Your Life Comes apart
when Your Car Breaks down
By A.H. Cemendtaur
Cars and people have become synonymous
in California. When someone says, “I am out of gas”
it doesn’t mean that person is free -- thanks God --
of any gastric problems; it simply means that his/her car
has run out of gasoline. Similarly when they say they are
low on water, they are not complaining of dehydration; they
are talking about their car. “I am” stands for
“My car is.” Pitiful, indeed! But such is the
California reality. Here you can’t do much without a
car. Without a car you are a person with mere dreams; you
need a car to drive down to whatever you want to achieve in
life. Koshish Foundation, a San Francisco based non-profit
organization involved in education related projects in Pakistan,
has been arranging lectures on topics of wider interest to
the community. The latest lecture arranged on June 15 was
on automotive care. It was given by Safdar Jamil who works
at a hardware company but holds cars his passion and has been
tinkering with their mechanical systems since his hildhood.
With the aid of handouts Safdar Jamil briefly explained the
various systems requiring periodic maintenance in a car. He
also gave precious advice on all things automotive.
Buying and selling used cars:
Never buy a used car at night. Looking at a used car from
some distance and paying attention to the shades of the various
panels will tell you if the car has been in a major accident.
California requires the seller to obtain smog certificate
of the car, and the buyer should insist on getting that; otherwise
it is a big hassle if you find out later that the car you
just purchased is not clearing the smog test.
When inspecting a used car start the engine and listen to
any unusual noise; check the tail pipe to see if there is
any visible smoke. Take the car for a test-drive; take your
hands off the steering wheel to see if the car has an alignment
issue (car will steer to a side); give the vehicle hard right
and left-hand turns to check the integrity of the CV joints.
Beware of cars that leak engine, brake, or transmission oil.
Even if a crafty seller has washed the engine before your
inspection to hide traces of leakage, looking closely you
can identify places where oil trickled down earlier.
When selling your own vehicle ascertain the value of your
car by checking its price at KBB.com (blue book) and by reviewing
cars of same make, model, and mileage being sold at various
web-sites (for example craigslist.com).
Periodic maintenance saves hassles and money:
The most important maintenance feature is to change engine
oil after every 3000 miles. Keep optimum pressure in the tires,
and never drive a car if it is overheating. Cleaning battery
terminals will give longevity to the battery beyond its normal
life of two years.
Change the coolant in the radiator based on manufacturer’s
recommendation to avoid choking the tubes with chemical deposits.
Radiator can be drained by opening the drain plug at the bottom
radiator. Don’t drain the rejected coolant in public
sewer. Severalauto shops (for example Pep Boys) take your
old coolant, engine oil, nd other rejected fluids for free.
Buy refurbished parts if they carry the same warranty as the
For replacement parts your first call should be to the area
junkyards where parts are taken out of wrecked cars and are
sold at a onsiderably low price.
In his spare time Safdar Jamil fixes whatever cars he can
lay his hands on. He can be reached at 408-364-0462 for advice
and car repair work.