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Car repair budget-breakers: Dubai residents tell all

Getting a broken vehicle fixed can be a nightmare if you don't know the right people to get the job done. Dubaiites share their stories

  • Meiraj HussainImage Credit: Supplied
  • Mohamed Al MuslehImage Credit: Supplied
  • Mustafa Hassan SakakiniImage Credit: Supplied
  • Rabia MasriImage Credit: Supplied
  • Rob CanningImage Credit: Supplied
  • Jason JohnImage Credit: Supplied
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Mohamed Al Musleh, 34, Iraqi, Laboratory Manager

My Hybrid Toyota Camry's tyre pressure warning light came on once, indicating low tyre pressure. I checked the sytem myself and realised the sensor was faulty and decided to reset the same.

I checked the cost of a new sensor online, which cost $19. However, the agency here quoted Dh275 after discount for each sensor; I needed two sensors and decided to buy them online. I had to wait ten days before the sensors were deliveredm but still managed to sort out the problem at 75 per cent of the cost.

Meiraj Hussain, 43, British, HR Director

I own a classic Mercedes 560 SEC from 1990. Now, riding an old car in Dubai needs one key ingredient; a mechanic who knows the vehicle and can service, procure and replace parts, and I was lucky enough to find one. He's an ex-Mercedes mechanic with 20 years experience, who runs his garage serving and repairing classic Mercedes models.

Servicing my car is generally smooth, but when it required a part to be changed - a fuel injector and starter motor had to be replaced - the mechanic took several days to find the replacement part from the Sharjah vehicle parts market. I had to pay Dh1,850 for both parts and an additional Dh450 in fitting charges. The process took seven days.

Mustafa Hassan Sakakini, 35, Lebanese, Real Estate Manager

I met with an accident while out camping in the Oman mountains, and I had to get my car repaired in Dubai using my full coverage insurance. The insurance garage took care of the body repair and informed me once the repairs were done.

However, on getting the car back I realised the steering wheel was not turning to the right. Given that the police report did not cover mechanical issues, I had to fix the steering at my expense. I ended up buying a steering rod, right control arm and a steering oil pump, while also paying installation fees. It cost Dh3,000 in total, quite a lot for a 2005 model vehicle.

Rabia Masri, 47, Lebanese, kindergarten teacher

When my Nissan Altima’s air condition was not working properly, I assumed it to be a standard gas problem that could be fixed at a very nominal cost. However, when I took my car to the garage, I was surprised when they suggested changing the whole compressor. What seemed a simple issue became an unplanned expense, costing me over Dh3,000 in expenses. Moreover, they took around two days to get it fixed and return me my ride.

Rob Canning, 37, British, CEO

I had to repair the front sensor and bumper of my car after buying the vehicle second hand, due to the damage being hidden by the previous owner. The dealer quoted Dh21,000 in repairs; however, I ended up paying Dh 6,000 sourcing the parts from elsewhere.

Repairs included replacing a bumper frame inside the plastic bumper and reolacing the radar sensor. I imported the parts from the UK and had them fitted in a garage in Al Quoz. It took a total of two weeks. Make sure you get any car checked by the authorities to avoid surprises.

Jason John, 32, Indian, Senior Credit Controller

I had to pay Dh750 to get my car’s side view mirror fixed that had gone missing while the car was parked in a public parking space. I immediately informed the police, who gave me a note to help me at the service centre as my car was insured.

I rushed to the closest service centre, expecting it would not cost me anything but I ended up paying Dh750 since the insurance did not cover the repairs, even though I had a note from the police. So be sure to always check in detail about the facilities you get with your car insurance and the car service centre.