Independent BMW & Mini Cooper Specialists

Getting the Best from Your BMW or Mini

Exceptional Service

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At H&B, we’ve spent 40 years servicing, tuning, and restoring BMW and Mini cars. As much as we enjoy working on these cars, we are also focused on our customers’ ownership experience. We offer advice about which maintenance items are most important, which can be deferred, for how long, and so forth. Tips on tires, types of oil, upcoming models, known problems and how to avoid them: these are all part of our daily conversation with customers.

  • State of the art diagnostic equipment
  • Free loaner cars by reservation
  • Free shuttle to BART
  • Personal service at competitive prices
  • We maintain your new & extended warranties
  • Monday – Friday, 8 a to 5:30 p; Thursday until 6:30 p

Scheduling an Appointment

H&B works by appointment, though we do try to accommodate both emergencies and pre-purchase inspections. And with appointments, we have a generous free loaner-car policy: just let us know your transportation needs, and we will try to meet them. To book an appointment at H&B, please call 510.549.1515 or email Read more about H&B’s approach to servicing your BMW or Mini.

Is your BMW a Classic?

H&B has extensive experience with the older BMW models, many of which are true collectibles. We have developed many parts which enhance these special models, while keeping true to their original concept. If you are interested in making the next step in maintaining and restoring your classic BMW, we have some more information for you.

When to Keep? When to Let Go?

In the car maintenance business, we have a built-in bias to hang onto cars and fix them up. We admit it. Nevertheless, there are times when that's simply not the smartest idea. We try to be candid and say when enough is enough — in case the owner hasn't already figured that out. But then, not every car owner who has that special human-to-machine bond hears us when we approach this subject. So here are a few guidelines which might help if you are pondering whether to keep or let go.

Three Generations of the New Mini

We saw the birth of the first-generation “new” MiniCooper at the Frankfurt Auto Show in 2001 (sadly coinciding with 9/11). Though these marvelous cars were assembled in a brand new plant in Oxfordshire, the engines came from a new factory in Brazil resulting from a joint venture between BMW and Chrysler (before the Daimler Benz merger). These engines were fairly advanced in features and performance for their class. However, Daimler's acquisition of Chrysler changed the chemistry for BMW, putting it suddenly into partnership with an arch rival. These are all wonderful-driving cars which nevertheless experienced some teething problems. Specifically, with the early automatic transmissions, power steering, and occasional issues of oil consumption. These concerns and others were addressed in a number of service bulletins, extended limited warranties, and recalls. H&B endeavors to keep its Mini customers up to date.

The second-generation "new" Mini (2007–13) incorporated two main changes. The car was stretched by 2.7 inches; and the engines now came from a joint venture with PSA Peugeot-Citroën in the north of France. This improved the engine supply logistics, while taking advantage of PSA's advanced small-engine technologies. High gasoline taxes in France make fuel economy paramount, and these new engines were thriftier, but no less sporty, than their predecessors. During this period, models began to proliferate, including convertibles, a roadster, and the larger Countryman. All are loads of fun to drive, but some oil consumption issues (no oil level gauge inside) make it important to check the oil. Otherwise, early cam chain wear can create some expensive repairs. The French dipstick takes some getting used to, so owners are advised to come by for a demo.

The third-generation of "new" Mini is now upon us, and it has grown in size while shrinking in number of models. The new engines are German, which should tame the oil consumption, and the reviews have been enthusiastic. Time will tell how they measure up to their forebears, but the prospect is good. H&B will be there with the latest technical information and training as these new models need service.

Condition-Based Service: What is it?

Beginning with model year 2002, BMW began phasing in a new type of service schedule for all its models. The first to get this was the ’02 745i; then the ’04 5-series; then the 3-series, and so on. The idea behind “condition-based servicing” is that the car knows what it will need and will remind you. Its needs will vary according to the amount of time and miles driven, but also according to the kind of driving done: whether mainly on the highway, around town, or mixed.

Preparing for the Driving Season

Some useful maintenance notes that actually apply all year long, because today’s high-pressure, high-temperature cooling systems operate under high internal stress even in winter. The extra thermal loads of the hot days of summer and autumn driving just add a bit to their heavy job.

Emerging Technologies

The latest generation of BMW engines has now been on our roads for almost two years. These engines balance fewer cylinders with greater use of turbocharging. Where there were mostly six-cylinder engines in the U.S. models, there are now many more four-cylinder variants; where V-8s had dominated the flagship 6- and 7-series, are now also turbocharged sixes.

Best in the Bay Area Resources

Over the years, we at H&B have worked with many people in the car business. We have favorite resources for services as diverse as car audio, detailing, towing . . . pretty much all of the services you occasionally need. These companies are reliable, reasonably priced, and very good at what they do. We are happy to recommend them.

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