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Old 17th December 2013, 17:57   #1
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Post Maintaining Cars in the Middle East

Hi guys,

I just moved to Kuwait after completing four years of engineering in Chennai. Did a bit of my schooling here, so I know the weather here pretty well. Temperature variations between summer and winter can go from as low as -2 degrees Celsius all the way up to 54 degrees Celsius. So vehicles here face a lot of extreme conditions. If that wasn’t enough, the deserts also give rise to frequent dust storms which play havoc with everything, especially vehicles.

At the moment we have a 2006 Nissan Pathfinder which we had got pre-owned in October-November 2010. It has just touched 107,000km on the odo. We took delivery of a brand new KIA Sportage only last week (Will put an ownership thread in due course ) and it has already gone past 900km in 10 days (had 36km on delivery). KIA has given an almighty 10 years warranty on the SUV. And they also suggest the car be serviced every 5,000km. I primarily use the Pathfinder to commute to work which is approximately 40km to & fro, while my dad uses the KIA. The Pathfinder has had some recurring issues for the past year or so. At the moment, the air conditioning system doesn’t work so I have to drive everyday to work at temperatures hovering around 5 degrees Celsius with no heating. So we have decided to sell the SUV once I get my work permit. I’m on a company visit visa at the moment, so I can drive around using my International driving license issued in Chennai.

Authorized service centers here charge a bombshell for normal yearly/10,000km service(3-4 times what is charged in India). Cars here clock miles much faster than anywhere else. There’s nothing surprising in seeing a year old car that has clocked 100,000km. So yearly service goes out the window and paying such large amounts frequently is no small thing. My family don’t clock that much in a year, we average around 40,000km a year. I personally feel, vehicles should be serviced in their respective authorized service centers until the warranty period has come to an end as a bare minimum. Almost all authorized service centers, 3rd party maintenance, spare parts shops, etc are located in the same area in Kuwait. You would think finding any spare part and getting it fixed shouldn't be a problem, but this is where one of the biggest problems is faced, the problem being language. Almost all of the people here are Arabic speaking and don’t know a word in English and most of us Indians don’t know a word of Arabic. To top that, my family hailing from the south don’t know a word of Hindi either (I’m working on that bit). Finding a fellow Indian is nigh on impossible in these shops and every once in a while when we do find, life becomes a bit easier and with a bit of a struggle he even manages to get us a better price. Bargaining is a must for everyone living in the Middle East. But, when we go back to the same shop after a few months for some other issue, as luck would have it, the person wouldn’t be working in that shop any more.

Our previous car, A 2002 Chrysler 300M that we were forced to sell because of small niggling issues that kept arising:-
Maintaining Cars in the Middle East-untitled.jpg
The car was sold for a paltry 450KD(around Rs.90,000 in 2011). In the middle east, car and brand popularity has to be one of the key factors during the decision making process. Because if a car doesn't sell that much, finding spares is a major problem, and selling the vehicle becomes that much more difficult too. Our car had luxuries most new cars even in 2011 wouldn't have had but it suffered from having a very bad resale value which cost us dear.

The condition of the engine when we sold the Chrysler:-
Maintaining Cars in the Middle East-photo044.jpg

The Current SUVs:-
Maintaining Cars in the Middle East-201312201099.jpg

Proudly representing Team-BHP in Kuwait :-
Maintaining Cars in the Middle East-201312201095.jpg

Any inputs on keeping these vehicles running clean, comfortable & nice, and being a pleasure to use would be great.

Last edited by BraveArc : 20th December 2013 at 16:15.
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Old 21st December 2013, 13:18   #2
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Default Re: Maintaining Cars in the Middle East

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to Tech Stuff.

Please keep this thread specific to maintenance. 'What car' queries can go on the other dedicated thread (Buying a Car in the Middle East).

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Old 21st December 2013, 20:31   #3
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Default Re: Maintaining Cars in the Middle East

Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveArc View Post
Authorized service centers here charge a bombshell for normal yearly/10,000km service(3-4 times what is charged in India).
One would also be earning a few times more than what one would in India, and paying a few times lesser for the vehicle itself.

There are practical issues in every country, you cannot have the cake and eat it too.
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Old 24th December 2013, 11:48   #4
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Quote:
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One would also be earning a few times more than what one would in India, and paying a few times lesser for the vehicle itself.

There are practical issues in every country, you cannot have the cake and eat it too.
True, but that doesn't mean a person has to spend most of his hard earned money by spending it on maintenance and repairs.
Just yesterday my dad was quoted 150KD(Rs.32,500) for the tyre pressure sensor and a whopping 775KD(Rs.1,70,000) for replacing the entire AC system of the Pathfinder because they're unwilling to fix what I'm guessing is a small leak or something of that sort.
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Old 24th December 2013, 12:08   #5
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I have never been to Kuwait but I am assuming there will be small wokshops which will be prepared to do the fix.
I suggest checking out those options once before you go the authorized service center route
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Old 31st December 2013, 00:53   #6
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Default Re: Maintaining Cars in the Middle East

Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveArc View Post
There’s nothing surprising in seeing a year old car that has clocked 100,000km. So yearly service goes out the window and paying such large amounts frequently is no small thing.
In Dubai, when someone has over 200,000km in a year, they would be willing to transfer ownership of the vehicle to anyone willing to pay off the rest of the bank loan. Some of the people I worked with in the past drove from Sharjah to Abu Dhabi every week day so they have heavily used vehicles. There are also some vehicles that barely go over 6,000 km in a year, which are a good buy when seeking pre-owned vehicles.

For traveling long distances, here we have cheap maintenance charges at the Toyota authorized service stations so people prefer a Toyota Corolla when on a budget. It could vary by geographical region though.
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Old 31st December 2013, 01:58   #7
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Default Re: Maintaining Cars in the Middle East

Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveArc View Post
Just yesterday my dad was quoted 150KD(Rs.32,500) for the tyre pressure sensor and a whopping 775KD(Rs.1,70,000) for replacing the entire AC system of the Pathfinder because they're unwilling to fix what I'm guessing is a small leak or something of that sort.
Dealer service is expensive overseas when you comapare with india. The rentals, 50% local share to a kuwaiti partner and high labour costs makes it almost impossible to visit ASS. But, look at the brighter, there is hardly any custom duty, so your parts can be imported at fraction of the price. Infact these must be available off the shelf at spares shop locally.There is a dump yard on sixth ring beyond jahra if you wanna go cheap. All you need is a mechanic to go with you to identify the condition. Any skilled workshop ( shuwaikh) can do the job. They are experts in fixing AC since they work in almost everyday.I can get you some pointers should you need. let me know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by y448 View Post
I have never been to Kuwait but I am assuming there will be small wokshops which will be prepared to do the fix.
I suggest checking out those options once before you go the authorized service center route
There is a whole locality dedicated towards sales/services for automobiles and machinery. much more in number than we find here india
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Old 31st December 2013, 10:23   #8
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Default Re: Maintaining Cars in the Middle East

That's some nice rides that you have.

Quote:
Originally Posted by BraveArc View Post
...We took delivery of a brand new KIA Sportage only last week (Will put an ownership thread in due course ) and it has already gone past 900km in 10 days (had 36km on delivery). KIA has given an almighty 10 years warranty on the SUV. And they also suggest the car be serviced every 5,000km...
Be careful with Hyundai / Kia. Though they offer these kind of warranty / packages, end of the day you might pay more. The catch here is that you can NOT decline any replacements the SAs suggest and doing that will void your warranty schemes. Anyway good luck with the cars and have fun.
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Old 27th January 2014, 11:37   #9
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Default Re: Maintaining Cars in the Middle East

Spent KD125 on the Pathfinder last week. Took it to the only mechanic shop we know, nothing he does ever really lasts long. Got the AC fixed and turned out the power steering motor was weak so got that replaced. The heater is still untouched and not working (Luckily winter is coming to end).
The vehicle seems to make a weird noise when accelerating from 0. Need to get that checked. The mechanic say that's nothing to worry about and happens to 8 year old cars. I don't believe that.
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