View Full Version : Fairfax Auto Center

01-17-2006, 08:53 PM
Just thought I'd share my recent experience with Fairfax Service Center so that the rest of you have warning about my apprehensions about Reese's shop. Here's an email I sent him this evening - you'll get the drift of why I am disappointed with their work.

"Dear Reese,

We own the black 1990 325i that we have been bringing to you for a while, as well as the newer 2000 328i. My car was just in your shop two months ago about an electrical problem that I was having - a fuse kept on blowing - as well as just two weeks ago for a service. I also asked Fairfax Service Center to look at my brakes, because they were feeling worn to me.

Yesterday, while I was driving, my alternator belt broke, and the car turned off while in motion. I could not get it to start again. Fortunately this happened as I was pulling out of a parking lot, so I was moving maybe 5 mph at the time, however had I been on a faster moving road when this happened, the consequences would have been MUCH more serious.

I had my car towed to the BMW specialist here in Charlottesville, Blueridge Motor Works. They told me that my alternator belt was broken, and that both my drive belt and timing belt needed to be replaced because they were rotting. They also told me that my rear brakes were down to around 3 mm. They managed to fix the electrical problem in one morning - something which your shop failed to do in two weeks - by putting in a main relay. They also told me that my rear transmission seal and oil pressure switch needed changing, and that work needed to be done on my left-front suspension.

The fact that Fairfax Auto Center was unable to diagnose or fix any of these problems is absolutely unacceptable. Had I been moving at a higher speed when my alternator belt broke, less than a week after I picked up my car from your shop, I could have been very seriously injured.
I think my mother will be calling your shop tomorrow during the day to discuss your shop's utter failure to address the problems in our car, all the while charging us for work. As the driver of the car, I just felt it necessary to convey to you my own anger that your repair shop is not in any way living up to the standards that it should be, especially as a BMW repair specialist.

Thank you for your time, feel free to contact me if you have any questions. "

1996 328ti
01-17-2006, 09:24 PM
You sure they said a timing belt? Don't these engines use a timing chain?
Can't comment on the electrical problem Electrical problems can be very hard to diagnosis. Are you upset that the shop didn't see a worn belt?

And brake pads down to 3mm? Shouldn't that have set the brake pad sensor?

I don't know. Some things just aren't adding up.

01-17-2006, 09:55 PM
The M20 uses a timing belt (assuming it's the E30 he's talking about). The 4-cyl E30's used timing chains. If the pads didn't have any sensors attached (just a guess) there's no indication in the cockpit.

1996 328ti
01-17-2006, 10:13 PM
Ah, I thought they were M50s by then.

01-18-2006, 08:27 AM
I didn't think any E30 used M50s, but I could be wrong.

01-18-2006, 09:36 AM
I didn't think any E30 used M50s, but I could be wrong.
You are correct.

E30 model listing (scroll to the bottom for engine info):


01-18-2006, 09:51 AM
I've never known anyone who used Fairfax Auto Center, but when I drove by their shop recently I noticed that they are now a Dinan service center and/or dealer. Surely Dinan would have checked their reputation before signing them up.

01-19-2006, 08:07 PM
While I fully support free speech and it's nice to have a place to vent about various BMW issues, I hope we all read these sorts of shop complaints understanding we are only getting one side of the story. Maybe it's justified. Maybe not. As others have suggested in other threads, it's always a good idea to try to work in a constructive manner with your shop if there's a problem.