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BMW X7 (G07) Forums General BMW X7 Forum X7 Cup Holders and SRS | potential huge safety issue

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      05-17-2021, 01:57 PM   #1
jskylarwilson
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X7 Cup Holders and SRS | potential huge safety issue

Hi All,

I'm having a big issue with BMW right now, and can use some thoughts and ideas on how to navigate the situation.

Note: The SRS (airbag) control module sits directly underneath the cup holder.

My fiancé has a 2019 X7 (still under factory warranty) which gave her a restraint system failure notification this past Saturday.

We take the car to the dealer on Monday and get a loaner. They diagnose the issue and figure out that the SRS control module has gone bad and they need to order a new one.

They call her Wednesday to tell her that the part arrived, but that it'll be a $2200 repair since liquid was spilled into the SRS control module. NOTE: Some liquid had spilled, but it wasn't a lot (like 1-2 ounces). A fast food cup sat in the cup holder for 12ish hours and some soda leaked out the bottom. Not even 1/4 of the cup - a very little amount.

With the dealer's help, we escalate the issue to BMW corporate asking for them to help cover since it's a clear design flaw that a liquid sensitive control module is sitting directly underneath a cup holder, where beverages are designed to go.

BMW corporate denies, and the dealer is asking us to cover the $2400 bill.
I've been working with the dealer on this and have called BMW NA Customer Service, which has been no help. I don't think we should be on the hook for using the cup holders in the way they were intended, just to have the SRS control module go out.

Likely what'll happen is that we'll pay the bill to get it fixed and trade the car in, but I'd rather not do that. We don't want to drive the car and be afraid of using the cupholders, only to end up drinking another $2400 iced tea. I think BMW should step up with some goodwill and pay to fix this clear design flaw, while preventing it from happening again in the future (sealing the SRS control module).

Friends have recommended I take legal action, but I don't want to go that far. Still, I think BMW should do a recall for all X7s and seal the control module. What happens if you're in the middle of nowhere on a road trip, a little liquid spills in the cup holder (we're talking about 1-2 ounces) and your airbags all of the sudden don't work? Are you supposed to pull over and call a tow truck, and get the car towed or keep driving and risk the airbags not deploying if you get into a collision?

Lastly, Toyota had a situation just like this and issued a recall to seal the SRS module. BMW is letting a big safety issue happen and should fix this clear design flaw.
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      05-17-2021, 02:20 PM   #2
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Uh oh. That doesn't seem like a good thing, if liquid spilled in the cupholders can go straight down and affect the airbags. Cupholders are a naturally wet location, which is why as it is, I'm nervous about them right next to a 12V outlet, USB port, and phone charging pad.

More than once in prevous cars, I've forgotten about a fast food cup that was empty except for ice, left in the car. The ice melted, eventually got soggy through the cup bottom, and water sat in the cupholder.
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      05-17-2021, 02:34 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Blue View Post
Uh oh. That doesn't seem like a good thing, if liquid spilled in the cupholders can go straight down and affect the airbags. Cupholders are a naturally wet location, which is why as it is, I'm nervous about them right next to a 12V outlet, USB port, and phone charging pad.

More than once in prevous cars, I've forgotten about a fast food cup that was empty except for ice, left in the car. The ice melted, eventually got soggy through the cup bottom, and water sat in the cupholder.
Thank you for the reply. It helps to have the validation that I'm not going crazy, and that I should be able to use the cup holders without risk of a safety failure. I also live in Arizona where lots of condensation can easily accumulate on the outside of an iced beverage in the summer heat and drip into a cup holder. I can see this as being a big issue for anyone with an X7 - which is a family car meant to hold children who can easily cause little spills.

Last edited by jskylarwilson; 05-17-2021 at 03:02 PM..
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      05-17-2021, 03:28 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jskylarwilson View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Blue View Post
Uh oh. That doesn't seem like a good thing, if liquid spilled in the cupholders can go straight down and affect the airbags. Cupholders are a naturally wet location, which is why as it is, I'm nervous about them right next to a 12V outlet, USB port, and phone charging pad.

More than once in prevous cars, I've forgotten about a fast food cup that was empty except for ice, left in the car. The ice melted, eventually got soggy through the cup bottom, and water sat in the cupholder.
Thank you for the reply. It helps to have the validation that I'm not going crazy, and that I should be able to use the cup holders without risk of a safety failure. I also live in Arizona where lots of condensation can easily accumulate on the outside of an iced beverage in the summer heat and drip into a cup holder. I can see this as being a big issue for anyone with an X7 - which is a family car meant to hold children who can easily cause little spills.
I assume this is the center cup holder that is heated/cooled? I always wondered about fluid spills or condensation dripping into the heated/cooled cup holders.

Regardless, thanks for bringing this to our attention. This is a potentially dangerous issue that BMW needs to own and fix. I personally don't think you should be paying for it. Before taking legal route, you can try reaching out to media outlets and see if they will be interested in taking this
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      05-17-2021, 03:39 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RAJENT View Post
I assume this is the center cup holder that is heated/cooled? I always wondered about fluid spills or condensation dripping into the heated/cooled cup holders.

Regardless, thanks for bringing this to our attention. This is a potentially dangerous issue that BMW needs to own and fix. I personally don't think you should be paying for it. Before taking legal route, you can try reaching out to media outlets and see if they will be interested in taking this
Yes, it was the heated/cooled cup holder. The media option has come up as well - we haven't yet, but that's definitely an option. My fiancé has 130k followers on IG and she may use that influence as well.
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      05-17-2021, 03:55 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jskylarwilson View Post
Yes, it was the heated/cooled cup holder. The media option has come up as well - we haven't yet, but that's definitely an option. My fiancé has 130k followers on IG and she may use that influence as well.
Thank you for posting this and alerting the community to the issue. Corporations always seem to find religion when they get negative press. My two cents - if you've taken good faith private action on this, which it seems you clearly have, I think media coverage and publicity to put pressure on them may be warranted. This is a safety concern, one that even another manufacturer has taken action on, not something frivolous you're "making a stink" about. The only downside I see is that we are talking about an $80k+ car, so sympathy may be lacking, and there is a chance for unintended backlash. Sorry, man, this isn't easy...
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      05-17-2021, 04:23 PM   #7
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Might want to file a complaint with NHSTA. Maybe they can do an investigation and force a BMW recall.
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      05-17-2021, 05:10 PM   #8
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I'll try to attach the screenshot of the Toyota recall, but here Is the copied text:
Recall Number 96V107000
Recall Date: 06/20/1996

Component: AIR BAGS:FRONTAL:SENSOR/CONTROL MODULE
Manufacturer: Toyota Motor Corporation
Potential Number of Units Affected: 627858

Year: 1993
Make: Toyota
Model: Corolla
Manufactured
from: 1992-06-01
to: 1995-01-01
Recall Date: 1996-06-20

Summary:

IF LIQUID IS SPILLED IN THE CONSOLE BOX AREA, THE AIR BAG WARNING LIGHT CAN ILLUMINATE AND STAY "ON" DURING NORMAL DRIVING CONDITIONS.

THIS LEAKAGE CONDITION COULD CAUSE THE AIR BAG TO INADVERTENTLY DEPLOY.

DEALERS WILL INSTALL A PROTECTIVE COVER OVER THE AIR BAG SENSOR TO PREVENT POSSIBLE MALFUNCTION CAUSED BY THE SPILLING OF LIQUID SUBSTANCES ON THE SENSOR. AIR BAG SENSORS DAMAGED BY PREVIOUS LIQUID SPILLAGE WILL BE REPLACED
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      05-17-2021, 05:34 PM   #9
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I think I saw similar post in another bummer forum about the x7 cup holder. So it's still an issue for MY2021, right?
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      05-17-2021, 05:35 PM   #10
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https://www.bimmerfest.com/threads/x...hicle.1407422/

Here is the other report
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      05-17-2021, 07:03 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buchimuer View Post
That's unreal. If the cup holders aren't a design flaw, then I don't know what is.

Ours is a 2019 - I don't know if there's an issue with the 2021 still. I'd assume so, since they haven't mentioned a retrofit.
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      05-17-2021, 08:58 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jskylarwilson View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by Buchimuer View Post
That's unreal. If the cup holders aren't a design flaw, then I don't know what is.

Ours is a 2019 - I don't know if there's an issue with the 2021 still. I'd assume so, since they haven't mentioned a retrofit.
I also have the cool/heat cup holder on my order... thinking of putting a liner inside the cup holder. Maybe it could temporarily reduce the risk. But I agree, this should be fixed by BMW.
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      05-17-2021, 09:06 PM   #13
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I did a quick search of this issue on the web, and found very little. This leads me to believe that the X5 has the control unit in a slightly different location.
I was thinking maybe X5 owners had experienced this also, and had a way to reduce the risk.
Is this only on X7's with the heated/cooled cupholders and not the normal cupholders?
I am pretty careful about drinks, but this is pretty scary. But not unpredictable, as liquids and electronic do not play well together, and modern cars are extremely heavy on electronics.
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      05-18-2021, 03:05 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buchimuer View Post
Yikes.

jskylarwilson I haven't looked--have you asked in the X5 forum? Much larger population there. Curious if any X5 owner has experienced this too.
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      05-18-2021, 07:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wild Blue View Post
Yikes.

jskylarwilson I haven't looked--have you asked in the X5 forum? Much larger population there. Curious if any X5 owner has experienced this too.
I haven't posted there. Hopefully it isn't an issue. I have a '18 X5M and would hate to be having this same issue.
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      05-18-2021, 08:03 PM   #16
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Update: BMW is offering some Goodwill assistance, but it's not the resolution we want. I'm trying to get them to find a permanent fix so that we don't have another $2200 soda, or like the other X7 driver, so we don't have a disabled car if we have a small spill. We need our family SUV to hold up to our family. If it can't, we are probably getting rid of the car.
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      05-18-2021, 09:55 PM   #17
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I think this needs to be reported to NHTSA...this is a safety issue.
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      05-20-2021, 02:22 AM   #18
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Wouldn't something like this be covered under warranty? Not that it fixes the long term problem.
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      05-20-2021, 05:22 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rich5741 View Post
Wouldn't something like this be covered under warranty? Not that it fixes the long term problem.
Not if the problem is determined to be operator error or neglect. So despite the apparent very poor design decision to place a vital module below a cup holder (which could see moisture/liquids), leaving a partially full disposable cup for an extended period of time or even spilling a liquid in that spot would still be considered operator error or negligence. That said, if this issue happened enough (or worse, someone gets hurt or killed as a result of this poor design), BMW could be forced to address the issue - but the issue is not there yet…

Not defending BMW on this, but just calling it like I see it most likely playing out IMHO…
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      05-20-2021, 06:30 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmciver View Post
Not if the problem is determined to be operator error or neglect. So despite the apparent very poor design decision to place a vital module below a cup holder (which could see moisture/liquids), leaving a partially full disposable cup for an extended period of time or even spilling a liquid in that spot would still be considered operator error or negligence. That said, if this issue happened enough (or worse, someone gets hurt or killed as a result of this poor design), BMW could be forced to address the issue - but the issue is not there yet…

Not defending BMW on this, but just calling it like I see it most likely playing out IMHO…
I think your right. BMW will calculate the $$$ risk to addressing the real world failures. Sounds like a piece of plastic over the module is all it takes for potential spills.

Porsche has always had little flip out cup holders in their 911’s that would hang above the climate and audio controls. It was like they were daring you to use it and if you did you knew the consequences if you spilled your drink.
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      05-20-2021, 10:54 AM   #21
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My wife and I have spilled coffee in our cup holders numerous times. Time to be A LOT more careful.
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      05-20-2021, 10:10 PM   #22
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Just a question, but aren't the cup holders solid? How does water go through them to the area below?
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