125mph
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2021 4:14 pm

Car unstable, jerking left and right, swerves

Last week my wife was driving the 2017 I3 on the freeway and the steering became really unstable like she got a flat.. She pulled over and didn't see anything wrong. She continued to drive and same thing happened. After calling the SOS, they told her try turning traction control off. So she went to settings -> Traction -> Traction off. It was on "Normal" before. She was able to drive home in the back roads at lower speeds without any issues.

We tried to make an appt to the dealership but they are so backed up, next available in Feb.

Today, I tested the car. Drove fine for10 minutes at lower speeds on the freeway (55-60MPH). Then it happen to me as well. Truly scary to feel the car jerking left and right multiple times. I think it happen as I was trying to make a turn into the exit. Car is so unstable when this happens, I would be afraid to drive this car in the high way.

Anyone know what this could be?
eNate
Posts: 923
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:33 pm

Re: Car unstable, jerking left and right, swerves

I don't know for sure if this is the culprit, but the 2017 (and perhaps other model years, I don't know) had a known power steering defect that was addressed with a software update in November 2019. Usually this fault manifests with the perceived loss of power steering in one direction only, and is usually sporadic and reset with a restart of the car. It would be good to verify that your car has this latest software installed.
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frictioncircle
Posts: 311
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:23 pm
Location: USA West Coast

Re: Car unstable, jerking left and right, swerves

The first thought would be to check the suspension to see if any components are in obviously bad shape. I had a control link on my 2014 that developed a crack – fortunately it was caught early.

A few other questions:

When the jerking began do you recall if there was any accompanying sound?
This would help in identifying a possible cause.

Could you feel the shaking through the steering wheel, the seat, or both?
"In the steering wheel" implicates something in the steering system, "through the seat" suggests something in the suspension or chassis.

Do you know if this i3 has the auto-parallel park feature?
Parking Assistant can turn the steering wheel without driver input.

Are you or your wife the original owner?
If not, has the previous owner installed / modified the car to enable Traffic Jam Assist? (search for Quizdel TJA for more information).

Do you have an OBD-II code reader?
If so, you can look to see if there are any obvious error messages. (BimmerLink is one of a number of Android / iOS apps that can do this).
Neil
Posts: 75
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2014 10:11 am
Location: Davis, CA USA

Re: Car unstable, jerking left and right, swerves

Did turning off the traction control fix the issue under the problematic road conditions? Did you happen to change tires recently? It's probably like something mentioned above but I ran into an issue with the traction control unexpectedly kicking in after I changed only the rear tires on my i3 since I couldn't source new fronts at the same time.
Neil L.
2014 i3 Rex, Giga World, all the trimmings.
eNate
Posts: 923
Joined: Mon Sep 09, 2019 5:33 pm

Re: Car unstable, jerking left and right, swerves

Neil wrote: Tue Jan 18, 2022 11:26 pm
...the traction control unexpectedly kicking in after I changed only the rear tires on my i3 ...
Say what now?

Doesn't every i3 owner change only 2 tires at a time?
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125mph
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2021 4:14 pm

Re: Car unstable, jerking left and right, swerves

I think this is starting to make sense.

SO my wife said before this happen that day, she was driving and heard a loud pop. She thought maybe she ran over a nail and it hit the tire. When she got home, the tires looked fine and the tire pressure was normal. Then she used the car again and that's when it happen, the jerking left and right.

Also, when I mentioned turning off traction control.. I did the "traction off" command, which actually shows that "Dynamic Traction Control Activated" text on the dash screen. Not sure what that means. It seems to have stopped the issue but we havent used freeways since this is quite dangerous to drive the car.

Image

So the big question, can this be fixed at our local tire shop if its an alignment or suspension issue? BMW service appointment is still a few weeks away.
spartacus68
Posts: 127
Joined: Sun Jul 09, 2017 11:07 am

Re: Car unstable, jerking left and right, swerves

I think this is starting to make sense.

SO my wife said before this happen that day, she was driving and heard a loud pop. She thought maybe she ran over a nail and it hit the tire. When she got home, the tires looked fine and the tire pressure was normal. Then she used the car again and that's when it happen, the jerking left and right.
Suspension wise - it likely to be one of two things.

The ARB suspension link - could have broken - that links to the anti-roll-bar, so yes with speed you're going to notice excessive play under speed and load, as the point of the link is to provide equal torsion force from the opposite corner at bends.

Secondly - the front coil springs. Again - with age, corrosion or if you've hit a pothole it can break. Normally you'll hear a twang on hard lock to hard lock, plus the car will drop slightly at that corner as they invariably lose a few inches height.

There's nothing that a garage won't be able to undertake that the main stealer would likely charge you double for. There's no electronics on the suspension other than ABS sensors, etc.

If it is the coil-spring, then I'd renew the suspension top mount as a matter of course as the integral bearing tends to seize (could actually be the culprit for the spring friction) and the rubber dust boots, seeing as the suspension has to be disconnected and it can lean out from the wheel arch to fix. More details here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N4uJneROckI

Keep us posted as to the outcome.
2015 i3 REx, 60ah, solar orange. Reversing camera, leather interior, sunroof, park assist, professional navigation.
frictioncircle
Posts: 311
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:23 pm
Location: USA West Coast

Re: Car unstable, jerking left and right, swerves

125mph –

Apologies for the basic tech tip, but if your i3 has been recently wrenched-upon, it might be wise to confirm that all wheels have been correctly torqued!
125mph
Posts: 20
Joined: Mon Mar 15, 2021 4:14 pm

Re: Car unstable, jerking left and right, swerves

The problem is the real axel suspension is broken. Wonder how this happen.

Close to $1500 to fix and get a realignment. They took a video. Here's the still image

Image
frictioncircle
Posts: 311
Joined: Fri Nov 25, 2016 11:23 pm
Location: USA West Coast

Re: Car unstable, jerking left and right, swerves

125mph –

If you're the original owner of your 2017, I'd ask your dealer if BMW NA will extend "goodwill" warranty coverage.

Thank you for sharing your results!

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