BMW Forums : BimmerForums banner
1 - 20 of 23 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
845 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I had my E92 325i serviced and MOT’d today.

The garage I use is an independent bmw specialist who I have been going to since I bought the car two years ago. They did my fuel injectors last year and were very efficient with diagnostics and fixing the problem. They seem to be very thorough and knowledgeable so I would expect their prices to fall somewhere between a standard garage and main dealer.

The service and MOT today cost £450 which I must say was higher than I expected. It did include brake fluid service, but otherwise the car had no other faults requiring attention.

Breakdown of cost is:

Labour at 4 hours (again seems high) £216
Oil £50
Oil filter £8
Air filter £22
Cabin filter £17
Forte oil treatment £10
Forte fuel treatment £10
VAT £67
MOT £50

Does this sound about right?

I’m happy to pay the going rate for a good job done and I have always accepted that running a BMW is an expensive business. But when I compare this to servicing costs on previous cars it is a bit eye watering!
 

·
Registered
E91 320D M42TU2 2006 Manual
Joined
·
318 Posts
I don't think £54 per hour is a bad rate for a good mechanic. You state it had a brake fluid service, why is there no brake fluid listed in the costs?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
845 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I wondered about that too.

On the invoice it states Brake fluid service £60 menu price. This is included in the labour cost section at 1.2 hour but no mention of the fluid itself.

If it sounds okay then I’m fine with that.

They did mention some other issues which might need attention in the near future. I suppose what I’m getting at is whether or not to stick with them or look for somewhere else to go? So far I have been happy with the standard of work but then again I’m not sure if I would really know anyway. I’ve never been confident to DIY with cars. Always just gone to garages and paid what they asked.
 

·
Registered
E91 320D M42TU2 2006 Manual
Joined
·
318 Posts
If you have found a garage or mechanic you trust and have confidence in, stick with them for piece of mind.

I think your best option if you want to compare BMW independent garage prices is to phone them and get a quote and also phone your local BMW garage and ask the same.

Labor times have doubled in the last 5 years as the new generation of mechanics have arrived on the scene, there is a new 50% premium increase to allow for candy crush and Facebook time.

I couldn't and wouldn't pay £450 for a service.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
845 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
It is the amount of time that bothers me more than the hourly rate.

Full service 3 hours, brake fluid service 1.2 hours.

Does it take 3 hours to change the oil and filter, air filter, cabin filter and run some oil/fuel treatment through?

Perhaps it does and they are very meticulous about things. For my previous cars I have just used the local Hi-Q which was a lot cheaper. With the BMW I felt it best to go to a specialist, maybe that’s where I’m going wrong.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
106 Posts
On my E90 doing the oil/filter, air filter and cabin filter I would allow a couple of hours. But that is including digging all my tools out the garage and other faffing around so I would have thought less than that for someone who does it all the time and has a lift etc. Maybe an hour?
That said, I don't know what the oil treatment entails. If it is just an additive then it doesn't take any more time, a flush would. It also depends on what other inspections they do as part of the service but again, I would not have thought that would add more than 1/2 hour to the service.

So yes, it does appear high for what you have listed, if it was me I would be asking them to justify it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
106 Posts
fwiw, I just had a look and there is a bmw specialist near me what publishes their service prices.....
Servicing for 3 Series BMW vehicles - TWG Automotive
check £55
oil/filter £125
cabin filter £40
Air filter £80
brake fluid £46
So that is £350 total

I think this shows the problem with menu style pricing. I've looked at them before and thought that they don't look too bad and would save me messing around on my drive. eg. would I pay £40 for a cabin filter fitted. Yes, probably. £80 for an air filter? Sounds a bit high but maybe if I was pushed for time. But that is if done on its own where you have to account for the overheads and time faffing around every time. £120 for the cabin and the air filter is starting to sound a bit high if you already have the car in the workshop with the bonnet up......

That said, I have run my own business where I charged by the hour and know it is very easy to underestimate the faff factor and overheads. I also know what is like to have customers analysing the bill like we are here and asking why I took so long or why a part price is 10% more than they can get online! So I can see why a garage would like this sort of menu pricing that tends to hide the actual cost ;)

Bottom line is that it does sound high but not completely unreasonable. If you are not happy I would ask them to explain the labour time, if nothing else the way they respond will help you decide whether they are the right guys for future work.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
4,567 Posts
Yeah seems high, excluding the MOT there is 30 mins worth of work tops.

Also the Oil, Filters and Fuel/Oil treatments prices are retail prices with VAT. They pay trade prices for these and claim VAT back, yet charge you retail prices with VAT on top. This is why garages won't let you bring your own parts. :hihi

Learn to service your own car Chris H72.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
106 Posts
Yeah seems high, excluding the MOT there is 30 mins worth of work tops.

Also the Oil, Filters and Fuel/Oil treatments prices are retail prices with VAT. They pay trade prices for these and claim VAT back, yet charge you retail prices with VAT on top. This is why garages won't let you bring your own parts. :hihi

Learn to service your own car Chris H72.
I agree, but you need to be careful here. ;)
Like I said I used to run a business where we charged parts and labour (electrical work). I really had to bite my tongue when a customer complained then could get a light switch for £1.15 at screwfix where I was charging £2. Well, first I would never fit that crap LAP switch because I know it is crap, will take longer to fit (bad terminals etc) and likely fail in a year or two. So I would fit something like crabtree or MK etc. So the price is now about £1.50. Then I have to consider the cost of getting the part, finding out what I need, ordering it, collecting (or sorting delivery), hassle with wrong parts etc etc. The cost of failures (again, time sorting it out). It is pretty standard to add 15% to cover this stuff (and still make a loss in reality....). So we are up to £1.75. Then there is the fact that just checking what the price should be for a quote takes more time than the part cost. As does answering customer questions about it. So a round £2 sounds very reasonable to me!
Hopefully, you get the point. It is not about the cost of the part, it is the cost of getting the part and all the other overheads connected to it. You could argue that should be covered by the hourly rate but that falls down for high value parts where the cost of the part is way more than the time spent fitting it.

Don't get me wrong, from a customer point of view he does have a choice. He can pay what is reasonable to get someone else to do it or he can do it himself but you do need to be aware that was is reasonable cannot be directly compared to the DIY cost where overheads are not considered.

Oh, and on the subject of fitting customer supplied parts. Some are happy to do it some are not. But those that are not are unlikely to be saying no because they want to fleece you on the part cost. It will more likely be because they know what hassle it will cause when the parts turn out to be wrong or poor quality or fail after 6 months and it starts an argument over who is going to pay to replace them ;)
I used to fit customer parts but on the strict condition that I was paid by the hour, if I was not happy with the quality I would not fit the part (and still charge for my time) and any failures for whatever reason would cost the customer to put right. If you explain that nicely to the customer they almost always accept parts supplied by me ;)

That said, like I said above, I still agree with you - I would rather do servicing myself. It saves me a lot of money, I know the job is done right and I enjoy doing it (well, most of the time....). But crawling around in the cold getting covered in oil is not for everyone :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,212 Posts
I own an E92 like Chris but 320i version. Same rules of service but little extra oil and 2 more plugs.

While the oil is draining you can do the remaining task all under 1 hour. Accessing spark plugs take a bit of time but that's not included in this service.

The brake fluid usually takes me 2 hours because I have to lift each corner and remove the wheels but garage lift the car on ramp and impact gun to remove the wheel bolts. Sure they can do that task in 1 hour.

IMO including the brake fluid service the garage can do everything 2 hours easy..assuming they did the brake fluid because its not even listed.

Maintaining a BMW does not have to be expensive.. I think you could have bought premium brand filters and oil for under £80 and inc the MOT be £130 all done. So for getting hands dirty you could have saved £300+.

IMO people that DIY service they enjoy it and knowing they did a proper job with quality parts.

I service my car every 6 months around April and Oct so weather is decent. A 6 monthly oil + filter service is only £35 :)
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
845 Posts
Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Cheers guys, lots of very helpful info and advice.

I chose this garage because I wanted a more personal service and didn’t want to pay main dealer prices. I do think their service and attention to detail is good but it is disappointing to find that a BMW main dealer might have even been cheaper. My own fault for not asking for quotes in advance I suppose. Not being one to go back and complain (won’t get me anywhere) I will probably just not use them again.

For various reasons I’d rather not go into servicing the car myself is not going to happen. Paying for car maintenance and service is fine by me, I don’t have an issue with it, but it’s not nice to feel that you may be getting ripped off.

So.... if servicing is a basic job that many people just do themselves, am I right in thinking that I don’t need to be paying a specialist garage to do this work? My thoughts are to just start using the local HiQ again who have done a perfectly good job on all my other cars over the years. I don’t know why I felt that a BMW needs special attention, maybe because it’s the most expensive car I’ve had by a long way. It’s also proved the most expensive to run by a lot more than I could ever have imagined! Most likely I’ll only have it another year or so anyway, after which it will be changed for something a bit less ‘prestigious’ and hopefully cheaper.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
106 Posts
Cheers guys, lots of very helpful info and advice.

I chose this garage because I wanted a more personal service and didn’t want to pay main dealer prices. I do think their service and attention to detail is good but it is disappointing to find that a BMW main dealer might have even been cheaper. My own fault for not asking for quotes in advance I suppose. Not being one to go back and complain (won’t get me anywhere) I will probably just not use them again.
you don't need to complain. Just a "I have to admit the labour is much higher than I thought, could you break it down for me so I can understand what took the time". Not confrontational and there might be a good reason it is higher than we all expect. You can make you decision on whether to go back or not based on how they respond. It would be a shame to avoid somewhere you trust to do good work without understanding why ;)

So.... if servicing is a basic job that many people just do themselves, am I right in thinking that I don’t need to be paying a specialist garage to do this work? My thoughts are to just start using the local HiQ again who have done a perfectly good job on all my other cars over the years. I don’t know why I felt that a BMW needs special attention, maybe because it’s the most expensive car I’ve had by a long way. It’s also proved the most expensive to run by a lot more than I could ever have imagined! Most likely I’ll only have it another year or so anyway, after which it will be changed for something a bit less ‘prestigious’ and hopefully cheaper.
This is a difficult one. I agree servicing is a basic job anyone can do. But there are advantages to using a specialist or bmw themselves. eg
- a specialist is more likely to know what is the correct spec oil and what are reliable, good quality parts
- a specialist is more likely to do a proper inspection while doing the service
- a specialist relies more on reputation for quality. So there is a chance they will actually do a better job.
- rightly or wrongly, having HiQ on the service record does not look so good when you come to sell it. (it gives the impression of doing stuff as cheaply as possible)

I am not saying HiQ will not do a perfectly good job but a service is about more than just changing the parts on the invoice. If you do not do any work on the car yourself it is the only time (apart from the MOT which does not mean much) that anyone will check the cars overall condition and alert you to any issues.

To be honest, I am not sure what I would do in your shoes. If it was my car I would go the cheap route but then my cars are cheap to start with. If I had a car like yours I might be more worried about looking after it as best I could.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
845 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Really good points there brman.

All depends what I end up doing with the car. In 12 months I’ll have had it 3 years which is usually time for a change. According to the CBS indicator it might not need anything else in that time. The next service will probably just be oil and filter which BMW website quotes £129 for.

They did mention that all the brake discs were corroded but would be fine until the next pad change. Thing is the service indicator shows 19k miles until rear pads are due and about 30k for the front. So I’ll probably never need it doing. I did check BMW menu price for brakes and it’s a bit scary, around £300 rear and £400 front! Also the ABS rotor ring is a bit swollen but again they said this may not cause problems for 2 to 3 years.

If I did choose to keep the car long term then the cheap HiQ service would be okay as resale won’t really matter. In any case I usually trade in and it’s standard industry practice to offer peanuts regardless of condition and service history.

I didn’t do much research when buying this car. Saw it on a local forecourt, drove it, liked it, bought it. Only later did I realise I’d bought the least desirable spec, engine, gearbox and options. It would probably be tricky to sell privately unless very cheap anyway.

At least I have a while before I need to decide where to take it next, unless of course something else goes wrong!
 
1 - 20 of 23 Posts
Top