Ich freue mich über jede negative Referenz für diese Werkstatt.

Diary Entry

We are now in Quito and a few small things are to be repaired in the car for our last leg to Colombia and the upcoming sale of the car. The workshop “Toyoservicios” makes a good impression and obviously specializes in Toyotas. I’m handing in the car and I hope it’ll be ready in a week.

Then the balancing can finally be carried out, which I was not able to finish in Cuenca. Instead, the workshop visit leads to a forced stay of six weeks and four-digit costs.

After a few days, I always get the same answer: “We can’t get the rusty bolt open.” I’m amazed they can’t deal with the corrosion and give tips to try heat and oil. Then I hear nothing more. I’ll stop by the workshop and have a look. Then they explain to me that the parts around it have been “opened” in order to get them loose. The workshop foreman leads me to the car and its disassembled chassis and explains to me that they cut out the wishbones, but unfortunately they don’t have any spare parts for them now. Too bad.

A colleague has now gone to another city to look for wishbones for this model. They cut the wishbones! Why did they do that? All very simple – people tell me. “We use the new handlebars and then it runs much better.

Day 0 without a Breakdown

I can not believe it. They destroy parts of my car without asking me and without first checking whether the parts can be replaced?! I confront the man about it and he repeats to me like an imbecile schoolboy that this was necessary because they couldn’t solve it.

The man – Carlos – looks like a dog that ate the chocolate and says it was an exception due to the high number of customers. But I know that from the other mechanics and it’s not getting any better. They put me off to look for my colleague and promise to get back to me the next day when the colleague has finished his search. Of course there is no message and I have to go back to the workshop.

Then I hear nothing again. It is now clear that I have to extend our accommodation. But how long? The mechanics can’t find the spare parts in Quito and have sent someone to a workshop in Amboto who has the parts anyway. This fact is frustrating enough, but that the communication is so terrible and you can only get any bad news through terror in WhatsApp or in person is even worse.

The biggest problem with mechanics in South America is communication. On the one hand, it’s great that everyone has and uses Whatsapp. On the other hand, you rarely get an answer to your questions, at least as soon as you are a customer and the car is between the walls of the workshop. From then on, strange things start happening on the car and you become a nuisance as a conversation partner. So I have to go to the workshop all the time to find someone who can tell me why it’s now two days after the promised completion of the car and I still haven’t heard anything.

The guy in Amboto doesn’t have any new wishbones for us either. The Toyota Hiace is very common in Ecuador, but not in the four-wheel drive version. And the wishbones are built a little differently. That’s it. Dead end. And now? I have to get the parts myself. I can have her come from Japan or find someone else. I send Esteban off and he actually finds the parts in Asunción. With DHL it goes to Quito. He had the parts specially prepared so that they look new and thus raise fewer questions at customs. Customs is not the problem either, but DHL is unable to contact me that, contrary to what was said in Asunción, I still have to pay customs fees. Due to this misunderstanding alone, another week goes by until the parts are finally here.

When it is clear that there is nothing we can do for now and that it will take a long time to get the parts, we decide that we will not stay in Quito. We have now been here for ten days and it will take weeks to find and deliver the parts, we know that. What will become of our goal to reach Colombia? We can just fly there now and wait. But flights to Medellín and Cartagena are disproportionately expensive. It is Christmas time. But another idea comes to us. The Galapagos Islands! These islands are very special and can only be reached via flights from Quito and Guayaquil. We book the flight on Friday and are on the plane on Sunday morning. The time spent there is indeed exceptional.

Full of good memories we return to Quito to get back to the problem with the car. The parts are on their way but are stuck at customs. Unfortunately, I found out much too late that DHL simply needs my passport data and payment of the customs duties.

I go into the workshop and find the package with the parts in a corner. I call the master, who is calm and says that she will install it in the next few days. I jump out of my skin and remind the man how long the car has been in the shop just for sawing through parts. I don’t give in and the workshop foreman calls an assistant who gets to work straight away. It takes about two hours for the car to be ready. We do a little test drive and it seems to work.

The next day I finally pick up the car, since it is now also balanced. Allegedly. Because when you get to the accommodation, the car is hanging down on one of the front sides with an alarming amount. I could freak out and burn down the workshop. I’ll quickly find another workshop to fix the problem. Here, too, a hundred dollars are due again. Ecuadorian mechanics are worse for a car than a week with a wagon on a salt lake.

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