Make your car last longer

Thursday May 17 2018

car engine

This really goes without saying. In fact all the liquids that go into your car including fuel, oil, brake fluid and power steering fluid among others are critical to its continued survival. FILE PHOTO 

By Mustafa Ziraba

Next to building or buying a house, buying a car is one of the most important purchases most people will make in their lives. The following tips will help you keep your car running without having to shell out for major repairs.
Let us start by assuming you are driving a car in good shape. If you have been putting off service for years, it is already too late. Sooner or later, something will fail, and it will probably be expensive. Those are the odds you are playing when you try to avoid taking your car for basic upkeep.

Avoid fake fuel
It is recommended that you buy fuel from brand stations. While this tip will probably rub some people who shop for the cheapest fuel the wrong way, it is not a coincidence that the Ministry of Energy called out to the public fuel stations selling adulterated fuel. Why is this a bad idea? Primarily due to inconsistencies in fuel quality, worse, you might be putting all sorts of chemicals in your fuel system that may end up harming your car.

Change the oil regularly
This really goes without saying. In fact all the liquids that go into your car including fuel, oil, brake fluid and power steering fluid among others are critical to its continued survival. Mechanics suggest frequent oil changes and fluid checks done at proper workshops. Sulaiman Settimba, a mechanic on Salaama Road says: “Whichever oil you choose, be consistent over time. That way you will not mix synthetics and blends, which can cause problems.”

Tyre pressure and alignment
Check your tyre pressure and alignment regularly. Wheel alignment done is way cheaper than new tyres. Under-inflated tyres not only increase mileage, but are prone to getting punctures than properly inflated tyres. Checking tyre pressure also allows you to check tyre wear regularly. Mohammed Walusimbi, a tyre seller in Nabugabo, says he has seen one too many cases of people destroying perfectly new tyres in weeks simply because their tyres were not aligned.

Pay attention
Pay attention to the little things your car is telling you because whether you know it or not, your car talks to you every time you drive it. Many times one gets used to the noises, but these never get better, only worse. By paying attention to the little things that are out of the ordinary and applying preventive maintenance, you can help avoid expensive and major repairs down the line. “Just because you do not hear belts squealing does not mean they are in good condition. A broken belt can leave you stranded in the worst possible location at the worst possible time. If you are heading for a long trip, check them in advance to see if they will make it. Look for cracks or obvious wear and tear,” Settimba says.

Rule of thumb regarding the order of need for repair in order of importance is engine, gear box, suspension and finally the car body. When the engine breaks you are dead stuck with a glorified big metal box on the roadside. When your body gets scratched.

Take care of cosmetics
With all this attention being paid to keeping the mechanicals up, you do not want to forget cosmetics – exterior finish, interior, trim work and a host of other important elements. When you allow your vehicle’s appearance to slide, it allows you to become careless about everything else because there is no longer pride in what you are driving.

Stay on top of vehicle upkeep – such as washing, waxing and keeping the interior up. And when trim items and interior parts wear out from use, replace them to give it a fresh look. When you are driving a vehicle you feel proud of, you are more inclined to take care of all maintenance items and reach that half-million-mile mark.