The rainy season, which while refreshing, for denizens of Dhaka city means waterlogged roads and flooded cars. Hybrid cars owners are particularly vulnerable to this as electronic components and water mix about as well as orange juice and toothpaste.
Saiful Osman, head of service at automobile service centre - iWorksBD and associate member of the Institute of Motor Industry, UK, has been working on hybrid cars since 2018. His Malaysia-trained team is among the most skilled in the country and is highly respected in the Bangladesh car community.
In an interview with The Business Standard, Saiful shared insights on how to keep your hybrid vehicle safe from trouble during the rainy seasons.
How vulnerable are hybrid cars to heavy rain or monsoon season?
It is not only hybrid cars that are vulnerable, heavy rain or the monsoon season can be problematic for non-hybrid cars as well. Excessive water is vulnerable for all cars but in the case of a hybrid it could be costly as such cars are fitted with many electrical components.
What are some common monsoon issues specific to hybrid cars?
Some of the common monsoon issues for hybrid cars world be battery voltage sensor damage, electric blower fan damage, electrical short circuit, airbag ECU damage and other electrical devices damage if water goes inside.
Extreme floods can damage the engine as well which hybrid users in Bangladesh have been experiencing already. Excessive water flow can also damage a hybrid battery if the engine goes dead and the battery discharges fully.
On average, how much does it cost to fix such damages?
The cost may range from five to six figures depending on the parts required. For instance, replacing a hybrid battery voltage sensor for Toyota hybrids would cost Tk15,000-20,000, reconditioned hybrid battery cooling fans can be purchased for Tk8,000 while the brand new ones sell for Tk25,000. If a battery gets fully clogged with water, the repair cost ranges from Tk120,000-350,000 depending on brand and model.
What general precautions can hybrid owners take during Monsoon season?
It would be wise to avoid areas like Bashundara, Green Road, Mirpur, Dhanmondi 27, and Shewrapara during monsoon. These parts of the city get flooded in a very short time due to heavy rain.
If a problem arises, what are the dos and don'ts?
Incase of a hybrid car, it is better not to start the car and drive with unusual warning lights displayed on the electronic instrument cluster. It would be wise to discuss with your dedicated service provider first.
Do you have any personal advice for hybrid car users?
Hybrid cars are becoming increasingly popular these days, with more and more manufacturers bringing their respective hybrid offerings to the market. Since this cars are still relatively new to market, the maintenance and servicing of such cars is still somewhat of an unknown commodity
My personal advice for users would be; know your car first, learn about hybrids and then guide your chauffeur. Change your engine oil on time and use authentic and recommended oils only. Use authentic filters and other consumable products for regular maintenance.
Do not be dependent on your chauffeur or mechanic, think logically and take decisions when you face unusual problems.