Torque shop

I have decided to renew my car's certificate of entitlement (COE) for another 10 years. What are the most critical mechanical aspects of the car I should fix to keep it running well?

Extending a car's COE for another decade does indeed save a substantial amount of money compared with purchasing a new car.

The first thing to do is to set aside a budget to "renew" certain major components.

Consider an engine overhaul if the mileage is more than 250,000km, consumes more engine oil (one litre or more every 3,000km) or there is blue smoke from the exhaust.

Change the engine mounts for less vibration.

While at it, replace all belts and hoses - including cooling system piping, power steering and brake hoses and every rubber or plastic tube that is part of the engine's induction, emissions and fuel-injection system.

If the radiator and water pump have never been replaced before or not recently, now would be a good time to do so. Never mind if none of the above is not leaking and still looks good.

You might also need to have the gearbox replaced or at least overhauled. Manual transmissions are the most robust and usually require only an oil change and maybe a bearing replacement.

But make sure the manual gearbox's clutch and release bearing are renewed.

Brake pump and calliper seals should also be replaced. Brake discs (rotors) are items that wear with use.

For the suspension, a complete new set of dampers and linkages will rejuvenate the car's ride and handling, not to mention on-road safety. Some mountings, such as those that hold the anti-roll bar, need only replacement of their rubber bushes. Springs rarely need to be replaced, but if the car sags on one side, change all four.

Whatever the make and model of car, have it inspected in detail by more than one workshop, so that you have a clear idea of what parts need replacement and how much it would cost. Keep to genuine and original parts as far as possible.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 08, 2017, with the headline 'Torque shop'. Print Edition | Subscribe