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View Poll Results: Would you use an online service for maintenance & repairs?
Yes 35 27.56%
No 92 72.44%
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Old 26th July 2017, 11:29   #1
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Default Online car service / maintenance providers: Would you use them?

Online car service / maintenance providers: Would you use them?-car-app.png

We live in an era where, if there's an idea, there's a 'startup' for it. There's an app for it. There's someone trying to 'solve a problem'.

In the area of car maintenance, several players have mushroomed in the recent past - Cartisan, Bumper.com, Koovers and many more.

Question is, would you use them?

The way that I see it, there are distinct categories of owners & cars. Broadly, we can safely assume that over 90% of cars will continue visiting the authorised dealer for service & repair over the initial 4 - 5 years. The 5-year point is crucial as that's when most car owners sell their cars (silly IMHO - related thread). Those original owners who hold onto their cars for the 6th & maybe 7th year (very few original owners do) might still consider the authorised dealership. Primary reason = trust issues. Remember, a small % of owners are petrol-heads, thus a majority prefer the 'safe' option of a dealer instead of a corner garage.

Now, 2nd owners - those who buy used - usually look for options that are either value-for-money or cheap. That's the reason they bought a used car in the first place. If someone buys a used car from the organised segment (i.e. Maruti True Value, Mahindra First Choice), there's a fair chance they'll prefer the organised segment for maintenance as well. This customer clearly doesn't mind paying a bit of a premium for peace of the mind. On the other hand, those who buy a used car from the unorganised segment or directly from a seller usually have some knowledge in place already about car buying & ownership. Pertinent to note that the unorganised segment makes up for an overwhelming majority of used car sales in India.

I fit into the latter category. I have my network of car garages & workshops who I've known for years & trust completely. My cars will ONLY go to these outlets. I will NEVER send my car to an unknown player, and hence won't ever use this new breed of car maintenance apps. If I don't know someone for a specific need, I'll look up options in the Team-BHP Directory. Only time I've used online options is for buying parts, accessories & batteries (e.g.

3rd owners normally buy 7 - 10 year old cars dirt cheap & maintain these cars dirt cheap. This kind of customer will always cut corners and look for the cheapest possible option in terms of spares & labour. They aren't exactly your target market for online apps.

Of course, the above-listed points are a mass generalisation, yet they apply to most of the market. Exceptions will be there - we are after all a vast country...a country of innumerable tastes, preferences & cultures. The way that I see it, online maintenance & service apps have a small target market to begin with; that is, owners of 5 - 7 year old cars who are also tech-friendly, will trust the unknown, don't know of any reliable independent workshop & find the dealer too expensive. Even here, the online service providers have to face competition from the branded guys sitting in between authorised dealers & the unorganised segment; I'm talking of players such as Bosch, MyTVS, Mahindra First Choice & the like.

*Please vote on the public poll!*

Related Threads:

Would you buy spare parts online?

Indian apps for servicing & buying

Last edited by GTO : 26th July 2017 at 13:26.
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Old 26th July 2017, 13:22   #2
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Default Re: Online car service / maintenance providers: Would you use them?

Thread moved out from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section)!
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Old 26th July 2017, 13:39   #3
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Default Re: Online car service / maintenance providers: Would you use them?

Though the idea is more like a market place to get best out of available service providers i would end up taking my car to the known mechanic only. Secondly i may still use the app to seek recommendation but might never use it.

It looks like an aggregation application. Problem for them is to attract the 2nd category you mentioned. The 1st category will live their 4 years including extended warranty under the companies service network while the second category is mixed. I would still say around 50% prefer company service and others like us go to personal garages.

Category 3 is probably running the car in kerosene like you said and would look for cost based solution only.

We are probably talking about 50% of second hand car owners in general to use this app.

Last edited by GTO : 27th July 2017 at 16:46. Reason: Typo
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Old 26th July 2017, 13:57   #4
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Default Re: Online car service / maintenance providers: Would you use them?

Ugh. By mistake, I clicked on YES in the poll.

But the answer is no. I simply don't trust independent garages - whether it is in the neighborhood or recommended by an app. And that includes not just servicing, but even bodywork.

The reason for lack of trust is a couple of bad experiences with neighborhood garages many years back. Also, I'd assume that authorized dealers will have standardized procedures for car servicing or accident repair. If I have issues with quality of service or work done, I have the option of escalating the issue to the manufacturer.
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Old 26th July 2017, 14:14   #5
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Default Re: Online car service / maintenance providers: Would you use them?

Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Broadly, we can safely assume that over 90% of cars will continue visiting the authorised dealer for service & repair over the initial 4 - 5 years.
I'll rephrase this. A new car owner would continue with the authorized service till the warranty/extended warranty period is over. Continuing beyond that point will depend on the following factors:

1. Customer experience with the service center till that point.
2. Availability of cheaper spares outside.
3. Availability of personnel who you can trust your with, and their expertise.
4. Desire to mod the car (encompassing cosmetic, remaps, plonking turbos et al).
5. Type of failures.
6. Expertise in specific areas of modification/maintenance. For example: Improving illumination, Wheel alignment/wheel balancing, Tyres, Detailing

Originally Posted by GTO View Post
Question is, would you use them?
There are few cases, such providers come in handy:

a. You are new to town, and not well versed with where you can get the job done.
b. Lack of networking with fellow owners in the place of residence. Combine this with unsatisfactory service experience.
c. Criticality of the job at hand.

What such providers would give them, is an opportunity to find the best one yourself, if you fall into the category a or b with c being the deciding factor on how much trial and error you can do.

After all such apps are a digitized mobile versions of good ol' yellow pages
As of the poll, I did vote NO. Being part of this community, there have been no dearth of experience from owners and options you get for any sort of job across the country.

For critical things, I would rather post my problem and get possible ideas from fellow owners than shoot in the dark with an unknown service provider.

I wouldn't mind using one of these providers, for anything non-critical though.

Last edited by narayans80 : 26th July 2017 at 14:15.
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Old 26th July 2017, 14:41   #6
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Default Re: Online car service / maintenance providers: Would you use them?

Too many start-ups with such services off late and not a clue about the Industry and market dynamics or customer sentiments when it comes to owning cars.

Not so long ago, one of my close friends invited me to meet his friend's "Start-up" where I stay for consultation as he was operating an app based Multi-brand car servicing Business.
  • The Equipment used: I could see couple of folks working on their desks while a lot of equipment like Oil cans, Filters, Tripod Jack Stands and other tools were lying around

  • The Knowledge matters: Apart from that, they showed me a demo of what they had "Programmed" and created a connector to read out various parameters from the OBD, completely or partially oblivious to the fact that an OBD reader and a good paid software can do all what they programmed and still be able to display values for all the parameters that they were looking for. I shared with them links to some of the popular OBD adapters as well as few from Team-Bhp including one that Anurag had reviewed few years before

  • What about Parts? When asked about how they manage fast moving parts associated with regular service, they responded that it was sourced from the nearby popular Automotive spare parts store - Essentially, they relied completely on the store rather than have any kind of parts catalog for the vehicles they intended to service

  • Who does all the work?They have a Mechanic who is their "Service Advisor" who would overlook at servicing these cars while few boys do the service - You know the faces will be different the next time you service your car again. That typical labor problem associated with such models

  • What Oil do they use? The oil cans seen here were mostly Shell Helix and the know-how the folks had about the Grades to be used, type of oil (Mineral Vs Synthetic) was something that would easily make anyone of us raise their eyebrows. Hence, you may not get the choice of oils you want unless you inform them in advance and if they can manage with that.

  • In-Warranty Service? At least they were clear that they can only service cars that are out of warranty and that they would probe this upon booking and only then arrange the service. Else, they would straightaway advise the owner to visit an ASC for the service if the car was still under warranty

  • Fear of spurious imitations: There was one particular brand of Air Filter (commonly used size for Maruti's small cars) and he was of the interest to know what is my take on that - Honestly, I had no clue about that brand but what I was told was that it cost at lesser than the Stock filter supplied by Maruti. It was certainly not Purolator

The reason to bring all these points into this post was intentional : The Start-up was into the Business of servicing cars and it matters to most of us when we notice certain things are not satisfactory or don't have a compelling response. The fact that I voted for a NO was due to these reasons.

While I have seen big names arrive and disappear when it comes to Multi-Brand car servicing, I have also seen enough cases where the experience and expertise levels of folks manning these are lower than one can expect and it all runs on false propaganda, well most of the times.

Even if it meant changing oil only, I would be more comfortable to give my car to someone who has done this on the same car for at least 50 times. He will know the quantity to pour and the right place to fix that tool to drain the oil. He should also know the amount of torque to apply to fix that Oil filter and the Drain bolt back. My car is not your Guinea Pig, Sorry and you can look elsewhere. You may want to deny that but this happens with a lot of us where we see the mechanics are clueless on where to start!

Services from these App based service providers are leveraged mainly with the intent of saving time (if not money) and the convenience of getting it done right at your doorstep - With that, I expect them to service my car the way I would expect it at the ASC. You need to be well equipped.

Lastly, when you avail services from these chaps, you know that they will not troubleshoot any issues you may have and even if they do, they would not fix the issue right there which may be either due to lack of part at that point in time or the lack of right equipment to carry out the task and then you would have to visit the ASC anyway.

Last edited by paragsachania : 26th July 2017 at 14:44.
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Old 26th July 2017, 14:52   #7
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Default Re: Online car service / maintenance providers: Would you use them?

Though I have voted with a NO from a personal perspective, I am sure there could be a market for such services especially for those who want a job done by someone/anyone rather than being picky and choosy as long as the job is done in a "satisfactory" manner rather than in a manner that it "should" be done. The market that goes for the "cheap and best" would surely be able to use such services. Further, as stated narayans80, when one has trouble in a new place, such a service could come in handy.
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Old 26th July 2017, 15:58   #8
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Default Re: Online car service / maintenance providers: Would you use them?

I have voted No, as I've always had to go back to the service center when I'm not standing beside my car. Most of the service guys (service advisors) don't actually work on your car, but hand over the work for routine jobs like air-filter change, oil change etc. to newbies/mechanics. My SA is a very knowledgeable person, but he has lots of paper work and part ordering to do. He does do the unusual jobs himself, but he is not always around the car to supervise.

Simple mistakes like forgetting to screw on 1 or 2 screws of the filter box, or not rotating the wheels, not using torque wrenches etc can't be caught easily. There are very few garages where the mechanics know proper techniques and are very rare to find. Such people will care for our car more than us - but - this amount of perfection takes times. A car I know undergoing painting is waiting for the monsoon to get over as the priming and base coating took too long ! The job is impeccable, but time taken is more.

Such services could be useful for fleet owners. I for one would definitely try it on my Spark or WagonR, but not on my Abarth Punto.
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Old 27th July 2017, 18:14   #9
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Default Re: Online car service / maintenance providers: Would you use them?

The biggest issue our country faces in car service industry is the lack of expertise. It is very difficult to find a good individual who will not tricky you into unwanted bills and give proper advice. The authorized service centers ensure that we can get hold of them if something goes wrong. Same is not applicable to our neighborhood garages. At the same time, even car owners are not knowledgeable so there is always a risk of people taking you for a ride !

But, if you get lucky (I got lucky) and find a person who will guide you properly on service, nothing like it ! And online portals can be very helpful in finding one. I can imagine if my service guy puts his ad online, he will be twice as rich, but he is an old man and wont go beyond whatsapp.

This is a good start, I haven't used it, but I might in future. If these portals/apps provide honest/impartial reviews and ratings for both users and service providers (like AirBnB, they have very strict policies for ads and reviews, like Team-bhp) we can get a fair idea about how they work. Infact 'justdial' gives such information, but is very poorly managed and not at all reliable.

If I have to use it, I would start with small issues and see how it progresses, but I don't feel the need at this point as my garages are figured out. For others it might be not be the case. Online portals are going to increase and that is the way forward. So I would say use it, but not blindly.
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Old 27th July 2017, 19:50   #10
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Default Re: Online car service / maintenance providers: Would you use them?

No! Never - not even for detailing due to below reasons:
1. They are not the "Company Authorized" people
2. Who will guarantee the fair source & usage of spares?
3. Expertise?
4. Infrastructure?
5. Proper training?
6. May void warranty - not sure...
7. My conservative mentality! I am happy with Service at Authorized Service Station, detailing at 3M
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Old 27th July 2017, 20:43   #11
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Default Re: Online car service / maintenance providers: Would you use them?


To put it simply, I have jitters sending our Jetta down to the friendly Bosch garage, let alone get it serviced through an app or unknown garage. For some reason, people in many garages (especially where I live) lack accountability. They don't sound confident at all. I called a Bosch garage here and asked him about things like routine maintenance of my car and the likes. The personnel on the other side sounded too casual and didn't have a clue about the availability of parts. I scrapped the idea of any service app or FNG for my car then and there.

However, if I have to go and stand near the car, have a good rapport with the mechanic and get to see what is being done, I can savour the courage. But the questions is, who has the time these days?? My dad does not have time to drop the car at the service centre, let alone stand next to it.

Even if the Service centre personnel do commit an error, I can atleast hold them accountable and they are fairly quick in solving their mistakes majority of the times.

What I like about the app and FNGs:
- Easier to find service centres
- Much cheaper, especially for the European cars
- A known FNG can be trustworthy as well

What I don't Like:
- Trust is an issue, especially for first time goers
- FNGs take more time to source parts for routine maintenance (Acc. to personal experience)
- Finding a competent FNG has become difficult, even in tier 2 cities
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Old 27th July 2017, 21:06   #12
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Default Re: Online car service / maintenance providers: Would you use them?

I swear by FNGs, but not sure if I will use such an app.

None of my cars have been to the authorized dealerships post the warranty. It doesn't help when your nearest dealerships are downright unprofessional. Finding a good FNG is a challenge but TBHP never disappoints. You can be sure about the recommendations here. I tried 2 FNGs based on recommendations of members and have not regretted. The third one is an old acquaintance whom I know from his Maruti days, but now he has started his independent garage.

Going with an FNG depends directly on the brand you own. If the spares are available OTC, there is no reason to visit a dealership to get fleeced.
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Old 27th July 2017, 23:31   #13
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Default Re: Online car service / maintenance providers: Would you use them?

Let me add one more group to the above classification of owners.

They buy the popular brands - something which will always be listed in the Top 20 of our sales chart - and are simply waiting for the warranty period to get over to move service from the authorized dealer.

This could be due to:
1) cost - high labour charges at the authorized dealer.
2) savings - FNG sticks to the job card recommended by the owner unlike the dealer who will always look for an 'up sell'.
3) or sheer convenience - distance wise or the hassle around booking service etc.

These guys buy the popular model so that the resale is easier and the cars are perceived to be very reliable. And the latter is very true to a great extend. So, the bare minimum work at each service will do.

At present, the majority sticks with the authorized service center. But if these new age service providers can bring in transparency and trust, I think a big percentage of owners from the above group will jump ship.
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Old 28th July 2017, 09:58   #14
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Default Re: Online car service / maintenance providers: Would you use them?

I have voted for 'Yes', since I have already had such service from 'Gobumpr' in Chennai, for dents removal & painting. About 4 months back, when I checked with Skoda's Authorized Service Centre about how much it costs per panel for the above work, they said it was around ₹9000. Having to do the same on 2 rear doors and the quarter panel behind it, I declined. After a few days, I happened to see an offer on 'Gobumpr' saying they do the same at ₹2500 per panel. I checked with them, and they asked me to send the photograph of the dents. Then based on my location, they suggested few workshops, among which I chose one with which they had good experience with good feedback.

With respect to my experience, it was good; Better than expected; Did not find any noticeable difference in colour. I could complete dent / painting work on 4 panels and painting on 2 OVRM's at ₹10,500.

At the sametime, I will certainly go only to the Authorized centres, if it had to do anything with the functions / performance of the vehicle, especially when the vehicle is under warranty.
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Old 28th July 2017, 17:37   #15
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Default Re: Online car service / maintenance providers: Would you use them?

Voted 'No'.

Same reasoning as most people above - Unprofessional, clueless folks running many startups makes me stay away from such cases.
Any random person is employed with minimal training and I cannot trust my prized possession in their hands.
I would any day drive down to the authorised dealer or my trusted body shop.
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