Your guide to mileage

All Woman

MILEAGE is a term that is used a lot when discussing cars. And while it's easy to know the number on your dashboard, what exactly does this mean for your car?

Group marketing manager at ATL, Christina Taylor, says mileage is simply a record of the total distance your car has travelled, but you can also use it to indicate when your vehicle needs to be serviced, and it tells you a lot about a used car that you might be eyeing to purchase.

“The mileage is displayed on the odometer, right there on the dashboard of the steering wheel. You really can't miss it, and once you drive your car, it goes up,” she explains.

“Once you have travelled a certain distance, or if your car has gone six months without servicing, it is recommended that you have your vehicle serviced,” she says. “It's usually the 5,000 kilometers mark that we use to determine when it's time for servicing cars such as Hondas, but German vehicles can go up to 7,500 kilometers.”

“So, for example, if you service today and you travel 5,000 kilometers in four months, you would be due for a service in four months, but if not, you should come in at six months anyway.”

It is important to take note of whether your car records the distance in miles or kilometers, Taylor says. One kilometer is 1.609 miles, so if your car tracks mileage in miles, you multiply the figure by 1.609 to convert it to kilometers. This means that you would need to have your Honda serviced at every 3,106 miles, or your Volkswagen checked at 4,660 miles.

But why is it important to have your vehicle serviced so often, anyway?

“We recommend servicing at regular intervals because it helps with your warranty, as well as it keeps your car in tip-top shape,” she says. “We check your brake pad, we check your air conditioning, we'd notice any sounds such as 'clanking' and rattling, and fix them, so that your car doesn't leave you stranded on the road.”

Another important service that is carried out at these six-month clinics is the changing of the engine oil.

“Oil goes bad,” Taylor says. “There are also different standards of oil. Not all oils are created equal. Some oils can create gunk in your engine over time, so it is important to have your vehicle serviced by certified individuals who use the best products. The man under the mango tree might be a lot cheaper, but if he is putting the wrong things in your car, it will end up costing much more.”

She adds that if you're buying a car second-hand and not directly from a dealer, then it's important that you ask for the service maintenance history of the car, in addition to knowing the mileage that the car has covered.

“When you buy a vehicle you get a service booklet with it, which the dealer would be stamping and updating at regular intervals with what they do, so it's clearer when you're buying the car and you know that it was serviced regularly and it was well taken care of. It's kind of like a car vaccination booklet,” she says.

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