Maintenance crucial to road safety
An experienced mechanic and car dealership owner said that research is vital when considering vehicle ownership.
Fernando Oliveira, owner of Continental Motors, encouraged car and motorcycle owners to research their vehicles to help them stay safe on the roads.
Mr Oliveira said: “Self-education from technical videos as well as getting a second opinion is the key. If you go to YouTube, you can get checklists for monitoring your vehicle.”
He added: “If you’re unsure, you can go to your dealership.”
Mr Oliveira said that proper maintenance could also help avoid extra expense in the future.
He explained: “Being able to notice that your wheel alignment is not straight, for example, and then bringing it in to a mechanic, saves you a few tyres and hundreds of dollars in fuel in the future.”
Mr Oliveira said that a high level of knowledge increased people’s chances of getting the best deal from mechanics, some of whom took advantage of ignorance to pad bills.
He added: “There are unfortunately a lot of dishonest things going on out there.”
He explained that a mechanic may think that something is wrong and replace it, realise later that the diagnosis was wrong and replace something else.
Mr Oliveira said that meant prices can “add up and the customer gets overcharged”.
He added that motorcycles are more prone to damage than cars.
Mr Oliveira said that cars should be checked and serviced two to three times per year depending on mileage, but motorcycles should be maintained more often.
Mr Oliveira explained: “If you’re riding a motorcycle, you’re a human bumper.
“Before you get on, you have to check your tyre pressures, check all your bolts, check your brakes, and check your fluid levels.”
Mr Oliveira added: “Tyres are the biggest enemy on your bike because you’re riding on two and a half inches of rubber.”
He said that motorcycles also rust faster than cars because they are lower quality and more exposed.
Mr Oliveira, who founded Noble Automotive at CedarBridge Academy, where he taught automotive engineering, has extensive experience working in car dealerships in Bermuda and overseas.
He said owners should “stay with a good mechanic if you find a good one” because “going to the same one means they know your car and its history”.
Mr Oliveira added that “it’s hard to diagnose a car if you aren’t familiar with its past.”
He also pointed out that customers are more likely to get good rates and deals with a mechanic they have stuck with.
Mr Oliveira explained that if mechanics are not certified, they should not be working on cars because they will not have insurance.
He said the National Training Board and the Certification Advisory Board are working to ensure that Bermuda mechanics are insured and certified.
Mr Oliveira encouraged the public to come into Continental Motors on North Shore Road, Pembroke, for free certified consultation on their vehicles.
He urged people to attend free seminars which they hold over several weeks about every six months.
Mr Oliveira said: “We tell people to come in on Saturday mornings and we answer any questions.”
He added that Continental Motors also had a “free service to check out the vehicle and provide a report with no charge and no strings attached” for people in the market for a used car.