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Disabled vehicles a hazard on roads

Friday, June 15, 2018

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“REGULAR maintenance is necessary to keep vehicles in good working condition and reduce the likelihood of breakdowns,” says Duane Ellis, general manager of the Jamaica Automobile Association (JAA). “A disabled vehicle on the roadway can be a hazard to the motorist himself and to other users of the road.”

He said disabled vehicles contribute to the congestion being experienced on roadways, in particular, the busy Mandela Highway corridor.

“Due to the construction work taking place on Mandela, there's no soft shoulder along the road for a motorist to pull over a disabled vehicle. This forces motorists to attend to their vehicle in the road, thus causing them to be exposed to passing vehicles and putting their lives at risk. Disabled vehicles slow down traffic as drivers switch lanes to pass them, and this can lead to accidents,” he said.

Ellis said motorists should schedule maintenance services for their vehicles at the recommended mile interval and, between maintenance, checks should be made regularly on transmission fluid, engine oil, coolant, and tyres.

“Preventative maintenance will save motorists from the stresses of premature repair bills when a minor problem is addressed early, prior to becoming a big issue. It's almost probable that you will have to replace the battery of your vehicle at some point, but there are ways to prevent it from happening too unexpectedly,” he said.

“Naturally, a well-maintained vehicle is more reliable and it will serve you better. A motor vehicle is a necessary investment; therefore, every effort should be made to keep it in good running order,” he continued.

Since its inception in 1924, the JAA has been serving road users across the country by providing member services and being the source of vital information about safe road use and practices.

Some Vehicle MAINTENANCE TIPS

• Check tyre pressure weekly. Incorrect tyre pressure can lead to excess tyre wear. Too much air in the tyres can make them more prone to blowouts. Consider fitting your vehicle with a tyre pressure-monitoring system, and you will be more aware when to refill tyres.

• Check fluid levels such as oil, transmission fluid, and engine coolant, and top them up, if they are low. Failure to do so can lead to overheating of the engine.

• Check the engine's air filter. A dirty air filter can shorten the life of an engine, and also reduce gasoline mileage by up to 10 per cent. Clean the engine's air filter by using an air hose to blow away any accumulated dust.

• Change oil every 3,000 miles to ensure the best performance from your engine and to avoid possible engine problems.

• Clean battery cables using a wire brush and a mixture of one tablespoon baking soda and one cup water. Be sure to disconnect the cables from the battery before cleaning. Adding some petroleum jelly to the posts will make reapplying the cables easier.

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