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Blowfatch: It's not to be sneezed at

Whether you’re going to your daily routine or embarking on a long, road trip, it’s always important that you car is in top-top shape. Not only will it save your life, it will also keep you away from unnecessary hassle on the road and save you from over-slashing your pocket.

Any educated driver wanting peace of mind on the road must always keep the acronym BLOWFATCH in mind.

BLOWFATCH stands for battery, brakes, oil, water, fuel, fluid, accessories, tires, tools, cleanliness and horn.

This may sound cyclical and start to bore you, but then again I won’t get tired reminding you that proper car maintenance will save your life and save you more money in the long run.

I won’t bore you with a long narrative, though. Car care tips are easy to find on the internet as Google comes in handy to provide you with sites and blogs that takes up this car issue. But still, let me give you the some of the best things to remember to taking care of your car.

Of course, most of the tips here came from the experts through the internet. Voluminous information were filtered until I came out with the simplest summary possible that even the most low-tech lady driver can ascertain and apply.

· Have your oil level checked always when you gas up. Gasoline boys are now also trained to ascertain when engine oil is up for replacement. I would never forget what my old-school mechanic had told me time—your engine’s life depends on your oil maintenance. This is the heart and soul your car. Always change oil regularly.

· When you notice that your lights, radio or even you wiper start to falter, you may need to change your battery or find yourself dialing the Car Battery Deliver hotline in the middle of the night. Hard start-up engine also means weak battery.

· When you hear grinding or screeching sound from your breaks, maybe it’s time for brake inspection. You don’t want your break to fail you when it is needed most.

· When your muffler start to emit loud noise, it’s not only annoying. It may be emitting dangerous fumes into the passenger compartment. Have it check for leak.

· Check the level of your fuel and water. If you don’t use water coolant, maybe it’s time to start using now, especially if your car is more than five years old. It will definitely help your car from over-heating.

· I am very particular with my tire’s air pressure. I always maintain 32 psi in the front wheels and 30 in the back. The front tires have more pressure because the engine puts more weight on the front tires. This air pressure, again as my old mechanic stresses, provides good balance and therefore more smooth driving.

· Cleanliness. If the eyes are the window of your soul, your car is the window of your character. But more than aesthetics, cleanliness will help you discover hidden problems on your car. Check on Mitsubishi Motor’s website for some tips on cleaning your car’s interior and exterior.

· There are more to be concerned about. A visit to the Toyota Balintawak website would give your more pointers on taking care of your Automatic Transmission, timing belt, wheel alignment, clutch disc and pressure plate for Manual Transmission. For automatic transmission, the AT fluid is the most important lifeblood. Engine power is transmitted through the AT fluid while it cleans and lubricate your transmission. Like oil engine, regular fluid change is a must.

I was once stalled along Osmena highway in Manila when one of my timing belts got broken. I was not paying attention to it until that unlucky day when my old Honda suddenly stopped running and I was alarmed at the smell of a burning rubber.

A mechanic from a nearby auto repair shop discovered the culprit—a broken timing belt. Lesson: Replace your timing belt on a regular basis. Whether it is still good and working, it doesn’t matter. You’ll never know.

Well, if you are a ride-and-go type of a driver, you may not have to do this on your own. You may hire a dependable mechanic who will check your car on a regular basis.

But checking it yourself, at times, won’t hurt, especially the most basic ones like water, oil and brakes It’s a must that you are very much familiar with your car, especially when you always drive alone.

In times like this, you’re on your own. And you should know better.

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