I’ve spent almost 11 hours of today sitting around waiting in Kiev Land Rover service centres.
I started the day at the Winner Automotive Land Rover service centre from 9.00am to 2.30pm today. What got done during those 5.5 hours? Not much at all, unfortunately.
The Defender was booked in for an oil change along with change of oil filter and fuel filter. I had both filters onboard as well as some 15W40 semi synthetic oil, which is almost impossible to find in Russia or Central Asia. However, Winner Automotive company policy states that they cannot use any parts/fluids provided by the customer. I was prepared to buy additional filters from them but they couldn’t provide any 15W40 oil. The best they could do was 5W40. So that was the oil change ruled out. They also couldn’t change the air filter for me because they didn’t have any filters in stock.
As I was already there, I asked that they check the electrical circuit for the horn, as it keeps blowing fuses. Two hours later, the Defender hadn’t moved as there was no electrician currently available and no heavy-duty lift free!
The electrician subsequently spent a couple of hours checking the circuit and could only tell me that the problem was inside the dash. Doing any further checks would require removal of the dash and could result in four more hours of work. I decided to leave this work until the Defender is back in England.
It could have been quite a negative experience but the staff member handling my job was very apologetic that they hadn’t been able to do the service or correct the electrical fault and told me that I wasn’t being charged for the work that had been done. It’s hard to complain when the work was done for free.! He also referred me to an alternate company who he thought would be able to do the oil change for me.
So I set off across town to British Motors Ukraine (BMU), a smaller company that also services Land Rovers. BMU had no problem with doing an oil change using my oil and filters, so the Defender was booked in and taken to the workshop. And whilst they didn’t have a Land Rover air filter in stock, they were able to source an after-market air-filter of the correct size for the Defender and fit that.
An inspection revealed a couple of worn linkages that have now been replaced along with the bushes. The power steering belt was also cracked and squealed on full lock. I had a spare belt onboard and that has been fitted. A couple of other things have been flagged for attention when possible – probably when I get to England.
I was happy with the friendly service at BMU and with their willingness to get the job done using parts that I had with me. They don’t let ‘company rules’ get in the way of meeting the customer’s wishes.
It was almost 8.00pm by the time I drove away from British Motors Ukraine, so a long day of just sitting around. At least both companies had wifi available for the use of customers, so I could keep myself occupied online.
Winner Automotive coordinates: N50 29’ 295” E030 30′ 656″
British Motors Ukraine coordinates: N50 24′ 602″ E30 30′ 305″