Disappointing Dealer Service for Tire Repair - 2016 BMW 340i xDrive Long-Term Road Test

Edmunds.comEdmunds.com Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 10,130
edited April 2017 in BMW
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Disappointing Dealer Service for Tire Repair - 2016 BMW 340i xDrive Long-Term Road Test

Our 2016 BMW 340i xDrive had an unscheduled dealer visit for a bubble in the sidewall of one tire. But our service experience left a lasting impression.

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Comments

  • cromagnum_mancromagnum_man Member Posts: 54
    Honestly none of that stuff would bother me much as long as the car was serviced properly and they didn't screw anything up. I'd rather have competent people working on my car with less than stellar customer service skills than the other way around.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 187,616
    Santa Monica BMW has a terrible reputation for service and sales.

    If it wasn't for the alignment, I'd go anywhere else but the dealer for new tires.

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  • longtimelurkerlongtimelurker Member Posts: 455
    Yeah, I kind of agree with the first comment - I resent the "gimme 10s" rant they all go on, but I expect it.

    Did they torque everything correctly?

    Did they scar up the wheel faces by letting them topple over when they were off of the car, or mark them up with the impact socket?

    Directional tires mounted in the right orientation?

    Car drive right? Steering wheel centered? No pull/vibration? Tires inflated to specs all around?

    With that many miles on the rears, best practice nowadays is to put the new ones on the rear - they explore this with you?

    Sure - I'd love it if they gave me a big smile...but that's not mandatory - the above items are.
  • kirkhilles1kirkhilles1 Member Posts: 863
    LOL, I love how throwing $900 is nothing on a car with 22,000 miles on it. Why do you have to spend $200 on an alignment for a vehicle still under bumper-to-bumper warranty with 22,000 miles! $265 tires. Oh man.

    And yes, Google Santa Monica BMW and see how they get 2.5 stars with 165 reviews. Maybe you should research a place before heading over there.
  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Alignments are typically not covered under warranty on ANY car unless the car has a problem shortly after delivery.

    Due to the cutthroat competition among car dealers in So. California I don't think they really care about survey results. The Honda stores there have HORRIBLE Yelp reviews!
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTMember Posts: 15,695
    Since the tire had a bubble in it, I would have looked into getting some allowance if there was no obvious damage. At least you might get a credit even if you are replacing 2 tires.
    $100 seems pretty high for mounting an balancing 2 tires.
    Not sure an alignment was required. To me it was probably a defective tire.
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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,427

    $100 seems pretty high for mounting an balancing 2 tires.

    I was waiting for someone to mention this. I have a tire machine that I bought fifteen years ago that works very well for most tire and wheel assemblies. It does not allow me to do run-flats.

    There are a lot of different tire machines out there that will do run flats and you get what you pay for.
    This page alone shows what kind of money we are talking about. https://jmcautomotiveequipment.com/hofmann-fa1000-fully-automatic-leverless-tire-changer/?dfw_tracker=17151-1271&gclid=Cj0KEQjwioHIBRCes6nP56Ti1IsBEiQAxxb5GypNCe6k07Y5DMqaiFnnWQ_fzFIAXXlJES9WyHXN_r0aAsT_8P8HAQ

    The price ranges from just under $7K to over $23K. If you figure financing those grow to about $8.5K and $30K. At $100 per pair of tires mounted just paying for the machine (which is only needed when you are doing run-flats) and not counting wages, benefits, lights, rent, insurances, etc. would require someone to have to mount a lot of tires. The numbers work out to approximately 170 tires for the cheap one and 600 tires for the most expensive one. even if you charged separately for the balancing. Now if you figure that one out of twenty cars today has run-flats on it the number of tires a shop would go through just to get the machine to pay for itself turns into a lot of tires.

    BTW alignment equipment today easily runs over $50K for the machine and rack. The lifespan of that equipment is around ten years.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Moderator Posts: 187,616
    Dedicated tire stores usually charge $25-$40 per tire for mounting/balancing work that are outside new tire purchase work. On tires they sell, some charge as little as $10-$20 per tire. Of course, tire work is a major part of their business. Most tire stores won't/can't align BMWs. But, all of them can handle run-flats.

    I've had my BMW for seven years, and the only alignment done in that time was when I had struts replaced. Through 19 years of BMW use (among four vehicles), it's the only alignment we've ever needed.

    Independent mechanics would be hard-pressed to make money off of tire work, given the investment, it seems to me.

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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,427
    kyfdx said:

    Dedicated tire stores usually charge $25-$40 per tire for mounting/balancing work that are outside new tire purchase work. On tires they sell, some charge as little as $10-$20 per tire. Of course, tire work is a major part of their business. Most tire stores won't/can't align BMWs. But, all of them can handle run-flats.

    Which is why they employ entry level people and have to routinely lube the bearings on the revolving HR door.
    kyfdx said:


    I've had my BMW for seven years, and the only alignment done in that time was when I had struts replaced. Through 19 years of BMW use (among four vehicles), it's the only alignment we've ever needed.

    Independent mechanics would be hard-pressed to make money off of tire work, given the investment, it seems to me.

    I've been talking about this for years. There are some shops with older money behind them that have everything paid off and are simply surviving in the corner they have painted themselves into. They price sufficiently to keep their status quo and weather the occasional bump in the road like having to add the run-flat machine but they are otherwise at best stagnant and at the worst blocking the road for anyone else to get moving things forward in regards to the technology in the cars of the last decade.

    BMW's are not a big deal to do alignments on. Some require weighting to set the ride height, and others require special tooling to load and position the suspension and steering components. (Mercedes does this too) There are more special needs depending on model and year but that's what service information is for.

  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTMember Posts: 15,695
    I'll ask the question, did it even need an alignment?
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  • thecardoc3thecardoc3 Member Posts: 5,427
    If they provided a printout of the before and after specs, and Edmunds posts them, then we would know. 
  • s197gts197gt Member Posts: 486
    got our e90 aligned at the dealer; trying to diagnose a pull to the right. asked them if they do weighted alignments. no.

    it was $130. they did present the before and after printouts as requested. i've had pretty good service with them.
  • DLuDLu NHMember Posts: 94
    "What are your thoughts? Have you ever stopped going to a dealership because of poor customer service? What happens if there isn't another dealership nearby to go to?"

    When I get coupons for simple service, I do occasionally go to them. The local shop I like does not work Saturdays, so that's another win for the dealer. I tend to care very little about customer service for routine maintenance type of thing, like many said. I actually don't mind if I go in and if the staff hurried things up, even if it meant avoiding eye contact to speed up the computer entry. There is very little that a stealership does that I cannot get done elsewhere.

    For recall work, I did have to drag my old Sienna back to Ira Toyota of Manchester (NH). They put my kids' carseats back, without securing the LATCH back, and never bothered to tell me. These are the the seats for infants, so the car's seatbelt is never used to separately secure anything. So they made me think the carseats were in place properly by seating them nicely as if they were latched. Thankfully we discovered they were loose a day later. I called them back; the manager did apologize but didn't sound concerned at all. If there is more recall work in the future, I will still go to these turds. As thecardoc3 said, there's probably a revolving door, so let's seen my luck next time. None of them cares.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAMember Posts: 9,403
    We've bought 14 vehicles from the same dealership (and salesman) since 1979, and we always did our regular services there. Followed the schedule (every 7,500 miles, bigger service at 15K, and 30K intervals) and we were happy. We routinely run our vehicles to high mileage (averaging over 175K per vehicle) so we didn't mind that the 30K service would tend to be $350-$400. It was a cost of maintaining the vehicle.

    I have a friend who runs a tire shop/garage where I purchase all my tires and about 10 years ago, we had just purchased a new Versa hatch and also had a 2001 Altima that had about 125K miles on it. They both had just been in for a service (first oil change on the Versa). The oil light came on in the Altima and as I was having a tire rotation done, I had them check the oil. It was WAY low. OK, MAYBE the engine started using oil given the mileage. Next day, the oil light comes on in the new car and I check, the oil is also WAY low.

    My buddy fills up the oil and says we'll check back in a couple of weeks to see how the consumption is going (in case a real problem is brewing) Couple of weeks later, no excessive consumption. no blue smoke, nothing.

    As near as I can figure, either the tech at the dealer forgot to fill up the oil, twice, OR, the calibration on their oil filler was off and they thought they were putting in the correct amount but actually weren't. The dealership had also just been sold and was under new management. That combo was enough to shake my confidence in the dealership service department and my friend's shop was the beneficiary.

    We still use the dealer service for things like recalls, and we still buy vehicles there, but trust is a hard thing to get back
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