Category Archives: Car Tips

What to do in case of flooding?

The recent onslaught of typhoon Ondoy (international name: Ketsana), which left majority of Metro Manila and outlying cities flooded has resulted in the loss of many lives, homes and property. Part of this is the flooding of automobiles. Some had been fully submerged. Some partially submerged. And many others had to pass through floodwaters, probably stuck in traffic or just to get to higher parts of the city, to avoid further damage.

What should a car owner do in the event that his or her vehicle is submerged in flood waters?

How to wade through flood

The best way to deal with flooding is to avoid travelling at all. But if you really have to brave the floodwaters, then here are a few tips, mostly based on an article I wrote for Study Driving some time back.

  • Turn off your air conditioning–both the thermostat and the fan. In the event flood waters reach your aircon system while it’s running, it will be costly to clean and repair.
  • Use other cars as a reference when checking for depth. If the flood waters are up to halfway of the wheels, then it’s probably still safe to pass through. If it’s already reaching past the wheels, then there’s a high likelihood that the waters will enter the cabin and also the engine bay.
  • Check for possible obstacles and changes in depth. With floodwaters, you won’t be able to see the sidewalk or any open manholes.
  • It’s easier to wade through flood if you’re driving a manual transmission vehicle, since you can “play” with the engine revolution by adjusting the clutch and accelerator pedals while moving forward. You need to make sure your engine is revving enough such that water will not enter through the tailpipe. So stick to first gear and keep the engine revved to at least 2,000 RPM until you are sure you’ve exited the waters.
  • If you’re driving an automatic transmission vehicle, be sure to stick to first gear, too. Do this by selecting “1” or “L” on your gear selector. You can probably “play” with engine revolution by shifting the gear selector across N to 1 to you rev up the engine without moving forward, in the event that you need to stop while in the middle of the flooded street.
  • Make sure the water will not reach up to your engine’s air intake. Once water gets in, your engine will choke as it will no longer be able to combust fuel. Some diesel 4×4 vehicles have snorkels that act as air intakes. Since these are located up high, you can theoretically submerge the car in roof-deep waters, for as long as the snorkel is above-water. But of course, most of us drive regular cars, and not flood-proof 4x4s.
  • Be sure to check or dry out your brakes right afterward by tapping and pumping to check if they “bite” properly.

After a flood

Based on discussion threads on Vios Club Philippines and Tsikot, here are a few things you should keep in mind if your car gets submerged under flood water while running or while parked.

  • Don’t attempt to start the car. You have to make sure the engine is not waterlogged.
  • Disconnect both terminals of the battery.
  • If water has reached your car’s computer box (ECU), it’s best to have your car towed to the casa or service center without delay. You will probably not be able to do any DIY fixing here.
  • Uninstall the air filter, and dry out. You may also replace this if replacement is due anyway.
  • Dry out all electricals, especially the relays, plugs and other switches before plugging the battery back in.
  • Check your oil dipstick. If it’s coffee-colored (with cream!), then it means water has entered your engine’s cylinders. Oil will have to be changed several times, for this to be flushed out.
  • Have all fluids replaced.
  • Have all joints and bearings re-greased.
  • Have spark plugs dried or replaced.
  • Look for drain plugs underneath the car’s carpeting, and also the trunk (usually under the spare tire well).
  • Be sure to dry out the car in the sun, weather permitting.
  • Have your car’s interior detailed, as the flood will most likely leave mud and other stains inside. Worse than this is the musty, murky smell that water ill leave inside the car.
  • If in doubt, have the car towed to the nearest service center or casa.

Repairs for flooded vehicles would usually involve replacement of electrical parts, replacement of spark plugs and fluids, cleaning of the interiors, and additional rustproofing or undercoating (as flooding would be one reason for early corrosion).

Flood insurance

Most insurance policies do not automatically cover “acts of God” or “force majeure,” so be sure to check with your insurance provider if you can file claims for repair or replacement of a flooded vehicle. Most would cover for AOG with a premium, but some would include this as free in the policy. I’m pretty sure insurance companies will be deluged with calls from car owners as an aftermath of the storms.

Has your car been flooded by the recent typhoon? The staff of Pinoy Auto Blog extend our sympathies, especially for families who have lost lives, homes and properties. We will be joining online relief and rehabilitation efforts soon.

The Best Second Hand Cars to Buy: 1990 Toyota Corolla

1990 Toyota Corolla AE92

If you are in the market and looking for a sensible car to invest in at the moment, chances are many car owners would recommend the 1990 AE92 Toyota Corolla. Why? Well for one, it is the most logical choice if you are looking for style and budget. Actually, this car plays along the range of PHP 90,000 to 130,000, depending on how souped up it is. It is a wise investment since spare parts are easy to find and the repairs to maintain it are not that hard on the pocket.

To customize it is not that hard to do either. You can just buy the old style 15” magwheels with 50 or 60 series tires and then setup a manageable sound system and you have a great car to use. It is likewise economical as far as gas consumption is concerned but this would depend on how well the engine is maintained and the manner of driving to which is all up to the owner behind the wheel.

It is spacious, fast and easy to fabricate. But one thing about the Toyota Corolla 1990, do not overdo the fabrication part. As it is, the car is a class on its own and many car enthusiasts are already all praises for it with minor tweaks to its overall stature. That is how easy it is to whip up an enticing model of the 90 AE92 Toyota Corolla versions.

What’s with the Super Black Tints?

We all know that these days, global warming has resulted in warmer sunny days to which car air conditioning systems may need all the help they can get to ensure that proper climate levels are maintained inside cars. One resort is to have heavily tinted vehicles to make sure that sun rays find it harder to penetrate. But on the other hand, it may make driving harder, especially during the evenings.

Another issue here is security. Heavily tinted vehicles are being pulled over due to the rampant crime rate which has involved drugs, kidnappings and smuggling to which most of the dark-tinted cars can expect to be pulled over and warned of their tint. Some would heed the warning while others will not. Others even use people in power to protect themselves and with that, you can wonder how any form of control can ever be placed on this issue locally.

On the normal route, it is hard to see the road with these dark tints. Whether you are driving normally or backing up, chances are your car is up for bumps and dents if you are not careful. Having people guide you because of it is an option but with that, you are gaining quite an attention. So why bother using dark tints?

Using the heat as a primary issue is lame. But if there are people to be blamed then perhaps that would be the car accessory vendors. If they would stop selling these dark tints then perhaps people would not even consider using them. So fix that and you may get some order from all of this dark tint issues.

Drive Now, Text Later

If there is one thing familiar to you these days, it is that of banning the use of mobile phones while driving. It has become customary to answer calls or text messages regardless if you are on the road. Through this, the growing number of car accidents have swelled mainly because a single second of taking your eyes of the road can lead to dire consequences which most drivers today totally disregard.

Creative Commons License photo credit: ford

This is really a habit that should be corrected. Actually, drivers know that this should not be done and yet they continue to disregard such. Keeping your eyes on the road is a must and this includes being on a full stop or on the move. People claim that they need to answer their messages or calls but perhaps if they would consider what would happen if they bump into another car or worst, a person due to their hard-headedness.

To date, there have been laws where drivers who use their mobile phones will be apprehended. Not a bad way to make people to stop texting while driving. But what if they are using a heavily dark tinted vehicle? How will the traffic enforcers or police be able to know if the people are indeed using their phones while they are on the go?

The sad thing about society is that people always want to live on the forbidden side. Texting while driving is something that doesn’t need to be enforced by law. But since people are so enthusiastic about using their phones while driving, more lives are being claimed by the day. Hopefully though it will not be yours.

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.

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.