I have always been apprehensive about leaving my car at the service centre and after my recent experience, I never will.
I own a Baleno RS which was due for the second free service, so I setup a service appointment and took the car to the service centre. I was greeted by the service advisor and he started to take down all the details and asked the usual questions. I did not have any issues with the car except for one thing, when I cold start the car there was a petrol smell which lasted for about a minute and disappeared, I asked the service advisor to check this and he said he would. I have installed a dash cam in the car and the whole service was recorded.
The video is kind of long but it shows the entire service form the time I left the car till the time the service centre driver is dropping it off to my office. As you can see from the video, there was absolutely nothing done to the car. They simply washed the car and gave it back to me! No fluid levels were checked and absolutely nothing was inspected! The only time the bonnet was open was to clean the engine bay, that's it!
Let's break down the video (language is Kannada)
- The video starts when I was just about to leave the car, I tell the service advisor not to polish the car inside to which he asks if it's alright to polish the outside and I tell him that's fine.
- Just before I leave, I ask him to check the petrol smell and he said he will look into it. I leave at this point.
@ 22 sec the car is being driven into the workshop and I see this happening just before I exit the service station.
- the car gets driven inside and reversed into a service bay
@ 57 sec someone from behind yells 'washing washing don't put it here, there is no candidate (i assume he means mechanic)' To this the service advisor driving the car says 'wait for the customer to leave at least' Then they both have a conversation which is not relevant to my car.
@ 1:45 car is being taken out of the service bay (after they are sure I have left) and is driven to the washing line. The person on the phone is actually the service manager, he comes into the picture later after I go back the next day and confront them with this video.
@ 3:53 the car is in the washing line queue. The person in the car is feeling hot so what does he do? Turn the AC on at MAX speed. I myself have never used the AC at full blast! The car is sitting idle for several minutes with the AC at max speed. When I first watched the video I though they might have been vacuuming the car but I realized later that this was the sound of the AC because the sound is there almost throughout the entire washing process.
@ 11:17 till now the car is still in the washing line but at this point the service advisor has a conversation with someone about the dash cam asking if it records. The other person says yes and they ramble on for a bit.
@ 14:11 the bonnet is open for the first and only time during the entire 'service' process where the engine is cleaned.
@ 15:23 washing completed and its lunch time so what happens? A bunch of people decide to use my car to have their lunch and they seem to be fascinated by the dash cam and have a conversation about it with the AC on at full blast.
@ 18:32 the boys in the car have been chilling for a while now and the service advisor walks past and waves to people inside my car and tells them to get out because the camera is recording.
@ 18:45 the car leaves the wash line finally and makes its way to get parked. There are several conversations the driver has and at one point even asks the service advisor 'is this car not serviced?' Not sure if the service advisor responded to this because the mic did not pick up anything.
@ 21:34 the car is making it's way (after being parked) to get a final clean done before being delivered to me.
@ 25:49 at this point all the formalities are done (gate pass, billing etc) and the driver was instructed to take the car and get the under chassis checked before delivering it to me, which the driver does. Not sure what kind of checking was done in 4 minutes! (time stamp when the car switches off and dash cam stops recording is 15:02 and recording resumes again at 15:06).
After this the driver is making his way to my office to drop the car off.
So as you can see the car never went inside the workshop again for any kind of fluid checking or inspection whatsoever! They didn't even pull out the dipstick and check the oil level! To make matters worse they blatantly lied and ticked all the boxes in the manual.
After watching the video I went back the next day and confronted the service manager (the person you see talking on the phone in the beginning of the video) and showed him the video. He reacted in a very sympathetic way and told me that these kind of things don't usually happen and it is their responsibility to check everything etc etc and he will take action on the people concerned. I told him that I am sure you guys do this for all first and second service vehicles because nothing really happens in those services anyway and the customer would not know. The attitude of the manager was very humble and understanding (might have been an act). I told him that I was taking the car for a long trip next week and what if something had happened and if that something could have been found and fixed at the service. He apologized repeatedly after which he conducted the service and did what they were supposed to do in the first place.