Maintaining in a car South Africa can be costly, however, yearly costs fluctuate depending on your car's make and model and the age of the car. Older cars tend to have more maintenance issues crop up the longer the car is on the road, increasing the yearly average cost. Newer vehicles will likely have less maintenance issues during the first years of a car's life, but the price tag of a brand new car is obviously higher than an older model. Regardless, any costs listed below are rough estimates of what it may cost to maintain your car, as individual experiences will vary depending on the vehicle.
One of the most basic costs in maintaining a car are routine oil changes. Each car needs an oil change after a set amount of kilometres, generally every 5 000 to 10 000 kilometres. You should change your oil more frequently if you routinely drive in a big city, on dusty roads or tow heavy machinery with your vehicle. Be sure to use the oil recommended for your car in the owner's manual, or you could inadvertently cause damage to your vehicle, adding to your maintenance costs.
When you decide to get an oil change, places like BP or AutoZone can assist. Costs generally range from R800 and up. Many places offer a combination maintenance package to check things like tyre rotation or provide an inspection that can lower the cost if you complete them all at once.
Like oil changes, you should routinely provide maintenance for your tyres. You should get a tyre rotation approximately every 5 000 to 10 000 kilometres. The price of tyre rotation service can vary widely across South Africa, but you can generally expect a service price of R80-R240. If combining a tyre rotation with a routine oil change, your costs may be lower. To assist in keeping your tyres at their peak performance level, be sure to check your tyre pressure weekly and be on the lookout for any bald spots. Be sure that wear to the tyres is even or it can shorten the life of your tyres. If you notice low tyre pressure, try to refill the tyres as soon as possible. Low tyre pressure can cause lower fuel efficiency or turn into a flat tyre, which creates major destruction to the car. This will drastically raise your maintenance costs.
Other routine maintenance costs for a vehicle include purchasing fluids, such as windscreen washer fluid, brake fluid, transmission fluid, coolant, and so on. These items only need to be purchased whenever they are running low. Driving your car for too long without proper fluids can cause severe damage to the vehicle. Fluids can cost anywhere from R50 to over R500, depending on which fluid you are purchasing. If you are unsure how to properly change any fluid in your vehicle, it is best to have a service provider change the fluids for you.
No matter how new or old your vehicle is, your car may need unexpected repairs at any given time. Whether from an accident or general wear and tear, you may need to replace a part of your vehicle. Depending on your service provider and the issue with the car, these costs vary greatly. For example, replacing the radiator on a Ford Figo could cost around R2 000, while a radiator on a Kia Picanto could cost R4 000 or more. Something smaller like a wiper blade could cost you R90-R700, depending on the make and model. If you were to get in an accident and need to replace the windscreen, it could cost you from R1 400 to over R7 000. Unexpected repairs do not happen too often, but should be taken into consideration when owning a vehicle, as the price tags can quickly add up if something goes wrong with the car.
When buying a vehicle through a dealer or leaser, many service providers offer maintenance plans for an additional cost. You generally pay an extra monthly or yearly fee for the duration of your maintenance plan, and the service provider offers general maintenance and repairs for free or at a reduced cost. Sometimes these plans can save you money, while other times they are not worth the cost. It is up to you to decide whether or not to sign up for a maintenance plan, but the best way to decide is to do a rough cost comparison. If you are buying an older car or plan to put a lot of kilometres on your vehicle, it may be worth it to sign up for a maintenance plan. If you are purchasing a newer vehicle or do not plan to drive the car too often, it may be better to simply pay for each maintenance cost on your own.
As costs can vary widely for vehicle maintenance, whether or not you purchase a maintenance plan, it is wise to keep aside some emergency savings in case your car develops any unexpected issues. If your car's brakes or transmission give out one day, the cost to fix the issue could be very high. Having some savings set aside for this purpose can mitigate that risk and save you financially in the case of an emergency.