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E39 (1997 - 2003)
The BMW 5-Series (E39 chassis) was introduced in the United States as a 1997 model year car and lasted until the 2004 when the E60 chassis was released. The United States saw several variations including the 525i, 528i, 530i and 540i. -- View the E39 Wiki

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  #1  
Old 01-23-2011, 07:36 AM
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bluebee bluebee is offline
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Have you ever found a "lifetime warranty" that met these basic criteria to be usable?

This is a long-winded diatribe that asks the question:
Have you ever found a auto-parts-related "lifetime warranty" that met enough basic criteria to actually be usable in real life?

Personally, I never let the so-called auto parts lifetime warranty influence my purchasing decision because I find almost all auto parts lifetime warranties absurdly useless.

I'm sure others have made use of auto parts lifetime warranties before (we'll get their anecdotal evidence for sure), but, in general, do you actually find auto parts lifetime warranties practically useful or just a marketing trick to influence your BMW parts-purchasing decision?

The reason I ask is that I have almost never in my life used one of those so-called auto-parts lifetime warranties! So I never let the so-called parts lifetime warranty influence my buying decision - unless (which rarely occurs) the auto parts lifetime warranty is the ONLY differentiating factor in the purchasing decision.

In general, by the time the "auto part" that is lifetime warranted dies (be it brake pads, mufflers, radiators, alternators, belts, or other parts), I've either lost my receipt, forgotten whom I purchased it from, moved away from the store where I purchased it, or sold the vehicle to someone else.

Furthermore, many auto parts lifetime warranties require a certain set of maintenance records, which I would have lost by then as well.

In addition, even if I didn't lose the receipt, forget whom I purchased it from, move away, lose my maintenance records, or sell the vehicle .... if I want to make good on the auto parts lifetime warranty I'd still have to ...
a) remove the part (thereby disabling the vehicle)
b) send it back to the place that warranted it
c) wait for them to say it was 'defective'
d) even if they say it was their fault ... I still have to wait for them
e) and then I'd have to buy ancillary parts from them

Or, even if the place that sold it to me would remove it for me, the labor isn't always free, so it could end up costing me more than just buying a replacement at the best prices and putting it in myself.

Now, I do have some experience with so-called "limited warranties" on expendable auto parts (batteries, tires, bulbs, etc.) that vastly prematurely failed (within a year or so, for example) ... and even then, they pro-rate the replacement so that, in the worst of cases, you spend MORE getting the warranty honored than if you just bought a new component yourself.

For example:
a) Say your battery is only 1 year old when it dies
b) Say you paid $100 on sale for that battery
c) Say you DID save all the receipts, and maintenance records, didn't sell the car, knew where it was bought, when, (etc.)
d) Even then ... when you go to the store ... they pro-rate the replacement
e) And, worse yet, you no longer have the advantage of the sale price

So, if the current price for that battery is, say, $150 (using round numbers), and if they give you half off, you end up spending $75 for that warranty replacement - plus labor (let's say it's $25 in labor) ... so guess what ... you can end up paying as much (or even more) for that "free" replacement.

Dunno about anyone else ... but I find almost all auto parts lifetime warranties absurdly useless ... and only some partially useful ... but NEVER would I ever make my buying decision based on the lifetime warranty terms (unless these terms met my idea of golden terms).

What's your experience with auto parts lifetime warranties?

My idea of golden terms?
a) the store chain is ubiquitous throughout the United States
b) labor is included in the warranty & they don't hassle you
c) no need for the original receipt (they can keep the records themselves)
d) no pressure to buy from them if the warranty is denied
e) no need for maintenance records to be produced
f) the warranty applies to the car, not to the owner
etc.

Now, I must say, the ONE lifetime warranty that comes close to that is the Sears Craftsman hand tools lifetime warranty (which does not cover impact tools, or power tools BTW). But that's not a BMW parts-related lifetime warranty so it won't apply here.

If you know of a BMW-parts-related lifetime warranty that is actually useful, let us know so that we can increase our tribal knowledge.

Or, if you've also been unable to make good on that so-called auto parts lifetime warranty ... it would be interesting to commiserate with you.
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  #2  
Old 01-23-2011, 07:42 AM
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For the record, always adding value, this is what people have put in the VERY best of E39 Links regarding warranties, in general.

Very few of these actually pertain to parts lifetime warranty terms.

These are listed in the order found in that bestlinks thread (none of these links were put there by me so I can't vouch for any of them).
Of these, I think only one link pertains to the topic of this thread, which is the feasibility of lifetime warranties on auto parts replacement buying decisions.
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  #3  
Old 01-23-2011, 10:05 AM
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I was just about to mention something about the existence of unicorns when I though of something that might meet your criteria though perhaps in an oblique way.

In Canada, all Mastercraft branded hand tools from Canadian Tire have lifetime guarantees. I did have occasion to warranty some T-Handled wrenches that had loose handles and it was a remarkably pain free experience.

I wonder if it would be the same experience returning Craftsman tools at Sears?
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  #4  
Old 01-23-2011, 12:27 PM
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You need to be really hard on something to make the warranty worthwhile. I went through three batteries and two chargers on my MacBook Pro courtesy of Apple, but that's the only time I had a warranty pay off.

Even if you do the work yourself you're paying for the labour. My time is valuable, to me.

I only buy tools that are lifetime warrantied, but as I've learned working with my grandfather's tools, you'll forget where they came from or the company will fold before the tools wear out.

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  #5  
Old 01-23-2011, 12:50 PM
aioros aioros is offline
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I believe the only true lifetime warranty is the one offered by Craftman. No matter when, where or how you got your tool, you can go to any sears store and request a new one, NO QUESTIONS ASKED.
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  #6  
Old 01-23-2011, 02:51 PM
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I hear apparently our sachs suspension has lifetime warranty against defect or/ wear and tear. It's not available through BMW but thru retailers. Does anybody know how true this is?


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  #7  
Old 01-23-2011, 04:31 PM
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bmw_n00b13 bmw_n00b13 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DominguesE30 View Post
I hear apparently our sachs suspension has lifetime warranty against defect or/ wear and tear. It's not available through BMW but thru retailers. Does anybody know how true this is?
.
This is true. This is one of the cases Blubee is thinking of. There's no labour warranty, so if the darn thing fails you're still paying $400 to have a guy pull apart your car to replace it. It's like Beisan warranteeing the VANOS seals—4 hrs labour for a few seals hardly makes the warranty make sense
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  #8  
Old 01-23-2011, 04:38 PM
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My fiancé's uncle swears by AutoZones warranty for his brake pads. When he decides to do them, he pops them off the car, drives down to AutoZone and they hand him a new set. I just bought the same pads for my other car (and likely for my 530i as well) simply because it's so pain free.

Even if they deny you once, just pay the $55 for a new set. You'd pay that anyways for a set Therefore, if it works once it has paid for itself. But he's been doing this for years on all his cars without a problem.

Plus, AutoZone is everywhere and their records are stored on a nationwide database, you only need your phone number.
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  #9  
Old 01-23-2011, 05:25 PM
96 GGM 528I 96 GGM 528I is offline
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I too swear by autozones lifetime warranty. I personally have never been turned down on any of their lifetime warranty parts. They have a lot to if you are willing to wait and the products still have a warranty even if they aren't in stock.
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  #10  
Old 01-23-2011, 07:03 PM
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02BMW530 02BMW530 is offline
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Yup and say what you want about their brakes (FYI, their ceramic gold pads are on my Jeep and are FANTASTIC) but money talks. $55 and be done for the life of the car, sounds alright to me (not to mention the best part - no dust!)
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  #11  
Old 01-23-2011, 07:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bmw_n00b13 View Post
you're still paying $400 to have a guy pull apart your car to replace it. It's like Beisan warranteeing the VANOS seals-4 hrs labour for a few seals hardly makes the warranty make sense
Yes, that's the kind of stuff I was wondering about ...
It's very interesting about the Sach's and Beisan warranties.

So we have two, so far, that relate to parts for the BMW, neither one of which is realistic, IMHO. At least not enough to be a primary purchasing decision:
  • Sachs shocks (aftermarket only)
    • lifetime, labor NOT included
  • Beisan seals
    • liefetime? 4 hours labor NOT included
  • ? any others ?
Quote:
Originally Posted by 540 M-Sport View Post
BMW dealers offer lifetime warranties WITH labor, on the following parts, when installed at the dealership:
Mufflers
alternators
starters
shocks/struts
water pumps


All other BMW dealer sold parts include a 24 month unlimited mileage warranty, regardless of who installs it, AND INCLUDE LABOR. An example is a bought the Homelink system and several months later it failed. I went to the dealer, and the parts department required me to have the service dept inspect and diagnose. They confirmed the problem, and installed a new one under warranty, once I provided the receipt, which was from another BMW dealership, as I purchased it online.
Hmmm... sounds pretty good (although did I read Sachs shocks/struts were NOT covered in a previous post???).
  • Sachs shocks (aftermarket only)
    • lifetime, labor NOT included
  • Beisan seals
    • lifetime? 4 hours labor NOT included
  • BMW dealer-installed mufflers, alternators, starters, waterpumps, & shocks/struts
    • lifetime, labor included
    • probably you don't have to prove they did it (because they have the records)
    • Does this extend to subsequent owners?
  • ? any others ?

Last edited by bluebee; 01-23-2011 at 10:56 PM.
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  #12  
Old 01-23-2011, 07:31 PM
cn90 cn90 is offline
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1+ on Sears tools, no questions asked, just give them the defective stuff, get the new tools.

1+ for Autozone too, battery or worn brake pads, no questions asked.
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  #13  
Old 01-23-2011, 08:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 02BMW530 View Post
My fiancé's uncle swears by AutoZones warranty for his brake pads
I'm confused about a 'wear item' warranty, such as on brake pads (which are supposed to wear out in roughly 50,000 miles or so).

What are the "terms" of the Autozone brake pad warranty?

Looking it up, I see this E46 forum discussion on Autozone brake pad warranties only "defects" in the pad, not normal wear and tear ... yet this bimmernut forum says that they warrant wear as long as you don't go past the wear marks.

Hmmm... googling for Autozone's official policy ... (-url autozone.com warranty lifetime pads), I find their generic "limited warranty" which says:
Quote:
AUTOZONE'S LIMITED WARRANTY (United States Only)
Quote:

If a part fails during the warranty period shown on your receipt, bring the part to any AutoZone store and you will receive a replacement or refund. Warranty excludes damage caused by misuse, abuse, other faulty parts, improper installation or off-road, commercial or marine use. Warranties on replacement parts cover the unused portion of the original warranty or 90 days, whichever is longer. Warranties expire when you sell your vehicle.
THIS LIMITED WARRANTY REPRESENTS THE TOTAL LIABILITY OF AUTOZONE, FOR ANY PART OR PRODUCT. AUTOZONE MAKES NO OTHER WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. AUTOZONE SHALL NOT BE LIABLE FOR ANY INDIRECT, SPECIAL, INCIDENTAL, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES.
Some states do not allow limitations on how long an implied warranty lasts, or exclusion or limitation on incidental or consequential damages, so the above limitations may not apply to you. This warranty gives you specific legal rights, and you may also have other rights which vary from state to state.
All of AutoZone's parts, except those mentioned above, are covered by our Limited Warranty. The length of AutoZone's Limited Warranty varies with each part. To determine the length of the Warranty on your part, please look-up or search forParts or Accessories.



I'm not sure how that applies to normal wear and tear on brake pads but even so, it looks like 90 days and the original owner are critical terms.

BTW, I saw NOTHING about "lifetime warranties" on the entire Autozone site! (Maybe I missed it or maybe they changed their policy?)
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  #14  
Old 01-23-2011, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
1+ on Sears tools
I agree on the Sears Craftsman tools that their "lifetime" warranty is the only one so far we all agree that is actually useful because:
  • - You don't need to prove when you bought it
  • - It extends to another owner
  • - You can find a Sears store near you wherever you move
  • - No questions asked
  • - Readily available replacements (most of the time)
  • - No additional expenses
But, be careful. They do NOT warrant "Sears tools" the same as "Sears Craftsman Handtools", and they do not warrant Craftsman hand tools the same as Craftsman power tools or Craftsman chisel tools or Craftsman impact tools, etc.

Another caveat I've found is I've bought Craftsman tools at OSH (Orchard Supply, which is a subsidiary of Sears) but when I tried to return 'em, they carry a very small inventory so if they don't have the SAME item (exact number), they deny you and tell you to "go to Sears". Luckily Sears, if they don't have the same number, gives you an equivalent number (my personal experience).

Basically, the only "Lifetime" warranty, as I understand it, on the Sears tools is only on the Craftsman brand, and even then, only on the "hand" tools that don't normally break (e.g., screwdrivers, pliers, wrenches, sockets, etc.).

Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
1+ for Autozone too, battery or worn brake pads, no questions asked.
I can not find this policy listed on the Autozone web site!

I tried calling the San Jose Autozone just now to confirm since I could NOT find any "lifetime" warranty on their entire web site (maybe I missed it). All I could find was their 90-day limited warranty & battery warranty here.

Hmmm... If I remember, I'll try to call a San Jose Autozone tomorrow to ask about "brake lifetime warranties" if they still exist at Autozone.
  • (408) 254-2378
  • (408) 254-4865
  • 408) 283-0256
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  #15  
Old 01-23-2011, 09:45 PM
mrpumpk1n mrpumpk1n is offline
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I've replaced my batter twice through autozone. The first time i had to pay for it, but the second time around it was still under warranty so i got the second for free.
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  #16  
Old 01-24-2011, 06:21 AM
96 GGM 528I 96 GGM 528I is offline
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I worked at Autozone for years and they tell us to always take care of customers. Bilsteins are warrentied there also. How can you tell if the pad wore prematuraly? How can you tell a caliper is messed up unless they bring it in. Now they have to bleed it. There not going to ask that. Also ball joints I mean if it worth 4hrs on your sunday I would hope ur time is more valuable then wasteing your time changing brakes.
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  #17  
Old 01-24-2011, 08:02 AM
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02BMW530 02BMW530 is offline
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Concerning the AutoZone questions:
My fiancé's uncle, as well as a few others around here, have never had problems getting new pads from them for free. Neve a question asked. The way I see it, if I buy the $55 pads, and DON'T get the free replacements, then I just buy them again. If I had gone somewhere else, I'd have to pay anyways. That's why I said if they just give them to you once, you're doing pretty good.

But, I just put those pads on two weeks ago, email me in 3 years and I'll let you know how the exchange went.

The sad thing is, I had some nice Wagner pads on that jeep and I emailed JC Whitney a few times about their warranty, never even got a reply. Sad.
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  #18  
Old 01-24-2011, 08:13 AM
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Lifetime fill.
You wake up one day, tranny is toast. Lifetime.

LOL.
My meals are also lifetime.
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Old 01-24-2011, 10:59 AM
01sde39 01sde39 is offline
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I currently work at autozone we do have lifetime warranties on quite a bit of our parts. Alternators, starters, brake pads, and many other parts. Just the other day I had couldn't warranty a set of brake pads. The guy went past the wear marker "squealer" and started to grind the metal backing against the rotor which is misuse/neglect. If he put new pads on that rotor, they would have been messed up pretty quickly.
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  #20  
Old 03-08-2011, 07:34 AM
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For the crosslink record, there's a discussion of BMW warranties over here:
- Looking for a warrantity
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  #21  
Old 03-08-2011, 11:25 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aioros View Post
I believe the only true lifetime warranty is the one offered by Craftman. No matter when, where or how you got your tool, you can go to any sears store and request a new one, NO QUESTIONS ASKED.
Quote:
Originally Posted by cn90 View Post
1+ on Sears tools, no questions asked, just give them the defective stuff, get the new tools.

1+ for Autozone too, battery or worn brake pads, no questions asked.
Not quite true....when my Craftsman torque wrench was around 2 years old (never dropped, abused, etc.), the ratchet mechanism self-destructed, causing it to spin freely in both directions. I took it back to Sears (2 different stores), they basically told me to pound salt, there was nothing they could do. At which time I inquired about purchasing the necessary parts, telling them I`d fix it myself. "Sorry, NO parts available" was their reply....

(So I just welded the head solid, and use it as a breaker bar :-)
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  #22  
Old 03-16-2011, 04:01 PM
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Just for the cross reference, I updated the bestlinks just now to include both types of warranties in the references.

- Which extended power-train warranties are useful for an E39 (1) (2) and whether or not a replacement-part lifetime warranty make sense (1)
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  #23  
Old 04-05-2011, 05:00 PM
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Just posted is a case where the part replacement warranty wasn't honored:
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > Vendor Warning! GermanAudioTech on Ebay for Mid repairs
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  #24  
Old 07-22-2011, 02:00 PM
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We don't get this question all that much anymore ... but ... it occurred today:
- E39 (1997 - 2003) > What company should I buy an auto warranty from?
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  #25  
Old 07-22-2011, 03:29 PM
Mikes530 Mikes530 is offline
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I bought a replacement washer pump from CarQuest, after 2 months it bit the dust. Received a replacement with no question. The replacement died after about 4 months and CarQuest gave me a full refund, no problem whatsoever. I finally did the smart thing and went OEM. My only issues were running around unnecessarily and having to do the job twice. If I was paying for the labor I would have been distinctly ticked.
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