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!