Auction Bought BMW i3 – 6 Months Update

Spoiler Fix:

There were also a few things I’ve done off camera as none of them constituted a full video. If you’ve watched the “Everything wrong with my BMW i3” video, I showed how the rear spoiler was grinding on the roof, so I have adjusted it by loosening the 4 screws from the inside and physically moving it to the correct position. It seemed to have been popped out of place and secured while in that position. No clue how, but now it works perfectly.

Seat and Armrest Repair:

Buying a car at auction sight unseen always comes with risks, but usually it’s the mechanical surprises that get you. For me though, it was the interior. I have never seen such a rough interior on a newer car. Whether it’s the lack of quality of the interior or the neglect from the previous owner, this one was bad. So, I ordered a color matched leather die and tried to fix the seats, the armrest and the door panel as much as I could Here is the result, it doesn’t look perfect, but much better than before.

Got the windshield replaced:

Next, I had the windshield replaced since the crack grew larger and larger and became an eye sore. I’m sure it wasn’t safe either.. I also have a new plastic surround on the way from Europe, but it’s been a month and still not here.

Added tint, replaced rear and front driver side:

With all of the glass now intact on the car, I tinted my rear driver side window and retinted the from driver’s door as well. The glass on the hatch also had some scratches in it and needed to be replaced.

Restored Plastic Trim:

While working on the tint, I noticed how sticky and dirty the plastic panel was and it had to be cleaned. Removing it made it much easier to get rid of all the glue on the glass left by the old tint. It also made it much easier to install new tint and allowed me to properly clean and restore it the plastic panel.

After a good scrub, it was clean, but still didn’t look that great, so I decided to use this technique I saw on the internet. I used a light and later a propane torch to restore the plastic and it turned out better than I expected!

Another Clean:

Speaking of cleaning, I did another round of interior cleaning to get rid of the filth I didn’t notice the first time or couldn’t get it out in the middle of winter. I had a little bit more success this time and it looks much better, especially the doors, headliner and carpet around the seats. Is it perfect? NO, but it’s good enough to use for daily driving.

Q/A, Updates:


Now, let’s answer some of your questions. With all of those upgrades and changes, how has the car been as far as reliability? Surprisingly, after fixing the electricals, for the last 6 moths, this has been the most reliable BMW I have owned. Even after being so mistreated and abused in its past life and with over 90,000 miles, this car drives like a champ.

Suspension Comfort:

Speaking of driving, I’ve got a lot of questions on how it drives after the suspension work I have done. To be honest, it’s not as comfortable as it was before BUT it’s a lot better in the corners and far more stable on the highway. I can easily do 80 mph and not feel like I’m about to tip over or jump in the next lane from a light breeze. The ride is slightly harsher and sometimes a little bumpier on really bad roads, but this could also have to do with the fact that not only did I lower the car and widen the track, I also went from 19 in wheels and tires to 20 in wheels and tires. Overall, I would 100% do it again as it made the car handle better, feel a lot safer and of course look a little less like an SUV. Which I love.

Battery Life:

Another question I’ve been getting in regards to getting a 90,000-mile abused EV was about the range. It seems that most people were expecting this car to have about half of its original range, but from what I can tell, there has been absolutely no noticeable battery degradation as the range is basically what I would expect when the car was new. Of course, I know that BMW has built in some buffers into the battery which it might be using now to keep the range the same, I will do some further investigation in the near future and make a video about it. So, stay tuned! We’ll see battery cycles, state of charge, range extender usage and hours and more.

Plans for Future:

Last thing I wanted to talk about is my plan for the future.. as you can see, I have failed to fix the paint on this car. By now, I wanted to have the body panels painted or wrapped, but being a small YouTuber, my budget had to go somewhere else for a while and I’ve just ordered a new bumper and fenders for my BMW 335 project which will take preference for now. I’m hoping to paint the hood and attempt wrapping it myself. If I succeed, I’d love to do the entire car as well, but I know it’s much harder than it looks If that doesn’t work, it will go to a real shop.

Under the front trunk, I’ve not done much progress either, I haven’t fixed the storage box as I never really use it other than to store the charging cable. As I mentioned earlier, the windshield surround is broken and I will replace it as soon as the part gets here. Other than that, I think the car is great! What would you do next? I’d love to hear your ideas.

Perfect timing for buying EV:

With all of that said, am I happy that I saved this abused BMW i3 and gave it a second chance? Absolutely! Not only have I learned a bunch working on this car, I’ve also got it at a perfect time. Gas prices have more than doubled around here and while I will always drive my gas guzzlers, it’s very nice to use something this efficient for things like grocery shopping. I’ve also learned that I can have fun driving this quirky futuristic electric vehicle which makes the future seem not so grim once the gas vehicles are being phased out. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you in the next one?

MUST HAVE BMW i3 BimmerCode Mods/Coding

Do you own a BMW i3 and want to make it better? Hey guys and welcome back to the SimpleCarGuy channel! Today, I will show you my favorite changes I’ve done on my BMW i3 using the BimmerCode app that have completely transformed how I use the car. I will also talk about what you will need to get started and other changes that you may be interested in. So, let’s get started.

To get started,  you will need an adapter that is compatible with the BimmerCode app on your phone and the app itself. I bought my Veepeak adapter for $30 on Amazon so you don’t need an expensive one for this car. You can find links in the description for the exact unit I bought, but there are many options listed on their website. The app itself is free, but if you want to do anything fun, it will cost you another $30 to activate the full version. For the total cost of about $60 you are ready to start coding your car. That’s kind of amazing if you ask me. I won’t go into the set up details, but it’s very easy, plug the OBD2 adapter in and follow the steps in the App to connect. Once everything is set up, you will be presented with different modules on your car. Each is responsible for different functionality and you can easily spend hours going through options here, but let’s highlight the ones I like the most.

With that out of the way, let’s get into my favorites!

  1. The most obvious change that NEEDS to happen on all Rex BMW i3s is adding the extra fuel capacity and enabling the range extender menu. These 2 options extend the distance and speed you can travel. Let me explain. The US model of the BMW i3 has an electronically limited fuel tank which can be unlocked using this method and will allow an extra half a gallon of fuel, It doesn’t sound like much, but that’s an extra 20 miles added to the range. On top of that, enabling the range extender menu allows you to turn on your Range Extender any time you want once you are under 75% charge, which is an option that is normally disabled on the US version of the car. This is very important when going highway speeds as the range extender cannot keep up with the demand if your battery is at a very low state of charge. Your speed will be reduced and you have to find a charger. With the HOLD option, if you know you will be going on a longer trip, you can start charging the battery with the range extender much sooner and keep going the speed you want. This also reduces anxiety of running out of juice on the highway as you can just fill up once out of gas and continue your travel. These 2 options allow this car to be used a lot more like a regular car and personally for me make it comfortable to be used on longer trips and outside of the city.
  2. Coding is all about making the car what you want it to be and I wanted a larger screen. My second favorite coding and a must have in my opinion is enabling the larger screen and resolution. Yes, this one also requires the purchase of the actual screen, but without coding it would be useless. Luckily, it’s very easily done though the app and doesn’t it look so much better!? Check out my full video on this change in the description or the card in the top right corner.
  3. My third favorite feature that I have enabled is the auto-folding mirrors when you lock the car. Not only does it help with exiting the vehicle in tight spots or the garage, but it’s also an awesome indicator to show you if the car is locked when you walk away. Of course, when you unlock the car, the mirrors will auto-unfold as well.
  4. Next modification that shouldn’t even be a modification is showing tire pressure and temperature in the iDrive menu. I have no idea why BMW would hide this information from us, but it’s very helpful to see the actual tire pressure and temperature especially when seasons change or if you suspect a slow leak and more.
  5. Do you hate having to hit “Confirm” or “Accept” every time you start the car or use the camera? Yeah, me too! Once you’ve read it once and accepted it, why do you have to see it every time? You don’t, so I disabled these annoying messages and warning as well. There are 2 options for this, the general Legal Disclaimer and the camera disclaimer.
  6. Another change to add some comfort to the driving experience was actually changing the heated seats temperature. Is this a big deal? Absolutely not, but I always found the lower settings still a little too hot for my liking, so I have lowered it to what’s comfortable for me. Similarly, you can raise the temperature if that’s what you like.
  7. Last, but definitely one of my favorites is coding additional driving modes! Now, this does not add any more power to the motor or anything like that, but you can enable Sport and Sport+ Modes as well as Comfort+ mode that isn’t normally available on these cars. The sport driving mode modifies the steering and sharpens the accelerator response. This takes the i3 back to how it was orifinally designed and release when it first came out, but BMW had to dial back the power off the line on the regular i3 as it was prematurely wearing the motor mounts. So, this does come with a risk and not something I would abuse, but I like to use it occasionally instead of the standard soft start. You will also notice that Sport+ doesn’t show up in the driver’s display, but that’s not a big deal to me as you can clearly see it on the big display in the middle.
  8. However only SPORT mode is 100% “compatible” and allows without issues to Hold State Of Charge (in my 2015 i3 Rex) while driving, in other cases I had to swich to one of the standard driving modes, turn HSOC on and then swich back to i. e. SPORT +.

Wish I could code:

Finally, there is one option I can’t figure out. Whenever I get out of the car to open the garage or get the mail or anything where I have to open the door, the car will shut off including the HVAC system, even if it’s only for 10 seconds. This is very frustrating and unfortunately, there isn’t an option to keep the car and AC running when you unbuckle the seat belt and exit the car, even if it’s in park. If anyone knows how to do this, let me know! I have circumvented this problem by programming the 4th button on the key fob to turn on Auxilliary Cooling for when I leave for longer times or forget to select preconditioning on the main screen, but I’d still like the car to stay on if I didn’t’ turn it off.

Others that may be interesting:

Those are my 7 favorite coding changes and 1 change to solve a problem that should not have existed in the first place. Let me know what your favorites are or the ones you are looking forward to doing on your own BMW i3. Here is a list of other coding options that I thought are worth mentioning. You can

  1. Activate the AM Radio which is disabled by default,
  2. You can also Enable Unlock of all doors with engine off, so if you have kids you can unlock all doors by just opening your own door. This way you don’t have to pull out your keys when you get to the other side.
  3. Similarly, you can disable auto-locking of doors once you start driving and even make it so you don’t have to hold the brake pedal to start the car.
  4. If you have a dog riding in the car, you might also want to turn off the seat belt reminders and gongs.
  5. Everyone knows about the tilting passenger mirror when in reverse, but did you know you can make it go even lower if you like? You can also enable illumination of the exterior door handle LED when you are in reverse and even turn on Fog lights with the welcome lights and have the Tail Lights turn on with the daylight running lights. Speaking of DRLs, you can increase their brightness as well by increasing voltage to the LED bulbs.
  6. And if you like to see what is happening behind you at any time, you can enable rear-view camera at all speeds and activate it by pressing the camera button in the center console.

On that note, thank you guys so much for watching, I hope I have encouraged you to get some coding done your BMW i3 and if you have any questions, I’ll be happy to answer them. Don’t forget to like the video, subscribe to the channel and I’ll see you in the next one!

BMW i3 High Beam LED Upgrade

BMW i3 comes with beautiful LED headlights, but unfortunately, the high beams are still yellow halogens that just do not look as good as the rest of the lights on the car. In this video, I show you how to replace the high beam H11 bulbs in under 5 minutes and get beautiful color matching, LEDs installed. These Auxito LEDs are plug and play and work without an error on the dash. They are also designed to mimic halogen light bulbs to prevent blinding oncoming vehicles.

BMW i3 Cabin Air Filter DIY

Improve the air quality in your BMW i3 by replacing the cabin Air Filter. Going to the dealer will cost you well over 5x what it would cost to do this at home. The entire filter replacement takes about 15 minutes and is not difficult to do. These are also know as the carbon filters or charcoal filters or microfilters. To replace the filter on the BMW i3, you will need a torx socket like this:

BMW i3 H&R Lowering Springs, Spacers and New Wheels

Now that I have owned my BMW i3 for a couple of months, I have learned its shortcomings when driving the car outside of the city. Of course, I know that the BMW i3 was designed for and is meant to be driven in a city, but with the increased price of gas, I started using it on the highway as well since I have the REx model. What I’ve learned is going 75+ MPH the car would feel a little unstable and if there was any wind or heavy rain, you’d have to hold the wheel with both hands just to keep it going straight and not bounce around the lane. This didn’t feel like a proper BMW to me, so I had to do something. Luckily there are a few solutions to help with this. So, in this video I replace the stock springs with H&R lowering springs that are especially designed for the BMW i3 REx, add 12.5mm (rear), 10mm (front) spacers and put on top of the line wheels. It made a huge difference in how the car looks and more importantly how it drives. It feels amazingly stable, planted and does not lane wonder. I’m more than happy with the results.

BMW i3 REx Oil Change DIY

BMW i3 comes in a few different flavors and one of them comes with the range extender option. This option adds a small generator to the vehicle that allows you to extend the range on your electric vehicle. I, personally, love this option as it allows me to go much further on my EV without the fear of getting stranded, but this does add some additional maintenance to the BMW i3. One of those items is changing the oil once a year. BMW recommends putting new oil in every 12 months or 10,000 miles whether you run the generator or not since oil degrades over time. In this video, I show you how to change the oil on your BMW i3 w/REx for under $50. This is an easy DIY to tackle at home for anyone and save tons on dealership prices! BMW recommends 0w-30 oil for this engine, but I’m using 5w-30, please pick your own oil and go as per BMW’s recommendations!!

10 Things You Didn’t Know About BMW i3

BMW i3 was an engineering and a technological show piece for BMW.  The design was never meant to be  long term or reach huge production numbers. It was a showcase and a test bed for many innovations and processes. With production ended in 2022 after 8 years, I’m sure BMW has learned a lot in the process and is now implementing these finding in their new EVs. With that said, let’s talk about 10 things you probably do not know about the BMW i3.

  1. Battery Capacity/Range Anxiety:

A very cool first fact about the BMW i3 is that it was the most efficient EV on the market when it came out beating out even some current Tesla models, needing only 270 watts to go a mile. Even so, range anxiety is a real thing for many people, and I’ve witnessed this myself as my friends were asking me if I’m going to a charger because there are only 30-40 miles left on the guess-o-meter. To battle this, BMW has doubled the battery capacity in 5 years and offered a Range Extender for those needing longer trips. Until 2019, all BMW i3s also came with a heat pump, which means the range wasn’t as affected during the cold months as some other EVs. It’s optional for 2019 and newer cars, so check before buying. There are a couple of limiting factors when it comes to the powertrain as well. If you live in a very cold climate, you will have to pre-condition the battery before taking off or your power will be limited. Pre-conditioning also help in a very hot climate, if you park your car on very hot asphalt, then get in it and drive fast, your AC will prioritize cooling the battery rather than you. If you precondition the battery before leaving, it solves that problem as well. A second limitation is that the Range Extender is just that, a generator for your batteries, it cannot maintain more than 70 mph while on the highway, so there is some planning when going on longer trips. Interestingly, I have found myself strangely obsessed with squeezing as much mileage out of each charge and obsessing with efficiency. I even run my front tires 3 PSI over recommended pressure for better tire wear and better rolling resistance. While I find it fun, not everyone would agree.

  • Built with carbon fiber

Part of the efficiency comes from the way it’s built. More specifically the material the car is made from. BMW i3 uses many composite materials throughout the interior and exterior, of which many are recycled and the entire car was designed to be holistically sustainable, not just electric. Materials, size, weight, the right-size, everything. Efficient without being excessive. Of course, BMW i3 was also the first mass production car with most of its internal structure and body made of carbon-fiber reinforced plastics. There is almost no metal in this car and that includes the body panels which can replaced much easier than on a normal car. All of this results in BMW i3 being the lightest EV on the market that can seat 4 comfortably.

  • The Handling

Small battery and light body results in a car that handles a lot like a go cart. It’s a fun car to drive that’s controlled, but playful if you push it. Rear wheel drive has excellent drive characteristics and allows for an accurate and light front suspension with no torque steer. This small rear wheel drive city car is a real pressure to drive swiftly and other manufacturers are now following this formula as well. Just don’t go on the highway, but if you do, check out this video on how to make it highway worthy!

  • Forged wheels

As you can see this car has a lot of supercar-like features that no one would expect out of a little city run-about and it doesn’t end there. BMW i3 wheels are forged aluminum, which means they are lighter and stronger than a standard cast wheel. Once again, this reduced the weight of the car and improves handling due to less unsprung weight. These aren’t without flaws, of course, as the very thin wheel and tire combination can make the car a little twitchy and good luck finding more than a couple of tire manufacturers in this size.

  • Rear Doors/Windows:

There are also many design features AND even flaws that most people may not know about. Some of these make the car look more modern than anything on the road or at the very least very unique. One of the more obvious ones is that the front doors are frameless just like they would be in a convertible and there is no B pillar thanks to that carbon fiber shell. This gives the car a very unique look with all of the doors opened. While we have the doors open, if you look at the rear door, you will find that there is no power windows in the back.. they are fixed in completely. One of the more unique styling choices here is of course the window drop below the belt line. It’s controversial, but I personally love it for my dog as it gives her an unobstructed view out of the sides. I’m sure it’s great for kids as well.

Last item you may not know about the rear here is that if you want to sit in the rear of the i3 and you are alone, you will not be able to close the doors unless you climb through the front as it’s impossible to reach the front door from the back. It would be cool to have power doors that auto close or open with a button. Might have been a little gimmicky, but definitely a lot more convenient.

On the other hand, the front is very convenient since the floor is flat, so you can easily slide between the two front seats.


I have also found this VICSEED Magsafe Car Phone holder to be a very convenient way to hold your phone while driving. It can be used in any car as long as you have a tiny bit of flat surface for the 3M adhesive and a MagSafe iPhone. If your phone doesn’t support that, the kit comes with a template and a metal ring that you can put on the back of any phone. This car mount can be installed in seconds, is surprisingly very adjustable and easily holds the phone over bumpy roads with 20 built in magnets. I also really like the clean, minimalistic look when not in use. Links in the description to get yours.

  • Rudimentary Controls:

Knowing that BMW was one of the pioneers when it comes to infortainment systems, I was very surprised how rudimentary the controls and information is for charging. You cannot even select the charging speed or review any information about a previous charge. It’s limited to selecting the limit of charging speed and that’s basically it. I know you can do so much more in a Chevy Volt and it even shows much more information about the battery and other related stats.

This car also doesn’t have a way of turning off the head unit. The power button here only mutes the car. This wouldn’t be a big issue, but if you have a camera plugged into the power socket, it will stay on the entire time the car is charging.

Another nuance is the horn. Single note, and a noticeable slight delay when pressing the steering wheel button.

  • Blue Strip:

While we are here at the driver’s seat, notice this blue strip on the steering wheel? That’s not just for show, it’s actually a sensor for adaptive cruise control and even if you don’t have that option, you will still have the sensor built in.

  • Reverse Hill Assist

Did you also know that hill assist works in reverse? Meaning if you are facing downhill and put the car in reverse, it will not roll forward. Pretty cool!

  • Expensive Insurance:

Another unexpected item for me was that it costs more to insure than an average car or even BMW. Mostly because of the unique constructions and repair shops not equipped to fix them, if the shell is damaged, in a lot of cases, the car is totaled. An even simpler example would be a windshield. On most cars, it’s as simple as just replacing the glass, but on this car it’s much more involved as many trim pieces have to be removed.

  1. REx Engine:

Lastly, if you love engine specs, here are a few things you may not know about the REx engine in this BMW i3:

  1. This is a   Engine. What does all of that mean? Well, W tells us it’s a third-party engine, 2 is for 2 cylinders, 0 means it’s the basic engine. 06 is the displacement in liters, U means it’s a lower performance class engine and finally 0 tells us it’s a new development.
  2. This scooter engine produces 34HP and 40 lb-ft of torque at 4300 RPMs, but that has zero effect on how the car actually drives. The electric motor is the only thing ever driving the wheels.
  3. The gas engine operates based on how much power is requested from it which allows it to achieve 94% efficiency and it will follow 5 different operating speed strategies based on your speed and state of charge.
  4. Interestingly, this engine has a mechanical coolan pump unlike most BMW engines that rely on an electronic one. This coolant pump is force fitted onto the oil pump shaft and spins at all times. Very unusual as the delivery rate and also the flow rate through the coolant pump is solely defined by the speed of the crankshaft. There is no electrical control here.
  5. If you choose not to go with the Range Extender, make sure your car has DC charger as it is optional on 14-15 models. It’s necessary for longer trips as it allows the car to charge much, much faster.


And there you have guys, hope you have learned something new about the awesome creation from BMW and if you have one, why not check out my top 10 coding suggestions to enable longer range and much much more! Very DIY friendly and cheap to do. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you in the next one.

BMW i3 Problems to Expect

BMW i3 was designed from the ground up to be one of the more unique vehicles on the road, but how reliable is it?

SimpleCarGuy here and in today’s video I want to talk about some common problems you can expect on the BMW i3. We’ll discuss the difference between BEV and REX reliability, best years to buy, what to look for when buying yours and how to avoid some of these issues if you already own one.



Remember, this isn’t a regular EV, hybrid or a gas car. It has bespoke parts made for the i3 shared only with the i8 in most cases. Overall, it’s one of the most reliable EVs on the market, but every car has its issues; especially, experimental one like the i3.

Before I talk specifics, let me explain how the video is structured. We’ll talk about the most common issues first and then the not as common, but still, something to pay attention to. Specifically, we will discuss Mechanical, Electronic, Cosmetic and REX Specific issues. You can use chapters to jump around if you like.


  1. 12v Battery

The most common problem across the BMW i3 range has to be the 12v battery. Judging from how many people have complained and how many forum posts you can find on this, the battery will pre-maturely fail about every 3 years and it’s not unusual to see people with only 50,000 miles on their 3rd battery. It’s recommended replacing it before it gives out. A failing battery will leave you stranded needing a flatbed as the car won’t turn on. Interestingly, the 95 and 120 ah cars have a different part number for the 12v battery and seem to be a little more reliable, but still affected.

  • Motor Mount Failure

Another very common issue is the weak motor mounts that can fail abruptly causing the car to vibrate and make lots of noise in the back. This can happen on cars even under 50,000 miles and usually more so on cars that were driven hard or on bad roads. Snapped off bolts on the motor mount are not unusual either. BMW has since replaced the plastic motor mounts, upgraded the bolts to metal ones and reprogrammed the cars to have less initial torque during the repair campaign  and on all newer cars. If this recall has not been done on your car, it’s a good idea to get it checked out.

  • Strut Mounts, Bearings, Dust Covers)

Common across the range are also a few suspension issues. Most common one being the dust covers on the front dampers. This isn’t critical or dangerous, but water and dirt will prematurely wear out your dampers resulting in an unstable ride and more expensive repair. The dried-out rubber can also get into the bump stops causing an annoying squeak. Failing strut bearings are also a common failure point and require the upper strut mounts to be replaced.

  • AC Compressor – No Cold Air (all years)

Bigger problems can be caused by a failed AC compressor. This may not be as common as the first 3 items, but it gets expensive. VERY EXPENSIVE. If you happen to be one of the very unlucky ones where the AC compressor completely fails, it can cause the cooling fan to implode sending shrapnel through the High Voltage battery pack cooling loop. Yes, on this car, the compressor runs both the HVAC as well as the cooling of the HV battery, so the repair can be over $8k+ i as the battery has to be removed from the vehicle and cooling lines replaced. This seems to be more common on 2017 or older i3s, but has happened on newer ones as well. It’s recommended to get your HVAC system checked out as soon as you hear any clicky or metallic noise from the AC Compressor. Replacing JUST the compressor can be a cheaper $3000 job.

  • Washer Fluid Pump Leak

A much cheaper issue that has come up on many BMW i3s is the leaky windshield washer pump. I’ve had this happen on mine and I just used some epoxy to fix the leak. My simple fix has lasted a few months now but, of course, you can simply replace the entire pump for only around $20. To prevent this, make sure to not get any debris into the washer fluid tank and clean out the clogged washer jets if they are not performing as expected.


Switching over to the electronics, other than the 12v battery we talked about earlier, there are a few other common issues to watch out for.

  • Failed driver heated seat

One of the most annoying ones in colder climates is the heated seats going out. A lot of people use their heated seats much more than in regular cars to gain some range in the winter so sometimes the elements in the seat get damaged and cause a short circuit or the thermometer goes bad causing the seats to overheat and shut off.

  • Flickering LEDs on the center panel (especially AC) Blurry/Faulty Reversing Camera

A few common but rather minor issues have to do with the LEDs going out in the climate control panel where it starts to flicker or completely burns out and faulty reversing camera where it becomes a little blurry.

  • Charge Port Door Solenoid

The charge port door solenoid can also fail and cause the charge door not to open. It usually starts with a grinding noise during operation. I had a hard time opening the charge door in the snow on my car and had to re-adjust it a little bit as well. In some cases, the solenoid does not fail but the door has to be recalibrated.

  • Airbags

On a more serious note, there was a problem with the internal components of the airbag that were not properly assembled by BMW. This resulted in the airbag deployment in a low-speed collision on 2014 and 2015 models. Similarly, the passenger restraint system on the same year cars had a tendency to show a warning even when the passenger was buckled in.

  1. KLE Failure (PCB Issue)

While this next one is not very common, it is also serious and surprisingly only occurs on 2018 and newer models. There have been a few reports of a failed KLE and EME modules due to bad solder joints. KLE module is responsible for charging your vehicle and EME is the Electric Motor controller that if fails shuts down high voltage to the motor and stopping the car in its tracks. If there are any signs of sudden loss of power on your BMW i3, the dealer will replace these at no cost.

Cosmetic Exterior

  1. Cheap materials used:

BMW i3 also has a few issues with the quality of the materials that have been used. A lot of these were advertised as eco-friendly and good for the environment and it’s mostly true, but it also means some of these materials don’t last as long as we would expect from BMW.

I have personally noticed poor quality interior on my car as it wears out very quickly. Granted, mine was neglected and abused, but looking online for used interior parts showed very similar wear and tear at only 50,000 miles. The Deka fabric appears to stain easily as well, even with water.

Other have also pointed out that the antenna deteriorates in hot climates as well as the rubber trim along the top edge of the windshield becoming crumbly or sticky. Door seals have a very similar issue. Whether it’s the design of the car or the quality of the seal, it wears out much sooner than any other BMW I have owned and others have reported the same, even stating that water has been collecting in the lower CRP frame due to poor insulation.

The door handles are also of a strange design and not often used on BMWs, so they get a little loose and wobbly over time. Last noticeable cheap material is used on the eDrive badge in the back. It can start to peel in hot weather.

  1. Roof delamination.

A more serious issue on the outside has to be the carbon fiber roof. Those that park their car outside in very hot climates will start seeing bubbling and peeling appear after about 4-5 years. This is a known issue with other carbon fiber roof like on the M3 and M4 and the best solution to protect the clear coat and the roof panel itself is to get it vinyl wrapped.


Fuel Related Issues

  1. Fuel Door

Lastly let’s talk about Range Extender specific problems. Of course, with addition of a scooter engine in the rear, there is more complexity and more problems to expect.

Luckily, not of them are very serious and the most common one is the fuel door that gets stuck and will not open unless you use the emergency release under the hood. This happens almost entirely because of a failed fuel tank pressure sensor and the reason this sensor fails is because owners are trying to add just a little more fuel after the pump stops. So, DO NOT OVERFILL your gas tanks and allow the pump to auto-stop. Fuel pump relay is another issue on the REx and can cause the AUX unit not to start and light up a Check Engine Light.

As with other gas engines, you have to do proper maintenance or risk things like misfires on one of the cylinders. In addition to maintenance, you must use high quality premium fuel as it can sit there unused weeks at a time. Most importantly, change your oil once a year if you use your Range Extender if you don’t want the cam shaft bearings to start wearing out and fail.

Before I finish up this video, there are a couple of things I wanted to mention that aren’t really problems, but good to know. If you notice, BMW i3 runs on some very skinny tires. Great for rolling resistance, terrible for wear and tear. These tires wear out in as little as 10k miles if you are an aggressive driver. Worse is that they are unique to this vehicle so are hard to find, can be expensive and with a choice of 1. 20 inch wheels look the best, but are the biggest offender and tend to go out taking out the wheel on bad pot holes.

The second none problem-problem is that the 3g cell network has been turned off in US and thus on the early cars you no longer have real time traffic, remote starts or app access. This is a huge blow for fairly new cars.

Which car do I recommend?

For that reason and many other, I would recommend a 2017 or newer BMW i3 with the Range Extender. These do not have any big real issues and offer a great range with larger batteries and 4g network support. In 2018 you also get a facelift and a more sporty i3s model. Older models are still a great buy and a lot of times a bargain as most issues have been fixed under warranty or through recalls. I have been really enjoying my BMW i3 and I would recommend it to anyone looking for a quirky, fun and unique car that is no longer in production. Now that you know more about the reliability, you would be amazed how many hidden features this car has, make sure to watch that video by clicking here. Thanks for watching and I’ll see you in the next one!

Top 15 Useful BMW i3 Hidden Features

  1. Key and Key fob

We’ll start with some simple ones for those newer to BMWs and the I3. This seemingly simple key actually has many hidden features. Everyone knows you can roll down your windows and sun roof on most BMWs by just holding the unlock button for a few seconds, but did you also know there is a physical key that has a couple of features of its own? Not only can it open the driver’s door, it can also lower and raise the windows if you hold it all the way to the right or left. Well, only the front windows, the rears are fixed in.

A couple other fun key features I found is that if you hit the lock button on your key fob when the windows are opened a little, it will go back up inch by inch and if you have a European version , you can just hold the lock button to close them completely. If your car is plugged into a charger and you lock it, you will also see the charge status. Lastly, if you hit the lock button twice within 10 seconds, it will DE-activate the tilt alarm and the interior motion sensor. Great for leaving a dog in the car.

  • Door Handle

Speaking of leaving things in the car, you don’t have to open the rear door to put something in the back. You can use this handy handle on the back of the seat to lean it forward like in a 2-door car. However, if you do open the door and look in the corner here, you fill find that you have some pull tabs behind a cover. There are these manual pulls all over the car. You can open the charging port, the front trunk and fuel filler door.

  • Fuel cap and charge port has a spot to be stored

While we are here at the fuel door, when you fill your car with either gas or electricity, don’t let the cap dangle, there is a built-in spot to keep them off the paint.


  1. Telescoping steering column

Switching over to the interior and controls, there are some fun ones here as well! For example, I recently learned that the steering wheel is not only adjustable up and down, but it’s also telescopic!? How cool!

  • Turn Signal Cancel

Some of the features you use daily also have little tricks behind them. For example, when using a turn signal, you don’t have to push it the opposite direction and turn on the other one accidentally, you can simply tap in the same direction to cancel it. I know it solves a problem that BMW has created by changing how their turn signals work, but cool nonetheless.

  • Follow me home and parking lights

You can also use this stalk to turn on follow me home lights by pushing the stalk away from you. Your low beams will stay on for 30 seconds. This is also why I upgraded mine to LEDs.

Similarly, you can turn on parking lights by pushing the stalk up or down. Left or right side of the car will stay on. Great for street parking or parking in an alley.

  • Put car in neutral/skip neutral

Switching to the other side of the steering wheel, there are a couple of features here as well. You can skip Neutral when selecting Drive or Reverse by pushing the gear change lever past the first click. This one is easy to find after driving the car for a while, but how do you put the car in Neutral? You would think you can just pop it in N and turn it off… but it just goes to Park on its own. To do so, hold the gear lever and the power button for 3 seconds and the release both. Now you are in neutral and car is off.

  • Can turn on radio when car is off

There are a couple of tricks with the entertainment system as well. As an example, you can power on the radio with the car off by simply hitting the volume/power button.

  • Shortcut Buttons

Just to the right of the power button, we have some preset buttons, but what most people don’t know is that you don’t have to use it for radio, you can use it as a shortcut for almost anything in the system. For example, you can make one of them toggle the Hold State of Charge aka turn on the Range Extender or dim the control panel brightness or even switch to different music sources and much more. Fun fact, if you’d like to reset all of them, simply hold 1 and 8 at the same time.

  • Hidden menu

Ok, ok, I hear some of you screaming that you know all of these already, but did you know that this small city car has a drift mode!?

Ok, it’s not actually called a drift mode, but there is a hidden menu that gives you tons of additional information and allows you to enable a roller mode where it will turn off the traction control, stability control, ABS and regenerative braking giving you full control of the rear wheels!

Getting into the hidden menu is fairly simple, you just hold the trip reset button for a few seconds and you are in! Here you can find a few options, including the roller mode which you can press and hold to enable. You can also unlock this menu for a ton more information, like your battery capacity, temperature and other specs not otherwise advertised. To unlock it, enter the sum of the last 5 digits of your VIN and you are in! I will do a full video on this as I think it deserves a deeper dive. We can even check out the CiC iDrive service menu in that video as well. Let me know if that is something you’d be interested in seeing.

  • Coat Hanger
  • Power plug

If you haven’t seen my camera install video, you might not know that there is a power plug right under the air vents, super convenient for charging your phone. Also, there is a hidden coat hanger behind this little cover. All you have to do is flip it around.


The last few items I wanted to mention have to do with the engine, driving and storing the vehicle.

One features that’s hard to figure out yourself as a driver is that when braking really hard, the car will also illuminate the lower lights, giving more of a warning to the cars behind, but not only that, if you open the rear hatch and your lights are no longer visible, the lower set will take over and work as regular lights and brakes! Great thinking on BMW’s part here!

  1. Rex Emissions Mode
  2. You can check oil level unlike other BMWs

Luckily BMW did more thinking around the range extender engine which leads me to the next hidden feature, you can put the car in emissions mode. This will turn on the engine and run it for 20 minutes to bring it up to operating temperatures and prepare systems for emissions testing. Your battery charge has to be under 75% as it will charge the battery as a side effect. Could be useful in an emergency! To turn it on, open the hatch, turn on the ignition and then press the accelerator pedal 3 times and hold on the third. Release and press the brake button followed by the Start and Stop button. The engine will start at this point. Another fun fact about this motorcycle engine is that it actually has an oil dip stick, so you can check the oil level unlike most other BMWs. Nice!

  • Long storage hidden feature, hack:

The very last trick that could be useful for some has to do with storing a BMW i3 over longer time. BMW says not to allow the vehicle to sit idle for extended period of time on low charge, so it must be close to fully charged to be stored. This will work great for the high voltage battery, but you will still be risking killing the 12v battery since simply having the car plugged in will not charge it. So, to circumvent this, what you can do is set up a departure time once a week, this will power on the car and charge your 12v battery at the same time saving you a headache in the future.


Wow this turned out to be a pretty long video! So, I hope you have learned something new or interesting about a BMW i3 and if you are a hardcore enthusiast, I’d love to hear some of the things I’ve missed. Also, if you’d like to access some more truly hidden features, check out this video where I show you how to code your car for more range, true control of the range extender and even adding a sport mode! Thanks for watching and I’ll see you in the next one!

How to lift BMW i3 onto Jack Stands – BMW i3 Lifting Points

Working on your vehicle can be very rewarding, but it also has to be safe. In today’s video, I will show you how to lift your BMW i3 onto jack stands from start to finish. You will not need any extra tools other than a standard floor jack, 4 jack stands and BMW jack pads if your car requires those. Luckily BMW i3 is a very stiff car and we can utilize that to our advantage when putting it on jack stands. In the video I use the front control arm to balance and lift the vehicle slightly, it’s important to make sure you do not put too much weight on it and definitely do not lift from that point without the car already being supported. Same goes for the other side and the rear suspension components.