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Old Apr 10th, 2014, 05:52 PM
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DIY Some advice needed re extra work done at dealers

Hi all, hope this is the correct place for this, if not feel free to place it somewhere else.
I have a 2005 Cooper S (from new) with about 60k on the clock. I took the car in to a main dealer in Northamptonshire because the airbag warning light was on - again!- and it wasn't the underseat wiring this time. I was told I needed a new positive battery lead which would cost approx £530 fitted.
I've spent ages looking around trying to get it done cheaper or even tackle it myself, but in the end I bit the bullet and it's in today. I then got the call I'd been dreading, but almost expecting, that in trying to lower the exhaust, they've had to lever the rear silencer off, and in doing so, broken it. They said the clamps or silencer itself had welded to the car through age, and the only way to remove it was snap it off. I was then told it would cost me 250 quid to replace. I started off calmly asking why I hadn't been called before they ripped the silencer off. The guy said that they couldn't spend all day phoning people before making every move.. which I can understand. But surely, knowing that the £530 was going to cause me big problems (I told them beforehand), weren't they under obligation to ask me if they should break my car before doing it? All I got was "come down and see what we're up against, see what we've been doing for you". It seems it's a case of pay up, or take it away. Sadly, I'm at my banks limit, and don't know what to do.
I would at least have liked the option to look at it myself to see if I could coax it off without breaking it, or take it to someone else for a second opinion.
I've left the car there and I have their courtesy car, but I'll have to make a decision in the morning. Am I being unfair to complain? Where do I go from here? Any suggestions greatly appreciated.
Thanks for listening.

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Old Apr 10th, 2014, 06:57 PM
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No, you are not being unreasonable, if they felt that they would have to beak something to get to whatever it is they were paid to do then they should have called you out of courtesey to let you know.

My MINI was in to have front and rear break pads replaced and the garage (local non-MINI ) called me to say I needed new rear disks, but they called me they didn't just do it.

Also, how does an exhaust weld itself to something !!!!
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Old Apr 10th, 2014, 09:45 PM
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Thanks Mid Life, That's what I thought, but need to be sure before I go there tomorrow.
I assume they were talking about the clamps, but he didn't word it that way, and from experience, if nuts, bolts, clamps etc are hard to shift, you apply heat, or penetrating fluid and leave it, then try again, then heat again.. anything but just rip it off. Also, wouldn't the clamp or bolt break? Why the silencer? They weren't dismantling the exhaust, just lowering it. They'd already said it wouldn't be done today, although it was in at 8.30, so there was no rush. I'm really hacked off with it. Oh well, we'll see what tomorrow brings. Thanks again for your opinion.

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Old Apr 11th, 2014, 12:42 AM
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ajbunny, my first port of call after talking to management would be to call consumer affairs and seek advice from them.

I've never heard of an exhaust welding its self to a car.

I also would have expected a courtesy phone call explaining the reason for additional work requiring your authorisation to continue.

Again, consumer affairs or what ever body you have in the UK would be your best course of action and make sure you documentate all conversations, phone calls and agreements as evidence should you decide to seek recompense for unauthorised work or damage.
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Old Apr 11th, 2014, 08:18 AM
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I'd also expect to see the 'damaged' parts (silencer) before you get into an argument about it.
Mechanics working on exhausts should be used to seperating them if that is what was required to replace your main battery lead.

Exhausts do tend to stick together over time but a good wack with a suitable hammer and some protection in the form of a wooden or rubber block usually does the trick.

The only time I'd expect there to be a problem is if the old exhaust has literally been welded together in the past but in that case I'd expect them to cut through it with a saw or grinder.

No garage should carryout work that is going to substantially increase the total bill without authorisation from you beforehand.

Also. £500+ sounds a lot to replace the +tive battery lead.......the labour involved can't be huge (just dropping the exhaust and heat shields etc presumably) and the part costs about £100 I believe?

Also I'm very surprised that it has failed in such a way that it requires replacement....I'd expect it to last for the full life of the vehicle.

Spike
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Old Apr 11th, 2014, 09:28 AM
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I'm struggling with the concept of fitting a new + battery lead to stop the airbag light illuminating. If your battery lead had failed why are all the other electrics in your car functioning. There is a big current draw on the battery when starting the car, if there was a failing with your + battery lead it would have manifested itself in more aspects than just the airbag warning light.

Airbag faults are usually down to seat sensor or seat belt receiver sensor.

Don't want to sound cynical, it may come back fixed and after spunking £700 plus on fitting a lead I'd expect it to be fixed but I doubt for one second that it's the + lead. Did the price include VAT?
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Old Apr 11th, 2014, 09:28 AM
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First of all, thanks again to Milpol for your words. It was 430am I think and I'd just woken up on the sofa, hence my Thanks tag.

Hello Spike, cheers, appreciate the supportive words. Several points you raised, and in no particular order: I too was surprised that the battery lead threw up a fault, as the explosive safety device hasn't blown, so where is the fault? I wouldn't be able to start the car if the 'fuse' had blown, so I'm at a loss as to what the problem is, and the dealer - Wollaston in Northampton - couldn't tell me either! They've told me that they only drop the exhaust to thread the lead through, so if anything is 'welded' or corroded, surely it would be the support brackets?
The other issue is the cost of the lead... it's just over £200, and BMW haven't licensed anyone else to make or sell it (so I'm told), so that's a short and curlies situation right there. The main gripe I have though is they just went ahead and broke the silencer off without bothering to ring me.. that stinks. I mean, that's an increase of 50% on the bill.. for a job that realy shouldn't need doing in the first place. Can you tell I'm not happy ;-) After I posted messages and reviews on the dealers Facebook page and Mini's too, I've had messages back promising to look into it, so here's hoping..
Thanks again Spike

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Old Apr 11th, 2014, 09:33 AM
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BMW has never licensed the part, I bet that's because there has or never will be a need to replace the lead before or since your car!

An easy test to check if it the + lead would have been to rig another flex externally from the battery around the car to the + terminal in the engine. 10 minute job that any half ar*ed auto electrician could have done.

Sounds like they're just up'ing the job.
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Old Apr 11th, 2014, 09:48 AM
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Hi Nige,
you've hit the nail on the head mate.. why is it being done? I had the underseat wiring problems almost since new, but as you may know, Mini UK say there isn't a problem so won't fix it once out of warranty. I managed to sort that myself with the aid of a resetting tool and lots of fiddling about, but it did leave a sour taste in my mouth that it was a problem of Mini's making that they expected hundreds if not thousands of owners to pay for.
I've just had a call from the dealer offering me all sorts of (guarded) apologies and a discount on parts to complete the job, but it will still be 700 quid instead of the 534 I was quoted. I'd like to fight it, but I'm so fed up with it, I might have to swallow.
Thanks for your input Spike and Nige. Alan

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