HELP! Do I sell my car or go for mega-cost repairs for water damage on a barely driven 2008 BMW X5?

tomcrewtomcrew Member Posts: 4
edited January 2015 in BMW
I am in the middle of a catastrophe after having been out of the country for 5 years. I left my brand new 2008 BMW X5 in the care of a relative who left the vehicle outside and unattended for the past 3 years. Apparently the water drains all clogged in the sunroof and leaked into the car. The brakes, tires, and fluids of course need to be changed but the water damage has caused major damage to the electrical system and the entire carpeting would need to be replaced. I've taken the vehicle to a reputable dealership and also to an independent BMW shop who both told me the same thing. They both advised that the car may have additional problems in the future and were skittish about even doing the repair work. On the outside, the car looks perfectly brand new. The water damage never flooded the car, the mats are moist but no smell of mold/mildew. The car has only 10k miles and both locations told me the engine and transmission are perfect. The repair cost comes in around $15k+. What do I do?

Answers

  • graphicguygraphicguy Edmunds Poster EmeritusMember Posts: 13,085
    edited January 2015
    Insurance? This almost sounds like it's a candidate to be totalled. I'd at least call your insuance agent and tell them what happened. Aside from that, $15k in repairs to a 7 year old BMW doesn't seem to be worth the effort.

    Why do the brakes need to be changed? Did the tires dry rot?

    If the carpets are just moist, how much water leaked in? Which electrics were affected? Does the car start and run?
    2021 Acura TLX A-Spec-Platinum White Pearl
  • roadburnerroadburner Member Posts: 15,113
    edited January 2015
    I'd also worry if the car has not been started for over three years...

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2018 330i xDrive

  • tomcrewtomcrew Member Posts: 4
    There was no insurance on the car while I was out of the country, since it was 5 years. The brakes are rusted from the water leaking in and completely corroded. The tires are in perfect shape except they went flat over time. How much water leaked in is uncertain but it was enough to affect the electrical system. The car can start because it has a new battery now but it's definitely not going anywhere without a working electrical system. The engine, transmission, wheels, leather seats, and body are in perfect condition. So you guys don't think it's worth the fix? The kbb value seems to fall around $25k+ if I didn't have these problems. I'm very sad.
  • roadburnerroadburner Member Posts: 15,113
    edited January 2015
    Do you have a written estimate? Can you scan it and post it here(minus any personal data)?
    How did leaking water corrode the brakes? Are the discs rusted?

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2018 330i xDrive

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    KBB is well off the mark on that one for $25,000. I see private party sales in the $19,000 to $21,500 range, and a few nice ones as low as $17.5K.

    The problem with getting it repaired is that such repairs are "open ended"--they start the work and since nobody knows exactly what's wrong, the work could go well beyond the estimate.

    I'd have to know exactly which systems ARE and are NOT working on this vehicle. Seems to me with only wet carpeting there would only be things like junction boxes affected.
  • roadburnerroadburner Member Posts: 15,113
    I know BMW cleverly designed the E60 5er so that if water gets into the trunk it can flood several major electronic modules; perhaps the E70 X5 shares that "feature."

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2018 330i xDrive

  • isellhondasisellhondas Issaquah WashingtonMember Posts: 20,350
    Scratching my head here....

    A lot of shops would be very afraid to take on a job like this and for good reason.

    A lot of unanswered questions here that are a bit puzzling to be sure.

    Your BMW may be worth more as a parts donor.
  • graphicguygraphicguy Edmunds Poster EmeritusMember Posts: 13,085
    edited January 2015

    Do you have a written estimate? Can you scan it and post it here(minus any personal data)?
    How did leaking water corrode the brakes? Are the discs rusted?

    Discs rusted on brakes can be knocked off. I know underside of vehicles, where brake lines usually can be found, take quite a bit of abuse....mud, salt, oil, grease, water, etc. So, I'm trying to wrap my head around the brake situation, too.

    If the tires are in good condition, pump them up and see if they hold air.

    If it starts, runs and moves, it may not be as bad as you think.

    $15K seems like a big bill for something that doesn't have any cosmetic damage, with no paint work involved and a vehicle that they say has a perfect motor and trans, which should run and move.
    2021 Acura TLX A-Spec-Platinum White Pearl
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaMember Posts: 64,482
    edited January 2015
    Well do the math. At a dealership charging $165/hr, you'd have to probably start off by removing all or most of the car's interior to get at all the wire looms coursing through the door sills, floors, under seats, etc. Then, wiring diagrams in hand you'd have to trace, measure and test pretty much inch by inch on the wiring.

    It's very painstaking and I could see someone running up 80 hours/two weeks labor on a good dunking--although I suspect, given the small amount of water, that it would probably cost more like $3000 to $5000---more or less a weeks' work plus whatever parts, modules, wiring, etc you'll need.

    Just not sure what the heck is under those carpets and seats.

  • tomcrewtomcrew Member Posts: 4
    And that's the problem... the interior carpet work alone will cost $4k and not much less outside the dealership. Furthermore, their opinion was who knows what else we might find under the carpet? For what its worth the labor rate at the dealership that I took it to was $130/hr. I'm not a car expert and I can't do my own repairs. This experience has kinda dampened my opinion of BMW vehicles. I've done a lot of research on restarting a car that hasn't moved in a few years and they all say the same thing- new battery, fluid changes, checking tires, etc. Who would have thought rain water on top of a $65k vehicle with shut doors and windows could possibly become junk yard material? At this point, I'm convinced that I might need to sell the vehicle in its current condition. I'm getting various estimates ranging from $5k to $10k for a perfectly unscathed engine, transmission, seats, wheels, and body. Any other estimates would be welcome and I've REALLY appreciated everyone's input. Any recommendations on the best place to post this X5 for sale?
  • roadburnerroadburner Member Posts: 15,113
    edited January 2015
    You treat a new BMW like a disposable Daewoo and you are surprised bad things happen? I wouldn't leave my 16 year old Wrangler outside and unattended for a year- never mind three or more.

    Having said all that, your best bet is to find a DIY guy with an optimistic state of mind and hope you can get a bit over $10,000 for it.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2018 330i xDrive

  • roadburnerroadburner Member Posts: 15,113
    Good luck with that; in most class actions the only ones who profit are the attorneys. If you are extremely lucky you might see $500...

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2018 330i xDrive

  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTMember Posts: 16,295
    I think we now know why this thread was started.
    2020 Ford Explorer XLT
  • roadburnerroadburner Member Posts: 15,113
    You think? As isell said, it isn't the first time a new participant has concocted a story out of thin air...

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2018 330i xDrive

  • russellrdcrussellrdc Member Posts: 1
    If true, this story s shocking to me. Both the owner and the person he left the car with must have the mechanical knowledge of a 6 year old. Unfortunately true today. No one just parks a car and walks away from it expecting it to function without properly preparing it for "storage" Read up on what is required. for storing a vehicle for an extended period. The relative you left it with apparently never checked the car, much less drove the car. Who in their right mind would store it outside? Apparently it did not have a car cover. IMO, you have no recourse except fix or sell it. The problems you mention were the product of neglect by you and/or the caretaker. IMO, no leg to stand on in court either.
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