All fives?

Went in for service last week. Having over 150K miles can really put a dent in a guys wallet. Consider yourself warned. My wish list has exceeded US$4K, with almost half of that in labor (7 hours to replace front suspension components? Ugh). But that is not while I am writing here today.

My service was adequate as usual. Everyone was nice but I wasn’t killed with kindness or overwhelmed with any sense that my SA was very knowledgeable about what was happening with my car or with MINI in general.

I get my invoice in a booklet-type device that has, plastered all over it, we strive for 5’s. There is a card inside that says to tell MINIUSA ‘All fives’ when they call. I even received a follow up call from my dealer about 5 days after my visit, again insisting that I give them all fives.

MINIUSA called today. Any guesses on what I said?

While I’m all about giving a good, nay, outstanding, report when it is warranted, I’m not going to do that just because. If the rank is 1-5, then to me 5 would be absolutely perfect without any flaws whatsoever. Also, to me, that is just about impossible to hit.

I must admit I am in the wrong point in my life to own a high-mileage, serviced by BMW, automobile. I’m the first one to admit that. This is something I should have realized in the first place before I even purchased the car. But I was, like many of you, blinded by the greatness that is this car.

One of the things that will keep my dealer from getting a perfect score from me is the cost of service. $108 for an oil change? $20 (or $40 for those dino killing Iridium plugs) for spark plugs from the parts counter? $175 for an hour of labor? Really? These are the prices you want me to pay for a car that cost less than US$25K?

I’m not an idiot. I know they are in the business of making money. It just so happens that I am as well and like to keep as much of that money as possible. That means I don’t like having to pay for new facilities. Or paying double (or more) for parts. Call me a cheapskate if you want, but that’s how I think.

I don’t want to come off like I’m complaining, because I’m really not. The only blame here lies on myself for not knowing what I was getting into when I purchased this car. I’ll have the repairs done and figure out a way to pay the exorbitant rates for labor because I really love the car. Consider this more a warning to you out there that don’t have a high-five or 6 figure income and drive cars well outside of the range of the warranty.

And stop bugging me to give you a score you didn’t earn! If you wow me with service and do a seriously kick-ass job, I’ll give you the proper score. Begging for a good score looks bad and makes me think that you are trying to cover up for less than good service. Provide better service and you’re scores will increase. Bonus, you won’t have to ask.

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  1. I do ALWAYS get A+ service from MINI of Peabody; they are not as expensive as your dealer either, Don.
    I agree that it’s a shame the way BMW/MINI structure things, that their staff are pressured to demand all fives from everyone.

  2. Brecht BMW Escondido had a silver with black roof MINI in the Rincon Harrah’s Casino last Monday. I am still trying to figure out what the event is to win the MINI.

  3. I’m just 4,500 from the end of my warranty and I really wonder whether I can afford to keep the car after. There are a couple of independent mechanics in San Diego that can do MINI work so that is an option but as fun as the car is, being able to eat is funner.

  4. I too just got a call from mini yesterday. They drive me nuts because they’ll call several times a day from an unrecognizable number and never leave a message (and continue for weeks). When I do answer I simply say, “Give them all fives.” They are happy to save both of our times. And I certainly have no regrets in rating MOP that highly. It’s a shame the rest of the country has such pathetic service experiences, especially given the price paid.

  5. That is a great question.

    I don’t do the work myself because it out of my scope of ability. I have never been the most mechanical. I can do the easy stuff like brakes, but I lack the tools and skill to do anything much more involved than that. And I don’t change my own oil. I out grew the need to do that when I was 25.

    I also happen to trust the techs at my dealer. They are trained by the factory and know what they are doing. I’ve had all of my service and repairs (except the rear control arms) done at the dealer and it’s nice to have that history.

  6. At one time I had a job 52 miles away and the miles on my Nissan Sentra piled on over the years. This was 15+ years ago and I remember I used to spend around $2000 yearly just to take care of all the worn parts and consumables. Seemed to me it was too high back then, so I’m not looking forward to the MINI’s costs, but I’ll be using local service shops to help. By the way, the Sentra died of natural causes at about 268,000 miles, I guess I got my moneys worth.

  7. The dealership bugging me for “all fives” when they give me what I consider 2nd class service pisses me off.
    At Desert, if you’re a MINI driver instead of a BMW driver, you are definitely low on the pole. There are 5 service writers for BMWs, 1 for MINIs.
    When I bought my car from them, I gave them a 4 on one of the categories, because of the $2500 upcharge I paid, and told MINI the reason. The next time I was at the dealership, the guy who finally sold me the car (my 4th MA between when I ordered and picked it up, btw) asked me why I slammed them on the survey. That was his actual question! I told him what I said and why and he said “I wish you’d come to me 1st”. What a load of crap! They KNEW I was annoyed about the upcharge, but didn’t care. “Dealership policy”.

    Anyway…Db, I used to have JiffyLube do oil changes (not on the MINI of course) until they overfilled and ruined the transmission on my wife’s Subaru, now I’m back to doing my own. With a Fumoto valve and a $15 set of ramps, it’s a 20 minute job, and my local recycling pickup will take used oil for recycling.
    Filter $9 (no discount at Desert any more)
    5 quarts of Mobil 1 full synthetic $22 at Walmart
    20 mins of time $??

    Beats the $120 plus a day without my car for the dealership to change my oil.

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