Thursday September 20 2012

How much do you know about your car?

By Jude Katende

Just like your body, you need to know a lot or at least something about the car you drive. Though it may sound obvious and therefore no need of a reminder just the same way you may not need to remind people about their bodies it isn’t obvious. Just as some people don’t “give a damn” about how their bodies look like, some don’t mind a lot about their cars.

Imagine if a traffic officer pulled you aside and asked you about the make of your car and you actually don’t know! Sounds strange but strange things do happen. If it is a friend’s car you borrowed and didn’t know certain things about it, this could be understandable but not when it is your car.

I asked a friend if her Subaru Forester was the first edition or the slightly improved one and she didn’t know. These Foresters have different rear head lamps so this was my point of inquiry. I asked if her’s had the same rear head lamps like those of a Forester just in front of us and she was like, “I don’t have that time to find out how my lights look like.” I was taken aback by this statement.

Just imagine if her lights were stolen and she had to for instance go to Kisekka market. That means she wouldn’t even be in position of describing what they looked like. It may sound like “not a big deal” to some people but trust me, it is. It is like not knowing your shoe size.

All said and done, a little caution here and they are for “just in case something happens. Imagine if you lost all your four wheel caps but couldn’t be in position to replace them because you don’t know how they looked like. Obviously, you cannot know each and everything about your car but there are some few things you ought to know.

Stuff like the design of both your front and rear headlights, the indicators, fog lights, wheel caps (if any), tyre size, registration plate, expiry date of your licenses and engine size.

Not rocket science
About the latter, I was told of a lady who on changing from her then Toyota Starlet to a Toyota RAV4, wondered aloud about the disparity in money spent on fuel.
The thing is, she cared less about the engine size of the old car and that of her new one. So she just kept on driving until she suddenly noticed that more money was being spent on the new acquisition compared to her trusted Starlet.

This is isn’t rocket science but I will say “almost” every motorist (maybe seasoned) knows it that the Starlet is fancied by many people because of its low fuel consumption. The engine sizes range between 1.2cc and 1.5cc depending on the model.

Compare that with RAV4s whose engine sizes range between 2.0cc and 3.5cc. (as in 2.0, 2.2, 2.4. 2.5, 3.5). This is the basic research this unfortunate lady driver should have first acquainted herself with before buying the bigger car. These are the small small things often overlook and in turn cost us a lot due to our ignorance.

There are times you may get stuck somewhere and after frantic calls to your mechanic, he asks you about how the car is behaving but you cannot describe a single thing. This is worrying.

If he for instance asked you about if the temperature gauge is working, if other icons on the dash display are on, if the radiator has some water in it and there is nothing that you know.

In fact, this is the reason some mechanics cheat motorists especially female ones. Once they discover you know less or nothing at all, pray that they are good guys otherwise you could be in for a loss by unnecessarily paying more for less.