BMW Service – Understanding Your Bill

No one likes to spend money on their car, I hate it as much as you.  However, it’s a fact of life that all cars will at least need gas and oil changes in order that they continue to serve you on a daily basis.  BMWs require more than the average car, but less than others.  Needless to say, luxury cars usually produce luxury maintenance bills, as they are of a higher performance and have more electronic gagets that can break or fail for no apparant reason.  When customers bring their BMW to my shop in San Diego, I feel as though my number one job is to make them understand what they are buying and why.  To me, that’s just as important as fixing their BMW properly.

So, lets just say you brought your BMW to get it serviced and it was recommended that you have an Inspection II performed and your control arm bushings needed repair.  The service advisor tells you that the total cost will amount to about $1000.  Do you know what you are getting?  Did you understand what he or she told you?  Did you just say ok?  Stop.  I see a lot of past bills provided by customers, and in many cases I’m a bit shocked as to what they were charged for, and even more shocked about what things were not done to the car that should have been.  In addition, these bills are extremely difficult to read and are chock-full of words and sentances that just seem to fill the page and nickle and dime the poor bastard up to a $1000 with not much being done.  Call it illegal, call it un-ethical, but that poor bastard was the one that approved it all.  No wonder mechanics have a bad name, they’ve earned it. (more…)

BMW Modifications – Do this First

Before you start dumping gobs of horsepower into your BMW or installing the latest and greatest coil-over kit, learn how to drive it first!  It’ll cost you a heck of a lot less money, you’ll have tons of fun, and in the end you’ll actually know a lot more about your car and your limitations as a driver.


BMW Cup Holders – Why do they break all the time?

Cup holders on BMWs are usually downright junk.  If you have an e39 5-series you probably know exactly what I’m talking about — they’re flimsy, they don’t really hold much more than a can of soda, and if you blow on them too hard they snap in half.  What’s the point??

It wasn’t until the late ’90s that BMW finally made them standard equipment on most models while other manufacturers had been implementing them for years.  The main reason for this is probably a cultural one.  Germans, as a whole, do not bring food into their cars.  Most wouldn’t even fathom it.  The only thing that Germans typically would do while driving in their car is smoke.  Which is why all BMWs seem to have an adequate ashtray and lighter that is reachable and convenient. (more…)

BMW Body Designations – Which “e” is my BMW?

While at your BMW Service Center you might have overhead a lot of “e” words, and possibly some “f” and “s” words, but terms such as e36, e60 and e28 have a distinct meaning to BMW technicians and enthusiasts.  For instance, if you have a 2003 330i, it is termed an e46.  These ‘e’ terms are used to identify BMW Body style design depending on the look and year of your BMW.  E is short for “Entwicklung” which is the German word for development, or to link the ‘e’, evolution.

If all these terms are Greek to you, here is a list that should prove helpful in determining the code name of your BMW. (more…)

BMW of the Week – 1973 BMW 3.0cs – BARN FIND!

“Barn Finds” are talked about rather frequently amongst classic car collectors, no matter their preference in automobiles.  It’s a story of driving down a country road and out of the corner of your eye you see the sun reflecting off the chrome of a car just sitting half covered in a shack.  After approaching the owner you come to find that it belonged to their grandfather and has just been “sitting there” since the 70’s . . .


Your BMW Warranty has expired – What now??

Once the factory warranty expires on your BMW, it can be a scary thing.  If your philosophy toward car care is the old “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” you’ll need to change your views on car maintenance or head down to trade it in for a new one.

Over the past 5 years I’ve noticed an incredible pattern with BMW owners.  They have little or no problems while under the warranty, which is not surprising as today’s automobiles are usually symptom free for the first 4 years or 50k miles.  They will have one or two little issues pop up from 50-70k miles which they will pay for out of pocket, and it’ll typically be expensive but not painful.   Things are honky-dory for the next year or so until 80k rolls around, then the car will basically need about $3,000 in catch-up work and they wind up hating their car.  Ouch! 

If your warranty expires today, here’s a few starters to keep the car going strong and to keep your wallet out of harm’s way. (more…)