It is important to get your wheel alignment checked every 10 000km or annually.

By Dumi Xaba

Car care and benefits
While there is not much we can do about the ever rising fuel prices, some habits might help us save on fuel and unnecessary repair costs; which at times can be very expensive.
The following is our advice on how to claw back on fuel consumption and expensive repair costs.

Driving habits
Accelerating too quickly and braking too hard can be costly as your engine and breaks works too hard, including the suspension and shocks. Driving gently can save a whole lot of dough in a long run.

Correct tyre pressure saves fuel and can save your life. Always check your tyres before you drive more than 10km/h for correct pressure. Hot tyres give incorrect pressure reading. Deflated tyres increase fuel consumption. If your tyres are over-inflated, they might burst on contact with pot holes which might lead to accidents or expensive replacement.

Wheel alignment
Correctly aligned wheels save petrol and help you avoid accidents. Not aligning your wheels will cause damage to one side of your tyres to be damaged and can half the life span of you tyres. Tyres should be rotated approximately every 10,000km. On average, you should have your balancing and alignment checked every 5,000km to 6,000km.

Oil change
A correct grade of oil must be used at all times, according to manufacturer specs. The engine breathes and if it breathes well, it saves fuel so the air filter needs to be regularly changed. Cheap is not always good. Use reputable manufacturer-recommended parts when servicing your vehicle. Never ignore any warning light on your instrument cluster, especially the engine lights.

Gearbox and diff
Gearbox replacement or repair can be extremely costly. A gearbox can cost up to R40,000 to replace. Replace filters and service your gearbox and diff at least every 30,000km or once every three years, if you don’t use your vehicle much. The same rule of thumb should also apply on the diff.
A gearbox and diff that function to the full release pressure on the engine and hence saves a ton on fuel costs. A faulty gearbox will be more energy consuming than an unserviced engine.

Exterior of your car
Baked paint cannot be matched. These tips will keep your paint looking good for a long time.
Wash your vehicle regularly to avoid a cud rain and harsh UV rays damaging your paint. Don’t use dish washer soap.
A paint protection film is applied on a new car. Some car shampoos have the same effect on the paint, however dish washing soap removes it.
If you invest on a paint protection film, your vehicle will still look new decades after buying it. You will never need to ever respray your vehicle.
It might be expensive at face value but will save your car more on minor dents and animal scratches. Some of the products are self-healing which last for a long time.

Windows and wipers
Most accidents are caused by human errors. Poor visibility leads to bad judgment. Maintain your window wipers and save your life and unnecessary repair costs. Always check your windows for cracks and chips. Repairing minor chips might save you from replacing a cracked window.

Aircon and fan
On cold winter mornings or rainy days visibility might deteriorate in a matter of seconds, especially if you have passengers in your vehicle.
Maintaining your fan and air conditioning system might save your life and of other road users.
I hope these tips help in maintaining your vehicle in a good working condition and save you some money on repairs and fuel.

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