Regular maintenance can extend the life of your vehicle. It can also go a long way in ensuring you and your family are safe on the roads.
Here’s a key motor maintenance FAQ that’ll help you keep your car in tip-top condition.
Q: How often should I have the brakes checked?
A: Every 16 000 km or with every oil change.
Q: Should brake pads and discs be replaced at the same time?
A: Yes. If you don’t, the new brake discs can wear unevenly and get damaged. It’s also more economical to replace both brake system components at the same time. You’ll get optimal brake performance and avoid additional brake repairs.
Q: Why do my brakes squeak?
Q: Why does my brake pedal vibrate when I hit the brakes?
A: It’s generally an indication that one or more of the brake discs are showing signs of uneven wear.
Oil & Filters FAQ
Q: How often do I have to change my engine oil?
A: At least twice a year or every 5 000 km.
Q: Do I need to change the oil filter when I change the oil?
A: Yes, most car manufacturers recommend you change the oil and oil filter at the same time.
Q: Why is my engine oil a milky brown colour?
A: It’s usually a sign a cylinder head gasket has blown, and water or coolant has leaked into the engine oil.
Q: When must my car’s fuel filter be changed?
A: Every 30 000 km to 50 000 km, depending on the recommendations in the vehicle’s owner’s manual.
Q: How often does the air filter have to be changed?
A: It depends on the make of your vehicle. Ford recommends an air filter change every 50 000 km. Chevrolet suggests a change interval of around 70 000 km.
Vehicle Service FAQ
Q: How often do I have to service my car?
A: Every twelve months or 20 000 km. Frequent travellers should opt for a vehicle service every six months or 10 000 km.
Q: What’s involved in a full vehicle service?
A: The oil and oil filter are changed, the brake fluid topped up and the brake system checked. The engine, wheel bearings and shock absorbers are given the once over; and all moving parts and components are lubricated. Fluid levels, the exhaust system and tyres are carefully inspected, and the engine is examined for fluid leaks.
Q: How do I know when the spark plugs need to be changed?
A: If you have difficulty starting your car, the engine misfires or acceleration is slow and sluggish, it’s usually an indication the spark plugs need replacing.
Q: Does the timing belt have to be replaced regularly?
A: Yes. You’re advised to change the timing belt every 150 000 km or according to the vehicle owner’s manual.
Q: How do I know when my tyres need changing?
A: In South Africa, the legal tread limit is 1 mm. Once a tyre wears below that limit, it must be replaced. Age also deteriorates tyres. Manufacturers recommend you replace your car’s tyres at least every 10 years.
Q: Why do some of my car’s tyres wear more than others?
A: If your tyres haven’t been properly fitted, aligned and inflated, there’s a good chance they’ll wear irregularly. When this happens, it’s essential you replace the tyres as soon as possible.
Q: Should I replace all my tyres at the same time?
A: No, but it is recommended you change your front or rear tyres in sets of two to maintain stability and balance.
Q: When should I rotate my tyres?
A: At least twice a year or every 10 000 km. If you regularly travel at high speeds or with heavy loads or over long distances, it’s important to rotate your tyres more frequently.
Q: Is wheel alignment necessary?
A: Yes, especially when you buy new tyres. Tyre manufacturers recommend you have your wheel alignment checked once a year or when you have your tyres rotated.
Q: Can poor wheel alignment lead to worn suspension components and steering?
A: No. Worn suspension and steering parts can pull tyres out of alignment.
Q: Where’s the best place to buy spare vehicle parts and components in South Africa?