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Top Gear Philippines

Hi. I'm an avid fan of Top Gear Philippines. I need your advice regarding an anti-car-theft device. I bought a new midsize SUV, but I heard that car theft is rampant in the country, especially involving 4x4 SUVs.

I was hoping to give my SUV more security by putting an anti-theft device, even though it is already covered by a comprehensive insurance. If I install an anti-theft device, will I have problems with my car warranty? My car is a month old only.

Since I'm working abroad, I don't know where I can buy an anti-theft device for my car. I wanted to search online, but was hesitant because they might not be genuine. Can you please help me? Looking forward to your input and reply.

More power to Top Gear Philippines!

Jeffrey Mendoza


Hi, Jeffrey. Car theft is always a problem for any car owner, and the best way to address your concern is to work with your dealer to install the anti-theft device you decide to use. The dealership should be able to tap into the proper wires without causing any issues with the vehicle's electrical system.

There are various types of anti-theft systems. There are ones that are integrated into the vehicle's factory alarm. In such a system, you have to override it any time a door opens with the engine running, otherwise the system will shut down the engine after a preset period of time. This gives the car thieves time to drive off and buys you time to call for help or move to a safer location. By then, the car thieves, of course, will have been far enough and stuck with a disabled vehicle that we hope they will choose to abandon.

Another possible option is to have a vehicle-tracking system installed. While not exactly an anti-theft device, it does help recover the vehicle unless the thieves find and disable it before the vehicle is found.

If you happen to be handy with tools, you can always choose to have an engine starter disable switch installed. It's simple enough and fairly trouble-free to install. When you activate it, the thief will have difficulty starting the engine once they turn off the engine. It is simple enough to do and needs only one wire to be touched.

 

You had one A Day in the Life article--probably in 2011--featuring an auto air-conditioning maintenance and repair shop. I can't find the issue in my Top Gear collection anymore.

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The reason I am looking for this issue is that my 2006 Honda Civic is currently at the dealership for a regular maintenance check. I complained about the climate control, which is not working--the cooler turns off at high fan settings. Honda is charging me P20,000 just for general cleaning, but I was not guaranteed that the issue would be fixed after this. This made me furious because a couple of years ago, they charged me P50,000 to fix the cooling issue of the same A/C.

I need help: Can you please tell me the Top Gear Philippines issue in which the aircon repair shop was featured? Can you refer a good A/C service center where I can get my A/C fixed? Thanks!

Roman Salvador

 

Hi, Roman. The magazine you're looking for is the one that came out in September 2009. The aircon shop featured there is CarCon. Here's an excerpt from that story: "CarCon has been in the aircon maintenance and repair business since the '80s. It's located on Esteban Abada Street in Loyola Heights in Katipunan, Quezon City..."

Anyway, it's quite likely that they'll be replacing more than a couple of components on your Civic's air-conditioning system. In most cases when a general cleaning is involved, the filter/drier and the expansion valve are replaced. That may partially explain the amount you're being asked to pay.

I can't be sure without checking on your car myself, but it sounds like you might be encountering a high-pressure condition in your vehicle's A/C system. When this happens, the compressor switches off until the internal pressure drops before turning on again. If it is a high-pressure condition, I would check the refrigerant level to see if it's at the proper level, as well as the condenser for blockage. If it's too high, then reducing the amount of refrigerant would be the proper way of addressing your problem.

If the blockage is severe, on the other hand, the A/C may have to be taken out of the car so that the blockage can be removed. More often than not, it would require a general-cleaning service cost since the labor cost required is about the same. The bill should indicate what they replaced and the work that was done on your car, or you can always get a second opinion elsewhere.

If you want to try a non-dealership A/C service center, I suggest Denso. They have a number of branches across Metro Manila. You can also try Fresco Marketing in Banawe. They are between N.S. Amoranto and Del Monte Avenue, near North Park, if you're in the Quezon City area.

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Or, well, you can give CarCon a visit.

Best regards,

Ferman Lao
Technical Editor

Do car problems keep you awake at night? Send questions to topgear@summitmedia.com.ph.

Ferman Lao
Technical Editor
Wearing the hats of a race car driver, driving instructor, grease monkey, tuner, dyno operator, auto shop owner, motoring journalist and CAGI president at one time or another, or all at once, deep down he's just another guy who loves cars.
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