An out of warranty BMW can be quite expensive to maintain – especially at the dealership. But finding an independent BMW mechanic you can trust is quite the endeavor. You can read through their Google and Yelp reviews, but how do you know which ones are written by friends, and which negative reviews were written by competitors? At the end of the day, you just want a skilled BMW mechanic who is honest, affordable and reliable.
Before we get started with the recommended list, I’ve been on the hunt for a mechanic I can trust since I moved here two years ago. The good thing about owning a BMW is that they have strong online communities, as such, there are a myriad of tutorials available online for free, from changing your air filter to rebuilding your engine. With that being said…
If you’re looking to save money – my honest opinion is that you should learn how to do a lot of the smaller things yourself. Start small and find out what you’re comfortable with. Pelican Parts has guides online that provide a difficulty level rated 1-10, 1 is adding air to your tires and 10 is rebuilding a BMW motor. A lot of routine maintenance is fairly simple, such as air filter, cabin air filter, spark plugs, etc. Those three relatively simple jobs could save you $300-400.
Here are a few tips for servicing your BMW:
- Know Your Chassis – The aforementioned links are for the popular E36 chassis, the 3-series that ran from 1992-98. There are a lot of ways to figure your chassis out if you don’t know it, the easiest is probably just with a Google search – they’re listed on your car’s Wikipedia page.
- The Bentley Manual - A staple for any mechanic, the Bentley is the premier repair manual, ousting Haynes or any other repair manual out there. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s going to save you a lot of money in the long run.
- Buy BMW Parts Online – There’s a lot of places to buy parts online, I tend to price compare and buy from the best one… I tend to find that AutoHausAZ has the best prices and service, and there shipping to Vegas is obviously very fast.
- Buy Parts at the Junkyard – There’s a couple junkyards in Vegas, such as pic-a-part in North Las Vegas. If you don’t mind pulling them yourself, you could save even more by finding parts at the junkyard.
- Stick with OEM – I’ve had a lot of issues with non-OEM parts in the past, so just pay the few extra bucks and purchase the OEM part.
BMW Mechanics I Don’t Recommend
Before jumping into the recommended list, I’ve tried a lot of BMW/Euro mechanics in Vegas. I won’t go into too much detail but despite their good rating on Google/Yelp, I would not recommend the BMW Dealership on Sahara, Desert Oasis, or German Motors. Feel free to email me if you want more details but I don’t want to turn this post into a rant.
And while I haven’t tried Southwest Bimmers, I’ve heard from another BMW owner that since they’ve changed management a year or two ago – things have been going downhill.
BMW Mechanics I DO Recommend
1. BMW Only – BMW Only has come recommended to me from a lot of other BMW owners, and have the lowest labor rates I’ve seen for BMW specialists.