How to keep a cool head when your engine is overheating


Car trouble can put a serious damper on any trip, especially if the problem leaves you stranded.

A car overheating can be a scary experience, but not if you understand what the causes are and know what to do, says Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA) chairperson, Dewald Ranft.

As a proud affiliate of the Retail Motor Industry Association (RMI), MIWA offers expert tips to motorists to help understand what’s happening when white smoke (steam) starts billowing out from under the bonnet and the temperature needle climbs into the red.

“For as long as there have been cars on the road, motorists have been dealing with engines overheating, so you are by no means an isolated case if this is your car,” Ranft says.

“People are quick to believe the problem is major because smoke coming from the engine and the smell of boiling coolant makes it appear this way, but it isn’t always the case.

“The good news is that most causes of an engine overheating are inexpensive to fix. There are some exceptions, a blown head gasket being one of the more major repairs for an engine overheating,”

DO the following if you notice your engine is overheating:

  • You need to pull over and cut the engine as soon as possible. Until you can pull over safely, turn the air-conditioner off to lower stress on the engine and turn the heater on to help disperse heat away from the engine. Also open all windows.
  • Pull over when it is safe to do so and let the engine cool down for about 20 minutes. Keep an eye on the temperature gauge.
  • Check the coolant levels and top up if the level is low, which should help unless the coolant hose is blocked, or your vehicle has a broken radiator fan or water pump. The car’s manual will help you locate the coolant reservoir.
  • If you feel it is not safe to drive or are unsure about topping the coolant up yourself, call for roadside assistance and get your car to an accredited workshop where technicians can perform a diagnostic test to check the car’s cooling system, including the radiator and engine.
  • If you are driving yourself to a workshop, ensure the engine has cooled down sufficiently before restarting the car.

DO NOT do the following:

  • Panic. You need to pull over safely and switch the engine off as soon as possible, so keep a cool head.
  • Keep driving. This could cause major damage, even if you are able to reach a workshop on your own.
  • Open the bonnet immediately. Pop the bonnet from inside the car but don’t try to open it. It will take a good 20 to 30 minutes for the engine to cool down sufficiently without you burning yourself when you touch the bonnet. Check your temperature gauge before opening the bonnet.

If you top up with coolant and it solves the problem, this does not necessarily mean it is fixed. Don’t ignore the issue, especially if it recurs, Ranft says.

“An experienced and reputable workshop technician can get to the root of the problem and help you nip it in the bud before it becomes a massive expense.

“Typically, an engine overheating is caused by an issue with the cooling system which has trapped the heat in the engine compartment instead of letting it escape. This could point to a cooling system leak, faulty radiator fan, clogged coolant hose or broken water pump,” he explains. Ranft says they are finding when customers bring their cars in for a service that the reservoir water bottle is often old and has lost its transparency. This makes it difficult to check coolant levels. It is a simple thing to check and replace if necessary.

“Whatever the cause is, an overheating engine is not something you can ignore. If you do, it could lead to serious engine problems that can put a big dent in your pocket.”

What to do when your tyre explodes at high speed


Anyone who has ever experienced the shock of a burst tyre while travelling at a relatively high speed, will relate to this article and with our unacceptably high road accident fatalities over the festive season, this is one article to take note of.

“In most cases the cause is an unattended puncture,” says Dewald Ranft, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI). Sometimes you are lucky enough to detect the puncture early and can fix it, but if this is not always the case. “A burst tyre when travelling over 100km/h can be a frightening experience and a security risk to the driver and surrounding cars,” he says.

Ranft received these six useful tips from the Cornerstone Youth Club in Bloemfontein on how to stop a car safely when one of the tyres explodes at a speeding exceeding 100km/h. We also chatted to Supaquick who reinforced some important safety measures.  These are worth sharing and could definitely save a life this festive season.

Step 1 – Stay Calm

When a tyre explodes try to stay as calm as possible and hold the steering wheel firmly with both hands.

Step 2 –  Watch the brakes

It’s most important to keep your foot off the brakes and don’t push it at all. Most people’s natural instinct is to slam on brakes however this is the worst thing to do as it will throw the car off balance and could send you into a spin where the driver loses control of the vehicle completely.

Step 3 – try and keep your vehicle going straight

You need to focus on your steering to ensure that you continue travelling straight in order to avoid any collisions following the blowout. Your car will swerve in the direction of the blowout but you should be able to remain in control if you can gradually slow down. Remember the deceleration force caused by the burst tyre will cause your car to slow down rapidly so it is best to maintain your speed and then gradually ease off the accelerator.

Step 4 – what to do with your gears

If your car has a manual transmission, gradually change to a lower gear BUT ONLY do so if you feel that the car is completely under control.

If your car has an automatic transmission, stay in the Drive (D) gear and DO NOT change. The drag from the exploded tyre will slow you down.

Step 5: Do not over correct
When you first feel the swerve of your car after the blowout, it may be tempting to panic and turn the steering wheel hard in the other direction. Unfortunately, this will only make the loss of control more likely. Rather do your best to keep it straight as detailed in the previous step.

Step 6: Let your vehicle coast to a stop
Let your vehicle come to a gradual stop, using engine braking if necessary. Ensure it is safe for you and your car to stop there before stopping and once you have come to a complete standstill turn on your emergency or hazard lights. Generally when the  speed drops to 50 km/h, you can gently press the brakes until the car stops

“We urge all motorists to take these steps seriously and try and familiarise themselves with the various stages so that you and others on the road are more likely to survive a blowout unscathed. At the end of the day it is also so important to stick to the speed limit in case of any unforeseen emergencies,” concludes Ranft.




Expert tips for women buying a used car and some key safety reminders


Women are more vulnerable on our roads for many reasons but there are simple ways to ensure a safe trip, whether travelling alone or with the kids. Considering 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children (25 November to 10 December) is coming up, we asked Andrea Bogner, Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA) Regional Chairperson Central Region and the proud owner of Bogner Motor City, for some tips and advice for female motorists in the market for a used car and some safety tips while travelling.

Andrea’s core business is vehicle maintenance, so it stands to reason she believes a safe trip starts with a well-maintained car. Her business is proudly five-star MIWA accredited and has been in operation since 1992.

When it comes to buying a second-hand vehicle, there are certain things you need to consider before signing on the dotted line, Andrea says.

Before deciding on the vehicle you want to buy:

  • Do your homework about vehicle brands. Some cars are priced well but their parts and availability of parts are expensive and scarce – sometimes even discontinued.
  • Always take someone with you that you trust – preferably someone who knows about cars. Women are not as familiar with cars as an experienced technician is, so Andrea advises you take a technician along – with a diagnostic tool – to view the car you are interested in buying. 

Before the test drive ask about:

  • The year model
  • Mileage
  • Condition of tyres
  • Safety features like air bags and ABS
  • Any visual signs of an accident?
  • Has the engine been worked on?
  • Are there any oil leaks?
  • Condition of brakes.
  • Service history

During the test drive lookout for:

  • Any noises – rattling, clanking, whining from the engine, tyres, chassis, etc.
  • Dashboard lights on or flashing.

“If the seller promises to do any repairs beforehand, ALWAYS get this in writing,” Andrea says.

“When you take out an extended warranty on your engine, always make sure beforehand that services were done at regular interval services and that the service book is stamped and up to date.

“Do not buy the vehicle before you get confirmation of this. To have to chase after the salesperson  for the service book after you have collected your car will be a nightmare that is best avoided.”

Andrea has seen many regrets after a car deal is done as problems start to surface, leaving the new owner frustrated and out of pocket to repair.

“Very often, these problems could have been picked up if you had a person with the right knowledge asking the right questions,” she says.

“I always advise that if you don’t have an experienced friend or relative to go with you to properly examine the car before you buy it, go to your nearest accredited workshop, pay the call-out or diagnostic fee and get an independent expert opinion.

“This can save you a lot of frustration and money in legal fees down the line.”

Andrea’s 5 vehicle safety essentials:

  1. Fully charged cell phone with a car charger
  2. GPS
  3. Emergency kit: jumper cables, tow rope, flashlight, triangles, first aid kit, water, oil, antifreeze, blanket.
  4. Always tell someone where you are going and when you will be arriving.
  5. Know how to change a tyre, refill the radiator, top up engine oil and jump start your car.

DON’T IGNORE: Warning lights

A warning light is normally an indication that something needs attention. Don’t ignore them as this is the vehicle’s way of telling you something is wrong and needs to be checked out. The dashboard indicators are all in the owner’s manual. It is advisable to immediately check if you are unsure what the light is indicating as different coloured lights indicate the urgency of the problem.

DON`T IGNORE: Noises from the vehicle

If something doesn’t feel safe, then it probably isn’t. Always listen to your gut. Rather be safe than sorry. It`s best and safest to ask rather than not ask because we think it is a stupid question. The last thing any woman wants is for her vehicle to break down in an isolated area at night.

“A well-maintained vehicle is less likely to break down. Preventative maintenance can save you money in the long run,” Andrea concludes.

“Regular car inspections and services offer peace of mind and extend the lifespan of your engine. Ensure these are done at an accredited workshop, keep the service book up to date and you will reap the rewards of getting a good resale price for your car when you’re ready to upgrade.”




Beware the danger of driving with worn shocks


With summer rains already starting and Transport month placing the emphasis on everything automotive, motorists need to be aware of the dangers of driving with worn shock absorbers which can seriously compromise a car’s handling and safety on the road. But because shock absorbers wear out gradually, motorists often adjust unconsciously to the change in their vehicle’s handling, unaware of the danger they’re in due to the efficiency of vital components being compromised.

“It’s essential that motorists be aware of how dangerous worn shocks can be and familiarise themselves with the signs that their car’s shocks may be due for replacement,” says Dewald Ranft, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI).

Independent research on the extent to which worn shock absorbers impacts on a vehicle’s safety shows that they compromise the driver’s ability to stop, steer and maintain vehicle stability. “In fact it takes 2.6 metres longer to stop from a speed of 80 km/h on a straight road with only one driver in the car and it takes 11.3 metres longer to stop when fully loaded and travelling on a straight road with an uneven surface from a speed of 70 km/h. Add a wet road into the equation and the situation becomes even more dangerous.”

Among the signs that a car’s shock absorbers could be worn are steering wheel vibrations, oil leakage, irregular and increased tyre wear as well as steering that will not centre by itself.

However, Ranft also cautions against opting for replacing your worn shocks with sub-standard and unsafe shock absorbers. Independent tests have proved that certain unrealistically low priced, imported shocks are extremely dangerous because they aren’t built robustly, the quality of the oil is inferior, they fail the fatigue test, lack flexibility and are often incorrectly assembled. “Quality is vital in this critical component of a vehicle. It’s best not to scrimp on this essential part of driving a roadworthy vehicle. Ensure that you have your shocks checked and fitted at a reputable MIWA service provider and when necessary, insist to have them replaced by a trusted brand,” Ranft concludes.




Continued learning is essential for safe driving


October is national Transport month and no better time to refocus attention on lawless driving.

With lockdown restrictions now more relaxed, the number of cars on the road has increased exponentially. While you might not be able to control how other people behave, you can control your role on the roads with proactive driving.

“Proactive driving means constantly refreshing your driving skills through professional training,” says Dewald Ranft, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI).  “People think that because they’ve been driving for many years, they know all they need to know about road safety and vehicle control. They are in fact mistaken; experienced drivers are often the biggest menace because they’ve become relaxed when they’re driving. All of us can help make the road environment safer by updating our defensive driving skills.”

The various advanced driving courses available in South Africa aim to assist motorists in becoming more competent, confident and safer drivers. “They help reduce key risk behaviours and teach people how to avoid or handle emergency situations,” explains Ranft.

“But in addition to creating a safe environment inside and outside the vehicle, advanced driving skills also benefit the vehicle itself as there is less wear and tear on brakes, clutch and gears. Fuel consumption is lower and in some cases insurance premiums might be lower too.”

An important skill is the ability to monitor emotions and to deal with incidents effectively, recognising your contribution to the situation. Road rage incidents can be avoided if the driver stays in control and is less likely to be caught off guard. Anticipating what another driver might do and moving out of the way helps reduce the risk. “Be aware of all the hazards and risks and respond appropriately and quickly when other drivers behave irresponsibly,” he says. “Always maintain a safe following distance and be aware of all vehicles behind you, in front of you and left or right of you.”

Aggressive drivers are a danger, but so are inattentive drivers who are busy on their phones or other distractions in the vehicle. “When you’re driving, you have to think about a lot of things: your speed, the traffic laws, the direction you’re going in, road conditions, pedestrians, other cars around you. It’s a long list, and if you’re not focussed on the task at hand, there is a greater chance that you’ll be involved in an accident.”

Sadly South Africa has an exceptionally high number of pedestrian deaths every year. “Unfortunately our road infrastructure does not cater for pedestrians so drivers need to become more conscious and adapt their speed in locations where there are many pedestrians. You can’t control the actions of others, but you can be proactive.  Advanced driving courses help you develop skills such as hazard perception and more assertive driving. These drivers have been proven less likely to be involved in a road incident,” says Ranft.

Below are a few additional tips for improved road safety:

  • “Be alert for motorcyclists: Think Bike – share the road”
  • Keep an eye out for pedestrians at intersections.
  • Ensure that your windscreen view is not obscured by a larger vehicle. Rather move over to a lane where you can view at least two to three cars ahead of you, so you have room to manoeuvre should you need to brake in an emergency.
  • Be aware of other drivers’ actions – if they’re following too closely, move into another lane; keep an eye out for vehicles that change lanes without indicating




Being kind to your clutch can save you a packet


Any learner driver can appreciate the frustrations of clutch control in a manual vehicle. Mastering this is however essential to becoming a capable driver and passing your driver’s test – and, it is also an important part of keeping your clutch in good condition.

Dewald Ranft, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), confirms that apart from the quality of the installation, incorrect clutch control is the most common cause of a clutch burning out.

Other variables that play a role in the life expectancy of a clutch are general levels of vehicle maintenance, road conditions and the vehicle’s normal labour load.

“This is why some people need clutch replacements after only a few thousand kilometres, while others drive with the same original clutch in their vehicle for 10 or even 20 years,” says Ranft.

He explains that the clutch connects and disconnects the power from your engine to your wheels, via the gearbox. When you press down on the clutch, it disengages the engine from your wheels. This allows you to change gear.

In other words, you can’t change gears when the clutch is raised. Unless you’re in neutral, when you raise the clutch, it engages the power.

“Clutch control is about mastering this power transfer. It is particularly important for maintaining control of the car at low speeds. It allows you to do a number of things, such as change gear, pull off and drive in slow-moving, stop-start traffic,” Ranft says.

“The clutch is subjected to constant friction, so it will wear out eventually. How long your car drives without having to replace the clutch depends entirely on the way you drive.”

10 tips from MIWA to help prolong the life of your clutch:

  1. Never regulate the vehicle’s speed in heavy traffic conditions by means of clutch control. Instead, apply the park brake at traffic lights and select neutral until it’s time to pull off.
  2. Don’t press the clutch pedal unnecessarily while driving or when the vehicle is stationary.
  3. Allow the vehicle to warm up (reach normal operating temperature) before applying aggressive load to the driveline.
  4. Keep the vehicle’s revs per minute (rpm) as low as possible and the slip-time as short as possible when you pull off from a standstill.
  5. Never pull off in a higher gear than first gear.
  6. Do not overload. Avoid pulling heavy trailers.
  7. Avoid launching the vehicle on an uphill or in muddy conditions if possible.
  8. Maintain the condition of the hydraulic fluid by visiting your local MIWA workshop and filling up with the correct specified fluid according to the Original Equipment (OE) manufacturer.
  9. Have the hydraulic system bled properly when gears are starting to grate during gear changes and have the system flushed every 40 000kms.
  10. Only fit OE or quality aftermarket clutches.

“There is a lot motorists can do to care for their car’s clutch, including not skipping services. A burnt out clutch can be very costly  depending on the vehicle type and availability of parts,” Ranft concludes.

“The best way to avoid expensive repairs is to understand how a clutch works and learn to be kind to your clutch from the time you start driving. Any clutch inspections or repairs should be carried out at a MIWA-accredited workshop.”




Simphiwe turns disappointment into her dream job


Simphiwe Mncube (36) is as comfortable in the automotive industry as she believes she’d be behind the wheel of her dream car, a Jaguar F-Pace. Ironically, it was several bad experiences with her own car repairs  that led her to opening Baleka Motors in 2018, albeit with a master degree but no mechanical experience.

“After numerous disappointments with repairs done to my car I realised I needed to start a business that would speak to, cater for and solve the frustrations women are faced with when it comes to vehicle maintenance,” she explains.

“My partner, Jabu Biyam, and I started doing some research in 2018, which took a couple of months, and we opened for business in September that year. Our mission is to provide shared value for customers and staff, provide quality and reliable services using high quality parts that exceed manufacturers’ recommendations.”

Mncube, who hails from KZN, has always loved cars.

“My brother and I would play a game in the car called ‘name the coming car’. I would look up and learn all the makes and models and always win the game. This is how I developed an appreciation for the various models but didn’t think too much about the mechanical side of things.”

Having previously worked at numerous financial services institutions (insurance companies and banks) and held several leadership roles, Simphiwe is now the full-time head of sales and marketing at Baleka Motors.

The business is not yet a member of the South African Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), but Simphiwe recognises the value the body offers the industry.  I visited the RMI offices a couple of years ago to find out how we can become a fully accredited member of MIWA.  ‘At the moment we are a basic member of the RMI but well on our way to becoming a full MIWA member.”

“I get a mixed bag of reactions when people find out what I do for a living. Some are of course shocked and think I’ve lost it. But I love the industry – mostly because it is still so male-dominated, which mean it gives us women the opportunity to stand out and ultimately change the status quo.”

There are challenges, she admits.

“One of these is a lack of trust from male colleagues and customers. Somehow, they have a hard time accepting information given to them purely because you are a woman. This is understandable though since the industry is male-dominated. I think it will take some years to correct but we’ll get there eventually.”

On opportunities for women in the automotive industry, Mncube is very encouraging.

“It is as fulfilling as any other career, provided that you are passionate about what you do. It is a misconception the industry is only for men. We need to change that narrative by more women entering the industry and more male counterparts encouraging women to take up these jobs.”

Her advice to women wanting to enter the industry is to do research and gain as much knowledge as possible. 

“You will sometimes be judged and doubted because of your gender, which is why knowledge is power and will help you withstand these stereotypes.”

The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown restrictions have impacted Baleka Motors, but Mncube keeps a positive mindset by reminding herself why she started the business in the first place.

“I consciously remind myself too that this dream is bigger than me. And, speaking of dreams, I hope to one day expand the business to other areas of the country and even go international one day!”

Five things your mechanic wish you knew


Many of us understand very little about cars says Dewald Ranft, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), and that’s absolutely fine. Your mechanic doesn’t expect you to know your fan belt from your cambelt – but there are some things they do wish you knew. We asked members of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud Association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), what five things they’d really like their customers to be more aware of.

  • Be aware of your vehicle maintenance schedule: For Francois Greeff, one of the biggest issues is that vehicle owners, especially, don’t understand the need for maintenance – or the costs involved. “Many people don’t grasp that your insurance company will pay for breakages, but not maintenance.” He adds that mechanics can cause more damage to the vehicle if they’re not sure what they’re doing, which is why it’s important to choose a MIWA-accredited workshop and then trust them entirely. Remember that your mechanic knows not to trust Google blogs! A final word, “Any car owner should know how to check the basic fluid levels in their car, and do so regularly.”
  • Take note of lights and instrument cluster messages: Dos-santos Mukuchamano from The Car Experts, says that the habit of disregarding service lights and cluster messages – something many motorists are guilty of – is a big mistake. “There is a very important reason why the manufacturer equipped the vehicle with the reminder,” he insists. He says ignoring the light can lead to exhausted parts doing further damage to other serviceable parts, making for greater expenses later. It’s just as bad to neglect the car when warning lights are showing. Worst case scenario, you’ll end up stuck on the side of the road – but even if things don’t get that bad, you’ll probably pay more than you would have had to because additional problems that may be created. “As a rule of thumb, if the engine or warning lights are flashing, consider it an emergency and stop driving the car immediately,” says Mukuchamano.
  • Never skip a service: Just because your vehicle is running doesn’t mean you can skip a service, warns Ravi Komal from Evergreen Motors. “Regular servicing gives us a chance to pick up minor defects before they become major problems. What’s more, services are all different and focus on different parts.” Komal advises against servicing or repairing your own vehicle, as cars come with technical specifications and require special tools that most people don’t have access to.
  • Cheapest isn’t best: Neville Frost from Landy Centre points out that the cost of servicing a vehicle can vary greatly, so it’s important to understand why these discrepancies exist. For example, a MIWA accredited workshop is guaranteed to be staffed by trained mechanics who have access to all necessary diagnostic tools and adhere to Covid-19 protocols. All MIWA workshops are VAT registered, comply with PAYE and UIF regulations, submit their tax returns and are registered with MIBCO. They also comply with health and safety regulations and the stipulations of the Labour Relations Act. MIWA accredited workshops are required to deliver to a standard of excellence, and offer recourse if this is not the case. “There is no doubt that accreditation makes all the difference to a consumer.”
  • Change your oil:  According to Lance Kettles of Automotive Mechanical Services, using the incorrect oil or a cheaper brand can cause massive problems for your car, leading to sluggishness. “It’s worth paying a bit extra to ensure quality oil, which means greater longevity for your engine. If you are unsure of which brand to select, you can always chat to one of the MIWA workshops for advice,” he says.



A woman’s touch for the motor workshop industry


Once the exclusive domain of men, there is an encouraging new influx of women in the automotive industry who are bringing in a fresh new dynamism and balance into the sector.

One only has to look at the increase in the number of women and women owned or co-owned businesses in the Motor Industry Workshop Association to appreciate the shift in balance.

Andrea Bogner, owner of Bogner Motor City Truck and Car Workshop, says having women in the sector is refreshing and challenging. “I find women have a different touch and deal more emotionally when it comes to serving customers, maintaining them, and offering peace of mind. We are also thorough when it comes to procedures and the manner in which work is performed,” she says. Andrea loves to be different and loves having her workshop. “It is not only a business but I see it as my family. I involve every one of them in the decisions I’m making and ask for their input, feedback and suggestions. We are a team and operate as one. If there’s a goal to be reached, everyone is involved. If there are issues, again I involve everyone so that the best possible solutions are found. And lastly everyone has to take responsibility for their actions.”

And women are not only excelling on the ownership side. A large majority of MIWA member businesses also employee women to engage with customers, handle the administration and human resource functions as well as the ordering of supplies and so on. Many of these businesses start as family-owned businesses so mothers, wives and daughters all get involved.

It is definitely a transforming industry which makes it attractive to anyone who loves technology and commerce and is interested in knowing how beautiful and powerful vehicles and motorcycles are designed, built, maintained and repaired. It is also an industry in which women can do well. 

At a time when unemployment is so rife, this is a sector which is showing encouraging growth and providing some real opportunities.  Eighty percent of accredited RMI business owners, of which MIWA is a proud association, are in fact small to medium size business owners and this is where the growth and employment opportunities that are going to drive the economy will come from. The sector is already peppered with countless vibrant examples.

Take the Glamane twins for example.  Both Dineo and Keneuwe grew up with a dream of opening their own business. But they had no idea what it would be. As fate had it – they got a break to enter the motor industry and today they own, Womech (Women in Mechanics), an independent aftermarket workshop in Secunda which they opened in 2017.  

Their journey started when they received a bursary to do Auto Electrical after completing their N6 of electrical engineering.  A year later, while completing the auto electrical course, they got an apprenticeship at Value Logistics and were offered the positions of auto electrician and diesel mechanic. This was where the idea of opening a workshop in future really started. They took the opportunity to do the apprenticeship and the rest is history. Dineo is currently the CFO and HR manager of Womech while Keneuwe is the CEO as well as the Operations manager. Their advice to young women out there is not to limit themselves and to take whatever opportunities comes their way.

Bridget Finn, HR/Finance Manager at Finn Auto Repairs and Diagnostics, who works with her husband who opened his business 12 years ago says her advice to other women is “Nothing thing should define or limit you. We are capable of doing anything we put our minds to, despite someone’s opinion, traditions and/or history.  Being a woman is a strength not a weakness, however, do not confuse it with arrogance.  Make yourself proud.”

The last word comes from Teresa Spenser-Higgs of D & T Servicing, also the MIWA Border Regional Chairperson.

Teresa loves the honesty of earning a living with your hands saying the  muscles in this industry are as a result of hard work; they’re not crafted in a gym.

“The future of the industry is exciting and it is so encouraging to see young women choosing related fields of study at colleges. There are many opportunities for women – just believe in yourself and don’t let someone else determine your value,” she concludes




Feeling cash strapped? Are you in for a minor car service or a major service? Know the difference


On top of worries of a third wave of coronavirus, job layoffs and a depressed economic climate, probably the last expense you need right now is another car service.

You may be one of the thousands of South African motorists who are reaching your car service mileage marker and it’s time to book your car in for a service. So, are you in for a minor service or a major one?

Dewald Ranft, Chairman of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), says vehicles should be booked in for a service every 10 000 to 15 000 km but not all services will be a major one. “In fact, only every other service is a major one,” he says.

During a minor service, the workshop will generally do an oil and oil filter change. The mechanics will also check all fluids, filters, belts, hoses, brakes and emissions and lubricate the chassis if it has not been factory sealed. “Most workshops will check your tyre pressure and, depending on the manufacturer’s recommendation, may do a tyre rotation. The service will also include a check of all lights, windscreen washer and coolant levels, brake fluid level and colour, and the power steering fluid level,” explains Ranft.   

“You can, of course, speak to your mechanic about any issues you may be experiencing with your vehicle and ask them to check that specific area. They will be able to let you know if any additional servicing or repairs are required.”

When it comes to a major service, unlike a minor one, a thorough and comprehensive checklist is included in the service. “The mechanic will do a check from head to tail of the vehicle going so far as to inspect the vehicle for dents and scratches and checking the pedals for any squeaks. All components of the vehicle will be checked as well as the actual bodywork of the vehicle. All hinges and latches will be greased, components lubricated, the engine and vehicle washed, and all parts reported on. The timing belt will also be checked depending on mileage or years as per the manufacturer’s instructions.” Ranft adds that if anything major is picked up during the service, the mechanic must provide a quotation for any additional work that needs to be done before the work commences.

He says that if you are unsure if certain items are included in a service, speak to your mechanic. “We highly recommend using a MIWA-accredited workshop so you can be assured of the highest standard of service and accountability. And from 1 July, Consumers will have the choice to service their vehicle at a workshop of their choice thanks to the implementation of the Competition Commission Guidelines. “This finally gives you the opportunity to shop around for the best possible price and service quality,” says Ranft.

The mechanic will be able to clearly indicate what is included in the service and whether a minor or major service is needed. Always remember to mention any problem areas you may be having with your vehicle so the mechanic can give this special attention.”

“Services and keeping a record of your service history are vitally important, not only for your vehicle’s resale value down the line, but also to ensure your vehicle is safe on the road. We read this week that many dealers are saying since drivers are not accumulating the same distances as they did pre-covid, service routines are being thrown out. So whatever you do, don’t miss a service. We need to all be responsible for making our roads a safer place,” concludes Ranft