My Suzuki car is still broken

My Suzuki Car Service & Warranty Woes

After 4 months my Suzuki car is still broken! Suzuki's service department are still unable and unwilling to fix an engine problem in our three year old Suzuki Cino. In fact, it's now worse than ever!

Read the story of MY SUZUKI CAR and marvel at the level of service we've received from the Suzuki motor company. See how Suzuki motor vehicle owners are treated if they expect their cars to be running reliably even after being factory serviced according to their own manufacturers recommendations!

Want to know the REAL value of a
5-YEAR SUZUKI SERVICE WARRANTY?

"My Suzuki Car" is a must read for anyone who may be thinking about buying one of Suzuki's vehicles, either new or second hand.



In a nutshell...

My wife and I bought a Suzuki Cino on the 10th. of March, 1999 from Warrawong Suzuki, an authorised Australian Suzuki dealership located near Wollongong in the Illawarra region of NSW, just south of Sydney, Australia. The vehicle came with a 3-year/60,000 klm warranty. We received a letter dated April 15, 1999 from Ateco Suzuki (Suzukis NSW and ACT distributors of Suzuki automobiles) advising us that our warranty had been extended to 5-years/100,000 klms. Since that time we've had the vehicle serviced according to the manufacturer's handbook which was supplied with the car. These regular services being...

Recommended
Service Klms
Actual
Klms travelled
Date Serviced Service Cost
1,000 klm 1,000 10th. April 1999 No charge
10,000 klm 9,984 18th. November 1999 $140.00
20,000 klm 19,973 22nd June 2000 $190.90
30,000 klm 30,293 13th. February 2001 $176.75
40,000 klm 40,055 11th. September 2001 $352.20
50,000 klm 50,173 1st. May 2002 $181.00


Repairs carried out under warranty

During this time we've had a faulty radio replaced and a clip on the driver's side window replaced twice.

On the 7th. of June 1999 the "AC Idle Up Control Rod was refitted after it had been incorrectly fitted from factory" (quoting directly from Suzuki Service repair invoice).

On the 13th. of February 2001 we reported a sticking accelerator and asked for it to be fixed during the 30,000 klm service which was being carried out that day. No fault could be found by Warrawong Suzuki's service department, although they "cleaned throttle and checked all adjustments" (quoting from service repair invoice).

On the 11th. of September 2001 we again reported the sticking accelerator problem and asked it be repaired during the 40,000 klm service which was being carried out that day. This time the service repair invoice reported "Found secondary butterfly sticking after full throttle usage and engine hot. Cleaned and lubricated pivot, road tested - did not occur again".

On the 30th. of April 2002 I reported the engine of our vehicle was running roughly when under light throttle, requesting it be rectified during the 50,000 klm service which was to be carried out the next day. Suzukis service repair invoice reports "Surging round corners requires further investigation with Suzuki bulletins".

From here our problems got much worse... FOUR MONTHS and SIX unsuccessful repair attempts later, including Suzuki swapping the carburettor for a second-hand carburettor, our vehicle is STILL FAULTY. The fuel economy is much worse than prior to 1st. of May, the vehicle is hard to start, races at idle when cold, runs rough and "misses" ( evidenced by a popping/chuffing sound from the sooty black exhaust pipe).

In the meantime I've had numerous telephone conversations with Warrawong Suzuki's service manager, Ateco Suzuki's customer relations officer, Suzuki's NSW service manager and Suzuki Australia's service manager in an effort to have our vehicle repaired under warranty. Suzuki Australia don't want to pay for the repair as they believe it is Ateco's responsibility. Ateco have told me they have no problem paying for the repair, when it is completed. After six attempts I'm wondering whether it will EVER be completed!!

In the meantime my car is... My suzuki cars STILL broken!

Read on for the full in-depth saga. You'll be amazed or amused at this Suzuki customer's experiences and his opinion of their representatives and the bullshit they dish out...



Below is a copy of a letter I sent to the various departments of the Australian head office of the Suzuki Motor Company in late-July, 2002.

The Service Manager - Warrawong Suzuki
CC: Customer Services Manager - Suzuki Australia
CC: National Service Manager - Suzuki Australia
Re: Suzuki Cino - Faults for Warranty Repair

Dear Sir,

Once again I find myself needing to take the time to put in writing my dissatisfaction with the quality of the Warranty service we have received to our Suzuki Cino. The ongoing problem with our cars engine / carburetor still persists almost three months after it was first reported to you. During this time we have been forced to endure more than 3,500 klms of travel in a vehicle, which is at best, worrying to drive. The fuel economy of the vehicle during this time has dropped from under 7L/100klm to 10L/100klm. The exhaust pipe is black due to unburnt fuel as the engine is running rich.

Unfortunately we do not have a second car, and so are forced to rely on our faulty Suzuki for transport. In the meantime we have had the vehicle in for service no less than four times to repair/adjust the carburetor, on one occasion even leaving it at Warrawong Suzuki service department overnight to allow thorough testing to take place. Each time we have picked up the vehicle we have been told to "see how it goes and if it's no good to give us a call". The end result is that these repairs and testing have been ineffective and our vehicle still has a severe engine / carburetor problem.

I have listed the sequence of events below.

I booked the car in for its 50,000klm service to be carried out on the 1/5/2002. I reported the engine was running roughly under light throttle and requested it be fixed under warranty during this service. I arranged for my wife to drop the car in at 9am, and asked if it would be ready to be picked up at 2pm. I was assured that it would be. My wife dropped the car at Warrawong Suzuki service department at 9am as arranged, leaving both her mobile and work telephone numbers for contact when the vehicle was ready to collect.

At 2.30pm that afternoon my wife rang the service department, speaking to Greg, who informed her that the 50,000klm service had been done but there was no time to repair the other problems and that he would have to get the car back another time. She was also advised that our vehicle was not covered by warranty. My wife explained that this was not correct, as we had received a letter from Suzuki shortly after buying the car stating that our warranty had been changed to a 5-year Warranty. Greg then advised my wife that Warrawong Suzuki service department would contact us once they had obtained the Suzuki bulletins in relation to carburetor adjustment procedures for our vehicle.

On the 29/5/2002, after no contact from Warrawong Suzukis service department, I wrote to the Service Manager enquiring as to the progress of Greg's efforts, as I did not expect or believe that it should take a month just to get information on how to carry out a repair. (I had actually hoped someone at Warrawong Suzuki would already know how to adjust the carburetor).

The vehicle was booked in for 6/6/2002 for a carburetor adjustment.

On the 6/6/2002 my wife dropped the car off at 8.45am asking if the vehicle would be repaired by 4pm that afternoon. An assurance was given that the car would be ready to collect at that time. At 4pm that afternoon my wife rang to see if the car was ready and was told, "yes, it's ready to go". Upon arrival at Warrawong Suzuki she was told that the car still had a problem and they needed more time with it. It was then booked in for 19/6/2002 when it was suggested the vehicle be left overnight so thorough repair and testing procedures could be carried out.

On the 7/6/2002 when my wife left for work, our Suzuki had a new problem. The vehicle now lost power when trying to accelerate while the engine was cold. Light throttle acceleration was fine, but if trying to accelerate up an incline the engine would severely "flat spot" once the accelerator pedal was depressed past half way. I have no experience with Suzuki carburetors, (though I was a mechanic with the Ambulance Service for ten years), but it appeared to me that the second stage of the carburetor was not working while the engine was cold.

At 9am on the 19/6/2002 my wife delivered the vehicle to Warrawong Suzuki and left it overnight as arranged, also leaving her work telephone number for contact when the vehicle was ready to be collected the next day. On the 20/6/2002 my wife rang Warrawong Suzuki at 4pm to enquire as to whether the car was fixed and was told that they had pulled the carburetor apart and put it back together but it still had a problem. Greg said that he would get on to Suzuki for another carburetor and contact us when it arrived.

On the 26/6/2002 my wife again rang Greg at Warrawong Suzuki to find out the status of the new carburetor. He replied "Suzuki says there are still more adjustments that could be made and he was still waiting to get their advice". He said he would contact us when he had received this advice.

On the 10/7/2002 my wife rang to see what was going on and was told to bring the car in the following week.

At 9am on the 17/7/2002 my wife again delivered our vehicle to Warrawong Suzuki. My wife rang Warrawong Suzuki at 4pm that afternoon to find out the status of repair and was told they were just putting it back together and would take it for a test drive. My wife rang back at 4.30pm and was told that it seemed to be running fine but if we had any trouble to give them a ring.

Unfortunately we are STILL having trouble.

Since the last repair, the surging problem under light throttle seems to have been cured, but the engine is still "flat spotting" under acceleration while the engine is cold. Once the engine reaches normal operating temperature all seems fine.

I can't convey in a letter my disappointment with our Suzuki Cino. We bought a new Suzuki as my parents have one, which has given them no trouble whatsoever. We bought a new Suzuki and had it regularly serviced BY Suzuki as we expected that would result in years of trouble free motoring.

Nor can I adequately express my disappointment with the level of customer service afforded us by Warrawong Suzuki. On only one occasion has a representative of Warrawong Suzuki contacted myself or my wife to advise us of the status of our vehicle, despite being provided with three different contact numbers. Instead it has been left up to US to contact Warrawong Suzuki. I don't think anyone realises the level of inconvenience we have suffered through not having a reliable motor vehicle.

Here we are almost THREE MONTHS after the problem was reported and our vehicle is still not fixed.

Do you think my disappointment is justified? What do you suggest my next course of action should be?

Please advise.

Contact details supplied...






After receiving NO response from ANY of the Suzuki representatives to which the letter was addressed, on 30/7/2002 I sent an email to the Australian head office of Suzuki Australia containing the information above describing our situation and asking them to assist in our after sales warranty service needs. I received a telephone call that afternoon from Warrawong Suzuki's service manager, Greg Finch.

He explained to me how Suzuki were having a problem with Ateco, who used to be responsible for servicing Suzuki motor vehicles under warranty, and that was one of the reasons our car had not yet been fixed. Another reason was that a carburetor might not be available for our car. (How this could be when the car is just over three years old is beyond my understanding). I asked where that left us, and Greg said he was still chasing things up with Suzuki in Sydney and that he would get back to me in a few days with some more information.

On the 5/8/2002 Greg telephoned me to say a carburetor was being sent down the next day but he didn't know whether it was the right one for our car as there are three different types. He would contact me when it arrived to let me know.

On the 6/8/2002 Greg rang back to advise that the carburetor had arrived, it was the correct model, and we booked the car in for an overnight stay on the 7/8/2002.

The carburetor was replaced and my wife picked up the vehicle on the 8/8/2002. She was advised that it might take a couple of days to settle in (why I don't know) and to see how it goes.

The following day when my wife started the car it was running very fast on choke when cold. Settling in maybe? When warm, the idle speed seemed to be slightly faster than usual and running a little rough. Once warmed up, the engine seemed to be running much better when driving than it was prior to the repair, with the previous carburetor.

After giving it a week to "settle in" the hard starting and fast idle still persisted. My wife contacted Greg and booked the vehicle in for an adjustment.

On the 14/8/2002 my wife dropped our car off at Warrawong Suzuki for the arranged service. She picked it up that afternoon.

On the 25/8/2002, after testing this repair for a little over a week, (the time it took to empty a tank of fuel), we discovered the following…

GOOD
  • The engine is no longer "flat spotting" under acceleration while cold.

BAD
  • The fuel economy is still far below what it was prior to 1/5/2002, using 29 litres for 370klm compared to a previous economy rate of 30 litres for 450klm.

  • When starting the car when cold, it now takes much more cranking then it had previously.

  • The engine is still running too fast on choke when cold.

  • The engine is "missing" at idle regardless of whether it is cold or hot. It's now running roughly with a popping sound in the exhaust pipe, which wasn't previously present.

  • Oil is leaking from the top of the engine, (appears to be coming from the rocker cover gasket which was changed at the 40,000 klm service), and dripping down onto the ground.

  • The tube from the manifold hotbox to the bottom of the air filter was disconnected. I re-attached the tube, but the retaining clip still needs fitting

That might explain why our exhaust pipe is so black!
The suzuki car exhaust on our cino

NOW COMES THE TWIST...!!!



On the 26/8/2002 I contacted Warrawong Suzuki service manager Greg Finch, to report the above problems and was told that he couldn't do any further repairs to our vehicle as Suzuki Australia were, * AND I QUOTE * "washing their hands of Suzuki's extended warranty provisions for their customers". I even asked him to repeat what he'd said as I wasn't sure I'd heard correctly!

I was Astounded at suzukis cars and their warranties

Greg continued to explain that Suzuki Ateco in Sydney would not pay for the repairs and so he could not repair our vehicle. I asked who he'd been speaking with at Suzuki Ateco and was given John Brown's name and telephone number and was advised to ring him and see what he could do for me. I also asked who Greg had been speaking with at Suzuki Australia and was given the name of Gavin Harris, whom Greg described as "a technical guy who doesn't deal with customers". Greg suggested it wasn't worth getting someone else involved as the problem was with Suzuki Ateco. I asked for Gavin Harris' telephone number but Greg "didn't have it". Sounds like bullshit Greg.

I immediately rang Suzuki Ateco and spoke with John Brown. After relating my experiences and my conversation with Greg Finch to him he denied ever saying that Suzuki Ateco would not pay for the repair. He said that he had asked Suzuki Australia, through the Melbourne service manager Rohan Costello, for an opinion on the cost of the repair, as he believed it to be excessive. Rohan Costello had not yet returned any of his calls. When he heard that the vehicle was still faulty he remarked that it appeared Warrawong Suzuki had not repaired the vehicle properly in the first place. I find it hard to disagree…

Next call. I rang Suzuki head office in Melbourne to speak with Rohan Costello. I spoke with Jenny, who enquired as to the nature of my call. When I told her where I was calling from she advised me that I needed to speak with the NSW area service manager, Gavin Harris! Surely not the same Gavin Harris that the service manager of Warrawong Suzuki didn't have the telephone number for? Fortunately Jenny had his number.

I rang Gavin Harris and spoke with Gary who advised me that Gavin was out of the office at present. I left my name and telephone number and asked for Gavin to call me back.

Next call… Rohan Costello. I again spoke with Jenny who put me through to Rohan's office where I was greeted by Rohan's recorded voice asking me to leave a message and he would get back to me. I left my name and telephone number and asked for a return call.

Greg Finch telephoned me that afternoon to book the car in for Thursday, 29/8/2002 so they could "have another look at it".

Gavin Harris rang shortly after, telling me that the warranty on our car was not actually a Suzuki warranty but a Suzuki Ateco warranty. As such the repair of our vehicle was Suzuki Ateco's responsibility and not Suzuki Australia's. I have difficulty understanding why Suzuki Australia treat their customers in this way. Suzuki Ateco have not been the people under my car's bonnet. Suzuki Ateco have not had six attempts at fixing my car. Whether Suzuki Ateco pay for the repair or Suzuki Australia pay for the repair should not be MY concern.

I hold Warrawong Suzuki responsible for the repair as they are the authorised service agent. They are the people who have serviced our vehicle from day one. Unfortunately they are the people who have so far been unable to fix it. Why should Ateco Suzuki pay for a repair if my car has not been repaired back to its original condition.

Greg rang me again later in the afternoon. He had spoken to John Brown from Suzuki Ateco and obtained an order number for the repair.

Shortly afterwards Rohan Costello rang. He again explained the Suzuki / Ateco relationship, commenting on how Suzuki Australia had offered to give Ateco advice on our vehicle's repair. After discussing my situation, he said it seemed Warrawong Suzuki were floundering somewhat in their attempts to repair our vehicle and he would "touch base" with Gavin Harris tomorrow to try and work out some way to help them overcome this. I advised Rohan that I would be out the following day until after 12, and would appreciate him ringing me to advise me of his progress after this time. It's now the 29th. of August and I have not yet heard back from Rohan Costello or Gavin Harris...



29/8/2002 Our vehicle went in today to have the above faults fixed (we hope).

29/8/2002 I just got a call from Greg Finch, service manager for Warrawong Suzuki. Our car is "fixed and ready to pick up".

Greg advised me that the idling problem was caused by a vacuum hose which had been fitted incorrectly. This would have been causing the rough running and popping through the exhaust, I was told. Very possible Greg, though why it's taken this long to discover an incorrectly fitted hose is beyond my understanding.

The leak from the rocker cover is not a warrantable item, Greg also advised! I don't know why it isn't, as Warrawong Suzuki changed that very same gasket at the 40,000 klm service. The original gasket had lasted up until that point without leaking so I can only deduce that either the part fitted at the 40,000 klm service was faulty or inferior in some way, or the installation method was insufficient to ensure long service. Either way it should have lasted longer than 16,000 klm before leaking oil. Greg did offer to replace the gasket... for $56. No thanks Greg, that's not the kind of customer service I can afford. I'll buy a gasket from Repco Auto Parts for $6 and spend 5 minutes doing it myself instead.

As for the poor fuel economy... "The original carburettor had a problem with the secondary stage and because it wasn't working we got better fuel economy. Now we have a "new" carburettor which has the second stage working, we should notice slightly higher fuel consumption than before", Greg advised me.

OK...


And using the "second stage not working" principal... wouldn't we now notice a significant increase in the power of the vehicle?

No Greg, I don't think your explanation holds water. That sounds like bullshit... yet again.

Now we need to run a tank of fuel through and see what happens....




All we want is for our motor vehicle to be repaired so it will once again be fit to use for the purpose for which it was purchased.

Is that asking too much?!




Stay tuned for more updates. This is far from over...

Questions to be answered in upcoming episodes....

  • Will repair number 7 be successful?
  • Will Suzuki Australia realise that customer service actually involves supplying EFFECTIVE service to it's Australian customers?
  • Will Ateco continue to pay for Suzuki warranty service repairs?
  • Will we have to go through this again should another warranty repair be required?
  • How many more lengthy, long distance telephone calls will I need to make?
  • Why should a customer need to intervene in what appears to be an internal Suzuki problem?
  • Who will be the next unfortunate friend, relative, workmate or neighbour who we annoy for a lift or loan of their car?
  • Why is this happening at all?
  • What level of frustration does it take to prompt a normal every day person to register an internet domain and create a web site just to warn the public of his experiences?
  • Will YOU buy a new or used Suzuki motor vehicle?






As a result of the above saga, we have completely lost faith in the ability of Suzuki Australia or it's distributors to service and maintain our vehicle. I now use another competent, qualified mechanic to service and maintain my Suzuki car. (There is at least ONE competent Suzuki mechanic in Wollongong who CAN repair Suzuki cars. I am glad we don't have to take our car outside the Illawarra area just to have it serviced!)

During the recent 60,000 klm service, the first since Warrawong Suzuki serviced our car, the spark plug lead connections were found to be loose. A closer inspection revealed the top, screw-on connectors on each of the four spark plugs had not been screwed down tightly as required. These spark plugs were replaced by Warrawong Suzuki as part of the 40,000 klm service. If you remember, it was after this time when our problems began....

Our Suzuki cars spark plug Our suzukis spark plug gap! Not the sort of spark plug gap a mechanic is used to seeing! This cap should be screwed down tight to ensure a complete electrical connection between the distributor and the spark plug via the high tension spark plug lead.
Like to know what problems this fault could cause?

  • Rough running
  • Loss of power
  • Engine missing
  • Poor fuel economy...
Sound familiar?


Answer me this... Why wasn't this blatantly obvious fault detected during one of the many attempted service repairs that Warrawong Suzuki carried out on our vehicle? Incompetence? Negligence? Both? Or maybe it's just that Suzuki don't give a damn about after sales service and all they're interested in doing is selling new cars, with no consideration given to the warranty needs of their customers...

YOU TELL ME!



Yours sincerely,

Michael @ mysuzukicar dot com

 



Unforunately I'm not the only one being treated to Suzuki's brand of customer service!





Read the stories of other Suzuki car owners s who've had problems getting their new Suzuki motor vehicle repaired under warranty.

You may like to read them BEFORE you decide on your next new car purchase.

 

Read about Kim Allen-Hickey's Suzuki Warranty Problems. FIVE MONTHS without her car... SO FAR!

 

 

Read about Barry Illert's Suzuki Problems... and HE'S a Suzuki Enthusiast!

 

 

Read about Jim Johnston's Suzuki Swift Warranty Problem.

 

 

Read about Claudio Bassi's Suzuki Vitara Four Wheel Drive Warranty Problems.

 

 


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