Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Why BMW sucks

In July of 2005, I fulfilled my childhood dream and purchased a brand new 2006 BMW 330i (with sports package and navigation system). The car's performance and handling was everything I hoped it to be. The styling was beautiful.

But then the disappointments began:
  • Just a couple months after taking delivery of the car, the "Passenger Airbag Off" indicator light came on - while my wife was sitting in the passenger seat! I took it to the dealership. They kept the car for 12 days and declared the problem fixed after replacing the passenger seat sensor mat. A few weeks (or days? I can't remember) after I got my car back, the indicator light turned on again :-( I brought it back to the dealership....they kept it again - this time for 10 days and declared the problem fixed. I took it back....and the problem came back again. When I took the car back to the dealership the third time, I told the technician that I would consider letting them keep the car (under the lemon law) if they didn't fix it this time. And fix it they did (apparently, some software update did the trick :-(
  • Within a year of owning the car (25k miles on it), three of the run-flat, low-profile tires developed bubbles on the side walls - presumably the result of driving on NJ's pothole-ridden roads. I checked the dealership and found out the cost of these suckers: $399/rear tire and $349/front tire...about $1600 for all four tires! I checked the Internet for alternatives and found....NONE. Although Tire Rack carried the Bridgestones (the only run-flat for BMWs) and they were a bit cheaper than the BMW dealership, none were in stock, since there was a shortage and the BMW dealerships had priority on Bridgestone's production....I ended up waiting for 2 months for my tires :-(
    Now I'm at 58k miles and my second set of tires has bubbles again - I dread getting new ones.
  • After only 1 1/2 years, I was getting close to the end of the free maintenance agreement (I was at 40k miles). Since I already had to have the brake pads and rear brake rotors replaced (normally a $1800 cost), I thought it wise to purchase the extended maintenance plan for the "low" price of $1600.
  • At 46k miles, my daughter's rear windshield would not come back up after it was lowered all the way. When I stopped the car, turned off the ignition and removed the key, re-inserted it and restarted the car, the windshield came back up. When this happened again on a Saturday and it began to rain (car was at 48k miles), I took it to the dealership...but of course, the technicians had already gone home for the day - but I showed the problem to my service representative. Since the windshield came back up after I started the engine, I went home...and forgot to bring it Monday - big mistake! Because the next time I remembered - because it happened again - the car was at 55k miles. When I took it to the dealership, they said that the extended maintenance contract I purchased didn't cover these kinds of problems and the warranty ran out at 50k miles!....but because I was a valued customer, they might be able to do a one-time fix for "free". Golly gee! Well, anyway, I left the car there and was called back a few hours later and told the car was fixed and ready - according to the technician, the problem was caused by some stickers my daughter had put on the windshield which had gotten into the mechanism. They took it out and that fixed it. Strange - the next day, the problem occured again. As I was tired of dealing with my car and potentially having to pay for a repair that was clearly a warranty issue, I decided to ignore the problem.
  • Today (07/29/2008) - another big problem: I parked my car and when I took out the ignition key, the navigation system screen went all WHITE and stayed that way - despite the fact that there was no key in the ignition! I tried starting the car again to see if the problem would go away (sometimes, that helped with BMW's bug-ridden electronics) - but no luck. The damn thing just stays on! I thought: ok - maybe I can just disconnect the car battery so that it doesn't get drained overnight and tomorrow I'll take it to the dealership....but, of course, I have no idea how to do that on this car - the f$cking battery is hidden beyond view somewhere and the owners manual doesn't tell you how to get to it! Can you believe this? The battery is totally hidden with only a "terminal" for the positive and a "ground" nut exposed so the car can be jump-started (or help give someone a jump start). So, now the damn battery is slowly draining while I wait for tomorrow....when I'll probably be told that the navigation system broke outside the warranty period and that I'm responsible for who-knows-how-much to fix it.
If that happens, f#ck BMW. I'm going to trade this piece of sh#t in and get a car with less problems. A Honda may not be as fun to drive - but it sure as hell will be more maintainance free and cheaper to fix when it does break.

Just another case of reality falling far short of the dream - or the advertisements.

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