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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 11-03-2016, 11:35 AM   #1
lingon300k
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Dealership alignment

The alignment price at the dealership is $150 vs roughly $100 for every other shop.

For only $50 more, I think it's probably a good idea to go to BMW. I don't necessarily trust the other shops to do it correctly. Not that BMW are magical geniuses who will definitely get it right, but I think they're more likely to follow the correct procedure.

Is there any reason to not use the dealership?

(Reason: new tie rods.)
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Old 11-03-2016, 11:52 AM   #2
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sounds like you've already made up your mind
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Old 11-03-2016, 12:04 PM   #3
lingon300k
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sounds like you've already made up your mind
I'm probably going to the dealership. But I've never had an alignment done at BMW, so I just wanted some feedback from people who have.
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Old 11-03-2016, 12:17 PM   #4
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Don't see how an appropriately equipped independent BMW specialist could screw it up, but I do recognize that with MBs a dealer alignment is preferred.
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Old 11-03-2016, 12:56 PM   #5
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in my experience, I always go the dealer for alignments, not just BMW. I seems to have to redo an alignment after visiting the indi shops. Those shops always tell me...yeah, yeah, we know what we are doing...We have hitech machine blah blah.
Then they blame on my tires.
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Old 11-03-2016, 12:59 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lingon300k View Post
The alignment price at the dealership is $150 vs roughly $100 for every other shop.

For only $50 more, I think it's probably a good idea to go to BMW. I don't necessarily trust the other shops to do it correctly. Not that BMW are magical geniuses who will definitely get it right, but I think they're more likely to follow the correct procedure.

Is there any reason to not use the dealership?

(Reason: new tie rods.)
The dealership doesn't have a monopoly on good equipment and good alignments. Search Yelp. You might get lucky and find an ex-dealership tech that started a small business. Lots of no-frills shops but get the job done.

Lucky to have one of those around here. $80 4-wheel alignments, if it ain't out you don't pay.

image

IMG_8331
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Old 11-03-2016, 01:35 PM   #7
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In my experience, dealers for non-exotic cars are nearly as bad as tire shops when it comes to alignments. There's always exceptions, but most will just dial in the toe, and call it good.

I'm willing to spend a little more to go to a performance shop, or alignment specialist, who will dial the car in right to the tenth of a degree, right in the middle of the range (or wherever suits my needs).
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Old 11-03-2016, 02:00 PM   #8
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Thanks, guys!
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Old 11-03-2016, 02:38 PM   #9
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When i went to the dealer they camber everything within spec except for left front camber. Im lowered on koni/eibach pro kit and they didnt punch the alignment pins out of the struts i think thats the reason
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Old 11-03-2016, 02:43 PM   #10
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The last tire shop I went to refused to perform an alignment on my E46. They said it was a company-wide policy to not perform alignments on BMWs. I don't know why, but that is what I was told. I forget the name of the place, but it's a national franchise.
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Old 11-03-2016, 03:29 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by LeMansteve View Post
The last tire shop I went to refused to perform an alignment on my E46. They said it was a company-wide policy to not perform alignments on BMWs. I don't know why, but that is what I was told. I forget the name of the place, but it's a national franchise.
That's a special kind of ridiculous. Are you sure it's truly company policy, or were you just dealing with a staff full of as*holes? Some of the most ridiculous things I've heard in my life came from the staff at auto repair chains.

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Old 11-03-2016, 03:44 PM   #12
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Euro tire in Fairfield, NJ does a nice job, but I'd bet it will be more than $150.
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Old 11-03-2016, 04:35 PM   #13
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the bigger reason for a dealership alignment for was making sure the rear toe was done properly. i believe the dealership has a better method than banging on your RTAB bracket but idk. they did my car once, they'll probably wash your car if you want them to lol. personally found a really good local shop that preloads the entire car with some weight and gave me a printout sheet that checked out. ran me 90 bucks i believe
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Old 11-03-2016, 05:42 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by LeMansteve View Post
The last tire shop I went to refused to perform an alignment on my E46. They said it was a company-wide policy to not perform alignments on BMWs. I don't know why, but that is what I was told. I forget the name of the place, but it's a national franchise.
That happened to me as well at Firestone and a few other local shops. Went to Tires Plus, got a lifetime alignment plan for $160. Car tracks straight so I think they did it right. Next time if I have the money, I'll try the dealer?
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