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M3 Warranty Concerns

Discussion in 'Warranty questions' started by MatthewWells, Jan 16, 2012.

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    MatthewWells

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    I just received notification last week that BMW would not warranty my 2009 M3’s warped front brake rotors claiming that the wheel studs I had installed caused the warping. The studs were installed long before I had experienced any problems with steering wheel shake during moderate braking. The shake didn't start until after I had attended a BMWCCA driving school last month. I've contacted the dealer's service manager and BMW customer service but they claim they have no authority to overturn the regional field engineer's decision. Since it’s obvious that the studs didn’t cause the warping, it’s my opinion that BMW does not stand behind their equipment if you try and use it as aggressively as it's been advertized. I have spoken to several other BMW owners who have experienced similar issues with their warranty coverage.

    Beware BMWCCA members. If you attend a sanctioned performance driving school, autocross or similar event, BMW may choose not honor their warranty – or they might find some lame excuse not to as in my case.
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    BMWCCA1

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    Sounds like you took a fast, heavy street car to the track without proper ventilation for the brakes, and perhaps ended your session without a proper cool down?
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    steven s

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    In my experience when I had a new car many years ago, it was a judgement call on the part of the dealer.
    I think it really depends on the relationship you have with the dealer.
    Me? I used to bring 2 dozen bagels and cream cheese for the guys in the shop, and another dozen for the service advisors.
    Never had a warranty repair questioned. Always got special treatment. Even allowed in the bays to talk with the techs. They knew I was autocrossing and doing DEs too.

    As far as the rotors. They could have been warped. They could have had pad deposits.
    The nuts may not have been torqued properly causing the rotors to warp.

    I think you could escalate it to a regional level, but as soon as they see the studs, that can void everything around that wheel.
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    Pyewacket1

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    I'm not quite sure how you made the connection of warped rotors to taking your car to a driving school.

    First of all, anyone has an uphill battle when attempting to get repairs under warranty when non-stock parts are involved.

    Secondly, rotors don't just warp instantly. It takes heat AND uneven pressure across the rotor surface, such as improperly torqued lug nuts/bolts, as a previous poster mentioned. And, it takes time. Most likely the studs weren't evenly tightened, and the extra heat caused by excessive braking at the school facilitated the warping process.

    Now, if you had the dealer install the studs, I certainly think you have a valid complaint against the dealer (unless the dealership warned you before installation). I fail to see how BMW should be liable for aftermarket part induced damage, unless the parts are approved by BMW for use on your model car.
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    MGarrison

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    Well, I commend your enthusiasm for pursuing a club driver's school - I hope you had fun, and learned a lot about driving technique. It's unfortunate that you suffered warped rotors, but as some of the prior posts suggest, there are any variety of factors that could contribute to or cause warped rotors, and it's difficult to precisely pin the cause solely on the rotors themselves with so many other possibilities.

    Ditto on the above post, if the dealer installed them for you. I'm not quite sure what you mean by a sanctioned event - any club event, to whatever degree it's sanctioned, would only be sanctioned by the BMWCCA, assuming the event is run under the aegis of club requirements and regulations. An event that is sanctioned by BMW corporate would have to be run by BMW-NA, such as some of the courses offered at BMW's Performance Center & M-School in Spartanburg. Point being, unless something failed that should never fail, regardless of circumstance, it seems unlikely to me that BMW is going to have much motivation to address something that occurred in an event with which BMW-NA has no involvement.

    Having rotors warp consistently is undoubtedly a nuisance - considering that rotors for an E90 M3 are relatively expensive, if you plan to do more track events, you'll want to take steps to minimize the chance or warping. Stock setup, whatever it is, for a 400 hp. car, has to be pretty good - however, track driving can easily stress the best of brake systems. Replacing the oem flexible stock brake lines with stainless-covered teflon lines, along with higher-performance brake fluid, possibly pads, and adding brake air-ducting, have been typical means of making BMW's brakes adequate for the stresses of track driving for years. The brake ducting, particularly if routed directly to the middle of the rotors, goes a long way towards making a difference, but if one goes that far, brake lines, fluid, and possibly pads, should be part of the picture first. That's assuming the factory brake lines are not already some high-performance setup, such as the typical stainless options out there.

    It wouldn't work for the advertising claims, but perhaps BMW's "The Ultimate Driving Machine" slogan should have an asterisked addendum (*) along the lines of:

    *in many, but not all, normal street-driving scenarios; race-track usage excluded.
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    steven s

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    And let me add, mixing different pad compounds can create pad deposits on the rotor.
    I'm assuming if you installed studs you are using track pads.

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