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Old 12th September 2014, 22:21   #151
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Yet another update. More problems to report - this time, a second mechatronics failure. The good news is that the car has been repaired free of cost, and is back with me once again. Hope I don't jinx it through this post.

What happened? It was the Independence Day weekend. We had planned a holiday near Lonavala with a bunch of friends. Fortunately or unfortunately, I had to travel abroad and hence missed the first day. My wife and kid went ahead with our friends and faced the 7+ hour journey thanks to the crazy traffic that day. I got back that night, and headed out from home at about 530 am. Everybody had left the previous day, and I had a beautiful, albeit solitary drive to the resort where we were put up. It was my first long drive on the new Primacy 3STs, and I found them quite good on the concrete expressway surface, even at unmentionable speeds. (As an aside, they are very noisy while going over Bombay's terrible paver blocks though). Bhushi dam was still empty as I passed it, I drove through the fabulous monsoon fog at Lion Point, and was at our resort by 715. I handed the car in to be parked, and spent the rest of the day hiking, and generally having a great time with friends.

The next morning, we decided to take the longer route back around Pawna lake instead of getting stuck in the crazy Bhushi dam crowd. There were some terrible patches where the road had been washed off in this route, but most of it was some of the most amazing winding Tarmac with scenic views of the lake that I have seen in India. I had great fun pushing the car along the corners. Normally, we would have halted several times to take pictures, but my wife was in a hurry to get home, and hence we stopped just once. After about an hour on the winding roads, we hit the old Poona road near Kamshet, and then took the expressway home.

After dropping the family off at home and grabbing lunch, I decided to fill petrol in the car from the pump across the road, to be set for the next week's office commute. I had turned the engine off while the petrol was being filled. When I restarted and put the car in drive, the car refused to move. I switched it off and tried again, but all I was faced with was a blinking P light in the MID, and the car refused to go into any gear. Having experienced the same issue in 2012, I realised that my mechatronics had probably gone bust again. I spoke to Skoda's emergency assistance folks, who arranged a tow truck to my usual service centre. It took a while for the truck to come, and cost me a ridiculous Rs. 2000. It being a Sunday, there were only security guards around who arranged for the car to be safely parked in their compound.

The next morning, I spoke to the service adviser who told me that they suspected mechatronics failure, but would need to run diagnostics to confirm the same. Even before I could prompt him, he told me that if it was the mechatronics, the car would be repaired free of cost even though the car is now almost 4.25 years old. It took him until late that evening to confirm that it was indeed the mechatronics that had failed. However, he told me that it would take over a week and perhaps 10 days to repair the car. Fortunately for me, I had some more work related travel coming up, and hence it was not a real inconvenience to be without the car. 8 days later, the car was ready for delivery. They had replaced the mechatronics, and also carried out the replacement of the gearbox oil with the mineral version, and claimed that the car should not give a problem post this fix. I did not bother to ask them to reimburse the towing charges.

Since then I have driven the car for about 300 km and all is well so far. I must say while I am disappointed the gearbox failed again (and I clearly dodged a bullet, as a failure near Pawna would have been extremely inconvenient), I was pleased with the proactive manner in which Skoda handled the matter. They volunteered to handle the mechatronics failure under goodwill were real about timing and delivered the car back quickly. I am surprised they did not change the oil to mineral oil when I gave the car for service in April - I had then presumed that they may have used the mineral oil during the last mechatronic replacement in 2012, but learnt that this was not the case. What I am not sure of is that they have the problem licked - after all, their global recall was in late 2013, and no cars from that vintage would have completed the 2+ years the mechatronics seems to last in the normal course.

Anyway, all I can do is hope for the best. incidentally, another friend who had a previous mechatronic failure in early 2013 had a second mechatronics failure last week. Once again, Skoda has taken responsibility, even if his car is not yet back with him. So clearly, the problem persists even in vehicles repaired just 18 months back.

Wonder if any other BHPians have experienced a second mechatronics failure or one in cars / systems of a more recent vintage. Do post on the same.
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Old 12th September 2014, 23:51   #152
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Well my cousins superb too had its second failure within 24 months of the first one. This was in March this year. Even though the car was out of warranty, Skoda repaired it free of cost (with some pushing from our side). He was happy with the car but the second failure just got to him. She was sold 2 months back and replaced with a CRV.

Hope you don't have any more issues!

OT: is there any change for the diesel's gearbox oil? My Laura is scheduled for an oil change soon.

Rohan.
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Old 13th September 2014, 00:05   #153
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Default Re: (Skoda) Superb? Not Sure - 51 months, 38k kms: 2nd Mechatronics failure repaired

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Yet another update. More problems to report - this time, a second mechatronics failure. The good news is that the car has been repaired free of cost, and is back with me once again. Hope I don't jinx it through this post.

.
This is scary. I'm glad it wasn't a major inconvenience for you. I sincerely hope this mineral oil switch has fixed the problem, otherwise it'll mar a technology that is so pleasurable to drive.

Last edited by StarScream : 13th September 2014 at 00:08. Reason: Quoting a large post hampers readability for our small screen users.
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Old 13th September 2014, 09:49   #154
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Default Re: (Skoda) Superb? Not Sure - 51 months, 38k kms: 2nd Mechatronics failure repaired

Thanks for regularly updating Hayek. It is sad to see, once again, a brilliant car let down by one defective component. Hope this is the end of your woes with the mineral oil replacement.
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Old 13th September 2014, 10:04   #155
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Default Re: (Skoda) Superb? Not Sure - 51 months, 38k kms: 2nd Mechatronics failure repaired

Did they offer any resistance in changing the whole thing free of cost or did it willingly without bothering you?
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Old 13th September 2014, 10:32   #156
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Did they offer any resistance in changing the whole thing free of cost or did it willingly without bothering you?

Did it willingly, and offered it up even before I started my spiel on why they should do it free. Agree with Dhiraj that this component has a serious issue. The good news is that VW and Skoda seem to have acknowledged it, seem to be attempting to fix it, and are taking responsibility. I hope this attitude continues. If they fix the problems they have and maintain a customer friendly attitude, I may even consider being a third VAG car two years down the line.
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Old 13th September 2014, 15:24   #157
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Default Re: (Skoda) Superb? Not Sure - 51 months, 38k kms: 2nd Mechatronics failure repaired

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Did it willingly, and offered it up even before I started my spiel on why they should do it free. Agree with Dhiraj that this component has a serious issue. The good news is that VW and Skoda seem to have acknowledged it, seem to be attempting to fix it, and are taking responsibility. I hope this attitude continues. If they fix the problems they have and maintain a customer friendly attitude, I may even consider being a third VAG car two years down the line.
Wasn't the case before. The mechatronic/DSG failure issue has gained so much publicity with worldwide failures and recalls that Skoda may have issued directives to all dealers to replace the unit FOC whether the car is under warranty or not.

I can't understand why can't they just issue a recall in India or at the very least do the mineral oil switch for every car that comes in for service?? This will add goodwill to the brand, not changing it FOC after putting the owner through a harrowing time getting the car towed after being stranded on the road.
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Old 13th September 2014, 15:54   #158
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Default Re: (Skoda) Superb? Not Sure - 51 months, 38k kms: 2nd Mechatronics failure repaired

Sorry to hear about the repeat failure, Hayek. It is shameful on Skoda's part to build a car that leaves its owners stranded so often. Inexplicable!!

I know it must be crossing your head, but I'd still recommend you to retain the Superb. Living with it - and getting whatever work done (even paid repairs) - will work out far cheaper than replacing it. There were several frustrating moments in my Merc C220 ownership; I held on to the car for the same reasons. The financial blow from selling a 4 year old Euro is too high.

The real problem is, this shoddy reliability affects brand loyalty. I'm not buying another Merc anytime soon, and I'm sure it's the same for a load of Skoda owners out there.
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Old 13th September 2014, 16:36   #159
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Default Re: (Skoda) Superb? Not Sure - 51 months, 38k kms: 2nd Mechatronics failure repaired

Please don't consider this as Skoda bashing. But I fail to understand the logic here. Skoda is already fighting a serious image issue in our market. More and more people, outside the sphere of automotive forums, are becoming vary of Skoda's ( and other european cars too) expensive after sales and lack of reliability. Skoda is not issuing a formal recall in our country due to the fear that it will damage there reputation. They are rather fixing the problem FOC. But this strategy does not make sense to me. The customer would definitely become vary and reluctant to choose Skoda as his next car for the fear that next time such a failure might not be covered. Also many a customers might be coaxed into paying for the replacement by "out of Skoda's control" dealerships. Skoda risks losing more customers to this bad publicity by word of mouth. The brand would be seen as a unreliable one. Rather they should announce a formal recall or atleast acknowledge the issue and let the customers know that there cars are going to be repaired if the problem occurs in there gearboxes. They would surely generate a positive outlook by this approach.
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Old 13th September 2014, 22:06   #160
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Santosh / GTO / Dr. Mohit, I agree that Skoda's behaviour is strange. They would generate massive positive word of mouth and give users a great deal of comfort if they offered a 10 years, 100,000 km warranty on the DSG box or at least the mechatronics part. It is difficult to fathom why they do not do that. The only potential reason I can think of is fear of misuse in a market like India - but I don't see how users can misuse the gearbox. Frankly, this is not just a Skoda issue. VW (in the Polo and Vento TSI) and Audi (in the A31.8 TSi) are also using this gearbox. The extended warranty should logically apply across all three brands.

On the recall, I am more sympathetic. VW recalled cars fitted with the DQ 200 initially in the US, then in China when forced, and finally in South East Asia. They did not recall it in Europe or Australia. I think they have recalled the cars only where they were forced to do so by regulators. And I suspect the reason for the absence of a recall is that they are not sure what is going wrong with these cars. At every stage since 2010, VW has been saying that they have redesigned the DQ200 and the new box won't fail. It seems to have been an on the road beta testing project. My friend's experience suggests that at least till March 2013, they had not solved the problem.

Who knows if this mineral oil solution will work. We need to wait and see for at least 24 odd months to know for sure based on user experience. If you have not found the root cause of a problem, and are not sure if the new box you are fitting is much better than the old one, a recall is useless, and may even be counter productive. BTW, there is one more set of clues that they may not have fixed the DQ 200 issues. For the US market, the Golf 1.8 TSi is sold with a 6 speed conventional auto box instead of the 7 speed DSG offered elsewhere. Also the A3 1.8 TFSI is sold with a 6 Speed S Tronic DSG box (probably the DQ 250). In short, for the MQB cars in the US market, VW is no longer willing to risk using the DQ200.

GTO, I agree with you that selling the Superb right now is not an option. For starters, the resale value is pathetic. Secondly, what would I buy instead of the Superb? I am not going to pay through my nose for a Camry that is lousy to drive and has just 2 air bags. And the luxury Germans cost much, much more and are equally or more capable of creating large repair bills. So I will definitely keep this car for 2 more years unless I am pushed to the brink. As for brand loyalty, I agree - poor quality does make you nervous. But I am willing to give Skoda and VW a chance. If I get decent reliability and good service over the next 2 years, I would still consider a car from their stable.
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Old 16th September 2014, 18:26   #161
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^^ Just for my knowledge, what will be the resale value of your superb (petrol DSG) in the market right now? Will the manual one be priced higher or lower?
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Old 17th September 2014, 07:41   #162
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^^ Just for my knowledge, what will be the resale value of your superb (petrol DSG) in the market right now? Will the manual one be priced higher or lower?

Don't have data on this. But per the Team BHP used car tool, my Superb is worth between Rs. 8.5 - 9.5 l if sold privately, while a MT would be worth between Rs. 7.8 and Rs. 8.7 l. That seems intuitively right - automatics will sell for more than manuals, and the DSG is fantastic to drive. Also, in Bombay, most high end cars sell as automatics.
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Old 17th September 2014, 15:44   #163
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Default Re: (Skoda) Superb? Not Sure - 51 months, 38k kms: 2nd Mechatronics failure repaired

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For the US market, the Golf 1.8 TSi is sold with a 6 speed conventional auto box instead of the 7 speed DSG offered elsewhere. Also the A3 1.8 TFSI is sold with a 6 Speed S Tronic DSG box (probably the DQ 250). In short, for the MQB cars in the US market, VW is no longer willing to risk using the DQ200.
sorry to read about the problem with you transmission again, but I agree if the service provided after a problem is exemplary, it does mitigate some pain.

US models coming with 6 speed transmission is because the torque is outside the upper limit of DQ200 of 250 Nm. they are both rated 270 Nm (200 lb-ft). our 1.8 TSI engines are rated at 250 N, which is just about the upper limit for DQ200. The same is the case with the A4 sold in India. it too has a 1.8 TFSI engine, but tuned to 320 Nm, and that too comes with the Multitronic (CVT). It puzzled me also for a while as to why the Laura 1.8 TFSI would get a DSG and not A4 which is a much more premium product.
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Old 15th February 2015, 17:32   #164
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Quick update after about 5 more months. Thanks to a couple of out of town trips (including one to Daman, the worst place on earth to take a vacation except for the fantastic road leading there from Bombay), I have got to about 42,000 kms. Has this period been uneventful? Of course not. Shortly after my last set of posts, my AC stopped cooling. Turned out to be a problem with the cooling coil, which cost me a bomb ( Rs. 34,000) to repair. About a month later, some twerp (perhaps my car cleaner, but he denied it) broke the wiper arm, which cost me a further Rs. 5500. Finally, two weeks ago, the check engine light came on again. Yes, it was a problem with another one of the ignition coils. Repairing that plus replacing the front brake shoes (which perhaps could have got me to the next service due in April) cost another Rs. 10,000. So yes, maintaining this car is becoming really expensive. I have spent Rs. 50,000 on maintenance to cover about 4000 km - viz Rs. 12.5 / km. At current fuel prices, the maintenance cost per km is more than fuel costs (which are now down to under Rs. 10/km even at my low fuel efficiency levels).

So the question comes up again - should I keep the car, or sell it for whatever I can get? Thoughts are welcome. But there is a follow on question too - if I sell this car, what do I replace it with? Most folks I know buying cars in this segment have bought - The Superb. Why? The Camry costs about Rs. 6 l extra on the road, and comes with just two airbags. And the Teana, Accord and Passat are extinct. Buying a 3 Series or C class is the other option - but they offer less as cars other than badge value, and perhaps would be as expensive to maintain beyond the warranty period.

Any thoughts and suggestions are welcome.
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Old 15th February 2015, 17:47   #165
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Default re: Skoda Superb - The Saga Continues - 5 Years, 44,000 kms

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So the question comes up again - should I keep the car, or sell it for whatever I can get? Thoughts are welcome. But there is a follow on question too - if I sell this car, what do I replace it with? Most folks I know buying cars in this segment have bought - The Superb. Why? The Camry costs about Rs. 6 l extra on the road, and comes with just two airbags. And the Teana, Accord and Passat are extinct. Buying a 3 Series or C class is the other option - but they offer less as cars other than badge value, and perhaps would be as expensive to maintain beyond the warranty period.

Any thoughts and suggestions are welcome.
Couple of options I can think of:
  1. Check out the VW Jetta facelift which will be launched later this week. Space is definitely not in Superb class, but should be on par with the 3-series or C-Class. And the top-end Highline AT should cost around half of what you pay for the C.
  2. Live with the Superb for another year, and wait for the new Passat's launch.

Last edited by vb-san : 15th February 2015 at 17:48.
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