Can I reject my BMW after third steering fault?

After a M135i suffers three steering system faults in seven months, its owner asks what his rights are on rejecting the car...

Deal of the Day: BMW M135i

I bought a BMW M135i from Coopers BMW of Tunbridge Wells in March 2019. In June that year, the car suffered total steering failure with an associated dashboard message advising it shouldn’t be driven. It was taken to my local BMW dealer, Chandlers in Hailsham, where the entire steering system was replaced under warranty – work to the value of more than £2000.  

All was okay until October 2019, when a steering failure message appeared on the dashboard. The car went back to Chandlers, where the steering system was replaced again under warranty. They assured me the problem wouldn’t happen again. 

However, on 28 March 2020, when the car was just a few weeks out of warranty, the same message reappeared. The dealer is offering to fix it again, but I’m loath to believe they actually can. I really love my M135i, but I no longer have faith in it and would like to either reject it or receive a very generous part-exchange deal on a replacement car. 

I am 73 years old and have been an Institute of Advanced Motorists member for more than 40 years, so I’m no boy racer. 

Should I let Chandlers try to fix it again or stick to my guns and tell them that I don’t want the car any more? 

Paul Sparkes

What Car? says…

We agreed with Paul that it seemed right for BMW or the supplying dealer to either buy the car back from him or provide a sizeable discount on a replacement. So we advised him not to accept the offer of repairs. 

The fact that the car has suffered three failures of the same components, and two attempts at repair were not effective, gives the impression it isn’t of satisfactory quality or fit for purpose. Both of these are grounds for rejecting a car under the Consumer Rights Act 2015

However, although Paul has some legal protection from the Act, after six months of ownership the onus is on him to prove the car was faulty when he bought it, and that might be difficult in this instance. 

We advised Paul to contact the finance company, if one was involved, and the supplying dealer to let them know he wanted to reject the car or get a generous discount towards a replacement. We also asked BMW’s head office to look into the case. 

With the issue arising during the coronavirus lockdown and Paul needing a car to visit his disabled son, the situation needed to be resolved quickly.  

Less than a week later, Paul advised us that Coopers of Tunbridge Wells had offered to exchange his car for a 2016 125i M Sport, with him paying just under £1000 for the new car. 

They also agreed to lend him a Mini Countryman to keep him mobile until he can take delivery of his new car.

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