Category Archives: Car Tips

Quick Fix: Checking the Condition of the Tires of your Car

If you think the tires of your car can conquer anything, you better check again. It is important to inspect the condition of the tires of your car. Here are the most common reasons why your tires become worn out.

Curb rubs. Everyone experiences having these, alright?

Damage. The worst thing that can happen is damage, and this necessitates intensive care.

Holes and punctures. Remember that day when your tire flattened because of roofing nail?

Impacts. These are due to the craters and potholes on the road.

Overloading. Too much load in your vehicle cannot be accommodated by the tires.

Wear and tear. Your tires will never be new all of the time.

Being alert whenever you drive is something always consider. Bring your car to the nearest auto repair facility whenever necessary.

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Quick Fix: Transmission Warning Signs

Manual and automatic transmissions share some warning signs that you must be aware of.

First off, notice the pinkish-red leaking transmission fluid. If you learn that the fluid is collected on the ground while you are having your parked vehicle moved, then it is ideal to have it inspected. Take note that the leaking fluid means you must attend to the failure or problem.

Just the same, if the fluid becomes dark brown or black, this means the fluid is burning up while the shifting is being done and you need to work on it.

If you encounter having delays when shifting the gear, it is time to go for a car inspection. The gap between the time you shift gear and the time the car acts based on the gear may mean a total transmission failure.

Teenagers should slow down more on driving

The thrill of driving a car is there, but being messy on driving dissolves that thrill. Teenagers tend to experience vehicular mishaps such as car accidents and traffic violations more than adults. This is why it is best for teenagers to learn how to slow down on driving.

It is all about taking as much time as needed. The speed of the vehicle must be dependent to the current driving condition. If it is raining, the road is obviously slicker, so driving slowly is very much necessary. Not to mention, it is hard to see things around because of the rain. More reaction time from the teenage drivers will make them safer. Turning on the headlights will do good as well.

Giving pieces of advice to your teenagers who just began driving is essential for safety and discipline.

 

Quick Fix: Broken Car Power Window

Have you ever experienced having the power windows of your car broken?

The best reasons as to why it happened are:

  • the window regulator that tells how the windows move is the one not functioning, and
  • the motor that powers up the window stopped working.

In order to solve this problem, all you need to do is to buy replacement parts that have already been used.

Not only will you save yourself a good amount of money as compared to purchasing brand new items, you will also bring your discipline with regards to taking care of your car to a higher level.

Car window repair must be attended immediately to prevent costly replacement.

Auto Window Tinting

We’ve all been there: You get in your car at the end of the day and can barely breathe, it’s so hot. Or, you’re driving home and can hardly see because the sun is too low for your visors.

These situations are not only incredibly uncomfortable but also potentially dangerous. Tinting your car windows can help reduce the danger, and it’s fairly easy to do yourself.

Benefits of Window Tinting
In addition to reducing heat buildup and cutting glare from sun, snow and headlights, tinted windows can protect you during an accident by holding shattered glass together. Auto window tinting also block up to 99 percent of UV rays, keeping your interior from fading or cracking due to sun exposure. This feature will also keep you from getting sunburned on those long drives to the cottage or beach.

Of course, one of the main reasons people tint their windows is for privacy—you don’t need everyone looking in your car as they pass by. This can also deter thieves since they won’t be able to see any valuables left in the car.

Easy Techniques for DIY Window Tinting
Professional window tinting is expensive and unnecessary. You can do it yourself in a few simple steps for about half the cost.

Many companies offer window tinting kits created specifically for certain brands and models. You can also purchase film separately. Be sure to check your local laws before choosing a tint color or shade—many states limit how dark windows can be.

To install your tint:

  1. Locate a window pattern in your kit or on the Internet, or make one using heavy paper (wax paper or craft paper work best, since they come in large rolls)
  2. Clean the windows that will be tinted
  3. While the windows are drying, lay your film on a clean, flat surface and trace the pattern onto it
  4. Cut the film, erring on the outside of the lines—you can always trim excess film later
  5. Spray or brush the adhesive solution to the inside of the film; coat it but don’t soak it
  6. Apply film to window
  7. Use a squeegee to remove air bubbles (run squeegee top-to-bottom, working from one side of the window to the other)
  8. Run a cloth around the edges to remove any excess adhesive
  9. Trim excess film with a utility knife

Windowing tinting can be an essential part of your car care efforts when done properly. So make sure you take the time and put in the effort to do it right!

DIY Rust Proofing Tips

There’s a reason they call rust “car cancer”: Like cancer, rust can spread quickly, and also like cancer, it can lead to serious problems with the overall function. Rustproofing, then, is an essential part of car care and maintenance. Unfortunately, it’s also an expensive part if you have it done commercially. Plus, many shops just cover large, exposed areas, leaving many nooks and crannies unprotected. As the saying goes, if you want the job done right, it’s best to do it yourself.

DIY Rust Proofing Kits or Supplies
Everything you need to rustproof your car can be purchased at local hardware stores, auto parts stores or car dealerships. Rustproofing kits are available for just about every make and model of vehicle and provide everything you need in one neat package. However, if you have more than one car, most of the products can be used on both, so buying them separately will reduce your car care costs and eliminate duplication.

Supplies needed for rustproofing are:

• Touch-up paint
• Paintbrush (one brush per color)
• Medium-grit sandpaper
• Car cleaning materials (chamois, warm water, cleanser)
• Rustproofing liquid
• Compressor & sprayer
• Rag
• Face mask and safety goggles

DIY Rust Proofing Step by Step
While the particular steps may vary by vehicle type, the general process for rustproofing is:

1) Inspect car for scratches and nicks
2) Remove any rust with medium-grit sandpaper
3) Cover scratches and nicks with touch-up paint
4) Clean the car to remove any road grime, oil and grease (skip this step if car fairly clean)
5) Use compressor and sprayer to apply rustproofing liquid to interior panels (through factory openings like vents), topside (trunk, hood) and undercarriage of car; wear face mask and safety goggles for protection
6) Wipe away any excess or overspray with a clean, dry, soft rag
7) Clean the car (skip this step if performed step 4)

Maintaining Rust Proofing
Of course, even the best rust proofing job will be for naught if you don’t properly maintain it. Administering regular car washes after driving particularly salty streets is one method of maintaining your rustproofing job. Making a habit of checking regularly for scratches and nicks, especially on edges where paint may be scraped away more easily (such as along the bottom or side edges of doors) is another way to prolong your work. The sooner you can touch up breaks in the paint, the less likely rust will develop.

Keep Your Car Doors Locked!

Traffic was crawling along the northbound side of EDSA the other day, and I was driving at the innermost (left) lane, turning toward the Estrella Flyover. Just before turning left to the flyover (going to Rockwell), I noticed that there were several street kids on the center island. As traffic started moving, a couple of the kids started moving toward the center of the road. I wondered what they were up to. Were they going to ask for alms? Were they just going to play a dangerous round of patintero with moving vehicles?

Turns out they were up to something more mischievous.

Creative Commons License photo credit: lobsterstew

Car lock

One of the kids suddenly pulled open the passenger-side door of the taxi cab in front of me. He pulled it with so much force that the door went fully open and almost hit a Honda Jazz to the right of the cab. The kids then ran back to the center island, seeming happy with their deed.

This brought back old tales of goons forcing open unlocked doors while in traffic or at stoplights. My dad once told me some men tried to force open his doors along Kamias Ave. (which is near my neighborhood).

So here’s a reminder to all motorists. Keep your doors locked. If you have a car with power/centralized locks, make it a habit to do a tactile check every so often. I click the “lock” button on my armrest several times during a trip; that’s how OC I am. Or, make it a habit to ask all your passengers if their doors are locked. This could save you a lot of trouble from potential incidents like the one I witnessed.

If you’re riding as a passenger, then make sure all the doors are locked, too. This is especially important when riding taxi cabs. For one, most cabbies are too lazy to lock their doors. Most cabs don’t have power locks, and unlocked doors make it easier for them to pick up passengers. Secondly, having unlocked taxi doors can add to the risk of being held up by robbers in cahoots with bad cabbies.

Again–lock your doors. Best to keep your windows closed, too, especially in traffic. Weather in our country is often hot, anyway.

Image credit: flickr/lobsterstew

How to compute for your gas mileage

As a car owner, finding out your average gas mileage will benefit you in many ways. It will, first of all, aid you in budgeting how much you’d want to spend for gas over the course of a week or a certain period of time. Besides that, it will help you alter your manner of driving as to not waste too much gas. So take the time to learn this particular subject.

Out of gas
Creative Commons License photo credit: Pat Hawks

Figuring out your car’s gas mileage is easier than it sounds. Some newer cars will have multi-information displays that automatically tell you your current mileage. Not all cars have this feature, though, so you will need to learn how to do it manually.

Follow these six easy steps. You may need a calculator, pen and paper, or you may calculate mentally.

  1. Fill up your gas tank until it is full or until the fuel pump stops automatically. Take note of the number of kilometers currently displayed on your odometer.
  2. Keep track of how many KMs you have driven until the next time you fill up your tank with gas. To do that, simply subtract the number of kilometers you had when you filled up your tank from the number of KMs displayed this next fill up. For example, your mileage was 10,000 on your first fill up, then 10,200 on your next. Therefore, it should be computed like this: 10,200 – 10,000 = 200. The total number of KM you have driven is 200.
  3. Gas up and take note of how many liters of gasoline you have bought. Then the total number of kilometers should be divided by the amount of gasoline you purchased. For example, 200 KM / 20 liters = 10 kilometers per liter or KPL.
  4. It is ideal to do this counting on a long road trip since you will be traveling continuously and it will get your mileage to easily increase as opposed to driving short, separate trips within your town or city.
  5. Repeating this over a period of a couple of weeks will help you garner an average over this span of time.
  6. Take several measures to efficiently make use of gas—several measures, such as, obeying speed limits.

Note that you can also reset your trip meter to zero to help you count the number of kilometers you travelled. This will be more accurate, since the trip meter counts to the nearest 100 meters, while the odometer will only count to the nearest kilometer.

Doing this is not just another one of those difficult math problems that you have to solve for over an hour. Although getting the variables take quite long, solving it is as easy as counting 1-3, especially with the help of a calculator.

It is important to be familiar with such a seemingly petty issue such as this—finding out your gas mileage. This may seem insignificant at first but in the long run, it will be of good use to you. Not only will it make an impact on the way you handle your car but it may also unknowingly help you in taking better care of it and encourage you to obey traffic laws. So go grab a pen and a piece of paper and get driving and solving now!

Cars depreciate!

I’m in the market for a new(er) car these days but with the slew of Ondoyed vehicles, you can’t be too sure which ones in the second-hand market safe(r) to buy. I might violate my personal finance rule of never buying a brand new car since the depreciation alone in the first year is devastating.

I just find it funny that many cars posted online don’t seem to bear the rightful price for the vehicle. Why is it that an 18-year old two-door Civic still sells for Php 160k to 200k. I’ve seen ’93 Corollas still sell for 150k while their fair depreciated value would only be around 80k, perhaps 100k tops if it’s still well-maintained and bears low-mileage for its age.

Some would cite the number of modifications they’ve done to the car as the reason for the high pricing. Sure, modifications do cost money. An engine swap alone can set one back as much as 60k. However, modified cars, unless they’re modded by experts and if the owner keeps meticulous records, are migraines waiting to happen than prize catches.

You might be lucky if you find someone selling his modded car that’s only been used for “pang-porma” but chances are, the owner would probably have redlined it once or twice. As far as my experience goes, it’s always better to go with an all-stock car.

Still, it’s a challenge to find a second-hand car that’s been pretty well-maintained by the previous owner. I just can’t believe the prices that many sellers still set for their cars. I refuse to believe that cars have stopped depreciating since three years ago. Cars depreciate, you know.

How To Check Vehicle Registration Through SMS

One thing I learned in my years of driving and being a car owner is that dealing with the Land Transportation Office can be a pain. This is especially so during those times in the year you have to renew your driver’s license and your motor vehicle registration. It’s not too difficult to determine the schedule for registration (which is usually based on the last two digits of your plate number). However, sometimes you find the need to check for vehicle registration, especially in times of emergency.

For instance, when I got into an accident sometime last year, I used my mobile phone to check the registration details of both my car and the other vehicle involved. This helped determine if the plate matched with the vehicle, if the registration was valid, and if there was no LTO alarm (such as carnapping) on the vehicle. This technique for checking registration is also helpful, to some extent, when checking used cars before buying. Although the registered name does not appear, you can at least check if there are any LTO “alarms.”

The procedure is fairly straightforward. You just send an SMS to 2600 with the following keywords:

LTO VEHICLE ABC123

where ABC123 is the plate number. You will then get a response detailing the car’s brand, make, year, color, and date of last registration. Now this won’t necessarily tell you whether the registration is still current or expired, but based on the plate’s endings, you can at least estimate if it is valid for the current year.

You can also check license details by texting this to 2600:

LTO LICENSE XXXXXXXXXX

where XXXXXXXXX is the license number. This can be pretty useful when checking for the driver’s identity and validity of the license.

To get motor vehicle transactions and keywords, send “LTO MV” to 2600. For other permit and transactions, send “LTO DL” to 2600. Each message costs PhP 2.50.