Originally Posted by ENINTY
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.
Inspections are rackets too....on my Nissan I had a chip on the pass side in 2002. It passed inspection 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and suddenly, the chip was not acceptable and we got a fail. It did not enlarge or anything. Two years prior, the shop I went to decided to tell me I needed a $400 led strip replaced in the spoiler (high mount stop light). I told him what I'll do is I'll get the OEM part myself for about $120, and I'll come back and have you apply the decals. He said whatever you want to do, and that's what we did. But please, the leds were not as bright as before, and that's a fail? Back then I could get OEM Nissan for 35% no tax no shipping. No longer though. I paid $35 for a broken fog on eBay. Today, even on eBay the cheapest is $78.
Yes, there are decent people in the car business, but yes, they are the exception, not the rule.
What I do love about having an American car now is that last weekend it cost $49.95 for a Mobil1 oil change, and GM issues a $10 rebate on that. It would cost me $27 for Mobil1 at Wal Mart, and another $5 for a discount ac delco filter, so for $7 in labor why not let them do it and document it for warranty purposes?