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Money tight – don’t skimp on your car service


There doesn’t seem to be much good news for South African consumers at the moment. Despite the extension of the temporary R1.50 reduction in the fuel levy, the June fuel increases have had the predicted domino effect on the overall consumer price inflation and for many South African’s who are barely keeping themselves afloat, forking out on a car service may be the last thing on their list.

Car service intervals are however there for a reason and missing just one could end up costing your dearly, says Dewald Ranft, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI).

“It’s important for motorists to realise that car service intervals are designed by the vehicle manufacturers to ensure that the vehicle runs optimally and lasts the years it is intended to last. It is not a money-making exercise designed by service workshops,” he says.

“It’s also important to understand what a service interval is and to follow the manufacturers guidelines,” adds Ranft. He cites an interesting case where a vehicle was brought into a MIWA workshop that had done 80 000 kms over five years without a single service. The entire engine was enveloped in coagulated oil and grease.”

Teresa Spenser Higgs, Office Manager at ACD Workshop, says when they received the vehicle they were shocked by the state of the engine. “Essentially we had to start by cleaning the valves and camshaft area and then we asked the customer to return the vehicle two weeks later to do the cleaning process again. Fortunately, it looks like the engine can be saved,” she says.

She adds that vehicle owners need to understand that even if the vehicle isn’t driven much it needs to have an oil change every year. “There are additives in the oil that clean all the crevices in the engine parts. If, however, the oil isn’t flushed at least once a year these particles can block the oil pick-up. Oil degrades over time. An easy analogy would be a pan of oil on a stove. Even if no-one cooks in the oil but it is heated up and cooled down several times, the oil loses its viscosity and becomes almost sticky. The same thing happens in a car engine,” she explains.  

Ranft says that during a service interval the mechanics will do a thorough check of the vehicle which may include a road test and an assessment of the lights, suspension, drive lines, brakes, tyres (including spare and tools), fluid levels, wipers and windscreen, V Belts and exhaust.

“If a problem is identified, the mechanic will be able to advise the vehicle owner and provide a quote for repairs needed. No repairs will be done without the consent of the owner,” he explains.

“It is so important that vehicles are roadworthy. This can be ensured through regular servicing. Many accidents are a result of vehicles not being serviced or maintained. If you are unsure about when your next service is, stop in at a MIWA-accredited workshop and ask for assistance. Please, let’s all do our part to reduce the deaths on our roads,” Ranft concludes.

Teresa Spenser Higgs
Teresa Spenser Higgs, Office Manager at ACD Workshop
Eugene Ranft 1
Dewald Ranft, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA)