Non-dealer Mini mechanics?
April 23, 2014 6:27 AM   Subscribe

In the DC area, does anyone have a recommendation for a mechanic?

The dealership wants $600+ for new brakes and rotors and I'd like to get a second quote. Has anyone in the DC metro area had their Mini repaired at a non-dealership service center/mechanic? Has anyone been to both a dealer mechanic and a non-dealer mechanic and know if there is actually a price difference?
posted by Slackermagee to Grab Bag (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
They're not Mini specialists --- they work on all makes --- but various members of my family (me, my parents, a sibling or two) have been going to Wiygul's on South Pickett Street, Alexandria (703-751-6766) for a few decades now: they're not the cheapest mechanics out there, but if they say you need something done, then a) you need it; and b) they'll do it right the first time.
posted by easily confused at 6:38 AM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: No clue about their ability to service Minis, but Auto Tech Service in Adams Morgan has been reasonably priced and trusty worthy in my experience.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:57 AM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Well, it's not a recommendation, but the site shows quite a few in the DC area.

I suppose one thing you can look for is a good, independent BMW mechanic. Mini's are essentially BMW cars so I'm guessing a good BMW mechanic can repair a Mini for you.

(Note: I'm assuming you have a recent BMW Mini since you said you had a dealer.)
posted by Fortran at 8:52 AM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Pads and rotors are pretty standard things to deal with, regardless of the make of the car, so I'd say any reputable import shop - especially one that does ze German brands, could probably handle this.

Yelp is often your friend in these matters. A good shop will be able to give you a reasonably accurate quote right over the phone for replacing pads and rotors.

Hell, if you're relatively handy, you could DIY it. Doesn't take complex tools to do something like this. A manual and some patience are the main things.
posted by Thistledown at 9:25 AM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

A couple of my Mini- and BMW-driving friends go to the German Auto Group in Springfield VA. I haven't gone there personally, although I'm considering taking my VW there when it needs its timing belt / water pump done.

One anti-recommendation is "Landmark Auto Group" on Duke St in Alexandria, on Duke St and Reynolds in the West End of Alexandria (near 395). Avoid. They advertise specializing in German cars, but don't be tempted. I used to live near them and thought I'd give them a try for a simple repair; they messed it up, tried to sell me on a bunch of unnecessary stuff, and they overcharged. Worse than a dealer IMO. They have no connection to the similarly-named German Auto Group.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:25 AM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Oh, and seconding Thistledown that there's no reason why you have to go to a "Mini shop" just to get a brake job. I'd go to a specialized mechanic for a true repair, but replacing pads and rotors is just everyday maintenance. Any decent shop can do that.

I go to Mr Tire (formerly Craven Tire) in Bailey's Crossroads for that sort of stuff, and I've never had a problem. They're a pretty standard brakes/tires/oil-change type of place. I've taken American, Asian, and German cars there and they've never blinked.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:32 AM on April 23, 2014 [1 favorite]

One other thing.

Avoid "Just Brakes" franchises like the plague.
posted by Thistledown at 1:58 PM on April 23, 2014 [2 favorites]

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