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I have a 2002, BMW 525, with current mileage at 81,800.

My engine inspection light came on about two week ago. I thought I needed an oil change and took vehicle in and had oil changed.

The non-dealer shop I went to, informed me of my mis-perception re oil change VS “inspection”.

I was given an “Inspection II” work estimate; labor was $500.00, parts $366.84; (spark plugs @ $19.45 each???) for a grand total of about $867.

I live in northern CA (Bay Area) and am wondering if this fee seems high? Also, any ideas on where a better deal can be had? I am close to Berkeley, Oakland, Vallejo, etc.

Any suggestions would be helpful.


Whoa, slow down.

First of all you should know when the oil needs to be changed. The engine inspection light has nothing to do with the engine oil and you should thus not rely on something like this to determine when the oil needs to be changed.

Some G.M., Ford and other luxury cars have a message on the dash specifically saying “change oil” but unless your car was telling you that, well you get the idea…

Your check engine light comes on because something in the emissions department has gone out or is marginal/malfunctioning.

Did your mechanic say why he changed the spark plugs? What else were you charged for? Did he tell you why the light was on in the first place?

We need to know what your mechanic said regarding the “inspection.”

I would check around; use mechanics files at CarTalk home page if you need some recommendations. Based on prices at parts stores I checked, and assuming they are providing you with Platinum plugs or better, I find the plug price too high. An average NGK or Bosch Iridium plug is about $6.99. A platinum meeting OEM standards was less than $5 each. This price should also be available in your area.

While an extra 100 percent mark up isn’t unheard of, the $19.45 sounds too high. Ask what is special about these plugs and what brand/type they are.

is your engine inspection light different from a check engine light? Check your owner’s manual. I am assuming Inspection II service is listed in your owner’ s manual under the maintenance schedule, and is itemized. You can verify what should be done.

If this means a check engine or malfunction indicator light, some diagnosis is also in order first.

You are well off base. BMW’s have a service indicator light that bases the oil change interval off the way the engine is driven.

Andrew i has correctly identified what the OP is refering to.

Inspection 2 is also known as “the big one”.It’s the most involved.

A code scan is part of a Inspection 2, (all my Dealers did it that way)

The labor rate in your area is probably very close to the highest in the Nation.

Many people believe they need only a oil change but the Service Interval Indicator is telling them it is time for a Inspection.

Sorry, I thought maybe the O/P was referring to the CEL.

Clearly everyone, including me can only guess what light you are really referring to. So how about this. Get out the owner’s manual and check to see what that light is officially called and see what the book says to do. The owner’s manual will be right.