2014 BMW i3 First Service

It has finally happened – My 2014 BMW i3’s Very First Service!

So – How did this end? We shall remain optimistically hopeful at this stage.

The other week I took my i3 in for its very first service. It’s only 4 months later than it should be – but it works really well, it doesn’t have any issues – at all, and I didn’t really want to take it in, I mean, why would I?

Before taking the i3 in, I had to actually call up the dealer to book a day and time – that should have been easy and straightforward, right? Well, apparently not so. When I called them and asked them how long it would be and that I have an Electric Car and, if it was going to be all day I’d like an i3 as a loaner please and, could they guarantee there would be one available? I was told that she’d have to call me back as all the Service Mangers were in a meeting. Okay, not a problem. She did call me back and said it would take an hour and a half – seems a bit quick, but okay, I’ll go with it. Yes, there was an i3 loaner available and, I let her know that if it turns out that it will be longer than an hour and a half then I’d take the loaner.

Okay, the car was booked in for Thursday at 10am… No idea how it will go. But, I was, at that particular moment, hopeful it would all go well. I was still feeling optimistic.

On the Thursday we arrived at the dealer at 10:04am – traffic!! We got directed to a service advisor who we could tell instantly had no knowledge of the i3. We requested that the wipers be fixed as they suffer the same issue as many others where they drag the water back across the drivers screen obscuring the view. His look was one of puzzlement – “No one has ever mentioned that before”. But he assured us it would be looked at. Apparently they normally replace the wipers at two years, but we didn’t want just a replacement, we really hoped for a fix to the problem. It’ll be interesting for them to test as it wasn’t raining that day! We also asked about the continuous ‘wub, wub’ noise from the tyres – again a look of ‘what?’ passed across his face and the reply, “We’ve had lots of i3’s in and I’ve never heard that before.” Really, seriously… Where have you been for the last 2 years and 2 months?

Front tires - Home of the Wub-wub
Front tires – Home of the Wub-wub

Oh well, see what you find out and we’ll just wait over here shall we? My optimism was slipping.

An hour and a half later that felt more like four hours and, the service advisor returned to tell us the car was ready. He told us that they had changed the wiper blades but he didn’t know why and he can’t tell us because the paperwork won’t be ready for another 30 minutes, so, he’ll post that to us! We have no idea what they actually did.

When we returned to the car they had left plastic film on the drivers seat, a tag on the rearview mirror and messed with the seats – why do they have to move the seats, is it really worth it? Ugh, ugh, and ugh!

It wasn’t a great experience and it’ll be reflected in the survey that they send out. Why do these visits always have to be so frustrating, why can’t they be pleasant and why can’t we talk to someone that knows the product?

A week later and finally we received the list of ‘what they did’. It does not bode well!

At this point I’m really not even sure they know that our car is an Electric Car.

Firstly, no software updates for our i3. We know this for two reasons:

  1. We were not there long enough for them to do a software update – they always take hours!

  2. Software updates always zero everything out, the trip counter and the miles/kWh in particular and a reset of the temperature back to F’s instead of C’s.

I think we are a couple of software updates behind as we don’t have the unlock-the-charger-when-fully-charged on our i3. No one mentioned the motor mount bolt – does that mean we are to presume that ours is okay? Why didn’t they do the software updates? I would have thought they were done automatically as part of the service.

What they did do:

  1. They changed the brake fluid – not because it needed changing, but just because they recommend that it be changed every two years.
  2. They did a vehicle check, because again, they are told that it is due at each second engine oil service… Where exactly is my engine oil again???
  3. They changed the air cabin microfilter – I’ll allow that as it probably needed it, especially with all the rubbish flying around out there in the air. But again it was only done because someone somewhere said to change it every two years.
  4. We explained to the service advisor that our car suffered with the windscreen wipers dragging water back across the drivers side during rain. They didn’t listen and instead changed the wipers because “they bought dirt onto the middle of the windscreen”. Where on earth did they get that from? They decided the wipers were “soiled” so changed them! They didn’t even check to see what happened when there was rain – seriously!!!!
  5. We told them about the lovely “wub wub” noise we have on our 20” tyres. They interpreted that to be a thumping noise – what the?! … Apparently they couldn’t replicate or hear the thumping noise – well I’m not surprised as there is no thumping noise. The report said to test drive with the shop foreman to isolate noise – no one told us that so we left. If they had said something there and then we would have said it wasn’t a thumping noise – still don’t know where they got that idea from.

Before we left the dealer we were given a piece of paper entitled “Rolling Tire Noise” – Really, seriously, what are you doing here? Are you trying to fob us off? Trying to make out that we are hearing things? Do you know how long we have been driving Electric Cars? We do know when something isn’t right. Oh and by the way, the MINI E and the ActiveE tyres didn’t make this noise, so what have you to say now?
This piece of paper then stated that it relates to both the 100% electric i3 and the REx and both 19” and 20” tyres. Umm, actually it doesn’t, it affects the 20’s really.

Apparently, in a ‘situation’ the customer (would that be me then?) may complain about noises (yes I may) when cornering (umm no), particularly when accelerating around a corner with a constant steering angle (umm no again), or when turning the steering wheel away from the center position at a steady vehicle speed (umm definitely no).

The noise complaint is not specific to the BEV (what is this BEV they keep referring to, I thought that stood for Battery Electric Vehicle, didn’t think BMW owned the term) or REX-equipped vehicles. It may occur with standard tires, as well as with optional tires of different size and make (no just the 20’s)… I don’t think there even are any alternatives.

Oh my goodness – how you can say that – the tyre noise or “wub, wub” does not occur when cornering, we said to the service advisor it is most noticeable when driving in a straight line at 30mph!

Then the piece of paper tries to tell us about driving an Electric Car – Oh this is really getting hilarious now – and not in a funny way!

It goes on to say that driving an electric car is quiet and therefore you will notice more noises than you would normally hear if you were driving a car with an internal combustion engine. Well yes, 10/10 for that! But the wub, wub noise is not normal, no other cars make that noise, no other tyre apart form the one on the i3 makes that noise – it isn’t normal and stop telling us that it is. If it were normal would you then go on to say, “A new side tread profile has been implemented into the tyre design to lessen the characteristic?” So you are saying that it isn’t normal then?

Hmm – that’s what I have to say.

ElectraGirl BMW i3 Rear Flank

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  • vdiv

    Did they rotate and balance the tires? Did they measure the tread depth and inspect for uneven wear?

    For the wiper blades and cabin air-filter I’d replace them once a year, do want to see out when it rains and don’t want to breathe the crud that accumulates on the filter. For the brake fluid they can test it. It is hygroscopic and water corrodes the lines and changes the properties of the brake fluid. Recommended flush and fill interval is two to three years.

    Look for another service center. These things are trivial and if they can’t handle them they are hopeless. They should have addressed your concerns first then perform the maintenance. I went to a Chevy dealership that couldn’t even replace the wiper blades on my Volt, it took them three attempts. Ended up ordering the blades and replacing them myself.

    • Electra Girl

      There was no mention of the tyres at all so I don’t think so. I think we may have to look elsewhere although the Service Manager asked us to let him know what the issues are so we’ll see what he has to say first. And the next service is due after we return the car so might not be an issue again!