Last year I wrote a post about a special warranty that covers what BMW calls Super Ultra Low Emission Vehicles, or SULEVs. These cars were built with a special, fully integrated fuel tank and fuel filter to reduce accidental emissions to the atmosphere, and can’t be repaired without huge expense.
Here’s a service bulletin from BMW with full details: http://www.ge39.com/files/M56sulev.pdf
Anything related to the fuel system, for example the fuel filter, cannot be repaired or replaced without replacing the entire tank. That’s the huge expense, in the $6,000 to $8,000 range. For that reason, BMW was forced to provide a 15 year, 150,000 mile warranty on the fuel related components of these cars. However, as the years have gone by many owners don’t know about this warranty, and apparently they are not being told about it by BMW.
See below for a recent comment to my post that made my day. John Holmes is the owner of a 2004 BMW 325i SULEV, and using the warranty information was able to successfully negotiate a fully covered repair on his vehicle:
I am SO glad I found this website. Like everyone else here my fuel pump failed and I got the news that my 2004 BMW 325i would cost $8,130 to fix! The Blue Book value on the car was only about $11k so the car was essentially “totalled”. I live in North Carolina and bought the car used from a former New York resident. I had no idea I even owned one of the special Super Ultra Low Emmissions Vehicles. The car only has 48,000 miles on it.
Trust me, the BMW dealership here never heard of the special warranty (15 years/150,000 miles). I called BMW North America customer service and got a similar run around. “It is not covered”. When I found this blog, I called BMW NA and they did acknowledge the special warranty but said it only applied to vehicles registered and operated primarily in California, Maine, Massachusetts or Vermont. I demanded a copy of the warranty and discovered on page 37 “BMW NA warrants to the original owner and each subsequent owner”… There was NO geographical restrictions. So after 3 weeks of wrangling and fighting I got the local dealer to cover the fix. They had to order the gas tank from Germany as there were none available in the continental US. Alls well that ends well, so keep fighting and don’t take NO for an answer!
Nothing makes a blogger feel better than readers saying they’ve been helped by the information you provide! I’ve heard from half a dozen owners directly, and armed with information about the warranty most have been able to get BMW to honor it.
Over the weekend I reached out to Mike Miller, tech columnist for Bimmer and Roundel magazines. I’ve read Mike’s columns for years, and he was kind enough to give me an interview here on Work, Wine and Wheels back in 2010. When I shared John’s comment with him and some of the other comments to my thread, Mike said he’d do a piece in his upcoming column:
Chris,Thank you for putting this together. I will include it in my next installment of Tech Q&A, and if it’s okay with you I’m going to run it in Roundel, too.Best regards,
Drive Wheels, LLC
Bimmer Magazine Tech Q&A
BMW CCA Roundel Magazine Technical Editor
These cars are getting older, and if they have over 150K miles then obviously the warranty is void. But otherwise these problems should be repaired at BMW’s expense, and owners deserve to know the facts.
EDIT: Here is the actual warranty from a 2005 SULEV vehicle, courtesy of Mike Miller. See pages 37 and 38 for the 15 years/150K coverage.
Other stories you might like:
- Helping Another BMW SULEV Owner I’ve been publishing Work, Wine and Wheels articles since 2008. I started the site in...
- E39 M5 Northern Virginia Owners Redux Recently I got together with a group of local E39 M5 owners in Fairfax, Virginia....
- Super Experience at Restaurant Eve Saturday night Gabe and I had a very enjoyable experience at Restaurant Eve in Old...