Questions About Our BMW Repair and More

If you have questions about the BMW repair, maintenance, or parts that we have to offer, we at Atlantic Autowerks have put together a list of our most frequently asked questions for you to look through. Each should give you more insight into the great BMW and MINI maintenance services that we offer, so you know what you can look forward to next time you visit. If, after reading through them, you still have questions about the services and parts that we can provide for your vehicle, we encourage you to reach out to us on our contact page.

[New Customer] - How much does it cost?

Our labor rate is much cheaper than the dealer.  We offer one of the lowest labor rates in the area at $95.00 per hour. We use the BMW list price rate, not the increased list price rates the dealers use.

[New Customer] - Are you certified by BMW?

No, BMW only certifies the dealer repair facility.  We employ techs that have been in the BMW tech schools and have many years of experience on the car. The manufacturer warranty is only good at the Dealer itself, however, we do accept aftermarket extended warranties.  We work with the extended warranty companies through the repair and payment process for the customer from start to finish.

[New Customer] - When can you service my car?

We make every effort to get your car in as soon as possible and complete the repairs in a timely manner.  Usually, depending on the repair, we can get the car in the shop within a day or two and have it repaired in the same amount of time.

[New Customer] - Can we use our own parts?

We can use your parts in most cases, but we cannot warranty the parts or the labor. We only guarantee that the part is correctly installed.   If we replace and provide the OEM BMW replacement parts, then we warranty parts and labor for a year or 12,000 miles.

[New Customer] - Do you supply loaner cars?

No, we do not offer loaner cars.

[New Customer] - Does the Diagnostic fee go towards repairs?

In some cases, the diagnostic fee does go towards repairs.  Call for more information.

[Services] - Do I have to make an appointment?

Appointments are preferred but not always necessary. Our reason for appointments is so we do not have too many people waiting at one time which would make it difficult to complete the service on your vehicle in a timely manner. You can be sure that if you call us for an appointment we will be able to fit you in within a day or two. Usually scheduling an appointment a day ahead of time is sufficient enough.

[Services] - What kind of oil do you use?

We use only O.E. Manufacturer oil and oil filters.

[Services] - Does your work come with a warranty?

Our work comes with a standard 1 year parts and labor warranty. There are some parts that can come with a parts warranty of up to two years, such as Bosch Starters and Alternators.

[Services] - Are your technicians certified?

Yes, our technicians are ASE certified! Our technicians have been factory trained and have plenty of experience. We make it a priority to keep our technicians up to date with their certifications. We currently have three qualified state inspectors at our facility.

[Services] - Do I have to drop my car off or can I wait for it?

You are welcome to wait for your vehicle to be serviced. We have a waiting area with internet access, reading material, and a television. Some work will take some time to complete so there may be some times where dropping the vehicle off is the best alternative. We do our best to ensure that you are without your vehicle for as little time as possible and still be able to back up the quality of our work.

[Services] - Can I bring my own parts and have you put them on?

We will install your parts but we will not offer any sort of warranty for the work done.

[Services] - Should I wait for my oil service light to come on before I get an oil change?

On some of the later model BMW's the oil service light is set to allow as much as 15,000 miles between oil changes. Since we see and service vehicles that are higher in mileage we have first hand knowledge of what damage 15,000 mile oil changes can cause. We recommend not going over 7,500 miles on the synthetic oil. If you are using Petroleum oil then it should be changed every 3,000 miles.

[Services] - How do your prices compare to the dealer and to other repair shops in the area?

We can beat the dealer's price on any work you need! We constantly update or prices to remain competitive with other repair shops. We only use factory, or O.E.M., parts so our prices are in accordance to those parts. Other shops may offer an aftermarket part which is cheaper in price but that part is also cheaper in quality and will not last as long as a factory part. We will work with you to offer the best deal around to get your vehicle on the road again!

[Services] - Will doing work at your shop void my manufacturer warranty?

No. Doing an oil change or any other service will not void your manufacturer warranty. When we do an oil change at the 7,500 mile interval we will not reset your oil lights so you can still get your free maintenance service at BMW.

[Tech Note] - Z3 SEAT has movement in the tracks back and forth.

Do you have a seat in your Z3 that doesn't want to stay put? It moves back and forth about 1/2 inch no matter how you lock it in and even happens with the electric seats.

We can fix that! A set of rubber isolator bushings in the seat tracks wears out and is allowing the movement. We have a set of bushings to replace the worn out rubber ones but these won't wear out! They are made of some special plastic that performs very well.

Each seat has a set of four bushings to install in the tracks. The seat needs to be removed from the car and flipped upside down to remove the lower tracks that move the seat forward and aft. Then we can replace the bushings and reassemble the seat tracks and reinstall the seat back in the car. Guaranteed that this will be the last time these bushings will be replaced.

The cost of the repair is less than $225.00 per seat.

[Tech Note] - The A/C air coming out of the vents is colder on one side than the other.

This is an indication that the car's system is low on Freon. The best recommendation to get the best results is to evacuate the system, leak check , recharge with oil and dye mixture, and add new Freon.

Note: Due to the properties of R134a Freon, a simple top up of the system can cause overfilling and higher than normal pressures. Eventually the Freon charge ends up being blown out the pressure pop-off valve on the compressor and you are back where you started; plus the a/c will not cool as well as fresh charge from an evacuated system.

[Tech Note] - Is your V8 leaking coolant out of the weep hole in the lower timing cover?

Late model V8's with the 4.4 liter Valvetronic Motor, N62, with coolant leaking from the valley and flowing out of the weep hole in the lower timing cover. We are starting to see this problem quite often. The problem is a seal on a pipe that is routed from the lower timing cover, behind the water pump, to the rear wall of the engine in the center valley is leaking. The fix is not that simple! It requires the removal of the engine and basically stripping the motor down to the short block to be able to replace the pipe with new seals. The estimates that we have seen have been close to a whopping $11,000.00 to fix it as per the BMW manual. There is another alternative that is available to us! I doubt that the BMW dealer would repair the car this way because it involves a part that is not manufactured by BMW.

An aftermarket company in California has developed a very high quality pipe machined from aluminum and it spreads out to close the gap in the valley of the motor without removal of the motor, heads and many parts. We have used this part and found the repair to be top notch! The machining of the pipe and seals were nothing less than outstanding and we stand behind the repair. We think that this pipe will outlast any factory pipe and seal combo made! The cost to repair the car makes this a very good alternative. How about $3150.00 total and usually can be done in a day and half. That is less than 1/2 the cost of estimates that we have seen!

If you think that you have a problem from this pipe leaking, bring the car by the shop and we will inspect it and tell you for sure! We can show you exactly what is done and what the pipe looks like. We would not have a problem with using the pipe on any one of our personal cars if we had the N62 V8. This motor was used the X5, 545i, 645i, and the 745i.

[Tech Note] - How can I get the coldest air out of my a/c vents?

Naturally, make sure the temp wheel/s are at the lowest setting on both sides.

Use the" Recirculate" function button to close off the outside air constantly coming in the car. The A/C has to cool all of that hot air as it comes in when in the "Fresh Air" mode ; when in "Recirculate"mode, the air from inside the car, that might already be somewhat cooler is now recycled through the evaporator for further cooling therefore the air gets colder all of the time.

BMW has a wheel that is located in the center of the dash vents in the middle of the dash. BMW calls it the "Y" factor temp wheel; make sure that it is turned so the all of the blue dots are showing or rotate it to the coolest setting. This "Y" factor sensor wheel will change the temp of the air that emits out of the center face vents for better comfort.

[Tech Note] - Are your headlights in such bad shape they will not pass state inspection?

There is a growing problem nowadays with headlights passing state inspection because the lenses are too cloudy. These lights can be cleaned up and now we have the company that can do it!

Hampton Roads Headlight Restoration

They specialize in headlight restoration and will guarantee amazing results. Hampton Roads Headlight Restoration is a mobile service so they will come to you.

Call them at 757-395-0800 or visit their website at

[Tech Note] - 3 Series owners E36 92-98 Front seat problems?

Has your electric seat quit reclining? The motor runs, but the seat back doesn't move. We now have a fix for that, and you don't have to replace the seat and/or entire electric seat drive mechanism anymore!

A plastic gear has been failing in the recliner gear box preventing the recliner movement via the motor.

We now have that gear, but made much stronger with better materials and we can replace the gear for you! The seat has to be removed from the car, the motors on the gear box are removed to gain access to the gear box screws. The worm gear is removed that has the broken gear on it, the gear is replaced, gear box cleaned out, re-greased, the worm gear reinstalled, and the rest of the gear box reassembled on the seat. The seat is checked on the bench for proper operation and then reinstalled back in the car. The total cost is for either front seat is less than $250.00 complete.

[Tech Note] - Does your Speedometer work but the odometer doesn't?

Is your mileage stuck on a number forever: No; it is NOT! We can fix it! The plastic gears that spin the odometer mechanism around have deteriorated to the point where they have just fallen apart. That's right, the gear teeth just fall off, the pinion gear usually only has the brass insert still on the driven shaft with no teeth. There are two kinds of speedometers that go into the BMW, Motometer and VDO. The Motometer unit has four gears to replacewhile the VDO unit only has three gears to replace.

The instrument cluster will need to be removed from the vehicle and the speedometer removed from the cluster. The gears are under a plastic cover on the side of the speedometer assembly. Care must be taken not to touch the front face of the instrument because finger prints will leave an impression on the surface. Also, be careful of the sensitive electronics that are attached to the speedometer head.

We can do it for you! We also bench test the unit with our special tester to verify that the unit is functioning normally before we install back into the car. We can test the speedometer/odometer by separately or installed in the cluster. The cost is less than half what it would cost to send the unit out for repair and/or replace it with a new unit. A VDO unit is about $275.00 complete. The Motometer unit is about $20.00 more or $295.00 complete.

[Tech Note] - Have water in the floorboards of you BMW 3 and 5 series car? Especially in the rear seat footwell area?

This problem is very common on these cars. The problem is water is getting past the interior door vapor/water barriers. The rope type seal that secures the vapor/water barrier to the interior door surface is coming loose at the bottom and water is pouring through holes in the seal right into the car. Sometimes, you can see a trail of the water coming out of the lower light in the door panel.

The fix is to sometimes replace the vapor/water barrier and of course, the rope seal.

We have found that sometimes that repair still doesn't fix the problem! Our answer is too apply an additional rope seal at the edge of all of the lower openings in the door and add another rope seal in the original location; but to apply the vapor barrier with a heat gun to make sure we get a good bond to both surfaces. Hopefully, the good seal will force the water that comes in the door back into the door where drains have been provided by the manufacturer.

Our theory is that if the water is not allowed to get between the vapor barrier and the interior door, then there is less chance that the seals will give way in time to the constant pressure of water sitting on top of the seal that could be trapped between the two components.

This repair can cost over $200.00 per door, but it sure beats what it might cost to repair the components, wiring, and wire connectors that are located under the carpet that have gotten wet. Not including the possibility of mold growing and the carpet rotting right in the car. So, it is necessary to make sure the carpet and the floorboards under the carpet are dry. The cost for drying the carpet depends on the car and how wet it has been!

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