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Old 11th January 2022, 13:17   #1
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Default 2021 Tata Altroz DPF issues and engine failure | Good experience with Tata's After Sales Service

Thanks to Madhuprasad Kigga for sending this information in. Heartfelt gratitude for sharing it with other enthusiasts via this Team-BHP share page!

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Hi All,

I am Madhuprasad, a regular reader of the Team-BHP (not a member though).

I am a driving enthusiast and love to drive, specifically long distances on lonely highways and in the Western Ghats with light music. Generally, I am calm and composed, but occasionally, I drive to test the engine (read significantly faster and touching triple digits). Earlier, I had a 2015 Fiat Punto Evo - a fantastic driver’s car. People who have owned a Punto will agree with me that it is very hard to replace with a similar car at that price point.

When Tata introduced the Altroz, I just went for a test drive casually. Initially, I tested the NA petrol, which was not impressive as many of you will agree. But, at that time, none of the dealers in Bangalore had diesel TD cars. One fine day, however, Cropex Auto at Hosa Road, Bangalore, was able to arrange a test drive with a diesel car, which I drove for about 5 km before transferring the booking amount. Sold the Punto with mixed feelings and took delivery of the Altroz (D) on 4th February, 2021 with a big smile on my face.

I enjoyed the Altroz to the fullest and availed the first free service within 5 days of delivery. All was well till 7,100 km. After that, for the first time, the infamous DPF issue popped up. I regenerated the DPF according to the procedure given in the manual and informed the service personnel about the same during the scheduled second free service. Everything was fine for the next 200 odd km, when, once again, the DPF indicator appeared in the MID and before I could figure things out, the car went to ‘safe mode’, where the engine RPMs are limited to 2,000 and a there is a drastic reduction in the pulling power. This was a surprise to me as my car hardly runs in the city to have the DPF clogged within 250 km after the previous regeneration. Without ignoring it, I immediately informed the service center and took the car into there where they carried out a computer-aided regeneration. Everything was fine till 8,500 km, when again, the DPF indication appeared and the car went to restricted drive mode in the middle of a highway drive. I called the service center and they asked me to drive it in the same condition to a nearby service center, which was almost 150 km from where I was, and the SA informed me it was not a problem. After driving for about 50 km, the car became normal and SA told that DPF was not cleaned and there was no need to visit the service center. At 9,500 km, the same story repeated. This time I visited the service center and asked them what the exact problem was. They promptly blamed it on the government regulations and carried out a computer-aided regeneration along with recent software updates. During this chaos, I noticed a drop in the performance. However did not talk about it with the service center. I now think this was the big mistake!!!

Everything was fine till 13,200 km when I was traveling along with my family for a week’s break on 31st October. After a nice breakfast at ‘Pakashala’ near Yediyuru on Bangalore-Mangalore highway, I was enthusiastically overtaking a vehicle (which one, I cannot recall now) when a loud noise came from the engine with a lot of white smoke from the exhaust followed by knocking from the engine. Immediately, I pulled over and called the nearest service center which was Automatrix at Hassan. After trying several times, I realized it was a Sunday and the service center could be closed. Then I called the Tata customer service where they gave the phone number of the Service Manager, Mr. Vasudev. He told me that the service center was closed, but, he would be available and I could visit it (of course he suggested, I could slowly drive the car to the service center). I slowly reached the service center at 9.30 am and he called one service engineer (Mr. Yogish) who closely diagnosed the car. He drained the engine oil completely to realize that there was 6.5 liters of oil instead of 5 liters. He asked me and my family to have a nice lunch and come back, which we did. After finishing the lunch at 2.30 pm we visited the service center, where they had “breaking news”.

“Sir, engine failure.”

This was an ultimate shocker for me and my family. However, the Service Manager (Mr. Vasudev), engineer (Mr. Yogish), and Tata CRM (Mr. Nithin Patil) came to our rescue and helped us to quickly recover from this trauma.

“Sir, we are here to help you. We take complete responsibility for this and will replace the whole engine assembly, turbocharger, all fuel injectors, and catalytic converter. Please continue your travel. We will completely reimburse your travel expenses. Also, we give you a substitute car for your travel as soon as you come to Bangalore for your daily commute till your car is repaired.”

This was a nice gesture and I appreciate Tata for this promise. My family traveled back to our home in a taxi, and I did not take the substitute car as we had my wife’s Kwid at home.

After 20 days I got my Altroz back (during all these days, Mr. Vasudev was promptly updating me about the developments) and drove it back to my home. Mr. Vasudev also suggested that I should closely look for oil leaks over the next 1,500 km.

While driving back home, immediately I noticed a few things;
  1. Performance had improved significantly
  2. Mileage had improved significantly (a controlled drive at 80 km/h on the highway gave me 28 km/l)
As suggested, I was monitoring for oil leaks and yes, there was an oil leak even before 500 km. Again, I spoke to the CRM and Mr. Vasudev for the next course of action (again on a Sunday). The CRM told me that he would send a service advisor to our home from Key Motors and they will take the car, rectify all the problems and deliver it back to our home.

Promptly, on the next day (Monday) at 9.30 am, service advisor, Mr. Abhishek visited our home, inspected and suggested the solution and took the car to the service center and delivered it as promised.

Till this point, I did not have any clear idea what the problem was as Mr. Vasudev or the CRM were not able to answer all my questions. Therefore, I thought of discussing this in detail with Mr. Abhishek and following details were given:

“One batch of the cars (manufactured in Dec-2020 and Jan 2021) had a problematic fuel injector. This results in the failure of the FI and the diesel flows instead of spraying. Unless the diesel sprays, it will not burn completely and the excess diesel flows into the engine oil. This results in the increasing quantity of engine oil. As diesel does not burn completely, the rings of pistons do not function properly and this results in minute scratches on the cylinders. The oil leakage after the engine replacement was due to the gasket which was not replaced earlier.”

This is the most convincing answer I got. Experts in the forum please let me know if this could be true. If not, what could be the other reason?

What I learned from the whole story:
  1. Keep yourself calm and composed. This is very important if you have a small kid. Do not let tensions into your life.
  2. Do not generalize the failure in a car unless it is reported by mass. One case may spoil the reputation of a whole brand and a very good product (in this case it is diesel Altroz).
  3. No need to shout all the time at a person from a service center or company. They will help.
  4. Enjoy life. There will be ups and downs. Take them equally.
  5. Do I hate my car? Absolutely not. I love it and now, even more. Now it has run 16,000 km.
We all see news of how a company / dealer cheats a person. However, we don’t see often a news on good customer support. In this case, I share my positive experience with the company / service center.

Enjoy some photos. Questions are welcome.

Thank you

Madhu
2021 Tata Altroz DPF issues and engine failure | Good experience with Tata's After Sales Service-1-2.jpeg

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2021 Tata Altroz DPF issues and engine failure | Good experience with Tata's After Sales Service-6.jpeg
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Old 11th January 2022, 17:08   #2
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Default Re: 2021 Tata Altroz DPF issues and engine failure | Good experience with Tata's After Sales Service

I love how all these Tata ownership stories end up with thanking the after sales or the company itself irrespective of what had happened. I sense incompetency at multiple levels and wonder how the company can continue to chug along with such issues and must really appreciate the owners to be so optimistic:
  1. DPF regeneration frequency suddenly increases, and the owner has indicated it several times. Yet the ASC fail to notice this difference and pass it off by trying forced regen.
  2. The same thing even in the second visit to ASC complaining of early DPF clogging. Not just for one time.
  3. The issue with injectors was known to the company/dealer earlier. This would have made the DPF clogging issue very obvious. Yet they did not pro-actively address the injector before this failure, nor did they investigate this when the DPF had to be force regenerated. A faulty injector would increase soot production which clogs the DPF faster than normal. This is common sense. Looks like company had not communicated this to dealer/dealer missed out on this.
  4. Even the replacement engine did not come without issue. Oil leakage issue was present in Petrol Altroz IIRC, and didnt the company do a bit to prevent these issues again?
  5. And what do they mean by gasket not replaced earlier? If it was a brand new engine, there would not be a gasket/oil that had to be reused since it would come built until the flywheel. Was the engine just rebuilt and external components like Turbo and DPF replaced?
  6. After all the engine replacement promise, owner would expect some resolution upon receiving the car and instead told to look out for oil leaks. Thats savage
Lets not get to the argument of "All cars have issues" etc since this is not one issue that needed rectification. But this is a chain of colossal incompetence which has been somehow masked by a good customer support and easy warranty replacements. A lot could have been avoided and the ownership experience would have been better if Tata had tackled the issue of bad injector much earlier and issued a recall. Compared to that, they had to replace so many parts on this car. What I am curious to know is what happens after warranty expires.

Last edited by audioholic : 11th January 2022 at 17:31.
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Old 11th January 2022, 17:16   #3
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Default Re: 2021 Tata Altroz DPF issues and engine failure | Good experience with Tata's After Sales Service

Good to see customer support from Tata with respect to replacing parts. The more I read about these niggles in Tata cars ( even Mahindra) , it looks like these companies are more than happy to compensate the customers actively as they are helping with after sales R & D. No wonder many on the forum advise to wait for a year or two before buying Tata / Mahindra.

Last edited by Dr.Naren : 11th January 2022 at 17:21.
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Old 11th January 2022, 17:45   #4
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Default Re: 2021 Tata Altroz DPF issues and engine failure | Good experience with Tata's After Sales Service

Forced regen by the ASC multiple times for what could have been an injector replacement has diluted the oil and killed the engine.

In comparison if this had happened on his Fiat, I think the fellow would would have been in the same place even now, so there is that.
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Old 11th January 2022, 19:01   #5
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Default Re: 2021 Tata Altroz DPF issues and engine failure | Good experience with Tata's After Sales Service

I could draw 2 conclusions,

1. The positive side being, "It is not how reliable the car is but how reliable the dealership/ASC is." The customer support offered is truly laudable!

2. The negative side being, "Tata Motors should be given a stick for this." I presume almost everyone could relate the following,

While Tata Motors may manufacture components with high accuracy they just couldn't manufacture the same with high precision!
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Old 11th January 2022, 19:44   #6
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Default Re: 2021 Tata Altroz DPF issues and engine failure | Good experience with Tata's After Sales Service

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioholic View Post
[*]And what do they mean by gasket not replaced earlier? If it was a brand new engine, there would not be a gasket/oil that had to be reused since it would come built until the flywheel. Was the engine just rebuilt and external components like Turbo and DPF replaced?
Absolutely. Why would a "new" engine have "old" gasket? I'm not an expert in this, however if there is diesel/coolant getting into engine oil that most likely means a blown gasket isn't it? Shouldn't they have replaced the gasket even if the engine was repaired?

Last edited by ike : 11th January 2022 at 19:52.
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Old 11th January 2022, 19:52   #7
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Default Re: 2021 Tata Altroz DPF issues and engine failure | Good experience with Tata's After Sales Service

The technical explanation given does appear consistent, provided the injector was indeed faulty. The dealer also has been very uncharacteristically friendly. This will happen mostly in the singular situation of there being a watch-out alert from the manufacturer against a specific problem in vehicles of a specific batch. So the narrative may be credible
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Old 11th January 2022, 22:24   #8
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Default Re: 2021 Tata Altroz DPF issues and engine failure | Good experience with Tata's After Sales Service

This issue is a clear candidate for a proper recall. But then Tata Motors only does silent recalls; which means they give a circular to the dealership to sweet talk and change parts when customers come to them with complaints. This has been my biggest gripe with Tata ownership. They never do a proper recall even when they identify a problem with a specific batch. So there is a big chance of us getting stranded on the road or a component failing even after Tata finds a problem. They will just wait for that problem to occur and then replace it for you. All for not wanting to admit that there was a mistake from their side.

I don't remember a single instance where Tata did a proper recall in the last couple of years. But I have seen multiple instances of silent recalls for almost all the models including my erstwhile Hexa.

Last edited by padmrajravi : 11th January 2022 at 22:31.
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Old 12th January 2022, 00:49   #9
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Default Re: 2021 Tata Altroz DPF issues and engine failure | Good experience with Tata's After Sales Service

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Originally Posted by padmrajravi View Post
So there is a big chance of us getting stranded on the road or a component failing even after Tata finds a problem. They will just wait for that problem to occur and then replace it for you. All for not wanting to admit that there was a mistake from their side.
Maybe with an expectation that your warranty expires before the flawed part gives up?

I want a car that I can trust. And I'll deal with wear and tear as I drive my car. Not a car that blows up in 10000 km.

Sadly, quality control has taken a turn for worse the past few years. Many international manufacturers have been found cost cutting within the engine bay.

While I despise Maruti's lacklustre cars, I respect the brand for taking care of their reputation for reliability.

Credit where it is due. Tata ASS handled the issue really well, well enough that the customer felt compelled to pen down his experience in a positive note
.
I still feel company wide red alerts like this should be dealt with proactively rather than reactively.
If I don't use my car much, or perform a service at home, I might never be told about some serious flaw that's actually a manufacturing defect.
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Old 12th January 2022, 03:31   #10
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Default Re: 2021 Tata Altroz DPF issues and engine failure | Good experience with Tata's After Sales Service

I'd day that an issue like this is rare. Definitely an oversight on the first dealers part as an increase in oil level could have been easily caught if they ever picked up the dip stick. Maybe they did and it did not strike as something alarming.

We call this problem Oil dilution and it has plagued quite a few cars. The most recent one being from the champ of all engine manufacturers. Honda. You'd never expect this. Their 1.5L Turbo Petrol Vtec engine suffered from this problem. No blown turbos or engines. Fuel
was making its way past the piston rings and diluting the oil, which led to the oil being less effective at lubricating, cooling the engine and turbocharger as it would have reduced viscosity. This was later corrected with a combination of Software and very specific oil grade specifications for this particular engine. If you drive a car with this engine, you definitely want to stick to what Honda specify with regard to oil grade. I believe this was one reason (aside from cost) we never got the 1.5l on the Civic as Honda were course correcting issues in other markets for this engine.

Good on TATA to sort this out for you.
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Old 13th January 2022, 11:41   #11
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Default Re: 2021 Tata Altroz DPF issues and engine failure | Good experience with Tata's After Sales Service

Quote:
Originally Posted by audioholic View Post
Lets not get to the argument of "All cars have issues" etc since this is not one issue that needed rectification. But this is a chain of colossal incompetence which has been somehow masked by a good customer support and easy warranty replacements. A lot could have been avoided and the ownership experience would have been better if Tata had tackled the issue of bad injector much earlier and issued a recall. Compared to that, they had to replace so many parts on this car. What I am curious to know is what happens after warranty expires.
I somehow feel the engine was not replaced here. What they did is they replaced certain components/parts and in order to beta test their job they asked the owner to look for oil leaks. Unprofessional workmanship from the service centre from all aspects. Further, a diesel engine failing in mere 13k kms is serious design issue.
Kudos to the owner for being so optimistic.

Last edited by Aditya : 14th January 2022 at 16:51. Reason: Quoted text trimmed
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Old 14th January 2022, 09:14   #12
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Honestly speaking, we need more people like you. I have seen people who have the slightest issues with their cars and start sort of campaign to defame the car and the manufacturer.
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Old 14th January 2022, 10:40   #13
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Default Re: 2021 Tata Altroz DPF issues and engine failure | Good experience with Tata's After Sales Service

Unfortunate to know the horrible initial ownership experience of the owner. It is always a risk going for a Tata /Mahindra, isn't it?

Also quite impressed with how Tata dealer handled this issue. Still it is unacceptable to have such issues in a brand new engine.

My altroz diesel is chugging along fine at 7500 km as of now. If I encounter any issue, the whole world will know


Glad the optimism of the owner has reaped him peace and now that he says he loves the car even more. Altroz diesel, with his issues apart, is one perfect replacement to the lovely Punto diesel.

Last edited by PrasannaDhana : 14th January 2022 at 10:44.
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Old 14th January 2022, 10:49   #14
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Originally Posted by PrasannaDhana View Post
Also quite impressed with how Tata dealer handled this issue. Still it is unacceptable to have such issues in a brand new engine.
I fail to understand what was impressive about the dealer. Any car with a blown engine under warranty has to be sorted out by the dealer and the company irrespective of brand and model. Here they promised a replacement and most probably rebuilt the engine, which is nothing close to being impressive.

For me, I would have been impressed if the car was out of warranty and they still offered to fix it FOC, or if they had not turned up with a leaking engine even after a rebuild.
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Old 14th January 2022, 11:41   #15
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Default Re: 2021 Tata Altroz DPF issues and engine failure | Good experience with Tata's After Sales Service

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Originally Posted by audioholic View Post
I fail to understand what was impressive about the dealer. Any car with a blown engine under warranty has to be sorted out by the dealer and the company irrespective of brand and model. Here they promised a replacement and most probably rebuilt the engine, which is nothing close to being impressive.
Well, a blown engine definitely has to be sorted out by warranty. There are many instances when the dealers have tried to pass the blame on then owner to avoid replacement/repair under warranty. Even if they agree to do the work, the time taken for its completion is definitely much longer than in this case. The dealer in question, in my opinion, did a good job of handling the issue.

How many CRMs and service managers assure "Sir, we are here to help you and we take full responsibility for the issue, and will replace the engine"?

Also the small stuff like offering a replacement vehicle is definitely laudable.

Last edited by PrasannaDhana : 14th January 2022 at 11:46.
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