Lessons I learnt getting my Indica repaired at an independent garage

I got a call from him telling me that he had taken my mechanicals apart and spotted a leaky turbo and a faulty AC compressor.

BHPian greenhorn recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

I wanted to post a detailed update on the body work that was done and never got the time to. It was a complicated story since I wanted to make sure I got time to write it all out.

I had one round of bodywork done at my local FNG but that was fairly shoddy – you can see the things they missed. Hence was looking for someone better to take care of overall bodywork before my Registration renewal. Had reached out to the local bhpian circles for a referral and got someone. Was told they were good, but they were a bit of a Prima Donna, and give them a bit of latitude. Met the guy. he wanted 15K advance. He talked a lot about how he wanted to do a good job and not make the typical compromises that he has to do with typical customers. Said things would be reasonable, but he refused to commit to any estimate. I asked if to check with me if anything went 10K more, which he agreed.

There were mistakes at my end too – I had asked him to do underbody coating as part pf the painting which was not in scope, had asked him to evaluate my Etios when i bought it second hand, and do a bumper refit when a scooty hit it on one side. We bonded over our common love of stereos etc. I had asked him to investigate the mechanicals and let me know if anything needed fixing.
Weeks became months, i got progress updates, but one left a sour taste in my mouth.

I got a call from him telling me that he had taken my mechanicals apart and spotted a leaky turbo and a faulty AC compressor. I was aware of both and asked him to put them back the way they were.

Then comes the bomb. Apparently he was convinced that he could not put the current parts back in, and had to replace them, but he had some junkyard sources through which he would arrange something reasonable.

Then when the time came to take the car back, he offered to refit the seats, carpet, insulation etc. which I had taken apart and was planning to put back.

Everything was put back together, and I was called to check the car out. Bodywork wise the car was in good shape, apart from a rear door that refused to close properly. The engine sounded like a wreck and drove lousy. And I owed him another 35K (50K in total), which according to him was a bargain because he had done far more work than what i was paying him. I had received quotes for full body work for 25-30K from elsewhere, so 50K was rather shocking to me. Post 391 has pics of the work done – roof, floor, rear doors were tinkered and painted. underbody coating was done, body parts refitted. In addition, he had done an inspection of my etios, and refitted a few bumper clips that came out. Also some unspecified mechanical work involving my AC compressor, turbo and engine which left things significantly worse.

Is this much bodywork worth 50K?

And to make things worse, with a door that was not closing properly and an engine that sounded like crap. My Bhpian Friend tried to smooth things out, but I was too agitated and just wanted to end this nightmare.

Regardless, I realized that I was the one who had given the blank cheque to this guy, and on the other hand may not have realized the impact of all this additional scope that had been added over time. I was already not in a good mood because he had done a lousy job on the Etios inspection. He had given me a clean bill of health on the car, only later admitting that he did so because he already knew the owner (after i confronted him with evidence of an accident on its service record) – and he had not bothered to inspect the car properly.

I did not want to create a scene, figured to cut my losses and escape. Our mutual friend the other BHPian also cut ties with him after his car’s wheel came off while on a family trip because this gentleman forgot to tighten the bolts. I don’t want to name and shame them because there were mistakes at my end, and don’t want to point fingers. This gentleman offered to fix any issues if i bought the car back, but i had enough, and I denied him his chance to make things right. The bodywork has been mostly good, except one door which was repainted, but has started to show rust again.

But i did want to put up a warning to folks about dealing with Youtubers/FNG’s with a smooth sales talk/Passion about cars and a lack of professionalism. A lot of workshops are springing up claiming to do entire car restorations (plenty of them on youtube) wearing their credentials on their sleeve. Caveat emptor , and if the deal terms don’t sound right, walk away. Lots of people talk about their achievements and great deals they got here. Plenty of them complain about bad service they got without introspecting how they might have made things worse. I’ve tried to be paint a fair picture here. Mistakes were made. This is the part about owning an old car nobody talks about. It’s dark side part.

Thankfully with my last round of repairs at highway garage, at least the engine screw ups have all been sorted out, and I am at peace with my car again. One door still doesn’t close properly, but one issue at a time.

Please do not ask where this was. This is a closed chapter. It’s been over a year now, and this has been just as bad as the worst Kulathunkal episodes. I’m just glad that things were solved, and wanted to share this to folks so that they can learn from my mistakes on how to NOT deal with an FNG.

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