Just been talking to the local BMW dealer who had our car to do a brake fluid change. I had asked that they also had a look at a suspect door seal as the car was in the workshop to give me a quote for repair - apparently I have to pay a “diagnostic” fee of £99 before they will even look at it, and that isn’t refunded if I pay for the repair.
They say this is a BMW policy not a dealer policy - has anyone else come across this?
Yes , its very common at vauxhall too , 79 pounds there .
Oh yes, nearly got robbed by that one. Paid diagnosis for a misfire. Paid for misfire to be corrected. Drove of the forecourt and car started misfiring again. Turned round and went straight back into service dept. to complain. Told car would need to go on diagnostic machine again at cost to me. Complained bitterly to the guy in service to no avail. Threatened death and destruction and demanded to see the manager. Told by him it was BMW policy. Long story short, fee waived “on this occasion”, car fixed. Car sold. No more BMW’s for me ta. No longer using main dealers and have found an excellent local garage.
I love my main dealer , they always look after me for many years .
The law of averages dictates that some main dealers must be good. Glad you found one , I never did.
Not happy reading! Can’t say I’m happy with mine either but at present I have the warranty (not for door seals though)…so going elsewhere is more awkward. It does look as though BMW do not really want to support much other than standard services and people swapping their cars frequently. I shall be looking elsewhere soon.
Yep - I had a warranty issue, headlight with damp, I rang them up and said could I bring the car in, obviously they were going to need to replace the unit, 2 weeks earliest appointment and wanted to keep the car for 2 days. I waited while they fitted a new unit, took 90 minutes!
Find a good specialist. When the service plan and extended warranty on my own BMW finally ran out I started using Munich Legends over in Sussex. They’re a bit further away but their service and thoroughness has been exemplary.
We use a local BMW “Specialist”. Better service, better price. Has looked after us and our daughter for the past 5 years. Nearby main dealer is very indifferent.
We also use a Merc “Specialist”. Likewise, better service and price. Has looked after us for about 35 years. Nearby main dealer is however very helpful and supplies spare parts very efficiently for minor diy repairs. Main dealer and “Specialist” seem to co-operate quite well.
Two good specialists and a helpful main dealer. Not bad.
Not only UK … I’ve heard BMW do it here in sweden now. At least the big dealers around here.
The solution is to use a good independent garage dedicated to keeping customers and their cars happy…
That seems to be the way to go - the warranty should still apply but from past experience it will take longer and be more complicated, probably made up for by a better service experience. The trouble with getting older is that I can remember when BMW dealers were very good Ann treated customers as customers – I think that started to go downhill when they added Mini to the range, at least near here. I can hardly ark at the dealers these days.
My main dealer has been ok, although they are very keen to push a new car at me and once mine went past 3 years old, I have had to unsubscribe several times from emails sending me lists of second hand nearly new cars, offers on new cars etc. But it’s expensive and for example a brake-fluid service and MOT cost almost exactly twice what the same thing cost for a similar age Fiesta from the main Ford dealer next door.
But the BMW coffee while you wait is much better and they have a free minibus service to take you home and then pick you up later.
Another interesting angle I discovered by chance was that replacing a broken plastic grill part which meant dismantling the front bumper from the car was half the cost at the BMW body shop than at the main workshop 100 yards up the road. It’s exactly the same dealership but the hourly rate is half for body shop repairs compared to workshop repairs, as the body shop estimator pointed out when I was hesitating!
The BMW dealer service costs for our electric i3 are crazy. Servicing is hardly complex as the motor and battery are service-free so at best we are talking a brake check ( and it uses regen braking most of the time so they wear incredibly slowly) and a generally diagnostics and safety check. Must be max 2 hours.
That will be £350 each year sir.
We negotiated a reduced pre-paid bundle for 3 years with ours but one snag is independents are reluctant or have not been trained to touch them.
I have friends who use Beemers and Mercs on PCH terms i.e. where, optically, things aren’t too financially painful. But…having tried this, they are now moving away from this as the servicing costs (1st/2nd year main dealer for a modest Merc was >£800 combined) were painful, especially for relative low mileage usage (which should have queried PCH usage).
It’s no great secret that service departments are often the profit centres of main dealerships, and profit in these areas has been challenging to defend as vehicles have (by and large) become far more reliable/self-diagnostic in nature.
As Richard points out there are many fine independents out there, many set-up and staffed by ex-main dealer trained parties - many (from personal experience) who weren’t enthused by the culture of main dealer practises and drivers.
I agree re: the independents - but as far as I can see it is a BMW policy to make the diagnostic charge, which almost says we will support buyers for standard items but charge them a lot if something does go wrong. At which point it is down to hoping that the dealer does diagnose it…not always the case.
Add that to the fact that choice of main dealer is now very limited (in my area the same firm runs all dealerships within about a 1.5 hour drive) - not exactly competitive.
My BMW/Mini dealer has treated me very fairly , and is the reason I go back to them. Been a customer for both BMW and Mini for 17 years now.
For cars I have I normally buy an OBD reader from the bay or whatever, they are normally about £100 and use them for fault finding. Yes, they are not as in depth as the up to date OEM diagnostics but I have not had a case where I have not found the fault at home yet. Simple to find a bit of trim under the dash and plug it in. When I sell the car I offload the OBD reader and normally get 60-80 for it so works for me. +1 for Munich Legends as well, top outfit and know their stuff.
I keep meaning to get one of these they look very useful, although I have yet to find a use for one. I have serviced/maintained all of my cars, (which has included BMWs) for decades, (I currently have three to look after, one of which is a toyota hybrid).
Our X5 was a lemon. Endless issues with fuel injection system. Dealer finally acknowledged it, and promised a “good deal” on a trade to a newer vehicle. Offered a “truly terrible deal”. X5 was traded elsewhere. No more BMWs for us.