Flood-hit cars, bikes now flood service centres

SRINAGAR: Automobile mechanics are forced to work overtime to repair the vehicles that were damaged by the floods in Kashmir Valley.
The service stations operational in the old city are receiving as extraordinary rush of bikes and cars brought from all flood-hit areas for necessary repairs.
“We have to do a lot of work on these vehicles. It takes at least four days to restore a vehicle,” Ali Muhammad who works as car mechanic at Hawal here told Kashmir Reader.
Apart from the routine repairs, the processors of most modern cars need to be fixed. However, most local mechanics lack the technical expertise required to fix the damaged processors of the cars.
“The latest cars are fitted with computer processors. Most vehicles have these processors damaged because they remained under water for not less than a week,” Muhammad said.
“But,” he added, “the new variants of cars launched by many automobile companies since 2010 onwards are difficult to fix because their processors can only be fitted by the authorised dealers. It requires the genuine software that is available only at the authorised service centres.”
Almost all vehicles that remained under water have to go for change of engine oil and air filters, he said.
Muhammad Ashraf, who owns an automobile workshop, told Kashmir Reader that most company-owned service centres are located in the areas devastated by the floods, making repair of the processors even more difficult.
“These service stations own the software necessary for repair of the processors. So the vehicles cannot be repaired till the authorised centres become operational,” he said,
“Consequently, some people are thinking of sending their vehicles to authorised dealers in Jammu and Punjab,” he said, adding that most cars need to be painted afresh, “though the priority is to get them running”.
The flood has also rendered many mechanics, working for reputed automobile companies, temporarily jobless. The mechanics in old city said many of their affected counterparts approached them for help.
“They want us to allow them to help us with the repairs,” Ashraf said.
Fayaz Ahmad, a bike mechanic, told Kashmir Reader that bikes too have to go for change of oil and filters, even though their electric equipment have survived the natural devastation.
“Technically, engine of every damaged bike needs to dismounted for proper repairs. But on temporary basis, a wash with kerosene and oil change make the bikes functional again,” he said.
Fayaz, however, said there is a dearth of air filters while the available stocks of oil are inadequate to demand the enormous demand.
“Due to rush at the local service centres, many people are now heading to Ganderbal and Budgam areas for repair of their vehicles,” he said.
The mechanics expect the rush to increase in the coming days as more and more vehicles are retrieved from under water every day.