So, you’ve decided to opt out of a casa?
7 basic things to check in your vehicle

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Text and photos by Wee Gamboa

IF IT isn’t broke, why fix it? Most of us use this line all the time when it comes to maintaining a car. If it’s not visibly damaged or inoperative altogether, we tend to think that a car part shouldn’t be up for replacement.

You probably think that unless you hear noises, clanks, or something off, then your vehicle is okay. That belief is not uncommon, but it’s a malpractice most of us are accustomed to and pretty much normal for any car owner whether you have a luxury or affordable ride.

But anything mechanical will eventually need servicing because of wear and tear over time. Asking on social media may help at times but people on the other side of the monitor can only see one side of the story. In the end, you won’t get the answer that you need. Asking 10 people may result in 20 different answers and, believe me, I learned it the hard way. The best way to attend to your car is by bringing it to the shop regularly. Diagnosing a car can be like going to the doctor — with first, second, and sometimes third opinions. If all these opinions match, then that’s pretty much nails what the problem is.

But the root of the matter is this: How can you tell that a repair shop is a reputable one and the right one for you and your treasured vehicle?

First, the mechanic (or chief/head mechanic) should know how to drive and should own a driver’s license. To my mind, a technician without a driver’s license should not diagnose cars. If they don’t own one, how would they be able to test-drive your car?

Secondly, the shop should be servicing the right kind of vehicles. If you go to a shop that works on jeepneys and trucks, obviously, you’re in the wrong place.

Car manufacturers always remind their customers to have their cars undergo regular checkups and maintenance for a worry-free driving experience. These are the basic things to check out if you’ve decided to forego a casa.

Battery. A dead battery can be frustrating. Make sure you replace your battery before the warranty expires. Failure can strike anytime. The point is, you’ll never know. A faulty battery can be determined with the use of aftermarket battery devices such as the CTEK Battery Sense. This way you can monitor your car’s battery life.

Belts. Not replacing the timing belt on time may cause severe damage to your engine — and even need an overhaul. Belts should be replaced as often as your shop suggests. It’s much better if you know how to inspect them yourself.

Oil. Oil protects your engine by staying between the moving parts — keeping them from wearing down and keeping away corrosion caused by condensation. Depending on your preferred oil brand, most oil changes should be done after 5,000 kilometers. Fully synthetic ones require changing at around 10,000 kilometers range.

Air filter. Some shops suggest to dust off the dirt from your air filter and place it back in your filter box. But replacing your air filter regularly will always give you the best results. Better yet, aftermarket filters like K&N can save you the trouble of purchasing over and over again after every oil change. The said filter can last your car’s lifespan as it requires only cleaning every 50,0000 miles (as posted in the K&N warranty slip). It should save you lots of money in the future.

Transmission. Regular checkups on and flushing of your transmission will keep it in good shape, as it is an integral part of any vehicle.

Tires. These can really be a pain in the wallet because high-quality ones do not come cheap. Make sure your car wheels’ alignment is checked regularly, as misalignment can decrease the service life of your tires dramatically. Also, replacing tires at the right time will not save you money, but it will save your life.

Brakes. You can never have too much braking. So, make sure to have your brakes checked regularly. Having a worn-out brake pad will destroy your rotors, resulting in more expensive repairs.

Having car trouble usually happens during the most inconvenient time — like when you’re on a date, going to work, or on a family vacation. All these can be prevented with the help of proper and regular service on your vehicle. Adhering to a preventive maintenance schedule even if your car is out of warranty is always a good idea. Caring for your car the right way shouldn’t end just because you’ve decided to forego the casa.