It’s so far so good for Covid-19 restrictions remaining at level one for the festive season, which means families are eager to hit the road and get some well-deserved R&R at the coast and other destinations.
If you’re travelling by car, curb your holiday enthusiasm for just a moment to answer this question: When last has your car been serviced? If it has been within the last six months that’s good, but if it’s been a year or more, that’s not so good.
Regular servicing is not optional, says the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), which is an affiliate of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation.
MIWA chairman Dewald Ranft puts it quite simply. “Just like neglecting your own health by not seeing a dentist regularly or a doctor when you know something is not right, neglecting to service your car regularly can also have costly consequences – even dire, in some cases.
Ranft says car problems are often hidden and don’t deter your ability to drive from A to B, which is why so many people think their car is fine – no rattles, bumps, shakes or explosions, no problem, right?
Wrong. You could have hidden engine damage, despite being able to start your car and get where you want to be. Just because you can’t see or feel the problem doesn’t mean it isn’t there.
He adds the time to think about the health of your car is not the day before you’re going on holiday. If your car hasn’t had a qualified mechanic under its bonnet in a long while all kinds of problems could be lurking in the engine and elsewhere.
These could range from minor to major – like a loose fan belt or no oil in the car to wheel alignment or chassis damage.
5 things to think about if your car hasn’t been serviced in a while:
- Insurance companies pay for damage, not maintenance.
- “Backyard” mechanics can actually cause more damage. Always use an accredited MIWA workshop you can trust.
- Know how to check the fluid levels of your car and do so regularly. This is the most basic thing a car owner needs to commit to if they want to look after their car properly.
- Take notice of your engine and warning lights if they’re flashing and know what they’re indicating. The best advice is get to an accredited workshop sooner rather than later to have it checked out. Ignoring warning lights can lead to unnecessary damage to serviceable parts.
- Never skip a service. Your mechanic can pick up small defects before they become major problems. Services often require specialised tools most people don’t have access to, so avoid doing home services.
“Why risk the safety of your family by taking a road trip in a vehicle that hasn’t been properly maintained?” Ranft says.
He advises booking a service now if you need to – with an accredited workshop.
“Cheap may sound appealing, but there is good reason why it will cost you more to have your car serviced at an accredited workshop. A MIWA workshop, for example, is guaranteed to be staffed by trained mechanics with access to all the necessary diagnostic tools. All these workshops are Labour Relations Act compliant and registered with MIBCO. MIWA accredited workshops are also required to deliver to a standard of excellence and offer recourse should the customer not be satisfied.”