Need advice on how to solve a rather unique car repair problem

4 posts in this topic

I'm hoping to get some advice on how to proceed with a car repair problem.  I'm being told my German-made car may be unrepairable due to no support from the manufacturer.  Sorry in advance for the long post.

 

Background:  I moved to Germany from the US in 2016.  I owned a 2008 BMW, manufactured in Germany, and purchased new from a BMW dealer in the US.  At the time I moved, the car was under a safety recall for the killer Takata airbag issue.  The recall was announced, but no replacement airbags were available, so I was on an indefinite waiting list for the recall action to be performed.  Due to the unresolved safety issue, the car was unsellable in the US at the time of my move, and I had no options for storage or other reasonable forms of disposal.  As a result, I decided to bring it with me, as the car was otherwise in excellent condition and had seen relatively little use for its age, even though it was long out of warranty.  BTW, the airbag recall action was performed by a local dealer in Germany in 2017.

 

I imported the car as part of my household goods.  It is properly registered and TÜV-approved.

 

Current issue:  Modern BMWs typically have critical motor components that are designed to fail catastrophically after the standard warranty runs out.  In my case, the failure point is electronically controlled gear-driven throttle body actuators.  The gears in the actuators are made of plastic, and disintegrate with use, failing shortly after the car has around 100.000km on the odometer (20.000km after the standard distance-based warranty expires).  It is a widely-known problem for this particular model, and others that have similar motors.  The actuators in my car failed at around 113.000km.  The standard repair procedure is to replace the failed actuators with new ones, which, theoretically, should last another 100.000km.

 

The Problem:  Once the new actuators are installed, the car has to be reprogrammed by a BMW dealer to calibrate the new actuators to the motor.  Even though my car was made in Germany, it is a US Market car, so it has a North America software package installed.  The programming system provided by BMW AG to its dealers in Germany will only interface with cars that have European Market software installed.  This is normally not a problem for small repairs or regular maintenance, but for major repairs like this one, it is a big issue.

 

The dealer tells me that BMW AG can reprogram and calibrate the car to complete the repair, but BMW AG refuses to do so.  Apparently they have a strict policy of not supporting cars imported from other markets, in order to prevent people from going to the US or other markets where BMWs are sold cheaper than in Germany, buying cars, and importing them here.  This is, of course, not what I did, but BMW AG does not want to budge on their policy.

 

Right now the car is with an independent programmer/tuner, recommended by the local BMW dealer.  He is working with the car to see if he can complete the reprogramming/calibration.  If he cannot, the car will not be driveable, and will be worth only its salvage value, even though the car is otherwise still in excellent condition.  To add to the misery, I anticipate that I will be asked to pay for parts and labor for the failed repair effort, which will be very expensive.

 

Has anyone ever encountered anything like this?  What should I do?  If the car cannot be repaired, should I consider trying to take legal action against BMW AG for refusing to support the car?  Thanks in advance for your input.

 

 

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Space Cowboy I never had the problem, but there are mechanics near American bases that deal with imported cars that might be able to handle that. @SpiderPig might know more or even know someone who could help you out.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This is the VANOS issue right? I think you are on the hook for all repair costs because there is no recall for it. I would also suggest the independent shop. You may want to get on the BMW forums and ask around.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now