CNG and checking lights

Auto & Audio September 14, 2011 00:00

By Pattanadesh Asasappakij
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While I was writing this column, I received a phone call from a well-respected high-society figure who asked me to thank Khun Arun Samutsarn, Mercedes-Benz (Thailand)'s vice president for after sales, for his excellent handling of after-sales servicing.



So I am thanking Khun Arun here, and as for the name of the customer, I believe Khun Arun knows that already.

The advantage of purchasing vehicles from an official distributor is that when something goes wrong, they are quick to fix the problem in a fair and square manner.

While speaking about Mercedes-Benz, let me say that after ceasing sales of the E 200 NGT some time ago, the company has now brought back a CNG-fuelled version of the new E-Class. So anyone interested in luxury cars with very low fuel consumption can contact any Mercedes-Benz showroom.

I used to comment that Mercedes-Benz stopped selling the CNG version because the number of CNG stations did not grow as agreed, making each refueling stop a time-consuming ordeal in a long queue.

But the former president of PTT, Prasert Bunsumpun, is now an advisor to the Energy Minister. Prasert is a strong supporter of CNG and I wonder if Mercedes-Benz brought back the E 200 NGT with this in mind?

Last week I wrote about basic maintenance of a vehicle, and many readers said they would like more of these tips, because they have been disappointed by the service provided by fuel-station staff and would like to learn to do it themselves - if it is not too difficult.

So this week I would like to talk about various light signals, since these days only a very small number of Thai motorists regard maintaining and using the correct light signals as important.

For example, Thai motorists like to flash their headlights on high beam when crossing a junction, or when another vehicle is emerging from a side road, as a kind of warning that they are coming through. In fact, flashing the high beam is understood internationally as a signal to allow another vehicle to move ahead, which is opposite to the understanding of this action in Thailand. This should be changed so that it is the same as in other countries, since there are more and more foreigners driving in Thailand these days.

Switching on the hazard lights while crossing an intersection, or when driving in heavy rain or thick fog, is another misunderstanding by Thai motorists. This is illegal as well as misleading because the hazard lights are intended for use only when the vehicle is stationary.

Now let's get to testing the light signals by yourself. On many occasions you drive alone, so you don't know whether the rear lights, brake lights or turning lights are working properly.

An easy way to test the turning lights is to notice whether the dashboard signal flashes at a faster rate than normal. If it does, then it means that one of the turning lights is blown out. In some cases, one of the lamps may be brighter than the others. You can check this by switching on the hazard lights and walking around the vehicle to see if there is any difference.

Checking the rear lights is easy. Turn on the headlights and walk to the rear of the vehicle to have a look. However, there is sometimes a problem with the rear light and brake light; if the headlights are not turned on, the brake lights operate normally. But when the headlights are turned on and the brake pedal is depressed, one of the rear lights or brake lights will not illuminate. You can check this by reversing the vehicle close to a wall and checking out the reflections as you switch the lights.

In the case above, a short circuit has occurred, mostly at the contact of the rear light bulb, which is in the same module as the brake light. To fix the problem you need to change the terminals of the bulb or have a mechanic adjust the contact points.

All that I have mentioned suggests that any driver, male or female, is capable of checking these things by themselves. It takes very little time, but can dramatically lower the chances of accidents on the road.