Road trip planning isn’t complete without checking if your ride’s up for the challenge! With Christmas and the holidays fast approaching, many of us will be packing our bags for the provinces. While COVID protocols must still be followed, nothing’s really stopping us from having a fun time with our family.
It’s only right then to make sure that the preparations we do for our vehicles doesn’t get left behind, right? As much clothes, food, and gadgets we can prepare before the trip, we really won’t go anywhere without our cars. Ask first: are the car’s tires A-okay, is the engine running buttery-smooth, and is the car’s paint looking mighty fine?
If you have one of those you’d like to fix before your trip, then you’ve come to the right place! Check out our recommendations on what to get checked and where to bring your car to before your road trip!
Road Trip Essential: Preventive Maintenance
Believe what you will, but it’s always better to prevent than to find a cure. It’s simple: you don’t need to fix a problem if it isn’t there in the first place, right? That’s why we recommend getting a “PMS” for your car before your long haul drives to your holiday escapades.
PMS, or in full, Preventive Maintenance Schedule, has been the vernacular name for bringing your car at specific dates/intervals to ensure that everything in your car, from the battery, alternator, radiator, suspension, transmission, etc., is in perfect working order. A lot of testing goes into preventive maintenance, and while it may take a big chunk of your day, it dividends especially if you’re going to faraway provinces.
That’s why we’ve lined up two brilliant car shops that can do the preventive maintenance with utmost efficiency and accuracy. One is Lewy’s Performance Auto Parts and another is GT ONE Auto Care Inc. Let us introduce both briefly below.
Lewy’s Performance Auto Parts
6790, Manila South Road, Binan, Laguna
Lewy’s has been a mainstay in Binan, Laguna for three years now. Located in Manila South Road parallel to SLEX, many might’ve not seen their shop, despite how accessible it is. We recommend Lewy’s particularly for their preventive maintenance service, which they do with lots of attention to detail. They make sure that every critical component of your car is working properly before your road trip through extensive testing.
Now if you just bought a brand new vehicle, you don’t really have to worry much about preventive maintenance. Locally, you’re asked to bring it in after the first thousand kilometers to look for defects coming from the factory. For cars that are way past that, Lewy’s is a solid choice. Especially if you’re down South.
For those up North however, there’s no need to drive all the way to Binan to get your vehicle checked. There’s also GT ONE in Bulacan to service you guys.
GT One Auto Care Inc.
849 Tabang Road, Guiguinto, Bulacan
The difference between Lewy’s and GT ONE Auto Care Inc. really falls on a few things. GT has been operating for 5 years now, GT also offers computer diagnostics, and again, that they’re up North. They provide the same services that Lewy’s does, with a few additions here and there. Check out their full stack below:
- Preventive Maintenance
- Computer Diagnostics
- Change Oil
- Underchassis Repair
- Engine and Transmission Repair
They’re also proud of what they call internally as “15 Point Service”. As the name states, they go through 15 essential components in a vehicle for any damage, defect, or faults that are currently visible or are about to appear in your vehicle. By doing so, GT also ensures that your car works without issue for months to come.
Not bad for a shop whose starting price for an oil change is just P1,145, right? Well, how about we check other, more delicate parts of your car, like your wheels and tires?
Keep Those Wheels Spinning on Your Road Trip
Correct us if we’re wrong, but we owe a lot to the wheels and tires of our cars. Despite being in contact with the treacherous roads in the country, they’re still out there kicking (or spinning?), bringing us to wherever we need to be, especially road trips. It’s only fair we think that a considerable amount of attention be given to them.
Before we go further though, what type of repairs need to be done on wheels and tires anyway? Don’t we just replace them when they’re spent or aren’t doing their jobs anymore? Well, not quite.
Most of the work done on wheels and tires are indeed run-of-the-mill, like adding a bit more air pressure into tires (psi) or swapping flat ones with spares. However, many don’t recognize the finer services done to them, like wheel alignment and (in extension), suspension repairs.
We found two shops that cater well to clients who need a bit of loving for their car’s rugged spinners. We’re happy to talk about Bruzko Autoworks in Binan and Jhamill Tire Supply in Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
National Highway, Brgy. St Domingo, Biñan, Laguna
As the name implies, Bruzko works particularly with SUVs and off road vehicles most of the time. Despite being just 3 years old, they’re already offering a wide range of services for a growing number of customers. From giving trucks new pairs of upgraded wheels and tires, to doing a bit of wheel balance and camber alignment in a family SUV, we admit that we’re surprised with their capabilities.
Now you may be asking, why would I, a family man, need wheel alignment for my vehicle? Simple. Little tweaks in wheel alignment or camber can actually improve the overall handling of your vehicle. Proper wheel alignment removes the risk of excessive wear on specific parts of your tires, while adjusting the camber can improve handling especially if you’re driving on zig-zag roads common on lengthy road trips.
All these make for a smoother ride not just for you as a driver, but also for the people riding at the back. Do them a favor and ask Bruzko’s mechanics if your wheels are doing alright or if they need a bit of that brusko fixing.
Jhamill Tire Supply
1632 National Highway, Brgy. Dila, Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
Just further down the road from Bruzo is Jhamill Tire Supply, on what we might call sort of a polar opposite of the shop before it. A whopping 24 years of operation means that Jhamill really has stood the test of time, outliving many of its competitors that have closed up shop and left.
Specializing on wheels and tires, Jhamill has proven themselves to be quite an established name on the field. They offer an extensive line of services that only a veteran could offer for anyone planning a demanding road trip. By saying proudly that they can fix any tire issue, they effectively demonstrate their mastery of the craft. See the list of all their services here:
- Wheel Alignment
- Camber Adjustment
- Brake Repair, Front and Rear (for 4WDs)
- Ball Joint Repair and Replacement
- Tie Rod Repair and Replacement
- Rack End Installation
- Pitman Arm Assembly
- Center Link and Center Post Assembly
- Idler Arm Replacement
- Clutch Repair
- Tire and Mags Wheels Installation
- Vulcanizing Service
Their long services list gives you an idea of how much they know about tires. Any doubt about their CV might as well be thrown out the window with just how competitively proven they have been over the years.
Comfy Road Trip Needed
Planning out your road trip, you must also consider the people riding your vehicle. It’s gonna be a long trip ahead, so considering their needs is one of the nicer things you can do. Regarding things that can make your car comfortable, we have services in mind that can really up the experience. We’ve got the shops who can do it for you, too.
Jim Upholstery Services
D-4A Alcrej Bldg., E. Quirino Ave., Poblacion, Davao City
Jim Upholstery is perhaps one of the wild-card picks for us today, since they’re hailing all the way in Davao. We thought about including them because upholstery services really aren’t unique to vehicles. Leather works and stitching is an industry of its own, creating products most especially for fashion or apparel. However, when a shop focuses on specifically upholstery, it’s indicative that they are experts in it.
The thing with upholstery is that it’ gotta be both durable and comfortable at the same time. Many shops skimp on one side of the spectrum that their work ends up being replaced sooner than later. No one wants that, not the shop, not the owner. No one. If you want satisfied customers to recommend you to their friends, you’d want to do a solid job on both fronts.
Jim Upholstery is testament to that. Working on car upholstery for 3 years now, they provide the whole wazoo. From the car seat, sidings, the carpet and matting, and even to the steering wheel, they can fabricate something that works just for you. Believe us when we say that new leather always makes a car feeling new and more satisfying to ride in.
Now if your car needs a bit of work with its looks, we’ve reserved the last two shops for you.
A Bit of Pazazz
Some hits here and there in your car will be inevitable, especially if you’re living in Metro Manila. With so many cramped spaces and inescapable traffic, you’re bound to get some dings, some dents, and even, wrecked bodies. Planning your end-of-year road trip, you definitely don’t want to be riding a car that doesn’t look road-worthy. You gotta put some effort into making it look like a proper, safe car that can take on the trip ahead.
Besides, you don’t want to get pulled you over because of a dangerous-looking vehicle. That’s why there are two that come to mind that we think are the best especially for those taking a trip North, like La Union or Baguio. Let’s talk about Calle Auto Shop first.
Calle Auto Shop
Greenville Commercial Lot San Jose, City of San Fernando Pampanga
Calle Auto Shop is found in Pampanga, ideal if you don’t want to go too far into your road trip for a fix. Primarily a full-service auto shop that can provide all the usual auto services (change oil comes to mind), they are particularly known for their custom paint and collision repair services. When it comes to finding a replacement panel for a damaged portion of your vehicle, they probably have it in inventory already.
Their prices are, might we say, right on. With panel repair starting at just P4,500 which is the typical going rate for the service, we’d say you’re getting your money’s worth here. Adding that they are capable of other services like paintjobs too, we’d say they’re worth getting a visit.
And before you think that they’re just a run-of-the-mill shop, don’t. Typical of independent shops, they’re also trying to innovate by providing services that are in trend. In the future, they’ll be adding services like Ceramic Coating, and will be adding new amenities in their shop, including a dedicated detailing studio and additional ovens for treating. Definitely talks volumes about their commitment to their craft and to their customers.
LN Auto Salon
MacArthur Highway, Tarlac City, Tarlac
Like the previous entry, LN Auto Salon also specializes in collision repair and custom paint jobs. We think they’re unique in their own way though to merit an inclusion road trip prep list. So what makes LN Auto Salon special, you might ask? Let’s start with the basics. Unlike Calle, LN Auto Salon is located further up North, at the center of Tarlac. Operating in 5 years now, one can say that they’re quite young in the field.
Being a family business, the owner actually first learned about the craft from his grandfather who also worked on cars in his time. Passing on the knowledge to him, the business now runs independently and is growing quickly to work with more customers. They’ve already started providing thermal protection film, with a promise of ceramic coating coming soon.
Perhaps their most interesting service is their paintless dent repair, which allows customers to get small to medium-sized dents in the car back to their proper shape. And no, it’s not done the hap-hazard way either. Their servicemen will tell you which techniques can or won’t work on your vehicle, and would go with the safest option so as not to do further damage to your car’s body. That’s integrity.
A Wrap for Road Trip Preparations
And that’s all we have for now for shops we recommend for your road trip prep! Of course, there are some other services that we haven’t covered yet, but we hope we can make another entry about this in the near future to bridge the gaps. For now though, we hope you’ve got most of what you need for your holiday road trip!
Remember everyone, the trick’s not to visit each and every shop on your mind to get some repairs done. That’ll only cost you time and money. We recommend finding which specific service is in urgent need of work, so that you can focus on that first. It’ll save you a lot of buck doing this.
‘Til our next article, everyone! Safe travels soon.