Thursday, 26 July 2012


How a Tow Strap is hooked to a car front hinge
Last Saturday afternoon, I received a call from my son, Joshua.  He had driven my car to get a haircut.  On his way home, the clutch suddenly failed.  There was no pump pressure and so he was unable to put the car into gear.  Literary, he was stranded on the main road towards Giant Hypermarket in Senawang. 

Luckily, my hubby was home and we drove over to see if he could fix the problem.  As it turned out, the clutch was beyond repair. By then, it was already five-thirty. To make matters worse, it was a public holiday. So most likely the mechanic shop was closed. Tow trucks are out of the question since they will charge an arm and a leg to tow the car. So hubby decided to do the towing himself.  He drove off to get a tow strap while I waited with Joshua by the roadside.  By coincidence, the car broke down in a shady part of the road. And the traffic whizzing by provided the breeze to fan the heat off somewhat. 

Hubby came back, anchored the strap to both the cars tow hooks. I sat in the front passenger seat of my car with Joshua at the wheel.  He had to keep the engine running so that the brakes can function. It was a good thing too, since we can switch on the air conditioner.  Otherwise, we would surely be sweating buckets by the time we reach home.

It was a traumatic ride, well at least for me. Joshua has to make sure that the thick nylon strap stayed taut and he only should brake when we reach the traffic lights or slowed down.  A few times, the tow strap went slack and when hubby started moving again,  there was a hard jerk before our car picked up momentum.  I felt like I was on a roller coaster making a turn before careening down a steep decline. At a few junctures, our car was too close for comfort to hubby's bumper and I prayed that he did not have to suddenly jam the brakes.  That would have been disastrous.  I can't help being a worry wart that I am. And I find myself pressing my right foot down as though I was braking each time we went too close.

A hooked on  Tow Strap
Product Details
Aluminum Tow Rope Safety Cinch

Finally, we reached home, still intact, though, my nerves were slightly stirred but not shaken.  On  Monday, hubby figured that it would be best to consult the owner of a big workshop to find out the cost before towing the car there.  He called me back later and told me the shocking news.  According to the mechanic, to replace the clutch pump may cost a minimum of RM300+. If the clutch plate is affected, the bill may run to more than RM1000.00. I balked at what he said.  Later, when he came home, he said he will ask for a second quotation from a different mechanic on Tuesday. This time, he found a small workshop where the mechanic was a one man show of sorts.  His estimate was  around RM300.
A screwed on Tow Strap

And so, on Wednesday morning, we called the second mechanic to say we were coming with my car.  My first impression of the guy was, he had an honest face. He was friendly, and very polite.  We left the car there and went for breakfast.  It was around 10 am.

After breakfast, we went to the bank, did some grocery shopping and dropped off some clothes for ironing at the Dhobi's. As we were getting into our car to leave, hubby received a call from the mechanic.  The car has been fixed! Wow! That was fast. I checked the time and it was exactly 12.20 pm.  Such an efficient mechanic. He took 2 hours and 20 minutes to fix my car. An excellent service! The icing on the cake was the bill.  Yes, the bill came up to a very reasonable sum of RM170. He had changed the pump kit, clutch pump, added oil and workmanship. Cost of materials alone was RM105.00.

It got me thinking. I have just escaped the 'clutches' of a crooked mechanic. (Pun intended) 

The Do's and Don'ts the next time you need to get your car fixed for minor repairs

1. DON'T bring your car to big car workshops. However, DO check out the pricing so that you will know if the second quotation is reasonable.

2. DON'T bring your car to the workshop, especially if they are on the panel of car insurance companies. As the chinese saying goes, "Beware, their knives are very sharp." Usually, they will mark up the price between 4 to 10 times the actual cost of material. The bigger they are, the sharper their knives will be.

3. DO get a second quotation from a smaller car workshop. The mechanic is more likely to charge reasonably and it helps if he has an honest face.

If you are staying in Seremban, Negri Sembilan and need an honest, efficient and reasonable mechanic, I would recommend:

Name of mechanic: Ah Loong
Name of workshop: Yoong Hwa Motor. 
Handphone no. 012-6833998.
Location: Senawang Light Industrial Estate

This post has nothing to do with what I usually write in my blog. However, due to the circumstances, I feel that I should share it with all of you. Who knows, perhaps you could be looking for a mechanic who is not crooked.

Here's To The Health of Your Car and your pocket!

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