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Old 25th January 2017, 01:47   #31
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Default Re: Modern cars & their owner's knowledge / ignorance about maintenance

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True. Replacing spares is supposed to be reliable but I think there is no fun and no learning in it. I would like to share my 2 experiences on this:
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From both the experiences I have not only saved the money but also got little bit of knowledge, experience to work with a true passionate and courage to call myself a petrol-head. It is worth every penny I have spent. Now I am confident enough that I can maintain my Tucson for another 5 years without any problem.
I also have had overall good experience with Abhijit Lonkar at Tune Up plus. I am currently at 56K and the BIG 60K maintenance is not too far away. I was split between whether I should take it to Garve Hyundai or Tune Up Plus.

Your experience has almost made up my mind - take to to Tune Up.
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Old 25th January 2017, 03:46   #32
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Default Re: Modern cars & their owner's knowledge / ignorance about maintenance

wow! good discussion here folks.

I got to know more about cars once I got my own pre-owned City. Agree that cars these days are more difficult to work with with more electronics coming into picture. I am currently experiencing the follow-up from Honda SC to get my car serviced as it has been more than 6 months since the last service.

As per the manual, I should be servicing my car every 6 months/5000 kms whichever is first. But I do not see the point as my car is hardly running. 250-300 kms a month which concludes to around 1800 kms in 6 months. I am having a hard time understanding why would a reliable car like the City would need that frequent service intervals? Is the engine oil burning out even when the car is standing? I asked the person who calls me frequently that is it mandatory to get my car serviced every 6 months? Then the answer was 'No' but Sir at least get the General Check-up done, to which I said that I do it myself.

My point is, I have not seen any drop in the engine oil level or its viscosity after 6 months and the car is running fine, so I should not be servicing it just to ensure that the dealership's numbers are met and they have their money.

And regarding the parts replacement. My car's left mirror is not working, that is I am not able to adjust it with the electronic button. For this the SA said 'Sir replace the mirror, it costs 4.5k'. How does he know that the flaw is with mirror and not with the button itself? I know it must be some minor wiring issue but that does not mean I should go all the way to spend and replace parts.

PS: This is where the "ignorance" part comes from modern car owners in this article. "Do as the SA says without any questions".


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Old 25th January 2017, 09:11   #33
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Default Re: Modern cars & their owner's knowledge / ignorance about maintenance

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Originally Posted by aghate View Post
As per the manual, I should be servicing my car every 6 months/5000 kms whichever is first. my car is hardly running. 250-300 kms a month which concludes to around 1800 kms in 6 months.

My car's left mirror is not working, that is I am not able to adjust it with the electronic button
The 5000km/6 months interval is just Honda's way of making more money.With your running , you can safely change your oil once in 18 months.My logic for petrol engines is once in 10000kms or 18 months.Yes , if the engines are old and oil loses its properties faster , then the interval could be 7500kms.

The left mirror issue is either due to a snapped wire(could be if the mirror was hit and dislodged).Else , just servicing the mirror switch would suffice.In both these cases you'll have to get the work done from a good independent garage.
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Old 25th January 2017, 09:26   #34
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Default Re: Modern cars & their owner's knowledge / ignorance about maintenance

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Originally Posted by catchjyoti View Post
I also have had overall good experience with Abhijit Lonkar at Tune Up plus. I am currently at 56K and the BIG 60K maintenance is not too far away. I was split between whether I should take it to Garve Hyundai or Tune Up Plus.

Your experience has almost made up my mind - take to to Tune Up.
I am sure He would give justice to "BIG 60K" Service. The way he does attention to details is something you wont be able to get at Hyundai ASS. I can guarantee this because I have serviced my Tucson at Hyundai for last 10 years and since last 2 years its with Tune-Up.
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Old 25th January 2017, 11:10   #35
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Default Re: Modern cars & their owner's knowledge / ignorance about maintenance

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Originally Posted by aghate View Post
As per the manual, I should be servicing my car every 6 months/5000 kms whichever is first. But I do not see the point as my car is hardly running.
The whole time interval for servicing is a scam by two and four wheeler manufacturers to hand over some money to dealers to make up for the pathetic margins offered on sale of vehicles. And it is enforced by the threat of warranty expiry.
Most engine oils can be safely used for 2 years if the mileage is not much.

Mahindra is most commendable in this respect - they only have km interval and no time limit.
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Old 25th January 2017, 14:46   #36
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Default Re: Modern cars & their owner's knowledge / ignorance about maintenance

Excellent thread.
Here's my two cents to the discussion:

With the advent of Authorized service centers having come up and cars becoming more reliable, the involvement of car owners has reduced.

I still remember the time, when we used to go to road side mechanic and stand with him the whole day to repair the parts. Also at times, parts had to be purchased from shops so that also had to be done by us. So had to go with Chotu (the helper of the mechanic) on a scooter and buy the part. You see, we never trusted that mechanic.
The trust factor on local mechanic vs. AOC is a whole different discussion.

The last car which I had total involvement, wherein I would stand in the shop floor and see everything being done was with Daewoo Matiz. Once the company shut shop, the service center also didn't have any strict rules and would not mind customer walking onto the shop floor. Also the car would break down so often, that the only surviving workshop in West Delhi knew me as much as they knew their colleagues.

With my Honda, the ownership was a little more clinical.Watch the car through a glass facade. After the first few visits stopped visiting the service center altogether.

However, if I remember correctly, Honda at once had taken out a scheme wherein the owner could service the car himself in the presence of their trained mechanic. I couldn't go as my car was not due for service and afterwards they discontinued it. Not sure, but vaguely, remember a scheme like this.

I think this would be a great idea which will greatly enhance the consumer engagement with the brand and really add to the experience of owning a vehicle for enthusiasts like us. I esp. would love to do it, considering that otherwise, on my own I will never touch the car, in the fear that I might damage it.
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Old 25th January 2017, 19:00   #37
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Default Re: Modern cars & their owner's knowledge / ignorance about maintenance

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Originally Posted by psn View Post

With my Honda, the ownership was a little more clinical.Watch the car through a glass facade. After the first few visits stopped visiting the service center altogether.

However, if I remember correctly, Honda at once had taken out a scheme wherein the owner could service the car himself in the presence of their trained mechanic. I couldn't go as my car was not due for service and afterwards they discontinued it. Not sure, but vaguely, remember a scheme like this.
The practice of owners servicing their vehicles must have stopped. I was allowed to roam around and look at the cars being serviced and mine as well at Deccan Honda. No one stopped me.

I was busy checking how my car's Airbag sensor was being fixed without any one interfering.
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Old 25th January 2017, 19:58   #38
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Default Re: Modern cars & their owner's knowledge / ignorance about maintenance

I would like to add something here. Hope it helps.

My brother's Fiat Linea has had gear shift issues. First gear was too hard and things werent great while shifting to higher gears. We consulted:
1. Fiat After sales service: Withing 10 minutes of so called diagnosis, Said they need to change entire assembly: Pressure plate, Slave cylinder at related parts. About 25k INR. Decided to go for another one.
2. Bosch service center in Magarpatta Pune, they said we will have to remove the gear-box and see what is going on. Mostly it must be an issue with Slave cylinder or pressure plates. Will charge for opening the 'box.
3. Got to know from a colleague that there is one uncle who has a garage and repairs cars as hobby. Very knowledgeable person. Took the car to him, he explained each and every technicality to me and my brother. Said the Slave cylinder is working fine (without even opening the hood), explained me how a pressure plate works and told me that it is the culprit. We gave a go ahead. He took his own sweet time but kept on updating me by sending pictures of busted pressure plate and a bent gear cable part.
The car is new and he charged only 9k for everything. Explained every line item in the bill patiently. Not to mention the other knowledge related to how clutch bearings and slave cylinders are integrated in other cars and how for Fiat it is easier to procure parts compared to VW because of sites like 99rpm.com

So I learnt one thing from the entire episode. It is always a good thing to know as much as you can about your car. If we were ignorant we would have easily spent 25000 INR at Fiat service center or Bosch.
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Old 25th January 2017, 21:19   #39
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Default Re: Modern cars & their owner's knowledge / ignorance about maintenance

Excellent thread which most of us can relate to with.
In my case, I learnt driving on premier padmini, I was 24 then and I had ample time in life to buy spares, sit alongside mechanic and admire the work. It was a truly hands-on car.

12 years down the line things have changed, my kid and job has ensured I don't have same amount of time for cars as earlier.

Own a Nano and new baleno now. Nano in these 6 years has been great and surprisingly niggle free ( For a TATA car ).
I expect Baleno to be the same, so I have to admit I am slow to learn things about my existing cars.

I try to keep updated thanks to our forum, so we do keep learning from others experiences.

Last edited by silverado : 25th January 2017 at 21:22.
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Old 25th January 2017, 21:39   #40
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Default Re: Modern cars & their owner's knowledge / ignorance about maintenance

As cars get more reliable = need to know less of how to maintain or know how it works.
As cars get more widespread in ownership amongst the population = less want to know or can understand how it works or how to fix it.
As cars get more complex (electronics) = less have the ability to figure out how to repair.
As cars move to electrics = less moving parts = greater reliability = less need to know how to repair.

The car enthusiast or purist may despair but this journey isn't taking a U turn.

It is a tribute to today's cars that we don't have to open the bonnets anymore. Tinkering with my Padmini or Lambretta might have given me a sense of boyish usefulness but I couldn't go back to those products as the main line of transport today. For those who feel that A.S.S. today is not up to scratch - well there is truth there in terms of depth of knowledge. The older cars' simplicity lent themselves to being mastered and there were only 3 models to master. Like aircraft, cars have also moved to repair by replacement. It is the price we pay for the base product being so much more reliable.

Last edited by V.Narayan : 25th January 2017 at 21:52.
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Old 26th January 2017, 13:30   #41
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Default Re: Modern cars & their owner's knowledge / ignorance about maintenance

Because this forum is for car nuts, you'll feel this "ignorance of the masses" towards cars, but look at your everyday life and see how everything around you exists to make your life easier and you really don't know anything about how it works or how it was put together.

Your phone, fridge, AC, washing machine, the internet, your playstation, GPS, the RO. Chances are most people won't know how these work behind the scenes. They'd rather these things just work and would call a specialist when they stop.

Technology is at its best when its function, its purpose can be taken for granted. Cars should be no different.
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Old 26th January 2017, 13:37   #42
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Default Re: Modern cars & their owner's knowledge / ignorance about maintenance

Nice thread and my own memories of growing up with "repairable machines".

I have fond memories (age 3/4 then)of spreading fresh sheets of news paper and wiping carb parts clean from my father's Lambretta. He used to meticulously disassembled and reassembled it every month as part of the routine cleaning and service. My brothers used to put some of the parts together (mest air filter with a wing nut and bellow) and give it to him for putting it together. We also got a fatherly knock from the screwdriver end for messing up ... once in awhile.

I remember our Standard Herald, a full line up of Fiats (millecento, 110D, to Premier Padmini) and Ambassadors (Mark 2 to Nova). It was an institution for grown up men to sit in garages (many times with kids- we loved every bit) and getting theirs cars serviced.

Once particular instance is still unforgettable. One of our fiats (78 model)had a peculiar whining noise ( most of them had it) in the high gears (1st and reverse was loud) and my father would not tolerate a single rattle in the car let alone the gearbox or differential howling like a hungry wolf (that's the sound). After a few trials by our regular mechanic (Nickname Gundu) we took it to another mechanic (EX-515 army guy) in the cant area. For 5 weeks after that first visit, every saturday and sunday he used to pull the gearbox out, open it up, get all the innards out and put it back. Wola- the wolves would howl.. howl...
Towards the last week we started hearing less and less of the howl (this was placebo effect of seeing his hard work and telling us every time the sound has come down). He added some shims, changed the main bearings, got the counter gear from the used car place and changed the gaskets, orings and oil seals a couple of times. The great thing was he never charged for the 5 times ( and some spares free) and only focused on trying to solve the problem "which apparently he also did not know well" (trial and error). But then those days people were honest to the core and had pride in doing their work. We had been recommended to him and believed he could solve the problem. With his pride at stake he would not eat/drink lunch and continue to work through the day. He would also not accept other cars when we would pull in; that was the dedication...!!!

We stopped chasing the howling wolves, ran the car for some time and sold her.
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Old 27th January 2017, 02:45   #43
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Default Re: Modern cars & their owner's knowledge / ignorance about maintenance

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Originally Posted by Chetan_Rao View Post
Most regular customers aren't interested in their cars (as long as it works), technicians aren't interested either (beyond meeting their allotted numbers for the day), and the less said about Service Advisors, the better.

All good until something actually goes wrong, and nobody has an iota of an idea where to start looking, forget how to fix. Consequent part replacements follow the above cycle again, ad infinitum.
I tend to agree to these points.

Besides, with so much automation and electronics in the car, its really difficult to understand what exactly happens within the car. In the past, most components were pure mechanical.

For eg : I always hated people banging shut my car doors. one fine day, a relative banged shut my car door and the central locking stopped working along with power windows. Upon getting it checked at the Hyundai ASS, i figured out that some component / switch had been damaged and the only option was to "Replace" and no scope to "Repair". Cost aside, going forward, I make sure to open and close the doors myself when I am with people who just slam shut the door.

Having said the above, in the earlier days there were no electronics embedded in the doors , no power windows, simple mechanical locks and levers.

With so much sophistication in our cars, there is little that most people understand about what is going on under the hood.

But passionate drivers and owners will always find a way to understand the car better, know what is wrong and how to take care of their rides better than the general public.
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Old 28th January 2017, 09:36   #44
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Default Re: Modern cars & their owner's knowledge / ignorance about maintenance

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Originally Posted by techcoze View Post
I agree that with new modern cars, increased reliability and durability have made owners think less about maintenance. At the same time, average ownership ranges from 5-7 years, and most of the cars do not demand any serious maintenance during this period.
I guess we need to factor in the role drivers play in our country too..most car owners who don't drive but depend on drivers would prefer that maintenance costs are kept to a minimum, without ever compromising on reliability. Though such people are hard to find on this forum, the truth is they do exist, specially in the metros, where driving is a daily nightmare and best outsourced!!
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