Sandra Aguebor: first female mechanic in Nigeria

“When you empower somebody, you are building the nation economically, socially, and technologically – you contribute to creating an environment where crime and social vices are reduced.”

 

This women’s month, we wanted to highlight a prominent woman in the auto-motive mechanic industry. This woman is Sandra Aguebor. Sandra is well known for being the first female mechanic in Nigeria. However, she did not just stop there. Sandra has used her voice to empower woman and challenge gender stereotypes. Sandra has used her knowledge and passion for auto repair, a male dominated profession, and in 2004 started the Lady Mechanic Initiative.

 

The Lady Mechanic Initiative has the sole purpose of creating positive and measurable impacts. Sandra trains and upskills woman, providing them with hands-on skills and knowledge they need in auto mechanic repairs. The woman that Sandra most often work with, are woman from disadvantaged backgrounds. These women often use the knowledge that Sandra gives them, to open their own auto motive repair shops, or end up working with big car repair dealerships around Nigeria. These opportunities ensure that the woman have a steady stream of income and provides a lot of comfort and peace to the woman.

 

We love seeing the impact that Sandra has made. For more about the Lady Mechanic Initiative visit www.ladymechanicinitiative.org 

 

 

How to get your car ready for December

It’s almost December boss!  The time of year where we all get to take that much-needed time off to relax and recharge our batteries after a long year.  Most of the time though our cars are not so lucky as this is often the time of year where they put in quite a few extra kilometres!

If you’re planning to drive to your destination this December holiday period, now is the time to start making sure that your car is up to the challenge. There is, arguably, nothing worse than being stuck on the side of the road with a smoking, broken car full of kids!  So what can you do to get your car ready for December and all those road trips?

Well, the most obvious thing you can do is to book your car in for a 50 Point General Inspection with one of our awesome Fixxr Mobile Mechanics.  They will come out to you and check such things as your tyres, brakes, fluids, suspension and a number of other things.  And to make it even easier to plan you can make a booking online with availability and costing being provided to you upfront.  Alternatively, for all those DIY people out there, here is the checklist of things to check.

The ‘Do it yourself’ Checklist

Tyres

Tread depth: Although the legal limit is 1mm, make sure that your tyres have a tread depth of at least 3mm as anything below that leaves you particularly vulnerable to aquaplaning.

Pressure: Make sure your tyres are correctly inflated and monitor the pressure as you go along as low pressure due to a slow puncture could cause a blowout.  You can check the recommended pressure for your tyres on the inside of the drivers’ side door.  There is typically an image giving an indication of the recommended pressure both unloaded as well as loaded (which is most likely the case if you are travelling so adjust accordingly).

Wear: Also make sure that the wear on your tyres is not uneven as that could point to worn suspension or steering components or faulty wheel alignment.

Spare: Your spare wheel should be in tip-top condition and correctly inflated. Also double-check that your jack, wheel spanners and unique wheel nut sockets and key (if you have them) are in place.  If you drive a car that has a lock nut make 100% sure you have the key – if you get a flat tyre and do not have the key you are going to have fun changing your tyre!

Book a Fixxr Relate Tyre Service

Lights

The basics: Get someone to help you check that the headlights as well as the taillights, brake lights, indicators, and hazard lights are all working as they should be. If you’re on your own, a light-coloured wall in a  dark spot at night will allow you to do your own tests.

Adjustment: Also ensure that your headlights are correctly adjusted. Do a rough test by making sure that the dipped light beam is no higher than the bonnet of the car.

Book a Fixxr Related Lights Services

Windscreen

Wipers: Ensure that your wipers are in good working order and that the wiper blades themselves are in decent condition and not cracking apart.  If you see any streaking of water when using the wiper blades this is a very good indication that your wiper blades are worn and need to be replaced.

Demisting: Make sure your demisting system is still working correctly as a sudden mist-up while driving can be dangerous.

Damage: Check for chips and cracks on your windscreen and get these repaired as a damaged windscreen won’t protect you properly in an accident.

Book a Fixxr Related Wiper System Service

Brakes

Inspection: Give your brake discs, drums and pads a thorough inspection, looking out for any uneven wear. That, along with any strange noises or vibrations, warrants a visit to a braking specialist.

Fluids: Make sure your brake fluid is topped up to the correct level.

Test: If in doubt, perform your own emergency braking test (when the coast is clear, of course) to be doubly sure that your braking system still operates correctly.

Book a Fixxr Brake Related Service

Under the Hood

Coolant: While the engine is cold check that your coolant level is at least close to the ‘max’ marking and that the fluid is clean. If not, fill it with a 50:50 mix of coolant and water. Don’t use only water, as it doesn’t have the anti-freeze and corrosion inhibiting properties of coolant.  Also, make sure that should you top-up the coolant yourself that you use the correct coolant for your car (they typically come in different colors).

Radiator: Check that your radiator cap is sealing properly.  Also, let the car idle for a bit and make sure that the radiator fan comes on as it should.

Oil: Use the dipstick to check that your oil level is within the two markings, but as close to the top marking as possible without overfilling. Check the oil again five days later and if you see a difference.  If there is a difference it is recommended that you contact a mechanic.

Belts: Make sure that all belts and chains connected to the cam, alternator, and fan are in good shape.  Keep an eye out for any tears or cracks.  If your belts snap on a long trip you will not only be in for a long two home but might also cause serious damage to your engine.

Washer: Check that the windscreen washer bottle is full. Trust us on this one.

Filters: Ensure that your air, fuel, and oil filters are clean and if you change the latter, be sure to drain all the old oil from your engine and replace it with new oil of the correct grade.

Leaks: Inspect the oil, air and fuel systems, including hoses and pipes, for leaks.  If you notice any leaks it will be well worth it to get those checked out as leaks are either an indication of more serious underlying issues or end up causing more serious issues (like a blown engine).

Book a Fixxr Related Under The Hood Service

Hopefully, the above checks help you keep your car up for the challenge of all the road trips you will be taking this December!  Sometimes the best way to arrive safely at your holiday destination is to ensure you as the driver are also in top condition when driving so take lots of breaks along the way, don’t drink and drive and maintain a safe speed limit and following distance.

How to choose a good mechanic for your car repair needs?

If and when you’re dealing with car repair problems, it will be a time-consuming process finding the right repair shop if you are not prepared!  Asking the right questions is key. Follow these 8 tips that will help you select the right repair shop.

If and when you experience troubles with your car, time can be of the essence. For many drivers, dealing with your work schedule and other responsibilities like family make having a working car an absolute necessity.  At Fixxr, we appreciate this fact and take every measure to ensure we are ‘giving you some time back’ to take care of the things that really matter to YOU!  A broken car shouldn’t be one of those things!

A great habit to foster before car trouble strikes is to take the time to compare several repair shops to find the one that best suits your convenience and needs.  Here are a few tips on how best to go about doing this:

1. Ask around

Often the best referrals come from your friends and family who have had experience using the mechanics in your area. Getting a word-of-mouth referral from a friend or family member can also mean you’ll get an honest insight about their experience with those repair shops, which can help save you money or avoid a scam.  An important point to consider when using referrals from ‘friends of friends’ is to understand what car the person who is referring you has.  Quite often mechanics specialise in particular makes (ie. German cars like BMW, Volkswagen etc only).

2. Shop around before an emergency

If your brakes are grinding or your car won’t run at all, chances are you are in a hurry to fix the problem. If you are in a rush to get your car to the shop, your judgment might be clouded; this may influence you to make a hasty decision based on needing your car back immediately, rather than saving money and receiving top-notch service.  Treat the health of your car as something you proactively address.  Great mechanics will give you a heads up on any additional issues the pick up on your car.  At Fixxr we typically include a General Car Inspection as part of each service giving you an upfront indication of any additional items you should start planning for.

3. Don’t choose based solely on price

While price is quite often a large driver that affects your choice, since you want an affordable rate, do not just opt for the cheapest choice. Do your research and compare. The cheapest rate may not always have the worst services; likewise, the most expensive might not offer the highest level of service.  At Fixxr, we pre-negotiate our labour rates with all our mechanics for the services we offer so you are able to check upfront what the cost of the actual work will be.  No more needing to try decipher why different mechanics have different labour rates.

4. Check online reviews

Your friends and family could have given you great advice about the repair shops that they have used, but they might not have covered all of your options or have had a major car issue that needed attention (hopefully this is not you). Look at online reviews for unbiased consumers.  As far as possible try to get a sense of the reviews of the repair shops quality along with the quality of the mechanics that are currently working there.

5. Ask Loads of Questions

As a consumer, you have the right to ask a shop about their credentials, experience, customer service, and warranty policies. Search for places that supply customers with extended warranties on parts as well as a customer guarantee. Do not forget to ask about the certifications held by the actual mechanics as well and the years of experience in the field that the mechanics have.

6. Get estimates

If you are in a bind and your car needs major repairs, get estimates. This is vital when you do not have a regular repair facility that you use. Written estimates can assure that the shop is not going to keep tacking on unneeded services. Additionally, written estimates that are far from the same can mean that a shop has charged you for unnecessary repairs and parts. It may also signify that one shop has misdiagnosed the problem.

7.  Make the shop explain it so that you understand

Mechanics are sometimes guilty of speaking in terms that someone unfamiliar with cars might not understand. Make sure you know the problem and the needed repairs before you choose from one of the auto shops in your area.  Make sure you also understand the pro’s and con’s of the choices that are being presented to you as a car owner.  While you might want to try to save a few bucks by going with the cheapest option that gets your car running again this is not always the best choice in the long run.

8. Take your car in for something ‘easy’

Before entrusting your vehicle to a new auto repair shop for major work, you can try them out with a smaller job, such as an oil change or a brake pad replacement. See how they do. If they suggest additional work, say you’d like to get a second opinion. The service person’s reaction will tell you a lot about whether it’s a valid recommendation.

And, while you’re at it, ask about their options for payment plans, shop warranties, and senior discounts. Offering some (or all) of these services shows they’re serious about providing good customer service and that they value their customers’ business.

Conclusion

At the end of the day, the best way to find not only a good repair shop but a great one is to be proactive!  And if all of the above just sounds like hard work then contact us at Fixxr!  We aim to ensure we only connect you to awesome mechanics at a fair, transparent price at a time that is convenient for YOU!  Now you can focus on the things that really matter to you while we take care of your car!

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