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      07-18-2018, 10:31 PM   #23
jeddo45
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In my experience you can't count on a dealer necessarily doing the work right the first time either.
True but at least there's a hell of a lot more of accountability with the dealer than an Indy. But the dealer has its own share of horror stories (remember Blue Blair who was stolen from the dealer? How the hell does that happen?)

But with the dealer it's the most expensive option which is why there is a market for Indy mechanics. But I don't get how these Indy's charge you a ridiculous rate for a 10 year old car...
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      07-22-2018, 08:51 AM   #24
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True but at least there's a hell of a lot more of accountability with the dealer than an Indy. But the dealer has its own share of horror stories (remember Blue Blair who was stolen from the dealer? How the hell does that happen?)

But with the dealer it's the most expensive option which is why there is a market for Indy mechanics. But I don't get how these Indy's charge you a ridiculous rate for a 10 year old car...
Not necessarily. Depending on the dealer, their mentality can be you're just a number to the thousands of other customers they have where people just default to going to the dealer. With the dealer if you have a complaint, you first go to your service adviser. If that doesn't work, then you go to the service manager. If that doesn't work, maybe the general manager now. Chances of you ultimately getting an audience with the owner of the dealership is slim to none.

With an indy, you are either one level away from talking to the owner about problems through the service adviser or you're actually talking to the owner. Two indys I've used. One I've either interacted with a service adviser or with the owner directly. The other which just opened up, I'm talking to the owners directly as they're the ones turning the wrenches too.
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      07-22-2018, 10:16 PM   #25
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I only use the dealer if I feel they have access to necessary field repair data or tools that my indy's might not have for a specific job. Both my mechanics are owner operators and let me walk around the shop or even observe as they are working. We have a good relationship and I enjoy talking with the actual person who is wrenching my car. One is a little more bolder at trying BMW specific work than the other (CDV delete, xenon ballast, convertible top drain clearing on my Z4M) and I leverage him for those situations as a result.

At the end of the day independent mechanics are human like anyone else and sometimes one will catch a problem that the other one missed and I'll give the repair to that mechanic. Between the very occasional visit to the dealer and in and out of my other two independents there are lots of eyes on my cars and I find I can keep on top of things by smartly using all three shops as long as I understand their strengths and weaknesses when factoring in convenience and cost of each.
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      07-28-2018, 09:53 AM   #26
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Espousing an egalitarian philosophy, I always look for the common man to handle common problems. And some of you might consider that the BMW is a car and compared to most other cars, its problems are plenty common.

You might also discover that the common non-dealer mechanic might be able to handle problems the dealer won't touch! Essentially dealers will only deal with issues that their wrenches are trained to do and have a specific procedure to follow.

When it comes to costs, the dealer will charge you for everything possible while the common guy will often let you off on some services. For example, BMW charges $150 just to do a scan! This is a separate charge that'll be tacked on to whatever the dealership did. You should watch a BMW dealer prepare your bill. They give their computers a real workout.

In the olden days, when you drove into any dealership, someone would come out to look at your car and discuss possible remedies. Today you have to book an appointment to even have anyone consider what the problem might be. The common ordinary fellow will at least come out and "shoot the shit" with you!

When I buy a car, I always buy new. However, I take the time to negotiate the absolute very best price. I'll buy anyplace in the country from whomever will give me the best deal. I often take the bus to pick up my ride. I never see the original seller again.

After the purchase, I take the car in for whatever maintenance the warranty gives. Of course, the same for any warranty repairs. When the warranty is up, if I can't fix it, it goes to the common mechanic. Fortunately, there are several good shops I can go to.
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      07-28-2018, 12:45 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Happy Jose View Post
Espousing an egalitarian philosophy, I always look for the common man to handle common problems. And some of you might consider that the BMW is a car and compared to most other cars, its problems are plenty common.

You might also discover that the common non-dealer mechanic might be able to handle problems the dealer won't touch! Essentially dealers will only deal with issues that their wrenches are trained to do and have a specific procedure to follow.

When it comes to costs, the dealer will charge you for everything possible while the common guy will often let you off on some services. For example, BMW charges $150 just to do a scan! This is a separate charge that'll be tacked on to whatever the dealership did. You should watch a BMW dealer prepare your bill. They give their computers a real workout.

In the olden days, when you drove into any dealership, someone would come out to look at your car and discuss possible remedies. Today you have to book an appointment to even have anyone consider what the problem might be. The common ordinary fellow will at least come out and "shoot the shit" with you!

When I buy a car, I always buy new. However, I take the time to negotiate the absolute very best price. I'll buy anyplace in the country from whomever will give me the best deal. I often take the bus to pick up my ride. I never see the original seller again.

After the purchase, I take the car in for whatever maintenance the warranty gives. Of course, the same for any warranty repairs. When the warranty is up, if I can't fix it, it goes to the common mechanic. Fortunately, there are several good shops I can go to.
Not all dealers operate the way you describe. In particular the SA you work with. The SA I've developed a relationship with I found email as the best method of communication with him. He usually responds promptly and I can discuss my issue with him before bringing the car in. We set up a time for me to bring the car in for service and he will already have a loaner on reserve for me. When I arrive it's a quick process with time left over for me to shoot the "shit" with him. He's also a motorcycle rider so we talk about our bikes and my track experiences a lot.

Right now, I have 2 indies and the dealer to pick from for specific things I want done.
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      07-28-2018, 01:26 PM   #28
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Originally Posted by zx10guy View Post
Not all dealers operate the way you describe. In particular the SA you work with. The SA I've developed a relationship with I found email as the best method of communication with him. He usually responds promptly and I can discuss my issue with him before bringing the car in. We set up a time for me to bring the car in for service and he will already have a loaner on reserve for me. When I arrive it's a quick process with time left over for me to shoot the "shit" with him. He's also a motorcycle rider so we talk about our bikes and my track experiences a lot.

Right now, I have 2 indies and the dealer to pick from for specific things I want done.
I also have a great relationship with the SA at my dealer. Like you, we communicate everything in email before I bring my car in. While my car is there she is constantly updating me on what's going on. I'm always asked if I want a loaner.

There is also a specific tech that I ask for and my SA accommodates me. I schedule the work only when he is available to do it. He knows how picky I am about my car and treats it accordingly.

As far as a diagnostic fee, that is absorbed in to the cost of the repair, at least it is for me, if I choose to have them do the work.

There are things that a dealer won't do because of their protocol, and I have an indy shop that I go to for occasions like that, and just like the SA at my dealer, everything is discussed through email before I come in. Prices are better there, but I really trust my tech at the dealer. He's been there more than 10 years and really knows his stuff. He's also honest and willing to discuss everything with me personally.

Also, as said before in this thread, the dealer is more accountable than an indy shop for anything that happens to my car while it's in their possession. They are a multi-million dollar facility and they always take responsibility for their mistakes.

A couple of examples: they scratched one of my 313 wheels and replaced it the next day with a brand new wheel. They also dropped something on my hood once and made a couple of small dents, and sent a PDR guy to my house to work his magic. You would never know those dents were there. I was informed about both of these accidents on the phone by my SA before I ever saw them.

PS - I've been going to the same dealer for 10 years and no, they are not perfect, but they are definitely accountable.
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      07-28-2018, 03:51 PM   #29
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I used to go to an Indy shop for all my services and repairs. Back then they were FANTASTIC but over the last couple years or so their service and quality and down down the toilet. They've become more popular and busy, no doubt thanks to people like me that sang their praises, but it's obvious they can't keep up with the amount of work they're taking on. My last few experiences with them have been awful and I'm not the only one that feels this way. Pretty much everyone that's gone to them recently has vowed not to return. I've tried a few other Indy shops but I quickly realized that they are really not any cheaper than the dealership. One of them actually charged MORE than the dealership. Surprisingly my new go to guy is actually a friend of a friend who's an engineer that recently graduated and works on cars as a source of side income. He is crazy smart and knowledgeable about cars and I haven't had a single issue with any work he's done. And I'm saving a large fortune since he charges a fraction of what anyone else would. The dealership is also fantastic but they are expensive. I only go to them for oil changes, recalls, or warranty work.
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      07-28-2018, 09:38 PM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zx10guy View Post
Not all dealers operate the way you describe. In particular the SA you work with. The SA I've developed a relationship with I found email as the best method of communication with him. He usually responds promptly and I can discuss my issue with him before bringing the car in. We set up a time for me to bring the car in for service and he will already have a loaner on reserve for me. When I arrive it's a quick process with time left over for me to shoot the "shit" with him. He's also a motorcycle rider so we talk about our bikes and my track experiences a lot.

Right now, I have 2 indies and the dealer to pick from for specific things I want done.
I also have a great relationship with the SA at my dealer. Like you, we communicate everything in email before I bring my car in. While my car is there she is constantly updating me on what's going on. I'm always asked if I want a loaner.

There is also a specific tech that I ask for and my SA accommodates me. I schedule the work only when he is available to do it. He knows how picky I am about my car and treats it accordingly.

As far as a diagnostic fee, that is absorbed in to the cost of the repair, at least it is for me, if I choose to have them do the work.

There are things that a dealer won't do because of their protocol, and I have an indy shop that I go to for occasions like that, and just like the SA at my dealer, everything is discussed through email before I come in. Prices are better there, but I really trust my tech at the dealer. He's been there more than 10 years and really knows his stuff. He's also honest and willing to discuss everything with me personally.

Also, as said before in this thread, the dealer is more accountable than an indy shop for anything that happens to my car while it's in their possession. They are a multi-million dollar facility and they always take responsibility for their mistakes.

A couple of examples: they scratched one of my 313 wheels and replaced it the next day with a brand new wheel. They also dropped something on my hood once and made a couple of small dents, and sent a PDR guy to my house to work his magic. You would never know those dents were there. I was informed about both of these accidents on the phone by my SA before I ever saw them.

PS - I've been going to the same dealer for 10 years and no, they are not perfect, but they are definitely accountable.
I don't take my car to the dealer, but if I did I would definitely get to know who the service advisor is and the manager. That's a relationship that's worth investing in because if something ever goes wrong, the advisor knows who you are and it's one person that you will have fighting for you to get your issues resolved.

With an Indy it's going to be hard because the money is coming out of his pocket whereas with the dealer, it's corporate money. But at the end of the day, I still don't have a problem taking my car to my local mechanic because he's proven he knows what he is doing and his prices are reasonable.
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      08-22-2018, 11:50 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by zx10guy View Post
Not all dealers operate the way you describe. In particular the SA you work with. The SA I've developed a relationship with I found email as the best method of communication with him. He usually responds promptly and I can discuss my issue with him before bringing the car in. We set up a time for me to bring the car in for service and he will already have a loaner on reserve for me. When I arrive it's a quick process with time left over for me to shoot the "shit" with him. He's also a motorcycle rider so we talk about our bikes and my track experiences a lot.

Right now, I have 2 indies and the dealer to pick from for specific things I want done.
It's very commendable of you to establish a relationship with your SA, but my dealer and independents change their personnel faster than their underwear.

Some of the independents don't ever stay in the same locations very long. This is frustrating for several reasons the primary one is when I find a good wrench, he is often lured away with more money.
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      10-05-2018, 12:17 AM   #32
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As a certified dealership tech I would honestly say that most of the repairs on any BMW is fairly straight forward and most can be done DIY, also I know a lot of amazing dealer techs that leave the dealership to work at indie shops.
P.S half of all dealer tech I know do work on the side for much cheaper.
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