Autoworld & The Otomotif College co-organize 2nd I Love My Car workshop
If you’re reading this article, there is a good chance that you’re a frequent visitor of Autoworld. In that event, you are also likely to be a person who reads up on cars on a regular basis, which therefore means that you are most likely aware that the average car contains three thousand different parts.
That may sound like pub trivia, but consider the implications: there are three thousand possible ways for things to go wrong in your car. To put that figure into perspective, three thousand possible ways of making a fortune would make anyone a millionaire, three thousand possible ways of charming girls would make me a casanova, and, sadly, three thousand possible ways of things going wrong makes you odds-on favourite for a breakdown at anytime of the day.
However, we do know that cars these days, even the worst of them, are quite reliable, and don’t breakdown as often as they statistically should. Through their genius, and their mathematics, auto engineers around the world have been doing marvellous jobs to ensure that your cars would at least take you from point A to point B with as few hitches as possible. But, however brilliant a job the engineers pull off, we live in a world where things that can go wrong, will go wrong.
As we established earlier, there are (at least) three thousand possible ways for things to go wrong in your car. We know that some are unavoidable, like punctured tyres, others, like broken timing belts, can be prevented by systematic and periodic maitenance work carried out on the car. As drivers and/or owners of cars, we need to arm ourselves with some basic information, how to avert being caught in such unfortunate circumstances, and what can you do if it happens anyway?
The idea behind the 2nd I Love My Car workshop, a collaboration between Autoworld and The Otomotif College, was to equip participants with the knowledge on how to keep their cars in tip-top shape, how to handle breakdowns, and how to watch out for mechanics looking to make a quick buck off you.
After a couple of months worth of planning, the course was finally held on Saturday, 1 Aug 2009, TOC’s own premises. Twenty participants, all Autoworld members who took advantage of the exclusive AW member special price of RM99, attended the one-day seminar which helped them familiarize with the engine bay, the interior, the tyres and various other aspects of their vehicles.
While most of our colleagues were helping out at the Selayang Auto City carnival, I was at TOC to join the 20 participants at the course. The course got underway in the morning, with a brief introduction on other courses and activities organized by TOC themselves, before the class proper eventually commenced. Interspersed with lunch and tea breaks in between, the course consisted of lessons on various aspects car care – under the bonnet, in the cabin and also on proper inspection and selection of tyres.
Instructor Rauf Abd Rahman, whose years in the auto industry included experience from the perspective of tow truck operators, took the first class after the introduction slides, showing participants all the what’s what under the hood – how to identify the various fluid reservoirs, how to see if there are fluids in sufficient quantity, and the consequences of being unable to spot problems early.
Former UMW Toyota employee Mr Harcharan Singh presented on the topic regarding the interior of the car and its electricals, specifically on identifying the various controls and warning lights on the dashboard. For example, when the “Aladdin lamp” (oil pressure warning light) comes out, what do you do? When the fuel warning light comes out, what do you do? Harcharan explained to us the meaning of all the common warning lights, and how to handle the situation when they light up, if it’s safe to drive on to the workshop, or best to stop.
After being served a quick lunch, participants were also shown a tour around the TOC premises. Most were excited when being taken to the TOC Motorsports Section, where two old Peugeots serve as the project cars for this division of the college.
Later in the afternoon, Peter Tiotangco from the Philippines gave his part of the lecture focusing on tyre care. Besides being explained on the various types of tyre wear and their causes, participants were also shown actual samples of these tyres with unusual wear patterns.
Before dispersing the group, a productive feedback session was held between the instructors and the participants, where the latter group gave their comments on the conduct of the course. Most were satisfied, though some gave very useful pointers on where they felt the course could be improved, ensuring the 3rd I Love My Car Workshop would be of even higher quality.
On that note, Autoworld would like to thank all participants and also the staff of TOC for making this event a success. Your feedback to us is also greatly appreciated, and it will go a long way to ensure that the next event we organize would be one of even higher quality and benefit to all.