Clean sweep: Car maintenance experts tell us how to keep her car spick and span with a few easy-to-follow steps

Give your car a good wash, check the engine oil, air pressure … and follow a set of simple steps to make your car sparkle. A well-maintained car ensures hassle-free driving. “Sixty minutes is all you need to spend with your car once a week to keep your car clean and healthy,” says M. Boopalan, works manager at Aadhi Maruti in Saravanampatti. “Never approach a local mechanic even if it’s a minor soldering work. Any change in wiring might affect the Electronic Control Module (ECM) of the car. ECM is the one which alerts you with a warning signal as soon as it senses a defect in the car. Always go to an authorised service station,” he advises.

J. Suresh Babu, marketing in-charge at Aadhi says, an authorised service station ensures a one-stop solution for all your car needs. “Right from a remote-controlled lock system, and power windows to music systems, camera with sensors for reversing, baby seats, foams and cushions… this ensures safety,” he says.

On ignition, if you notice a warning light other than the seat belt indicator on the speedometer, its time to take your car for servicing. Boopalan gives a simple to-do list that can be followed once a week at home to clean your car.

Source: Aadhi Maruti, Sivanandapuram, Saravanampatti.

In the case of a breakdown, the toll free number is 18004200, exclusive for Maruti cars throughout India

Check before you leave

•A copy of the insurance, RC book and driving licence. Also keep details of your blood group, ICE (in case of an emergency) numbers.

• Basic tool kit, first-aid kit, and a gauge to check tyre pressure

Remember to

•Wear your seat belt

• Switch on the parking light while you park the car. Apply the hand-brake.

•Maintain speed-gear ratio. When you drive off on a hot day, ensure that you roll down your window and drive for a while before switching on the AC.

Keep that body clean

• Dust the exterior body with a soft cotton cloth.

• Empty, rinse and refill your bucket after washing wheels and tyres before moving on to the rest of the car.

• Remove dirt and debris. Then begin washing the roof and work your way down.

• Fill one bucket with shampoo water and the other with clean water.

•Rinse the sponge after each swipe of the car to remove the grit and grime that can scratch the surface. Then dip it in the soapy water and continue washing.

• For best results, wash your car in a shady spot to avoid leaving spots as the water evaporates. Upholstery, dashboard, lights, mats...

• Vacuum clean the interiors. Portable vacuum cleaners cost around Rs. 900. Use liquid gel on a cotton cloth or cotton pad and clean the upholstery and seat covers. Remove the mats, wash, and dry separately.

• Check door lights, brake light, head lights, hazard lights as well as the front and rear fog lamps.

Beneath the bonnet

Spray water from a hose and clean the bonnet. Check the levels of engine oil, brake oil, transmission oil, and coolant oil. They should never exceed the maximum level or fall below the minimum. Though it depends on the model of the car, it is advisable to replace the oil at intervals of 1000 kms or one month if it is a new car (whichever is earlier). Otherwise at every 5000 kms.

Fill water in the wiper tank. Mix 15 ml shampoo to it. This gives the windshield a sparkle.

Car care kits are available at MGA Maruti Genuine Accessories. They contain shampoos, gels, tyre polish, body polish and wiper liquid besides other spares and components.