Don’t make these three mistakes with your used car

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Don’t make these three mistakes with your used car

Most pre-owned cars in South Africa have already fulfilled their use from their original owner. This means they’re a few years old, already with signs of general wear and tear and are only getting older. So, if you want to save yourself from doing a search for new second-hand cars to buy, you need to take care of your used car.

We’ll be looking at some of the common mistakes people make with their cars that don’t only add to the car’s age but also adds to the risk of driving it. And this goes for new and used cars alike, used cars, however, being slightly more prone to damage.


Excessively pump your tyres up

While you should be checking and maintaining your tyre pressure on a regular basis, there’s a growing misconception of excessively pumping your tyres up to the maximum pressure. People say that with super-pumped tyres, they were able to get more kilometres out of their tank. Now, that might seem like an appealing result considering the hiking fuel prices, but doing so presents long-term deficits to your tyres and car which will end up costing you more than just an extra tank of petrol.

The only time you have a reason to max-out your tyre pressure is when you’re transporting a heavier-than-usual load. Any other time, you need to keep it at the recommended tyre pressure. If you over inflate your tyres, you’re reducing their traction with the road’s surface and, while that allows you to travel further, it will affect your tyre’s grip on the road, cause there to be more vibration and shock experienced on the road, reduce the wear of your tyres quicker and can even damage your car’s suspension system as a result of full-vibration on impact.

So, unless you’re looking for a tyre-deteriorating, shock-damaging and a rougher ride in your car, don’t excessively pump your tyres up.  


Driving with less than a quarter tank  

It feels wrong not to stretch out your fuel tank, especially when you know how much it costs to fill it up in the first place. But it’s not good practice to regularly drive your car on anything less than a quarter tank.

“Driving on fumes” isn’t the best thing to do when you consider that any residue in your fuel tank will then be sucked in towards your engine. These particles could also pass through your car’s filters and wear them and the pump impeller out as a result. Now, you don’t need to go into a state of panic when you’re at a quarter-tank and there’s no petrol station in sight. The risk comes in the consistent stretching out of your fuel. When you do that, you’re headed towards fuel pump failure and the nearest auto-technician for a replacement. Or, depending on the total damage, a car dealer to find which used cars for sale you’re interested in.

While we’re on the topic of filling up, let’s establish something important: never fill it past the first click. And not only because of the possible “splashback” but because of the fact that you aren't actually getting any extra fuel into your tank, you’re only paying for it. After the first click, there’s a vapour lock that prevents more gas from going into your tank, it then ends up filling the hose and storage tanks, that will then be used in the car that comes in after you.

So, save yourself time and money and stop at the first click.


Driving with a “low oil” light

Your car’s engine is a strong yet delicate piece of equipment, and one thing that it desperately needs to stay healthy is its engine oil. If you’re driving and see a warning light on your dashboard for low oil, you need to pull over immediately and remedy the situation.

There are a few causes for low oil levels. You might just be low or out of oil due to a lack of checking and topping up at your last garage stop, there might be a leak or clog or there is a fault with the oil pump. Not that any of that matters if you continue to drive while the low oil indicator is lit. You’ll end up causing engine damage. And for the price you’ll pay for an engine repair or replacement, you may as well put it towards a deposit for a new used car.

Save yourself the ridiculous maintenance costs and always check your oil, like you would check your car’s water tyres every time you’re at the garage. You also shouldn’t wait too long to change your oil and make sure you’re using the right oil for your engine’s wellbeing.

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