What's use of authorized service centers of car companies?

Yesterday spent half a day getting my Indica diesel car problems corrected.

Day-before I had visited one authorized centre for Tata Motors at Andheri (East). I'd gone there to get Basic free service done (given by 3rd party) and to get low pick-up experienced during last few days solved e.g., whenever I start the a/c, car would stop. Also there was a problem of screeching noise from the belt while climbing a slope in 1st/2nd gear.

Upon inspection of my Indica Diesel DLE (year 2000) model, head mechanic told me that car engine is having back compressor problem viz.,., engine oil is splashing from the engine-oil-level-check-vent - because pistons walls have enlarged, EGR motor is not working, excessive black smoke is coming and belt noise is there in 1st/2nd gear. He suggested complete overhaul of engine Rs.5,500/- Engine Kit-Rs.12,000/-, Fuel Pump Setup Rs.5,000/-, Engine Boring etc Rs.5,000/-, Air-conditioner Gas refilling etc. etc.. Total cost about Rs.35,000/- to 40,000/-. Bill of Material added up to Rs.40,000/-!! I fled.

Yesterday visited neighbourhood garage. Upon quick inspection mechanic suggested replacement of air filter (Rs.120/-), diesel filter (Rs.160/-). Changed rubber exhaust hose from engine (Rs.50/-). Slight improvement. Mechanic removed the silencer from the exhaust pipe and lo! Except noise from exhaust everything became perfect. So changed the Silencer (Rs.650/-) and tightened a nut to stop the screeching belt noise. Car is running like a new one. Total cost Rs.1,200/-.

So, what's lesson from this story? It was silencer that had got clogged - due to which exhaust gas was not able to go out, creating pressure on the engine. Was it error of judgment or cut-the- bakra (goat) attitude?

Looking at my 5 year old car could the mechanic not have guessed/checked whether exhaust system is working properly or not? In stead, he straight-away blamed engine for the low pick-up! So, can we trust authorized service centers? Probably not. If yes, then with loads of pinch-of-salt. Why does this thing happen? One reason is high man-power turn over. In small garages same owner works till he hands overs reins to either his son or some other trustworthy person. While in authorized garages, I bet, you won't find same person after a few months. It's not a fiction. It's a fact of life. In other words - knowledge does not accumulate in authorized garages. Every time is a new game. Then why the hell do we go to authorized service centres? To get fleeced? Not sure. Any ideas?

This situation I have seen in Information Technology field also. There are many certification courses. Course and exam fees are truly exorbitant. Those who pass certification say CISCO, MCSE, CNE etc. have just passed exams. It's amply evident from the trainers attitude towards the exam orientation. If a person with industry experience attends this course - he would decide to not to take exam and would ask for refund. What this certified guy have is is a bookish knowledge - it's just enough to pass exams and not more than that. If they know something - it's only because of real life field experience.

Coming back to authorized garages - they have got latest equipments, a/c office, english speaking staff, computers and car mfg trained/exam passed technicians etc. These garage owners are in a hurry to quickly recover their investment by fleecing customers. On the other hand, streetside garage owners may not have latest equipment or knowledge of english; but would have their skill and gut-feel well honed to solve real problems with practical solutions.

This is my second experience of Tata Motors' authorized service centre. First time, about two years back I had visited another authorized service centre in Vikhroli to solve excessive black smoke emission issue. After visiting them 3 times; and no solution to the problem - I complained to Tata Motors. Due to that I got few calls from the garage to visit again but I refused because I did not wished to get serviced by in-experienced had lost trust. That was about 2 years back. So, I thought situation would have improved. But no, it's all same.

So, am I smart fellow who saved about Rs.35,000/- or a fool waiting for some disaster to happen? Not sure. But at least for now, I'm happy that my car is working fine.

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