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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I have a BMW service advisor who I feel is very honest and trustworthy. I told him I was replacing my run flat tires (Bridgestone Potenza) with Conti ExtremeContact DWS tires. He said the Conti's are great tires and told me to have someone else install them because the BMW dealer charges too much. I also wanted an alignment and he insisted that I have the dealer do this because he said no one else can do it properly (due to a special piece of equipment they have). So he said "get your tires installed elsewhere and come back and have us do the alignment for $200." Here's where it gets messy... the shop that installed my tires (5 star rating from Tire Rack) told me that the BMW dealer was full of sh*t and they are just over-charging for an alignment. So I let him do the alignment for $79. Afterwards, the car had a strong pull to the right and I went back to get him to correct it. He tried swapping the front tires... didn't help. Then he went thru the alignment process again... didn't help. So I insisted he give me a refund and he did. Now, I feel I should have trusted my BMW service advisor and am taking the car back to the dealer on Monday for the $200 alignment. I'd like some advice on this issue from those of you who may know the facts about BMW alignments.
 

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BMW has a very expensive machine that aligns the car to spec, its takes about an hour to properly align a car, starting at the rear first, then the front. The reason the dealer charges $189 is that its a set labor price, and also due to the fact the machine is pricey. But any good tire place has this machine, and knows how to align a BMW or any other car. Their labor rate is lower as well, and so is the time the charge to align it, so a Indy shop can be between $100- $130 ish.

A strong pull to one side would be 2 things, the front or rear camber is not properly set. If you cant find a good indy shop with this expensive machine, go to BMW. Many race trype shops have this machine, as they are always setting up the cars for different tracks and suspension setttings. I am sure there is one Miami area, check your local regional forum on this forum.

My first set of tires on the BMW I took to BMW for the alignment, as I didnt know of any good indy shops that had the machine and worked on German cars in Chicago, last week with winter over and slight pull to the left, I had them aligned at a Indy/race shop thats a heaven of M3's for $105, its took 2 tries, the first had a slight high speed pull to left, then the second time the rear camber had the car finicky over bumps.
 

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BMW does alignments with weight inside of the car to simulate people sitting in it. Your general alignment place more than likely wouldnt do that. I have a really good friend with a mechanic/body shop and he told me to have BMW do it because of the standards they use.
 

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BMW dealer has the proper equipment, but so do many repair shops that specialize in BMW or Euro cars. However, I would never get an alignment at a general tire or repair shop anymore than I'd take my car to jiffy lube. BMW dealers are an overpriced rip to be sure, but general repair shops cater to a different level of car. So it's pick your poison, but the BMW dealer isn't the fatal one.
 

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Also, if you have Active Steering, some programming must be done to complete the alignment. Somehow, I'd prefer to have my BMW dealer handle it.

Tom
 

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I had a local tire shop do my alignment. It wasn't really $ issue because I had a coupon to get an alignment done at the dealer for $149. It was a convenience issue. Car was already at the tire shot getting my tire rack purchase installed, so I figured I'd give it a try.

Shop did an excellent job. I watched them, they weighted in perfectly, and the car now tracks perfectly straight.

My opinion is that you are always safer with the dealer, but a good independent shop can also do a fine job if you get the right one.
 

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California Über Alles
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Was browsing somewhere this morning, don't really remember where, when I came across an ad for McKenna BMW in Norwalk. Clicked on it just for the hades of it and, among other pretty good deals, had a coupon for a $70 alignment, regularly $300. Wow! If this is truly not just a bait and switch come on, WOW!

I've never been to McKenna but it is a lot closer to me than my regular dealer. Almost wish I needed an alignment just so I can try them out. Not really. I'm still loyal to my regular dealer, even though I know they charge way more and I suspect they don't price match. I think its one of those "better the devil you know" situations. Plus they've done repairs they claim are "goodwill" that I think they should have done anyway and that really has created some goodwill when otherwise I'd be putting them on blast.
 

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Check all the dealers websites in your metro area, they have a menu for service specials, usually other dealers will honor the competition within 40 miles or so...
 

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i have my alignment checked at local tire store, they will print a report for you, BMW dealer charges $200 for alignment which is too much money, there many local shops who can do a good job for you at better cost.
 

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N54
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Afterwards, the car had a strong pull to the right and I went back to get him to correct it. He tried swapping the front tires... didn't help. Then he went thru the alignment process again... didn't help. So I insisted he give me a refund and he did. Now, I feel I should have trusted my BMW service advisor and am taking the car back to the dealer on Monday for the $200 alignment. I'd like some advice on this issue from those of you who may know the facts about BMW alignments.
Did your car exhibit these symptoms before? I'm guessing not since you didn't mention it. So why did you ask for an alignment in the first place?
 

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I have a BMW service advisor who I feel is very honest and trustworthy. I told him I was replacing my run flat tires (Bridgestone Potenza) with Conti ExtremeContact DWS tires. He said the Conti's are great tires and told me to have someone else install them because the BMW dealer charges too much. I also wanted an alignment and he insisted that I have the dealer do this because he said no one else can do it properly (due to a special piece of equipment they have). So he said "get your tires installed elsewhere and come back and have us do the alignment for $200." Here's where it gets messy... the shop that installed my tires (5 star rating from Tire Rack) told me that the BMW dealer was full of sh*t and they are just over-charging for an alignment. So I let him do the alignment for $79. Afterwards, the car had a strong pull to the right and I went back to get him to correct it. He tried swapping the front tires... didn't help. Then he went thru the alignment process again... didn't help. So I insisted he give me a refund and he did. Now, I feel I should have trusted my BMW service advisor and am taking the car back to the dealer on Monday for the $200 alignment. I'd like some advice on this issue from those of you who may know the facts about BMW alignments.
my friend had same issue with BMW dealership, after alignment his car was still pulling on right and was corrected after multiple visits to dealership, he was not happy about the situation and actually suggested me to indy shop for alignment.
 

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I went to the dealer to have my 645 aligned but my active steering warning will not go out, they tell me I need to replace the computer before they can do the alignment...$2000. It this true or can I continue to drive the car with the active steering warning light on?
 

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acive steering

Can you continue to drive a 645 with the active steering warning light on. Or do I have to spend the $2000 for a new computer?
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I went back to the BMW dealer today and talked them down from $200 to $169 for the alignment. So my advice is don't pay what they are asking for services until you say "I've seen coupons for less, so can you do any bettter for me?" The SA said $169 is what the BMW employees pay.
 

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A 335 will pull to left or right with summer performance tires on 18/19 rims, due to road grade/taper.
 

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Bad Lieutenant
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My opinion is that you are always safer with the dealer, but a good independent shop can also do a fine job if you get the right one.
+1, my dealer(s) are inept, an independent shop not only dialed what I wanted for camber/toe f/r, but also did it without question and used a clinometer to maintain the straight steering wheel.
 

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$159 currently here in westchester, ny. regularly $195
 
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