South Africans are keeping their cars for longer

Date Published: October 2, 2020

Due to our crippling economy, many South Africans are keeping their cars for longer periods of time. A research published by the Automobile Association (AA) looks at how the economy influences people’s decisions around car ownership.

Why South Africans are holding on to their cars for longer than before

“A good extended or pre-owned mechanical warranty is a smart investment to make, as it gives you the opportunity to be fully prepared for non-wear and tear damage to your vehicle’s engine, transmission, drive train, electrical system, turbo assembly and loads more” says Ricardo Coetzee, the head of Auto & General.

Coetzee also stated that it may be a good financial move to keep your car longer to save on car repayments, but with older vehicles there is a higher risk of having a mechanical breakdown. More than 90% of South Africans have said that they have chosen to keep their cars for longer because of the current economic state. In a research conducted by Automobile Association (AA), just over 40% of South Africans say that they are keeping their cars for between 5 and 10 years. And, just under 35% have stated that they are keeping their cars for over 10 years.

There is a need for better maintenance of vehicles. “Proper, proactive maintenance is key to protect you against a mechanical breakdown, massive expenses, an accident or worse. In addition, a good extended (or pre-owned) warranty / service plan could come in very handy when it comes to the replacement of components that were damaged by something other than wear and tear”, says Ricardo Coetzee 

14 car parts most likely to fail

Auto & General(AA) and the Tyre, Equipment, Parts Association(TEPA), have put together a list of car parts that are most likely to fail on higher mileage cars. They have also advised that car owners should inspect and maintain these car parts on a regular basis. Here is the list of car parts:

  • Timing belts
  • Brake system 
  • Brake hoses or brake system seals
  • Brake fluid 
  • Radiators and Radiator hoses
  • Alternators
  • Water pumps 
  • Shock absorbers 
  • CV joints
  • Clutches
  • Engine and gearbox seals 
  • Starter motors 
  • Oil pumps 
  • Engine and gearbox mountings 
  • Wheel bearings
  • Universal joints

A growing number of South Africans are keeping their cars for more than 10 years


The research conducted by the Automotive Association shows us that only 20% of car owners have maintenance plans for their cars, whilst just under 50 percent of car owners have stated that they pay for maintenance out of their own pocket.

David Chard, the managing director of AA Warranties says that too many people rely on the hope of their car not breaking down, and when their car does break down, they prefer to pay from their own pocket instead of having a solid financial plan in place. Chard says that it is easy and budget-friendly to get a service or maintenance plan.

Important steps vehicle owners must take to keep their vehicles running for longer

Here are a few important steps from the MD of AA Warranties on how to keep your vehicle running for longer:

  • If you are starting a vehicle from cold, allow it to idle for five minutes for the oil to circulate
  • Avoid speeding, turning and braking
  • Try not to over-rev your vehicle
  • Attend to warning lights immediately; don’t think these will go away in time, they may indicate serious issues
  • Regularly check tyre pressure. Do this when you stop to refuel. Also check your oil when refuelling
  • Check wheel alignment and balancing every six months, especially after extensive travel
  • Replace serviceable items (e.g. brake pads, fan belts) according to the service schedule of your vehicle
  • Request the parts which were replaced during a service to ensure they were in fact replaced
  • Stick to the servicing schedule of your vehicle; being proactive about your vehicle’s well-being is part of being a responsible car owner
  • Consider a mechanical warranty to provide ‘medical aid’ cover for your vehicle.

Author: Omega Fumba