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November is the ideal month to prepare yourself and your vehicle for any end-of-year trip you may be planning. The Automobile Association (AA) advises that ensuring the vehicle is serviced, that the tyres are in good condition, and that the necessary licences – including those for trailers and caravans – are in order and security measures are in place, should be a priority to avoid any breakdowns, interruptions, or run-ins with the law.

With barely a month left before most people wind down for the festive season, vehicle owners should use this time to ensure that they get their cars ready before it is too late, but to also ensure that they have the necessary security available if a need should occur. Security measures like the AA armed response solution, which allows you to send a panic signal at the touch of a button in the app, or on the Rem- I Amica device – which is a stand-alone panic button that boasts a range of features – are a great way to ensure peace of mind when travelling with family.

“The cost of servicing a vehicle means some drivers choose to rather take chances and to drive long distances with a car that has not been properly maintained or looked at by professionals. To save money, there is no harm in comparing costs across various service providers for an affordable and reliable service. But, it is essential that a vehicle is inspected and serviced, especially before a long trip,” notes the AA.

Several factors contribute to the cost of servicing a car, including its make and model, the type of service required, the frequency of servicing, and the cost of parts and labour.

Do your research on service facilities near you that are trustworthy like the AA Auto Centres network in Boksburg, Randburg, Menlyn, Rustenburg as well as in Gqeberha. Additionally, you can visit any one of over 200 AA Quality Assured centres across South Africa.  It is also advisable to read reviews, compare costs, and speak to family and friends about where they serviced their vehicles and the quality of services they received. While doing research also think about getting a service and warranty plan to avoid unplanned high costs.

“The AA has developed a monthly insurance product in conjunction with our insurance partners, which addresses this issue, and provides peace of mind to owners in the event of a breakdown. This warranty, or mechanical breakdown insurance as it is also known, is an insurance policy that provides protection against the cost of parts and labour following mechanical or electrical, or electronic failure of a covered part. It is designed to provide you with peace of mind in the event of an unexpected breakdown,” advises the AA. 


  1. Because the manual says so

Particularly for owners of new cars, the vehicle manual is full of useful knowledge, not least the intervals at which you should service your car. Keeping a full-service history will also help your car retain its value when it is time to sell or trade it in.

  1. Dashboard warning lights

This is the most obvious physical sign that your car needs a service. Ignoring a dashboard warning light can land you in deep trouble, so get a service booked as soon as possible.

  1. Braking problems

Modern brakes are ultra-responsive, so if you notice any issues like knocking or other noises, or oversensitivity, or resistance, you have a problem. Brake pads and fluid do not last forever.

  1. Squeals and squeaks

Do you hear a high-pitched whine when you turn the ignition key? Squeaks on the move can mean your power steering fluid needs replacing or that your tyres may have become unbalanced.

  1. Engine cutting out

Does your car stall as you pull away from traffic lights, even though you are in the right gear? The most common causes are clogged fuel filters and dodgy spark plugs, which are easy issues to put right, so book in for a service and get them seen to.

  1. Vibrations

If you are not on a poor road surface and your car starts to shudder and vibrate, you need to get it checked. It might be something as simple as a loose piece of panelling or as serious as unbalanced tyres or a loose bearing. Remember, tyres are vital pieces of safety equipment on vehicles and any issues with them should never be ignored but instead attended to immediately.

  1. Ignition issues

If your car coughs each time it starts, your battery could be on the way out. Call the AA to assist with a new battery on the spot and avoid the long queues. We test, sell, and fit in a new battery for you without leaving your home. 

  1. Getting fewer kilometres per litre of petrol

All car engines decrease in efficiency over time, but the depreciation is generally minor over the lifespan of the vehicle. If you notice that your car is doing significantly fewer litres per kilometre, it could be a sign that your car needs servicing.

  1. Grinding gears

The sound of grinding gears is a sure sign that you need to take your car to get serviced.

“Having the right attitude behind the wheel is crucial to ensuring better road safety for you, your family, any other passengers in your vehicle, and other road users. But this is only part of the solution. Ensuring your vehicle is running well, and in good condition, is another vital step to enjoying a hassle-free, and safe, holiday,” concludes the AA.

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