BMW Asks Court to Dismiss Lawsuit Over Alleged Sunroof Defect

BMW has asked the U.S. Northern California District Court to dismiss a class action lawsuit in which the plaintiffs, two BMW owners, claim that drainage tubes installed to pull water away from vehicles’ sunroofs do not properly work, leading to water damage.

“Recognizing that there is no warranty coverage for water leaks in their used BMW vehicles, plaintiffs (Monita) Sharma and (Eric) Anderson seek to impose on BMW NA an obligation to fix their cars for free, ad infinitum, by claiming that they—and a large group of owners and lessees of BMW vehicles sold in the United States over more than 10 years—were ‘defrauded’ by BMW NA through an alleged design defect in their sunroofs that may result in water leaks,” BMW’s attorneys claim in court documents.

“Plaintiffs lack standing to sue because they have not suffered a cognizable injury in fact,” the attorneys continue. “Plaintiffs cannot show BMW NA was under any obligation to repair their cars for free for damage not subject to the 4-year/50,000-mile New Vehicle Limited Warranty or the 6-year/100,000-mile certified pre-owned warranty.”

BMW’s attorneys argue that the time/mileage limitations of the warranties had expired prior to the owner seeking repairs.

“Even if their CPO warranties are in effect, plaintiffs cannot truthfully allege that it covers their alleged water leaks when it expressly excludes them in three different places,” they write in court documents.

Attorneys also argue that BMW “has no duty to recall the class vehicles because it has not been ordered to do so by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.”

Attorneys for Sharma and Anderson claim,“BMW designed, manufactured, distributed, sold and leased various makes and models of BMW vehicles that contain a serious design defect that significantly impacts both the safety and value of its vehicles. Specifically, numerous models of BMW vehicles manufactured during the class period were designed so that certain vital electrical components known as SDARS, RDC, and PDC modules, are located in the lowest part of the vehicles’ trunk. … Because BMW decided to place these vital electrical components in what is essentially the lowest part of the vehicle (the spare tire well under the trunk), they are especially prone to water damage that can be caused through the normal and ordinary use of the vehicle.

“When this water damage occurs, the vehicles become inoperable and pose a serious safety risk to those who experience this problem. Although these components are highly susceptible to water damage, BMW provides no warnings or advisories to BMW owners about the location of this vital equipment or the importance of keeping the vehicle’s trunk compartment free of liquids,” they continue.

The attorneys point out that drainage tubes are installed to pull water away from the sunroof.

“Unfortunately, these sunroof drains were designed in such a way that they are prone to become clogged with dirt, debris, leaves, and other naturally-occurring materials. When these tubes become clogged, they come loose or leak into the trunks of the vehicles. These leaks, which eventually flood the trunks of the vehicles, cause the vital electronic components contained at the bottom of the vehicles’ trunks to short-shutting off certain components of the automobile necessary for driving and creating a potential safety risk,” the attorneys allege.

Attorneys for the plaintiffs have asked that the class include California residents who have “owned or leased any BMW X5 series vehicles and 5 series vehicles.”

At press time, the court had not ruled on the motion for dismissal.

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25 Responses to BMW Asks Court to Dismiss Lawsuit Over Alleged Sunroof Defect

  1. Alex xi says:

    I had same issues and been asked to pay $10000 by bmw delear to repair . I owned x5 2009

  2. Tracy says:

    I had same problem and my 5 series was in warranty it cost me 1900.00 to repair. I was told I did not properly maintain my car…my question is this…what use is a inspection of car each time you bring it in for service if they do not check this vital area. and nowhere in the manual that comes with the car which goes into great detail on what is owner responsibilty as far as maintnence is concerned does it mention that these drain tubes should be cleaned….

  3. Rich Maiers says:

    Having the same issue but in the front of my car. Water backed into the passenger side floorboard. Brought it into the dealership, they said I must live in an area with too many leaves and this caused the problem and it’s not covered under warranty. Have not been told the cost yet.

    This is my second BMW living in the same home without any issue to the other vehicle.

    What a total rip off. Although I love this vehicle, it’s my last BMW. Too many recalls and being ripped off by the dealership and BMW isn’t worth it. Also the interior of BMW is so far behind Audi and Mercedes at this point. I’m done with them. I’m also going to take sue them over this issue. If you live in Northern California, email me (richmaiers@gmail.com) if you’ve had the same issue. They should have to pay for poor design and the fix….

    Frustrated……

    • Erika says:

      We bought a used 2008 5 series sedan 3 1/2 months ago all our electrical systems failed this week during the rain concord BMW wants $24,120 to repair it. More than kbb on the car. This is absurd

  4. nigel Hamilton says:

    i am having the same problem of water leak on my bmw x5 2009, i have extended warranty but the dealer said i have to pay out of pocket.

  5. michelle lopez says:

    I HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM WITH MY 2008 X5. I WAS TOLD IT WOULD COST ME $3000. NOT COVERED BY WARRANTY! 🙁

  6. Dave says:

    I currently have the same problems with a 525i. I had to change all the electrical components and now the water is damaging them all over again. Thousands of dollars. To top it off the temperature here is below zero and everything gets frozen solid and then thaws and freezes again and again. What good is a car if it can’t be washed or be out in the rain? This will be the last time I invest in BMW.

  7. Swathi says:

    I currently have the same problem with my X5. The water leaked into the control module and damaged the wiring causing failure of multiple things in iDrive.The dealer says the water leak is just from rain and snow, but the extended warranty doesn’t cover the water leak. Since the control module is damaged due to the water leak, its not covered. Very disappointing. Never again going to buy BMW. Does anyone know if this class action dismissed or still pending? There seem to be a lot of people going through the same problem.

  8. Donald Shaffer says:

    I purchased a 2009 528 I CPO with the extended warranty just over 30 Months ago and have started to notice water damage at the passenger rear Support i believe it to be sunroof drain tube clogged or lose and i cant get a clear answer if this should be covered. is this class action law suit still attractive ?

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

  9. Todd says:

    I just discovered a leaking sunroof seal on my 2012 X5 (52,xxx miles). I have the extended warranty but was told by BMW that the seal was considered a trim piece and therefore not covered under the warranty.

  10. Mariano Arvelo says:

    Hello,
    The same thing is happening to me.
    All the modules got wet because sunroof got clogged.
    The warranty wont cover this and I am been charged aprox 9K out of pocket to fixed my car
    I think its happening to all of us and someone needs to be responsible.
    How can we all get on this together and see what we can achieve?
    Thanks,

  11. Mark says:

    i had water on the floor behind the driver seat (left rear passenger floor) in my 2006 X3. thought it was the sunroof, but no, it was from a repair to the window on that door by my local non-BMW mechanic. apparently, he didn’t re-install the vapor barrier.
    it was fixed by an independent BMW certified mechanic that i now go to. he knew what it was before i told him that work was done on that door. long story short, i thought it was the sunroof because it always had a musty odor when i opened it. he said it was probably the drains clogged and he blew them out with compressed air. no more musty odor!

  12. denise says:

    I purchase a 2006 x5 BMW and last year my sunroof leak into the front and back damaging the sunroof cover and the carpet. Took it to BMW and had to pay to repair the problem. It would seem to me with all these problems with the sunroof there should have been a recall. The sunroof drainage must be a defect for this many issues.

  13. rob siomkos says:

    I have 2 BMWs suffering from sunroof leaking problems. 2005 x5. and a 2001 330i. The X5 has caused the radio amp in trunk to go bad and floor wells soaked. This from rear sunroof drainage inadequate. My 330i had a front leak which has come down the lefr upolstered side of the dash has corroded multiple connectors.

  14. rob s says:

    There seems to be a history forming about BMW not standing behind its designs. last year my M3 which has been babied and had 62000 miles on a pristine 2002 garaged car stopped running while going 45 mph. Long story short was traced to defective nuts, bolts at the head of the cam which sheared off leaving the bolts to fall back into the the engine. This also was not covered due to being second owner i was told. But this apparently happened to many 2001 thru 2004 M3s. The cost of repair is a new engine.

  15. Pauly walnuts says:

    I have a 06 bmw 535xi wagon that had clogged panoramic roof drains killing 2 modules and 3 relays all located in the spare tire compartment, Sadly even if you buy and install the components yourself you still need to go to a bmw dealer to have them plug in and format the installed components which they have the audacity to charge you for despite the design flaw. Bmw enegineers said,”vell lets see, where should we place these critical modules and relays , I know lets place them in the rear swimming pool aka spare tire compartment, essentially the lowest location in the car, oh and yes let’s create poorly designed drain tubes that actually redirect the water into the same region, ya das is a good idea, no” disappointed more in there lack of acceptance of this issue effecting thousands globally

  16. Dissatisfied BMW Owner says:

    I have similar issues and there needs to be a class auction lawsuit to where BMW is responsible for all Sunroof leak repairs. Have taken out 2003 BMW 525I in twice and still have a leak. Had to store it under cover at a neighbors during rains. When I had the windshield replaced, I was going to have the rear window removed and resealed, but the Glass company did diagnostics and found it is not the rear window leaking, but that the sunroof was leaking from the front drivers side and rear passenger side. This floods the entire interior as well as the trunk. BMW needs to be held accountable…where do I sign up for the class action lawsuit?

  17. Wilson says:

    I have the same problem in my 2006 760i.

  18. tuan nguyen says:

    i have a 2008 bmw 535i and when it rains really bad, especially in oregon, the rear floorboard and trunk gets soaked in water, not just some, i’m talking about lots and lots of water where i have to constantly use a shopvac and suck it all out every single day. what can i do at this point???

  19. C Advent says:

    I just repaired my sons 03 525, that had flooded. Confirmed blocked line was problem. The result was main fuse panel 250$ sitting under passenger seat was sitting in water for a long time causing corrosion and wire leads from components to break away and failing. The disturbing part is a main feed into this area is vital to the car running. Once corrosion shorts or breaks that line , the car will lose power. I was able to take everything apart clean and reconnect new wire ends to the clean panel. I punched 5 small drip holes in that area allowing a exit for water. I also drilled 2 very small holes in a heat duct that run right past the area. This duct heats rear floor. This will help keep area dry . I am just a father that had time and will not put his life in danger This repair took me 12 man hrs of time. I suppose maintenance of blowing air thru tray exit holes would work if you knew and could find them .

  20. Kenny Wesley Jr says:

    I am going through this now with my 2014 535i GT. This is heartbreaking and disappointing. There is no way I should have to pay 5k out of pocket. Any update on this class action? Something needs to happen.

  21. jesus says:

    I have a 2001 bmw x5 4.4i . It was leaking water on to the passenger side floor board really bad. One morning i went to start car to warm up before taking my wife to work went back inside then came out to put my 4 and 2 year old sons in the car until i noticed smoke coming from the dash . So I put the kids back inside run out open the door smoke coming out of air vents and under glove box i emediatly turned car off and grabbed water hose and started spraying i know you are not supposed to use water to put out an electrical fire but i panicked . It would go out then come right back so i ran inside to get my tools to undo battery ran back out sprayed again to buy time . Then i had to take out spare tire forgot there’s a dam air suspension pump over the battery so had to un bolt all of the bolts finally i get to battery take off cables and smothered the fire one more time . If i had not my car would have burnt to the ground thank god my babies weren’t in the car . It was devastating now im out a bmw and don’t know where to go from here I’ve read plenty of similar stories on bmw blogs but nothing about compensation if this has happened to anyone else please let me know. Also if your car is leaking from sunroof drain plug it will eventually start an electrical fire so beware hopefully no one has tovdie for bmw to take responsibility for their defects

  22. Peter says:

    I have the same issue with my wife’s mini cooper countryman, leaking water onto the passenger side floor. Now the vehicle is disabled and the dealing asks 4$000 to repair, outragouse!!!

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