With another round of heavy fuel levy increases predicted leading to extremely high fuel price increases at the end of March going into April many vehicle owners are definitely going to start feeling the pressure of owning a vehicle.
“Every petrol price increase means more is paid towards petrol costs and less is available for the maintenance of the vehicle,” says Dewald Ranft, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI). He says now is the time for vehicle owners to review their vehicle costs and look at cost-saving alternatives that won’t compromise their vehicle or safety.
“Regular maintenance of a vehicle is the only way to ensure it remains roadworthy but is also a money-saving exercise in the long run because major breakages on a vehicle are very expensive. Regular servicing can prevent that. It’s also the best way to ensure you keep your vehicle longer. A car in good condition will run longer and possibly be more fuel efficient,” he says.
In terms of price savings when it comes to maintenance, Ranft says there are excellent, accredited workshops that realise the expenses customers are dealing with and will offer a top-class service at a reasonable price. “It’s important to speak to the mechanic and share your concerns about price. There may be a way to do staggered maintenance with staggered payments or another solution. Already by using an independent workshop you are saving as services through dealers are more costly.”
“The key is finding a workshop that is accredited and affiliated to an association, such as MIWA. In this way you can be assured that the workmanship has a stamp of approval and should you be dissatisfied with the service, you have a channel to go through to lodge a complaint.”
“Independent workshops are small businesses wanting to stay afloat in a highly-competitive market. Keeping customers satisfied is essential to their business so more often than not they will go the extra mile to assist you,” adds Ranft.
Ranft offers drivers the following fuel-saving tips:
• Accelerate at an even pace in traffic. Short bursts of the accelerator will increase fuel consumption.
• Drive in a lane which has the least traffic ahead to maintain a constant speed. The engine management system will adjust the most economical settings for the best fuel consumption.
• The first startup after a lengthy stand is the one which has the richest fuel mixture, therefore one must prevent harsh acceleration whilst the engine is still cold as this will spike the consumption figure dramatically. Do not idle a cold engine to warm it up, as this will not improve the fuel consumption nor lengthen the life of the engine.
• If you are in a heavy traffic situation and the waiting times are lengthy, do not be afraid to turn off the engine and restart once the traffic starts moving again. Modern engines are now being equipped with this function to aid fuel saving. However prevent continuous switch-offs as this will drain the battery.
Besides driving with fuel efficiency in mind, he also suggests getting creative about how to use your car less. “Fortunately these days many people are still working from home but are nevertheless still having to ferry children to and from school each day. Car-pooling is a great way to save on fuel expenses and may be something to consider. Also plan your shopping trips better. Avoid several short trips to shops, that burn up fuel, by planning and shopping once a week. Finally if you can walk rather than drive, consider this option. It will improve your physical health and financial health,” he concludes.