Originally Posted by Haus_07
This ^^ I couldn't have said it better myself. I've been a mechanic for 25 years, and have always maintained my own vehicles; my current E90 included. When I got the first brake pad warning on the dash, it was for the frnot pads, and the rears shortly after. I physically removed the wheels from the car, and checked to see how much pad I had left, since @that moment I was unemployed. I needed to know how much time I had left on the pads before doing any damage to the rotors. I was very surprised to see at least 1/3 of the pads were still remaining when the sensor tripped. That's easily another 6-8k miles before they are totally shot, and I drove it almost all of that before I changed out the pads.
The SA absolutely should have known right then and there that your brakes needed to be replaced via your key, but he probably figured it would be an easier sell by calling with some BS life threatening condition. Remember, SA's get a percentage of the total bill for the work they generate, then being a woman going in alone without her man (no disrespect meant), she was an easy target. Probably saw her coming a mile away. Being a mechanic myself, I cant tell you how many girlfriends of mine either ask me to come with them when they take their car in for service, or have me look over the repair order to make sure it's legit. It's disgusting how people prey on those that aren't mechanically inclined, and it happens all the f'n time. So much in fact, that it's become comon practice to rip people off if they don't know about cars. Total BS, and totally unacceptable.
I'd be doing everything this guy said. Ask for the records showing the pad indicators were tripped. Ask for the thickness of you rotors, and ask what the minimum thickness allowed is. I'm almost positive that a car with that low of miles has probably never had those rotors turned, so to just up and replace them is down right fraud!!! Get tough, and get some answers. Also, like he said, tell them straight out that if you are not satisfied with the answers they give you, tell them straight out that you will mark them as low as you can on the service feedback. That's a huge deal to them, and I personally have seen the GM of sandia BMW in NM jump through many hoops for me because I gave them a bad rating when they left the entire plastic underneath cover piece hanging by one bolt after some work being done.
Stick to your guns, demand proof, and show them that you are to not be fucked with, and I bet theyll be lining up to kiss your ass, and you should have some money coming back your way if they cannot prove that certain components required to be changed. Good luck, and please let us know how this turns out. I'm really interested in what the conclusion will be!!
This reply is spot on and well written and I would like to add to it. OP, you got ripped off and I really doubt they even changed the brakes. I think I read the mileage on your car was 25,000, which I doubt it needed brakes unless your wife drives totally in stop-and-go traffic with an automatic transmission and rides with her foot on the pedal. BMWs have very robust brakes and last quite long. Ask how many people on this Forum have actually had their brakes replaced under the maintenance program and you will find it is few and far between. My car went 75,000 on it's originial set of brakes.
Shops pull this bullshit all the time. I've seen it over and over; a woman comes in for an oil change and leaves with an unnecessary brake job to boot. It's the old "it's unsafe to drive" routine that plays on a woman's fear that the car will suddenly be unable to stop. If I were you, I'd go back to the dealer and demand they put the car on the rack, pull the left front and rear right pads and measure the thickness against a brand new set out of the box. Also, have them show you the wear indicators, because at the little mileage on the new brakes, the wear sensor will have not yet contacted the rotor and will not have any wear marks on it. If the wear sensor is worn down some (like it would be at 25,000 miles) then they did not replace the brakes and ripped you off.
FYI this is how the modern BMW brake wear system works. The wear sensor is dual staged. It has two separate loops of wire in it that break at different intervals. The CBS estimates brake wear based on a standard pad-wear algorithm until the first loop in the wear sensor is broken (where the resistance of the circuit changes). Once the first loop is broken, the CBS now has a baseline of pad wear vs. mileage and then can more accurately calculate when the second wire loop will break, which indicates the pads are in need of replacement. The calculation assumes the car will be driven basically in the same manner it was up to the first loop breaking. If once past the first loop break, you change the way the car is used (i.e. city driving vs. highway driving) the end-of-pad calculation will be less accurate.
All BMW owners should understand; the car will not need brakes until the pad wear indicator illuminates in the gauge cluster. Once it illuminates, it stays on until the pads and wear sensors are replaced. If someone tells you the brakes need to be replaced and the pad sensor is not illuminated, laugh at them and walk away.
I had this exact scenario happen to me. My state requires a yearly inspection. My wife took her Z3 to an independent BMW mechanic in Charlottesville, Virginia, for the state inspection. They called and said the car needed brakes and the car was unsafe to drive yada, yada, yada. My wife, being fully trained by me on how brakes work (she is my brake bleeder partner) and in complete understanding of how the wear indicator works told them,” well the wear indicator isn’t illuminated”, so it doesn’t need brakes. So I got involved and they tried to tell me that the minimum pad thickness the State of Virginia requires is more than the minimum pad thickness BMW uses to trigger the wear indicator. So I picked the car up (with a failed inspection). After looking at the brakes, they were close to needing replacement, but still had a few millimeters of pad life left until the wear indicator would trigger. Since I wanted to upgrade her brakes anyway (slotted rotors and Hawk pads), and just to piss off the Indy shop, I went and changed them out and took the car back for re-inspection. And told them not to try and screw me like they do everyone else.