Overview of Car Maintenance in the Philippines

Conditions in the Philippines are much different from overseas, for both cars and drivers and if you want to lower maintenance costs, keep your car looking good and maximizing resale value. These are few things to keep in mind.



Firstly, the mileage between servicing can be irrelevant, as if, like me you live in Metro Manila the car can spend many hours idling, particularly if you have a driver who spends his time sitting waiting for you with the engine idling. Therefore, it is paramount that you religiously stick to the manufacturers scheduled servicing requirements, regardless of whether you use the Franchised dealer. If your car is under manufacturer’s warranty then you must stick to the servicing requirements as your warranty will be invalid if you do not, the normal tolerance is 1 month / 1Kkm.

Given the environment quality oil is critical and cheap oil will shorten the lifespan of your engine and increase maintenance costs. My personal preference is to use fully synthetic oil and if using an independent workshop, I buy it and watch them put the oil in.


Car Cleaning

There are 3 main causes of your car’s paintwork looking terrible, the environment, maid and / or driver, the latter 2 are the worst!

Cars should be cleaned at least once a week and the process must be:

  1. Thoroughly wet the car, using clean water.
  2. Fill a bucket with car shampoo and water, do not use washing up liquid, it contains salt and will remove any wax or paint protection the car has.
  3. Use a clean sponge and apply shampoo in linear horizontal lines, just like they spray the car. Never use circular motions as this will leave heavy swirl marks and never wipe the car with a dry cloth as the results will be the same.
  4. Dry the car using a chamois leather or microfiber cloth.

If you live in an area where water is an issue, you can use a waterless wash and wax which is available from quality suppliers.


Car polishing

To keep your pride and joy looking good, requires polishing at least once every 2 months. My recommendation is not to let the maid, or the driver polish the car and to take it to a professional and make sure a quality wax is used. You can also do this yourself as it’s good exercise.


Paint Protection

An alternative to having to regularly polish the car is to use a paint protection, use a quality product with a warranty, which will cost around P15K-25K. Avoid ceramic coats as they have to be applied in dehumidified, dustless premises which many of the applicators don’t have. It also cracks and needs reapplying. For the last 2 decades I have used a UK product called Diamondbrite of which I have been very happy.





Or as you call them in these parts, tires, are critical it’s 4 pieces of rubber than keeps you on the road and out of the ditch!

Here are a few suggestions to enhance tyre life and keep you safe:

  • Check tyre pressures every week, whilst the tyre is cold.
  • Inspect your tyres every week for cut’s, buldges, nails etc.
  • Never allow for less an 1.5mm of tread on part of the tyre, unless you name is Lewis Hamilton!
  • Inspect your tyres every month for uneven tyre wear, if this exists the car needs tracking, which your local tyre dealer can do at a small cost.
  • Regardless of the above have your car tracked at least every 6 months / 6Kkm, this will increase tyre life.


Wiper blades

As we know when it rains in the Philippines, it usually pours, so being able to see where you are going is very important and having good wiper blades is key to this.

Firstly, if your parking the car for more than a few hours, life the wipers from the screen as if will increase blade life. Secondly inspect the blades weekly for tears or other issues that will affect the ability to clear the screen. If the wiper blade does not clear the screen correctly, such as leaving a portion uncleaned, then the blade needs replacing immediately.

Always use a specialized screen wash product and not washing up liquid and keep the screen clean.


The above is not a comprehensive guide just an overview of the few things an owner can do to protect their investment and you should always contact a professional for maintenance advice.

Happy Motoring!

Matthew Stuart FIMI

Matthew Stuart FIMI

Matt is British and 3rd generation Automotive Professional with 35 years’ experience in the Automotive Industry. Matt has worked in Senior Management positions in the UK and Asia, having been based on Asia since 2003. Passionate about anything Automotive and a fellow of the Institute of the Motor Industry. Matt enjoys dining and entertaining, he is on the Board of Trustees of the Cheese Club of the Philippines.

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