Reviews by Pugglt Auld Jock

I can strongly recommend this small family garage
Holidaying and visiting relatives in this area for many years, I've been aware of Croyde Motors smart looking small garage/showroom for a long time. Then a couple of years ago I had battery problems with my Ibiza and they fitted and coded a new battery for me (stop/start so had to be coded to the car!). Parking in front of the showroom is easy and the premises are modern attractive and clean. The reception staff Chris and Danielle are friendly and efficient and the whole job was done quickly while I waited. This year the Ibiza's crownwheel and pinion (gearbox in general terms) after just over 6 years of living happily together, decide to get divorced, on the motorway, with predictable results. My suspicion is that the crownwheel bearings broke up. Anyway, I rang Croyde Motors and Chris said to just bring it along and leave it with them - they'd make time to look at it on the Tuesday after the Easter holiday. We just managed to limp over the north Devon link road and out along the coast to Croyde with horrible noises accompanying us - I knew the box was "toast" when it let go on the motorway long before doing this so there was no point in trying to save it.

Luckily could stay with sister in law as planned over Easter and on Tuesday afternoon they rang to confirm the gearbox, especially the final drive, but really all of it because of the amount of swarf in the oil, was scrap. No point in trying a local repair on a box like I know from previous experience, so got them to price up a factory exchange box. Next day agreed to have a new box fitted and had a quiet cry at the price! Then rang them back and asked if they would try to get a goodwill contribution from SEAT as the car, although now in it's seventh year, has only 28,000 miles on it. Next day they called to say there were no boxes anywhere in UK so it was coming from the continent - probably Germany I'd guess? and that it should be with them the following Thursday (so about a week to deliver) Also that a good will reduction of a third off the price was offered. We had hoped to be going back to Scotland that weekend with baby care commitments for grandchildren but there was no real option - an extra weeks holiday in "sunny" Devon sounded good though! Mind you the owner of the garage offered to buy the Ibiza as it stood for a very reasonable price, and sell us the display Arona in his showroom, with a £2000 loyalty discount for buying another SEAT so we could jump in it and go straight back up north. We opted for the cheaper option of letting them repair the Ibiza but it was very good of them to offer the Arona at such a good price and it would have been a good option if we hadn't been able to arrange childcare cover for the grandchildren with friends.

The gearbox arrived a day early and the car was rolling and road tested by the following Wednesday evening. They gave it a very thorough clean and sanitize on the Thursday morning and we picked it up after lunch. The original estimate had been maybe it would be ready for the Saturday morning but, unless the gearbox arrived early on the Thursday, it would more likely be the Monday before we could have it which was cutting it fine for us as we have more grandchildren looking after duties on the Tuesday. As it now turns out though we'll be traveling tomorrow, Sunday, which leaves us Monday to recover from the journey - Perfect.

So, in conclusion, I can strongly recommend this small family garage. They kept me informed very fully all along the way. The reception staff - Chris and Danielle went out of their way to be nice and calmed me down when I was initially quite upset about it all. The owner himself, Roy, prepared the quote for the Arona and also was in touch about "stuff". I was also allowed into the workshop - by then they knew I was a retired mechanic - to meet and speak with the man who had been working on my car and I was very impressed by him too. How often these days would you expect to talk with the man who actually tightens the nuts? Oh. and they gave me the second, part used, bottle of transmission oil which hadn't been needed to fill the box, so now I know exactly what oil is in it which pleases me as I'm very very fussy about transmission oils. Mustn't forget the 33% goodwill discount as well. I wouldn't have expected a 'box with just 28,000 miles on it to fail in this way but at nearly 6 and a half years old, they didn't have to give me anything?

Lastly, it's useful to know that although mostly they are known for their VAG stuff, being a small country garage, they are happy to take on general repairs on other makes and models, which might be useful if you ever find yourself in need of a garage in North Devon? A nice wee parting touch is that Roy just emailed me to make sure everything was Ok and invite me to call in anytime we're in the area for a chat and a cup of their coffee - "you don't have to wait till you break down" he said!
Pugglt Auld Jock recommends this dealership
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Well, I'm probably going to blow my "cred" totally to pieces here but I've always believed in giving credit where credit is due, so here goes.

I would normally not particularly recommend using a "fast fit" organization, except for tyres perhaps, and even now I would caution people to be careful about recommendations for mechanical work needed. Unless you really know what you are doing, always seek at least one other quote. However things are a little difficult in our family just now with my daughter-in-law seriously ill in hospital. Mrs J and I are running around visiting the hospital (which is an hour's drive away - each way), collecting my granddaughter from school (nearly an hour away in the other direction) and looking after her 'till Daddy can take over. Mrs J is also doing all their washing etc.

On top of all this their Jazz decided to blow it's exhaust - centre section, which on the Jazz goes all round the houses and runs back under the O/S sill to avoid the fuel tank. Mrs J and I are absolutely exhausted (got home at 3 am on her worst night) so I just don't feel able to do this relatively simple job - I asked our local Honda indy for a quote (don't know them very well) and got what I thought was quite a pricey quote. (genuine Honda parts?) So decided, with some trepidation, to approach one of Tommy Farmer's Autocare branches.

For general info, as I understand it, Farmer Autocare is a franchised operation set up by Mr Farmer after he sold off Kwik Fit. I think each branch is individually owned (so standards may vary between branches?) and I've occasionally had a good tyre bargain from them. They seem to only operate, pretty much, in the Scottish central belt.

Anyway I took the car to their Piershill branch and got chatting to the chap, Stuart (maybe Stewart?) who did the job. He was very pleasant and we talked cars for most of the time he was working. He renewed all the fittings and gasket which includes two tensioning springs and a "birds nest" gasket (looks like a compressed brillo pad ring). I was very glad I didn't try to do it myself as the 3 integral studs on the cat flange were so corroded they had to be cut off with an Oxy-acetylene burner and replaced with bolts (that'll make life easier if I ever have to do another one). I was impressed by the care he took to shield the wiring for the O2 sensor. He made a very nice job of lining everything up properly with good clearances to heat shields etc. I was impressed to see him fitting everything up loose first to get the alignment right before fully tightening everything right up - Just as you should - this man really knew what he was doing!

Roughly an hour and a bit later I was driving home thinking to myself that if I'd been doing this myself I'd probably have still been struggling with those studs in the back end of the Cat and freezing my n**s off on my back in the drive! I've just looked up the parts he used on line and yes I could have done it cheaper myself but the saving would not have been worth the struggle of doing those studs myself.

So, a massive thumbs up to Stuart (or is it Stewart?) at the Piershill branch of Farmer Autocare - Think I'll make a point of automatically trying them when I'm looking for tyres from now on (I'll still consult Fair Deal as well though). Hopefully family life will be back to normal in the not to distant future - unfortunately not, I think, in time for Christmas though - and then "Garage Jock" will be resuming normal "family fleet" maintenance activities.
Pugglt Auld Jock recommends this garage
Pugglt Auld Jock
Pugglt Auld Jock
Just a wee update. I'm posting this because so often the experience you have in a garage is down to the person who actually does the work on your car. So I felt i should mention that Stuart - or is it Stewart? - who provided such excellent service and which I've "gone on" about in the above review, has moved on and no longer works at the above mentioned garage. I've no reason to think that other members of staff might not provide just as good, or better even? service as he did, but he's the only person I had contact with there.

I'm still in touch with him for tyres etc and he's gone to work for one of the other big tyre businesses here so I'll not be loosing contact with him.
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