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BMW 3-Series Maintenance and Repair

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,615
    I don't know that. Many German cars did have an alarm in the 1980s, and they screwed up regularly. I dis-armed my Porsche alarm by completely ripping it out. That did it.

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  • OK....thanks for your input. I'll find it ..........sooner or later!
  • I've done some reading on this forum about the extended maintenance program BMW offers. My 04 325i is currently at 42000 miles and I'm considering buying the extended maintenance. So, my question is, is it worth it? If it is 6 years, 100k, I'm looking at 2 additional years of coverage, because I won't get to 100k before 2010.

    My other option I'm thinking about is getting a 3rd party extended warranty. I've seen warranty direct quotes at about 25000 bumper to bumper. My last one I had on my 2000 323i paid for itself, but I know the 04s are made a bit better. Any advice/opinions are greatly appreciated.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,381
    Check the glovebox and trunk lights.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • Did that. Not the problem, but thanks!
    Taking a few days off, before I pull what's left of my hair out! Ha Ha!
  • hi i just wandered if any one could tell me if they knew why my steering keeps going really stiff and i hear a grinding sounds and then the next day its fine.I am also having problems as my car keeps getting air locks and overheating hope someone can give me some advice on what could be the faults thanks
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,381
    hi i just wandered if any one could tell me if they knew why my steering keeps going really stiff and i hear a grinding sounds and then the next day its fine.

    Check the condition and level of the power steering fluid. The reservoir has a built-in filter which can reduce the flow of fluid, it's fairly simple to replace.

    .I am also having problems as my car keeps getting air locks and overheating hope someone can give me some advice on what could be the faults thanks

    BMW cooling systems have specific procedures which must be followed exactly in order to purge all the air from the system. Either find a shop that knows how to do this or buy the E36 Bentley Manual and do it yourself.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • ftroha: any news with the "mediation/conference" with judge in September with regards to faulty transmission? Hope you were successful!
  • ftrohaftroha Posts: 21
    Prior to the conference, I was told by the court that I needed to go after the local BMW dealership or go to a NJ small claims court to go after BMW corporate. Consequently, I chose to go after the local dealership. The local dealer failed to even show up for court two weeks ago. Normally one wins automatically in small claims court when that happens, but not here. The other party gets a second chance to appear. So this coming Monday I'm back in court for the same thing. I'll let you know how it turns out. By the way, the faulty transmission in the 2000 323i is so common the judge told me his son experienced the same thing -- sudden loss of reverse gear in the same make/model/year his son bought over the Internet recently. He said good thing his son has a sloping driveway. That way he doesn't need reverse gear when he leaves his home in the morning. Needless to say, BMW's failure to stand behind its product is hurting a lot of people.
  • ftrohaftroha Posts: 21
    This morning a judge in small claims court awarded me 100% reimbursement for the cost incurred to fix my 2000 BMW 323i transmission. For those of you who have been ignored by BMW Corporate (as I was), you might try going after the dealership that sold you the car. Copies of postings on this website, noreverse.org, consumeraffairs.com and others can be used to help make your case that the defect is real and very common.
  • CONGRATULATIONS!!! This was a long time coming!!! Right is right!!!! Guess that will be my next step! Thanks for update and if you have any "tips" please let me know! Again, Congratulations !!!!
  • ftrohaftroha Posts: 21
    Thanks. I appreciate your message. If I can do this, anybody who persists can. At this point, there's enough credible feedback online from hundreds of customers who have been similarly burned by BMW, enabling them to present a convincing case before a judge. The wheels of justice grind slowly, but patience, persistance and being right (as you say) will see you through. Good luck with your case.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,381
    What was the legal basis for the judge's decision? Considering the fact that your vehicle is seven years old and out of warranty(Are you even the original owner?) I am interested in his/her reasoning.

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • ftrohaftroha Posts: 21
    The judge didn't really present his reasoning. But I can tell you that he appeared most interested in the fact that I provided copies of hundreds of customer complaints about the same exact problem with the transmission in the 2000 BMW 323i, i.e., failure to engage in reverse. In addition, I described the many times and ways in which I tried to resolve the issue directly with BMW. I also described the means by which I was stonewalled at every turn. Though the car is 6 years old and I'm not the original owner, I did pay a premium for a Certifed BMW pre-owned car whose transmission failed at around 64,000 miles and shortly after the manufacturer's warranty had expired (within two months). It's worth mentioning that the transmission in this make/model/year is sealed and the "lifetime" transmission fluid requires no changing, according to the owner's manual, which is misleading and erroneous. (The mechanic who fixed my transmission told me the fluid was burnt and a drum-shaped component associated with reverse gear was much too thin to last and cheaply made.) Bottom line: apparently the judge figured I was ripped off -- which I was. At www.noreverse.org you can see photos illustrating how this particular transmision breaks down with normal usage. I didn't get around to showing the judge the photos, since he rendered his decision before I could get to them.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 28,043
    Did the other side show up to dispute your claim? Didn't they blow off the first hearing?

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  • Thank you - I'll let you know!
  • I'm considering buying a new BMW 335i convertible in the near future; however, a friend of mine said they are having lots of problems with the hardtop breaking. I saw one other post about that...person only had 380 miles when it broke.

    Does anyone have any problems with the hardtop on these cars? Anyone else heard of this problem? Also, I've never owned a BMW, always Japanese cars that have pretty good reliability...how are the BMWs?
  • ftrohaftroha Posts: 21
    No, the local BMW dealership failed to send a representative to small claims court. Though I thought that would mean I'd automatically win the case and get full reimbursement, it wasn't quite that easy. I still had to take the stand, swear to tell the truth, explain my case in detail and answer questions posed by the judge. I believe that if my case lacked merit, I would not have been awarded anything, despite the defendant's failure to appear twice.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 28,043
    I assume you represented yourself? Do you have plans on how to collect the judgement?

    Just wondering, because I think it will be difficult. Very interesting, though..

    regards,
    kyfdx

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  • ftrohaftroha Posts: 21
    I did represent myself. Other plaintiffs involved in other small claims cases in this particular courthouse told me that though this court gives the defendant two chances to show up, the court is pretty aggressive when it comes to helping the plaintiff collect. I hope so, but if not, I'm committed to seeing this through and will take whatever remedies are available to me.
  • davidd3davidd3 Posts: 582
    Also, I've never owned a BMW, always Japanese cars that have pretty good reliability...how are the BMWs?

    I can respond to this part of your post from my own personal experience with Japanese cars (had many, have 2 currently) and one BMW (a 2006 330i with 33,000 miles). Never had any trouble with a Japanese car. Had the original G35 before the 330i. At that time I asked the same question in this forum as you did. I was leery about getting a German car. Well, based on the responses, I decided to chance it. After 2+ years, my BMW has been at the service center for a total of several weeks (not days). For a variety of issues, one serious (and a potential bank breaker if the problem materialized after the warranty period). I know I can't remember them all and I do not have the patience to review my records. But here's what I do recall:

    1. Engine problem. Noise would come and go. Lifters had to be replaced. Other contributors to this forum have reported this particular problem as well.
    2. Starter problem. Car would sometimes take a few presses of the starter button before starting. Starter had to be replaced.
    3. Headlight problem. Adaptive feature of xenon headlights stopped working. Turned out to be a loose connection, but it took them a week to realize it.
    4. Rear cupholder problem. Got stuck in retracted position. Had to be replaced.
    5. Rear glass modling problem. Rubber molding was loose. Had to be replaced.
    6. Another starting problem. Trouble starting car sometimes due to steering wheel locking. Have yet to have this problem diagnosed and remedied.
    7. Door trim quality problem. Driver's door has layer (of plastic?) which is starting to peel. Have yet to have this problem checked and remedied.

    Love the car though. Like the way it drives better than Japanese sports sedans I have driven. BMW gives me a BMW loaner car every time, though a lesser BMW than mine and without sat radio, which are annoyances (as is having to drop my car off and pick my car up from problem-related visits to the service center). And, there was no charge for anything. Repairs AND ROUTINE MAINTENANCE (even wipers!) were fully covered under the warranty and included maintenance plan. Although my monthly payment is high, I really like knowing that I will not have to pay anything for repairs and maintenace during the entire term of my 3-year lease. Replacement tires may be the only thing that is not included (I haven't had to replace mine, despite the mileage, because I am doing the snow tire changeover thing).

    When my lease expires in Aug 08, I would at least consider getting another BMW but it's not a no-brainer for me. The problems I have had will not ultimately deter me. The car is that good (when everything is working properly, which is the case most of the time). One thing I like about leasing is that I can get something new and fresh every 3 years. To get the same car again, albeit in a different color (already have my first choice, so it would be my second choice) and maybe a twin turbo under the hood (if I'm willing to pay even more for that), would be much less exciting than when I got my first BMW. The 1-Series (coming out soon) seems too small for me, and the 5-Series seems too expensive for me. Don't like a SUV for a daily driver. Covertible or coupe would be nice, but impractical for a father of 3. So it would have to be another same generation 3-Series sedan for me. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but . . .
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,381
    Also, I've never owned a BMW, always Japanese cars that have pretty good reliability...how are the BMWs?

    Well, I've owned four Japanese cars, including a Mazdaspeed 3 that I currently drive as my daily commuter. As for BMWs, I've owned eight since 1983. That number includes a 56K mile X3 2.5 that my wife currently drives and a 110K mile 318ti track rat that I've owned since new. In my experience BMWs are no trouble-prone than any other car. Ditto for maintenance and repair costs; My 318ti has averaged about $400-$500 a year to run, and that figure includes ALL maintenance and repair expenses as well as three sets of 16" Z-rated rubber. I've replaced one set of pads/rotors, the serpentine belts and idlers, the timing chain tensioner(DIY $55 and 10 minutes) and a brake light switch. That's it.
    The X3 has had one non-scheduled repair- a defective SRS seat sensor that was replaced under warranty. At around 48K I replaced the OEM Bridgestones with Pirelli P Zero Nero M+S tires for less than $400. I do change the oil at 7.5K rather than 15K, but it's a dead simple DIY procedure that takes all of 30 minutes and @$45.
    My wife had an 528iA prior to the X3 and she drove it to over 130K before we sold it(I wish we'd kept it instead of my Jeep, but that's another story). Maintenance/repair costs averaged around $800-$900 a year. Non-scheduled repair items included a couple of idler pullies, a water pump, two tie rod ends, and front struts.
    I'd advise you to buy what you like.
    And as for what we'll buy next? Well, my wife will probably end up with a Mini Clubman while I'm leaning toward a new M3 sedan. :D

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • This might seem like a silly question but what is the little square box for on the right side of the back bumper? It looks like it is supposed to open but does not. Looks like a smaller version of the gas door.

    I have an '07 335 but see these on all BMW's.
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    ... and one BMW (a 2006 330i with 33,000 miles).

    After 2+ years, my BMW has been at the service center for a total of several weeks (not days).


    Sorry that your BMW hasn't been reliable, but in all honesty, I typically recommend avoiding the purchase of any vehicle during its initial model year introduction. 2006 was the first model year for the E90 platform.

    Even the Japanese manufacturers who typically have exceptional reliability will produce some problematic vehicles during their first model year. As an example, I read somewhere that Consumer Reports is not recommending the 2007 Camry V6 due to reliability concerns. I think Lexus also had some issues when it redesigned the GS.

    By the way, just to provide a different unique perspective to the original question, I usually don't like to lease my cars. Therefore, our past 3 BMW purchases have all been CPO (Certified Pre-Owned) cars from a BMW dealership. My experience with all three purchases is that you can find a very good deal if you are patient, and if you are willing to shop more than just one dealership. Of course, it also helps if you are flexible with the specific options and color choices! :blush:

    Thus far, out of 5 BMWs we have owned, we've never had a problematic car. In fact, we had more problems with our 2001 Acura MDX and our 2004 Lexus RX330 than with any BMW we've owned. Note both this MDX and RX330 were purchased during their first model year -- providing further ammunition for that recommendation I provided in my first paragraph above! ;)
  • davidd3davidd3 Posts: 582
    Sorry that your BMW hasn't been reliable, but in all honesty, I typically recommend avoiding the purchase of any vehicle during its initial model year introduction. 2006 was the first model year for the E90 platform.

    Fair point. That's a risk I took. I couldn't resist. Impulse was too strong. And I couldn't wait. My lease was expiring.

    Even the Japanese manufacturers who typically have exceptional reliability will produce some problematic vehicles during their first model year.

    True. However, I was also one of the first people to have the G35 when it first came out and that was a problem free car. As for my BMW, it's going back to the service center in 3 weeks to troubleshoot its latest problems. Not an ideal first experience with BMW. Makes me less eager to have a second experience. But testimonials like yours and other contributors to these forums do help to give me courage and think that perhaps I was just unlucky.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 28,043
    I sold our '03 325i about two years ago... to friends of ours.. At the time, it had around 38K miles on it.. It was a great car.. only sold it to take advantage of a great lease deal on a convertible.

    So.. last April, the warranty was about to run out, and my friend called me.. said they had a few weeks and about 900 miles left on the warranty, and wanted to know what they should do.. Following Shifty's advice, I told them to call and make a service appointment, and ask them to check the front end. Shifty suggested saying, "It feels funny.. I hear a clunk". They followed my/Shifty's advice and, sure enough... "It is really lucky you brought it in.. It needs control arms, bushings, yada, yada, yada.." The total bill would have been around $1000, but was all covered by the maintenance plan. Nice! (thanks, Shifty).

    Last night, at our local eatery/watering hole, I ran into them. (Not unusual.. :) ). They are having a problem with the A/C.. Mechanically, everything works, but no cold air.. It still defogs (and it's chilly here), but no cold. Typically, you could hang meat in the car with the A/C on.

    The car now has about 54K miles, and the warranty expired about six months ago.. Even though they love our local dealer's service department, they wondered if they should take it to an independent BMW shop. This is the first car they haven't paid cash for, and they are having a hard time reconciling payments+repairs.

    I suggested they call the service department, and tell them their problem, and stress how disappointed they are, that a major component like the A/C should fail, just a few months out of warranty. Then, I finished my beer, and I left..

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  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 28,043
    So.. back to our friends..

    Now.. I give advice like this all the time.. Mostly, because members here on CarSpace.com post messages about doing this.. and say it works! Personally, it never works for me, and I have to pull out the checkbook.

    Anyway, today, I get an e-mail from our friends, and they did just what I suggested.. and the service advisor said, "Bring it in, and we'll take care of whatever the problem is, no charge."

    To quote my friend's e-mail, "I love this company!".

    They also love the car.. '03 325i in Steel Blue with Sport package and xenons.. With a nice set of style 42 wheels for summer.. I'm jealous, every time I see it.

    regards,
    kyfdx

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  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,381
    Aren't you ashamed of yourself? Your friends would be much happier in a nice, reliable, and -achingly boring- Accord or Camry... ;)

    2009 328i / 2004 X3 2.5/ 1995 318ti Club Sport/ 1975 2002A/ 2007 Mazdaspeed 3/ 1999 Wrangler/ 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica

  • Hi,
    Does anyone know any reliable and reasonable independent garage in SF-BayArea, specifically East Bay, can fix and maintain BMW instead of going to the dealer? Greatly appreciate your post. Thx. Meg
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