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Independant Mechanic in Northern Virgina??

Discussion in 'BMW' started by M3ME, Mar 24, 2008.

    M3ME guest

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    I am looking for a good mechanic located in the Northern Virgina area. I was thinking Alexandria Bavarian Service, but heard they were not to great to work with. If anyone has a good recomendation I would greatly appreciate it! Thanks Much!
    • Member


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    There are a number of highly regarded independents in northern virginia. Inside the DC beltway includes Alexandria Bavarian, Kraftwagon, J&F, London Auto for general manitenance. RRT outside beltway.
    It's best to become a regular - establish a long term relationship with one shop.

    M3ME guest

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    Thanks John! I gave RRT a call and have everything set up! I appreciate the help!

    slymaster guest

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    Regarding the Alexandria Bavarian Service

    I am not sure I understand the comments of johnh, when he says "to become a regular!" Do we have to break our cars to see the service centers and make them feel good by regularly giving them money!
    What an odd view. What happened to doing honest and reliable work on a car and that is how you keep your customers that would not mind to pay higher for quality service?

    I was desperately looking for a shop to have the work done on my BMW, thinking the the dealer was not doing a good job and read few good reviews on " Alexandria Bavarian Service". Bad idea!
    I made the call and having a beautiful BMW X5 2000 customized to my taste, kept in perfect shape I was talking to a man acting as a child saying "I do not want to work on your car it is too old..!!" " I do'nt want to..." I then told him that the car has only 40k on it.
    After arriving at the shop I had to wait for him to finish talking to one of his customers for 15 minutes about "LIFE, VACATION, ...". The bizzare behavior of the owner and his customer where they both seemed to enjoy long talks as if they and every one has the time of the world and that day was a day for vacation for every one.
    I sat patiently till I was spoken too. I figured maybe I am dealing with an artist so pationate about his art that he does not follow the usual protocols.
    The car needed work regarding random vibration of steering and the VOB in Rockeville had already charged me for $1900 , 4000 miles ago.
    He called me later in a bizzare tone/conversation saying $1800 for two calipers and by the way your left window is stuck and that is $650 and two more items total of $2800.
    I then said the he could go ahead and do all the work except the window.
    BOY he immediately came back and said "I will not do any work on your car!"
    "I do not want to..." " I knew I should not have taken you..."
    I was shocked that I had offended god. After all I had fixed one of the windows myself for 110$ and half an hour of my labor. (I am not a mechanic or a handy man).
    That price is/was outrageous as he wanted two hours of labor which still did not add up!
    My car was in a condition that I did not want to drive it. I called a two truck and towed the car to VOB in Rockville for the work for cost of $220.
    When I looked at the BMWs that he was working on they were almost all old models as well. I wonder if he was not sure about his knowledge of my model and changed his mind later or he seem to prefer a senior citizen that is blindly cuff up money without even daring to hear the options again.
    I am not cheap and do not mind paying for the work, as for my BMW from the day that I have owned it, all the work even the oil change has been done by the dealership since I do not want people experimenting with my car. I also have people skills but what a bizzar
    I certainly did not fit the profile of this man.
    I am still looking for skilled honest mechanics.

    good luck
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    There are plenty of shops that do not charge an arm and a leg and still do quality work. Just because you pay a higher price doesn't mean that it can't be done better by someone else for less money.

    What he means is not to break your car and take it to them to build a relationship, but rather to have your car there for a 12,000 mi. service every time, or to have them fix things that regulary go wrong. Being regular doesn't mean being there every day, but instead take it in for an alignment, for a tune-up (dunno if they do that on a 2k X5), brake work, etc. If you're satisfied and they feel you as a good customer, then they might give you a slight break on more expensive jobs like transmission repair or timing belt/chain replacement, kind of like the shop across the street from me. I've been there so many times I can't count on twenty hands, but they know me and have a long history with my family as we all take our cars to him to work on. As a result, we are treated differently than your average Joe who walks in one day demanding work to be done. :)

    cj morgan guest

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    My 1990 325i was taken to Alexandria Bravarian Service by my step dad who was the previous owner. I was going through my service records and found that in a period of 4 years, starting in 2001, around $5,000 dollars was spent just doing maintainence. I was astonished and began worrying, thinking that this car would take that much money to maintain. One of the bills included getting the timing belt changed which they charged $800 for. I just did that job myself and it cost around $110 bucks which included a new water pump. The point is on older cars they seem to know what they are doing as my car is in excellent shape, but they overcharge thinking that their ability to do the job is more valuable then it is. Most people can more easily work on 20 year old cars now. It sounds as though they don't know how to work on the new BMW's. I would have recommended them 15 years ago.
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    slymaster guest

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    where are the good/honest independents BMW service places

    cj morgan you are very correct and I agree with you. I have spent so far thousands of dollars on my BMW and it has never had serious problems yet until the vibration issue.
    I towed the car to VOB and they charged me $1300 to change a calipper and pads (both fronts) and gave me warranty on the rotors. But I still think that the original problem is there and will show up again, I will be monitoring it.
    To az3579 I have to say that your logic and reasoning does not make sense to me.
    I fact you are saying to take the predatory behavior of this guys once and he will go easy on you next time! This is what happens when you become hostage to predatory people where now YOU have to be nice,generous,easy going,... to the business and not the other way around. Sounds like the law of supply and demand is saying there are not any good/decent place to take the car to and you are stuck with me, but give me a blank check and then I will see how bad to screw you.
    There is something going on with America and the way some people are doing business.

    Going to VOB BMW I demanded to see the head/senior tech but I do not think I spoke to the man if there was any. My logic did not enter the tech's brain and I could not get the symptom's into his head and I learned that there was no one to guide him, nor there was a diagnostics procedure to track the problem.
    Being an engineer myself and I am used to diagnosing software and hardware systems I would know a good mechanic that systematically diagnoses the problem. From my talks to this tech as well as the guy in Bavarian... place, I have come to believe that they are not really skilled mechanics, instead they are good at replacing parts where they tackle a problem by replacing many parts that MAY have something to do with the problem.
    In their own unskilled little minds, they think this is how it should be done and if they can make few bucks why not?!!. Therally, carefully,... they replace part after part after part and they will hit the jakpott.
    It is well known that the companies like BMW will not release the buttom line info to these guys unless they pay them dearly and I do not think anyone can afford to pay them.
    The biography of these guys is that they have worked at the BMW dealer and after getting trained (so they think) they have come out and open their shop but unfortunately with the same mindset. And they obviously do not like smart customers (smart does not mean cheap).
    The dealers make herrendous amount of money on these repairs and it is the strategy of the BMW and many more. I do not mind to pay for the repairs as long as they have the capability or the decency to diagnose then repair and say charge you more.
    I hope bmwcca has no affiliation with any of these shops.
    We customers should continue to write about our experience to stop others from being taken.
    I still hope that a dealer changing higher prices times must have access to a person like
    Gauss (from Gauss's garage) to guide the techs if the dealer wanted to unless they would lay off the master and use simple techs and the strategy of change all the parts near the vicinity and you must get it and WE MAKE MORE MONEY TOO!

    slymaster in VA
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    No, no, no, no, no! That's not what I'm saying at all. In fact, I suggest avoiding these guys at all costs if that's how they treat you...

    What I was saying is that you should build a relationship with another shop, preferably one that knows what it's doing. A shop needs to know where the line is, and the second they start being unreasonable or unfair to you be it via work they perform or through their attitude towards you, you need to take your business elsewhere. There are plenty of shops to choose from.

    Honestly, I have to agree with you in the sense that a lot of businesses are changing in a negative way and are assuming they have the right to screw customers because customers feel they have no other place to go. I've done this before; a shop screws me over and I tell up front, they will not be getting my business again. It's all about competition, and if a shop treats you right, you tend to go back to them instead of the ones who are being idiots.

    You need to find a shop that warranties their work. If they do this, they guarantee that the problem doesn't return and if it does, they fix it for free. Different people have different definitions of warranty work though. Some shops replace a part, call it done, and the problem returns but don't fix it under warranty because the problem is not with what they replaced. The shop I go go, however, usually doesn't charge me for labor if I take it to them to fix a problem and the problem returns, regardless of whether the problem was with what they replaced or not. All I pay is parts in that scenario.

    It's all a matter of finding a good shop.

    Autohaus guest

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    Boy, this shop Alexandria Bravarian Service is like a mini dealer :eek:

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