PETALING JAYA: With the rising cost of living and cash crunch, many Malaysians are not getting their vehicles serviced according to schedule while towing services have seen an uptake in business mainly due to vehicular breakdowns, according to mechanics.

An increase in road accidents and car breakdowns has also raised the question of whether people are neglecting to service their vehicles due to financial difficulties.

Perodua service adviser Mohd Hafizonizam, 41, said about half of Perodua owners, regardless of income levels, are not keeping to their car-servicing schedule.

“The three types of servicing we provide are normal, semi-minor and major. The cost estimation for normal servicing is about RM250, which includes engine oil, oil filter and filling of gas.

“For the semi-minor category, the charges are between RM300 and RM400, and include brake oil and air filter changes. Major servicing charges are between RM500 and RM600 and include additional brake oil, coolant, gearbox oil and oil filter changes.”

Hafizonizam said only about 50% of clients get their vehicles serviced as per recommendation.

Proton service adviser Danish Faris, 26, said some 280 cars on average are booked for service monthly, while 307 cars were serviced at his Petaling Jaya outlet last month.

Faris said Proton’s service charges range from RM60 to RM160, and that regular customers have been servicing their vehicles twice a year to keep them in good condition.

“The cost for a minor service, which involves changing the engine oil is RM60, while also changing brake oil and fuel filter costs between RM80 and RM100. Other replacement parts fall under major service and cost from RM145 to RM160.”

Pertubuhan Kebajikan Callman Semalaysia vice-president Ewan Radzuan said the public mostly seeks its towing services when their cars break down or are involved in accidents.

He said while he is unable to produce statistics on the number of towings his members carried out throughout the year, it had grown significantly, especially due to vehicle breakdowns.

Universiti Putra Malaysia Road Safety Research Centre head Assoc Prof Dr Law Teik Hua said keeping to the recommended vehicle maintenance schedule helps to avert expensive repairs and increase the lifespan of vehicles.

He said unserviced vehicles, including heavy commercial vehicles, are more likely to be involved in traffic accidents since they need effective braking systems to stop at a shorter distance while carrying heavy loads.

“It is okay to reduce a vehicle’s maintenance requirements, but people should never disregard components that affect safety such as brakes and tyres.”

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