One of the hardest things about moving to a new country is to find the essential services you will need. These include doctors (we have sections about that), a capable dentist (we have recommendations) and, once you own a motor vehicle, competent mechanics. Now we have a recommendation.
When we first moved to Iloilo we bought a brand new 2008 Toyota Innova. We bought the Innova before we bought our Tigbauan property. We paid about P800,000 for it. In 2015 we sold it for P420,000. It had a little over 30,000 kilometers on the odometer. It was and is an excellent vehicle, but not one that handled the rough roads to our house in Tigbauan.
We had our Innova serviced at the Iloilo Toyota dealer. Toyota Iloilo’s service department is a miracle of order and cleanliness, perhaps better than some local hospitals. So we were very happy with them. Of course they practiced the replace rather than fix approach and Toyota parts are not cheap. One of our dogs chewed a rubber boot which was part of the rear brakes. The Toyota remedy was to replace the entire assembly at a cost of about $200, rather than the insignificant rubber boot. We made up our own rubber boot out of a truck inner tube.
So, we lost P380,000 when we sold the Toyota. Based on the fact that we drive so few kilometers per year, perhaps 5,000KM, we decided to buy a used vehicle where the depreciation would be slower than it had been on the Innova. We shopped on the online shopping site olx.com and noticed a 2008 Kia Sorento for sale by a German couple in Bacolod. It had about 51,000KM on it and had 4WD and automatic transmission, and many other luxuries we did not have on our stripped-down Innova.
Our thinking was thus. Buying a new vehicle with high ground clearance, 4WD and automatic transmission would cost about P1.5 million or over $32,000. Our Sorento cost P525,000 or about $11,400. So we could spend a great deal on repair and maintenance on the Sorento and still save a great deal on depreciation. The Sorento has required a few repairs. Earlier we wrote about having the air conditioner compressor repaired. We had a wheel bearing go bad, but overall the repair costs have been minor in our almost full first year of ownership. The depreciation in value of the Sorento is likely minimal, nothing compared with what it would have been had we opted to buy a new SUV or 4WD pickup.
We have used the Goodyear dealership on Ledesma street for most of the repairs. We had them install a 2.5” lift kit we ordered from the U.S. It was a multiple hour job involving the disassembly of the front suspension. They did a great job and charged P1,200. They also replaced the bad wheel bearing. The bearing went bad while we were in Iloilo City. Goodyear is fine with having you supply the repair parts, so we went to Korex on Valeria (Iloilo’s car parts Street) which specializes in parts for Korean vehicles. The Korean-made part was not cheap but the installation was. Goodyear took the hub to a machine shop which pressed-out the old bearing and pressed in the new.
On our most recent visit, we saw a nail head in one of the tires. They helped us almost immediately, jacking the removing the wheel and pulling out the nail, which turned out to be a small screw whose head had been ground down so it looked like a nail head. They took the wheel and tire to the water tank to check for leaks. There were none. They put the tire back on. I asked what the charge was. They said no charge. We paid the mechanic a tip. We always tip, as do other customers. These young men work hard, do a good job and are probably not paid very much. Tipping also ensures that when you need help, you will get it.
There may eventually be repairs which require service at the Kia dealer, but until then we are very happy with Goodyear Ledesma.