Even a kapcai-grade car like the one I have been driving the last six years needs preventive maintenance.
And I have not really slacked in that department. Every 5,000 km I would take her in to be lovingly lubricated by the Hyundai service agent nearby.
Sometimes there would be parts that needed to be changed. Sometimes according to schedule like the filters and watchamacallems; sometimes when they just decide to expire on you, for instance the horn.
Yup, my car's horn with it's impertinent-sounding honk. In fact it wasn't the horn per se that was the problem but as the supervisor found out after some testing, it was the "honleelay". And I went "aaah... honleelay...", nodding my head. Just a small electrical thingamajig, it turned out to be.
Then it dawned on me...
With a snap of my fingers I excited told my daughter who was with me at the time, "Actually it's the HORN RELAY!!".
And she went "aaah... the horn relay...", nodding her head as if to say yes... that figures.
The other thing that can unexpectedly die on you is the battery.
Well maybe that's not quite right. In actual fact you CAN EXPECT it to conk out anytime soon through observing a couple of signs.
For me I would notice a slight but perceptible delay in firing up when I start the engine. That serves as a warning for me to check the terminal connections (sometimes one or both can get loose) and/or to reserve some cash for a new battery if the present one is about 18 months old. I would then usually wait for it to die a natural death wherever it has been destined to do so, and then by hook or by crook get it's replacement installed.
The other sign is when the remote starts to misbehave even though it's own battery is alive and kicking. It would refuse to unlock the door. But when you try to unlock the door manually, it'll make such a racket sounding the alarm. And then it won't shut up by you pressing the remote switch. You'll have to locate the silencer button somewhere in the dashboard or in the bonnet, depending on the car, and fiddle with that with the key in the ignition. Sometimes the battery gets totally drained out at that point, so by hook or by crook you go get a new battery installed if it is about 18 months already. Otherwise you attach jumper cables to someone else's car and start your car that way.
Yes indeed, each car has it's own individual quirks. And it's mistress learns the signs of distress.
The recent ones were the tyres. The front ones seem to lose air pressure quite often and the steering wheel had started to shake when the car's going at about 100kph. The mechanic says they, the front tyres, have to go and the damage will be RM138 per tyre, but "no stock today".
So off we went, hubby and I, to his favourite place where the boss always pays for his mamak teh tarik that he has next door.
"Ah Moy, all four of your tyres are spoilt - worn unevenly and bits of tear here and there - very dangerous" he said.
"Oii, where got Ah Moy, Ah Soh lah... " I said, kneeling down and looking at the treads.
"Change to 165, better".
Hubby okayed it. They're narrower than the 175 tyres I've been using so logically there'll be less surface area subjected to wear and tear due to the car's apparently dodgy camber. It's a kapcai grade, can be expected.
As we were having teh tarik, he called hubby over and said "A lot of potholes langgar your Ah Moy's car. Three rims are bengkok. Change to alloy, better".
Hubby okayed again. Yeah, he really liked this boss mechanic.
He fixed on two models and asked me to select one. I chose something suitable for a warga emas.
"Alignment and balancing on the house, but must also change to matching wheel nuts, baru ngam. I give you cheap".
Hubby okayed again. Me too okay.
While they were doing the alignment, he came and suggested changing the camber screws from the fixed version that came with the car to adjustable ones. "Better" he said "One pair only seventy ringgit".
And that was the final okay.
Rims, nuts, screws, tyres came to a whopping RM1,200 damages to wallet. "How to raya like this?", I jokingly complained.
"Ah Moy, NOW you can raya without worry".
He's probably right. It's a preventative cost, to avoid mishaps insha Allah, and hence for peace of mind.
So if you happen to spot a warga emas driving a kapcai-grade car that has new gold-coloured rims with new tyres, then smile broadly and give a frantic wave, because that warga emas might just be me...
And for all Muslims, here's wishing you a blessed Eidul Adha next week.