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Old 14-08-2020   #1
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Looking for advice

Hi guys.

Today i felt desperate again, after my Fiat Panda (1.3 Multijet 2007) full service. I paid 900 pounds, you can see my receipt

I passed my MOT 3 months ago with advisories for 2 tyres worn close to legal limit and coil spring corroded rear, both. When i went for full service, i expected just to receive the maintenance im paying for but they rang me yesterday to tell me i need to pay for breaks, 3 TYRES!, battery and etc. Is that normal? I thought my tyres will be fine until my next MOT, spring 2021. And when that third tyre happened to be for change? If my brakes were for change, why they didn't tell me on my MOT which they did for me 3 months ago? It wasn't even in advisories? 1 year ago, i went in the same company for MOT and full service, you can see the receipt i paid for 2 tyres again, for brakes again, is there no warranty? Why second year in a row I'm paying for same things? I made around 7000 miles, for that year. Do you thing something is not right here, because i feel robbed. The service i used these these 2 times is called Kwik Fit, based in Liverpool. My car is around 115 000 miles. And if this garage is suspicious, i used a different one in 2017 and 2018, its called Budjet Tyres & MOT in Liverpool.
you can see the receipts here. My wife was going to kill me today, she asked me if I'm crazy to pay so much for a car that i bought for 900 pounds. Guys please give me advice, what should i do? Is it fair to pay so much every year? Is it better to buy a car worth at least 10 000 pounds on finance and if i do that, is it sure I'm not going to pay so much at garages when i go for MOT and full service? Should i go for MOT and service only at FIAT garages? Thank you in advance.

EDIT: I cant see the images myself so in a few words, this year i paid 400 pounds for brake cylinder, cable, pad set and two discs. FULL SERVICE 153.90, BATTERY 91.40, brake fluid, diesel cleaners, tyres and overall is 900 pounds

2019 i was charged for brake shoes and brake cylinder - 100 pounds, full service, MOT, tyres and 120 for things that i even cant understand, overall 500
2018 i paid 400 and 2017 - 650
is this normal?
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Last edited by viktorkalev; 14-08-2020 at 20:21. Reason: cant see my images
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Old 14-08-2020   #2
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Re: Looking for advice

Hi viktorkalev,

By the way, this forum lets you add pictures after a few posts.

I don't think your Panda should be costing you this much money. I think the issues are:

1. A car that is 10+ years old will have components that are reaching the end of their life:
steering & suspension components and bushes, brakes, wheel bearings, exhaust, battery, alternator, clutch, sensors...
I think it's reasonable to expect to have to replace these on a car of this age.
Obviously it can all add up. And when you need multiple things replacing at once then, as you've found, it can end up costing close to the car's value.
Now you've had all brakes serviced (discs, pads & 1x wheel cylinder this year, 1x wheel cylinder & shoes last year), they shouldn't need doing again for a few years.

2. Labour costs. Personally I wouldn't take my old Panda anywhere near a FIAT dealership, KwikFit or any of the big chains.
I've always run old cars and knowing a sympathetic local independent mechanic is essential. Those I use would never dream of doing the work you've listed without checking with me first.
You could ask if any Liverpool based members on here can recommend anyone in your area. I find asking blokes in pubs gives good results too
One thing I really like about the 169 Panda is that all the major (expensive) aspects (engine, gearbox, structure and bodywork) are strong and unlikely to cause problems (as long as they're not neglected).
Parts for the Panda are plentiful and cheap. If you can do some basic maintenance and servicing yourself then you'll save a lot of money.

3. Tyres. I've had tyres wearing out quickly on mine and there are lots of other users on here with the same complaint. It seems the front can go out of alignment easily, and the rear can often be out of alignment (mine is) with no means of adjustment.
Do you check your tyres for wear? I monitor mine regularly and rotate them around the car to even out the wear.
I think the previous owner of my car got rid of it partly because it was costing so much in new tryes (at least one every year).
I've taken my car for four-wheel alignment and added shims to the rear axle to try to correct this. No new tyres in over 3 years (although I do need two now...)

4. Future-proofing. Anything on that list of components in point 1 above that hasn't been changed yet might need it soon. But rusty shock absorbers/springs and worn bushes usually show up as MOT advisories before they need doing, so you can budget for future jobs. And with a bit of attention, it is possible to make them last longer.
Inspect and treat the following for rust:
  • coolant return pipe across front of engine
  • engine sump pan
  • shock absorbers & springs
  • rear axle spring pans
  • mud trap behind front springs
  • brakes (rear drums and front calipers) - just yesterday I wire-brushed and lubricated my front calipers ahead of MOT time next month
Also the battery and its earth connections need to be in good condition or the power steering (which draws a lot of current) can throw a wobbly.
And check the 'duckbill' scuttle drains below the wipers are clear - they block easily.

I budget 200 a year for running repairs. In the two years I've had it, my 16y.o. Panda's cost me nothing aside from routine maintenance which I do myself.

A newer equivalent car could cost 500-1000 in depreciation alone every year.

A 2007 or older Panda has almost zero depreciation, has good fuel economy, cheap on tax and insurance...

I think it's worth finding a cheaper way to keep it running personally, especially if you like the car and want to keep it.
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Old 14-08-2020   #3
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Re: Looking for advice

All good stuff above.

Firstly, keep away from Kwik-Fit or any similar outlet. They work to maximise profits, so will recommend lots of work, much of which will not be necessary, sometimes not at all, others just not yet.
Find a small local independent garage, one that relies on its reputation. One that has been around a few years, looks clean and tidy, and talk to you confidently.

Garages, being 'experts' have a duty of care to advise customers when a vehicle may in future become unsafe, or need significant work done. Main dealers and Kwik-Fit play this card too hard. Smaller garages will be more sensible.
From the moment new brake pads are fitted, they are heading towards needing replacement again. This should be some time, depending on usage. With servicing being mostly annually, the garage has to look at the pads, and will recommend replacement now, if they estimate that they will be worn out before the next service. If they do not advise, and the brakes fail before the next service, they fear being held liable. With Kwik-Fit's reputation they may recommend replacement just weeks after being replaced, because they wish to upsell anything they can, and may not have looked properly to establish that they are really nearly new.
With tyres, whilst the legal limit is 1.6mm, it is generally recommended not to go below 2mm, and best practice is to replace at 3mm. If the MOT advised near the limit, they are probably below 3mm, so most garages will recommend replacement. You knew of two, the other is now probably close to 3mm. New ones just before winter is good practice.
Good garages will advise properly, telling you that the brakes will probably not last until the next service, and suggesting you book in again in a number of weeks or months for a check. That way they ensure your safety, and gain your trust, keeping you alive to spend your money with them, when necessary.
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Old 15-08-2020   #4
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Re: Looking for advice

Thanks for your replies.

rmjbn1, i love my Panda! I think to drive it until its dead so i will spend money on it when it needs. My wife hates me because of that, she wants something shiny, like Audi or BMW, i said to her: if you don't like it, find another man! My turbo is for replacing but will cost me around 500, so for now I'm just humbled to take it easy with acceleration.

I chose Kwik Fit because of the reviews i saw on Google and Trustpilot, their garages are always full with customers, i need to wait couple of weeks when I'm booking appointment for MOT or servicing, its big brand and i thought "probably its more quality rather than cost" and i can always call customer service, which i will today, and i did last year when they kept my car for a week, when they said will be ready next day (after that someone from the company called me and said that they sacked the manager and they hope i will return again in future). I thought that i can build a relationship with them and they will take care of me as a regular customer. But now i have read more about them and even ex workers wrote in indeed that their culture is to try and sell as much as they can to customers and profit is above everything, managers and above taking bonuses when they meet targets and if they don't, sacking easily. Now when I'm thinking about it, i passed my MOT 3 months earlier this year and it was without an issue. Maybe in future when I'm servicing my car and if they push me for more money to spent, I just have to go get my car, rather than talk to them on the phone.

And one last question - when i have 3 months left on my MOT, if they say breaks need to be fixed and if i refuse, can they hold my car and list it as unable and unsafe to drive? Can i just refuse everything they propose and just go there and drive off? MOT can be voided anytime?
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Last edited by viktorkalev; 15-08-2020 at 03:12.
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Old 15-08-2020   #5
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Re: Looking for advice

The general advice you'll get here is "Don't ever go back to Kwik-Fit". Then some of those questions will be irrelevant. They are professional at extracting as much money form you as possible, without conscience. Avoid rather than try to manage that. Categorise as "emergency use only".

Look around at the independent garages in your area. See what vehicles are there, ensure there are none that sit around, so no 'dead' ones behind the building. A clean workshop, and friendly staff is what you need.

If you've already paid for all that work to be done at Kwik-Fit, then carry on until next service or MOT, you have lots of time to select another garage. If the extra work has not yet been done, take the car to another garage, show them the list and let them laugh and advise properly.

Who told you that you needed a turbo? Kwik-Fit? Ask someone else.
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Old 15-08-2020   #6
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Re: Looking for advice

As an example:

Battery 91

Look on Tayna and Eurocarparts

Will be 2/3 of that
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Old 15-08-2020   #7
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Re: Looking for advice

Hi Vik, good advise given already. Best advise by far...KEEP WELL AWAY FROM KWIK FIT they will rob you blind FACT. Honestly, as Bill says try an independent garage. Do you know of any mobile mechanics? I have a really good chap who does all the stuff I cant manage. When I was working, he would come to my clients house and sort out my car for me because I was unable to.
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Old 15-08-2020   #8
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Re: Looking for advice

Good reply, Viktor! I'm glad to hear you want to keep the car - I like the attitude

I'm a big believer in 'future-proofing' a car through preventative maintenance. A little effort can save a lot of work and money in the future.

As an example, your MOT has advisories for rusty rear springs. If you do nothing, then either:
1. KwikFit (or similar) might decide maybe this year, maybe next, that maybe two, maybe four, springs need replacing (they're always done in pairs), maybe the shock absorbers too, maybe also the bushes so a new pair of wishbones. This could cost 300 to 1000.
2. If left untreated, the rust could eventually cause a spring (or more likely on our Pandas, rear spring pan) to snap. You'll need a recovery truck to take you to a garage to replace whatever has failed. Again, expensive.

However, if you can spare a day with a wire brush on a drill taking a wheel off at a time and anywhere you see rust on the springs and shocks, wire brush, rust treat and paint, then you can make them last years longer.

There is a difference between surface rust (not a problem but needs attention) and deep corrossion causing pitting (problem). Pitting weakens the spring and can cause it to fail, it can cause your shock absorbers to leak (MOT fail).

This is my rear suspension, all original parts, which I treated earlier this year. The red oxide primer shows where there was rust.
Click image for larger version

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If you have a good jack and axle stands, the rear suspension is an easy DIY job to replace if you need new springs/shocks. There's an excellent guide here to the procedure by @varesecrazy. Parts are not expensive from Shop4Parts, probably even cheaper used from a breaker. Fronts are more tricky, but shouldn't be too expensive at an independent garage.

Quote Originally Posted by viktorkalev View Post
can they hold my car and list it as unable and unsafe to drive? Can i just refuse everything they propose and just go there and drive off? MOT can be voided anytime?
As I understand, no, it's only when you take your car for an MOT that they can refuse to release it if they declare it unsafe. Otherwise, if you have an existing MOT, you're free to take your car elsewhere.

Last edited by rmjbn1; 15-08-2020 at 11:22.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #9
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Re: Looking for advice

Quote Originally Posted by portland_bill View Post
Who told you that you needed a turbo? Kwik-Fit? Ask someone else.
When i press hard on 3rd, 4th or 5th gear, yellow engine light comes on the dashboard and cant go beyond 70 m/ph

I had a diagnostic with another garage. They first thought is a sensor problem so they changed it but turned out its the turbo.

I've noticed my car cigarette lighter power socket is not working, already checked the fuse, it was okay but I've changed it with a new one just in case and still is not working. Do i need to change the socket and how must be done?
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Last edited by viktorkalev; 4 Weeks Ago at 17:53.
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #10
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Quote Originally Posted by viktorkalev View Post
I've noticed my car cigarette lighter power socket is not working, already checked the fuse, it was okay but I've changed it with a new one just in case and still is not working. Do i need to change the socket and how must be done?
Do you see 12volts at the cable ?
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Re: Looking for advice

Quote Originally Posted by varesecrazy View Post
Do you see 12volts at the cable ?
Which cable?

I think it all started after my phone charging USB cable fell in my coffee and i thought ''after a day it will be fine''. Now my phone USB port is not working as well. Is it possible that something happened when Kwik Fit changed my battery, or its all because of the coffee?
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #12
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Re: Looking for advice

Sounds like you checked the wrong fuse

Unclip the lighter socket.. see if the cable that plugs into it is supplying 12 volts

https://www.fiatforum.com/panda-guides/284628-how-install-original-12v-power-socket-fiat-panda-4.html#post4538553
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Old 4 Weeks Ago   #13
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Re: Looking for advice

Aroound the time yours was registered, Fiat made some changes to the fusebox layout, so what the handbook says may not be what the car is. As Charlie says, check for power at the socket, then if none, check all fuses of the same rating.
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #14
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Re: Looking for advice

Ive managed to fix the cigarette lighter, but today something strange happened - i didn't have any power on 1st gear, just couldn't start driving. Happened again before a couple of months. I stopped the car and pressed full gas on a neutral shift, to get maximum rpm. After that it was ok and i start driving again. I had full service 2 weeks ago with oil and air filters replaced. Is this issue connected with the spark plugs, because i can see almost every time when i start the engine, yellow light blinking on the dashboard?
Thanks again for your replys
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Old 3 Weeks Ago   #15
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Re: Looking for advice

Ideally, a new issue, needs a new thread, for clarity.

No power unlikely to be as simple as spark plugs. They rarely fail, and if they do, rarely recover. For more than one to fail at once is so unlikely you shuld buy a lottery ticket.

Which yellow light? Immobiliser, or engine management?

When starting, the chip in the key is read. It is always a good idea to turn the key to 'Mar' (ignition on, but not yet engaging the starter), pause a second or two to allow the key to be read, and the fuel pump to pressurise, then turn to start. Often if turned too quickly, the car will struggle to recognise the immobiliser chip, and either refuse to start, or take a few turns to do so. A flashing immobiliser light will show at this point.

Once running, an immobiliser fault will stop the engine, or just flash at you, warning that a restart may not work.
If the startup light is the immobiliser, this is probably a technique issue, and not related to the low power. Have you dropped the key recently? The chip inside is fragile, and if broken will no longer work. Try the spare key for a few days, see if problems persist.

Low power likely to be a misfire.
Plug leads are a service item and need replacing every few years. Get a good brand, NGK ones are good and as OE. (I had some Magnetti Marelli ones for a short while, not recommended, poor fit, and so fragile they broke when next removed.)
Coils can fail. But first check the wiring plug to them, and the ECU connectors. Check that the pins are clean and secure, as others ahve reported loose or burnt pins. If you find this, search for the relevant threads.
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