I’m sure about 80% of my friends have taken their car for servicing before. I hadn’t before this week. But then I figured, “Ok la. Thirty already. Probably gonna be stuck single all my life so I’d better learn how to do it myself. Also, don’t want to bother Dad with the trouble.”
So I asked Lydia for help. Because her husband reviews cars for a living. hahah
She said she takes her own car to a neighbourhood “uncle mechanic” but I could try the workshop to which Daniel takes his car. It’s called Tiger Shoji and is “pricey but reliable.” I’d just need to call and make an appointment. I looked it up and realised that ah, yes, I’ve seen Gim Han (who also writes car reviews) rave about that place on Facebook. So, ok la. If two guys who have been in love with cars for as long as I’ve known them and who now both test drive cars and review them professionally approve of this place, it has to be pretty good.
I called, made an appointment for Tuesday afternoon and drove to Glenmarie to find this Tiger Shoji place.
I was delighted with the overall experience (then again I’m a bit jakun when it comes to car stuff) – and soooo relieved.
One thing I feared was that I’d have nothing to do and nowhere to go whilst my car was getting checked. I don’t have any friends here I can trust enough to say, “Hey, I need to get my car serviced so can you drive with me and then we can go out somewhere in your car while I leave mine at the workshop?” Hmm, not quite true. I do have at least one whom I would ask but she’s extremely busy these weekends planning her wedding so that wasn’t going to work. :/ And I didn’t want to bother dad and ask him to arrange stuff with the KL company driver. If I went to some neighbourhood car workshop, I definitely would not want to be sitting around in a stuffy, messy workshop to wait for my car. (What more since I’m a single lady… KL can be a scary place to be alone!)
Premium car service centre means a comfortable waiting area. And it was good. Not luxurious, but good enough for me! Their “lounge” is just a large reception area with comfy chairs off to one side. It’s air-conditioned, and there’s wifi. Two BIG pluses for me. There’s also a TV with Astro, but apparently something was broken so it could only play music. And there were several Ghibli movie DVDs (but I doubted I would be able to stand the subtitles on them, given my memory of the DVD set I possess, and these came from the same distributor – Speedy). I didn’t care about the TV because I had aircon and wifi and a place to sit down comfortably and that was already fantastic to me. I got a cup of tea too
After about an hour I realised that there were windows where I could look into the actual workshop area.
See the car? haha (Pardon the glare of the reflection up in the top right corner; it isn’t that there’s a big window there – it’s just a reflection on the glass.)
I went back to the windows periodically after that to have a look. For a car workshop it looks really clean… However, this is perhaps to be expected of a Japan-based company. Tiger Shoji is a Kyoto-based workshop, I think, and when I was there I saw a couple of Japanese customers and a few Japanese admin staff. The assistant manager came to say hello after they were done with my car, and he was clearly Japanese. (His English wasn’t very good. haha I thoroughly regret that I didn’t have enough vocabulary in my head to say anything substantial to him in Japanese…)
Another thing I’d feared about dealing with car mechanics is having to face men who’d babble at me in Mandarin or Cantonese. I already don’t know much about cars, and if you were to use anything other than English or Malay to talk to me about cars, you might as well not talk to me at all. But clearly Tiger Shoji is a premium service centre, and so all I heard was English and Malay. And Japanese. I overhead a Chinese lady speaking Japanese to a Japanese lady (one of the staff, I think) and then later overheard a Malay lady (who looked like one of the admin staff) speaking in Japanese to a customer, and then doubly impressed when my assigned mechanic – a young-ish Malay guy – spoke to the assistant manager in Japanese.
They gave me a copy of the check-list and explained some of the things they’d fixed. That was helpful.
All in all, a good experience. It is on the expensive side but it’s worth every penny for someone like me (i.e. doesn’t know much about cars, is terrified of dealing with local neighbourhood mechanics on my own, and can get very nervous about stuff that’s not fully understood). I get to set aside worries about language barriers, I get a comfortable waiting space, and I get good reliable service.
Side note: It amuses me that my regular hair salon is Japan-based, and now so is my car service centre. lol