Owning a car is like having a kid—the cost that comes with caring for it is never-ending. #DaddyProblems
Then again, taking good care of your car with periodic maintenance means it will serve you for a long, long time. If you're lucky enough, it might even reach "hand-me-down" status, making your (future) kid proclaim you as the best dad ever.
A big area of car maintenance is the replacements of its parts. In case you didn't know, a vehicle isn't one solid block; it comes with a shitload of parts, many of which degrade over time and, at some point, will need to be scrapped and replaced. Not doing so results in a car that will conk out faster than you expected (and to you potentially getting stuck in the middle of traffic).
Of course, you should follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, which you can normally find in the owner’s manual. If it's missing though (which is usually the case for second-hand cars), don't fret! We're here to help you a greasy helping hand by pointing you to the 10 important car parts that should be routinely replaced!
Note: The car parts shown in the photos might not look the same as the ones inside you car.
ENGINE OIL AND FILTER
Image via Oilchangekits.com
With the exception of fuel, the engine oil is a car’s lifeblood since it serves as the lubricant for the engine’s internal components. You run the risk of destroying your engine when it’s low on oil or if the oil's been in there for ages that it's not doing what it's supposed to do anymore.
Meanwhile, as its name says, the oil filter filters out contaminants in the engine oil. It gets clogged over time though, which means it also has to be replaced.
Suggested interval: Every six months is a good schedule for replacing the engine oil and oil filter, particularly if you're always stuck in stop-and-go traffic. Periodic top ups of the oil level as indicated on the dip stick (the device that measures the level of the engine oil) is advisable as well.
Image via Northerntool.com
Your car’s internal-combustion engine needs air to burn the fuel that’s required to, well, combust to power the car. And the cleaner the air it breathes, the better the fuel burns. A dirty air filter will make your engine work harder, and that means increased fuel consumption.
Suggested interval: Every six months as well, especially if you’re usually stuck in traffic.
Considering the notoriously dirty state of our country’s fuel, it’s essential that the fuel that’s injected into the engine is clean, and it’s the job of the fuel filter to ensure that it is. If you don’t replace it, your engine becomes prone to stalling or lags even if you press hard on the gas pedal.
Suggested interval: Every other year if your car’s fairly new (less than three years old); every year if it’s old or if you frequently go off-road.
Image via Blogs.cars.com
The air-con filter cleans the air that comes into the cabin. A dirty air-con filter means reduced air flow or a smelly odor inside the car or both. It might not have that much of an effect to your car's engine, but do you really want your friends to call your ride the Stinky Express?
Suggested interval: Every year, especially if you live in a polluted area like Metro Manila. Also, if it's getting stuffy inside with a hint of an unmistakable stench that doesn't go away, then it's time to get a new one.
Image via 2jsautomotive.com
It’s the engine coolant’s job to cool the engine when it’s running. Run an engine too hot and it will break down on you and could result in costly repairs. If your car lacks engine coolant or if the level's low, then it might just be a few rides away from that steamy and embarrassing situation called overheating.
Suggested interval: Every time the level's getting low. You can check it out by locating the reservoir underneath the hood; you can usually see the level where the coolant is at.
Image via Asc-ind.com
In most cars, fan belts direct the engine’s power to both the power steering system and the alternator to power the air-con and other in-ride electronics. Lose the fan belt and the best-case scenario is you’re back to pawis-steering. Worst case? You’re stuck at the side of the road, pleading with the MMDA not to tow your car.
Suggested interval: When you start to hear a squeak every time you move the steering wheel, inspect the belt because you may either just need to adjust the tensioner (to tighten the belt up) or replace the belt completely.
Image via Tirecenter.com.ph
The battery powers most of the car’s electronic stuff. With a dead battery under the hood, your car just won’t start. The easiest way to tell that your battery is dying is when the engine seems to struggle whenever you try to start it up.
Suggested interval: Every three years especially in a climate like ours (read: heat helps degrade a battery's condition faster).
Image via Go-tire.com
The tires are what keeps your car in contact with the ground. Using old, worn out tires runs the risk of you losing control of the vehicle, especially when it rains and the car "aquaplanes," which happens when rainwater gets between the tire and road surface. Sounds scary, and it is!
Suggested interval: Every five years, which is the maximum lifetime of a standard tire.
Image via Carmodguide.com
It’s the brakes’ job to stop the car when you need it to. And in hellish Metro Manila traffic, that means a lot of abuse. You know you need to replace the brake pads when you hear a grinding sound as you press on the brake pedal.
Suggested interval: Every three to five years, depending on how often and how hard you use the brakes.
Image via Ebelsautorepair.com
Wiper blades, particularly the cheap ones, are made of rubber and you know what happens when the material is exposed to tropical climates like ours (it breaks down faster, for those clueless). Old wipers may cause streaks on the windshield when used during downpours, thereby limiting your visibility, which is dangerous.
Suggested interval: Once a year, preferably just after the summer season because the sun can really eff up wipers.