Call us at
(858) 455-5836

Blog : BMW Service

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.

Read 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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

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.

Read More

BMW of the Week – 1998 528i

It never ceases to amaze me how fast someone can make a $45,000 car turn into a total pile of shit.

I got to work pretty early yesterday morning, a little before 7am . . . I like to get to the shop early.  It’s quiet and I can get a lot done before the phones start ringing and the cars start coming in.  I was greeted by this little number sitting dead smack in front of the gate, a 1998 BMW 528i, or e39 in BMW lingo, and I already know it’s a total pile of crap.

BMW Car of the Week

Read More

BMW Air Filters – things to know about ‘performance filters’

One thing that I cannot explain enough to people is that there is no way in hell you’ll feel a significant change in horsepower in your BMW by switching to a different kind of air filter.  The most popular of which is K&N filters, which are more of a screen filter with some foam that utilizes a special oil to help it filter.  Your local auto parts store will usually have some sort of demonstration with a ping-pong ball that floats higher over one of these filters when compared to its stock counterpart.  That’s all fine and dandy, but the last time I checked, there weren’t any ping-pong balls in my engine bay.

Oil Saturation Filter

I’ve also seen many graphs when one of these filters are installed, and the car is put on a dynometer with the end result being a gain in horsepower and torque.  Before getting all giddy, these ‘gains’ are usually about 3-5 horsepower on an engine that produces over 250hp, giving an end result of about a 1-2% gain from that $65 filter you just bought.  Remember too that dynometers have a certain margin of error that can produce a different result through many tests. With any modification, I want to feel it in my seat.  The only way you’ll feel one of these filters in your seat is if you were to put it underneath your butt.

Read More

The BMW CPO and Extended Warranty – What’s the deal?

OK, so you’re at the car dealer and there are two different warranties that may apply to a pre-owned BMW.  The first is a Certified Pre-Owned Warranty which is only available through an actual BMW Dealer.  This warranty comes ‘free’ when you buy a Certified Pre-Owned BMW.  The second is an Extended Warranty which is available from what I call ‘B-Dealers’ and it is issued by a private company not owned by BMW.  These warranties can be a good thing and you can make them work for you.  But here are some basic things you need to know before getting all excited about the fact that you are ‘covered.’

BMW Warranty info

Read More