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Old 20th October 2009, 16:35   #1
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Default Alto Lx @ 1,00,000 kms

Here is my first review of my only and first car Alto LX. It has completed 1L kms on 11th Oct 2009. I hope it would be useful for those who want to buy this car, especially first time buyers, who have questions about the kind of maintenance it requires. I am including everything I remember that I have paid for this car (except parking, toll, punctures, air and fuel!).

Date of purchase Nov 2000
Price ~3.32 L on road.

Dealer experience: Very bad. It was Diwali then and while the loan processing was being done the dealer kept on saying that the car will be given on the day when loan processing is done. Once it was done, and cheque was handed over to dealer delayed the delivery by few days. He sold the car to some other customer via another dealer 9Alto was just launched then). Later the firm (Hem agencies Satara ) lost the dealership. Lately I heard Tatas' have appointed them as their dealers. Best of luck those who plan to buy through them!

Note: Prices are approximate and as I remember them. Most of them also include labor.

Accessories/Mods:
2001:
Pioneer Cassette player (KEH-6950) + Pio 6x9 speakers (rear mounted on custom boxes later replaced by wooden tray) + Pio round (front) (12-14K approx)
AutoCop XS security system.
2002:
Added Sony 444 (4ch)
Sony Xplod sub which xploded in no time and was replaced with blaupunkt.
Pio tweeters later (2005) replaced by another pair.
2003:
Added artificial leather seat covers (Rs 2000).
: Changed head lamp wiring (added local relay) for 90/100W halogens
2004:
Added CD-RB20 and got rid of all cassettes (not the player)!
2005:
Added fog lamps (Rs 2100 including lab our)
Changed to alloys (Rs 11500)
2009:
Changed seat covers as the earlier were showing age (Rs 3800).
Added mobile charger and holder for my phone cum GPS unit.

Service/Repair history (As I remember):
* Regular servicing in initial years (every 6 months). Lately it is 8 months to 12 months at times due to lack of time/ (no issues in the car ). Cost have been anywhere between Rs 400 to 1500 depending on whether engine oil was changed or not and some sundry issue fixes requiring labor.
* Regular wheel alignment / balancing (Rs 400 approx each)
* PUC costs Rs 100 per year.
* What I heard (very late after my warranty expired) from Maruti A.S.S. was that there was some issue in steering column of earlier batches of Alto resulting in a noisy steering. This had not been resolved even after column replacement at my own cost. I tried local mechanics as well who resolved the issue, but later when I serviced at the Maruti A.S.S. they managed to bring back the issue again.
* Had changed headlamp bulbs (each costing ~Rs200) umpteen number of times because the plastic holders used to fuse and damage the bulb as well. Later found a different type of holder (ceramic?)and since then no issues.
* Small accident in 2002 (cost ~Rs 15000) and another recently (yet to be repaired) leaving aside other small scratches.
2000:
Insurance premium (~Rs 6500 included in OTR price above).
2001:
Replaced steering gear (thought this was because of driving on rough roads and the A.S.S. had no idea of faulty column mention above. I feel they replaced this unnecessarily.).
Insurance premium (~Rs 6000) .
2002:
Insurance premium (~Rs 5500) .
2003:
Approx 35K kms. All 5 tyres replaced tubeless (I think BS) (~Rs 7000, net, after reducing buy back of old tyres).
Insurance premium (~Rs 5000) .
Battery replaced (~Rs 3700, net, after reducing buy back of original battery)
2004:
Car was not used for about 9 months.
Insurance premium (~Rs 4000) .
2005:
Replaced headlamp relay (Rs 530)
AC gas topup (although I felt it was not necessary!) (~Rs 200)
Front left bearing replaced - Now this was more due to my insistence as the mechanics kept on saying it was due to uneven tyre wear (as the car was not used for about 6 months), but I did not believe them. Realized this mistake of mine very late.
Steering column replaced. (~Rs 15000 front bearing + steering column + wiper blades + other sundry items)
Insurance premium (Rs 3605) .
2006:
Clutch replaced (~Rs 1200) (I feel this was unnecessary too).
Insurance premium (Rs 3306).
Autocop XS remote batteries changed.(Rs 80) - was not necessary as actually the car battery was fully discharged.
Battery replaced to Exide maintenance free(Rs 3700)
2007:
The car had gone through very rough roads including under-construction NH4 Pune-Kolhapur part with sudden unnoticeable breaks in the road. Replaced front shock absorbers as the highway was almost complete by then! (Rs 7000 including some other items)
Jerky engine attributed due to ECU wires cut by rats.
Replaced headlamp relay (~Rs 360)
Jerky engine again now attributed due to replay cover shorting the current intermittently.
Approx 75K kms. Front 2 tyres replaced (~Rs 3000)
Insurance premium (Rs 2771).
Battery discharged fully. Was recharged for free by the Exide dealer. No problems with it later.
2008:
All 5 tyres replaced to Michelin (Rs 8300 after reducing buy back of old tyres, 2 of which were in very good condition)
Insurance premium (Rs 2611) (IDV 95K).
Replaced headlamp bulbs and headlamp relay yet again (Rs530)
2009:
Tyre valve changed - (Rs 100)
Replaced front left axle (Rs 4000) as it was noisy . Again there is noise - I guess it should be the right one now.
Left door latch replaced as it broke up (Rs 330)
Autocop XS remote batteries changed.(Rs 80) - just as a precaution!

Service Station experience:
Overall I am not satisfied with Maruti A.S.S. They did not inform me about the steering column issue within warranty period even though the issue had surfaced. Many times they forget to complete all the work. At one time when the steering column was replaced they just disconnected my security system and had no idea how to fix it. At another instance they connected the fog lamp wires incorrectly causing the main fuse to blow which left me stranded.
I was however satisfied with a mechanic who worked on my car to my satisfaction and was reliable. The only issue is that he is far (another town) from where I stay now.


Current condition:
Engine: A bit noisy and rough than when it was new. But its the same since 4 years
Transmission/Gears: No issues. As good as it was when new.
Brakes: After 2005, while reversing, there is a noise from brakes (mostly front). Have got the brakes cleaned a couple of times. It disappears but it comes again so I am living with it now!
Interiors:
Overall I have no complaints with the plastics - nothing has fallen off or looks bad. One AC slider button came off few years before which I forget to report while I go for servicing!
Headlight stalk was damaged when the car was almost new (I attribute it to misuse but not by me). The usual feel it had for high/low beam position was lost. Replacement cost was about Rs.3000. Never bothered to replace as other-wise it is functioning perfectly.
Rattling: Some rattling was developed over years but most of it was fixed almost permanently 2 years before. It has re-developed at some other places but is minor
Exteriors: Rear left door yet to be repaired, some scratches on bumpers.
AC: As chilling as it was..


Fuel: Throughout I have used normal petrol. Except when it was not available used the premium one.

Overall I am happy with my car. It has been driven through very rough roads without much care but it has never let me down. So even though I have been thinking of replacing this car since long I come back to reality that this is still working without any issues and has lot of juice left in it and I wont replace it until it starts showing its age.

Thanks for reading along this entire post!
Attached Thumbnails
Alto Lx @ 1,00,000 kms-img_2150.jpg  


Last edited by alto99 : 20th October 2009 at 16:38. Reason: formatted
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Old 20th October 2009, 16:45   #2
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Sigh...

If only I still had my 2003 alto, it may have completed ~1L.

Great to hear 1L being completed in the 'Lets Go' Car. Kudos to you...

PS - Whats the FE you are getting after 9years and 1L Kms?
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Old 20th October 2009, 16:48   #3
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Nice review Alto99, welcome to the 1L club ! All my vehicles except the Omni have gotten there already !

Last edited by kannan666 : 20th October 2009 at 16:58.
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Old 20th October 2009, 16:57   #4
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Very detailed review alto99. You have put down every record from your purchase year till date. I'm surprised at the Maruti A.S.S service experience considering they are to be the best in the country. The AC is a chiller on the Alto and I have experienced this a number of times. What tyres are you running? Have you upsized?

Keep the updates coming in. Drive safe.
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Old 20th October 2009, 17:00   #5
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Nice review of the little one! The photos does not show the car's age; well maintained!

Is this sporting the 1.1L engine?
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Old 20th October 2009, 17:14   #6
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Good condition after 1 Lac kms. I can understand why you dont feel like letting it 'Go'.
Get some nice 'detailing' work done (interior + exterior) to make it look fresh again. Also add synthetic oil in the next service if not already done.

Net net - you have spent about 65-70 k on the car (almost 25% of car value) so far (excluding Insurance & also excluding? regular oil/servicing).

Not bad at all, but not too cheap either.
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Old 20th October 2009, 17:46   #7
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That's a very good detailed review. Congrats on reaching the 1L mark!
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Old 20th October 2009, 17:47   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by svsantosh View Post
Sigh...

If only I still had my 2003 alto, it may have completed ~1L.

Great to hear 1L being completed in the 'Lets Go' Car. Kudos to you...

PS - Whats the FE you are getting after 9years and 1L Kms?
Oh I missed this one. Thanks for reminding.

2000 - 2003 : It was mainly driven on higways and the FE ranged between 15-20 kmpl

2004 the car was resting for about 9 months

After 2005 - its mainly driven in Pune city. I started tracking the mileage since March 2008 in a spreadsheet (I wanted a excuse to buy a new car!). The spreadsheet is attached.
Summary -
In city drives are spirited and very much stop and go type.
with (50% - only in the mornings!) AC : 12-15
without AC : 14-19

Highways
with AC : 12- 18
without AC : 13-19


Overall : 15.1 kmpl (70 % city with AC on 20% of time and 30% highway with AC on 50% of time)



Quote:
Originally Posted by kannan666 View Post
Nice review Alto99, welcome to the 1L club ! All my vehicles except the Omni have gotten there already !
Thanks.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dippy View Post
Very detailed review alto99. You have put down every record from your purchase year till date. I'm surprised at the Maruti A.S.S service experience considering they are to be the best in the country. The AC is a chiller on the Alto and I have experienced this a number of times. What tyres are you running? Have you upsized?

Keep the updates coming in. Drive safe.
Michelin - I think I have upsized
EDIT: No I checked now and I havent I am usign R12 ones and michelin has 145/80R12 listed on its website which is same as Alto specs.
Quote:
Originally Posted by HappyWheels View Post
Nice review of the little one! The photos does not show the car's age; well maintained!

Is this sporting the 1.1L engine?
The photo was taken 2 yrs back. I dont have a recent one but it still looks the same except for rear left door which was banged by a motorcyclist.
Its 800 cc. 1.1 was in Alto VXi which was stopped later.
Attached Files
File Type: xls Car-Maintenance.xls (57.0 KB, 331 views)

Last edited by alto99 : 20th October 2009 at 17:51.
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Old 20th October 2009, 18:33   #9
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Great review. How is the suspension fairing?
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Old 20th October 2009, 22:20   #10
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A very nippy car which I love driving. Would suggest you add FFE and better 155's if you dnt intend to sell it.
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Old 21st October 2009, 19:51   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkdas View Post
A very nippy car which I love driving. Would suggest you add FFE and better 155's if you dnt intend to sell it.
Yes most of my driving is in the city and this small car is good for drive in the city. I am still confused on whether to sell this one even if I buy a new car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by beejay View Post
Great review. How is the suspension fairing?
Front suspension was changed in 2007. No issues till now.
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Old 21st October 2009, 20:08   #12
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Wow thats one nice Long Term Report of the Alto.

How long do you plan to keep her
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Old 21st October 2009, 20:12   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alto99 View Post
Date of purchase Nov 2000
Price ~3.32 L on road.

This is amazing. Price of this car is almost the same in Oct 09.

NO inflation in almost a decade
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Old 21st October 2009, 20:16   #14
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Yes but the build quality is noticeably different than the current gen ones. The older ones were more strong, had better sound deadening & more fiber panels(against the carpets that one gets these days)
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Old 21st October 2009, 22:28   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Technocrat View Post
Yes but the build quality is noticeably different than the current gen ones. The older ones were more strong, had better sound deadening & more fiber panels(against the carpets that one gets these days)
I have not seen the latest one but it seems that is the case. Price was reduced just 2 months after I had purchased by ~10K and later I lost track. May be its an effect of localization.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NetfreakBombay View Post
This is amazing. Price of this car is almost the same in Oct 09.

NO inflation in almost a decade
You would be surprised that in the same city on road price for the current Alto LX is ~2.8 L excluding discounts if any. It has more features than the one I have,
  • IMMOBILISER
  • Floor Front Console with Cub Holders
  • Tinted Glasses(not sure if mine had tinted ones)
  • Head Lamp Leveling Device - 4 Steps
  • Rear Seat Belts
  • High Mount Stop Lamp
  • Rear Seat Head Restraints
Quote:
Originally Posted by Technocrat View Post
Wow thats one nice Long Term Report of the Alto.

How long do you plan to keep her
As long as there are no issues in engine and transmission. One fine day if it refuses to start I will seriously start looking at a new one. Right now I am not in a hurry.
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