Category Archives: Car Tips

Why Dashcams are Essential to Young Drivers

I have 3 kids who are in college. They all drive to school. As a father, one of my biggest fears is that they encounter problems while driving.

Particularly, I am worried that my kids will be subjected to unpleasant hazards while driving like:

  1. Dishonest drivers who refuse to accept responsibility for car accidents they clearly caused.
  2. Fraudsters and unscrupulous pedestrians causing their own accidents to blackmail motorists .
  3. Hot headed drivers with road rage tendencies.
  4. Corrupt policemen harassing drivers for committing unfounded “violations”.

In my over 30 years of driving in the Philippines, I’ve had my share of encounters with these hazards and often they left me stressed, angry, or depressed for several days. In those situations, it was always my word against the other party and more often than not, we end up with either a stalemate (I’m left to fix my own damage and the other party gets scot free) or worse, I lose the argument (I pay the ticket or damages or I get hurt) due to lack of evidence for my defence.

To protect my kids from these situations, I use a dashcam.

zumi

Dashboard Cameras (or dashcams) provide useable evidence to defend the driver against the other party. If a dishonest driver or a fraudster pedestrian insists that an accident is my kid’s fault, the dash cam allows me to establish otherwise. If the “road raged” driver does anything violent, the dash cam provides evidence to file complaints against him. And if a corrupt policeman tries to harass my kid, the dashcam helps prove my child’s innocence.

Continue reading Why Dashcams are Essential to Young Drivers

DO FUEL ADDITIVES REALLY WORK? — A PRODUCT REVIEW ON THE CALTEX TECHRON CONCENTRATE PLUS

A few weeks ago, Chevron gave me a bottle of their newly launched product — theTechron Concentrate Plus. We tried it out on a 2002 Toyota Altis 1.6E and I am pleasantly surprised with the results.

caltex2

Our test car has already run over 120,000 kms in the past 13 years and has performed quite well so far. Nevertheless, I’ve observed that it is not anymore as powerful and as fuel efficient as it used to be.

Our objective in this experiment is to find out if this Techron product does have significant effects on the performance of the car.

Question from a Reader: Is Cleaning Just the Car Aircon’s Evaporator Enough?

In the last post, I talked about the alternative way of having your aircon cleaned without “pulling down” the evaporator.

Some readers asked me if “cleaning the evaporator” is enough to “clean the aircon”. Apparently, experts from the “aircon shop next door” told them that aside from the evaporator, the rest of the aircon system (i.e. refrigerant lines, etc.) should also be cleaned.

bquick5

As I am not an expert on aircons myself, I referred the question to a friend of mine, Mr. Ferman Lao, the “auto guru”. In one of his articles in Top Gear, he talked extensively about this concern. This is what he has to say: Continue reading Question from a Reader: Is Cleaning Just the Car Aircon’s Evaporator Enough?

Breakthrough Service: Cleaning Your Car Aircon Without “Pull down”

Pop quiz: Can the aircon of the Toyota Altis be cleaned without removing the dashboard?
Almost everybody, including experts from Toyota Service Centers, would say “No“.
But the correct answer is: “Yes” — if you use the B-Quick system.

bquick4

I learned about B-Quick just today.

My Altis, whose aircon is religiously cleaned every year (via the traditional “pull-down evaporator” method), experienced it’s first “B-Quick treatment” in a shop located in Mindanao Avenue today.

At first I was skeptical. So I asked their Service Manager, a very nice guy named Marcial, a barrage of questions; and these are the highlights:

Continue reading Breakthrough Service: Cleaning Your Car Aircon Without “Pull down”

Best Anti-Drunk Driving Campaign: A Great Way to Get Sober Fast

A popular bar/restaurant in India wanted to promote responsible driving to its clients. Particularly, they don’t want drunk people to drive. But instead of just giving out fliers or putting up posters, they did something much better — they literally scared the people into becoming a bit more sober right before driving.

In India, of the many supernatural beings they believe in, apparently the most fearsome being is the Hindu diety named Yama, the God of Death. Imagine him paying you a visit in your car right before you drive off… now, that’s scary.

A Youtube video shows the reactions of the many party-goers (i.e. “victims”) who had a close encounter with “death himself”. In the end, the scene looks like a gag or practical joke. But I guess it drove home a good point.

To see the video, click here >>.

If we did something like this here in the Philippines, a hooded guy in a black cloak holding a sythe may have a similar impact. But if the “victim” is way too drunk to appreciate the joke, our hooded guy might just end up badly beaten up by the same person he is trying to save.

Photo credits:

By afroboof / Driver’s Seat [Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)] on Flickr

and By Rob Boudon / Grim Reaper From Guitar Hero – Halloween (2006) [Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)] on Flickr.

Carwash Gaps – Top 3 Things That Many Local Carwash Services Miss

We all want our cars to look good. We might even get a bit jealous when we see another car zoom past us, all clean and shiny. We promise ourselves that someday, when we’re not too busy, we’ll have the car washed, vacuumed, and waxed.

But, the thing is, your traditional neighborhood car wash provider may not necessarily do the job well.

So how can you tell if a car wash has been thorough? Here are three (3) things you should look for after your car wash: Continue reading Carwash Gaps – Top 3 Things That Many Local Carwash Services Miss

Suzuki @ work – free comprehensive checkup even for out-of-warranty Suzuki vehicles

Last week, I received an invitation to ‘Suzuki @ work,’ an after-sales service camp. My first question was: “I’ve heard of band camp and boot camp, but what exactly is a service camp?”

Suzuki Service Manager Rommel Cabanela humored me with an answer:

“A Suzuki service camp is like an assembly line where the vehicle passes through three stations or bays. Each bay has a team of qualified technicians and mechanics checking a specific portion of the check list.”

Oh, it’s a highly efficient setup for doing vehicle check ups…. nice.
Anyway, I’ve had my share of car check ups and I’m not about to be impressed easily. So I looked around further.

The service camp is a free 23 point check up for Suzuki vehicles. I noticed that they are quite strict about this — Suzuki personnel followed the 23 point check list to the letter.

“It’s essential that we don’t miss anything.” Cabanela adds.

In the first bay, the vehicle’s general condition is checked. The aircon, windows, mirrors, wipers, and all the lights are examined while the hand and foot brake are adjusted as well. An inspection of the under chassis – front and rear brakes, transmission – follows. In the second bay, wheel bearing, the condition of tires and power steering hoses and fluids are checked. At the last station, Suzuki engineers look under the hood and check engine performance with the use of Suzuki Diagnostic Tool (SDT). The condition of the belts, engine and engine oil, as well as ignition timing are examined at the last bay.

The whole process is documented in a service check-list that accompanies the vehicle through the three bays. Customers are given recommendations on specific areas of the unit that require servicing. And they get a 15 % discount on parts on their next visit.

The latest leg of Suzuki @ Work was held at Suzuki Auto Shaw, Mandaluyong last October 13 to 14. To get the latest Suzuki @ Work schedules, visit their website suzuki.com.ph or call their customer care hotline 902 1001.

Top 5 Cars for Pinays – by Pinay Auto Blogger

Whoever said that all women prefer clothes and makeup over cars should go out more often. Many women love cars just as much as men do. The main difference lies on what women look for when choosing a car.

I, for one, look for a car which is fuel efficient, spacious, reliable, and of course, stylish. I don’t really know much about engine displacement, dipsticks or fenders; but I do know that fuel efficiency is important since I know how much I pay for gas, and something that isn’t easy or fun to drive is a car I wouldn’t want.Speaking of style, it’s mostly the guys who like to trick out their prized vehicles. As the fairer sex, though I’d like my car to be stylish, I’d still want it to be practical, thank you very much.

So let me present to you a short list of cars in the Philippines that I think are easy on the eyes, perfect for a girls’ lifestyle, well-priced, and generously outfitted with the right amount of features – the cars I would recommend for Pinays. Continue reading Top 5 Cars for Pinays – by Pinay Auto Blogger

Don’t buy this second hand car! Not so obvious signs you should look out for.

You already know the standard guidelines on 2nd hand car or used car buying:

1. bring a mechanic (or someone who knows cars) with you; 2. closely check on the car body for repairs or paint jobs done; and 3. make sure the registration papers are clean, legit, and updated.

Aside from that, here are a few more tell-tale signs that you may want to consider:

enginelightstickerPhoto credit: Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0). By Twelvizm, used with permission. 

1. Tires tell a story

Are the tires worn out or mismatched?

We expect tires to get worn out, as much as we expect the car owner to replace them when they do get worn out. Continue reading Don’t buy this second hand car! Not so obvious signs you should look out for.

Automotive Fashion Disasters We Would Like to See Disappear (last of a series) — Vortex Generator / Shark Fin Antenna

This series is written by Ice Man, a well known personality in the auto performance tuning circuit. Often a judge in major car shows held nationwide, he is regarded as an expert in car enhancements and styling. Much like Dr. Gregory House on TV, Ice Man is borderline arrogant, painfully critical, and definitely one of the best in the motoring field.

WARNING: If you are reading this and have any of the products mentioned, I’m sorry for being too critical but it doesn’t change the fact that your car still looks “passe” and “uncool”.

Auto Fashion Disaster No. 4: Vortex Generator/Shark Fin Antenna

This is another mod that somewhat looks cool. These are the things you normally see on the roof near the rear of an Evo or BMW. But once again, realize that your car is not an EVO or a BMW.

Actually, I can tolerate the shark fin antenna because it does look kinda cool, until some smart guy sticks it on a massive SUV or an AUV. Come on, it doesn’t work that way.

Continue reading Automotive Fashion Disasters We Would Like to See Disappear (last of a series) — Vortex Generator / Shark Fin Antenna