Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

BMW Repair problem

I took my 2005 BMW with just about 100,000 miles on it to the dealership this week for an oil change. They said the serpentine belts needed replacing - which we did. Picked up car and with a few miles of the dealership, the car starts to overheat. Pulled over - steam coming out of hood and gauge as high as it could go. Towed back to dealership. They checked it and said the expansion tank blew - nothing they did wrong. Is this possible or more importantly, is it probable that it is nothing they have done wrong?

Not 100% sure but I think BMWs run their waterpump off the serpentine belt. Lots of cars have it run off the timing belt but BMW is one of the latter holdouts, I believe.
They very likely screwed up:
What are the chances you change something as simple as a belt that happens to be related to the cooling mechanism and within just a few miles something related to the cooling fails?
I’d argue any charge.Those morons could have actually done damage to your car, it having overheated severely.

Have tried the argument route and they won’t budge.

Ask if the waterpump runs off the serperntine belt.
If they acknowledge that, ask them what the chances are the car over heats after they change said belt.
If they say there’s a pretty decent chance - they likely will because they have to defend their position - tell them that you’re not sure what scares you more: that they have statistics on that or that they feel comfortable with that.
Stuff like this ticks me off.

Then find another dealer.

Besides the expansion tank, they are telling me I also need a new thermometer. Total for the two is $1000.00.

What did they say was the cause of the overheating, if it wasn’t their incompetence, then?

thanks for your help

Well, I didn’t do much other than offer moral support. Good luck dealing with those clowns.

A thousand bucks for a plastic tank and a thermostat??? I like the way BMW’s drive, but I have resisted ever owning one…Caddy’s are bad enough…Time to say goodby to the dealer and seek alternative service facilities, including salvage yards as parts sources…

Caddyman is right on this one. $1000 is about $750 too high. Find a good independent shop that works on BMWs. Check out the Mechanic’s files link at the top of this page for one near you.

First, this is not the place to talk BMW. If you want to learn more about your BMW, register at this forum.

Yes, the belt runs the water pump pulley. You need to see if the belt slid off, or was installed incorrectly. If the tank blew, it’s just unfortunate timing.

You need to find an indep. mechanic. The stealership will rob you blind.

Next, at 100k, the entire cooling system is best replaced. For $1500 or less, you can have the ENTIRE cooling system replaced (which is what you need to do) You are being charged $1000 for 1/5 of the cooling system. (Water pump, exp. tank, radiator, thermostat and housing, all hoses, etc) While there, replace all pulleys and tensioners.

At 100k, be prepared to invest some money to get another trouble free 50k-100k miles out of the car.

Also, if your temp. needle was pinned, you may have cracked the head or at least blown the head gasket. Have someone examine this before you invest money into the car, b/c you might be looking at a blown motor. When the car is cold, it can be run with no coolant for a minute or three. If there is a bad idle, or white smoke…you may have the problems above.

sounds like somebody is opening a can of worms. i don’t see how these two ideams are reladed to each other

Your Dealer sounds pretty fishy to me. Before you go off and have someone else look at it take the problem to BMW. Once another mechanic starts working on it, even another BMW Dealer, your chances of getting BMW to pay for the damages are zip.

I don’t understand how how overflow tank could just burst at random. That thing overheated literally minutes after they replaced something that affects the cooling.

Welcome to the world of BMW where everything is at least twice as much as it should be and the car breaks down three times as often.

I wish the OP had checked the belt prior to being towed back to the dealership, that is the ONLY way you could have proven they were wrong… I believe (although I could be wrong) that some BMW’s of that vintage (we dont know what BMW the OP HAS) still use a Clutch fan… This Fan is ALSO run from the belt along with the water pump… Its just too much of a coincidence that this happened so quickly after they touched the belt… I just don’t know how you prove it.

With that said, I dont understand how the OP is being told to replace the whole cooling system for S & G’s because it has over 100K by another poster… That does not make sense to me, it like replacing your well running motor just because it needs an oil change ???

I dont understand how the OP is being told to replace the whole cooling system for S & G’s because it has over 100K by another poster… That does not make sense to me, it like replacing your well running motor just because it needs an oil change ???

B/c they are made of plastic and will crack/fail with time. And with an aluminum head, an overheat can blow the motor. For $1500 (or $600 in parts), it’s a precaution BMW owners tend to every 80-100k miles. “An ounce of prevention…”

What model of BMW?

Check the
website for the routing of your serpentine belt. Using a flashlight, check to see if the belt was routed properly. If not, you have a case.

And I agree with Used that the engine should be checked for any signs of damage for the overheating.

I dont understand how the OP is being told to replace the whole cooling system

Here’s a bit on that:

Wow, I read the article and all I cam say is. Yet another reason NOT to buy a used BMW. With all of the millions of cars and trucks on the road with plastic radiators, I have never heard of another car where it us normal for this to happen b

I own four BMWs, all with over 100k miles, and I do all my own work.
UsedEconobox is exactly correct on all points.

If they messed up on the belt install, they may have contributed to the failure, but it does not matter because you were about due for all new plastic and rubber parts in your cooling system anyway. You absolutely need an expansion tank and a thermostat, and if you are wise, a lot more parts while you are in there.

The expansion tank in my 2004 325i cracked a couple of months ago. I spent $600 on parts and my whole Saturday and replaced everything in sight - radiator, water pump, thermostat, hoses, etc. etc.

A month later, the water pump failed on my wife’s 2004 330. Same drill, only her car is an automatic so it uses a fan clutch and a second thermostat in the expansion tank. $750 in parts.

It was a big hit for a cheapskate like me to do them one after another, but when you think about it, those parts were only about one car payment on each car (these cars are long since paid for). Now I will get another 8 years service from both cars without worrying about cooling system problems.

For $1000, it seems to me that you should get more than an expansion tank and a thermostat. You did not mention your model, but each of those parts lists for about $100. You can buy name brand parts on line for $100 for the two parts together. They may be a bit of a pain to put on, depending on the model of your car and whether it is an automatic or a manual transmission, but not $800 in labor…