CAR HEALTH 101

Is your car as healthy as you are?

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Cars are a part of our daily lives. For many of us, we cannot live without a car. You’ve either driven one or have been driven by your friends, family, colleagues or even carpooled. With that being said, the next question is, how well do you look after your car? 

Learning how to drive and owning a car is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to being a responsible car owner. It’s also about maintaining it well and keeping your car in good shape by servicing it regularly and being sensitive to its needs. 

Do you know about cars well enough to know what to do if your car breaks down or if you experience a tyre puncture? If you don’t, it’s okay! We speak to Joint Managing Director of Lim Tayar, Melissa Lim to share with us some eye-opening facts to help you be an informed driver on the road.

1Twenty80: How often do we need to send our car for servicing and what does it typically involve?

Melissa Lim: The basic rule of thumb is every six months or every 10,000 km, whichever comes first. However, if you need further validation, take a peep at your car manual. A full car service includes: 

  1. Inspection of the engine oil and filter
  2. Tyre pressure and tread
  3. Depth, tyre rotation
  4. Full brake inspection
  5. Battery, power steering fluid, transmission fluid 
  6. Coolant level
  7. Suspension 
  8. Spark plug 
  9. Air filter 
  10. Car lights 
  11. Windscreen and wiper 
  12. Blades

1Twenty80: In your opinion, what is a car emergency kit that every car owner must have in their car? 

Melissa: Every car owner should have a car emergency kit, with potholes in Malaysia being the main cause of breakdowns.

A car emergency kit checklist includes:

  • Jumper cables 
  • Window glass 
  • Torch light 
  • Hammer 
  • Warning triangle 
  • Seatbelt cutter 
  • Tyre sealant 
  • First aid kit 
  • Toolkit

Also, I strongly recommend a tyre repair kit which includes tyre sealant. Even for me, changing tyres by the roadside isn’t easy. A quick alternative would be to use a tyre sealant and drive to the nearest workshop. Lastly, a phone charger is a must, so that help is a call away.

1Twenty80: What are the steps one can take to keep his or her car healthy?

Melissa: As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure!

For cars, I follow three simple steps:

  1. Firstly change your engine oil according to the workshop’s recommendation. 
  2. Secondly, rotate, balance and align your tyres. 
  3. Lastly, change your air filter.

You’ll save much more if you take care of your car with these three simple steps! Perform your annual preventive maintenance for peace of mind.

1Twenty80: What are the common mistakes that people tend to do when it comes to air tyre pressure?

Melissa: Underestimating the importance of having the right tyre pressure. It is best to follow the correct tyre pressure recommendations according to your usage. This guide is usually located near the driver’s side door.

1Twenty80: Why is it so important to ensure that your car tyre pressure is sufficient?

Melissa: Car tyre pressure should be checked at least once a month. Having the right tyre pressure will save you money and potentially even your life. An underinflated tyre consumes more petrol for the distance travelled and wears out faster. As for overinflated tyres, the tyres will wear off unevenly and hence won’t last as long as they should be.

Quote: Car tyre pressure should be checked at least once a month. having the right tyre pressure will save you money and potentially even your life.

1Twenty80: When it comes to oil, what oil should you be using for your car?

Melissa: It’s best to use the car manual as a guide as it highly depends on the engine type.

As such when it comes to engine oil, it also depends on the age of the vehicle and the miles the vehicle has clocked up. Most importantly, go for a trusted brand and a trustworthy workshop.

1Twenty80: How often should you get your oil checked and changed?

Melissa: Again, the car manual will be your best guide. However, the standard interval is 10,000 km or every six months, whichever is sooner. Perform monthly oil level checks on your own and top up if necessary.

1Twenty80: What is considered normal maintenance for a car?

Melissa: The normal routine check would be inspection on the engine oil and filter, tyre pressure and tyre depth, rotation of tyres, brake system, air filter, spark plugs, brake system.

Quote: The best way to find a trustworthy mechanic is to identify workshops that have been in business for several years, the longer the better.

1Twenty80: What happens if you miss your car maintenance schedule?

Melissa: Don’t skip your scheduled service! If you’ve missed your schedule, arrange one immediately. Remember, you might be selling your car one day and it matters to the future buyer if your car is well maintained.

1Twenty80: What is the easiest way to keep tabs on one’s car service?

Melissa: Well for now there’s the traditional logbook and car mileage sticker on your windscreen. Next year, Lim Tayar will launch an auto concierge service to remind you when your next maintenance is up, so you’ll not miss your next appointment!

1Twenty80: Apart from car maintenance, how important do you think it is to get a good mechanic?

Melissa: You never know what has been done to your car unless you’re familiar with the mechanic. A good mechanic will give you genuine recommendations and consider the safety of your vehicle during the repair. There are too many shoddy and unethical practices in the workshops, so go to one you can trust and rely on.

The best way to find a trustworthy mechanic is to identify workshops that have been in business for several years, the longer the better.

1Twenty80: What would your parting advice be for car owners?

Melissa: Your car provides both you and your family peace of mind. Don’t go shopping for the cheapest deal and put the lives of your loved ones at risk. Always find a trustworthy mechanic.

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