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E90/E91/E92/E93 (2006 - 2013)
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  #1  
Old 11-29-2012, 05:22 AM
Edbert Edbert is online now
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Alignment - Warranty - improper tire wear

First off an easy question...
Is front-end alignment covered under the BMW warranty?

My car (2011 335i 4-door) was purchased new, and I paid to extend the "no service charge" warranty to 10-year/100k-miles, right now my car is just over 20k on the miles so it is not even an issue with the extension I bought.

I had the car in for service, 3rd time for faulty air-pressure sensors, and the service department said my passenger's front tire was showing premature wear on the outside edge which indicated I have hit a road hazard and knocked that wheel out of alignment. They said I needed a new tire ($360) and an alignment (another ~$300 or so) and at that time I declined the service.

I understand that if I hit a curb (never done that) or a bad pothole (been there at least twice) these are not a warranty issue. Although I purchased the 10yr/100k road-hazard warranty on wheels and tires it does not cover the suspension. But I do not think that is my case here.

So, when I got home I took a look at the tire and it is indeed showing sings of nearing mandatory replacement on the outside edge. I have the sport suspension and super-low profile tires and since I did not turn the wheel all the way to the right I was unable to visually inspect the inside edge but I did run my hand in there and found that it was not exhibiting the premature wear like the outside edge. So I went over to the driver's side and saw the same wear patterns indicating that I have (my guess) way to much toe-in on the suspension. Such a situation would not be caused by hitting a pothole with one or the other front wheel.

I know these tires are soft and will not give me the 35-50k miles of life that many passenger cars tires do these days. I have always run z-rated tires with 45 series sidewalls on my previous cars, and the worst wear I ever got was 24k on a set of BFG Comp-TAs. But here I am at under 21K and both of my front tires are needing replacement soon despite the center section and inside section having at least 5k (maybe more) life left.

I contend this is due to an improper alignment since only the outside edge of both are worn out, it is conceivable that I have a camber problem but one so severe as the wear pattern shows would be visible to the naked eye I think. It cannot be due to being under inflated since the insides edges are fine. Now, I DO drive this car hard in the turns, I FULLY ADMIT that. The steering and cornering is why I bought this car in the first place (brakes too) since I was pretty disappointing in the acceleration of the twin screw turbo-6, it is the slowest car I've owned since 1994. I am fully aware that aggressive cornering will decrease the lifespan of the tires, but they should wear evenly if the alignment is correct. Unless the standard BMW alignment specs (this is by first Bimmer ever) call for extreme toe-in. The car does not have the unstable initial cut-in that extreme toe-in usually induces, steering response is immediate (I LOVE IT!) but there's nothing twitchy or unstable about it. It does not over-steer at all like too much toe would cause and even under-steer is negligible except at the extreme edge of grip.

So back to the original question, is front end alignment covered under factory warranty assuming I did not knock it out of alignment? If so I think I have a strong case to have it realigned at no cost and arguably have the new set of front rubber replaced at a reduced price. What say ye?
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  #2  
Old 11-29-2012, 06:02 AM
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This is not going to be covered by the dealer unless you are exceptionally gifted at persuasion.

But don't pay that inflated price for alignment ..... time to find your favorite indy tire shop .... I get alignments for less than $100 and tires at much better prices.
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  #3  
Old 11-29-2012, 06:09 AM
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Alignment is not covered and BMW's are very sensitive to alignment especially with the soft front suspension bushings. And yes a pothole will effect toe on a BMW. Outside tire wear on modern BMW's is very common. BMW and Audi suspension geometry is designed for handling more than it is for tire wear. My 335's go through rears tires every 9k-10k miles and the fronts are good for about 20k miles. Most summer only tires are only good for 15K to 20k at best. If you want longer wear, do an alignment every year and buy a different tire. If you drill out the camber pins up front and then have the car aligned and you tell the tech to adjust front camber to the most negative he can get it up front and get toe just right you will have slightly better tire wear. On my 09 335 I swapped out the stock control arms for the M3 ones with firmer bushings and lowered the car and my dealer has a great alignment tech that will set everytrhing to what I want and how I drive and I have perfect tire wear up front.

Now My X5 goes through tires every 32k ish miles no mater what even with regular alignments. I could get more out of them if the front suspension was adjustable (camber is only adjustable by changing control arms and there are 3 to pick from!) If I try to get 35 to 40k miles out of them they get so noisy to the point of being unbearable.
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  #4  
Old 11-29-2012, 09:31 AM
Alpine300ZHP Alpine300ZHP is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David1 View Post
Alignment is not covered and BMW's are very sensitive to alignment especially with the soft front suspension bushings. And yes a pothole will effect toe on a BMW. Outside tire wear on modern BMW's is very common. BMW and Audi suspension geometry is designed for handling more than it is for tire wear. My 335's go through rears tires every 9k-10k miles and the fronts are good for about 20k miles. Most summer only tires are only good for 15K to 20k at best. If you want longer wear, do an alignment every year and buy a different tire. If you drill out the camber pins up front and then have the car aligned and you tell the tech to adjust front camber to the most negative he can get it up front and get toe just right you will have slightly better tire wear. On my 09 335 I swapped out the stock control arms for the M3 ones with firmer bushings and lowered the car and my dealer has a great alignment tech that will set everytrhing to what I want and how I drive and I have perfect tire wear up front.

Now My X5 goes through tires every 32k ish miles no mater what even with regular alignments. I could get more out of them if the front suspension was adjustable (camber is only adjustable by changing control arms and there are 3 to pick from!) If I try to get 35 to 40k miles out of them they get so noisy to the point of being unbearable.
I agree with everything David said. I am on my 3rd E90 platform car and every single one of them wears the outside edge of the passenger's side front tire faster than the driver's side tire. I have tried alignments and still experienced the same wear on sport package equipped cars (which is all I buy). I say it is a trait of the car and you have to accept it unless you are willing to do some mods like David to try to modify that issue out of the car. I get roughly 20k miles (all city) on fronts and rears. If the fronts wore more evenly I could probably get 30k out of the fronts. Make sure you are running 36 psi (cold) on all 4 tires. Any lower and the rate of wear increases significantly.
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Last edited by Alpine300ZHP; 11-29-2012 at 09:33 AM.
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  #5  
Old 11-29-2012, 06:23 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edbert View Post
So back to the original question, is front end alignment covered under factory warranty assuming I did not knock it out of alignment? If so I think I have a strong case to have it realigned at no cost and arguably have the new set of front rubber replaced at a reduced price. What say ye?

Like nearly all dealers, BMW does not align their cars prior to sale. Rubber bushings wear in....alignment maybe 1k+ mi down the road an excellent idea.

$300 for alignment is wildly high. BMW Kinematic alignment is excellent, but anyone familiar with BMW suspensions and the concepts of toe & camber can do the same. Think: $75.

Hey, it's your deal. Alignment requires a level of equipment, not the least being a way to raise the car while doing it. I'd find a reputable Indy - a Tire Rack vendor might be the right place to look.

If not a resolute DIY'r, BMW is your other choice. Typical BMW Service Advisor:

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Last edited by CALWATERBOY; 11-29-2012 at 06:23 PM.
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  #6  
Old 11-29-2012, 12:17 PM
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Kilgore Trout Kilgore Trout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
Like nearly all dealers, BMW does not align their cars prior to sale. Rubber bushings wear in....alignment maybe 1k+ mi down the road an excellent idea.

$300 for alignment is wildly high. BMW Kinematic alignment is excellent, but anyone familiar with BMW suspensions and the concepts of toe & camber can do the same. Think: $75.

Hey, it's your deal. Alignment requires a level of equipment, not the least being a way to raise the car while doing it. I'd find a reputable Indy - a Tire Rack vendor might be the right place to look.

If not a resolute DIY'r, BMW is your other choice. Typical BMW SA:

Attachment 351290
Sadly, that is not high in Los Angeles. Pacific BMW, who sold me my E91, charges $319 for an alignment.
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  #7  
Old 11-29-2012, 06:02 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kilgore Trout View Post
Sadly, that is not high in Los Angeles. Pacific BMW, who sold me my E91, charges $319 for an alignment.

Qualifier: High for an Indy. BMW does have the best equipment and requisite weights.


For OP:
  • PDF on BMW Kinematics
  • Check your camber. Using an aluminum extruded 1/2" channel available @ any Ace Hardware, insert iPhone or Android and, using a free carpenter's level program, measure camber to 0.1 resolution. Using a bubble level, calibrate your phone. Then after inserting phone, hold the extrusion vertically according to a plumb bob, extrusion against the metal wheel.

Viola! Do your front tire measurements match? Post here!

Rears? Post here!

Now about toe....toe plates aren't bad for shadetree mech.

Best done an an exactly level surface. You'd be surprised how uneven a garage floor can be. Google water levels and linoleum tiles....

Ready for ride height measurement?

Or would you rather have an Indy take care of the whole deal?

.

Last edited by CALWATERBOY; 11-29-2012 at 06:07 PM.
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  #8  
Old 11-29-2012, 07:03 PM
Edbert Edbert is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CALWATERBOY View Post
For OP:

Or would you rather have an Indy take care of the whole deal?

.
Ding ding ding!



This conversation has me pretty much convinced that I have not messed up the factory alignment by following the retards in minvans too close and hitting a pothole. While I understand that it may not be perfect I have ZERO complaints about the handling and since I got 20.5k miles with spirited driving on factory rubber I no longer think it sucks as bad as I did this morning.

Last edited by Edbert; 11-29-2012 at 07:09 PM.
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  #9  
Old 11-30-2012, 07:10 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edbert View Post
This conversation has me pretty much convinced that I have not messed up the factory alignment by following the retards in minvans too close and hitting a pothole. While I understand that it may not be perfect I have ZERO complaints about the handling and since I got 20.5k miles with spirited driving on factory rubber I no longer think it sucks as bad as I did this morning.

Time to drive M3.

Raises Kundalini.

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  #10  
Old 11-29-2012, 07:44 AM
Leekay07 Leekay07 is offline
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stop turning into corners too fast..
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  #11  
Old 11-29-2012, 01:57 PM
Edbert Edbert is online now
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Originally Posted by Leekay07 View Post
stop turning into corners too fast..
I think my sheetmetal and rims will testify that I am not doing it "too fast', I may have gotten close to being too fast before. hmmm...maybe if I wear them down to slicks I get even more grip

To all who replied:
1.) Thank you!
2.) I am familiar with Tire Rack but not "Indy tire", I just goolged them and it seems all the hits are from Indianapolis. Is that some sort of national chain like NTB or Discount Tire, both of which are all around this area? I do not see myself driving to IN just to get new rubber and an alignment.
3.) Anyone want to recommend a different brand/make/model for an otherwise factory stock 335i with 18" rims and sport package? I've considered dumping the RFTs but that brings up more issues and headaches than I care to deal with or worry about this time.
4.) 36 PSI is a little on the high side isn't it, not sure what I have in there now, it is nitrogen and those pressure sensors seem VERY sensitive so is that the factory setting? If not and I want to go to 36PSI will the sensors need to be re-calibrated?
5.) I'm wondering how a pothole or two in about two years would cause the exact same toe-in on both corners, of course anything is possible. I only remembering hitting one nasty one ever, and like I said no curbs.
6.) Would this be a good time to get stiffer bushings like poly or ones with steel inserts? I am usually fine with a ride quality that many folks think is too harsh, although i freely admit that one thing I like about this car is that I get about the same lateral grip as my old tweaked out Mustang from a car I can have a conversation in and not have to wear a kidney belt. I must be getting old...HA!
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Old 11-29-2012, 04:25 PM
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Zeichen311 Zeichen311 is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edbert View Post
2.) I am familiar with Tire Rack but not "Indy tire", ... Is that some sort of national chain ...?

3.) Anyone want to recommend a different brand/make/model for an otherwise factory stock 335i with 18" rims and sport package?

4.) 36 PSI is a little on the high side isn't it, not sure what I have in there now, ... is that the factory setting? If not and I want to go to 36PSI will the sensors need to be re-calibrated?
2) The correct spelling would have been "indie," short for "independent" as in "independent tire shop," i.e., not a BMW dealer.

3) What's on there now--Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 ZP, or was yours fitted with tires from another OEM supplier (there are several)? Bear in mind that the PS2 is pretty soft and sticky as street tires go--getting 21K miles from a set would actually be good.

4) Not really, no. To be blunt, the factory-recommended pressures are in the owner's manual and on a placard affixed to the driver's door jamb. You should be familiar with both for such a basic maintenance/safety question. Apart from that, the worst you might need to do is reset the TPMS (through iDrive or the turn-indicator stalk) after a significant pressure change. Easy and quick.

If your driving style tends toward the spirited, running the pressures recommended for 100mph+ travel will even out the wear considerably, at the expense of a slightly harsher ride. The recommendation for the OE staggered 18" setup depends on the exact tires fitted to it:
Quote:
Front: 225/40 R 18 88 W - 44psi/300kPa
Rear: 255/35 R 18 90 W - 51/350

Front: 225/40 R 18 88 Y - 39/270
Rear: 255/35 R 18 90 Y - 46/320

Front: 225/35 R 19 88 Y XL - 44/300
Rear: 255/30 R 19 91 Y XL - 51/350
Again, the above are for speeds above 100mph on a 335i (not xi). You most likely have the W-rated tires (44psi F, 51psi R) but need to check. Also double-check that 51psi is not above the maximum cold inflation pressure stated on the tire sidewall (for a PS2 ZP in the 88W size above, it is the maximum).

If that seems too aggressive for you, split the difference with the recommended pressures for sub-100mph speeds (depending on the tires, the 100mph adjustment is a 3psi-9psi bump). It is normal to see accelerated wear of the front outboard tread at the stock recommended pressures and alignment, when you have a fairly spirited cornering style.

I would not recommend the same pressure at all four corners especially with the staggered setup. 36psi in the rear tires is significantly under-inflated. You want the higher pressure to put power down properly without premature wear, particularly at the inboard edges (a common complaint on BMWs) due to the substantial negative camber of the rear suspension.
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Last edited by Zeichen311; 11-29-2012 at 04:36 PM.
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  #13  
Old 11-29-2012, 07:00 PM
Edbert Edbert is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeichen311 View Post
3) What's on there now--Michelin Pilot Sport PS2 ZP, or was yours fitted with tires from another OEM supplier (there are several)? Bear in mind that the PS2 is pretty soft and sticky as street tires go--getting 21K miles from a set would actually be good.
Bridgestone Potenza RE050A-I 225/40R-18F and 255/35R-18R
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeichen311 View Post
4) Not really, no. To be blunt, the factory-recommended pressures are in the owner's manual and on a placard affixed to the driver's door jamb. You should be familiar with both for such a basic maintenance/safety question.
No harm in being blunt, I appreciate it. I've been trusting the TPS system...despite the multiple false alarms and the fact that a 30 degree change in weather triggers them despite the nitrogen.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeichen311 View Post
Apart from that, the worst you might need to do is reset the TPMS (through iDrive or the turn-indicator stalk) after a significant pressure change. Easy and quick.
I'll check into that, no iDrive on my car since I thought the Sony/Microsoft "synch" system on my wife's platinum was asking for a wreck.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeichen311 View Post
If your driving style tends toward the spirited, running the pressures recommended for 100mph+ travel will even out the wear considerably, at the expense of a slightly harsher ride. The recommendation for the OE staggered 18" setup depends on the exact tires fitted to it:Again, the above are for speeds above 100mph on a 335i (not xi). You most likely have the W-rated tires (44psi F, 51psi R) but need to check. Also double-check that 51psi is not above the maximum cold inflation pressure stated on the tire sidewall (for a PS2 ZP in the 88W size above, it is the maximum).
They say 51PSI on the fronts, did not check the rears since they are not wearing as fast. I have not done a burn out in decades. I hit 90+ MPH probably once or twice a week, but 80-85 pretty much daily. I've been over 100 very VERY seldom and never for a sustained period.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeichen311 View Post
If that seems too aggressive for you, split the difference with the recommended pressures for sub-100mph speeds (depending on the tires, the 100mph adjustment is a 3psi-9psi bump). It is normal to see accelerated wear of the front outboard tread at the stock recommended pressures and alignment, when you have a fairly spirited cornering style.
I feel better hearing that, I was worried about having lost the alignment on BOTH corners despite not having abused them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zeichen311 View Post
I would not recommend the same pressure at all four corners especially with the staggered setup. 36psi in the rear tires is significantly under-inflated. You want the higher pressure to put power down properly without premature wear, particularly at the inboard edges (a common complaint on BMWs) due to the substantial negative camber of the rear suspension.
I have been using whatever came from the dealer since the day I drove her home. On one hand I do feel a little embarrassed about not knowing more or being more active in the mechanicals. But I spent 20 years being a gear-head (more in the American pushrod V8 iron type of thing) and am at a point in my life where I want my cake without having to bake it...if you know what I mean. I have rebuilt engines from bare blocks, honed and refurbed brake calipers and even transmissions and rear-diffs on my workbench in the past, but now I'm old and lazy...but with better cash flow

Last edited by Edbert; 11-29-2012 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edbert View Post
I've been trusting the TPS system...despite the multiple false alarms and the fact that a 30 degree change in weather triggers them despite the nitrogen.
That would be because nitrogen and air expand and contract by the same amount in response to temperature and/or pressure changes, in any conditions your car will ever encounter. Anyone claiming otherwise was either ignorant of basic physics & chemistry, or counting on the customer's ignorance of same, or both, in order to relieve said customer of excess cash.

If your dealership/tire shop provides nitrogen fill free of charge, you might as well let them amuse themselves; it certainly does no harm. Otherwise, there are numerous threads here explaining why it's a waste of money if your car is not, in fact, an airplane. (One of the more entertaining & informative ones is here.)
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Last edited by Zeichen311; 11-29-2012 at 09:14 PM.
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:06 AM
gpburdell gpburdell is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edbert View Post
I've been trusting the TPS system...despite the multiple false alarms and the fact that a 30 degree change in weather triggers them despite the nitrogen.
If a 30 degree change in weather triggers the TPMS system, you're on the low edge of the range. Fill the tires to the specified pressure and be sure to do so when the car hasn't been driven for a few hours. Then reset the TPMS. I don't believe the system senses discrete pressure, i.e. telling the car what PSI the car is at, but more that it communicates a deviation from the set-point. I could be wrong.

My preference is to use a 78.09% nitrogen mix. Short of aircraft or racing, I don't see the point in filling with a 100% nitrogen, especially as there's not really a way to evacuate the existing air inside the tire. (Imagine a tire filled with water, and trying to change the water to wine just through the tire valve...)
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Old 11-29-2012, 01:18 PM
Cultr Cultr is offline
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They will cover the alignment under warranty if and only if the car is under 1200 miles. Highly doubt just telling them you didn't hit any potholes in 20,000 miles would convince anyone considering the road conditions in the US...

Last edited by Cultr; 11-29-2012 at 01:24 PM.
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:11 PM
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When people follow me too close when I drive a minivan, I consider those drivers the retards.
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:12 PM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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When people follow me too close when I drive a minivan, I consider those drivers the retards.

When they follow me too close in my minivan, I can't even see them.
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Old 11-29-2012, 07:50 PM
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Too close to see the pothole = still have 4x the space needed to out brake the minivan.
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:40 PM
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What's a minivan?
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Old 11-30-2012, 07:01 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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What's a minivan?
Big Volkswagen.
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Old 11-30-2012, 05:11 AM
gpburdell gpburdell is offline
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Too close to see the pothole = still have 4x the space needed to out brake the minivan.
Can you brake faster than a minivan rear-ending a car you didn't see stopped ahead of said minivan?
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  #23  
Old 11-30-2012, 07:04 AM
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CALWATERBOY CALWATERBOY is offline
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Location: San Francisco
 
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Mein Auto: 2009 E93 N54
Quote:
Originally Posted by gpburdell View Post
Can you brake faster than a minivan rear-ending a car you didn't see stopped ahead of said minivan?

Yes.

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  #24  
Old 11-30-2012, 02:23 AM
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pointandgo pointandgo is offline
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Location: Los Angeles area
 
Join Date: Apr 2010
Posts: 4,730
Mein Auto: '13 F10 535i (loaner)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edbert View Post
First off an easy question...
Is front-end alignment covered under the BMW warranty?

My car (2011 335i 4-door) was purchased new, and I paid to extend the "no service charge" warranty to 10-year/100k-miles, right now my car is just over 20k on the miles so it is not even an issue with the extension I bought.

I had the car in for service, 3rd time for faulty air-pressure sensors, and the service department said my passenger's front tire was showing premature wear on the outside edge which indicated I have hit a road hazard and knocked that wheel out of alignment. They said I needed a new tire ($360) and an alignment (another ~$300 or so) and at that time I declined the service.

I understand that if I hit a curb (never done that) or a bad pothole (been there at least twice) these are not a warranty issue. Although I purchased the 10yr/100k road-hazard warranty on wheels and tires it does not cover the suspension. But I do not think that is my case here.

So, when I got home I took a look at the tire and it is indeed showing sings of nearing mandatory replacement on the outside edge. I have the sport suspension and super-low profile tires and since I did not turn the wheel all the way to the right I was unable to visually inspect the inside edge but I did run my hand in there and found that it was not exhibiting the premature wear like the outside edge. So I went over to the driver's side and saw the same wear patterns indicating that I have (my guess) way to much toe-in on the suspension. Such a situation would not be caused by hitting a pothole with one or the other front wheel.

I know these tires are soft and will not give me the 35-50k miles of life that many passenger cars tires do these days. I have always run z-rated tires with 45 series sidewalls on my previous cars, and the worst wear I ever got was 24k on a set of BFG Comp-TAs. But here I am at under 21K and both of my front tires are needing replacement soon despite the center section and inside section having at least 5k (maybe more) life left.

I contend this is due to an improper alignment since only the outside edge of both are worn out, it is conceivable that I have a camber problem but one so severe as the wear pattern shows would be visible to the naked eye I think. It cannot be due to being under inflated since the insides edges are fine. Now, I DO drive this car hard in the turns, I FULLY ADMIT that. The steering and cornering is why I bought this car in the first place (brakes too) since I was pretty disappointing in the acceleration of the twin screw turbo-6, it is the slowest car I've owned since 1994. I am fully aware that aggressive cornering will decrease the lifespan of the tires, but they should wear evenly if the alignment is correct. Unless the standard BMW alignment specs (this is by first Bimmer ever) call for extreme toe-in. The car does not have the unstable initial cut-in that extreme toe-in usually induces, steering response is immediate (I LOVE IT!) but there's nothing twitchy or unstable about it. It does not over-steer at all like too much toe would cause and even under-steer is negligible except at the extreme edge of grip.

So back to the original question, is front end alignment covered under factory warranty assuming I did not knock it out of alignment? If so I think I have a strong case to have it realigned at no cost and arguably have the new set of front rubber replaced at a reduced price. What say ye?
BMW covers wheel alignment only up to 2,000 miles.
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F30 328i
E90 328i
E92 335i 6MT
E46 M3 6MT
E39 528i 5MT
MBz W140 S320
MBz W124 300E (slammed)
(unmentionables in between)
'71 AMC Javelin (4-Spd Stick on the floor)
'67 Pontiac Firebird 'cabrio' (1st car - "the leaker")
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  #25  
Old 11-30-2012, 04:56 AM
Edbert Edbert is online now
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Location: Austin
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 89
Mein Auto: 2011 335i
Quote:
Originally Posted by pointandgo View Post
'66 Pontiac Firebird 'vert' (1st car - "the leaker")
1966 Firebird? Those are the most rare of them all, similar to the '63 Mustang
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