QUESTION: My BMW 325i 2008 model - Purchased from BMW dealership in Sydney and regularly serviced and maintained by BMW and is now out of the 3 yrs warranty period. Present reading 88,000km. I recently had trouble with the engine and I have now been told by BMW that the four pistons will have to be replaced at a cost of $9500.
I have taken the matter with BMW Australia, which has reduced the cost to $7500. I have also refered this BMW International in Munich. This episode is a horrow shock to me an my family how a world famous BMW engine could have trouble at 88,000km. BMW Canterburry said they do not manufacture BMW but only sell and service. I have said I should not be paying anything for a vehicle like this, which is comparatively new. I am writing this to you, and my humble request is if you could please advise and direct me to the options I have.
Look forward to speaking to you John, or hearing from you soon. Kind regards, Kumar.
You have a few more options than simply paying the $7500. Quite simply, the manufacturer's obligations do not end when the warranty expires.
What matters under Australian consumer law is not the length of the warranty. The only thing that matters is the reasonable life of the component(s) that fail. So, if the engine fails unreasonably early then it is still BMW's responsibility to repair it for you.
The fact that they are offering to discount the procedure at all is evidence that they know this.
Provided you have not abused the car (for example, by racing), and provided you have checked the things that you need to check (owner's manual), and provided you have had the car serviced properly, then it is entirely BMW's problem that the engine has failed.
You need to be firm about this, and if they decline to support you then you should do two things:
- Wage war on them in the media (ring talkback radio). Remember that companies cannot sue you for defamation, but people (individuals) can. Don't name people on air. Criticise companies all you want.
- Go to Consumer Affairs and ask their advice. They will proceed against companies who are not honouring their warranty obligations.
Obviously lots of things can cause engine failures - it could be your fault; I don't know the specifics. However, if you have taken all due care of the vehicle then it seems as if - given its age and low kilometres - the engine has failed unreasonably early. If this is the case, it's BMW's responsibility. Properly maintained engines should last longer than six years or 88,000km.
Don't take 'no' for an answer. Car companies often try it on because many consumers are unaware of the company's obligations after the warranty expires. You need to be firm here - escalate the problem in the media and also officially through consumer affairs if you believe you are in the right. Companies hate negative media attention.