Get more Mail & Guardian
Subscribe or Login

Getting to know your car better

Ever wondered about that strange rattling noise your car makes when you start it up in the morning, or why every time your car's brake pads are changed, you have to change the brake discs too?

If you'd like to know a little more about your car, or need someone to ask all the stupid questions you're too embarrassed to ask anyone else, try out the AA's new Know Your Car course.

It's a one-day, not-for-petrolheads course at the AA Technical College in Midrand, and is designed to educate car owners about how their cars work and what you need to do to keep it in good condition. The course provides all the basic information  the average car owner would need and is not bogged down with the sort of technical jargon that will have you snoring in 30 minutes.

The course I attended was conducted by the rather animated AA national technical training manager and principal at the AA Technical College, Werner Wandrey.

Wandrey was exceedingly knowledgeable and was very good at answering a wide range of questions from the group of 14 attendees. Having been a mechanic since 1995, he was well aware of the common car foibles.

The course covers basic information about the engine, as well as braking and steering systems, car maintenance, pre-trip inspections, occupant restraint systems and tyres. There's also a great deal of information about what to do if you're involved in an accident or if your car breaks down.

Wandrey was also quite accommodating when it came to questions and constantly encouraged the group to get involved in the course. As a result, the course never felt like a lecture.

The one issue that Wandrey cautioned us about was the common tendency to diagnose our vehicle's problems.

"Let the mechanic figure out what's wrong with your car. If you tell him what you think it is, he will focus on that and will probably ignore the real cause of the problem," said Wandrey.

Despite my background as a motoring writer, I found the course to be informative and entertaining and I would urge all car-owners to seriously consider attending because it's a great opportunity to be a little more educated about the jalopies we spend so much of our lives in.

The course runs from Monday to Friday (Saturdays on request), from 9am to 3.30pm and costs R500 with a 10% discount for AA members. To book for this course, please contact Lion du Plessis on 011 347 9300 or click here to email him.

Subscribe for R500/year

Thanks for enjoying the Mail & Guardian, we’re proud of our 36 year history, throughout which we have delivered to readers the most important, unbiased stories in South Africa. Good journalism costs, though, and right from our very first edition we’ve relied on reader subscriptions to protect our independence.

Digital subscribers get access to all of our award-winning journalism, including premium features, as well as exclusive events, newsletters, webinars and the cryptic crossword. Click here to find out how to join them and get a 57% discount in your first year.

Sukasha Singh
Guest Author

Related stories


If you’re reading this, you clearly have great taste

If you haven’t already, you can subscribe to the Mail & Guardian for less than the cost of a cup of coffee a week, and get more great reads.

Already a subscriber? Sign in here


Subscribers only

R350 social relief grant not enough to live on

Nearly half of the population in South Africa — one of the most unequal countries in the world — is considered chronically poor.

More top stories

Popularity will not guarantee mayoral selection — Ramaphosa

ANC president Cyril Ramaphosa has promised a more rigorous mayoral selection process, which will involve the party’s top six

Nowhere to turn for abused bakery workers

After being chased away for asking for minimum wage, Gqeberha bakers who endured racism turned first to the CCMA, then to a political party, then to a union. None helped

Health director general suspended for alleged involvement in Digital Vibes...

After initially defending Sandile Buthelezi’s personal leave, the health department has announced that he has been placed on precautionary suspension

For many SA women, home is hell

Gender-based violence often takes place at home or in intimate relationships, taking a traumatic toll on victims, their families and friends

press releases

Loading latest Press Releases…