Common Problems with BMW i3

The BMW i3 is one of the fun electric/hybrid cars to drive. Not only is this car compact allowing the driver to get around the city with much ease, but it is also spacious, eco-friendly, and easy to park. It also comes with rear-wheel drive which is fantastic to drive.

But like most BMW models, the BMW i3 also has some fair issues to deal with. Depending on the model year that you select, you may face one problem or the other. Some of the common issues that you’re likely to face are steering problems, range extender problems, slow charging, motor mount failure, and much more.

What are the common problems with the BMW i3?

Steering problems

The BMW i3 has a compact design and is easy to maneuver around the streets. Regardless, many i3 owners have raised concerns about the car’s steering system. Some of the issues they have raised are the steering producing squeaking noises and becoming stiff while turning the steering is common.

One of the things that makes the steering stiff is low tire pressure. Another possible cause is the low steering fluid level. If these are not the cause, then check the car’s software or electronics.  While if the steering is making noise, it can be due to an improperly lubricated plastic bearing of the steering spindle.

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Problem with the printed circuit board

This problem is common on BMW i3 models made after January 2018. This applies to both BMW i3 Rex and Bev. If your BMW i3 has this issue, you may notice a sudden loss of power or even a complete shutdown of the motor. This problem usually occurs because of a printed circuit board module that is not up to the needed specifications.

So, when this issue takes place, it can lead to a lack of electrical contact, making the electric motor electronics shut down high voltage electrical power.

Issues with the range extender

The range extender or REX is an auxiliary power unit that helps to extend the range of the BMW i3 or to the next charging station. Note that the range extender comes with a small gasoline engine that helps to kick in when the battery goes below 5%.

While the range extender is meant to help increase range, it has some complications. Several BMW i3 models made before 2016 have been reported to have issues with the range extender function. Users say that it hampers the car’s acceleration when switching from battery power to gas.

When this happens, it can make the car go into limp mode while driving or the brake lights can stop functioning.

Slow charging

Another common problem that many BMW i3 users face is slow charging. This is caused mainly by a failed charging circuit. Some BMW i3s come with three 16 amps charging circuits which can function independently for 16 amperes charging circuits or in pairs for 32 amps single-phase charging.

If any of the 16-amp circuits or unit goes bad, the BMW i3 will only charge at 16-amps, causing slowing charging.

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Motor mount failure

Most BMW i3 owners with i3 models made before 2016 have reported this issue. This issue is usually caused by the cheap plastic motor mount used in the car. When the conditions are harsh, this plastic part can easily get damaged or even break, leading to motor mount failure.

In some situations, the motor mount may be damaged badly and it affects wires and other electronic parts.

Fuel-vapor problem

This problem is common in BMW i3 REX models made between 2014 and 2017. The BMW i3 REX models feature a small petrol engine to help charge the battery pack to increase range. Besides, it also features a vent line of the fuel tank that rubs against the ribbed wire protection sleeve of the battery’s positive cable.

Because of the constant rubbing, the vent line can become damaged and develop some cracks or worse, holes. As a result, the holes or cracks may allow the fuel vapor to escape into the engine bay and leaking fuel can start a fire. If you have one of these BMW i3 models, you should ensure to replace the vent line in time to avoid any danger.

FAQ

Which model year BMW i3 is the most reliable?

The most reliable BMW i3 model year is the 2017 BMW i3. This car rates slightly above-average reliability, which is a good thing considering most of its siblings fall below average. It is followed closely by the 2015 model year, which also has reported fewer problems than other model years.

Which model year BMW i3 is the least reliable?

If you want to purchase a quality used BMW i3, stay away from the 2014 BMW i3. Many users have reported several problems with this car. Some of them include problems with range extenders, motor mount failure, and fuel-vapor issues.

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Is the BMW i3 expensive to maintain?

The annual maintenance cost of the BMW i3 is around $1,173, while the annual maintenance cost of an average car is $792. Therefore, the BMW i3 is costly to maintain. What’s more, it develops more issues than its competitors and its spare parts are also very costly. Overall, the i3 is costly to maintain.

What is the difference between BMW i3 REX and BEV?

BMW i3 BEV is an ordinary electric vehicle like the Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt, or Tesla. On the other hand, the BMW i3 REX has the same drivetrain and range as the BEV, but it also comes with a gasoline engine that generates electricity to increase the car’s range. 

How can I avoid costly repairs on the BMW i3?

The best way to avoid costly repairs on your BMW i3 is to ensure that you adhere to the BMW scheduled service maintenance. The second way is to ensure that you practice proper driving habits so that you don’t spend more time in the garage than on the road.

Conclusion

Now that you know some of the problems that you’re likely to face with the BMW i3, it is important to take care of them before it’s too late. Most of these issues can be handled at a BMW service center at a fee. But if you’re buying a car from an individual, ensure that it was properly maintained before paying for it.

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    Edwin Odipo

    Why do you love writing about cars? Cars make our lives easy. You can visit your distant friend, relative or even rush to the grocery store a few miles from your home with a lot of ease. Imagine how life was before the invention of cars?? To me, cars are a blessing that made life more convenient.

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