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How to Make Your Wear-And-Tear Parts Last Longer

 

Wear and tear items on our vehicles are parts that we need to replace regularly, such as:

  • Windscreen wipers;
  • Light bulbs;
  • Clutches;
  • Brakes; and
  • Tires.

First off, remember that you get what you pay for. Many companies that sell pirate parts exist. These parts, though perfectly legal, are often of second or third grade quality, and no guarantee as to their lifespan can be given. On the plus side, the are at times up to 5 times cheaper than original parts.

When it comes to choosing between pirate and original parts, consider how long the original has lasted you. Even considering the sometimes massive difference in price, the lifespan of the original usually still makes it worth the money.

In this article we will discuss three of the most expensive (yet most common) wear and tear parts that need replacement and how to make them last longer.

 

Brakes

If you drive like a maniac and brake full-out for everything, your brake pads will not last. Your car has two sets of brake-pads: the front brakes and the back brakes. Both sets assist in bringing the vehicle to a stop. The front brakes get utilised more intensely than the back brakes to stop a moving vehicle, but the back brakes are responsible for keeping your car at a standstill when you pull up the handbrake.

The secret to making your brakes last longer is simply to use them less. Take your foot off the accelerator if you see a red traffic light in the distance. Not only will this save you fuel, but it will also keep you from having to brake hard at the last possible moment. Sometimes you do not even have to use your brakes at all if you do this. Should the robot change back to green whilst you are still in motion, you can simply shift to a higher gear and continue driving.

Also considering down-gearing instead of braking. This practice, however, has its drawbacks. See the “Clutch and Clutch-cable” section below for more information on down-gearing.

 

Tires

car-wear-and-tear

The key to making your tires last longer can be summed up in one word: inflation.

If your tires are over-inflated, the centre of the tire wears much faster. You will also have less grip on the road, which would increase your chances of having an accident.Each car comes with an optimum inflation level (or tire pressure), usually at or around 2.0 bar. Make sure you know exactly what yours is, as being out by even 0.1 bar can make your tires wear twice as fast.

In the event of your tires being under-inflated, the outsides of the tire perish at an increased rate. Under-inflated tires also get much hotter than tires inflated to optimum pressure and have a higher chance of spontaneously bursting.

 

 

Clutch and Clutch Cable

Ah, the clutch. Source of frustration and financial woes for many. According to Mr. Les McMaster, chairperson of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), incorrect clutch control is the most common mistake drivers make, leading to the eventual premature failure of the clutch.

List of Don’ts:

  • Don’t regulate your vehicle’s speed in traffic using clutch control. Rather apply the handbrake and stay in neutral until it is time to take off. Prolonged slipping causes the clutch to heat up much faster and temperatures rise excessively.
  • Don’t take off in any gear other than first.
  • Don’t overload the car – don’t tow a very heavy trailer.
  • Don’t allow the hydraulic fluid to run low if you have a hydraulic instead of a cable clutch.
  • Don’t push the revs per minute (RPM) high, try to keep it as low as possible at all times.
  • Don’t press the clutch pedal unnecessarily while driving.

Down gearing, though being potentially beneficial to your brakes, is hard on your clutch and might cause your clutch to have to be replaced much sooner. There is a great debate in the motoring world regarding the practice of down gearing and whether one should do it or not.

One camp of the argument alleges that it is safer, more effective than just braking and puts less strain on the brakes. It has the benefit of making sure you are always in the right gear should you need to perform quick evasive manoeuvres.

The opposing camp says that the damage done to the clutch exceeds the benefits of the practice.

Whichever side of the argument you choose (both seem to have valid points), one has to always keep in mind that a clutch replacement can cost anywhere from R2, 000.00 to R20, 000.00, depending on the vehicle you drive and the availability of the parts. It is expensive and extremely inconvenient.

The clutch cable snaps from time to time (assuming you do not have a hydraulic clutch). Its lifespan will automatically increase with that of the clutch by simple keeping the above tips in mind.

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