In my over 3 decades of driving I have had a very rare experience which I would like to share with you all.
On last Wednesday I alongwith my wife had gone out for some household chores. I had taken Tata Safari Diesel vehicle. After finishing the work we were on our way back when we encountered heavy traffic. It was bumper to bumper. So it was clutch and brake situation with vehicles just crawling. I am very careful about not keeping clutch pedal half pressed. After about 2 kms of this situation I decided to take a side road which joined main road again at some distance after traffic signal. As soon as I turned I found that I could not change gears. The gear lever was moving in all desired directions but no gear could be engaged even with clutch pedal fully pressed. I felt panic as I was blocking the entrance to the road. Somehow 3rd gear got engaged enabling me to drive the vehicle to side and park it. I tried to engage gears again but without success. I switched off. I stopped a passing three wheeler auto and sent my wife home asking her to call me up to let me have telephone number of Tata workshop where we get our vehicle serviced. I felt that clutch plates may have given way. Fifteen minutes later I again switched on the engine and lo behold the gears started working absolutely normal. I cautiously drove back home. I left the vehicle there and went to the said workshop in our second car, a Maruti Estilo.
I narrated the whole incident to their GM. On his asking how much mileage the vehicle has covered, I told him it is about 35,000 kms. He told me that there is no idea of opening up clutch assembly as chances of clutch plates having worn off are little specially once I was able to engage gears after sometime and if we open up there will positively be some wear and tear thus changing of plates will be needed. On my asking then what was the cause of such happening, he explained that it is a very rare phenomenon in that at times air which finds it’s way into the assembly gets mixed with clutch oil. When the oil gets heated the moisture in the air converts to gaseous state. This causes forming of big size bubbles. On pressing clutch pedal these bubbles get compressed but do not allow full compression for clutch to be engaged to let one select gears. He told me that this can also happen to brake fluid thus leading to brake failure. Once oil cools the gas regains moisture state thus reducing bubble size and that is why I could drive the vehicle after it had had time to cool down. He advised that oil be changed and line bleeding carried out to ensure that there are no air bubbles inside. I got the said work done. The vehicle is running fine.
I had a chance to visit Maruti workshop for some work on Estilo and on my narrating my experience to their engineer, he too explained what Tata GM had said. I so flabbergasted as it is the first time I experienced such situation. So I thought of sharing it with you to appraise you that if such thing happens there is no need to panic but let the vehicle cool down.
This we may also translate to our day to day life. When we are angry, hot air in our head does not allow us to engage our brain properly. So it is best to cool down before doing anything.