power generators. Therefore, you know how important diesel fuel and diesel engine actually is. What is CRDi Technology? Older generation diesel engines used to be very sluggish and bad in performance compared to the new age CRDi (Common Rail Direct Injection) engine. CRDi is a smart way of controlling a diesel engine by using modern computer technology. It helps to improve the power, performance and reduce any harmful emissions for which a diesel engine is known for.   Although the CRDi technology is the same but different manufacturers call it by different names like- TDI, Turbojet, CRDe, and DICOR. CRDi engine has one fuel rail for all 4 cylinders so the fuel for all cylinders is pressurized at the same time. While in the older generation, there are as many pumps and fuel rails as there are cylinders.   The fuel injected into the engine cylinder at a specific time interval is done and based on the position of moving pistons. In a CRDi technology, time intervals are all controlled by a computer based system whereas in older generation diesel engines, this was managed by a mechanical system.   Fuel injectors are also controlled differently in both CRDi and conventional diesel engines. In a CRDi engine, solenoid valves are used to operate the fuel injectors on electric current. All this is managed by computers. Whereas, in case of the conventional diesel engines, mechanical components are used to operate the fuel injectors, this makes more noise as compared to CRDi engines due to all the moving mechanical parts. CRDi is the new age engine design and more & more improvements are underway each year. It works on intelligent sensors controlling the engine. Advancements are in terms of all the mechanical parts being removed and replaced with electrical systems, improving the overall performance removing almost all the bad things like vibrations and noise from the engine to some extent. What is VTVT, VTEC or VVT-i Technology?     VTVT - Stands for Variable Timing Valve Train, the technology is used in most top variants of the cars. Hyundai has the technology applied to their Hyundai Verna, i20 and i10 models. VTVT has the ability to have independent control of the intake and exhaust valves in an internal combustion engine. The timing of intake and exhaust will be independently programmed in different engine load criteria basically same as VVT.   VVT/VTEC - Variable Valve Timing, term used in petrol, diesel and CNG engines. It defines the timing for which valves are opened. VVT controls the lift, duration or timing of the intake and the exhaust valves. In non-VVT engines, this process of controlling the lift, duration or timing of the intake and the exhaust valves was controlled by a set of cam shafts and belt mechanisms. It would open and close the valves at set angle of the position of the crankshaft and would then close at the same set angle. The engine wouldn’t perform at peak with this old technology as the timing would vary.   The valve timings vary in a VVT engine with keeping in sync the engine speed ensuring the valves opening as per the need of the engine load. All this actually brings about a change and improvement in the engine efficiency, power, and performance.   VVTi - Variable Valve Timing with intelligence uses some microprocessors to control the VVT functionality, first developed by Toyota. It simply varies the timing of the intake valves by some corrections and adjustments in the functioning and mechanism between the camshaft drive and the intake camshaft. Engine oil pressure is applied to the actuator for adjusting the camshaft position. Higher efficiency is achieved from the engine by making adjustments in the overlap time in between the opening of intake valves and closing of exhaust valves.   There are some minor variant engines doing similar functions but with a different name- VVTL-i, VVT-ie, etc. Gear Ratios     Gears are used in mechanical devices whenever you need to transfer rotational motion somewhere else. Gears have unique properties that are all impacted by a ratio. It’s a number calculated from the number of teeth on two gears that are working together although, the gears aren’t actually attached to each other. It’s the difference in rotational speed from the input to the output shaft. The ratio is between the gear that’s attached to the power source (the input gear), and the last gear in the sequence which is the output gear. So, the ratio is the input gear teeth: output gear teeth. Now you can deduce the number, a ratio of 50 to 25 teeth would produce a ratio of 2:1. Torque Vectoring It is a technology that is being applied to more and more new car’s differentials. A differential is used to transfer the torque from engine to the wheels. Torque Vectoring provides the differential with an ability to vary that amount of torque sent to each wheel. The technology is more popular in all-wheel drive vehicles (four-wheel drive).   Like in a tank (military armored tank), when you turn it to the left, more torque is applied to the right tread and lesser to the left tread. This actually twists the entire tank into the turn. While, turning the wheels of the car makes the car go in that direction. This causes the point of contact with the road to change and the friction created points the face of your car in the direction you want it to go.   Torque Vectoring means, different amount of power to different wheels. In a Ford Focus, particularly, the front wheels are powered. This also means that accelerating too much or stepping on the gas too much during turns might cause under steer. Under steer also happens in Rear Wheel Drive cars as well as all-wheel drive cars but more known to happen in front wheel drive cars, because the wheels that are keeping the car moving are also the ones steering the car. The idea and implementation of Torque Vectoring is very complex. The primary goal of the technology is to vary the torque that is sent to each wheel. A Torque Vectoring differential needs a specific electronic monitoring system on top of the standard mechanical components. This electric system tells the differential when and how to vary the torque output. Due to the number of wheels receiving torque, a FWD or RWD differential will less complicated than a four-wheel drive differential. ARAI Fuel Efficiency Figures- How Are They Calculated? ARAI- Automotive Research Association of India was established in 1986, is a Government of India association of research in industry in association with the Ministry of Industries. ARAI, while being responsible for car mileage figure for every car ever sold in India also has the objectives of research and development in automotive engineering for industry, product design, evaluation of automotive equipment, technical information and they also conduct some tests for certain technologies.   Cars in India now come with officially-verified figures of mileage. The SIAM (Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers) back the government’s move making all Indian car companies to make their mileage data available for verification done by the ARAI. The verification is done after test-drives of each car at the ARAI facility in Pune, Maharashtra, India. Tata Nano is by far the most fuel-efficient car in India with 23.6 km/l (petrol) of mileage and in diesel category; Fiat 500 gives 22 km/l. The list of car manufacturers excludes Volkswagen, Audi and Volvo. The aim by the government here is to provide the customer with reliable information such as fuel efficiency figures instead of the manufactured claimed mileage. Mileage data, when available to every buyer, will infact help the buyer in making a well informed decision when deciding which car to go far.