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Decoding the Specs

Last Modified: Fri, Apr 29 2016.
Decoding the Specs

  • Decoding the Specs
  • Decoding the Specs
  • Decoding the Specs
  • Decoding the Specs

When we purchase a new car, the first thing we look at is the car specifications, whether it's the technical specifications, or features, or safety specs, or mileage, or any other factor, and compare it to the competitors. The same thing happens when we visit a dealership and a sales advisor tries to sell the car by counting on the features or specs that are better than the competition. But there are many of us who might not understand what these features or spec means and is it really worth or advantageous for me to have them in my car. In our continuous endeavor to make purchasing decision more informed and simpler for potential car buyers, we at Wheelmonk have listed down key features and have provided information around what each of these mean for you.

In case you have any additional questions on any of these topics, please feel free to refer to "Ask our Experts" section and we will respond at the earliest.

Safety

  • Child Safety Locks - Child safety locks are built into the rear doors of most cars to prevent rear seat passengers from opening the doors both during transit and while the vehicle is stationary
    Pros: Extremely important for kid's safety
    Cons: Hardly any, common in most of the cars
  • Defogger- Especially in areas which are prone to extreme weathers, Defogger helps in clearing the mist off the glass and allows good visibility at all the times
  • Door Ajar Warning - A simple warning system giving open door indication. Some cars may have a single warning symbol, which would glow up if any of the doors is open, whereas an advanced system would have individual signals, clearly showing which door is open
    Pros: Useful Warning System from occupant safety perspective
    Cons: Hardly any, common in many cars these days
  • Engine Immobilizer - Anti-theft System. When you insert key into the ignition switch, the key transmits an electronic code to the vehicle. The engine will only start if the code in the transponder chip inside the key matches the code in the vehicle's immobilizer.
    Pros: Improves the Safety of your Car
    Cons: Expensive replacement, in case you lose your keys
  • Engine Malfunction Light Part of onboard diagnostics. Indicate a detected problem with the vehicle's engine, transmission or emission control system and alerts the driver about the issue
  • Fog Lights - Fog lights produce a low and wide beam of light, which penetrates through fog and reduces glare. It helps in improving vision
  • Follow me home headlamps -The headlights stay on for a few extra seconds as you get out of your car. A feature that should help you see your way safely to your home at night
  • Headlight Height Adjuster - A feature that allows you to adjust height of your headlights to 2-3 prefixed positions. Especially useful while driving on dark or bad patches of road
  • Hill Hold Control - Most of us face issues of rolling backwards while being stuck on steep inclines and starting back. Hill Hold Control allows easy starting up by keeping brake pressure for additional couple of seconds, even after releasing the brake pedal. The function typically kicks in only on a certain gradient (inclines greater than 4-5%) This allows driver to use those extra couple of seconds to launch without rolling backwards
    Pros: Makes driving easy on hills for Manual Transmission cars
    Cons: None
  • Parking Assistance - The basic assistance system is in the form of reverse or in some case forward parking sensors, which warns driver of any obstruction in the surrounding. The complete parking assistance system would basically allow driver to just sit back while car steers itself into the right parking slot. The system consists a set of ultrasonic sensors, a rear view camera and an intelligent parking system that determines the angle of steering based on feedback of sensors and camera to park the car in the right slot
    Pros: Major convenience in parking
    Cons: Expensive deal, and may only be available in high end cars
  • Smart Key - Similar to the engine immobilizer technology, the only difference being, smart key allows the driver to keep the key pocketed when unlocking, locking and starting the vehicle. The key is identified via signals between key housing & car. Depending on the system, the vehicle is automatically unlocked when a button or sensor on the door handle or trunk release is pressed. Vehicles with a smart key system fitted have a mechanical backup, usually in the form of a spare key supplied with the vehicle.
    Pros: Improves the Safety of your Car
    Cons: Expensive replacement, might face issues with battery of smart key
  • Warning:The Smart Key may interfere with some pacemakers or cardiac defibrillators. If you have one of these medical devices, please talk to your doctor to see if you should deactivate this system

    Safety - Braking Systems

  • Brake Assist - Brake assist is an active vehicle safety feature designed to help drivers come to a stop more quickly during an emergency braking. Electronic brake assist systems use an electronic control unit (ECU) that compares instances of braking to pre-set thresholds. If a driver pushes the brake down hard enough and fast enough to surpass this threshold, the ECU will determine that there is an emergency and boosts braking power. It usually works in combination with anti-lock braking systems (ABS) to help make braking as effective as possible while avoiding wheel lockage
    Pros: Allows faster braking in emergency situation
    Cons: Technology still works on human reaction
  • ABS (Anti-lock Braking System)-ABS is a braking mechanism, which is very useful to prevent car skidding. A skidding wheel has less traction than a non-skidding wheel. ABS system detects that one wheel is slowing down more rapidly than the rest (a symptom of wheel-lock) it automatically reduces the brake pressure on this wheel by opening a pressure release valve in the hydraulic system thus preventing skid (Remember! In old times, drivers used to pump the brake pedals to stop in slippery conditions). So do I still need to do this pumping action in cars with ABS? NO, you should never do this. Rather keep your foot firmly on the brakes, and ABS will not allow wheel locking. Pumping action would reduce the braking force and increase chances of collision
    Pros: Life Saving Mechanism
    Cons:Extra Cost
  • EBD (Electronic Brake-force Distribution)-EBD is basically a subsystem of ABS and it always works in conjunction with an ABS system. It helps to balance braking forces between the front and rear wheels. It varies the amount of force that is applied to individual brakes by taking into account road conditions, speed, load and other factors. Then why do we see some vehicles which only have ABS and no EBD? There are some vehicles, which would only offer ABS. Typically in an emergency braking situation on normal roads both systems react similarly (though you may get more feedback / pulsation in system without EBD), it is on less tractable surfaces, EBD would be more efficient. EBD is more of proactive system, compared to ABS which is more reactive
    Pros: Additional Safety on slippery surfaces
    Cons:Extra Cost
  • Electronic Stability Program (ESP)-Detects car instability and over-steering and under-steering, and puts the vehicle back on course by braking individual wheels and reducing engine torque. The ESP as a system comprises of ABS, Traction Control System
    Pros: Additional Safety in situations where driver loses control on steering
    Cons:Extra Cost
  • Electronic Stability Program (ESP)-Detects car instability and over-steering and under-steering, and puts the vehicle back on course by braking individual wheels and reducing engine torque. The ESP as a system comprises of ABS, Traction Control System
    Pros: Additional Safety in situations where driver loses control on steering
    Cons:Extra Cost
  • With so many technologies in the market, now the question comes, which one should I chose or look out for. While the basic most is Break Assist, very rarely it comes with ABS. The next step up would be EBD, which would automatically include ABS. Whereas very few vehicle on roads currently offer Traction Control or further up Electronic Stability Program, which we typically see mainly in expensive cars

    Features

    • Adjustable Steering Column (Tilt / Rake) - Rake: A single column-mounted lever is used to adjust the column height and steering wheel location along the column axis. Tilt: The steering wheel moves about an arc in an up and down movement.
    • Cruise Control -System that automatically controls the speed of a motor vehicle. The system takes over the throttle of the car to maintain a steady speed as set by the driver
    • Dual Trip Meter - Option to have two trip meters. While one can be used to track trips, other can be used to track mileage
    • Multifunction Steering Wheel Steering wheel with buttons that allow control of car audio, navigation (if fitted), and even phone while keeping both the hands on the wheel only
    • Paddle Shifters -Allows you to change gears without clutch. Typically like hand gears with "+" sign to move gear up &"-" sign to move gear down
    • Projector Headlights - Headlights with spherical lens at the front of the lighting lamp. This lens gathers light from the light bulbs to provide a more focused beam of light
    • Dimensions

    • Kerb Weight vs. Gross Vehicle Weight - Kerb weight of the vehicle is total weight of car with all features, consumables and a full tank but without any passenger and luggage. Whereas gross weight includes the weight of passenger and luggage. Kerb Weight comparison gives you an idea around how does vehicle compare to its competitors. A lower weight can be due to compromises on structural safety or could be due to weight reduction improvements by OEM (which improves mileage). It would always be wise to understand the reasoning for lower kerb weight before finalizing your choice

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Wheelmonk.com is a user centric car discovery platform which enables prospective car buyers make informed choices based on their preferences. With a deep understanding of the Indian automobile market, accurate vehicle data and extensive repository of verified car owner feedback, Wheelmonk.com aims to become the trusted destination for car buyers and enthusiasts. Wheelmonk.com is a user centric car discovery platform which enables prospective car buyers make informed choices based on their preferences. With a deep understanding of the Indian automobile market, accurate vehicle data and extensive repository of verified car owner feedback, Wheelmonk.com aims to become the trusted destination for car buyers and enthusiasts.

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