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Old 21st March 2008, 19:23   #1
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Default Maruti Service fails to help a stricken customer !

I had been on a trip to Sabarimala and back from Bangalore, covering a distance of 1600 km over 3 days.

This review is about an incident on the return journey and how the much acclaimed Maruti service could not be of much assistance to me. Before I continue, I have to say this - Keep reading and you will find out why.

On my return journey, somewhere before Thiruvalla at about 6 p.m, I try to flash my lights at a truck and nothing happens. Shucks, high beam conked, I say to myself and then hunt for a Maruti A.S.S. Locate Sarathi AutoCars, go in and ask them what can be done. They say that their electricians have already left as it is closing time and the service advisors look clueless. I tell them I have fitted an external headlamp relay, and ask them to check that, as well as the fuses. They do some checking, I realise they do no have much idea and I have no other options. Going further towards Kottayam will take me to another service center, but I expect them to be closed as well, time is now past 6.30 p.m. An electrician materializes later and checks the relay. After a few minutes of analysis, he figures out that the relay is the culprit. They don't keep a replacement as it is an aftermarket part. Ok fine. I proceed towards Thiruvalla town and procure one. Fit it myself and check the lights, still no joy.

Now I realise that the Sarathy guys were no good really and I should have analysed the relay myself(not that they would have given me the tools). I call Maruti helpline. Call is answered by Popular TVM. THe guys talks in a helpful tone, tells me that there are no separate fuses for High/low beams, it is RH/LH fuses. Since both high beams do not work, I rule out the fuses. The guy asks me where I get my car serviced, I say I am from Bangalore. He informs me that he is from Popular, TVM and since I am close to Kottayam, he shall give me Popular's Kottayam number. I take it down. Call them and request for help. He says that their workshop is closed. I ask him about 24 hour service. He says it is only for vehicles that has had a breakdown and even then it is towed back to their facility for repairs. Ok, thanks, I say. I hang up.

I think. Then I check the external circuit(for the 100/90 lamp) fuses myself once again, to be absolutely sure, and they seem to be fine. What could be the reason, I wonder. Probably a rat, which carefully chewed of the high beam wires only? Naah, sounds improbable. then what? Suddenly, it strikes me. Nobody has checked the bulbs yet !! I remove the RH bulb with some difficulty, the LH one does not have space for the palm to go in unless one removes the battery(or so I thought - I was to disprove myself a little while later). BINGO ! I see that the high beam filament is a goner. I felt like a complete idiot, but I was also angry that Sarathy motors never bothered to check the bulbs. I usually carry spare bulbs in the car(provided by Maruti themselves), but this time I wasn't. I curse my luck, send my friends to check out the shops which might be open at that time, to get bulbs. I also call up an acquaintance, but he wasn't inclined to help, I thank him and hang up. It turns out that all Auto shops in Changanachery are closed by that time. Going to Kottayam is the next option, but I am not too hopeful as it will be even more late by the time I reach there.

Now that it is clear that the bulbs are the issue, I call Popular Kottayam once again to ask if Maruti On road service can provide a pair of bulbs. He says that is not possible. The much acclaimed Maruti service was of no use to me. On road service is only for breakdowns, it seems. Would they consider no headlights as a breakdown situation? How would they respond in such a case? Tow the vehicle to the garage and put new bulbs in the morning? I had the low beam at least and could have motored on, albeit slowly.

I then call up a friend in Ernakulam, who has a Vdi himself and asks him if he has the spare bulb set. He checks and says yes. Fine, I say - I am coming there to pick it up, even though it is going to be quite late. After a last futile effort to procure bulbs at Kottayam, I dump one of my friends at Ettumanoor(I was supposed to have dropped him at Muvattupuzha) and turn towards Ernakulam. I reach Ernakulam by 11 p.m and barge into my friends place.

The RH bulb is easily replaced, but I found that it is very difficult to put my palm in the space behind the LH headlight. Nevertheless, I managed, going by feel and my friend who was guiding me with a torch.

By 11.30, I had a car with proper lights, though it was 60/55W, the burnt bulbs were of 100/90W. I could feel the reduction in light intensity, but I managed and made it to Bangalore by noon next day.

Now my questions are -

1. Shouldn't Sarathy Autocars have checked the bulbs while I was there?
2. If the electrician does not have the basic skill to check a relay, why employ him? Agreed that it is an aftermarket fitment, but a relay is not a complex thing to analyse.
3. The faulty diagnosis made me buy an extra relay. Agreed it was only Rs 240, what if it had been a more expensive item?
4. Why doesn't MOS cater to electrical issues? Is it so difficult to carry an inventory of minor stuff like bulbs?I admit that I should have been carrying spare bulbs provided to me, but when a customer is stranded on road, didn't Maruti have any responsibility to help me?

Last edited by kuttapan : 21st March 2008 at 19:27.
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Old 21st March 2008, 19:32   #2
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I know how critical the bulbs can be especially when you drive at night, but Maruti breakdown service is for a breakdown which it wasnt.
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Old 21st March 2008, 19:58   #3
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FYI, it is Maruti ON-Road service, not Maruti Breakdown service.

This is what the link says ->
Maruti Suzuki India Ltd: address, regional offices, on road services, call centers, toll free number, call center, Furgaon, Delhi, car queries, works office, contact form, locations

The MOS ensures:
  • Round-the-clock services in most of the cities
  • A computerized call-monitoring system dispatches a mobile MOS van to you at the earliest
  • All MOS vans are manned by qualified Maruti Authorised Dealers / MASS technicians who are trained by Maruti in problem diagnosis
  • You are charged only Rs.100 on labour and spares
  • The charges do not apply provided vehicle is under warranty and the defect is covered under warranty. For detailed warranty policy, kindly refer to owner's manual provided with the vehicle.
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Old 21st March 2008, 20:01   #4
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My gripe is mostly against the people at Sarathy Auto, who were absloute dumbasses. At the end I tried to say thanks to the service advisors(assuming the problem has been fixed), but they didnt seem to mind.
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Old 21st March 2008, 20:07   #5
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All this for as minor an issue as a headlight bulb being fused. What if you were in Ladakh and had found this service center to help you out!
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Old 21st March 2008, 20:09   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1100D View Post
All this for as minor an issue as a headlight bulb being fused. What if you were in Ladakh and had found this service center to help you out!
I am sorry, but I dont get what you mean?
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Old 21st March 2008, 20:15   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuttapan View Post
I am sorry, but I dont get what you mean?
If you recall, Maruti's famous commercial, that actually hits a chord with most of its customer base, where a Gypsy is driven to Ladakh and "kancha" directs the Gypsy to a Maruti service center.

I was wondering if you were in a similar situation, you wouldn't have had the luxury of finding a friend loaning out those bulbs to you.
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Old 21st March 2008, 20:20   #8
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He means that its such a small issue and they couldn't fix it for you. I guess in Ladakh there are not many options and obviously you wouldn't have friends to call upon to help. So you would have been stuck. Imagine if the only service station there was the same Sarathy Auto...
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Old 21st March 2008, 21:23   #9
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So much for maruti care! why dont you shoot some emails out with the same content Kuttapa? Report it, who knows it might help drive a message.

I had a very similar incident back in Trichur with the service light coming on, remember. And that was a well known dealer there.

At the end of the day whatever translated doesnt drill down to ground level reality, where it really matters.
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Old 21st March 2008, 22:14   #10
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@kuttapan, Tiruvalla to Ernakulam, via Kottayam and Ettumanoor, good 3 -4 hours on the road and you did not locate a single auto electricians' shop to buy bulbs?? Awww!!! And, did you notice that your user manual has a list of MASS and whatever kind of authorised shops towards the later half of the book.

About the incident at Sarathi, you cannot expect the receptionist at the neuro surgeon's office to attend to a dental cavity when the dentist is out, do you?
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Old 21st March 2008, 22:20   #11
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I guess their 'breakdown' service also covers nervous breakdowns, in the strict sense of the term
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Old 24th March 2008, 11:51   #12
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My car's low beam stopped working on the way back from Goa. Didnt even think of stopping and getting it fixed or calling M.A.S.S or whatever. I just slowed down a bit (it was raining heavily anyway) and carried on.

I would think a "breakdown" situation is when your headlights are not working at all.

EDIT: Its not all bad, you know. Just remembered this story of how M.A.S.S really helps -> http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/street...est-night.html (GEARSHIFT CAME OFF! Inside forest-At night!)

Last edited by spadival : 24th March 2008 at 11:56.
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Old 24th March 2008, 12:11   #13
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Instead of taking all this trouble, you could have just driven on with the normal beam lights. More so because you have 90W instead of the stock 55W that we all have and with which we still manage.

Also, except for the occasional high beam flash, why would you need the high beam ? Don't tell me you drive with hi-beam on and that too a more-than-mandated- rating bulb ?

And Kerala is a different story all together when it comes to shops being open after 6PM - especially small towns, which are like dead after dark.
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Old 24th March 2008, 13:09   #14
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You cannot do more than 60kmph on highways with low beam.
I have faced this problem once when the high beam of LH bulb conked.
I stopped at a pump and put in the spare bulb.
If you are doing 80kmph on low beam you are bound to come across an obstacle l.ike a parked truck or a pothole, which won't give you time to brake.
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Old 24th March 2008, 13:31   #15
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Tell me about it, Tanveer.
The scariest moment in my almost one and a half decade old driving experience was once when I was driving towards Bangalore from Kerala.. It was about 9 pm, and I was driving at around 70-80 on the GQ (Krishnagiri-Hosur stretch... during daytime, you can drive at 90-100 easily even in M 800). This route has got some gradual as well as steep climbs.. I was climbing one of those and was on low-beam (didn't want to trouble incoming traffic)... all of a sudden, I see a young person (was probably a cleaner of a truck parked on the other side) slowly crossing the road, semi-diagonally, rubbing his sleepy eyes. I was on the right lane but was a little away from the median (usually I do this to aviod hitting concrete of broken median that may lie close to it).. now, this person as well sees me only when I came too close (surprisingly, since it was a straight stretch, and I had my lights on, in low beam mode). He stopped for a moment as he was unsure (and scared as much as I was) which way to move. There was no time to brake and I had to cut sharply to the right to aviod him. I missed hitting him by a whisker.

After that incident, I have never driven fast on low beam.
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