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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
The E9X is the 4th evolution of the BMW 3 series including a highly tuned twin turbo 335i variant pushing out 300hp and 300 ft. lbs. of torque. BMW continues to show that it sets the bar for true driving performance! -- View the E9X Wiki

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  #1  
Old 03-05-2014, 01:26 AM
will26 will26 is offline
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Question How to tell if mechanic was joy riding

Hi all,

I'm pretty new to car mechanics so this may seem like a pretty dumb question.

Just drove my 335i back from the mechanic after leaving it there for a good portion of the day to get it serviced at 45k miles. The only things that showed up on the receipt were spark plugs replaced and tire pressure adjusted. The first thing I noticed when I got in the car was that the MPG on my dashboard took a dive from 29.7 (recorded over couple hundred miles) to 21.3 without resetting. The odometer only went up a couple miles (I think). A little less than a quarter of my gas tank also disappeared.

Is it normal for the average MPG to drop so suddenly after a service? Some kind of engine power testing, perhaps? Otherwise the mechanic must have been redlining like crazy to burn all that fuel.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 03-05-2014, 01:42 AM
SilverX3 SilverX3 is offline
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Sit and wait

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  #3  
Old 03-05-2014, 04:29 AM
ddeliber ddeliber is online now
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He probably just left it running for a while.
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  #4  
Old 03-05-2014, 05:48 AM
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Originally Posted by ddeliber View Post
He probably just left it running for a while.
^that. If miles didn't go up much and MPG went down a lot, seems to be the most logical conclusion.
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  #5  
Old 03-05-2014, 06:41 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will26 View Post
Hi all,

I'm pretty new to car mechanics so this may seem like a pretty dumb question.

Just drove my 335i back from the mechanic after leaving it there for a good portion of the day to get it serviced at 45k miles. The only things that showed up on the receipt were spark plugs replaced and tire pressure adjusted. The first thing I noticed when I got in the car was that the MPG on my dashboard took a dive from 29.7 (recorded over couple hundred miles) to 21.3 without resetting. The odometer only went up a couple miles (I think). A little less than a quarter of my gas tank also disappeared.

Is it normal for the average MPG to drop so suddenly after a service? Some kind of engine power testing, perhaps? Otherwise the mechanic must have been redlining like crazy to burn all that fuel.

Thanks!
As a shop owner I can agree with having to idle the vehicle for maybe a half hour, and a test drive following a tune up to ensure proper performance. There are a couple things though which concern me. First is the significant long term average MPG drop, second is the loss of about a quarter tank of fuel. Both seem out of line.

Inside, check for empty alcoholic beverage containers under the driver's seat. Is there a scent of cheap perfume? Sticky feeling to the back seat? Burger King or Pizza Hut wrappers behind the seats? Cigar ash in the front ash tray? Stubby, aromatic, hand rolled cigarette remnants in the rear ash trays? Torn up traffic tickets or condom wrappers in the glove box?

Outside, is there a thick, rough layer of rubber all around the rear wheel wells? Do the front tires show cord all along the edges? Traffic cones inadvertently left in the trunk? Evidence that large 'number' stickers were on the doors or windows? Marking pen 'Passed' written in the upper left of the windshield?

Any of these things might point to possible misuse of your car. If you find one or more of them, politely bring up the subject with the shop owner. There could be a legitimate reason for them. For instance, high school kids don't always properly clean short term rentals before bringing them back. I know I would always make good in such a situation.

Last edited by DSXMachina; 03-05-2014 at 06:43 AM.
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  #6  
Old 03-05-2014, 07:13 AM
CitizenOfDreams CitizenOfDreams is offline
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Also, check the back seat for stains.
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  #7  
Old 03-05-2014, 07:28 AM
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laser laser is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
As a shop owner I can agree with having to idle the vehicle for maybe a half hour, and a test drive following a tune up to ensure proper performance. There are a couple things though which concern me. First is the significant long term average MPG drop, second is the loss of about a quarter tank of fuel. Both seem out of line.

Inside, check for empty alcoholic beverage containers under the driver's seat. Is there a scent of cheap perfume? Sticky feeling to the back seat? Burger King or Pizza Hut wrappers behind the seats? Cigar ash in the front ash tray? Stubby, aromatic, hand rolled cigarette remnants in the rear ash trays? Torn up traffic tickets or condom wrappers in the glove box?

Outside, is there a thick, rough layer of rubber all around the rear wheel wells? Do the front tires show cord all along the edges? Traffic cones inadvertently left in the trunk? Evidence that large 'number' stickers were on the doors or windows? Marking pen 'Passed' written in the upper left of the windshield?

Any of these things might point to possible misuse of your car. If you find one or more of them, politely bring up the subject with the shop owner. There could be a legitimate reason for them. For instance, high school kids don't always properly clean short term rentals before bringing them back. I know I would always make good in such a situation.
Wow .... you put some effort in that one!

Must be single digit snowing again in the "Live Free or Die" state ......
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  #8  
Old 03-05-2014, 07:34 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laser View Post
Wow .... you put some effort in that one!

Must be single digit snowing again in the "Live Free or Die" state ......
Temperature soared to 20F with only snow flurries so far. On the bright side, the first reports of how "the maple sugar season is off to a slow start and therefore prices will have to rise" are coming in. Always a good sign.
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  #9  
Old 03-05-2014, 07:36 AM
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pointandgo pointandgo is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by will26 View Post
Hi all,

I'm pretty new to car mechanics so this may seem like a pretty dumb question.

Just drove my 335i back from the mechanic after leaving it there for a good portion of the day to get it serviced at 45k miles. The only things that showed up on the receipt were spark plugs replaced and tire pressure adjusted. The first thing I noticed when I got in the car was that the MPG on my dashboard took a dive from 29.7 (recorded over couple hundred miles) to 21.3 without resetting. The odometer only went up a couple miles (I think). A little less than a quarter of my gas tank also disappeared.

Is it normal for the average MPG to drop so suddenly after a service? Some kind of engine power testing, perhaps? Otherwise the mechanic must have been redlining like crazy to burn all that fuel.

Thanks!
I once found a 'Hello Kitty' earring in the back seat of my E46 M3 after it was serviced. I have not idea how it got there...I swear.

Certainly most of us are unaware of post-service requirements that may require running our car or driving it (as DSX notes). As an example I have a GM and Nissan service bulletin in front of me that require driving the car 20 miles (!) when diagnosing persistent tire vibration problems.

Most of us would probably expect such a service call to involve a mere tire balance.
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  #10  
Old 03-05-2014, 07:42 AM
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A B Able Truck A B Able Truck is offline
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Confession;
- Mid 80's I worked at a Pontiac dealership and took a customers new Trans Am on a 1.5 hr. spirited test drive. (Lunch, court house to pay a traffic ticket & home to smoke a joint)
- Again mid 80's worked at RV dealer - took a customers motorhome on an overnighter to the Street Scene festival with some friends.

Boy do I feel better getting that off my chest
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  #11  
Old 03-05-2014, 07:47 AM
CitizenOfDreams CitizenOfDreams is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pointandgo View Post
I once found a 'Hello Kitty' earring in the back seat of my E46 M3 after it was serviced. I have not idea how it got there...I swear.
I bet your wife did not believe you either.
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  #12  
Old 03-05-2014, 10:31 AM
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BiHoTTo115 BiHoTTo115 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
Inside, check for empty alcoholic beverage containers under the driver's seat. Is there a scent of cheap perfume? Sticky feeling to the back seat? Burger King or Pizza Hut wrappers behind the seats? Cigar ash in the front ash tray? Stubby, aromatic, hand rolled cigarette remnants in the rear ash trays? Torn up traffic tickets or condom wrappers in the glove box?

Outside, is there a thick, rough layer of rubber all around the rear wheel wells? Do the front tires show cord all along the edges? Traffic cones inadvertently left in the trunk? Evidence that large 'number' stickers were on the doors or windows? Marking pen 'Passed' written in the upper left of the windshield?
What kind of cars have you been getting for service/regular maintenance?
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  #13  
Old 03-05-2014, 10:38 AM
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I always snap a pic of the ODO when dropping my car off for service. I guess have OCD about this type of thing.
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  #14  
Old 03-05-2014, 11:15 AM
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Orient330iNYC Orient330iNYC is offline
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when you went to pick up your car, was it on jack stands and in reverse?
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  #15  
Old 03-05-2014, 11:20 AM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Orient330iNYC View Post
when you went to pick up your car, was it on jack stands and in reverse?
I wonder if that still works...I'm going to have to find out. I'm going to make a guess that going in reverse in our cars will ADD to the mileage showing on the odo. The reason I think so is that there is a cog wheel which induces a pulse in a sensor. The sensor doesn't know which way the cog is rotating. Any pulse is as good as any other and therefore additive. Anyone?
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  #16  
Old 03-05-2014, 11:53 AM
Watchme Watchme is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DSXMachina View Post
I wonder if that still works...I'm going to have to find out. I'm going to make a guess that going in reverse in our cars will ADD to the mileage showing on the odo. The reason I think so is that there is a cog wheel which induces a pulse in a sensor. The sensor doesn't know which way the cog is rotating. Any pulse is as good as any other and therefore additive. Anyone?
I think this "bug" has been fixed since late 90's
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  #17  
Old 03-05-2014, 12:02 PM
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cwinter cwinter is offline
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Quote:
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I think this "bug" has been fixed since late 90's
I think it still works on Ferraris...
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  #18  
Old 03-05-2014, 12:12 PM
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Zooks527 Zooks527 is offline
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I think it still works on Ferraris...
People who park in glass garages .......
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Old 03-05-2014, 12:23 PM
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DSXMachina DSXMachina is offline
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People who park in glass garages .......
Et tu Ferris Beuller?
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  #20  
Old 03-05-2014, 04:30 PM
Mick the Quick Mick the Quick is offline
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If the odometer only went up by a couple of miles as you say, I agree with others that the car was just idling (plus some brief test drive). But in order for the MPG and gas to decrease to such an extent, the car had to be idling for a LONG, LONG time. Like an hour or more.

Mick
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Old 03-05-2014, 11:30 PM
will26 will26 is offline
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Thanks for all the responses!

The big MPG drop still makes me feel uneasy and skeptical...I'm now noticing a lot more rock chips on the hood that I never did before, but that could be just me
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  #22  
Old 03-06-2014, 01:17 AM
SilverX3 SilverX3 is offline
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Check if mechanic has lots of tattos and looks rough
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  #23  
Old 03-06-2014, 09:17 AM
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David1 David1 is offline
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Is there a **** stain on the passenger seat!
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Old 03-06-2014, 09:27 AM
wilt wilt is offline
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Think about it...the mechanic can make $90 per hour working on another BMW, or he can not earn $90 while jerking off with your BMW...whaddya think he did?
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Old 03-06-2014, 09:50 AM
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A B Able Truck A B Able Truck is offline
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Quote:
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Think about it...the mechanic can make $90 per hour working on another BMW, or he can not earn $90 while jerking off with your BMW...whaddya think he did?
I've worked at a few dealerships - the mechanic is not the one taking home the $90 an hour unless he's a good story writer that knows how to "work" the flag time system. You'd also be surprised at who is actually working on your car or should I say learning while earning on your car.
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