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Review for German Car Repair
ELLIOTT N. on 02/06/2013
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"Very friendly service, but high price for parts unjustified, problems remain."
This is the second time I brought my car (1984 BMW 318i) to GCR. Staff there is extremely friendly and provide good explanations regarding what was wrong with my car. I especially noticed this the first time I took my car there, when I spent over $800 on AC repairs, belt replacements, and steering wheel issue. My complaint is that the price I was charged for parts was really quite unreasonable. I am fine paying more for labor, but parts seem to be marked up significantly upon comparison to the prices of BMW-certified parts on other websites.
About 5 months after the initial services, the engine belts started squeaking again. I figured I’d take it back to GCR despite the higher prices and see if they could re-tighten the belts without charge. I also wanted them to fix some other problems on the car (vibrations underneath). They took care of the belts for free and determined the loud vibration was caused by a faulty fuel filter. I was charged a tremendous amount of money for the fuel filter and nearly an hour of labor. While I don’t question the labor charge, I was again able to find several websites (i.e., AutohausAZ) with OEM fuel pumps for 1/5 the price that I was charged. Unfortunately, the vibration still occurs and the belts are squeaking again, only a week after the repairs. This is unacceptable and I can’t justify bringing my Bimmer back, nor can I afford it.
Vehicle: BMW 318i
Service Date: 01/31/2013
Review Created: 02/06/2013 05:43 PM
ALAN K. at German Car Repair responded on 02/07/2013
Mr. Nethercutt, Let me begin by saying that if you are still having a problem with belt noise on your 1984 BMW 318i, I would be more than happy to address the problem for you. Since you drive your car less than 4000 miles per year, based on the miles driven between visits, it is quite possible that the belt pulley surfaces are corroding from infrequent use and are depositing oxidized metal on the drive belts, creating the noise. This condition is more prone to occur in wet conditions, such as we've had lately. If that is the case, I would be happy to warranty those belts on a goodwill basis for you since the belts may in fact not be defective, rather a casualty of your particular driving conditions. I would also like to put your concerns about the repair charges into perspective. When you mention "BMW certified parts on other websites", the parts that we used for your air conditioner repair were Original BMW parts, purchased from our local dealer. Among those parts was a compressor bracket that was special ordered from Germany for your car, since it was not in stock in BMW's US network. "BMW certified parts" is a very abused term on the internet and I have seen more than my fair share of so called "BMW certified parts" that were in fact poor imitations of the real thing, being sourced from Asian countries, China in particular. As far as the fuel pump noise, the fuel filter on your car was the original filter (29 years old) and was very restricted. I did mention the possibility of fuel pump damage to you as a result of the extended run time with a blocked fuel filter. The filter replacement did make the pump a lot quieter, but any further reduction in noise will require fuel pump replacement. The filter, BTW, is located on the engine block next to the the starter on your 318i, and requires battery disconnection and additional time to replace it, unlike the later 325's and 318's, whose filter is under the vehicle at the fuel tank and easier and faster to replace. I would also like to remind you that we diagnosed your other complaints (Temperature gauge inoperative, vibration when braking) and performed a complete evaluation (with estimates) on your vehicle at no charge or obligation to you. These estimates included front and rear suspension repairs, bent wheels and out of round tires and brakes. I would also like to mention that I shuttled to to the Northsprings Marta station twice and was happy to do so, using my own vehicle. I regret that you consider our service unacceptable, but my offer to resolve the belt issue on your BMW is open. Sincerely, Alan Kidson.