Why I travelled 400 km just to get my 2007 Grand Vitara serviced

I ended up travelling again with a 2011 Toyota Corolla Altis.

BHPian vigsom recently shared this with other enthusiasts.


I am sure we all have heard of Medical Tourism. But Maintenance Tourism? Here is an account of how I travelled 400km to my preferred technician to get a bunch of jobs done on my oldie - a 2007 Suzuki Grand Vitara AT and how I ended up doing up another car as well.

Why travel 400km just for maintenance?

Sounds ridiculous, isn't it?

  1. Why would one spend a few thousand to travel when the job could be done in the current city?
  2. What if one knows no technician in the city of residence?

However, what if there is an impending journey to a city, one changes the mode of travel from train to car, and one adds some maintenance agenda to the trip to get jobs done by one's preferred and trusted technician? Well, that's precisely what I did. The plan was to do up my car, but I also ended up with a wild card entry in the form of a 2011 Toyota Corolla Altis.


I'd performed some maintenance and checks on the Grand Vitara in Oct-2022, documented here. While all components had been checked, the ball joints on both lower arms were reported weak, and that meant that the arms would require change as soon as possible.

Options examined

  1. I examined a box solution by evaluating if getting bolt-on type ball joints (like in VW and the Toyota Altis), cutting out the existing ball joints, and fitting the new ball joints made sense. However, I shelved these plans as fitting these might throw the camber out of value and I'd be staring at tyre wear next.
  2. Suzuki genuine lower arms - these were priced at a whopping INR 9,900 for one side and INR 11,000 for the other side
  3. Other options overseas via partsouq, spareto and auto doc. I had an option where someone was travelling and could get these parts shipped and then carried personally.

Under option 3, there was a set of parts available under the KAMOKA brand from Poland - a pair of lower control arms, a pair of stabiliser link rods, a pair of steering tie rod ends, and a pair of spare lower arm doughnut bushes. Parts plus shipping to a known person overseas came to a mere INR 14,000.

When the parts arrived, my contact was aghast to note that each lower arm weighed a cool approx. 4.5kgs. He managed to bring them all in via a generous baggage allowance, and had the invoice for support should Customs ask. It was a clear passage and when the bag arrived, I was shocked to see how heavy this was. Phew.

How to get these parts fitted?

The car was in Bengaluru, hibernating, but I wasn't sure whom to go to. Meanwhile, there was this impending trip for two of us to Chennai in Apr-2023 and the travel would have most likely been by bus or train. Seeing an opportunity here, I decided to undertake Maintenance Tourism - to travel from a developed city to a small village on the outskirts of Chennai to be able to perform the maintenance by my trusted Doc (technician).

The precursor to the trip

An engine oil change was also getting due, so I got myself an oil filter from an MGP store, and while I wanted to stick to my trusted Castrol Magnatec 5w30 as engine oil, I got the itch to move to 100% synthetic in the form of Motul XCess 8100 5W40; got 5 litres from the authorised stockist at JC Road.

Bengaluru to Chennai on a super hot summer day

This was one of those really hot spells in Tamil Nadu in April. Although I left cool Bengaluru early in the day, the heat started beating us even before Krishnagiri. The poor AC was slogging it out all the way to Chennai. Enough had been said about the route elsewhere so I'd not dwell on the travails of a driver in this sector. However, I was fortunate to re-route from Sunguvachatram to Vallakottai to Oragadam to Vandalur and enter Chennai via GST Road. I managed my only stop at Sunguvachatram and was in Chennai in approx 6 hours and 25 mins.

Continue reading BHPian vigsom's maintenance tourism for more insights and information.

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