BMW 5-series Handling Problems

838tom838tom Member Posts: 2
edited July 2014 in BMW
I leased a brand new 2009 BMW 528i less than a week ago, drove home in a bumper-to-bumper traffic (therefore never exceeded 30-40 MPH). My son borrowed the car to a tennis tournament some 20-miles away the following day, came home complaining about the handling on the freeway. I kinda ignored him as I thought the car was a little "too nice" for him. I never got a chance to drive the car for 2-3 days until this Sunday afternoon. Took my wife to shopping and drove on Fwy 85. After a few minutes at a speed of 65 give or take, I felt something was terribly wrong, but did not want to admit so I continued driving. A couple of minutes later, feeling worse, I looked at my wife, and she looked a little pale. Almost simultaneously, we both said "did you feel something wrong?"
The car felt like zigzagging forward, instead of going straight, enough to cause some dizziness just travelling 10 miles on the freeway, also to the point I started to feel unsafe. Luckily the dealership was only a few blocks away, I decided to get off the freeway and brought the car to the service night drop.
I suspected perhaps the assembly worker forgot to screw the bolts all the way in when mounting the tires at the factory in Germany, and would accept that scenario as it would be easily rectified by the dealership without further complications. The service department found nothing wrong with the car, but only until the service foreman test drove the car with me on the freeway, when he witnessed the exact same problem. The foreman told me he also had similar complaints with the same model mounted with the same Continental tires. Current mileage of the car: 200 (came with 50 miles in the showroom).


  • shiposhipo Member Posts: 9,148
    I experienced something very similar with my first BMW. Turned out that when the dealership prepped my car, they forgot to take the extra air pressure (for shipping purposes to keep the cars from bouncing when on the trucks and on the boat) out of the tires. Bring the pressure down, presto-chango, the car handled like a dream.

    Best regards,
  • roadburnerroadburner Member Posts: 17,252
    If the PDI missed any of the spring spacers you could also have some weird handling issues.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2020 C43; 2021 Sahara 4xe 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i; 2018 330i xDrive

  • 838tom838tom Member Posts: 2
    I encountered another new 5-series owner who brought the car back to the same dealership for the similar complaint on handling. He said his friends thought he was drunk when he could not keep the car straight on the freeway. My new car (with less than 200 miles) was at the dealership shop for 4 days, while the foreman was trouble-shooting the problems, trying different set of tires and re-aligning all 4-wheels. Unfortunately, the boat-like riding problems still persist after all these efforts. Again, the car at freeway speed feels like it is swerving alternately to the right and the left, like the wind is gusting from one direction this second and shift to the other direction the next second, enough to cause a sense of motion-sickness after 10 minutes or so of the freeway driving. I even had a couple of friends test drove the car and all had the same unpleasant ride experience. I do not think I can tolerate this unusual and unpleasant ride for the next three years, and have decided to report the situation directly to BMW customer service head office. It is important to point out that there is no problem with the tire pressure or the mounting and balancing of the tires, so the cause of the problem is kind of mysterious.
  • somilsomil Member Posts: 1
    Did you get your car fixed? I bought a 2009, 520D in may 2009. I'm also facing the same problem, so far it appeared 3 times. The car just starts moving left right and doesn't stay straight. When ever I take it to the dealership it doesn't show up and they tell me that they have checked the car but couldn't find anything wrong. This problem is so random, in past 2 months I had to face it 3 times.
    If you have got a fix for it, would you please share it with me.
  • palbpalb Member Posts: 1
    In august 2008 I bought a new BMW 520D and was very disappointed about the stability of the car. It was very sensible to the quality of the road covering. I did complain, the dealer tried the car, but found it to be all right. I suspected their factory delivered “run on flat tires” to be the problem, and insisted on having the tires changed. I got it my way, and they put on Hakka Z. Now the car is running absolutely perfect! (Afterwards the dealer admitted they had big problems with their run on flat tires).
  • pearlpearl Member Posts: 336
    Not sure that this is the issue here, but EVERYONE buying ANY new car of any make should check their tire pressure immediately after buying (next morning when cold is best). It is a common complaint to find tires grossly over-inflated and that will always contribute to "squirrely" handling.
  • jaaayjaaay Member Posts: 2
    I have the same problem, dealer doesn't know what to do. Did you get yours fixed?? Was it the tires?? I have 700 miles on a 2010 528i.
  • jaaayjaaay Member Posts: 2
    At highway speed the car seems to want to go right and left. They checked alignment and added air to 39 in all tires, still have the same problem, is it the run flat tires? Tire pressure?? Anyone know of a fix?? I have 700 miles. At low speeds it feels ok. I have sport pkg and run flats. I also have active steering which is supposed to make it drive better at high speed.
  • dkgsxdkgsx Member Posts: 8
    edited April 2010
    This is due to longitudinal grooves on the highway surface. Hwy85 in SJ as of a couple of years ago (and may others) have those as a noise reduction feature. (Tire noise on highways is due to air in the contact patch not being able to escape and "pop". Grooves help avoid "popping"). This is tire-specific--softer sidewalls/less aggressive tread seems to alleviate some of the effects. See for more info.
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