Jul 172012

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:

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,

Mike Miller
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.

  87 Responses to “Helping BMW Owners with Super Low Emission Vehicles – SULEVs”

  1. Mike, is there any way I could get into contact with you? I would like some advice as to how I can get the dealer to honor this warranty on my 2004 325ci SULEV gas tank/fuel pump/ filter problem.

  2. I need help. I am having the same issue my fuel pump went out on this sulev BMW which I did not even know I had . I live in Lousisiana and BMW NA is telling me the same thing I dont live in Californina sorry can’t help you !! Warranty does not apply to me !! Fed up I am at a loss any advice .

    • I’ve recently discovered this website and comment section. I know your comment was entered years ago, but I’m wondering if you had any luck with getting this covered. I am experiencing the same thing, and I live in Utah. They are telling me that because of the geographic restriction, they will not help. Any information you could provide would be much appreciated!!! Thanks.

      • Did you get this covered? I am experiencing the same issue. I am the original owner of a 2004 325i which I purchased in NY. I am now living in SC and they argue that since the car is not registered in NY, the SULEV warranty does not apply.

        Any feedback would be appreciated from anyone. Thanks!

      • Hi Lisa,

        Did you figure out this issue? I wrote about my experience below, and it might be helpful to you. I was able to get the car fixed even though they kept giving me the same excuse, that it was not registered in one of the SULEV states. That’s a bunch of BS. It’s covered. Try different BMW dealerships, who might have different contacts at BMW corporate. Don’t give up! They absolutely should honor this warranty for you.


  3. My BMW 325i 2003 has 87,000 miles on it and there seems to be a fuel injection problem. After going to several mechanics, Big O tires told me to take it to a BMW dealer because that all they work on is BMW. The manager called his buddy over at BMW Ontario, California and he was told that there is no fuel filter that he could order for my vehicle because it was a low emmisions fuel tank “all in one”. He said that it was covered but he told him it was 10 years or 150,000 miles coverage and the year built per their records show 3/2003. So, I had to take it in right away.

    Turns out that I showed up at the BMW dealer service dept and told them that a couple mechanics said that there was a problem with my fuel system and the guy said “Its under warranty – no problem” . Found out today (dropped it off yesterday) that they are replacing the entire fuel tank – no charge!

    • I had the same problem with my 2003 325i when it didn’t pass the smog test. Hundreds of $ later trying to avoid fuel injection repair costs from the dealer, the mechanic said the problem was unusual and told me to take it to the dealer. I did, and they told me it was “under warranty” and took care of the costs of the repair, but wanted me to pay $175 for running the diagnostic to find the problem. I didn’t feel that was right since I had no idea it was under warranty and had I known I wouldn’t have tried to save money by going to a regular mechanic. They eventually waived the diagnostic fee, but I’m still out the cash for the repairs I got from the mechanic before going to BMW. The smog station guy said when a manufacturer does that, the smog guys get notified so if your car doesn’t pass, they can tell you to take your car to the dealer. He said he has no notice from BMW for that. But, now because of my case he knows.

  4. I’m going through the same thing with my 2004 325ci Sulev.. My fuel pump is down .. I bought the car about 3 months ago and it started surging while driving on the freeway. I had it put on the bmw machine and found out it is my fuel pump going out then after about two weeks , sure enough it wouldn’t run and had to take the back seat out and take the cover off over where the fuel pump wires are connected and beat on it with my shoe while turning the ignition and got it to start.. So I contacted my local dealer Bmw of Chattanooga, TN and now after speaking with them and BMWNA for about 3 weeks . Today the supervisor on my case Hanna called and said after speaking with the service manager at bmw of Chattanooga and there Area Market Mgr he determined it is Not under warranty because I live in Tennessee.. The warranty states Bmwna warrants to the original owner and each subsequent owner. There are no geographical restrictions stated…….. I am a single father of an 10yr old and a 6yr old That car is my transportation for them and work.. To fix the car is 7500 for the gas tank and 3500 for labor.. Why on gods green earth would BMW build a car that it will cost 11000 to fix a fuel pump..BmwNa got a tax credit to build these cars and they had to stamp a 15yr 150000k warranty on the emission system and componets….

    • Has anyone else been able to get BMW-NA to cover one of these replacements when it’s not registered in CA or NY?

      • I did…only because my car was originally purchased in NY. I live in NJ and bought my car pre-owned. The dealer traced back the origin of purchase. BMW has replaced my entire fuel tank and also my Valve cover because my car was burning excessive oil and white smoke was coming out of the tailpipe.

      • May I ask which dealership you visited? When I ask my broken valve cover replacement, a service manager denied to fix it under warranty because it is not in the parts list.

    • Hi Darrell,

      I know this is an old post and hope this message makes way to you. I recently purchased a used 2004 325CI M56 SULEV (Manufactured May of 2003). In my 2004 3 Series Service and Warranty manual/booklet there is no reference to a 15 year / 150,000 mile warranty stated in the emissions warranty section. But in the 2005 Warranty manual and service bulletin, it does. Can you confirm that your 2004 325CI M56 SULEV is in fact covered by this warranty? (My car was/is purchased and registered in CA).

      IF it is under warranty, does the fuel pump necessarily have to be the problem to have coverage?

      I am currently and possibly having throttle body, icv, and intake issues (components stated in the warranty). These issues are causing and has been presented as the dreaded EML/DSC/BRAKE problem in many E46’s. OBD codes referencing to the throttle body and fuel do exist.

      If you or anyone can advise, that would be greatly appreciated! Thank you so much!

    • I am having the same problem with mt 2003 325 i. Bmw . i was told that i would have to pay $ 9000. Plus $ 200. total of $ 1100 .00.for a fuel tank. I am so depressed. I cant afford it. I have 158,000 miles. and i too k my car in for a recall on the air bags. They didnt even fix but they wanted $ 150 to do the diagnosstic on it . please help if you have any answers for me .

      • Barbara — sorry to hear about your situation. Unfortunately your car is over the 150K miles covered by the warranty. I’d ask the dealer to work with you in some way — discount the part, labor, something. You never know unless you ask.

        Small comfort, but they cannot charge you for the air bag recall. There should be no diagnostic charge.

  5. Recently went thru the same story with my sulev 2004 325i. Needed fuel pump and new gas tank . Only 50,000. Miles but bmwna said I wasn’t covered as the dealer where I purchased the car. I called one dealer I’m another area and sure enough be was honest and told me about 150,000/15yr warrantee.thank-you god it was honored. Shame on bmw na for their ignorance and deliberate lies keep trying maybe u will find am honest dealer with some integrity.

  6. I have one of these ” ultimate driving mistakes” what a joke!!!

  7. I am having the same problem I was quoted 8400 for parts and labor I need the number to BMW NA or whatever number so I can get this taken care of I need help asap

  8. First of all i want to thank every one for informations.I’m an owner of 2004 325 sulev ,and im having problems with fuel pump or filter,not sure whatever it is! The car Stalls while driving during a hot day! I never had the same failure during winter! I live in Armenia, and need some advise, what should i do for 15 years warranty should i start from Bmw armenian dealers or what? Can anyone give me some advise? And once again thanks to Chris!!!

  9. Thanks so much for the information. I had to take my car to a mechanic shop because BMW warranty specialist told me that it’s past the 10 years warranty. They apparently lied to me. My car is a 2003 325ci BMW purchased in CA. After reading this I called them again and mentioned the Bulletin from BMW they mentioned 10 years and I had to correct him again with 15 years warranty. Finally he told me to take the car to the dealership and I won’t have to pay a single cent. I was so ecstatic so thank you so much for this blog. God bless you.

    • Thanks for this advice. I put my BMW in the shop for the recall on the airbags. Had to have my 2003 325 i towed cause the car wouldnt start it would just crank over. $1100 for replacement of the fuel tabkI am sick over this. I have 158,000 miles so they said i didnt qualidy for the warranty. Can u help me ….anyone

  10. I live in El Paso,TX I own a 2003 BMW325ci, 3 weeks ago my fuel pump/fuel tank is out.Because it’s a California emissions BMW dealership of El Paso do not want to cover it. They have been threatening me if I don’t pick up my car there going to start charging me storage. I do not have $6000.00 dollars to repair it. Please reply.

  11. Hi. I am having the same issue with my 2008 328i. I only have 75K miles and the left fuel sensor is out. My car came from NY…and I had no idea that issues like this existed. Is anyone aware of another bulletin for this period?


  12. I’m considering buying a 2011 328 xdrive, SULEV – and am having trouble determining if the 15yr warranty applies? any help would be most appreciated!

  13. Thank you Mike for putting this post out in the open!! , it saved me thousands of dollars. Its true what you don’t know will hurt your pockets terribly . LOL seriously you purchase a vehicle without being told about certain things that are important.

    Monica in Massachusetts.

  14. We purchased a 2007 328xi coupe this year and to my ignorance I didn’t know what a SULEV car was… Until now! We are having an issue with oil getting inside the spark plug socket and causing a misfire on #2 cylinder which also caused the ing coil to go bad. The other issue we are having is oil getting into the eccentric cam sensor, I noticed this when I unplugged the sensor due to oil leaking into the valve cover gasket. The car was originally purchased in NJ and I live in MI, one dealer told me that the warranty wouldn’t apply since we are not a SULEV state, another was very hesitant and told me that they weren’t sure if it would be covered. I contacted BMWNA and they informed me to take it to a dealer and have it diagnosed and then we would see if they would cover it under warranty. Has anyone else had this type of problem and was it covered?

    • Mike,

      I have a 2007 328i sedan, and had similar issues to yours. Misfires on cylinders, #2, and #3, leaking valve cover gasket and had to replace them all. I live in CA btw. Now I’m having issues with fault 2A00, secondary air quantity too low bank 2 and BMW is telling me this is not covered under SULEV. My regular BMW mechanic says this should be covered and BMW Dealer is saying this is not covered. I am trying to dispute this and will call BMW NA this week. Were you able to you your issues covered and if so, which issues? BMW Dealer tells me they only cover failed parts and not “cleaning” which they claim the blockage in the cylinder is.

      • The solution is to call California Air Resources Board, I also have a 2007 328i BMW and experiencedd the same issues and also Carbon buildup in my cylinder heads causing me to fail my smog test. The dealership wanted to charge me $8000 dollars to clean the carbon build up. I was lied to by the dealership and BMW NA. I called CARB and they sent me an informal warranty complaint form, I filled it out sent it back with supporting documents and not only did BMW fix my car they gave me a brand new cylinder head and my money back for the diagnosis fee. If you need more info come check out my blog http://bmwwarrantyenforcer.blogspot.com/

  15. I have a 2004 bmw 325Ci and the fuel pump is making an odd noise. I took it to dealer and they acknowledge they hear the noise and management is indicating they dont think it’s a failure that qualifies under warranty. Mechanic admitted that they would recommend the repair under different circumstances. He recommended I call corporate. Car is almost out of the warranty period due to mileage so I’m concerned dealer is trying to get itself out of the repair and the car will run out of warranty period. Any ideas how I can approach it?

  16. Chris,
    thank to for Your hard work and dedication, I currently own a 2003 325i Bmw in California and had my fuel pump malfunction, after a couples hours of searching I found your site and info. made a copy of the BMW service bulletin Attachment and took it to the Dealer and had no Problem honoring the warranty currently have 124k and they mentioned that it is fully covered until 150,000miles or 15 years.
    Also it applies to vehicles that have a metal tank and that are SULEV That are registered in a couple states like CA,

    Saved Tons of money and will have my car fixed without any issues
    Aldo c
    Sent via iOS 8
    iPhone 6 Plus “4G LTE Smartphone”

  17. THANK YOU!!! This information saved me from spending thosands of dollars. I have a 2003 BMW 325i and after a week and a half of wondering how am I going to fix this 6,000.00 dollar issue, i did research and came accross your blog. This is the best news all year, I called BMW of NA, they reffered me to call the dealership, which I did and they said if it is the SULEV tank they would fully cover it and the other recalls for that year (airbags and back break light). My family and I are greatful for this valuable information you were able to get out!

  18. Hello I am having the same problem. My mechanic says I need to replace both fuel tank and fuel pump. Now he mentioned it was only 10 years bit I’m happy to see that it’s 15 years. How can I get a copy of the warranty stating the special 15 year warranty? I would greatly appreciate your help.

    • If you live near Los Angeles California, you should call New Century BMW Dealership in Alhambra, CA. (ask for the Service Department Manager) No need for a copy of the warranty……They truly know about the 15 year or 150,000 miles emission warranty, they will fix both fuel pump and fuel tank at NO CHARGE. Mine went out on my 2004 325i SULEV on January/2015 I contacted New Century BMW Dealership and they gave me no problems at all….They ordered the parts and once all the parts arrived, they replaced them and fixed it within 1 day, they even provided me with a rental car while my car stayed in the shop :))) Thank you New Century BMW Dealership!!!!
      They fixed both recalls too — back break light and airbags :)

  19. I have a 05 325i SULEV and its having issues with fuel injectors #3,#4,#5 all miss fire. We changed spark pugs and coils and the problem did not go away. My local dealer knows about the warranty but they are saying I can’t be covered because we are not a SULEV state. I read the warranty book and it said that the car has to be sold,lased or registers in a SULEV state to be covered. I bought the car in Nevada and I live in Arizona. What do think I should do?? Please help

    • I have a similar situation with my 2008 328i SULEV. I purchased it in California and then relocated to Texas. I have a “service engine soon” light on. The code says fule injector cylinder leak #4. But I wanted to add that if you read the very first message, the author there said this after reading the warranty ““BMW NA warrants to the original owner and each subsequent owner”… There was NO geographical restrictions.”…

      I already have an appointment in two days. I will report my findings. But we should be covered.

      • Hi Edgar,

        I’m wondering if you can provide any information….my vehicle was originally purchased in CA, and I live in Utah. Did you end up getting this covered?

      • Hi Charlynn,

        My radiator was replaced. A thermometer went bad and they had to replace the entire unit since the thermometer was built into the radiator. It was all covered by the SULEV extended warranty. Your local dealership may play the card that they don’t know (as they tried here), but I insisted and forced to learn. After a few times, they did learn and covered the repaired 100%.

        I hope this helps you.


  20. Just changed my mind on BMW. Thank you. The fact that they lie like that is very telling. I’ll be buying from a japanese company.

  21. Greetings everyone,

    I am currently wrestling with BMW with respect to my P0420 and P0430 codes being thrown indicating that my catalytic converters are at fault. My car is a 2008 SULEV with and I pulled up the warranty information and walked NA through the issue and the customer service rep agreed but was denied by two dealers who said two different things. One said that because the car is registered in PA the 20008 SULEV warranty doesn’t apply, the other says because it was bought in PA the warranty doesn’t apply. They both have ignored the following clauses:

    (1) “BMW NA warrants to the original purchaser and each subsequent owner that the vehicle…”

    (2) The California Emissions Control System Limited Warranty SULEV (PZEV) applies to all 2008
    U.S. specification BMW SULEV (PZEV) vehicles sold, leased, and/or registered in California,
    Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts (where my car was originally purchased), New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island or Vermont.

    I am bringing this to light not only to let people know that this is still happening but to also get support for warranty enforcement that should be cut and dry that BMW is trying to skip out on. Your support is greatly appreciated.

    Thank you,

    Kevin Williams

    • Kevin,

      I had a similar experience. But they will come to their sense and do the rapairs. I went back and forth. Even when I picked up the car they wanted to hand me a bill and I had to again remind them that it was 100% covered by the warranty. Just have to not lose your cool and as you said enforce the warranty.


  22. I have a 2005 325iT (Wagon) SULEV that I purchased in Seattle, WA used. I’m concerned that my fuel pump may be getting ready to fail. The RPM’s go up and down while the car is set to cruise control at 70mph on the freeway. Anyone know if this is a symptom of a faulty fuel pump? I would also have to find a dealership in Seattle to honor the 150,000 mi warranty and WA is not an original SULEV state… Any feedback or advice is greatly appreciated!

    • Hi,

      I am also from Seattle, my fuel pump failed on me unfortunately. I was just wondering if you found out an other information about the rules in seattle. BMWNA and Seattle dealership said that it doesn’t work for my car. But I have a 325i 2004 with the SULEV piece, and I’ve heard people are saying its the SULEV piece under warranty so It works everywhere. Let me know please! thanks :)

  23. Chris,

    A HUGE THANK YOU FOR THIS INFORMATION! Without people like you all, I would be in serious trouble. Luckily, my local Utah BMW dealership looked into this and are moving forward with the replacement for me. I hope that all goes well, since by some miracle my vehicle was originally purchased in CA.

    Thank you again for posting this, and for all of the consumers that responded with similar issues. Good luck and keep fighting the good fight!


    • Charlynn – you’re very welcome! And I’m happy to hear your dealer looks to be honoring the warranty.

    • Charlynn, which Utah dealership helped you? Murray first told us Sulev wasn’t covered outside California where it was originally purchased. Next they told us warranty was expired at 10 years/100,000 miles. They keep making excuses claiming they cannot diagnose any problem to justify the replacement of the fuel tank. Actually, we have found about 6 different reasons. The latest we were told is that more than double fuel tank pressure is no problem, that it’s only a problem if it’s low fuel tank pressure! They are wearing out our warranty til we have 200 miles left under it.

    • Which BMW dealership covered your warranty? murray or pleasant grove? was your car registered in utah or california?


  24. Thank you Chris very much for the information. A couple of months ago my 2007 328xi stalled on the road due to fuel pump problem (had only 50K miles). I got it repaired in Flemington BMW in NJ by paying nearly $800. I then came across your discussion and realized that my car is SULEV and I purchased from NY. So I made a call to the dealership and the BMW NA customer service. I just got a call from the dealership that they will honor that and will reimburse by mailing me a check. Although NJ was not a participant in the CA SULEV law, it was still applicable to this car since the it was purchased from NY.
    A big big thanks to you.

    • Sounds like you have a easier one compared to most of us! I have a 2008 328i from California so right now the BMW dealer in Bloomington, Minnesota was pretty hostile towards me when I mentioned the SULEV warranty. He pulled up his recoeds which he claims to be from BMW NA and told me right up “you have absolutely nothing”. I walked back to the car and took the warranty book, showed him page 44-45. Now he says we are in Minnesota now, not any of these states. when I pointed the 2 clauses from th book, he’s like “I’m out of here, you can talk to a higher up if you wish”. He demanded me to pay 139 for the diagnosis up front before dwelling more into the warranty.

      Soon enough a manager talked to me and acknowledged the SULEV warranty from certain states, so he told me that he will need to run a diagnosis first and send the report to BMW NA to validate if the problems are covered by the warranty. If not, I would have to get my car towed and pay the diagnosis fee without getting anything fixed.

      I am waiting for a reply from the Bloomington dealership, will post any updates here

  25. Hi, I am having this issue in Washington State. My car won’t start and my local automotive guy that specializes in German cars has said that it is he fuel pump that needs to be changed. He has never seen this SULEV fuel tank, and is mind blown by the cost. Anyways, I was just wondering who you have all talked to about getting this resolved, and which states you were able to. I called a bunch of dealerships as did my mechanic. They are all saying this warranty does not work for my 2004 BMW 325i even though it has the SULEV fuel tank. I’m trying to find the best possible situation, if any of you have a good idea on what to do now. The Fuel tank is more than what I paid for my car 2 years ago. The car is in perfect condition so it’s unfortunate I might have to part it out to get some money back. Let me know if you all have any ideas, it would be greatly appreciated!

  26. So, I have a Ca. registered 2004 325i and am just now learning of this 15yr\150000 mi. warranty. Last year I had my mechanic replace my leak detection pump (dmtl pump). Wondering if BMW NA might reimburse me for that cost even thought the work was not done at a BMW dealership. Does anyone know if the warranty clearly states all work must be performed at a BMW dealer?


  27. I’m glad we saw this post. We just recently bought our first new to use BMW 325i Sulev with just 79,000 2003, so we have this warranty. Thanks again!

    • Yes, you can get reimbursed, it does not matter if the work was performed by someone else, by law BMW can not tell you where to get your car repaired at.

      ” An independent mechanic, a retail chain shop, or even you yourself can do routine maintenance and repairs on your vehicle. In fact, the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act, which is enforced by the FTC, makes it illegal for manufacturers or dealers to claim that your warranty is void or to deny coverage under your warranty simply because someone other than the dealer did the work. The manufacturer or dealer can, however, require consumers to use select repair facilities if the repair services are provided to consumers free of charge under the warranty.” quoted from the FTC website

      • Thanks for the detailed story and the resource link, Gwendolyn. Nice to hear about your happy ending.

  28. Hi, I am getting the run around from BMW dealer in Colorado. I purchased 2005 BMW 325i in California moved to Colorado a few years ago. I had NO idea I purchased a SULEV, last week my car died – mechanic said my fuel pump needed to be replaced. I had my vehicle towed into BMW dealer and they are saying that that manufacture warranty does not apply. I quoted page 37 to them on the 15 years or 150,000 mile and have told them that there are ABSOLUTELY no geographical restrictions listed on page 37. I only have 60,000 miles on BMW and they are quoting 10K to replace fuel tank. Need Help! Is there a special word I have to say in order to invoke manufacture warranty? How do I get BMW dealer to honor warranty? Someone please help. shanabennett@msn.com

  29. I own a BMW 325CI, built in 2003, M56 SULEV. 124,000 Miles. Both Catalytic Converters need to be replaced. The car is at a BMW Dealer in Charlottesville, VA. A week ago, the then service manager told me on the phone that all is covered under the BMW SULEV Warranty, but they were only able to locate one Cat-Converter and the second is on back order, delivery maybe in 30-60days, BMW in Europe does not have any in stock either. Today, I was told by the service writer that BMW declined to extend the SULEV Warranty with the statement, the car would have to be registered and primarily operated in one of the SULEV States. ie, CA, NY, MA, VT and Maine… the car was sold and first registered in Sep 2003 in Buffalo NY and somehow made it to Virginia – I bought the car here, not knowing what I will get into in 2008 at a local Nissan Dealer. I talked with BMW NA today and the answer is entirely unsatisfactory – the won’t cover the repair under warranty – because the car is now operating in Virginia and not in New York state or Ca or or or…. How can one service manager tell me it is covered under warranty, and a week later it is not……. Also reselling a SULEV car outside the SULEV States without clearly stating that his could cause a loss of the SULEV warranty is fraud in my eyes. Reading through the blog I found many similar situations and statements by BWM dealers and BMW NA themselves — I am ready to consult with a lawyer about this situation. I provided the BMW dealer in Charlottesville will all Warranty related documents of BMW and have not heard back as of yet………I have been through an ordeal of exchanges parts like the valve cover with the PCV valve, made from Aluminum, the EGR, a MAF and several vacuum hoses to no avail.. the car under load goes into safe mode, locks the accelaretion pedal, EML Service soon DSC ABS lights on. and loses complete performance. It was determined that the cats are partially blocked, burnt.. Turning off the enging and restarting kills all the lights, but the car has no real power – it also the intake sound is very throaty and loud. So now I am facing a major bill, if BMW does not cover the warranty and I feel that I am subject to fraudulent action by BMW and their dealer. What can I do ?

    • Having same experience with my 2003 325i SULEV at about 155,000 miles – limp mode (twice), EML, DSC, Brake lights on, turning off the engine killed the lights but losing power and sounding throaty and loud at times. Dealer says I need 2 new cats, believing they are blocked – despite no Check Engine Light indicating the cats are bad. None available.

      Have you made progress fixing yours?

  30. Anyone with success having other components replaced under this warranty? I own a 2004 325 SULEV
    and it needs the Ccv and associated hoses replaced as well as the disa valve resulting
    in lean codes and misfire codes. As per the research I have done these are emissions related parts
    that should also be covered. Knock on wood my fuel pump has not failed me yet (135k miles)

  31. I have had “spark” issues with my 2009 328i x drive since purchasing it CPO. After taking it in for the third time for the issue my dealer informed me that I should “get rid of it” before the CPO warranty was up because it was an SULEV. After some research, the car was originally leased in NY and the sold CPO (to me) in MN. Reaching out to BMW NA now and will post back here any updates.

    Thanks to Chris for putting this information together and in one place.

    • Good luck Scott, and please do share any info you receive. Most of the information in these posts pertains to the E46, not the E90.

  32. Chris and All – Quite disappointed in BMW NA and the response I received back. It was a PR black hole and it had left me quite disappointed. I am going to take the car in for a look and am anticipating an adventure. Thanks for pointing out the model difference Chris. The warranty language appears the same in my manual as what is in the E46 manual, so I am a little hopeful!

  33. I have just finished a round of repairs under the SULEV 150K/15Y emissions warranty for my 2004 325Ci – after going through 5 DTML pumps and a couple of charcoal canisters, had BMW replace the whole fuel system under warranty – you’ll find the extended warranty in the owner’s handbook.
    Seems the fuel tank was over-pressurizing, forcing liquid fuel up into the charcoal canister and eventually back up into the DTML pump itself (at the front end of the car) causing it to short out.
    Why was it doing this? What pressurizes the fuel tank, apart from a warm day? The last event happened on Christmas day when it was very cold, so not likely due to external thermals.
    BMW were unable to offer any explanation as to why there was liquid fuel being forced around the system. My personal theory is when the DTML pump pulls the vacuum at start-up to test the integrity of the tank system, the transfer pump in the fuel tank kicks in, but doesn’t kick out, and ends up forcing liquid fuel out into the rest of the system. This model of BMW has a saddle fuel tank with a transfer pump to move fuel from one side to the other and, of course, it’s a totally sealed system with no maintainable parts so the fix has to be to replace everything – very expensive.
    So, if you keep getting the 0027CD code, or one of the related codes, have the fuel system checked for traces of liquid fuel or a saturated charcoal vapor canister, a sure-fire indicator the fuel tank system is misbehaving and needs to be replaced by BMW.

    • Thanks for this information Michael, and glad you got the warranty honored. For others having this issue I think it’s DMTL – Diagnostic Module Tank Leak.

  34. Is there any help out there for a 2001 325i with a bad catalytic converter?

  35. I have a 2003 BMW 325i SULEV with approximately 135K miles on it, that I took to the BMW dealer in Birmingham, AL (Tom Williams BMW) because the fuel pump was whining. The dealer said the pump needed to be replaced and explained that he had found out that the pump couldn’t be changed without the tank being replaced (imagine that). I explained to him that what he was talking about was the SULEV aspect of the car and told him about the warranty. He said he had never heard that before and was pretty sure there was no warranty coverage of any kind that applied to the car.

    I called BMW NA and asked them where I could get a PDF of the warranty. He said he wasn’t familiar with it and I had to explain it to him. He got off the line and contacted a different department then finally got the link and sent it to me. I asked him if there was any reason the warranty wouldn’t apply since the car was pre-owned and he had me hold for an extended period again.

    When he came back, he said the car was originally sold in Massachusetts and that based on the discussion he had with his resource, he didn’t see anything that would prevent it from applying. After I got off the line with him, I immediately printed out the pages from the PDF, circled verbiage in the info, and emailed both to the Birmingham BMW Service contact. In about 15-20 minutes he called me back, acting as though he was now a “SULEV Warranty Expert” and explained to me that since it wasn’t registered in NY, CA, or MA and that since it hasn’t failed a smog test, that the warranty didn’t apply. I pointed out the two sections of the warranty, specifically where it said it didn’t have to fail the emissions test to qualify and he still stuck with the fact that it wasn’t registered in one of the three states.

    I asked him if he had called BMW NA and he stated he didn’t need them to explain it to them, that they had their own warranty expert on site. Vi asked if this was the same expert who didn’t know it existed about 20 minutes ago and he said it was. I asked him to specifically tell me why the warranty didn’t apply and said they didn’t think it was covered. When I picked the car up, I saw where they had it listed that the fuel pump and tank needed to be replaced and asked them to write on te receipt, specifically why the warranty was not applicable and they did not give me a reason again instead just writing not covered under warranty.

    I have owned 5 BMWs and was their biggest fan, even entrusting them with my daughter’s life as her first car, but this has made me completely sick of the crap that BMW NA and specifically the Birmngham BMW dealer are now doing. I tried to work with them, but now I think I may have to pursue legal means…before I do, is there any other suggestions anyone has? If not, do any of you have a good lawyer that has represented you in this issue that I may be able to use?

    Thanks for the assistance…

  36. I live in Fresno, CA and I have a 2005 BMW 325i SULEV (130000 Miles) with fuel leakage problem when the tank is full and SES light is on even after replacing gas cap and the code says emission related issue . I am not getting any response from my local BMW dealer even after repeated enquiries. They just say they are trying to figure out the warranty issue. Not sure what to do now?Please advise. Thanks a bunch.

  37. I have a 2008 BMW 328xi with N51 Engine, I have been hearing a ticking noise coming from either the exhausted or the engine but I wasn’t sure and I did not have a check engine light on. I took my car to my Mechanic who informed me that the Catalytic Converters went bad and they need to be replaced. He also said that my car might still be under emission warranty. I started doing some research online and that’s when I found this site. I took my car to BMW dealer and I informed him that my car is still under Emission warranty, they diagnosed the car and confirmed that it was one CAT Converter that must be replaced, they emailed BMNA to check the warranty and after 24hours, I got the OK. The Car was sold first in New York and It’s registered now in Virginia.

    You can download the service and warranty book from the link below

    Check out page 44
    ManufacturersWarranty Coverage:
    – For 15 years or 150,000 miles whichever
    occurs first:
    1. If your vehicle fails a Smog Check inspection,
    all necessary repairs and adjustments
    will be made by BMW NA to ensure that
    your vehicle passes the inspection. This is
    your emission control system PERFORMANCE
    2. If any emission-related part on your vehicle
    is defective, the part will be repaired or
    replaced by BMW NA. This is your emission
    control system DEFECTS WARRANTY.

    Thank you Chris

  38. I have a 2005 BMW 325i SULEV Model registered and operated in California, with 15 years or 150,000 Miles warranty for emission control system DEFECTS WARRANTY with 133,000 miles on it. Now I see that fuel was leaking (which is a dangerous fire hazard) till the gas tank is half from full (my research says it’s common for these models) from the bottom rear when I fill up the gas tank. My dealer at Fresno says possible Overfilling/Topping Off (after they did a smoke test for leak) I never overfilled/topped off gas and it is ridiculous saying that replacing a gas teak is not easy and expensive (it’s still under warranty of course but they are possibly trying to avoid replacing my gas tank under warranty). I am not sure what to do now. Please advise.

  39. I, too, have had the problem with the 150,000 mile or 15 year warranty as offered by BMW for the SULEV Fuel Pumps. After reading all the 35+ blogs on this list I decided it would be worth a try since my local BMW dealer told me that my broken fuel pump was not covered. So I called BMW NA and was told it did not aspply to my car, even though it was purchased in California and registered there. I now live in Hilton Head, SC and the dealer said BMW would not honor it. I went to Ask.com and found a lawyer who knew about this issue and told me that “of course you would win”. I was advised to contact the SC Dept. of Consumer Affairs and they had a complaint form on their web site. Filled it in and they sent it to BMW. What do you know, after 3 weeks, I receive a call from the local BMW dealer that my new fuel pump and tank had arrived. Yesterday, they installed a new tank and everything now works fine. That saved me almost $9,000 including labor. Thank you so much for this web site.

  40. Just want to provide a data point of success. In a nutshell, never give up until the dealership honors the warranty.

    Read about the SULEV warranty and tried calling BMW NA thinking that they should know about the warranty and can communicate with the dealership to give me a “pre-authorization” to do the warranty repair. Spoke with some “warranty supervisor,” who acknowledged knowing the SULEV warranty (after I pointed her to the exact doc, page, and section) but insisted that I need to first do a diagnosis at the dealership, which would be free only *if* they deem my car qualifies for warranty coverage but $175 otherwise. When I spoke to the service mgr at my service appointment, he initially claimed he’s worked here 17 years and has never heard of a SULEV warranty. Only after I insisted he check the warranty doc did he call one of his colleagues and admitted, “Well, you learn something everyday.” He took my car, did the diagnosis, and confirmed there was something wrong, but assured me that a software upgrade will fix the issue (again, he confidently claimed he has never had a customer come back a second time). After he upgraded the software he refused to do a drive cycle for me, defending how my car has been out of registration and that my tires looked old. Since I needed the car for the wkn I agreed to take it back. Needless to say the CAT monitor wont clear even after I followed all the drive cycle instructions. So I immediately took the car back to the dealership. During that visit the service manager finally put something on the estimate that read “Possible SULEV Warranty.” After a couple of day, he called me saying that they replaced both of my cats. My car’s CAT monitor cleared after I drove it for one day. Morale of the story, these guys will try to give you all the trouble to discourage you, but dont give up cuz at the end of the day

  41. Thank you for this valuable site and blog. I was pointed here by Mike Miller of Roundel/Bimmer tech fame.

    My 2003 e46 started to sputter on my way home the other day, and I immediately worried that it was fuel delivery-related. My regular mechanic saw no codes, so it was back to the dealer (where I bought the car new). When I dropped it off, I told the service advisor that it felt like it was running out of gas and that I knew the fuel pump was not a job for my regular mechanic. To her credit (and Competition BMW), she told me that it was under warranty if the pump, etc was bad. She said she has handled about 10 of these in her 5 years at the dealership.

    They have the car now and the parts are on order. They are also replacing the front air(shrapnel)bags. I will update when the job is complete.

    • Mark — nice to hear a positive story, thanks for sharing. And great to know Mike Miller is pointing people here – no higher BMW authority!

      • Chris, I just posted this on FB and mentioned your help.

        This might be of interest to those who have BMW e46 SULEV vehicles (M56 engine, automatic transmission). I have had my 2003 325i since new, and it now has 130,000 miles on it. I was made aware several years ago that this car was a “super low emissions vehicle” and that specialness included a sealed, stainless steel fuel system. Sealed meaning that if the fuel pump died, or the filter clogged, or the control module went bad, all of that stuff is stranded in the tank, and the whole tank assembly has to be replaced (thanks NY, CA, MA and VT!). As one can imagine, this is not a cheap repair. Fortunately, this stupid design is warranted under an extended federal emissions warranty for 15 years/150,000 miles.

        Driving home a few days ago, the car felt like it was rolling over rumble strips but the pavement was smooth. It then felt like it was going to die – like it was running out of gas. There were no CELs lit, only the mild bucking and an erratic tach. To make a long story short, I got the car home, ran my code reader (nothing), had my mechanic run his Snap-On one (still nothing), so it was off to the dealer for the first time in a decade.

        When I described the issue, the advisor figured the fuel pump was bad. They had to run the diagnostics, and, if she was right, order the parts, so they would have the car for a few days. While there they were going to replace the air(shrapnel) bags.

        I picked up the car today and they replaced the fuel tank and everything that goes in it. All under warranty. I asked what the job would have cost me and she said the parts were $9,600 with 6 hours labor (@ $146/hr). With tax, this would have been an $11,380 job!! (Although I have seen the tank online for $6,000, it is still nuts).

        So, if you have one of these cars and it was purchased in NY, CA, MA or VT (the M56 engine can be easily identified by the location of the oil cap, which is over on the passenger side of the engine) be aware that this is a warranty job.

        Thanks to Mike Miller of Roundel/Bimmer tech fame and Chris Parente, who has a website dedicated to this: http://chrisparente.com/2012/07/17/helping-bmw-owners-with-super-low-emission-vehicles-sulevs/ , for making the BMW community aware of this issue.

  42. Hi there,

    I have a 2004 BMW 325i SULEV that was gifted to me from my father. I brought the car to Illinois for graduate school, however the car was originally purchased in California.

    The car is at the BMW dealership now with a failed fuel pump. After multiple discussions with the BMW dealer and a “resolution specialist” at BMW NA, they have confirmed that they CANNOT cover the fuel tank replacement under the California Emissions Warranty because the car is not currently REGISTERED in California, MA, VT, NY, or ME.

    They point to this specific language on Page 2 of the 2004 325i SULEV Services and Warranty manual:

    “In addition to very low tailpipe and zero-evaporative emissions, this PZEV certification includes a unique warranty when the vehicle is registered in California and certain Northeastern states as indicated elsewhere in this book.”

    I’m confused why in the initial blog post the writer said, “There was NO geographical restrictions.” This warranty clearly states the geographic limitation. Although there are two other areas that seem to contradict this language: (Page 37)

    “BMW NA warrants to the original purchaser and each subsequent owner…”


    “This California Emissions Control System Limited Warranty applies to all 2004 U.S. specification BMW SULEV (PZEV) vehicles sold, leased, and/or registered in California,Maine, Massachusetts, New York or Vermont.”

    The last comment would imply that they can be sold OR registered in one of those states, not necessarily both. Because the language is contradictory, do I have a chance of convincing them? BMW NA has been of no help, as they are confirming the dealership’s argument.

    I’m a graduate student who definitely doesn’t have $10,000 to fix this car. The car is in otherwise perfect condition with only 83,000 miles.

    My only ideas now are to transfer the vehicle registration to a family member in Vermont, or to pursue legal action (which I probably can’t afford either!) Does anyone have any other advice for getting them to honor the warranty?

    Thank you for your help,


    • For those of you out there who might be facing this issue, I wanted to update you on the status of my car:

      BMW NA was completely uncooperative, both times I talked with their office they were quite rude and unhelpful. My case manager was Ross, and I Ieft multiple messages and never received a call back. I was pursuing other routes (Illinois Consumer Board, NBC Chicago, etc…) when I decided to call another local BMW dealer. I had a short conversation with the service manger at a different dealership in Illinois and he told me he’d look into it and call me back. Within 30 minutes he called back with the amazing news that he had actually spoken with his contact in “Central Questions” at BMW Corporate. This contact, who apparently is pretty high up told him that “The warranty follows these cars wherever they go after California. As long as they were sold in California they are covered.” And that was it, I got the car towed over to the dealership and they fixed the issue at no cost to me. $10,000 saved!

      My feeling is that everyone at BMW NA is young and they just handled it internally without taking it up to corporate. That’s the most frustrating part of all of this. Thankfully I found a way to side-step them, but that shouldn’t have to be the case. I’d hope they could work FOR us and not against us in trying to get the problem escalated and fixed.

      • Hi Mina! Can i contact you for help? I have problem at this moment and I need to get it fixed ASAP! I am a recent college graduate and I don’t have that kind of money to pay for something that cost more than the car

      • What dealership in Illinois did you go to??

  43. Hi,

    I have a 2011 BMW 328i SULEV. I recently failed an emissions test here in Georgia. The code was p0442 evap system small leak. I was wondering if the repairs would be covered under this warranty. If it is, what is the best course of action to take? Do I call BMWNA first or should I go directly to the dealership? Thanks in advance.


  44. I have a 2003 325i with 124k miles. Does anyone know if the Radiator is covered under?
    Dealer states radiator is not under SULEV warranty. I cannot find anything in SULEV warranty documents stating radiator is covered.

    From Warranty documents:
    In addition SULEV models also incorporate a “Direct Ozone Reduction System”. The external heat
    exchange surfaces of the radiator are coated with a catalyst which reduces the ozone in the ambient air
    drawn through the radiator.

    I live in San Jose, Ca. The local San Jose BMW dealer has not been helpful in the past. Last time I was there they told me car’s transmission was bad. They never test drove the car. Just kept saying codes say transmission was bad. Took car back to my independent mechanic to clear codes to get car out of limp mode. Three years later, transmission still going strong.

    • Did you ever find get the radiator replaced under the SULEV warranty? I replaced mine at 90,000 prophylacticly, so I never considered the warranty.

    • Yes, it’s covered. I just had my radiator replaced under SULEV warranty at Center BMW in Van Nuys, CA. They also replaced the coil packs and thermostat. I paid for the spark plugs because no check engine light was on.

  45. Hello everyone,

    I appreciate everyone’s understanding. My vehicle has malfunctioned recently and am confident the issues can be attributed to various vehicle fuel emission components. O own a 2003 BMW 325I that falls under the 15/150,000 criteria, but I live in Florida. I don’t know where the vehicle was originally assembled and sold, so I am to curious to know the final say on the ambiguity surrounding the warranty’s geographic restrictions. is it for all vehicles conforming to those legislative standards? Does it apply only in the listed states? Does it apply to all subsequent owner’s? Is there a final verdict? I am in great need of help and wish not to have my car towed to learn that I am not covered and be charged for a diagnosis..also, does anyone have a PDF for my specific year? thanks guys

  46. What date does the California 15 year warranty period start from? Is it month/year of manufacture or initial dealer sold month/year?

    My manufacture date is 3/03.. but sold date at the dealer was 1/04. Obviously 10 month difference – which is quite a bit…

  47. I saw a 2004 bmw 325i SULEV with 114k miles on it on craigslist for sale for $1000. but it Needed a fuel pump the ad said .
    The car was clean inside and out .
    I was the first one to call (the ad had just been posted ) so i went and checked it out and bought it
    before i went i did my research .
    so when the tow truck brought it to my house it was a Saturday , then on Monday i had it towed to
    BMW of El Cajon in San Diego California they were very nice and replaced the fuel tank and even
    did the air bag recall and tail light ground wire recall all at once .
    this whole deal was good for me and it didn’t cost me Anything outside of the tow But then again i am a mechanic.I SOLD THE CAR for $4100.
    its not every day you find that kind of deal .it pays to do research .
    i was very lucky

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