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Old 30th March 2009, 10:36   #1
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Default Alto LXI - 2700 kms and some issues

My Alto has done 2700 kms in three and a half months and has undergone one servicing.

I am first time driver and take the vehicle out on weekends or holidays as I have a pool car for office. Experience has been mixed. I can't say I am overly joyed with everything but I must say I have little room for complaint.

Overall experience

I bought an Alto knowing fully well that power isn't going to be much. The low expectations paid off. I find the Alto sufficient for city driving and also on roads that allow me to go fast. By fast I mean up to 90. I don't drive faster than that. There is a problem when it comes to climbing flyovers with AC on. And if there are more than 2 people in the car, the problem is more evident.

The AC is good considering the weather. Come summer, and I expect the AC to show its true colours.

The car is good when it comes to bumper to bumper and stop and go traffic.

I don't seem to get exhausted after driving for 180 kms in city traffic. I did this last week when I went from West Delhi to Noida to Gurgaon and then to Rohini in the North West. I didn't feel fatigue and the car did not lose out on performance.

Fuel efficiency surprised me. I have tried calculating the FE by the tank full to tank full method. I filled it to the brim at 1784 kms when the needle was well below the 'red' line. I refilled when the needle touched the red line again. I had filled in around 31 litres at that time. The car travelled exactly 600 kms at the time of re-fill. That comes to around 19 or 20 km to the litre. This is without much of AC usage.

Now the issues

1. The right driver side door rattles a lot.
2. There is a weird problem. When the fuel is low and the needle is barely above the red line, the engine seems to stop for 2 seconds. I was cruising smoothly at around 50 and had to take a turn at a round-about. I did not change gears (I was on fourth) and slowed down to around 35kmph. The engine stopped (switched off) and when I pressed the accelerator pedal, it started off again. THis happened several times and stopped happening only when I filled fuel.
3. There are a lot of jerks when the car is in 2nd gear and at around 5 or 10 kmph. This happens whether I am going from 3rd gear to 2nd or 1st to 2nd. Can't understand why this should happen.
4. Major loss of power when AC is on. When normally I can go on 3rd, I have to per force use 2nd or sometimes 1st gear when AC is on.

I will be checking the FE again and try and be more accurate this time. SOme things I do while driving on which I would like some expert comments.

1. I switch off the engine when standing at a traffic signal for more than 50 seconds. Is it advisable or am I doing something wrong?
2. I once drove for about 3 kms with the hand brake on. What sort of problems can that lead to?
3. How do I avoid jerking at 2nd gear (problem mentioned above)?

I hope to get substantial responses on this. Thanks
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Old 30th March 2009, 12:29   #2
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The FE you are getting is fantastic. About your queries, first of all I am not an expert.

Quote:
Originally Posted by travelwriter View Post
My Alto has done 2700 kms in three and a half months and has undergone one servicing.

I am first time driver and take the vehicle out on weekends or holidays as I have a pool car for office. Experience has been mixed. I can't say I am overly joyed with everything but I must say I have little room for complaint.



1. The right driver side door rattles a lot.
2. There is a weird problem. When the fuel is low and the needle is barely above the red line, the engine seems to stop for 2 seconds. I was cruising smoothly at around 50 and had to take a turn at a round-about. I did not change gears (I was on fourth) and slowed down to around 35kmph. The engine stopped (switched off) and when I pressed the accelerator pedal, it started off again. THis happened several times and stopped happening only when I filled fuel.
3. There are a lot of jerks when the car is in 2nd gear and at around 5 or 10 kmph. This happens whether I am going from 3rd gear to 2nd or 1st to 2nd. Can't understand why this should happen.
4. Major loss of power when AC is on. When normally I can go on 3rd, I have to per force use 2nd or sometimes 1st gear when AC is on.

I will be checking the FE again and try and be more accurate this time. SOme things I do while driving on which I would like some expert comments.
1 Door Rattle : Get it fixed during next service. Nothing major to worry about.
2) The pump is not able to get fuel from the tank. This happens when you are running too low on fuel. Also dont rely too much on fuel gauge, this is from my experience. Its nice when its full, but then towards the lower end the efficiency of the gauge reduces. Sometimes I feel that the gauge should be digital displaying the amount of fuel in tank in ltrs.
3) Maruti has a very strict fuel cut off system and this makes the car very jerky. Life off at slow speed and the engine is ready to idle. Considering that you are driving at slow speed i.e. 5, the engine rpm is not very high. So as soon as you lift off, the cut off system starts its work. Also does this happen when you are shifting from 1st to 2nd at 10 kmph ? Or when you are shifting into 3rd from 2nd at 20 kmph ?
This can also be attributed to short shifting.

4) I havent heard of major loss. Yes there is loss and more felt as its mill is small, but if its not extreme such that the car loses a lot of power even at 3K rpm in 3rd gear, this is not much of a problem.

Last edited by aaggoswami : 30th March 2009 at 12:35.
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Old 30th March 2009, 13:05   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelwriter View Post
...
Now the issues

1. The right driver side door rattles a lot.
2. There is a weird problem. When the fuel is low and the needle is barely above the red line, the engine seems to stop for 2 seconds. I was cruising smoothly at around 50 and had to take a turn at a round-about. I did not change gears (I was on fourth) and slowed down to around 35kmph. The engine stopped (switched off) and when I pressed the accelerator pedal, it started off again. THis happened several times and stopped happening only when I filled fuel.
3. There are a lot of jerks when the car is in 2nd gear and at around 5 or 10 kmph. This happens whether I am going from 3rd gear to 2nd or 1st to 2nd. Can't understand why this should happen.
4. Major loss of power when AC is on. When normally I can go on 3rd, I have to per force use 2nd or sometimes 1st gear when AC is on.
...

1. Welcome to the club! The best way out of this is to get some damping material. I had to live with this for 1.5 years before it went out. And the rattling was only there when the glass was at mid level, so I used to drive with AC most of the time. Damping fixed it for me now.

2. Fuel up! You will end up doing more damage by driving with such low fuel! Nothing wrong here, there just wasn't fuel. Do not wait for the fuel indicator to fall at your feet (literally!).

3. 5~10kmph is the 1st gear zone. Do not expect too much from this little 796cc engine.

4. At what power are you using the Ac. But regardless, yes, the powerful Ac is a drain on the engine power. Nothing much to do about it except getting used to it and changing driving style.


Quote:
Originally Posted by travelwriter View Post
...
I will be checking the FE again and try and be more accurate this time. SOme things I do while driving on which I would like some expert comments.

1. I switch off the engine when standing at a traffic signal for more than 50 seconds. Is it advisable or am I doing something wrong?
2. I once drove for about 3 kms with the hand brake on. What sort of problems can that lead to?
3. How do I avoid jerking at 2nd gear (problem mentioned above)?

I hope to get substantial responses on this. Thanks
I will neglect the expert part, since I am not one. But from a owners point-of-view, here it is:

1. Nothing wrong. Would like to follow this practice.

2. Brake wear, clutch wear (search and you will get a SX4 with fried clutch and the suspect is this). Apart from that, loss of fuel economy and some engine strain.

3. Drive in proper gear. Power up well before you change gear and also, downshift at the proper speed / rpm. Listen to the engine, it talks.
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Old 30th March 2009, 13:08   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by travelwriter View Post
2. There is a weird problem. When the fuel is low and the needle is barely above the red line.
3. There are a lot of jerks when the car is in 2nd gear and at around 5 or 10 kmph. This happens whether I am going from 3rd gear to 2nd or 1st to 2nd. Can't understand why this should happen.
4. Major loss of power when AC is on. When normally I can go on 3rd, I have to per force use 2nd or sometimes 1st gear when AC is on.

1. I switch off the engine when standing at a traffic signal for more than 50 seconds. Is it advisable or am I doing something wrong?
2. I once drove for about 3 kms with the hand brake on. What sort of problems can that lead to?
3. How do I avoid jerking at 2nd gear (problem mentioned above)?
Congrats on your buy. The Alto is a very good city car. I have been a proud owner of one since last May.

To address your queries:

1. Do not let your fuel level come down so low that it leads to the stalling of the engine. You will damage your fuel pump (the fuel in the tank is used to cool the pump) and the sloshing around inside the tank will also lead to improper feed to the engine causing damage in the long run.

Always fill up when the needle is nearing the red mark. I have checked many times and the red marking means that there is about 4 litres of pertol remaining in the tank

2. The jerks that you experience is because you are shifting into a high gear at a very low speed. Ideally, 2'nd gear is engaged when you are at a minimum speed of 10 kmph. Sometimes, the jerks could be caused due to an improper release of the clutch, so release the clutch gradually and this should stop. If the problem persists, get it checked at your II service.

3. The loss of power with the AC on is normal for the Alto. The AC performs brilliantly in the summers and you feel the chills inside the car. But, keep the car in her peak power band and you will not have a problem with power trailing off.

4. Switching off at signals will not cause a problem, but try and switch off only when you have to wait for more than a minute. This will go a long way in saving the environment and increasing your vehicle's FE.

5. Always release your handbrake before you drive, but as you have driven for only about 3 km, there won't be any problem.

You are getting phenomenal fuel efficiency from your car. Try averaging out your reading to arrive at a correct figure.

Hope these few tips help.

Cheers,
gpa
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Old 30th March 2009, 14:34   #5
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Default Lessons learnt

Thanks gpa, aaggo and happywheels.

I realize the problem is with my driving (the jerks part). I feel the jerks even between 2nd and 3rd. I realize it is because of not reaching the required speed before changing gears. And I also learnt what short gear means!

THe hand brake incident was a one-off thing. I usually put the vehicle on first or reverse gear when parking. I am certain this won't be a recurring phenomenon.

The fuel gauge indication is not accurate is news to me. Although I have had my doubts on the fuel level vis a vis the indication, I thought a company like Maruti cannot go wrong. At least now I know when to fill up. Like most people advice, I plan to fill in when the indicator is at 25% level and try to fill the tank (pocket permitting!)

Overall, I like the car. Yes, I do letch at bigger and better looking cars but I know this is the best deal I could have at this price. The comfort it offers is also matchless. I really liked the Spark when I drove it to test it but then the overall package including after sales support makes the Alto a clear winner.

I am now looking forward to long drives this summer and hope to keep up the FE at that level. It is time to push and see what Alto can offer me.

Ah! So I am not alone in the rattle situation! I will show it to the service centre once it is due for the second service and get their view point also.

One more query. Do we have to change the oil before the second service? When is a change advised?
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Old 30th March 2009, 14:46   #6
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...One more query. Do we have to change the oil before the second service? When is a change advised?
Check your car's manual and you will get the full run down of what needs to be done when. That is the best bet.
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Old 30th March 2009, 14:46   #7
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I guess the oil must have been changed when you gave the car in for it's first service at around the 1000km mark or one month from the date of purchase, whichever came first. From that reading, get the oil changed after running for 5000kms
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Old 30th March 2009, 14:50   #8
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One more query. Do we have to change the oil before the second service? When is a change advised?
Oil will be changed during third service (last free service) at 12 months.
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Old 30th March 2009, 17:47   #9
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Oil will be changed during third service (last free service) at 12 months.
Yes, that is what MASS will do as per their service norms but oil change is recommended every 5000kms. In case your car has already run 5000kms since the last oil change (1st free service), do get the oil changed and the oil filter replaced, that is best for the engine
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Old 30th March 2009, 17:53   #10
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Thanks guys.

I will go for a change. Any idea which brand of oil I should use? I go to a company owned service outlet in Delhi but I would still like to be choosy on this.
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Old 30th March 2009, 18:03   #11
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Use whatever oil is sold by A.S.S

It would make life easy in case of warranty claims. Otherwise they have a scapegoat. And then you have to explain that the oil is correct as per rating mentioned in Owner's manual.
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Old 30th March 2009, 18:05   #12
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Thanks guys.

I will go for a change. Any idea which brand of oil I should use? I go to a company owned service outlet in Delhi but I would still like to be choosy on this.
I use Castrol GTX Magnatec for all my cars and IMHO, is the best !
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Old 30th March 2009, 18:28   #13
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But as NetfreakBombay suggests, do get it done through your authorsed service centre only so as to negate any warranty issues of non compliance !
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Old 8th April 2009, 16:57   #14
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I have started using the AC regularly now and have noticed 2 issues.

1. When the AC is on, there is a deep humming sound from the engine. More like a drone. It is as if I were driving too slow in the 4th gear. But this sound comes even when I am at 55 on the 4th gear. This happens only when the AC is on
2. While I agree there will be a marginal loss in power when AC is switched on, I feel as if my front brake lever is engaged while driving. It is also because of the thing mentioned in point 1.

Can someone help me with this? Is this a serious issue?
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Old 8th April 2009, 17:58   #15
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Originally Posted by travelwriter View Post
I have started using the AC regularly now and have noticed 2 issues.

1. When the AC is on, there is a deep humming sound from the engine. More like a drone. It is as if I were driving too slow in the 4th gear. But this sound comes even when I am at 55 on the 4th gear. This happens only when the AC is on
2. While I agree there will be a marginal loss in power when AC is switched on, I feel as if my front brake lever is engaged while driving. It is also because of the thing mentioned in point 1.

Can someone help me with this? Is this a serious issue?
TW,
1. This is normal. When you run the a/c the engine will run at a higher RPM and this might be what you are having here. But you say that the sound is there even when running at 55kmph, mmm... now what can that be! I think you have a very sensitive set of ears!

2. Ok, the good a/c on this puny engine does take it toll. You will certainly feel a very noticeable drop in engine performance with a/c. All normal.

Both (provided you have sensitive ears) are not serious issues.
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