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South Africa is a vast country, and motor vehicles of all kinds are travelling its roads every single day, whether for business or pleasure. So much of our merchandise is shipped from one city to another on a national basis, and commercial enterprise relies heavily on the distribution of its goods to all areas in the country. Motor vehicles are a major part of the backbone of the South African economy. No matter what type of vehicle is used, or for what purpose, it is vital that these are maintained for optimum efficiency at all times. This is why we need the specialized services of mechanics.
When we think of a mechanic, we usually immediately associate this specialist with our road vehicles, and tend not to take into account the different types of mechanic specialists. To name just a few, we have auto, diesel, heavy or small vehicle, aircraft, electrical, heating, air-conditioning and refrigeration mechanics, all of whom play an essential part in keeping an economy on its wheels and running smoothly, so to speak! If we consider just one sector of mechanics, those who deal with road vehicles, we find that this is divided into further specialist categories. There are mechanics who deal specifically with certain makes of vehicle, or concentrate their specialist expertise on particular areas, for instance the electrics or electronic components of the vehicle. With the vast number of different types and makes of vehicle on the market, it would be unfair to expect a mechanic to be a specialist in all aspects of every make and variety of vehicle. The engine mechanisms alone have evolved in giant leaps during the past few years, to the point where there are increasing numbers of hybrid cars on the market, offering a combination of electric and mechanical motors in one vehicle.
In the years when cars ran on simple mechanical principles, it was common to see men tinkering with their car engines over weekends or being able to resolve less complex engine problems, such as fuel line blockages, overheating of the radiator, dirty spark plugs, faulty distributor leads or points and loose battery terminal connections. Sadly, in one respect, those days are long gone, and it now falls to the specialist mechanic to sort out the myriad problems which arise with the modern engine.
It seems that the more sophisticated our vehicles become, the more we become slaves to the vagaries of our car engines. When the on-board computer fails, the fuel-injection system starts giving problems, the electric windows or electronics seem to be off on a mission of their own, it is definitely time to call in a specialist mechanic.
Whilst many service centres exist, some of which cater for a wide range of different models and makes of cars, the more sophisticated cars definitely require the attention of mechanics who are specifically trained in various aspects of their operation. These cars should preferably be attended to by service centres operated by particular manufacturers, for instance makes such as Mercedes, BMW, Porsche, Volkswagen, Audi, Ford, Honda, etc., many of which offer a three- to five-year motor warranty plan on new cars. The older the car becomes and the more its value drops, the temptation to bypass these particular specialists and take the car to a ‘generic’ service garage which is more affordable becomes more likely. There is absolutely nothing wrong with these general garages as all mechanics are skilled in the work they perform, but you might be more comfortable taking one of your biggest investments to a service centre which is geared for your particular vehicle.
Vehicle service centres and general vehicle service workshops are not difficult to find as a rule. If you are familiar with your own area, you probably know where most of them are situated. It is a different matter if you become stranded in an unfamiliar town due to engine problems. You can check the Yellow Pages or ask the locals for advice, but your best option would be to look online for a mechanic. Search sites such as Uptasker are a brilliant resource in this respect for many reasons. Uptasker has a number of advantages over other search sites as it provides geographical listings, online rating and customer reviews as well as one-click links through to the service suppliers’ websites, if available. You will be able to obtain comparative quotes for the job from one search site, which is a huge time-saver, especially if you know what the problem is and there is no preliminary investigative work required by the mechanic to find the cause of the problem.
Your vehicle is not only a convenient means of transport, one of your biggest investments (and expenses!) but is also an essential part of your daily life. It therefore pays to keep it running efficiently and reliably through regular servicing by a qualified mechanic. Even with all the care in the world, there are times when mechanical or electronic engines simply break down unexpectedly, and usually at the most inconvenient times. It is worth getting to know the right service centre for your car and building up a service history with them so that they are always aware of the work which has been done or needs to be carried out on the vehicle. It will save you time, expense and a great deal of worry if you have a reliable, knowledgeable, skilled and trusted mechanic working on your car. For more tips, see our mechanics articles.