Re: Car maintenance & repairs - SMK Automobiles (Chennai)
Here Is My Review of SMK Automobiles
I Have a Ford Ikon 1.6 ZXI, its a 2002 Model. It had a failed fuel pump float which means it was stuck on the Empty mark on my fuel guage. As you know, Driving with a broken fuel guage is as good as driving blind.
So, After giving my car to Expert spanners initially, They told me that the float failed and they couldn't procure the part. So I was browing through the Directories here and I read about Mr. Murgan and his Workshop. I contacted him and took my Ikon to him.
Here's what I liked:
2: Very insightful and Knowledgeable
3: He was very honest about what needed to be done
4: His labor charges were somewhat okay and not over the top
5: He is very tolerant and answers any questions you may have.
What I didn't like:
1: Does not like to work on Fords. He was in a hurry to get rid of my Ikon
2: Won't tell you if he's going to get delayed or not, Very Lethargic.
3: Need for constant follow ups.
4: Guy wants to pass off work to some unknown garage. Very impatient to find problems.
5: His workshop is out of the city.
6: Shows favoritism to his frequent customers. He'd rather go up to someone in Neelankarai on ECR than come to my home in Semmencheri (Which is on the way).
7: I get it, he's got a lot of Clients, but just because I own a 20 year old car does not mean you have to treat your customers bad.
So, When I went to get my car checked up, Mr. Murgan went for the test drive. He told me the pump itself was okay but the float had failed. He inisted the entire pump needed to be changed so I agreed as expected. He also noticed my car was missing a Speed Sensor, so he said he would do that too. I agreed and was happy he was able to catch that, I also told him about the intermittent overheating problem I had, and he said that I should just rev the engine above 2.5k - 3k rmps to force the thermostat open, I agreed. So I dropped the car on March 2, he said that the car would be ready by March 4. I agreed, left the car there and he dropped me off at Tambaram East Bus stop and took a cab from there. The fuel pump and sensor plus labor would have cost me 8,000/-
March 4 came and went, I didn't get a call so the next day on March 5, I gave him a call. He said that the new fuel pump was not setting into the car, and the guage wasn't working. So he said he'd call me later that afternoon. No call, so I called again and he said he'd call me after an hour and then he said the car was ready. It was 5PM at the time and he wanted me to come to Tambaram Railway station bust stop. I told him it was too late, so i'll pick it up on Monday, March 7th.
On March 7, I took a Cab to Tambaram railway station and I wated there for 2 hours. Standing, in the heat. And then I get a call saying the car was overheating, and wanted me to take another cab and go to his shed from there. Its a dual trip... He did tell me it was a slow moving radiator fan, which I told him to diagnose. He was still insisting I take a cab to his workshop from Tambaram, but I refused and told him to find out what was causing the problem. He hesitantly agreed and I went home again, by cab.
2 days went by, I spoke to him. He was saying that the entire car needs to be checked, I told him to take his time and do the work, I don't mind if it takes a few days, but he was absolutely reluctant to do any work. He then said He would wire the Fan up to the AC relay so when the AC is turned on, the fan would click on. I expressed my concerns weather if the fan would burn out but he insisted that all vehicles nowadays run on one speed when the AC is turned on... I was not satisfied by his response. He wanted me to pick the car up on March 9th itself, but it was already mid afternoon and I needed to go to work so I'd pick it up on the 10th and he agreed.
March 10, This time I am meeting him at Manimangalam Police Station, about 6 km away from tambaram. I left home at 10:30 AM and reached there by 11. I waited there, in the sun for 3 hours. I kept calling him and he says he's coming... And then he calls me at about 12 PM saying the car's stalled. And he was yelling at me, as if its my fault for coming to him. So he comes by scooter and picks me up and shows me the car, he wouldn't tell me why it stalled. He was griping about how many times he had to drop the fuel tank to adjust the new fuel pump... Which by the way, he didn't fix it, the fuel guage is now showing there's fuel but was super inaccurate. However, the heating problem seems to be solved for now.
My overall experience with Mr. Murgan was disappointing. And After this experience with him, I will be taking my business elsewhere. Just because My car is 20+ years old does not mean you treat your customers like this. I am paying him for his trouble after all. And the irony was that he was willing to work on an Opel Corsa which was at his shop, but not my Ikon.