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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Suspension | Brakes | Chassis > 2007 335i Brake Job: Ripped off or fair price??



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      10-05-2011, 09:32 PM   #23
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If you did it at the BMW dealer, the price you quoted is actually on the low side. Dealers easily charge $1500 for a brake job on 335i. Which is expected, considering that an oil change on 335i is $150.

The real question is whether you really needed your brakes replaced...
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      10-05-2011, 09:59 PM   #24
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Originally Posted by CirrusSR22 View Post
This was after 85,000 miles of "old-people" driving.
.
People aren't that hard on their cars when they reach their mid to late 30's
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      10-05-2011, 10:17 PM   #25
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price may or may not be bullshit based on dealer and area. certainly not outside the realm of possibility. regardless though, dealer prices are insane for work like brakes.

you can buy bmw brake pads, rotors, and the sensor online for cheap and pretty much any mechanic could do the job without special tools and for much less.

HERES the real question... DID the car need both done now? the odds of both being as bad as the dealer made it out are low. also how come the CBS countdown didnt indicate this. there is also a sensor that wears down that will trigger a light.

our cars are pretty advanced and so is the system they use to read our key when we drop the car off. if she sat down with the SA while dropping off the car, and he read the key, he should have known that the cars computer was calling for new brakes before she even left the dealership.

i would ask to see the records from when she dropped it off, what info was on the key about the CBS status and what the car was asking for.

i would also look at the paper work and see if they actually quoted any thicknesses for the remaining material on the pads and rotors. the sensor wears down at a certain point (its is clipped in the pad) and if the car didnt show the sensor how was the pad actually that worn down. then i would be on the phone with BMWNA asking how a pad can wear down to the thickness quoted on the paperwork without the sensor going off. Then arrange to meet with the the BMWNA rep for your area.

If they did this to you, they have done it to others, he can look at records and find a trend and go after their ass.

Remind your SA that you cannot give them all 5's if you aren't satisfied.

When i get pissed at my dealer, i walk in with a red folder full of car records, ask them to print out my cars history, i make sure i have BMWNA written on the folder real big with a sharpie and the phone number underneath. It gets their attention.
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      10-05-2011, 10:22 PM   #26
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I got quoted 800 for front brakes only over the weekend. No one knows if you needed them or not but it's certainly possible after 25k miles. Like others have said it's a real dealer price but double what it should cost. I'm ordering pads and rotors and doing it myself. I can do all 4 rotors and pads for 700 using oem parts. Less if using other quality brands.
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      10-05-2011, 10:24 PM   #27
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i paid 500 for centric drilled and slotted rotors and sensors and about 120 for bads...150 for install...and at 25k new brakes??? very unlikely
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      10-06-2011, 11:16 AM   #28
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At 25k aren't the brakes still covered under the maintenance plan?
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      10-06-2011, 11:30 AM   #29
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Originally Posted by swheeler View Post
At 25k aren't the brakes still covered under the maintenance plan?
Under mileage, over time.
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      10-06-2011, 11:43 AM   #30
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$60 for a brake job at discount tire
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      10-07-2011, 10:57 PM   #31
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When folks discuss whether the car "knows" it needs brakes or not, they forget a couple of things about how condition-based service works. I've owned BMWs for along time, including an E28, which had the first iteration of the SII (service interval indicator). Same basic idea--the car calculates based on a number of variables when it needs service. BMW has always insisted that when it comes to fluids, it knows.

CBS as an evolution was basically an acknowledgement that fluids need replacing at different times--not at the time of an Inspection I or II under the old system--all it was doing was varying the time you had left until it triggered a warning. CBS parcels this stuff out by mileage and time.

My point? It's this: BMW has good data, I think, on fluid replacement intervals based on their knowledge of the internals of the engine and the fluids in use at time of manufacture. They're not so good with brakes. I don't know how CBS calculates brake time, but it seems to do it on a straight mileage counter--something that doesn't take into account how hard or soft you brake, how often you brake, etc. CBS is fine for everything except brakes. So don't trust CBS to tell you when you're out of pads.

What will tell you when you're absolutely out of pad is the brake wear sensor, which will get destroyed if you're that low, which triggers the BRAKE light. CBS may or may not agree with this, but if the wear sensor has snapped, you definitely need to look at the brakes. CBS might say you have a bunch of miles left, but the wear sensor doesn't lie unless it was damaged or dislodged by something.

BMW dealers will not re-use rotors. With reference to the OP's service, the price is reasonable--for a dealer (I wouldn't use a dealer either for brakes out of warranty). You could probably have gotten an indy shop to do all four wheels pad and rotor for $800 or so. But this doesn't sound like a nosebleed--just dealer prices.

But brakes in general with BMWs? Don't trust CBS--take a look at your pads periodically. That would be my $.02.

BTW, I sympathize with the OP--out of town, wife has the car in service, it's hard to say no, especially when it means another trip and dropping the car off somewhere else. "Unsafe to drive" seems unlikely unless she was driving around with her foot on the brake all the time and there sparks flying off the wheels from caliper hitting rotor. They tend to be pretty conservative in these matters. Not that I'm saying you should drive your car to that point, but I doubt it was unsafe to drive. If I had done it, I would have asked for the parts back--I think that's just a way of keeping a dealer honest. Once I've seen them, they can have them and recycle them. But I want to see them.

Last edited by dmorga1; 10-07-2011 at 10:58 PM. Reason: typo!
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      10-07-2011, 11:38 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by dmorga1 View Post
I don't know how CBS calculates brake time, but it seems to do it on a straight mileage counter--something that doesn't take into account how hard or soft you brake, how often you brake, etc.
No. Front and rear brake pad wear is monitored by the DSC stability control module via brake wear sensors and calculations are based on miles driven, vehicle speed and brake usage.

Ask anyone that has tracked their car hard how many miles the CBS counts down....
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      10-08-2011, 06:11 AM   #33
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Those are dealer prices - and they always recommend it sooner then needed honestly. I took my dad's 5 series in for service when the 'service indicator' had about 200 miles on it. The ca has ~ 40k miles on it and they put new pads and sensors (not rotors) on the front and rear, compliments of BMW Maintenance. I looked at his brakes when he brought the car in and they had plenty of meat left - but they don't risk anything and refresh pads way to soon. Not that I was going to stop them from putting in new pads for free

BMW branded parts are way over-priced as we know. BMW always changes the sensor for some reason.

Just out of curiosity - Bavauto.com - geniune parts
front rotors 154 each (308 a pair)
front pads 128
sensor 25
Hold down bold 2 each - need 4 (8)
Rear Rotors 90 (180 a pair)
Pads 104
Sensor 24

Parts - $763, and maybe even more costly at the dealer. most likely they grabbed you for 4 hours labor (even though it takes them 1/2 of that), plus they might have replaced the caliper rattle clips for another 40 or 50 bucks, plus tax! They might have even tagged on 5 bucks for the anti-sqeal paste.

You could get a decent set of brakes for a low milage daily driver car from a local auto parts store for ~400 or less!

BTW - on my E46 - OEM brakes went at 41,000. I stuck auto-zone brakes on the car and I changed them out just over 100,000 with meat left but a caliper froze up so I just changed it all. The auto-zone brakes lasted at least 50% longer then oem!

rant over!
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      10-08-2011, 08:01 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by mike3000fl View Post
price may or may not be bullshit based on dealer and area. certainly not outside the realm of possibility. regardless though, dealer prices are insane for work like brakes.

you can buy bmw brake pads, rotors, and the sensor online for cheap and pretty much any mechanic could do the job without special tools and for much less.

HERES the real question... DID the car need both done now? the odds of both being as bad as the dealer made it out are low. also how come the CBS countdown didnt indicate this. there is also a sensor that wears down that will trigger a light.

our cars are pretty advanced and so is the system they use to read our key when we drop the car off. if she sat down with the SA while dropping off the car, and he read the key, he should have known that the cars computer was calling for new brakes before she even left the dealership.

i would ask to see the records from when she dropped it off, what info was on the key about the CBS status and what the car was asking for.

i would also look at the paper work and see if they actually quoted any thicknesses for the remaining material on the pads and rotors. the sensor wears down at a certain point (its is clipped in the pad) and if the car didnt show the sensor how was the pad actually that worn down. then i would be on the phone with BMWNA asking how a pad can wear down to the thickness quoted on the paperwork without the sensor going off. Then arrange to meet with the the BMWNA rep for your area.

If they did this to you, they have done it to others, he can look at records and find a trend and go after their ass.

Remind your SA that you cannot give them all 5's if you aren't satisfied.

When i get pissed at my dealer, i walk in with a red folder full of car records, ask them to print out my cars history, i make sure i have BMWNA written on the folder real big with a sharpie and the phone number underneath. It gets their attention.
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!!
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      10-08-2011, 08:17 AM   #35
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Originally Posted by witeagle View Post
Those are dealer prices - and they always recommend it sooner then needed honestly. I took my dad's 5 series in for service when the 'service indicator' had about 200 miles on it. The ca has ~ 40k miles on it and they put new pads and sensors (not rotors) on the front and rear, compliments of BMW Maintenance. I looked at his brakes when he brought the car in and they had plenty of meat left - but they don't risk anything and refresh pads way to soon. Not that I was going to stop them from putting in new pads for free

BMW branded parts are way over-priced as we know. BMW always changes the sensor for some reason.

Just out of curiosity - Bavauto.com - geniune parts
front rotors 154 each (308 a pair)
front pads 128
sensor 25
Hold down bold 2 each - need 4 (8)
Rear Rotors 90 (180 a pair)
Pads 104
Sensor 24

Parts - $763, and maybe even more costly at the dealer. most likely they grabbed you for 4 hours labor (even though it takes them 1/2 of that), plus they might have replaced the caliper rattle clips for another 40 or 50 bucks, plus tax! They might have even tagged on 5 bucks for the anti-sqeal paste.

You could get a decent set of brakes for a low milage daily driver car from a local auto parts store for ~400 or less!

BTW - on my E46 - OEM brakes went at 41,000. I stuck auto-zone brakes on the car and I changed them out just over 100,000 with meat left but a caliper froze up so I just changed it all. The auto-zone brakes lasted at least 50% longer then oem!

rant over!
Once the sensor is tripped, it has to be replaced. Once the pad wears away the plastic end of the sensor and the pads come into contact with the metal behind the plastic in the sensor, it is now permanently tripped, and cannot be reset. I learned this the hard way trying over and over to clear the code and warning lamp with my BT scan tool, only to have it instantly pop back up again. Just another way to get your money, and they aren't cheap!! Like you found @bavauto, $25ea is about the cheapest I've ever seen, and you need one per axle!!! Some retailers wanted $45+ for just one sensor, and believe me, there is nothing to them at all. Some metal wires covered in plastic, and once exposed by the brake pad, the resistance changes, thus triggering the low pad warning light. Couldn't be a simpler design!! Ok....done ranting.....sorry for taking over !!!
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      10-08-2011, 08:18 AM   #36
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These threads are funny.

I spent $2000 on new brakes in the 20's, is that ok?

Yes, it's very ok, and you got a great deal. Truly, every honest dealership is going to charge you that anyway.

Oh, shucks, thanks a bunch, I feel great and will hit the gym and start off a wonderful day thanks to your reassurance. I love you man.

Brakes take all of about 15 min. to replace the pads. If all 4, maybe 25-30 min. Ok, lets add another 20 min. since you're doing all 4 rotors. Who knows how much the parts cost, not much. If it's worth 2k to you to do that, then you have the money and I bet your time is very valuable. I doubt Kim Kardashian is going to want to waste 50 min. of her time just to save 2 grand.

There's nothing special about BMW one-piston floating calipers, what is special is that Roundel on the sign of your local dealership. To each his own.
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      10-08-2011, 08:21 AM   #37
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If it was just pads and rotors, you over-paid. However, if there were other issues (e.g. caliper, wheel bearing, etc) then it might not be so bad.

For a pro, to do all the brakes is a 2 hour job at most. If you price the most expensive OEM pads and rotors (e.g. ATE rotors and Pagid pads), and calculated labor at 150 per hour, you'll quickly realise how badly you overpaid...
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      10-08-2011, 08:39 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John 070 View Post
These threads are funny.

I spent $2000 on new brakes in the 20's, is that ok?

Yes, it's very ok, and you got a great deal. Truly, every honest dealership is going to charge you that anyway.

Oh, shucks, thanks a bunch, I feel great and will hit the gym and start off a wonderful day thanks to your reassurance. I love you man.

Brakes take all of about 15 min. to replace the pads. If all 4, maybe 25-30 min. Ok, lets add another 20 min. since you're doing all 4 rotors. Who knows how much the parts cost, not much. If it's worth 2k to you to do that, then you have the money and I bet your time is very valuable. I doubt Kim Kardashian is going to want to waste 50 min. of her time just to save 2 grand.

There's nothing special about BMW one-piston floating calipers, what is special is that Roundel on the sign of your local dealership. To each his own.
Very true. It took me longer to find my jack, break the lugs loose, jack the car, put stands under it, and remove the tire than it did to change out the pads. BMW's are suprisingly easy to change brake pads on. The rears are just as easy. They even installed little rubber covers over the only 2 bolts that need to be removed so that the bolt heads wouldn't get filled up with road grime!!! $45 for the front pair, and I think around $25-30 for the rear pair from autozone that come with a lifetime warranty. Oh, and a couple of bucks for the caliper grease!!

Single floating piston?? Pretty sure there are more than one piston(s) floating in my front calipers!!!!!
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      10-08-2011, 08:47 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Haus_07 View Post
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.
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      10-08-2011, 08:58 AM   #40
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Quote:
Once the sensor is tripped, it has to be replaced.
Or you can cut the wires, tie them together and be done.

Oddly when I changed my oil in July, the brakes icon came on when I did reset the CBS for oil - it was not for brakes oil and I couldn't reset the new "mileage to go". I found that there was some undetermined kind of interference. But when I "took care" of the front sensor, the message just went.

I have 3/16" of pads life at 60000 miles. They are easily good for another 10000 miles although I hate the way they immediately get dirty. Rears pads were changed at 40000 miles. I do heavy traffic almost every day. These brakes are awesome.
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      10-08-2011, 09:02 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Legovmit View Post
Ok,
I dont normally write in but I have found so much useful stuff on this site I just had to share. My wife has a 2007 335i with 25,800 miles on it. We have had it since new and it is driven to work and back, very low mileage.
We took the car into BMW Seattle for an oil change (I was out of town). They called her back and told her she needed a complete brake job on the car, it was unsafe to drive, and she needed to let them know right away if the car was to be ready for her later that day.
She authorized the work and the bill was $1,377. ($758 for the front and $620 for the rear). I have 2 questions:
1) Is this a fair price for a brake job or did we get screwed?
2) Is it normal for a car with only 26K miles to need a brake job or is this pushing it.

Let me know what you think!! Did the dealer rip us off or treat us OK.

Thanks!
Yeah, it seems like a rip off. My E92 had 29,000 miles when I sold it and did not need brakes. The new owner had it inspected and it passed without any brake work being required. You can buy the BMW OEM parts for about $600 ( pads and rotors for 4 ) and have a indy shop install it for $200.Total of $800 for all .
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      10-08-2011, 09:22 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by Saintor View Post
Or you can cut the wires, tie them together and be done.

Oddly when I changed my oil in July, the brakes icon came on when I did reset the CBS for oil - it was not for brakes oil and I couldn't reset the new "mileage to go". I found that there was some undetermined kind of interference. But when I "took care" of the front sensor, the message just went.

I have 3/16" of pads life at 60000 miles. They are easily good for another 10000 miles although I hate the way they immediately get dirty. Rears pads were changed at 40000 miles. I do heavy traffic almost every day. These brakes are awesome.
Not being able to access the milage to go feature is directly correlated to the wear sensors. If the system senses that they are tripped, it will not let you reset the countdown or add to the service counter for the brakes on the axle that's still showing tripped. Can't get rid of the dash code either, and if you have bmw's service system or whatever, they'll be calling you to make an appointment to come in for service because the car called and notified them (BMW) that particular service(s) are required!!! Talk about having a nanny!!! Good lord!! When I was unemployed, I changed the pads all the way around, but couldn't afford the new wear sensors yet. BMW must have called me once a week asking for me to schedule a time. Once, one of the ladies started getting harsh with me, and starts with the whole "we've been trying to contact you for several weeks now, and you NEED TO SCHEDULE A MAINTENANCE APPOINTMET!!! (with a raised voice) I told her calmly that I will be caring for my own car from now on, WHICH IS THE SAME THING THAT I TOLD EVERY OTHER PERSON THAT CALLED REGAURDING MY CARS SERVICE (quite loudly). I then Flipped through the manual and figured out how to disable the stupid service/concierge setting in my radio. My car will call for help NO MORE !!! lol!!!
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      10-08-2011, 09:29 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by ENINTY View Post
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?
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      10-08-2011, 02:32 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike3000fl View Post
No. Front and rear brake pad wear is monitored by the DSC stability control module via brake wear sensors and calculations are based on miles driven, vehicle speed and brake usage.

Ask anyone that has tracked their car hard how many miles the CBS counts down....
DSC? Nothing to do with CBS. The only "wear sensor" is the one that gets its wire broken if you go down to minimum thickness. In certain conditions, like tracking, as you point out, CBS may be making guesses based on its algorithm (on mine, it still seems to be basically counting down miles in normal city use). But my point stands--CBS doesn't have a good idea of how many miles are left on the brakes from mine and others' experience.
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