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Old 26th June 2011, 21:56   #1
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Default Fixing the car yourself?

My Lancer 2001 petrol is due for it's 70 K service and will be done at the A.S.S only. The car's engine/transmission is in pristine condition and I have absolutely nothing to complain about.
Off lately I have heard some of my friends complain about problems that cropped up after a service.
Some examples ....
1> Accent's spongy brake problem was resolved by A.S.S by replacing something. After 2 months the problem is worse than before and now A.S.S can't figure it out. Another Accent's FE dropped drastically after servicing.

2> More vibrations / knocking in a friend's Lancer at low speeds after A.S.S did an engine flush and engine oil replace.

3> Steering noise after A.S.S did wheel rotation + balancing + alignment

4> VW (Vento I think) clutch-plate failed immediately after 1st free service. Car was towed 80 kms. A.S.S says it is "known issue" and replaced FOC.

Nowadays there is so much rush at the service centre, you have to be real lucky to get everything done without follow-up and revisiting. They fix something and break another. I am wondering if I can do half the maintenance tasks myself then why risk my car with those monkeys? I can DIY oil replacement for engine, clutch, brake, steering, radiator flush, replace air and oil filter, spark plugs. And for wheel alignment and car wash I have better places to go.
So I say "Don't fix it, if it ain't broken" - any takers?

Last edited by Rehaan : 28th June 2011 at 14:19. Reason: A.S.S
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Old 26th June 2011, 23:15   #2
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Default re: Fixing the car yourself?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chewbacca View Post
I can DIY oil replacement for engine, clutch, brake, steering, radiator flush, replace air and oil filter, spark plugs.
And that is why your car will remain reliable till the day you sell it. You should see the labour work done at some big garages and stealerships.
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Old 26th June 2011, 23:24   #3
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Default re: Fixing the car yourself?

Yes, infact, just for an oil change, its better to change it ourself, than risking and spending time/money at the service center. Atleast you get to spend some time caring your baby..

I once had my oil overfilled at the workshop, but noticed and changed it myself.
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Old 27th June 2011, 00:05   #4
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Default re: Fixing the car yourself?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chewbacca View Post
Nowadays there is so much rush at the service centre, you have to be real lucky to get everything done without follow-up and revisiting. They fix something and break another. I am wondering if I can do half the maintenance tasks myself then why risk my car with those monkeys? I can DIY oil replacement for engine, clutch, brake, steering, radiator flush, replace air and oil filter, spark plugs. And for wheel alignment and car wash I have better places to go.
So I say "Don't fix it, if it ain't broken" - any takers?
Hallo,
Just to give one more example, last month I had to visit an authorised service center in north Bengal, to replace a broken windshield. Had this thing broken in my hometown, I would have purchased a good quality one myself before giving it to the local garage for fitting, saving at least two thousand rupees in the process. But as I was new to that town and neither knew the location of shops dealing with automobile spares nor had any idea of any respectable body workshop there, I visited the A** for the related works.
In my hometown (Calcutta) the windshield is normally replaced in 24 hours flat but they delivered my car only on the afternoon of the third day. I did not object as I had some personal work there and had to stay there for a couple of days anyway. Just sometime after receiving the car I found that the headlight is not working on high beam mode. Again took the car back and I had to cough up Rs 200/- just for the replacement of one 20 Amp electric fuse, which normally costs possibly around ten bucks here. The bill said that cost of the fuse was Rs 50/- plus headlight system check service charge was Rs 150/- extra.
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Old 27th June 2011, 12:59   #5
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Default re: Fixing the car yourself?

What the dealers do is to ensnare you into a money spin. Fix one thing and make sure to break something else so that you will come back to them and they can fleece some more money. Then fix the 2nd problem and break/loosne something else so that u need to get back and they can "check" the car and charge you "checking fees" and also probably replace a perfectly working part with a new one and charge you some more for that.

We need to be specific in what we ask for and just generally try not to fall for such traps. I make sure I am around the car when they are working, else I don't give the car to them at all. Else if I know and am sure what the problem is, I just buy the part and get it fixed by a trusted mech. Of course, I am talking about a car which is out of warranty or close to running out of it.

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Old 27th June 2011, 13:17   #6
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Default re: Fixing the car yourself?

Except for big problems or replacements it's better to do the maintenance work yourself.
Also DIY makes us better understand our ride and any mood swings it has.
Also if the car is a Maruti /Tata /Mahindra /Innova then no need to go to the authorised service centre after the first few service or under warranty. Better to have the any works done at a local garage that we can trust,but of course more complicated ones have still to be taken to the authorised especially German,European ones.
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Old 27th June 2011, 13:26   #7
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Default re: Fixing the car yourself?

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Originally Posted by Chewbacca View Post
So I say "Don't fix it, if it ain't broken" - any takers?
Age old wisdom, so I doubt if you will find anyone opposing it.

About the experiences, I think it's more subjective, specific to dealers and the people working there. I have had delightful experiences of running repairs being carried out far away from my hometown. I remember my M800 overheated and broke down right outside Chowgule's workshop on the Pune Satara road. I was travelling with my family to Wai. I had to get everyone out and coasted the car into the workshop. I explained my situation to a service advisor who promised to look into it asap. It was the onset of monsoon and my people had to make do with the temporary shelter at the delivery bay. In about twenty minutes I got the car back with the problem fixed and the body washed and cleaned. Total bill? Rs. 150/- odd.

But if you are wary of the A.S.S. taking you for a ride, and/or if you are capable of doing the routine maintenance jobs yourself, why go to the A.S.S.?
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Old 27th June 2011, 19:48   #8
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Default re: Fixing the car yourself?

Well, labour is so cheap in India, why would you change the oil yourself? The petrol pump next to my house takes 50 rupees to lift my car on the hydraulic, and change the oil. I'll tell you something better : Since your car is now 10 years old, find a good independent and go supervise the work. Plus, can you change a timing belt yourself?

There are many good authorised & independent service stations around. Just because a couple of your friend's cars got messed up, that doesn't mean you abandon them altogether! Would you stop visiting doctors one day?
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Old 28th June 2011, 02:37   #9
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Default re: Fixing the car yourself?

Thanks everyone who commented on this post.

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Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Well, labour is so cheap in India, why would you change the oil yourself? ... Plus, can you change a timing belt yourself?
True, we cannot fix everything ourselves and is inevitable to go to the A** but it's not about saving money, it's about the time spent at the service centre and the goof-ups they do. Recently I had a big scare of these so called "authorised" service centres. Here's what happened with my dad's Alto.

Dad filled up 500/- worth diesel in his Alto, don't ask how, and drove 35 kms to his farm without realizing anything amiss. In the evening the car won't start and he almost drained the battery. Next day MUL's mobile service van was summoned. The diesel content in the tank was almost 80% which they could not entirely siphon off. So they added some more pure petrol, somehow managed to start the vehicle and drove 45 kms to their workshop. If they had towed instead of driving, the damages would have been far lesser. I say this because diesel in petrol engine causes more damage when cold started and driven as compared to driving on with diesel when the engine is already hot. The bill was 8000/- but there was more to come.

The car was delivered home after 2 days but dad never bothered to check on delivery. He never bothers about anything and for that matter, nothing ever bothers him ever - not even the overpowering smell of diesel in his car.

Dad drove it couple of times and said everything is fine. A week later I needed the car and was greeted with a strong smell of diesel. Dad never uses the A/c and drives with the windows rolled down, but I do and within minutes I was riding a "high" - the diesel smell was so intoxicating. With my head spinning, I check the boot to find the carpet all wet with diesel. The cardboard-cutout below was all black and bubbling, the spare wheel was submerged in diesel

How did this happen? It seems those "authorised" monkeys siphoned off the diesel in a large container, and kept it in the boot. It must have overturned and spilled over when they drove off to their workshop. How come nobody at the A** realised this when they had the car for 2 days!!

Back to the service centre, they washed off with detergent, replaced the carpet and the cardboard cut-out with new, did a complete shampoo wash on the interiors, sprayed tons of perfume, all FOC and home delivered the car the next day.

Once bitten - twice shy, so I throughly check the car this time. The spare tyre had soaked up a lot of diesel and was looking like new. The perfume + diesel blended to a unique essence that was so alluring I should have filed for a patent. A week later I used the car again, this time with family. The perfume smell had diminished and it was smelling diesel again. Back home after a short drive we were all smelling weird. Then I noticed an oil patch on my kid's trouser. He was sitting at the back. I removed the rear seat, stripped off the cover, flipped it over to find diesel stains. Putting pressure on the seat made it ooze out!!

Back to the A** but they could only offer their apologies. The car's performance was also affected. They had set the engine to a high rev in idling to mask the vibrations and the car was jerking during pickup. Dad was upset ... "This is the first time the car has troubled me so much" (the Alto happens to be his 5th from Maruti) "What do you expect when you fill her up with diesel?" I quipped.

The Alto was sold and replaced with a new K-series Alto.... all because of few litres of diesel and some monkeys at the A**

Last edited by Chewbacca : 28th June 2011 at 02:53.
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Old 28th June 2011, 07:52   #10
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Default re: Fixing the car yourself?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chewbacca View Post

I check the boot to find the carpet all wet with diesel. The cardboard-cutout below was all black and bubbling, the spare wheel was submerged in diesel

I removed the rear seat, stripped off the cover, flipped it over to find diesel stains. Putting pressure on the seat made it ooze out!!
My God!

You seem to have had horrible experiences from A.S.S. The episode with your Alto was a nightmare.

I feel that the A.S.S are one of either over-enthusiastic or totally nonchalant. After each visit to the service station, I have to perform additional exercise of draining out extra fluids(coolant, brake). Last time, the battery water was overfilled & I had to clean up the mess around the area. Not to mention extracting excess acid from the battery through a syringe.
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Old 28th June 2011, 10:04   #11
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Default re: Fixing the car yourself?

Chewbacca, no doubt the A.S.S. in your episode was sloppy. However, do you not think the following were entirely preventable:

1. Filling up diesel in an Alto
2. Insisting on towing the car to the workshop instead of driving it
3. Thoroughly inspect the car before getting delivery (as you already know it's a major problem running it on diesel + petrol mixture)

I don't want to defend the A.S.S., which have proved to be below par here, however I want to stress that for something that's the second biggest investment after a home, we need to be a little extra cautious about how we treat it. After all we are responsible for the car's well-being more than anyone else.
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Old 28th June 2011, 14:01   #12
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Default re: Fixing the car yourself?

I agree there are mess ups but there are benefits as well. Recently the clutch disc was changed. We have been driving with a very hard clutch and only when i went to show it for checkup he asked me to check how a normal clutch feels. If i wouldn't have done that i might have got stuck somewhere in between.

Look for decent repair shop close by and get it done there, friends and other contacts do help in this regard. If you are a friend of a regular customer they generally take things more seriously (For they might loose two customers instead of one).
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Old 28th June 2011, 14:17   #13
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Default re: Fixing the car yourself?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chewbacca View Post
I say this because diesel in petrol engine causes more damage when cold started and driven as compared to driving on with diesel when the engine is already hot. The bill was 8000/- but there was more to come.
Why was the bill for 8000? Did they clean the entire fuel line? Change injectors etc ?

Apparently not!!
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Old 16th April 2015, 19:57   #14
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Default Re: National Green Tribunal says, 10 year old Diesel Vehicles banned in Delhi

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The other thing is that in Europe car repairs are expensive, a proper equipped dealer or independent workshop could easily be charging Euro 65-75 an hour. On top of that comes part.
So the best way to phase out old vehicles would be to implement minimum wages for workshop staff in FNGs!

Do people in Europe do maintenance work on their own, at least the regular stuff like oil change et al.?
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Old 17th April 2015, 07:13   #15
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Do people in Europe do maintenance work on their own, at least the regular stuff like oil change et al.?

Some people do. Of course, there is the classic and vintage car brigade who tend to do nothing else then getting their hands dirty. Quite a few prefer fidling with their car over driving it.

Still, the vast majority gets it done. In the USA I got the impression more people worked on their cars then in Europe. Lots of shops around where you can buy just about any part for your car.

There is one very notable difference between the various European/USA car forums and TeamBHP. On the European/USA forum you will find endless threads on fixing your car. Very often there is nothing else on such forums. The forums I belong to about my Jaguar, Mercedes and Jeep Cherokee are all about fixing your car yourself. I see very few threads on TeamBHP members actually fixing their cars themselves. So, it appears that for some reason Indians don't fix their own car? Is that a correct observation and if so why not? A whole forum with car enthusiasts, but few DIYs?

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