Dear Start My Car,

And just like that, January 2020 is done, and the year is about to settle into a more predicable cadence. I hope that you are getting off to good start, just as we are at “Start” My Car. 

I thought that you would be interested in the below article that I saw on CarMag South Africa. It deals with some vehicles that are to exit the South African market. I hope you enjoy. 

Please take a quick look at some of the offers that we have for you and please take advantage of them. Our goal is to provide reliable, quality service at a competitive price. Put us to the test and let me know if we are not fulfilling this.Hope you have a fantastic weekend. 



Gone too soon?

The year 2019 saw a number of well-known nameplates exit the South African automotive market. We look back and pick out 14 vehicles discontinued locally last year (take note, of course, we’ve excluded models that were directly replaced by new-generation vehicles). 

Here are the main ones... 

Ford Focus 
Ford’s fourth-generation Focus is selling well in Europe but the Blue Oval brand confirmed to in July 2019 it had “no current plans” to bring the new version of the hatchback to local shores. The third-gen range offered locally had comprised as many as ten hatchback variants (including the ST) and eight sedan derivatives. The Focus RS, meanwhile, quietly exited SA late in 2018. 

Honda Brio
While you might have expected the original Brio budget hatchback to be replaced by the second-generation version in South Africa in 2019, it wasn’t. Instead, the new Amaze (effectively the sedan version) arrived. What was behind the decision to scrap the hatch? Well, the Japanese automaker’s Indian subsidiary ceased production of the Brio late in 2018 meaning Honda SA could no longer import the model from that country. 

Kia Soul 
The Soul transitioned to its third generation late in 2018 but the new version didn’t ever make it to South Africa. The reason? Well, Kia SA told us "for the time being, the all-new Soul will only be produced in left-hand-drive configuration, and is therefore not expected to debut in South Africa". Bit of a pity, isn’t it? 

Nissan NV200 
The NV200, which often found itself on our monthly lists of worst-selling passenger vehicles in South Africa, left the Japanese brand's local line-up in 2019. The MPV had been offered here with the choice of two engines: a naturally aspirated 1,6-litre petrol engine with 81 kW and a 1,5-litre turbodiesel churning out 66 kW. 

Smart ForTwo/ForFour 
Head over to Smart South Africa’s website and you’ll notice a distinct lack of vehicles listed. Yes, the Mercedes-backed firm stopped bringing in both the ForTwo and the ForFour – which together accounted for as many as 11 derivatives locally – in 2019. 

Volkswagen Beetle 
VW officially ended production of the Beetle at its Puebla plant in Mexico in July 2019, with the Wolfsburg-based firm’s local arm earlier importing 50 examples of the limited-edition Beetle R-Line variant as something of a swansong (after discontinuing all other variants as long ago as 2017). Farewell, Bug! 

Volkswagen Jetta 
In April 2019, we reported the last of Volkswagen SA’s sixth-gen Jetta stock had been sold, with the nameplate officially exiting the local market after some 39 years. The reason you won’t be seeing the seventh-generation Jetta in local dealers? Well, the Wolfsburg-based brand will not be producing the fresh version of the sedan in right-hand drive. 

Volkswagen Passat 
Despite being billed as the world’s best-selling mid-size car, the Passat is no longer on sale in South Africa. In February 2019, VW SA confirmed to the facelifted version was not destined for local shores, before suggesting the sleekly styled Arteon fastback would fill the void. 

Volvo V40 
With production of the V40 hatchback and V40 Cross Country having ended at some point in 2018, Volvo Cars South Africa removed the models from its local range in December 2019 after selling the last of its stock. Before its exit from our shores, the V40 range had comprised seven variants, ranging from the T2 Kinetic to the T5 Momentum (and including both petrol and diesel oomph). 



Hughen Thompson 


Ignition Switch 


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Workshop Wisdom

How's your rack?

Knowing when to replace your steering rack!
 When you’re driving, you tend to know exactly how your steering should feel, so if you notice anything off with it, any signs that there may be a fault in the power steering system, or specifically an issue with the steering rack, it can be quite worrying. 

Unfortunately, it’s not an easy diagnosis when it comes to figuring out the root cause of your steering problem, as there are quite a few components that could be the culprit. So how can you tell if you have a bad steering rack? Look out for the following signs! 

Car Wandering 
If you are cruising down the N3, and you notice your car wandering a little, and is difficult to keep in the lane, you may well have a faulty steering rack. Also, every road imperfection causes your car to easily move left to right instead of staying in a straight line. 

Steering Wheel Vibration or Slip 
If your steering wheel shakes at high speed, it is worth getting your steering rack checked. As much as anything, the vibration can make it hard to control the vehicle and, especially at high speed, this alone can prove dangerous. 

Inconsistent Steering
Along with vibrations, the feel of your steering wheel is arguably the clearest indicator that anything is wrong with your rack. If the feel of the steering changes dramatically, either tightening or loosening, it is definitely worth getting your vehicle checked.If your steering rack and pinion wear out the steering will feel loose. You may also notice that steering is harder at lower speeds. On top of all these symptoms, you will also notice that the wheels don't return to straight position after making a turn. 

Numb Spot
The steering wheel moves but the front wheels don't move. If your steering is unresponsive between 11 o’clock angle and 1 o’clock angle when the wheels are pointing straight-ahead, the so-called numb spot, it suggests that there is something that needs to be fixed on your steering rack. 

Uneven tyre wear 
While uneven tyre wear can be often caused by bad alignment or wear of other steering components, a bad steering rack can also be the cause for unusual tyre wear. Check your tyres. Do you see more wear on one side? 

Power Steering Leak 
A bad steering rack may develop power steering fluid leaks from the O-rings and boots. It is possible that your power steering rack is bad. Note that other components can cause power steering leaks such as power steering pump, reservoir or lines. 

Noise when turning 
Clunking noise or thudding when taking a corner or turning the steering wheel is another symptom of bad steering and rack system. You may also notice grinding noise when steering due to metal contact of the steering rack or lack of lubrication. 

A ‘’Burning Oil” smell 
When it comes to a burning smell, it’s difficult to pinpoint the cause, as it could be a number of components in your vehicle that could be overheating. However, the smell of power steering fluid resembles that of burnt oil, so if you’re driving and suddenly this aroma fills your car, you should stop immediately and call a mechanic, as it could mean your power steering system is overheating. 

Misdiagnosis of a bad steering rack 
It is worth noting that symptoms that are similar to that of a bad power steering rack can also be caused by other components: 

Tie rods / Struts / Ball Joint 
Tie rods may be the cause of excessive play on your steering wheel. Tie rods are directly connected to the power steering rack. They wear quite frequently and need to be replaced around the 120,000-160,000 kilometre range. Check both the inner and outer tie rod ends for excessive wear. It is common for owners to think that they have a bad steering rack when in reality the tie rods are the problem. 

Bad Alignment 
Poor alignment can cause problems such as vehicle pulling to one side or steering not returning to centre as well as accounting for uneven tyre wear. Have your alignment done. 

Power steering belt 
A worn or loose power steering belt may account for a screeching noise when you turn the wheel. his is the belt that connects the power steering pump to the engine. The screeching noise could also be a symptom of low power steering fluid levels. 

Power Steering Pump 
If you are having problems with the steering wheel not returning to centre, the problem could be a bad power steering pump. Generally, a power steering pump is not generating enough pressure. Ask your mechanic to check the pressure between the power steering pump and steering rack, to see if it is within the specs recommended by your manufacturer. 

Unlike some mechanical problems, steering problems generally give you plenty of warning that something is wrong, and the warning signs persist until the problem is fixed or the system fails. 

If your steering is exhibiting any of the symptoms above, take your car to a suitably qualified mechanic who can check the steering and suspension components that we mention in this article. You want to rule out the less expensive parts first such as tie rods before you replace the steering rack. 

At Start My Car, we can assist you at every step of the way - from tie rods to rack ends to steering racks. Many of these parts you will find on our website. But we also have thousands of unlisted parts, that we can source for you, fast! As always, have a look on our website, or give us a shout, and we will do our utmost to assist you.