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Old 11-13-2012, 10:26 PM   #1
Kimbo416
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Exclamation Central Import is the worst

Hi everyone,

Do not do business with Central Import on King St downtown!

Darren at Alphawerx is the absolute best person to take your car to in the Markham/Scarborough area.

Here's my story:

I took my car after I purchased it to Central Import for a leak under the engine. Was quoted $900 for a new VCG, oil housing gasket, cabin filter (my request), and an oil change + oil. I thought it was steep but I also knew it was a BMW and what was I to expect?

Get the car the same day and was informed they replaced a pulley that was making noise (I never heard any noise at anytime during driving). With that - $1200 parts labor and tax inclusive. Not authorized or informed of at all - just handed the bill and explained after the fact. I felt sick to my stomach but also was okay knowing that I was taken care of and my car was good to go.

2 weeks later, I see a leak in the exact same area. This time I can tell it is a coolant leak. Take it in again - $840 to replace expansion tank + cap (surprise...), engine thermostat, transmission temperature sensor, upper rad hose, and coolant flush + coolant.

I though, not again...So, thanks to this forum I wise up and ask for parts so I can shop around and see if I can reduce some of the cost.

Here's the kicker: the guy get's confrontational with me for wanting specific information citing that it was against their company policy and that they will gladly give me my car keys back and that I should take my car somewhere else!

WTF! Fast forward, I heard a lot about RPM but it was further than I would like but was willing to take it in. Then I heard about Darren from Alphawerx...this guy is as good as they come - the most accommodating and friendliest humans I've ever dealt with. He assisted me with after-hours drop off of my car, provided an excellent breakdown of labour charges and allowed me to source my own parts to reduce my costs and to ship them to his shop to reduce the turn around time to get my car back. Turns out, after a coolant system pressure test, the only leak was from the expansion tank This saved me $500 and allowed me to give business to a business that deserves it.

tl;dr Went to Central Import and was treated like a walking ATM machine.

After, went to Darren at Alphawerx and was treated like a human being and saved $500.

I wanted to post this to not only shed light on Darren at Alphawerx but to also provide a warning for those considering Central Import. I would advise against it.

Thanks for reading and thanks also for the information on this board. It's helped me tremendously.
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Old 11-13-2012, 11:23 PM   #2
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Saving $$$ is good, but i would NOT do it on any cooling system parts! If one thing is bad, chances are everything is due for replacing, even if not faulty at this time! Doing a thermostat is a MUST if you just got the car, and dont know when it was done last. As you may know, all the parts are made of plastic, and tend to fail over time. It will cost you way more replacing each part, then fixing the complete system at one time.

The amount of blown engines we see due to cooling system problems is mind blowing, and in most cases the owners knew about it, but just neglected it.
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Old 11-14-2012, 12:11 AM   #3
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Agreed. I am saving money by not purchasing parts that are not required after attending to a problem and having 2 assessments completed by 2 separate shops. I am not saving money by skimping on required parts.

The objective of this story was to highlight the importance of developing a good rapport with a trustworthy mechanic, not to find ways to circumvent necessary expenses on good quality products and maintenance practices.

The parts I bought are all OEM and are being replaced within a week of detecting the issue as I know the coolant system is a bit if a weak spot for BMW's.

Thanks for your input!
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Old 11-14-2012, 01:18 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by Kimbo416 View Post
The objective of this story was to highlight the importance of developing a good rapport with a trustworthy mechanic, not to find ways to circumvent necessary expenses on good quality products and maintenance practices.
Yes, and IMO shop "A" did not go over the top with repairs...In fact, water pump might be good on that list too! The prices are not bad. Fact is most shops will get upset if you try to find your own parts; yes, you have the right to save a few bucks, but if your car is sitting on the hoist waiting for Ebay parts, they wont charge you storage!

If you found a good mechanic at shop "B", thats what counts!
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:33 AM   #5
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+1 for Darren at Alphawerx

Glad to hear you've found a new reliable mechanic.
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Old 11-14-2012, 09:58 AM   #6
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+1 for Darren at Alphawerx

Glad to hear you've found a new reliable mechanic.
Thanks. Yeah, he is really good.
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:09 PM   #7
uber e36
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Strange, as Central Imports performed work on my B5 S4 and I was fine with the service.
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Old 11-28-2012, 11:14 PM   #8
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It is a fine line, sometimes what one mechanic may ignore to tell you or recommend, another may see it as being needed right away (as stated to save cost in long run). As long as you find one you trust, thats all that counts.
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Old 11-30-2012, 09:00 AM   #9
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$900 for a new VCG, filter and an oil change?!?! Holy shit you got hosed as hard as by a dealership. Unbelievable.

That place sounds like its run by crooks. You should've price shopped vs. other places, you'd have seen wtf was going on. Wow!
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:54 PM   #10
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Yeah sounds like you got ripped off. Looks like they ignored the leak and pushed for something else while knowing that you will have to come back.
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:55 PM   #11
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Oh and doing work without your consent and charging you for it is flat out illegal. As in, "see your ass in court," illegal.
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Old 11-30-2012, 06:57 PM   #12
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Yeah you got hosed big time.
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Old 12-02-2012, 11:51 PM   #13
Kimbo416
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lvan View Post
Yeah sounds like you got ripped off. Looks like they ignored the leak and pushed for something else while knowing that you will have to come back.
Quote:
Originally Posted by dbworld4k View Post
Oh and doing work without your consent and charging you for it is flat out illegal. As in, "see your ass in court," illegal.
Thanks for the feedback guys. I am looking into contacting the MTO and reporting them, mostly in regard to the charge without authorization. From previous experience, it really gets the attention of the shop.

Just as an update, Turns out the leak was confirmed after a thorough vacuum pressure test to be a simple expansion tank hairline crack and transmission temperature sensor (sits near the expansion tank). That's it!

$350 parts and labour, tax included. Rip off artists indeed.

Again, Darren at Alphawerx is great!
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Old 12-03-2012, 09:36 AM   #14
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Good looking out in terms of the shop. I've dealt with people like this before.

That said, I'd start reading more DIY's on this site and E46fanatics. $800 for a VCG, OFHG, air filter, and a oil change was a complete steal. All of those if you had done yourself (painlessly simple) would have cost less than $150 with original BMW parts/proper 5w30 oil & MANN filter.
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Old 01-16-2013, 08:38 PM   #15
BmW1819
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In the books oil filter base charges 2.4 hours, valve cover is 1.8 and oil change lets say 125 parts and labour, both gaskets valve cover 82$ base gasket 20$
What is the hourly rate? ?
I see 700$ max

Last edited by BmW1819; 01-16-2013 at 08:41 PM.
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