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Old 1 Week Ago   #1
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"Twinkle" and some thoughts on main dealers.

Before having my "mid life crisis" at 50 and heading of in a, relatively, different direction career wise, I spent my working life in small, family run, workshops. Alright I did put about 4 years in at a BL main agent, taught evening classes in car mechanics and "hobby" welding, got sidetracked into racing and taught basic workshop practices for a while too. I only ever bought a new car once and that was because the DAF agent I was working for at the time let me buy a cancelled customer order (DAF 44) for cost. Every car I ever owned was maintained and repaired by me or someone else in the workshop who I knew well.

Then in 2016, with 2 very elderly cars (one 19 years old the other 25) outside the front door, the better of the two decided to play up in a very expensive (turbo) way. For a variety of reasons we decided to buy new. Having run a SEAT Cordoba 1.9tdi for about 15 years and been very pleased with it I headed off to the big, flashy, SEAT showrooms but found the sales guys knew almost nothing technical about the cars. Lots about "Blue tooth connectivity" "Alloy wheel options" "Glass sunroof options" and the like but nothing about the two water pumps (one mechanical, one electrical), Inlet carbon fouling, Modified high pressure fuel pump, and the, then very new, direct injection petrol engines. An outside contender was the Honda Civic 1.8 i-VTEC. So, as the equally big, flashy, Honda showrooms are only a 10 minute drive further out of town I drove on out to them. Now, rightly or wrongly Honda have always occupied a rather unique slot in my mind. The Jazz for old fogies like me and the rest for a rather more discerning, almost enthusiast, type clientele. I ran into an unexpected approach here. Perhaps a little more clued up on the technical side (not much though) but an absolute denial that problems ever happen to Hondas! So having survived round one with very little achieved, but having viewed and sat in both cars, I went and had a chat with both the Honda and VW independents and, in short order most of my queries were answered. I won't detail it all but the Honda fell by the wayside quite quickly (I'm sorry to say) and I decided on an Ibiza ST (Sports Tourer, estate in everyday language) in SE trim with the 1.0 95hp tsi eco petrol engine. I gave up the direct sales approach and emailed every Seat dealer in the central belt of Scotland. A short distance down the road (15 minute walk) there is a wee garage who specialises in luxury cars. showroom often full of Porsches, Mercs, Jags etc. As I was waiting for the replies (local main dealer never did reply!) it occurred to me that he might be interested in quoting. Popped my head in the door and oh yes, he certainly would - what a different attitude too! friendly and trying hard to oblige - When I've got the lowest offer I was to pop back in and in the mean time he took the full spec of car I wanted and he'd see what he could do. Suffice it to say he beat the lot (pre-reg with 50 miles on the clock). Welcome to the family Twinkle.

My immediate inclination was to take her to the boys at AVW for servicing to ensure warranty compliance. However I went and had a talk with the service dept at the local SEAT dealer (they whose sales people didn't even bother replying to my email) and got talked into a service deal, inc 1st MOT. Actually I don't regret it. The price was pretty good and as it turned out, when the turbo problem came up 2 years later, the warranty claim for an entire new, eye wateringly expensive, turbo was honored with out question (as it should have been). So I took her in for her last service and MOT yesterday as she's out of warranty in just less than a month and wanted to be sure, if she failed on the MOT that I could avail myself of the warranty conditions (if applicable). She sailed through!

The main dealer experience has been "OK" but far from outstanding. I think the problem is that they are not set up for anyone other than "Joe public". First lesson is that the showroom personnel I ran into are there primarily to separate you from as much money as possible. They are not your friend no matter how good an act they put on! To be expected I suppose, but the product ignorance is not. Workshop technical personnel are probably no better or worse than any other but you can't speak to them! The service front desk staff have only limited knowledge which is very frustrating. For instance, when I went to pick her up I asked about the cam belt interval (original advertising claimed it would be a "lifetime belt") now 5 years they say! Ok what about the water pump belt (on this new family of engines the mechanical pump - there are two water pumps, one mechanical one electric - is on the back end of the engine and driven by a small synchronus belt, like a mini timing belt). We always recommend changing the pump at the same time as the belt sir, Well, OK, but how about if you don't change the pump then would you do the pump belt at the same time as the main timing belt? They just hadn't a clue. obviously they were thinking about the sort of setup where the pump is on the front of the engine being driven by the timing belt itself. I just gave up. The boys at AVW will know. As regards the servicing itself, 3 off, two oil changes with a bigger one on year 2, with a 2 page list of "impressive checks" seems to have been done satisfactorily. They assure me Castrol oil is used, a new oil filter is in evidence and there was a nice big screwdriver scratch on the air filter last year so maybe they renewed it?

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although they lost one of the black wheel nut caps as well. I raised these issues with the service desk this year (particularly the scratch) and got the response "well why would we do that sir?"

I do quite like that the technician sends you a video of the underneath of your car. Not, to be honest, that there's much it shows I don't already know - it shows a tread depth gauge being used on tyres, exhaust condition, looks for oil leaks and so on. There is one big plus for me though. If you look carefully and pause the video, you can clearly see where the 2 post lift pads have been positioned. It's pleasing to see that, on all three occasions, the pads (which had rubbers in good condition too) were on the box sections and not on the bottom sill seams! Well done lads! Pity though that you reported no oil leaks when it's obvious that something is going on with the inner driveshaft joint on the O/S driveshaft!

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The N/S one looks nice and dry though

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Strangely there's no very obvious reason for the dampness. When you wipe it it's quite clean and oily looking, not like the black moly grease you would expect from a leaking boot. The gearbox seal is dry and the inner end of the joint is dry so it's not a gearbox seal leak (disappointed to see no obvious drain plug on the box though). However the Turbo is right above it. Wonder if either there's a wee leak from the new turbo (fingers crossed it's not that) or, as she's not done a lot of miles since the new turbo was fitted, maybe oil was spilled when the pipes were changed over? There's no sign of anything being flung off onto neighbouring components/engine block/gearbox casing. Anyway I've given it a good clean and I'll have another look in a few weeks.

As I was lying underneath I shone my torch up the back of the engine to see if I could see any obvious signs of oil leaking - Thankfully none that I could see - but I noticed that the 4 bolts securing the turbo manifold to the back of the head look as if they are brass. This brought back to mind the posts we did recently about anti seize etc.

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On reflection though I'm not so sure they are brass? but not steel either? maybe stainless?

Finally, and I applaud you if you've got this far without falling asleep, There is one thing about her which makes me nervous. right on the bottom of the sump is this:-

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It's a plastic sensor, I'm guessing it's oil temp or level? Just to the right of it is the oil drain plug. Good thing I go really slowly over speed bumps. I think the surrounding sump casting would take the brunt of any contact but why not have put it just round the corner on the back face of the sump?

So now Twink is "really" mine. Virtually everything is as it left the factory So I'm going to strip the pads out and put some CeraTec antiseize in place. The plugs (iridium type I think?) have been in there for 3 years and I don't want them siezing in as they have very long threads, some Alumslip here I think. And so on. I think I'm going to be quite busy for a while.

When I went to pick her up she wasn't ready yet (all day to do an oil change and MOT?) so I had a wander round the showroom. A charming young salesperson latched onto me pretty quickly, She was probably worried I was going to scratch one of the cars as I was half way under an ARONA at the time. Of course she was hoping for a sales prospect so, OK, what's my existing car worth? Recommended retail just under 3 years ago was somewhere north of 13'000 if I remember. Now, with 13'000 miles on the clock and bodily pristine? 6'400 against something like the ARONA! Strewth!

In conclusion though, if I last long enough to need to buy another car, I will be buying something just out of warranty so I can feel it's really mine!
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Old 1 Week Ago   #2
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Re: "Twinkle" and some thoughts on main dealers.

I'm probably heading the other way...there's very few new cars on sale now I'd happily run without a warranty. So I'll probably end up renting once I move current car on.

Currently I've got a timing chain (a good one not a German chocolate one), port injection, no Dmf or turbo and an engine that's been proven many times over to be able to handle over 200k miles with basic looking after. It's also just about good enough on emissions not to be direct line of fire for getting banned from anywhere unless they ban I.C.E. cars altogether. Also a single ancillary belt for alternator, water pump and A.C. so your battery light will come on the moment it let go meaning cooking the engine is very unlikely unless you ignored it...and the temperature warning.

The salesman had done a lot of research on Honest John but not actually looked at a car. I know this as there's a random fact on Honest John that struck me as odd and is easily disproved if you have a physical car but he quoted it verbatim.

But otherwise I've had a good relationship with the supplying dealer and they've been reasonably priced..to the point I'm still using them and this year is the year 8 service. In the time I've had it I've always spoken to the same service manager. Also had no problem speaking to techs when required and I've been under my own car in the workshop on the ramp on occasion. They've also never damaged it..which helps as well.

Depends on the manufacturer, most main agents for big companies sell so many cars that the dealers need to get cars in and out as fast as possible, customer service is less important than numbers. The Dealer I use sells Mazda and Toyota (with seperate service departments for each) so they aren't dealing with the sheer number of customers..that and I'd bet they don't see anywhere near the amount of warranty repairs dealers who deal with other makes would.

So if I'm moving away from that..I don't want to own it, I'd prefer it being broken to be someone else's issue and as you've noticed the amount you lose on a new car is massive regardless so monthly or lump sum it's an expensive business.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #3
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Re: "Twinkle" and some thoughts on main dealers.

If I go into any new car show room I'm more interested at looking at the mechanicals (underside - suspension layout, clearances, rust traps, seam sealing, under the bonnet much more of the same including ease of access etc. etc.)

Most manufacturers can now produce good looking cars in terms of gloss and glamour but engineering and attention to detail departments can vary considerably.

Also grovelling around the engine and underside of the vehicles can confuse sales persons and also lets them know what you are talking about "so don't try and swing one over on me Mr/Mrs/Miss salesman".

And the haggle. I've been buying cars from new for quite a few years. Times have changed a little but first port of call, almost at months end, is a peek into the sales manager's office. Spot the white board and note the months new car sales targets. I've bought many a Fiat at "cost price" or less as hitting the target is very lucrative (well used to be) for manufacturer discounts in the next/following months. This tactic does not work so well these days as dealers are now very geared up into "stock trading" between themselves.

Nothing winds me up more though during the haggling process is when the salesman keeps on going to have to speak to the sales manager. If the salesman does not have the authority to deal with me directly and make decisions then they should step aside and let me deal directly with the sales manager/sales director.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #4
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Re: "Twinkle" and some thoughts on main dealers.

Quote Originally Posted by s130 View Post
If I go into any new car show room I'm more interested at looking at the mechanicals (underside - suspension layout, clearances, rust traps, seam sealing, under the bonnet much more of the same including ease of access etc. etc.)

Most manufacturers can now produce good looking cars in terms of gloss and glamour but engineering and attention to detail departments can vary considerably.

Also grovelling around the engine and underside of the vehicles can confuse sales persons and also lets them know what you are talking about "so don't try and swing one over on me Mr/Mrs/Miss salesman".
I've posted these before.. but we have 2 cars in the household..here is a photo of the left headlamp with the bonnet open.

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I think you'll be able to tell which one I've got no issues with having 4 years after the original warranty expired and which one will be gone the second the warranty expires.

More modern generally German is all none functional panels..that also annoys me. Don't want to have to pull batman's chest piece out of the engine bay to see the engine..also they hide where the corners are cut..
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Old 1 Week Ago   #5
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Re: "Twinkle" and some thoughts on main dealers.

Quote Originally Posted by s130 View Post
Nothing winds me up more though during the haggling process is when the salesman keeps on going to have to speak to the sales manager. If the salesman does not have the authority to deal with me directly and make decisions then they should step aside and let me deal directly with the sales manager/sales director.
My showroom conduct is very similar to yours. I like a good look underneath and under the bonnet. Does it have room for a full size spare? How hard is it going to be to change a headlamp bulb in a dark wet M6 motorway service area? (The Honda scored poorly there - under wheel arch with liner to contend with - The Ibiza looks fairly easy although there are two different clip arrangements, why? - under bonnet job with 21" long fingers a help!

I actually quite enjoy the haggling process. Whilst working at the Daf agent (mid to late '70's) I gave car sales a go. The boss sent me to "MoTec" in Livingston on a basic sales course which, at the time helped a lot with understanding the paperwork and legal pitfalls but almost not at all with actually selling cars to people, which I found was much more about your personality and forming a relationship with the customer. We did a wee bit about the psychology of selling and "reading" customer engagement and intention. I find it very interesting watching the way some salesmen try to "hook" you in and then throw a spanner into their plan. What often produces a measure of panic is to let negotiation proceed for some time and then, when the salesman goes to get "that special concession" from his manager, get up and "disappear" into the outside used car displays. As well as physically shifting the game away from his/her "safe desk environment" - works especially well if it's a bit drizzly too - it also lets you say (with a grave look of concern and bewilderment on your face) "isn't that basically the same as the one I'm buying?" "Gosh, it's much cheaper isn't it? So if I was trading the one I'm thinking of buying in to you next year it's going to be worth even less than that isn't it?

If you don't get the deal you want, either new or used, try walking away and going back a couple of days later especially if it's near the end of the month when, as you say, they might be "hungry" I like buying around the winter holiday period. From a few weeks before Christmas to just after New year. No one buys cars then and some cracking deals can be done. The "going back later" ploy is particularly useful if you've run into a salesman who won't give as it lets you try again with another individual.
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Old 1 Week Ago   #6
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Re: "Twinkle" and some thoughts on main dealers.

Quote Originally Posted by Pugglt Auld Jock View Post
I do quite like that the technician sends you a video of the underneath of your car. Not, to be honest, that there's much it shows I don't already know - it shows a tread depth gauge being used on tyres, exhaust condition, looks for oil leaks and so on. There is one big plus for me though. If you look carefully and pause the video, you can clearly see where the 2 post lift pads have been positioned. It's pleasing to see that, on all three occasions, the pads (which had rubbers in good condition too) were on the box sections and not on the bottom sill seams! Well done lads! Pity though that you reported no oil leaks when it's obvious that something is going on with the inner driveshaft joint on the O/S driveshaft!
It's just on a week now since Twink was in for her service/MOT. So late yesterday I had a quick crawl underneath and had a look at this driveshaft joint. You'll remember, if you've been following this thread, that I gave it a good wipe down last weekend and I'm delighted to report that, after a week of running around, there seems to be no signs of any leak now. I gave it another very thorough all over wipe, right down to the base of all the convolutions and I'll give it another check after I've put a few more miles on it. The conclusion I've reached is that it's most likely to have been oil which leaked down during the Turbo swap. But, if this is the case, maybe there would be some traces of oil on the back of the block? I'm not 100% convinced yet.

It's brought home to me though how much I hate someone else working on my car. If I'd done the services myself I would have had an ongoing knowledge of the condition of things like the drive shaft boots and I would know if oil had been dropped during the turbo swap thus eliminating the uncertainty I now feel.
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Re: "Twinkle" and some thoughts on main dealers.

Quote Originally Posted by Pugglt Auld Jock View Post
The gearbox seal is dry and the inner end of the joint is dry so it's not a gearbox seal leak (disappointed to see no obvious drain plug on the box though).
Found the transaxle drain and fill/level plugs. Yippee! whoo Hoo! It fooled me because all the other VAG boxes I've worked on had the filler on the front. This one has it on the side at the back, half way up the final drive (diff) casing. Drain plug is on the other side at the bottom of the casing (logical place for it to be I just missed it on the first look!) Going to be a few years before a change is needed but now I don't have to waste time looking for the level plug at service time.
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Re: "Twinkle" and some thoughts on main dealers.

From post #1 , the lump on the bottom of the sump is the oil level sensor.
Got one on the Fabia. 1.2 TSi.
Perhaps best to avoid farm tracks and floods.
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Re: "Twinkle" and some thoughts on main dealers.

Quote Originally Posted by portland_bill View Post
From post #1 , the lump on the bottom of the sump is the oil level sensor.
Got one on the Fabia. 1.2 TSi.
Perhaps best to avoid farm tracks and floods.
To be fair some VWs do 20,000 miles between oil changes so it's worth having a level sensor. At least it's a handy warning light to tell you when the sender has ripped off the bottom of the engine.

My bike has one. Its a magnetic float thingy that sits in the side of the sump. The only time it ever lit the warning was when the wires got salt corroded. It does 6000 miles between oil changes so a bit pointless IMO.
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Re: "Twinkle" and some thoughts on main dealers.

Quote Originally Posted by DaveMcT View Post
To be fair some VWs do 20,000 miles between oil changes so it's worth having a level sensor. At least it's a handy warning light to tell you when the sender has ripped off the bottom of the engine.

My bike has one. Its a magnetic float thingy that sits in the side of the sump. The only time it ever lit the warning was when the wires got salt corroded. It does 6000 miles between oil changes so a bit pointless IMO.
The concept of 20'000 miles between oil changes makes me very nervous. My present "good" car (as against my "fun" Panda) is, as some of you will know, a SEAT Ibiza 1.0 tsi and has the option of extended service intervals. I opted for yearly/mileage which works out at yearly/6'000 miles now I'm retired. Even so I don't skimp on the oil quality.

Obvious though it is I hadn't thought about the wires corroding, thanks for that, I'll be slaistering some contralube on and in its connector next time I'm under there. Thanks for confirming what it is lads.
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