KUALA LUMPUR — March 30, 2018: More often than not first time car buyers especially tend to overlook the safety features, thinking that a simple test drive is all that is needed.
But in reality, there are many safety aspect that need to be looked at.
So while test driving is the right thing, a buyer should also look for active safety features which he is most likely not aware of during a test drive. Remember that safety features can save lives and these are three that are most critical:
* electronic stability control (ESC), traction control (TC) and anti-lock braking system (ABS).
ABS helps the driver maintain control by making sure that the tyres does not lock up during braking. The system first determines which tyre is trying to lock up and reduces braking power on that tyre. Fortunately ABS is standard offering from manufacturers nowadays.
But those in the market for second hand cars are advised to not overlook this feature, especially since Malaysia experiences a lot of rainfall which contributes to tyre locking and ultimately, leading to skidding.
The ESC was once touted as a premium safety feature found only in higher end cars but now even the Perodua Myvi and the top variant of the Proton Saga has it.
As noted by motoring journalist Paul Tan back in 2012, electronic stability control is a must. He experienced a situation where the ESC saved him from a potential life threatening crash.
“Another driver might be merging into your lane without bothering to check his wing mirrors to see if he’d be ploughing straight into you – and at highway speeds, an evasive manoeuvre could see you lose control as the car starts to fishtail,” said Tan.
This is where ESC comes into play to help the driver regain control of lost traction and manoeuvre back to safety.
“There are so many potential situations where stability control can potentially save your life,” added Tan.
Fortunately, in recognising the importance of ESC, the government has decided to make it mandatory for all new vehicles to have it by June.
The United Kingdom though made this mandatory years ago.
Here is a video to show how ESC can potentially save lives.
Depending on the manufacturer, a stability control system can have many different names like ESC, ESP, VSA, VSC, or DSC. Do ask the sales assistants if the car is equipped with any kind of stability control and avoid buying it if it does not.
As for traction control (TC), if the car is equipped with ESC than it is equipped with TC since ESC is an evolution of TC.
But for knowledge’s sake, TC helps the tyres maintain contact with the pavement while the car accelerates. If the sensors find that one of the wheels is spinning faster than the others, it will automatically pump the brake on that wheel so it can slow down and stop spinning.