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General BMW Questions
Use this forum to ask general question about the BMW ownership and keep up on the latest BMW news. Direct all model specific questions to model specific forums below.

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  #1  
Old 03-24-2017, 03:40 AM
EconoBox EconoBox is offline
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Mein Auto: 2001 530i (E39) 140k
DIY vs stealership prices for 3 common repairs.

I am making this thread to use as a reference for us to show newcomers how to manage costs.
Even if you do not DIY, the key to used car ownership is having an honest yet skilled local indy mechanic.
This way you avoid inflated dealership genuine parts prices AND padded labor hours.

I changed out my exhaust cam sensor the other day. The part cost me $45 from FCP.
I was also investigating if my intermittent headlight was a ballast issue. A new ballast will cost me about $145. A used ballast will cost about $50.
Two no big deal kind of repairs. It got me wondering what it would cost me at the dealer.

SAMPLE COST OF PARTS (Not labor, just parts)

BMW ballast 63128387114
The "BMW" ballast is $550
The Hella is $145. (identical to above, without logo)
DEALER: $612 (11% more than online BMW)

BMW Rear Struts (33521093646)
Genuine BMW rear strut is $236
Sachs is $86.
DEALER: $276 (17% more than online BMW)

Intake cam sensor (A) 12147539165
Bosch for $45
BMW version $125
DEALER: $147 (17% more than online BMW)

So, then I decided to find out the cost of these three repairs at the dealer.

SAMPLE COST OF DEALER REPAIR

For rear struts, they quoted me $1655. ($900 labor and $600 parts)
DIY is $170. I then called Honda, and got a $700 estimate for a strut job on a 2006 Civic. $375 labor and $240 for the struts.
That seems fair. Not a big markup on the parts, either ($150 retail?) Not sure how much cheaper an indy would be for struts.

For BMW cam sensor, $395 labor (That is a 20 min. repair for a pro) Here, it's the excessive labor markup, not the parts markup.
So, entire job would be $600 with labor/tax. (DIY was $48)

For headlight ballast, they said $150 labor. I think $150 must be the hourly rate, and they just flatline any job at 1 hour.
For this job, it's the insane part cost ($650), not the labor. You'd be around $800 for a new ballast.
DIY is $145 or $30 used

Later that day, I was thinking those estimates can't possibly be right.
I called BMW dealer #2 for a second opinion.
I could not believe it; The 2 dealers had little consistency for the hours of of labor and even the parts themselves!

Dealer #2: Struts $2100 ($740 parts, $1225 labor)
Dealer #1 was $1655. ($900 labor and $600 parts)

Dealer #2: Cam Sensor: $236 part. $504 labor. (Total ~ $800)
Dealer #1: For BMW cam sensor, $395 labor

Dealer #2: Ballast, she could not even quote me the $600 ballast, and quoted me $1457 for an entirely new headlight assembly.
"If we need to remove headlight, labor will be something like $420".
With tax, the ballast problem would cost TWO GRAND for a $150 driveway repair.

I felt sick. This was not what you want in a 2nd opinion.
"So, 2nd doc, do I actually have testicular cancer? No, in fact, you have pancreatic cancer"

Maybe this is what fuels the new car sector.
The masses can spend $300/mo but aren't nearly as prepared to drop $1000 here and there on a repair.
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  #2  
Old 03-24-2017, 05:30 AM
jaye944 jaye944 is offline
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A dealer is ALWAYS going to be higher prices, how else do they get the money for the free coffee

But the benefits is you have a comeback, original parts, the dealer ISN'T going anywhere soon
they have all the right tools to do the job and a nice clean shop.
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  #3  
Old 03-24-2017, 05:36 AM
Doug Huffman's Avatar
Doug Huffman Doug Huffman is offline
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Location: Washington Island, Wisconsin, thru Death's Door
 
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Posts: 3,768
Mein Auto: 2012 Feb 11 X5 35d (E70)
The training, the shop, the tools, the computer, health insurance, ALL must be paid for my the customer.
__________________
Post hoc ergo propter hoc is a weak logic akin to arguing from ignorance, "I don't know, but ..." Better to be silent and thought a fool than to babble and remove all doubt.
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  #4  
Old 03-24-2017, 05:38 AM
southcoastguy southcoastguy is offline
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Location: Mattapoisett
 
Join Date: Jan 2017
Posts: 79
Mein Auto: 328xi
Yes, the prices are insane. All labor charges are done by the "book". The book (used to be called Chilton's) lists the hours for a specific repair. Almost all mechanics use it to price the labor on any job, regardless of the actual time it takes to do the job. Parts are a big concern for me. Counterfeit parts abound in the market. They look the same, but have a high failure rate. When I drove a VW, there were plenty of warning on the forum about buying parts from a particular vendor who used multiple identifies. My conclusion? If you are paying for it, get a second bid.
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  #5  
Old 03-24-2017, 05:54 AM
jaye944 jaye944 is offline
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Mein Auto: 128i Cabriolet '12
not to say that dealers dont screw up or scam you

hence why they are reffered to as STEALERSHIPS
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  #6  
Old 03-24-2017, 07:41 AM
anselansel anselansel is offline
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Location: texas
 
Join Date: May 2016
Posts: 140
Mein Auto: 328i
Quote:
Originally Posted by EconoBox View Post
I am making this thread to use as a reference for us to show newcomers how to manage costs.
Even if you do not DIY, the key to used car ownership is having an honest yet skilled local indy mechanic.
This way you avoid inflated dealership genuine parts prices AND padded labor hours.

I changed out my exhaust cam sensor the other day. The part cost me $45 from FCP.
I was also investigating if my intermittent headlight was a ballast issue. A new ballast will cost me about $145. A used ballast will cost about $50.
Two no big deal kind of repairs. It got me wondering what it would cost me at the dealer.

SAMPLE COST OF PARTS (Not labor, just parts)

BMW ballast 63128387114
The "BMW" ballast is $550
The Hella is $145. (identical to above, without logo)
DEALER: $612 (11% more than online BMW)

BMW Rear Struts (33521093646)
Genuine BMW rear strut is $236
Sachs is $86.
DEALER: $276 (17% more than online BMW)

Intake cam sensor (A) 12147539165
Bosch for $45
BMW version $125
DEALER: $147 (17% more than online BMW)

So, then I decided to find out the cost of these three repairs at the dealer.

SAMPLE COST OF DEALER REPAIR

For rear struts, they quoted me $1655. ($900 labor and $600 parts)
DIY is $170. I then called Honda, and got a $700 estimate for a strut job on a 2006 Civic. $375 labor and $240 for the struts.
That seems fair. Not a big markup on the parts, either ($150 retail?) Not sure how much cheaper an indy would be for struts.

For BMW cam sensor, $395 labor (That is a 20 min. repair for a pro) Here, it's the excessive labor markup, not the parts markup.
So, entire job would be $600 with labor/tax. (DIY was $48)

For headlight ballast, they said $150 labor. I think $150 must be the hourly rate, and they just flatline any job at 1 hour.
For this job, it's the insane part cost ($650), not the labor. You'd be around $800 for a new ballast.
DIY is $145 or $30 used

Later that day, I was thinking those estimates can't possibly be right.
I called BMW dealer #2 for a second opinion.
I could not believe it; The 2 dealers had little consistency for the hours of of labor and even the parts themselves!

Dealer #2: Struts $2100 ($740 parts, $1225 labor)
Dealer #1 was $1655. ($900 labor and $600 parts)

Dealer #2: Cam Sensor: $236 part. $504 labor. (Total ~ $800)
Dealer #1: For BMW cam sensor, $395 labor

Dealer #2: Ballast, she could not even quote me the $600 ballast, and quoted me $1457 for an entirely new headlight assembly.
"If we need to remove headlight, labor will be something like $420".
With tax, the ballast problem would cost TWO GRAND for a $150 driveway repair.

I felt sick. This was not what you want in a 2nd opinion.
"So, 2nd doc, do I actually have testicular cancer? No, in fact, you have pancreatic cancer"

Maybe this is what fuels the new car sector.
The masses can spend $300/mo but aren't nearly as prepared to drop $1000 here and there on a repair.

I believe it. The dealer wanted 380 in labor to switch my head light bulbs. The whole thing should take less than an hour for a pro. I could do it in less than an hour. I told him i would pay 150, which was still ridiculous(imo) and he finally said ok. Leaves a bad taste in your mouth, i would like arelationship with a dealer but its really just a ripoff factory. I will only let a trusted indy do things now.
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  #7  
Old 03-24-2017, 09:50 AM
imtjm imtjm is offline
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Location: VA
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 951
Mein Auto: 335d, 328ix, hard bargain
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaye944 View Post
A dealer is ALWAYS going to be higher prices, how else do they get the money for the free coffee

But the benefits is you have a comeback, original parts, the dealer ISN'T going anywhere soon
they have all the right tools to do the job and a nice clean shop.
I wouldn't say "ALWAYS", because there are routine maintenance where the local dealer charges less than my indy; moreover, the indy shops here mark up BMW OEM parts, where the dealer either charges MSRP or reduced cost. The indy shops also charge book for labor, so the only difference is labor rate. the indy shops near me also only offer 1 year warranty on work performed, whereas the dealership it's 2 years.
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  #8  
Old 03-24-2017, 09:54 AM
imtjm imtjm is offline
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Location: VA
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 951
Mein Auto: 335d, 328ix, hard bargain
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Huffman View Post
The training, the shop, the tools, the computer, health insurance, ALL must be paid for my the customer.
don't forget all the other insurance and service and parts being backed by BMW.

go figure that dealerships are in the business of making money.
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  #9  
Old 03-24-2017, 09:59 AM
jaye944 jaye944 is offline
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Location: Ontario, GTA
 
Join Date: Jul 2015
Posts: 801
Mein Auto: 128i Cabriolet '12
Everytime you take your car to a garage other than a BMW dealer,
Everytime you buy a NON-BMW part

somewhere a fairy dies

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  #10  
Old 03-24-2017, 10:18 AM
imtjm imtjm is offline
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Location: VA
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 951
Mein Auto: 335d, 328ix, hard bargain
Quote:
Originally Posted by EconoBox View Post
I am making this thread to use as a reference for us to show newcomers how to manage costs.
Even if you do not DIY, the key to used car ownership is having an honest yet skilled local indy mechanic.
This way you avoid inflated dealership genuine parts prices AND padded labor hours
let's stop with the whole "stealership" premise. You don't have to go to a dealership, so they aren't stealing from anyone. We could have endless threads about how bad indy shops, too. We should also debunk the notion that indies are better and cheaper, too. For many routine maintenance services (brakes, oil, coolant, other fluid flushes, etc), my dealer is either not much more than my indy or in fact cheaper, especially since they have rolling service specials. Let's talk about DIY, too, yeah DIY your are gonna save labor, but you aren't paying for your labor, although you are giving up your time to DIY. I do a mix of indy, dealership, and DIY. Here's some differences from my experience:

1. my indy actually marks up parts exceeding MSRP and won't do work for parts he does not buy. Making a profit off of parts and not doing warrantying work done with parts the shop does not buy is common among the indy shops in my area. Whereas, I can buy discounted parts through the dealership and the dealership will install and warranty since I bought through the dealership.
2. indy only offers 1 year warranty, whereas the dealership it's 2 years/unlimited miles
3. indy charges same book labor as dealership, so it doesn't matter if it takes him less to do the work. Only difference is the labor rate.
4. indy isn't open on the weekends, opens later, closes earlier, and is farther away than the dealership.
5. indy doesn't have loaners, shuttle service, and metro cards like the dealership.
6. indy doesn't have BMW backing them and you aren't guaranteed they are going to be around (yeah, yeah, there are plenty of indy shops which have been in business for a very long time).
7. DIY and indy is limited to the tools I and they have or ability to perform the work.
8. non-OEM part will work perfectly fine and may exceed OEM, OEM will always be to BMW's specifications. OE manufacturer by law is not allowed to sell manufacturer specific spec parts retail.

Look, we all want the least expensive option to service and repair our vehicles; however, let's not simply focus on cost in a vacuum.
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  #11  
Old Yesterday, 06:33 AM
EconoBox EconoBox is offline
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Then find a new indy, you're getting ripped off.

Those dealership repairs I quoted are ludicrous.

Labor is labor, but the stealership seems to get around that regulation.
No chance in hell a CPS sensor is 4 hours of labor in the book.
The way stealerships get around the legal "book hours" regulations is to screw you on crazy parts prices.
An indy can order Sachs, Hella, and Bosch parts.
Even with the indy markup, you're nowhere in the ballpark of dealer parts prices.

Last edited by EconoBox; Yesterday at 06:34 AM.
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  #12  
Old Yesterday, 08:49 AM
imtjm imtjm is offline
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Location: VA
 
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Mein Auto: 335d, 328ix, hard bargain
Quote:
Originally Posted by EconoBox View Post
Then find a new indy, you're getting ripped off.

Those dealership repairs I quoted are ludicrous.

Labor is labor, but the stealership seems to get around that regulation.
No chance in hell a CPS sensor is 4 hours of labor in the book.
The way stealerships get around the legal "book hours" regulations is to screw you on crazy parts prices.
An indy can order Sachs, Hella, and Bosch parts.
Even with the indy markup, you're nowhere in the ballpark of dealer parts prices.
Actually, I'm not getting ripped off, since I choose whether or not to have work performed by the indy. He has worked on the same car when he worked at the dealership to when he opened up his indy shop. As I said, his practices aren't any different than other indy shops around my area.

None of those dealership repairs you quoted are ludicrous. You are comparing apples and oranges when you compare work performed and supported by someone else versus work performed by you. Yup, labor is labor, and my DIY opportunity cost of labor is far more than your dealership's $150/hr labor. You are lucky that your dealership is $150/hr, ours is $180/hr.

I presume you haven't looked at the book, since you assume it is not 4 hours of labor in the book. Even good resources like pelicanparts shows 3 hours for for your E39 CPS, which is consistent with the $395 labor quote.

book e39 struts is 6hrs, which is consistent with the $150/hr labor rate equaling the $900 labor quote.

yes, dealers and indy shops are going to charge you a minimum 1hr labor, that is common practice.

you are funny...what regulation? They charge retail for genuine BMW parts. Why would you expect a dealership install non-genuine BMW parts? Yes, an indy or you may use non-genuine BMW parts, but then they aren't genuine BMW parts. Even if you buy parts from Hella or the like as an OE manufacturer, again, they are by law prohibited from selling you retail parts with the exact specifications of the genuine part. Now, I'm not saying OE parts are not as good, reliable, etc., but you are paying more for BMW because of their cost to spec, test, and certify those parts.

good on you for DIY'ing...I too like to DIY having just replaced my CPS, too. Now, full disclosure: I did a bonehead thing by not checking for the o-ring after removing the old CPS and installing the new CPS w/o-ring on top of the old o-ring. The good thing is I caught it before I fired the car back up. Which goes to the last point: dealerships habitually have to fix errant DIY and indy repairs, even for simple things like putting the wrong fluid in the wrong reservoir.
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  #13  
Old Today, 07:58 AM
EconoBox EconoBox is offline
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An Indy can buy debranded parts from WorldPac.
This is where the dealers get you. Crazy prices for branded parts.
It's like buying $300 blue jeans.
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  #14  
Old Today, 05:23 PM
imtjm imtjm is offline
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Mein Auto: 335d, 328ix, hard bargain
Quote:
Originally Posted by EconoBox View Post
An Indy can buy debranded parts from WorldPac.
This is where the dealers get you. Crazy prices for branded parts.
It's like buying $300 blue jeans.
WorldPac is "Wholesale Distributor of OE Parts". Just like those $300 blue jeans, the blue jean factory cannot sell the same blue jean that is trademarked, patented, or copyrighted as the "genuine" blue jean. Same goes for OE manufacturers. There's no "debranded". OE manufacturers make a part which is sold with retail branding, whether or not it comes in a retail package is a different topic. Again, I'm not saying that the parts are not effectively the same, better, or otherwise. I am saying you are paying costs a car company has paid to certify, spec, test, logistics chain cost, value of the name BMW, etc that part on their vehicles and label it as "genuine". I buy OE manufacturer and aftermarket all the time for DIY on my cars. The dealership isn't stealing from anyone selling a genuine part which the car company supports versus none genuine parts that the car company doesn't support. It's interesting all this stealership talk, yet I bet you don't go driving around your BMW with all the BMW roundels and labels removed.
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