This week I brought my 2001 BMW 325 convertible to BMW Tech LLC in Orlando for a number of long-overdue repairs and adjustments. It is a small shop located off of Orange Blossom Trail just south of the BMW dealership. The service is amazing; the prices are fair and the owner/technician who worked on my car is about as honest and forthright as I've ever experienced. I wholeheartedly recommend BMW Tech LCC for anyone who needs BMW service or BMW repair in the Orlando area.
I own a 2001 BMW 325 convertible that is long out of warranty and is frankly starting to wear out a little. I'm probably not the best owner in the world -- it's probably been two years since I brought my car in for a check-up, and the display panel has been gradually filling with more and more lights. But there aren't a lot of BMW service options here in the Orlando, Florida and it seems like every time I bring my car to the BMW dealer for service they charge me an insane amount despite the fact that don't seem to do very good work. In my mind, visiting the local BMW dealership for service has come to feel a little like going to the dentist and I was starting to think that maybe I just wasn't the right type of person to own a BMW.
That was until I found Nelson Aviles and BMW Tech LLC.
Nelson doesn't have a big garage with lots of BMW technicians. In fact, it isn't even in it's own building -- it's just one bay in a row of several bays and I had to struggle to find it when I first got there. The general location is easy enough to get to -- right on Orange Blossom Trail across from the CostCo and perhaps half a mile south of the regular BMW dealership. I live in South Orlando, and it's probably about as convenient a location as you are ever going to find. There is no big sign -- you need to know the address, and even then you have to drive into the back to find it (it's behind the Goodyear -- although don't drive into the Goodyear lot -- go next door and you'll see a bunch of businesses in the back. Nelson's place is all the way at the end).
There is a small office next to the garage manned by just one woman who welcomed me and offered me a fresh donut from a full box of Krispy Kremes sitting on her desk. She had me fill out a quick form, and then went to get Nelson who was working in the adjacent garage. He offered me a donut too. We chatted for a few minutes, he told me about his background, and how he had started doing mobile work (going to people's houses look at their cars) and then how his success had led him first to a location in Kissemmee and then to his current location. We talked about the various issues with my car and went outside to take a look. He was very friendly and very personable.
Nelson asked whether I planned to wait for the car to be ready or whether I intended to leave it. I told him that I had a ride and that I was ready to leave it (but points to Nelson for giving me the option!). I left my phone number and keys and waited to hear back.
Nelson called later in the day with the results of the diagnostic. He described several issues he had found with the car (mostly related to items I had told him about). He was very frank and straightforward about which items probably needed to be done right away (oil change, brake light replacement, and a couple of other items I don't remember) but was also very clear about items which could wait. One of the issues with my car had been that there was a leak in the roof (it's a convertible) right at the edge of the window -- he told me what my options would be to fix it, but said he would see what he could do to adjust it so we could see if it fixed the problem without the need for the full part replacement.
For one item, he indicated that it might not even be broken -- apparently the BMW dealership who had serviced my car most recently had overfilled the oil by about a quart and it might have been causing issues that were setting off sensors. He removed the oil and fixed the problem and said that rather than buying a new sensor now, we should wait a bit and see if fixing the oil level solved the problem.
The point of all this is that Nelson was very respectful my car, my time, and the fact that I didn't have a million dollars to spend on a car that was almost a decade old. He gave me good, fair honest options and he wasn't at all pushy. He even suggested items that could wait until my next visit. The total he quoted sounded fine, and I gave him the go-ahead to do the work.
He called me back a couple hours later. He had forgotten one of the items I had brought the item in for (actually, it was the main reason I brought the car in -- the air conditioner fan had stopped working). He said that he felt terrible that he had forgotten to put it into the original estimate, and that he was just going to charge me for the park (without the labor!). I said that it wasn't necessary but he insisted.
I should also point out that he did all of my various repairs in a day and that I was able to pick my car up the next morning. For those of you who think that is too long, keep in mind my various note that he had offered to do the work while I waited. I don't know how long it would have taken, but as far as I was concerned the work was done as fast as I needed it to be done.
He said that the car would be done at 9am, and the car was definitely ready to go when I arrived to pick it up at 10:30am. I had to wait a few minutes for my bill to be organized, but that was OK -- in the midst of it I learned that Nelson had actually charged me LESS than the original quote on one bit of labor and absolutely didn't charge me labor for the item he said he wasn't going to charge me for. I paid, I got my key, and was out of there.
One more thing -- before I left, Nelson gave me another copy of his card. He told me that he was closed on Sundays and Mondays, but that if I ever had an issue with my BMW I should send him an e-mail --- even if it was on a Sunday or Monday --- and he would see what he could to do help.
I do not know how much I saved. I'm pretty sure it was a lot, and I felt very good about the money that I paid. I felt like I was treated honestly, respectfully, and I haven't experienced such personal, friendly customer service from a car repair place in years -- especially a BMW repair service. I will gladly bring my BMW to Nelson Aviles for repairs in the future, and I most wholeheartedly recommend him to anyone looking for BMW repairs in the Orlando area.