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Old 19-10-2009, 08:19 PM   #1
X66
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[INFO] Things you need to know about car servicing

I am writing this article after I wrote the last article on "Things you need to know about car insurance".

The reason for me to write this is because I find that my car servicing is getting more and more expensive! It maybe a good idea to know more information on car servicing so that I do not get cheated to change everything the workshop Uncle ask me to change.

I must state in advance that I am no car mechanic and I am just an ordinary driver on the road. I am also not in to modding car and I just drive a normal sedan. All that I am writing below are based on my experiences of car servicing in Singapore and JB. So please correct me if I am wrong and I will update accordingly. Hopefully it will be useful and can be another sticky thread =)

Engine Oil

It is a lubricant for your engine and comes in 2 types: Synthetic and Non-synthetic. Synthetic oil usually can last for 10,000 km before you need to change. My chemical engineering friend told me once that it can actually last for additional 3,000 km before the oil quality drops drastically. Non-synthetic oil on the other hand can only last for 5,000 km before you need to change. My same chemical engineering warn me not to try my luck on this one, once hit 5,500km die die must change.

I have also tried the higher quality synthetic oil verses the normal grade one. The higher quality really does gives a smoother engine. But for economic drivers like me. Just the normal one will do the job.

Oil Filter

It is a filter that filters out dirt and rust particles from the engine oil. It has to be change whenever the engine oil is change. This is because the oil filter will usually be very dirty. I have used both original and compatible and find no difference.

Spark Plugs

It is an electrical device that fits into the cylinder head of the engines. It ignites compressed fuels and creates combustion (power) of the car. Different car has different number of spark plugs and it usually comes in a set of 4. My Accord has 4 spark plugs while a Jazz has 8 spark plugs.

Different spark plugs have different life span. The more expensive and good one can last 40,000 while the normal ones can last 10,000 km to 20,000km. I have tried the original Honda spark plugs and the normal compatible ones before and I have not really felt the difference.

Auto Transmission Fluid(ATF)

It is a lubricant for the auto car gear box. This lubricant has to be change usually every 25,000 km to 30,000 km. It is also recommended to flush the gear box for every 50,000 km travel. Flushing is a process in which they use the ATF oil to clean the gear box. They will have this machine to circulate the ATF in the car. It first pump out 80% of the existing ATF and circulate new the ATF in the car. The machine will keep circulate the ATF and the dirt within the gear box will dissolve in the ATF. This process is usually repeated for 3 to 4 bottle of ATF before they put the new ATF.

In my case, my car needs 4 bottles (each 1 litre) if I just want to change the ATF, but if i were to flush the gear box, then I would need additional 4 bottles. The effect is flushing ATF is quite noticeable. I feel that my auto car is smoother when it is picking up and changing gear.

Power Steering Fluid

As the name suggest, this is a lubricant for the car's power steeling. If you feel that your steeling wheel is getting heavy while turning, it is time to change the power steering fluid. If i am not wrong, this needs to be change every 30,000km or so. And it is also recommended to flush it for every 50,000km.

The effect of change is also very noticeable as I find the my steeling wheel very light after I change it.

If for whatever reason that you hear funny noise when you turn your steeling wheel (not the noise from the tyres) Then this will probably means that there is insufficient power steering fluid or you need to change the fluid

Brake Pads & Brake Fluids

I have never change brake fluids before so I have no idea how it works. However, I have changed brake pads several times. Each set of brake pads come in 4 pieces, 2 pieces for each wheel. You know you need to change the brake pad when you hear noise when braking. This is an indication that the brake pad left about 20% of pad. Each set of brake pads usually last around 35,000km for me (It varies on driving habit, for some it can last up to 100,000km ).

I have tried both original and compatible brake pads on my car. The compatible one is more noisy upon braking even it is brand new. In term of braking distance, both original and compatible are comparable in my experience.

Tyre Rotation, Balancing and Wheel Alignment

The tyres on the braking wheel general wear out a lot faster, hence it is importing to rotate them every 10,000 km. By rotating the tyres, all 4 tyres will wear out evenly and you do not have to change the tyres so often. Each set of tyres usually last for 30,000km to 40,000km but I have a friend who drove the tyres for 60,000km before he changes his 4 tyres! I drove his Camry before he changes his tyres and the car is still quite ok.

It is also good to do your wheel alignment every 20,000 or 30,000 km. This is because if the wheel alignment is off, one side of your car tyre will wear off a lot faster. You know that your wheel alignment is off when you let go your steeling wheel on a straight road and the cars go to one side immediately.

Air Filter

It removes dust particular from the air that is going into the engine for combustion. The cleaner the air, the better the combustion. No hard rule of when to change. You just got to change it whenever it is dirty. One way to verify if the air filter is dirty is the take out the air filter and hit on the floor or wall. If there is a lot of carbon dropping out, then it's time to change the air filter.

Timing Belt or any other belts you see

If you see they wear out then it is time to change. No compromise on this one. This is because once the belt is torn, chances are that your car will not move and over heat very quickly. Once the engine over heats, then the repair bill will be huge and you only can get the tow truck to bring your car to the workshop.

Others

Change your wipers when it not working well.
Top up air-con gas if the air condition is not working well.
Ensure correct pressure on your tyres whenever you can.

That's all for the time being. Hope it helps the people here. I stress again I am not a mechanic and all the above information is based on my past servicing experience. I am just a normal sedan driver and not into modding cars. Do feel free to add on and I will try to update whenever i can. =)

Last edited by X66; 29-10-2009 at 12:16 AM..
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Old 19-10-2009, 08:55 PM   #2
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thanks for summarising all the tips~
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Old 19-10-2009, 11:13 PM   #3
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Sticky ?.......

Thks for the effort!
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Old 19-10-2009, 11:19 PM   #4
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maybe you wan to add an average cost for the change?
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Old 20-10-2009, 08:22 AM   #5
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maybe you wan to add an average cost for the change?
Average cost of change will be quite difficult as different vehicle will have different price for different parts. However, it may be good if we can share where we usually go for servicing (besides the usual authorised dealer).

For me, I usually do my servicing in JB, one of the light industrial estate (5 mins drive after Jusco at Tebura City)
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Old 20-10-2009, 08:57 AM   #6
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My car just 3 yrs in Aug and have done 103,000 km. My servicing is left entirely to agent and I dont have to worry about be hassled. I pay $998 for a 40k package inclusive of parts. So far I only spent $1,996 on servicing (free up to and including 130k km servicing) and $340 on tyres since day one. But on petrol I already spent $14k net!!!
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Old 20-10-2009, 10:45 AM   #7
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Yup, oil filter must change whenever oil change. I worked in a workshop before and noticed they always change the filter. When they took it out, it was damn dirty thats why.

Timing belt better dont play. Once hit 100000km, go have a change before it breaks. Once it breaks, major engine damage. But cars now are using timing chains? For the belt that you can see, it drives the water pump, alternator and power steering. My friend's qq alternator belt broke and his power steering was gone and engine temp just rose.
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Old 20-10-2009, 11:57 AM   #8
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Timing belt & pulley, normally it's in the 80K servicing package.

For brake pads, if you don't e-brake everyday, it should also fall into the 80K servicing package.

Rule of thumb is always change the parts earlier, and not at the suggested time.

Eg: tyres, at 40%, timing belt/pulley - 70K, pads, 70k etc...
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Old 20-10-2009, 12:26 PM   #9
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Timing belt & pulley, normally it's in the 80K servicing package.

For brake pads, if you don't e-brake everyday, it should also fall into the 80K servicing package.

Rule of thumb is always change the parts earlier, and not at the suggested time.

Eg: tyres, at 40%, timing belt/pulley - 70K, pads, 70k etc...

Meaning we must insist those items need to be replaced even though the AD workshop follow their recommended servicing schedule closely?
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Old 20-10-2009, 12:49 PM   #10
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Thread stickied.
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Old 21-10-2009, 12:09 AM   #11
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Timing belt & pulley, normally it's in the 80K servicing package.

For brake pads, if you don't e-brake everyday, it should also fall into the 80K servicing package.

Rule of thumb is always change the parts earlier, and not at the suggested time.

Eg: tyres, at 40%, timing belt/pulley - 70K, pads, 70k etc...

Timing belt depends on what car. My previous mazda was 100k and citroen was 40k My present sunny, now 103k no need to change, not even brake pad. But dont play play with timing belt. Repair is very ex. My friend paid $4500.
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Old 21-10-2009, 03:16 AM   #12
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Thanks all for the input, updated on the 1st post!
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Old 21-10-2009, 11:01 AM   #13
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Timing Belt or any other belts you see

If you see they wear out then it is time to change. No compromise on this one. This is because once the belt is torn, chances are that your car will not move and over heat very quickly. Once the engine over heats, then the repair bill will be huge and you only can get the tow truck to bring your car to the workshop.
I think you cant see the timing belt. Others yes, but not that serious like timing belt giving way.

For those buying second hand cars, determine or make ensure you know when timing belt need to be changed. Cannot save on this one.
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Old 21-10-2009, 11:53 PM   #14
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if you can add some info on batteries that would be nice..
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Old 22-10-2009, 08:19 AM   #15
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I think you cant see the timing belt. Others yes, but not that serious like timing belt giving way.

For those buying second hand cars, determine or make ensure you know when timing belt need to be changed. Cannot save on this one.
Noted. Thanks! Have to think of how to re-write the whole paragraph now. England not good

if you can add some info on batteries that would be nice..
Ok noted, will try to write some info tonight
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