BMW automatic transmission flaw, recalls? Defective product?

I always thought BMW is a German Quality Product. Not so.
The transmission on my GF 6 year old '05 BMW 325i gave suddenly up after about 150k miles.
The dealer wants $ 8,100. for replacement!?!?! More that the bluebook trade value of the car!?!?
What crappy transmission is that? Also, they cannot not be rebuilt, only by BMW. The aftermarket parts supply is apparently tightly controlled by BMW so they can eventually suck you twice the money for what you have purchased.

One mechanic told me most trannies for BMW North America are made by GM…. Isn’t that a Company that went through bankruptcy also known for their shoddy made cars???

In any case that’s nonsense! An average life expectancy of an Automatic Transmission is over 200k to 250k or more. At least when the Japanese build it.Then signs of wear show with the brake bands or clutch packs worn causing slippage, etc.

By comparison, my car is a 25 year old '87 Toyota Landcruiser (4600 lbs empty weight) I bought 10 years ago with 270,000 all original drove to date over 47k miles with it, have now around over 317,000 on the automatic transmission!! Still running fine! And I’m not the only one around who drives one of these!
So, an automatic transmission can last, even in a heavy truck/SUV. I had quit a few [even used] cars with automatic transmission. None had such an issue.

Now I found out that there are many more BMW owners who have same defects or similar or different (e.g.reversing) problems with their automatic trans. Checking online google: “BMW automatic transmission problem” the net is full of it e.g. Consummeraffairs ( a sheer endless list of issues with BMW automatic transmissions!

Obviously something really is foul with those BMW automatic transmissions! This is not acceptable! Remember the NTSB hoopla-ho fanfare about Toyota and others on even minor issues!? What about BMW? No responsibility for defective products? No recalls? Because it’s a shoddy made-in-the-USA-by-GM transmission?
I need to know if there is a recall or a class action going since many minor issues get often the recall or class action attention. I must assume that this must be addressed as well.
Do I need to contact the NTSB and/or a lawyer?

My GF was unemployed, got a job again, now she’s out of a car, out of money ($8k) ,out of resale value and rightfully so mad as hell!

“An average life expectancy of an Automatic Transmission is over 200k to 250k or more. At least when the Japanese build it.”

Try telling that to owners of early 2000s Hondas.
Every car company (and people in general) makes mistakes from time to time.

Well, cars break down, be it transmission or engine or other stuff. 150K on an automatic transmission is not that bad, it also depends on the maintenance done. Was the oil changed regularly with BMW ATF?

As far as the price for the repairs, when you buy a BMW then you have to pay the premium for the parts and repairs too. Your GF should factor this in her next purchase.

Also how about putting a transmission from salvage yard in it? If you do this make sure you get at least a 6 month warranty.

"One mechanic told me most trannies for BMW North America are made by GM…. Isn’t that a Company that went through bankruptcy also known for their shoddy made cars??? "

That mechanic is wrong, the transmission in your friend’s car is a ZF 5HP19. It’s a German-made transmission

“In any case that’s nonsense! An average life expectancy of an Automatic Transmission is over 200k to 250k or more”

As circuitsmith mentioned, there are many Honda owners that would disagree with that. There are also a few Nissan Murano owners that would also disagree, or Nissan GT-R owners for that matter.

“No recalls? Because it’s a shoddy made-in-the-USA-by-GM transmission?”

It’s not.

If your friend failed to perform regular maintenance (I.E. timely transmission fluid/filter changes) then having the transmission fail at 150k wouldn’t be unexpected. And even if she was diligent in her maintenance, 150k miles out of a transmission isn’t terribly unreasonable.

Finally, I’ll add that high end cars typically have correspondingly high end repair costs. It’s not some big secret or anything. I once paid $74 for a windshield washer nozzle for a Jaguar.

When transmission fluid is not changed every 3 years or 30k miles (whichever comes first), transmission failure is possible any time after 90k miles. By 120k miles, an un-maintained trans is living on borrowed time. An un-maintained automatic transmission that makes it to 150k miles is actually doing well, given the neglect that it has been subjected to.

That being said, I don’t totally blame the Beemer’s owner in this case since–IIRC–BMW is one of the manufacturers that claims their fluid to be of a “lifetime” nature. All car makes like to portray their cars as needing very little maintenance. However, since BMW pays for the maintenance for…I think the first 3 years…they have one addition motivation to claim that the fluid doesn’t need changing. And, just like with all other claims of a maintenance-free transmission, failure takes place after the warranty expires, thus leaving the car owner holding the bag for the costs.

dorcom–If nothing else, hopefully you and your GF have both learned a few things from this incident:

Hopefully, she has learned of the need to change her trans fluid every 3 years/30k miles–even if the vehicle mfr doesn’t specify that maintenance.

And, hopefully, you have learned that Asian transmissions are also prone to failure, and that the tales told by your mechanic are not necessarily accurate. If your mechanic can’t tell the difference between a ZF transmission and one made by GM, I have to say that I am not impressed with his technical knowledge.

When something goes wrong on a six year old car with 150,000 miles on the odometer, it’s not a defect. It’s either neglect, abuse, or just bad luck.

Luxury makes like BMW are expensive to buy, expensive to own, expensive to maintain, and expensive to fix. If you want something cheap and reliable, don’t buy a luxury vehicle.

The BMW maintenace table for “normal service” on Alldata shows that the automatic transmission fluid is to be inspected for level and condition every 30,000 miles. The fluid is to be changed at 100,000 miles.

Alldata also states “Because this manufacturer does not specify a Severe Service Interval, the determination of the proper maintenance interval should be left to the good judgement of the vehicle owner and the advice of an authorized service center.”

But even with proper maintenance some trasmissions are going to fail and with the replacement cost of the modern 5,6,7 and 8 speed automatics we’ll see more people going into shock.

You, or your girlfriend, could contact the Department of Transportation or a lawyer, but the car has 150,000 miles on it. And it is only 7 years old. That’s a lot of miles for a 7 year old car - 21,500 miles per year. She should have changed transmission fluid ever 1.5 years. Did she buy the Bimmer used. How was it cared for before she bought it? These are the kinds of questions she will face if she tries to get anything out of BMW. This seems like a wear and tear type of repair, not a defective system. Sorry, I just don’t but the idea that BMW sold a defective car in this case.

Actually if it was a transmission made by GM, it might have fared better. My GF has about 230,000 on her Honda Passport, and the GM built transmission is about the only part that hasn’t given her trouble. I think the fluid may have been changed once…

you have 150, 000 miles.
you don’t have a flaw
you don’t have a defect
you don’t need a recall

Yep, nothing unusual here. Unfortunate? Yes

You seem to believe several falsehoods:
Transmissions should always last the life of the car: nope, many fail, especially if fluid is not changed
Japanese transmissions are always great: nope, see above
American transmissions are bad: nope - some have been viewed as the best in the world, witness Rolls Royce’s use of GM transmission for years
German cars should be more reliable: nope, if there’s once country associated with high maintenance costs, it’s Germany. BMWs, MBs, Audis, and VWs are not the most reliable cars out there.

The best automotive warranties out there guarantee the powertrain for 100,000 miles. You’ve gone half again as much. I don’t think it’s unreasonable or unususal to need transmission repair or maintenance a 150,000 miles. If the car has had transmission fluid services every 30,000 miles, performed at the dealer, I think you could ask the dealer to “goodwill” the price down some, based on religious maintenance. If it’s never had transmission maintenance, or had it done at an independent shop, it’s anyone’s guess what fluid was used and all bets are off.

You may be able to find a Euro specialty shop with a transmission specialist who can find parts and repair your for less. Other than that, it’s the price to pay for owning a Euro luxury car.

“An average life expectancy of an Automatic Transmission is over 200k to 250k or more.”

dorcom1, you are living in an automotive fantasy world…The ONLY “consumer product” transmissions that can be expected to last that long are found in Crown Vic police cars, taxis and F-150 pick-up trucks…

As the average vehicle fleet goes north of 120,000 miles, the transmission failure rate starts to skyrocket…

BMW has ALWAYS played games like this, trying to keep ALL service and maintenance proprietary…Buy a Mustang. Has the same tranny as the F-150 and anybody can fix it for $1800 and the V8 models will outperform the BMW…I suspect the new V6 will too…

Something tells me that the OP is not happy about having ALL of his ill-conceived notions shot down in flames. If he is still reading this thread, I doubt if he will respond in order to admit that he was wrong, wrong, wrong.

In fact, he may still rationalize that he is correct. Even when confronted with evidence to the contrary, many folks refuse to concede their errors.

The OP is about as misguided as a person could possibly get and unfortunately, is not alone.

The car is 7 years old (not 6), has 150k miles, and the OP is carping over a car he does not even own.

The comment about the Japanese always knowing how to build transmissions that last is laughable. The OP has never had to face a Subaru, Honda, or Nissan owner as they’re being told their 75k miles (in some cases 35-40k) vehicles needs a new automatic that is going to set them back a mid-4 digits sum.

The OP is orbiting another planet by now.
I doubt that he’s still listening…

True, the OP is not liking what he was told (in my post I put it less bold than others). But on this forum, as we send people back to the mechanic/dealership with ammunition to fight for a fair outcome, we also have a responsibility to be fair and true. In this case, specially not knowing the maintenance of the car nobody can direct any blame to BMW.

I’ll bet the transmission in his landcruiser was replaced before he bought it.