Last week I was part of a discussion thread in the BMW group on LinkedIn. An owner of a 2005 BMW 325 was in shock after going to his dealer with a fuel pump problem, and was desperate for help.
He was desperate because the dealer had quoted him a price of $6,500 for the part alone, labor not included! This was because he owned a Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (SULEV), that achieved its super low emissions partly through a stainless steel gas tank, with the fuel filter totally enclosed within the tank. To replace the filter, the entire tank must be replaced. These cars were sold in four states between 2002 and 2005 — more info here from Wikipedia and here from Bimmerforums.
The price quoted was correct, but a very critical piece of information was left out. The emission components of a BMW SULEV vehicle carry a 15 year or 150K mile warranty. But no one at the dealership told him that — he needed to find that out in the LI group.
Not that his dealership gave in without a fight. According to him:
Greg, Christopher. Speaking about honoring…The local BMW dealer either was clueless or they know exactly how to act in regards to SULEV and my problem ! Not only the local dealer, but the BMWNA as well. Both were singing the same song of $6,500 , not covered by warranty :) Sad reality.
Eventually the repair was made under warranty. So through some online research and the help of other BMW owners, this guy probably saved around $8K in parts and labor.
So this story had a happy ending, thanks to the power of communities of interest connecting online. You just can’t own these cars out of warranty without doing a lot of research. You need to reach out to fellow owners and take advantage of information others have already found.
Maybe this dealer honestly didn’t know about the extended SULEV warranty. But it was their job to know. Don’t depend on a dealer for warranty and repair information – unleash the power of the Internet and tap into the wisdom of the online crowd.
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