My first dealership service experience - BMW Forum - BimmerWerkz.com
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#1 (permalink) Old 07-11-2004, 10:18 AM
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I had an appointment this past week at DeFauw BMW in Lafayette, IN to get a couple things taken care of on my car. I just wanted to share my experience, maybe no one will care, that's fine

My SRS light was on and there was a sqeak coming from the front suspension. My contact throughout was Steve, their service manager. When speaking with him on the phone, I informed him that I had new shocks put on the car a couple months ago, although I wasn't sure if that was relevant. I also asked for a loaner, and he set that up for me.

When I arrived at the dealership at 7:45 am, Steve was waiting. He took a look at the problems personally, and then I asked him to get me an estimate from their body shop for a dent I got in my hood right next to the grill, looks like from a shopping cart or something. He said sure, and then had me take it on a 2-minute test drive with a mechanic to make sure he heard the sqeak. After that he set me up with my loaner--an X3--and I was off to work.

Impressions of the X3, first -- mine was just an X3 2.5, and a stripped down one at that. I thought it was way underpowered, but I have a 540i . It felt a lot less refined than my 5, cheaper. That's not unexpected, I guess. What I was really impressed with was the handling. That thing was sharp--tight, accurate, and I didn't feel any of the body roll I expected from driving an SUV. And the huge sunroof that covered front and back seats was cool. I wouldn't buy one though--SUV's aren't my thing.

Anyway, so I get a call at work around 1 from Steve telling me they finished my car. He explained that the SRS light was just a 1-time driver's belt buckle sensor trip, so they just reset it. Then about the sqeak...he said that everything under the front end looked very tight and solid except for a little bit of play in the front-left drop link, so they think that's what it is. He quoted me $250 to replace both drop links, and that he'd have to order the parts. I asked him to hold off on that, since I'll probably just have my mechanic do it for less.

Anyway, I go to pick up the car later in the day and this is where the experience starts to get un-cool. First, I notice that it wasn't washed. Aren't they supposed to wash your car after service? They've always done it for my dad's. Then I speak to Steve, and he accusingly tells me that I didn't inform him that I had new struts put on the car recently, that he had to find that out from the tech that rode with me on the little test drive, even though I had told Steve on the phone. I probably should have reminded him when I dropped the car off, but I didn't like the way he said that to me. Then I asked about the estimate for the dent, and he said he forgot to do that. Great. Thanks. Do you know how long it's going to be before I find time to come out here again?

All in all, it wasn't too bad...especially the price. For all the troubleshooting on both the SRS light and the suspension, AND an alignment, the total was only $115. My dad's $tealership back in South Bend charges $139 just for an alignment, so I think I made out OK. I found out that drop links can be had for $50/pair, and I'm going to try to do them myself or have my mechanic do them; he'll probably do it for $150 or so.

So that was my first service experience with a BMW dealership...just wanted to share. How were you guys' experiences?

Anyone who ever buys used cars online, anyone even THINKING of starting a &quot;Is this deal too good to be true?&quot; thread, anyone who wants to be more educated about protecting themselves must <a href='http://www.carbuyingtips.com/fraud.htm' target='_blank'>read this</a>.

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#2 (permalink) Old 07-11-2004, 10:43 AM
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i perfer them not to wash it, they have no idea what they are doing, and they dont care for your car

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#3 (permalink) Old 07-11-2004, 02:37 PM
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I don't take my car to the stealerships, but sometimes if I need a part that day I'll go and order from them.

My bad experiance was: My car came with no Head unit at all. So I bought a used stock head unit and went to put it in. Well there are 2 bolts that run down either side that aren't a regular shape, it's like a 2 1/2 mm star wrench or something like that. So i go to the stealership asking if I could borrow the special tool for 2 mins. They said no, that the tech would have to do it. I asked how much would that cost. He said 1 hr of labour. I told him that that was ridiculous and left (this was a BMW dealership in Jackson MS).

But the one in Little Rock AR, I have had only good experiances with, so while some are great, others suck completely.
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#4 (permalink) Old 07-11-2004, 05:03 PM
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Dealership ? No thanks.

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#5 (permalink) Old 07-11-2004, 05:06 PM
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Well guys, the only reason I went to the dealership is because of the SRS light. My regular mechanic can't access the SRS system computer, he said that to his knowledge only the dealer can.

Anyone who ever buys used cars online, anyone even THINKING of starting a &quot;Is this deal too good to be true?&quot; thread, anyone who wants to be more educated about protecting themselves must <a href='http://www.carbuyingtips.com/fraud.htm' target='_blank'>read this</a>.

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#6 (permalink) Old 07-11-2004, 09:51 PM
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Dealerships blow. My car was putting around, and stalling out once, and they told me it was the thermostat, which they would have to replace for $200....I can buy a thermostat for $20, and I sure as hell wouldn't need some con artist bastards to put it in if I even needed one. The problem still occurs when I get below a half tank, so I just keep it full. o_O.

My stealership is the Ann Arbor, Michigan Auto Strasse. These jackasses have no clue when it comes to older bimmers. It's really annoying trying to find someone who can work on my car.

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#7 (permalink) Old 07-11-2004, 10:40 PM
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well actually i perfer my dealerships. I used to live in Lansing, MI and mine was Williams auto world. I thought that they went way out of their way to help out and the service was very good. Just in the past year i moved to Ann Arbor and i have been to Bmw of Ann Arbor 3 times now and i have no complaints, unlike Ian which shares my dealership. The name changed from Auto-Strasse to Bmw of Ann Arbor, Ian, just incase you didn't know and that is because of new ownership. you guys have to understand that of course it is going to be more expensive if you go there, but i would rather have a BMW tech work on my car than any other. Some people have very worthy and honest German Mechanics and i understand that, but if you ever decide to sell your car a dealership service history goes a long way in my opinion. Plus anything done under BMW is documented under the VIN number. Personally i haven't had a bad experience, but to each is own. Ian btw what year is your 318?
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#8 (permalink) Old 07-12-2004, 11:36 AM
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It's a 1985, bob. I might give them a try again in the future, because of the new owners. That's interesting to know.

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#9 (permalink) Old 08-23-2004, 03:13 AM
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I guess the service varies from dealership to dealership....but the one I work at is very customer service oriented...we try and go out of our way to get things made right with the customers vehicle. As far as the service...some advice...you should be upfront with the dealership as far as what you want done to your car. That would make the whole experience much better. Regarding the car wash and routine check ups....

When washing the cars, I don't know about other dealerships but our's has a seperate building where we have all of our cars detailed as well as washed...when washing the cars, there is a normal routine....the wheel wash...the power wash...then the soap suds all over the car...then the power wash again...then off to get shammied....and then finally vaccumed....it all takes about 20 minutes to do....from experience....

Each dealership has a different policy about loaner cars, but we try and have a variey of loaners so that the customers can get a feel for different BMW...even if they aren't interested....we currently have 4 X3s....personally I've driven one too many...and I don't care for them at all....I really dig the X5s....we have several 325s/330s....2 3 series wagons..a Black 525i...and we had a Z4...but got rid of it....so just my personal thoughts about dealerships and your service...
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#10 (permalink) Old 08-23-2004, 08:04 PM
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I liked the service at my dealership, very professionaly. I'm not to sure if I would consider them to be expert BMW technicians though. They were unable to fix an HVAC problem I had.
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