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Most... expensive... flat... ever!

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 3:43 pm
by HuggyBeard
Got my first flat tire on my 2019 i3s (rear tire / 20" wheels) after 10 months of ownership / 5800 miles.
Tried to use the flat repair kit but sealant gushed all over the place as soon as I plugged it into the cigarette lighter (power button was pushed in) :/!
Thankfully most of it went on my clothes and not on the seats!
Sealant bottle seemed mostly empty but tried to use whatever little was left into the tire to fix the flat, to no avail.
Called roadside assistance for a tow truck which finally showed up about 3 hours later :/!! Car was then towed to the closest BMW dealership in my area (about 7 miles away) which was now closed for the week-end. Dropped off the car and keys at the dealer and went home.
2 days later (Mon.), got a call from dealer at 7:30am to confirm they got my car and let me know they were gonna check it out.
10am, nothing, 12pm no call, 2pm (i.e. 7 hours after first call) still no call. Decided to call the service dpt to get a status update.
"You are #10 in line, your approx. wait time is... More than 2 mins.".
10 mins later, "you are #8 in line, your approx. wait time is... More than 2 mins".
30 mins later, finally get to talk to someone who asks me about my info. multiple times and does not seem to be able to find my service case #. I provide all the info. necessary then I'm finally being asked if the car is drivable and if I can drop off the car this afternoon!? I proceed to explain that I already dropped off the car 2 days ago and that someone already called me this morning to confirm at which point I'm being put on hold. 10 mins later, they found the car and proceed to explain the situation. The tire has a large slit (about 4") on the (inner) side wall and cannot be repaired. Also, whatever little bit of sealant I was able to push into the tire basically destroyed the tire pressure sensor (TPMS) and it needs to be replaced (Why on earth would BMW provide this flat repair kit if it's simply going to pretty much destroy the TPMS no matter what :/!?). Also, the other rear tire has apparently a lot of wear and tear already (only 4/32 tread left) and needs to be replaced as well!
Since the car is less than a year old, only has 5800 miles on it and slit looks suspiciously like a tire failure (as opposed to an actual puncture or tear from a road debri. i.e. almost looks like a pinch flat except I did not hit any pothole or curb w/ the car that I can remember!), I ask if there is any sort of warranty on these to which they basically replied "no" :/. Now, they did say that the new tires I'd now be getting would be covered under 24 months/unlimited miles warranty! (N.B. Needless to say, I'm planning to get that in writing when I pickup my car in a few days when they can find proper tires in stock for this car that is!).
Anyhow, all in all, total bill is going to be $230 per tire (x 2) + $185 for TPMS + install / labor for a grand total of ~$780 (before tax) :/!!
For comparison, I had all 4 tires replaced on a VW Touareg a few months back for a total of ~$900 (tax incl.)!
As mentioned in the subject, this has got to be the most expensive flat tire I've ever had in my entire life (and it didn't even involve any damage to the car body or rims)!!
Since the car is basically undrivable at this point in time, I'm pretty much at the mercy of the dealer here and have no choice but to take it w/ a smile (*wince*) :/!
Anybody else w/ a similar experience?

Re: Most... expensive... flat... ever!

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 10:37 pm
by Neil
I'm sorry about your tire misfortune. This reminded me of the flat tire saga I had with my 2014 i3 about 3 years ago. I was driving to work in the morning in the left lane, rounding a curve in the freeway, when I saw the mangled ladder laying across the lane I was in. I had nowhere to go and no time to stop so I ran over it with both driver side tires. I heard a bang, I emitted an expletive and quickly menued to the tire pressure screen where I saw that the left rear tire was losing air pressure so I pulled on to the left shoulder of the freeway wishing I had a spare tire. When I got out of the car, the left rear was flat.

I debated using the repair kit then and there when a SacMetro FSP (Freeway Service Patrol) tow truck pulled over behind me. He gave me a brochure which said "A free emergency road service for Sacramento area commuters". I was in luck. The service would provide me a tow to the next freeway exit and I'd be on my own after that, but at least not on the freeway. He loaded up my car and drove it to the next exit and unloaded it on an empty frontage road so at least I was safe.

Now I decided to get the repair kit out of the frunk and squirt the expensive repair juice into my back tire according to the directions. It kept flowing out of the hole so it did not appear to be working. See photos here: I waited and tried to put some air into the tire but it would not hold any. I waited longer. Still would not hold air. What to do? I wanted to be towed to a tire repair place (Costco actually since I had bought these tires new about 2 weeks before and they warrantee them) so I used the emergency call button in the upper console to contact BMW. I was told that they would only tow me to a dealer. I wasn't happy about this because I figured I'd get reamed but I went along with this.

Eventually a tow truck showed up and carried the car to the nearest BMW dealer. I was about to go in, annoyed that I had recently bought new tires and the dealer will likely charge a lot more than Costco but I decided to look at the tire again and it wasn't completely flat meaning that it was holding some air after a couple of hours of the juice stewing around inside. I filled the tire to a reasonable pressure and it held! Screw the dealer I thought, I'll drive slowly to the nearest Costco while monitoring the air pressure on the screen. And I made it!

However, Costco said they couldn't fix it, I can't remember exactly why, maybe it was because of the repair juice in the tire. Great. So my next step was to refill it with air and hope I could make it home about 15 miles away. I could always stop and refill along the way as long as it could hold some air as it was slowly leaking down but I finally made it home. Now I could remove the wheel and take it to the Costco I'd originally bought it from and get it fixed. So when I got home, I took off the wheel and drove it to Costco. They said the tire was too damaged to be fixed so I'd need a new one. They could not find one anywhere in their supplier stock. Ha Ha! I have to say that the guys at Costco were really helpful as they allowed me to use their computer to check Tire Rack stock which actually had one of these bad boys. Eureka! Costco could not order the tire directly from Tire Rack so I ordered and paid for it and it arrived at my home the next day and I drove it up to Costco. They said they would reimburse me for the cost of the tire (which they did) to honor their warrantee.

I never thought about the TPMS and I don't think it was replaced and it still works fine. I could hardly believe this whole episode only cost mer a replacement BMW tire repair juice container, other than the wasted day of course, so I was lucky unlike HuggyBeard. It was quite an adventure greatly lengthened by not carrying a spare!

The moral of this story: Don't get a flat tire in an i3!!!!!!!! :lol:

Re: Most... expensive... flat... ever!

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:22 pm
by richs
My 2017 REx came with 20 inch BMW sport rims with those ridiculous low-profile summer tires. Less than four weeks after I got the car, I hit a pretty minor pothole and ruptured a sidewall. I was able to limp home by refilling the damaged tire with air every 5 minutes and thereby avoided ruining my TPMS sensor with tire goo. I decided that I didn't want to live in constant fear of flat tires, so I bought a set of aftermarket 19" rims on Tirerack and got the normal EP600 all-season tires. These tires are much more durable than the 20's, and give the car a much more comfortable ride, too.

Not sure if you have the 20's, but I can recommend replacing them with 19's if you do. The 20" wheels and tires are fragile and unsuitable for real-world roads, IMO.

Re: Most... expensive... flat... ever!

Posted: Tue Jun 30, 2020 11:34 pm
by Neil
Forgot to mention in my previous post that I have the 19" wheels on my i3. Never wanted the 20's for reasons you mention. Also thought they'd give a smoother ride.

Re: Most... expensive... flat... ever!

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 10:56 am
I recently had a low tire warning pop up and I was able to turn around and take the car back without damaging the tire. It turned out to be a screw in the tread. After work, I took the wheel off and went to the tire shop and had it patched. it was 30 minutes and $25 bucks to fix.

If I had gone a little further the tire would have been destroyed.

I wonder if the tire sealant can be left in the tires as ongoing flat prevention. I ask this because on my road bike, I have tubeless tires and I run a small volume of sealant in the tires all the time. If I get a puncture, the sealant will close the hole up and allow me to continue riding.

If the sealant destroys the TPMS sensors, that wouldn't work well but if there is a sealant that works and does not damage the sensors, that would be a good measure to prevent punctures and subsequent tire replacement.

Re: Most... expensive... flat... ever!

Posted: Wed Jul 01, 2020 4:19 pm
by jadnashuanh
BMW says that their flat goo should not damage a TPMS. If you're replacing the tire, you have to dismount the tire anyway, and it's only about a 2-minute job to unscrew and replace the TPMS...they don't cost all that much, either.

If the TPMS died and no other work was needed, then dismounting the wheel, then the tire, and installing it, then balancing the wheel, maybe 20-minutes of work.

Re: Most... expensive... flat... ever!

Posted: Fri Jul 03, 2020 5:51 pm
by Timjohn
That's why I will never used their tire repair kit. The pump is OK but the goo is never going to be used. I have a "Tire Plugger" or even use the regular simple tire plugs that can be purchased at Lordco or Canadian Tire before I would use their kit. BTW I heard you have to be careful towing an i3. You can't just elevate the front tires and tow. Could damage something since it is a rear wheel drive.

Re: Most... expensive... flat... ever!

Posted: Sat Jul 04, 2020 3:01 pm
by 3pete
I had a highway-pothole related experience as well that I thought would be incredibly expensive. It was a pothole that had already been patched a few times so the tar stretched the whole width of the lane and I couldn't avoid it. Very shortly after hitting it, the car's warning lights came on indicating low (0 psi) tire pressure and to pull over but I was on an interchange with no shoulders so I couldn't for a half a mile. By the time I got off highway I was pretty sure I'd need a new rim on top of the tire and probably TPMS.

When I got out, I saw the sidewall was shredded in multiple places so I knew there was no point in trying the slime.

Fortunately, I have AAA and they flat-bed towed me to a Firestone tire shop near my house. The car was about ready for new tires all around so I had them go ahead and do all 4. Amazingly, (especially because I have 20" rims) the rim and TPMS were fine, so all I needed was the rubber. It took them 5 days to get one of the tires in stock because they're so "rare" but other than that it went smoothly and I was out $915 for all 4 tires installed. Even better than that, I was able to file a claim against the Department Of Transportation for the pothole-destroyed-tire and a mere 5 months later I got a check reimbursing me for a quarter of the total bill. I still would have rather gone to the cookout I was headed to (last year, before coronavirus) and replaced my tires at my convenience when I could have had a shop pre-order them, but all things considered, it could've been worse. I still wish spare tires weren't disappearing though. :(

The only time I've used some 'goo' based sealant was on a road trip in a different car and when we stopped to get it patched because it was still leaking, the guy clearly didn't want to actually do it. It was one of those small town gas station/ mechanics and he was the only one in the building so he was the cashier and mechanic that day. He suggested fix-a-flat, which we said we already tried so he begrudgingly took the tire off, cleaned out the sealant and patched it. Then he charged us an extra fee on top of the patch because he had to clean out the sealant! :lol:

Re: Most... expensive... flat... ever!

Posted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 11:33 am
by richs
I think that when mechanics tell you that the tire sealant "ruins" the TPMS sensor, they really mean that cleaning and testing the slimed-up sensor will cost more in labor than just buying a new one.

Re: Most... expensive... flat... ever!

Posted: Sun Jul 05, 2020 3:17 pm
by jadnashuanh
FWIW, a damaged tire should not damage a TPMS. NOw, a sloppy repair could. The batteries in the things don't last forever, either.