Analytics Made Easy - StatCounter

Despite the new car sales figures for March 2022 surging to pre-pandemic levels, many South Africans are feeling the pinch of a difficult financial environment. While 50,607 new vehicles were sold in March, led by passenger cars which accounted for 33,790 units, FNB predicts a considerable drop in South Africans’ disposable income this year due to the difficult conditions, meaning many will continue to drive the same vehicles buy pre-owned cars out of necessity, says Hosni Adams, Operations Manager at Petrocam Lubricants.

“In the past, a vehicle that had reached 100,000 or 150,000 kilometres on the clock would have been considered old,” says Adams. “However, nowadays, with improved technology and accessories, it’s not unheard of to see cars achieving more than 200,000kms and still have many more miles in the tank, so to speak.

“Just recently, I witnessed a car that had well in excess of half a million kilometres on the clock and while that is definitely not the norm, it was in surprisingly good condition. The key, however, is that while this driver had enjoyed some luck along the way, he had put a great deal of care and diligence into the vehicle’s maintenance,” explains Adams.

Adams says there are several things one can do to help extend the life of a vehicle. He shares a few of his favourite tips.

Engine lubrication

“For those driving newer vehicles, high-grade synthetic motor oil provides incredible protection for an engine’s components. Besides improved efficiency and fuel consumption, these modern synthetic oils are designed to offer the perfect amount of lubrication. Always consult the owner’s manual for the correct viscosity, and ensure the lubrication is changed at regular intervals. Yes, synthetics cost more, but the payoff is even greater in how it protects engines from mechanical wear.

“For those with older vehicles, a high-quality synthetic blend or mineral oil is also designed to protect the engine, but the same rules apply. Always use the correct oil according to the manufacturer’s recommendations and ensure it is changed at the correct intervals,” says Adams.

Gearbox, differential, bearings and more

These components also work under extreme conditions and temperatures. An automatic transmission, for example, works with an interplay between clutches, and bands and other components, and unnecessary wear and tear can lead to premature failure. Those who want their cars to last longer should ensure that their gearboxes are serviced, and that the oils are replaced, at the correct intervals, says Adams.

Always remember that there are more moving parts than just the engine, and this includes the entire drive chain, ball joints and bearings – keep an eye on their wear and tear and service and replace when necessary. “Is your front-wheel drive car making a clicking noise when turning? It’s time to check the CV joints. Especially those that drive older vehicles – have your mechanic check all the moving parts and ensure they have the correct oils and greases where applicable.”


Adams says that while many of us know that the air filter gets changed along with spark plugs in minor services, not everyone is aware that there are oil filters and fuel filters. These also need to be checked

Cooling system

“When last did you or your mechanic give your radiator and hoses a thorough check?” asks Adams, adding that every few years the entire cooling system should be flushed out, and important components replaced. If a thermostat, for example, is not working properly, and an engine overheats, the damage will be far more costly and severe than staying ahead of the curve with regular checks.


There’s more to just tyre tread depth, says Adams. If the tyres are meant to be rotated, then this needs to happen for equal wear. If the tyres are wearing in a particular pattern, is it indicative of something that needs replacing on the suspension? Beyond that, says Adams, there is little joy to be had in thinking there is enough tread on an old tyre that has been in harsh conditions as the rubber may well have degraded, making for an unsafe tyre.


As vehicles age, sensors and the wiring harness may age and, in some instances, start malfunctioning, which – you guessed it – can have a knock-on effect for the rest of the engine. Ask your mechanic to check your wiring harness, says Adams, as well as sensors such as the Mass Air Flow metre, throttle position sponsor, oxygen sensor, fuel pump relay, coolant temperature sensor, among others. “Don’t be tempted to just do the minimum. The key to having a vehicle do many kilos is staying on top of the condition of all its important components,” says Adams.

Belts and chains

“A cam belt breaking while driving can have catastrophic consequences for valves and leave you stranded,” says Adams. Be aware that your vehicle has important belts and in some cases chains that need to be in perfect working order. Be aware of this and make sure to ask your mechanic to check them. If it is suggested you change a cam belt, for example. then do it.

“These are just some tips that car owners should be aware of as their vehicles age and as they exit their dealer service plans,” says Adams. “Of course, there are other important things too, such as ensuring the car’s battery is still functioning properly and that the terminals are always clean and tight. But the key is to start seeing your car as the sum of its parts and keeping ahead of the curve in the maintenance and lubrication of those parts. That’s how you get the most mileage out of the car that’s served you so well in the past,” he says.

Verified by MonsterInsights