BMW and Jeep are trying to be “hip,” “cool,” and “with it,” with both brands asking owners the same question over social media — one that ultimately resulted in commenters brutally criticizing the companies’ reliability histories. The whole thing would be sad if it weren’t so hilarious.
I normally don’t bother covering Twitter or Facebook threads as stories unto themselves, but I’m making an exception this time. And that’s only because I think you, dear readers, deserve a bit of humor in your Thursday afternoon, as we all do.
Both BMW and Jeep, for whatever reason (presumably to increase engagement), chose to ask the same question to their audiences:
“Tell us you drive a Jeep/BMW without telling us you drive a Jeep/BMW” the question read. The replies were brutal, and while some of that just has to do with the unforgiving, sometimes combative armchair-warrior nature of the internet, let’s be honest: Neither of these two brands is known for reliability.
Former Jalopnik contributor Freddy Hernandez wrote all about BMW engine reliability, and it’s fairly well established in the car enthusiast world that BMWs are neither easy nor cheap to maintain (window regulators are classic BMW failure items).
I have owned many Jeeps in my day, and while I will agree with the adage that every Jeep enthusiast has tattooed to his/her lower back — The four-liter engine is bulletproof — I also have to concede that damn near everything that isn’t the four-liter (or the AW4 transmission in the XJ) is very much not bulletproof.
1990s-era Grand Cherokee “ZJ” models had transmission and electrical problems, Jeep Cherokee XJs had neutral safety switch and crankshaft position sensor failures, early Jeep Wrangler JKs tended to burn oil and sometimes pop out of first gear (on cars equipped with manuals) and, though Jeep’s reliability rankings have been improving, they haven’t been great over the years.
So it should be no surprise what happened when these two automakers asked such an open-ended question.
Let’s start with some replies to the BMW tweet. The general tone is that the owners love the brand despite painful reliability problems.
Jalopnik alumnus Tyler Hoover’s tweet got a lot of attention:
“The last one got junked for valve seals, the one before that for a knocking engine, the one before that needed a new trans, and the latest one needed timing chain guides,” Tyler writes. “Despite the abuse, though, I keep coming back!”
Tyler’s was one of many who voiced such a sentiment. Just read what Marcus Thomas replied:
God that’s a great quote: “heaping pile of check engine light producing, coolant spewing, oil leaking, tow truck summoning garbage.” And yet, somehow, despite eviscerating BMW on a public forum, Thomas admits that he still digs BMWs.
But there’s more. Someone named Craig LeMoyne described owning a BMW in a similar manner, mentioning a failed starter, a valve cover gasket leak, ABS sensor problems, a bad steering rack and a croaked O2 sensor — all of which allegedly occurred within a year of purchasing the BMW.
Someone with the Twitter handle “Jimeekay #lyingbyomission” described owning a BMW by mentioning how a timing chain destroyed his engine and put him out roughly $10,000:
“D Willys” joined in on the party, writing about a driveshaft bearing failure, rampant coolant reservoir problems, and issues with body welds:
YouTuber WatchJRGo piled on with “Every light on the dash is on, planned rod bearing failure, complete cooling system replacement”:
But none of the responses are as sad as the one from Mark Riccioni, an automotive photographer from England. He posted pictures of his BMW consumed by a huge fireball:
I checked out Mark’s profile to see if this was just a BMW or if it was actually his BMW, and what I found was simply incredible. Apparently his BMW M5 has not been kind to him, and despite that, he still seemed to love it.
“...after 20+ recoveries,” he writes in the tweet below, “a new crate engine and £50k of warranty work it was never going to be a traditional send-off.”
Turns out, the issue that caused the fire was apparently a power steering hose failure:
The whole Twitter thread is a riot; it’s hard not to cringe a bit at the disaster that BMW’s attempt at cranking up social media engagement turned into.
The Jeep Facebook responses are so satisfying, and so numerous, I don’t have time to go through them one by one. Just read some of these digs at Jeep’s poor rust protection, seal failures, and Death Wobble problems (these are all real issues, I can confirm):
Here’s some discussion about build quality and service issues:
Someone named Jan Edwards mentions roof leak issues, Joe Thames talks about HVAC blower concerns, and Kristina Hoover expresses her displeasure with allegedly having to replace an engine after only two years.
There’s also discussion of poor ride quality, oil burning, and more heater issues:
The list goes on and on.
To be fair, both automakers do respond to some of the commenters, seemingly hoping to help solve some of the problems. It’s also worth mentioning that I haven’t confirmed any of these failures, and many could be exaggerated (though if I had to guess, I bet they’re mostly legit). Plus, the tweets and Facebook posts only present a one-sided view of ownership — I know plenty of BMW owners and Jeep owners who have nothing but good things to say about their machines.
This is all probably obvious, but as a journalist, I have to be clear that what I’m presenting from these social media threads isn’t exactly objective fact.
Still, my god is it hilarious. What an epic backfire on both Jeep and BMW.