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View Full Version : Finally insight into that silly BMW "free maintenance" that only fools fall for



Uber-Goober
09-22-2009, 09:09 AM
http://editorial.autos.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=1088569

Zchild
09-22-2009, 11:42 AM
Thanks, that was a decent read!

Nick325xiT 5spd
09-22-2009, 02:47 PM
The premise is wrong.

The real point of "free" maintenance is to ensure that the cars are maintained properly when they come back every three years, to ensure that BMW's specific fluids/procedures/etc. are followed (remember that they can't legally require specific fluids, etc. unless they choose to provide them "free."), and to discourage the use of indy shops (i.e. income to the dealers).

Of course they price it in. Duh. No one hands out something free if they don't have to.

Uber-Goober
09-22-2009, 05:32 PM
I personally think the maintenance is a joke. Like lifetime gearbox fluid. What that means is fluid stays in until gearbox fails, at which point they will replace it at 70k miles, after the warranty expires...It encourages people to trade their vehicles after 4 years and get a new car...good for them, bad for the next guy who buys it used, and for the wallet of whoever rotates every 4 years or less. Basically, another marketing ploy...and a bad reason to chose a certain car.

Nick325xiT 5spd
09-22-2009, 08:54 PM
It ensures a minimum standard. And the minimum standard is a lot higher than people would choose for themselves.

Bob
02-03-2010, 02:27 PM
The real truth is exposed when the various service intervals were magically increased when BMW picked up the tab. That tidbit would have helped that story immensely.

Psi5
02-03-2010, 05:00 PM
It ensures a minimum standard. And the minimum standard is a lot higher than people would choose for themselves.

Nothing says you have to service the car *only* when the recommended intervals come up. Many folks use the freebies and then supplement them with intermediate oil changes, services, etc. at an independent shop. If that is your plan (and it is mine as I am shopping for a new E90), then what's the problem? Having them pay for half my oil changes is better than having them pay for none of them.

Uber-Goober
02-04-2010, 07:56 AM
You pay for every oil change and than some starting at the negotiating table and only stop when you get rid of the loan. By then that $130 LOF that is worked into the price is really $170.

The only way one can avoid being a sheep and not do what the manufacturer wants us to do is to buy a slightly used car for cash and take care of his/her own maintenance...

The old saying of "if you can't write a check for it, you can't afford it" is still in place. But people are used to living in debt and on other people's money, which is why they they finance cars and find this sort of "free maintenance" acceptable.

Nick325xiT 5spd
02-06-2010, 07:30 PM
You pay for every oil change and than some starting at the negotiating table and only stop when you get rid of the loan. By then that $130 LOF that is worked into the price is really $170.

The only way one can avoid being a sheep and not do what the manufacturer wants us to do is to buy a slightly used car for cash and take care of his/her own maintenance...

The old saying of "if you can't write a check for it, you can't afford it" is still in place. But people are used to living in debt and on other people's money, which is why they they finance cars and find this sort of "free maintenance" acceptable.

What a load of crap. Debt is a tool. The fact that many people don't know how to use it is a separate issue. Free maintenance costs you no more than paying for it at the dealer, even when you are paying interest on it - the rate BMW pays for this stuff is not high at all. What is your problem with it? I'm certainly glad that any used BMW I buy has at least been serviced somewhat.

(And to be clear, I bought every one of my cars used for cash. Well, except for the truck. That's a "company vehicle," so it was new for $10K off sticker minus 35% tax deduction, so it was over half off with the government subsidy. But if I get a new car, I will lease it. It's stupid to buy or pay cash unless the lease rates are very unfavorable.)

Uber-Goober
02-09-2010, 09:57 AM
Only thing I can tell you is that I personally wouldn't not buy a vehicle unless I can write a check for it. I don't consider any debt good debt, even mortgage. Driving a BMW used to mean something, but today it just means that someone qualified for a loan or worse yet, a lease. Nothing more. Lease makes no sense, unless it's for business and you can write the whole thing off. BMW's don't fall into this category unless one wants to wave a red flag in IRS' face. Otherwise it's just a stupid move by pretentious people, so that they can brag about what they drive...

...and if someone is looking to buy a used car, you can certainly tell if the car had been maintained or not. I don't care what or how people buy or lease something or if it comes with some sort of mickey mouse maintenance program. What I don't like is that many are idiots and think this stuff is free when in fact it's worked into the price, meaning if I wanted to "BUY" a new car I have to pay extra as well, without a choice...all because of uneducated consumers.

We all vote, at the register...

Bob
02-09-2010, 11:42 AM
What a load of crap. Debt is a tool. The fact that many people don't know how to use it is a separate issue. Free maintenance costs you no more than paying for it at the dealer, even when you are paying interest on it - the rate BMW pays for this stuff is not high at all. What is your problem with it? I'm certainly glad that any used BMW I buy has at least been serviced somewhat.

(And to be clear, I bought every one of my cars used for cash. Well, except for the truck. That's a "company vehicle," so it was new for $10K off sticker minus 35% tax deduction, so it was over half off with the government subsidy. But if I get a new car, I will lease it. It's stupid to buy or pay cash unless the lease rates are very unfavorable.)

You can't prove a negative, so you never really know if the 6 year no interest loan saved you more than what they might have knocked off of the price. A Hyundai dealer, Antwerpen, is offering a new Elantra for $1, if you buy a new Sonata, isn't that like $8k?

Nick325xiT 5spd
02-10-2010, 10:45 AM
Only thing I can tell you is that I personally wouldn't not buy a vehicle unless I can write a check for it. I don't consider any debt good debt, even mortgage. Driving a BMW used to mean something, but today it just means that someone qualified for a loan or worse yet, a lease. Nothing more. Lease makes no sense, unless it's for business and you can write the whole thing off. BMW's don't fall into this category unless one wants to wave a red flag in IRS' face. Otherwise it's just a stupid move by pretentious people, so that they can brag about what they drive...

...and if someone is looking to buy a used car, you can certainly tell if the car had been maintained or not. I don't care what or how people buy or lease something or if it comes with some sort of mickey mouse maintenance program. What I don't like is that many are idiots and think this stuff is free when in fact it's worked into the price, meaning if I wanted to "BUY" a new car I have to pay extra as well, without a choice...all because of uneducated consumers.

We all vote, at the register...

How exactly does leasing make no sense? You get to rent a car for 3 years or so, and you can either keep it or hand it back when you're done. You still negotiate the purchase price of the car, and at worst, you pay the same interest rate as you would to buy it. In three years, if you like it, keep the car, or if the car is wrecked, a POS, worth substantially less than the residual, or you're bored, just hand it back. A lease is essentially a put. For example, my parents made the huge mistake of buying an SL55 AMG. Leasing that piece of shit would literally have been $40,000 cheaper.

Free maintenance raises the AVERAGE level of maintenance performed on all the cars. You can only tell how well maintained a car is up to a point. And if you MUST have all records with the car, then you will spend thousands extra because only a few people will actually do that. Free maintenance means that a) BMW has a record that the service was performed, and b) you have confidence that it was done. I'm not sure why you object so strongly to having the dealer do the work.

And anyway, BMWs are heavily subsidized these days. It's yet another reason to lease, as most of the subsidies come in the form of lease rate reductions and inflated residuals.

Nick325xiT 5spd
02-10-2010, 10:52 AM
You can't prove a negative, so you never really know if the 6 year no interest loan saved you more than what they might have knocked off of the price. A Hyundai dealer, Antwerpen, is offering a new Elantra for $1, if you buy a new Sonata, isn't that like $8k?

*shrug* I'm not sure what the deals some Hyundai dealer is offering have to do with free maintenance on BMWs, or Uber-Goober's irrational hatred of debt instruments.

I don't expect that free maintenance saves me any money. I just don't believe that it costs me much, if anything, over what it would cost to have the car maintained without it.

Uber-Goober
02-10-2010, 12:09 PM
Lease only makes sense if you own a company and can write it of. PLAIN AND SIMPLE. Lease is not a good deal by the very definition of it and only benefits the dealer. You are throwing money out for a car you should not be driving. High end cars are luxury because they are not necessary. They are not luxury because they have leather and laser cruise and whatever, you can get all of that in a Honda. That being said most un-necessary things will depreciate faster than items that are needed.

In my humble opinion, I believe only way I can afford a car is if I am able to let go of no more than 30% of my available cash, not investment etc...but cash in bank. Otherwise I should be riding in a 1990 Civic or something like that...

What I am saying is that there has been a trend with the manufactures to move vehicles to those who cannot afford their cars by the way of leases...so if a person can afford a cheap car but chooses to lease a more expensive one, or "NEEDS" a new car every two years, they are not in fact an idiot but a financial degenerate. These same people have caused the current situation of "free maintenance" cause they can't do math. When I talk about a person not being able to afford it I am not talking about a person that works at McDonalds, but anyone who is not in a good financial position. They are plenty of people with high incomes and still don't have a pot to piss in. I certainly know plenty of docs and lawyers who earn big dollars, live in mansions and are 2-3 mil in debt...

I understand that the typical BMW driver does not want to worry about maintenance, but all I want, is to be able to buy a new car and take care of my own affairs...which is no longer a possibility without paying extra for the "free stuff"...

Bob
02-10-2010, 12:13 PM
Nick, I was just generalizing on the whole debt/loan/freebies dialog, you never know what you saved or overpaid, since you can't prove what the oppsite result might have been. Its kinda like the oil change zealots, nobody knows if it saved the engine unless all the same engines blew up with less service.

Nick325xiT 5spd
02-10-2010, 07:27 PM
Lease only makes sense if you own a company and can write it of. PLAIN AND SIMPLE. Lease is not a good deal by the very definition of it and only benefits the dealer. You are throwing money out for a car you should not be driving. High end cars are luxury because they are not necessary. They are not luxury because they have leather and laser cruise and whatever, you can get all of that in a Honda. That being said most un-necessary things will depreciate faster than items that are needed.

In my humble opinion, I believe only way I can afford a car is if I am able to let go of no more than 30% of my available cash, not investment etc...but cash in bank. Otherwise I should be riding in a 1990 Civic or something like that...

What I am saying is that there has been a trend with the manufactures to move vehicles to those who cannot afford their cars by the way of leases...so if a person can afford a cheap car but chooses to lease a more expensive one, or "NEEDS" a new car every two years, they are not in fact an idiot but a financial degenerate. These same people have caused the current situation of "free maintenance" cause they can't do math. When I talk about a person not being able to afford it I am not talking about a person that works at McDonalds, but anyone who is not in a good financial position. They are plenty of people with high incomes and still don't have a pot to piss in. I certainly know plenty of docs and lawyers who earn big dollars, live in mansions and are 2-3 mil in debt...

I understand that the typical BMW driver does not want to worry about maintenance, but all I want, is to be able to buy a new car and take care of my own affairs...which is no longer a possibility without paying extra for the "free stuff"...

*shrug* Your affordability metrics are fine. Excessive, but fine.

You are absolutely flat our WRONG about leasing, though. While you are correct that leasing has been used to move cars off the lot to people who probably really can't rationally afford them, that does not mean that it's not a useful tool.

Let's take a few examples here:
Buy a car for cash. $48,907 out the door.
5- year loan. $56,730.56 at 6%
3 year lease. $20,442.24 with $30,948.75 residual.

The example I used was the 335i that my Mom will return when the weather clears Actual purchase price out the door, actual lease deal. How exactly is that such a bad deal? The only downside is really that the residual is substantially higher than the market value of the car right now, which would be annoying if she decided to keep it.

I get that you would rather deal with your own maintenance. I'm not a huge fan of the "free" maintenance, either, as far as MY car is concerned. Net, net, though, it's a useful marketing tool for BMW, and it has no downside for 99% of the buyers. And really, do you actually believe that BMW pays anything like the thousand dollars a typical dealer charges for a single axle brake job?

Nick325xiT 5spd
02-10-2010, 07:33 PM
Nick, I was just generalizing on the whole debt/loan/freebies dialog, you never know what you saved or overpaid, since you can't prove what the oppsite result might have been. Its kinda like the oil change zealots, nobody knows if it saved the engine unless all the same engines blew up with less service.

*shrug* At best, you'd save some fraction of what BMW charges to extend the maintenance program if they backed it out of the initial purchase price of the car. Since they would pull it out at their cost, you really aren't talking about all that much.

Biggins
02-10-2010, 08:23 PM
I'm with Nick on his leasing argument. It's a much better deal to lease a BMW for three or so years and decide to buy then, or just trade it in for a newer lease and repeat. I really do not see a downside and highly doubt I would buy a new car. Also, I feel like it is not that hard to find people to take over your lease if you really need out of it. With that said, there are no new cars that interest me enough to get me in a showroom.

I'm an enthusiast, but I hate working on my car, so I really don't mind throwing the maintenance in there.

Uber-Goober
02-10-2010, 09:21 PM
Even if one overlooks the financial end of it, I don't want to be told how many miles I can drive something or that it has to remain stock, I don't want to go to an autocross event and have to tape my license plates.

With respect to maintenance; manufactures have been extending service intervals to make it look like their cars are low maintenance, even after the 50k mark or whatever it might be for others. Bmw owners, and I suppose people who lease Bmw's too are better educated due to the club and forums. But the general public knows very little about proper maintenance. I used to own a car shop so speaking from personal experience and from talking with other car shop owners; you would always have a customer come in and be clueless about everything; so here you have to "relearn" them all over again because they were under the impression they only needed to have plugs changed at 100k...and by that time the car is falling apart....

Bob
02-11-2010, 10:12 AM
*shrug* Your affordability metrics are fine. Excessive, but fine.

You are absolutely flat our WRONG about leasing, though. While you are correct that leasing has been used to move cars off the lot to people who probably really can't rationally afford them, that does not mean that it's not a useful tool.

Let's take a few examples here:
Buy a car for cash. $48,907 out the door.
5- year loan. $56,730.56 at 6%
3 year lease. $20,442.24 with $30,948.75 residual.

The example I used was the 335i that my Mom will return when the weather clears Actual purchase price out the door, actual lease deal. How exactly is that such a bad deal? The only downside is really that the residual is substantially higher than the market value of the car right now, which would be annoying if she decided to keep it.

I get that you would rather deal with your own maintenance. I'm not a huge fan of the "free" maintenance, either, as far as MY car is concerned. Net, net, though, it's a useful marketing tool for BMW, and it has no downside for 99% of the buyers. And really, do you actually believe that BMW pays anything like the thousand dollars a typical dealer charges for a single axle brake job?

Heres my example; buy for cash 87 325E $800, sell engine for $650, put in old spare M50, run the hell out of it for 2 years,scrap it for $300, replace with 91 318is @<hidden>, repeat as needed, except the 91 is going to appreciate$ considerably,with only 89K..

Nick325xiT 5spd
02-11-2010, 02:35 PM
Heres my example; buy for cash 87 325E $800, sell engine for $650, put in old spare M50, run the hell out of it for 2 years,scrap it for $300, replace with 91 318is @<hidden>, repeat as needed, except the 91 is going to appreciate$ considerably,with only 89K..

*shrug* On the other hand, if my parents did that, they'd pay a mechanic for all that work and it would cost them more than renting the 335i.

Nick325xiT 5spd
02-11-2010, 02:42 PM
Even if one overlooks the financial end of it, I don't want to be told how many miles I can drive something or that it has to remain stock, I don't want to go to an autocross event and have to tape my license plates.

With respect to maintenance; manufactures have been extending service intervals to make it look like their cars are low maintenance, even after the 50k mark or whatever it might be for others. Bmw owners, and I suppose people who lease Bmw's too are better educated due to the club and forums. But the general public knows very little about proper maintenance. I used to own a car shop so speaking from personal experience and from talking with other car shop owners; you would always have a customer come in and be clueless about everything; so here you have to "relearn" them all over again because they were under the impression they only needed to have plugs changed at 100k...and by that time the car is falling apart....

People that clueless frequently don't believe in oil changes at all. I'm not really clear on how "free" maintenance makes the clueless people worse. If anything, it at least encourages them to show up for basic maintenance while the plan is in effect so that they aren't giving anything away.

As for mileage on leased cars, well, you just have to evaluate that rationally. If you put a lot of miles on the car, obviously it doesn't make sense. I've never claimed that it makes sense under all circumstances for everyone. All that I've pointed out is that rejecting leasing out of hand is wrong. (And that the more expensive the car, the more you should consider renting it. I wasn't kidding about the $40k loss my parents took because the bought the SL55 instead of leasing it.)

Uber-Goober
02-11-2010, 05:14 PM
I used to have people come by my shop for a state inspection with 2 year old S klasse or 7 series they got from ebay for $33k...at least that comes to mind...new vehicles just don't make sense to me for the most part. I don't like to be the one to take the hit. I work hard for my easily earned money;-P

I don't like leases cause if I want to drive the flippin' thing to Mars and back I will do so without scrutiny, I rack up 20k miles a year, just about every year. I'm certainly not gonna sit at home due to a stinkin' rental, which is what a lease really is. I don't keep my vehicles stock and don't want to hear $hit from some fool at the dealer about a double din that replaced their laughable stock unit...BMW is notorious for $hit navigation that can't find it's way out of it's own garage. "I drive" should be called "I lost and now you are too". Another thing about leases is that you pay, or at least used to pay property tax...property tax on what, $hit you don't own?

The reason I don't like the manufacturer maintenance schedules is this: when I bought my first car, it came with a book of coupons, LOF every 3k, flushes every 30k, timing belt every 90k...Cars are made better today and last longer but if the manufacturers are gonna thrown in something, do it right and include everything at the proper intervals and educate the public, don't do it just half ass...but that does not benefit them...

For instance, my biggest beef with BMW is the "lifetime" fluid in auto gearboxes. We used to have customers coming in all the time, declining flushes due to this lifetime fluid and they would almost come to tears when their gearbox started acting up at 70k and needed to be replaced for $5k. What is cheaper, a $350 BG flush every 30k miles or a gearbox, that ironically still needs to be flushed?

Nick325xiT 5spd
02-12-2010, 12:12 AM
I used to have people come by my shop for a state inspection with 2 year old S klasse or 7 series they got from ebay for $33k...at least that comes to mind...new vehicles just don't make sense to me for the most part. I don't like to be the one to take the hit. I work hard for my easily earned money;-P

I don't like leases cause if I want to drive the flippin' thing to Mars and back I will do so without scrutiny, I rack up 20k miles a year, just about every year. I'm certainly not gonna sit at home due to a stinkin' rental, which is what a lease really is. I don't keep my vehicles stock and don't want to hear $hit from some fool at the dealer about a double din that replaced their laughable stock unit...BMW is notorious for $hit navigation that can't find it's way out of it's own garage. "I drive" should be called "I lost and now you are too". Another thing about leases is that you pay, or at least used to pay property tax...property tax on what, $hit you don't own?

The reason I don't like the manufacturer maintenance schedules is this: when I bought my first car, it came with a book of coupons, LOF every 3k, flushes every 30k, timing belt every 90k...Cars are made better today and last longer but if the manufacturers are gonna thrown in something, do it right and include everything at the proper intervals and educate the public, don't do it just half ass...but that does not benefit them...

For instance, my biggest beef with BMW is the "lifetime" fluid in auto gearboxes. We used to have customers coming in all the time, declining flushes due to this lifetime fluid and they would almost come to tears when their gearbox started acting up at 70k and needed to be replaced for $5k. What is cheaper, a $350 BG flush every 30k miles or a gearbox, that ironically still needs to be flushed?

But just because leasing doesn't make sense for YOU doesn't mean that it's a bad program. And yes, of course it's a rental program. I use rent and lease fairly interchangeably myself. As for paying taxes on a lease, well, it's a NNN lease. Of course you're responsible for paying taxes on it. You expect BMW to roll that into the lease payment and hide it from you?

The only modification that my parents are interested in is winter wheels with snow tires. As for your DDIN nav example, well, uh, having installed a DDIN unit in an E46 once, I have to tell you that my verdict is never again. The amount of crap that you have to cut up is absurd. Again, 99% of owners are not like you or me. Just like any other option, you have to rationally analyze whether renting a car makes sense. If it doesn't, then it doesn't. If it does, it's frequently the better option. I'm NOT telling you that you should lease a new car. I'm telling you that it makes more sense for many people to rent it, whether or not they can comfortably pay cash.

As for service intervals, well, I agree that they are too long. *shrug* The only valid argument is that dumb people don't know that they should do a little extra. On the other hand, I still maintain that those same dumb people would very likely NOT have performed anything that they did not absolutely have to if they were paying out of pocket. I mean, just look how many M20s die because their idiot owners couldn't be bothered to change the damned timing belts as scheduled.

uptownautoservice
03-18-2010, 06:47 AM
I thin the real truth is exposed when the various service intervals were magically increased when BMW picked up the tab.