A spare key can save you time, money, and stress.

When buying a used car, an important thing people often overlook is to ask for the spare key. Having a spare key can save you time, money, and stress.
 
Modern car keys aren’t cheap. Most people are shocked when they discover a replacement could cost thousands of rands. On top of that, if you lose your car key you could be stranded without your car for a few days if you don’t have a spare.
 
Replacing a lost car key used to be a simple task of taking the spare to a key cutter and having a copy made for about R250. These days, it’s a different story. Modern keys equipped with transponders that communicate with a car’s immobiliser unit and engine control unit (ECU) to allow the car to start. It can also be a keyless entry and start function.
 
The cost of a replacement key ranges from R2,000 to R4,500 and the price for keys for exotic cars can be higher. A new key needs to be ordered, cut and coded which could mean up to a full day or more off the road.
 
Here’s a few reasons why you should always ask for the spare key when purchasing a used car.
 

Cost

 
The cost of gaining entry to the car by picking the lock and then replacing the door locks, can be very expensive. It is much cheaper to have a key copied instead of incurring those extra expenses. Having a spare will save you the cost of having to break into your own car or call a locksmith.
 

Peace of Mind

 
Having a spare key gives you the peace of mind you need when you do lock your keys in your car. You have the ability to get into your car with a friend’s help by retrieving the spare key.
 

Ease of Use for Two Drivers

 
Having a spare key is also great when two drivers drive the same car. Sharing a key can be quite difficult if you are not able to be in the same place when one of you needs to use the car.
 

Ease of Key Replacement

 
The fact that you have a spare key makes it much easier to get a replacement. Most car keys can be cloned just like a house key. Locksmiths have a machine that can do this in a matter of seconds. You must make sure that yours is one that can be cloned though.
 

Security

 
If you lose your car keys, you will have your spare key to take your car to the dealership to replace the door locks. This avoids giving thieves time to locate your car and steal it. Take advantage of this by taking your car to the dealership the second you realize you lost your keys.
 
The bottom line is, when buying a used car, always check that you have two working keys, and check that the spare matches the car. Hopefully our reasons for getting a spare car key has convinced you just how important it is to have a second key. If you only have one car key do not wait until it’s too late, get a replacement car key today!
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Tips and tricks to ensure your car remains in good condition when things get back to normal

These are crucial times, and there is no denying that. With the COVID-19 or the novel coronavirus pandemic gripping the nation in lockdown, we must stay in the confines of our homes and practice social distancing. This is the only way we can contain this deadly virus from spreading. With South Africans staying at home and only venturing out for basic shopping or for getting to essential jobs, many of us will find our cars lying idle for prolonged periods. Here are some tips and tricks that you can use to make sure your car remains in good condition when things get back to normal.
 
 

1. Clean before storage

 
It’s a good idea to keep your car protected from the elements. If possible, parking in a garage will protect the car from damage caused by exposure to bad weather. When parking in a garage, ensure it’s free from humidity and damp as this can corrode paintwork and cause mould.
 
If you don’t have a garage, try covering your car with a model-specific car cover for the next few weeks, to protect it from the autumn elements.
 

2. Protect against bad weather

 
Before storing your car, it’s a good idea to give it a wash to prevent grime from building up and damaging the paintwork.
 
Remember to clean the tyres, as they tend to hold on to grease. Also brake shavings and mud which can all cause damage over time should be cleaned.
 
Rinse the car with water before drying with a soft leather chamois or soft microfibre towel.
 

3. Protect the interior

 
Remember to clean the interior of your car if it’s going to be left for a while. If your car has leather or coated fabrics, wipe dust away with a dry cloth regularly. For a deeper clean, use a damp cloth and gentle soap to rub the fabric down. Always soak up any leftover moisture with a dry cloth afterwards.
 
For other fabric seats, vacuum the material to prevent dust accumulation. Never use harsh chemicals or household laundry soaps as these can cause discolouration.
 
 

4. Check the battery

 
Leaving your car for long periods of time without driving it, can cause the battery to run flat.
 
A good way to avoid this is by starting your car and driving for about 15 minutes every two weeks or so. This will prevent the battery from going flat and will help to lubricate the engine. If it’s not possible to drive, then simply start the engine. Let it run for 15 minutes will help to ensure the battery maintains its charge.
 

And remember….

 
When venturing out to check on your car take proper precautions. Keep your face and eyes covered and carry a pocket sanitiser so that you can clean your hands immediately after you are done with the task. Stay Home Stay Safe!
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Coronavirus (COVID-19) advice for WRPB customers

In this time of uncertainty, our number one priority is ensuring the health and safety of everyone in our communities. As you know, COVID-19 is a new illness that can affect your lungs and airways. It’s caused by a virus called coronavirus. The latest information on the COVID-19 outbreak is available on the WHO website. Most people who become infected experience mild illness and recover. But it can be more severe for others.
 

Take care of your health and protect others by doing the following:

 

Wash your hands frequently

 
Regularly and thoroughly clean your hands with an alcohol-based hand rub or wash them with soap and water.
 
Why? Washing your hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand rub kills viruses that may be on your hands.
 

Maintain social distancing

 
Maintain at least 1 metre distance between yourself and anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
 
Why? When someone coughs or sneezes they spray small liquid droplets from their nose or mouth which may contain the virus. If you are too close, you can breathe in the droplets, including the COVID-19 virus if the person coughing has the disease.
 

Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth

 
Why? Hands touch many surfaces and can pick up viruses. Once contaminated, hands can transfer the virus to your eyes, nose or mouth. From there, the virus can enter your body and can make you sick.
 

Practice respiratory hygiene

 
Make sure you, and those around you, follow good respiratory hygiene. This means covering your mouth and nose with your bent elbow or tissue when you cough or sneeze. Then dispose of the used tissue immediately.
 
 
Why? Droplets spread virus. By following good respiratory hygiene, you protect the people around you from viruses such as cold, flu and COVID-19.
 

If you have fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical care early

 
Stay home if you feel unwell. If you have a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, seek medical attention and call in advance. Follow the directions of your local health authority.
 
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information. Calling in advance will allow your health care provider to quickly direct you to the right health facility. This will also protect you and help prevent spread of viruses and other infections.
 

Stay informed and follow advice given by your healthcare provider

 
Stay informed on the latest developments about COVID-19. Follow the advice given by your healthcare provider, your national and local public health authority or your employer.
 
Why? National and local authorities will have the most up to date information on whether COVID-19 is spreading in your area. They are best placed to advise on what people in your area should be doing to protect themselves.
 
The management and staff at West Rand Panel Beaters are committed to ensuring that we do out bit in the fight to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Social distancing is important to us and we ask that you view it as seriously as we are. It’s in your and our best interests.
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Check your vehicle to gear up for the cold Highveld winter

Summer has ended and the colder months are well on their way to darken our skies and dampen our spirits. Autumn means shorter days, colourful foliage and of course, rugby season. It’s also a time for you to check your vehicle to gear up for the cold Highveld winter. The change in season means a change in approach to the way you drive. Road conditions become less favourable and potentially dangerous. A change in climate can also have an effect on how your vehicle performs.
 
Here are three ways to make sure that your vehicle is ready for autumn.
 
  • Check your tyres
  • Have your battery tested
  • Check your heating is working
 

Check Your Tyres

 
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: your tyres are perhaps the most important part of your car. As you head into autumn, you should make sure that the tread on your tyres is still up to par. As temperatures drop, so does the air pressure inside your tyre.
 

Have Your Battery Tested

 
It’s important to have a well-performing battery in cooler temperatures. Battery capacity decreases significantly in cold weather. So it’s important to have an expert examine the battery to ensure it’s at peak performance. It’s harder on the cells and it robs their battery capacity. Parking a car in a garage, out of the cold, is another way to protect the battery. Have jumper cables handy. This helps if your car breaks down or in case you come across another motorist in need of a jumpstart.
 

Check Your Heating is Working

 
Autumn on the Highveld can be bitterly cold. As a result, you will be hoping to warm up when you are in your car. You don’t want to get inside, start your engine, and be greeted by a chilly blast of cold air as the heater refuses to work.
 
So taking a look at your car’s air conditioning is a good idea, especially if you don’t have a car with climate control. Even then, you will need to ensure that it is working as it should be. Whether this is checking the radiator, or having someone look at your car’s electronics, is a good idea.
 
You will also need to ensure that your heater is working so that it can clear your windscreen. Often you can’t see if it’s working until you need it, so checking your aircon as a whole is a great piece of car maintenance.
 
Autumn weather is not as extreme as in the winter, so now is the time to do your car maintenance checks. While it is getting colder, it’s still generally milder than the colder months. If you check now, you can save yourself a major headache further down the road. Think of it as a sort of spring clean for your car, only in the autumn.
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Driving in wet weather is a time to be cautious and patient

Many parts of South Africa are experiencing extreme weather conditions. Storms, flooding and tornadoes have caused damage to property and crops. This, despite much of South Africa, is in the grip of a drought. No matter how experienced you are, driving in wet weather is a time to be cautious and patient. During this time, try to stay off the road when it’s wet. If driving is unavoidable, take care to ensure you don’t become a statistic.
 
West Rand Panel Beaters offers motorists the following tips when traveling in wet weather:

* Cruise control

 
Cruise control is designed to maintain a certain speed. If you hit a puddle the cruise control may induce aquaplaning. Very dangerous so try avoid at all costs.
 

* Flooded areas

 
Never underestimate the danger of floodwaters. Flooding can wash away the entire road surface. Water can hide dips in the road. If water gets sucked into the engine, your vehicle will shut off and you will be stuck.
 

* Slow down

 
When the roads are wet, the tar is slippery. Reduce your speed and double the distance between you and the car in front. And remember that speed limits posted on road signs are only suitable for ideal conditions. They should not be adhered to in poor weather conditions.
 

* Visibility

 
A sudden downpour can quickly affect your visibility. Drive in lanes without vehicles obstructing your vision. Or follow a vehicle of a similar size so you can see through their back and front windscreens, to the road ahead of them. Avoid following large trucks that obstruct your vision.
 

* Puddle of water

 
A puddle of water can hide a deep pothole, a manhole, or even a sinkhole. At certain speeds, your vehicle can aquaplane, lifting off the ground. But what to do if your vehicle does start to aquaplane? Smoothly and lightly slow down until you have regained control. Avoid abrupt and excessive steering, heavy braking, or taking corners too quickly.
 

* Unforeseen obstacles

 
Road hazards include rocks and branches, pedestrians, farm animals, and vehicle accidents. Drive slowly to avoid such objects. By driving slowly you are able to detect, react, and come to a complete stop before coming into contact with the hazard.
 
The AA has some great tips for driving in heavy wet weather conditions including tips from their AA Rescue team for driving in flooded areas.. Driving-tests.org suggest the following tips:
  • Wait Until the Weather Improves if Possible
  • Double Check Your Car’s Equipment
  • Slow Down
  • Turn On Your Headlights
  • Use Your Windshield Wipers
  • Maintain a Safe Distance Between Cars
  • Avoid Heavy Braking
  • Watch Out For Standing Water
  • Let Off The Gas When Hydroplaning
  • Ventilate Your Car
 
But whatever advice you receive, remember that it’s all about safety first. Rather avoid being in difficult situations upfront. And wherever you are traveling to this festive season, please look after your precious cargo as accidents can happen in an instant.
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Post-repair paint job care

You’ve been in an accident and sustained significant damage to your vehicle. Fortunately, you did the right thing and took your car to West Rand Panel Beaters. Our expert technicians made the necessary repairs using our state-of-the-art technology. The result is your car looks and drives like new.
 
After you get your car back, going forward some “TLC” and recuperation will bode you well. You shouldn’t have any problems with the mechanical and structural repairs to your car. Most likely, either all or part of your car was repainted, and that’s where you need to pay particular attention.
It’s important to baby your car’s new post-repair paint job. So we’ve come up with some “do’s and don’ts” to follow to protect your newly painted car.
 

Do This:

 

Do Wash Your Car By Hand

The new paint and finish need to dry and harden. You should take care washing it for at least three months after it’s been painted. Use a very mild car wash solution and a soft cloth or sponge to wash and a chamois to dry. Use cool, clean water, not hot.
 

Do Wash Your Car In The Shade

Don’t let the surface dry out or get too hot by keeping it wet and washing your car in the shade.
 

Do Keep Your Car In The Garage

It’s always a good idea to keep your car in the garage. But this is particularly the case after it’s been painted. Extreme heat or cold can cause weather-related damage. If you don’t have a garage, consider getting a portable awning if kept outside.
 

Do Get Your Car Professionally Polished

Let the professionals do your car properly at least twice a year. Be sure to tell them that your car was recently painted so they can take the necessary care.
 

Don’t:

 

Don’t Go To The Car Wash

Some car washes use stiff brushes and other materials. These could scratch and damage your paint causing the finish to lose its lustrous shine. Be cautious.
 

Don’t Dry Wipe Your Car

It may be tempting to take a dry cloth and wipe off the dust. But this could scratch the new paint which is still quite fragile. You should also avoid using a stiff brush or anything rough that could scratch the surface.
 

Don’t Wax or Polish Your Car for Three Months

Wait at least three months before waxing and polishing your car. If you don’t this will possibly damage the finish or discolor the paint. The paint job needs to “cure” for some time before you can go back to waxing and polishing it. After waiting three months or longer, you can carefully apply a new coat of carnauba wax to protect it.
 

Don’t Park Under Trees Or Power Lines

Tree sap and bird droppings will eat right through the new paint job. It’s sound practice to avoid doing this if at all possible. If you do get some bird droppings or sap on the finish, clean it off promptly and carefully. The acidity will eat right through the new paint if you don’t.
 

Don’t Scrape Off Ice

Taking a hard plastic scraper to your new paint job is not a good idea. The tool can potentially scrape some of the paint off. If you can, try pour warm water over the car to melt some of the ice.
 

Don’t Use Dish Or Clothing Detergent

Don’t grab that bottle of Sunlight soap or laundry detergent to wash your newly painted car. These soaps can leave harmful residues and are too strong for your vehicle’s finish. New paint jobs cannot handle harsh soaps. Always use a car wash solution that is made for vehicles, not dishes or clothes.
 
By following these do’s and don’ts, your car will continue to look and drive like new for many miles down the road.
 

We Care For Your Car As Much As You Do

 
Nobody cares for your car quite like you do. At West Rand Panel Beaters, we treat your “baby” like it was our own. Our highly trained staff of certified technicians have many years of experience. Plus, West Rand Panel Beaters has been in business since 1978. With a solid reputation for doing quality repair work, the goal is always to return your vehicle in as close to “like new” condition as possible.
 
We feature only the latest equipment in our clean and modern workshop. We offer a limited one year guarantee that covers both the repairs and the parts. Our paint enjoys a lifetime warranty. Very importantly, R-M is our premium paint supplier. Why do we use them? R-M has been recognized as a major player in automotive refinishing for a century. By using products from R-M, West Rand Panel Beaters is able to provide the highest level of paint solutions and high color competence.
 
So by following some of these “do’s and don’ts” protecting your newly painted car, your car will look as good as new for a long time.
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Save fuel this festive season

The festive season is nearly upon us. All you need to do is look at your local shops and see how many Christmas decorations are already up! But everything keeps getting more and more expensive! And as the petrol price moves up and down, here are some thoughts on how to save on fuel (which equals money) this festive season.

 

Reduce hard braking

 
Try to drive as smoothly as possible. This means that you should avoid heavy revving and hard braking. This will not only reduce your fuel consumption but lead to less wear and tear of your car as well.
Do not rest your left foot on the brake pedal while driving. The slightest pressure puts “mechanical drag” on components, wearing them down prematurely. This “dragging” also demands additional fuel usage to overcome the drag.

Lighten your load

 
Think carefully about what you need on a journey. If you do not need something, do not pack it. Remove roof racks if not needed, as they create wind drag. The lighter the load, the lower the fuel consumption and emissions. An extra 10 kgs in the boot reduces a typical car’s fuel economy by 1 to 2%. Carrying excess weight wastes fuel.
 

Look after tyres

 
You’ve probably heard this many times before, but we feel it necessary to remind you to check your tyre pressure often. Driving with under-inflated tyres burns more fuel. Well maintained tyres are essential for safe and economical driving. Check tyre pressures regularly (especially before a highway journey). Correctly inflated tyres can improve fuel consumption by up to 2%.

Reduce weight

 
A lighter car will use less fuel. So don’t drive around with unnecessary items in your boot. And unless you’re on a long journey, consider running your fuel tank half full or less.
 

Ditch the car

 
It sounds obvious, but the simplest way to save on your fuel costs is to cut your car use. Try walking, cycling or public transport for shorter journeys. Or car sharing for your commute.
 

Avoid rough roads

 
Avoid rough roads whenever possible, because dirt or gravel can rob you of up to 30% of your fuel mileage. Every time the wheels bounce up and down, forward motion energy is removed from the vehicle. The best way to describe this is to experience driving on a “washboard” road. It is very uncomfortable and the vehicle will actually slow down from the transfer of energy. And you thought physics classes would have no application later in life! This causes the driver to apply more throttle – wasted fuel.
 

Alignment

 
Inspect suspension and chassis parts for misalignment. Bent wheels, axles, worn shocks, and broken springs can contribute to drivetrain drag. Not to mention the unsafe condition they create.
 
In summary, there are many ways to begin to save fuel. The AA  lists 9 ways to save fuel. Wherever you get advice, be sure to save fuel so that there’s a bit extra for a little present under the tree. Someone special will appreciate it.
 
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Car Maintenance is Essential

When it comes to your vehicle, prevention is 1000 times better than cure. Basic upkeep is cheaper than major repairs caused by neglect.
 
At West Rand Panel Beaters we see it all! For some reason, many people neglect basic maintenance on their car. Their philosophy is “Hey, it’s running, so what’s the problem?” The excuses never end: “I don’t have the time.” “I don’t know anything about cars”.
 

Don’t avoid basic maintenance

There are all sorts of ways to neglect a good vehicle, and one of the most common is to avoid basic maintenance. Driving too long on the same spark plugs. Forgetting to change the oil. Turning a deaf ear to squealing brakes or mysterious clunking sounds can mean an early trip to the scrapyard.
 
You can also be fined for failing to look after your car. Police at random roadworthy checks can cite you. Bald tyres; faulty brake lights; a broken seat belt; a cracked windscreen and a whole host of other issues can get you fined.
 

Maintenance is cheaper in the long run

Keeping your car in tip-top condition keeps you safer on the road and can save you heaps of money in the long-term. When it comes to your vehicle, prevention is 1000 times better than cure. Basic upkeep is cheaper than major repairs caused by neglect.
 

Read the owner’s manual

Your car service manual may not be quite as exciting to read as the latest bestselling novel. But it’s full of handy information and tips. Which fluids to top up (and how often)? How to check tyre pressure? What to do when your engine overheats? And how to change the bulbs in your blinker lights. It will tell you how to perform basic maintenance tasks in the correct way.
 

Don’t skip your scheduled service

Your owner’s guide will tell you when your scheduled services are. These usually involve a thorough check of the vehicle. Immediate attention to anything that needs replacing: spark plugs, timing belts, etc.
 
Scheduled servicing through your dealer has two major advantages:
 
  • You know you’re getting genuine parts and expertise
 
  • There’s a written record of the car’s service history. This becomes important for buyers when you want to sell the car in the future.
 

Conclusion

Look under your bonnet regularly. Listen for unusual car noises. Check underneath the car for new and mysterious leaks. Follow the service schedule in your owner’s manual. Take care of small problems before they become major ones. You’ll be well ahead of the game as far as keeping your car running smoothly.
 
And remember. Even a perfectly maintained vehicle can get into an accident, so make sure you ‘maintain’ your car insurance as well.

Windscreen wiper blades need regular care

Windscreen wiper blades would probably not be the first thing that comes to your mind when looking at the possible causes of vehicle accidents. When they are not working properly, accidents are more likely to occur.

How to avoid a car accident

Unfortuntely, road accidents can happen. But what can you do to avoid accidents? Which questions should you ask to help you find the best panel beater?