lencap
Posts: 37
Joined: Thu Nov 27, 2014 8:28 am
Location: North Carolina

The Honeymoon is Over - Lease Near An End - BEWARE!

Fri Oct 07, 2016 10:38 am

Greetings -

Some background may be helpful. I leased my BMW i3 ReX for two years, making a single up front payment for the total lease covering 20K miles. My ReX replaced the BEV i3 I originally leased 6 months prior to getting the ReX. The original car advertised a 70 mile range, but in my climate (North Carolina - a moderate climate, not extremely cold in winter) I was unable to get more than 50-55 miles during winter months. That made the BEV essentially useless for me - too little range for daily commutes and/or client visits, all of which were in the 60+ mile range. The car is kept in a garage, connected to the charger and the car is programmed for climate optimization prior to use.

BMW graciously worked out a mutually agreeable lease change, with significant help and encouragement from my dealership, allowing me to move into the ReX at little incremental cost. So far, everyone's happy, and the i3 ReX became my 11th BMW.

Over the two years of ownership I've had several recall notices and other things that needed dealer service - all handled reasonably timely and effectively. Now the problem.

My lease expires in February, 2017, and as a courtesy my dealership suggested a pre end of lease inspection. Why not, I thought. Imagine my surprise when the inspector told me that I'd likely have to replace the tires at lease end. The car has 12,278 miles on a 20,000 mile lease term. The on-board computer shows that over the life of the vehicle, I've averaged 25.8 MPH. Surely, I said, the tires can't be worn out with so little mileage. The car has always had correct factor tire pressure, I've never had a tire inflation warning from the sensors, and I check the tire pressure about once a month myself.

The inspector said the inner tread is the problem - down to close to the wear bars, despite that fact that the outer portion of the tire is fine. The car is properly aligned, and has been checked regularly over my ownership. I'm at a loss to understand the problem, and my retort is that the tires are either defective, or improperly speced for the car. Clearly BMW disagrees.

I've not yet returned the car, but this is certainly soured my outlook on BMW e-cars in general, and the i3 in particular. I'm pretty steamed about it, and I've decided to forego buying another BMW in the future. Yes, I'm being petulant, but after 27 years of owning nothing but BMWs I feel betrayed somehow.

As for the car itself, the ownership experience has been somewhat disappointing. The BEV has a superior heating system - using a more efficient system then the ReX. That is significant, even in my climate, where winter driving universally results in a cold interior regardless of what heat setting I select. I can't get the interior warm enough for me.

The car is a loaded ReX, with almost every option except the larger wheels/tires (I prefer the ride of the 19"). Many little things have gone wrong with the car over the last 20 months requiring frequent re-flashing of the memory, 3-4 services for the ReX itself (overheating, programming, etc.). This recent service required a new charging plug connection, a new 12 Volt battery that failed due to incorrect charging from the main battery, along with several other issues. In fact, the dealership indicated that my home charging unit is the potential cause of the malfunctions - it's a Clipper Creek 40 AMP EVSE, installed by a licensed electrician and has been powering both of the BMW i3s I've owned, along with my Nissan Leaf - which predates my i3 ownership. In all of that time I've not had a problem with the charger, but I did notify the dealership that the EVSE doesn't work well with the BMW climate pre-conditioning protocol. They acknowledged that last year, indicating that there is a non standard code within the BMW charging safety. Despite that, the charger has been reliable and without fault. I even had the electrician check it after the climate conditioning problems.

If the car wasn't under warranty I shudder to think of the cost for these minor, but constant repairs would be. All of my BMWs have been generally reliable mechanically, but many have had electrical issues - I suspect the i3 will as well if my first 20 months are reflective of the future.

Overall - I wanted to love the car, and buy it for a negotiated residual value at lease end, but not any longer. I'm not convinced that the service issues are resolved, and yes, the tire issue bothers me - a LOT.

Still, it's been an enjoyable car, but the restricted range still affects me often, the car isn't very convenient on longer drives (admittedly, not it's main focus, but my driving needs have changed as I retired), and the very sensitive steering makes it a car my wife avoids at all costs (she has a 2011 BMW 335d - the finest BMW we've owned).

I may try another EV in the future, but my experience has been that the infrastructure charging setup isn't yet ready to handle the average driver's needs, especially if traveling beyond the 70 mile range of the car, and the climate control system, at least on the ReX isn't up to the task of a routine winter - defrosting in particular is a big challenge.

I wish BMW well, and I give them full credit for a clean sheet design, but for now I'll wait for the longer range alternatives and charging network to catch up. I'll return to my Prius - for me a better overall compromise even if it's not a pure EV.

I33t
Posts: 894
Joined: Fri Dec 13, 2013 3:01 pm
Location: Australia

Re: The Honeymoon is Over - Lease Near An End - BEWARE!

Fri Oct 07, 2016 2:30 pm

I'm confused.

"but after 27 years of owning nothing but BMWs I feel betrayed somehow"

But you say you have had a Leaf and you are returning to your Prius?

Were your i3's tyres worn in the middle of the tread or the inner edges?
2014 BMW i3 BEV deposit placed 19th Dec 2013
Delivered in Melbourne 4/12/2014. Arrived locally 11/12/14, with 24km on the clock.

rtanov
Posts: 189
Joined: Mon Oct 20, 2014 10:55 am
Location: Cincinnati, OH, USA

Re: The Honeymoon is Over - Lease Near An End - BEWARE!

Fri Oct 07, 2016 3:53 pm

This is a problem that has been discussed recently here and in the FB page. I am in the same boat - lease end in February, car has less than 15k miles, half of it on winter tires, and the inner groove is less than the limit. I believe they are not measuring the depth correctly - they should only be measuring the center grove, nor all three. You say the inspector told you the inner groove was too close to the tread wear bars but I can see wear bars only in the center groove, none in the outer and inner grooves. I also checked a brand new 2-series I have here and it has wear bars in all 4 grooves. BMW inspectors in general measure the depth in all grooves but these tires are different - if they do that we would all have to buy them new tires at lease end. This might improve their bottom line but would earn them a lot of unhappy customers.
BTW did you do the inspection at the dealer? I believe the i3 & i8 are to be inspected by a third party appointed by BMW NA, not the dealer.
2014 BMW i3 REx
2014 BMW i3 BEV - retired

epirali
Posts: 420
Joined: Sun May 24, 2015 7:05 am
Location: Maryland

Re: The Honeymoon is Over - Lease Near An End - BEWARE!

Tue Nov 01, 2016 3:30 pm

Thanks for the heads up. I am also nearing the end of my lease next year and am trying to choose my next electric commuter car. The Bolt is obviously an intriguing option, if it wasn't for the "Chevy" aesthetic and the fact that Chevy dealers will touch the car. I have to say I have not loved my i3 REX either (I really wanted to) but its mainly the ride and the drive characteristics. Really only have had one minor issue with seat heat and my dealer experience has been top notch.

bwilson4web
Posts: 758
Joined: Fri Apr 29, 2016 11:59 pm
Location: Huntsville, AL

Re: The Honeymoon is Over - Lease Near An End - BEWARE!

Wed Nov 02, 2016 4:47 am

lencap wrote:. . . Imagine my surprise when the inspector told me that I'd likely have to replace the tires at lease end. The car has 12,278 miles on a 20,000 mile lease term. The on-board computer shows that over the life of the vehicle, I've averaged 25.8 MPH. Surely, I said, the tires can't be worn out with so little mileage. The car has always had correct factor tire pressure, I've never had a tire inflation warning from the sensors, and I check the tire pressure about once a month myself.
On the other side, an end-of-lease, 2014 BMW i3-REx with 6,440 miles bought the end of May, both rear tires had to be replaced and for good measure, I bought two front tires. The BMW dealer did the two rear tires under warranty.

I always assume a used car will have either worn tires and/or new ones from some crappy brand. I assume I'll have to replace the tires and never been disappointed.
lencap wrote: . . . I wish BMW well, and I give them full credit for a clean sheet design, but for now I'll wait for the longer range alternatives and charging network to catch up. I'll return to my Prius - for me a better overall compromise even if it's not a pure EV.
You have a lot of options including the Prius Prime. The 25 mile EV range is nothing to shout about and the front-drive is 'relaxed' (reports are 0-60 in 15 seconds in EV) but still, 600 mile range on regular, it can be nice daily driver.

No, I'm not interested in replacing my 2014 BMW i3-REx but just sharing there are plug-in options not available before. Due to reputation, our family is not fond of GM products but the Volt has impressive specs. The only problem is a GM product and . . . 'nuff said.

GOOD LUCK!
Bob Wilson
20k/27k mi 2014 BMW i3-REx
10k/10k mi 2017 Prius Prime

brorob
Posts: 104
Joined: Sat Oct 31, 2015 5:53 am

Re: The Honeymoon is Over - Lease Near An End - BEWARE!

Sat Nov 05, 2016 7:05 am

I measured my rear tire depth last night and they are around 4/32, less on the inner tread. This is after driving for 1 year and about 14k miles. Not good with snow season coming. I drive it somewhat conservatively for the most part, don't take corners like I'm on rails, but I do enjoy the 'off the line torque' occasionally. I have noticed the rear end slipping sometimes when doing this. Been trying to limit my torque addiction after reading some posts about the tires wearing quickly, but sometimes the car is just too fun to drive like this.

I'm curious how much BMW is charging to replace the tires and if it would be cheaper to have them replaced by a local tire shop before turning the car in. A guy I know at a local chain tire shop said he'd be reluctant to put new tires on because he said their equipment would scratch the rims, and this is at a well known tire center. I'd like to buy new tires before winter so I can benefit from them instead of buying them when turning the car in.

alevek
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 5:09 am

Re: The Honeymoon is Over - Lease Near An End - BEWARE!

Fri Nov 25, 2016 5:22 am

Had the same problem. My Rex lease is up April 2017. In October 2016 with about 12,000 mi tires had high wear on inside with cords showing. BMW estmate was $1200. to replace all 4 tires. Was able tp get front tires at service station for $400, but rear tires are not available until after Dec 28 2016. Had to have them replaced at BMW for $550.

Apparently BMW has locked up the available stock of the tires.

I've put a $1000 deposit on Bolt for April 2017 delivery.

jadnashuanh
Posts: 4986
Joined: Thu May 22, 2014 2:07 pm
Location: Nashua, NH USA

Re: The Honeymoon is Over - Lease Near An End - BEWARE!

Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:10 am

FWIW, TireRack has the rear tires in stock, but only have one at the moment for the front, but with more coming 12/2. This can change rapidly, so who knows. Their price with shipping is in the order of what you paid (I assume that was mounted).
Jim DeBruycker
2011 535i x-drive GT, 2014 i3 BEV
Soon (hopefully!) A 2021 X5 45e will replace the above

Schnort
Posts: 238
Joined: Wed Jan 28, 2015 7:16 pm

Re: The Honeymoon is Over - Lease Near An End - BEWARE!

Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:03 pm

Yeah, BMW is trying to screw me as well with tires. 14K miles and they say the tires are too worn and need to be replaced. 14K miles and two years is too short for any decent tire that isn't performance rated.

And they wanted $400/tire.

frictioncircle
Posts: 97
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:23 pm
Location: USA West Coast

Re: The Honeymoon is Over - Lease Near An End - BEWARE!

Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:33 pm

Something to keep in mind about tire wear, particularly for the rears... the rate that they wear at might be faster than that of an ICE car due to the extra demands placed on them by regenerative braking.

I've gotten fronts at $150 each and rears at $165 each from a major-brand tire shop – $400 per tire is robbery!

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