Watchdog: Service fails to detect BMW X3 fault code

BMW check-up doesn’t cover fault codes or updates, and weeks later car breaks down

Take your car in for a service and items such as tyres, brakes and the oil level will be checked. But despite all the tech on modern vehicles, any software updates and faults may be missed, as Steve Jones found out.

Steve, from Sandhurst, Berkshire, got in touch with us after his 16-plate BMW X3 came to a halt just a month after a full main dealer service.

“I was 80 miles from home and exiting a motorway when a warning flashed on the display about a drivetrain issue,” he said.

Steve called BMW Roadside Assistance, which dispatched an engineer, whose diagnostics software found a fault code stating a problem with the EGR valve.

“He was able to fix it, but then told me the fault code had been there for several months,” Steve said. “The breakdown appeared to have been completely unnecessary and, according to the technician, the fault code had occurred on a number of occasions previously.

“I was more than a little surprised as I had the car serviced less than one month before the breakdown,” Steve added.

The technician told Steve that routine servicing does not include checking for fault codes. Steve commented: “If this had happened, it would have saved five hours of my time waiting for the Emergency Assist team and now another visit to BMW for a software update.”

He later found that a software update had also been available since April, months before his service. Steve contacted BMW
 to confirm this and a representative of customer services told him: “We don’t feel that checking for software updates in a routine service is required, unless, of course, the owner makes the centre aware of any particular concerns.”

A BMW spokesman told us that with condition-based servicing “fault memories on the diagnostics tester are not checked during routine servicing”. He added that the car’s on-board diagnostics should have prompted a warning light.

Steve is now concerned that future problems could go entirely undetected. “I am left wondering what else will now go wrong with my car,” he added.

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2021
Fiat 500 electric
Deals
24 Sep 2021

Best new car deals 2021

Electric Citroen Ami to launch in the UK next year
2022 Citroen Ami
Citroen Ami
21 Sep 2021

Electric Citroen Ami to launch in the UK next year

Top 10 best small estates 2021
Skoda Octavia Estate
Skoda Octavia Estate
22 Sep 2021

Top 10 best small estates 2021

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
10 Aug 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
3 Jun 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
15 Jun 2021

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2021
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2021
Volkswagen ID.3
Best cars
12 Aug 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2021
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
10 Jun 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks
Mercedes AMG A45 - rear
Hot hatches
25 Jun 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks