The issue about how authorized service centres overcharge you for tasks that are not really needed on your car has been quite rampant for a while. Most car owners go through this “fleecing” at some point or the other. But in some cases it can become extreme. Here’s a true story from a community member.
CarToq community member, Nitin Srivastava, and owner of a popular mid-size sedan known for its image of reliability was quite shocked at the estimate that was drawn up for his car for a regular service at 85,000 km. The car is out of its warranty period and is chauffeur driven most of the time. It went with the driver to a large service centre of the brand in Noida. Also read: 5 ways service centres cheat you.
What do you expect an average service for a mid-size petrol sedan to cost? About Rs. 5,000 at the most, including just a regular oil change and clean-up is what would be considered normal. But Nitin got an estimate of Rs. 37,000 from the service centre.
The only complaints the driver had with the car was that it was jerking and not picking up properly, fuel efficiency was low, and that the brakes were noisy. The service centre, sensing ignorance on the part of the driver, decided to make some money off this seemingly clueless customer. They said the clutch had gone and would need to be replaced entirely. Cost: Rs. 20,000. Added to that the brakes needed “something” changed and that would be extra, pushing the total estimate including labour to Rs. 37,000. After a bit of haggling the service estimate was brought down to Rs. 25,000!
Those figure set off some warning bells. Nitin consulted with a CarToq expert and was advised that since the car was already out of warranty, he should take it to a known local mechanic in Gurgaon, who has a reputation of good workmanship at very reasonable prices. Also read: When is the right time to pick a local workshop?
The car was called back and sent to Gurgaon the next day to the local mechanic. He took one look at the car and said all it needed was a regular service and some tightening of parts. He replaced the engine oil, oil filter, cleaned the air filter, replaced the spark plugs, checked and topped up other fluids, and opened and cleaned out the brakes. In addition, he ran a chemical decarbonisation process on the car (costs Rs. 1000), as well as fuel injector cleaning. To top it off, he checked the clutch thoroughly to find nothing wrong with it at all!
This entire service bill including Rs. 1,000 for decarbonisation, charges of engine oil and oil filter as well as spark plugs, injector cleaning and other incidentals came to Rs. 4,500, a clean saving of Rs. 25,000. The car has been running perfectly for nearly three weeks now with an increase in fuel efficiency and no jerking or noisy brakes. Also read: All car spare parts to be available in the open market soon
We’ve deliberately not mentioned the brand on Nitin’s request, but this incident should serve as an eye-opener to other car owners. Always be on guard against a raw deal at the service centre, no matter what car brand you deal with. Also read: 7 lies car showrooms tell you