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Feeling cash strapped? Are you in for a minor car service or a major service? Know the difference


On top of four consecutive petrol price increases, worries about the upcoming election and consumers generally feeling cash strapped, probably the last expense you need right now is another car service.

You may be one of the thousands of South African motorists who are reaching your car service mileage marker and it’s time to book your car in for a service. So, are you in for a minor service or a major one?

Dewald Ranft, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), says vehicles should be booked in for a service as per the manufacturer’s requirements, but not all services will be a major one. “In fact, only every other service is a major one,” he says.

During a minor service, the workshop will generally do an oil and oil filter change. The workshop will also check all fluids, filters, belts, hoses, brakes and emissions and lubricate the chassis if it has not been factory sealed. “Most workshops will check your tyre pressure and, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation, may do a tyre rotation. The service will also include a check of all lights, windscreen washer and coolant levels, brake fluid level and colour, and the power steering fluid level,” explains Ranft.

“You can, of course, speak to your workshop manager about any issues you may be experiencing with your vehicle and ask them to check that specific area. They will be able to let you know if any additional servicing or repairs are required.”

When it comes to a major service, unlike a minor one, a thorough and comprehensive checklist is included in the service. “The mechanic will do a check from head to tail of the vehicle going so far as to wash the engine and vehicle if requested by the customer. All components of the vehicle will be checked as well as the actual body work of the vehicle. All hinges and latches will be greased, components lubricated and all parts reported on. The timing belt will also be checked depending on mileage or years as per the manufacturer’s requirements.” Ranft adds that if anything major is picked up during the service, the mechanic must provide a quotation for any additional work that needs to be done before the work commences.

He says that if you are unsure if certain items are included in a service, speak to your mechanic. “We highly recommend using a MIWA-accredited workshop so you can be assured of the highest standard of service and accountability. The Competition Commission Guidelines have opened up the opportunity for consumers to have the choice to service their vehicle at a workshop of their choice. “This means you can shop around for the best possible price and service quality,” says Ranft.

The mechanic will be able to clearly indicate what is included in the service and whether a minor or major service is needed. Always remember to mention any problem areas you may be having with your vehicle so the workshop can give these special attention.”

“Services and keeping a record of your service history are vitally important, not only for your vehicle’s resale value down the line, but also to ensure your vehicle is safe on the road. Our stats show us that with many people working on a hybrid work schedule, drivers are not accumulating the same distances they did previously. This  is throwing out their service routines to some extent. So whatever you do, don’t miss a service. We need to all be responsible for making our roads a safer place and remember a healthy car is not a fuel guzzler and your diligence will be rewarded when it is finally time to sell,” concludes Ranft

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Dewald Ranft, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA)