Why has maintenance dogged Ugandans?
Posted Thursday, February 28 2013 at 02:00
People in Japan maintain their cars so well to the extent that when they are sold to us in used form, we cannot help but often refer to them as new. Meanwhile, when we acquire them, some used for a few years, we fail to maintain them even for just a month. The government buys brand new cars but they too are often misused. What is it that Ugandans just cannot get right?
Many individuals are often gripped by an overwhelming air of excitement immediately after buying a car. This sort of excitement is what makes such car owners in the long-run want to frequently show off their newly acquired cars to close family members as well as friends. When Joseph Sabiti bought his car two years ago, it is what he exactly did. “Since it was my first car, I frequently felt the urge to show off to my friends that finally I had a car. I also wanted to show them that I could actually drive,” Sabiti says.
However, five months down the road, Sabiti realised that the car exhaust pipe often made squeaky noises as he was driving. He visited three different mechanics in town in order to rectify the problem but this was all in vain. “The noise would stop for about a week and then come back. And when it did, it would even be louder,” Sabiti adds. He eventually sold it off just after a year. Well, Sabiti is not the only frustrated car owner who has failed to maintain a car just months after buying one. Rahim Yusuf, the operational manager of Jambo Automart, Kyambogo, says there are various individuals who are just like Sabiti whose cars develop various mechanical problems just days after buying and eventually decide to sell them off.
Some of the problems
The reasons why such car owners are continuously failing to keep their cars vary from each car owner. One of such outstanding reasons is the poor roads that we have in our country. “When one drives constantly on a bumpy or a potholed road, chances are that the undercarriage components, mostly the exhaust system as well, as the tyres and rims can easily get damaged,” Yusuf states.
Most cars that experience such problems are the ones whose undercarriage is really low. “The other problem is that most of us buy second and third-hand type of cars,” says Zubaili Sentongo, a dealer in new and used cars. Sentongo says the biggest problem with these type of cars is that they come with some sort of mechanical fault. Someone only realises probably just a few weeks after buying it.
Therefore, Sentongo advises that whenever one buys a car regardless of whether it is second-hand or not, it is important to do some bit of inspection with a mechanic so that he can look out for any sort of damage. It is also important for one to do a test drive. One should mainly check to see if the accelerator, brakes and the steering wheel are okay. The other problem that Sentongo points out is that most car owners have limited knowledge about the cars they buy. “You find someone buying a car and even after driving it for a while, its owner does not know what kind of servicing it needs when it gets a certain problem, where to buy the spare parts and even the functions of some parts of the car,” he says.
Therefore, he advises that one does elaborate homework on a particular car before buying it.
Sentongo says some people fail to maintain their cars because they just do not have time to service their cars and in the long-run, they wear out easily. Others simply drive carelessly and badly. Also, there are car owners who frequently get wrong advice from mechanics. One only realises that the damage has been done when it is already too late. In order to avoid such problems, Sentongo advises drivers to drive carefully on the roads and at the same time invest in a good mechanic.