Long-term update: Jaguar XK -- the dealer is the best option sometimes

Long-term update: Jaguar XK — the dealer is the best option sometimes

There are a few obvious things you should know about owning a luxury car. One is dealer maintenance and repair can be ridiculously expensive. The other is that most non-dealer garages don’t know how to maintain or repair a modern luxury car beyond the mechanical basics. So you can save money by going to non-dealer garages, but certain tasks can only be performed by the dealer. The tricky part is figuring out which is which without losing a ton of money on experimentation. We did exactly that with our Jaguar XK.

The battery on our Jag died late summer last year, stalling the car right in the hands of the panicked valet at Burj Khalifa in front of Armani Hotel. We called in Batt-Mobile to replace the boot-mounted battery on the spot for Dhs 600. Thankfully they came within an hour, as the car couldn’t be moved while the gear was stuck in Park and the electronic parking brake is set. Getting any Jaguar to go into neutral when dead apparently involves removing interior panels to find the hidden release, but that’s a story for another day.

However, once the car started up, it popped up the dreaded “AFS fault” flashing light. The last time it happened, when the battery died in 2013, we had to replace an entire headlight for Dhs 7500 to restore the adaptive turning lights (AFS) function and remove the fault, because the AFS module isn’t sold separately from the headlight. Oddly enough, the dealer price wasn’t a rip-off, as online prices were about the same.

This time, we got the codes read for free at a friend’s garage that deals with luxury cars, which hinted that the modules on both headlights were fried, requiring two new headlights!

At this point, we went to a small dealer service-centre in Deira (who probably hardly see Jags since they’re more busy with their other non-luxury brands) for their “free oil change” offer (more on that later) and asked if they could read the codes. They were asking for Dhs 600 for this 1-minute task, so we said no. Meanwhile, they also killed the new battery again, probably by leaving the smart key near the car (a known XK design flaw), introducing countless new computer errors after the jump-start and refusing to take responsibility by blaming the new battery. The battery was fine when we got it checked later.

Anyway, we got all the new error codes cleared again at our friend’s garage (except the AFS fault) for free, and ordered a scrap AFS module from the internet for only Dhs 200. For that low, it was worth a try. We swapped it in, and it didn’t work. At this point we were already bored of driving with the headlights cross-eyed and pointed downwards due to this fault, so we decided to drop the car off at the main dealer service-centre on Sheikh Zayed Road, cost be damned.

This dealer centre is more knowledgeable, and came back to us saying we only had to change a “headlight control module” that was separate from the headlights. After negotiating a labour discount, the price was Dhs 1900. That’s a whole lot lower from what we were expecting. The lights are good now.

So there you go. For basic mechanical work, aftermarket garages are fine. For very specific electrical issues, the dealer is still the best option. And even then, you have to look at which branch is more familiar with your brand, since they may also be handling other brands. And it’d be a good idea to pre-emptively change the battery before it dies on your out-of-warranty luxury car, whether it’s a BMW 1-Series or a Hyundai Genesis. It’s amazing that modern cars still don’t have a warning for low battery (except Tesla).

To celebrate the Jag’s newfound eyes, we gave it a smart-repair and dent-removal treatment on the doors from Automotive Repair Systems, for a total of Dhs 1000. Pricey, but they did polish the whole car too which removed a few other scuff marks.

Now coming back to that “free oil change and health check” offer. The Jaguar-Land Rover dealerships have been running this scheme for out-of-warranty cars over limited periods since last year. So our Jag got a free oil change at the beginning of 2016. And then another one in the winter of 2016. And now the offer is back again this month so we have an appointment in the coming weeks (unfortunately at that Deira branch again, since all others were fully booked). The “health check” part is nothing more than a visual look, but we haven’t had to pay for an oil change since 2015. So the module, the battery and the petrol were our only costs for the whole of 2016, thanks to the generosity of the dealer.

Update: We got the free oil change and check-up done yet again at the dealership in March, and it went smoothly. Apparently our car is perfectly fine too.

Original Mileage When Bought: 99,150 km
Latest Mileage To Date: 111,200 km
Latest Average Fuel Economy: 14.5 litres/100 km
Cost of Latest Problems: Dhs 1900
Cost of Latest Maintenance: Dhs 600

Total Non-Fuel Running Cost Since Bought: Dhs 36,035

Read all Jaguar XK long-term updates

What do you think?



  1. You guys are paying of hell-of-a-lot of maintenance charges for a car thats hardly being driven.

    So far you’ve only driven the car 12,050 kms paying 3 dhs non-refuelling charge per km.

    Meaning – on my trip to the grocery store, my ride would be much more expensive than the groceries them self. Haven’t even accounted for fuel expenses.

    Would make much more sense if you were at least driving around 20,000 km per year.

    Keeping your usage in mind, renting or leasing a luxury car would be a much better option.

    With the new paid parking times in Sharjah and Dubai, people will think hard before buying an extra vehicle.

    • Author

      Not everybody has a long commute. Not everybody buys a car just to commute. And yes, if money is a concern, then definitely do not blow it on such frivolities. 13 years ago, I drove a Dhs 13,000 car and invested everything else I made. Now it’s time to enjoy.

    • ^^^^Well said! 20k km/year is for people who sit in traffic to save money living in sharjah or working as outdoor salesman.

    • They have 4 cars!

    • Author

      Soon to be five. Plus the regular stream of test cars, but who’s counting, eh?

    • If drivearabia.com is meant for the public for a honest review, then Matt has got a bullet point.

      Honestly, if a car is not driven long enough, how does the review do any justice? A 20+ old car can be left in the garage for rest and glory.

    • @Mentalist- A friend commutes from Sharjah (Nahda) to Media City for work 5 days a week (office job, not outdoor sales) and does up to 40K a year.
      10k/6 months months is the norm with every dealership service pack.

      @Mashfique- Agree with what you said. But I would think that most people who read the articles would be more intent on knowing what it is like to own and run (actively or passively) any car, rather than what kind of issues come up if they picked it up ‘once in a while’.

      In any case, the article is well written !

    • Author

      The costs will be the same regardless of mileage because a car needs annual maintenance even if it is sitting, unless you’re doing some wholly unrealistic level of driving such as 40K a year due to monetary circumstances. Then you’re better off buying a cheap Japanese car to save money, or even suffer through an 86 (which we are also covering).

      Applying a commuter-car philosophy to a pricey high-maintenance sports car purchase will never make sense, since it will never be the owner’s only car.

      As for these updates, now you know what problems to expect when the battery dies, how much the tyres cost, and what a service will cost, which none of the other useless publications here tell you. You can do your own estimates if you’re adamant on using this thing as a daily driver. Just don’t do simplistic math like cost per km, because that only works for taxis.

    • It is apparent to the rookie-est of motorists that the, amount and type, maintenance of a car is directly related to its running. If the car was being used even 10k a year the reader would’ve had much more insight into ownership of a car.

      20k in not unrealistic, even if 40k may seem too extreme to some. Try living in the Ranches and working in the Marina or schooling our kids and Jumeirah and your Merc or Beemer would also rake up the miles. As for the taxis, i’m sure they are doing well over 40k in a year.

      In a country like UAE, where you have Patrol-GTRs, a luxury car getting used as a daily commute is common sight. Not to mention that all of the long-termers have gone out barely used – Galant or Patrol.

      The BMW in Qatar I think was a great read.

      Lets just agree to disagree.

    • Author

      Not really. The car ran 99k km before I bought it. I’ve seen the list of maintenance and repairs. There’s nothing out of place, aside from known issues such as a/c water leaking into the passenger footwell, battery replacements, and that one time the thermostat disintegrated as soon as I bought it.

      The rookiest of motorists are estimating based on their own experiences with one type of low-end car. If you do 20k in a year, then obviously you have to service it more often. If you do less than 10k a year, you only need to take it in once for service for most European brands. A guy doing 2k a year or 10k a year will have the same maintenance costs, including replacement of tyres, battery, etc. The BMW one was even more irrelevant, since everything was covered under a comprehensive service package.

    • Author

      And yes, our Galant and Safrane were used for daily commutes to Jebel Ali and Abu Dhabi at those times. We know what we’re talking about. The most wear and tear is caused by time, not mileage, as long as you don’t abuse your car and maintain it based on mileage or yearly, whichever comes first. As long as those conditions are met, most cars are pretty reliable in terms of basic mechanicals nowadays. Most issues are due to electricals and such, which again, are not from how much the wheels turn. Like the broken fuel gauge in our Patrol.

    • Some people don’t understand the meaning of having a weekend car. Next they will complain that a car collector does not drive all his hundred cars. I think some will be happy just taking public transport.

  2. By the way people do not drive these everyday and these kind of luxury are made for leisure times and especially on weekends , gathering , on Eids and special days. and also research these cars in used car markets you will see very low kms in these kind of cars and also the 10000km is light you have gone high mileage in these cars
    Mashfique keep it up

    • Author

      Hey Juma. I use it for going to meetings and hotel events. Very useful for making an entrance when you are alone and don’t need an SUV, “lol”.

  3. I am planning on buying jaguar xf 2013 model . Ran 144k . Still under 1 year of warranty . Will the maintenance be high?

    • Author

      If you go through all the long-term updates for this car, you will get an idea of the costs for each service. It’s no more than any German luxury brand.

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