Getting behind the wheel in 2017 could be easier than you think

The Minister of Finance has had his say and the national budget is behind us for another year. One of his announcements was that the fuel levy is to increase - another expense to be carried by motorists. But, when it comes to beating the budget blues, there are things that can be done to ease the financial burden.

So says Des Fenner, General Manager of Datsun South Africa, who points out that cars always respond to a bit of care. However, having a car always ready to roll, means looking after the basics. The reward is a personal budget that automatically begins to look a bit healthier.

Datsun’s ‘Top Six Tips’ for a balanced car budget are:

  1. Look after the basics:

    Make a walk around your car a regular event. Check tyre wear and pressures, oil and water levels, lights, indicators and even windscreen wipers for wear and tear. Wipers may look OK, but if they scratch the windscreen severely and impact vision, this could have a negative impact on your budget.

    Keeping the car in a roadworthy condition is always a sound proactive investment.

  2. Follow your service schedule:

    It may be tempting to think about skipping a service. Don’t. Service intervals are calculated to ensure that vehicles are optimally maintained and that belts, plugs, filters and oil are replaced before they start placing strain on an engine. Leave them in for too long and your car’s performance will drop off and fuel costs will increase. And, of course, there is always the danger of more expensive damage occurring.

  3. Don’t be tempted to buy counterfeit replacement parts:

    If a spare part costs 90% less than the branded and boxed original manufacturer’s part, there is a reason for this. Don’t let a moment of joy at a parts counter translate into hours stuck on the road in the middle of nowhere.

    Branded parts, as well as those carrying ISO and SABS ratings, are guarantees of quality. At the very least you won’t be replacing parts as often as you would be if you bought parts with a lower life expectancy.

  4. Remember that peace of mind comes with physical dealer presence:

    Finding yourself stuck on the side of the road with the nearest dealer 250 kilometres or more away could ruin your day and also improve the financial prospects of a tow-truck driver.

    Datsun has 105 dealers across the country, meaning that help is available just about anywhere you choose to be.

  5. Doing your homework:

    It hurts budgets when the cost of spares and maintenance are higher than expected. In reality, even some entry-level cars can cost thousands more to repair and maintain than others. The Datsun GO range has led the field as the most affordable cars to maintain and repair since they were introduced to SA motorists. The highly-regarded, independent Kinsey Report reinforces this claim by showing that the Datsun GO, GO+, and GO+ Panel Van are the most affordable cars in South Africa to maintain.

  6. Look at trade-in and resale values:

    If a car brand isn’t that popular, you can expect a much lower resale or trade-in value when you want a new vehicle. To maximise your budget, stay with brands that are known and respected.

“The guideline when it comes to budgeting for car expenses is that it’s always better to spend a little when needed, rather than spend a lot when it shouldn’t be necessary. Keeping a car healthy, means happy motoring at a reduced cost,” says Mr Fenner.


Datsun originated in Japan as DAT-GO (the DAT-car) almost a century ago in 1914. The word DAT means ‘lightning-fast’ in Japanese but is also a reference to the three financiers who supported the business at the time – namely Mssrs. Den, Aoyama and Takeuchi – an acronym of the first letter of each name. Using the same logic, it was promoted as Durable, Attractive and Trustworthy, or DAT for short.

In 1933, Nissan’s founding father Yoshisuke Aikawa took over the business with a vision of “mobility for all”. The introduction of a light-weight, economical yet resilient car to meet the aspirations of young Japanese people in the early 1930s was named the ‘son of DAT’ – Datson - which later changed to Datsun. Local engineering and mass-production made the founder’s dream a reality.


Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. announced the return of the Datsun brand, Nissan's third global brand, alongside Nissan and Infiniti, in March 2012. Datsun will provide a sustainable motoring experience to optimistic up-and-coming customers in high-growth markets. Datsun represents 80 years of accumulated Japanese car-making expertise and is an important part of Nissan's DNA. Datsun already started sales in India and Indonesia, while sales in Russia and South Africa will commence later in 2014.


Nissan South Africa is the operational hub for Regional Business Unit South, serving Nissan’s key South Africa market and 42 other countries in Sub Saharan Africa, including Angola, Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. In South Africa, the company offers a range of 28 vehicles under the Nissan and Infiniti brands, including the popular locally-produced Nissan light commercial vehicles - the NP200 half ton pickup and NP300 one-ton Hardbody – produced at the company’s Rosslyn plant, north west of Pretoria. In 2013, the company made history with the introduction of South Africa’s first electric vehicle, Nissan’s flagship Nissan LEAF. This will be followed in 2014 by the reintroduction of the iconic Datsun brand, as well as the launch of the new Qashqai crossover and new X-Trail sports utility vehicle. Nissan South Africa is one of the top five automotive companies in South Africa. For more information visit our website at