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Old 10th February 2005, 12:38   #1
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Default Indica V2 DLS 37000Kms report(109000kms update)

It was in April 2002 that i suffered a minor disc problem, and the doctor told me no two wheelers for 6 months. Thats when i started looking for a car. And being just a year into the job, i was on a real low budget. I was looking for a car that would not dent my pocket more than 7K month on the lease route, and that capped my budget at around 3.5. Moreover it had to be a diesel, considering the rocketing fuel prices. I did not have much choice, except for the indica. But having driven the car extensively back home, i was wondering wether i should go for the Alto/800, petrol notwithstanding.

It was the Autocar India May 2002 edition which swayed me. It was all praises for the Petrol version, and gave it a higher rating in Drivability, handling, power, comfort than the Palio 1.2! In diesel i could have everything except the power part, so i made my choice. There are times when i regret it, and wish i had bought a santro instead. But every time i go the fuel pump i smile, and as i glance at the service log and the costs involve, and then compare them to the fuel costs, i am actually saving quite a lot.

Coming back to the subject in question, she has done about 37000kms since June 2002. Like every car there are good things and there are bad things. Lets start with the good part.

The car is good. It may be noisy shaky underpowered, but it delivers what it promises. It delivers it much better than many midsizers and other expensive cars. Bigger cars, expensive machines may be better in absolute terms, but if you compare what is promised and what is given, Indica is way above the industry standard. It is fuel efficient. I get 14+/litre in bumper to bumper bangalore traffic with the AC on most of the time, 17-18 on the highway when i am in maniacal "floor it" mode and 19-20 in relaxed 80-90kmph cruising mode. Fuel efficieny is the best part about this baby, and all of you guys having oil burners, the SystemD from BP does wonders. I havent noticed much difference with the turbojet thing. Maybe because most pumps give you ordinary diesel and charge for turbojet?

Next on the list comes the drivablity and the comfort of driving. If you want to take off at the light, burn some rubber and show them at the drag, this is not the car for you. It is torquey but its no scorcher. It can barely beat an Omni, and that too you have to keep the engine in midrange. From a standstill all petrol cars will run away from the indica, but in curves its entirely different. ACI guys were not wrong when they said that the tata guys have sacrificed rear ride quality in favour of handling. It is actually true. According to their road test indica beats Palio/Santro/Zen and most midsizers in the handling department. Mind you, we are talking about the June 2002 - Dec 2004 models. The new indica is believed to have a softer ride. The other advantage i find is the shape. Its very very aerodynamic, and that is what ensures a better than expected top speed. The engine really opened up after the 15000 Service and i could see speedo reading 142-143 on straights, which with the error makes it around 130-135.

But pure speed is dangerous. The car should actually be able to handle it too. This does it. I have never felt more safetly planted to the road in another car. In the Handling part its better than Santro, Gypsy, Esteem, 800, WagonR(Those being the cars i have driven). Even when i took the speedo needle beyond the 160 mark and close to the 0 on a downhill after hosur, she was planted firmly on the tarmac.

The other good part is the build quality of the mechanicals. I have driven on very bad roads, driven 800 kms from morning to evening, but nothing has given up. the shocks are in top notch condition, the struts are good inspite of the torture. Infact around the 10000 kms mark the front right rim went over a huge concrete block lying in the middle of the road. The rim was ruined completely and bent out of shape, but the shocker/strut is perfectly fine. The number of rattles and sqeeks are exactly the same as in the new car. Yes friends the new car also made funny noises and now also it makes the exact same funny noises.

What else do i like.. The AC, its really super cool. Cools evenly, the blower is powerful.

But then owning the indica has been a mixed bag, and surprisingly the problems i have faced have been faced by many other indica users also. The biggest problem is not the car itself. Its the service guys. No they are not rude, and its not that they try to con you or something, its just that they are "dumb". If you dont tell them whats the problem they cant tell many times that what is the problem. The second bad part about them is that the only good workshop in bangalore(Concorde) takes about 2-3 days to service your car. And since they are so overworked, minor things get overlooked. For example your brake oil may beed topping but they forget since you didnt mention it in the job card.

Coming to the car, the biggest problem is the electricals and electronics. They suck big big time. For example on 2 consecutive servies the alternater had to be sent for service because it was overcharging. The problem, a small chip which controls the current amount was faulty. It was replaced by i got charged 400Rs. The next time also they wanted to charge me and i told them to shove it which they politely did.

The next faliure was the thermostat. The AC would cut off when it was really hot. Went to Concorde 10 times and they would service the AC and say saar we fixed it. They could not find out the problem until i mentioned that the Temparature needle stays above the half mark. Then the mechanic figured it out that the thermostat gives the wrong reading, and due to this the automatic cutoff happens.

And this does not end with that. The AC blower resisitor developed a fault wherein speed one would not work. They replaced it under warranty. As the warranty got over it again went faulty with the same fault. This time they did not shove it and i had to cough up 400Rs because it was six months since they replaced the older resistor. And surprise surprise, a day later i discovered that the new resistor also had a fault. I went to the workshop. Voila, product not in stock. This was in August, and that item is still not in stock.

The other electrical problem which came was the glow plugs. They failed together. All 4 of them. So you cant start when the car is cold. They cost around 1500Rs for the set.

The only mechanical problems i have faced are the wheel bearings which started humming after 15000kms, and the engine mounts getting screwed up due to the vibrations. The former got replaced under warranty. But the latter cost 500Rs, and not only that the vibrations also damaged the clamp which holds the silencer. 500Rs for that.

On a sidenote, one problem with this car is the weight. The 13inch rims are too delicate, esp with stock 165/65. I have replaced 3 Rmis which cost me 2100Rs total. Bangalore roads are very unforgiving. Tata needs to use thicker steel or fatter tyres.

So this about somes it all. The Indica has been a really mixed bag. If you ask me wether i would buy the indica again? Well I would not buy a tata again unless i cant afford anything else. Infact thats the reason most people buy tata, there is not competetion. Even with indica's monoply, Santro is the largest selling car, that says a lot about the quality of Tata vehicles. I bought the indica coz it fitted my budget. If i had 4lacs and wanted a diesel i would buy the indica. If i had 5 lakhs and wanted something with a boot, i would buy an indigo, but if i had more i would buy the Crdi.

When people ask me for advice on what to buy. I tell them dont buy a tata unless you cant afford anything else. If you want an oil burner i guess you have to buy tata, but if you are looking for petrol, look elsewhere, unless you want a 3.5lac car that performs.

But if we look at the car, the car is not bad. Its the quality of serice. Tata suffers from the Fiat disease, but to a lesser extent. The cars are good, but could have been better. How much effort does to take to hold the wires etc with a good clamp rather than tying a thread. Ever seen an indigo jacked up on the ram. Underneath you will see a bunch of cables which have been tied up with a simple nylon thread. How much cost is it to provide a decent clamp on the underbody.

Coming to the indica, the sump guard is a piece of flimsy plastic which is fixed only on one end. so it hangs and as car gets older it hangs some more. One screw is all it takes to fix that thing on the other side too. But Tata does not care.

There are people who will disagree with my judgement, but availability of spares is a problem. For a company that is always in improvement mode, if your car component got replaced by a better designed one, best of luck finding it. This is what happened with the blower resistor, this is what happened witht he indigo owners whose fuel pipe is leaking since months.

Well thats about it folks. You can curse the indica, you can abuse it, you can get irritated by the niggly things, but you cant ignore it. Its trustworthy, dependable and "CHEAP" to run. Real cheap. If you aint got no money for fuel and love to drive, this is what you should get. It is the true indian car, the height of cheapness and economy!

Log book :
Spares :
Blower resistor = 400
Glow plugs = 1500
Thermostat = 400
Engine mounts/Silencer mounts etc = 1000
Avg service cost(Without oil) = 2000Rs.

Mods :
130/100W lamps, 185/60R13 tyres replaced at 36500kms
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Old 10th February 2005, 15:26   #2
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Awesome review tsk . This has to be the best Indica review. Everything you said bout it is true and theres no denying that it is indeed awesome value for money.

And they keep improving car by car

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Old 10th February 2005, 15:47   #3
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Umm.. that was an amazing write up on ur car ..U shud have renamed ur title as " My indica's horoscope!"

The electricals seem to be a nagging pblm the Tata vehicles have been having since day one.

Atleast they can pull up their socks in the service levels..

Am wondering what the 1 lakh car would luk like
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Old 10th February 2005, 16:08   #4
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thats a nice review.u can name it as "autobiography of an indica".
but i am really curious about your top speeds.becaus ethe max that i have done in my pre-v2 office indica is 130 kph and that too it takes an entire runway to reach that.


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Old 10th February 2005, 16:42   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speedsatya
thats a nice review.u can name it as "autobiography of an indica".
but i am really curious about your top speeds.becaus ethe max that i have done in my pre-v2 office indica is 130 kph and that too it takes an entire runway to reach that.
Well the indica top speed is about 134Kmph. With the speedo error it will show 140-145. Also i inflate tyres at 32 on highways which is 4psi above recommended. This gives some edge. The 160 was downhill. A real long downhill 6 lane . But yes, taking the speedo above 125 is a real real effort. The April Turbo indica should solve that.
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Old 10th February 2005, 16:45   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979
Well the indica top speed is about 134Kmph. With the speedo error it will show 140-145. Also i inflate tyres at 32 on highways which is 4psi above recommended. This gives some edge. The 160 was downhill. A real long downhill 6 lane . But yes, taking the speedo above 125 is a real real effort. The April Turbo indica should solve that.

ok ,but now with your 185 tires,your top speed could get reduced,but u can enjoy on those ghats.
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Old 10th February 2005, 17:04   #7
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Awesome review of the Indica tsk! Yup, that covered almost everything.... and can't argue with anything written also... good job!

P.S: How about some pics??
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Old 10th February 2005, 17:19   #8
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Nice review there dude!! Proper facts put in nicely
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Old 10th February 2005, 19:50   #9
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Hey tsk,

Very apt review. I used to own a Aug '02 DLS & I suffered most of the problems that you have...especially the silencer clamp thing. That drove me to my wits end! I'd changed it three times & before the 4th time I sold it off. The A/C would just keep on cutting but then my condenser fan wasn't working. If GTO remembers the ride in my car with the A/c on..he'd asked me..'dude this is your A/C !' Hahaha...thats when I told me that the condenser fan had conked off. You're wheel bearings went off pretty quickly though..mine I had to change when the car had logged in around 40k kms which is fair & understandable. And about the glow plugs I don't think they cost that much since I'd to replace one at around 50k kms. Was about 300bucks I think..do check with the local market although mine was replaced at a TATA service center. There are some parts in TATA that are over inflated & its better that you buy it from outside. Now I know most of you'd hate me for saying this but my advise would be not to give Indica in a TATA center. Find a good mechanic & he can do the same job for less money & time. I never went to service station for oil changes after my free services had expired. Indica is no complex machinery & dead cheap to maintain. That, the mileage & huge space in the car is the USP of the car. Hopelessly underpowered is not the word to describe it. I never crossed 100kmph in my car simply because it required too much effort ! & I agree with you when you say that if you have less money only then this is the car to buy although my reason for buying it was the mileage. Surprisingly I never got more than 12-13kmpl with A/C in bombay city conditions. Used it for 2yrs & in Sept '04 chucked it for the CRDi.
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Old 10th February 2005, 20:47   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rjkulkarni
Hey tsk,

Very apt review. I used to own a Aug '02 DLS & I suffered most of the problems that you have...especially the silencer clamp thing. That drove me to my wits end! I'd changed it three times & before the 4th time I sold it off. The A/C would just keep on cutting but then my condenser fan wasn't working. If GTO remembers the ride in my car with the A/c on..he'd asked me..'dude this is your A/C !' Hahaha...thats when I told me that the condenser fan had conked off. You're wheel bearings went off pretty quickly though..mine I had to change when the car had logged in around 40k kms which is fair & understandable. And about the glow plugs I don't think they cost that much since I'd to replace one at around 50k kms. Was about 300bucks I think..do check with the local market although mine was replaced at a TATA service center. There are some parts in TATA that are over inflated & its better that you buy it from outside. Now I know most of you'd hate me for saying this but my advise would be not to give Indica in a TATA center. Find a good mechanic & he can do the same job for less money & time. I never went to service station for oil changes after my free services had expired. Indica is no complex machinery & dead cheap to maintain. That, the mileage & huge space in the car is the USP of the car. Hopelessly underpowered is not the word to describe it. I never crossed 100kmph in my car simply because it required too much effort ! & I agree with you when you say that if you have less money only then this is the car to buy although my reason for buying it was the mileage. Surprisingly I never got more than 12-13kmpl with A/C in bombay city conditions. Used it for 2yrs & in Sept '04 chucked it for the CRDi.
heh, about the glow plugs i had to replace all four! thats why 1500 which included labour charges. About the service, I dont really know about any good workshop here. Most people give it to concorde only because the other two workshops play havoc with your car. They clean the dashboard with diesel!!.
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Old 10th February 2005, 22:39   #11
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Nice review there,

That problem with the silencer clamps was not just limited to the diesel indica, my petrol v2 had to have the clamps changed twice as well.

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Old 13th September 2005, 15:07   #12
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Default Tata indica V2 DLS 51000kms report

This review continues from where http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3896 (Indica V2 DLS 37000Kms report(109000kms update)) left off. From 37000 to 50000 kms the car has seen a lot of action of the unwanted type. Things got replaced, damaged, failed and the end result was a Rs 1/km maintainance bill

The short story

1. alternator + battery - 4 visits 6000rs apprx
2. AC comressor - 1 visit 8000rs
3. Power steering - 1 visit 1500rs
4. Brake pads, rear bearings - 1500rs
5. Servicing costs - 4000rs(Including engine decarbonizing, engine oil treatment etc.,)
6. Automobile sterling noida has an equal number of totally incompetent mechanics and good ones, but good ones vanish if the car has a hard to detect problem. However Prerna motors bangalore has mechanics who do not want your car to have a problem, and in case it has a problem they will try to deny it, in case denial does not work they will repair your car in a way which causes then least distress, even if it means repairing some other part.
7. Tata dealers are really scared of the regional customer care offices. One small mention about going there and they will be at your feet.

The long one
The workshop capers
When i moved to Noida from bangalore i could not get the car there immediately because of the lousy orix finance company which did not give me the required paperwork till one month after full payment of the pending amount.
The indica had done close to 39000kms then. In my absence a friend of mine had the car with him, and he saw some starting problems cropping up. Extensive checkup by prerna(Or did they just do an eyewash) led them to declare, change the battery. He wisely decided to get the new panasonic one which has a three year warranty instead of the 1 year sorry excuse for a warranty which Exide gives.

New battery and new paperwork, and the car was in my name. It landed with
me in the first week of june. Took her for the service at around 43000kms where the Sterling dealers suggested that i should go for engine decarb and engine oil treatment. The service was good and the staff was smiling and the car was behaving great. Better pickup and amazing mileage. 15kmpl in delhi/noida city traffic. Only one thing remained to be done. The AC compressor which i have been putting off from lot of time. It was cooling fine, but there was a whining sound which was a bearing problem. The main reason for put of was that it would take 3-4 days. the compressor will have to be sent to Subros, and they would repair it and send it back. Will get it done next month when i have the backup car from family for some tine, i thought.

But the troubles did not stop. I expirienced starting problem once.
The battery indicator showed white, which means battery is not charged. The workshop fellas said it has to be a battery problem without even checking things. For them if starting problem is there, it means battery has gone bad. Anyways i went to panasonic service station in a dingy locality(Anyone know of one located in a relatively okay area of noida?). The guy started the car(This starting problem was intermittant), and then attached the multimeter. 12.5 volts at idle, climbing to 12.7 etc., he switched on the AC and switched it off, the voltage dropped to 9 volts and then again went to 12 and 11 etc.,

Armed with the knowledge and proof(I took a camera phone pic) i went to the workshop. Sheepishly they got their multimeter and the voltage was normal. But thankfully it dropped to 11.5 once and they took in the car for repair.

The alternator bushes, cut-out was supposedly damaged and they replaced it for around 1500rs total cost. The battery charging was free of cost(They dont charge customers for battery charging). the starting problem went away and now during cranking even the stereo would not go of because battery was always fully charged.

After some time i thought i will get the AC compressor repaired. This was the most expensive repair ever on the car, with the total cost coming to 8000rs. Subros compressor repair is expensive!

Near the end of august the 50000kms service came up. I was in ludhiana at that time and got it done. The total cost was 3000rs which included oil change and brake pad change along with hub greasing and rear right bearing change. This service saw the top speed rising back to 125-130 range(speedo). The rear right wheel was almost jammed due to bearing not being in good condition. I was not too happy about the brake pad change. They seemed to last only about 20000kms, but i guess my trip to the hills may have been the culprit where along with engine breaking the narrow roads and manic bus drivers forced me to do lot of disc burning.

Freshly back from the service the car again saw starting problem. Went to sterling and did lots of shouting. They again discovered that alternator was giving only 9 volts. The problem turned out to be simple. Some "Tanka" break. Some solder joint break i guess. They did the job for free and even washed the car for free for wasting my time.

Two days later the power steering started making weird noises. Took it to the workshop, there was no noise, and then right in front of the mechanic there were really loud weird noises and the power steering pump seal blew open gushing out oil. The reason, bearing faliure which lead to seal faliure. Dont worry, told the tata mechanic, they replace Power steering beering at 60000 anyways, but due to the extremely wrong positioning of the power steering belt and pump, it is very very prone to stone hits and water impact in case of high speed hit to deep water. This problem is there in indigo too. The Power steering system is about 5mm higher than the GC!, and the real flimsy plastic guard provied it partial protection, but a stone flying from the front wheels will always hit there. Anyways 1500rs later the power steering oil is changed and the pump has new bearings.

Two days later while parking at night i see that the battery light is slightly lighting up at idle and dissapears at revving. I go to the workshop the next day(Sunday) and tell them i am really really dissatisfied with them. They put a mechanic to the job and after strugging for 4 hours with the alternator he discovers that the rectifier plate is also gone. Unwittingly he declares to me that whoever replaced the cutoff and bushkit should also have replaced the rectifier plate, and if so many faliures are there then its better to buy a new alternator which costs 3500rs. On monday evening i went to take delivery and i told them i am not paying a dime for labour charges. This is the third time the alternator was opening. They again wash the car for free and then call all the mechanics who had worked on the car. Those guys got abused for 30 minutes inside the cabin by the workshop manager. Infact the service advisors were also apologising profously and literally swearing that since now all parts inside the alternator have been replaced, there will not be any problem.

Living and driving her
Problems nevertheless, i still smile every time i tank up at the fuel tank and calculate the economy. I have become used to the underpowered engine, and the space and comfort have been quite addictive.

But indica suffers from an inherent problem. No ECU in pre Euro III indicas. which means that you take the same air fuel mixture settings to the hills. Which means missing and black smoke due to thin air. With no turbo to force in air the engine gets breathless. And with no ECU to monitor oxygen supply and change the settings, it means an uncomfortable drive, esp uphill.

On the maintaince front, apart from regular changes of bearings and pads, there have been three sore points, which translated to 3 workshop visits to for one of them and replacement of a perfectly working battery due to incompetence of Prerna motors bangalore. The biggest irony is that apart from the power steering, the other components are not manufactured by Tata, The Alternator is Lucas-TVS(Or somebody else?) and the the AC compressor is by subros. These parts fit many other indian cars as well. The worst thing is the incompetence of the workshop mechanics in bangalore and attitude of running away from work. I am marginally happy with the automobile sterling as they admitted their mistake and tried to make good for it instead of making excuses.

About the power steering i think the bearings should last atleast 1lac km and the 50000km faliure is a sign of poor quality.

But then mine is a June 2002 indica, and there have been a lot of improvements lately. But i doubt i will buy the indica again. The main reason is lack of power. In city i have adjusted, but highways are a problem. Overtaking is a project and practical usable top speed is 100. Above that you need a lifetime. If only there was a turbo!

Faliures apart, the mileage has been consitantly good in city, with highway being an okay 17-18kmpl due to me trying to push it constantly. At 70-80 driving speed she gives 20. Also the engine has not started developing noises and is sounds the same as it did when the car was new. the suspension and shock absorbers are still in good condition inspite of spending 39000kms on the moon.

The AC is terrific. Much better than the Getz and Santro. But quality of subros is suspect. Maybe i had a bad piece. Anyone else having cars with subros ACs(Or are they the only major AC manufacturer around?) please post your expirience.

Overall if i look at the extra maintance costs, it still is a lot cheaper to run than the petrol competion(Getz Santro Swift). But visits to the workshop shake your confidence. Infact i was sure that i will buy an indigo next year march timeframe, but now i am thinking that if the Accent Crdi comes down by 50K somehow it will be a worthy competitor. But my 6'2 frame means i may again get swayed by the space. I know there's at Petra 1.9D, but at 62BHP its very very underpowered with a power to weight ratio of just 55BHP/Ton. Also the reputation of Fiat Noida does not inspire confidence.

So if anyone asks me about Buying the Tata indica and cost of ownership the short answer is this. Even after the AC compressor, steering and alternator repair, the cost of ownership is lower than santro/swift/getz etc., primarty due to diesel costs. And since these cars also have sheduled overhaul of Alternator/Powersteering etc., etc., at 60K kms, the maintainace costs are not too high. New owners tell me that niggling problems have been sorted out and if you drive 30000kms/year most of such problems will be rectified within warranty, and if you have an extended warranty your journey will be maintainace free till 90k kms.

The strong points in this vehicle are good engine quality, reliable transmission(50K kms and clutch plates are in perfect shape!) and sturdy suspension. For rough and cheap use its Tata but if you want refinement and power go for the competitors.

And yes just a mention of regional customer care centers makes them shiver!
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Old 13th September 2005, 15:52   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tsk1979
The AC is terrific. Much better than the Getz and Santro. But quality of subros is suspect. Maybe i had a bad piece. Anyone else having cars with subros ACs(Or are they the only major AC manufacturer around?) please post your expirience.
Subros a/c sux big time. I had a problem on the Dicor (documented elsewhere) after a round of mud-plugging and I had the entire a/c assembly replaced, compressor, pipes, switch and all. How? I called up the Tata Motors Regional Customer Care and yeah everyone's **** scared of them. The Subros engineer came down personally, and the dealer made him inspect the replacement and sign on some kind of paper there. Got him to test drive in the blistering heat as well - I wish the a/c had conked off then so that he would have had to sweat it out...
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Old 13th September 2005, 17:21   #14
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A nice review giving the actual scenario... Well, this review is having me half smiling and half worried... I only bought the diesel over the petrol considering the rising fuel costs and also that this generation Indicas don't have much problem creating components... Shud I worry???

Yes, its true that the Indica's ac is brilliant... It chills the cabin in 2-3 mins, even while on the lowest blower option... I haven't driven many cars to compare or benchmark it with any other, but it does chill... really well.

I was under the opinion that sticking to the company specified service schedule should keep my car in good condition, if not excellent.... What in your experience, Tsk, do you recommend I do?



your student,

AK

Last edited by k_ajay : 13th September 2005 at 17:26.
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Old 13th September 2005, 17:25   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steeroid
Subros a/c sux big time. I had a problem on the Dicor (documented elsewhere) after a round of mud-pluggin
Is that on your new Dicor? Ouch! It must have hurt real bad.
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