Don't underestimate the value of a good service

A new or used vehicle is probably for most people the biggest capital outlay after purchasing a house. For this reason, vehicle owners must ensure their four wheel-assets are kept in pristine condition. Adhering to regular service intervals is one sure way of protecting an asset that is already losing money in other respects.

1 Kattie Griesel

Dealerfloor asked the service manager at Ford’s Human Auto in Welkom, Kattie Griesel, why it is important to service your vehicle regularly.

Servicing your vehicle regularly means you get the longest possible lifespan out of it. It is also essential when obtaining the best possible trade-in value when you buy another vehicle. The same goes for the buyer of your vehicle who needs to know if the vehicle was serviced as scheduled, Kattie told Dealerfloor.

But why the difference between some cars’ service intervals and how come diesels are so much more expensive to service?

“I can only speak for Ford, and we are now in a position where all service intervals are at 15 000 km to rule out any confusion. The design of diesel engines comprises expensive and complex filters that need to be changed after the vehicle has completed a certain mileage.

Kattie Griesel
Kattie Griesel, the Service Manager at Human Auto for the last 12 years. Before that he was a service adviser at Johan Williams, a Mercedes-Benz dealership in the city. He completed his craftmanship at Sandy’s Bearing Works, also in Welkom.

“Different engines with certain parts that need changing after a specific distance travelled, contribute to the price inequality of services. Each kind of vehicle or engine has its own requirements. The kind of oil used is a crucial factor in determining the distance between services. Normally, vehicles from different manufacturers that use 5W30 fully synthetic oil, have services intervals of 15 000 km.”

On the question of buying a service plan when purchasing a new or used vehicle, Kattie is adamant that it is an absolute necessity.

“In many instances it is part of the deal and it’s actually built into the price structure. If a vehicle does not have one, it is available optionally. Because people tend to keep their vehicles longer these days, extended warranties and extended service plans are becoming more popular and it makes financial sense.”

Car owners also service their vehicles at privately or at non-franchise dealers. What advantages are there to service your vehicle at a dealership of the brand you driving?

Some motorists do tend to have their vehicles serviced elsewhere because it might be cheaper, and they do not necessarily use original parts. The advantage of using a dealership is that the technical personnel are trained to a specific level and are knowledgeable about the brand’s vehicle’ range; only original parts are used and dealers have the back-up of specialist technical advice from other dealers or the manufacturer itself, according to Kattie.

Kattie Griesel and Dawie van der Merwe
Dawie van der Merwe, workshop foreman and ten years at Human Auto, with Kattie Griesel, the Service Manager.

Does the circumstance in which a vehicle is used influence the service intervals and with people going through monetary difficulties in mind, to what extent can one postpone or stretch the mileage for intervals?

“Not really, and intervals remain at 15 000 km unless there are an indication through a warning light that something might be wrong. Do not postpone the service. Roughly about 1 000 kilometres before or after the scheduled service interval is the maximum leeway. Remember, if your vehicle is still under warranty, you could lose it if you don’t adhere to the scheduled intervals,” he says.

Wear and tear parts, for example like shock absorbers and brake pads, are not covered by service plans. What should car owners do in this regard?

“When a customer buys a vehicle, the difference between a service plan and a maintenance plan should be explained. Service plans exclude wear and tear parts, which are for the customers’ account when they need to be replaced. The maintenance plan is more expensive, but it is all inclusive.”

And on a lighter note, what are some of the funny comments you hear in the workshop?

“The word ‘since’,” Kattie laughs. “Since you serviced my car, the radio does not work. Since I brought the vehicle in to look at, the fuel consumption has increased and the aircon does not work.”

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