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BMW 3-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • rflrfl Posts: 100
    One of BMW's more inane "big brother" features is disabling the airbags when there is no human being sitting in the passenger seat. When my wife uses a cushion in the passenger seat(for a hip ailment) on long rides- the "airbag disabled light" comes on indicating no airbags on the passenger side.. This is a serious design flaw that needs to be corrected. We paid for and expect working airbags irrespective of the fact that a cushion is used on top of the seat cushion. The weight is there so this should NOT be an issue. The dealer handed it off to BMW siting a "liability issue" and BMW handed it right back to the dealer who cannot/will not offer a fix. Chat rooms are filled with "fixes" that seem to involve the installation of a resistor/diode system inline with the sensor plug...something I don't want to mess with. Anyone got any great ideas?
  • I have a 335i w/snows all the way around on dedicated rims. works good in snow & gives u flexibility to install when u need.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    Keep in mind that ALL manufacturers are now required by law to depower or disable the airbags on the passenger side when the system is not able to detect an adult sitting in the seat; this has nothing to do with a design flaw.
  • xeyexeye Posts: 168
    My wife's 328xi has about 40,000 miles on the odometer. The 4 year 50,000 no-charge warranty is due to expire in August 2012. My dealer originally wanted to charge $2,495 for the 6 year 100,000 mile extension, and has agreed to lower it to $1,895 if I buy it before year-end. He claims that BMW would charge $1,700 for front & rear brakes and suggests that the reduced charge is a good deal. My local indie shop quoted ~$1,200 for the brake job including all parts & labor.

    I've just seen a message referencing an Atlanta shop where the quote seemed to be $945. Compared to that, it seems that my "trusted" dealer is trying to screw me over.

    The finance weasel also wanted to charge me $4,290 for the mechanical warranty extension for the same extended period.

    What do you think of the offer, and what is a reasonable amount to pay, assuming any amount is worth it?

    We have about 18 months until the car is paid off, so we will be keeping it for another 2-3 years, at least.

    Thanks for your input.
  • rflrfl Posts: 100
    Hi Shipo... always appreciate your knowlable comments. For the life of me I cannot fathom the rational for this "mandate". I could understand a reason for mandating that the airbags remain operative...but INoperative? It makes no sense, My old Miata had a switch to turn off the front seat airbags if, for example, you were carrying a child (or a dog) in the front seat...but that was a two seater! Perhaps if your could point out a reason for this non-sensicle rule, I'd understand it. In the meantime, my dealer has pledged a follow through to find a way to end-run this sensor with BMW's coopeation. I am told that this is a constant complaint. I have also contacted the NHTSA who's engineers also cannot explain the mandate!
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 13,232
    If only the driver is in the car during a collision where the airbags deploy, the passenger side air bag WILL NOT deploy, therefore saving your insurance company the cost of replacing an air bag that deployed for no reason.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,148
    The reason for the law is pretty much the same reason your Miata had a kill switch; to prevent injury to children and lightweight occupants of the right front seat during a crash.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 25,800
    Question you will have to ask yourself is what maintenance you will need in those 2 years. Add it all up and see how it compares to what they are charging for the plan.

    '18 BMW 330xi; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 47-car history and counting!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Also read ALL the "exclusions" in the plan very very carefully and ask questions about any exclusion you don't understand.
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 5,474
    edited December 2011
    You seem very angry for no reason. Just because somebody charges more than somebody else, or tries to sell you something, or even charges more than you think they should, it doesn't immediately mean they are screwing you over and it does not make them weasels. Their job is sell you stuff and your job is to evaluate value of the product and say "no thank you" if you think it's not worth the money.

    First, there are some legitimate differences in cost between independent mechanic and a dealer shop (costs related to staff, shop, franchise). More importantly, in free market society anybody can charge whatever they want for a product or service and it doesn't mean they are screwing people over. They simply have too high prices - and market will take care of that by having fewer people using the service. Just because Wiliams-Sonoma charges more for cookware that appears to be the same than Bed Bath and Beyond, doesn't mean W-S is evil. It's OK to have too high prices (from ethical point of view anyway - it may be a stupid business decision, but being stupid is not criminal, yet) as long as you say what they are before entering agreement. It's a business decision to charge X amount, somebody else makes a business decision to charge Y and then you make business decision to use or not to use those services.

    My definition of "screwing somebody over" is delivering less than promised, by using subpar parts or subpar labor (or not performing promised work), selling unnecessary service under "you have to do it or else...", or bait and switch tactics. Just simply saying "my work is worth a lot" is not screwing people over.

    On maintenance or warranty service agreement. Only you can make determination how much it is worth. I find extended warranties not worth their prices, but it's my personal opinion based on observation of several years me buying those warranties and using them. Service contracts (maintenance) are all over the place - from highly overpriced to worth every penny. It is really about what they cover, what the price is and where you are planning to service your car (reference price). Seems like you don't think very highly of your dealer - why then would you subject yourself to more contact? Go your way and take your money to an independent garage. But again - no reason to call people weasels and be angry.

    2018 430i Gran Coupe

  • xeyexeye Posts: 168
    My apologies to the readers and to my dealership in MA if I had perhaps used a poor choice of words. I'm not angry, and I actually really like my dealership and have a great relationship with their staff, especially the General Manager. It's the Finance guys I'm not wild about. When I saw what they were asking for the extended maintenance and mechanical contracts compared to what I read on various posts, I felt like they were trying to take advantage of me. In that the GM dropped the price of the maintenance contract by 25% below what the finance guy initially quoted simply by asking, I feel that the "weasel" title is, at least, somewhat justified.

    Beyond that, I could not get the dealer to commit to provide a complete brake job within the extra 2 years even though their price quote takes their cost + profit of the brake job specifically into account in their pricing structure, hence the term "screwed over" since it is akin to throwing away good money.

    Extended contracts of any kind play against consumers' fears of costly repairs. Obviously, it is incumbent on the consumer to try as accurately as possible to estimate the benefit vs cost. Unfortunately, the vast majority of consumers are at a significant disadvantage when it comes to doing that successfully.

    Extended warranties may well pay off for some, including me. However, it seems ironic to hope that your vehicle breaks down in some significant repairable way just so you can get your money's worth. I buy health, home and auto insurance, fundamentally the same as the warranties with the hope that I'll never need it. I suppose no hospital will promise you specific treatment just because you pay for major medical. There is just something much more annoying when the finance guy tries to justify his quote specifically on the total probable cost of a dealership brake job, oil changes, wipers and the like, and in the next breath, tells you that you might not need it, or get it even though you implicitly paid for it.

    What I really should said, simply, is that I was quoted $4290 for a 6 year 100,000 mile (from in-service date) mechanical warranty and $2495 (now $1895) for the maintenance warranty for the same term. Compared to what others have been offered from a reputable dealership for the same warranties (assuming that warranties from any BMW dealership is an apples-to-apples comparison), is this reasonable for a 2008 328xi with about 40,000 miles?
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 5,474
    edited December 2011
    Sure, no problem. To answer your question, if you had brake job already done on your car or anticipate one before the factory maintenance ends than the maintenance contract is probably so-so: you get couple of oil changes, new wipers and perhaps some other fluids. If, on the other hand you anticipate the brake job later (say you have 70% wear now, so by 6 y.o. it will for sure go to 100%) than you get that brake job on top - and then I would say buy it, as it then becomes a discounted prepaid service at facility you know to be competent. It is a simple math - how much you'd pay in the facility if you brought the car for scheduled maintenance, how much is the prepaid, and are other (cheaper) options attractive enough to change the venue altogether?

    Extended warranty - well, that's a different story. Over four grand for extra two years of coverage? No, thanks. I'd rather put it in the bank. Chances are I walk away with half of that after those two years are over. There is small possibility I may need pitch extra, but we are now talking about how likely is that.

    Insurance should be for catastrophic losses, not nuisances. To me catastrophic means something that would cripple me financially. Unlikely job on a blown engine or transmission is not catastrophic, even if it exceed 4 grand. It hurts, but if I can't pony a few thousand bucks, I have no business owning $40K+ car.

    Everybody has their threshold of "pain" set at different limits. I like to take my chances with small-to-medium stuff. Others shake on thought of having to come up with a few unplanned hundreds. They somehow have no problem with hundreds of dollars in monthly payments, but suddenly thousand dollars on electrical repair becomes a backbreaker they need insurance against. Those people need extended warranties just to sleep well. I don't like to pay those repairs, either, but they're not going to ruin me. So I rather take my chances.

    2018 430i Gran Coupe

  • xeyexeye Posts: 168
    I agree with your statements and I had largely come to the same conclusions. I have an off-cycle oil change for the 328xi scheduled at a local indie shop tomorrow morning where we have had reliable oil service done before on my '07 335xi, and oil, brake and I think half-shaft work, done on my wife's prior '95 318ti. I spoke to them earlier this week. Apparently, there is a layman way to see the brake wear, something to do with the turn signals, apparently. They will tell me, one way or the other, how much brake life we have left, and I will base my maintenance warranty purchase decision partly on that information.

    I am most inclined to turn down the mechanical warranty. I agree that I would rather bank the cash than fork it over in advance. With proper maintenance and moderate driving, the car should last in one piece beyond 6 years and not come too close to 100,000 miles.

    You are probably right when you say that owners of moderately expensive cars should be able to afford a few grand when, and if, necessary. Unfortunately, I am equally sure there are many BMW owners who have to hope they can drive a nice ride and not have to suffer that pain. I'm somewhere in between. I will most likely not keep my '11 335i xDrive beyond the 4 years (2.5 years to go). Should both Bimmers break down requiring major repairs at the same time outside of warranty, that'll be me you wizz by on my bicycle. Have mercy!

    Thanks for your thoughts, and patience. I've dropped a not too-subtle-hint to my GM that this weekend is month-end, quarter-end and year-end all rolled into one. I'll see if he comes back with something to my request for the maintenance warranty for $1695. If not, I still have until August 2012 to decide what to do.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 13,232
    Hey xeye - you still have your green 335i x drive coupe with oyster leather? How many miles you have on that now? Are you still loving it?

    How many miles does your wife drive her car per year? Have the brakes on her car been replaced yet? I believe you have until the last second (3 years & 364 days or 49,999 miles, whichever comes 1st) to purchase the extended maintenance pkg. Keep in mind, the dealer is really only supposed to do the maintenance when the car says to. I can tell you that on my Mom's '08 328xi that she turned in last December, the service light for the brakes went on at literally 50,100 miles. It was almost comical. Next up at about 60K miles is an Inspection II (major) service. After that you'll get an oil change at 75K & maybe an inspection I @ 90K.

    There are dealers in other areas of the country that probably do charge less for the same services. I know you live in MA if memory serves me. Dealerships in the northeast are not cheap ($120/ hour) for labor.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2015 Infiniti Q40 AWD, 2017 Honda Pilot Touring AWD

  • I think that a cost of your services is certainly your choice to charge, but I believe that most of us would have a ceiling that we would pay before considering it to be "price-gouging." And the term doesn't have to apply to a natural disaster, either.
  • xeyexeye Posts: 168
    Hey NYCarGuy! You DO have a good memory! I do still have the Tasman Green Metallic 335i with the Oyster & Black interior, and I'm still loving it! I have about 22,000 miles, probably 1/4 of which were on Interstates 95, 93 & 89 between Boston & Montreal. The oyster leather has survived remarkably well, except for when my wife wore her new black pants on a long trip. Fortunately, I have great detail guy who was able to restore the leather to pristine condition with one treatment. Needless to say, she does not wear those pants in my car anymore!

    My wife has put on between 40,000 and 45,000 miles since about July '08, so she'll be near or just over the 50,000 miles by next August. The GM at my dealership told me I had to buy the warranty for $1895 before the end of this year, or he "couldn't guarantee that the price won't go up". It sounds like one of those ads where I have to "act before midnight tonight" or "be one of the first 10 callers". He may be right, but then again I don't have to act at all.

    Your point about the dealer not having to do any maintenance until the car says so is an excellent one, and a point I very well understand. That's why I asked the GM to commit to doing a complete brake job before the extra 2 years would end. He declined, naturally. I would like to not have to pay for the 60,000 mile service. I understand that could be expensive. That may be the decision that teases me into paying for the maintenance extension. I hadn't thought of that, thank you. Maybe if my wife drives the car a lot and stomps on the brakes at every light and stop sign, I can really get my money's worth before 6 years are up. My nickname for her (when she had the 318ti) was Maria Andretti! We used to drive the Ortega Highway between San Juan Capistrano & Lake Elsinore in SoCal when all I had was a Toyota 4Runner. Hardly as good in the twisties.

    Anyway, I'll get an idea of the brake life tomorrow morning when the car is on the lift for the oil change and chat with the mechanics. They've always been straight with us before. Then, I just have to remove my shoes and socks and count up the expected costs!
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 4,569
    edited December 2011
    is that these "extnded warranties" aren't charities. They're a profit centre, and the cost has to cover a (very substantial) fee that goes to the dealer that sells them.

    In general, it costs less to pay for repairs yourself than to buy these things, otherwise they wouldn' tbe sold. The fact that they are is a monument to the notion that certain brands are failure-prone.

    Others aren't.
  • xeyexeye Posts: 168
    That is precisely why I am going to squeeze them as hard as I can. If they don't yell "uncle" at a price point that I'm happy with, I will walk away, AND let them know that I may well consider walking away from the brand as well when it comes time to replace my car. They can wonder whether I really mean it or not.

    To gain short-term profit at the expense of long-term gain is foolish and short-sighted, especially in a down economy.
  • xeyexeye Posts: 168
    After the off-cycle oil change and check on the brake life this past Friday, my indie shop told me I have 23% wear remaining on the front brakes and 37% remaining on the rears. The brake fluid has 9% life remaining before the flush will be required, all according to the car. I suppose the car's sensors told the mechanic all this. The service monitor says that I have 12,000 miles left on the front brakes and 20,000 miles on the rear brakes. Apparently, BMW won't do anything about the brake fluid until it reads 0% and the car calls home.

    Based on this, the brakes will probably need to be done sometime before the extended warranty would expire in August 2014. Just the same, I am inclined to decline buying the warranty in advance, and just pay as I go. The mechanic said that the simpler 3 series models, especially without iDrive, are largely "bullet-proof", especially at the relatively young age of 44,464 miles.

    Hopefully, this will have been the right choice.

    I hope everyone had a safe and Happy New Year!
  • idoc2idoc2 Posts: 78
    Other than $265 from the dealer are there any options to replace a lost key fob (the type that gets inserted into the dash) for a 2007 328xi?
  • dino001dino001 Tampa, FLPosts: 5,474
    edited January 2012
    You can always try a flatbar with a hook and two wires under the dashboard ;) :P

    2018 430i Gran Coupe

  • puffin1puffin1 Posts: 276
    I wouln'dt screw with it. Go some shop that works on BMW and ask them,what they would do. Puffin
  • puffin1puffin1 Posts: 276
    edited January 2012
    What do you think?In Maine (southern Part) it hasn't snowed this year maybe to morrow.I put Pro Contis on my 2011 328i. I want to drive it and get it out of the garage.Maybe get a set rear tires studded and steel rims.(pro contis) One day or three days it in the 40's and I'm driving a Golf(nice Car though)
    I'm ready to say to hell with it and drive it.Thats alot of fun sitting in the garage. :confuse:
  • Hi,

    My 330xi has low mileage about 24k. After a cold night, it wont start. With the clutch down and the key in, when I press the start button, I hear a constant clicking sound, but the engine wont kick in.

    The dash board lights flicker on for a bit and some of them stay on, which is why Im thinking maybe it is not the battery? The 4X4 symbol came on briefly a few times.

    Can anybody tell me if it is indeed the battery or if it the all-wheel drive? If the AWD fails, will the car not even start?

    Thanks in advance!
  • paddy159paddy159 Posts: 9
    edited January 2012
    It could be the battery. Rapid continuous clicking is the type of sound you get from a solenoid when the voltage is too low to fully engage it. Also, automotive batteries only last so long. 7 years is about average for a battery. A lot of shops will test your battery for free. Have you got AAA or other roadservice like that? Can you get your hands on a voltmeter? If the battery is reading lower than 12.6 Volts, there's a problem. However, you could have a bad ground, bad starter solenoid, bad connection. There's too many possibles for someone to tell you what it is without actually looking at the problem. One other thing, how cold is a cold night? 20deg., -20deg? I'm not real familiar with batteries capabilities at cold temperatures (I live in Calif.) but extreme cold could be a real factor.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    If you have the original battery in the car, the likely hood is a defective battery.

    Can you jump start the car? If so, it's the battery 99% of the time.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    I'm with busiris and hemanthh.

    6 or 7 year old battery + very cold => weak output
  • puffin1puffin1 Posts: 276
    Who keeps a battery 7 years? ;)
  • Thanks all! I just jumped the car, and it did start up. The all-wheel drive symbol seems to be gone as well. It is a 5-6 year old car, but I drive sparingly, so have low mileage.

    Looks like I hadnt driven for more than a week and the weather has dipped to the 20's with a couple of exceptionally cold nights and that did the battery in.

    Hope it keeps charge and I dont have to replace it. One dealer gave me a quote of $450 for replacing the battery.

    Another says there is a black battery and there is a white battery and there are about $150 and $250 or so, not counting labor.

    Thanks all!!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    Well we all want to pry your fingers away from your checkbook and get you to buy a new battery. :P Anyone have ideas for him as to how to avoid the dealer's rather pricey specimen?
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