Cars generally live a hard life in the Philippines. Compared to their counterparts doing duty in developed nations, the country’s road conditions wreak havoc on even the most sophisticated of automobiles. Traffic jams, heat and humidity, and the sorry state of infrastructure make driving here torturous for vehicles.
It does not help that a huge portion of motor cars we see on the road are not exactly deemed roadworthy–at least by international standards. This means that adding to the list of things that make motoring here already difficult is the number of unsafe vehicles that we share the streets with. It could be anything from that rickety jeepney with leaking brake lines to that rusty dump truck that loses its wheels at speed.
However, the ultimate responsibility of keeping our cars in tip top shape is not that of any government agency. It is ours. Each time we get behind the wheel, we not only put our own lives on the line, but also those of our loved ones, passengers, and fellow motorists. In other words, failing to keep our vehicle’s health in check is doing a disservice to our families and society.
As practical and responsible motorists and car owners, it is imperative that you make sure every aspect of your vehicle is in order. It is not just enough that the engine starts in one go. There are other things that you need to ensure are serviceable before you set off on that drive.
Horns. Probably the most used (and overused) device by anyone brave enough to drive here. But there is a good reason for that. Horn usage is one of the most effective ways of getting noticed by pedestrians and fellow drivers alike, assuming they hear you far enough. Horns usually fail without warning. Most cars are equipped with a pair, and it is quite simple to know if they are still in working order. A drop in the sound intensity and a change in pitch usually means that one of the horns has already given up. Hella’s Midnight Black Twin Tone Horns are rated for up to 110dB while the aptly named Avant Tone Horns can bark as loud as 118dB. For comparison, the acoustic pressure level of a jet engine at full power is 118dB so these are pretty much all the horns you will ever need to survive the roads here.
Wipers. Before you use that horn, you first need to see what you are using it for. This is important when the sun is out but more so when the heavens decide to open up. And if your wipers are not up to the job, you might as well be as good as driving blindfolded. It is recommended that you replace the blades every year. Telltale signs of imminent failure are the formation of multiple streaks across the windshield. Should you let this persist, water will simply cascade down the glass in sheets, dangerously impeding your vision. Hella’s wiper blades have graphite-coated rubber, which ensure that you really see everything even in bad weather. Each stroke guarantees a clean, even wipe with no streaks or blind spots. And the best thing about this? Hella wiper blades are compatible with 95% of all vehicles sold in Asia.
Headlamp bulbs. We would like to think that it is the government’s responsibility to ensure that every single kilometer of road is well lit. But the harsh reality is that even some of our multilane highways do not have enough lights that shine brightly and work reliably to ensure motorists a safe passage. It is up to the road users, then, to ensure that they themselves are not left roaming around in the dark. Just like horns, headlamp bulbs do not fail gradually. This is the reason why you should be doing a quick check of your lights before driving off. Bulbs that are still working on a previous trip may no longer illuminate on the next. Fortunately, Hella’s series of performance lights become that beacon of illuminated guidance on our country’s unlit thoroughfares. And not only do they carry bulbs tailored for the highway driver—they also have rally-style lighting for those who constantly venture out onto dirt roads and muddy trails.
Brake pads. So, you have seen everything in rain or shine. Now, it is time to react. Of course, one of the things you would want to heed your call for evasive maneuvers will be your brakes. It goes without saying that no one should ever be out on the streets with a compromised braking system. And just because the pedal feels hard does not mean that your brakes are in good shape. The friction material on your brake pads is crucial to getting a good grip on the rotors which eventually stop your car. Letting this material wear out on your pads generally means your brakes lose effectiveness and efficiency. This translates to longer braking distances which can mean the difference between stopping in time or hitting something. Brake pads go thin at varying intervals, depending on use. Generally, a car spending most of its days in traffic would eat through its pads more often than a vehicle regularly doing highway runs. Regardless of where you drive your vehicle, failing brake pads often suffer from similar symptoms. Audible squealing or screeching even under normal braking as well as a loud, metallic grinding noise means that the pads are due for immediate replacement. Also, have your mechanic check the thickness of your brake pads when you have your car serviced. Anything less than 6.4mm is a sign that you need new ones. Hella Pagid brake pads operate at a wide temperature range from 100°C to 300°C. Even under constant use and abuse, these pads ensure fade-free braking performance and have a longer service life than its equivalent original equipment counterparts.
Being a socially responsible road user begins before you start your engine and drive off. Your vehicle’s reliability and durability come down to even the smallest of details. Hella shares in this burden of responsibility with its extensive expertise in making only the best for your car. The parts that matter, for the lives that matter.
This branded article was produced in partnership with Hella Philippines.