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Car & Driving Tips

If Cars Could Speak: Romantic Wisdom on Four Wheels

Imagine for a moment that cars could talk. Yes, those trusty steeds of steel and rubber that carry us through our daily lives. But what if, beyond just taking us from point A to point B, they could offer us something more – say, advice on romance? As we celebrate the month of love, let’s indulge in a whimsical journey, imagining the romantic tips our cars would give us if they had a voice.

The Art of Listening: Just as a car listens to your commands through the steering wheel, pedals, and gear shift, it would remind us of the importance of listening in a relationship. Active listening, understanding, and responding to your partner’s needs and concerns can strengthen your bond. Much like diagnosing a strange noise under the hood, paying attention to the small details can prevent bigger issues down the road.

Regular Maintenance is Key: Any car enthusiast knows that regular maintenance is crucial for a car’s longevity. Similarly, a car would advise us to nurture our relationships consistently. Regular check-ins, date nights, or simply asking how your partner’s day went can be the equivalent of routine oil changes for your relationship’s engine.

Navigating Rough Roads Together: Cars endure potholes, slippery roads, and tough conditions, much like the challenges we face in relationships. The advice here? Stay the course and navigate these challenges together. Support and trust in each other during tough times can lead to a stronger, more resilient partnership.

The Joy of the Journey: A car would certainly remind us that it’s not just about the destination, but the joy of the journey. In love, it’s about cherishing each moment, whether it’s a spontaneous road trip or a quiet evening at home. Embrace the adventures, big and small, and find joy in the journey you share.

Customization Reflects Individuality: Just as we customize our cars to reflect our personalities, a car would encourage us to appreciate and celebrate our partner’s unique qualities. Embracing each other’s individuality can add color and excitement to the relationship, much like a custom paint job or a unique set of rims on a car.

While our cars may not be able to whisper sweet nothings into our ears, they certainly do offer lessons in love through their existence. This Valentine’s Day, as we think about the bonds we share with our significant others, let’s take a moment to appreciate the silent wisdom of our four-wheeled friends. After all, in both love and cars, it’s the journey and the care we put in that makes all the difference.

This month, whether you’re embarking on a romantic road trip or simply driving to a cozy dinner date, remember the lessons from our silent companions on wheels. And if you’re looking to start a new journey with a reliable pre-loved car, come visit us at Steven Johnson Cars. Let’s find the perfect ride for your love adventures.

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9 February 2024

Your Comprehensive Guide to Car Battery Replacement

At some stage, every vehicle owner faces the task of battery replacement. Whether it’s due to battery failure or the desire for an upgrade, understanding the process is crucial. This article will guide you through all aspects of car battery replacement, including selection criteria for a new battery, the safe replacement process, and maintaining the new battery’s health.

Choosing the right battery for your car and selecting a new car battery involves several considerations. Ensure the battery matches your car’s specifications, which can be found in the owner’s manual or on the old battery’s label. Key aspects to look for:

  • Size and Specifications: The battery should fit your vehicle’s make and model.
  • Capacity and Cold Cranking Amps (CCA): A higher capacity (Ah) indicates more energy storage, while a higher CCA rating ensures better performance in cold conditions.
  • Warranty: Opt for a battery with a robust warranty for added security.

Understanding car battery lifespan a car battery’s life varies based on the vehicle type, battery quality, and usage. Typically, a battery lasts 3 to 5 years, but factors like climate, electronics use, and driving habits can impact this.

Common Causes of Battery Failure Battery failure can occur due to:

  • Natural end of life
  • Mistreatment, such as overcharging or deep cycling
  • Drain from electrical components when the car is off
  • Insufficient charging due to short or infrequent trips

Identifying a Failing Battery Watch out for these signs:

  • Difficulty starting the engine
  • Dashboard battery warning light
  • Rapid battery drain
  • Dimming lights when the engine is off

Replacing your car battery safely follow these steps for a safe replacement:

  • – Turn off the engine and remove the key from the ignition.
  • – Locate and expose the battery.
  • – Disconnect the negative cable first, then the positive.
  • – Carefully remove the old battery.
  • – Place the new battery, ensuring it’s secure.
  • – Connect the positive cable first, then the negative.
  • – Start the car to test the new battery.

Maximising Battery Life To prolong your battery’s life:

  • Regularly clean terminals to prevent corrosion.
  • Avoid leaving the car unused for long periods.
  • Turn off all accessories before shutting off the engine.
  • Limit use of electronics with the engine off.
  • Ensure the alternator functions correctly.

Dealing with a dead battery if your battery dies:

  • Check and secure connections.
  • Test the battery voltage.
  • Jump-start the car if necessary.
  • Charge the battery with an external charger.

Replacing a car battery is a manageable task that can save you time and money. With the right knowledge and tools, you can confidently choose and install a new battery, ensuring your vehicle remains reliable. Remember to select a battery based on specific criteria and handle it with care to avoid damage. By following these guidelines, you can extend the life of your car battery and prevent unexpected issues.

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9 January 2024

Essential Features for Your Next Family Vehicle

As life progresses, our needs evolve. Starting a family, expanding it with a couple of furry friends, and watching as your world grows, all lead to one realisation: it’s time to upgrade. A bigger living space and a more spacious vehicle become necessities.

When hunting for the perfect family car, size is a vital factor, but it’s not the only one. Safety and functionality are equally important. Every family has unique needs, but here are key features to consider for that crucial family car purchase:

Safety Ratings The well-being of your loved ones is paramount. The Euro NCAP star rating system offers insight into the safety level of cars, providing a 5-star scale and detailed safety assessments in downloadable reports. This helps you make an informed decision for your family’s safety.

Airbags Modern cars usually come equipped with front airbags. However, it’s critical to understand their impact, especially on young children. The force from an airbag can harm small children, so either deactivate it or ensure they’re seated safely in the back.

Storage Space In a country as scenic as South Africa, road trips are a must. Your car should have ample storage for all family necessities, whether it’s a stroller, sports gear, or picnic items.

Comfort and Accessibility A family car is more than just a vehicle; it’s a part of daily life. Look for a car that offers spaciousness, comfort, and conveniences like ample legroom, headroom, and handy features like drink holders and side pockets.

UV Protection Windows Not all car windows offer the same level of UV protection. While windshields generally provide more protection, side windows may lack sufficient UV filtering. Consider cars with high UV protection or add UV-blocking tint to your windows.

Automatic Central Locking all doors will be locked or unlocked simultaneously with a single control, typically a button or key fob. This feature enhances convenience and security, ensuring all doors are securely locked while driving or when the vehicle is parked.

Bluetooth Connectivity Managing young children requires constant attention. Cars with Bluetooth allow hands-free phone usage, helping parents stay focused on the road while remaining connected when necessary.

Cruise Control On long family trips, maintaining a constant speed can relieve some driving stress. Cruise control helps keep a steady pace, allowing you to focus more on steering and less on pedal control.

ISOFIX A standard system for attaching child seats in vehicles, using fixed anchor points for a secure and stable fit. This method reduces installation errors and enhances the safety of children in cars.

If you’re in the market for a pre-owned family vehicle, consider visiting Steven Johnson Cars. We offer a range of cars to suit your growing family’s needs. Come visit us or contact us to explore your options.

Source: AutoPedigree

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9 January 2024

Holiday Traditions on the Road: Celebrating the Festive Season in Your Car in South Africa

As the holiday season approaches in South Africa, there’s a unique charm in the air. With diverse cultures celebrating in myriad ways, the festive spirit takes over, and what better way to immerse yourself in this joyous time than by taking to the roads? In this blog, we’ll explore how you can create unforgettable holiday memories right from the comfort of your car.

1. Christmas Light Tours: South Africa is known for its vibrant displays of Christmas lights in various cities. Plan a route to drive through neighbourhoods adorned with twinkling lights and festive decorations. Cities like Johannesburg, Cape Town, and Durban have famous spots where communities go all out with their displays. It’s a magical experience, perfect for families and couples alike.

2. Beachfront Cruises: Take advantage of South Africa’s beautiful coastlines. A drive along the beach fronts of Cape Town, Durban, or the Eastern Cape, with the windows down and the ocean breeze coming in, is a must-do. The festive season often means lively boardwalks, music in the air, and a general atmosphere of celebration.

3. Safari Drive-Throughs: Why not combine a holiday drive with a safari experience? South Africa’s wildlife parks offer drive-through safaris where you can witness the majestic beauty of African wildlife. Imagine spending your holidays spotting lions, elephants, and giraffes in their natural habitat – an adventure that’s quintessentially South African.

4. Drive-In Movies and Carol Evenings: The resurgence of drive-in cinemas offers a nostalgic and safe way to enjoy holiday classics. Pack some snacks, blankets, and settle in for an evening under the stars. Keep an eye out for local churches or communities hosting carol evenings, where you can enjoy festive songs from the comfort of your car.

5. Food and Craft Markets: The holiday season is ripe with markets showcasing local artisans and cuisines. Take a drive to various holiday markets across the country. You can find unique gifts, sample local delicacies, and soak in the festive ambiance.

6. Road Trip to a Hidden Gem: South Africa is full of hidden gems. Plan a road trip to a lesser-known town or attraction. Discover local traditions, enjoy regional cuisine, and explore South Africa’s rich cultural tapestry.

7. New Year’s Eve Countdowns: As the year draws to a close, be part of the numerous New Year’s Eve countdown events. Whether it’s a fireworks display in a city or a more intimate gathering in a small town, there’s something special about ringing in the New Year in a new place.

Conclusion: Celebrating the festive season in South Africa doesn’t have to be confined to your home. Your car can be the vessel that carries you and your loved ones through an array of festive experiences. From light tours to drive-in movies, beachfront cruises to safari adventures, the holiday spirit is just a drive away. Stay safe, respect the local guidelines, and immerse yourself in the joyous spirit of the season.

Remember, a reliable used car from Steven Johnson Cars can be your perfect companion for these holiday adventures. Visit us to find a vehicle that suits your festive travel needs and let the celebrations begin on the road!

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2 December 2023

Choosing the Perfect Car for Your Loved One This Festive Season in South Africa

The festive season in South Africa is a time of joy, celebration, and thoughtful giving. If you’re considering a truly memorable gift for a loved one this year, why not a used car? It’s practical, generous, and can be a delightful surprise. This guide will help you navigate the process of selecting the perfect used car for your special someone in South Africa in 2023.

1. Understanding Their Needs: Start by considering what your loved one truly needs in a car. Is it for daily commuting in busy cities like Johannesburg or Cape Town? Or, perhaps for leisurely drives along the Garden Route? Think about size, fuel efficiency, and functionality. A compact car might be ideal for city driving, while an SUV could be better suited for adventure seekers.

2. Setting a Budget: Decide on a budget that is comfortable for you. The used car market in South Africa offers a wide range of options, from affordable hatchbacks to luxury sedans. Remember, additional costs such as insurance, registration, and maintenance should also be factored in.

3. Researching the Market: With your budget and their needs in mind, research the models that fit the criteria. Online platforms, local dealerships, and auto magazines are great resources. Pay attention to the car’s age, mileage, service history, and overall condition.

4. Safety and Reliability: Safety should be a top priority. Look for cars with a good safety rating and reliable track record. Features like airbags, ABS brakes, and stability control are important, especially when driving on South Africa’s varied terrain.

5. Considering the Extras: What extra features would your loved one appreciate? Think about Bluetooth connectivity, a sunroof, leather seats, or advanced navigation systems. These features can turn a practical gift into a luxurious surprise.

6. Test Drive and Inspection: Before making the final decision, take the car for a test drive and get it inspected by a professional mechanic. This will ensure that the car is in good condition and a worthy investment.

7. Making it a Surprise: To keep the gift a surprise, you might need to be a bit sneaky. Enlist the help of friends or family members, and perhaps create a diversion to keep your loved one guessing.

8. The Big Reveal: Plan a memorable reveal. Consider tying a big red bow around the car or unveiling it at a festive gathering with family and friends. The look of surprise and joy on their face will be priceless.

Gifting a used car is a gesture that speaks volumes. It shows care, thoughtfulness, and a desire to contribute positively to your loved one’s daily life. With the right approach, this gift could be the highlight of their festive season. At Steven Johnson Cars, we have a range of quality used cars perfect for gifting. Visit us, and let us help you make this festive season unforgettable for your loved one!

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2 December 2023

10 Strategies for Enhancing Fuel Efficiency in South Africa

We all know that vehicles rely on fuel to operate. However, this doesn’t imply that you can’t adopt certain practices to optimise your fuel consumption.

Maintain Tire Pressure: When tires aren’t adequately inflated, they create greater friction on the road. Every journey consumes more fuel due to this increased resistance. By maintaining proper tire pressure, possibly preventing up to a 10% decrease in fuel efficiency caused by underinflation of 10 psi.

  • Declutter Your Trunk: If you’re one of those who stow away numerous items in the trunk, it’s time for a rethink. Remember, an additional 50kg of weight can lead to a 2% rise in fuel usage. So, only store essentials!
  • Use Air Conditioning Judiciously: It might seem counterintuitive, but driving at speeds above 80km/h with the windows down can guzzle more fuel due to wind resistance. In such cases, it’s wiser to use the air conditioning.
  • Maintain Optimal Speed: Cruising at high speeds significantly increases wind resistance, leading to more fuel consumption. However, moving too slowly isn’t economical either. For the best fuel economy, keep your speed between 50 and 90 km/h on highways.
  • Smooth Acceleration is Key: Revving the engine unnecessarily consumes more fuel. Aim for gradual and steady acceleration, as a lower RPM typically translates to lesser fuel usage.
  • Avoid Abrupt Braking: Excessive braking, especially when tailgating, can lead to more fuel usage due to the subsequent need for acceleration. Additionally, tailgating isn’t just fuel-inefficient; it’s unsafe.
  • Utilize Top Gear or Cruise Control: Whether you’re driving an automatic or manual vehicle, aiming for a constant speed or higher gears, when suitable, can mean fewer engine revolutions and thus less fuel consumed.
  • Adopt Predictive Driving Habits: Anticipate your next move by observing the road conditions ahead. Gently decelerating before a red light or gradually accelerating before a hill can help in conserving fuel.
  • Strategise Your Commute: Regular halts and starts in bumper-to-bumper traffic can strain your engine and increase fuel usage. Whenever feasible, try to navigate around the peak traffic hours.
  • Limit Idling: If you find yourself in a situation where you’re waiting for more than three minutes, it’s advisable to turn off your engine. An idling engine still consumes fuel.

Lastly, a consistent vehicle servicing routine is crucial for ensuring fuel efficiency. Engines comprise intricately connected components. If these aren’t maintained properly, unwanted build-ups can hamper the engine’s performance. Furthermore, selecting a quality engine oil can drastically reduce internal friction, combat residues, and enhance fuel economy.

If it’s been a while since your last car check-up, perhaps it’s time to schedule a service appointment.

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1 November 2023

Tips for Navigating a South African Road Trip

Exploring South Africa with a road trip is a must, but safety is key. Check out these essential tips:

Choose Affordable Rentals: Opt for a reliable, budget-friendly car rental to save on costs and minimise risks.

Keep the Tank Full: Regularly refuel to avoid running out of petrol, as GPS estimates can be unreliable.

Don’t Stop for Strangers: Avoid assisting strangers due to potential scams and safety concerns.

Secure Your Vehicle: Keep doors locked and windows closed to deter theft or hijacking, especially at red lights.

Daytime Travel: Plan to arrive during daylight hours to reduce risks associated with nighttime driving.

Mind the Potholes: Watch out for potholes on less-maintained roads, driving cautiously when necessary.

Support Car Guards: Show appreciation to car guards for watching your vehicle.

Pack a Cooler Box: Carry food and water for snacks and emergencies, using a cooler box to keep items fresh.

Trust Reliable Maps: Use trusted maps for navigation and conduct additional research for scenic routes.

Beware of Wildlife: Drive carefully in areas where animals may cross the road, following wildlife warning signs.

In conclusion, follow these tips for a smooth South African road trip. Prioritise defensive driving, take breaks, and share the driving responsibilities. Enjoy your adventure!

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12 October 2023

Five Important Auto Maintenance Tips

Preserving the condition of your vehicle is essential, and prompt repair work ensures its continued function. Regular car servicing helps avoid unexpected malfunctions and mishaps, especially when you’re kilometers away from a repair shop. A well-maintained car guarantees your safety and reliability during travels, enabling hassle-free commutes and journeys.

A well-functioning car is crucial for daily activities, such as commuting to work, fetching children from school, and maintaining social engagements. We’ve put together a concise list of crucial maintenance tasks to ensure you know exactly what to request when you visit your auto service centre.

Five Crucial Car Servicing Tips 

  1. Get your car examined routinely. Professional inspection teams can detect and suggest solutions for problems with your vehicle that might have escaped your notice. A proficient mechanic can utilise a car diagnosis tool to assess different car parts without having to dismantle your vehicle. 
  1. Schedule regular engine and brake checks. The engine is arguably the most vital part of your vehicle and should be periodically tested for optimum performance. Similarly, brake fluid should be routinely checked for safety, and pedals should be kept clean to avoid malfunctions. 
  1. Prepare your vehicle for different weather conditions. Your tires might need inflation or replacement for safe driving. Have your mechanic inspect your air conditioning system for necessary repairs or cleaning. It’s also crucial to get your transmission and exhaust system checked to avoid overheating throughout the year. 
  1. Change your oil consistently. While some experts suggest doing this every three months, some vehicles can go longer. Monitor your fuel levels, consult your owner’s manual for oil change frequency, and avoid delaying the process. Clean oil is necessary for your car’s smooth operation! Pay attention to minor details. If you observe your windshield wipers leaving streaks, replace them. Request a thorough cleaning of your windshield and windows for clear visibility. Also, it’s important to clean your head and tail lights for adequate visibility during night drives or in rainy conditions. 
  1. Engage an auto mechanic for regular servicing. Attempting to repair your vehicle on your own can prove expensive, challenging, and potentially cause more damage if executed incorrectly. You don’t want to risk your safety or that of others by driving a poorly maintained car. The most sensible approach would be to engage a certified auto mechanic for regular vehicle maintenance. Consult your car’s owner’s manual for a prescribed maintenance timeline, and liaise with your dealer’s service department to keep up with regular servicing.

Your mechanic should be competent to examine and address any existing issues with your vehicle, as well as prevent potential problems. A skilled mechanic can ensure your car is well-tuned and road-ready promptly.

We give attribution to this article from the original source: Windsor Chrysler

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11 August 2023

IMPORTANT POINTERS ABOUT CAR INSURANCE

Now that you have discovered a car ideally suited to your needs, ensuring that your car is adequately insured becomes the next essential obligation. 

Regardless of your level of expertise or cautiousness as a driver, or even if you have purchased a more economical car outright, driving an uninsured vehicle exposes you to significant financial jeopardy.

What exactly is car insurance?

Car insurance, also known as motor vehicle insurance, entails entering into a contractual agreement with an insurance company. In the event of theft or damage to the insured vehicle or the other vehicle involved, the insurance company assumes financial responsibility.

When you acquire insurance, you are essentially making a purchase based on a promise. You make monthly payments to the insurer, determined by your personal information. However, should the insurance company compensate you with the market value of your car, it is unlikely to be sufficient for you to purchase an identical replacement.

Why is car insurance necessary?

In South Africa, where incidents of theft, hijackings, and road accidents are prevalent, having insurance as a protective measure is of utmost importance. In recent years, the cost of vehicle repairs has risen significantly, along with an increase in average insurance claims. The South African Insurance Association (SAIA) reports that 65% of drivers operate uninsured vehicles. The consequences of lacking insurance extend beyond the individual and impact other road users as well.

Considering these risk factors, insurance companies have been compelled to reassess the cost of insuring vehicles.

If you are involved in an accident without insurance, you bear sole responsibility for covering the expenses of repairing your car. Additionally, if you attempt to claim damages from another uninsured driver, you will also be liable for the legal costs.

What factors determine your premium amount?

Several factors determine the value of your car insurance premium. The insurance provider disburses a specific sum based on various values and information provided by you.

• The make and model of your car. 

• The age and condition of the vehicle. 

• The potential replacement value of the car. 

• The insurer will likely reimburse you with the market value of the car. 

• The market value represents the average of the vehicle’s retail and trade value. 

• The trade value refers to the price offered by a second-hand dealer. 

• The retail value denotes the price you paid for the car when purchasing it new or second-hand.

How to locate the best car insurance.

The prevalent issue among many South African drivers is the absence of motor vehicle insurance. While the premiums may appear steep, which may seem like a justifiable reason for car owners to struggle with payment, it should not be an excuse for lacking car insurance.

Driving without car insurance is an excessively risky endeavour. Fortunately, numerous reputable insurance providers are available to assist you in finding the most suitable insurance coverage that aligns with your lifestyle.

We give attribution to this article from the original source: Inspiring Women

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6 July 2023

Useful tips to consider when buying a used car.

South Africa’s car market is expanding due to increasing reliance on vehicles. This presents opportunities for great deals on used cars. When shopping for a second-hand vehicle, keep these tips in mind to minimise future headaches.

Start by creating a budget to determine the affordability and price range of your new wheels. Depending on specific parameters, you may need to consider a pre-owned vehicle. Remember to account for expenses beyond monthly instalments, such as car insurance, fuel costs, toll fees, maintenance expenses, and potential future interest rate increases. 

It’s rare to purchase a vehicle outright with cash, so obtaining finance from a bank is often the alternative. Financial institutions consider your credit history as a crucial factor when deciding whether to grant a car loan.

New graduates who have recently entered the workforce and started paying their own bills may need to gain experience before being eligible for vehicle finance. Different manufacturers in the South African market may offer special finance deals for first-time buyers, but thorough research is advised before committing. Always read and fully understand the terms and conditions to avoid any future confusion.

Additional tips to keep in mind:

  1. Prioritise purchasing the vehicle you need rather than the one you desire but can’t afford. If you’re financially strained, opt for affordable, fuel-efficient vehicles instead of popular SUVs. This decision will prove beneficial every time you have to refill your tank after a fuel price hike.
  2. Look for used vehicles that come with a warranty. If possible, try to extend the warranty and maintenance plan. If a warranty is unavailable, ensure the vehicle has a full-service history (FSH) to reduce the risk of breakdowns caused by inadequate maintenance.
  3. For vehicles without a warranty or service plan, find a reliable workshop for inspections and maintenance. Access to a mechanic is crucial in case of unforeseen breakdowns.
  4. Avoid purchasing vehicles that have been previously damaged and repaired, unless a reputable panel beater has restored an accident-damaged vehicle to roadworthy condition. Stick to vehicles with clean titles, as anything too good to be true probably is.
  5. Be cautious of scam postings on listings platforms offering enticing prices on new vehicles. Take your time during the purchase process to avoid being deceived and ensure you find the best vehicle.
  6. Arrange a test drive for the used vehicle to identify any faults or issues that need to be addressed. This helps determine if the vehicle suits your needs and provides an opportunity to negotiate the price with the seller. 
  7. Beware of balloon payments, which may initially offer lower monthly repayments but ultimately leave you with a substantial outstanding amount at the end of the loan period. Make sure the value of your vehicle will cover this balance when you trade it in or sell it for a new one.
  8. Car insurance should be included in your car budget, despite it being an unpopular expense. In the event of an accident resulting in a write-off, you will still need to repay the car. Insurance also protects against potential third-party claims.

We give attribution to this article from the original source: Carmag

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8 June 2023

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