Piston Slap: Fix My Beeeemer, Sanjeev!

Sajeev Mehta
by Sajeev Mehta

Nitin writes:


I read your blog about the problem in BMW. I have a 2009 BMW 535i X drive with turbo. The car just ran out of warranty and has 45000 miles only. My car started having engine problems last week. First, the BMW said it needs new spark plugs as they were dirty. That cost me $740 dollars. That did not work. They said it needs new fuel injectors. That was another $2100 dollars.

I picked up my car yesterday evening and drove it on the highway. The problem is still not fixed. The Car is still shaking badly. I will have to get it back to service. I am afraid they don’t have a handle on this problem. I called another mechanic who works on BMWs. He mentioned the probable need for walnut shell blasting. What do you know about it? Do you know of any pending lawsuits regarding this problem? Would appreciate your insight.

Sajeev answers:

And here’s another reason why European cars should be leased, or sold immediately after the warranty expires…I mean, when you’ve seen people being burned by the fire so many times…WAIT YOU GIVE THAT BACK RIGHT NOW YOU LITTLE…

Sanjeev retorts:

Listen, Sajeev–if that really is your name–I am sick of hearing your reverse elitist, MBA-toting hipster bellyaching on cars you wouldn’t buy. But should buy. Your co-workers, your friends and even your family are ashamed that you bought (special ordered, no less) a Ford Ranger instead of getting the nearest 3-series with a premium package.

So stop being a disappointment to everyone and answer the question correctly. Jerk.

Sajeev re-answers:

Perhaps I should start over. Direct injection problems are commonplace for many brands, and multiple fixes are used to cure the carbon buildup/misfire problems. So maybe you did need spark plugs, as that was the most logical and cheapest place to start. And from there…well, the spiraling cost is unfortunate because it seems they are “throwing parts at the problem” and hoping for the best. Which is never pleasant for the customer, as they will never know the truth of the diagnostic tree behind their repair bill(s).

The walnut shell blasting thing is a very logical next step. Perhaps it shoulda been the first step, considering the (low-ish) mileage on the plugs/injectors. But will it work? Hopefully so.

Lawsuit? Perhaps…but it’s not worth your time because you can probably get something by reading this, especially the following quote:

“BMW will extend the emissions warranty coverage period to 10 years or 120,000 miles, whichever comes first, on affected vehicles in all 50 States. If the HPFP fails during the extended warranty coverage period, BMW will replace it with a newer-production version. Customers who experience long starting times or notice the Service Engine Soon lamp should contact an Authorized BMW Center to schedule a service appointment. Customers with further questions should contact BMW Customer Relations at 1-800-831-1117 or email customer.relations@bmwna.com.”

Sometimes, even if this isn’t the source of your specific problem, BMW N/A will cut you a break in the name of customer goodwill. Because you already spent a ton of cash with their dealership and they do feel bad about that. Why would they feel bad? Because a few bucks back in your pocket might get you back in a newer Bimmer. Customer Retention is the name of the game, and it wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened.

So best of luck to you, from me and Sanjeev.

[Image: Shutterstock user CyrilLutz]

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

Sajeev Mehta
Sajeev Mehta

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  • WolfgangGullich WolfgangGullich on Feb 10, 2014

    Nitin, since your BMW is just out of warranty, you should ask you SA to apply for a 'Goodwill' Repair. The dealer applies for BMWNA to pay for all labor and parts. You can check out the requirements to qualify by searching for "BMW Goodwill Repair SIB". I just had one of my headlights fail on my '11 X5d. It was literally 1800 miles out of the mileage part of the warranty when one of dynamic headlights' mechanisms failed. I'm out $145 for the diagnosis, but I was saved a couple hundred $ in labor and $2400 in parts.

  • Avatar77 Avatar77 on Feb 19, 2014

    Since the OP is out of warranty, I can't believe he is not going to a reputable independent shop to get this kind of work done. Dealers in general, but especially luxury dealerships, are absurdly expensive when it comes to performing this kind of work.

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