The Minister of Finance has had his say and the national budget is behind us for another year. One of his announcements was that the fuel levy is to increase – another expense to be carried by motorists. But, when it comes to beating the budget blues, there are things that can be done to ease the financial burden.
So says Des Fenner, General Manager of Datsun South Africa, who points out that cars always respond to a bit of care. However, having a car always ready to roll, means looking after the basics. The reward is a personal budget that automatically begins to look a bit healthier.
Datsun’s ‘Top Six Tips’ for a balanced car budget are:
- Look after the basics:
Make a walk around your car a regular event. Check tyre wear and pressures, oil and water levels, lights, indicators and even windscreen wipers for wear and tear. Wipers may look OK, but if they scratch the windscreen severely and impact vision, this could have a negative impact on your budget.
Keeping the car in a roadworthy condition is always a sound proactive investment.
- Follow your service schedule:
It may be tempting to think about skipping a service. Don’t. Service intervals are calculated to ensure that vehicles are optimally maintained and that belts, plugs, filters and oil are replaced before they start placing a strain on an engine. Leave them in for too long and your car’s performance will drop off and fuel costs will increase. And, of course, there is always the danger of more expensive damage occurring.
- Don’t be tempted to buy counterfeit replacement parts:
If a spare part costs 90% less than the branded and boxed original manufacturer’s part, there is a reason for this. Don’t let a moment of joy at parts counter translate into hours stuck on the road in the middle of nowhere.
Branded parts, as well as those carrying ISO and SABS ratings, are guarantees of quality. At the very least you won’t be replacing parts as often as you would be if you bought parts with a lower life expectancy.
- Remember that peace of mind comes with physical dealer presence:
Finding yourself stuck on the side of the road with the nearest dealer 250 kilometres or more away could ruin your day and also improve the financial prospects of a tow-truck driver.
Datsun has 105 dealers across the country, meaning that help is available just about anywhere you choose to be.
- Doing your homework:
It hurts budgets when the cost of spares and maintenance are higher than expected. In reality, even some entry-level cars can cost thousands more to repair and maintain than others. The Datsun GO range has led the field as the most affordable cars to maintain and repair since they were introduced to SA motorists. The highly-regarded, independent Kinsey Report reinforces this claim by showing that the Datsun GO, GO+, and GO+ Panel Van are the most affordable cars in South Africa to maintain.
- Look at trade-in and resale values:
If a car brand isn’t that popular, you can expect a much lower resale or trade-in value when you want a new vehicle. To maximise your budget, stay with brands that are known and respected.
“The guideline when it comes to budgeting for car expenses is that it’s always better to spend a little when needed, rather than spend a lot when it shouldn’t be necessary. Keeping a car healthy, means happy motoring at a reduced cost,” says Mr Fenner.