About a year ago I made a reservation for a rental car with Cabs Car, a company based in Johannesburg. On my fifth trip to ZA this was my first time with a small company but their offer was really good, so we thought we’d give it a try. The car was handed over at Jo’burg airport, it was a Toyota Condor with appr. 130,000 km on its engine. From the very beginning of the trip we heard a metallic sound, though at first rather faint. We thought we were dealing with some minor car body problem and left without further inquiring.
About a week and 3,000 km later we had to visit our first garage: a mounting device of the exhaust pipe had broken and we were making noise like half a dozen trucks – not the best conditions to close in on and watch shy animals in Kruger Park. We were lucky, being still close to Malelane Gate meant that we only lost two hours in driving to a garage in the nearby town. Fixing was cheap, too, I believe R 130 or so. However, a couple of days later (and deeper inside the park) the problems became more serious: our break had started to stutter whenever we pressed it. Finally a trip to the garage a Skukuza seemed inevitable. However, what we did not expect was that the mechanic tells us we could no longer drive this car, one break pad was completely (and I mean completely) gone! After an hour of phone calls between the rental car company, the mechanic and me they could finally exchange the break pads. However, the mechanic told us and also the manager of Cabs Car that the break disc was damaged, too, that in fact the damaged break disc caused the break pad to wear down so quickly. But Cabs Car refused to have the disc exchanged as well, they said that we could still very well drive the car back to Jo’burg where they wanted to examine the damage themselves. Needless to say that the final days of our holiday were no joy at all, especially the drive back to Jo’burg because the stuttering remained as bad as before.
Looking back we know that the initial metallic sound we heard when the car was handed over was in fact coming from the defective break disc, that’s what two mechanics from two different garages told us. It is unbelievable and totally unaccepatable that his problem had not been discovered (and solved) before the car was delivered, just as it is totally unacceptable that we had to drive another 1,000 km with a defective disc, simply because the company wanted to save a few Rand.
I am usually not somebody who easily complains. However, the break system of a car is nothing to toy with and I believe the combination of delivering a defective car and then refusing to have it fixed completely is not a coincidence but rather shows a pattern. I can only warn potential customers to at least give rental cars from cabs car a thorough examination before taking off into the bush.