Archive for the ‘BMW’ Category

BMW Parts Theft

Monday, December 28th, 2009

A recent uptick in parts theft from series 3 and 5 BMWs has owners worried. Currently, the rash of parts thefts has been centered in the Los Angeles area, but fears are that it might spread nationwide.

Thieves have a ‘unique trick’ for getting into BMWs, said Detective Mike Smith who works auto theft in the Wilshire Division of the LAPD. And what are they going after? Primarily air bags, sometimes leaving expensive, but identifiable items like cell phones and laptops alone.

This rash of airbag theft doesn’t seem to be related to the recall in Series 3 and 5 Bimmers last year, nor the problems with the side impact airbags. The recall had to do with deployment, the actual airbags were fine.

Ask your insurance agent for coverage limits on vandalism and theft, not from the automobile, but of parts taken out. Some policies may limit your protection — exclusions have been around for items like tires and catalytic converters for years. Your agent will know the specifics of your policy.

A replacement bag and installation can cost you upwards of a thousand dollars per bag. Interestingly, BMW airbags can be found on eBay for as little as $175. Of course, something from eBay doesn’t include proper installation and may have come from a disreputable source, or even a burglary.

Without shady aftermarket deals, the demand for high-end stolen car parts wouldn’t be nearly as great. But with the extremely high repair and maintenance at dealerships, it is likely thieves will continue to target these vehicles. By focusing on airbags, the criminals can get in and out of a car in about 40 seconds. As of November, the speed of the attack has left the LAPD with no arrests for this targeted crime.

The best advice from the police is to leave your BMW in a secure area. Unfortunately, this isn’t always possible.