• CAR: E36 Z3 Roadster / #BMW-Z3-Roadster-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3-Roadster / #BMW-Z3-E36/7 / #BMW-Z3 / #BMW / #BMW-E36/7 / #BMW-E36
    YEAR: #2002
    TOTAL MILEAGE: 66,610
    MILEAGE THIS MONTH: 172
    MPG THIS MONTH: 22.1
    COST THIS MONTH: £45

    When I bought my 2002 Z3, I did open the boot to check that everything was OK, and it seemed so to me. However, the completely flat front tyre that I had to deal with a few weeks later proved me wrong.

    The plan was to inflate the tyre and then see if I could then drive to the local tyre fitter to get it checked, but there was obviously an issue with the valve, which was leaking air out as quickly as I could put it in! So, the only solution was to change the wheel.

    What followed involved a lot of head-shaking and quite a bit of swearing. For a start, my trolley jack wouldn’t fi t under the Z3’s side sill, so it was back to the inflator – with me bending the valve in such a way that the air wouldn’t come out, so the tyre would inflate, the sill would rise and I could get the trolley jack into position. The next job was the remove the spare wheel from its cradle under the boot floor…

    The Z3’s boot is a reasonable size for a small sports car, thanks to the space-saver tyre slung underneath. Instructions on how to remove it were actually in the boot, and that was when I realised that one particular tool was missing from the seemingly perfect tool kit; without it, releasing the bolt holding the cradle was extremely awkward for a big hand and a ring spanner (sockets not being possible), and that’s when the head-shaking started.

    Eventually, with the spare free, inspection revealed that it had never been used – or removed – making me wonder if the Z3 actually ever had the necessary tool in the first place. Then I prepared myself to undo the wheel studs, fully expecting this to be a major battle (why do people do these up so tight?). I decided to start with the locking nut but, of course, the ‘key’ to release this, was completely mullered.

    At that point the head-shaking turned to swearing, and it was clear that I wasn’t going to be changing the wheel anytime soon! Still, at least the car was on my drive, it wasn’t raining or winter, I wasn’t in a rush and nor was I wearing my best suit!

    A quick phonecall to my very helpful, local independent tyre outlet, Littlehampton Tyres, saw their mobile unit with me within 30 mins, and he had a full set of Laser locking wheel nut ‘keys’, allowing him to swap wheels and take away the flat tyre to be repaired. The call-out cost me £30, and the puncture repair, £15.
    It could have been a lot worse and I will, of course, now look to either buy a new locking wheel nut key (and you can imagine what BMW will charge for that!), or get some standard wheel studs and swap them over… but then I’ll need the stupid ‘key’ to do that, won’t I?…

    A missing T-bar wrench means you can’t lower the Z3’s spare wheel cradle. The locking wheel nut key had been used; actually, it had been completely destroyed!