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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • Hello all.....I have a 2001 330i (PremP,SP,STEP,TitSil/Blk), and I am currently at 35,200 miles on the odometer. The warranty will expire in another 800 miles, and I was wondering if there is anything I should be worrying about and having checked out BEFORE the warranty expires. I have heard rumours that BMWs require a tremendous amount of service as they age, but, I want to keep my car for 10 years if I can. Any thoughts?
  • tcn2ktcn2k Posts: 277
    Has your brakes been changed? My dealer said it will cost 800 bucks for all 4 wheels. But they do offer extended maintence warranty up to 50k. So if my brake does not go out by 36k, i am purchasing it. It cost 400.00 bucks for the extended warranty, well worth it in my situation.
  • I have always wanted a convertable but have never taken the plunge. When my lease is up within the next year I will most likely "re-up" for another 3 series, I like it that much.
    Can anyone give me their opinion as to the trade-offs of rag top to sedan and coupe. Also, living in the North East how will it be to drive a convertable in the winter (I know, it would be cold with the top down!)

    Thanks in advance for any data, opinions.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    As you've discovered, there are a lot of clueless idiots who pass on third-hand misinformation about BMW reliability and service costs. Most of these morons haven't even sat in a BMW. In actuality, the only BMWs that tend to bruise your wallet as they age are the 7ers, 8ers, and neglected M cars. Aside from scheduled service, my 82K mile 1995 3er has only needed replacement of the front brake pads and the serpentine belts. It still has the original battery. We took it on vacation this summer, driving it for hours on end at 85 mph(4250 rpm)in 95+ degree temperatures. In 1500 miles it used less than 1/4 qt. of Mobil 1 15W-50 and averaged 31 mpg. I drove a 1987 535is to 140000+ miles and all it required was a water pump, fan clutch, clutch slave hose, and rear shocks. I sold it in 1992 and it's now on it's fourth owner; at 300000 miles it finally needed a head gasket.
  • I have decided on a 2004 325 Cc (considered the 330 Ci heavily but felt the 325 was enough power for me although after test driving the 330 my resolve was shaken a little.)

    These are the options I am considering:

    leather (although wavering due to the past discussions on the 'ette. Would have to get leather if I got the gray interior)

    Titanium Silver
    sports package

    The invoice price for these options is 33,800.
    Has anyone had any experience on how much above invoice for the 2004 models are going for? Also is there any other options that are a must have?

    Also the sports package comes with the 17X8 alloy wheels with performance tires. I would prefer the 16X7 five spoke allow wheels with all season tires (last longer). Is this a difficult switch? and would I lose out by making this switch?

    I live in the SF bay area and any recommendations for the best dealerships would also be appreciated.

    Sorry for rambling but ready to buy my dream car and worried about making any mistakes.

    Thanks for any feed back.
  • I own a 3 series (which needs servicing already for a broken seat and a cruddy transmission) and I have many friends and family who are current and past owners. All the past owners parted ways with their bimmers for the same reason: super high cost of repairs. Current owners outside of warranty have been hit with $4k bills for a tranny (540ia), $250 for a battery at the dealer (M3), etc. They swear by their cars but also swear at them when things break. CR and others confirm it too - BMWs are not reliable vis-a-vis japanese luxury cars like Infiniti and Lexus and anybody who is honest will atest to the general high cost of post-warranty ownership. Yes we all can point to anecdotes but in the end the data speaks more loudly than the guy with a 3 series that's been driven 700,050 miles with the same oil, blah, blah, blah.
  • tcn2ktcn2k Posts: 277
    Well, got my new tires put on. Along with that, two rims of mine are now scratched really badly. This is a second time Big-O mess up, i do not recommend them as a install dealer. Although works like a charm. Anyone know any tire place that can fix scratched rims?
  • This should be a recall...The service advisor agreed w/ me...The interior door trim has drooped off for the second time since buying the car in 1999. Both sides came off in the summer of 2001. The dealor replaced them (mileage: 23,000ish). The rubbery felt finsihed trim cames off of the door trim again 2 weeks ago(dealer quote, parts & labor: $700ish). They cannot replace just the part that comes off but the whole door trim. Current mileage: 57,000ish. I took the car in......The same dealer that replaced them said that they could not replace them again under warrenty........called them back and talked to the same service advisor. He promised to call me's been 3 business call.......I would appriciate any advise on this matter..................thanks.......
  • Does anybody know whether 2.9% financing incentive expired on Sept. 2, 2003 or are the dealers still offering that through BMWFS?
  • I have a 2002 325ci with less than 10k miles that has had the door trim replaced 3 times. Two times for the passenger door and once for the drivers. I had the second door trim replaced after 6 weeks of having it replaced the first time. The service advisor admits it is a problem, especially in the south Texas heat. It is very frustrating and an inconvenience. I had a 2001 330i and never had the problem.
  • tcn2k -- I had an incident of RF wheel vs square curb, and I blew out the RF tire and dented my rim (boohoo). However, I bought my tires at Discount Tires WITH the replacement insurance, AND, they repaired the rim (dent fixed and rim refinished) for $150. It took 5 days for the rim to be worked on, but, it was well worth it, and the shop they farmed the work out to did a great job. Considering the SP rims cost somewhere in the ballpark of $500 apiece, you might want to look into whether there is a Discount Tire in your area. FWIW, since they were able to get their hands on the same tires as Tire Rack, I went with them, and didn't have to find a place to mount and balance each wheel when I bought my tires. AND, they will swap snows for summers for a small fee.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I'll reiterate my anecdotal evidence as everybody's experience with cars is different. Aside from wanting a BMW for a long time and finally acting on my wants, my experience with friends and associates who have them have been - extremely positive. My car has been more reliable than the whole of my friends who have reliable Japanese vehicles. Trannies being replaced, cars being bought back under the Lemon Law, cars taken to the dealer time and time again for fix a problem. In fact that has also been my experience with the last three vehicles I've owned. The vehicle that lasted the longest also rusted completely through.

    So getting a car that thus far does not like going to any dealer or mechanic to get itself fixed is a real treat for me. How it will stand up, only time will tell.
  • Hi -
    This board is tremendous - a fountain of information! I saw one of those great (and addictive) infomercials for the "AutoLock". This device is like "the Club" but is secured under the break pad. The security here focuses on the fact it makes it impossible to depress the brake (and thus impossible to put the car in drive). Does anyone have any experience with the "AutoLock" for their 3-series? I live in New York and car theft is always a factor with a new car. This would be for a 2003 325i with automatic transmission.
  • That's simply amazing. The current and former BMW owners I know personally tell me he/she loves the car. Mention problems or repairs and they all begin to rattle off scary amounts of issues and astronomical repair bills.

    I dig my 330i. Love is a bit extreme but I may be in love with it. Yet in 3 months (excluding issues that weren't the car's fault like the rear-ending, blown tire, attempted theft), I've already got a nice list of issues for my first service appointment.

    1. loose, creaking driver's seat.
    2. binding, unruly, mercurial tranny.
    3. hesitating engine - I dismissed this throughout july and august as a random once a week thing but now it's happening at least once every other drive.

    3 months - 3 problems. Do I complain about it? Nah. I love the car, warts and all. Sure my seat may creak every time I shift and the tranny may lock me out of a gear or the engine may sputter a bit every now and then but the other 80-90% of the time the car's sublime. The only car I enjoyed driving more than my own is the 740i. Does it make me think I should buy my ZHP when my lease is up? Uh, heck no.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    blueguydotcom & kdshapiro... With large production runs and lots of variables, about all we can really use is average data. All of the sources have their limitations and flaws but they are better than nothing. Consumer Reports, JD Powers, etc. have extolled the average reliability of Lexus, Infiniti, and Acura for well over a decade. Consistently year in and year out. Pretty much each model.

    The key is for BMW to pay more attention to design and manufacturing. Build it right the first time. Heck, there are tons of articles in Roundel (BMW CCA) and Bimmer magazines that discuss how BMWs are NOT as reliable as these three marques. Just read the current issue of Roundel. Nice article (p. 29) that looks at JD Power 3-year reliability data (The 2003 Vehicle Dependability Index).that favors Lexus, Infiniti and Acura (ranked 1, 2, & 5). BMW comes in 13th. Better than average but not by much. BMW looks a bit better because MB and Audi both have their own issues--they are next to each other buried deep in the bottom third.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I agree that's what is written, but I haven't seen it. I may have a solid car. When I brought my car in for service, the SA slammed the drivers door and said to me, "Hear that, your car is as solid as they come!!!

    blueguy - My car is not *100%* problem free. The AM radio reception is the pits and can't seem to be fixed, and from driving through roads that would give a moon buggy a run for it's money, my front seat creaks/squeaks slightly. Also, the driver's window squeals occasionally while opening or closing and I hear an occasional squeak from the engine that is either the fan belt or the water pump. So in a year and a half plus of ownership I can't complain. Oh and today I found out how good the ABS is when coming to a panic stop from about 50mph. :)
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    kdshapiro... Read Bill Howard's "End Piece" column in the September 2003 issue of Roundel (BMW CCA), p. 144. Second half of it discusses a talk JD Power III made in NYC early this summer at the International Motor Press Association. Small excerpt:

    "the German automakers are the last to get it, "
    'it' being the notion that the results of third-party quality surveys may be embarrasing short-term and immensely helpful long-term ... [According to Power] 'Re IQS [Initial Quality Survey that Lexus typically wins], the think there has been denial. The biggest denial has been with the Germans. I think the denial can be summed up as 'We design cars the best way we know and we know what is best. The consumer can't tell us what we need. They don't understand things.'"

    Howard ends his column by pointing out that the fact Lexus beats Porsche by 2 points in one year's survey is outside the margin of erro (thus they are statistically equal), "but when Lexus comes out on top every year for a decade running, maybe Power is on target."

    Howard is absolutely right. BMW needs to pay attention!

    Remember the latest results from MB (318) and Audi (318) are horrible. BMW (262) is just above the average (273). Only Porsche (193) shines. They came in 4th. Lexus at 163!!! Toyota's total corporate rank is a 196, as Toyota gets a 201.

    Consumer Reports data also roughly in line with these results. Bet BMW wishes CR would recommend the 3 Series again?
  • I just bought an 03 325Ci. I got the similar options as you.I also wanted the sports package but couldn't find a new one with that. Anyways, I'm not 100% sure but the only difference with the sports package is the bigger tires and wheels, clear corner and sidemarker light and thigh support seats. Since you want the stock wheels, don't get the sports pack. and just buy the clear corner and sidemarker lights. That's what I did with mine. As far as price, I'm not sure. But my salesman told me about a grand under MSRP.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I'll bet a lot of people don't respond to these surveys. I've never sent in any JD Powers survey nor have I participated in the CR surveys. I'll bet there are a lot of people like myself. I didn't participate a few years ago, when my service advisor got to know me very well, nor do I participate in BMW surveys. You may say it's about statistics, but again, try telling that to my friends who have had Hondas bought back under the lemon laws or tranny failures. I never consult reliability surveys when when getting a car because when it boils down to me, they mean nothing.
  • Hello,
    I have 8k on my 2003 330i, I've changed the oil myself at 5k miles, about 10k earlier than what the OBC was recommending, just to be on the safe side. My questions are, its almost going to be a year since I had the car, when do I take it in for service? Is there anything scheduled within the first year? What reasons should I state when making a call to the dealer? Sorry if any of these could easily be answerd by reading the manual, but I've read mine and didnt get anywhere. Thanks-
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