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Old 21st April 2014, 16:17   #61
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Default Re: Here comes my James Bond car - The Skoda Laura L&K

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James Bond has now done 27K kms! Still rocking performance. Sukesh took a test drive and put an evil eye mentioning my car still feels like a 'for registration'

On my way back to Bangalore, I had a tire burst. I now have no option except to buy a new tire. I am considering Hankook or Pirelli. Could bhipians suggest me on these brands? How reliable are they? Should I replace all the four tires (as the vehicle has done 27k) or two tires would suffice?
Which tyres were you running? And at what speed and under what conditions did the tyre burst? A few more details would be enlightening. I always fear these tire burst incidents. What did you experience at the wheel. Could you control the car easily or was it rough?

Also what pressures were you running and did you check the pressures just before the journey or do you rely on the TPMS alone?

I suggest getting the same brand as the other three tyres you are currently running. Swtich brands only if you are changing all four. Do consider Michelin 3ST. THey are made for Asian conditions and quite a few BHPians seem to be happy with them.
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Old 21st April 2014, 16:59   #62
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Default Re: Here comes my James Bond car - The Skoda Laura L&K

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Which tyres were you running? And at what speed and under what conditions did the tyre burst? A few more details would be enlightening. I always fear these tire burst incidents. What did you experience at the wheel. Could you control the car easily or was it rough?
Continental CPC2, speed=40kph. There was a TN green bus on my right and I was on the LHS of the service lane. The bus suddenly swerved to the left (my side). I had no other option but to swerve as well to avoid being hit but my left tires ended up off the road. I still managed to drive for about 2kms without any issues as there as no indication of a tire burst, until I started hearing some noise from the rear of the car. The car was pretty much in control and I was doing ~90kph then. I suddenly noticed the "please check tires" warning. I stopped to check on the noise only to find a tire flat. I called up a puncture guy who removed the tire and we found the side wall torn.

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Also what pressures were you running and did you check the pressures just before the journey or do you rely on the TPMS alone?
30PSI, yes, at a tire shop @ cochin, byepass road.

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I suggest getting the same brand as the other three tyres you are currently running. Swtich brands only if you are changing all four. Do consider Michelin 3ST. THey are made for Asian conditions and quite a few BHPians seem to be happy with them.
I have contacted Madhus, they are recommending Michelin or Yokos/Pirelli. My budget matches more on the Pirelli. What's your take on these?

Last edited by nitinbose : 21st April 2014 at 17:01.
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Old 21st April 2014, 17:13   #63
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Default Re: Here comes my James Bond car - The Skoda Laura L&K

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I still managed to drive for about 2kms without any issues as there as no indication of a tire burst, until I started hearing some noise from the rear of the car. The car was pretty much in control and I was doing ~90kph then. I suddenly noticed the "please check tires" warning. I stopped to check on the noise only to find a tire flat. I called up a puncture guy who removed the tire and we found the side wall torn.
You drove @ 90 kph on a flat tyre? TPMS did its job but still, did you not notice something was off? Hope you haven't damaged your rims.

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I have contacted Madhus, they are recommending Michelin or Yokos/Pirelli. My budget matches more on the Pirelli. What's your take on these?
Haven't used Yokos or Pirellis so far, so can't comment. Which Yokos are these? Earth1 or S drives or A drive R1? I am currently running Michelin Pilot Sport3 225/50/16. They are the best tyres I have ever used. Sadly these are discontinued now.
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Old 21st April 2014, 23:39   #64
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Default Re: Here comes my James Bond car - The Skoda Laura L&K

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You drove @ 90 kph on a flat tyre? TPMS did its job but still, did you not notice something was off? Hope you haven't damaged your rims.
I never felt like there was anything wrong until I began to hear the noise, whence I stopped immediately. The car was still going straight, nevertheless. I would expect the car to loose control but I had perfect control in this case.

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Haven't used Yokos or Pirellis so far, so can't comment. Which Yokos are these? Earth1 or S drives or A drive R1? I am currently running Michelin Pilot Sport3 225/50/16. They are the best tyres I have ever used. Sadly these are discontinued now.
I paid a visit to Madhus today evening and finally settled on Pirelli P7. I had the option of Yokos and Michellin as well. Somehow, I could not justify myself in investing in the Michellins as they appeared and felt quite the same as the other two. In any case, considering our rough roads, none of these tires can withstand a stone chip etc., hence settled for Pirelli. I thought of saving some money here!

I was considering replacing 2 of 4 tires however, when madhus checked the tire conditions, the contis 'may' last up to 5k kms, so thought of upgrading all four at one shot.

Did wheel alignment and balancing as well. Madhus seems to have some state of art balancing system which is also a touch screen system where you can view the wheels, drag them to any position and the computer tells you which wheel position gives you the least drag, performance etc.

The ride with the P7s seems quite similar to the Contis I had earlier. I guess they're all rubber, coming in different names.

Now for some pics!

Special thank to Nikhil for assisting me in choosing the tires, though he was travelling.
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Last edited by nitinbose : 21st April 2014 at 23:46.
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Old 23rd April 2014, 12:50   #65
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Default Re: Here comes my James Bond car - The Skoda Laura L&K

I revisited Madhus to re-check on the wheel alignment as one of the alloys had a tiny bend which I'd repaired at "A-1 tyre shop" near Lal bagh.

Madhus balanced the wheel and corrected the wheel alignment and now everything is in ship-shape! They seem to have upgraded their wheel balancing and alignment. As you must have noticed, you get a 3D view of the tires and the display tire positions change with them adjusting.

The tires seem to do well so far. The difference I'm noticing from my Continental is lesser noise when the tire gets into potholes, whereas with the Contis, there would be a mediocre thump. I'm also noticing some stickiness to the road, probably this is what we term as grip.

I've clocked 27K kms in my Laura and I only have positives. This is one great buy and I'm enjoying it in its fullest.

Sukesh (Vagtune) put an "evil eye" commenting my Laura's engine feels like a "for-registration" Laura. Makes me feel proud!
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Last edited by nitinbose : 23rd April 2014 at 12:53.
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Old 24th May 2014, 20:14   #66
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Default Re: Here comes my James Bond car - The Skoda Laura L&K

James Bond has successfully completed mission 30K! This is my first car to have been driven so far.

Took my car to Vinayak Skoda for the 30K service. It took almost a day. There was an engine oil change, filters (oil, fuel, a/c, pollen etc), brake pad cleaning and greasing the suspensions. The total bill was 14K. No other damages or issues so far. I'm pretty happy with the service from Vinayak and Skoda overall.
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Old 16th June 2014, 08:51   #67
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Default My James Bond car -Hitting a Road Block!

Hi Everyone!

I have reached a dead end with my Laura!

The 30K service was duly done at Vinayak Skoda, Bangalore. It was hardly a week when an error suddenly popped up on the maxi dot, ďAdapdive Front lighting syst. (AFS) failure, ownerís manualĒ

I was taken aback for a moment but then composed myself to have a look. The first thing that I did was to power off the engine, remove the key, wait for a couple of minutes and check again. This was to no avail and the error still existed. I then opened up the bonnet to check for any connection related issues or bulb failures, but the surprising part was that the bulbs were both lighting (low and high beams) and the AFS initialization was also taking place but the console was still throwing up the error.

Opening up the bonnet gave me a shock that made me Ďhangí like a windows computer! The AFS module on the RHS headlamp unit had come apart and was simply hanging on the wires! The headlamp unit has both the ballast and the AFS unit which are screwed on to the back of the unit. The AFS unit is screwed onto a plastic cover, which in turn locks up at the back of the headlamp unit. This also serves as a cover for the high beam and is a provision through which one may replace the high beam halogen bulbs. I noticed the clip on this cover is broken. I was quite annoyed and shocked because the materials used by Skoda, be it metal or plastic are according to certain standards and there is no way they can break unless tampered with.

I also noticed the screws pillar on the cover (onto which the AFS module is screwed onto) are cracked. This gave me further jitters and shock. Iíd also noticed the same on the LHS headlamp unit but the fastening clip is still intact. I was quite sure someone had tampered the headlamp units.

I called up Prem (SA, Vinayak Skoda) and before he could even listen to the issue, he replied, ďsir, everything was okay when you took the vehicleĒ and asked me to come to the workshop to check.

A VAS scan was performed and it showed an error on the AFS module and Prem immediately told me the AFS module was damaged and requires replacement. He told me the approximate cost would be about 32K

I did not trust him as Iím quite confident about Skoda parts and that they canít simply fail without a reason. I took the car to a good friend of mine and to Shibin (Peteís) where Iíd performed a scan using VCDs. Though there was an error on the AFS controller, it was a priority 6 error and intermittent. This gave me an idea that the controller is NOT faulty but some connection issue as it was hanging on the wires.

I decided to escalate the issue to the Vinayak management. Their first response was that Iíd fitted the headlamp unit elsewhere (proved with a team-bhp photo) and that I should not blame them.

My reply was that Iím quite cognizant that I wonít get warranty from Skoda because Iíd purchased these from Vagtune and I had no intention of claiming one either. However, how did they (Prem) simply conclude the AFS controller to be faulty without proper diagnosis? How did the fastening clip break without anyone tampering those areas? Hence they are responsible for what happened!

I take great care of my car such that Iíve only let Vinayak Skoda and Sukesh to touch my car. Iíd not been to Sukesh anytime recently for any work and Iím certain Sukesh cannot come to my car at night (like dracula or some ghost), ruin the headlamp unit and go away! Thus Iím made to conclude someone at the workshop must have tampered the headlamp units during the service. Apart from the headlamp unit, one of the auto parking sensors (front right) was also dislocated. Prem immediately told me I must have hit somewhere and that these sensors are sensitive enough for it to get dislocated even at the push of a finger! I guess he probably doesnít even know how theyíre fixed, else he wonít have given this dump explanation. Nevertheless, they fixed that part for me. Iíd not hit anywhere and even produced a photo of bumper clearly showing there are no scratches. Prem told me the bumper had caved inwards and come outwards to the normal shape - interesting theory and that too without a single scratch!

Vinayak Skoda washing team also did a wonderful thing to ruin the car horn by letting in water to the horn! Now the horn sounds more like a dog barking! Prem also told me to replace the horn for about 5K!

However, as for the headlamp and AFS, I further had to escalate to Skoda, who intern passed it back to Vinayak and a lot of mail exchanges took place and finally they decided to examine my vehicle once again and see if it can be fixed.

The technician who checked told me its due to the improper seating of the AFS module on the cover thatís probably triggering this issue. The cover as a standalone is not available and so Iíve got to change the entire headlamp assembly. His explanation now was that the AFS controller is okay, else the headlamps wonít even light up.

I swallowed!

I once again asked Prem as to why this issue happened. He had no explanation but simply denied that nobody had tampered those areas and that I ought to replace the headlamp assembly. I am pretty sure they must have tried to remove the controller(s) to check on some other vehicle and in a hurry, tried to screw it back using Ďsome screwsí and consequently causing the damage. This also explains why there was not fault indicated in the cluster at the time of delivery. I also did not go to the extent of opening the bonnet to check. Does Skoda or its dealer expect us to buy a VAS and run a VAS scan, open the bonnet to check if everything is in place, as well as under chassis, boot etc., at the time of delivery after service?

Having purchased the headlamp assembly from Sukesh, I am certain Skoda wonít cover this part under warranty, therefore, I canít simply sit and break them and then ask Vinayak for replacement. What would I gain from this? We all use accessories in our cars and though the OEM cannot cover these under OEM warranty, we would expect the service staff to keep their hands off these equipment during their routine services.

I also have no intention of defaming Skoda or Vinayak Skoda (dealer) as Iíve so far been quite happy and have reported the positives on team-bhp.

The sad part is that they even charged me for these examinations in the workshop around INR 600/-, which still mentions the AFS controller to be faulty - so whom should I now even trust?

Replacing the headlamp units would cost me a whopping 65K!

Iím now left wondering what to do.

Skoda, if youíre reading this post (Iím sure you are, for I know your dealer does): I was dissatisfied with Tafe access so you directed me to Vinayak. Now that Iíve had issues with Vinayak, where should I head to, for future services? To some other dealer in the nearby states? For I cannot be sure the future damages/tampering this dealer may cause! Or does Skoda India expect me to learn how to repair and service the skoda? If yes, please help me get enrolled in such a training center.

Vinayak Skoda also does not allow you to stand near your vehicle while its being serviced, hence thereís no way one can be sure of whatís happening to your vehicle, neither do they take full responsibility when something goes wrong. How pathetic! A workshop normally has a visitors lounge with a large window through which one can see their car being serviced/repaired. So what is the service center gaining without such a provision or by not allowing one to at least be near their car while being repaired or serviced?

I do recall visiting Nandi Toyota to service both my Innova & Fortuner. The first thing Iíd noticed is the proper order and process oriented staff. If thereís an escalation to Toyota, the dealer would have called me several times and ensure my issues are solved to my satisfaction. The engineers / technicians are also well qualified and knowledgeable and above all, most of them speak pretty good english. They donít tamper any accessories, if at all they need to check on something, the customer is informed well in advance on what is being done and the impact.

Skoda and your dealers - when will you grow up? Skoda, if you cannot ensure your customers get the best and reliable service, there is no point in selling these cars in India.


Here are the pics and a video. The video shows the AFS initializing, though it still throws up the error on the maxidot.

I'm even suspecting the oil change. Despite having replaced the oil completely (according to the dealer), the oil is still black and the quantity is at 50% at most. The manual mentions it should be at 100% of level A.

Here's the video of the AFS:


Here's the VCDS Scan of the Xenon Range:

Address 55: Xenon Range Labels: 5M0-907-357-V2.lbl
Part No SW: 5M0 907 357 C HW: 5M0 907 357 C
Component: AFS-Steuergeraet 0148
Revision: 00H04000 Serial number:
Coding: 1507610
Shop #: WSC 62658 626 45725
VCID: 346CCFB157B11BBE4FF-8061

Subsystem 1 - Part No: 7L6 941 329 B
Component: AFS-Lst.-Modul l 0005
Coding: 00000023

Subsystem 2 - Part No: 7L6 941 329 B
Component: AFS-Lst.-Modul r 0004
Coding: 00000023

1 Fault Found:
02234 - Right Headlight Power Output Stage (J668)
004 - No Signal/Communication - Intermittent
Freeze Frame:
Fault Status: 00100100
Fault Priority: 6
Fault Frequency: 14
Reset counter: 108
Mileage: 29858 km
Time Indication: 0
Date: 2021.14.14
Time: 14:20:05

Freeze Frame:
Voltage: 12.21 V
Speed: 0.0 km/h
ABS 1
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Last edited by nitinbose : 16th June 2014 at 08:56.
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Old 16th June 2014, 21:25   #68
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Default Re: Here comes my James Bond car - The Skoda Laura L&K

I did consult with a few known good friends who are into cars and they also confirm this can only be due to tampering from the dealer side. They also mention such dealers have improperly trained technicians who believe because they can repair a puncture, they've now become experts to repair an engine. Out of curiosity, they end up manipulating things here and there, causing hefty damages to the car owner.
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Old 16th June 2014, 21:44   #69
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Default Re: Here comes my James Bond car - The Skoda Laura L&K

It appears that Vinayak is slowly going (or has already gone) the Tafe way. Our car is with them for the last 1.5 months for body-shop repair which would have taken 2 weeks tops at any other non-skoda dealership,escalation to GM has yielded no results. However,the insurance company is also at fault here. Sheer negligence and 'I give a damn attitude' by SA,his higher-ups and to an extent insurance valuer means the hapless owner suffers.

After reading through your experience,I'm now worried for my car. If they can do this to a car which came in for service wonder what happens to cars which are 'rotting' in their yard for months together.

This leaves us,otherwise happy Skoda owners,feeling very let down and disappointed. This is how it was 7 years ago at Tafe and its more or less same at Vinayak today.If they cannot change in 7 years, I don't think they will in future and we may be forced to look elsewhere for 'peace of mind'.
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Old 16th June 2014, 22:48   #70
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Default Re: Here comes my James Bond car - The Skoda Laura L&K

Nitin! I empathize with you. I wish service centers, mechanics and service in-charges felt 10% of how much we feel for our rides. Many of them consider our vehicles as mere 'piece of metal' - that's exactly the story here. I am sure someone at Vinayak Skoda wanted to explore the headlamp unit and killed it in the process. Please do not hesitate from sending taking a legal step - they deserve it.

ps. This deserves an independent thread so that BHPians become aware and check their vehicles thoroughly before taking delivery after service.
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Old 17th June 2014, 12:53   #71
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Default Re: Here comes my James Bond car - The Skoda Laura L&K

I further checked the oil with a fellow bhp-ian and we convinced there was either no oil change or a mere top up. The oil level would just be near the 50% mark and very dark in color. I'd just driven the car for about 300Kms after the service - at maximum.

I am exploring methods to tackle this situation. Any suggestions are definitely welcome!

@ shashank.nk: I'd request you to check the vehicle constantly, especially for signs of screws fastened/unfastened, parts appearing clean, which normally is not so etc. I'm pretty sure they must have removed parts from your car to have it tested on other vehicles, and in the process of putting things back, end up damaging your vehicle.

Last edited by nitinbose : 17th June 2014 at 12:56.
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Old 17th June 2014, 17:53   #72
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Default Re: Here comes my James Bond car - The Skoda Laura L&K

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I further checked the oil with a fellow bhp-ian and we convinced there was either no oil change or a mere top up. The oil level would just be near the 50% mark and very dark in color. I'd just driven the car for about 300Kms after the service - at maximum.
Diesel engine oil turns black very quickly. While it is easy to make out for petrol engines wether oil was changed or not, it is not so straightforward for diesel engines as practically even 4-5 kms of driving results in the engine oil turning very dark in colour. So dont just bank on color of engine oil to conclude wether it was changed or not. That is not to say that A** doesnt indulge in these dirty tricks though.
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Old 17th June 2014, 20:06   #73
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Default Re: Here comes my James Bond car - The Skoda Laura L&K

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Diesel engine oil turns black very quickly. While it is easy to make out for petrol engines wether oil was changed or not, it is not so straightforward for diesel engines as practically even 4-5 kms of driving results in the engine oil turning very dark in colour. So dont just bank on color of engine oil to conclude wether it was changed or not. That is not to say that A** doesnt indulge in these dirty tricks though.
Its not just the color but also the level. I would expect the oil level indicator to show the top reading, however, here its always at 50%.

I am quite skeptical especially because they damaged my headlamp units, denying having done anything and asking me to replace it. They had no reason to touch those areas, yet now I'm incurring huge losses due to their known/unknown negligence.
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Old 19th June 2014, 09:06   #74
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Default Re: Here comes my James Bond car - The Skoda Laura L&K

A good Samaritan shared some Skoda contacts to which I'd mailed my concerns but most of the mails bounced back as the recipients 'no longer existed'.

Looks like Skoda is facing big time attrition as well!

I'd noticed this.

How can we expect them to serve us well when they're probably facing heavy internal issues?
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Old 20th June 2014, 12:51   #75
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Default Re: Here comes my James Bond car - The Skoda Laura L&K

Second day after sending mails to Skoda: I still have not got any response from anybody - even a basic courtesy response!

Have they shutdown the company and gone on vacation?
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