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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • If you are going to own a BMW, best way to do it is to lease it or own it until the free maintenance runs out. Then get another one with free maintenance. If you are driving anywhere near normal mileage that is the way to go.

    If you are driving more but not cab driver miles, then consider Japanese.
    Scheduled maintenance on Japanese cars is generally like a “suggestion”. The dealers try to schedule crap like ball bearing rotation but if you look in the manuals, you can probably get by with fluid changes, brakes and rotors, timing belt to 100k. Not much more beyond that, maybe an alternator, CV joint. However, after 200k, the aluminum block engines might start to wear.

    IF you are driving cab driver miles, like if you want to keep a car past 350-400K then the only way to go is Caprice Classic or some other cab car. But you will pay through the nose for maintenance.
  • is my color and I love it!
  • andergtrandergtr Posts: 101
    i have a 2002 model, which means scheduled maintenance is only included to 36K miles. the first maintenance i paid for at 45K miles was $1400. i'm pretty sure that i'm not going to get anywhere near $1400 TOTAL even if you add up all the maintenance work on my toyota.
  • andergtrandergtr Posts: 101
    i've had four japanese cars and my BMW. the japanese cars were an '89 acura integra, an '87 acura legend, a '01 acura CL type S, and a '93 toyota corolla. the BMW i have is a 2002 325ci.

    in my experience--and the half-dozen or so japanese cars my family has had over the years, plus my brother's '95 325i--the BMW's are just more expensive to maintain if you are keeping the cars to 100K or 150K miles. the bimmers just require more maintenance and upkeep--which is not surprising, because you are dealing with a performance vehicle, not merely a passenger car, which is how i view a camry, you know?

    again, if you just keep the cars until, say, 50K miles, your experience is gonna be very different than mine. as i said before, i average 35K miles a year, so i'm probably in a different situation than the average driver who leases his/her car.

    in addition, i'd say that i'm probably tougher on my cars than the average guy or housewife. put it this way...i used to make the 360-mile trip from LA to san jose in under four hours every time, be it the BMW or the acuras.
  • What is so special about BMW oil, it is a super secret blend? When the warranty is up could you put Mobil 1 synthetic in? I am thinking about purchasing a 325ci from a friend with 15,000 miles. I figure I would ease into the BMW experience, see how it goes and then purchase a new 330 in a few years. I am getting the 325 for 25k, it is a 2001. Thanks for the help.
  • If memory serves, BMW oil is merely Castrol Syntec, which is one of the few true synthetic oils. And, believe me, buying the Castrol Syntec from Wal Mart is far less expensive that buying the BMW oil from the dealer. Just make sure you buy the right weight -- I believe it is 5W30.

    And, IMHO, I hope that the 325i that you are looking at is fully loaded -- $25k seems a bit high to me, even if the car only has 15k miles.
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    It is made by Castrol, and I believe it does use slightly (very) different formulation. I seem to recall that Syntech is also one of those that is not a true syntethic.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    "BMW oil is merely Castrol Syntec, which is one of the few true synthetic oils. And, believe me, buying the Castrol Syntec from Wal Mart is far less expensive that buying the BMW oil from the dealer."
    Sorry, wrong on both counts. The oil is very different from the garden variety Syntec; the BMW Synthetic meets the stringent ACEA standards. Recently some "Made In Germany" 5W-30 Syntec has appeared in some stores and that oil may be very similar to the BMW Synthetic, but at this time no one knows for sure.
    As for cost, BMW Synthetic is one of the least expensive synthetics on the market-and it's an even better value when the CCA discount is applied.
  • Doesn't the oil fill cap have Castrol stamped on it?
  • andergtrandergtr Posts: 101
    while i definitely see the value in having a good indie mechanic, how do you differentiate between someone who SEEMS to know his/her stuff and someone who merely poses that way?

    i love my BMW, so it's a car i obviously want to take care of. i like the idea of saving a few bucks here and there, but honestly i would rather pay an extra $50 to $100 if i know the quality of the work is the best it can be.
  • ddblueddblue Posts: 117
    I pulled this info from the web:

    "Viscosity Index" (ASTM D-2270) is an imperical number indicating the rate of change in viscosity of an oil within a given temperature range. HIGHER numbers indicate a low change, lower numbers indicate a relatively large change. The HIGHER the number the better. This is one major property of an oil that keeps the bearings happy! These numbers can ONLY be compared within a viscosity range. It is not an indication of how well the oil resists thermal breakdown.

    HT/HS or "High Temperature/High Shear" (ASTM D-4683) is an rating that determines the oils stability in a high temperature, high stress conditions. The oil's ability to withstand shearing and tearing is very important especially in a high RPM engine. The oil's ability to protect bearings, cylinder walls and rings, connecting rod bearings, main bearings, cam lobes and lifters, etc. is vital to an engine. For an oil to pass the ASTM D-4683, an oil must have a protective viscosity of 2.9 cP at 302 degrees F. The HIGHER the number the better!

    "Flash" (ASTM D-92) is the temperature at which an oil gives off vapors that can be ignited with a flame held over the oil. The lower the flash point the greater the tendency for the oil to suffer vaporization loss at high temperatures and to burn off on hot cylinder walls and pistons. The flash point can be an indicator of the quality of the base stock oil used. The HIGHER the flash point the better! 400 F is the minimum to prevent possible high consumption. The flash points shown in the data are in F.

    Castrol Syntec Viscosity = 172
    Mobil 1 Viscosity = 162

    Castrol Syntech HT/HS = 3.0
    Mobil 1 HT/HS = 3.35

    Castrol Syntech Flash = 455
    Mobil 1 Flash = 445

    It's a close one, according to the data. Both brands are very high in quality. The difference appears negligible to me. If someone can provide more insight, please do so.

    As far as costs of BMW oil changes are concerned, this is my understanding:

    -Scheduled oil changes (about every 15K) = free up to 3 years/36,000 miles
    -Unscheduled oil changes (at the drivers whim) = $60 up to 3 years/36,000 miles
    -Any oil change after 3 years/36,000 miles = about 160 smackers. OOOF!

    It appears that
  • ddblueddblue Posts: 117
    I would look into replacing the spark plugs yourself. I was going to replace my 325Ci plugs a few months ago, thinking that they were not platinum. I bought Bosch four-prong Splitfires and went to replace them in the Bimmer. Turns out that BMW puts in platinums, as you already know. Well, though the removal was a bit tedious, it can be done in less than an hour. I think it's more than worth it to do this yourself.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    You're right; the BMW oil is made by Castrol-it's just not the same formulation as Syntec. And the Castrol TWS 10W-60 required by some M cars is very expensive; @$6.00/qt. if I recall.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    If you're a CCA member-and you should be-you can check with local chapter members regarding good indie shops. A lot(but not all) of the good shops usually advertise in the chapter newsletters. You really shouldn't have any trouble finding a shop once you are wired in to the local chapter.
  • vkwheelsvkwheels Posts: 218
    Nice color, doesn't show dirt too much, goes well w/ tan interior.
  • mrl11777mrl11777 Posts: 154
    325 with sand interior always looks great. Easy to keep clean. Black floor mats, to me, look better, and they do not show ground-in dirt.
  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    When will the current 3 Series be redesigned: 2005 model year or 2006?
  • OK I give what is CCA? Car Club of America? Just a thought. The 2001 325ci I am looking is loaded, with home link except for the cold weather package, not much use for it here in south Florida. 25k might be a bit high, but he is allowing 3 payments and will then sign over title with "gift" marked in the price spot on title to save on taxes when its registered. Thanks for the help with the oil question. What is the oil extractor for? Besides extracting oil :P Is the oil change not the same in a BMW as any other car?
  • postoakpostoak Posts: 537
    Only BMW seems to know when the redesigned 3-series (E90) will be out. Some say January 2005, others say September 2005.

    CCA is short for BMWCCA:
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