My car is cheap to maintain – Musasizi
What you need to know:
Musasizi’s Mercedes runs on a 2,400cc petrol engine which he says is fuel-friendly. He adds that if one knows the right place to buy spare parts and has the right mechanic, then servicing the car will be easy and cost-effective.
Unless you buy a brand new car with zero mileage, regardless of the brand, there are high chances that you will spend more money to carry out checks or repairs on a used one. This is so you can ascertain its mechanical condition before you get it on the road. Alternatively, you could take time to look for one in the best mechanical condition.
This is what Martin Luther Musasizi did before acquiring his Mercedes Benz E240 in 2014. Unlike all his cars that he previously imported, the Mercedes E240 is the first car he bought locally.
“I took my time looking for exactly what I wanted. I did not want to buy a car with any mechanical issues. I wanted one that I would start driving immediately,” Musasizi says.
A 2003 German Saloon car, Musasizi’s Mercedes runs on a 2,400cc petrol engine. When he fills its tank of 80 litres at approximately Shs300,000, this fuel is enough to take him from home to his workplace for one week.
However, its fuel consumption in slow-moving traffic differs from that on the highway. In built-up areas with heavy traffic, the E240 covers approximately five kilometres per litre of fuel and nine kilometres a litre on the highway.
Like most, if not all cars, servicing the E240 depends on what needs to be done. For engine oil, Musasizi uses eight litres, each costing Shs40,000, totalling Shs320,000 for engine oil alone. He spends another Shs150,000 on air cleaners and labour of Shs50,000. For gearbox service, Musasizi uses five litres of gearbox oil with a litre costing Shs60,000 and labour costing Shs30,000. Other costs will total about Shs120,000, bringing the total cost of service to about Shs450,000.
“I service the engine after every 8,000kms covered. The oil I use can cover 10,000km but because of bad roads and weather conditions, I cannot cover 10,000km. By the time I cover 5,000km, when I check the air cleaners, they are dusty. I carry out gearbox service after driving 40,000km,” Musasizi explains.
Just like other rear wheel drive cars, the Mercedes E240 is hard to drive on slippery surfaces. However, on normal marrum roads, it performs well.
According to Musasizi, sourcing for spare for this car is about knowing where to get the right genuine spare parts of good quality. This is because there are many duplicates on the market.
“If it is a car you drive every day, if you want peace of mind, you have to buy genuine spare parts. When I place an order with my suppliers, they do not give me a replica or something that works like what I need. Nothing is as annoying as replacing a spare part and within just a short time, it is already worn out,” Musasizi advises.
Secondly, service of the E240 depends on the garage you go to and the mechanic you use. If you buy genuine parts in the company of and they are fitted by the right mechanic, service will always be smooth.
“If you are disciplined with service of Mercedes brands, unless it is a reckless motorcyclist inflicted damage or when I drive over an obstacle and damage a part underneath the car, I can carry out a spare part replacement once a year, excluding aspects of basic service,” Musasizi says.
“For example, although spare parts for other cars seem cheaper, if you compare notes with someone with a Mercedes at the end of the year, motorist who own other brands will have spent a lot more than the Mercedes motorist. Mercedes are cheaper to maintain in the long run than most other brands,” he adds.
Musasizi has not carried out any major spare parts replacement. But with his previous Mercedes, a C-Class, he had to spend Shs950,000 and Shs850,000 respectively on the front and rear sumps.
These are computer systems that control the front and rear functionalities of the car, for which he has spent the highest cost.
The seats of the E240 are covered with fabric, while the design of the dashboard was meant for a good driving experience. You will not be bored because the sound system does not need any modifications or adjustments.
The dashboard is not cluttered with lots of buttons of different functionalities but was rather designed as a basic living room. Unlike other Mercedes Benz whose leather seats have heating systems to keep you warm in cold weather by press of a button, you will need to carry a cup of coffee in Musasizi’s E240 for warmth during long drives.