In this day-and-age, does anyone really have the time to take a car to a service centre and sit in the waiting room for 8-hours? Well, as it turns out, you no longer have to.
Let’s be honest folks, in the midst of our frenzied everyday routine, we do tend to neglect our cars – don’t we? Sure, some of us are anal about ensuring that our cars are serviced on time, but how many of you out there have cars that are long overdue for service?
The trouble is that going to a workshop and sipping stale coffee for 8-hours isn’t exactly a productive way to spend the day. So, you can’t really be blamed for missing that service due-date. Until now! Well, at least if you live in the Delhi-NCR region that is.
You see, a start-up called Automen claims to have a solution to your problems – think of them as a service centre (albeit a small one) that comes to you. They claim to not only provide doorstep service, but do so at a fraction of the cost and in a lot less time than it would take to do the same job at an authorised service centre.
Now those are tall claims. So there was only one thing left for us to do – call them over and put their service to the test. Fortunately, we had a 2010 Nissan Micra lying around that found itself in need of some basic maintenance.
Our Micra had 45,000 kilometres on the clock, and it needed some much-needed attention. 24-hours prior to the service, a quick call to their manager to book the appointment involved providing vehicle details, the service interval and reporting any other issues. Our service was booked for 2pm the following day, and right on time three men in a van arrived with all the tools and equipment required for the job and got straight to work. They also sourced all the genuine parts prior to the appointment.
The service advisor began with a quick test drive to see if there were any detectable faults on the move as well as to check for any NVH issues. Once we returned, the mechanics did a thorough 100-point inspection. The inspection included the wheels, brakes, suspension, transmission, engine bay, and battery health check. Then, the air filter, oil filter and (a much-neglected) cabin pollen air filter were changed. The engine oil was replaced as well. The spent parts were returned to us, while the old oil was carefully put into the back of their van – ostensibly to be recycled later.
In under 30-minutes, the entire mechanical service was completed. The remaining hour was dedicated to cleaning the car. Automen uses high-pressure steam for the exterior, wheel-well and engine bay of the car – the process only consumes around a single litre of water per vehicle. The interior was given a thorough vacuum as well, along with AC vent sanitisation and interior deodorising and polishing. The entire process was completed well within the allotted 90-minutes. The invoice was generated on the spot, and the team was off to their next appointment. The whole service cost us Rs. 5,086, all-inclusive, while an authorised dealer was quoting virtually the same – before taxes.
While the mechanics were busy with the car, I was able to gather some information about the company from Abhishek Malik – one of the Partners and founders of the company. Abhishek said they started the venture in 2015, and have already accumulated a huge customer base all around the National Capital Region. Abhishek also mentioned that they’ve been able to acquire the expertise and ability to service anything from affordable city cars to a wide range of luxury cars as well.
Sure, there are some limitations to what can and can’t be done at your doorstep – like wheel balancing and alignment and underbody cleaning for instance – besides more severe mechanical repairs. But Automen does outsource the job to certified workshops on request.
The benefit of using the services provided by Automen is that everything they do is done with full transparency right at your doorstep. For small city cars, the cost may be on par with the service centre, but for luxury cars Automen claims they can reduce your cost to a fraction of what an authorised workshop would charge. And that’s to say nothing of the time you would save. Of course, you would only likely use such a service if your factory warranty has expired.
So, you can either leave the car at a workshop for a full day for a job that’ll likely take not more than 90-minutes, or your can now have the work done at your doorstep as per your convenience without moving a muscle. The choice is yours…