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Skipping car services can cost you dearly, workshop association warns

File picture: Ford via Quickpic.

File picture: Ford via Quickpic.

Published Jun 20, 2022


Johannesburg - It’s no secret that South African car owners are having a really hard time at the moment.

With the fuel price situation seemingly out of control, not only has it become significantly more expensive to get from A to B, but general inflation is also rising as companies try to absorb the additional transport costs.

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With many South African motorists struggling to keep afloat financially, it can be very tempting to skip a car service. However industry experts warn that this could cost you more in the long run.

Car service intervals are there for a reason and missing just one could end up costing you dearly, warns Dewald Ranft, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA).

“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 said. “It’s also important to understand what a service interval is and to follow the manufacturers guidelines”.

Ranft mentioned an interesting case where a vehicle, which was brought into a MIWA-accredited workshop, had done 80 000km over five years without a single service. Technicians were shocked to find that 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.

Furthermore, car owners are urged to understand that even if a vehicle isn’t driven much it still needs to have an oil change every year.

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“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 explained.

During a service 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, fluid levels, wipers, windscreen 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.

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“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,” Ranft concluded.

IOL Motoring