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Don’t quarantine your car

Pieter Niemand, national director of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI)

There are countless good reasons for South Africans to isolate themselves at this point of the COVID-19 pandemic, but there are some things that should not be put off as soon as we are able to move freely again.  Servicing your car is one.

Pieter Niemand, national director of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (MIWA), a proud association of the Retail Motor Industry Organisation (RMI), says at the start of the year we were already seeing the effects of the economic downturn with more and more South African motorists electing to keep their cars for longer. In fact the research revealed that 40% of respondents keep their cars for between five and 10 years, and just under 35% keep their cars for longer than 10 years. Niemand says if you add the potential economic pressure Covid-19 is going place on the economy moving forward, there is no doubt we are all going to feel the resultant knock-on effect.

For the average South African motorist, car maintenance has suddenly become that much more critical.

“Regular maintenance is key to extending the life of your car, and will help you pick up smaller repairs early enough to prevent more serious faults occurring further down the line like costly problems with your cooling system, drivetrain, suspension and other components,” says Niemand. “This is not the time to quarantine your car – but when you do service your car, do it safely and responsibly.

Niemand says even when the lockdown is lifted he believes a number of the safety measures introduced at the workshops will remain in place and become standard practice. It will be worth checking with your preferred workshop or accredited MIWA workshop what safety measures they still have in place. “All of our accredited MIWA workshops for example immediately introduced stringent hygiene instructions to minimize the spread of infection. Services became virtually contactless with only reception personnel allowed to engage with customers.  Reception areas were sanitised regularly. Once a vehicle was received the following areas were sanitised: keys with request to remove all other items on key holder; all door handles; steering wheel; handbrake and the inside of vehicles on drivers side.  Then, once the vehicle was ready for collection, the same sanitised procedures are followed as above,” he says.

Niemand says for MIWA the safety of their staff and customers is a key priority.  Nobody is clear how long the effects of the virus will be felt so we are taking all the necessary steps to keep our workplace safe.

“We are concerned to see that, even before lockdown, in these first couple of weeks on the coronavirus we already saw a 40% reduction in business at many of our workshops. Besides the very clear economic advantage of maintaining your asset, the other big motivator for motorists to remember is safety. You need to ensure that your car remains roadworthy. Roadworthiness and road safety need to be priorities for all South Africans as we navigate through these challenging times,” concludes Niemand. 

To find a MIWA-accredited workshop near you download the RMI Connect app or visit the MIWA website on www.miwa.org.za

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