Join Date: May 2014
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| | Re: Friendly Neighbourhood Garage - SMK Car Works (Hosa Road, Bangalore)
SMK Car works (Rajesh’s Garage https://goo.gl/maps/s4wmWgZ7Rgqw8jSt9
I am put up in Kadugodi, Bangalore. I own a 2013 Model White Fiat Punto 90hp. This is my seventh year of ownership (80K kms). I will try to pen my experiences with FASS and how I ended up with Rajesh in a chronological format.
- Bought the car from Vecto Motors on their 2013-December discount sale (1 Lakh cash discount). Also registered in December itself. Everyone including my FIL (he was the bank manager who was giving me the loan) was dead against buying a Punto. I just did what every enthusiast would do. I went ahead with heart vs head and got my Punto.
- Color I wanted was Red, but wife insisted on White, I was fine as well I was getting the car I wanted.
- Showroom experience was abysmal. I don’t even have the picture of the official key handover. No puja or any other formalities
- Gave it up for first checkup at Vecto Motors, everything was fine, delivered the car by EOD.
- I have been to Mysore for the first trip and second trip was to Ooty.
- I was so obsessed, I didn’t let anybody touch the car, neither in family or valets.
- On the downside, I haven’t got the wheel alignment/balancing done for the first 10000kms.
- First service was done and right strut pads were replaced in warranty.
- The vehicle was heavily pulling to left, Vecto couldn’t identify and I thought all Puntos have left pulling.
- Issue1: In March 2014, Central right AC vent was throwing marginally hotter air compared to the left vent. I was panicked as the car was very new and took it to Vecto. Almost a research project was conducted on my car, for ex: change the hp and lp pipes and take the temp measurements from ac vents, in warranty, they have changed every AC part in the bonnet of the car. Still issue remained. They dismantled the dashboard, checked, cleaned and refitted, still issue remained. Car was with Vecto for 3 weeks. An engineer from Fiat visited, he said no issue with the car. Then, I got involved in debugging the issue, I asked them to remove the cabin filter and take measurements, voila solved the problem, ac vents have the same temperature.
- Root Cause Analysis: 2013 models from factory have a mesh type cabin filter, Fiat has changed the design to a paper type in 2014 Evo. This new filter seem to effect the airflow and temperature. Case closed. Neither FASS or Fiat have communicated this to customer. FASS itself was unaware unless the told them about it. Huh. My trust with Vecto Motors Ends here.
- I became part of a Whatsapp Fiat Owners Grp Bangalore.
- They have suggested Aadya FASS, which was having very good name back then.
- For second service I have visited them, SAs and CRM were super friendly.
- They have identified a coil spring rubbing the chasis and they wanted to replace in warranty. I said ok.
- Everything went fine I was out of the workshop with a smile.
- Still car was left pulling, They couldn’t fix.
- In between I was doing long trips, car was doing 55K now.
- Came for the big service to Aadya Motors, in which they replace the timing chain (service cost could touch ~32K+).
- Right front wheel was wobbling when I accelerate. They did multiple, test rides, said, all ok with the car and issue was with my brain. I said ok. Huh.
- Clutch and everything related was also replaced in this service, it was hard.
- All fluids were changed.
- Brakes replaced.
- All done with service, with all happy smiles and conversation with the SA, I left Aadya (Spent 38K).
- I was proceeding to my home town (700kms), stopped by the road side in between, opened the bonnet. Coolant was empty. I was shocked. My disbelief with FASS came out true. Called my SA. He said, I know it will happen, we have put extra coolant in your boot. I was shell shocked as I wasn’t intimated anytime about this behavior.
- Clutch was super hard now.
- Brakes felt like nonexistent.
- I came back to Bangalore from the trip and took it to Aadya (Extra 8K)
- Complained about low speed wobbling.
- C mount was found worn out and replaced. Still Issue persisted.
- Hard clutch. Bleeding also did not help.
- Brakes were bleeded and they were fine.
- I visited twice, Service time and follow up visit, to KHT Yeshwantpur as Aadya had shut shop (Spent 30K)
- Complained about wobbling.
- Replaced both lower arms. But changed nothing.
- Harsh front suspension Replaced
- Clutch becomes hard as the car is on the move.
- I insisted on replacing both slave and master cylinder.
- Many leaks near and around timing chain, SA denied doing anything on engine was they feel it’s not major.
- Visited as a follow up at KHT Mahadevapura as my SA at Aadya was working here.
- Vaccum pump leak was corrected, still there’s some leak around it.
- Front Wheel bearings were replaced.
- General service.
- Denied to work on the leaks of the Engine saying it’s not major.
- Total cost (35K)
- This year was a bummer for me.
- I was proceeding to airport at 3AM in morning with my baby and wife. Somewhere in Budigere road, car refused to pickup. I was shocked and worried, didn’t know if it would start if I stop it. I proceeded in the same way to airport in limp mode. Max speed it could do was 60 kmph.
- Came back from trip and took it to KHT, my SA had given my case to somebody as he’s only handling Jeep.
- They have suggested me to clean EGR. I said OK. They had cleaned and refitted twice as there was a leak around it. Noticed that pick up was better and delivered.
- Pickup issue came back in days and I took the car again to them, they said, EGR needs replacement, which costs 40K.
- Suggested me a MAF replacement, which I did, fixed the issue for 2 days and came back.
- I was shell shocked as the car value in market isn’t much and cant afford to repair with such huge amount, FASS wasn’t sure enough that EGR was faulty, I thought something fishy was certainly going wrong.
- I had 2 cars to buy in my mind YARIS CVT or Nexon Petrol AMT and spoke with corresponding showrooms for the exchange value etc.
- I had planned to sell the car in as is state. I took the case to my FIAT whatsapp grp. They insisted me to visit Rajesh for once.
- I had very least expectations. My only thought was, IF FASS couldn’t fix it, what an FNG would fix!
- Rajesh’s Era – 2019, 2020:
- I am not associated with Rajesh to endorse him or a FASS hater, the above and below experiences are true.
- In November 2019, I took my car to Rajesh.
- As soon as you see the garage, it looks old, and can fit a car to repair at max.
- You will see a FIAT Adventure which he uses as a spare godown.
- Looks are deceiving in his garage’s case. Wait to meet Rajesh, your opinion will entirely change, so did mine.
- It was raining and I drove amidst and reached his garage. To test him, I told that the right wheel is wobbling at slow speeds (ailing complaint from 2016).
- Wheel was all wet, however, he shook the entire muddy wheel with his hands. I almost stopped him. I felt like I gave a punishment sorts.
- He said, the drive shaft is slightly loose, he will tighten as part of service. I said to myself “lets see”.
- After test drive, he had put the car on a ramp, removed the engine guard cover.
- There were leaks all over the timing chain section of the engine (ailing complaint since 2015).
- He said, something is fishy with EGR.
- To fix oil leaks from engine, he asked me to fix the timing chain seal once and for all and get a new water pump. He also said, FASS did not fit the seal properly and it’s not sitting as expected. Quoted me some money, I was ok as I was prepared for the last investment on my Punto.
- He suggested me to replace all oils and fluids as the brake oil looks in bad condition. I said ok.
- I complained about clutch hardness. He said, will look at it.
- Wheel bearings were not fit by KHT correctly.
- I left the car with him, evening he has called me and told me about the steering pump leak. New one costs 11K and overhaul costs 5K. He told me overhaul works fine. I said ok.
- Rajesh always claimed, “I assure you sir, zero oil leaks will be there, car is very good, don’t give up now”.
- I had got nothing to do, I was depressed, as my Punto left a hole in my pocket already, nowhere to go for service if Rajesh also fails, my family was already taunting and haunting me over my dumb decision of Punto.
- 3 days later I went to pick up the car, I took it for a test drive, difference was day and night.
- I was madly grinning while I can feel the pickup of the car, the silentness of the engine, precise steering, the true balanced ride, which I missed from 4 Years of ownership. It was just like stock.
- The wheel wobble that ruined the feel of my car was gone forever.
- Steering feedback was back to stock. Excellent.
- Mid gear pick up was improved by a margin.
- Clutch hardness is reduced, but something is still messy, he asked me to get the clutch replaced, as he has done everything he could, I believe him.
- I asked Rajesh, was there any problem with EGR, how does the pickup came back to stock. He said, “EGR was never cleaned properly, the honeycomb was never washed with diesel, I can already see your bill is huge, I haven’t charged you for EGR cleaning”. I was having happy tears inside of me.
- I did not want to celebrate it yet as my happiness with my car was always short lived considering my FASS experiences.
- So, after 6 months, recently I had completed 7000Kms on my car from Rajesh’s service, I had come to my hometown on a 1000km trip in my car along with my baby and wife.
- I believe I can say his claim was 100% true, “There are no leaks from the car, whatsoever, wheresoever, period!” and car works like a gem.
- I am extremely happy with the car and it will stay with me as along as spares are available and Rajesh will do the service for cars.
Above mentioned costs are not accurate, I believe, would have spent more. The left pulling issue was because of uneven wear of tires, it got rectified once I have changed to michellins.
The pain one should take to go to a FASS service center (once or many) which is at a distance of 30KMS to get a pathetic service is unacceptable for any customer. Rajesh truly turns out as a viable option for me.
Rajesh is a gem and a man of detail, he is obsessed in fixing the cars in the way they should be. If you think you should sell the car because of repairs, take it to him, get it checked, it might work out like my case.