2009 BMW 7 Series Long Term Road Test - Maintenance

2009 BMW 7 Series Long Term Road Test

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2009 BMW 750i: Tired

March 12, 2010

750 tire 2.jpg

Two days out of service (Thanks, Bryn.) and one, $297.72 (shipped) 245/45R19 Goodyear Excellence run flat from Tirerack, we're back in business.

Stokes, as well as four local BMW dealerships, were out of stock on this tire and wanted a week to get one. Tirerack had just a few left and we had it in hand the next day. Our guys at Stokes charged us $27.25 for install and disposal.

Total: $324.97

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 27,248 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: Check Engine Light

March 11, 2010


Somewhere in between buying new tires for our 2009 BMW 750i, the check engine light clicked on. We tried the simplest fix first. Run the onboard diagnostic check through iDrive. Everything checked out fine there, but the light was still on. So we tried the second simplest fix. Unscrew the fuel cap, screw it back on and drive 10-15 miles. No dice. So we drove to Santa Monica BMW.

DME fault code 190302 was to blame for the light. And the fix was documented in service information bulletin B12 28 09. Per the bulletin, the tech tested for a DMTL system (emissions) leak. When he found no leak, the code was cleared and order restored. It sounds like the fuel cap was the problem after all. Our adjustment fixed the fault but just didn't clear the code.

While we were there the dealer performed campaign B11 09 09, which involved removing the drive belt guard bracket. Now we're back on the road and back to hunting potholes.

Total Cost: $0

Days out of service: 1

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 26,968 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: Stop Me If You've Heard This One

March 08, 2010

2009 bmw 7 series tire gash

It had already been 9 whole days since our last flat in the 7 Series, so we were due, I guess. It had rained a bit since then, too, so fresh potholes were just waiting to ruin yet another run-flat tire.

This is in the front driver side tire. It measures about 3.25 inches, but it isn't nearly as spectacular as some of our other recent blowouts in this car. Time to limp it back to Stokes. I'm sure they've been missing us.

Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor, Edmunds.com, @ 27,238 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: Tire Replacement. Again.

February 26, 2010


Less than two miles passed after having replaced a rear tire before ^this^ happened. It wasn't a big pothole, in fact I barely noticed it, but it was big enough and placed perfectly enough to cause the bubble/tear/mouth shown above. Sigh.

A new Goodyear Excellence, size 245/45R19 took a full day and a half for Stokes here in Santa Monica to procure, and cost $367.22 installed.

Mike Magrath, Vehicle Testing Assistant @ 26,816 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: Tire Replacement

February 23, 2010


We ordered up a replacement tire for our 2009 BMW 750i after Josh broke it yesterday. Our local Santa Monica shop, Stokes Tire Pros, needed a day to secure the 275/40R19 Goodyear Excellence runflat.

This morning we drove over, swapped our corded mess for an inflatable tire and were on our way in about an hour. After tire disposal and installation we spent under 400 bucks, which was cheaper than the dealership wanted for rubber alone.

Total Cost: $395.74

Days Out of Service: 1

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 26,808 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: Thwack, Thwack, Thwack, Thwack

February 22, 2010


This is what the left rear tire on our 750i looked like this morning after delaminating while rolling down the 405 freeway. Yes, those are cords.

Not a chance these two things are related.

We're replacing the tire.

Josh Jacquot, Senior road test editor

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2009 BMW 750i: Engine Oil Level at Minimum!

February 01, 2010

Engine Oil Level display.JPG

I won the vehicle service telltale lottery once again: I got a warning in the meter cluster that our long-term 2009 BMW 750 was low on oil. Instead of popping the hood, I checked the level through the iDrive display (above).

I checked what type of oil to add, again through the iDrive -- and got little info.
Looking in the paper book, it said SAE 0W-40, 0W-30, 5W-40, and 5W-30. But it didn't specify mineral or synthetic.

I remembered that new BMWs take fancy BMW-branded synthetic, so I picked up a quart of Mobil 1
5W-20 ($7) at Target, because that was the only Mobil 1 viscosity on the shelf.

Why Target? Because I'm in West LA and have no idea where the auto parts stores are near me.

And surprisingly, I actually had to open the hood to dump the oil in: there's no where to add oil through the iDrive.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 25,205 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: Washer Fluid Low

January 22, 2010

BMW 750 washer fluid telltale.jpg

What? -- another one? Our long-term 2009 BMW 750 has been asking for windshield washer fluid for a few days now. It reminds you with this telltale and an annoying chime on each startup.

Because I love to add washer fluid to our test cars and am experienced in such matters, I added a half gallon to our 7-series this morning.

You can see in the bottom pic that the filler neck (which snakes below the shock tower brace) is translucent and not opaque as on our long-term BMW M3, so you can see the overflow coming.

I hardly use the windshield washer fluid, using it only to clear dried roadsalt -- and that was in Michigan and not in LA. But others here, I suppose, don't like dust and dirt on the windshield.

I'll save the other half gallon for the next test car.

Albert Austria, Senior Engineer @ 24,500 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: Power Steering Groan

December 15, 2009


I spent the past couple of days in our 2009 BMW 750i. Sounds to me like the power steering pump is on its way out. Fluid levels are up to spec. And there aren't any visible signs of leakage. But it's groaning louder than I remember, even with minimal steering input. We're going to see what the dealer has to say.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 23,000 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: Tale of Two Flat Tires

October 30, 2009

BMW 750i Tire Warning.jpg

Getting two flat tires in a single trip takes some luck, and getting two flat tires within 25 minutes takes some skill. But when the tire we're discussing is the same tire...well, I'm not sure what that takes. Maybe it's just a matter of acknowledging a greater power really wanted that tire to be flat!

Or at least as flat as our long-term BMW 750i's run-flat tires can be.

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2009 BMW 750i: Free Scheduled Maintenance

September 17, 2009


We spent $0 to service our 2009 BMW 750i thanks to BMW's free scheduled maintenance program. But it cost us 4 days. Can that still be considered free?

Long Beach BMW had a 9am Thursday appointment available and we took it. We arrived on time and the car was pulled inside before we left. On the agenda was its routine service, a check engine light and misaligned hood.

We contacted our advisor at 3pm to learn they couldn't see our car yet. It would stay overnight. And 24 hours later we initiated contact again. "I was just about to call you," our advisor began. "My mechanic won't be able to complete the work today. And he's not in this weekend. Can I get back to you on Monday?"

Monday afternoon the phone rang. The car was ready. Oil, oil filter and microfilters were refreshed. Our check engine light was the result of a leaking gas cap, so it was also replaced. One of the strikers was adjusted to remedy our misaligned hood. And per an open campaign the front door handle Bowden cable was replaced. Should this take 4 days? Would you be satisfied?

Free scheduled maintenance is in the eye of the beholder.

Total Cost: $0

Days out of service: 4

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 15,994 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: Tell Me Why I'm Wrong

September 11, 2009

Check Engine BMW.JPG

I like the BMW 750i but after spending nearly two weeks with the car I'm beginning to think of it as a very attractive ex-girlfriend - pretty, smart and sophisticated but ultimately not worth the hassle. Here's why -

Like that ex (let's call her Marie) the BMW has a few issues. No, it's not fond of making a scene in public but both the car and the girl sure needed a lot of extra attention. The warning lights alone had me on my toes during a recent family road trip. Here's how it went:

Before leaving, I check all the fluids and tires - everything was fine. 60 miles from home, a warning light comes on "low oil" it says. 12 hours ago it was at max now it's at the minimum mark (you check it via an in-car display). OK, so I stop and get oil - hit the road again. 2 hours later, warning light comes on "low washer fluid." I haven't used the washer fluid since i picked the car up 3 day prior, where did it all go? This one can wait - once I arrive at my dad's house, I drop some washer fluid in, light goes off.

3 days later, warning light comes on "tire pressure low." oooook then. So I check, all the tires are at about 30 lbs - some are at 29.5 one is at 31. The indicator says it's the left front tire - of the four tires, it isn't the lowest. Granted the elevation and temperature is much different than where I live so I air up all the tires anyway - warning light goes off.

4 days later, on Interstate 5 just North of Fresno, the check engine light comes on. C'mon - this is getting old. Plus, despite the check engine light, the vehicle status still says all is "OK." Regular service is due anyway so we're taking to the BMW dealer to see what's up with the light. Still don't know why - service advisor says it's usually emissions related. Yes, I checked the gas cap.

Both the BMW 750i and Marie were great but I can't help but think the trip would have been a little more trouble free had I opted for a the Ford Flex or Hyundai Genesis. Maybe the BMW (but not the girl) is worth the hassle - what do you think? Are the little annoyances worth putting up with in exchange for the 7's power, handling, massaging seats, excellent stereo and impressing the neighbors? I'm leaning toward no.

Brian Moody, chief happy-to-be-home editor @ 15,973 miles.

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2009 BMW 750i: Service Follow-up

July 23, 2009


Last week the 750i went in to Long Beach BMW to address some service items. We were asked to leave the vehicle there for two days because, according to our advisor, their computers were down and it could take some time to perform the three DME updates our 750i required. But when the key was back in our hand it didn't seem like much was done.

Issue 1: A-pillar wind noise at freeway speeds.
Solution: No repairs performed. Technician could not duplicate during test drive.

Issue 2: Cupholder misaligned, causing the lid to pop off when opened or closed.
Solution: Reinstall driver's cupholder with existing parts. Fixed? Brent attempted this once before.

Issue 3: DME reprogramming per TSB.
Solution: Completed.

Issue 4: TCU reprogramming per TSB.
Solution: No repairs performed. This TSB applied only to vehicle distribution centers.

Issue 5: Replace front door handle cables per TSB.
Solution: No repairs performed. Bowden cables special ordered. ETA 2 working days.

We received a phone call yesterday that the door cables arrived. So we'll swing it by the dealership soon to perform the installation.

Total cost: None

Days out of service: 2

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 12,401 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: Service Items

July 16, 2009


We dropped our 750i off at BMW of Long Beach to address the broken cupholder cover and A-pillar wind noise issue. We couldn't wait 3,000 miles for the arrival of its next service interval.

Our advisor began by plugging the 750i key into his reader. "Oh," our advisor began, "There are three open service campaigns on this vehicle. I don't think we can finish all of the reprogramming today. Can I offer you a loaner vehicle?" I had a carpool buddy waiting outside so there was no need to take him up on the offer. As we parted he added, "I will call you in the morning with an update. I hope to have the cupholder parts in by then too."

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 12,396 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: Re-Broken Cupholder Cover

June 23, 2009


I signed up to drive our 750i the other night. Along with the key I was handed its faux-wood cupholder cover. The same cover Brent reattached back in April. "This fell off again," I was told.

We don't reach our next service interval for another 6,000 miles. Looks like we'll be scheduling an appointment to have this fixed before then.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 11,000 miles

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2009 BMW 750i: Oil Please

May 28, 2009


As you can see, on my way home last night from the Speedway motorcycle races in City of Industry, California (about 35 miles east of our Santa Monica office) our long-term 2009 BMW 750i told me it needed oil.

It said please, so...

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2009 BMW 750i: Broken Cupholder Cover

April 16, 2009


A couple days ago, the "wood" trim piece to our BMW 750i's retractable cupholder cover broke loose. I was closing the cover and the trim piece got caught and popped off from its black plastic base. After that, the entire mechanism was a bit wonky. It wasn't opening and closing properly as one of the plastic hinges had become dislocated.

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2009 BMW 750i: Fast and Thirsty, For Oil at Least

March 30, 2009


Took the big, bad 750i this weekend and it is indeed one serious sedan. For something that weighs 4,600 pounds, the 750 can make surprisingly quick work of unsuspecting Mustangs on freeway onramps. Especially lowered black ones with Eibach stickers in the side windows, or so I'm told.

It also happens to have an alarmingly voracious appetite for oil. At one point this weekend I was warned by the much improved iDrive system that the oil level was at the minimum, which struck me as strange given the car only had about 4,700 miles on the odometer.

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Past Long-Term Road Tests