BMW 5-Series Service Experiences & Recommendations

ckh19ckh19 Member Posts: 9
edited August 2014 in BMW
I'm tired of getting ripped off by BMW dealers. Recently got charged for $400 for a HVAC fan sensor including 2 hrs of labor when I saw the mechanic put in the component underneath the dashboard in about 5 mins. Would appreciate anyone who has a trusted and knowledgeable mechanic in Central NJ. Thanks.


  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    I'm tired of getting ripped off by BMW dealers.

    Just for the record, not all BMW dealers pull those sort of stunts. My local dealer changed the ATF and the final drive oil in my E39 for the princely sum of $110.

    Recently got charged for $400 for a HVAC fan sensor including 2 hrs of labor when I saw the mechanic put in the component underneath the dashboard in about 5 mins.

    I hope you don't mean the Final Stage Resistor. If so, you could have asked about it here- or failing that, spent less than 15 minutes on a Google search and found out how to perform the procedure yourself.

    Would appreciate anyone who has a trusted and knowledgeable mechanic in Central NJ.

    Are you a member of the BMW Car Club of America? If so, simply ask some of the local chapter members which shops they use. And don't forget, many dealers and independent shops offer significant discounts on parts and/or labor to BMW CCA members.
  • ckh19ckh19 Member Posts: 9
    Thanks for the prompt reply. I was a member of BMW CCA for number of yrs but have not renewed recently. Will look into it. Thanks.
  • div2div2 Member Posts: 2,580
    And don't forget that you can ask a tech question here; somebody will usually be able to point you in the right direction.
  • ckh19ckh19 Member Posts: 9
    I have a 2001 530i and the check motor oil light comes on periodically when I turn the ignition off. The oil level appears fine...heard there was a recall for a faulty engine oil sensor once upon a time. Could anyone verify? Is it difficult to replace this sensor?
  • asteinbergasteinberg Member Posts: 138
    I have turned off many friends to BMWs by relating the terrible service I've received on my 530I. BMW has sold more cars than it can service. My local dealer (Smith/Calabasas) is loaded with friendly, solicitious yuppies who know little about cars, lack common sense, and impede the service process. Buying and installing a tire runs nearly $90 more than a tire facility, and this was a 3-day hassle at the dealership. Once I went there with a significant safety issue, and their response was to make an appointment, and, in the interim, not let anyone ride in the front seat. Complaints produce nothing but arrogance.
    I've owned Mercedes, Audis, Cadillacs, Lincolns -- all with relatively good service, in some cases, exemplary. Not so with BMW. This is a company spoiled with sales success, even infatuated. My wife is about to get a high end SUV. Due to the insensitive service at BMW, she changed her mind about considering a BMW.
    I might also add BMW is years behind other luxury car makers in items I stupidly never checked -- such as its very inferior, dysfunctional, user-unfriendly navigation system.
  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    "This is a company spoiled with sales success, even infatuated."

    Ummm, using bad service experiences from a single dealership doesn't make for an indictment of an entire company. Unfortunately BMW has little control over their dealership base and as such, some provide GREAT service, others... With that in mind, saying something like, "My dealership has become spoiled with sales success, infatuated even…" is all that can really be said.

    FWIW, I had my two BMWs serviced at three different dealerships (I moved to a different state after I bought the second one), and all three of them bent over backwards to make sure that I was totally satisfied, no appointment necessary. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • sixpaqssixpaqs Member Posts: 21
    If you find BMW service bad, I invite you to try a Mercedes dealer. Not only horrendous service at 2 local dealers, but their fees are ridiculously overpriced. At least BMW gives you all service included in the price of the car. Maybe that is why you find their service departments so overcrowded with yuppie-types.

    Audi service for me has always been the best. Never tried Lexus, but I don't like their cars.
  • 530ir1150r530ir1150r Member Posts: 263
    BMW sells you the minimum service required if the car is leased. If you buy a BMW and plan to keep it beyond the warranty period, expect to buy (schedule) extra service visits.
  • sixpaqssixpaqs Member Posts: 21
    BMW gives you the minimum service required for the car, whether you buy it or lease it or even buy it used, for the first 4 years or 50k miles. Yes, if you keep it after that period, then you have to pay for your service. Last time I checked, every car, from a Kia to a Rolls Royce, is the same way. You buy the car and pay for the service. Audi and Mercedes used to include the "base" maintenance, but don't anymore, and that I am aware of, no other manufacturer is including any type of maintenance in the price of their car, whether you buy it or lease it.
  • 530ir1150r530ir1150r Member Posts: 263
    I know there is no difference in the "free" service provided by BMW for buyers or leasers. I meant that the only people who think it is adequate are leasers. Any additional service is the responsibility of the owner.

    Also, BMW does not give anything to anybody. Their "free" services are priced into the car. Something like 80% of BMWs are leased. This keeps them in the dealership on a regular basis and theoretically maintains resale values. I fear that over time the minimally maintained vehicles will kill resale values, especially if sales ever decline.
  • pen101pen101 Member Posts: 238
    My recent experience at that dealership is a little different (I also purchased the car there, the deal I received beat the other 4 dealers in the area): I dropped my car off at 7:15am for inspection II ($650). Received a 2007 BMW X3 loaner (drove great). Service writer was straightforward and efficient. My information was already printed on his paperwork, so all I had to do is sign off and pick up the loaner. He called me during the day to advise me that additonal items are recommended (cooloant flush $275, front control arm bushings $481, rear wishbone $990, alignment $255, alternator belts $429, brake fluid flush $375). I declined all except coolant flush. I always get second opinions on those type of items.

    Service writer called me at 4:30 to inform me the car was washed and waiting for me. I showed up at 5:45 and the car was parked in front waiting. I then discussed the work with the service writer, paid the bill and was out by 6:05.

    This is what I expected. No matter which dealer you have the car serviced at, they will always find extra things to repair on the car. They are in business to make money and they know how to do it. I make it a point to always get a second opinion and a second price quote. Unfortunately, this is the reality if you do not want to get riped off.

    If I felt the way I was treated was in any way less than professional, I by-pass the employee and go straight to the supervisor or higher up. I will not tolerate otherwise. This also goes to the salesman when purchasing a car. If I do not like the salesman, I will demand someone else. Never settle for less.

    P.S. The dealer's prices are almost always higher than elsewhere, they have higher overhead. You should easily be able to beat the dealer's tire prices elsewhere. Also, the one time I had a problem with the seat belt, they had a tech examine the problem on the spot. Unfortunately, they did not have a replacement part in stock and it had to be ordered (I insisted they get it from another dealer that had the part instead of waiting for the factory to ship it) So like asteinberg, I had to wait to have it repaired (two days). However, it was due to not having the part, not for a service appointment.
  • natedog03natedog03 Member Posts: 7
    I just moved to the Atlanta Area and I have an '03 540i, and wanted to get into some performance upgrades and find a good independent service shop as the car is in my last month of warranty. Anyone have any recommendations or know the best way to find a good mechanic (websites?).

  • malibuwavemalibuwave Member Posts: 1
    I completely agree with your assesment of Bob Smith BMW. I don't think they know the definition of customer service. I took my former 97' 540i to them for service once and after that sordid affair I vowed never to venture to them again. However, I was headed out of town one day and my trunk latch broke and could not get it closed so naturally I was in the Calabasas area and stopped by Bob Smith naively thinking they could help me out quickly since this was urgent and I was heading out of town into the weekend. Couldn't even get the looked at was stopped at the entrance to the parking lot and told no one would look at it unless I had had an appointment. Naturally, I relayed my situation to an non receptive administrative assistant type and finally fixed it myself.
    My next experience was that my battery died a few months later. I for sure was not going back to Bob Smith so I called Rusnak BMW in Westlake.

    Night and day difference between the quality of service. I called them spoke to a service advisor and asked if I could bring my car in to get the battery replaced and he told me bring it right in and he'd have it back to me in an hour. Also notable, my battery was the original from the factory in 97 when it was produced; it finally needed replacing in 2007. He said it was the oldest he'd ever seen a battery last in a BMW. Best service department. Highly knowledgeable and customer service oriented. 5 out of 5! :shades:
  • roadburnerroadburner Member Posts: 16,034
    Also notable, my battery was the original from the factory in 97 when it was produced; it finally needed replacing in 2007. He said it was the oldest he'd ever seen a battery last in a BMW.

    The battery in my 1995 318ti lasted over 10 years and 100,000 miles. It was still working fine but I decided to replace it as a precaution.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica
    Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i
    Son's: 2009 328i; 2018 330i xDrive

  • tinkerbell7tinkerbell7 Member Posts: 1
    I have dealt with many dealerships, including Mercedes and Lexus. I must find the dealership in OKC, Jackie Cooper the worse. Many of my patients who have dealt with them feel the same. They made one of my patients cars worse and made him feel crazy. They have vandalized everycar that I have had these past two years including my son's Toyota and my assistants Toyota. We caught them several times. I called the dealership and the salesman told me that it was someone else at the dealership who was doing this to our cars. Many of these guys working here are probation. The BMW dealership in Tulsa told me that these guys were sick. They told me that they had heard a lot of things. The Lexus dealership told me that they were known to pistol whip men. The doctor's office next door told me that of them are on cocaine.
  • kelfkelf Member Posts: 83
    Any positive experiences--- or negative experiences ---with independent repair shops in these areas?
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