Keep the other motorists in mind before driving your car outBy Botchi Santos
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Week after week, month after month, I’ve been writing about car care maintenance tips, and at some point it does become repetitive. Why is this?
Too many people take their cars for granted. Ask the average motorist and he probably doesn’t realize the importance of strictly following the manufacturer’s preventive maintenance schedule—which is, in reality, the bare minimum motorists have to follow, much like we’re all supposed to go to church at least once a week.
Beyond that, many people don’t realize how dangerous a car can be on the road when it’s in the wrong hands, or when any or all of its components fail at any given time, causing havoc, endangering life and limb of not only yourself, the driver, but other motorists and pedestrians as well.
Cars are, for many people, the second-biggest purchase they will ever make in their lifetime, after their homes. Unfortunately, a car needs far more care than a typical home, and is a greater source of danger when left unattended.
Unfortunately, it’s not just clueless motorists who are guilty of neglecting their cars. I’ve seen over-modified, over trick-out cars, both high-end and low-end alike, that have suffered numerous problems and calamities simply because the owners never bothered to look into the basics and simply thought that their latest high-end, high-performance aftermarket parts will overcome and overpower their cars’ basic problems. Some of the common problems include overheating due to insufficient cooling, leaking fuel and oil lines, overly-lowered cars having their chassis and body scrape the ground and their oversized wheels and tires, or lousy electronic installation of accessories.
A car that isn’t running properly will stop functioning. You can only hope and pray that when it does, you don’t lose control and cause an accident. At best, it will stall while you are driving slow. But therein lies the next problem: your stalled car will inconvenience other people, people who are busy living their own lives.
I sincerely believe that is a bad thing, a sin if you will, because although you never intended to at the very least disturb them by neglecting your car’s basic maintenance schedule, short-cutting necessary repair or servicing or skimping on quality parts by buying the cheapest no-name brand parts, your car was again rendered inoperable and taking up a lane in a busy thoroughfare, causing traffic.
Owning a car is everyone’s right. Owning a car is freedom, to go wherever you want, whenever you want. Freedom, however, is not just a right, but a responsibility, just as owning your car is. It is your responsibility to have it maintained to at least the barest minimum, ensuring that everything is working properly, efficiently as well as safely. And also remember that a poor running engine is inefficient, which burns up more fuel than necessary, and adds to greenhouse gasses which ruin our atmosphere.
I’ve had my fair share of breakdowns (six times in 2009 alone), and I hate it. Not because I am stuck in the middle of nowhere and looking like an idiot with a flashy-looking car that isn’t working. It’s a project car so it will have problems. What I hate is causing inconvenience for other people. So before you drive your car or buy another second-hand car you will make into a project car or use as a spare for color coding, please, make sure you check it thoroughly, repair and replace what’s needed and ensure, to the best of your knowledge, resources and capabilities, that it is in good, safe and in running order. Finding a good shop, with mechanics you trust, is a big help, be it a dealership, or an independent repair shop that specializes in your car, as I have.
If you can’t ensure all of what I’ve said above, avoid driving it on very busy thoroughfares during the work week. Or if you can’t help it, have a tow truck company on speed dial.
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