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Vehicle Maintenance Guide

A guide to maintain your vehicle

WHEN AND HOW TO CHECK THE VARIOUS COMPONENTS OF YOUR VEHICLE

You can extend the life of your vehicle by checking the various components of your vehicle on a regular basis, and replacing the components that are worn or damaged timeously. The following is a guideline as to when and how to check your vehicle components:

WHEN AND HOW TO CHECK THE BRAKE PADS

Frequency:
Your brake pads should be checked at every service interval, as well as every 6 months. Brake pads must be replaced when the thickness of the friction material is at 2mm thick, or when uneven wear is evident on the brake pads.

Method:
Check the thickness of the brake pads visually through the wheel hubs.

WHEN AND HOW TO CHECK THE SPARK PLUGS

Frequency:
Your Spark plugs should be checked 15 000km after fitment, and then checked every 5 000km thereafter. Method: This can be done by visually checking the spark plugs. Check that the distance between the electrodes is correct, and also check for black or brown discoloration on the spark plug white ceramic surface.

WHEN AND HOW TO CHECK THE COOLING SYSTEM

Frequency:
Your cooling system should be checked every third time you fill your tank with fuel. Method: You can check your cooling system with a visual check of the coolant. Check that the level of the coolant is correct. Also check the colour and clarity of your coolant – if it is discoloured, or is a lighter colour than the original coolant, then the coolant needs to be replaced and a more thorough inspection of the cooling system conducted.

WHEN AND HOW TO CHECK THE FILTERS

Frequency:
Your filters should be checked each time your vehicle goes in for a service. Check for leaks and / or severe dirt entrapment Method: The oil, fuel and air filter in your vehicle engine are usually replaced at every service as a standard procedure.

WHEN AND HOW TO CHECK THE WIPER BLADES

Frequency:
Your wiper blades should be replaced every 12 months.

Method:
Do a visual check on your wiper blades, checking for cracks, dust and wear. Should your wipers not be moving smoothly across your windscreen contact area, or if they do not remove all of the water from your windscreen, then they need to be replaced.

WHEN AND HOW TO CHECK THE FAN BELT

Frequency:
Your fan belt should be checked 6 months after fitment, and once a month thereafter.

Method:
You can do a brief visual inspection of your fan belt, checking for signs of cracking, fraying, splitting or a visible hard glazed surface. If any of these conditions are present, your fan belt needs to be replaced.

WHEN AND HOW TO CHECK THE GLOBES

Frequency:
Check that your vehicles globes are all in working order at least once a month. Any globes that are not functioning correctly should be replaced immediately.

Method:
To check your globes, ask a friend or family member to check around the vehicle as you use the various lights on the vehicle. Any lights that do not work, or if the light flickers inappropriately, then the globes should be replaced.

WHEN AND HOW TO CHECK THE FUEL PUMP

Frequency:
Your fuel system needs to be checked every 3 months.

Method:
Check your fuel hoses and pipes for defects, possible perishing and wear. Should your fuel pump need replacing, your car will not operate correctly. Your vehicle will feel erratic while driving and will not idle correctly, and it will jerk when in motion.

WHEN AND HOW TO CHECK THE GASKETS

Frequency:
The gaskets on all bolt-on components should be checked every month.

Method:
Check your vehicle for any leaks, these include oil seepage and coolant leaks.

WHEN AND HOW TO CHECK THE UNIVERSAL JOINTS

Frequency:
You should check your vehicles’ universal joints at every service.

Method:
To check whether the universal joints have excessive or abnormal wear, remove the prop shaft and inspect the universal joints for lateral or axial movement. If there is movement, or if there is a knocking sound when the vehicle pulls off, then the universal joints need to be replaced.

WHEN AND HOW TO CHECK THE BALL JOINTS AND TIE ROD ENDS

Frequency:
Your ball joints and tie rod ends should be checked at every service.

Method:
If there is excessive clearance between the ball and mating socket, then the ball joint needs to be replaced. They should also be replaced if any form of movement is evident, or if the steering wheel needs constant correction in order to keep the vehicle on the intended path.

WHEN AND HOW TO CHECK THE WORN SHOCKS

Frequency:
The shock absorbers should be checked 50 000km after fitment, and then every 5 000km thereafter.

Method:
To test a vehicle’s shock absorbers, use the Bounce Test: Apply a downwards force to one corner of the vehicle and “bounce” the vehicle three times. Release the vehicle at the bottom of a “bounce” and allow the vehicle to recover to its original position. This should happen instantly. If the vehicle continues to “bounce” then the shock absorber on that corner needs to be replaced. Always remember to replace both the shocks on the same axle.

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