Top 5 summer car maintenance tips from Careem

Careem, the Dubai-based private ride-hailing app, has always taken road safety very seriously, not just for their own Captains and customers but also for the other motorists throughout the UAE.

As part of its ongoing campaign to make the UAE’s roads a safer place, Careem’s care centre manager Hamid Moaref, who overlooks the maintenance of 300 of Careem’s fleet per month, reveals his top five tips to keep your car running safely in the intense summer heat.

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Don’t tire out your tyres
Tyre failure can occur when it is least expected. Tyres are the only part of the car in contact with the road, hence it is important to get them checked and replace them if necessary. All Careem vehicles are required to undergo a check-up every quarter and Careem recommends the same for your own vehicle. A good tip is to fill your tyres with nitrogen and not regular air. Nitrogen does not expand as the temperature rises inside your tyres, thus making them last longer.

Keep the battery alive and kicking
As cars will be working harder during the hot summer months, so will the car battery. Within the GCC region, car batteries typically work for up to two years only, mainly due to extensive use of the vehicle’s air conditioning and the greater degree of evaporation of the many fluids used throughout the mechanics of the vehicle. Careem advises all motorists to check their car battery at periodic intervals.

Screen Shot 2017-08-04 at 22.07.58Stay cool
As your vehicle’s air conditioning system will be heavily used throughout the summer months, it is essential to make sure it is working at the optimum level. All the A/C filters need to be checked and replaced if dirty. Cleaning the filters makes a huge difference to the air circulating inside the vehicle, and reduces the chances of getting an air-borne infection. As an added extra, the Careem Care Centre recommends getting an A/C disinfectant job done as well.

Your car’s fluid levels, from engine oil to coolant, should be checked regularly to prevent the engine from overheating and reduce the chances of a vehicle breakdown. Careem drivers are required to check coolant and oil levels at least once a month.

Shade is everything
The intense summer heat can play havoc with the internal compartments of a vehicle. Try to always park in a covered garage or in the shade, or purchase a sun shade. Reducing the impact of the sun’s rays not only lowers the chance of the engine overheating, but also prevents the interiors from fading and stops cracks developing on the dashboard.


Power games in the left lane

My rearview mirror flashed in blinding strobes as the Land Cruiser behind me almost rammed me at 80 kmph. I was being tailgated and the impatient driver’s trigger-happy finger on his headlights wasn’t about to relax.

But where to move to? There was traffic to my right, and anyway, his huge, ugly car meant I could hardly see if the right lane was clear. Changing lanes didn’t feel safe. I stayed put and gripped the steering wheel so tightly that my knuckles showed white. My heart rate sped up.

Another problem with Dubai roads

I was already doing 20-over the speed limit and there was a bend coming up. For a moment, it looked like he might overtake on the hard-shoulder; he zigzagged to the left, then to the right, and finally zipped round me on the inside.

Then he came in front of me, and nearly stopped.

My foot slammed onto the brake, and my heart leapt into my mouth. I’m pretty sure it skipped a few beats. My throat tightened.

Behind me, the next car, thankfully, slowed right down and put his hazard lights on, two beacons of orange flashing urgently.

But what was the urgency? This, dear reader, exemplifies everything that’s wrong with Dubai roads: the road hogs with their blacked-out windows who have zero respect for other people’s lives, who tailgate aggressively, and who, like my one on my way home from work yesterday, was so filled with adrenalin he thought he’d teach me a lesson for not moving over and swerve in front of me and drive like a slug.

If he wasn’t in his car, behind glass and steel, and was instead walking behind me in the mall, would he walk right up to me until he was so close I could feel his hot breath on my neck, and then push me out the way? No he wouldn’t. So why does he think it’s okay to do this in his car?

I didn’t appreciate being bullied like that on my way home from work, MORON.


A shake my head moment

So I was flicking through our local newspaper, 7Days, and read that police in Abu Dhabi are clamping down on the size of containers on the back of pizza-delivery bikes.

From next month, pizza-delivery boxes must be no bigger than 40cm in length, width and height. Not only that, they must also have no sharp edges and not be made of metal.

The new rules are the result of a series of scrapes and bumps with the capital’s motorists, and will apparently be tightly regulated. New riders must even apply for approval (probably in triplicate, and with passport photos of their grandmother’s budgie) before they can fix a perfectly proportioned delivery box on their motorbike.

I was digesting this news, and imagining police in Lamborghini Aventadors with measuring tape, chasing down moped riders with oversized containers stuffed full of pizza, when another headline caught my eye.

Although just an idea at the moment, the head of Dubai Traffic Police has proposed a superhighway linking UAE cities on which drivers with flashy cars could travel at 200 KILOMETRES AN HOUR.

OMG! A study is even promised to see if such a road would be feasible. I mentally checked to see if it was April 1st, then decided they must have read the recent satirical story in the The Pan-Arabia Enquirer – on a gold-class lane between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, cordoned off with a red velvet rope – and thought, “What a splendid idea; that’ll make sure all those dusty Lancers, Corollas and pizza-delivery bikes don’t hold anyone up.”

Somehow, I don’t think the UAE is ready for an Autobahn just yet.

Do you?

"Awesome idea," said 24-year-old petrolhead Marcus McGrath, a salesman who owns an Audi R8 sports car. "I speed anyway. This would mean I could do it in a safer way." UGHHHHH!
“Awesome idea,” said 24-year-old petrolhead Marcus McGrath, a salesman who owns an Audi R8 sports car. “I speed anyway. This would mean I could do it in a safer way.” UGHHHHH, am speechless! PHOTO from 7DAYS

Silly manoeuvres in nice cars

One of the first things you’ll notice if you visit Dubai is the high proportion of nice cars on the road. The second thing you’ll spot is that drivers do really silly things in their nice cars.

I know this happens all round the world, but for reasons I won’t go into, drivers in the UAE are more guilty than most of road stupidity. You only have to take a short drive in the early-morning, blanket fog we’re having at the moment to find out that some drivers don’t even put their headlights on.

Using her mirrors (we see this too!)
Using her mirrors (we see THIS too!)

And don’t get me started about the mums who march into their child’s classroom voicing all manner of finickity complaints about the way their beloved offspring are being taught, then drive all the way home without buckling their children up.

It does sometimes seem that the more luxurious the car, the lower the driver’s road IQ is. Take these examples: while waiting to make a U-turn, DH and I saw a woman in a BMW just ahead of us make the turn, then FORGET to straighten up. She continued in a circle and stranded her car on the central median, like a yacht run aground.

Then the other day, we watched a woman climb back into her Porsche SUV at the petrol station and drive off, with the hose still attached (clearly late for Pilates).

But today I saw a manoeuvre that beat both of these. Picture the scene: at BB’s school as you walk out, there’s a pedestrian crossing leading to the sand parking lot, manned by a guard.

I’m afraid to say it was a woman again, in a brand-new BMW with children in the back leaving the car park. In all her molecules of wisdom, she mistook the pedestrian crossing (with people on it) for – astoundingly – the car park exit and mounted the crossing in her car, no more than three yards from the school gate. The aghast-looking guard started waving his hands wildly and a mum started shouting.

“Are you crazy?” she yelled.

The driver wound down her tinted window. “Don’t swear at me,” she sniped back.

“But what you’re doing is insane,” the mum spat.

I wanted to stay to see whether she actually managed to exit the car park via the pedestrian crossing, but DH whisked us away so I’ll never know (she probably did!)

Road IQ: -46. And I bet she won’t learn, either!