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Car doctor: 'I'm terrified of driving'

2018-03-11 00:00

Justus Visagie

chill pill If you find learning to drive so stressful that you get panic attacks, it might be time to consult a doctor

Cape Town - This week, resident #Trending car expert Justus Visagie provides advice to a terrified first-time driver and warns about the dangers of mixing fuel types in your car.

Qudsiya: I am 25 and starting to learn how to drive. It is terrifying and I find it very difficult. Sometimes I get panic attacks. I am scared I am never going to learn how. What can I do?

Justus: In your position, I would consult a doctor as you may need medication to address these panic attacks, but it will have to be something that won’t impair your motor skills.

Get at least eight hours of sleep on the nights before your driving classes and choose a reputable instructor who makes you feel at ease. If driving a manual car is too daunting, decide to only drive automatic cars.

Julia: What happens to cars if you use the wrong petrol? For instance, 95 unleaded instead of 93?

Justus: Using a higher octane than your car needs won’t improve its performance and is a waste of money. Too low an octane can affect performance and cause engine “knock” (uncontrolled combustion in the engine), which is potentially damaging over time.

The inside of your car’s fuel flap will show you whether you should use 93 or 95.

Mohammed: I drive a 2013 BMW
3-Series (F30) manual and the mileage is 89 000km. It chows oil and the turbo failed last year. My motor plan expires next month and the extension will cost me R15 500 for one year until 100 000km. Should I get rid of it? What should I replace it with?

Justus: That F30 seems like a bomb waiting to detonate in your bank account. Trade it in for a Mazda3 2.0 Individual auto. It has good looks, leather seats, a six-speed autobox and impeccable build quality – all for R345 000. Also consider the Nissan X-Trail and Subaru Legacy.

Stanley: When does the Jaguar E-Pace come to South Africa? How does it compare to the I-Pace?

Justus: The Jaguar E-Pace SUV is the smaller sibling of the F-Pace and will be on sale here later this month.

The I-Pace comes to Mzansi next year. It is Jaguar’s first all-electric car. It has a range of almost 400km when fully charged. It will be infernally expensive to buy (the E-Pace will seem cheap by comparison), but it will be very cheap
to run.

Naphtali: I would like your advice on buying a used Mini Cooper S from years 2008 to 2012 for under R130 000.

Avoid these cars unless the following items have been attended to within the last 20 000km:

. High-pressure fuel system (including the high-pressure pump and injectors) – failures are common and could lead to total engine failure and a massive repair bill;

. Timing chain and its tensioner – these often wear out prematurely, again leading to expensive engine failure; and

. Turbocharger – due to the highly stressed nature of these engines, the turbos often fail at intervals of about 70 000km.

If you are still determined to get one, invest in an extended mechanical warranty or extensive mechanical breakdown insurance.

Do you have a car question for Justus? Send it now. Using the words CAR QUESTIONS in the subject line, email justus.visagie@media24.com. You can also SMS the keywords CAR QUESTIONS and your query to 35697. Please include your name. SMSes cost R1.50

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