How a small issue turned so big, that I decided to sell off my Duster

Although the SUV was fine in the end, a comment from the technician & manager stuck in my head and I took the decision.

BHPian debjyotimitra recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I would like to share a horror story about Renault cars and their service.

I bought a 1.5L NA CVT Duster in January 2019 from Renault Bangalore. The delivery experience was not satisfactory. They missed the promised delivery date, a few accessories were missing, the SA who was communicating with me had left the job, there was no celebration, etc. As I was spending my hard-earned 12.5L, we were expecting an experience that would be more memorable. We still relish the experience we had with our new Honda Brio in 2015 in Noida and it was just amazing.

Though the delivery part was not so nice we loved the car. Duster has been super comfortable on long rides. We travelled a lot with our baby and never felt any challenges during our 14-15 hours trips to Goa, Alleppey, Kannur, Jog Falls and a lot more. I drove it continuously for 7-8 hours, there was no fatigue ever for me. We enjoyed the cabin space, the suspension, the excellent handling and the spacious boot.

We never faced any issues with our Duster, except for a few minor things like the front power window, ac cooling, etc. that was easily fixed under an extended warranty.

Sometime last year, we started facing an issue that we didn’t much care about. It was a little weird. The RPM started fluctuating for a few seconds just after refuelling the vehicle. We ignored it as everything else was as smooth as earlier. We continued with our small/long trips.

The issue became a pain last month when we were visiting Alleppey. The RPM started fluctuating without refuelling, and the car stopped on the road. I started it back immediately and took it to a Renault service centre that was very close by in 5km.

It was around 6-30 in the evening, and the service station got closed. Only the service manager was there with one of his assistants. I told him about the incident and he immediately responded. First, he and his assistant came out, opened the bonnet, and checked the vehicle. Then called a technician from home. Reopened the service station. Rearranged the lounge for my family. They inspected the car for 2 hours beyond their office timings! But no issues were found. They said everything looks ok but if I can come again the next day morning they would like to check it again with all the other technicians.

I came back the next day morning as it was quite critical to us. We had to head to Munnar which is a hill station and I didn’t want to take any risk. They all thoroughly checked the vehicle again and nothing was found. We drove to Munnar without many issues except for the RPM fluctuation sometimes.

I was trying to identify a pattern of it, but there was no pattern except the consistent one and that was refuelling.

We drove back to Bangalore and dropped the car off for periodic maintenance. I mentioned the issue to them and they asked for 2 days to inspect and rectify it. The next day evening the SA called me and told me the car is fixed now. They have replaced the air filter, AC filter and the 4-year-old battery. And the bill was 22k.

I was happy to see the car. It was cleaned like new. No noise. No vibration. Gear shifting became more smooth. I paid the amount, took the car, and drove it to the opposite side of the road to refuel.

And, again! After I start the engine, the RPM started fluctuating with the same vibration. In a few seconds, again it became normal just like how it was behaving earlier. I called the SA and dropped the car again at the service station.

The next 12 days were the real pain. Every day they came up with a new story. It started with an initial inspection for another couple of days and finally, they concluded the petrol was adulterated! I was so worried, visited the station, and the manager said, they need to drain the fuel tank to clean it. It was 20L of petrol they just drained. The manager said, as it is a petrol system, no further damage should occur. After cleaning the tank, the next day they had a test drive and the same issue was there.

Now they said they need to consult the Renault RnD team for further assistance. Another few days are gone. Last week the manager called me and said after long research now they have identified the issue, and it was the engine compression. As the car is still under extended warranty, I do not need to worry, they are going to fix it, and order the parts right away, but it might take another 15 days.

I had no choice except agree. But next to next day the manager called me again and told, me they need my permission to dismantle the engine. I was surprised and asked why they need my permission at this point. The manager said they want to check what parts of the engine became faulty due to the petrol adulteration. Accordingly, they will find out how much cost I need to bear. I was shocked because this is the same person who told me they already identified the issue and it was the engine compression I do not need to pay anything as the car is under warranty!

Again I rushed to the service station. It was extremely embarrassing and misleading to me. I was keeping my patience for the last 12 days, but this time it was hard. I asked the manager how long it will take to fix the car to the condition that it was before visiting the service centre. The manager replied maybe a couple of hours. I said, let’s do that, as I don’t want to pay a single rupee for a faulty car that is still under warranty.

It seemed to me that Renault could not identify the issue even after 12 days in their car! I am not sure whether it is a manufacturing defect that got triggered just after crossing the 30k or it was a fuel issue. If it is caused by petrol adulteration, it could happen again, with any car. Is there a way to ensure fuel quality?

Renault looked happy with my decision. I had to sign a bond that I am taking it back at my own risk. I was ok with that too. I took the car, it was extremely silent even at 2500 RPM. I refuelled it, there was no RPM fluctuation. The drive was smooth as always. I drove the car for 50+ km in the city to test different use cases and there were just no issues.

The technician and the manager both agreed on the point that, the engine compression is weak at this point and may become faulty very soon. This comment got stuck in my head even while driving the car smoothly without any issues.

I started trying selling out my car outside. Got deals from Cars24 and OlxAuto. And finally, today, brokenhearted I handover my Duster to Cars24.

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