BMW should...?

I have a 2005 BMWX3. A few weeks before my initial 4-yr warranty was set to expire (at 31K miles), the “service engine soon” light came on. Over the next 22 months, the light has come on repeatedly and I have taken the car in. Only ONCE has the light gone on identifying a true problem. I purchased the extended warranty (which expires 3/11) for $2,800 and invested an additional $4K during this time. After 8 or 9 trips to BMW with the same complaint – and their inability to fix it, I’ve asked them to buy the car back from me. I’m still waiting to hear from if they will do so. Frankly, I think they should give me a new car. If they refuse – what is my recourse. This car is a lemon. There must be a law protecting consumers…

They will never buy you a new car unless you mean another 2005 X3.

Lemon Laws apply to new cars.
While the definition of “new” will likely vary from state to state, I really doubt if any state’s Lemon Law statute would cover a vehicle that is at least 5 years old.

Additionally, these statutes typically specify that the vehicle defect must be one that “substantially or materially affects the safety or driveability of the vehicle”. Since you do not mention any specific problems relating to the SES light–other than annoyance–it is very doubtful that you will get any satisfaction with this issue.

What you really need to do is to educate yourself about the content of the Lemon Law in your state. Go to
for a state-by-state listing of the content of these statutes.

You might go to a BMW forum and list a concise history of your X3’s problems (code values in particular) and see if someone there can help. Here, too.

It’s impossible to guess at what the problem with this car is short of your posting a list of symptoms (if other than the SES light), what codes were present, what parts were replaced, etc.

As to buying your car back you can probably forget that angle. If the car were 6 weeks old instead of 6 years you might have a shot at it but that ship has sailed.

It’s also a regrettable fact of life that some problems with cars are not as clear cut as many think. The more high tech the car, the more this is true.

Your car is NOT a lemon.
Your car served you well for 3 years.

Your car currently has a persistent problem.
Since you provided no details of what the check engine light code is, we can’t help you.

They are not going to buy your car back from you after you’ve had it for 5+ years, and put over 35k miles on it.

I don’t understand where you have gotten your sense of entitlement from.

Take your car to a different shop, and have them inspect it, and determine the cause of the issue.


I’m going to disagree with you somewhat there.

The problem started when it was under warranty. For two years they fooled around with it and failed to fix it. The warranty says they’ll fix it. If they can’t, they should give him a different car, or call in a factory specialist to figure out what’s wrong with the one he has.

This post–like many others–seems to illustrate the principle that “a little learning is a dangerous thing”.

Many people have heard the term Lemon Law, and instead of researching what this type of statute might actually apply to, they somehow assume that any problem that arises, no matter how old their vehicle might be, will qualify them for protection under the Lemon Law in their state.

I have seen this same principle in action with other concepts also.
For example, many years ago, I worked part-time in a large department store. More than one customer informed me that, “I have a credit card, but if I pay with cash, you have to give me a 3% discount”.

When I would politely inform them that the store did not have such a policy, they would adamantly tell me that, “It’s the law! You have to do it!”. Trust me, this wasted a lot of time for both me and for the more reasonable customers waiting in line behind the uninformed ones.

I was puzzled by this obvious misinformation until I remembered reading that some independent merchants would offer (voluntarily) to give a 3% discount to customers who paid with cash, rather than pay a 3% commission to Visa or Mastercard.

Somehow, “independent merchant” and “voluntarily offer to give a 3% discount” morphed in some people’s minds into “It is the law that this large department store HAS to give me a 3% discount because I am not using my credit card”.

Like with so many things in life, “the devil is in the details”, and many folks fail to learn the actual details before assuming that they know all of the facts of the situation.

The OP needs to educate himself/herself about the actual details of the Lemon Law in his/her state.