The CAN Guide to Surviving South African Roads

by Michael

If you’re a South African car owner, you’ll understand why this blog post needs to be written. Our roads are internationally notorious for prematurely ending the lives of motor vehicles. Our plan is to give some car maintenance advice to those brave souls who dare enter the South African road system.

The first – and most important – step in surviving the pothole apocalypse is to make sure that your car is properly maintained. Car workshops such as Car Service City have branches located across South Africa, and offer affordable maintenance plans that will keep you on the road for longer.

Car maintenance doesn’t have to cause you any headaches, and by tracking your service history, you can save yourself a lot of money. Remember; servicing your car on a regular basis will be cheaper than skimping out on maintenance to save money.

To keep track of the condition of your car, and to avoid needing Roadside Emergency Assistance, we’ve put together a few handy tips:

Inspect Tyre Pressure and Oil Regularly

Your tyres are the only things that contact the road, so obviously they play a rather big role in keeping you and your car safe, and in great shape.

The first point of order is to check your tyre pressure, preferably every day, but checking it at every fill-up will suffice. A good rule of thumb (actually it’s the law) is to make sure that your tyres have at least a tread depth of at least 1mm.

If you have some mechanical experience, most car parts stores will have all the parts you need to perform an oil change yourself

Another crucial component of a healthy running car is its oil. Engine, (and when applicable gearbox and diff oil) can be checked by letting the engine cool down, and then checking the oil level on the dipstick. Make sure to change your engine oil at regular service intervals, unless you spot a major leak, which will require a top up and level check.

Make sure that only manufacturer specified oil is used, and that the oil filter is also replaced at every service.


The humble car battery plays a pivotal role in any car, so making sure that yours is healthy is pretty important.

Get yours checked regularly at a battery service specialist at least once a year, and always keep an eye out for or any mineral build up around the battery.

Spark Plugs

Unless you drive a Tesla, diesel or a donkey-cart, you’ll need to check and replace your spark plugs.

If your spark plugs are worn out or covered in carbon buildup, your engine won’t run at its optimal efficiency. That means less performance and higher fuel consumption, and can cost you even more in the long run. Follow your manual’s recommendation and get them changed on schedule.

Tires Rotated and Balanced

This is one of the easiest tricks in the book to prevent premature wear on your tires. The trick is to get them rotated once in a while. All tires wear at the different rates. By rotating the front and rear tires, you balance the wear, thus extending the life of the tyre.

Another important factor is to ensure that your tires are always perfectly aligned, as non-aligned tires will wear faster, reduce fuel economy, and could decrease your cars stability, something you don’t want happening, especially on our below par road services.

Check your Air Filter and Cooling system

Many car problems are due to faulty air filters attached to them and the wear caused by them. You should get your filters changed every 12 months or after 12000 miles, whichever comes fast. Don’t ignore this maintenance as it will lead to problems in your AC and you are breathing unhealthy air in your car.

You can get the filter replaced at your mechanic away in the comfort of your garage in just 10 minutes.

Check your brakes

The only thing keeping you from smashing into the back of that taxi is your brakes!

Besides driving under the influence of alcohol, faulty brakes are one of the leading causes of road accidents in South Africa. This is quite shocking, seeing as brake system maintenance is relatively cheap and easy to do.

Get your brake pads, disks (or drums) and brake fluid checked at least twice a year. Worn down brake pads will eventually damage your disks or drums, leading to higher repair costs, so make sure to change them before they start grinding!

Refer to your owner’s manual regarding brake fluid levels. A good rule of thumb is to replace your brake fluid, and bleed your brake system every 60000km.

Listen to your car

Who knows your car better than you, the owner?

We all notice a new dent, scratch, groan or moan. It’s important to be in tune with your car, and pick up on anything out of the ordinary. A squeaky fan belt is a clear warning that you should get your car checked out before you end up needing a tow. Is your car emitting more exhaust smoke than usual? Something could be wrong with your engine…

It’s very important to listen to what your car is saying, When you start sneezing repeatedly, it may be a sign that you’re getting sick. So just like your body, a noise or shake from your car may be a sign that something is wrong.

Check under the hood

Some of the most important parts of your car are located under the bonnet. You don’t have to be a mechanic to do a basic inspection of your engine bay.

Check for things like:

A solid battery terminal connection Fluid levels (Brake fluid, power steering fluid, window spray liquid, radiator coolant leves and oil levels) Alternator and fan belts Any loose or unfastened parts Also remember to record things like brake pad changes, service dates etc.

When Driving.

Let your car warm up before driving at higher revs Use the accelerator and brakes sparingly. Not only will this save you on petrol, but will extend the life of the engine and brakes Stay alert at all times! You never know when a taxi, person or animal could block your way. Use a defensive driving style when navigating South African roads. Remember to breathe and count to ten when you are involved in a road rage incident. Life is too short to anger yourself over traffic. To Conclude

Maintaining your vehicle means you stay safe whilst traveling, you’ll get more money for it if you decide to sell, and it saves you money in the long run, so it’s a win-win right? Not to mention the fact that your car will be able to face another day in the warzone that is our local roads.

Eventually all of us will end up on the side of the road with some sort of mechanical issue. This can’t be avoided, but it can be accounted for.

Get a Quote NOW!

Upload supporting Documents

We use cookies to improve your experience on our site.