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Wed, Dec. 27th, 2006, 11:19 am
uitlander: Mazda Warranty Repairs - a cautionary tale

I had a warranty repair done by Mazda this week. Its the first time I've had to use the warranty, and the experience was a bit of an eye opener, so I'm posting here as a warning to other MX-5 owners. I contacted the Newbury Mazda dealer in October about a problem that has gradually developed on my alloy wheels - the finish started bubbling and flaking off over the summer. They told me this was a known issue with MX-5 wheels on 04 Reg cars, that it should be a warranty repair and asked me to call back to talk to their service manager about getting replacement wheels authorised by Mazda.

Thats where the problem started. The service manager wasn't keen on handling the warranty paperwork, and suggested I should leave the claim until just before my warranty runs out next March as 'its not important'. I wasn't very happy with this approach, and called back the next week saying I would like him to put in the claim paperwork sooner rather than later. We agreed that I would e-mail him digital photos of the corroding areas of the wheels, which I did the same day. A week went by and I heard nothing, so called them to find out the status. Again I was told they were too busy to process my claim. I asked if they had received the e-mail and was assured they had it. Then he read back the details of someone else's wheel claim to me. After some faff we established that the service manager had little idea how to access e-mail, and he would get someone who knew how to do this to find the e-mail and photos for him. I was unimpressed. I asked him to call me back or e-mail me to confirm when he had the paperwork he needed from me and it was all being processed.

A week later I called again as I'd heard nothing, it became clear that nothing had been done and the service manager still didn't know how to get at the photos. I suggested I could bring the car in instead, but that wasn't convenient for them. I called again the following week, and again was stalled by the service manager. Again I was told me 'not to worry, its not important'. By this point I was getting pretty annoyed, and concerned that 6 weeks after reporting a warranty claim to my local dealer, the claim had not been passed on to Mazda. I called them again, and this time asked to speak to the man in charge of the dealership. After a bit of spluttering I was put through, and I explained the problem. He asked me to send him the photos by e-mail, which I did, and he called me back to confirm they had arrived. A day later I had a phone call from the service manager telling me Mazda had approved the replacement of all 4 wheels. Hurrah I thought. There was a bit more faffing when I turned up last Friday to have them switched, only to find they had ordered in the wrong set of wheels. So this morning found me back in the dealership, waiting for my wheels to be changed, and here's where it gets interesting.....

During the hour and a half I was sitting in the showroom the service desk had two walk-in customers and 3 phone calls. All were people trying to make warranty claims on Mazda wheels that were corroding. All bar one got the same line he'd give me - 'we're very busy right now. The best thing to do is leave it until about a month before your warranty expires and then come and see me.' The exception was one walk in customer, who was about a month off the expiry date of his warranty. He was told that he'd left it too late, and that Mazda would not accept a claim as the problem had clearly developed over a long period and by not acting sooner he had exacerbated it. The customer pointed out that he'd been told by the service manager to leave it until a month before his warranty ran out, and the service manager was adamant that he'd never say anything like that.

Oh, and they tried to bluff me into buying two new tyres claiming the 2mm tread depth was already illegal (the legal limit is 1.6). I would advise anyone reading this to avoid the Newbury Mazda Dealership at all costs.

Fri, Mar. 3rd, 2006, 08:46 pm
uitlander: Hairdressing just got butch...

Or so Jeremy Clarkson would have us believe when writing about the new MX-5 last month. To learn more you'll have to wade through all the waffle about his fashionable GoreTex boots on page one. However, he mostly seems to like it.

Sun, Jan. 22nd, 2006, 02:10 pm
uitlander: Cheaper petrol

Here's one for anyone finding current UK fuel prices a tad painful. An enterprising chap in Reading is attempting to set up a petrol card scheme with one of the major UK petrol retailers. He hopes to negotiate a discount of between 5 to 10p a litre for users of the card. The card should work in a similar way to fleet cards used by large companies. At present he is gathering numbers - so signing up is an expression of interest. The web site claims to operate an anti-spam policy.

Mon, Jan. 2nd, 2006, 11:16 am
uitlander: (no subject)

The new MX-5 was featured on last night's Top Gear. Reviewed by Richard Hammond the overall impression was good, with excellent handling and the fun aspect emphasized. Top Gear would be nothing without its quirky features, and this was no exception with the highlight being a race between the £18k sport against a £25K greyhound (leading to lots of bad jokes about which animals were front wheel and back wheel drive, and a long digression on animal oversteer and understeer).

Close inspection of the Top Gear site reveals the MX-5 to be classed as a 'cool car'. As their 'sub zero' category includes the Fiat Punto, this may not be quite as good at it seems at first sight.

Oh, and the greyhound won the race.

Mon, Dec. 12th, 2005, 05:51 pm
uitlander: (no subject)

Yesterday I said goodbye to my 1.6, midnight blue V Reg MX-5 and swapped it over for a 1.8 '04 Euphonic. This is weird in many ways, as it doesn't really feel like I have a 'new' car. The view from the driver's seat remains the same, I've swapped black and dark blue seats for black and vivid red ones. The engine has a little more punch, and the dashboard has white dials illuminated in red rather than black dials in green. Central locking and 'leccy windows are a nice addition.

Most of today has been spent trying to work out how to configure the radio face plate to not show a gaudy, distracting display of colour shifting weirdness, and I remain bemused by the remote control handset for the radio as I fear this is very unlikely to be used. The new beast is black, and was collected from Milcars on the Watford Way - the sales guy was at pains to explain that a few white flecks on the paintwork were the result of the oil refinery explosion that happened on Saturday night. The car was under cover in their showroom, but the force of the blast shook their building and caused paint to flake from the ceiling. Having driven it home, and to work and back today, I'm far more bothered by the general crud from the road surface and the inevitable quantities of salt that will have accumulated on its underside. And I must pursue them for the 'key' to the locking wheelnuts supplied as part of the standard kit.

Wed, Dec. 7th, 2005, 07:26 pm
uitlander: (no subject)

Welcome to the MX-5 community for Mazda enthusiasts in the UK.