323 '99 annual service - BMW or Independent?

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I bought (my first) BMW last year and it is due soon for its annual service (main service light almost at zero) - it's got 100k miles on it and, obviously, is beyond it's original warranty.
Should I get it serviced at the BMW dealer? Or, can I get it serviced elsewhere?
I would like to get your opinion on cost of the service vs quality and expertise.
How much should I expect to pay for a full Major service for a '99 323?
Thanks, Colin
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BMW service charges, per hour, in the UK are horrendous......I recall something in the region of £100/120 per hour for labour when I owned a 3 series.
They will also find plenty to do on your car that 'they say' requires replacement.
I would suggest 3rd party and list the things you want doing. Try to find a 3rd party that states they specialise in BMW work. Occasionally you find trained techs who break away from the dealerships to get a slice of the action.........and a little more of the pot.
dj now Audi A4
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In my experience in the UK, dealer servicing is not only very expensive but of poor quality. And that's not only just one dealer, but 5.

With a main dealer you're paying for posh waiting rooms and pretty receptionists who make you coffee. And the 'free' extras like the car being cleaned, and a courtesy car, etc. With a decent independant all you're paying for is the work needed.
Nor is there any magic required to service a BMW - they're not any different from other cars. Repairs may be a different thing since expertise is never a bad thing.

When asking this sort of question you need to say where you intend having the service done as hourly rates vary even within the same country.
But my local independant specialist not only charges less than half the hourly rate of my dealer, but is honest in saying what work is needed. And appears to know the cars rather better.
--
*Can fat people go skinny-dipping?

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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Well that depends on how much money you have to throw around.......
Not all dealers offer the 4+ - that is a 20% discount on labour rates for vehicles over 4 years old - I have NO IDEA what is different to a car under 4 or over 4 years old - it is probably a concept that if you go to a dealer then he still gets your money as most NEW BMWs are corporate or Lease company purchases and all servicing is paid for by the "Company" that also get tax relief and in the UK and Euroland they can claim back the VAT (sales tax) from the government.
This leaves the Joe Public like you and me having to have DEEP pockets albeit we have the benefit of the 20% discount but at extortionate labour rates it doesn't count for much.
However, having said that I have found that the independents and other garage/workshops also have higher rates but not so much for labour but they tend to charge TOP DOLLAR for parts. Ok, they have to make a profit but I don't really want to buy the guys a new Ferrari each year.
Generally there isn't much to service and you can do most yourself unless you are really cack-handed and don't know one end of a spanner from a screwdriver.
I nearly always get the oil changed at KwikFit (fast fit tyre depot) Oil + filter - Mobil 1 full synthetic 8.5 Lit fixed price £39 (GBPounds)
Last time I had it done at an independent this cost £105 and my local "any car any time workshop" £87 (GBPounds) so the fat fit depot is a better bet and you can watch them do it so you know it's done.
Occasionally the brakes need to be looked at and the pads changed. To look is easy if you have nice open alloy wheels but if not it might be a good idea to learn how to change a wheel if ever you need to so - when practicing - go for all 4 and look at the brakes at the same time. Of course whilst at the fast-fit depot you can always sneak a look underneath whilst its on the ramp to see how the cats & Silencers are doing.
Little drop of oil on the door locks and a quick swap of the air filter - usually 4 or 5 spring clips - remove - replace - job done - I bought a K&N non replaceable element - clean it every 2 years....... Saved the cost the first year.
My 2p (2c) worth. If it ain't broke - don't fix it.
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And the reset of the service interval lights? --
jeremy ['01 BMW 530iA SE Touring]
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DIY -- it's easy enough -----------
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says...

And the reset of the service interval lights?
--

jeremy
['01 BMW 530iA SE Touring]
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On Sat, 7 Apr 2007 10:42:26 +0100, "R. Mark Clayton"

1 Jeremy - It might be a good idea to put the double hyphen below you post answer text otherwise nobody will know what the answer is about. Notice I cut & pasted your comment about the OP.
Competent independents are good but even so in this day and age money is money and keeping it is a good idea. When an independent charges me nearly £100 for oil + £5 for a filter and £35 labour I would rather go to KwikFit and get the whole job done for £39 with Mobil 1 full Synth inc Filter and disposal of the old oil.
I use a very good independent but not for £130 oil changes.............
Sir Hugh of Bognor
--
Intelligence is not knowing the answer but knowing where and how to find it!

Hugh Gundersen
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I think you'll find I did it "all by the book".
Just like this one.
--

jeremy
['01 BMW 530iA SE Touring]
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Er! No otherwise I wouldn't have mentioned it. The double Hyphen was above you name and the comment was below your signature.
Hugh
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Nothing wrong with Jeremy's sig sep - it's Mr Clayton's crap newsreader that doesn't understand them.
--
*He who dies with the most toys is, nonetheless, dead.

Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@davenoise.co.uk London SW
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London SW

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On Sat, 7 Apr 2007 15:59:52 +0100, "R. Mark Clayton"

expectation of KwikFit. However the guys at my local depot are great lads and I know the manager well and I stand next to the guy doing the job - he don't like it but hey - that's my £10K car you are working on and I want to see you do it properly.
My new 730d unfortunately will probably have to be serviced by the main dealer until 2009 then it's back to KwikFit if they carry the oil for the turbo diesel engine.... haven't even looked at it yet! Still reading Mien Kamph (hand book and instruction manual) Only another 3 weeks and 7 chapters to go...........?
So as long as I keep the 740i you can't get better than a KwikFit price list...!
BTW Anybody in the market for a really nice E38 740i 1996 ('95 build) 4 litre with a NEW engine @ 80K 197K miles taxed & MOT Jan 08.?????
Car is in the UK so stop drooling you guys in the USA
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wrote:

Dave I know this is getting OT but your double hyphen is correct - your sig is not shown here. Jeremy's sig wasn't shown either but neither was his answer because he put it below his sig.
Hugh
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And the reset of the service interval lights? --
jeremy ['01 BMW 530iA SE Touring] <<<<<<<<ENDS
--
jeremy ['01 BMW 530iA SE Touring]
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My apologies Jeremy ------- Dave was correct it the crappy My Clayton's posting with the comment that appears to come from you.
Naughty Naughty My Clayton I'll my mate Wyatt Earp to call on you...
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CDR wrote: > Should I get it serviced at the BMW dealer? Or, can I get it serviced > elsewhere?
A tough question because there are advantages to each. I'd suggest if you need basic mechanical work done, the indy can do the job, but some electronics troubleshooting and firmware upgrades are best done by the dealer and their BMW-proprietary diagnostics equipment. The problem for the owner is knowing when to take it to the dealer. That usually occurs only after the indy wastes a lot of time and money replacing every part except the one that's causing the problem.
If you take it to an indy, insist on BMW OE parts. Some of the parts have their flaws, but there's a lot of crap in the aftermarket and the OE parts really aren't that expensive for the quality.
> How much should I expect to pay for a full Major service for a '99 > 323?
I must point out that at 100K the car may need far more than an a traditional BMW inspection, but here in the US an Inspection I on these cars is somewhere around $500. An Inspection II is closer to $800. I don't know the prices exactly because I now do all my own work...I haven't had the dealer do an inspection in years.
Although my E36 328is is one rev earlier than your car, it shares many of the same basic technologies as the E46 323. If you want to see one man's experience in keeping a BMW in good shape, you may find the BMW section of my site helpful.
Safe driving,
-Doug
-- -------------------- Doug Vetter, ATP/CFI snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com http://www.dvatp.com --------------------
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Thanks everyone for your comments and advice! All very useful.
I live in Austin, Texas, but being of British origin I am familiar with Kwik-Fit and the difference in some of the prices. I still have to get to know the U.S. eqiuvalents...
So, from all of your comments I'm concluding that I should take it some place other than the dealer. There is one place in Austin who claims to specialise in BMW service and repair:
http://www.terrysaytherauto.com/Home.htm
so I will check them out first.

So, BMW dealer if it's electronics based problem, and an indy for any regular mechanical work? This sounds like a good rule of thumb.

Yes, I agree. I'm thinking of, in addition to whatever is covered by the service, investing in getting other things done now that it has 100k on it (almost - should get there by the end of next week!). But, I need to find out in more detail first what is actually covered by the inspection.
Silly question, but how do I know which inspection is due? I or II?

Nice tip. It's small things like these that can easily add up to fair savings and keep the car going well.

I hope I can also find an independent specialist in Austin that fits into that category :-)
Thanks! Colin
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For my own peice of mind, I never use a main dealer.
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If you decide to go independent you should probably check out http://www.bimrs.org/MapPage.html .
I'm getting close to needing an answer to that same question. I have a 2003 325i with ~90K miles (bought at the end of 2002). I had paid for the extended service plan to cover scheduled maintenance (including most wear and tear stuff like brakes) up to 100K.
Anoop
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