Cars : Wheel Alignment & Balancing

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How did you spend your 31st of August today? I spent half of the evening trying to find a tyre shop that’s open on Merdeka hols.

To my suprise, all the tyre shops I knew around Bangi were closed, including the one nearest to my house. I remembered that I kept a number of a shop that had ads on lelong.com & was open on all public holidays. After sending an sms to the owner, he replied they were open & I was off to Bandar Sunway (25km away).

I’d say 90% of all the other workshops in Bandar Sunway were closed but the workshop I was heading for was open. Yahoooo…!!!

Not so fast smart ass! If 90% of the workshops are closed, where would all the other customers be heading to? Yup, you got it, the same place I was heading for too! And I was not in the mood to join the queue of customers waiting for their car to be serviced.

So, as much as I really needed to get my wheels aligned (coz I need to drive up to Teluk Intan tomorrow), I had no choice but to skip that task & move on with the next errand I had in mind – getting a haircut. This was to take place in Kajang at my usual mamak ‘hairstylist’ who came to work here as a barber all the way from India 5 years ago.

Upon entering the outskirts of Kajang, to my suprise, I saw more than 3 big tyre shops that were open for business (and to think I had to drive all the way to Sunway.. making me an even ‘smarter’ ass).

To make things even rosier, one of the shops had no customers at all. So, I just drove right in (now, you should only do this IF you know what type of service you need for your car & the range of charges involved + a bit of basic knowledge on automotive engineering OR else the workshop owner would be hitting an instant jackpot where the prize money would be coming directly from you!).

I knew that all I wanted was to get rid of the slight vibration from my front wheels each time I exceed 120km/h (erm… don’t try this on Malaysian highways) & also to get my steering wheel straight (currently its swerving a bit to the left). And this would roughly cost me less than RM 50.

I was right about the total bill being less than RM50 … FOR the wheel alignment & balancing that is BUT my front brake pads just happened to need immediate replacement! No wonder I’ve been hearing this slight screeching sound for the past week everytime I slam on the brakes. So, that was another RM 65.

A good advice from today’s experience would be preventive measures :

  1. ALWAYS do regular car maintainence
  2. Check your braking system every 20,000KM (coz RM65 is a tiny price to pay for your life)
  3. Change the engine oil/transmission oil/brake fluid at recomended intervals
  4. Rotate your tyres every 6,000KM or 3 months to avoid uneven tyre wear
  5. Service your air conditioning system once a year (if possible)
  6. Replace your timing belt at the recommended interval
  7. If something costs too much to replace, try to get a second opinion
  8. Make sure your shock absorbers are not leaking to prevent early tyre replacement
  9. Check the level of coolant in your radiator everytime before a long journey
  10. Replace your water pump at least every 3 timing belts

Of course this list is a lot longer in reality, but I’ll leave that for all of you to share your ideas/suggestions/personal experience here for everyone’s benefit.

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