Friday, November 2, 2007

Drive from Kolkata to Kanpur; 1st service;

Drive from Kolkata to Asansol

After seeing off my mother-in-law at Kolkata airport on 28 Oct, Jaya and I drove directly to Asansol, about 225 km from Kolkata,. From the airport we took the Jessore Road, Dum Dum Road and Barrackpore Trunk Road to get into the New Bally Bridge (across the Hooghly) and flyovers leading to the Durgapur expressway.

Roads, flyovers and bridges were superb throughout, comparable to the autobahns / expressways of Europe. The main difference lay in the users, many of whom do not deserve a driving license. It is really frustrating to drive on an international standard dual carriageway where suddenly you see a vehicle headed straight towards you (on the wrong side, on the fast lane) and slow moving heavily loaded trucks moving at a snail’s pace on the fast lane. Only when you slow down and honk they grudgingly let you pass. That IS the NORM in India – almost all heavy vehicles have “AWAZ KARO” or “HORN MARO” painted boldly on their rears!

After spending a night at Asansol, we drove to Bodhgaya in Bihar on 29 Oct. We found it to be a lovely place, clean and well maintained, and the Mahabodhi Temple is quite magnificent. The other Buddhist temples erected by various Buddhist countries like Japan, China, Thailand, Burma, Bhutan, etc., are also worth seeing. The 80 feet high Buddha statue erected by Japan is grand. Some pics I took are at

Aborted First Service of car at Karlo Automobiles, Bodhgaya

Since the car crossed 1000 km as we reached Bodhgaya, I took it to Karlo Automobiles (Maruti Dealer Workshop) for the mandatory First Service. I was horrified to find that they knew virtually NOTHING about the Swift diesel and its maintenance. They drained my engine oil and were about to pour new oil meant for petrol engines into my engine when I intervened – luckily, I was hanging around my car keeping a close watch on all goings-on like a new grandma at a maternity hospital watching over the newborn infant. Thereafter, they brought a can of Indian Oil Servo Pride 40 meant for ordinary low-tech diesel engines. I pointed out to them that Maruti Udyog specifies SF 15W40 oil meeting specs of API-CG4 and ACEA B3 for the Swift. That sounded like Greek and Latin to them. They informed me that they had put Servo Pride 40 engine oil in several diesel Swifts and they were working fine! God help diesel Swift owners in India. Clearly, Maruti Udyog is introducing high tech cars in India without upgrading its service infrastructure.

I called up a senior official at Maruti Udyog but he was unable to do anything. Finally, I made those Maruti authorized imbeciles pour my drained oil back into my engine (after straining through a clean cloth) and I drove out of Karlo Automobiles without my First Service.

Drive to Gaya and Varanasi

On 30 Oct we first drove to Gaya and then to Varanasi. Came across some pretty bad stretches on NH2 near Aurangabad / Sasaram. But it was heartening to see road construction work going on at full swing at these stretches. The NH2 (new Grand Trunk road, from Kolkata to Delhi) has been upgraded really well with large (and wide) bridges and flyovers and concrete surface has been used for a considerable part of this highway. It was a real pleasure to drive on the good stretches in my new Swift.

First service finally done at Varanasi

I took the car to ‘Varanasi Motors’ (a large Maruti Dealer Workshop) at Varanasi. After the bitter experience with Karlo Motors at Bodhgaya, I was apprehensive about their preparedness to service my car and demanded to be shown the engine oil first. They showed me a can of Mobil Delvac Super 1300 oil (15W40; API CF-4 but certified for CG-4 / SG / SH / SJ applications; ACEA B2). I was glad to see that this oil was meeting almost all the specs laid down for my Swift. I had some reservations about its ACEA B2 Quality Classification as against ACEA B3 laid down for the Swift but the works manager showed me documents and convinced me that Maruti Udyog has indeed recommended the use of this oil in the diesel Swift. I asked Varanasi Motors to go ahead with the First Service and they did a reasonably good job.


Capt. Debasish Dey said...

Hello There,

I just bumped on to your wonderful
blog , while I was googling for some information on a drive trip via NH2 / GT Road, Can i ask you
some querries later on about this
driving trip ?

Bye for now.
Happy Blogging.\

Capt.Debasish Dey

Anonymous said...

A great blog for us people in eastern india.
Can you tell me what engine oil your are using in your vdi ?

Debashis Mukherjee said...

Mobil Delvac Super 1300 15W40 is the oil approved by Maruti for the Multijet diesel engine. All MASS stock this oil. Till such time one's car is under warranty, the question of using any other oil does not arise. After the warranty expires, one may try any other oil which meets the specs laid down in the User Manual.

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