Auto Shop Newbie: A Comprehensive Guide to Owning Your First Car

Here in the Philippines, transportation is a very hot issue; whether you’re an average commuter or a seasoned driving veteran with an intuitive grasp of all the fail-safe routes around your city, getting around in this country is a challenging beast all in itself. It is often argued that in these times there is a superfluous amount of cars in this country and reliable auto shops are needed now more than ever.

Without a doubt, it would be of a great advantage if you had your own car. It’s a given that we don’t all have the same financial capacity to be able to purchase one. However, if you do have the means for car ownership’s proverbial rite of passage into adulthood, then buckle up because owning a car is a great responsibility, and you should be well versed in what you’re getting into. Because if not, it is guaranteed that you’ll be constantly stressed out and find that owning a car will be more of a liability in your life rather than the convenient mechanistic tool that it was meant to be.

It’s important to realize that there are a lot of crucial aspects to the responsibility of successful car ownership. The auto shop is a place that you need to acquaint yourself with because you’ll be spending A LOT of time there.

This article serves as a relatively extensive guide that covers the basic and integral sectors of car ownership that you need to be aware of: A general overview of all the fundamental encompassing aspects that takes you through the ins and outs of how owning a car will come to play in your life.

Simply put, it will cover the basics of car ownership and aims to be a nifty beginner’s blueprint for you to look back on when the time comes for troubleshooting. Driving in itself is also a responsibility, remember, the most important thing is to always drive safely! No matter what anybody says, keep your seatbelt on and avoid driving when you are under the influence.

Tip 1: Consider Your Lifestyle

Every individual car owner has his/her own purpose for using a car to drive around from place to place on a daily basis. Some people subject their cars to the harshest of terrains while others exclusively to the most pristine of concrete or asphalt; some drivers travel cross country distances on a daily basis while others just use their car for errands around their small town. It’s important to know your car and how you intend to use it on the regular. Obviously, it would be dumbfounding, comical, and straight up dangerous if you were to drive a compact luxury car on off-road terrain!

These are introspections that you have probably already gone through and sorted out when you were in the process of purchasing your first automobile. Now that we’ve got that out of the way, on a more in-depth aspect, make sure that you exhaustively review your car’s manual (to the best of your ability) and take note of its specificities with regards to special parts and instances for immediate factory servicing. Keep the car manual tucked away somewhere at home for reference; you’re going to need it.

If your car has been purchased 2nd hand, make it a point to know the vehicle’s COMPLETE history and everything concerning significant modifications, part changes since it was newly assembled. There are quite a number of factors to run through when it comes to affairs concerning a 2nd hand vehicle that’s a topic for another article. Another important tip is to set aside a little notebook wherein you can jot down important part serials and mileage numbers every time you get the oil changed.

Tip 2: Research about Car Registration

First things first, driver’s license. It is for your (physical and LEGAL) safety that you under the strictest of terms get behind the wheel with your driver’s license on you. Even if you’re just going for a cruise around your homeowner’s association, be sure you have your license with you. In the case of any accident, even if you are in the right, you will indeed be the individual prosecuted for operating a vehicle without a license.

Next to the auto shop, the LTO (Land Transportation Office) venues will be your other best friend. And another piece of extremely important paper documentation is your car’s registration. It is ideal to always have this document nestled in your car’s glove compartment at all times on the road. Here are the required documents you need to have with you when you get your car registered at the LTO (as of May 2017):

Brand new car (imported)

  • Commercial Invoice of MV (motor vehicle) issued by the country of origin
  • Bill of Lading
  • BOC Certificate of Payment
  • Certificate of Stock Reported (CSR)
  • Sales Invoice of the MV
  • PNP-TMG MV Clearance Certificate
  • Appropriate Motor Vehicle Inspection Report (MVIR)
  • Appropriate insurance certificate cover
  • Valid Certificate of Public Convenience duly confirmed by the LTFRB (for hire MV’s)
  • Valid Motorized Tricycle Operators Permit (MTOP) for TC only
  • Taxpayer’s Identification Number (TIN)

2nd hand car (renewal, private vehicle)

  • Photocopy of Certificate of Registration (CR) and Official Receipt of payment
  • Appropriate Insurance Certificate of Cover (COC)
  • Appropriate Vehicle Inspection Report (MVIR)
  • Certificate of Emission Compliance (CEC)
  • Taxpayer’s Identification Number

Although accidents happen when we least expect, it is important that we always have a fallback for any unfortunate event. It is a high necessity that you apply for a car insurance card with the best deal for your current living status.

Remember that losing one of these documents could hinder you as a driver, which is why we highly suggest for you to make multiple photocopies of all these important documents and keep them safe because whenever the unfortunate occurrence of losing them actually happens, you’ll be saving yourself from a world of hassle.

Tip 3: Regular Maintenance

Everyday rounds are for making sure your car is free of any potential hazards, this should be part of your morning routine, preferably before you leave home. Also, make sure to start your car and let the engine warm up at least until temperature levels are past the cold level. Failing to do this leads to the engine’s deterioration.

Check these parts on a daily basis and make sure everything is in tip top shape:

  • Battery – If the battery doesn’t work, then your car would not turn on at all. So make sure that battery power is far from dead. The dashboard indicator will always notify you of this.
  • Coolant – This cools the car’s engine as it runs. Make sure coolant levels are sufficient because your engine would overheat otherwise.
  • Oil – Check dashboard if it’s time to get the oil changed. Also manually inspect the oil filter’s gauge if it’s already looking overused and dirty.
  • Fluids – Make sure that the Brake fluid and Power steering fluids are at the required level.
  • Brakes – Always be secure of testing out the breaks before hitting the road. Make sure your brake pads are not about to give out.
  • Tires – Ensure that tires are inflated with the right tire pressure.
  • Lights – Check head lights, park lights, signal lights, and fog lamps regardless if you’ll be driving at night time.
  • Gas – Make sure you know what type of fuel to get at the gas station, check the manual for your car’s preferred type of gas.
  • Belts – Make sure all the engine’s pulleys, belts, and fan belts are moving at normal rates. Make it a point to also check if they’re making any peculiar noises.

If you’re feeling iffy about any of these bullet points in your everyday rounds, don’t hesitate to take your car in at the auto shop right away for a proper analysis.

Tip 4: Periodic Maintenance

Matters of a periodic timeframe are usually concerns that should be ideally taken care of by the auto shop. The equipment required for these are high industry standard and for the most part, warrant a trained serviceman:

  • Oil change
  • Battery change
  • Tune ups
  • Wheel alignment

Tip 5: Keeping Your Car Clean

Make sure your wipers are running well, and your side and rear view mirrors are clear because these are minute details that could make all the difference. Be sure to regularly get your car washed. If you don’t have the time to do so, take it to a car wash service.

Parking is also a factor that dictates your car’s (exterior) condition. You need to make sure that your car is safely parked in areas that are least susceptible to harsh weather conditions because this is the usual cause for paint to fade and if that’s the case, it’s only a matter of time before you find yourself stressed out on dealing with an expensive new coating job.

Furthermore, be sure that your air conditioner is in tip functional shape. It’s a no brainer that the tropical climate in this country can get very brutal, especially in the summer. Depending on your area, keeping your car’s windows open all the time affects the interior well-being and could very well lead to damage. When it comes to your car’s interior space: regulative vacuuming and wiping of the windows will alleviate the possibility of long term degradation by exterminating dust mites.

Tip 6: Have Your Car Checked to Ensure its Overall Condition

Wear and tear is a natural occurrence that happens to any well used piece of healthy machinery—it’s a sign of successful usage and long term performance. However, it’s of utter importance that you maintain your vehicles running condition. Your car’s performance is something that isn’t exactly easy to gauge, especially if you’re a newbie. It’s best to constantly be aware of your car’s potential follies by consulting with licensed technicians in order to prevent further damage. This is what was meant earlier when stated that you need to be constantly taking your car to the auto shop, regardless if it is in dire need of repairs or scheduled maintenance. Think of it as bringing your car in to get a checkup! A few check-ups here and there can only prove to be beneficial for you in the long run.

Tip 7: Trust in Your Auto Shop

In order to rid yourself of any hassle from stressful dealings with your car, you should build a relationship with your auto shop mechanic. This person is a well-trained and skilled technician that you can (and should) learn from. He/she will take you through the ins and outs of your car’s general state and will expose to you the long term mitigation plans for ensuring your car a long and healthy life. Your auto shop mechanic will also refer you to a fitting electrician for any concern regarding circuitry.

It’s similar to trusting a veterinarian with your pet or a pediatrician with your child; we don’t even have to go that far, you need to trust your mechanic with your car in the same way that you trust your doctors with your body and general well-being! Also, in the more business aspect of things, getting well acquainted with the auto shop’s counter employees will grant you extended knowledge overtime on the various quotas concerning parts and repairs.

What is Beep Beep PH?

Beep Beep is an online platform that aims to connect car owners and their inquiries to the appropriate establishments concerning car tune ups and car services. To accommodate and foster the everyday convenience for the wide range of Filipino motorists is their mission.

Everything bullet point touched on in this article, Beep Beep’s got it covered. The online world is now a full-fledged necessity in our current society. Our smartphones are now a source for intertwinement with everyday amenities. With the innovation that Beep Beep provides in the realm of consumer culture of automotive sectors and concerns here in the Philippines, car owners now have an online hub for any queries whatsoever; an easy access haven for anything automobile related. Everything from mechanical concerns to LTO directives. In the case of an emergency, the most easily accessible towing services are also now within reach and a touch away.

Click here to get yourself acquainted with Beep Beep and the wonderful services we can offer you for a stress free, smooth driving transportation journey around the jungles of Metro Manila and all over the Philippines.