More than 90 per cent of cars in Uganda are used and are susceptible to a number of problems, many of them mechanical.
Thus many first time car buyers, especially used ones, will set aside some money for mechanics before they are put on the road.
Such mechanical checks will include the engine, transmission, suspension and perhaps the body outlook.
The engine is the heart of a car. Without it, the car is just another metal box.
The purpose of checking the car engine is to understand its capacity and efficiency with which it can convert fuel into motion.
Apart from that the engine has other components including cooling, electric, exhaust and lubrication system, among others that must at all time be in good shape.
Therefore, depending on how you look at it, the engine is a very sensitive part of the car which, if abused, has the potential to cause severe damage.
It is imperative, according to Ronald Kabukka, a used car dealer in Katwe, for every car buyer to make sure that the engine is in good shape.
“Things such as sound, fluid leaks, timing belt and exhaust smoke go a long way to determine the health of the engine,” he says, emphasising that a driver should always give them attention.
Whereas checking out other things such mileage, is important they cannot determine the health of the car.
The determinant is the engine and must always be given due attention.
Eric Bazibumbira bought a car about a year ago but one thing he never cared to check was the transmission system until when he started driving in bad upcountry terrain.
“That is when I started seeing that I should have bought a manual car,” he says.
Most people are currently wowed by the automatic transmission systems because they are easy to drive. However, they are quite unreliable.
“They [automatic transmission cars] are hard to repair and quite expensive,” says Ivan Kyeyune, a mechanic on Rubaga Road, adding “Imagine the car’s gear system jams. This is a tricky area and automatic car gear problems never stop when they start.”
This is another intricate network designed to give the car and its occupants a smooth and stable ride.
The suspension system connects the car’s body to the wheels and is composed of parts that are susceptible to tear and wear.
Therefore they need regular check-ups and maintenance that involves proper mechanical analysis since problems around such parts are easily noticeable.
“If your car does not seem to ride like it used to, you may have a problem below. Such problems come in the form of a bumpy ride, squeaking sounds and imbalance,” says Kyeyune and recommends that it is important that you check out the suspensions before you put the car on the road.
The car body
This is a more visible part of the car and most people at least are critical of the car’s body while buying it.
However, it is important that you check out a few areas such as the boot and bonnet for previous accidents.
“If the car has been knocked from behind it is easy to tell from the boot. Therefore, even with a clear body outlook, take time to check out what you are buying,” says Ronald Kabukka, a used car dealer in Katwe.
The fresh looks, he says, should not prevent you from making a thorough inspection perhaps assisted by a trusted mechanic because you don’t want to spend money on a car that is going to turn into a problem.