Friday, August 10, 2012

Back from the mother ship

...well at least the dealer-ship.

So, the Starship Red Carmeleon had another trip to see its friends at Fisker of Vancouver (a.k.a. The BWM Store).  As usual, the reception and customer care was top-notch, consolidating my view that this is the best after-sales service I've ever experienced from a brand car dealership/franchise.  

I opted for a loaner car this time rather than using their shuttle service, the latter being typically great after drop-off but not necessarily so good at the end of the day when it can be difficult to coordinate where/when to get collected in my experience.  Nevertheless, I'll probably not bother with a 'loaner' next time due to it frankly being a bit of a faff - though I admit that to be a very subjective thing:

First you line up to see the loan controller, then they want the insurance documents out of your car (cue having to cross the dealership to get them), then they take your driver details and check your home address, then they print a contract and have you sign it, then they charge you $500 deposit, then you go to inspect the car (in this case a nice new 3 series BMW).  I was anticipating an classic 'courtesy car' situation where they might check your license and then you drive off.  This was basically a rental car with a $0 rate.  Maybe there's a reason for this (tax code, accounting write-offs...?), but it's certainly not as friendly as a courtesy vehicle fleet.  So, probably back to shuttles next time.

Anyway, prior to this visit I had made a small list of things to be checked/fixed:

  • The infamous Check Engine Light had made a brief appearance in a new flashing form when the periodic ICE conditioning run had occurred recently.  The engine probable hadn't been started for a good month so I put it down to it operating slightly outside of normal parameters as it 'blew out the cobwebs'.  After having sat in the garage overnight, it behaved fine when I attempted to manually start it the next day (Sports mode), so this was clearly a transient issue, but obviously something to get checked.
  • The passenger-side windscreen washer was not functioning.  No fluid was dispensed when the washer pump was run (though plenty of fluid came out on the driver's side).
  • The front wheels had started making a ticking noise when traveling at low speed under steering.  This was most noticeable in a parking garage while negotiating the ramps.  I had noticed other owners posting that this was a known issue and easily rectified.
  • The front grill seemed a little loose (easily displaced backward into the body with finger) on one side.
  • The trunk lid had been bugging me for a while though it being possible to physically close it perfectly satisfactorily only to find the 'trunk open' warning light lit when you entered the cabin and turned on the ignition.
I also knew there was a firmware patch available, so fully anticipated an upgrade.

All these items were dealt with and the patch was performed according to the service report, which was informative and interesting to read as usual.   I noticed the firmware upgrade right away as this update has replaced the analogue clock in the centre of the dash with a digital speedometer.  I like the speedometer, which was previously only available in Sport mode, though to be honest I would really have like a simple way to toggle between these displays.  I'm not sure if there's a way to bring back the clock if you want it - but I'll spend a bit of time looking.  

A couple of the other fixes will need some time to verify: the clicking wheels are apparently fixed with a different torque setting (of something... the wheel nuts?), while the trunk latching mechanism was adjusted/realigned, so we'll see if the sensor now agrees with the latch as to the physical state of the lid!

The windscreen washer problem was apparently due to a kinked hose under the windscreen cowl (actually that cowl was replaced in a prior visit, so maybe it was then that it got kinked, although it had worked fine for some time after that). 

The front grill had apparently needed some fastening clips replacing on that one side.  I'm not sure whether these were missing, were loose/fatigued or had broken, but in any case it supposedly now has new ones.
So once again, everything is (star)ship-shaped and Bristol fashion.

The car was also washed and polished up nicely, though to be honest it had only been a week since it had had a full clean and work-up so there wasn't a great deal of cleaning to do.
Actually, the only slight grumble I would have about the service this time was the very obvious oily hand print on the inside door handle when I got back in the vehicle to drive away.  Unfortunately the cabin appointments in the Karma are a light taupe suede (the "Earth" style) which is all too easy to visibly soil. I can imagine the mechanic, while making adjustments to the trunk latching mechanism, would have returned to the cabin a few times to press the trunk release button... but never mind, no real harm done.