Join Date: Apr 2013
Thanked: 13,660 Times
Hey, how’s it going guys? It has been an eternity since the last update! There’s not much to report otherwise except the car is running as it should without any troubles. *touchwood*
Continuing with the customary updates from my last post and to keep the ownership thread on track with all the developments, here are the updates in no particular order.
Some random closing thoughts:
- With almost no long drives or scheduled road trips during the last year, my car saw the least running in a year and the odo gradually trickled towards 158,000 km last week.
Due to the ongoing pandemic and considering the risks involved in taking public transport, I’d rather take my car if I were headed to my home at Palakkad. It doesn’t help that the diesel prices are at an all-time high at the moment, beating petrol prices at some places!
- Well, the good news is, the car’s new owner and the rightful heir has arrived!
We were blessed with a baby boy in May and we’ve named the baby BHPian Anirudh! Here’s Ani clinging to his mother in the rear seat while returning from a vaccination drive.
It has been quite the experience - changing diapers, burping him, walk around carrying him, play with him, talk to him, putting him to sleep, see him smile in his sleep, crying due to night terrors, lose my sleep at night while he gets to sleep throughout the day! I am at my in-laws’ place here in Malappuram and the weather is kickass at the moment!
I couldn’t have timed my Chennai - Palakkad drive during the lockdown phase any better! I drove down on the 8th May, began my 14-day home quarantine and my wife delivered on the 12th May! In case you missed it, do check out my earlier post on the drive + the institutional quarantine experience at a local lodge.
- A friend and I did the sixth anniversary puja at our apartment complex on the 6th October 2019. Treated her to a good foam wash from a carwash garage and decked her up. Coincidence - ayudha puja followed the next day!
- During January this year, we drove to Gingee Fort (Wiki) which is situated about 150 km from Chennai.
The fort or whatever remains of it, is located on a hillock and is accessed by a flight of stairs. Couple of my friends gave up a quarter way into the climb because it was too exhausting! No kidding there - it was actually pretty exhausting and I remember the rest of us taking several breaks and rationing the drinking water that we had carried along as we trekked our way up! Thanks to some reviews from Google Maps, we did carry a few bottles of water, some energy bars and such. There’re no vendors anywhere near the place except at the parking lot - that’s the last chance to buy a few bottles of water! The place was built some 800 years ago and the ownership has passed several hands including the Cholas, Marathas and the Mughals! I’ll let some snaps do the talking; I’ve taken the liberty to club a few into one reel.
A quaint little place, clear weather, good friends, sumptuous food from a dhaba and a short drive in the middle of the week on the occasion of [i]Pongal/Makar Sankranthi[i] holiday - 15 Jan 2020. We had fun! There are some hidden gems like these located not so far from Chennai. I’ve got to explore more! Reminds me of a Malayalam proverb - മുറ്റത്തെ മുല്ലക്ക് മണമില്ല/Muttathe Mullakku Manamilla. Translated, the jasmine in our front yard has no smell!
- Here are some pics and a short clip from a car-wash session followed by my first waxing session at home! I have a Bosch Aquatak 125 pressure washer at my home since the last two years and absolutely love cleaning my car especially when she’s really dirty! *wink wink* The washer makes the whole process easy but it takes a while setting the whole thing up - take out the whole contraption from the store, connect the inlet hose to the tap and tie it, unwind the outlet hoses without kinks, connect the outlet hose to the extension hose, join the parts of the lance assembly (feels like assembling a sniper rifle lol), connect the lance to the outlet pipe, connect the heavy-duty extension box to the power outlet, unwind the power cable from the washer’s rear and connect it to the extension box. Not to mention, preparing the foam lance with the diluted shampoo, microfibre cloths, wash mitts etc. Once its all done, the rest is easy!
And these were from a previous wash session (thicker foam because of higher concentrate of the soap concentration):
Since the monsoons are in full swing at Kerala these days, the car can get dirty pretty quickly. And from where I usually park at my in-laws’ place, cats love to hang around near the cars and even on top of them. Thus, plenty of paw marks on the bonnet but luckily no scratches yet! This was the condition when I drove her home couple of weeks back:
Gave her a nice wash and decided to try my hands at waxing for the first time! I had a tin of 3M’s wax which believe it or not, is over 2 years old and has not been opened once!
Always loved the idea of waxing but the sheer efforts that it needed put me off and I’d simply drop the car at my trusted detailer’s place for a round of detailing. This time however I decided to give it a try and the results were pretty tempting! I used the supplied sponge to apply the wax, waited for a few minutes and buffed it using folded microfiber towels. It left a pleasant, mirror-like gloss on the panels. I did not quite use a masking tape to cover the window beadings and it took a while to get the wax off the rubber beadings.
Nice water beading effect too from a cheap wax:
And that’s when I realised why some of them are so passionate in doing this and even quit their desk jobs to start work on this line. I packed up all the stuff and took me a good 10-15 minutes to wind up and store everything in its rightful place. Had lunch and took a short nap as I was exhausted. After an hour, I woke up with a terrible body pain and discomfort in the shoulders, biceps and arms! Jesus Christ, I just couldn’t stretch my arms! It was THAT painful. Probably all these days of no body movement during the lockdown and when the muscles were subjected to such an intensive workout resulted in the pain. I simply took rest that evening and luckily, the pain was gone by the next morn. I recalled this epic thread on the forums. Please be sure to read it! A good rotary polisher and some buffing foam/wool pads are definitely on my to-buy list now.
My wife’s niece loves to help me clean the car.
She used to help her father clean their Punto. Looking forward to my son lending me a helping hand!
- The Meguiars Hot Rims wheel cleaner is a pretty good spray-on cleaner for the alloys and the tires. Even Consumer Reports agrees! Ordered one from Amazon for Rs. 680 couple of weeks back and tested it during a wash session. Cleaned up ‘em dirty tires and rims pretty well but a quarter of the bottle is almost done! I mean that’s pretty expensive man! I think after this bottle is done with (and I am going to try spraying a little lesser next time), I’d stick to all-purpose cleaners instead (APC). The purple color is just the color of the bottle BTW!
- It has been ages since the door cards and the armrests were thoroughly cleaned and it was showing up. Diluted some car shampoo in a bucket of water and used a normal hand brush to clean them followed by an application of Meguiar’s Natural Shine Protectant which gives a nice matte finish instead of the deadly gloss finish. The plastics used in the door cards of the Polo are hard and a hand brush can be safely used. Check out the before and after images:
- Like I said before, the monsoons are in full swing in this part of Kerala and one day, as I was driving back to my in-laws’ place after dropping someone in the morn, I notice a giant butterfly perched on a wall! We’ve all seen so many of them yet this one was unusually large like a bird! I was gradually climbing up a steep slope and I decided to stop the vehicle further ahead to get a closer look at the butterfly. But it flew off by then. Luckily, the dashcam had captured it. Pay attention to the creature perched on the unpainted wall in the clip below:
Did some research and turns out, it is called the Atlas moth. Here’s the Wiki link. #TIL
It has a very short lifespan of 1-2 weeks and because it does not have any mouth, they cannot eat once they’ve emerged from their cocoon and thus, rely on the fat stored for energy. The tips of the wings resemble the head of a snake which they use to scare away predators when confronted.
(Image courtesy - Daily Mail)
Nature has its ways man, damn! And here I’m discussing about a large moth on my car’s ownership thread!
- The 2L fire extinguisher I keep in my car wasn’t secured anywhere. Sometimes it was kept in the rear footwells, sometimes in the boot and it would just keep tossing all around while braking or hard turning. I decided to do something about it and after checking the car for the suitable locations, I thought the space below the driver seat would be ideal. I visited the neighbourhood bag shop and conveyed my requirement to the owner - a couple of adjustable nylon straps with the side-release buckle. He charged me Rs. 160 and this was done in like 10 minutes.
He had a heavy-duty Singer sewing machine. And all this while, I thought Singer is an Indian brand like Usha (we had one back in the day). Singer is an American brand! #TIL
Securely mounted the firex to the round pipe below the driver seat. Strangely, the co-driver seat does not have this round pipe! With the quick release buckles, it is easy to take it off in the event of an emergency. I just hope I’ll never have to use it though! If you don’t have a firex in your car, it may be a good idea to keep one.
- Replaced the previous set of wipers with a new set for the ongoing monsoons; I usually replace them every year. The older set of myTVS’ frameless wipers were creaking and leaving streaks. The new set, purchased from Amazon (link) costs Rs. 600 and isn’t the frameless type. A neat cover over the frame makes it inconspicuous and looks sleek. Works well and should last this year hopefully!
This is exactly the type used in the Toyotas (including the Vellfire) and the Lexus cars. Check out the wipers (not the 3.5L V6 engine) from Lexus’ flagship model LS500:
(Image courtesy: car.info)
- The leather on the steering wheel had become glossy over all these years of usage, thanks to all the natural oil and sweat from my hands. I am not sure if I am the odd one out here but I really loved the original matte finish from the factory and it’s a pain to maintain it that way due to the nature of my skin. I decided to clean it thoroughly and get a PU wrap stitched over it from a local accessory shop here in Malappuram. This was how it looked before the wrap:
I used a liquid dishwash diluted with warm water and a sponge to clean the wheel. Covered the rest of the dashboard with a large folded cloth while at it. After three passes of cleaning, the steering wheel struggled to regain much of its old finish; not anywhere close to the factory matte finish but was better than the glossy one. After the cleaning process, I got the wrap stitched. Went with black stitches this time:
Feels chunkier and grippy to hold and looks okay to me for a change. The outlet charged me Rs. 850 for the wrap job. In retrospect, I should have done this from day one when I had installed the new steering - would have preserved the stock finish for the last. The guy took almost 2 hours to complete the job but he did it patiently without hurrying through:
Will wholeheartedly recommend this place for accessory related works. Car Thunder located in the Calicut bypass road opposite AM Motors. Contact numbers - 999 555 1213, 98471 62720, GMaps - location.
- I got the diffusers of the fog lamps wrapped with yellow tints from a shop that deals with window tints and stickers.
The diffuser lenses were pretty beat due to the stone chips over the years (4+ years now) so a small patch of the tint film on the driver-side fog lamp did not stick to the diffuser properly which isn’t exactly visible in the snaps above but one wouldn’t notice it unless observed closely. Best to do this early on IMO when you take the delivery of the car. The store owner charged me Rs. 250 for this job. That’s dirt-cheap man! Gotta love these nifty, inexpensive addons which greatly improves the feel-good factor of the car.
- While the front and rear parking sensors have been immensely useful while parking in and out of tight spots, I’ve lost count of the number of times I have had to step out and check if I am not backing up into a pit or a stub/stone (which the rear sensors don’t pick up). I’ve been wanting to get a reverse cam installed for a long time now. I finally installed one but the work is only half done at the moment as I have to complete the wiring connections. Nothing too fancy or expensive - the camera is from Pricol but it is manufactured in China. I recalled our good ol’ Maruti 800’s instrument cluster from Pricol with a different logo; glad to see the Coimbatore based company is still around. Cost me Rs. 2400 from the neighbourhood accessory store. These are some of the specs from the packaging:
Installing it was easy as it is a clip-on type and the box came with a hole saw to cut the right hole. It is a small, discreet unit and I have installed it between the number plate lights.
There’s a problem with the power connection of aftermarket cameras with the RCD 330/340 systems apparently. A delay timer is to be used to supply power to the camera for 8-10 seconds or a black screen would appear. Since I haven’t connected it, I have no clue. Plus, no one seems to retail the delay timer box locally so I’ll have to make one using a capacitor and a PN diode. Add to the fact that, I have the front parking sensors and the parking aid button, I’m going to have to run multiple tests and check what works best. Will update this thread once I get the reverse cam up and running.
- I replaced the RCD330 plus Desay make infotainment system with the RCD340 noname system purely for the Android Auto functionality.
Even fabricated a new ISO to quad lock cable with the desired connections:
I use Google Maps quite often and a third display (smartphone) on the dash in addition to the instrument cluster and the head unit was very distracting. I decided to get this unit once and for all and be done with it. And I really mean it because this is my fifth head unit including the stock unit! Bought it from Aliexpress (tried calling up some local dude called Shalinder Choudhary based out of Delhi who wouldn’t care to respond and I gladly gave the business to the Aliexpress vendor), shipped through DHL all-inclusive for Rs. 20,000 net (paid Rs. 2400 as customs duties) and landed at Chennai in 6 days flat. Installation was a breeze as it was a straight swap and the older unit was sold through Olx (fetched a decent price). Compared to the older unit, a Linux based OS and Android Auto + Apple CarPlay are the only major differences and Android Auto worked amazingly well. There are a few useful apps for Android Auto too like Audible, Spotify, Amazon Music etc. But Google has also intelligently blocked some apps which cause distractions and they do not permit developers to distribute/retail these apps through the Play Store. There are some hacks and workarounds to get them working.
Whenever time permits, I used to tinker with the system and the internet to extract more out of this unit and eventually came across 2 apps - OBD2AA and Performance Monitor through various sources - XDA forums, github, Reddit etc. which works on Android Auto. Unfortunately, nothing of this sort for CarPlay yet.
Link - XDA Labs - OBD2AA
The OBD2AA app (plugin in the truest sense) pulls data from the ELM327 bluetooth adapter plugged into the OBD port of the car through the Torque Pro app. Pressing the OBD2AA icon from the Android Auto launcher, launches the display which shows various gauges depending on how the app is configured in the phone.
The sheer number of customisations the app offers is mind blowing! These are some of the screenshots from the app installed in the phone:
There’s a problem however - the app. is a bit iffy with some smartphones and the app. developer does mention it explicitly. For instance, he says the app is not compatible with Xiaomi but I have an MI A2 and it works 7 out of 10 times without crashing (unplugging and plugging the USB cable works all the time). I get this sometimes.
The app. is only available through XDA Labs (you need to download XDA app first and then XDA Labs through XDA) and is a paid-only app (the amount is only 2 USD though). Torque Pro (the full version of Torque Lite; costs Rs. 250) is also required to be installed. Once everything is installed, and you plug in the USB cable to the head unit, select OBD2AA from this menu:
This works with all the cars and not just the VW Cars. Try it out, its fun. But don’t lose sight of the road if you’re testing it while the car is in motion!
So, another developer who goes by the ID Chillout (nice name pal!) has developed a free app called Performance Monitor which doesn’t require the OBD2 BT adapter and it pulls data from the car’s BCM. Unfortunately, not much for the Polo but I think it could display a whole lot of data for the Jetta and Passat owners. Not the most stable app/plugin because it crashes if I select the home (AA launcher) and then select the app again. Maybe the developer could help - I am trying to contact him and pass on the feedback. He drives a Golf GTE in Albania! Anyways scratch that, check out the snaps from the unit:
Looks cool! Check out the short 3-minute clip which shows the app in action and how it crashes:
XDA Link - Performance Monitor for VAG cars (work in progress)
GitHub Link - Performance Monitor for VAG-group cars with Android Auto
Latest release - v0.88B
Download the latest release (v0.88B) - .apk file
But there’s a caveat/small prerequisite - your Android phone needs to be rooted for this app to work! That means unlocking the bootloader as well. This can be a bit tricky on some phones but phones like the One Plus is easier to be rooted and unlocked.
I rooted my device remotely with the help of my good ol’ friend - Krishnamoorthy (my DIY partner some of you may remember). Additionally, you need to install and run AA Phenotype Patcher to enable 3rd party apps (download the latest .apk file here):
And the vex-vag-service v2.4 (download .apk file). The latter is a service app; you won’t get an icon for it. Once the installation is done and you’ve given full rights to the app, if you have installed Torque Pro app, enable full plugin access from the settings. That’s it. Here are some screenshots from the app:
Check out the customisation options in terms of the dashboard, dials, fonts etc:
Connect the phone to the head unit and you should see the Performance Monitor app and the OBD2AA app there. Enjoy fiddling with it! Oh and it works with other cars too, not just VW or Skoda since the app pulls the data from the OBD2 dongle! Why should the MQB boys have all the fun?!
- This October she will complete 7 years of ownership. And in all these years and close to 160,000 km, she has been supremely RELIABLE! I have had friends and colleagues ask me when is the replacement due and I tell them she’s a keeper! I intend to keep her as long as she becomes a white elephant. Well maintained, high-mileage cars like BHPian jonesanto’s Elantra which has clocked close to 450,000 km and DBHPian Parag’s WagonR which has clocked over 250,000 km are the stuff that dreams are made of!
- The air-con system has never required a gas recharge! No component from the system has ever failed and it continues to cool the cabin like it did from day one. Not the bone chillers that the Koreans and Japanese are. That said, I’ve had to replace the driver and co-driver side vents as the plastics became brittle over time and parts started coming off. Strangely, the centre vents are still the stock! I am going to have to clean the blower one of these days.
- Insurance was renewed with United India Insurance during September 2019 for a sum of Rs. 12,226 (inc. of 9% SGST and CGST). NCB at 50% was Rs. 2058. We were told that the zero-dep. addon cover (bumper to bumper) was no longer applicable for my car since it is over 6 years of age. Hopefully, I’ll never have to use the insurance. *touch wood*
- The Fastag I had setup with PayTM previously was closed by PayTM for no reason! And I realised this the evening before the Chennai - Palakkad drive during the lockdown! Imagine my gripe with the PayTM guys. I spoke to the customer support that evening but they couldn’t help. Once its closed, its done. Luckily the cash-based lines in the toll plazas were relatively empty and we breezed through during the drive. As soon as I reached home, I applied for a new tag from ICICI since my salary account, current account and the credit card are from them. The tag came within 10 days of the application and I stuck it permanently on the windshield.
- The next wishful upgrade would be a big brake kit for the front wheels. Would you believe if I tell you, I am on the second set of pads and the stock rotors after all these years? Just waiting for my friend based out of Germany to give me the heads-up so I can go ahead and place the order for the parts! That said, I would love to get a nice, custom made, bolt-on FFE from a reputed vendor.
- The next tool I would like to add to my kit would certainly be a good rotary polisher with some wool/foam pads for different applications. If I can get a damaged or a scratched panel from a car workshop, that would be a good start for practicing the detailing bits.
- I hear this query often, “When are you getting a remap for the car?” Not anytime soon! I am more than happy with the factory horses at the moment and the reliability that comes with it. I am worried that a remap may potentially cause increased wear and tear to the engine and the related components, reduce their longevity and start causing troubles. She’s a daily runner and I don’t see speeds beyond 120 kmph these days; I set the cruise control to 100 kmph for long drives and leave it at that. As the turbo spools up, the stock acceleration still pins me to the seat and that’s good enough at the moment. A larger turbo OTOH sounds more enticing!
- The facelifted Polo’s new front and rear bumpers from the 6C GTI looks slick! Some of you may recall that I had already swapped the front bumper from the 6C model before I had left Gujarat (link) back in March 2016. As a midlife upgrade in the future, I am definitely looking forward to swap the current bumpers on my car with these (have to swap the parking sensors on both the bumpers as well), get a fresh coat of paint in a different shade (may have to endorse the change in the registration) and a set of new 16” rims (just hope it doesn’t worsen the ride quality by a great deal). For info - the new front bumper costs Rs. 5356 and the rear bumper costs Rs. 7729 (inputs from my trusted VW Navsari Stores in-charge). As far as the current Polo’s endless facelift iterations go, this is probably their last one before the sixth gen. MQB A0 Polo debuts in India (sticker jobs not withstanding). And VW India should get their act together and launch the sixth gen. in the country NOW!
- The next oil-change service is overdue. Since the running last year was low, I’ve decided to push her a bit longer (probably until 160,000 km) before I do the service.
Originally Posted by avis4398
I just spent the last three days reading your thread from start to finish! All 75 pages of it. And the best part being that I don't even own a Polo!
I just took delivery of my new Ciaz and was going through some ownership threads of the Ciaz for inspiration and happened upon your ownership thread. It just blew me away! Your passion for and commitment to your ride is seriously commendable!
Appreciate it man. Thank you so much!
Originally Posted by McLaren Rulez
This air guide placement baffles me. This means that whenever the AC runs on fresh air mode, it's drawing hot air from the engine bay and then cooling it again? What on earth!
I suppose this is how it is in other cars too? I mean the fresh air inlet for the AC drawing hot air from the engine bay?
Originally Posted by vibbs
Since you frequent Palakkad a lot, do you know any competent multi brand workshop around there? My Punto is at Home town in Tiruvilwamala near Ottappalam and am on the look out for a reliable workshop to get the routine service done.
Hey sorry man, I couldn’t reply to your post on time. I am hoping you would have found a competent garage by now. There’s a myTVS garage near my home (GMaps
) and they are pretty decent; managed by a bunch of guys who had previously worked in Maruti and Toyota’s service centres. I have had two experiences with them - once with brake fluid replacement (they did manage to screw up the replacement of the air filter drain line which kept rubbing with a clutch hose and gave up during a drive!) and the other with a stuck wheel bolt.
Stay safe and hope we come out of this dreaded pandemic real soon so we can hit the roads without worries. I am all caught up. Until next time!
Last edited by Gannu_1 : 11th July 2020 at 20:20.