Hints & Tips

With the correct care and maintenance, your vehicle can provide you with years of safe and reliable transport. An improperly maintained car isn’t just expensive to repair when things go wrong, but a danger to yourself and others. Below are some handy hints and tips for vehicle care. If you have any questions or concerns regarding your vehicle care, call or visit your nearest branch for friendly, transparent advice.

1. Tyres

To prevent uneven wear and tear or dangerous blowouts, it’s imperative to regularly check your tyres. Ensure that they’re properly pressurised according to the manufacturer’s recommendation by checking the owner’s manual or inside the driver’s door. Incorrect pressure can lead to quicker wear, so get a reading when they’re cool (rather than after a long journey). Check that there’s sufficient tread (a minimum of 1mm by law). To avoid higher fuel consumption from friction and uneven wear, check your wheel alignment every 10 000km. Hitting potholes can affect wheel pressure sooner, so if you notice parts of your tyres wearing differently to the rest of the tread, get your alignment checked. Even if your car does low mileage, check that the tyre sidewalls have no cracks. Tyres degrade with time, so while the tread may still be sufficient, the rubber may be going brittle.

2. Checking and changing your oil

Oil is important for protecting your vehicle’s engine from deposits building up, keeping it sealed and cool, and it enhances performance and prolongs the engine’s life. Make it a habit to check your oil levels whenever you fill up with fuel and have the oil changed with every service or every six months. If your car requires oil more often, there may be a leak and a Car Service City manager or mechanic can help determine that.

3. Proper battery maintenance

Never ignore the battery warning light. Check for any mineral deposits, signs of leakage or corrosion, and unless you have a waterless battery, check the water levels regularly for topping up.

4. Brakes and brake fluid

Listen for squeaking when braking, this may indicate that the brake pads are worn down. Brake fluid is also important for properly functioning brakes. Replace the fluid at least once a year.

5. Water levels, fan belts and temperature gauges

Make it a habit to top up your radiator when you fill up with fuel and that you top up with anti-freeze periodically. The radiator is important for keeping your car’s engine cool, so pay attention to any squealing that may indicate the fan belt is slipping. If your water level light comes on or the temperature gauge goes into the red, stop driving your car immediately and phone for assistance.

6. Get a professional assessment

Make it a habit to top up your radiator when you fill up with fuel and that you top up with anti-freeze periodically. The radiator is important for keeping your car’s engine cool, so pay attention to any squealing that may indicate the fan belt is slipping. If your water level light comes on or the temperature gauge goes into the red, stop driving your car immediately and phone for assistance.

7. When accidents happen

Whether it’s a minor bumper bash or a serious collision, here are seven important points to follow:

  • By law you’re required to stop after an accident. Do not move the vehicles until the police have arrived, especially if there are injuries.
  • Switch on your hazard lights to warn other drivers.
  • Call the South African Police Service on 10111 to assist you at the accident scene, Emergency Services on 10177 if necessary, and your car insurance company for towing information if necessary.
  • Take down information of involved parties, such as their full names, ID numbers, registration numbers, make, model and colour of the vehicles, contact details, details of traffic officers, ambulance personnel and tow trucks. You can also take photos on your phone.
  • Be careful of spilt oil and fuel, broken glass, and twisted metal.
  • If the police weren’t present, report the accident within 24 hours and get a case number. This is essential for insurance claims.