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Old 20th December 2010, 18:14   #1
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Default 300,000 kms in 7.5 years on my Esteem Diesel. EDIT: Sold @ 3.4 Lakh kms

300,000 kms in 7.5 years on my Esteem Diesel. EDIT: Sold @ 3.4 Lakh kms-first.jpg


This is probably the longest ownership thread, in terms of miles logged, on this forum and the first for an Esteem Diesel.

I would be sharing the ownership experience of our extremely trustworthy workhorse: Esteem Diesel. Yes you heard it right, an Esteem Diesel. No itís not a retro fitted diesel engine on an Esteem. Itís one of the few Esteems that Maruti sold with the 1.5 TUD5 Peugeot Engine.

Purchased in Mayí03 and almost 80% driven by my father, itís odometer stands on this day at 2,99,880. Just 120 km short of 300,000 km. FYI, Esteem came with a 5 digit odometer, so it will roll over for the third time now.


What I like
  • Extremely reliable vehicle and a robust engine. Zero breakdowns all through. Still on original engine and suspensions
  • Very fuel efficient Öconsistently
  • Low running and maintenance costs
  • Basically a high quality product, I would say. Even the paint is original
  • Availability of parts (except engine parts) and ease of maintenance
Weaknesses
  • Underpowered engine. Especially in comparison to todayís diesel engines
  • Engine noise is noticeable even after warm up
  • Maruti A.S.S. technical knowhow for the 1.5 TUD5 Engine
  • AC is not very effective. couldíve been better
  • Cabin noises associated with Maruti
About Esteem Diesel

This was the period when the C/lower C segment was dominated by Maruti. Due to lack of competition their recycled aged models were still successful. That was the era of rising dominance of diesels in this segment. The main diesels in this segments were Ford Ikon, Fiat Siena, Tata Indigo and Hyundai Accent (initially came with the same engine as on the Esteem Di). Maruti mustíve thought that the most convenient way of increasing market share without much effort was to put in the motor used on the Zens in 1998 onto the Esteem. High powered diesels were not a feature for this segment until Hyundai broke the code with its Accent Crdi.

It is the same Esteem fitted with a Peugeot diesel engine by Maruti. Esteem was towards the end of its life and maruti was trying to extract maximum out of it and, as always, wasnít willing to phase it out.

Diesel Esteems were rare. The attendant at the fuel station is always reluctant to put in diesel even after you shout at him, haan haan D-I-E-S-E-L !!!


Why an Esteem diesel?

In 2003, already having two M800s, we were looking for a sedan to replace one of those. The intention was to keep it for a longer duration and preferably it had to be a diesel. Esteem was chosen over Ikon, Siena, Indigo and even over Accent Crdi because of the Maruti badge (I would have definitely gone for Accent Crdi instead). There was also no test drive.


How can a car last 3 Lakh km on Indian roads and still go strong?

There are three main reasons to this:
  • The car has run 70% of its life on NH8: We have our factory at Umbergaon in Gujarat (160km from Bombay). Dad does singe day return trips 2-3 times a week on NH-8. The roads are generally good unless during 4 months of monsoon.
  • The car was mostly driven by my father: He is a very well experienced mechanical engineer and understands the machine extremely well. He, like me, loves to drive. He drives with a light foot and is a very patient driver. Never have I seen him strain the engine and thatís how he enjoys it. He knows his NH-8 route in and out and maintains a constant 85km/h in 5th which, according to him, requires minimum braking and lesser gear changes.
  • Scheduled servicing: The car was always serviced on time. Sometimes availability of even standard parts like fuel filter can be a problem for the diesel engine and so he planned his services well. Parts were always changed in time and never was an oil service interval exceeded.
Odometer standing at 299880 km
300,000 kms in 7.5 years on my Esteem Diesel. EDIT: Sold @ 3.4 Lakh kms-odometer-reading-299880.jpg


Exteriors and Interiors:

Even in 2003, Maruti was selling esteems last face lifted in 1998. There was just one facelift that followed, after which the Esteem was phased out. From the outside, it looks exactly like the regular petrol Esteem except for the Di and 1.5D badges at the rear and on the sides respectively. The ĎDií trim was the highest trim offered on diesel powered Esteems (D being the other option). It was equivalent of the ĎLxií trim which were offered on petrol Esteems then (different to the current trim levels of maruti). Body colored bumpers were standard. But door handles and ORVM were black.

From the inside, once again itís exactly similar to its petrol sibling, the only difference being the glow plug indicator light on the instrument cluster. Power Windows were available on the front and rear had wind down function. The seating is overall low; legroom at the front is good but the a bit cramped at the rear.


Exterior pics. Looks exactly like any other Esteem. The difference: 1.5D badge on the side.
300,000 kms in 7.5 years on my Esteem Diesel. EDIT: Sold @ 3.4 Lakh kms-exterior-1.jpg

300,000 kms in 7.5 years on my Esteem Diesel. EDIT: Sold @ 3.4 Lakh kms-nh8-front.jpg

300,000 kms in 7.5 years on my Esteem Diesel. EDIT: Sold @ 3.4 Lakh kms-aaram-side.jpg

300,000 kms in 7.5 years on my Esteem Diesel. EDIT: Sold @ 3.4 Lakh kms-nh8-side.jpg

300,000 kms in 7.5 years on my Esteem Diesel. EDIT: Sold @ 3.4 Lakh kms-palm-beach-side.jpg

Notice the Di badge at the rear
300,000 kms in 7.5 years on my Esteem Diesel. EDIT: Sold @ 3.4 Lakh kms-dsc01619.jpg

300,000 kms in 7.5 years on my Esteem Diesel. EDIT: Sold @ 3.4 Lakh kms-dsc01626.jpg

Glowplug sign. The only indication inside of a diesel engine.
300,000 kms in 7.5 years on my Esteem Diesel. EDIT: Sold @ 3.4 Lakh kms-glow-plug.jpg


Engine and Transmission:

Under the hood is a Peugeot TUD5 Engine. The specifications are: 1527cc; 57PS@5000rpm; 96Nm@2500rpm. Itís a normally aspirated IDI engine mated to a 5 speed gear box (probably the same one as on the petrol Esteem). Doesnít sound very interesting? Well as an enthusiast (which you would be if you are a bhpian), you might not find it exciting. But, the engine has not been designed for outright performance; rather itís an engine for cruising and would be the choice of Mr. Practical (and also Mr. Patient). Itís a pure mile muncher. On a highway stretch it can easily do more than 700km with AC on its 35 liter tank. Itís good to do long distances on the highway rather than some spirited driving

The engine bay is cramped, making working on the engine quite a task. The Front suspension has been modified to take the higher weight and vibrations. To control the noise and vibration, generous amounts of sound deadening material has been used in the engine bay and rubber mounts are used for the engine. Despite this, the engine is noisy at start up and even after warmup the clatter is quite noticeable.

Even though itís loud, the engine is refined. It behaves more like a petrol motor and feels quite comfortable when being revved. Useful power and torque comes after 2000 rpm. Strong acceleration comes above 3000 rpm and the thrust continues all the way upto 5000 rpm. The engine feels refined almost all though the operation range. Once you know the engine behavior you can extract more from it than you would have initially expected to.

The build quality and robustness of the engine is evident. Itís done almost 300,000km without being worked upon once. The engine has been well taken care of and always serviced before time. Even today, the engine is going strong without any felt loss in compression.

Engine Bay with the 1.5 TUD5 Peugeot Engine. Notice the lack of working space.
300,000 kms in 7.5 years on my Esteem Diesel. EDIT: Sold @ 3.4 Lakh kms-engine-bay.jpg

Sound deadening material all around to control noise.
300,000 kms in 7.5 years on my Esteem Diesel. EDIT: Sold @ 3.4 Lakh kms-bonnet-open-front.jpg

Performance and Fuel Efficiency:

As you would have made out from the engine specifications, the engine is underpowered for this car. 0-100 comes in 19 seconds. Power delivery is linear and predictable. Respectable torque and power comes only at higher revolutions. In-gear acceleration is not very inspiring and requires frequent downshifting. To add to the woes, AC saps generous amounts of the sparingly available power. Overtaking requires planning and city driving needs a bit of working through the gears to keep pace with the traffic. Despite this, if you keep the engine on the boil and work smartly through the gears, you can progress quicker than you wouldíve initially expected to.

The car behaves well if not pushed around too much. In the city and at low speeds, the light steering is very easy to use and maneuver around. Under very hard driving, the monocoque and its suspension canít cope up and are not very confidence inspiring.

Fuel Efficiency is the strength of this car. All figures are with AC and measured tankfull to tankfull:
  • 100% Mumbai start and stop traffic: 16 kmpl
  • 60% Highway (@80-90km/h) + 40% Mumbai traffic: 23 kmpl
  • 60% Highway (Hard Driving) + 40% Mumbai traffic: 19 kmpl (by yourís truly)
  • 80% Highway (@80-90km/h) + 20% Mumbai traffic: Consistently 25.5 kmpl. Best 27 kmpl
  • 100% Highway (@80-90km/h): never measured
Clearly, the engine is designed to cruise. Cruising in 5th at 85kmh, the rpm needle is around the 2250 mark. If it is maintained at this speed, maximum fuel efficiency is extracted from the car. On NH8, where the car has clocked most of its miles, this is the ideal speed and variations in speed are minimum.


Major work done:
  • AC Condenser replaced twice
  • Clutch chanded once
  • No other major problem. Even the Engine and Suspension are untouched.
Problems/Issues:

The car has been working superbly fine. No major issues. However, the minor issues were:
  • During the early days of ownership, AC Fuse used to blow off very often. The solution, use 40A instead of 30A. Worked absolutely fine
  • AC bracket had a design fault, causing the PS/AC belt to get ripped off. The bracket and belt was replaced multiple times by Maruti, finally finding the right one that works fine, until now
  • Power Windows are slower than average and take all the time in the world to move
  • Availability of diesel engine related parts is a problem. We need to plan services in advance and also stock Oil/Fuel Filters. Even availability of a mechanic to fix the diesel related parts is a problem
  • The car is less than 8 years old, but it has done a good amount of running. Due to this parts that seldom fail in a life time are beginning to fail/wear. The key is worn out enough to be pulled out
  • There is now a bit of play in the steering. It does not disturb too much but it is noticeable.
An incident worth mentioning:

The car was purchased from a very reputed Maruti dealer at Thane and was delivered at our office. At the time of delivery, the salesperson brought along a bill of Rs. 1200 for wheel covers which he claimed was an extra accessory. My dad was aware that wheel covers are standard on the ĎDií model. After attempting to insist, he had to finally agree and let go. Hang on, if you guys think this is bad enough, read on.

A few years later, the car lost two wheel covers during the 26/7 flooding in Mumbai. On its next service at Sai Service, we enquired if they can sell us just two wheel covers instead of the whole set. Thatís when the service engineer told us that the wheel covers the car had were not OE covers but cheap aftermarket ones. Yes, you guessed it right, the dealer who sold us the car had changed OE wheel covers with some cheap aftermarket ones and they actually also brought a bill along. Man, my blood is boiling as Iím writing this.


Some interesting facts:
  • The car completed 2 Lakh km in 4.5 years. But it has taken 3 years for the last 1 Lakh km. Itís due to other cars sharing the miles. At its peak usage, it used to clock 5000km per month
  • After 2.70 lakh km, we changed over from Sai Service to Automotive for service. Service Advisors at Automotive wouldnít believe us and putdown the car mileage in their records at 70,000km
  • Regular and Extended Warranty were finished well before time due quick mileage and were never used
  • Front brake pads replaced twice; rear brake shoes changed once; Clutch replaced only once.
  • 3 Lakh kms are good to circle the globe 7.5 times!!. Thatís one circle per year
  • Considering an overall FE of 18km/L, the car has consumed 16,666 Litres of Diesel. Factoring for diesel price increase to assume an average diesel cost of 38Rs/L, the car has consumed Diesel worth Rs 6.33 Lakhs. Thatís 2.11 Rs/km fuel cost
  • Assuming an overall average speed of 40km/hr, to do 3 Lakh kms, the engine has to run 7500 hours. Thatís 312days non-stop!!
The Indian Automobile Market - Then and Now:
  • Hyundai used the same Peugeot engine on its Accent before it came up with the Crdi unit for it. Until the launch of Accent Crdi, diesels with Common-Rail were not available in this segment. If you think 0-100 in 19seconds was slow for the diesel Esteem, wait till you hear this: Its direct competitor Ford Ikon 1.8D took 21seconds for this, 21 seconds!!!!. Common-Rail has changed the game. Diesels are now faster, cleaner and fuel efficient.
  • Ignorance to change and replace models was the trend in the market, with Maruti leading the way (still??). Esteem hardly changed during its long life cycle. Car manufacturers are now proactive and fresher models and facelifts come sooner
  • Equipment levels and their quality has certainly improved. Looking back now, it seems to be an overpriced car. See what 6.50 lakh can buy you today!!
Ownership Summary:

Most of us here service our cars religiously, but another very important factor that prolongs engine and car life is the way one drives. We all know not straining the engine is gonna make the engine last longer, but we often knowingly ignore this. Not only does it prolong the life of the car, but it also makes is cheaper to run. This car is live example of this theory. We all have something to learn out of this. I am sure it wouldínt have gone this far if it were in my hands

Even today, after 7.5 years and 2,99,880 km, it is still very economical to run and maintain. It has been extremely reliable over these years and has never has it let us down. Even if I push her around, she will take it without complaint.

We are not sure how long we intend to keep her. But this has been a no non-sense car. It brought us the efficiency of diesel with the reliability of the Esteem. It has done the job well for it and is still going strongÖ.Great Going!!

Last edited by benzinblut : 20th December 2010 at 18:17.
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Old 20th December 2010, 18:22   #2
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Default Re: 3 Lakh km in 7.5yrs on benzinblutís Esteem Diesel. A real long term ownership rev

Boy'o'Boy

3 lakh kilometers on original engine and original suspension. Thats phenomenal, and thanks for sharing the report.

Rated 5 stars
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Old 20th December 2010, 18:46   #3
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Default Re: 3 Lakh km in 7.5yrs on benzinblutís Esteem Diesel. A real long term ownership rev

All I can say is !!

Way to go

Rated *****
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Old 20th December 2010, 18:57   #4
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Default Re: 3 Lakh km in 7.5yrs on benzinblutís Esteem Diesel. A real long term ownership rev

Oh Man, Thatz really an amazing Facts and Numbers (3Lakhs Kms), with orginal engine and suspensions! Full credits goes to your Dad... Never sell the vehicle as it has helped you a lot! having expected such reliablity from this engine. Great, More miles to come
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Old 20th December 2010, 18:57   #5
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Default Re: 3 Lakh km in 7.5yrs on benzinblutís Esteem Diesel. A real long term ownership rev

very well written review, do post a side badge of 1.5D, never seen it earlier..
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Old 20th December 2010, 19:04   #6
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Default Re: 3 Lakh km in 7.5yrs on benzinblutís Esteem Diesel. A real long term ownership rev

This is truly amazing. Yes Peugeot engines are known for their reliability and robustness, thats why you find them working under many hoods of Indian vehicles (Sumo, Wide range of Jeeps from Mahindra including Bolero, Scorpio first model).

Anyways, good going buddy. May you clock more miles to come.

Cheers,
Rajesh
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Old 20th December 2010, 19:04   #7
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Default Re: 3 Lakh km in 7.5yrs on benzinblutís Esteem Diesel. A real long term ownership rev

@ Eddy, jigbarai, magnanimousdude, fx45 and 2500cc: Thanks for the comments and the ratings. The credit indeed goes to my dad for maintaining it and driving it with utmost care. Have a lot to learn from him about that.

@ fx45: I wrongly wrote it as 1.5D badge. Its actually 1.5L badge. Ill get you the pic soon.

FYI: We just sold off a 14 year old M800 earlier this year. It clocked 1.8 lakh km and was driven only in Mumbai city. Engine was never touched and even when we sold it used to give us 15+ in the city.

Last edited by benzinblut : 20th December 2010 at 19:16.
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Old 20th December 2010, 19:17   #8
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Default Re: 3 Lakh km in 7.5yrs on benzinblutís Esteem Diesel. A real long term ownership rev

My First car was an esteem but in the petrol version, i had clocked 70k KMs in my 3 years of ownership but the car was bulletproof. I brought a used 98 model car in 2006 and the odo was showing 36k which i am sure would easily be 136k or may be ever 236k . The car was fun to drive in the petrol avtar. The biggest problem i ever faced with my car was break fade, all esteems had this issue, electricals were another letdown. During a rainy night if you have Headlight, AC , Stereo and wipers working then the wipers will be slow the headlight will be dim and it will make a meek sound when you honk, this was a known issue with all the petrol esteems, i am not sure of diesels. One of my friend had an esteem DI and he used to visit his hometown which had frequent power cuts and he used to sleep in his car along with his dad and son with the AC on and still the car used to return a decent millage during idling with AC. I too felt the diesel was way too under powered, they knew this when they made the zen but still they gave the same heart to esteem and that too without a turbo, a Turbo was a must but the main reason this engine was called a bullet proof engine was because this was a basic enigne with no frills. Wish you a really really really (had to use these many really cause 300k is long ) long ownership.


Pramod
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Old 20th December 2010, 21:03   #9
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Default Re: 3 Lakh km in 7.5yrs on benzinblutís Esteem Diesel. A real long term ownership rev

That is one whale of a review. The Esteem Di is indeed a rare find these days and an example akin to yours, I guess is impossible to find. MUL hardly sold any and those who bought it got rid of it since they could not associate this Esteem with the performance of its petrol sibling.

Great going with her and keep her young always.
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Old 20th December 2010, 21:14   #10
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Default Re: 3 Lakh km in 7.5yrs on benzinblutís Esteem Diesel. A real long term ownership rev

Man! I saw an esteem (D) after a long long time. Nice to find one alive and running. 3L kms is commendable achievement bro! Well done. I remember reading one more member (I guess not active lately) saying he had seen his Esteem odo clock reset 4 times. But not sure if it was a diesel or not. Anyways, congratulations.
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Old 20th December 2010, 21:38   #11
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Default Re: 3 Lakh km in 7.5yrs on benzinblutís Esteem Diesel. A real long term ownership rev

That is one long lasting ownership report! Congratulations! I had once test driven the D when it was launched, to be very honest i was quite happy with the power. Apart from the price tag and the heavy clutch i really liked the car.

But 3 lakhs without even a semi overhaul is commendable, you really have taken care of the car.
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Old 20th December 2010, 22:16   #12
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Default Re: 3 Lakh km in 7.5yrs on benzinblutís Esteem Diesel. A real long term ownership rev

Quote:
Originally Posted by pramodkumar View Post
The biggest problem i ever faced with my car was break fade, all esteems had this issue, electricals were another letdown. During a rainy night if you have Headlight, AC , Stereo and wipers working then the wipers will be slow the headlight will be dim and it will make a meek sound when you honk, this was a known issue with all the petrol esteems, i am not sure of diesels
I never faced such a problem on this diesel Esteem. We have 3 other petrol esteems in close family. None of them have this problem. Are you sure these are Esteem traits?


Quote:
Originally Posted by pramodkumar View Post
One of my friend had an esteem DI and he used to visit his hometown which had frequent power cuts and he used to sleep in his car along with his dad and son with the AC on and still the car used to return a decent millage during idling with AC.
Whoa. Never tried that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pramodkumar View Post
I too felt the diesel was way too under powered, they knew this when they made the zen but still they gave the same heart to esteem and that too without a turbo, a Turbo was a must but the main reason this engine was called a bullet proof engine was because this was a basic enigne with no frills.
Diesels before 2003 were not common rails unlike today where almost every diesel engine is a Common rail. This engine in particular seems to be tuned for FE rather than outright performance. I dont think just a lack of turbo makes it bullet proof. There is much more to that.


Quote:
Originally Posted by pramodkumar View Post
Wish you a really really really (had to use these many really cause 300k is long ) long ownership
Thanks mate

Quote:
Originally Posted by n.devdath View Post
That is one whale of a review....... Great going with her and keep her young always.
Thanks dude. Yes, as of now not in a mood to part with it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by prince_pervez View Post
Man! I saw an esteem (D) after a long long time. Nice to find one alive and running. 3L kms is commendable achievement bro! Well done. I remember reading one more member (I guess not active lately) saying he had seen his Esteem odo clock reset 4 times. But not sure if it was a diesel or not. Anyways, congratulations.
Thanks parvez. Who is that guy?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jaggu View Post
That is one long lasting ownership report! Congratulations! I had once test driven the D when it was launched, to be very honest i was quite happy with the power. Apart from the price tag and the heavy clutch i really liked the car.

But 3 lakhs without even a semi overhaul is commendable, you really have taken care of the car.
Thanks. All credit goes to my dad. It would'nt have lasted so long with me.
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Old 20th December 2010, 22:27   #13
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Default Re: 3 Lakh km in 7.5yrs on benzinblutís Esteem Diesel. A real long term ownership rev

Well your Esteem is amazing ! 3L kms and still has a untouched engine and suspension (touchwood)

We had a 1990 esteem which completed 2L km with 1 overhaul and recently disposed a santro 1999 which also completed 2.2L

in our case both were overhauled once

Hope my swift VDI lasts for 1L kms without any problems
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Old 21st December 2010, 09:13   #14
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Default Re: 3 Lakh km in 7.5yrs on benzinblutís Esteem Diesel. A real long term ownership rev

Just read through your very well written ownership review. Amazing to know an Esteem has clocked 3 Lakh kms without overhauling the engine and suspension. Even the clutch has been changed only once!

You should send this write-up to Maruti and Peugeot's PR departments. Any car maker would be proud to know that their product is capable of this!

One more question. How many sets of tyres have you needed to replace? And what brands of tyres?
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Old 21st December 2010, 10:43   #15
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Default Re: 3 Lakh km in 7.5yrs on benzinblutís Esteem Diesel. A real long term ownership rev

Benzinblut: amazing review of your diesel Esteem.
This is awe-inspiring that the engine has done 3lakhs kms without any overhaul. The more commendable fact is that it has only seen one change of clutch. The car looks good in the pics. You and your dad has certainly taken good care of your steed.

Even I would like to know, how many set of tyres have been changed and at what intervals.
Congratulations again for owning such a warhorse. Wishing you another lakh kms atleast on your esteem.
Have fun.
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