I just took my car in for service at the dealer, and they want to
charge $560 to replace the rear brakes - pads and rotors. I asked if
the rotors were warped - he said no, but BMW rotors wear out with the
pads. Have you guys found this to be the case? Can I just take the
car to Midas and have them replace the brakes for much less? I don't
know if I can get them to order the OEM BMW brakes or not. Also, the
dealer was going to charge $230 to replace the spark plugs. I turned
down both the brakes and the spark plugs because the prices seem
outrageous. I'm not able to any of this work myself, so I'm just
wondering if it's o.k. to take the BMW to get serviced at a regular
Midas/Goodyear type location, or is that not a good idea. I'd
appreciate any input. Thanks.
A google search will help you and it'll also bring up lots of
anti-dealer sentiment. Are those prices canadian? ;-) Sounds like a
www.realoem.com lists parts prices, aftermarket are usually a bit
cheaper. Rear brakes take about an hour to do both. You don't have to
replace rotors same time as pads but it saves you paying labour twice
over if they are low. I paid about US$30 for a set of NGK plugs (same
as the BMW ones) recently and they're easy to replace, again in less
than an hour.
Both the brake and plug job is no harder, and indeed much simpler in
some cases, than on any other car.
I was quoted almost $1000 for front and rear pads and
rotors from my local BMW dealer. Did it myself for a
little over $250. The rotors usually need replacement
when the second set of replacement pads go on.
If you get them replaced before the light on the dash
goes on, you most likely won't have to replace the
sensors. Having my '02 325CI with sport suspension at
MIDAS is a scary thought!!!!
The answer to your question is YES, you can take it to any repair shop
for these two services. However, you don't say whether your car is
under warranty. If so, the dealer should fix it for free.
If not, and you don't trust a "midas/goodyear" type shop, how about an
independent that specializes in BMWs? You can find one here:
First, BMW rotors are soft, and they do wear faster than others. I've
had Honda rotors that lasted 120K miles. BMW rotors probably won't go
that far. But the brakes in the Bimmer are far better...
Second, a reasonable rule of thumb is that the labor and parts should be
approximately the same cost for most repairs. (Like any ROT there are
exceptions.) The price you were quoted is approximately that, and it's
less than the local dealer charges for the same repair (which is still
more than I'll pay--I do my own brakes, thanks!).
The spark plug change, on the other hand, I don't understand. While I
haven't done one yet I don't think there's that much labor involved and
the plugs themselves are not *horribly* expensive (but they're not as
cheap as, say, Champions for an American car or NGKs for a Honda,
either). Maybe I'm missing something, though, and it's more work than I
think it is.
Some of the guys who work at Midas, Goodyear, Pep Boys, etc. are
competent wrenches. Some are not. Here's an example: My mom just gave
me her old Volvo. The front brakes had recently been done by a national
chain. They didn't work right when I got the car, but bleeding them
seemed to fix it (not without me grumbling about the so-called
"mechanics" that would give the car back to my mom with air in the brake
system!). They did not pass inspection, somewhat to my surprise--from
the outside they looked OK and hitting the brakes hard would get into
the ABS with no problem at all.
But when I took them apart I found the inspector was right. The swept
area on the back side of the rotors was less than 40% of what it should
have been. One rear rotor was so pitted I could hardly believe it. Two
of the pads *fell off* their backing plates when lifted out of the
calipers, and their companion pads (both on the front, mind you) were
cracked and broken. When it was fixed, I went back and thanked him. It
took two tries to make him understand that I *meant* it. (This was
probably the first time anybody sincerely thanked him for failing a
car, and inspectors are used to sarcasm.) He passed it this time.
There is no way that anybody even remotely competent could have been
responsible for this mess.
My advice, worth what you paid for it, is to ask around and find a
reputable independent shop that specializes in German cars. You
probably won't be sorry you did in the end. Or, pay the dealer's prices
and wince when you write the check, but be reasonably sure it'll be done
acceptably well. Either alternative is less of a crapshoot than a
national chain where they see mostly American cars and rarely work on
Or...as C.R. Krieger might say...join your local BMWCCA chapter and
someone will probably be happy to show you how to do your own brakes at
I've had discs/rotors on a BMW last over 100k. It all depends how much
you use the brakes. I don't think they're inherently any different to
most other manufacturers, especially seeing as BMW don't make brakes.
Spark plugs for a honda are no different than spark plugs for a BMW in
most cases. You have to remove the coils to get to the plugs but it's
still a trivial job.
I've had cars come back from BMW dealerships with side skirts loose
where they've knocked them with the jack, overspray and maskign tape
left on panels when they were dogn body work, dents in the fender when
they were doing an oil change etc etc and in my opinion they're no
better than crap-fit type places. It's nice to think that the
mechanics are highly skilled technicians with crisp white overalls but
that's simply not the case. Take a look behind the glossy counter and
you'll see a bunhc of grease monkeys usually dicking about. My local
dealership moved their service workshop away from the showroom 'cos it
was bad for business. It's the usual case of they'll do anything to
get you to buy then when you do you're screwed.
I like my BMWs but having to deal with BMW leaves a very nasty taste in
my mouth. I can see why many people are giving BMW the finger these
The prices you are quoting do not seem unusual to me for a BMW dealer.
High when compared to other makes, yes. Unusual for BMW, no.
I was quoted >$1000 for parts alone for a complete brake overhaul on an
M3. BMW parts that is, and I wouldn't recommend anything else.
I would stay away from the chain brake shops. Some of them will
probably be OK, but the cliches are true unfortunately. >50% chance
they will not do the job right.
I agree with the other replies to find an independent BMW specialist.
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