Finding high-quality, low-priced BMW service in San Diego can be a challenge for any bimmer driver. Rather than searching around town, many BMW owners opt for the default route and bring their vehicles to the dealership. Yet going to the dealership for BMW repair and maintenance service might be costing you a lot more than your realize. What’s worse, you might not be getting high quality BMW auto repair despite paying more.
Independent BMW Repair Shops Offer Significant Cost Savings
It is a near universal truth that bimmer drivers can save a lot of money on auto repair, maintenance and BMW oil changes by going to local independent auto repair shop rather than the dealer. Consumer Reports, the Car Talk guys, and the experts at Bimmershops.com all agree that independent BMW auto repair shops are priced more competitively than dealerships. Depending on the repair needed, you can save an average of 15% – 40% by using an independent shop for your BMW M3, BMW 328i, BMW 5 series or older model BMW.
The reason for this might not be what you think. It’s likely not because these BMW mechanics are less experienced or because the work they perform is somehow inferior. The markup that you pay for going to a dealership covers the costs of overhead, such as large showroom, fancy lounge areas, advertising, marketing, and salaries of service specialists.
Dealerships Don’t Necessarily Employ More Experienced BMW Mechanics
The idea that dealerships have the better mechanics is a myth. Actually, if you talk to mechanics of independent BMW repair shops you will find the opposite is often true. The career path for many BMW mechanics is they get trained by the manufacturer, improve their craft at the dealership, and then go out on their own as an independent auto repair shop.
Now this isn’t true in every situation; not every independent shop has manufacturer-trained mechanics and not every dealership mechanic is just out of school. Nevertheless, the training-dealership-independent repair shop is a common career path, particularly for mechanics of foreign or specialty vehicles. So if you are looking for a specialist for your BMW M3, BMW 328i, or BMW 5 series vehicle, chances are high you can find an independent auto repair shop with a manufacturer-trained mechanic.
Using an Independent BMW Repair Shop Won’t Void Your Warranty
Many BMW drivers use the dealership’s service center because they believe it is stipulated in the warranty agreement that they must do so. Dealerships commonly promote this notion though they know it is an “alternative fact.” What they’re banking on is that few people will actually read the warranty or know of the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act. The fact-fact is that an auto manufacturer can’t bind you to have service performed at a specific business. In other words, you can have your BMW M3, BMW 328i, or BMW 5 series vehicle taken care of at the BMW service shop of your choice without it voiding the warranty.
Trustworthiness: The Deciding Factor When It Comes to Auto Repair
So let’s talk about the elephant in the room: trust. You paid a pretty penny for that BMW 3series vehicle and you aren’t going to rely on just anyone to service it for you. For many drivers, the dealership seems more trust worthy. After all, they have better branding, nicer lobbies, and a larger overall presence than an independent shop. Yet according to Consumer Reports extensive surveying, independent auto repair shops often produce better or equal results as the dealership.
Independent BMW Service Shops Offer Better Customer Service
Rather than spending a ton of money on junk mailers and advertisements, many independent BMW repair shops build their customer base the old fashioned way: word of mouth and customer loyalty. Though they might take advantage of review sites like Yelp and RepairPal, they know repeat business is what sustains them.
By forming a relationship with your local San Diego BMW repair shop, you can get to know the mechanics and they can get to know you and your BMW M3, BMW 328i, or BMW 5 series vehicle. They can help you remember basic maintenance and oil changes and also help with the little things such as simple inspections or refilling your tires.
Because independent auto repair shops are in it for the long-game, they are less likely to push for a repair that isn’t needed. At a dealership, you will rarely interact with the mechanic unless you go out of your way to do so. You will instead interact with a “service specialist” who isn’t a mechanic but a paid-on-commission salesperson. Which do you think is more trustworthy?
Again, this isn’t to say that you won’t be oversold at an independent repair shop or that service specialists will try to oversell you. This information simply levels the playing field so you know what you’re dealing with when you visit an independent shop versus the dealership.
Nowadays, many independent BMW repair shops offer extra perks as well such as complimentary shuttle services or loaner vehicles. You might be surprised to find that many of these indy shops offer guarantees on their work that are the same or similar to the dealership.
So next time you are thinking about bringing your BMW M3, BMW 328i, or BMW 5 series vehicle to the dealership for an overpriced oil change, search around for an experienced BMW auto repair shop that provides the same (or better) quality job for substantially less.