Well, it’s been a rather expensive start to 2019. Other than trying to do my bit to pay for my upcoming nuptials to my wonderful significant other, we also had to fork out R32 000 to fix the gearbox on our 2010 Nissan X-Trail. So, in a bid to save you R30k or more, I’ve come up with a few tips that you can use/follow should you own a second-hand vehicle.
Be absolutely sure about what type of cover you have
No one likes to read through that stack of documents that we have to sign when making purchases like this one, but take it from me, do it.
I didn’t pay much attention to these documents, so I forgot that I had signed one for a motor plan with MotorRite. Only on the day that we took the car for the repair did I figure this all out. Be clear on what plan you are purchasing, but also what the Ts and Cs are of that cover.
In our case, we had not had the car serviced in 2018 (keep in mind that we only bought this car in April 2018, so it was not even a year of ownership yet). When we booked it in for a service in February 2019, the service had to turn to into a repair because the gearbox was, well, broken. But because it had been over a year since the vehicle was last serviced, we weren’t covered for this repair, so we had to pay the entire bill out of our own (now empty) pockets.
Have your car serviced on a regular basis
Even if your vehicle isn’t on a service plan of sorts, get your car checked and serviced at least once a year or every 10 000 to 15 000 km (whichever comes first). This will ensure that if you pick up on any potential issues, you can fix them before it becomes a costly fix. It’s also just great to have a vehicle that’s always in top shape.
Save some money just for maintenance and repairs
This is for those who don’t have a maintenance or service plan. If you can afford it, stash some cash away every month so that when you get the car serviced, you don’t have to fork out too much money.
Of course, the cost of a minor service varies depending on the type of car that you have - it could be a couple of hundred Rands or a few thousand. However, if you save up you won’t be too caught off guard when repairs or maintenance need to happen.
Keep your car clean
Get your vehicle cleaned on a regular basis.
Yes, it’s nice to have a clean car, but it also keeps the car looking fresh and prevents dirt from scratching the paint. Sometimes, if you leave dirt on your car for too long, it doesn’t come off, even in a wash.
Look after your tyres
The only thing between you and the road are your tyres. Make sure that yours are always in good shape.
Check the tread on a regular basis and ensure that the tyres are healthy. Tyres that are worn or not well looked after could result in a number of accidents brought on by a vehicle not being able to stop due to worn tyres or a tyre burst and the driver losing control.
And finally, check your wipers
This probably isn’t high on the list of things that people check on their cars as it's not one of those things that is top of mind until you’re stuck in a storm with crappy wipers.
Check your wipers regularly – clean them often and make sure that there isn’t any leaves or dirt stuck between them and your windscreen, and if you need new blades, get them immediately.