Home » Driving My Nice New BMW i3S Around LA Makes Me Nervous So I’m Debating Keeping My Old One

Driving My Nice New BMW i3S Around LA Makes Me Nervous So I’m Debating Keeping My Old One

David Over It Dents Scratches Ts

I was riding up the 405 freeway yesterday when I heard a loud “BANG!” Someone had hit my brand new (to me), mint condition, Galvanic Gold, hyper-rare 2021 BMW i3S. I turned to see a motorcyclist splitting lanes ahead, wobbling from the impact. He continued riding; it was a hit and run. I drove to work, stepped out of the car, and surveyed the damage. “SON OF A BITCH!”

It was a scratch. Not a huge scratch, but a scratch. A white line on my mirror, and I was livid! Mostly because this biker had hit my car (possibly on purpose, since he was splitting lanes, and possibly punishing those who were maybe a bit off to the left) and just rode off with not a care in the world. That’s just unacceptable! It’s also possible it was an accident; either way, just stop if you hit someone else’s car — not cool.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Anyway, here’s the baby scratch on my mirror:

Screen Shot 2024 06 04 At 8.40.37 Am

The impact had been loud, so I was surprised the damage was so minor. Luckily, though, it wasn’t on the mirror housing’s gloss black section, which is painted, but instead on that coarse black plastic section, which appears to be injection molded and black all the way through.


This is actually a great design choice by BMW, because it means you can bang that mirror on a parking garage entry-ticket machine and, while you’ll sustain a scratch, you won’t be able to tell because that scratch’s valley will be the same color as the rest of that part of the mirror. I know this because look at how my mirror looks now:

Screen Shot 2024 06 04 At 8.48.32 Am

Looks pretty much all fixed! If you look closely, you can see some roughness from the motorcycle incident on the right half of this image:

Screen Shot 2024 06 04 At 9.11.59 Am

But for the most part, it’s repaired, and I’m happy with how the car looks overall. But it got me thinking: First, if a little scratch like this has me all concerned, I need to get XPEL PPF as soon as possible. And second, when is this “phase” going to go away? Like, surely not every scratch is going to bum me out forever, right?



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My brother just bought a yellow Audi S3 recently, and he’s going through the same issue. He got a rock chip the other week, and it bummed him out. I used to have the same worry with my brother’s 1966 Ford Mustang and my 1993 Jeep Grand Cherokee “Holy Grail.” They were all just so nice that adding even a scratch to them could ruin your afternoon. Surely you, dear readers, can relate? When will I be released from this prison?

Anyway, my partner, Elise (that’s not her real name), suggests that I keep my 2014 i3 and use that as my errands car. I won’t care if someone hits its mirror or if a rock chips its hood — it’s older, it has higher mileage, and it’s not in mint condition. But does it make sense to have two i3s? Does it matter if it makes sense?

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Maybe it doesn’t matter if it makes sense, and I should just own the cars I like, and when I get tired of one, I get rid of it. Maybe I’ll get tired of having two i3s, or maybe I’ll remain in this drunken-love state in which I see the i3 as an engineering masterpiece the likes of which we may never see again. Who knows? All I know is: I may be holding onto that gray i3 for my daily commuting — at least for a while.

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5 days ago

Couple of tips about the 405 from a native Angelino:

1) In traffic 99% of riders are going to lanesplit between the fast lane and the carpool lane. If you’re in the fast lane in traffic, keep an eye on your left mirror, and move to the right side of the lane if you see a rider coming up to give them some room.

2) Use another lane besides the fast lane or the carpool lane in traffic if you don’t want to worry about watching out for riders lanesplitting.

Zack Oliver
Zack Oliver
6 days ago

The most expensive new guitars have relic jobs. In which the builder purposefully sands down the finish in some areas and makes divots with a screwdriver and checks the finish with a razor blade. This damage all in an effort to make the instrument appear as if it’s been used for 40+ years and lived a Rock n Roll life.

For cars, probably the only market I can see this working in is the off-road and possibly vintage car sector. But even then, many of those people like the idea they can pull some voodoo and make their cars appear as new. Rue the day if relic-ing cars ever gets popular. But you can be assured that they will if the markup that relic-ed new guitars get is any indication

Last edited 6 days ago by Zack Oliver
5 hours ago
Reply to  Zack Oliver

Relic-ing already is a thing for cars. It is called ‘patina’ with some niche expensive builders like Icon 4×4’s Icon line being an excellent example of taking old classic cars and basically rebuilding them as brand new (or really restomodding) them to be way better than the original manufacturer ever could have dreamed of making them new from the factory with weathered exteriors celebrated and usually stabilized and clear coated over to preserve the external “patina-ed” look

Adam Atwell
Adam Atwell
6 days ago

Driving nice things in Southern California is just a series of annoyances and out of pocket expenses. Rock chips, debris in the road, inattentive drivers, the occasional lifted pick-up truck doing 125 mph down the 15 at 5 pm throwing union bought tools and gas station energy drinks out the bed… Honestly, it’s kind of like having a boat. It’s nice on the water but you just know it’s gonna cost you a little bit on the back end.

FWIW… I ride as a matter of sanity as my 50 mile commute can take 1.5 to 2 hours each way in a car, but is down to 45 minutes to an hour on the motorcycle. I lane split up to a certain speed or to get away from stacking-up traffic. Most often here in Southern California it is 2 cars in the 1 & 2 lanes doing the same exact speed impeding the line of 20 plus vehicles behind them. I will split just to get around that nonsense. Is it safe? Probably not. Is it any safer with some of you idiots possibly barreling into my rear end as I wait behind the line of vehicles? Probably not.

Stef Schrader
Stef Schrader
6 days ago

Gosh, I have this worry with the 411 to the point where I keep thinking about moving it back to the track’s carports so I’m not worried about every thunderstorm in the forecast breaking unobtanium glass.

Also, I have a tendency to be maybe too much of a perfectionist with the Lancer. It’s in such disrepair* right now and I’m so sad about it, but people keep saying it looks incredible for its age. Those people are liars. I see those dings.

My solution? Screw it, man—send it. If you want to keep both cars, keep them, but I see no reason not to keep driving the nicer one around because of one early-ownership mirror ding. It’s a car. It’s made to be driven. Also, not driving cars is how you ruin them, and I have a bad feeling that being stretched thin might lead to one sitting and needing extra maintenance as a result. (Just ask my poor 944’s probably-clogged-with-bad-old-gas injectors.)

*some rock and window dings, plus all the usual 208K-mile items that need a refresh

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