Fixing a car in the Philippines – bad mechanics


Local mechanics are very hit and miss if they will repair your vehicle or actually cause more damage than what was originally wrong with the vehicle in the first place. Going to a dealer also doesn’t mean good service. Prime example of that was my scooter where the so called mechanic from the dealer who sold it to me has reattached the exhaust but now air leaks from the side of it. As well as everyone having a habit of tinkering with the idle on the scooter, due to its engine design its always a pain to cold start which is why I turned the idle up the guy who had it previously needed to take it to the dealer before himself as it wouldn’t start at all and this was the problem. Same reason I kept being stranded in different places as I could get it to fire up but when returning after spending time with friends generally the scooter wouldn’t fire. Adjusting the idle myself I find it may run a bit faster than it should but at least it fires every time. The other issue I have with letting people near my equipment is if parts are being swapped out with crap. I can’t believe a battery on the bike has actually died in less than 12 months on a brand new bike. I also found the horn was missing when I had it adjusted to which the mechanic played it off as maybe it fell out.. but more than likely it was stolen by the mechanic previously as it only worked the first day I had it and it went in to the mechanic shortly after. Repair wise its been into mechanics 12 times and guess what now I re-attach the exhaust myself as its design lets the bolts slowly unwind (need to find locktite) and adjusted the idle myself know how many times its broke down? never..

Now this week seen me start on the Jeepy I am still struggling with my ribs so climbing under the vehicle was no easy feat but I got the starter motor off and sent it off for repair. A new unit is P2,000 at the same time the way its operating I think it just needs an overhaul as its turning freely feels more like its not getting the kick it needs. The last mechanic that worked on it said its the ignition and needs a rewire but being an owner of a Ford Cortina back in the 90s I had found my way round the engine pretty well as well as doing most of the repairs myself purely because I had no money spare as a student. Was very lucky that one of my fathers friends is also a good mechanic after the entire engine froze one time that resulted in a complete rebuild a bit more than I would like to do with a vehicle I relied on. But the basics were learned pretty fast driving along the motorway seeing the lights dim and upon opening the engine with a glowing manifold in the dark it was obvious it was an alternator issue simple cable fix as one had become unattached. Then the cycle of faults that happen when you get something like that with overheating etc.. as I normally found that if the alternator played up it stressed other parts of the engine and quickly found a fanbelt needing changed and other parts relating to the cooling system including burned out hoses. But within months everything was renewed and it was pretty much on the road everyday as repairs were done at night.

Where am I going with this? Well I am back in students ville! as I have very little options but to repair things myself as most repairs also seem temporary rather than permanent solutions. An example of that was something I replaced over a month ago where my father in-law said it could have been repaired but at the same time I am thinking genuine replacement is good for another 10 years and at P1,300 wasn’t really a big hole in the wallet. The starter motor on the other hand I can see its breakdown is on the electronic side and not the mechanical which is why it was worth getting the damaged parts replaced as simply if it doesn’t work when it comes back just means they didn’t fix it and I will need to just buy a new one but at least if it does work should work for some time.

But in all essence I would advise you to fix your own vehicles if you can as letting someone loose without experience and real knowledge of mechanics does a lot of damage and often isn’t obvious straight away. One of the things worth doing in advance of coming here if your abroad right now is getting hold of the Haynes manual for your vehicle to help fix it.

2 comments for “Fixing a car in the Philippines – bad mechanics

  1. maria
    March 2, 2011 at 3:46 pm

    have your own quality tools too.

    • Tropicalpenpals
      March 2, 2011 at 3:50 pm

      Agree on that one shipped most I needed from the UK as the ones in RP are way over priced.