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2006 325i Valve cover bolts defective
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BMW 2006 325i Valve cover bolts are defective

If you own a 2006 325i and your valve cover is leaking oil and causing your engine compartment to smoke you likely have defective valve cover bolts.

In 2006 BMW changed the composition of materials which include a magnesium cover secured by aluminum bolts. Aluminum bolts do not have the proper thermal properties required to withstand the torque, expansion and contraction required to properly secure the valve cover.

The aluminum bolts break and oil leaks onto the engine block causing the engine to smoke and lose pressure.

BMW is aware of the defect. BMW fixed it less than a year later by going back to the steel bolts in the 2007 models and greater.

Certified BMW mechanics are aware of the problem because it is a common factory DEFECT. Unfortunately this problem commonly occurs just out of warranty. It’s not a cheap fix and BMW won’t acknowledge the problem.

Personal experience: This is my third and final BMW. BMW does not care about customer loyalty. This is clearly a factory engineering defect.

If you are experiencing this problem you should contact:
BMW of North America, Inc. Corporate Office
300 Chestnut Ridge Rd.
Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07675
Toll free: 1-800-831-1117 (BMW Customer Service Center)
Fax: 201-930-8362
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Rick on 09/30/2013:
I had two broken alum bolts on 06 325i. Very Very Common. I backed out the broken parts with a fine pick, they seemed rather loose and it wasn't that hard. I bought 2 replacement M7 bolts (steel) with thick nylon washer for $2 at Home Depot. Replaced the broken bolts and cleaned the leaky oil. Total of $5 and about 2 hours. I didn't over tighten the steel bolts since I don't want to strip the head, now that would be a real problem. The oil leak has stopped since the gasket was fine and didn't require replacement. Those paying $800-1100 to fix this problem must be pissed off!
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Power Loss and Loud Noises from the Engine
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I purchased a 2009 BMW 238i. I took it to get an oil change on 30 Sept 11. I dropped it off, got a loner, and went to work. Before I dropped it off that morning the car ran great, it had no ticking, no engine lights nor loss of power. I hadno€™t heard from BMW so I called them, they said that they had talked to BMW NA and I need to agree to them removing my valve cover, at my expense $700. I said that I only wanted an oil change. He told me they terminated my warranty. My warranty was for 4yr/50,000 miles, it had not expired. I was very upset and made multiple attempts to call BMW NA and the supervisor told me that they would have to go with what the service center said and there was no one else to talk to. Disappointed, I picked my car up. The check engine light came on and while I was on the highway the car made some loud ticking noises and the car seemed to be experiencing some power loss, in the mist of high traffic. I was in the middle lane when it started and I immediately got over to got off the highway. And as I pulled off the highway the car suddenly shut off (no power), I barely made it off the road. It just shut off! I had to call for a tow. That weekend the car cranked up and it seemed to be nothing wrong. I took it around the block to see if it was okay. The ticking returned and the car shut off again and I had to coast it off the road onto church grounds and call a tow truck again. And now it will not crank at all. This is my only car and I have to rent a car. I did some research online and found several recalls, for example: BMW High-Pressure Fuel Pump Voluntary Emissions Recall and Voluntary Emissions and Safety Recalls and tons of complaints about safety and how BMW terminates a lot of people's warranties prior to their expiration date. BMW seems to be putting all of our lives at risk and terminating warranties at will.
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At Your Service on 10/07/2011:
With all respect, the complaint doesn't make sense. A warranty is a legal, binding contract that isn't likely to be ARBITRARILY canceled at will. There must have been some reason given for the cancellation of this warranty, otherwise you would have a reasonable case for a lawsuit for the cost of repairing the vehicle. I'd like to hear BMW's side of this.
trmn8r on 10/07/2011:
There are additional important details:

Was this service at a BMW dealer?
Did you buy the car new or used?
When you asked why the warranty was terminated, what was the explanation?
When you asked why you were being asked to perform a $700 procedure, what was the explanation?

It appears that the "service center" felt there was an issue that needed further investigation. It would very interesting to know why BMW canceled your warranty "at will".
At Your Service on 10/07/2011:
Good points trmn8r. Hopefully michi201061 will post back.
redmx3racer on 10/07/2011:
Warranties can be voided if a vehicle has been abused, which does not necessarily mean driving like you are auditioning for Fast and Furious. Going too long on an oil change can be considered abuse (failure to properly maintain the vehicle)-not a few thousand miles, but excessive. I've seen people with new cars come in for their first oil change at 20K with no oil on the dipstick. Not saying that is the case here.
Anonymous on 10/07/2011:
BMW like M-B tend to be a bit efficacious in a stereotypical German way (on insult intended). I stopped buying BMW because of that. I think your best course is to seek remediation through corporate. One word for the future: Lexus!
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Run Flat Tires:Damaging & Unacceptably Rough Ride!
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It is with great disappointment that I write this note. Since purchasing my 335xi with great anticipation of having the greatest driving experience of my life, I have, instead, avoided driving after experiencing the incredible roughness, rim-damaging impact at any pothole of any size (even small deviations from smooth pavement), and increased expense I have associated with the run-flat tires on the sport wheels I was strongly advised to purchase with my vehicle.

When I purchased this vehicle, I was led to believe that the cost of driving, particularly regarding maintenance, was miniscule due to the excellent coverage associated with the initial Ultimate Warranty policy. Why then would you subject drivers to such a harsh riding vehicle that becomes damaged every time there is even a minor bump in the road. When I drive over any deformity from smooth pavement, it feels like I’m on a boat and I’ve crashed into a rock. These tires offer no protection or cushioning from minor road imperfections. In the city, uneven pavement is a norm!

I have already had to pay for one new rim and new tire even before I accumulated 5,000 miles on the vehicle. Because the walls of these tires are more rigid, they do not absorb shock and if they deform it can be permanent requiring immediate replacement. And two of my other rims are dented, although not to the extent that they required immediate replacement. I have been driving exceedingly carefully, with my eyes glued to the road ahead as if I were expecting a land mine. Still, it is impossible to dodge every road imperfection.

Although I believed I was relatively informed about BMW’s, I believed that tires would be the least of my concerns. As it turns out, I am completely uncomfortable driving this vehicle anywhere. For a vehicle that cost nearly $60,000, I was expecting the car by which all prior driving experiences would pale by comparison in their inferiority. I can honestly say that I would prefer driving my 1969 VW Beetle or the Mazda GLC I once owned than the vehicle you have sold me due to the persistent discomfort and hypervigilance I experience knowing that, at any moment, a small pothole will cost me having to pay for a new tire and rim or worse.

Having read through one or two blogs, it is clear that my experience is not unique in this regard. I am writing you to find out what your company is doing to remedy these issues for drivers like me who purchased these expensive vehicles in good faith and were misled by their dealers and your company to outfit these cars with these poorly designed tires which are also responsible for the damage to my rims and what other untold damage to the chassis and other structural elements due to these tires.
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Hugh_Jorgen on 12/21/2009:
For what it's worth, see if you can find someone that wants a set of run flat wheels and tires and see if you can do a swap. Perhaps your dealer knows someone that wanted the run flat's and didn't get them.

Either that, or buy new wheels and tires and sell your old ones to people that damage theirs - sounds like there might be a good market for those wheels.
Class Advocate on 12/21/2009:
There are dozens of pending class action lawsuits against BMW and tire manufacturers relating to the durability of run flat tires. Just do a couple of simple google searches.
redmx3racer on 12/21/2009:
That is what happens when you opt for the "performance" option, your ride quality suffers. Low profile tires (which run flats are) are not going to ride as good as a taller tire.
A tip-when you see a pot hole, don't hit it, go around it whenever possible. Even if you drive an SUV/truck whatever it is a good idea-less chance of tire/wheel damage, knocking your alignment out of wack etc.
Slimjim on 12/21/2009:
Sounds like a fair complaint to me. It's one thing to have a rougher ride on performance tires, and another to have the tire unable to protect the rims under normal conditions.
PepperElf on 12/21/2009:
to be honest I never considered getting run-flats

think I'll stick with my current tire plan - full spare in the trunk and AAA.
ain't ever had more than one tire go flat at the same time.
Gina on 03/29/2014:
You are not alone! I am on my 5th lease with BMW SUV's, and currently, the only one equipped with run flats. I just replaced all 4 run flat tires 6 months before the lease end due to severe and unusual wear, at the cost of $450 per tire. My driving patterns have been consistent throughout all of my lease terms whereby I have never had to replace any of my tires before turning in the vehicles. To add insult to injury I had to take out tire insurance for an initial $1,500 dollars because these tires cannot be repaired once they are punctured. Of course, the insurance did not cover this "unusual wear"! These run flats are the biggest gimmick ever and BMW should be ashamed of themselves!
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Serious Design flow
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All BMW cars have one serious design flow. Alert for people living in a place where you have enough of rain to have 9 inches of water build up on the road and your car will die!, ALERT for Florida resident. All BMW cars have (except for SUVs of course) their air intake just 9 inches above the ground, right below the front bumper. I just got an '08 BMW M3 in 2/2009. Amazing car, fantastic handling. I just drove through my hospitals parking lot in Punta Gorda Florida one rainy day. Now this place has some water build up but the day I became the victim of this design flow and suffering with poor mechanical skills of BMW services, had barely six inches of water on the ground and as passed through it, my car just died in the middle of the road. I was told by BMW services that my engine is flooded and will need to replace it. It cost 33 K to fix the engine but it does not end here. In week that I picked up the car, 'your engine is overheated' sign comes up and they picked it up and told me oops one of the belt was not properly installed. Within a week check engine light comes up and this time it is alternator and in 24 hours that they fix it, now some break sensor is gone. So your engine can get flooded by driving through 6-8 inches of water and after that they do not know how to fix it. I talked to one of the service staff and he pointed out to me that Air intake for BMW is just 9" above the ground and they had close to 13 BMW this rainy season in their shop with flooded engine. I did not have a single drop of water in the driver's cabin so it was not flooded!!. In other word driving on any rainy day can kill your four month old car. I asked the service manager to get me in touch with someone higher up, he sent an email no reply from BMW higher up as expected.
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Anonymous on 10/09/2009:
Just so I understand, you spent $33,000 to replace the engine? Or did your insurance pay for it? I wonder because $33K is about half the new car price. BTW, you meant design flaw, not flow.
azspots on 10/09/2009:
So, you take the VERY low to the ground car, through the water probably checking out it's "great handling" through the water and more than likely going too fast for the conditions trying to throw "rooster tails" with the cool little sports car.
Sorry-but, it's your own fault for not driving around the water.
MaggieMcT on 10/09/2009:
Why would you drive through 9 inches of water? You can't see the condition of the road underneath, there could be the pothole from hell waiting to wreck your frame. Not to mention what it could due to your brakes.
JR in Orlando on 10/09/2009:
Since this is a parking lot, we assume that you were going slow and were not suddenly and unexpectedly faced with driving through the water. The best air flow protector is sometimes "reverse" and going around the puddle.
pre on 10/09/2009:
I did not drive through 9 inches of water or I did not measure it. This is a hospital parking lot!!! where patients park their cars, so it is not studded with potholes I can assure you that. I checked other high performance sports car and their air intake is located quite high and not just under the bumper in the front where any splash of water will get into the engine. Yes my insurance did pay for it and I meant design flaw thanks.

Slimjim on 10/09/2009:
I had a Mustang a few years ago with an aftermarket Vortex supercharger on it. The intake for the air was relocated in the right front fender well. So one morning it's pouring so bad I'm thinking should I not even drive such a small car because the roads looked flooded. Well I did and no more than a mile or two, I hit a formidable puddle and got water ingestion. Unlike air, evidently water doesn't compress in a cylinder when the piston comes up. Snapped number 8 rod in two. So I can totally relate to the posters story, with the exception of the price of that motor. Mine was a little over 5k and with 400+ hp, would probably eat the M3.
I do give this a helpful vote as the warning is valid to other M3 owners.
stowe on 07/21/2010:
You simply are not supposed to drive through water that is more than a couple of inches deep because you can't know exactly how deep it is and how your car will react. A lot of cars, not just high performance BMWs will stall out when driven through deep water. And intakes are low on most CARS. You don't deserve your M3 for being an idiot. Next time, drive around the water as experts in both cars and road safety will attest. You sound like the kind of guy that will someday be the jerk that has to be recede from his car during a flash flood because you drove through the water!
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Unreliable Car
Posted by on
I make will this quick. Bought 2008 BMW 335i; issues so far:

1) Both windows did not operate correctly
2) Transmission issues
3) Software Issues
4) Fuel pump failure

Eight months of owning this junk with 8 times in the service shop already. No help from BMW NA; just useless reps who snicker that don't care. This is a poorly flawed vehicle which has not been corrected by BMW. I would not recommend purchasing this product. Complete waste of money.
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BMW is no longer listening to their customers
Posted by on
BMW as adopted some strange strategies for some of it's best products. Run Flat Tires are a good example... with no spare tire strategy.

Another is the crippled iDrive on the 5 series.

There are going to be a lot of unhappy customers.
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Posted by on
NEW YORK -- Our 2003 BMW 325 convertible is only driven once
a week. We treat it like a baby. The driver leather seat was wearing out after 3 months and sitting in the car approximately 12 times. The BMW dealer told us we had to be careful getting in and out of the car because they were only going to fix it once. At 5,000 miles they retinted the drivers seat by the door where you get in. 20 more seatings later, and the seat is once again looking worn. My husband and I back the seat up and basically do acrobatics in order to not touch the leather. We have had a Corvette and a Cadillac with white leather seats and 90,000 miles and the leather was pristine and looked showroom new. Now this week the trunk will not open, the brakes pulled the car almost off the road and the headlights Xenon $700 lights came on in the sunshine and wouldn't go off. I guess we should have bought a HONDA. Also, on several occasions the convertible top refused to go up. Luckily it was not raining. Maybe next time. We regret every day we leased this car. What can you expect for $42,000.
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Mad Eye Moody on 02/09/2004:
By the way you pretensiously state $42,000 as next to nothing, I would say you can afford to break the lease and buy a better car. You sound like one of those people that wants to offhandedly imply that you're wealthy. Great - point taken. Appearing rich is easy - it's as easy as leasing a luxury car instead of buying it. And why did you decide to go German after owning good American cars? Maybe that's the difference...American leather holds up better than whatever leather blend they use on cars in Europe. Good luck with that, though.
jodieu on 02/09/2004:
Rich people walk into a dealership and pay in full, either with cash or check....people who want other people to think they are rich, go in and lease it.
Mad Eye Moody on 02/09/2004:
speedy06 on 01/23/2005:
For 42 thousand, a lot! Just what I got when I purchased my new BMW from Macon, Georgia BMW. And my heated leather seats are still "pristine" after 4 years. Happy BMW owner
barbaraa on 03/12/2005:
we have same vechile, same worn front seat, squealing sound every day when car is turned on. boot cover did not work many times inpast 2 years, no aggrevation with it lately cuz its winter.
BMW said they don't know how to fix the squealing!

GVegasNC on 06/11/2006:
We have a 2002 BMW 330ci convertible with the premium leather package and they look GREAT. I also had a 325 ci convertible with the leather look vinyl and they did look more worn than the leather does at 50K miles. One thing is for SURE about BMW leather -- you need to treat them just like the Connolly hides in $300,000 Rolls -- put the wrong thing on them (ie so called "protectants") and you will be asking for problems. My co-worker has a BMW with 320K on the clock and leather that still looks good -- his secret -- shoe polish. Just an FYI not a recommendation.....
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Widespread transmission failure in 2000 3-series
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MASSACHUSETTS -- My 2000 BMW 323i with about 90K miles will no longer drive in reverse. It appears to be a transmission problem that cost about $5000 to fix. This problem is _very_ widespread but BMW refuse to take any responsibility.

This is a long list of people with the exact same problem:
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bill on 08/02/2007:
Good post. I check the link and it seems a lot of people having the same problem. That has got to be ome kind of design flaw.
Anonymous on 08/02/2007:
$5000.00 for a tranny job!
BMW you rock!!
shawnp80 on 08/02/2007:
It's about a grand for a brake job on a BMW.
Pomona Guy on 08/02/2007:
I bought my daughter an old BMW with low mileage. I sure as heck hope her transmissions doesn't quit!
GWbiker on 08/02/2007:
Search for a good independent repair shop that works on late model BMW, MB and Audi. They may find you a newly reconditioned transmission from Germany for much less than dealer price.
r1100 on 01/29/2009:
The automatic transmissions on all E46 3-series '99-'05 are ticking time bombs good for maybe 70k-100k miles. Important components are made of cheap pot metal. A good independent shop might do a rebuild for $3000 with better components. Best to stay away from them as used cars, or get a manual transmission model, which is very reliable.
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