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…)

SMG = ‘Serious Money Gone’ on your BMW.

The e46 M3 is actually one of the most reliable cars BMW has built in the last 10 years . . .  unless you have the SMG option on your transmission of course.  The first generation SMG (or Sequential Manual Gearbox) transmissions have not held up well over the long run and are starting to empty the pockets of their loyal owners.  So if you are in the market for an e46 M3, stay clear of the SMG.  If you currently have an SMG M3, this may be what you’re in for if you haven’t had the pleasure already.


BMW with a Dead Battery? Stop. Tow. Save Tons of Dough.

My hope is that you’ve found this posting before AAA, or other form of assistance, has come to rescue your BMW with a dead battery.   I know you only have one hour to leave work, grab the kids from practice, and pick-up dinner, but stop and just have your BMW towed.  DO NOT jump-start the car and DO NOT let any roadside assistance service install a new battery in your BMW.  It can be the most expensive battery or jump start of your life.

BMW’s built from 1999 through about 2003 do not respond well to a jump start, and pretty much every BMW built after 2004 needs to follow an exact procedure in order to change the battery properly.  While we’ve been aware of this for quite some time, a recent customer’s troubles has exemplified what can occur if someone tries to change a battery when they are ill informed.


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…)