Electric Cars

Buying a Used BMW i3 – Things to Keep in Mind

Buying a Used BMW i3 – Things to Keep in Mind
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Ever consider buying a used BMW i3? I’ll admit that I have. I like the i3. I realize the strange body style and the funky side doors aren’t for everyone but I’ve always been a bit of a weirdo. Participants on the InsideEVs.com forum (which we mentioned in our list of the five best Chevy Bolt forums) often ask other users for their opinions on various listings for used cars. These forums can be an excellent resource for prospective used car buyers.

Putting the Pieces Together

I’ve noticed a few patterns on these forums. While I’m not 100% sold on the idea that the motives for participants is altogether altruistic, I do believe that most people have good intentions. A quick search for problems relating to used BMV i3s revealed a considerable amount of complaining about the car’s air conditioning systems and tires. I found several posts to the mybmwi3.com forum to be quite useful in searching out these problems.

Bad A/C?

Several people have complained about the i3’s air conditioning system. Most claimed that the A/C in their car tended to cool off initially but quickly switched to blowing lukewarm or even hot air. This problem may be linked to the fact that all i3s are designed and manufactured at BMW’s Leipzig Plant, located in Eastern Germany. With average high temperatures of around 76 degrees Fahrenheit, there just isn’t the same need for a world class air conditioning system in this climate.

Would things be different if the i3 was manufactured in Spartansburg,SC? Average temperatures there are over 90 degrees Fahrenheit with high humidity in the summer. Maybe BMW’s methods and concerns would change slightly if the need arose.

Tired of Tire Problems

In this separate thread, several i3 owners complained about the tires of their car and how they wore out much more quickly than they should have. One user even exclaimed that the BMW dealership he went to wanted to charge him almost $1,000 for four new tires! A great deal of the problems with the tires on the i3 seem to deal with the inner tread wearing out too quicky. Unlike other models, BMW designed the wheelbase on the i3 to be different for the front and back tires. This means that you cannot rotate the tires on your i3 in the same way you can on a traditional car.

The only exception to this are the BEV models with 427 wheels. Apparently, BMW designed these models with similar wheel sizes that can be rotated. One has to wonder if the non-BEV models were purposefully designed this way in an effort to sell more tires…

So dear readers, if you’re thinking about buying a used BMW i3, I would encourage you to consider that your air conditioning may not function as well as you expect it to. You also may have to replace your tires much faster than anticipated.

What do our readers think about these issues? Any i3 owners out there who care to comment on the complaints posted to the mybmwi3.com forum? Please leave us a comment below and let us know.

Source | Image: BMWUSA.com

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Neil Brooks
Neil Brooks is an electric vehicle owner and lover currently based in the greater Washington D.C. area. Neil is a fan of all things electric and may be the only person in the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States to own both an electric leaf blower and an electric chainsaw. When he's not busy blogging about the latest on electric technology he enjoys grilling, rock climbing, and taking naps in his hammock.