November 28, 2023

I have on several occasions been conned by mechanics who use fake parts in my car when I have paid huge sums of money for a genuine part. Can I supply the garage with my own spare parts to fix my care? Daniel.

Hello Daniel, it can be frustrating when you feel short changed by your mechanics when they fit substandard or counterfeit parts. Your quest to supply your own parts to the garage to prevent the vice seems to be a reasonable decision. You may need to discuss with your car repair provider to agree on the modalities of supplying your own parts.

The common challenges with this arrangement are securing the correct parts, guaranteeing the quality or warranty of parts as well as who takes responsibility when you supply defective parts.

Getting genuine car parts to repair your car may sound easier than it actually is. The car parts industry in Uganda has three types of parts suppliers; the car manufacturer representatives or dealers who sell ‘genuine’ parts, original equipment manufacturer dealers who represent reputable independent parts manufacturer such as Bosch, Denso or Hengst whose parts are used even by the car manufacturers.

The challenge to these two category of parts is the highly motivated counterfeit industry which manufactures fake parts branded as genuine or OEM parts but without the same performance. You should only buy the genuine parts from authorised dealers if available with guidance of the mechanic. There are parts dealers who supply non branded but good quality parts commonly from China, Taiwan or Japan among other countries. These tend to be more affordable and readily available. It may explain why they are on higher demand than the costlier parts in the first two categories.

The challenge to this category of parts are the sellers of defective or poor quality parts who easily pass them off as independent but good quality parts. Buying these kind of parts can be a daunting task even for the technical people who may need experience and integrity of sellers to secure good quality parts.

The other category of parts are the used ones. The used parts industry is a big one globally. It is even more popular here because of affordability. This industry supplies engines, gearboxes, body and suspension parts. Often, these parts come from broken or boarded off salvage vehicles.

One needs to carefully examine the integrity of such parts as it is easy to end up with a defective component. There are car parts that should be replaced with new ones as a rule of thumb. These include service filters, brake pads and all fluids. Before you become your own car parts supplier, you need to consider the above.


Why should I service my car engine on time?

I am a new motorist and I have just bought a used Toyota Vitz. The most recent owner says it is so robust that sometimes he used to delay engine oil service for financial reasons and the car keeps going. Is that possible? Annet

Hello Annet, as a new motorist, know that your vehicle engine oil delivery or lubrication system is so similar to the human blood circulatory system. In fact, well blended reputable motor oil is the life blood of your engine and carries out similar protective and performance enhancing functions such as transportation of detergent molecules, lubricating to prevent metal sheer and premature damage, delivery of anti-corrosive molecules and cooling of the engine which improves efficient performance.

There is a close comparison with your body’s blood circulatory system which transports nutrients, oxygen and other elements required to detox, maintain and improve the performance of your body. Like the quality of food we ought to eat to determine our blood quality and efficacy, it is important to choose a reputable and suitable engine oil type to ensure that the important engine protective and performance enhancement functions will be carried out.

The car engine lubrication (oil) system needs periodical maintenance or removal of aged oil, like your body needs to evacuate waste. If you delay to carry out oil service, the engine will suffer damage from sludge and corrosion build up, metal sheer or premature wear of fast moving metallic components as well as overheating to some extent.

This is similar to how your body reacts when the circulatory, renal or excretory systems collapse due to failure to eat a good diet on time.

Can I cover my car one week after a paint job?

Hello Paul, is it okay to cover my car a week after painting it? Alice

Hello Alice, it may be okay to cover your car one week after a paint job.  However, the choice of car cover material or how and when you use it can cause damage to your car paint, however old it is. Car covers are one of the options used to protect a vehicle or its paint against extreme weather elements such as rain, storms, the sun, dust, tree branches or leaves and even bird droppings.

Car covers are sometimes used as a security feature against petty thieves who snatch mirror glasses. Car covers available on the market are made of neoprene, plastic or tarpo canvas material. The common hazards posed by car covers to car paint are damage of paint due to heating of trapped moisture or dust and debris scratching of paint during fitting, use or removal of the car cover. Here are some useful tips:

Avoid putting a clean cover on a dirty or dusty car. The dust and debris will scratch the paint surface. First wash the car.

Do not cover a wet or moist car. On a hot day, the moisture build up under a plastic cover can cause water spots and white milky permanent stains on the car paint. To avoid this, dry the car and use a breathable car cover to allow evaporation of moisture.

Choose a car cover with the right material. Recommended covers should have an internal lining of a gentle felt material to prevent scratching. Outdoor covers should have zippers or strings to secure it against flapping, which lets in dust.

To protect against rain, ensure that the car cover is waterproof. Sun protection can be ensured by choosing a cover with built in ultra violet protection. The car cover should be the right fit on your car to provide ample top to bottom protection.


Hello Paul, I own a VW Tuareg which I bought from the United Kingdom. One of the front coil springs is broken and I am wondering why it broke. With a mileage of 120,000, isn’t it too early for the coil spring to break. Also, can I drive like this for about three months before I get a replacement? Nsubuga.

Hello Nsubuga, your front coil springs could be breaking because of worn out front shock absorbers. Your VW Tuareg has a high mileage of 120,000 miles (200,000kms). I would not be surprised if your shock absorbers are worn out or damaged. Often, bad shock absorbers can lead to failure of the springs.

Shocks help to reduce the compression of springs and prolong their life span. When your shock absorbers are worn out, the springs can snap during extreme off road driving. Another likely additional factor is corrosion damage.

Being an ex UK car, there is a likelihood that the springs may have also been weakened by winter salt corrosion damage, which is a common problem.

I would not encourage you to drive around with a broken coil spring. The second spring is likely to fail soon. If both shocks and coil springs are damaged, they can compromise vehicle control and safety, especially when you are driving at high speeds on the highway.


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