Hyundai Santro Xing GL Plus (2013): Ownership Review


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Prelude
Cars, cars, cars...

Have been my craze, dream, goal, and what not you may call....

Coming from a middle class, we weren’t much enough to afford a car in 90’s, 2k’s , etc.

It’s a different story that had times been nice with our family, a car and own house would have been my assets as early as before 2k, but forget it, that’s not what you all are here to read, am I right?

Let me narrow down to cars alone..

I got my first access to my friend’s car (Ragupathy in the year 1999 when doing my Higher Secondary XII standard, and that’s the first Maruti 800 white colour (not sure about which generation it belongs to). I literally cranked it, moved it reverse, then slot into the first, and banged on the wall, with the bumper having come down... Faced a lot of parental troubles, but yes, again the story starts branching, and hence let’s get back to track. I do not remember the car’s registration number, but it should have been above 1990 model.

Fast forward. With lot of domestic family issues, and self earnings, completed my graduation in BA Functional English from Madurai Kamaraj University in 2003, and yes.... Life struggle started.
Having worked in different roles, I, along with my challenges, was running my livelihood with the peanuts I used to make every month, and then a turning point came, where I got acquainted to a Bangalore based businessman (who’s now my wife’s maternal uncle, hope She doesn’t read this post LOL !! ), who used to drive a 1996 Maruti 800 Non AC – TN09H4934 (a pre-worshipped horse though), and in course of time, the car was in my control.

Hands on Wheels

Even though I knew a little driving, I started exploring my driving skills and enhancing my knowledge on cars. I would say this was my golden period, the 1 year May 2006-May 2007, where I became qualified to drive a car and got legally licensed in March of 2007J. It’s a different story that I banged the RH ORVM against compound wall, and did similar such notorious deeds as well, and let’s try to stick back. But 4934 has left a lot of sweet memories in me, I still love the car. All my attempts to buy that car from the then-owner failed till 2011, and the car went away with the wind...

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Then I moved from Karaikudi to Chennai (now having made it the native place for my next gen’s) in 2007 May...

Craze on cars kept growing inside me and I was researching cars till 2013... yes 2013...

In 2009, when I joined my current company, TATA NANO was launched with an On Road Price of 1.49xxx LACS for the base Non AC Nano, and the CX and LX models went little north till 1.9xxxx L. I being a part of TATA GROUP had fabulous offers such as ZERO down payment or minimum down payment with mouth watering 5.5% - 6% ROI on financing a Nano in 2011. Then financial conditions didn’t make me think wise to get a car. In 2011, TATA MOTORS brought Nano samples to our office car parking for marketing, with 25k discounts on CX and LX models. I test drove with my colleagues CX and LX variants of Nano and was amazed by its tiny structure, driveability, handling for its size. Not knowing it’s a 2 cylinder NA petrol, I fell for Nano. Till today, Nano is my darling and I woo at it as and when I find one on the roads. My craze for Nano made me fill the online application in my office portal for availing ZERO down payment purchase with the above said low ROI for finances. I almost ended up filling the application since I was better with my finances in the first two years of married life with some pleasant savings and had thought of paying a good sum down payment and a small sum finance with low ROI. I filled the application, and showed my wife. Looking at the interior 360 degree view of the car, my wife had a plain NO NO for Nano, and hence I kept from pressing the Submit button in the form, rather opted Cancel Button J.

Then the search kept going on. Maruti Alto 800, then came in K10, along with Nano. Things turned green when some of my real estate invested properties went for sale and I was gifted with a few big ones as Vitamin M around in 2012 and hence the itch of car purchase was still in heart and mind.

Initial Test Drives
Things went on the same way till 2013. In the mean time, I had test driven a Honda Brio Manual Petrol from Sundaram Honda, Mount Road – Chennai and was amazed at the butter smooth gearshifts and steerings. Handling was extremely awesome in Chennai Mount Road dense evening traffic. Base variant on road price came to 4.77L in 2012. I told myself to hold on.
Then tried Chevrolet Beat (the funky green) in Diesel and was amazed at its drivability though I faced visibility issues due to A pillars in different shape and doubted the stability at high speed. However the Beat Diesel base model was a nice package at 5.45L OTR in 2012 with a ready 10k discount being offered bringing down the OTR to 5.35L final.
Again – “Hold On” for purchase.

Actual – Unexpected – “Surprising Booking”
Then, one fine day, it so happened on 11th March of 2013 that I had taken my wife to a Hospital in Ambattur OT for a blood test, as she was carrying my younger one in her, and on the way back, destiny turned my 2005 Splendor Plus to the right hand side of Tirumullaivoil Mangalam HP Petrol Bunk, where Hyundai had ceremonies car sale Mela, rather my fate changing campaign.
I persuaded my wife to have a test drive of Hyundai EON (3 cyl 0.8L) that was in m budget (didn’t find a point in investing hard earned money on a depreciating asset at that point of time – to be honest, today as well). The sales rep Murugan from SPS Hyundai (Vengattur – Tiruvallur) seemed a nice guy and readily offered a TD in EON, which I and my wife were comfortable with. Wife felt (her first car) to be very comfortable, which is obvious for first car buyers. Murugan, the Sales Advisor offered 6% finance if we booked EON the same day, and the OTR price of EON D Lite Plus (AC, Power Steering, Manual Windows – Blue) was 3.73L OTR and Murugan offered that for 3.59L OTS post all possible discounts. Waived a Bye and went home.
Came home, that being a Monday and working in night shift, had some interesting time with wife in kitchen, stirring sambhaar, and discussing on the car purchase feasibilities. Having some Vitamin M in hand, after a 20 minute discussion, we decided on purchasing the EON D Lite plus with close to 2L down payment and remaining to be financed. Got dad’s concurrence, who waived a green flag.
Called Murugan with the decision, who in turn sent home a car to pick us up. We met Murugan, discussed finances, finalized on Hyundai EON Blue Colour D Lite Plus and I was expected to give a booking cheque for 20k, however I paid 50k, and the SA offered 3k corporate discount. Things were smooth, till dad started gazing at a Sleek Silver Santro Xing GL Plus parked at the petrol bunk as display vehicle (was told by the SA as having been booked by the petrol bunk owner). Dad insisted on buying a bigger vehicle and was sold at its stance. SA Murugan readily offered the same car for TD and we did a spin all together. Wifey and dad loved the car and what next, EON D Lite booking was upgraded to Santro Xing GL Plus Petrol in Sleek Silver with OTR 4.36L, and after a great negotiation we sealed the deal at 4.20L, with the already paid booking amount of 50k.

Worst Delivery Experience (SPS HYUNDAI)

Finance person came home to collect documents and the real face of the said 6% ROI, came out. The 6% is the flag rate interest and not depreciating, and many people do not calculate this and are eventually ripped off.

6% flat actually runs to 13+% depreciating ROI, which was too much and it was a clear rip off. Politely asked the finance person to leave my home at once.

We had booked an apartment at our street that time, and we had too many big ones to settle, and that was the reason I had opted for partial finance on my new car. But finance persons tried to rip my savings off, however God saved me from them. Then a 20 minute discussion again – the car was decided to be bought on cash, and cheques were issued for the remaining 3.7 big ones, and a 5 day delivery was assured, which was never kept or realized by SPS HYUNDAI.

I had to follow up with GM, ASM and who not, then I really felt bad for having shelled my money into these irresponsible car dealers, rather I could have bought a 2007 M 800 at 1.4L in 2012, in pristine condition, but for my dad who doesn’t prefer second hand goods at all.

After numerous follow ups, car was assured to be delivered (without registration – pooja delivery) on 29th March 2013, and I was on top of that date since on 30th March, the very next day, was my dad’s retirement celebration at school and home and I had desired to pick him up from school and bring him home with all regards in our NEW CAR.

Well, the car was delivered on 29th March 2013, with unexpected and filthy surprises. I worked night shift the previous business day and took a train from Chennai Central to Tiruvallur with sleepy face. SA Murugan had come to receive me at Tiruvallur station. We had a sip of coffee and walked into the showroom. All was well. They made me wait for 2 hours till the car was made ready, and it was delivered well.

Issues and surprises were:

1. The SA Murugan had assure 5000/- as Corporate Discount for Santro while booking (I am sure and so was my wife and dad who were with me when we booked the car, that Murugan had assured 3k for EON, and 5k for Santro and i10). But during the paperwork, I was surprised with the Corporate Discount being only 3k. I didn’t want to spoil my soup and took my delivery expressing my dissatisfaction as I was in complete ZERO sleep status since Monday morning.

2. Despite purchasing the car on hot cash, I was not provided by the second key of the car on delivery date, which is absurd, and I couldn’t rationalize the purpose of not providing me with the second key.

3. Incorrect details in the RC book (more on that later).
I requested a driver to assist me in getting car to home due to my sleepy condition and the car being little bigger in size than erstwhile Maruti 800 that I was confident with, at that point of time.

A staff of SPS came down to the delivery spot and explained me on the features of the car, and how to operate them. He can be rated 10/10.

The driver (Deepak / Deepan thanks to my weak memory now) was very polite person and actually taught me some good driving habits as well. I am quite happy with him. I offered him lunch at home, made him park my NEW CAR in my apartment parking that was not completely finished (construction pending), the car was covered by the body cover, and then post lunch I sent him off at Avadi Railway station with a pre bought ticket bound to Tiruvallur. I gifted him a 100 rupee note, which he was not happy with. Actually the culprit SA Murugan had provoked him to demand more money thinking I am a millionaire since I bought the car in ready cash. I politely explained Deepak, the driver that I had cleanly wiped all my account balances, savings and I don’t even have cash for fueling the car (I fuelled on credit card in front of him in Tiruvallur while getting the car). Well, I can’t offend Deepak because that is the natural expectation of every driver. I assured him to do well next time when he comes in to take my car to Poonamallee RTO for registration, but I never saw him again in these 8 years. Car was taken for registration by another driver in my absence whom my wife had paid 200 bucks as gift, which I was fine with. Deepak and the other driver, each can be rated 10/10, though Deepak expected money, I am fine. I regret not having money to pay him that day.

The same evening, I called up SPS Hyundai and spoke to ASM, SM and other executives on the way I had been cheated by Murugan – SA, where I was ripped off 2000/- INR by misleading the corporate discount as 5000/- when actual was 3000/-. Please trust me, that very moment, I decided never to buy a new car from a car dealer, any car dealer, any car, any make, any brand, since I never wanted to be cheated by such filthy folks again. I decided I would make myself comfortable in near future with a used or low usage car from a known circle (trusted), since after paying and filling these day light robbers’ packets and bank accounts with my blood and sweat earnings (nearly 10 years savings of mine – 4.2 L), I am treated like fool.

I have had similar experiences with dealers and showroom staff when I bought my bike Victor in 2016, from Vijay TVS – Avadi (more on that in my separate review / thread on New TVS Victor 2016.

Car Technical Details

2013 March model – Hyundai Santro Xing GL PLUS (middle variant) – SLEEK SILVER – Petrol.

Ex Show Room – INR 3,75,000.00
Insurances – INR 10,420.00
All others – Registration, Taxes, Etc.

Date of Registration – 4th April 2013

Odo reading at Delivery – 36 kms

Car Segment: Hatchback with 5 doors (A2 / B segment)

Features: A/c, Power Steering (Hydraulic), Front alone Power Windows.
Transmission: 5 SPEED FWD and 1 REVERSE - Manual.
Engine: 4 cylinder 1086cc
Fuel Capacity: 35L
More later.

Car Pooja
The subsequent Saturday, we took the car to Perumal Temple in Kovilpathaagai, Avadi, and the priest did the Pooja ceremony in a pleasant way. Offered 100 bucks to Lord Perumal (through the Priest) and started home.




The subsequent week, car was taken to Tiruttani Murugan temple and an auspicious pooja was conducted for the car keys.

Dad’s retirement function was great, went grand with good crowd gatherings at home. All were in praise for me for having bought a car on the day of father’s retirement. Many admired the car. A few asked for a drive, which I politely refused. Many had commentaries such as “Why an old and outgoing model when we have fresh i10, i20, etc?” kind of. Even I had questions in my mind like “Why not finance me some 5-6 L with ZERO% ROI?” kind of, but kept quiet, thanks to the courtesy I maintain with such great-minded people. J

After some follow ups with the totally unprofessional SPS HYUNDAI, a driver was sent on 4th April 2013 by SPS to my home, who took the car for registration and brought it back the same day, and we gifted him 200 bucks, which we were fine with.
 
Thread Starter #2
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First Drive

Trust me I don’t have anything interesting about my initial in-city drives in Avadi traffic. I was literally sweating while drove half the way with Driver Deepak, it was like a nervous feeling, a whooping 4.2L vehicle in my control. Such a big money – my 10+ years hard earned sweat and blood – OMG – I trust at least some of the readers would have experienced such similar feel at some point of time, while purchasing their first car(s). Initial few weeks, I was not very confident in handling a car, a bigger car, for someone who comes from Maruti 800 J. So I couldn’t technically notice any thing mentionable in the review during my first reviews. All I was concerned about was fuel efficiency (typical Indianism and middle classism here) and with a lot of misconception, I ended up running in the engine with incorrect gear shift pattern, such as quicker up-shifting for the greed of mileage, lower speeds in higher gears, etc, which were blunders and which I realized little late.

Then I changed my gear shift pattern.
Car Usage Pattern:

I am not a daily driver due to three reasons – wallet economy (five times the petrol I need to burn in a car, compared to when I ride my two wheeler); smart and safe space management, less carbon footprint (resulting in environment friendly and saving fuel for nation). Other reasons are time saving, preventing hassles caused by two wheelers just cutting in front of me like maroons without any indication, traffic jams, etc.
I crank the car once in a week, mostly on Sundays to go shopping (shopping in my economic jurisdiction means buying vegetables, fruits, and other consumables – necessary purchases alone). All other days of the week, the car is simply parked n my roofed by uncovered parking.
My occasional long trips with no limits to distance.

Performance, Handling, Drivability

Handling was good enough for a newbie like me, drivability was messed by myself by incorrect way of gear shifting, that is higher gears in lower speeds, etc, otherwise drivability has always been goods. Performance in the initial days was simply awesome - a new car, big car (for me at least – bigger than the pre selected EON), and the peppy petrol motor, etc.

Performance was admired during Tiruttani trip in two weeks of purchase, and it was great till 80 kph speed.

Performance was still appreciated during our first long trip from Avadi – Chennai to Bangalore and back.

Challenges were – new car – first time so long highway – unknown roads, wife carrying my second baby 7th month, and so many curious questions to myself inside me.

We actually headed for my brother in law’s son’s second Birthday in Bangalore, and again the decision to drive that long with my pregnant wife was made in 20 minutes. Initial discussion was waived off by dad as he didn’t feel it safe for me, a newbie to drive 700 kms on a new car to an unknown state (KA of course), with my wife carrying her 7th month. Later that evening I and my wife were cleaning the car, with the said ’20 min discussion’ and then the decision was finalized to go. Dad also had a green signal with some ambiguity though.

The drive to Bangalore was fantastic. I behind the wheels, my wife accompanying me in front, dad and my elder princess at rear. The speed was maintained within 70 kmph with windows open (Non AC). It took around 6+ hours as this was the first time and we encountered heavy traffic post Hosur.

After the birthday celebrations, the very next day, a Monday, we started back, but this time with extra luggages – my mother in law, my brother in law’s son, and my a cousin of my wife. The rear seat was overloaded with 2 adults (father and M.I.L), two kids – 4 & 3 year old, and one teenager guy.

I started gelling well with the car and while coming back, I was in 80’s and occasionally touched 90’s, but the moments I realized everytime, set my foot off-throttle.

Mistakes I did – having been used to 4 speed M800 in the past, I kept mistaking the 4th gear as the 5th in my Santro and covered numerous kilometres in that way (4th and 5th gear momentum similar to me those early days). However with 70 kmph – 80 kmph speed with Non AC, the car returned an impressive fuel economy of 20.96 kmpl, which is the best history which I could never break the record of till today (even after 8 long years).

We all landed safe at home, and post that we covered some local places like Kancheepuram, Vandaloor, etc with those relatives and all had happy time.

Highway Trips
Well the car has seldom been used as a city car, the purpose it was manufactured for, but as a highway cruiser always. I have clocked around 41k clicks in the odo in 7 years and 10 months of ownership, out of which my in-city coverage would be lesser than 2500 – 3000 kms, and even much lesser than that, and all the car has seen in its tenure is the highways and highways and highways.

Places travelled to are infinite to count – predominant ones being Bangalore (350+ kms one way), Velankanni (325+ one way), Karaikudi (420+ one way), Tuticorin (600+ one way), Karur (400+ one way), Rameshwaram (600+ one way), Kanyakumari (750+ one way), all singly driven by me – solo performance.

The thing is that I have a craze for driving.

Maximum speed achieved – 140 kph (Rameswaram Trip August 2016 – with office colleagues – 5 adults and 1 kid in my car and another family of a colleague in a SKODA OCTAVIA 2008 1.9 TDI – is a memorable and cherishing trip).

Maximum Mileage – 19.3 kmpl with full AC from Chennai to Tuticorin (highway alone within speed limit of 90 kph without exceeding 100 kph) and 20.96 kmpl from Chennai to Bangalore and back with Non AC speed between 70-80 kph.

Santro having a higher seating position and a clear road view, is a breeze to drive. Though it lacks in modern safety features such as ABS, Airbags, etc, I personally feel these are accessories
when driven with some common sense, responsibility and maturity level.
Santro has been our reliable family member and hasn’t given us any surprises we could regret of.

LET DOWNS

The only, that too minor, surprise was on 26th Jan 2019, when we were starting to Sri Kalahasthi temple, when the car didn’t unlock or respond to my remote key commands, and the battery was found to be the culprit – was drained completely.

I called up SHRI RAM BATTERY who is an Amaron Battery dealer 1 km away from my home, who came rushing to my place with a service (rental battery) and asked me to proceed with my temple trip, and took my car battery for testing. Trust me, a stock battery having served 5 years and 10 months with no issues in a car that is cranked only once in a week (Sundays for a vegetable purchase trip), is to be highly appreciated. We visited our Health Divine Dhanawantri and came back safe with no concerns with the service battery. We were informed that our car battery was completely dead and despite their charging it for hours, the battery didn’t come up to life and hence a replacement was necessary, which was immediately done with AMARON 4 year warranty battery. This is how we got acquainted with SHRI RAM BATTERY and after this, I have replaced batteries for two of my vehicles in the same year – 2019 with the same battery dealer and all works fine till date.

A few other flat tyre instance while we were starting somewhere are to be included, however I consider them very minor and usual in the kind of roads our locality has.

Fuel Efficiency Figures
City – Worst 10 kpl with AC
City – Worst 12 kpl without AC
City – Best 15 kpl without AC
City – Best 13.5 kpl with AC
Highway – Worst 15.6 kpl – with AC – high speed till 120-140 kpl
Highway – Best 19.3 kpl with full AC – Chennai to Tuticorin (covered in 31.xx L of petrol)
Highway – Best 20.96 kpl – Non AC – Chennai Bangalore – Chennai trip via Krishnagiri.
Even though the city mileage is on the lower side, highway mileages seem fine for a 4 cylinder 1.1L EPSILON Motor that runs in petrol.

NEW CAR DELIVERY POOJA pics in Kovilpathaagai Perumal Temple - Avadi (March 2013)
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Very nice and emotional review of your lovely Santro. You clearly write from your heart and this is the thing I appreciate very much.
Please post more pictures of your car. How is the interior holding up after 7-8years?
Did you install any accessories in the car.?
 
Thread Starter #6
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Santro did not come up with Music System since it was the middle variant and not with a spoiler for the same reason (GL PLUS).

After purchase, in the next two days, I walked into Basheera Showroom in Puzhal Road, Ambattur, and fixed a very basic Convex system with Aux, FM, USB (No CD / BT) for INR 2,500.00. Fixed SONY SPEAKERS in front alone (Rs. 1,500.00)

Wiring charges 200 and labour charges 200, totalling to 4,400 INR. Antenna was installed for free as complement.

The music system came good for around 2.5 years and then it started auto-restarting at every pothole or humps the car encountered and then, the same was changed to MITSUN (for INR 1,400.00) same basic AUX USB FM, in GP Road, Chennai in August 2016.

This music system hardly lasted another 2 years and finally in December 2018, I upgraded to PIONEER basic system (non blue tooth one) for some 3,700.00 including fitting charges.It's 2 + years now and running well, probably a better one than the previous two units I had bought. I learnt a lesson not to go so local in buying electronics.
 

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Thread Starter #7
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Very nice and emotional review of your lovely Santro. You clearly write from your heart and this is the thing I appreciate very much.
Please post more pictures of your car. How is the interior holding up after 7-8years?
Did you install any accessories in the car.?

Thank you sir. I will post pics and accessories one by one for you.
 
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Accessories or any modifications done post purchase:

Modifications - a STRICT NO NO.
Accessories:
1). Music system - Convex followed by MITSUN and now playing PIONEER. Pic in the above post.
2). Seat Covers - I got a pair in GP Road Chennai - a rexin one for Rs. 3,500.00 (installed in 2014)
3). Seat Beads for back support - 1- INR 350/- (for driver seat alone)
4). Neck rest pillows and Perfume bottle (250/- for perfume bottle and Next Rest pillow of very nice material with contrast colour to the seat for Rs. 450.00 one pair from Basheera - in 2016.


Note : Pics are in thumb nails. The person sitting in the driver seat is my very intimate friend and colleague who came with me to select seat covers. The seat cover and beads can be seen. All other pics with a gentleman [clap] in black Jerkin is me.
 

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Thread Starter #9
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Current pics of the cars with interiors and exteriors..

Interiors having been 8 years old, seems to require a complete detailing which is on the cards.

Next jobs on the cards are:

1. HHO Decarbonisation treatment (INR 3,000.00 cost)
2. Some internal floor matting (estimation could be around 3,000.00)


A complete exterior and interior cleaning with Water Wash is due next weekend.

Note : these pics are within the last 30-40 days, before going on a 1600 km long South Tamil Nadu Trip last month.
 

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Something on a maintenance part of the vehicle till date:

First free service was done with some 1000 kms on odo in a month - with SPS REDHILLS - the ASC dealer of the SPS HYUNDAI TIRUVALLUR, where I bought the car from. SPS together are culprits. I raised a complaint about AC inefficiency and they didn't even document it in the job card (I never knew that time that I was already fooled with a big part, will discuss that below in sometime). The checkup was done and the same evening the vehicle was delivered.

However, months later, I found the AC totally inefficient while coming back from Sri Kalahasthi temple with family, and took it to my nearby service centre - KUN HYUNDAI - Ambattur (Near Estate bus stand), and was shocked to hear from the very courteous and customer centric service advisor Mr. Venkat that the AC condensor is gone and needs replacement at a cost of 8000/-. I explained him that I had taken my vehicle for first service at SPS RED HILLS and complained on the AC problem, but those culprits hadn't documented that in the job card as well as systems and hence Mr. Venkat at KUN HYUNDAI denied the warranty.

I straightaway told him to keep the car and I told him I knew what to do next with HYUNDAI for having sold me a faulty car.

But, luck, Mr. Venkat came forward to help me out, stating he's doing this on good-will warranty and he projected as if he has fought with all seniors in the management and somehow he got me satisfied with the condensor replaced in warranty.


I appreciated Mr. Venkat for being customer focussed, and left after providing 10/10 rating for him.

Post that, Mr. Venkat always helped me with free highway checkups and other guidances, however, no Management prefers too much customer focussed or too much employee focussed middle men and one fine day I was told that Mr. Venkat had quit KUN HYUNDAI.

I completed my second free service at the end of 12 months and third free service at the end of 24 months, at KUN HYUNDAI Ambattur, where another service advisor Mr. Kumaresa Pandiyan assisted me on the services.

List of Bad Experiences with KUN HYUNDAI Ambattur:
1. In my third free service with KUN HYUNDAI, my car was returned with peeled off seat beading which cost me 350/- bucks. I asked the service advisor on why that was damaged. He said it had been removed for cleaning, but I didn't understand why one has to break and damage the beads for cleaning. SA didn't have an answer and since I had some important work to head on with, I left without talking to the Manager.

2. During the warranty period (2 years), the speedometer lamp's right side part started blinking and turned off while coming back from Tiruvallur at night with family after attending a marriage function. I took it to KUN HYUNDAI, where they killed my six hours that day, but when I returned after the so callled resolution, but just before 2 kms to my home, the problem started re-occurring. I called up the then Service Manager Mr. Natarajan who assured that he will send his mobile service team, who in fact landed at my place, and easily sorted out the trouble and stated the cause of the problem was loose connection.

These two incidents took my trust off KUN HYUNDAI and Mr. Venkat was no more with them, and hence a bye bye to KUN HYUNDAI for services and other maintenance requirements.

How I maintain my car then?

I have never done a paid service with any Hyundai Service Station, as they start quoting 8000 + tax, 9000, 7500 + tax, 5,500.00 + tax and so on, for a bare bone Santro [frustration].

Then who takes care of my car? Answer is an FNG Mechanic, named Kumar (my name - [cheers]), who is a part of BOBBY WORKSHOP in Puzhal Road from Ambattur OT.

He's the first car mechanic I met after purchasing my car, the one who affixed number plates to my car for Rs. 30.00 in March 2013. He's a multi talented mechanic who even oils Volkswagon Passat.

After March 2015, my free services were done with. I hadn't opted for Extended Warranty, as I didn't foresee any such requirements in this bare bone car and for the kind of usage I had intended from this car. So I shifted to BOBBY WORKSHOP in Ambattur, and my usage being below 6000 kms every year or even lesser, I ensure to replace engine oil, oil filter and air filter with Kumar's help. I get all genuine parts like Oil Filter (89 rupees) and Air Filter (around 400 rupees) and I get Castrol or Shell Engine from a near by oil shop and hand over all these spares to Kumar, who, replaces oil, oil filter and air filter, in front of my eyes, for which he charges 250-300 bucks as his labour.

All additional parts would be replaced as and when necessary. I once replaced all the 4 spark plugs at around 4 years of ownership since Kumar had asked me to replace, I bought them. But when the actual spark plugs were removed, they were found to have some life yet and hence I stored it in my boot. However, last month while re-arranging the things in the boot, one of them was found broken [anger]. Spark plugs cost me 100 per piece, which is 400/- for a set of 4.

In 2019 service, the fuel filter was replaced as there was too much dirt. Trust me the mechanic Kumar had tough time removing the fuel / petrol filter. That was some 216.00 rupees at price.

Apart from these regular maintenance, below were the major replacements in my car in these 8 years of ownership:

1). An accidental damage - Front Windshield - In my fifth month of ownership, when I was coming back home with family at about 8 pm. from Kovilpathaagai Perumal temple, just before 2 km from my house, a hasty, drunk Panneer seller rushed into my car, coming from an acute angle left lane and he tried to move ahead by joining into the main road. I was in 3rd gear with speed less than 30 kph, since there are too many speed breakers in the road, and 4th gear was totally a nonsense in that road. He took left to join me in my direction, trying to get parallel to my car and move ahead, when he ended up brushing on my left fender and he fell straight on my bonnet with his back head hitting on my windshield left bottom corner causing a crack, small though. This windshield was replaced in insurance (not bumper to bumper, it was the first year comprehensive only as guided by Mechanic Kumar, since the very next month I was heading to Tuticorin, my native, for the first time in my new car. I got it replaced from Saint Gobain in Ambattur Estate and I had to pay upfront some 5,900.00, post my Tiruvallur based insurance agent approved the claim. The reimbursement was credited in amount of Rs. 4,100.00, where hit to my wallet was Rs. 1700/- approx. The windshield glass and the replacement labour was reimbursed for full, whereas the paste and beading was covered only 50%, thus a 700/- from my pocket and the claim file charges Rs. 1000/- .

2) . Too early worn out Seat Belt - In 2015, that is within 2.5 years of ownership, my driver side seat belt stopped getting retracted, the retraction motor was gone kaput... Mechanic Kumar got it replaced for me from a salvage or scrap going 2005 Santro, and made my wallet lighter by 270/-, that was the only money I had in wallet that day. Actually Kumar had estimated that to be 100 rupees, but post the work, he asked 500 rupees, I said I only had 270 in my wallet and paid that.

3). Silencer Pipe Muffler - In 2017, the silencer started producing ugly noise, when I was coming back from Bangalore with family. Before that trip, I had visited OMAN HYUNDAI in Poonamallee (Bangalore road) for a free checkup mela, post when the silencer started roaring and hence raised a complaint. The OMAN HYUNDAI management sent person to pick my car and they sent me photos of the rusted silencer pipe which had a hole. I blamed OMAN HYUNDAI for that since I hadn't faced the problem before giving the car to them. Finally ASC Manager agreed to get it welded for me at his own cost of transport, and he requested me to pay the Rs. 250.00 alone which was for welding, which I did.
Then from June 2020, I heard the same and worse noise from silencer, for which I consulted Kumar, who said the noise is very less and I can still drive a few thousand kilometres, and it was left as due to Corona, the car was hardly used.
However, post deciding on the long South TN trip in December mid, my wife suggested me to replace the entire silencer and hence I postponed my 12th Dec planned deprture to 13th, and the whole 12th Dec 2020, a Saturday was spent by me at Kumar's garrage, where the entire silencer pipe was replaced with a local one for Rs. 2,100.00 and his labour being 500/-. A highway checkup was also done checking oil, oil filter, fans, all fluids, suspension and a test drive. Coolant oil 0.5L was topped up as suggested by Kumar. Gear oil (Manual Transmission oil) which was never replaced since purchase, was found to be a little low in level and hence was topped up for some 200 ml, and the remaining from a 1L can (costing 245.00) is still in my car. The windshield washer gun was also replaced by him since that was hardly splashing any water. The car was made ready for the 1800 kms long trip, which ended up with only 1600 kms due to unprecedented rains and unfavorable weather.

4). Front Tyres changed on 12 November 2020 : Eight years on stock APOLLO ACCELERE tryres sound too much even though I had driven only 38,xxx kms at the time of replacement. There was a puncture within fifteen days of a puncture in the same wheel, and I took it to my Wheel Specialist CHAKRA TYRES located next to Avadi Checkpost in Chennai Tiruvallur Highway, who found that the air leak was from the previous puncture and there was bulge that tyre. It was two days before Diwali and hence the frontal pair of the tyres were decided to be changed and I selected YOKOHOMA R13, and requested them to put in wight, balance it and then fit them to my car. The best of the other three, two were selected for the rear wheels and fitted, even though the people at the shop were pushing me to have even the rear rubbers changed (Corona losses, whom else they would recover from). I stayed away from replacing the rear ones, and it was done by making myself poorer by 7000.00 post all loyalty discounts given by the shop owner. A complete wheel alignment was also done, within that 7000.00. Got warranty, bills, etc.

5). Rear RH tyre tubed on 22 Jan 2021 : On 12th January 2021, my incidental birthday, my wife asked me to taken everyone to temple, and when I reach my parking, my rear right side tyre was flat. I started my loyal Honda Activa and we went to temple. Post that I didn't have time to take the car to Wheel Specialist. Then came 14th, pongal holiday, but it was holidays for the Wheel Specialist as well, and he said he will open on Monday (18th Jan), and from Monday, I will sit busy with work the whole day. The car lied on the flat rear right rubber for around 10 days, and then on Friday, I dared to seek permission, inflated the car tyre from a 200 m distant cycle shop, till where I had to roll the car in first gear, then rushed to wheel specialist place, where 3-4 leakages were shown in the tyre, and there was no nail or thorn, but the punctures were analysed to be from the steel strings inside the tyre which had started giving up due to age and hence they (rear rubbers too) need replacement. As I don't have any outstation plans till later part of this year, I opted for tubing that tyre. They put in a tube (DRF) for 380.00, and add 50 for fitting, a total expense was 430.00, which was better than the 4 puntures being sealed at 150.00 each, resulting in 600.00 with no guaranty when there will be one more leakage.

The only drawback is that in case of a pucnture on the tubed tyre, I have to stop then and there, jack my car, replace the wheel using Jackie then and there, whereas with tubeless tyres, I can drive till the next puncture shop. So keeping budget in mind, I held up. Rest my stars have to decide if any nail or thorn should choose the tubed tyre out of the 4 wheels, with 3 tubeless, like picking the odd one out.[lol]
 
Thread Starter #11
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Thank you sir. I will post pics and accessories one by one for you.
Interiors are pretty good. No ratting till date. Slight vibration could be felt from dashboard, when the speed goes low for that gear, otherwise not an issue. The roof side has accumulated some dust which is obvious since I prefer open-window drives, not only for saving petrol, but also for the factors like fresh air ride which I always enjoy, and also for the peppy power that drastically increases when AC is switched off, especially in cities. But it's not that I save fuel all time, I switch on AC as and when I feel necessary. My rare lonely rides tend to be non AC ones.
 
Thread Starter #12
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Incidents and Accidents in my Santro, that I could remember of (Accident 1 - September 2013)

The major two accidents were in Santro were:

1). September of 2013, five months after purchase, a Panneer seller (as he had told me) was on his TVS XL Super tried to join the main road I was in, from a lane from left. He seemed to be in a great hurry at 8 pm [frustration] and he was that much fast that he took his left turn into my main road, paralleling my car from left and tried to move ahead, when he brushed on my left fender, and straight was seen on my bonnet, his back of head hit my windshield glass causing a crack, and he fell down.

I was hardly in 30 kph, 3rd gear, since I was returning from Lord Perumal Temple in Kovilpathaagai of Avadi, at about 8 pm that evening, and the road (Avadi HVF quarters ppl know) has numerous speed breakers, and hence 4th gear is a joke on that road. This panneer guy appeared like a lightening from left, brushed my left and fell down. I panic-braked immediately and came to halt. There was a thik-thik heartbeat in me and everyone in the car (my father, wife, elder daughter and my younger infant). My wife almost started crying. I asked everyone to be quiet and waited for him to get up. Yes, the moped-ist rose and stood up. I was a kind of relieved and then I switched on hazard lights and tried to corner to left, but there were crowd already, along with a lady police who was on her scooter that way, who started abusing me. Crowd didn't even let me put my car in side, and I requested them to cooperate as I am a local living person and I wouldn't try to flee with my family in the car. Somehow I managed to convince the crowd, only yo successfully park on the left side of the road in order to avoid any disturbance to the to-fro traffic on the road.

I do handle lot of accidents on the road, as a rescue person, I go for any kind of help for the accident victims, help police to clear traffic, call ambulance, try to help the victim recover as much as possible, and hence I am aware of the protocol on how to handle accidents.

So did I. I asked my family not to come out of the car, kept the engine idling with AC on, and all window closed. I approached the Panneer seller and enquired about his condition. He said he got scratched in his back and some pain in the head. I urged him to come to hospital with me. He refused.

As usual, Indians who love poking their nose in others' affairs and creating scenes, gathered. There were people who started arguing with me on the fault. I told them very clear I belong to the same area and have good influence here. I told them that it was my sole responsibility to take medical care of the person who has hit my car, whoever may be at fault, which is secondary for me.

The panneer man was crying on his moped's head lamp that had turned downwards, trust me that was a broken clamp along that would hardly cost 50 Rs. and the head lamp was not damaged (FYI - I have worked with a TVS Two Wheeler Main Agency in Karaikudi in 2003 and I know in and out of TVS XL Super moped). But the panneer man was on top of his moped. I assured him with loud voice in the crowd, "Be responsible man ! You would have your wife and kids waiting for you at home. Thank God that you are safe and are able to stand up and speak. Regardless of whose fault it is, it is my human responsibility to take care of your medical needs and so, you need to come to hospital to check yourself".

Now his drama started. He started demanding money. I handed over 200 rupees to fix the Head Lamp clamp, the actual head lamp assy would not have cost more than that at that time (September 2013). He inserted the money into his pocket.

He refused to come to hospital and hence, I paid him another 200 for his hospital expenses. Now the panneer man becomes a villain man. He starting cribbing that he expected in thousands. Now the conversation shifted from polite to a very slight arrogant way from me. I told him clearly - "Boss ! You hit my car. You damaged my windshield where I straight away lose 7k. Did I pester you for that? Now since you hit my car, I requested you to come to hospital for first aid. You denied and hence I paid you. I paid you for the whole head lamp when the clamp alone is damaged. I have all papers in my car current, as it is a new car. I am not drunk. I was not on wrong side. I was not speeding since there are 8 speed breakers in this road. I had stopped the car with marks of hard breaking towards the centre of the road, which means I was not on the extreme left. Now if we go to Tirumullaivoil, there is Dr. KS Ravi's clinic on one side of the street, and on the other side we have TM Voil police station. Now you decide where you would prefer us to step into.".

The panner man now says "Sir, let's go to hospital." I offered him to take him in my car. He said he will follow my car in his moped. (See the moped is in good condition, but for the head lamp clamp. Literally no other damage). I agreed and he followed me. I asked him to make a note of my phone number, car number and I also told him I live very nexto TN SPECIAL POLICE FORCE QUARTERS.

He followed me to the hospital entrance, and then he stopped and told me "Sir, if we go to hospital, the expenses will be more than 10,000.00 or so. So please give me some 3000 rupees". I could no more hold on. I told him that it's not his business to mind the expenses and again offered him to choose an option to either walk into the hospital or into the adjacent police station. I also reiterated to him clearly that I had been highly responsible in handling the accident and him, the victim and I was handling him with care till that moment. But if he wanted to take the matter to police, I was fine with that as well.

The actual fact behind was, he didn't have his papers clean for his vehicle (when I asked him about the papers in the vehicles, he started staring at me, and also I could sense some alcoholic fragrance from his mouth while talking).

I walked with him to the hospital, and my family also came with me to provide moral support, even though I asked them to be quiet and watch.

It was a small clinic and not a hospital actually, which I was visiting the first time. I explained the incident to the nurse, and she took the patient in, to the Doctor. Doctor KS Ravi, is an elderly hero in our area who is Master of all Trades. He had started as eye specialist, then a diabetician, Ortho, General Physician as far as I know, there might be some more which I had not known.

After a brief checkup, the patient was confirmed to be all right. An injection , some medicine and an ointment was given with a prescription to take some hot water massage at home.

Pharmacy Bill - 261.00 and Doctor Consultation - 100.00, totalling to 361.00

I requested the Pharmacy person to bill on the Panneer Man's name (despite if I had billed it in my name, I could have claimed it under my official health insurance), and I still retain the bills in original with me.

The reason behind was - I needed a document proof to prove that I have been a responsible citizen, human, and law adhering person in case the panneer man tried to kindle me little later, but no such thing happened.

This panner man while waiting in queue to meet Doctor, kept calling so many people (or he was pretending to) stating he was knocked down by a car. I somehow felt as if he was trying to indirectly threaten me. I was bold and was eagerly waiting to see who he had called, and who I am going to answer.

To dismay, the person who came for him was his old father. He came to me and thanked me for responsibly getting his son to the hospital and handing him over. I explained the elderly person how the incident happened, showed him my license, and introduced myself. Paneer man's father spoke with my father and thanked him also. He iterated that it is hard to find such responsible motorists today, normally car drivers try to flee the spot after such incidents. I told the elderly person that I too ride my two wheeler daily to office, and if I flee from an accident spot, then by God's justice, I am always prone to such knock downs by other car(s) when I am on two wheeler.

We bid adieu to each other and walked away.

The panneer man was greedy, but his father was a responsible gentleman. He understood the situation and instead of screaming or yelling at me, he thanked me and my father. He's the most disciplined gentleman though he was wearing a not-co-clean lungi.
 
Thread Starter #13
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Accident No. 2 (major) - August 15th, 2016, near Ramanathapuram of Tamil Nadu (50 kms before Rameswaram)

Having made too many long trips with family in a very small city car, which lacks all safety features such as ABS, SRS and all those electronic stuff, I became popular amongst my colleagues as a global traveller (Ulagam Sutrum Vaaliban in Tamil), due to my posting all travel pics in Facebook.

Some of the intimate colleagues started discussing a tour plan, a long one, and then we decided on visiting Rameswaram (600 kms from Chennai one way) in my car. DIscussions started some time in June and different options were explored. Finally the 15th August of 2016, falling on a Monday, gave us a longer weekend and we decided the date, the room was booked by me for 5 adults, I with my 4 colleagues. All arrangements were discussed and decided on our dedicated whatsapp group.

As planned, we all started on 13th August morning 2016, a Saturday. All went well. Actually we were two cars, one mine with 4 colleagues + me + 1 kid, one of my colleague's 4 year daughter. I didn't like it because a day back, when my colleague asked me if he can bring his 4 year daughter, I plainly rejected for the reasons of - small car, less and limited space, lack of safety features like ABS, SRS, etc, long highway and going to Rameswaram for the first time (it's me), and for other safety reasons. But to my surprise when I reached Spencer Plaza, out meeting point, I was astonished to see that colleague with his daughter, despite my advise to avoid a kid. My advise had a point, but I didn't know that at that moment.

In another car, a SKODA OCTAVIA 2008 1.9 TDI Diesel, there was a family of one of my colleagues, who was sitting in my car, and his wife, kid, sister, and parents in law were in that car. We travelled together. Reached Rameshwaram little late, may be because my car (an A / B segment hatchback) couldn't compete with a torquey 1.9 diesel D segmenter. My car struggled with 5.5 people inside for 140 kph, when the OCTAVIA simply chewed miles at 150 kph very normally.

There was some issue in our booked accommodation, however that was solved, and is not relevant here.

We enjoyed Rameshwaram sea shore, temple, visited Shri Ramanatha Swamy, Dhanushkodi, Ramar Paadam and two more places, which I don't exactly remember.

The ill fate started chasing us while on return.

We had a plan to visit Pillayarpatti (near Karaikudi, my groomed up place, or rather my second home), which is a world famous Pillayar temple, and my colleague and his family in the other car OCTAVIA were eager to visit Pillayar. They also desired to visit Pillayar there from a closer proximity, which was close to impossible since we were returning on 15th August 2016, Independence Day, and Sivaganga District Collector (DM) was scheduled to pay a visit there and hence all securities and accesses were restricted.

Eventually Pillayarpatti's president's son, Sathish is my student, when I used to be a teacher in a private Matriculation School in Karaikudi, and hence using Sathish's influence, we all were taken directly into the temple, and were told that only 5 of we 10 can be made to sit near Pillayar, and we let the OCTAVIA family enjoy the privilege, and trust me they were enormously happy for having got the chance. I was happier to meet my student after 10+ years.

From there, we drove to Trichy, had our lunch at Vasantha Bhavan opposite to Tiruchirapalli Central Bus Stand and drove back to Chennai.

Apologies - I wanted to narrate auspicious things first and then the fatal ones. We actually reached Pillayarpatti to have saved everyone's lives and everyone from injuries at the Ramnad mishap.

The problem started when we started much late than planned, from Rameshwaram, and I didn't have an opportunity to check air pressure in the tyres, which was a flaw number 1. The tyre pressures were done in Karaikudi on 13th August, which was more than 48 hours ago and we should have checked after covering some 700 kms, but we didn't do.

We all were hungry and we stopped somewhere before Ramanathapuram at a Hotel, which was decent enough to safely escort our lady co-passengers, the OCTAVIA family.

Since it was independence day, there was hardly one or two suppliers in the hotel and they couldn't serve our requirements in time, so time was killed there.

My colleague and friend shared around 50% of the drive behind wheels and he was the one who drove from Rameshwaram to this Hotel before Ramnad.

In this mean time, I had a talk with Sathish my student, and he asked me to reach by 12 pm noon so that we can have the Darshan (Special and influenced one though) smoothly.

I humbly requested everyone to make it fast, as it was already around 10 am or more (I don't remember the exact time then). But alas, no one cooperated. Everyone was at their fun mood, and even after finishing their breakfast, some were busy having coffee, which was fine, some were even busy on having ice creams after coffee / hot beverages, which was [frustration].

After a chase and a follow up, we started back, and I took the wheels now, where fate probably decided its deed. Having very less time left for 12 pm, I was little skeptical if I would be able to make it by that time. Little tensed as well on the unnecessary delay.

I took a wrong turn in a junction, which my colleagues started making fun of, but I was not comfortable as I had to reach Pillayarpatti by 12.

Fate neared. We had the OCTAVIA ahead of us and we were following at a decent distance from that.

There was an under road tunnel which had a sudden uplift on the road, that is not a curved speed breaker but sharp vertexed hump, where the OCTAVIA driver saw that at last moment and braked hard. Seeing him braking hard, I too had to brake hard.

OCTAVIA had ABS, and all other stuff so the hard braking for that car was smooth, but that wasn't the case for me. My hard braking resulted in all wheels getting locked up.

Speed was around 75 kmph, but my colleague (specially abled with less height) still says I was in 90..... The road had small tender stones on it which brought down the grip further low.

Hearing the tyre noise from my car, the OCTAVIA driver, instead of noticing the sharp vertexed hump and moving ahead after slowing down, in fact stopped misunderstanding that the car behind him (we) are in some trouble, which as not his fault either.

He stopped.

That's it. I had calculated that he would move after slowing down for the hup, but he stopped.

I rear ended the OCTAVIA which could be at a speed below 20 kph or slightly more than that. Every one in my car got tensed. Especially the one whose family was there in the OCTAVIA. His daughter was in OCTAVIA when he was in my car. It's natural. He yelled at me.

I came out, and checked my car occupants and then the OCTAVIA occupants. The impact was such that the OCTAVIA rear seat occupants could receive the feedback and shock from the impact, fortunately no one injured.

The OCTAVIA driver got furious on me. I remained silent as I couldn't make him stand faulty just for stopping.

Damages:
My car's front left HL assy went inside, however BONNER was in tact after the impact. The joining plastic clamp that joins the headlamp with teh front chamber was broken and I was told by Hyundai tat I wouldn't get that clamp along, and I had to replace the headlight. It's funny though.
My car's front bumper was torn.
Tyre marks were found for a distance on the road due to my hard brakes and the wheels having got locked up.

The critical part on decision making to avoid this impact was that my colleague's daughter in my car was exactly behind me and was dancing on her father's lap and hence I couldn't take up the risk of pumping the brakes since pumping would definitely have led to injury to that kid. So I didn't pump. The road was narrow and so I didn't dare to try any jugaad like hard steering or a right steer, because in case there is a vehicle on the opposite side of the road, and then we are gone. Further the accident spot was completely remote area, and where would I roam around hunting for a hospital if the kid behind me gets injured during pumping the brake, so I prayed God and hence slammed hard on the brakes.

God didn't disappoint me though. With the above listed damages to my Santro, the OCTAVIA's rear bumper had come down in the impact, its parking sensors were gone, and some body damage to that giant vehicle OCTAVIA 2008. I was astonished at the build quality of my Santro, had it been Swift or any other Maruti, I couldn't have driven the car from the spot for sure.

Really Shri Ramanatha Swamy whom we had visit and Lord Pillayar whom we were actually rushing to visit, saved everyone of us, and trust me no one suffered even a single scratch.

More to that, my rear occupants weren't wearing seat belts despite my request and they too were safe. Thanks to the two Lords, my timely decision making, making right decision (not to be too smart by trying hand brake or any other maneuvers which would have resulted in fatal results), and my wife's prayers, along with the blessings of my true hearted well wishers.

My colleague next to me in the front seat was not ready to wear seat belt, I had forced him to, else for his underground height, he would have faced a facial damage by hitting against the dashboard severely. He was actually thankful to me for having forced him to buckle himself.

Learnings from this car accident were:

1). During long drives, keep checking tyre pressures to be optimal across all 4 wheels, as tyres normally expand due to heat and the pressure may increase after a long run distance.
2). Keep gracious safe distance from the vehicles ahead.
3). Avoid hurrying. If an appointment or a visit gets missed due to delay, accept it. Don't try to over do by increasing the speed above your limit.
4). Avoid the car being overloaded. Yes, the car was overloaded with 5 well built adults, and too much luggage in the boot.
5). Avoid carrying a 6th member in the car, even though a kid, because all these matter a lot during some testing times to maintain the control and stability of the car.
6). Never get tensed while behind wheels - very very very important.
7). Analyze road conditions, and drop down a gear along with speed. A lower gear gives better control and stability wen the road is not that grippy.

If I had missed out any, I would re-mention them.

The photos of the Rameswaram trip is in another device, which I would upload soon.
 

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