Motoring Correspondent
3 minute read
4 Oct 2018
11:21 am

Safety critical components can’t be ignored

Motoring Correspondent

Our roads are plagued with unroadworthy vehicles where many of the safety critical components have long been neglected.

Car flat tire on road. Photo: Thinkstockphotos.com

Believe it or not, there are many safety critical components that make up your car and the maintenance of these has to be done, says Jakkie Olivier, chief executive of the Retail Motor Industry (RMI).

“Our roads are plagued with unroadworthy vehicles where many of the safety critical components have long been neglected,” says Olivier.

“These vehicles are death traps, not only for passengers in the vehicle but for other road users too. We have to get serious about regular maintenance of vehicle components to make sure our roads are safer.”

So, what exactly would be considered safety critical components? Hedley Judd, director of Believe it or not, there are many safety critical components that make up your car and the maintenance of these has to be done, says Jakkie Olivier, chief executive of the Retail Motor Industry (RMI).

“Our roads are plagued with unroadworthy vehicles where many of the safety critical components have long been neglected,” says Olivier.

“These vehicles are death traps, not only for passengers in the vehicle but for other road users too. We have to get serious about regular maintenance of vehicle components to make sure our roads are safer.”

So, what exactly would be considered safety critical components? Hedley Judd, director of the Motor Parts and Equipment Association, an affiliate of the RMI, says safety critical components can be described as the life and limb components of the car.

“These are the type of components that, if not checked and maintained, make a vehicle unroadworthy, undrivable, and imminently an accident waiting to happen,” Judd says.

“However, a part that could leave the vehicle and driver stranded could also be regarded as safety critical.”

The brake system, suspension system, tyres and visibility – ie windscreens, wipers and lights – make up the four major groups of parts that are considered safety critical components.

“There is also a long list of components that fall outside of these groupings that would also be checked during a routine car service such as the condition of the clutch and battery, joints, engine and gearbox mountings, and so on,” says Judd.

Olivier says motorists and fleet owners need to take note of the manufacturers’ recommendations in terms of the specified maintenance periods of these components.

“Car components have a lifespan just like other household appliances. You can extend this lifespan though through proper maintenance.”

He uses oil and oil filters as an example. “Oil does not last forever. Depending on the engine configuration and fuel requirements, an oil change is required from 10 000km to 30 000km. “Changing oil and not the filter is not best practice. Oils have very complex structures and the manufacturers’ specified lubricant products should always be used.

“The fuel filter is the item that ensures that clean (particle free) fuel flows to the injector system where even the tiniest particle can cause a blockage and an engine to stop running.”

Judd highlights two components that may be overlooked but are also safety critical components – towbars and trailers.

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