By on March 15, 2016

 

2013 BMW X1. Image: BMW

Anonymous writes:

Hi Sajeev,

As a long-time reader of Piston Slap and TTAC, I never thought I’d be writing for advice. You see, I usually buy new or manufacturer-certified cars with warranties and loaners and all the benefits that the extra money affords. Surely, any problems would be handled lovingly and without hassle by the dealer and maker. Mostly that’s been the case, but not this time …

I bought a 2013 BMW X1 xDrive35i as a certified pre-owned car last year. Shortly after I took delivery, the stereo amp crackled and went out completely. That amp is responsible for all the sounds in the car, so no parking sensor beeps, warning chimes, Bluetooth calling, etc. The dealer replaced the amp and, after waiting a week for parts to arrive and repairs to be made, I was back in my car.

Since then, I’ve gone through two more amps. And we’ve also realized the problem is that water is leaking into the interior and shorting the electronics. Every time it rains, I pour a couple cups of water from the storage bin near the rear wheel. There’re droplets behind it and under the cargo tray.

The dealer has had the car for nearly two of the thirteen months I’ve owned it, always unable to duplicate the leak. Meanwhile, all I have to do to replicate the result is park outside in the rain. So a few days ago, I picked the car back up from the dealer un-repaired again. The rear speakers presently don’t work. I’ve requested help from BMW of North America, but they and the dealer both declined to help me replace the car (other than trading it in and buying a new one).

I paid extra for the BMW CPO program and “Ultimate Service” thinking I’d be taken care of. Do I have any recourse?

Sajeev answers:

Sorry to hear this.

Thanks to your detailed analysis, the only answer is the one I hate to offer: the catch-all solution to an unfixable late-model automobile. I’m glad you didn’t tell me which state you live in, as I shouldn’t give legal advice in this column.

Piston Slap’s mission is more about fixing problems, especially finding solutions as a community. Or it is about people calling me Sanjeev, proving the value of LS-swaps, and masterful foolish attempts to make you embrace Panther Love. But I digress …

Googling about the Lemon Law nets plenty of information, some without the bias of a law firm wanting your business. Perhaps it’s right for you, perhaps not.

Best and Brightest?

[Image: BMW]

Send your queries to [email protected]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.

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85 Comments on “Piston Slap: The Unfixable Automobile’s Catch-All Solution...”


  • avatar
    Frank Galvin

    Marcus – I am an attorney, and based on what you’ve disclosed I would strongly recommend that you consult with one in your state that knows and understands the lemon law practice. Steve Lehto, an attorney who writes over at Jalopnik, may be someone to approach for advice as he specializes in lemon law and the corresponding breach of contract claims. Also, does your state have a healthy consumer protection agency or an AG’s office that has a robust consumer protection division? If so, that may be the place to contact first for some advice and to familiarize yourself with any lemon law or breach of contract procedures you may need to undertake before filing suit. In my state for example, some of the consumer protection laws require that the purchaser at least try to contact the seller via a demand letter to fix the problem before they get involved. In any event, best of luck.

    • 0 avatar
      John

      Agree 100%. Asking your non-lawyer friends for legal advice is as wise as asking your non-doctor friends to remove your appendix. You might wind up appendix-less, but the result isn’t likely to be ideal.

    • 0 avatar
      cgjeep

      Not a lawyer, but please note that the lemon law only applies to new cars not used. Even if they are CPO. You should have recourse under warranty and you will need to get a lawyer for this or go to arbitration.

      • 0 avatar
        PartsUnknown

        I am a lawyer in the state of Massachusetts, and this statement (referring to cgjeep) is 100% false. Consumer protection laws vary from state to state, but in Massachusetts, the lemon laws apply to new AND used cars, even to include cars sold via private sale. I’m not sure what state you reside in, but it would be worth your time to investigate the applicable consumer protection laws, or speak with a local attorney with knowledge in this area. Gotta love the internet.

        • 0 avatar
          cgjeep

          Might want to read the law in Massachusetts then. The Lemon Law only applies to new cars. It is called the New Car Lemon Law. One has protection rights in Mass buyiung a used car, but it is not the Lemon law.

          Cited: http://www.mass.gov/ocabr/consumer-rights-and-resources/autos/lemon-laws/used-vehicle-warranty-law.html

          Hope you are better at what avenues of law you are in. Gotta love the internet.

          • 0 avatar
            PartsUnknown

            Like every other know-nothing on the interwebs, you are making a distinction without a difference. I am aware that there is a “New Car Lemon Law”, but there are robust protections offered to buyers of used cars that require sellers to provide warranties, repairs and repurchases on used cars. Anyone familiar with MA General Laws refers to these as the “lemon laws” as they pertain to automotive sales. If you were a MA resident, car dealer or an attorney, you might know that.

            Spewing misinformed garbage like “the lemon law (as if there were only one) only applies to new cars not used” is in fact false.

            My point stands that the OP should investigate the consumer protections offered by his state.

          • 0 avatar

            <<<<>>>>

            “Never take your legal advice from Police Officers, Real Estate Agents, or the Internet”

          • 0 avatar
            cgjeep

            Partsunknown. Isn’t that exactly what you are doing “making a distinction without a difference”. I stated “You should have recourse under warranty and you will need to get a lawyer for this or go to arbitration.” Massachusetts does have robust laws about this but most states do not. You state that I am 100% wrong. I’m not. I wouldn’t be 100% wrong even if I were in Massachusetts. There is a major difference between Lemon Laws and Used car Warranty laws. Lemon Laws are for your protection from the manufacturer. Warranty based laws (or Lemon Aid laws in Mass) are protection from the seller.

            My knowledge doesn’t come from the law side but rather as a Used Car manager. One of the most common misconceptions that consumers have is that they are protected under the Lemon Law for their used car purchase. Under most cases this simply isn’t the case. The other big misconception is that people have 3 days to return the car.

            So am not trying to argue the finer points of law with you but you perpetuate the myth about Lemon Law protection. Words by the way do matter in explaining things. As I once watched a salesperson get arrested for fraud because he left a voicemail on a person’s phone quoting a price for a Z28 when he meant to say Camaro. Customer came in to get a Z28 for the price quoted, when it was explained that the salesperson called all Camaros Z28s it didn’t matter when the police came to arrest him. That customer by the way was a lawyer. Note that this was in the 90s.

    • 0 avatar
      mvahle

      Here in the Sunshine State, we do have a fairly robust consumer protection division. And the Lemon Law does apply to used cars, though the way it calculates buy-back price tends to make it only useful in the case that a car couldn’t be sold any other way.

      Our Lemon Law does indeed require me to exhaust any channels with the dealer and manufacturer before the state offers assistance. Since BMW is still mulling-over this case, I haven’t reached out to my government yet.

      I talked to my attorney and he referred me to a colleague who handle consumer issues, but I haven’t yet pursued it further with her.

      • 0 avatar
        cgjeep

        Lemon law doesn’t apply to used cars in Florida. Fromm the Florida attorney general’s office

        http://myfloridalegal.com/pages.nsf/main/2752ee5b7dc22ff785256cc9004ff9b4!opendocument

        • 0 avatar
          PartsUnknown

          cg, man, we oughta hash this out over a beer. Just a couple of final thoughts – you seem fixated on labels. Again, at least in Mass, the colloquialism “lemon laws” is used to describe consumer protections related to auto sales. Are there differences in the protections afforded new-car buyers vs. used-car buyers? Absolutely. And you are correct when you say that a used-car buyer is not covered by the new car statutes, and that’s not what I was saying. However, the protections afforded a used-car buyer (and the new-car buyer) in Mass go beyond simple reliance on a warranty – the seller is required to disclose defects, and if there are material defects that arise that affect the use and safety of the car, the seller can be liable. There are also broader consumer protection laws that the buyer could invoke that I won’t get into here.

          Also, the party on the hook may be the manufacturer (new) or a two-bit BHPH lot (used), again a distinction that matters not a whit to the buyer. Buyers of both types have remedies available that will vary, perhaps greatly, from state to state (and why I took issue with your original post) which is why I go back to my original statement that the original poster talk to a local attorney to ascertain the specific remedies available to him in his state.

          Anyway, good talk.

  • avatar

    At this point the best solution is to trade it in for another BMW, and obvious having the dealer and BMW provide concessions for the time you have not had the vehicle, hopefully they provided a loaner. Also the aggravations, inconvenience created by the problem.

    Getting adversarial with the dealer and/or BMW will simply bog down the process which is not to your advantage. You want your problem solved quickly and permanently after 13 months of aggravations.

    Its a simple deal, how much depreciation on your vehicle, how much for another comparable vehicle with the same CPO warranties, how much consideration for your aggravations, inconvenience.

    Ideally it should result to “0” but probably not the case, it will cost you some money basically the mileage that you have put on the vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      I hate to say this, but…sometimes we take a loss dealing with these things. Get it repaired to your satisfaction, trade it back to the dealer, get the best deal you can, and move on. It sucks, but trust me- you don’t want to have to deal with the sheer amount of time it will take to lemon law your car, especially for an issue that was likely caused by a wreck in the vehicle’s past life (clean Carfaxes don’t mean much, dontcha know?).

  • avatar
    rpol35

    I have successfully pursued a Lemon Law claim in Florida against Ford. The issue that I recall is that it only applies to the original owner so you will need to verify that; it is different by state.

    I wouldn’t give up on the car yet however. Years ago, I worked for an auto dealer and we had a guy whose job it was to find water leaks. He had a shower like apparatus that he set up which was akin to a medium rain shower. He would get in the car while this shower was in use, look around with a flashlight and voila, find and fix the leak. It’s usually weatherstripping or a body seam that wasn’t sealed properly. I had him find one deep in the cowling of my ’77 Z28 that eluded me.

    Now I know this was a long time ago and Chevrolets in those days had horrible build quality so leaks were common, but also easy to find. I have to believe that your BMW dealer, if they apply themselves, can repair such a leak. If they won’t or can’t, try another dealer assuming your hometown has another one. Also, go back to the zone office and tell them that you don’t want a new car, you want yours fixed and be challenging to them – try to put them on the spot for not being able to fix something so basic. Shame them, tell them your car is supposed to be the “Ultimate Driving Machine” not the “Ultimate Leaking Leena”!

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    Ahh, the money leak. Common to BMWs since at least the E60.

    I’m not an attorney (because I don’t want to wake up hating myself every day) but in my state, the Lemon Law only applies to vehicles within 24 months of initial sale. Other consumer protection laws may exist in your state that can help.

    Is there another BMW dealer in your area that may be able to help determine the cause of the leak? It could be as simple as weatherstripping around a tail lamp.

  • avatar
    Roberto Esponja

    Where I live, if the vehicle has been taken in for the same defect three times and the dealer hasn’t been able to correct the problem, the affected party can ask for replacement of the vehicle or trade-in assistance in order to get rid of the car. But, as Sajeev and Mr. Galvin above have stated, policies will vary from state to state.

    That being said, if this had been an American car, the average person would go “Dadgummit, I’ll NEVER buy American again!!” and will bring up the subject in conversation and social media comments thirty years after. But, being that this is a (insert German make here), the average person will probably go, “Oh, I’m sure I just got the rotten apple of the bunch, and my next one will be just fine…”

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      This is very close to what is the case in Ohio. A guy at work here successfully got GM to buy back his lemony Traverse and replace it with a brand new Traverse.

      • 0 avatar
        Roberto Esponja

        Had never heard of a bad Traverse, but my sister who works in sales for a Fortune 100 company has an Equinox as a company vehicle and she’s about to go homicidal on that thing.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          His had repetitive airbag warning lights and traction control light issues from the get-go. They were giving him the run around at the dealer (Kings Chevrolet GM) until he got a lawyer involved. Then presto, they were talking a buyback.

          Haven’t heard any problems with the replacement. It’s worth noting the original one was a 14 and the replacement a 15.

  • avatar
    MrGrieves

    Before going down the lemon law path, I’d take it to a different dealer. The quality of service departments for BMW varies widely… I’ve been treated like a valued customer or like a nuisance. Bring them the service records and explain the situation, and that you have talked to BMWNA and were not happy with the service you have received up to this point. Don’t get adversarial (a tough concept for many BMW owners), you’ll get more results with a pleasant demeanor.

    Regardless – I’d be very surprised if a dealer shop can’t find a water leak.

    If they successfully fix your car, bring the service manager and his crew a box of Krispy Kremes to say “thanks”. Trust me, it will be noticed, and they will appreciate it!

    • 0 avatar
      VW16v

      Good idea to try a different service center. Also add to not purchase another BMW. Newer Audi’s have the highest ratings from Consumer Reports. BMW will never get those good quality reliability numbers.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    That sucks but I would suggest a few things , if you can get the problem to happen by parking outside in the rain, drop it off at the dealer when it is supposed to rain, park it outside and park it outside and let them go at it, second hit the BMW forums and see if anyone else has this issue, I have a Pano sunroof on my VW wagon and they are prone to have water issues as the drains clog up and the water from the tubes has no where to go except into the spare tire well. I would just trade it in if and only if BMW or the dealer made me whole. Good luck.

  • avatar
    Ubermensch

    I hate to speculate on the cause but clogged sunroof drains are the most likely cause of leaks like these in BMWs.

  • avatar
    JMII

    Since it is a leak you know there is a hole somewhere. This beats the random interior rattle or other odd noise that is impossible to track down. Does it happen when it rains, or when you drive in rain? Those are two different things.

    The fix is to have the dealer strip the interior working from where the water is collecting and moving further up to find the source. As mentioned it most likely something very simple like seam around a window, door, exterior light or other trim piece. As crazy as it sounds putting another hole in the vehicle might help. Then the water has a place to drain out instead of collecting.

    • 0 avatar
      skor

      Water leaks can be maddening to find, and in some cases, not practical to repair. In some cases water leaks are caused by improper body welds or application of sealant during body assembly. I recall a relative who purchased a new Ford back in the 70s that filled with water during rain storms. As it turned out, the collar inside the vent cowl that channeled air to the heat/AC vents was not properly welded. The repair would have required the cowl to be cut open and welded back together. After a lot of back and forth, the factory rep agreed to take the car back.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        Example from my ancient W115 Mercedes:

        The trunk was always wet.

        Because the rear window seals fail after a long time, in such a way that the interior condensation leaks into the trunk (don’t ask my how that works, but I was assured by people who’d been through it that it somehow did).

        So the only way to fix it is it pull the rear window (and hope to God you don’t break it, since they’re insanely expensive, being a low-demand item), fix the inevitable rust under the seal, replace the seal, and put it back.

        (A new car can’t really have that kind of rust issue, but this is illustrative of the weird ways you can get water in a trunk…)

  • avatar
    LeMansteve

    Two cups is a lot of water to be leaking into the car, and is unacceptable for any car built in this century.

    You might try an online BMW forum to see if anyone else has had a similar problem.

    I would also suggest you try another dealership. Your current one doesn’t seem to be trying hard enough for such an obvious leak. There is some level of communication between the dealer service department and BMW NA technicians and engineers, who to troubleshoot common field issues. You’re probably not the only X1 to ever have reported a leak into the cargo area.

    If that fails, find a good lawyer who specializes in this kind of thing.

    • 0 avatar
      RHD

      Try posting the full details on EVERY BMW forum. Hopefully someone from BMW will see your post and actually do something about it.
      Years ago, someone had a persistent problem that their dealership gave them the runaround on. After multiple failed attempts to get it fixed, the owner wrote up the story, posted it in the window of his car, and parked it on the street next to the dealership. Suddenly they were very eager to solve the problem to his satisfaction. Now we can do something similar, thanks to the internet, and reach a larger number of potential BMW customers.

      • 0 avatar

        Actually, pretty much every stupid thing that happens to a BMW is lovingly dissected and fault analyzed in BMW forums. Expansion tanks have hundreds of pages devoted to them, complete with engineer grade fault analysis.

        You are not unique and someone somewhere has figured this out. I’ve only kept my 300k 330 going because of this rule. Four unrelated CE codes = a bad accordion hose in the back of the engine. No way you’d diagnose that easily, but oh, look, the hose is ripped just off the manifold in the back underside and when the engine moves a temporary air leak occurs…..thanks e46 Fanatics.

        The problem is you get used to this, but then you go to other forums, where the owners aren’t as enthusiast, er, bug nuts, you don’t learn anything. When I started researching the LLT HFV6 in the Caddy, I ended up going to Camaro forums, because the Caddy forums were pretty useless-the Camaro guys took the engine apart and modded everything. Caddy guys all just called their dealer.

        Likewise the MDX forums aren’t “typical Honda”.

        These are folks mostly thrown by a Check Engine light, but there were good instructions on how to fix the various ICE bits that go, like the mirror that freezes and takes out the seat settings or the Bluetooth board poops out in year five. $600 at the dealer, or $180 to your door and 15 minutes in the driveway. Still worth it.

        Go get lost in the forums…someone, somewhere on the planet has searched and destroyed this leak.

  • avatar
    sproc

    Also, in case you are forced to pursue the legal route, keep and document everything. Every service write up, invoice, receipt, e-mail, etc. and log and take notes on your phone conversations with them.

  • avatar
    Driver8

    You bought a used BMW.
    Get a Camcord.

    • 0 avatar
      Zackman

      That’s a real insult. After all, he didn’t commit a crime!

      • 0 avatar
        mvahle

        Did I mention that the X1 was a replacement for a Miata? Run me outta car-town on a rail.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        As someone who’s driven a newish high-trim Camry, it’s not that bad.

        Press the pedal down and it even goes pretty well.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        “That’s a real insult. After all, he didn’t commit a crime!”

        If you buy used, it’s best to stay from low volume and luxury cars. There’s just more expensive stuff to break.

        A Camry is a big win here, as far ad the ownership experience goes.

        I’ll readily admit that Toyotas are owners cars, rather than driver’s cars. My last driver’s car was a total POS, and driving didn’t make up for the pain of owning it. But, if you buy and keep your car, maintenance defines the experience as much as driving it does.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    I like the suggestion to try another dealer. An independent BMW specialist is another possibility.

    There is more to keeping water out of a car than simply sealing it up. Sun roofs, for example, have a channel surrounding the roof opening that is intended to collect water. The water is supposed to drain through hoses that run through the body. If a hose plugs up or is detached, you will have a leak into the car.

    What does it take to get the amp area wet? Is it sufficient just to park the car outdoors in the rain or do you have to drive it? Have you tried a garden hose on different parts of the car to see if you can narrow the area from which the water comes? You shouldn’t have to diagnose the problem yourself. That’s the dealer’s responsibility. However, you need to ask yourself if fixing it means enough to you to justify some personal effort.

    • 0 avatar
      Goatshadow

      I was looking for someone suggesting aiming a hose at different parts of the car to look for the source of the leak. It would really help narrow it down. Though you might want to let it dry out again before turning it back on…

      • 0 avatar
        mvahle

        The dealer (claims, but I have no reason to doubt) that they setup sprayers and video cameras on the car overnight and weren’t able to replicate it. They parked it outside in the rain, ran it though their car wash multiple times, and even enlisted a BMW engineer to come inspect the car. They’ve replaced every conceivable seal, including the whole sunroof seal, rear hatch seal, and the seals around the tail light on that side.

        I’ve parked my car on different inclines and even used my pressure washer to recreate the leak to no avail. I do actually believe that the dealer has been diligent, but nonetheless, there’s a leak and my car is eating $1200 amps.

        My issue isn’t so much the phantom leak, but they’re assertion that there’s nothing wrong with the car.

  • avatar
    Nick 2012

    I second another dealer. I sent Chrysler a lemon law notice (required in my state) because my dealer’s service department couldn’t fix a $5 valve after 5 attempts.

    Chrysler corporate got involved and immediately sent me to another dealer. The new dealer’s service department diagnosed and fixed the problem in about 45 minutes. They gave me a 5 year extended service plan for my trouble to boot.

    Hopefully your state’s lemon laws give you some protection and you are able to use those to nudge BMW to fix the problem. It’s the most cost-effective for everyone involved, but BMW may not see that until a lemon law notice forces their hand.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    While the other dealer route seems like a decent idea as others have suggested above, I would be inclined to go Lemon Law if you feel up to it, or trade it off for something else.

    Because I’d be thinking all the time about how many other things were being gradually corroded/rotted/becoming moldy from the water streaming over things on its way to where it rests at the rear of the car.

    Could be clogged sunroof drains as mentioned above, but I think it could also be coming in around the tailgate if improperly sealed, or even the roof rack. There are holes up there too, maybe one didn’t get sealed.

    • 0 avatar
      mvahle

      They’ve cleared the drains and rails and replaced the various seals.

      Lemon Law may apply, but doesn’t really help anyone who’s financed a car.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        You are then left with one solution, dumping it.

        • 0 avatar
          mvahle

          Well that or continuing to have the amp replaced (which is covered up till 100k miles) every few months. I do really love the car – I mean, it’s a 300hp BMW wagon with good ole’ hydraulic steering.

          I’m still pursuing it all with BMW of North America, so we shall see what shakes out.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Hopefully they will come up with some compensation or an offer for you, but in the meantime it’s just gonna suck. When it gets resolved, you should be sure to do a part II followup with Sajeev. He’s sure to post it.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            Cheater solution:

            Drill a drain hole in the floor panel where it collects.

            (What? It’s going to make it worth LESS than it is now?

            I mean, as a last resort if they can’t actually fix the problem.)

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      chances are pretty good that the Lemon Laws don’t apply since he bought it used. That doesn’t mean he has *no* recourse, but it won’t be via lemon law.

  • avatar
    seth1065

    If you love the BMW go aftermarket and have the amp put in a water proof box, also do you park on a hill , if so park the other way next time it rains so the water moves towards different part of the car, if the inside stays dry , it is more than likely sunroof drains or a roof rack issue.

  • avatar
    Driver8

    Does this apply?

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    Recurring BMW electrical issues? You can cry on my shoulder. Mine was a CPO, too, *and* it had a CarMax warranty that covered everything. It was still too much of a hassle to keep.

  • avatar
    dwford

    There’s only so many places it can leak from. Can’t the dealer disassemble the interior panels in the back and park it out in the rain?

  • avatar
    BerlinDave

    On the bright side, be glad you did not buy the vehicle in its country of manufacture! Here in Germany they would no doubt insist that it was all your fault because you did not do something correctly. Then, send you on your way!

    • 0 avatar
      claytori

      That is very strange. When I used to drive VW’s I got the exact same attitude from the Canadian VW dealers. I seem to recall something like “You broke our beautiful car!” Then I would think, “No I didn’t, the car broke itself”. I perfected a manoeuvre to get the car back from service, but check to see if they had actually fixed it. When they hadn’t, I drove it back into the middle of the service bay and parked it there. Worked like a charm. I finally gave up when I found myself yelling at the top of my lungs at the service desk. Never again, and that was 30 years ago.

  • avatar
    gasser

    You need the BMW body shop, not the “service” department. The entire headliner needs to be pulled out to find the leak. My vote is for a pinched sunroof drain pipe. This is why the original owner traded it. It is a factory installed defect. I don’t know sh*t about modern electronics, but leaks were common problems when I was younger. The service department can’t fix anything that doesn’t use a meter and doesn’t “throw a code”. Body shops (especially those with older employees/owners) know how to handle oddball body issues.

    • 0 avatar
      mvahle

      Good advice. Thank you.

    • 0 avatar
      sjhwilkes

      That would be my guess too – I had an E61 that had all sorts of electric issues if I parked in the rain and I’m certain it was the sunroof drain pipes. Dealer didn’t want to do anything about that either, I can see it’s a lot of effort to replace the pipes and no guarantee they won’t block / get pinched again, design flaw I think.

    • 0 avatar
      PandaBear

      Yes, pull the headliner, that’s the only surefire way to find the problem.

      My dad had a 1 year old (2001) Taurus bought used from Hertz and there was a leak on the roof with no sunroof/moonroof. He keep spraying the car and have my mom feel where the wetness come from and it turns out the roof has a pinhole. He send it back to the dealer, they weld it shut, and problem solved.

      Since you can reproduce it with 2 cups of water I’d buy some florescent dye and put it in the water for the experiment, then use black light in the dark to see where it glows.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    ” That amp is responsible for all the sounds in the car, so no parking sensor beeps, warning chimes, ”

    huh, I’m surprised there’s no backup to the warning chimes. Some of them are an FMVSS requirement. I know on Ford vehicles where the chimes come through the audio system, if there’s a fault in the audio chain they’ll fall back to letting the cluster generate them.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      I think GM does that as well, since it also plays its chimes through the audio system.

      That said, I quickly grew tired of BMW’s “gong” chime (which, BTW, has been re-done on the new G11/G12 7-Series), but perhaps that’s because I heard it so frequently due to all kinds of electrical errors coming up.

    • 0 avatar
      mvahle

      It actually generates an iDrive warning message to let you know that there are no warning sounds.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        Interesting. I wonder what it would do on vehicles that don’t have iDrive (of which there are now none, but your previous-gen X1 was available without iDrive at all).

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    Consider it an essential part of elitism, fully embrace the experience, hit the Starbucks and move on. A Ford, Toyota, Nissan, or Chevy’s not gonna cut it for you anyway, right?

    • 0 avatar
      mvahle

      We’re talking about the cheapest and possibly-homeliest car BMW sold (at the time) in the US and I bought it used for less than the cost of most minivans. I don’t think I’m impressing anyone – I just really like driving it.

      • 0 avatar
        Kyree S. Williams

        For what it’s worth, I think the previous-generation X1 was handsome, especially with that elongated hood. It may have had hard plastics in places and been very sparsely-equipped on lesser versions, but it felt like a quality car. The new one looks better, even though it’s FWD, but the old one looked nice, too.

        BMW’s homeliest vehicles are probably the liftbacks that are the 3-Series GT and 5-Series GT.

        • 0 avatar
          mvahle

          The post-refresh X1 interior was much improved actually. Feels fairly premium.

          Also – yeah I forgot about the pre-facelift 5GT. Yikes.

          Hey, Kyree… I’ll meet you at Starbucks so we can discuss how elite we are.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I would think narrowing down where the leak occurs should be doable. Is the amp covered in water after sitting in the rain? Top down leak.

    If not.

    Is the amp covered in water aver driving in the rain? Bottom up leak.

    Your claim that the deal could not replicate the issue after running it through the car wash and/or let it sit in the rain leads me to believe it is a bottom up issue. Any chance this car was in a wreck, one that was not reported? I don’t think you can BMW CPO a car with a noted ‘hit’. If it was some arbitrary CPO program than who knows. Those programs are worthless.

    I would be all over the inner fender wells as a source of the leak. Think NASCAR, if a tire came undone at speed it is entirely possible damage was done that was repaired at the local tire shop. Ya never know

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      BMW’s *own* CPO program was worthless, IME. My car was a CPO and was covered by a CarMax warranty. The CarMax warranty took care of pretty much every issue I had. BMW’s CPO warranty, OTOH, had all kinds of holes in it. Once, both keys started working intermittently. They wouldn’t at all work with the Comfort Access functions (keyless unlock/lock, keyless start), and would only sometimes work when plugged into the dash slot. The BMW dealership said they might be able to get them to work without reprogramming, but that I’d have to pre-authorize $110 per hour to reprogram the keys if they couldn’t. They said that if something mechanical, like the starter, had physically gone out and prevented the vehicle from operating, the CPO warranty would have covered it. I even called BMW NA customer service to verify, and they told me the same thing. CarMax picked up the tab for that one.

      • 0 avatar

        yes, the cpo warranty won’t cover electronics and a bunch of other things. Driveline, “internally lubricated parts”, etc, but the stuff that goes, not.

        You are buying a warranty from the folks who KNOW to the third decimal what goes wrong. They won’t usually lose money.

  • avatar
    zaxxon25

    I had a CTS that had a leak which only occurred when the car was being driven in the rain, turned out there was a small gap in the undercarriage where water was being forced into the car. The dealer did the whole leak test thing and flushed out the sunroof and when that didn’t do the trick I just pulled up the carpet, laid down some paper and took it for a short drive when it rained. Eventually I could tell where it was seeping into the car. A bit of strategically placed sealant and the problem was cured. You already know generally where it’s coming in … not sure how accessible that area is to test if the leak is being forced into the car or if your experience eliminates that possibility.

  • avatar

    In late 2010 I purchased a brand new Hyundai Santa Fe 3.5 Limited. It was just the car I wanted; color, equipment, everything and I loved it for about three months when the crap hit the fan.

    The car would stall at low speeds without warning, once in the middle of an intersection and nearly causing a crash. The A/C would cut out at random, rendering the defroster useless, water filled the taillights, and the radiator spring a leak (twice). I was very close to meeting Oregon lemon law standards when I lost my patience and just traded the POS in.

  • avatar
    Acd

    Relocate the amp to higher ground.

  • avatar
    Ol Shel

    How hard is it to find the source of a leak?

  • avatar
    static cling

    I’m glad I saw this article. It might be a “bottom up” leak.

    This happened to me with my 2002 Audi A4 Avant (wagon) recently. After leaving the car outside in the rain, my amp sitting in the back trunk would short out.

    It was especially bad if my car was parked uphill, so naturally the water would pool at the back. The headliner would also be wet at the back of the car, so my mechanic started to look at the sunroof, roof rails and also the rear deck light. But he wasn’t successful in the first attempt and the car continued to leak.

    Then he started to think out of the box and looked at the drainage holes at the bottom of the car near the rear door. He found the source of the problem where years of leaves and dirt accumulated and blocked the drainage holes. And there are about 4 drainage holes, but one of them was blocked.

    So when it rained, water actually pooled up behind the rear pillars and spilled over to the side rear tray where my amp was. Problem solved.

    If that’s not the problem, then check with the new model Ford Edge forums where they are experiencing water leaks that flow into the front carpets. They found that Ford had bad welds during assembly on the front pillars causing leaks. Perhaps you have that problem.

    Good luck.

  • avatar
    SP

    GM put buyers of the first-generation Equinox models through a similar torture test as a result of improper assembly. The cars were built without sufficient seam sealer around the rear body seams, and also around the front shock towers, cowl, and windshield. They could get buckets of water in the rear hatch area, or have water leak behind the dash, short out the TPS, and put the car into limp mode. A very dangerous build defect that GM never recalled.

    Perhaps BMW made a similar error here?

    Or, as mentioned, perhaps the car was wrecked and poorly repaired at some point? It might be worth buying an AutoCheck report to be sure.


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