The public may or may not be aware, vehicles used by both driving schools or institutes in the country, has to undergo a 6 month inspection exercise. Infact, all commercial vehicles such as taxis, lorries, trailers, buses and vans amongst others, are inspected by the PUSPAKOM authorities and as has been said, once in 6 months. Small vehicles, like motorcars are charged RM50 for the first inspection. If the above should fail its initial test, subsequently, it would be charged RM25.
Previously, inspection exercises were as a matter of fact, conducted by the Road Transport Department or Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan. But as responsibilities and duties of the RTD increased, the department had no alternative, but to privatize or outsource the duty of inspecting commercial vehicles to PUSPAKOM.
The PUSPAKOM authorities today, has inspection centres all over the country. In Selangor alone, this blog writer is aware that PUSPAKOM has inspection centres in such places as Wangsa Maju, Padang Jawa, near Klang and Sungai Mangis, near Banting. All commercial vehicles are issued with a Puspakom discs after every stringent inspection.
These discs are then compulsorily attached to the front windscreens of all commercial vehicles, such as lorries, trailers, buses, vans and driving school vehicles, for the perusal and inspection of both the police and Road Transport authorities which conducts road blocks. Heavy fines are imposed upon vehicles which fail to adhere to such inspections.
Why are the 6 monthly compulsory inspections imposed upon commercial vehicles?
According to the Transport Department, it is believed that such vehicles have to be in good, mechanical conditions in order for accidents to be prevented. As one knows, Malaysia is reputed to possess one of the highest rate of accidents in the world. Such being the case, it is impertinent that such inspection exercises are indeed extremely necessary.
Before proceeding any further with this article, permit me to inform you what are the necessary documents that has to brought along during a PUSPAKOM inspection exercise. Ideally, remember to bring along:
a. The vehicle registration card
b. A letter of authority from the driving institute or school to which you belong
c. The previous inspection exercise result issued by the PUSPAKOM authority
Some representatives of driving schools or institutes in the Klang district prefer to take their vehicles for inspection exercises to the Padang Jawa Puspakom centre. Others, on the other hand, seem to like sending their vehicles to the Sungai Manggis inspection centre, near Banting.
For my vehicle’s latest inspection exercise, my colleague, a Mr. Bala, chose to take the vehicle to Sungai Manggis, near Banting.
Incidentally, my colleague, Bala was paid RM50 for his services.
All in all, my 1998 old Kancil, which instructor uses for providing driving tuition to students, underwent 2 inspections before it finally passed its inspections exercise.
For the 2nd inspection, my colleague Bala, was again paid a further RM50 for his services and RM 25 for the inspection exercise.
What should a vehicle being sent for an inspection undergo prior to being presented for PUSPAKOM’s inspection exercise?
I will inform you what he had to do. Other instructors may have to do things which might be different. It depends actually on the condition of your vehicle itself. All in all, one has to spend at least RM400- 500 to carry out repairs, servicing the vehicle and may be even changing a new set of tyres for the vehicle.
Inspection fees at the PUSPAKOM centre can easily total RM150, while runner expenses can easily come to another RM150.
A moderate calculation for the entire inspection exercise could come to a total of at least RM 600- 700.
What repairs needed to be done to the vehicle in question?
Firstly, obviously the brakes, both the front and the rear, hard to be checked and dust had to be removed. At times, certain brakes were infact jammed or leaking brake oil. Brake pads were most of the time worn out. They had to be replaced.
Secondly, certain ball joints were found to be worn out. This time around, the left wheel bearing was founded to be in poor condition. It was infact humming. On top of that, the connecting rod, was also found to be in unsatisfactory condition. This also had to be replaced.
Besides all of the above, the vehicle also had to have its front tyres replaced and also balanced. After that, the ‘alignment also had to be checked.
When all of the above had been carried out, the vehicle finally had to be sent for servicing at a nearby Mobil Petrol Service outlet. It costs RM20 per service these days. It should be reiterated that PUSPAKOM officials will check the cassis number and the engine numbers as well during the inspection exercise.
There are also other aspects of the vehicle that has to be checked as well. Signages, L signs, brake lights, indicators, 3rd brake lights, wipers, and the instructor’s emergency brake, ought to be checked as well.
At approximately 11.00a.m., the vehicle for inspection was finally sent by my colleague, Mr. Bala to PUSPAKOM’s inspection centre in Sungai Manggis, Banting.
And what was the result? Unfortunately, the Kancil FAILED the first, initial test.
What caused the above vehicle to fail its test?
PUSPAKOM in reality subjects a driving school car to a 5 point check. Amongst the things which is checked includes:
i. Checking its cassis and engine numbers
ii. The conditions of a vehicle’s brake system
iii. Its suspension system, especially the front portion of the vehicle
iv. Its alignment system
v. Over all vehicle conditions
It should be reiterated here that, a driving school vehicle is not checked for its engine condition as it is a petrol driven vehicle. The condition of its exhaust system, including pollution problems, only pertains to diesel driven vehicles!
Readers would like to know what aspects of inspection did my Kancil fail.
The Kancil, my friend Bala told me, failed in the following aspects during inspection.
i. Its alignment test. The JPJ felt its ‘alignment test conducted by private tyre shops or outlets, were not done satisfactorily.
ii. The left hand side front suspension system was discovered to be in poor or weak condition. Therefore it had to be rectified.
iii. Surprisingly, although the vehicle was sent for servicing earlier, the engine was found to be in dirty condition. The officials were unable to decipher to its failure eventually.
The afternoon after the Kancil failed its initial test, this instructor went to a 2nd hand spare parts outlet in Padang Jawa, Klang to secure an imported suspension part. It costs the author RM50. A new suspension set would have easily cost RM 150 at the least.
My current mechanic, Ah Siang, whose workshop is located at 2nd mile, Jalan Kapar, Klang, took nearly half an hour to assemble the 2nd hand suspension system onto my car. And what was the price I had to pay for the job done? RM 20 only!
After that the mechanic advised me I had to send the vehicle for alignment purposes. The alignment exercise, which I did at my usual tyre outlet at Simpang Empat, near Telok Pulai, Klang, costs me RM 10.
After all repairs had been done to the Kancil, the vehicle was once again sent to the service station to have its engine washed for a second time, in preparation for the Kancil’s second inspection date with PUSPAKOM, which was scheduled for Monday.
Even though the Kancil passed its suspension test the 2nd time around, it failed PUSPAKOM’s engine number test again. According to officials, they were still unable to see the engine number clearly. This led to the vehicle being sent to a nearby service centre outside PUSPAKOM’s inspection centre to have its engine washed again.
It was only after the 3rd inspection that the Kancil finally passed its inspection test!
Petronas, Shell, Mobil, Caltex, BP and Esso. Any driver or motorcycle rider must surely be acquainted with them. The latest fuel service station to join the Malaysian bandwagon supplying petrol or fuel to local consumers, must surely be Petron.
From my limited knowledge as a driving school instructor, this company, it is said, originated from the Phillippines. It is also believed that this latest service station has the support of a local businessman who happens to be one of the sons of our former Prime Minister, Dr Mahathir Mohammed, playing a major role in its establishment.
Today’s article on the topic of service station is specifically intended to highlight the important role it plays in the lives of the Malaysian public as a whole. First and foremost, petrol service stations has been in existence since a long while ago. And I in fact believes we owe this establishment some appreciation for its yeoman service to us drivers. I am sure the majority of the Malaysian public, both drivers and riders as well, would like to convey or extend some form of appreciation to it.
What in reality is meant by ‘Petrol Service Stations’ in Malaysia? And what exactly does it contribute to the Malaysian driving and riding community as a whole? For easier reading purposes, I will be itemising its contents.
1. Providing petrol or fuel
The presence of petrol stations such as Petronas and Shell, for example is to first of all to supply us FUEL or PETROL. Most stations supply us grade RON 95 or 97 petrol at varying prices. It also supplies transport vehicles such as lorries, trailers and buses DIESEL and NGV.
We see petrol stations of various brands located at each and every corner of our towns yet little do we realise how lucky we actually are. In the place where I reside which is in Meru Road, Klang, there exists at least three or four well known petrol stations in the likes of PETRONAS, BP, PETRON, all clustered together.
How convenient it is for all of us, more especially to this writer. Syabas or well done to petrol companies for the provision of such excellent services to all of us.
2. Providing motoring oils and other lubricants for motorists
Fuel or petrol or diesel are not the only commodities which petrol service stations provide to the Malaysian public. Service stations supply motor or vehicles other motoring needs, such as battery water, engine or lubricating oils of all sorts and varieties.
Lubricating and transmissions oils are easily available in quart tins as well as litre containers. A motorist, be it drivers or motorcycle riders, need not suffer the inconvenienes of having to visit ‘spare-part shops’. You can actually get everything you need from service stations such as Shell and Esso nearby.
From service stations, the public can also obtain other items such as radiator wash, car batteries, starter cables, polishing materials and anything your car needs. The list is in fact endless.
3. Some petrol stations even provide car servicing services as well:
If one is busy working, and you do not posses the time to clean or keep your vehicle in tip-top condition, do not despair. As they say, the service-station nearby is always there. For a small fee of some RM8 to RM20, the service station will wash, service your engine and undercarriage as well.
Most however, even do a good job of vacuuming and cleaning up the interiors of your valued vehicle. All it needs, is that you provide some 2 or 3 hours for the servicing services stations to do the job well. Nevertheless such servicing services as referred to above are unfortunately surely but slowly disappearing from the market.
Due to labour shortage, escalating costs and water shortages, this special service to consumers, may very well come to a halt in the very near future. If that should happen, what a waste it would indeed be!
4. Car repair services by foreman and mechanics are usually available at service stations as well
If you should be travelling outstation or maybe going back home to your kampung or balik kampung as we Malaysians call it, and should you be unfortunate enough to sustain mechanical problems of any sort, feel convenient to drop in to any service stations all across the country any time to get some assistance. There definitely would be a friendly and helpful mechanic around who would be ever ready to render you some help.
I was once crossing the remote town of Batangkali near Genting Highlands, when he met with a major brake failure. And with no money in hand, except a credit card, can you imagine what sort of predicament I was in?
Would you believe or not a considerate foreman was good enough to agree repairing my brake system for me. Finally, the foreman’s young assistant had to follow me in my old jalopy, a Toyota DX, to Rawang town (30 miles away) to the Malayan Banking bank to withdraw money.
To the kind-heart mechanic, whose name I do not even know, thank you, sir. You certainly saved my day. This driving school instructor sure is indebted to you!
5. Providing free services of air (pressure) and water to motorists
Many motorists may not be aware, service stations provide some very essential items which we Malaysian drivers and riders seem to take for granted. The items are non other than air and of course, water.
These items are provided by service stations for free! But unfortunately, how many of us drivers, really appreciate?
Has anyone of us ever taken the trouble to say ‘thank you’ to the service station personal or manager? Think about what I’m saying. Don’t you think it is about time we did something about our lackdasical attitude?
Before taking leave from this important topic of reference, yours sincerely would like to issue all of you readers a timely reminder. When using air or pressure dispensing equipment provided free of charge by service stations, make it a point to use the above items in a proper manner and with care. Don’t ever mishandle them wantonly.
Service stations spent quite a lot of money to upkeep the above equipment. Let us begin being fair to service-stations from now on!
6. Most service stations are in fact convenience stores as well.
In our country, most petrol stations act as a convenience store or a small supermarket as well. They sell almost anything you require. Newspapers, magazines, tin and packet drinks, even medicines too. You can get bread, biscuits, tidbits and as said earlier, spare parts and other motoring needs as well.
Do you know that some petrol stations even go to the extent of providing weary drivers hot drinks and refreshments such as Milo, Horlicks and Nescafe?
This is done especially during balik kampung season during festivals such as Hari Raya, Chinese New Year, Deepavali and Christmas time.
7. The provision of prayer rooms and toilet facilities, washroom as well.
Those of us who travel home to our kampungs or place of origin, must surely need prayer rooms, especially to cater for our Muslim brothers and sisters. Washroom, toilets and latrines are a sure find in petrol service stations all across the country.
This article highlights the important role played by petrol service stations in the lives of Malaysian drivers and motorcycle riders throughout our country. It is hoped that Malaysians will in the future had a better understanding of the role Malaysian Petrol service stations play!
Malaysian drivers, including myself, do not seem to know very much about tyres. We may know a few things such as alignment, balancing and pressures, but is it really enough?
As tyres represent such an important item of a vehicle and our lives may very well depend on them, I feel feel an article o it should be written.
But the problem that arises is, I’m only a driving instructor, not a mechanic, nor a shopkeeper dealing with tyres. Then, what do I do? To write an article on tyres, I therefore have to do researches and read on the subject of tyres itself.
In the process of doing the above, I read an article whereby a writer reiterated one important advice, which I feel should be shared amongst all my readers. He said and I quote, “tyres weaken and bulge”.
This can cause a tyre to blow up. When this happens, you’ll have to send your car into a repair shop. However, the blow out will put you in a hospital! Think about it carefully.
There are many important things which motorists should ideally know about tyres. In this article, I will break it up in sections. Hopefully, in doing so, readers will find it much easier to comprehend what is being written.
1. The significance of markings on the side walls of tyres
Most motorists, including myself, do not know what the small prints which appear on the walls of the tyre itself means. At least until now. Here are some of the abbreviations which you might possibly see on the sidewalls of tyres. Look at it carefully.
P- denotes tyres for passenger cars
LT- are tyres for light trucks
R- indicates radial ply tyres
T- indicates tyres that are for special trailers
235 – are numbers which indicates the width of the tyres in mm (millimeters)
After providing readers with the above information, it is hoped you will better understand some of the denominations which appear on the side walls of tyres from now on.
Unfortunately, it is not possible to provide you with all information. Information not quoted here, will have to be learnt up by yourself.
2. What are of the warning signs that say you need new tyres?
Generally, a motorist, with some experience, should be able to look for some tell tale signs which will denote to you that you need a set of new tyres for your vehicle. If one is unable to decipher the above, it is suggested that you seek the assistance of a mechanic.
Amongst some of the signs are:-
a. Your tyres look old or worn out. Tyres which are in such poor conditions, if it fails you, will bring about a catastrophe. Furthermore, it will leave you stranded as well.
b. If you are uncertain, always ask the advice of your usual mechanic.
Besides physical examination of your vehicle’s tyres, there exists also 5 things that can warn you that you possibly need new tyres for your vehicle.
The things include:
Ideally a tyre tread shall not fall below 1/16 or 1.6mm. the best way to determine tyre tread is to use a tyre gauge.
ii. Tyre weak indicator bars
Many people are unaware, that there are tyre wear indicator bars on a tyre.
These bars run perpendicular to tread patterns of tyres. Look at it carefully on your tyres. It is certain that you will be able to spot them.
iii. Cracks in the side walls
Sometimes, the side walls of tyres end up in cracks and cuts. These are tell tale signs which can assist you to make a decision as to whether you need new tyres for your vehicle or otherwise.
iv. The presence of bulges and blisters on tyres
The constant usage of tyres will sometimes cause bulges and blisters on tyres. Bulges and blisters can cause blow up and it is dangerous.
v. There is too much vibration in the tyre
Some vibrations in tyres is a normal thing. If you should suddenly feel that your tyres vibrate, then something is wrong somewhere.
Amongst some of the reasons why tyres are said to vibrate are:
a. Tyres are unbalanced or misaligned
b. Your shock absorbers are weak or gone
c. There might be some problem regarding the internal structure of the tyre itself. High density vibration in a tyre will eventually destroy a tyre.
One other important thing which motorists should know about tyres is correct air pressures. Why is it important to use correct air pressures in your vehicle? Correct pressures bring the below benefits:-
1. It extends tyre life
2. Incorrect pressures or under inflation will increase fuel consumption
3. Over inflation will affect grip and braking performance of a vehicle.
4. Over inflation also cause harsh, uncomfortable ride.
Places to look for tables of tyre pressures for cars
If you wish to know more about tyre pressure for your vehicle, look for it in the
a. Glove compartment
b. Consult your vehicle handbook
c. Inside of your filler cap
d. The panel next to the driver’s seat
Are under inflated tyres dangerous?
In some countries like America for example, one can be fined for using under inflated tyres. Under inflated tyres reduce grip on road surfaces. The braking distances for vehicles to stop also increases. It is said, concerning is badly affected by poorly inflated tyres. And finally, fuel consumption increases with under inflation too.
How can tyres help to reduce consumption of a vehicle?
If one wishes to increase the fuel consumption of one’s car, here are a few tips to assist you:-
i. Look after your tyres well and rest assured, you will be rewarded with better consumption.
ii. It is said, fuel consumption increases by at least 10% if tyres are well looked after.
iii. Irregular tread wear increases a car’s rolling resistance, which indirectly increases fuel consumption of a vehicle.
iv. Incorrect balancing increases drag which also contributes largely to a heavier fuel consumption.
v. Under inflated tyres is said to increase fuel consumption by at least 10%.
vi. Using the air con, believe it or not, increases fuel consumption by some 10%.
vii. Driving with windows open increases drag which increases wind resistance, which will eventually lead to poorer fuel consumption.
viii. The way one drives or aggressive driving also contributes to increased fuel consumption.
ix. And finally, if you wish to achieve a better fuel consumption for your vehicle, don’t drive at all or better still, take the LRT or the bus.
And finally, have you ever considered why all tyres are black? This is because they have tyre black in them! Well, that’s all about tyres for the time being.