A few weeks ago I drove my car straight into a curb and killed the steering column. The car was not drivable. After a discussion with BMW service rep, I obtained a copy of an addendum to the steering and alignment manual that indicates if certain parts were damaged to the suspension then the steering rack MUST be replaced – despite the fact that there is absolutely NO indication that the part is damaged.
My problem is that my insurance company is refusing to pay for the part since it shows no signs of damage and BMW will revoke the warranty on the steering column and attempted to remove themselves from any liability if the steering rack did fail after suspension repairs.
I can’t consciously drive my car knowing that there is a possibility that the steering rack could go out at any time so I am forced to pay the 2k.
Is this fair? Can a auto manufacturer force their customers into a catch-22 like this? It is my understanding that BMW and Mercedes are the only automakers that do this. Not even Ferrari. So, do you have any experience or knowledge about this sham?
I do plan to discuss with the BAR and the Dept. of Insurance.
I am really looking for anyone who has experienced this problem and tell me what the come was.
Your input would be appreciated.
I’m not a lawyer and I don’t know if we have any here, but I’m not real sure that BMW can do this. There is a law known as the Moss-Magnuson act. For BMW to void the warrantee for any future issues, they will have to prove that not replacing the steering rack is the cause of the issue. For example, if the alternator failed, BMW would have to make the connection, and I doubt they could.
If the rack were to fail however, then they probably could void the warrantee for that issue. If it fails and they can show it was due to the accident, then you should be able to amend the settlement and get the insurance to pay for the new rack at that time.
What I think is a lot of leeway can and will be given if the motivation is safety. Reminds me of some aircraft regs. that say when the prop is impacted to a certain degree the engine must be tore down and inspected. The situation was a pilot who just barely touched a tool box with the tip of the prop. The FAA called for a engine teardown.
Thank you for your reply. I understand that the insurance company would be liable for replacement if failure was a result of the original accident, however do I really want to take a chance and let it fail while doing 100 mph up I-15 to Vegas? If I don’t replace the part they are automatically voiding warranty and excluding themselves from liability…which State Farm refused to sign. I would imagine that they would try to force me to sign it in order to release the car…that is speculation however. I am paying the 2k, but not without a fight.
Thank you for the info on the Moss-Magnuson Act. I will research that.
I WISH!!! Insurance company is NOT budging. I brought it up in that way and they refused even after a second inspection. I told them that I couldn’t believe they felt my life wasn’t even worth $1,900. Seriously, this is totally reckless endangerment on State Farm’s part. If I can find just one other person who has been through this and is fighting BMW/Insurance company over this issue, I am willing to join him/her in a class action lawsuit against either (or both) parties.
My comment was more directed to BMW calling for parts to be replaced even if they are simply near parts that are damaged, this should not be too hard a policy for them (the insurance company) to accept, but I guess not.It is not a bad policy for BMW to have if the motivation is safety or perhaps some issue with damage to parts not affected otherwise, but simply due to the repair process.
I can understand both parties point of view with the situation:
State Farm doesn’t want to replace a part that does not appear to be damaged, or leaking.
They have a profit margin to protect in regards to your claim history.
BMW doesn’t want to have to replace an expensive power steering rack under warranty for leaking or faulty performance after you have gone and bashed your car into a curb for whatever reason you had that day. They have a profit margin to protect.
So, unfortunately, its 100% upon you to have to replace the part, if it has failed in relation to your accident.
If it were my car, I would agree with both companies, but not replace the part at this time. If it does start leaking fluid within a couple of months, or shows signs of odd steering feel while driving, then I would bring the car back to State Farm, and prove to them that there is an internal issue with the part, and force them to replace it.
Right now, there is no proof that the part is damaged.
Until you start driving the car on a regular basis, you won’t know if there is a problem with the steering.
Oh, and last time I checked, the speed limit wasn’t 100 mph on I-15 between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Slow the heck down.
Nobody, including BMW has said the rack is unsafe. BMW is saying that they won’t honor the warrantee if the rack fails, that is all. BMW can only void that part of the warrantee that they feel is due to the accident. Thats OK because if they can prove that a future failure was caused by the accident, then State Farm will have to pony up at that time.
Rack failures are mostly leaks, not catastrophic failures that lead to loss of steering. The steering box itself is pretty rugged. Its fundamentally a long solid steel rod with notches cut into it and a round gear that drives the rod back and forth. Its almost unbreakable. Its the power assist that gives you trouble. If you lost power assist at 100 mph, you probably wouldn’t notice it. The power assist is designed to reduce the assist as speed builds up to keep the car from getting “twitchy”. You have almost no assist at 100 mph, but you would notice the loss when you go to park it.
I would not pay for a new rack when there is nothing wrong with the old one and probably never will be. I would look at this like an extended warrantee from State Farm. You can probably hold State Farm liable for any failure of the power assist beyond BMW’s warrantee period as long as someone can connect it to the accident.
Just my two cents worth. I have had State Farm for over 45 years and I have never had a problem with them. They have always been fair. You have to remember that it is a mutual company so what is paid to you is taken from me so it is their job to be careful about claims paid. They need to pay for damage done but if there is no evidence of damage done, there is no reason to pay an additional $1900. They have no control over what the BMW engineers decide to include in their repair procedures and it really is up to State Farm to determine if it is justified or not.
The rack is not going to fail catastropically and personally if you weren’t joking, as a member of State Farm, I wouldn’t want them insuring someone driving 100 mph. Its my nickel after all.