Frequently Asked Questions

Here’s a list of some of the most frequently asked questions when it comes to servicing and repairing our client’s vehicles.  Can’t find the answer you are looking for?  Why not ask us a question?

Why use an independent?

Independents service centres are for customers who value their car and their cash. Yes, you can take your car into the main dealer who will charge you a premium price for the privilege of service your car. Alternatively you can bring your car to Mercedes, BMW & Audi Independent and receive the same standard of service with cost savings of up to 50 percent - I haven’t yet met the customer who wants to pay more for the same standard of service.

Why have your car serviced?

Having invested sometime tens of thousands of pounds in your car, it is essential that you protect your investment by having your car properly service. Modern cars display service due warnings on the dash, it is false economy to go beyond these service intervals. Modern engines require extremely high quality oils and filters and if not replaced correctly can later result very expensive repairs. Spending a little on servicing can save thousands of pounds later, correctly serviced cars will make tour car safer, more reliable and give you better fuel consumption, and is can also enhance the future sale price of your car.

Are you able to stamp my service history book and reset my service interval?

Yes we are. As a specialist independent we are able to stamp your service history book which should you ever sell your vehicle, confirms to the new owner that services have been carried out by a specialist to exact manufacturer criteria. The service light is automatically reset to the appropriate interval.

How do you keep up with the latest technology for the new vehicles?

As a professional independent we have the very latest diagnostic software which is constantly updated in order to be able to access the latest on board computer systems. In addition our specialist technicians have direct access to technical databases where they are able to look up any technical or maintenance query.

Can I see them working on my vehicle?

Of course! Here at Mercedes, BMW Audi Independent we have absolutely nothing to hide. You can speak and watch the Technicians at work if you visit the garage.

Who will be working on my vehicle?

Our experienced technicians in Mercedes, BMW, Audi and other prestige cars, will be working on your car.

Do you fit genuine manufacturer parts?

Quality is paramount, so we always use dealer specification parts.

My car is getting older now and I need to keep maintenance costs to a minimum?

We understand that maintaining older vehicles can sometimes be very costly. At Mercedes BMW Audi Independent we are able to give you a choice of genuine manufacturer parts or suitable cheaper after market parts to help suit your budget.

My new car has a free service package from the dealer, can you still save me money?

Yes, free dealer servicing tends to only cover basic oil services and doesn't include items such as brake pads, discs, tyres, wiper blades to mention but a few, any additonal work carried out will be chargeable... at dealer rates. We advise you check what is free and save money by having any extra work carried out by ourselves.

My new car is still under the manufacturers warranty, can I still use you to save on maintenance costs?

Yes you can, new laws now allow us to complete all of your annual service requirements and wear and tear items such as brakes, discs, wipers etc at a fraction of the cost of main dealer prices. Should any major mechanical fault occur simply take it to the nearest franchised dealer and they will carry out the repair free of charge under the terms and conditions of your existing warranty.

Aircon FAQS

What’s the best way to run my air conditioning

Turn the air conditioning on, ensuring that it's not set to 'economy' mode. When you first get into a hot car, open the windows, ensure that the air vents are set to face level and the system is set up to do the same, not pointed at your feet. Remember cold air falls. Turn the temperature to as low as it will go, and the blower as high as possible. Also make sure that the air is on 'recirc' mode and not taking air from outside. When the temperature is more comfortable, close the windows and increase the temperature to a more suitable level as well as decreasing the blower speed. You should also point the air vents upwards to ensure the cold air flows down again.

Why should I get my air conditioning serviced?

As previously mentioned, through non-use seals can seize. Your car manufacturer when they service your car only test to see if the air conditioning works, not that all the components are working properly and in full working condition. Regular air conditioning system servicing ensures the system is full of coolant, that their are now leaks, the pressure is correct and that the hoses, seals and pipes are all in full working order.

Why does my car need an air conditioning recharge?

Your air conditioning system can lose up to 15% of it's coolant every year, so a 3 year old car may have lost almost half it's coolant seriously impacting on the performance of the system and damaging the components involved. You should regularly have the air conditioning systems serviced to reduce wear and tear on the components and help avoid potentially big repair bills. We offer recharging and servicing.

Does A/C use more fuel?

The answer to this is 'yes' it does, but not by much. But then think of the alternatives. You could have the windows open but that would increase wind resistance which can add up to 10% to your fuel consumption, especially at speed. And don't forget the extra noise and pollution through that open window. Also, it's worth pointing out that you should run your air conditioning at least once a week, especially in winter as the seals can seize up through non use potentially costing you more in future in new parts and repair!!!

What causes the smell in my A/C system?

The origin of the smell is caused by fungus, bacteria and other microbes growing inside the evaporator core. The moisture-laden environment is very conducive to the growth of these organisms. As automakers downsize components to save space and weight, this problem has been increased. Because the automakers made the evaporator smaller, they added more fins and packed them closer together to increase the efficiency of the evaporator. While this has made the evaporator more efficient, it has also made it more prone to trap moisture that contributes to the growth of these organisms. We offer a full odour removal service using the latest research, tools and equipment.

What are the benefits of air conditioning?

Efficient cool air in summer! Warm dehumidified air in winter easily demists steamed up windows! Filters pollutants / airborne particles inc pollen helping allergy sufferers! Pleasant and odour free vehicle atmosphere at all times.

Wheel Alignment FAQS

Will you have the alignment data for my car?

We have the latest digital alignment equipment that equals the specifications for the dealership network. With this comes all the relevant factory specifications for all cars.

Does having worn tyres mean that the car can be aligned – or do I need to fit new tyres first?

New or old tyres fitted will make little difference to the alignment readings. They will however have a big effect on the way the car feels to drive (even after the alignment has been corrected). Where there was a high degree of misalignment and hence, tyre wear present it would be recommended to have new tyres fitted at the time of the alignment adjustments are made.

How much can I expect to pay for a four wheel alignment?

4 Wheel Laser Alignment - £60-£120 This includes all adjustable front/rear end settings to within manufacturers range. If your vehicle is only front end adjustable then it will be cheaper, however, if your car is front and rear end adjustable it will take more time and therefore be slightly more expensive. Our average cost for the most common German cars requiring full front and rear adjustment is £65.

Additional charges may be applied when suspension components are seized and require work to free up and make adjustable.

My tyres are wearing a little on the inside edge and my steering wheel is not quite straight ahead. What might be the problem?

The first way forward on any car is to capture the current measurements for all the alignment angles - this will then give the complete answer and lead to the necessary diagnosis and subsequent adjustments. However as a general rule excessive toe-out will lead to premature inside edge wear - this will generally show on both tyres on that axle. The steering wheel not being straight is most likely caused by more adjustment having been made on one trackrod than the other - This 'fault' is common when tracking alone has been done.

What is the difference between Tracking and Four Wheel Alignment?

Tracking is an across the axle check of total toe. With the tracking gauges touching the edge of the wheel rim the operator peers through a 'scope' or views a light/laser beam on a scale. With no allowance for run out compensation the reading taken will at best be approximate. So for tracking - we have one angle measured approximately. Four Wheel Alignment will give a minimum of 12 angles measured, all referenced to the car wheel centreline and displaying these alignment angles and comparing them to the factory alignment data. Allowance is made for wheel rim run-out. We will have accurate repeatable readings that will allow the full picture of how the vehicle drives and whether undue tyre wear will occur. Adjustment would involve the steering wheel being set straight and adjusting the individual toe to maintain a straight steering wheel while the car is driven.

How often should I have my car aligned?

Follow the vehicle manufacturer's recommendation noted in your owner's manual. But, as a general rule, have your vehicle's tyres checked every 10,000 miles or at least once a year.

What are the “symptoms” of a car that’s out of alignment?

You should have your car checked:
  • If excessive or uneven tyre wear is found
  • If there is a feeling of looseness or wandering
  • If there is steering wheel vibration
  • After 10,000 miles or one year of driving
  • If your vehicle pulls to the left or right whilst driving straight
  • If you need to hold on to the steering wheel to drive straight
  • If you need to keep the steering wheel unlevel to drive straight
  • After changing a set of tyres
  • After a change of suspension or steering parts
  • After the first 2,000 miles of driving a new car

How important is wheel alignment?

Extremely! Research indicates that the average car is driven about 12,000 miles per year. A car with toe alignment just 0.34 degrees (Just 0.17 inches) out of specification has dragged its tyres sideways for more than 68 miles by the end of the year!