There are some things that we find ourselves doing while driving which we think are beneficial in, for example, saving on fuel. However, the fact is that they can end up costing you a lot of money in repairs and replacing worn out parts. Check out the following pointers on the don’ts of driving an automatic car.
1. Engaging the neutral gear while going downhill
The reason why most people do this is to reduce on fuel consumption. However, the truth of the matter is that with modern transmission when coasting downhill with the vehicle in gear, the transmission cuts fuel to the engine. This means that you are only using the wheels to power the engine as the fuel injectors are automatically shut off.
As such you do not need to put the car in neutral to save on fuel. The danger in putting the car on neutral is that you reduce the ability of controlling the vehicle, which can prove to be disastrous in case of am emergency due to the fact that you can only slow down the vehicle.
2. Putting the car in neutral while in traffic
This is a habit that a good number of drivers engage in, the thinking behind is that when the vehicle is in neutral gear it will consume less fuel. However, for automatic cars putting the car on neutral saves little or no fuel at all hence it is very unnecessary. If you really want to save fuel while stuck in traffic, just pull the hand brake and switch off the engine. This is the sure most way of saving on fuel while stuck in traffic.
3. When changing driving direction ensure that the car comes to a stop before changing gears
It could be one of those days that you are in a hurry such that when changing direction for example while reversing, you change gears while the car is still in motion. When you shift gears while in motion, for example, from reverse to drive, or vice versa, you use your transmission rather than brakes to stop the car.
The car will actually stop but you will end up wearing out your automatic transmission band. The transmission band is hard to access making its repair and replacement expensive and time consuming as opposed to brakes which are easy to access and service.
4. Do not put your car in park till you have come to a complete stop
Again you might be in a hurry and fail to completely stop your car before engaging park. When you engage park, a locking pin is inserted into a gear that is connected to your transmission output shaft. The wheels of your car are connected to your transmission output shaft such that when the shaft is locked your wheels cannot move.
If you happen to engage park when the car is still moving, you can easily shear the locking pin and even break it, which would call for costly repairs. In a situation where you need to stop car and brakes are not working, rather than engaging park just downshift to gear 2 and lower/first gear to slow down the car.
5. Launching your car
This is whereby a driver revs the car while in neutral and shifts to drive to enable one to zoom off at a high speed. However, by doing this you are wearing out the automatic transmission band which, as it were, is expensive to repair. If you have to launch, just press the accelerator and the brakes at the same time and release the brakes while the other foot is still on the accelerator. This will enable you to launch with minimal wear and tear.
NEXT READ: 11 fuel-saving tips every driver should know
Main risks covered under comprehensive car insurance
There are three main types of car insurance in Kenya namely Comprehensive, Third Party, Fire & Theft (TP&FT), and Third Party Only (TPO). The main difference between these is the scope of the cover that the insured party enjoys, with the minimum legal requirement being the TPO.
Here we will cover the 5 main risks that are covered under most comprehensive motor insurance policies in Kenya.
1. Third Party Liability
This covers the insured from liability arising out of the damage to third party persons and injuries caused by the insured vehicle in the use for which it is insured. Most policies cover damage to third party property damage from a minimum of KSh 10 million up to KSh. 30 million for private vehicles. For third party persons bodily injuries, the cover is unlimited. This liability is the most common insurance claim; it arises out of small to medium road accidents where the insured has crashed into other vehicles on the road causing both property and bodily damages.
2. Passenger Liability
This will cover the insured against any form of liability to the passengers of the vehicle. This liability may include lawsuits filed in the courts by the passengers seeking compensation for physical, mental, psychological and financial damages they have faced because of the accidents.
For Passenger Service Vehicles (PSV) this is charged for each passenger to be carried in the vehicle.
Note that the passenger liability does not cover the members of the insured’s household so, if the insured is travelling with his/her family, the passenger liability will not extend to them. It is therefore advisable to purchase a personal accident cover or health plan for members of one’s family to cover the cost of medical expenses as a result of a road accident.
3. Partial and Total Theft
Comprehensive car insurance also covers attempted theft and total/successful theft of the insured vehicle. Partial theft is when one or more parts of the vehicle have been stolen, commonly these are side mirrors, lights, grill, tyres. Total theft is when the entire vehicle has been stolen, it is commonly done as car jacking by organised crime gangs. For vehicles with anti theft devices and tracking devices, the insured pays a lower excess amount in the event of a claim.
4. Accidental vehicle damage
This is the most common damage to the insured vehicle. It covers everything up to dents to the motor vehicle caused by accidents on the road or even as a result of non traffic related accidents. Common in this category are glass damages, which include windscreen damage, window and lights breakages and dents.
Most policies will have a maximum limit for common damages like windscreen damage, which is up to KSh 70,000. A common clause that applies here is the ‘NO BLAME NO EXCESS’, this is where if the insured can authoritatively prove that he/she was not to blame for the accident/damage, then no excess charges are liable and the insurer will cover the entire claim.
5. Special Perils
Most Comprehensive motor insurance policies in Kenya also cover the insured against special perils like thunder, flooding, earthquakes and storms. The most common of these perils is the flooding which causes widespread damage and destruction during the rainy season.
Flooding causes road accidents while severe flooding even submerges motor vehicles on the roads causing total write offs as was the case in the el-nino rains that caused large scale destruction and loss of life countrywide in 2015/2016. The policy however doesn’t cover man made events like war, terrorism and any other politically motivated events.
In addition to the 5 main risks covered above, it is strongly advisable that the insured add extra riders on this cover to increase the scope and cover against secondary risks. The three most common are:
In this article we have explained the main benefits of the comprehensive car insurance policy and listed some of the main extra options that should be added to the package to give extra protection to your vehicle. The insured should take every effort to understand the different limits that the policy underwriter provides for the above categories and also check the exclusions, terms and conditions for the policy. [source: Pesa Bazaar]
Five most fuel-efficient cars in Kenya
It is not just about fuel, these cars can still save you a lot of money when it comes to car insurance
In Kenya where something as ordinary as an election has the potential to crumble the economy, there is a dire need to be frugal with your resources. Every single coin counts as you have clearly seen time and time again and thus it lies in most of us to be very keen how we manage our lifestyles.
Cars are part of this lifestyle as they form a major component in our families and businesses, facilitating easy movement as we go about our day to day activities.
But with the current uncertainty in the economy and constant traffic jams, you need a car that’s really efficient on fuel consumption or else you’ll burn all your money maintaining the car. Luckily, there are quite a number of fuel-efficient cars in the Kenyan market, which are guaranteed to cover your needs while still leaving a little something in your pockets.
Yet it is not just about the fuel, these cars can still save you a lot of money when it comes to the car insurance quotes you will be deciding upon. Here are the top five fuel-efficient cars on Kenyan roads.
The first car on the list is the Honda Fit. Now in its 3rd generation, it first debuted in 2001 in Japan and immediately became a big hit. At its introduction in 2001, it won the Car of the Year Japan Award and by December 2001, it had outsold the Toyota Corolla, and ranked first in sales for nine out of 12 months in 2002.
Despite having a subcompact four-door hatchback, the Honda Fit has also earned praise for its engineering and design, and it has found its niche with consumers drawn to its space-efficient design and easily reconfigurable rear seats.
It’s most notable feature, however, is its engine which is powered by a 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine with a consumption of up to 14.5 kmpl . Now if that’s not fuel efficient, then I don’t know what it is.
Other features of the car include air-conditioning, cruise control, full power accessories, a 5-inch central display screen, a rearview camera, Bluetooth and a four-speaker sound system.
HONDA CIVIC HYBRID
The second car on the fuel efficiency list is yet another Honda, the Honda Civic Hybrid. Although slightly pricey than most cars on this list, it’s efficiency and ease of maintenance definitely covers up for the cost. A variation of the Honda Civic, it was introduced in Japan in 2001 with quite a notable feature, the hybrid electric power train.
The hybrid has a 1.5L four-cylinder engine, fuel consumption of up to 18 kmpl and assisted when necessary by a 17kW electric motor. And not only that, it also has idle stop so that when it stops in traffic, the engine shuts off automatically, then restarts immediately when the driver takes their foot off the brake, contributing to both greater fuel efficiency and lower emissions.
Its twin spark plugs light the lean fuel-air mixtures sent to the two-valve combustion chambers which work hand in hand with a 1.3-litre single overhead cam i-DSI lean-burn internal-combustion engine with VTEC Cylinder Cut-off System, which allows three cylinders to deactivate during deceleration.
And just because its fuel efficient doesn’t mean it’s all dull and boring. The car is also very spacious with seating for up to five, plus all the interior space you’ll need for anything from a business trip to a nice night out. The most recent generation also comes with a wireless Phone Charger, which provides a hassle-free charging zone that’s easy to access and use.
A mid- sized lift back sized between the Corolla and the Camry, the Prius was first produced in 1997 and it became the first mass produced fuel electric hybrid car. The car has become quite popular in Kenya and its 1.8-liter petrol engine (previously 1.5 liters) has everything to do with it. It generates 98 hp (73 kW), and with the added power of the electric motor generates a total of 134 hp (100 kW) (previously 110 hp or 82 kW).
The larger engine displacement allows for increased torque, reducing engine speeds (RPM), which improves fuel economy at highway speeds.
Thanks to its electric water pump, the Prius engine is the first consumer automotive production engine that requires no accessory belts, which also further improves its fuel economy. The electric motors and other components of the hybrid power train are also smaller and more efficient than the industry average putting it way up on the efficiency basket.
Another fuel efficient car common in Kenya is the Nissan March. Mostly popular with the ladies, it was first introduced into the market in 1982 as a challenger to the Honda City and Toyota Starlet. Its third generation however, which is mostly common in Kenya was introduced in 2002 and it features a new, 70 mm longer wheelbase and an even more curvy exterior that was taller and slightly wider.
Its most distinctive feature was a pair of prominent headlamps that extended to the wing-tops with other additions including a sliding rear seat and the option of keyless ignition on higher specification models. Why Kenyan ladies adore it though is its 3-cylinder engine, 1.0L to 1.5L and fuel consumption of up to 21kmpl.
Another common Kenyan car that’s breaking the back of fuel efficiency is the Mazda Demio, a supermini which first hit the world market in 1996 before going on to bag the car of the year award in 2008. The Demio uses Mazda’s SkyActiv-Drive six-speed automatic and SkyActiv-MT five- and six-speed manual gearboxes as well as stop-start technology (“i-STOP” turns the engine off when the car is stationary) and a brake energy regeneration system (“i-ELOOP” uses braking to charge a capacitor for all car electronics, in place of an alternator charging a battery).
This coupled up with its weight, which is below a 1000KG and an engine which ranges from 1.0L to 1.5L with a fuel consumption of 14 Kmpl makes it an ideal fight for most economical Kenyans out here. [source: Pesa Bazaar]
BBC seeks digital journalists for Nairobi hub
As part of its expansion plans, BBC recently held a career fair in Nairobi this week where more than 400 practicing and aspiring media professionals turned up
The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is seeking six journalists as it readies to launch its new digital innovation hub in Nairobi.
In an advertisement placed in a section of today’s press, the BBC said it is hiring a broadcast journalist (digital), women’s affairs journalist, interactive journalist, broadcast journalist, social media visual artist and growth editor.
Candidates must have demonstrable skills and experience in their area and have until November 6 to apply.
The Nairobi hub is part of BBC’s ambition to develop digital journalism in Africa.
As part of its expansion plans, BBC recently held a career fair in Nairobi this week where more than 400 practicing and aspiring media professionals turned up.
In May, the broadcaster revealed it is investing nearly Ksh 1.04 billion (US$10 million) in modern multimedia production studios in Kenya, which will lead to the creation of 250 new jobs.
BBC Africa Regional Editor Solomon Mugeral told President Uhuru Kenyatta 200 of the jobs will go to Kenyans, and, additionally, the investment will provide an internship and mentoring programme for upcoming journalists, digital and technical producers.
“From Nairobi, the BBC will work with local broadcasters and independent production companies to create local and regional content across various genres, including business and health,” he said in a briefing note.
“The international broadcaster is also introducing six new language services: three of them Amharic, Afaan Oromo and Tigrinya will be produced in Nairobi for audiences in Ethiopia and Eritrea. The BBC already produces Kiswahili and Somali programmes from its bureau in Nairobi. The other three new languages Yoruba, Igbo and Pidgin will be based in Lagos, Nigeria,” the note said.
President Uhuru commended the BBC for its new investment in Kenya, saying that the country was known for its free and robust media, skilled talent in the media and the arts, and unmatched ICT infrastructure on the continent.
“We have made massive investments in infrastructure that make us the investment destination of choice for many and we are elated that the BBC is making these giant steps that will lead to employment of some of Kenya’s talent,” he said.
Simple training that will reduce unemployment
Developed economies like Germany and China are anchored on the pillar of vocational skills and we can see the dividends they are reaping from this mindset shift
About 50,000 graduates are churned out of public and private universities in Kenya every year, piling onto the number of unemployed youth in the country estimated at 2.3 million, according to the ministry of Education. Kenya’s unemployment rate, which stands at 40% is a ticking time bomb that needs to be addressed urgently by stakeholders both from the public and private sectors of our economy.
The Principal Secretary for Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET), Dr Dinah Mwinzi, in a TVET forum, said youth unemployment can be reduced if most of the ‘hustling’ population had different technical skills. This, she reiterated, will also accelerate achievement of Kenya’s aspirations on labor market needs for a middle-income economy.
It is interesting to note that only one in every 10 youth secures gainful employment yearly. The other nine find their source of livelihood by either engaging in small businesses or by expending their sweat in the jua kali artisan sector. Globally, unemployment causes debilitating poverty levels among families and as a country we need to mitigate its devastating effects by urgently popularizing vocational training among our youth.
Developed economies like Germany and China are anchored on the pillar of vocational skills training and we can see the dividends these countries are reaping from a mindset shift. Vocational education prepares people to work in a trade, a craft, as a technician, or in professional vocations such as engineering, accountancy, nursing, medicine, architecture, or law.
Craft vocations are usually based on manual or practical activities and are traditionally non-academic but related to a specific trade or occupation. Vocational education is sometimes referred to as career education or technical education. In most African nations and more so Kenya, Vocational Skills Training for a long while, has been given a wide berth by youth due to its tedious and unpopular mode of dirtying hands as a means to an end.
As a country we need to change this ill-advised mindset very fast if we are serious about reducing unemployment and pushing our country into the club of developed nations by the year 2030.
Our population is growing exponentially yet there is no match in figures of new opportunities being created in the economy to fill in the increasing jobs gap. Additionally, Kenyan youth lack the will to acquire market relevant vocational skills from our tertiary institutions.
Instead, we are witnessing a mad rush to acquire degrees in Medicine, Law and Business Management courses. These twin factors are compounding the campaign to reduce unemployment in the country and that is why there is a serious skills gap in the Kenyan economy.
Not enough jobs
Parents, guardians and sponsors have every right to place high expectations on students they are offering education financing. However, we all need to appreciate the fact that not all students can find jobs from the three prestigious disciplines of Medicine, Law and Business Management. Our economy is still young and it has its own capacity limits and can only absorb the number of graduates it can manage.
Today, you should not be surprised to see a placard wielding job seeker in our streets who happens to be an Actuarial Science alumnus. We do not have enough jobs in our economy and a mindset shift is urgently needed. Youth need to be re-programmed to become job creators and not job seekers.
The radical shift ought to start at the curriculum development stage, career counselling departments in school, church mentorship forums and the relevant Government ministries as well. Just like Agri-business is being marketed as a cool business option in the media, stakeholders ought to come up with a well-oiled vocational skills training marketing campaign that has a secretariat similar to the one that manages Brand Kenya.
Unemployment is a disaster that has devastating effects on families and the society at large. One way of increasing our country’s manufacturing capacities is by popularizing vocational skills training. In return, the Kenyan economy will improve its production capacity that will later on translate to more exports of finished goods abroad.
A fund needs to be set aside that will be utilized in periodical upgrading exercises of our existing technical and vocational institutions. This move will help in increasing the supply of adequate and well educated manpower to our manufacturing sector. The stability that vocational skills training brings to the economy will help pull out as many youth as possible from the debilitating effects of unemployment.
Vocational training centres
It is commendable to note that various manufacturing units in the country are now partnering with vocational training centers in a bid to up-skill their employees who later on stand a better chance of securing permanent employment contracts. Examples are ample also of development partners who are joining hands with local corporate entities to offer vocational skills training to youth through their CSR departments like for example the Housing Finance Foundation Iinitiative. All these are proactive measures aimed at reversing the worrying unemployment estimates in the country.
The Vocational Skills Training Movement began in 24th June 2013 and since then we have constantly been urged to positively embrace it by leaders both from the national and county level. Worryingly, demand for skills upgrade among the youth is gaining tract in a rather subdued way. Funding for TVET has been set aside. About Kshs 2.5 billion in the current financial year, we agree but enrollment levels at our vocational training institutions still remain low.
ALSO SEE: Survival tips for fresh graduates
Guardians and instructors need to be advised that up-skilling is the only viable valve youth can use to escape the unforgiving shackles of unemployment. We should therefore not sit back and watch as our youth continue making wrong career moves. Continued resistance to vocational skills training is a worrying trend and needs to be checked so that we may achieve our country’s sustainable development goals much faster.
Solutions to this worrying trend are many and here is a summary of the most urgent ones. One, stakeholders in the manufacturing sector should now be involved in curriculum development as a way of coming up with market relevant course outlines. Two, the ministry of vocational training with the help of other relevant ministries should sell the benefits of vocational skills training in the main stream media with alumni of technical institutions as vocational training brand ambassadors. This will help invite more youth to acquire vocational skills training since they will have seen and heard successful self-employment stories from vocational training graduates currently in the job market.
Three, instructors at all vocational training centers must be aware of the enormous responsibility on their shoulders of transforming Kenya into a developed economy through vocational skills training. Relevant stakeholders should ensure that instructors are positively motivated to teach, are adequately remunerated and should come up with policies that will ensure loyalty to vocational skills training.
We should all agree in unison that vocational skills training is the best remedy so far to youth unemployment and if Germany and China succeeded in implementing it, I do not see why Kenya cannot.
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