The Dreaded Engine Computer Box

Ask anyone on what is the most sensitive part of modern cars these days and you may perhaps get the computer box as the answer. Rightfully so, it is considered the heart of modern cars and once it gives way, you are in big trouble.Unlike older cars, car computer boxes of newer models from Mitsubishi, Honda or Toyota are hard to replace. In fact, that is your only option since they cannot be repaired. There are people in Banawe who may claim it can be fixed but if you want to take that risk and solicit worse problems for your car, then by all means grab it. But the reality of it all is that if other parts of your car can be fabricated, your computer box cannot.

The normal occurrences that would contribute towards car computer boxes being damaged severely include:

1. Floods or being soaked
2. Length of use
3. Wrong installation or has been tampered with

Not even the usual electricians would dare tinker with it for the reason that they know how sensitive this part it and how expensive it would take to replace it. The price could go as far as a second hand car!

So if your computer box goes on the blink, better start saving for a new one. There are no second hand ones that can last in the same way that your old computer box was. Certainly, it is a part that can be expensive to replace but it may take eternity to wreck depending on how you take care of your car.

The Pains of Automatic Transmission Vehicles

One thing about cars these days, you want to be as comfy as possible. This includes the manner of driving to which most people prefer to have the automatic transmission to avoid the need to shift gears frequently.But while that may seem like a luxury, it also comes with a price. If your automatic transmission gives way, for sure you are talking bout close to Php 50,000 at the least to have it repaired. It may cost more and it would all depend if you can find one in the market.

Automatic Gear Shift, Hyundai Elantra
Creative Commons License photo credit: brownpau

Another thing about automatic transmission, you cannot afford to see your battery go dead. If it does, you may find yourself in a heap of trouble especially since they cannot be started using the normal jackrabbit start you can push it and instantly release the clutch to start it again. In these scenarios, if your car is an automatic, it would be best to have a series jumper cable in tow just in case you find your battery go dead.

Also, during the rainy seasons, you cannot just go through flooded areas. Unlike the manual transmission vehicles where you have to maintain a certain RPM to go through them, automatic transmissions change gears on their own. That cannot be applicable in flooded areas since you cannot maintain that high RPM due to automatic shift changes.

This is not to say that automatic transmission vehicles are problematic. It is just that in these cases, you have to watch out for these scenarios. Either you avoid them or take the risk.

Toyota Vios and the Honda City: Sensible Cars for Conserving Fuel

At the rate that fuel prices are becoming unreasonably priced, we have been offered a lot of alternatives. We can see today that most of them are more compact compared to the previous years where SUVs and large bodied cars are preferred by the traditional car lover. But along with size comes the price to pay for more fuel to burn. Thus, it should not be surprising why cars these days are becoming smaller and crampy.

Toyota Vios
Creative Commons License photo credit: Tom BKK

Take for instance the entry of two small cars, the Toyota Vios and the Honda City. Both were initially considered as cars for women. True to its concept, they were cheaper and suitable for the women drivers who only needed a vehicle to get them places. Apparently today, these compact vehicles have gone as far as serving the men, becoming an alternative since fuel prices are escalating and thus heeding for more conservative cars.

These two car models from Honda and Toyota normally come in 1.3 engines. With lesser power the only important thing here is that they can get you places. Getting anywhere fast is no longer important. It is about convenience and luxury and hence a big reason why most Vios and City models are slowly becoming common in the Philippine roads today.

Auto Detailing: Just Another Term for Washover

These days, any car owner would do anything to save on high costs of a new paint job. Normally, some would turn to washovers wherein scratches and dead paint spots are covered to get your car paint closer to new. Apparently there is a new term for it and it goes by the name of auto detailing.

Auto detailing goes as far as modifying a car to its smallest chrome lining. We see it most of the time in the different small car shops, offering it at a higher price but with less waiting time. For people who cannot last long without a car, this is their best option. But maybe they should be likewise told, not following the proper curing time of cars may eventually lead to low quality output.

There are of course exceptions to this rule. There are car detailers that truly uphold the meaning of quality service. All that is left then is to choose the proper one to render the service. Regardless if it is a washover or auto detailing, the final output is still the important thing.

Fabricated Car Repairs: The Filipino Habit

One thing you have to note these days, if you can save in any way as far as car repairs is concerned you would be more than willing to grab it. For pinoy car owners who often want to save and make do with fabricated repairs for their cars, rest assured they would grab it. Compared to having your car fixed as a whole or bringing it to the actual Casa, imagine the savings you can get. If you are lucky, you can even get better service since we all know that some car shops can shortchange you so that you will come back.

Fabricating repairs can include various car parts such as:

1. Under Chassis
2. Engine Support
3. Bushings
4. Air Conditioning
5. Brakes and Clutch
6. Tires
7. Dents
8. Suspensions

There will always be the so-called “replacement parts” or “second hand parts” that will be offered to you. Compared to the brand new or original ones, you can make do with them but the timeline for their durability is surely incomparable to the authentic one.

However, cost-wise, these are the alternative you just have to consider. With limited budgets and the need to use your car, you have to get repairs done even if they would mean for a temporary period of time.

Just be sure you save up to replace them with better parts after some months though. Expect these fabricated parts to give ways as they are walking in between safety and durability. They are bound to give in a couple of months so be wiser.

Car Sale Decline Expected for Brand New and Second Hand

In a time where finances are much of a burden, people are turning towards public transportation to get to their point of destination. For the time being that the economy is on a turnstile, sacrifices which include that of using your own car is not only a necessity but an option.

Through all of this you have to wonder how cars will fare. This covers both brand new and second hand vehicles in the market. In short, to gain extra income for rising expenses, selling your car may be an option. But that is if someone will buy it.

Through the years we have seen a lot of Filipinos buying second hand cars like the usual Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic or even the Mazda 323. But today, people have stayed away from them, seeing them as additional expenses as far as fuel and car maintenance is concerned. On the average you can expect to spend at least PHP 5,000.00 on a car for maintenance while gasoline varies depending on your destination. And no thanks to the regular price increases, people are left with nothing much to spend for gas these days.

For the brand new vehicles, who in his right mind can afford to spare on the average PHP 700,000.00 to PHP 1,000,000 on a car these days? They can always use the financial assistance from banks but can you handle the monthly amortization that ranges from PHP12,000.00 to PHP25,000.00 a month? That is like spending rent on an apartment and perhaps your monthly utilities and groceries already.

The point here is that cars are a luxury. While we all want to live in it, we just have to face the fact that now is not a great time to pursue it. We can dream of buying a car. But let us wait for the right time to do it.

Replacement Parts: Japan or Taiwan

If you are the type who is quite particular about repairs to your car, replacement parts would normally leave you with two options: Japan or Taiwan. If you are a frequent visitor of car part shops, these will be the choices for certain parts that will be offered to you. Of the two, Taiwan parts are normally the cheaper one since they are considered as imitation parts that have a lesser product lifecycle compared to Japan or original parts.

Pimp my Pride
Creative Commons License photo credit: kamshots

Japan parts often mean durability. They are normally the parts that are close to what the exact specs of your car needs. However, they are costly and unless you are willing to use second-hand parts that will still cost more or luckily the same as a Taiwan part, the price for Japan parts may knock you off your feet. Brand new Japan parts are the safest route to maintain the same level of quality that your car has. There are people who however turn to Taiwan parts due to prices and can do for a certain time, perhaps half of the actual durability life of a part.

Mechanical parts of vehicles are quite sensitive. Take for example engine support bushings. Comparing the Taiwan made ones to the original ones can be seen in a couple of months. Engine support bushings normally last for 3 to 5 years, depending on the use of a vehicle. Taiwan made engine support bushings normally last for 6 months to a year. That is how much difference you can expect between the two.

While everything should not be entirely blamed on the part manufacturers, you have to put into consideration the wear and tear and road conditions your car drives on. In this case, Philippine roads are known to be unstable and that is why we often find ourselves needing repairs especially if your car chassis are not that solidly built like Mitsubishi vehicles that have pricey replacements parts as well.

Shopping for Car Parts in Banawe

Banawe has been christened the auto parts capital of the Philippines mainly because you can almost find everything you want for your car there, ranging from mechanical to accessories. As far as where they came from, these shops either prey on cars that have been abandoned or thrown at the nearest junkyard.

There are over a 100 shops present there and depending on the model of your car, you are bound to have a hard time deciding where to buy. As far as pricing is concerned, they are far more cheaper than the standard casa shops which offer the same service and parts but perhaps 100% more expensive than what you can find by simply walking along the streets of Banawe.

One thing you should avoid however are the fixers who seem to offer assistance but are really there to score one over you. For example, if you arrive there with a broken tail light or a shattered window, expect them to swarm all over you. When they see this, it means potential earnings for them.

At times they can be irritating especially if you talk about more than one person offering to fix a certain part of your car. In fact, at times when you just pass by the streets, they will point at something in your car which does not really need anything fixed. That is how desperate some people there operate to earn a decent buck. Decent but surely questionable if you don’t know where they are getting the parts.

The parts they bring to you are really coming from the stores around. As far as pricing is concerned, they usually earn a certain percentage, sometimes 10%, of the total cost of that particular part. But what you may want to avoid is stolen parts being sold to you. If they want to earn big time, stealing is the best way to earn for these fixers.

In a manner of speaking, you too become an “accessory” to the crime when you buy it from them. Try to avoid them and go directly to the stores. At least you know they are parts worth buying.

Hybrid Cars: Sacrificing Comfort and Style

Hybrid cars are the new demand these days, no thanks to the growing problems of continuous oil and fuel price hikes. While we see this is as a good resolution, obviously we will have to sacrifice a lot of things such as comfort and style. Hybrid cars are modernized looking cars that are getting close to what we all had in mind when we were projecting the future look of transportation.

Hyundai Blue Will
Creative Commons License photo credit: MSVG

The latest batch of hybrid cars do have that futuristic look but apparently, the usual leg room and the mileage that we normally get from the traditional vehicles will have to be modified a bit, a lot of it pointing towards issues that will definitely not sit well with most people looking for luxury when it comes to getting places.

Apparently the shift towards modernized hybrid cars will have its impact. Some may like it while others will not. But this early there are bound to be limited options considering car manufacturers such as Honda and Toyota have only begun developing these cars at present. Notable is the Toyota Prius which has gotten a lot of attention in the process. Honda is not far behind and expect other ones trying to stay afoot with them as the demand for alternative modes of transportation is gearing up.

Cost-wise, there will be other factors such as alternative fuel that will headline the news. Compatibility will certainly be something since alternative fuel development will be needed. That is perhaps one hindrance that most car manufacturers have to contend with since engines of these hybrid cars will have their share of fuel preferences. Better yet, if they can accommodate these bio-fuels and the traditional gasoline (assuming they stabilize in the future) would be great alternatives. You just never know when everything may go back to normal hence these considerations are on the car manufacturers line of developmental issues.

Analyzing the Shift to LPG Fuel Part 1

With the prices of fuel becoming overly impractical at this stage, alternatives to continue enjoying the benefits of having our private vehicles has been a need. Some have cut down on their trips while others have been checking out alternative fuel.

There are two fuel alternates being spread in the world today, namely:

  1. Biofuel
  2. Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG)

In the Philippines, only the second one, LPG has been introduce in the market. While I have my own cars and am aching for avoiding the high priced gasoline today there are some things such as the reliability of LPG on cars. Among them include safety and the impact it will have on the car’s engine.

On safety, it has been passed on that once an LPG tank in your car leaks, it is bound to result in health-related problems. One of the more famous issues is skin diseases stemming from the fumes. This is of course assuming that the LPG tank is installed at the back trunk of your car. So if you are planning to install an LPG tank, make sure that it is outside your car, preferably below the trunk which most taxis have done today.

As for its impact on the car engine, nothing has really been said. We all know for a fact that there are engines that have preference for the fuel density. Unleaded gasoline for example has been known to cause problems to the engine, forcing some car owners to avoid it and the price of having an untimely engine overhaul. Where does the LPG fuel stand here? Is it good for your car?

to be continued…

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