Car dealerships get a pretty average reputation when it comes to maintenance and servicing of vehicles, and in some cases this reputation is very justified. In this post though, I want to do a bit of a review on our experience using a myriad of different Isuzu Dealers in Australia for getting our normal, log book servicing done.
Our 2016 Isuzu Dmax has now done about 110,000km, and its had all of its normal servicing done through a number of different Isuzu dealers all around the country. We’ve only had one service done outside of this, which was in between the normal Isuzu ones as I wanted to get it looked over when we were in Darwin.
This post is not sponsored, or a promotion in any way
If you’ve been following us for a while, you know we are as straight as it comes. There’s no promotions, and no sponsorships. If Isuzu were rubbish in their servicing, we’d express that with honest facts, and no hesitation. This is completely our thoughts on the Isuzu dealers we’ve dealt with, and nothing more.
Isuzu don’t even know that this post is coming out, and they shouldn’t be concerned about it either way.
I have high standards for vehicle servicing
Before we get started, I want to point out I don’t take shortcuts when it comes to looking after a vehicle. I’m a qualified mechanical fitter, and know how many things work, and know how to tell when something hasn’t been done, or well.
I inspect everything after a service, to make sure the oil and filter has been changed, that there’s evidence of things being clean where work was supposed to take place, fresh grease on the nipples, and am not afraid to question anything that seems awry.
Our Dmax gets used for its intended purpose. We’ve done thousands of kilometres of off road tracks, towed our Reconn R2 all over the country and are always on the lookout for the best, most remote places in the country, and poor maintenance coupled with extensive use is a sure way to end up broken down on the side of the road, which we’ve avoided up until now.
What Isuzu Dealers have we used and how have they performed?
Our Isuzu Dmax was purchased from Essendon Isuzu in Victoria, and shipped over to Perth, where I registered it and got it on the road. These guys were good to deal with from a sales perspective, and helpful when I went back to them regarding our Dmax turbo failure. They mentioned that all of their demo vehicles get started and left to run for a period of time to keep the batteries charge, and I have no doubt that the lack of revs and standing time contributed to our turbo actuator seizing, and ultimately needing replacement.
I had other dealings with Essendon Isuzu later on in the piece, when it came to looking at getting our Inner Guard Cracking repaired, and the service manager here went above and beyond to push the warranty claim through, get information required and help with a repair.
Unfortunately the timelines didn’t match up, but I was thoroughly impressed with how helpful these guys were.
With just 32km on the clock, our Dmax went into limp mode, and I could hear that the turbo wasn’t doing what it was supposed to, at boost. Maddington Isuzu were the closest option for us, and one of their mechanics came for a drive and agreed there was an issue, but they refused to do anything until a fault code came up again. That’s the red tape, and mechanical diagnosis relied upon today, which is pretty rubbish.
Regardless, Maddington Isuzu got a new turbo in (by snail mail, which wasn’t really their fault), and I got my Dmax back a few weeks later. They did have some delays, and comments were made about the turbo leaking, so I was less than confident the job had been done well, but touch wood, no issues!
I can’t really fault Maddington Isuzu, except for finding my front diff drain plug was loose after a service, which I was quite annoyed about. Fortunately it had hardly lost any oil and I just tightened it and topped it up, but it could have been much worse.
Bibra Lake Isuzu
After the front diff plug incident with Maddington Isuzu, I started to use Bibra Lake Isuzu, and they got my servicing business for a number of years. They did an exceptional job, and even replaced a leaking transfer case seal under warranty despite it being caused by the ARB Old Man Emu GVM upgrade.
They likely knocked the seal in too far (which most people seem to do), and it continued to leak, but I had this remedied by a different branch later on.
I had really good dealings with Bibra Lake Isuzu; their staff were always friendly and helpful. I did get messed around once with a hire car, but it was a double booking, and these things happen.
They also replaced all of my body mounts, and got it done under warranty. They initially refused to repair my cracked evaporator, and as it turns out didn’t even lodge a claim with Isuzu Head office, but a simple phone call to Isuzu Ute Australia soon turned things around and they replaced the evaporator too.
They detailed my car a couple of times, and on one occasion I found the vehicle in 4WD (and drove home with it in this state, completely unaware!), but overall I was really pleased with their service, and would happily recommend them.
Bunbury Picton Isuzu
We had no intentions of using Bunbury Isuzu, but when I stopped for a toilet break and found oil sprayed all over my Dmax undercarriage, and the front of the camper trailer, we had no option. Our leaking transfer case had gone, but in a big way, and it virtually emptied the transfer case of oil. I topped it up, late on a Friday afternoon leading into a long weekend, and rang Isuzu.
They had a seal in stock, and I drove straight there, only to have a mechanic volunteer to keep the workshop open, to replace the seal (and he explained why so many people get it wrong when they knock it in too far), and he waited around for us to test drive the vehicle before sending us on our way.
The staff here were great, but this particular mechanic (I believe he was the head truck mechanic) was a complete legend, and saved our long weekend. I transferred some cash his way, but Bunbury Isuzu really helped us out, and we’re still running the same transfer case seal some 70,000km later, so its clearly been put in the right spot.
Port Lincoln Isuzu
After starting our Big Lap of Australia, Port Lincoln Isuzu were the first Isuzu dealer to touch our vehicle. They did a fairly substantial service, and asides from the fact that it blew out in length due to staffing issues, they did a good job. I did haggle with them a bit about the costs for some of the servicing, with them wanting to charge huge labour lengths for simple things like replacing diff oils, and they lowered the pricing a bit.
They were also really helpful after I noticed a crack on the inner guard of our Dmax. They asked me to come back the next day, put it on a hoist, took photos and inspected everything else, and lodged it with Isuzu Australia for information on what to do next.
Wagga Wagga Isuzu
After doing the Victorian High Country, we’d clocked up another 10k, and I booked a service in at Wagga Wagga Isuzu, and grabbed a rental car as we were staying out of town. These guys replaced the blown headlight globe, did a full (massive) service including wheel bearings, coolant, automatic transmission fluid, valve adjustments and so forth, and I was pleased to go through the list and see evidence of the work being done, and not just being ticked off.
When you’re paying about $1200 for the service, you want to know its been done well, and I’m positive that the vehicle drove better after this service. Once again, the time for the service blew out to a full day (literally dropped off as soon as they opened, and picked up as they were closing), but it was done well, and I was happy with the service.
The time frame kept blowing out (it was originally 12PM pickup time, and ended up being 5PM), but its a small price to pay for a job well done.
Our last service was done in Townsville, by the Isuzu dealer who fitted us in on a cancelled booking. This was a standard, small service, but I got them to replace the oil and filter (it isn’t scheduled for every service, but I’ve always done this), and asked them to use up the 10L of oil I’d been lugging around Australia since leaving Perth, and they gladly accepted.
I sat in their customer area where they’re set up for business work, and used my laptop for a few hours whilst they did everything. I checked the oil and filter had been changed, and once again, was pretty impressed. I did wipe a bit of oil off the bash plates from the drain above the oil filter, but with the time frame that they work too I’m not surprised that some extra came down.
Once again, friendly staff, good service and a job well done.
Brisbane Eagle Farm Isuzu
Our second latest dealings with an Isuzu dealer has been in regards to major warranty/goodwill work on our Dmax, where we had the inner guards and radiator supports replaced. Isuzu Head office specifically recommended Brisbane Eagle Farm Isuzu, and to date (the repairs are still happening), they’ve been really good, with no complaints to mention.
Camden Valley Motors
Well, this dealer was a let down, in a number of ways. I’d booked our vehicle in for a 140k service, and promised a price (which I never received). I was told 2 – 3 hours, and it ended up taking 5. When I walked back to the car there was oil dripping on the floor off the bash plates that wasn’t wiped up (but at least the filter was changed), and the hand brake was over tightened (with red hot drums after only a few kilometres).
I then found the front bash plate bolts loose, and they’d installed new, longer bolts and stripped the captive nut. I was absolutely ropable, and despite a bit of lack of acceptance initially, the service manager took full responsibility. They cut the bolts down, and reinstalled them, but the threads were still damaged, and I rang back a few days later when I’d noticed, and they paid for a dealer further south to re-tap them out to M14.
Not a good look, and really the first time I’ve been really annoyed and angry with the Isuzu Dealers all the way across Australia.
Isuzu Ute Australia thoughts
Over the last 6 years, we’ve dealt with Isuzu Ute Australia (the head office) on a handful of occasions, and I have to say overall they’ve been really reasonable, and helpful. I was very frustrated when our turbo died on our new (demo) Dmax and they weren’t interested or able to air freight the turbo over but every other time I’ve spoken to them they’ve been very reasonable and helpful.
Why do we use dealers for the servicing?
I’m sure some of you are sitting there and wondering why on earth we’d be using dealers to do our servicing, when there are so many good mechanics out there.
The simple answer is this; we’ve been happy with what they’ve done (except Camden Valley), and if anything does go wrong, I’ll throw it back at Isuzu head office with the full might. There’s no escape for them, as its got a full service history with their own dealers, and that is useful when you have issues like the Dmax inner guard cracking.
Would we recommend Isuzu Dealers for servicing?
Granted, this post only covers a handful of Isuzu dealers, but overall, we’re pretty happy with the service we’ve had (except Camden Valley Motors). They haven’t been perfect (who is?), and we’ve detailed any shortcomings but for the most part, its pleasing to be able to say that we’re happy with the Isuzu dealers in terms of servicing.
I have decent confidence dropping my vehicle off for log book servicing to any Isuzu Dealer (I do look at the reviews prior), and would only look for an independent mechanic if I couldn’t get in, or needed something specialised done.
Have you used any Isuzu dealers for servicing? How has your experience been?