Isuzu Dealer Servicing review around Australia

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 121,000km, 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.

Isuzu Dmax on the Bloomfield Track
Our Isuzu Dmax has been worked on by half a dozen Isuzu dealers; how do they perform?

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.

Isuzu Dmax brakes being serviced
I know the importance of solid maintenance, and don’t let things slip easily

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?

Essendon Isuzu

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.

Maddington Isuzu

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.

A leaking transfer case
Picton Isuzu were amazing in sorting out a badly leaking transfer case at the start of a long weekend

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.

Dmax crack in April
Port Lincoln Isuzu were quite helpful instigating a warranty claim on our Inner Guard Cracking

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.

Great Camping at Bundaleer
We had a massive service done at Wagga Wagga, which was extremely well done

Townsville Isuzu

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.

Townsville Dmax service and views
We specifically hung around Townsville to get the Dmax serviced, and were quite happy

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 they were really good, with only a minor miscommunication to mention regarding the aircon repair (which I resolved in time due to following up on it). I’d happily return to Brisbane Eagle Farm Isuzu.

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.

Bash plate bolts in our Dmax
This was how I got the Dmax back

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.

Gippsland Isuzu

Not that long after our inner guard replacements, I noticed that our body mounts were looking awfully sad, and got a set ordered in at Gippsland Isuzu, and arranged to drop the vehicle off for the day to get them done. Two of the body mounts didn’t come in, and they weren’t that keen on putting a warranty claim through until I pushed harder. 

Overall these guys did a good job, but we were let down by freight with the missing two body mounts.

Cracked body mounts on our Dmax
The passenger side body mount, that was totally knackered

Moss Vale Isuzu

On top of Blue Rag Range, our aircon failed for the third time, and I spent a long time finding an Isuzu dealer with a good reputation to do our repair. Moss Vale Isuzu had a great reputation, so we booked it in 3 weeks in advance, and detoured up there, having explained the issue, and allowed for time to have the evaporator replaced. I was first told it couldn’t be done ‘that week’, but they managed to get it finished with us sitting in the showgrounds for 3 days.

It got worse from there though; the aircon pipe was too close to the engine, and the technician just leant in and bent it out the way. Over the next 12 hours it sprung back, and I took it back to the service manager, who agreed to replace it later on, stressing that no other damage would have been done.

Our evaporator failed 3 days later (the brand new one, after less than 300km), and we had to return again to Moss Vale Isuzu after Easter to get it remedied again. They got us in quickly and replaced the evaporator and pipe in 7 hours, but it was a very frustrating experience.

The failed Dmax evaporator
We had two evaporators fitted within weeks of each other

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.

Inner guards on the Dmax
When it comes to issues, any claims are much more favourable if you’ve got a full Isuzu service (even though it shouldn’t necessarily be that way)

Would we recommend Isuzu Dealers for servicing?

Granted, this post only covers a handful of Isuzu dealers, and we had a fairly good run from them until recently ( Camden Valley Motors, and Moss Vale Isuzu). They hugely let our experience down (and this isn’t directed at the entire business, but just those involved in my work), and we’ve detailed any shortcomings but for the most part, its pleasing to be able to say that most of the Isuzu dealers have done a pretty decent job.

Asides from recent events, I had 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?

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