Our Fiat Punto has almost completed its time with us. Since the last update, the Punto has been in for a routine service and went on an adventure into the heart of the Free State.
CAR journalist Juliet McGuire booked the car in for its service. Here’s what transpired:
“I searched for a Fiat service centre on Google and found Gary Green Auto on the list. I called and was able to book my car in the following week. I arrived at 08h00 and was left to wait for quite some time before I was attended to. However, once they eventually got round to me it went rather quickly. Fortunately, I had organised a lift because I overheard another customer ask how long the wait would be for a courtesy lift and the driver had only just left to do a round trip through Cape Town dropping off various people. It would be more than an hour and a half before he would be back.
“I asked them to check the brakes. We have found that the brakes make a strange noise and have a funny feel to them (like the ABS system is taking strain) under hard braking. I was told they would probably need to be skimmed and this was no longer covered by the warranty. I called them later that day to see what time the Punto would be done. They said I could collect the car at 16h00 and that my brakes had been skimmed. The routine service was covered by the service plan, while the brake skimming, including labour, cost just short of R800.
“When I collected the car, I noticed that it had been cleaned. There were no big issues with the service. However, I still find that there is a strange noise every now and then with the brakes.”
Thanks to CAR journalist Wilhelm Lutjeharms, the Punto’s mileage is almost done. He recently packed up the Punto and hit the road to the Free State. Here’s what he had to say about the trip and the car:
“This past week we did a quick but long road trip in the sea-green Punto. Although my Triton long-term bakkie recently arrived, the Fiat still needed a couple of thousand kilometres to complete its full 20 000 km test.
“We left Stellenbosch at 05h30 for Phakisa in Welkom, Free State (the reason for the trip will become clear in a future blog). At first glance, the 1,4 Turbo MultiAir-engined Punto may not look like the ideal open road car, but I was pleasantly surprised. At 120 km/h you rarely need to change from fifth (top) gear to fourth to overtake slower traffic. Take into account that we were two adults plus luggage and camera equipment on board.
“There were a few niggles though. I experienced small interruptions in the power delivery in fourth and fifth gear. These only lasted briefly, though.
“Where possible, I try to drive on roads that are quieter than the truck-infested N1. However, I didn’t know that the roads leading from Boshof to Hertzogville and Bultfontein were in such a terrible state. I tried to dodge the potholes where possible, but the Punto hit a few and one of these damaged the driver’s side Continental Excellence 195/55 R16 tyre. Fortunately, only a bubble appeared on the side wall, so we drove slower and made it in time for our sunset shoot.
“On our why back to Cape Town the following day, we monitored the wheel during every fuel stop. Fortunately, we had the smaller spare wheel should something happen, but nothing did. Back in Cape Town, we’ve had the tyre replaced. During a previous front-tyre tyre mishap, my colleagues Juliet McGuire and Kelly Lodewyks discovered that the Punto’s Goodyear Excellence 195/55 R16 tyre was not available in South Africa and were advised to go for the Goodyear Efficient Grip 195/55R16 tyre. So, the rear tyre was replaced with the same one for about R1 500.”
Mileage on arrival (km): 1 061
Mileage now (km): 19 652
Fuel consumption (litres/100 km): 6,8
We like: pokey engine, good spec levels
We don’t like: lack of USB/aux input, tyres that aren’t available in South Africa
Read previous updates here: