Express news service
THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The pandemic and containment have hit the auto industry hard. Several auto service centers are also struggling, as they struggle to source spare parts to replace.
With the sidewalks relaxed, many prefer to travel with their own vehicles. However, as the vehicles were idle during the lockdown, they developed snags and as a result service centers are inundated with complaints.
Many car owners have no choice but to wait weeks, if not months, for replacement parts. The district has around 4,000 service centers, as well as thousands of small and medium-sized workshops in the unorganized sector. Service centers are grappling with a heavy workload, especially when customers insist that vehicles be delivered the same day.
âWe are only allowed to open three out of two days a week. It also takes longer to get spare parts. Auto parts dealers are not very keen on getting the components on time. They say it’s not available and we have to wait weeks or months, âsaid KC Paul, Managing Partner of Auto Engineers.
He said the number of breakdown calls increased after the lockdown. âVehicles break down when service is due. A lot of people avoid the interview when we say they can’t deliver it on the same day. Instead of every other day, the authorities should allow us to operate for three consecutive days. Vehicle repair is also an essential service, âsaid Paul.
Workshop owners said the cost of the service has also increased by 10-15%. âPeople don’t make long journeys and they forget to have their vehicles serviced on time. Lack of timely maintenance has led to an increase in sensor complaints, especially in European-made vehicles. The cost of spare parts has also increased by 20%, âsaid Abraham Tharakan, General Manager of AT Car Modez.
He said many problems can be avoided if owners drive their cars at least five miles once a week. âThe quality of original spare parts supplied by car manufacturers has declined. Everyone cuts costs. Courier costs have also increased due to higher fuel prices and as a result everything costs more. Replacement parts for high-end cars are not available and even the oil filters weren’t in stock recently, âAbraham said.
Rajashekar AS, a car owner, had to wait six months for spare parts. âI own a Land Cruiser from 1991. Spare parts are not available here and it normally takes a month to find them,â he said.
Tips for car owners
Start your car once every few days and let it run for at least 10 to 15 minutes to preserve the battery
Operate all systems including the air conditioner Avoid using the hand brakes for prolonged parking as this may lock the brakes