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3-Series (E46, E90) Chat relating to the BMW 3-Series from 1999 to Current. Models include: BMW 316i, BMW 318i, BMW 318Ci, BMW 320i, BMW 323i, BMW 325i, BMW 330i, BMW 328 Ci, BMW 328i, BMW 325i/xi, BMW 330Ci, BMW 320d, BMW 330d, BMW 335d.

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Old 04-09-2006, 12:02 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Where to get an out-of-warranty car serviced?

This is the second year in a row that I've taken my out of warranty 71,500 mile '01 330ci in for service at the Dealership I originally bought it new at, and each time I've left with a $1500+ bill.

Last year I had the Inspection II done and was told that I needed new control arms and bushings in the front (which I naively agreed to).

This year I went in for an oil change, and got a call when they informed me that I needed new belts/water pump (excessive play in the pump they called it) and also 2 new rear tires.

I also had an SES light that kept coming on that they diagnosed as a computer error and that I needed a software upgrade which they charged me an hour of labor for ($95).

From what I can see, the maintenance on the tires (2nd time replaced in the life of the car), water pump, belts seems legit at 71,000 miles...how do they say it, "you have to pay to play"...but I just feel ripped off every time I leave the Dealership. I've heard people refer to Dealerships as Stealerships.

I guess I'm looking for someone to either make me feel better about this being the only safe and reliable method to maintenance on the car (and that I can trust the dealer when they call me with these out-of-the-blue, no car warning sign repair jobs), or offer some more sane alternatives. I don't have a lot of money like most people with BMWs, who I'm sure don't even question or care about a $1500 maintenance bill. $1500 for them is probably like $150 for me. Hell, what am I talking about, they would have traded the car in after 3 years because it was out of style.

I mean do most people who keep their BMWs until the wheels fall off always take it back to the dealer for maintenance once the warranty is up, or do they trust Leeroy's Local Chop Shop for service? I've just been brainwashed into that mentality that only the dealer knows how to work on these cars...and maybe that's correct to some extent, maybe that isn't...hopefully some of you experts on this top shelf forum can chime in and offer some expert advice.

thanks,
FrankieMy1.

PS Even after the $1500 bill, they forgot to reset my service interval indicator (hence my first post), and didn't even wash my rims after putting on the new tires...talk about feeling cheated.

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Old 04-09-2006, 01:22 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Hey Frankie, I do not know where you live , but if you are willing to travel with your car to Vancouver,Canada I can set up for you superior BMW service with rate $75 canadian/hour-no rip off, you can bring your own parts as long as they are OEM or recognized brand. LOL..
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Old 04-09-2006, 10:39 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi Frankie,

I dont know if anybody here would totally agree with me but i would say DO NOT GO TO A DEALERSHIP....ESPECIALLY IF YOU DO NOT HAVE A WARRANTY. I have my 61000 325xi that i have had to go to mechanics for but i picked out a small time Russian guy who runs a small time shop and thats who i go to. I mean i tell him change only what I can afford....lol....and what keeps me safe on the road at a time. Imean if my brake system is in need for replacement in about 7000 miles....why doi it all at once? He does what is required and even though the labor rates are not cheaper than a dealership (he is BMW certified) since he does less work the labor charges are not usally atrocious. For example I went in for a brake job since the light was on. I asked him if both front and rears needed to be replaced. He frankly told me the front needed to go definitely since thats what tripped the light but the rears still had like about 7000 or so miles left on them. now thats like about a year for my kinda driving. So why get it changed now....i mean 1500$ all together is crazy but if you do it like twice in ayear thats not bad. Dealerships try and fleece you as much as they can once you are with them. Small time mechanics need your clientele...they very rarely rip you off....not saying that all of them are reliable. You have to use your judgement. Good luck bro. :lol:
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Old 04-09-2006, 10:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Old 04-12-2006, 10:38 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Find a local European car guy. I just tried a local guy, (Chicago suburbs); he read the codes several times for free, then did the repair at my convenience and gave me a loaner. I figure he was 2/3 the dealer cost, and no dealer attitude.
To find one, I would look them up online or (God forbid) the yellow pages, then drive by and see what he's working on. If he's got some late model German cars in the lot, then good, if nothing but oldies, or Fiats, then keep looking.
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