In the ideal world, we could trust every product and service provider we interact with entirely. However, the unfortunate reality is that for every honest business out there, you'll find four more that won't hesitate to pull a fast one on you to gain a quick buck. Nowhere is this more prevalent than when dealing with car repair workshops. Cars are complex machines, and it's easy to be misled by a few carefully crafted and spoken lines and dishonest practices - unless you know what to look for. Here are several practices unscrupulous mechanics tend to indulge in - and how you can find a car repair workshop that you can trust.
The world might be getting more equal, but in some respects, women are still targeted when it comes to things they stereotypically don't know much about. Many women have horror stories about visiting workshops alone and having mechanics try to get them to pay for things they don't really need. Try visit a workshop alone and then with a male colleague or friend. If the mechanic in question suddenly changes their tune about what your car needs then you know they were attempting to sneak a few hidden costs past you based on your gender.
When it comes to car parts and servicing, you won't find much deviation in terms of pricing from one dealer to another. This is because most parts come with set pricing that manufacturers recommend dealers and workshops charge. When you request a written estimate, this shouldn't be dramatically higher or lower than that of a competitor. If it is, you have reason to be suspicious.
While regular servicing and maintenance of your car is important, missing certain deadlines by a day or even a week or two is unlikely to result in a catastrophe. After all, a car that stopped working or caused an accident the second a part malfunctions would be too dangerous to have on the road. For this reason, beware of mechanics that state that every repair you need to make is urgent and must immediately be paid for. Unless you've neglected your car for years or have recently been in an accident, it's more likely that certain repairs will be more urgent than others, allowing you to budget for them over a certain time period.
When it comes to any kind of service agreement, it's important to get any promises made in writing to create an official record. A quality repair shop will have no problem with this as they'll understand it protects them as much as it protects you from a 'he said, she said' situation. Any quote, promise or estimate made verbally must be followed up in writing. If the mechanic in question won't do this, then rather look for another one.
Mechanics are human, and mistakes happen - although not massive ones, and not regularly. A reliable mechanic understands that their word is their bond and therefore if your car won't be ready on time for whatever reason (or if they can't locate a part) they'll immediately let you know and keep you in the loop. Beware of those who toss out excuses or throw their colleagues under the bus. They'll string you along as long as they can and won't hesitate to disappoint you.
Thanks to the Automobile Association's Quality Assured Accreditation Programme, the Motor Industry Workshop Association and even the Consumer Protection Act, the average South African car owner is protected from the worst of shady operators. However, it's always good to know what to look out for - just in case.
We're finally returning to some semblance of normal life now that level 1 of lockdown has been established, and many people are looking into making lifestyle or career changes in light of events during the past few months. If you're currently looking for a used bakkie for sale for work or personal use, there are certain aspects to bear in mind before making a final decision about the bakkie you're interested in.
Do Your Homework
South Africa isn't short of options when it comes to bakkies, so you'll need to decide which type is best suited to your needs. If you're not going to need to haul heavy loads or take on rough terrain often, you might not need to invest in a top-end bakkie. You should also look into resale value and the average cost of parts and tyres, so that you don't run into unexpected expenses or resale struggles later down the line. Another good idea is to research the reputation of the make and model of the bakkie you're interested in, as there is a wealth of testimonials, complaints and user reports available online, created by current or previous owners.
Test Drive It
This is crucial, not only to ensure that the vehicle runs smoothly but also to be certain that you're comfortable driving it. Some bakkies aren't designed with much leeway in terms of seat adjustment, which can be a big problem for women and shorter individuals who may struggle to reach the pedals or have sufficient back support. Be sure to take the bakkie on as many possible terrain variants as you can during your test drive, and include dirt or rocky road to the experience to ensure that the suspension is in good condition.
Inspect It Thoroughly
If you're not sure what to look for when inspecting the bakkie, it's fairly easy to download a recommended checklist online to use as a reference. If you'd rather be certain that you didn't miss or overlook anything, a certified inspection is available for a fee from the AA.
If you're set on getting a used bakkie for sale, remember that we stock carefully inspected and prepared used cars and bakkies on our website, so keep checking in!
When it comes to keeping your car in good condition, we tend to rely on specialist cleaning products and polishes. While they are effective, they're not cheap and sometimes you simply don't have anything on hand other than whatever you can find around the house. Over the years many mechanics and car owners have discovered cheap and easy hacks to clean, fix and maintain cars, and today we're going to share a few of them with you. So before you run to the best car repair workshop in your area, give these a try.
Keeping The Exterior Spotless
If you want to keep your car shiny and spotless, you'll be surprised by just how many items at home will work wonders to do so. Rust and gunk on your rims? Rub and buff it with some Coca Cola &ndash it's acidic enough to loosen hardened materials without damaging your rims. If you don't have access to car polish and want to give your vehicle sparkle, simply mix two cups of water with half a cup of hair shampoo, and apply to your car as you would with regular polish. Over time headlights become dull and can turn a slightly yellow colour. You can easily fix this problem by applying toothpaste to the headlights and buffing it off with a toothbrush. Cracked window? Clear nail polish will help prevent the crack from worsening until you get your windshield repaired or replaced. Nail polish is also a great solution to masking scrapes and scratches on your car's bodywork. Another great hack is using the cooking spray for those stubborn bug marks on your bumper - just spray the area, leave for a few minutes, and wipe the surface.
If you're suddenly stuck with a breakdown, you may be able to temporarily fix the problem with common items. A pair of pantyhose can be fashioned to replace a fan belt or timing belt until you get to a repair workshop. If you find a break in your pipes, an empty Pringles can and some duct tape will hold everything together for long enough to get you to safety. A leak in your fuel tank? Apply some chewed bubblegum to plug the area.
We hope these tips will be helpful to you in the future and would like to remind you that if you need the best car repair workshop for those issues you can't fix yourself, we have several specialist centres across the country to help get you safely back on the road in no time.
Taking your car to a car repair workshop for a service or repair when it's no longer covered by a service plan from an authorised specialist means you'll have to fork out cash for whatever needs fixing or maintenance. It also means that, unlike with a service plan backed by a known supplier, you won't necessarily have the automatic certainty that everything will be done thoroughly or correctly. To ensure that you don't get swindled or left with more problems than before you took it in, we've compiled a quick checklist to follow when you take your car to a service centre or repair shop.
1. Proper Documentation
This is crucial from the get-go, as you will need to have a clear track record and evidence of what was agreed to, terms of service, as well as proof of payments and invoices. The first document to get a copy of is the job sheet. All mechanics and service centres use this as a guideline for the job, and it should include all of your details, the date, specifics about what the job will include, as well as notes on any specific issues you need them to look at. Once your service has been completed, double-check the job sheet to ensure that they have marked all of the itemised tasks as complete and also look out for any extra notes they may have added during the process. Secondly, ensure that you get an itemised bill or invoice, clearly stating what was included and how much it cost. Check carefully that no pre-discussed additions were made and if you're unsure about any of the items listed, ask them to elaborate.
2. Check Fluids
Check your car's petrol level before and after the service - it should not have dropped by much as mechanics typically only take a drive around the block to ensure everything is in order. If you've requested an oil change or oil filter replacement, check that the oil in your tank is light in colour to confirm that it is the new oil. Confirm whether they have replaced the coolant and brake fluid as well.
3. Tyre Condition & Wheel Balancing
Although it's unlikely, your car's tyres may be swopped with older ones if you've had wheel rotation or wheel balancing done. Pay attention to how they look before and after the service.
4. Double Check Before Leaving
Ensure that you have your service booklet, belongings and tool kit with you before you leave the service centre. Sometimes these items can be misplaced or forgotten and it's much harder to convince them that something's gone missing after you've already left.
If you'd like to have absolute peace of mind that you're dealing with a reputable service provider who ensures absolute customer satisfaction, contact one of our Imperial Select Service Centres for professional and friendly assistance. We have a car repair workshop near you, wherever you are in the country and will get you back on the road in no time!
Sure, many things could go faulty with cars and often we don't consider many of them to be all that serious. A squeaky window or seatbelt that won't click into place without a few tries may be annoying but they don't affect your car's mechanical performance. However, warning lights are installed in your car's console for a very good reason they all indicate when an urgent or serious problem has arisen and you should immediately take action if any of them light up. The moment you notice a warning light coming on, find the closest safe area to pull over as continuing to drive can very likely completely wreck your car. We're going to review some of these lights and what they indicate so that you can go to a car service and repair shop to get it corrected.
Check Engine Light
If you see this light turn on, you must get your car to an automotive specialist as soon as possible. This light can activate for several possible reasons, including a possible faulty sensor, it typically indicates that something is seriously wrong with your car's engine.
Oil Pressure Light
When your car detects critically low levels of engine oil, this light goes on.  You may have sprung a leak or crack in your oil tank or rings, or you may just have forgotten to fill up with oil. Either way, this problem causes your engine to overheat and can cause severe damage, so pull over as soon as possible and call for help. Or, if you're very close to a petrol station, park there and refill your oil tank until you can determine the definite cause of the problem.
Brake System Light
Another serious indicator, you may simply be driving with your handbrake up, or there may be more serious problems with our brake fluid or brakes. A quick way to confirm the issue is by pumping the brakes if they feel soft or the brake pedal drops without much resistance, you need to have your car checked out.
This one is quite straight forward your car is overheating and suffering damage the longer you keep driving it in this condition. You may just be out of coolant liquid, but there are also other possible causes.
Check Battery Light
If your battery light comes on, you are either dealing with a dead battery that needs to be replaced, or there may be a more serious issue causing failed power distribution.
If you experience any of these issues, it's best to take your car service and repair shop to avoid any further - and very costly - damages from happening.
Every so often our lives change and as they do, so do our lifestyle needs. If you've realised your current car isn't big enough to accommodate your growing family, you may be considering upgrading and finding a suitable used SUV for sale. If your budget is fairly tight and you want to ensure you get the best value for what you can afford, read on as we list some of the best budget options available locally.
Honda has long been a trusted name in the automotive industry and the CR-V has been a firm favourite among prudent buyers since it was initially launched nearly 30 years ago. It's ideal as a family car and will be a great companion on long road trips and holidays to the coast, just as much as the usual day-to-day work and school runs. Features vary somewhat, depending on which edition you're looking at, but the benefit of buying a used model that has a few years on the clock is that you'll be more likely to pick up a higher-end variant at an affordable price. Four-wheel drive, ABS, traction control and the usual array of SUV features come standard in all models but you will enjoy features including leather seats, sunroof, climate control, steering wheel controls and an upgraded audio system if you scout around for an upper-end variant.
You can expect to pay anywhere from R50,000 for a 2004 model, to R250,000 for a 2015 model.
Models produced around 2006 go for about R60,000, while more recent variants will set you back in the region of R250,000 for a 2015 model.
The SX4 is quite a bit smaller than most SUV models, but the interior was designed in such a way that you'll get the impression and feel of a much bigger vehicle. It's a sporty, compact mini SUV that will be ideal for a small family or people who enjoy weekends away or trips to the beach. Roof racks come as a standard feature on all models, giving you even more freedom to transport bikes, surfboards or other larger items. The SX4 was designed as a budget option to the buyer market, so don't expect lavish features and finishes from this model. You'll find it's a comfortable drive with a practical interior, so if simplicity and reliability is what you're after, this might be a good match.
Price-wise, you can pick up a 2011 model for around R50,000, while the last and most recent models will set you back about R180,000 for a 2015 model.
If you haven't seen a lot of new Daihatsu models on the road lately, it's because the company pulled out of South Africa in 2015. They were very popular for their Terios and other models, however, and you won't have to worry about maintenance, parts or servicing support as they were acquired by Toyota a few years ago. If you're not all too familiar with the manufacturer, Daihatsu has a strong reputation for building extremely durable vehicles that can comfortably take on heavier weather conditions with impressive road grip and control. It is very straight-forward in terms of looks and features, but you'll have access to fundamentals like remote central locking, air conditioning, electric windows, as well as classic SUV elements including a roof rack and permanent all-wheel drive.
You can pick up a 2008 model for around R50,000 and can expect to pay in the region of R135,000 for a 2014 model.
As they were designed to endure rugged and daunting road conditions, SUVs are designed and built to be exceptionally durable, which is why even an older used model will provide you with many years of comfortable and reliable driving. Contact us if you'd like to be notified when new stock arrives or if you'd like to discuss how we can assist you with claiming your own budget used SUV for sale.