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Buy a Mitsubishi - expensive services but they are amazing. They sms you a cute reminder the night before. They give you fresh percolated coffee inside their reception. Everyone smiles and politely introduce themselves by name. When its all done they give you a divine sweetie snack pack - yup, a little cup of savories biscuits and chewy mints to munch on while you drive home. The next day they phone to check that you are happy. They are the best.

I think your service was still better than mine ~ I have a Saab & just took it in for a regular maintance check & they had it 2 days before they even looked at it. Then they had it for 2 more days to order the parts & do the work!! 4 days in the shop!!!

Thankfully it hasn't needed much work, just regular checks, it's a great car too!

My DH has a Toyota 4 runner & loves it except for the gas mileage ~ since gas is about $3.39 a gallon.

Fortunately, Renault stopped selling in the US many years ago. Guess why? Oh yeah...service problems. We don't carry ANY French cars here any more. Peugeot, Citreon, and Renault...all gone by the wayside. Now Toyota, they have great service!

HONDA !! They have sodas, water, coffee, tea, hot chocolate and snacks. They will pick you up and drop you off within 5 miles of their service center and, oh yeah, they have the BEST play area for kids - blocks, toys, puzzles, books, dvd player and ... a Honda coloring book that comes with Honda crayons. My kids LOVE when I say that I need to get my car serviced.

Don't know about SA but in the US, you DON'T HAVE TO USE THE DEALER to do the service. As long as you can document regular service, all warranties apply.

I haven't use my VW dealer in 25 years, except for recalls. I have a private mechanic, with whom I have a 13 year relationship (he won't fix anything but German cars, despite my begging so I could buy a Saab, so I purchased another VW. Actually, two.) I trust him to tell me what really needs doing & what can be deferred. I trust him to have my car finished when he says it will be. Because he is independent, he understands that good customer service is why I return. And refer anyone who will ask to him.

ha ha ha (evil cackle)
Its good you are using your influence, mail them and tell them to read this post and tell them you have a kazillion readers who are now not going to buy their cars!

I swore I'd never buy another Jeep after my odometer turned over 12,000 miles and almost instantly, my rotors went. When I brought the car in, they handed me a $900.00 bill and said that even though the car was only a few months old, and even though I had paid an exorbitant amount of money for an extended warranty (to 100,000 miles), the rotors are only covered to 12,000 miles. So, pay up!

I said a few things ... choice things ... and I spoke with a lot of people over several weeks. Although "spoke" is too gentle of a word. Ultimately, the bill was waived but the damage was done from a future-buyer perspective. I doubt I'll ever buy another vehicle that isn't German or Japanese.

official dealer service anywhere sucks more than elliot spitzer's hooker. your experience isn't unique. and yes, i have a toyota and while the vehicle is fine, the service is awful.

I wouldn't touch a renault with a stick! Too much bad press!

I also drive a Renault Scenic - just like yours and LOVE it LOVE it LOVE it. The thing is, we live in Durban, and take it to the Renault Gateway branch for services (or did, till the warranty fell away) and they have been divine. Meeted and greeted at dropoff, there to talk things through at the end of the day. This totally sucks, becuase I really do L.O.V.E my car. Really! Really! Love it!

oh my word. I'm so with you. I also have and love a scenic and I too will never buy another Renault, this is my second Renault, and also, my second Renault which has had altenator problems, but like big problems. I had a Clio, the altenator FELL out, yes, fell out. With the Scenic, the altenator siezed, they had to replace it, which took 9 days. Yes, 9 days. Also the extended warranty did not cover it, in fact, our extended warranty will never cover anything because we were late for a service, and the reason we were late for the service, is because it takes you well over a month to get a booking for a service and my husband and I share a car, so we do a lot of driving. Also, Renault don't provide you with a courtesy car, which a lot of other places will do if you arrange it. We decided a while ago that we would trade our scenic in.....the sales man who, obviously has the intelligence of a rock, had the cheek to ask us if we would like him to try and get the trade in amount to cover the settlement amount....i felt like saying to him, 'No! don't, please in fact i will pay you to take my car.' moron.

I hear you! I've had the same experience with my Renault (not to mention that a car with a mere 60 000 km's on the clock gave so very much trouble!). And expensive! I understand that you can get a lemo / Monday car in any make, but it it's a Renault it'll cost you an arm and a leg to keep it running. After calculating that I had spent 17 K over a period of two years, over and above what my extended warranty covered, fixing an servicing my car, I sold it. I won't ever buy another.

I bought it at 3 years old with nice low mileage from Renault themselves. A month and a half later I heard a knocking noise, and took it in to the dealer. My 'never-been-in-an-accident' car was diagnosed with a cracked driveshaft. I asked the service rep ow this could have possibly happened, he said well, maybe I'd hit a pothole? A pothole? A pothole big enough to crack the driveshaft? I'm quite sure I'd remember that! It was only downhill from there ...

Ah well, it's over now. Got me a Mitsubishi instead.

I don't drive a Renault, and NEVER WILL. I completely agree about the service. My poor husband wanted to buy a Renault and went to the Tygervalley branch to look at a Megane. The cars were all locked and the salespeople uninterested. We had to force a poor hungry receptionist (Shame!!) who was sitting at her desk eating a muffin looking forlorn, to look for some keys to unlock the car so we could have a look. Well, she huffed off to get the keys, never to be seen again! So rude. No-one would give us the time of day and we stormed out, and wrote them a stinking letter complaining. Needless to say nothing came of it. I drive a Peugeot, and I've had my dramas with them, but nowhere near as bad as what you've had.

I bought my first VW a year ago and have had the best service EVER!!! The VW Culemborg branch here in town treat you like royalty. Will stay with them forever :-)

I have a Toyota Highlander, I love the car and their service. The usual maintenance takes 30 mins top, and I can sit in their cafe on site to wait, drink coffee, and use their free wireless. Mostly I don't even need to make an appointment for it. :)

I had a Mercedes before and they were great! I mean really, this was the royal treatment (Orbit in Cape Town). Incredibly professional and helpful. Now I drive a Renault and I agree - I WILL NEVER BUY A RENAULT AGAIN! I'm not happy with the car or the service.

Toyota, Toyota, Toyota all the way! Great cars, good after sales service and pretty good motor plans too.

i have a ford fiesta. got excellent service so far. no complaints.

if they ever screw this up they're going on hellopeter.com

Tertia, I had a similar experience with my Renault! I took it in for it's first service after 1 year- they said when I arrived to collect my car that they had tried to phone me because my car- "brand new-only 1!" needed a new battery and it would cost R600- I said forget it, put up a fight- how could it need a new battery?? when I came to pay, the price included the battery- I protested and told them I didn't want a new battery- my "old" one was just fine!!! They said they had changed it already and I responded by saying that I wouldn't be paying until my "old" battery was back in my car!!! After much drama they put the old battery back and I left- 2 and a half years later my battery is still going!!! What a swizz- will never use their service centres again and won't buy another Renault either although I love my car!! So glad it wasn't just me!

My best friend's Scenic has had no end of troubles since she bought it. And Renault have charged a fortune to fix it. She is selling it now.

We just bought a Citroen C4 Grand Picasso - a small people mover like the Scenic but much much nicer.

Sounds familiar! I drive one too. Not for much longer though, I'm going to try get rid of it.... however, I know that's going to be the next problem, because they're almost impossible to get rid of! No-one wants second hand Renaults, especially Scenics.

HI im totally against renault becouse my bro had problems and my best friend has just had to get a new computer which she has to wait 3-4 weeks for!!
I went the HOnda route and bought a jazz and i must say the after sales rivals the pre sales in amazing service delivery. When you call they can book you in within two days they sms confirmation and a thank you for using them!! When you arrive the vvfriendly security guard greets you by name and just inside in the pre inspection cue the service guy/girl greet you once again by name and book your car in. You get a lift to work/ home, werever you live after having coffee water espresso or whatever in their lounge. They call you to confirm the details of when you are to be collected. When you arrive you are once again greeted by name. (And this is even with the fact that there is another women who has the same initials and surname as me with the same type car whos reg is almost the same as mine...they do confuse us but not even that could deter with the service.. you get an sms the next day thanking you for servicing your car with the details of who to contact if you are not happy as well as a call!! I have not received this type of service anywere. Sorry its at the westrand branch though in joburg.

Toyota Toyota Toyota.
Toyota all the way.
Excellent cars, excellent service.

Try this for nightmare hell...

My car is a Vauxhall (Opel is the SA bastardised version). We shipped it home with us from the UK because we thought it would work out cheaper in the long run (which it did - until now... I suspect it's going to cost us a lot more now).

Today marks day 8 (excluding weekend) that it has been in the repair shop. Before that, it was at another repair shop for 3 days, who told me they couldn't find the fault and I should take it to repair shop No 2. Before that, in the UK, it went in for a service every 6 months (as part of our insurance contract) and at every service they found a fault, but couldn't identify the cause.

The current repair shop still hasn't found the fault, but the car is not undrive-able - it stalls and bunnyhops so badly you may as well walk to your destination. The current theory is the on-board computer is faulty.

Never again will I buy French anything.

By the by - do you guys know about 'Hello Peter'? It's a website dedicated to feedback on any customer service experience (in SA) - good or bad. They then liase directly with the company, and the really great thing is that when companies fail to listen to you, they will often listen to Hello Peter. www.hellopeter.com.

that sounds like all of my experiences with service departments in Miami... Audi, Jeep, BMW... Is it even possible to get it better?

that sounds like all of my experiences with service departments in Miami... Audi, Jeep, BMW... Is it even possible to get it better?

Damn, you've just reminded me that I need to take my car in for a service. Think I'll just procrastinate a while longer.

AUDI is the way to go :)

That sucks. My last car service experience was awful, and it was at a BMW dealer. The BMW dealer in the next town apparently has excellent service. So I'll take it there next time. It really depends so much on the human being(s) you have to deal with; I got a dumbass newbie last time. It's just the luck of the draw.

mate, it has absolutely fuck all to do wit renault! ITS BLOODY AFRICA! Try and get your car service in Tanzania....

Go Japanese! Service is outstanding, cars are reliable.

Only had one new car in RSA - and Honda were really very good.

Stateside? I've had bad luck at VW dealerships in three states... Nightmares with Nissan, BUT we've finallystruck gold with Volvo (who do my Mini Cooper for us too.)

That said - don't underestimate how lovely it is getting your cash washed after a service - they don't do that here. How sad I was the first time it didn't happen.

I'm just glad I have an engineer/gearhead husband so I skip the whole "going to the service center" thing.:)

we have a renault espace. it is a second hand vehicle but it is..okay? it is a good seven seater, and we appreciate that!

Vauxhall (opel) is not a french manufacturer but a german one.

Regarding Renault service, I found it great in Uk and France but appalling in Ireland where i live. Don't drive any more Renault (despite being French) after the series of mechanical problems we have with our espace. Pity because it is such a nice car to drive and very spacious but oh my god it spent more time being repaired than on the road.

Just wanted to comment and second or third or whatever the idea of Toyota. Great service.

But you know? I take all my cars to Toyota for service. Even my Mitsubishi. So maybe you could take the Renault to a different dealership?

Boy am I ashamed of myself. I just read a comment on Fat Doctor's blog, telling FD that she is a bad mom for working as a doctor and having her kid in daycare. The commenter obviously thought she was "helping."

And it was ugly: the commenter said, "I really think you should examine your priorities right now. Frankly, you sound like a woman spinning out of control. You're unhealthy. You're NOT parenting the child you have, and he's suffering because of your absence. Daycare is very stressful for a child. I can't believe you have a child in daycare, you are not even present for him when he is finally picked up from daycare--he has no routine, nothing he can count on. . . . . Now you want to plug another hole in your life with another child. You don't have time for another child. Your son doesn't have time for you to have another child. You ARE an absent parent, and you are being incredibly dishonest with yourself. . . . your choices ARE hurting this child you call a son."


Tertia, that was me, yesterday, commenting on your blog, except I was ranting at you about your dogs.

I am so, so sorry.

I keep making the same mistake, over and over again.

i have a jeep, and i have had the same experience! their attitude is that THEY are doing YOU a favour, and they treat you with disdain. there are NO jeep parts available anywhere, only at jeep, at a premium. a while ago my radiator cracked. i went to silverton radiators. they told me they couldn't get a jeep radiator - dealers only. i asked for interest sake how much a radiator that size would cost, they said about R4000. jeep charged R12 000! every service costs me about R10 000, because there is always something broken. never again!

I work at a car dealership and I used to do the customer follow-up for service customers...so I understand your frustration. I always felt terrible for our service advisors, but mostly, for the customers - because the things that can make the difference between a great service and an awful one are so minor - it mostly comes down to proper communication, prompt attention and not making promises that you can't keep. A lot of these issues could be resolved with better management and more staff training in customer service.

See this article:


Hi- just had my first bit of maintenance done on my Renault Laguna, outside of warranty.

Parts to replace the drive belts for air con and power steering (US$500), plus a pulley for the belts (US$250) plus replace 2 engine covers (covers are US $250 each!). About US$1250 total. Dealer says it is not possible to just change the gasket on the engine covers to stop leaking.

This is just insane! What are the parts made out of, gold? Platinum?

I am getting rid of this Renault ASAP and telling everyone I know to avoid them. I might even get a T shirt made up with "Renault=$$$" on one side, and "Renault, non!".

Toyotas and the other so called reliable Japanese (and korean cars) are as interesting as a toaster. Anyone from South Africa or Europe who has been to the USA will be shocked by how boring the endless thousands of Oriental blandmobiles are. The Frenchies and Italians make the most interesting cars on our roads.

I also own a Renault and its just out of Warranty/Motor plan. It is the most expensive car you could ever hope to fix when something goes wrong. I will NEVER EVER buy another one. EVER.

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