Saturday, May 18, 2002
G O O D  M O T O R I N G

A foolproof drive
H. Kishie Singh

PRETTY and attractive she stood alone and forlorn in the blistering sun under a tree that gave no shade. A lonely and desolate figure in the heart of Sector 17, marooned in a sea of parked cars. Even the dark glasses could not hide the trouble writ all over her face.

My daughter sitting next to me suddenly yelled at this girl, "Sukha! Whatís up?"

Sukha came over to our car and said without any joy, "Iíve locked my keys in the car!"

These things happen. And you should accept this and take remedial action in advance. We offered to drive the girl home and collect the spare key.

Sukha had sent for a chabi-wallah for opening the locked car door. Under the circumstances it was a good thing that it happened during the day, and in Sector 17. What if it had happened after a late night movie on a cold rainy winter night? She would have found no chabi-wallah no taxi, no help whatsoever.

The key to good motoring is the ignition key. Without that you wonít get going. And if you do have the ignition key and manage to lock it in the car, you are really stuck.


It is recommended that you carry a spare key in your wallet.Itís flat and will slide into one of the pockets, along with your credit cards and other papers. Itís safe in your hip pocket and easily accessible. You wonít be able to lock this in the car unless you take off your pants and leave them in the car!

Ladies donít carry their wallets on them. They can keep the key in their handbag. A lady and her handbag are always together. If you are really the forgetful type, and keep misplacing your handbag, get the key gold-plated. That way you can wear it around your neck on a gold chain. Forever safe!

The other keys to good motoring are the keys to the gate and front door. On many occasions, husband and wife have different schedules. It is not unusual for one party to be locked out of the house. Make sure that the keys are with you, the glove box is meant for just such things.

Another set of keys ó chabi as the mechanics call them ó is your tool kit. Agreed, you donít need much of your tool kit these days but whatsoever is given to you by the manufacturer should always be in the car. You never know when you will need them.

Yet, another item that is essential to your well-being is the jack, rod and handle and the wheel brace. A puncture can happen any time and you should be ready for it at all times. To have a puncture and not be able to change the spare wheel is the most exasperating and irritating experience.

Chances are that you did check the wheel ó rotate tyres ó but that was a couple of years ago. In two years that you have not had a puncture, a couple of things could go wrong. One, your spare tyre could lose air and when you most need that spare wheel you find it is flat. A bad situation to be in especially if you are on the highway. Had you followed the proper maintenance and procedure and rotated the wheels, your spare wheel would be in a good shape.

Also not having a puncture for a couple of years means you have not used your jack for that long.

I have had to lend my jack to a motorist who was in trouble changing his wheel on the highway. His jack was rusted and jammed! It would not move and there was no way he could have raised the car. His spare wheel was in a good condition and he had the other tools, but the jack was the weak link.

This Sunday go and check your jack. Take it out, clean it, oil it, work it a few times and return it to its allocated place. If the jack has been rusting, the area around it could also have corroded. Clean it out, dry it and wipe it with an oil rag.

Make sure the jack is held securely in place. A jack loosely placed in the back of a car can become a missile in case of an accident.

I know from personal experience where a jack has hit a driver on the head and caused an accident.

Do what the manufacturer says, that way you can be assured of happy motoring!