Do people normally buy new cars here in Phnom Penh? The answer is more No and less Yes! There are thousands of used cars importing from the U.S each month.
Well yes, there are people who buy new cars too, but the number of used cars outnumbers the new cars.
And all both used and new cars require regular maintenance and repairs, isn’t it? Don’t say you don’t repair a new car 🙂 I keep hearing complaints from new car owners all the time.
In this post, I am going to describe where a Cambodian like me do car repairs and maintenance in Phnom Penh so it can cut down the hassle and headache if you are a new care owner or new to town. At the same time, I’m all ears listening to you if you have great places to go.
These are the services that I recommend and I myself would go over again. However, it might evolve through time if I happen to have bad experiences with them in the future.
Disclaimer: This post is composed of mostly services and products that I have used and I choose to recommend without being biased. I am not paid to recommend the below services. However, this post also contains items that I personally have for sale and I clearly state them below.
#1 Changing Engine Oil and Brake Fluid
This is the most regular thing I gotta do. I get my oil changed as suggested and test my brake fluid whether I need change once in a while.
For engine oil change and brake fluid change, the service that I go to is Sor Chiv Olympic – Oil Change. The price is fixed and the staff are professional. At this place, you can also change 1. windshield wipers, 2. engine oil filter, 3. buy coolant, 4. buy air con filter, etc.
A part from engine oil that we know when we need, brake fluid is different. We only change when the testing pen shows that it’s time to change.
When we are negligent to change brake fluid as recommended, it can result in breaking car’s ABS system. Not only ABS actuator is expensive, but we definitely need to take care of our safety.
It’s quite easy to understand the color shown on the pen.
- Green = Safe to keep the current brake fluid. The fluid is still charge
- Yellow = So so. Okay to keep a bit more. It’s neutral
- Red = Dangerous. Need to change brake fluid immediately
I have 10 of these pens in stock. You will need to check if I still have it by the time you are reading this. I'm happy to share this brake fluid tester for $8/piece. Shipping is free for Olympic, Boeung Keng Kang, Toul Toumpoung areas. Or else I can ship with Kerry Express and you pay the shipping fee. Call 081 688 555
#2 Balancing Tires
For those who don’t know when we need to balance the tire? Read them here, balancing is needed every time we take a tire of a rim and re-mount it on another rim. It should be re-balanced so that the tires don’t know where they are.
Three signs that you should be aware that your cars need balancing and tire rotation:
- Your tires have uneven wear
- When you notice a little vibration on your steering wheel. My case was that I did feel a little vibration on my steering wheel but I found out the reason I used a little bigger size of spare tire. Now I have just bought a new one. And re-balance all tires. Problem solved.
- One of your tire might lose air slowly because of too much pressure was put on it.
For balancing, I like Sakha Sok Lim tire shop located on Norodom Blvd near G2000 clothes shop. The whole process takes about 15 minutes to 20 minutes and it costs $10 for the four tires. You won’t find this price when you are abroad.
And yes, they have a balancer machine. I heard that the machine itself costs about $20,000.
Below is a picture of balancing my tires. It shows Okay!
In Phnom Penh, I never try the below service tire alignment, I only saw the shop advertised on FB, but it looks promising, it should be a place to go when I need this service in the future. For now, my car works fine after balancing but I am going to closely monitor my tires’ tread.
According to the ads, it costs $25 to do tire rotation/alignment. If you know this place from my post, and have tried it. Please let the other readers know in the comment below.
#3 Tire Rotation
It can be a little confusing between balancing and tire rotation. But by the word, tire rotation, we can guess. It’s about swapping tires.
“Tire rotation is the practice of moving the wheels and tires of an automobile from one position to another, to ensure even tire wear.” – Definition Source: https://www.bridgestonetire.com/tread-and-trend/tire-talk/tire-rotation
Tire rotation is different for different types of vehicles. For example, if you drive a FWD, you might want to swap it across with the rear tires as shown in the picture below. We are suggested to do tire rotation every 5000 to 7000 miles so that the tires are even.
Recommended place? You can do it at mostly any tire shops. I recommend Heng Shihung tire shop. Read more about the shop below.
#4 Changing New Tires
I normally change new tires when its age is over six years. Even my former car Lexus RX300, I never intend to save money by using aging tires. And if there are two options between a Thailand made and Japan made, I will definitely go for a Japan made.
For my current Highlander, one tire costs me about $178 to $180 for a new Yokohama tire (Japan made only). There is no Thailand made for Yokohama.
However, if you happen to choose the Bridgestone brand. You should definitely check both Thailand made and Japan made, you will notice the high quality of Japan made by naked eyes. The tread depth is fair enough for its higher price.
I often change at Heng Shihung Tire shop or at Sakha Sok Lim (Secondary option). I definitely vouch for Heng Shihung first because of their professionalism. Zero scam. They sweat for profit. I respect that. Oh yeah, all of the services I mentioned that I have tried are zero scam, or else I don’t spend my time writing about them. For tire repair, I definitely go to Heng Shihung too. If in a rush, I changed to use spare tire, and get my tire fixed later.
At some repair services, we see in the street might have ask us to apply glue inside the tire when we have a flat tire, or drill a hole too big so that our tires so that they can earn more money from us, but our tires will be unusable soon after.
Heng Shihung Tire Shop’s phone number: 012 616 461. Just google map for location.
#5 Car Cleaning and Deep Cleaning
Car cleaning normally costs KHR16000 for my Highlanders because it’s a three-row car. And normally, it costs KHR 14000 for a sedan car.
It costs $40 to do deep cleaning and it takes one full day to do so. By deep cleaning, I mean they will remove all of the seats to clean everywhere in the car including stain on the roof, machines, etc. To do this, you will need to leave your car there very early in the morning so that you can come to get it back at around 4:00 PM.
Of course, I go to Pench Chet Car Cleaning Street 310 which is in my neighborhood.
#6 Changing Engine Air Filter and Air Con Filter
You can choose to change these at the car wash place, or stock it yourself. I bought from សុខៈ168 Car Service
I choose to stock it myself because I need to use the Japanese filter, rather than the fake ones with Toyota brand on it. It is pretty easy to change at home.
It is recommended to change an engine air filter every 20,000 KM or 1 year.
You can feel different fiber on the filter when you buy the Japanese ones. The one with Toyota brand on it (if fake one), it’s a little hard.
#7 Car Repairs
It is going to depend on what kind of car you drive and what spare parts you wish to change. If you happen to drive a Hybrid Toyota and Lexus, you should check Naroeun Auto Garage, they are specialized for all Toyota Hybrid System. Naroeun imports used ABS and hybrid battery from the US.
For other parts, I normally go to Sotheany Garage. The owner is down to earth and a clean businessman.
In Cambodia, you can look around for parts from shops around Psar Depo and provide to your repair shop to change for you.
Just a side note. When your car has a problem, you will see the engine sign in the dashboard. And too avoid certain scam, I recommend you buy a diagnostic tool OBD II. Just plug in your car, connect to your phone via Bluetooth. Install its app (Its app costs $5 sth), you will be able to scan the problem. Get the problem code, browse the internet to read the details.
You know your car’s problem before bringing it to repair shop.
I have about 10 boxes of these. If you are in Phnom Penh, I'm happy to share one with you for $10. You will need to check with me if I still have it by the time you are reading this. Shipping is free for Olympic, Boeung Keng Kang or Toul Toumpoung areas. Call 081 688 555
Here is an end of this blog post for now, but I am sure to update this post as I accumulate the experience! And I do hope that you share your favorite service place in the comment box below.