Car maintenance is one of the major aspects troubling new owners. People who cannot tell apart a carburetor from a fuel injection system. For such people we readily take up onus of educating them. The objection of our attention today is a Maruti, to be precise, a Maruti Suzuki Esteem. Here are the few dos and donts to look out for if you are buying a used Maruti Suzuki Esteem or even own one.
This is the heart of a car and the one which requires immediate attention. Come to think of it, this car been a Maruti, shouldn’t have much problems with the engine department however checking it is your responsibility. When revving the all aluminium 1.3 liter engine, you would meet the rev limiter faster than when you would meet in any other car. The mechanical clatter that would be audible is often taken as the engine tappet noise however that is far from the truth. Going back to your physics class or even the basic 10th standard education, you can relate to the fact that aluminium is a good conductor of sound and hence can transmit the engine noise more pronouncedly. Since it is a Maruti, it is pretty reliable.
Rainy climate can induce moisture to accumulate in the window sills or even in the headlight or tail light assembly. Every car has a drain hole in the door sill and this ones should be kept clean or else the water would clog there and start nibbling at the paint or underpinnings of the car. The window winder is also another thing which requires attention since the glass movement is obstructed due to the stuck window channels. The glass movement is also sometimes hard and slow due to the power windows not operating properly. Try spraying some silicon spray on the glass which would eventually percolate into the window channels. This should grease up the glass a bit so that the movement isn’t hampered.
Clutch and gearbox:
This should be a relatively easy task to check and observe. If you know how to drive, then press the clutch and slot the car into gear. If the clutch play is anything more than 15-20 cms, then it is time to get the clutch adjusted. This would be hardly take 5-10 mins at an authorized service center or even a road side mechanic. The clutch life is estimated to be around 80,000 kms mark.However it totally depends on your usage. Particulary the rear gear should engage properly. If it doesn’t, then there is a problem with the clutch bearings. Getting them replaced shouldn’t be a big expense. Check the bivel and gear oil and if not upto the optimum mark, then get them replaced or topped up.
This should be a troublesome spot for any Maruti Suzuki Esteem. This is because when you have already have had a stint in some other car, you would notice that the compressor of this aircon takes up some time to wind up as well as cool the cabin. They also require constant attention since the old compressor motor could hardly take up the load. It is advisable to get the aircon and the coolant fluid checked up every 10,000 kms.
The suspension of this car is softly sprung. You must have noticed the n number of Esteems having a bottomed out suspension. This is due to the excess load at the rear. This would also accelerate the wear of the rear tyres faster. Unfortunately there isn’t any other solution to this other than getting the suspension bushings checked. In anticipation of this, the company has already provided sturdy suspension components that could well last 60,000 kms. Mount the car on a vehicle jack and check if the suspension has taken some beating or not. This can be gauged by leaking suspension mounts of all other things period.
Usually when you start your car in the morning and go out for a drive, if you hear a screeching noise from the front tyres, it means that the brake rotors are jammed and they need your immediate attention. Any Maruti authorized service center should be able to check this for you and get the rotors replaced and sealed for you. This job would take some time however wouldn’t cost you much. Also the brake pedal modulation should be optimum or otherwise get it also aligned by the service personnel. Brake fluid can also be checked in the interim and topped or replaced as required. The Maruti Suzuki Esteem featured front discs and rear drums but those from the early ages had only drums at both the ends. Retrofitting discs to older models could prove painstaking as well as very costly. Also there would be no guarantee of reliability. It is better to stick with the all drum set up and replace the drum pads as and when necessary.
Maruti Suzuki Esteems were offered both with manual as well as power steering. For the manual ones, a simple check can be done and this would confirm if the car’s steering has a play or not. All you have to do is hold the steering wheel and push it downwards as well later on, upwards. If there is any play detected, then your mechanic would tighten the damper rack nut and get the steering column back in ship shape. If your steering column is of the powered types, then the steering itself would tell you if it is good enough. Piloting the car shouldn’t seem a chore with the power steering since if it does, then it means that the power steering fluid has leaked out and it would need a filling. At every service, this one aspect should be checked to avoid any mishaps. If you car is one of those which has racked in high mileage, then you can also try replacing the rack bushes. Over a period of time, this tend to break and hence have to be replaced. Some play may also develop between the pinion and the steering column. This is nothing that a grease job can take care of.
The body of the Maruti Suzuki Esteem is prone to rusting. Pre 2000 cars are more prone to this. A simple anti rust conditioning can solve this problem however to remove the rust components, a more detailed treatment would have to be carried out. The tail pipes for pre 2000 cars also had a problem of rusting and breaking off. The only solution is to get a new silencer fitted on or weld the existing one. Also check the boot as some of the linings do give way and allow water to percolate in between and start gnawing at the inners of the boot. This would also emanate a foul smell.The inner linings should be replaced at the earliest and then the boot should be treated with an anti rust solution. The wheels of the car are of the 13 inch types. There was no alloy wheel options offered then and so rusting of the steel wheels was a sort of problem if they haven’t been tended for carefully. Also check for bent rims and if the car pulls to one side it means that a wheel alignment job is on the cards. Also, all the wheels should be regulary rotated to ensure even tread. The tyres should last 45,000 kms however this depends how they have been driven.
The electricals of the Maruti Suzuki Esteem should wear well and would usually be trouble free. Check for the rubber melting on the AC vents as this is a sure sign of the circuits in need of new wiring. The switches should work with a precision and if not replacing the stalks would be the only option. Not many of the components would be readily available now since this car has been replaced by the Maruti Suzuki Swift which uses entirely new elements for the interiors. The head lamps for the post 2000 year featured clear lens and one can upgrade to this, if your car is from a pre batch. The upholstery is nothing to speak about and is a clinch to replace. The earlier white clothing used, was often dirty after the first use and so replacing this with a darker color would be a good choice.