Condition-based codswallop

For those who thought I’d comment on the state of the economy
I’m not. Although I might do later. In the meantime, I had to get
the 7 down to the BMW dealer to have a ‘service’. Now to start with
I was a great believer in this designer ‘condition-based servicing’
and to a certain extent I still am as, so far, I have had the car
for two years and it’s cost me a little over £600 in service costs
including VAT, which for a £52,000 car is pretty good in my
book.

Graham HillThis new system means that I can have the car fast-tracked
which means I get to take the car in, have a latte and listen to
Steve Wright in the Afternoon whilst the boys out the back do
something to the car, normally wash it, and I pay them about
£200.

The problem is that whilst the first service didn’t come up
until the car was 14 months old, requiring an oil change at around
18,000 miles, the services have become more frequent. I had to have
the brake fluid changed, as the car was two years old, and I was
told that in 467 miles I would need the micro filter (whatever that
is) changed so I might as well have it done now. OK, I thought, as
it only added another fifty quid to the bill, but then the computer
said that I would need new rear brake pads in just over 1,800
miles, would I like to have them done? No, sod off, was my
response, and how does the bloody computer know this anyway? If I
was to drive round the country on motorways north of Watford I
could probably drive for another year and a half and not touch the
brakes more than twice, but slip onto the M25 and I could easily
use up the balance of the available brake stuff by the time I reach
the first exit.

Warning lights

I’m sure some people would say OK, have the pads changed now,
which means that they would get changed a lot earlier than needed.
When my car told me that I needed new front pads, for a laugh I had
them inspected and was told that I still had at least 2,000–4,000
miles to go before I had to think about changing them. So,
unperturbed by the bold red warning that lights up the middle of
the dashboard advising me that the brakes need urgent attention, I
decided to continue driving for at least a month before booking the
car in. All was well until I had a passenger in the car. The red
light flashed on the screen and she got out of the car to get a
bus. No explanation would pacify her as to the safety of my car and
I was suddenly branded as irresponsible!

Well thank you very much BMW, I’m falling out of love with
condition-based servicing very fast but I won’t be rushing to get
my rear pads changed. I just won’t carry any passengers. My advice:
if your new car has condition-based servicing, only keep it for two
years. Pass this on to your customers, get them to change cars
every two years and make more commission – you knew this story had
a message, didn’t you.