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Repair shop broke my car!
Old 05-12-2009, 07:13 PM   #1
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Repair shop broke my car!

I hit my garage back on 31MAR. Put it in for repairs at a USAA preferred shop. The shop broke it and now won't fix it!

My car has aftermarket xenon lights and the tech never worked on them before. They bought 4 different sets and finally got them working (no instructions so he made it up as he went along). Wiring job looked bad. Bad as in if it rains I am afraid it will short out or not last a couple months.

While I was checking it out I noticed that my cars Nav/Stereo system (they are linked) would only play for 2 minutes and the nav wouldn't even light up.

Shop can't figure it out and take it to dealership. Dealership quotes $4.5K for a new nav computer and amp (I have the high end system). Shop now says "we didn't break it, it must have been broken when you dropped it off."

I sent the shop info on what probably happened in the form of a BMW tech bulletin. If the battery is disconnected when the nav computer is powering down there is a chance the firmware will be corrupted. This yields the EXACT same symptoms as my car has. Now, they must have disconnected my battery multiple times AND their detailers left the keys in the ignition with lights on, draining the battery!

What a mess! It's now been almost 1.5 months. USAA thought they had a firm commitment from the shop to fix the car, but no dice. Hope they continue to go to bat for me.

Anyone get stuck between their insurance co and repair shop? USAA won't pay anymore to fix the car since its not accident related. Shop claims they didn't do it... I am afraid my car will never be the same
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Old 05-12-2009, 07:50 PM   #2
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Yes, Last year on Dec.23rd my car would not turn on . I had been having intermitten problems with this . I called AAA and when the tow driver arrived he talked me into going to a different repair shop . I wanted to go to the local Toyota place . It was Dec.23rd . We had company and I just wanted the car fixed so I went with his suggestion . Big mistake ! They decided my problem was my car key box ( have you ever known anyone that had problems with that ? No ,of course not ) . They also said after I paid $400 that maybe I needed a new starter also . I took the car home and it worked for a week before it had smoke coming from it at a local gas station and could not turn it off . Again called AAA and had it towed to Toyota . They replaced the starter and some solenoid wires that had burned another $ 550 . I contacted triple AAA since they stand behind their AAA repair stations . After an investigation and my SO explaining everything to the AAA investigator and me keeping the investigation alive AAA refunded the first repair bill . So keep after them until they get sick of you !
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Old 05-12-2009, 10:35 PM   #3
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What's your state limit in small claims court? That might be where you end up.

Not an excuse, just an observation: Should any of us consider buying a car that can incur $4500 in damage if the battery becomes disconnected? Heck, battery cables sometimes become loose over time, sometimes batteries fail internally, and sometimes fuses blow in various circuits. I do think there's a fundamental flaw in the design if such a thing can cause $4500 in damage. Why can't they design the system so it can be re-booted from scratch in the event the unit gets corrupted by an unanticipated loss of power? Or incorporate a small capacitor in the computer to provide enough juice for a graceful shutdown if power is lost?

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Old 05-12-2009, 10:49 PM   #4
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If the battery is disconnected when the nav computer is powering down there is a chance the firmware will be corrupted.
Bummer, BMW Typ, das ist die scheißt!
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Old 05-12-2009, 11:41 PM   #5
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Maybe I watch too much of People's Court but if I were in this circumstance I would consider small claims court. Not certain to win but pretty good case to present if no alternative looks better.
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Old 05-13-2009, 05:37 AM   #6
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Yeah, hoping I don't have to get the courts involved. I never thought of going thru the entire car and showing the shop it is all working. Maybe a good CYA type of thing to do in the future? I'd have to get them to sign off on something too.

I'm really hoping USAA can lean on them since they do a lot of business with the shop.

The $4.5K damage estimate is from a BMW dealership. I can fix it for $350-$850. I'd just assume do that, since I don't trust the repair shop. But, I had a $1K deductable and the thought of paying more hurts lol!
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Old 05-13-2009, 09:52 AM   #7
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Get a lawyer. The repair shop obviously doesn't have the expertise to handle the complexity of a BMW. One thing to keep in mind is aftermarket parts are troublesome, because if they fail, its easy for the BMW dealer or anyone else to say "You shouldn't have installed that"........

Keep us informed.........
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Old 05-13-2009, 10:13 AM   #8
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Yeah, they didn't have the experience or expertise to tackle the job. I asked them "why didn't you call me?" and they said they don't bother bacause most people don't know anything about their cars.

Still, they could have sent the car directly to BMW or a Euro car specialist to handle the more complex repairs and just did the body/paint work themselves.

Not sure how much a lawyer would cost me. I've found a used nav computer for $315 shipped. But, if there is other damage to the sound system it could be beyond my ability to fix it. Could cost me more money too.
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:20 AM   #9
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Consider the first list first in your search for competent independent BMW repairs. Probably not the least expensive option if everything goes right, but a better choice than most dealership mechanics:

BIMRS - About Us

Then there is this list, by an owner, not by mechanics:

BMW Repair Shops - Find a BMW Mechanic | BimmerShops.com

Pretty sophisticated cars - aftermarket anything for them that takes electricity is scary.
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Old 05-13-2009, 12:54 PM   #10
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BMW. Mercedes, and others take electronics to a whole new level. Hopefully the repair shop can work with you to get the car done RIGHT........
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Old 05-13-2009, 01:11 PM   #11
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They just offered to pay for half of the parts cost without admitting liability. USAA thinks they would have a hard time proving negligence if they had to take them to court so will accept the offer. Its probably cheaper for them to pay then to get their law dept involved. They say it won't affect my rates at least.
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Old 05-13-2009, 01:19 PM   #12
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Consider the first list first in your search for competent independent BMW repairs. Probably not the least expensive option if everything goes right, but a better choice than most dealership mechanics:

BIMRS - About Us

Then there is this list, by an owner, not by mechanics:

BMW Repair Shops - Find a BMW Mechanic | BimmerShops.com

Pretty sophisticated cars - aftermarket anything for them that takes electricity is scary.

No sh*t!- I put a new battery in the DW's Z3 Roadster and had to take it in to a BMW Dealership to get the radio reset...

I don't think they really lost the war, just changed the battlefield.
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Old 05-13-2009, 01:25 PM   #13
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They just offered to pay for half of the parts cost without admitting liability. USAA thinks they would have a hard time proving negligence if they had to take them to court so will accept the offer. Its probably cheaper for them to pay then to get their law dept involved. They say it won't affect my rates at least.
Take that deal, get the work done, NEVER go to that shop again.
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Old 05-13-2009, 01:32 PM   #14
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No sh*t!- I put a new battery in the DW's Z3 Roadster and had to take it in to a BMW Dealership to get the radio reset...

I don't think they really lost the war, just changed the battlefield.
If you have it, did you look in the back cover of the radio manual for the radio unlock code? Think there are 1-2 wallet sized cards w/ the code printed on them in the radio book. Or maybe not for the Z3.
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Old 05-13-2009, 01:55 PM   #15
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If you have it, did you look in the back cover of the radio manual for the radio unlock code? Think there are 1-2 wallet sized cards w/ the code printed on them in the radio book. Or maybe not for the Z3.
Nope, bought it used with 40K miles, no radio manual or codes provided. Tried several online, but no luck. Dealer was happy to provide the $ervice.
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Old 05-13-2009, 06:22 PM   #16
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Not an excuse, just an observation: Should any of us consider buying a car that can incur $4500 in damage if the battery becomes disconnected? Heck, battery cables sometimes become loose over time, sometimes batteries fail internally, and sometimes fuses blow in various circuits. I do think there's a fundamental flaw in the design if such a thing can cause $4500 in damage. Why can't they design the system so it can be re-booted from scratch in the event the unit gets corrupted by an unanticipated loss of power? Or incorporate a small capacitor in the computer to provide enough juice for a graceful shutdown if power is lost?
I think samclem raises an excellent point about an inherent design flaw resulting in a non-robust product. I wonder if BMW would help you out if they thought that this experience had disappointed you greatly and all those who would learn about your experience.
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Old 05-13-2009, 06:38 PM   #17
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BMW issued a tech bulletin about the problem. If a dealer breaks it, they will fix it. If someone else breaks it due to not following the proper shut down method in the tech bulletin, its tough cookie.

Certainly is non robust! In my research I've found many many instances of this happening due to old batteries or bad alternators. I'm a serious techie, and did research. There is no way to even flash the BIOS or reload the code. Must be a chip that gets corrupted.

Changing story today: I though they had agreed that I could take it and fix it and USAA would eat the cost. But, they just left a msg saying the shop found a used NAV computer and USAA would pay for labor.

I guess at this point I'll believe it when I see it. May look into a Honda Accord. I guess at this point in my life I would like a low maintenance vehicle...
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Old 05-13-2009, 07:37 PM   #18
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May look into a Honda Accord. I guess at this point in my life I would like a low maintenance vehicle...
What, and have to change your screen name to AccordAl, or HondaHarry?

Here's a low-maintence solution from BMW!
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Old 05-13-2009, 08:15 PM   #19
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Haha, its like a Harley I bet. Anything with BMW (or HD) on it costs a boatload of cash.
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Old 05-13-2009, 08:34 PM   #20
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Haha, its like a Harley I bet. Anything with BMW (or HD) on it costs a boatload of cash.
Here is cash by the boatload, BMW style. Now you know why that $100 board is $4000
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