If you have just imported or bought your car, you need to start caring for it as soon as possible. That is if you want to have a trouble-free driving experience for the few years you will have the car. We take a look at what you need to do as you embark on your first car service.
Get the car inspected
Before you start servicing, take your car to your trusted mechanic or dealer to do for you a thorough mechanical & electrical inspection. This is to help determine the health of the vehicle. They will initially take it to the pit where the suspension and drive train system will be checked for wear and tear especially the bushes, arms, shock absorbers etc.
Electrical inspection is done by inserting an onboard diagnostic kit, that checks the function of key engine sensors like air flow, fuel system, exhaust, and many other parameters. Once the inspection is done, the mechanic will compile a report indicating the condition of the car, and systematically itemizing items to be replaced in the long term.
Initial service kit
As the new owner of the vehicle, it’s important to open a file for your car, aggregating service costs from the start. The first service normally is a major service that involves oil/lube change, replacement of oil, ATF and air filters, spark plugs, cleaning of key sensors and brake pads. This service will last you ideally 6-8 months and is quite costly, better safe than sorry.
Replacement of shock absorbers
If the mechanic insists on changing shocks, insist on reputable heavy duty shocks from Robs Magic and Oriel. Cheap shocks will only work for a few months and deteriorate after one year.
If you need to increase your ride height get heavy duty coil springs and not spacers as they affect the centre of gravity. If you get in an accident, insurance investigators will not pay if they discover spacers were fitted on the car.
Sometimes imported cars stay onboard RORO ships for long and the colours begin to fade due to oxidation, caused by salty water and atmosphere. If you need to rejuvenate your car’s colour, visit a proper car valet or paint shop, they will buff your car using an anti-oxidation rubbing compound and your car will come out brand sparkling new.
Imported cars come with winter tyres which wear out faster in our local conditions. Plan to replace your tyres during the festive season as most tyre dealers have good offers and have a wide array of stronger sidewall tyres, complete with warranties.
If you are driving a vehicle equipped with low profile tyres, you may plan for higher profile tyres that are not susceptible to blistering witnessed with low profile tyres.