Ignition Fault

My son and I took a trip downtown Toronto. My son was looking for a wireless rig for his bass guitar setup. We settled on the Samson Airline system. I also picked up a set of in-ear headphones for my own stage work.

Samson Airline

We finished around noon and we decided to make our way back north for some lunch. This was my last day of my vacation and I really did not want to fight the obnoxious Toronto traffic.

We made our way north of Bloor to catch Rosedale Valley along Park Road. For whatever reason, the police had closed Rosedale Valley. This meant that we had to make a detour up Park Road and around. Park Road is uphill and a narrow two-lane road. Narrower still as cars park along one side of the road.

My BMW 530i crashes. From a systems point of view. The iDrive system paints an Ignition Fault error on the screen and everything went dead: engine, active steering, brakes. There we are, halfway up a hill on a narrow street, stranded in the middle of the road.

I get quite panicky because we are in an unsafe location. The stream of cars that go along Rosedale Valley are all taking Park Road. And I am in the way.

I use the SOS feature in the BMW. This activates the car’s cell phone system and puts me in touch with a roadside assistance operator. I will tell you that the service provides peace of mind unless you actually happen to need the service in real life. After perhaps a dozen calls, both on the car’s cell as well as my personal cell, I had notice of tow trucks being dispatched and then cancelled. Towing to an undisclosed location downtown and then towing to Newmarket. Arrangements to get alternate transportation home. Utterly confusing. And all the while I was concerned about getting rear-ended by aggressive drivers forced to drive around me on Park Road.


The pouring rain made for a fitting scene as we attempted to get the car down the hill and into a safer location. Without steering, engine power or braking. I was able to force the steering wheel and, with judicious use of the hand brake, we got the car settled in front of two driveways. We waited almost two hours for the tow truck. Fortunately he did take us back to Newmarket. The BMW had a nice trip on a flatbed. We sat in the cab with the tow truck driver.

We arrived at the dealer by 3:30pm. I now have a new 325 which I suspect I will be driving for at least a week while the service technician tries to determine what happened to the car. Having scoured the BMW forums I think I already know what the problem is: a fault in the computer system.

The tow truck operator joked with me as he rigged up the car:

“You know these BMWs run Windows right? You got the Blue Screen of Death.”

Thank goodness we did not get hit during this little episode.

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