It is as important to know about a brand’s aftermarket services as it is to choose a model or a brand. Visiting a service center can be tricky sometimes, especially when you do not have a prior experience of owning a vehicle. After sales services for luxury brands like Audi, BMW or Mercedes will cost you a fortune while brands like Maruti Suzuki, Toyota or Honda may not be as costly to maintain as the luxury brands.
While in terms of motorcycles, brands like Bajaj, TVS or Honda will be the easy to maintain ones while high-performance machines making brands like Kawasaki or Ducati might burn a hole in your pocket and that is the reason why people often sell their superbikes soon in just the initial years of their purchase because they find the services too expensive to maintain. So before opting for a specific car or a motorcycle, make sure the maker is providing affordable maintenance services.
Should I refer to the service manual?
Vehicles generally don't cause any trouble in the initial years of purchase but it’s the years that follow which tests how reliable and functional a vehicle proves to be. The service manual provided with the vehicle has all the critical information which if known beforehand can sometimes save a lot of time and energy. All the necessary replacements, be it oil, filters, battery, chain set (in the case of motorcycles) or anything else are written in the manual along with the specified time. The service manual also mentions how the vehicle should be operated and do’s and don’ts, so make sure to give the service manual a thorough look.
How do I know the service center is replacing only necessary parts?
All the cars need just the regular oil and oil filter replacement in the first 5,000kms to 10,000kms. While there is no need to replace air filter, fuel filter or spark plug (in the case of a gasoline engine). The air filters just need to be cleaned and taken care and will serve you good at least till 30,000kms. Talking about the fuel filters and spark plugs, they have a life of about 20,000kms and 30,000kms respectively. While the brake pads replacement depends totally on the way you use the car. If you use an automatic car chances are you will need to change the brake pads more often in comparison to the manual cars.
The service pattern is similar in motorcycles, it’s just the service interval is less and a bike needs servicing more frequently than a car. Just like cars, bikes demand only oil and oil filter replacement at the first service which comes in around initial 500kms to 1000kms. There is nothing much that is needed to be serviced at this time. The air filter is changed only after 7000kms to 10,000 depending upon the usage and past cleaning frequency. The chain sets for all the daily motorcycles are built to last at least till 20,000kms to 25,000kms but in between the chains should be regularly monitored, tightened and lubricated. While the spark plugs should be changed only after 6,000 to 8,000kms.
How do I know parts are not over charged?
Well, no service center usually does that but in case you have a doubt you can always cross check the parts prices and availability from the other service centers in your city.
There is no facility available in which a customer can demand the official spare part pricing directly from the company headquarters but we sincerely think there should be one.
Few tips for car and bike maintenance:
Machines are like human beings, they need care. Prevention is better than cure and hence if you take care of your car in the garage it will take care of you on the road. We have mentioned a few tips that will help you to keep your car and bike in shape for years to come.
1. Always warm up the engine before starting to drive. Warming up the engine can be done by turning ON the ignition on a car/bike and letting the rpm ideal for 1 to 2 minutes. This helps the engine oil to warm and gain its functional properties.
2. Always keep a check on the coolant level. It should always be between the minimum and maximum level in the coolant container.
3. Do not exceed the service interval assigned. If the vehicle is driven more than a set of kilometers which crosses the service interval limit then there are good chances that something or other may malfunction.
4. Always cool down the vehicle before going for a wash.
5. Keep a check on the tire treads as tires are vitally important when it comes to safe driving. Also, check the tire pressures every time you go out for refueling.
6. If there is a sudden change in the steering geometry of the car then chances are it might need a wheel alignment or suspension scan session.
7. Keep a tap on the exhaust emission to know about the direct health status of your car engine. The emission should be colorless and there should not be any black sluggish gel type extract on the exhaust opening.