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BMW 3-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,411
    Actually mixing octanes might even give you better's an odd phenomenon that happens sometimes when you blend octanes.


  • davidd3davidd3 Posts: 582
    Thanks everyone for your quick AND COMFORTING responses.

    And Happy Thanksgiving to all!
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580

    And that's not all; I wanted the transmission software update installed on my wife's '04 X3 2.5 and the dealer gave me an '06 X3 3.0 Sport to keep over an entire weekend. Then they had the nerve to hand wash my X3 before I picked it up.
    No more German cars for me!
  • I have a 2003 325i automatic. Apparently my battery is no longer holding a charge. I have had it jumped but after shutting it off it wouldn't start back up. The lights blink on when I try to turn it over, but it won't start up. I'm assuming the battery is well and truly dead, and it's not a starter problem, since it turned over fine when it was jumped. Should I have the battery replaced at the dealership vs. somewhere else? It looks like it's not easy to get to. I may have to have it towed, so just wanted to get some opinions. Thanks!
  • 2nd part to question: should I have it jumped again and drive it to the dealership (about 25 miles away) or just have them tow it? Wasn't sure if it was safe to drive it.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    The BMW replacement batteries don't last very long. I'd install an Interstate battery. The battery is easy to replace; just make sure that the shop uses the supplied vent adapter to hook it up to your car's vent tube.
  • ftrohaftroha Posts: 21
    My 2000, 323i was running fine up until a couple of weeks ago. When I tried to back it out of my parking space, it wouldn't move. With some help, I got it pushed out of the space and drove it to a transmission repair shop in Norwalk, Connecticut, which is about 18 miles from home. After diagnosis, I was told my problem was typical of the transmission found in my make/model/year. Cost for the repair is over $2,900 and the work is guaranteed for only 12K or 12 months. The repair consists of replacing a defective part inside the transmission and essentially rebuilding it. The part to be replaced sounds like what you referred to in your message. Apparently transmission shops can get the part. Unfortunately, my Certified Pre-Owned vehicle warranty expired in late September. Considering the relatively low 64K miles on my BMW (coupled with excellent care and maintenance), the transmission failure is certainly the fault of BMW's engineering and therefore BMW's responsibility to correct at no cost to its customer. Two e-mails sent about two weeks apart to BMW of Greenwich via its website apparently had no effect beyond their form message response to me, indicating thanks for your message, we value you, we'll get back to you shortly. My subsequent visit to the dealership's state-of-the-art service facility in Port Chester, New York proved to be a waste of time as well. Two people in the service department listened to my problem, motioned for me to take a seat, said they'd be back momentarily and then promptly disappeared. After sitting patiently for 25 minutes, drinking a complimentary cup of coffee, I got up and left. (Except for a young cleaning lady, I was the only person in the service department at the time, which was early afternoon on a weekday.) I could go on about my 323i's air conditioner problem that required three separate visits over 1.5 years to properly repair; the ugly swirl marks the dealership put into the finish of my car and -- at my insistence -- "corrected" by simply masking them with a heavy paste wax job that the rain washed off in a week or so; the front left signal light bulb they generously replaced free of charge on one visit but tried to slip into a subsequent repair bill to the tune of $35 extra on the next visit. Suffice it to say there's no "customer experience" I've ever had that's worse than the one meted out by BMW NA and its dealership in Greenwich, Connecticut. The latest problem, involving the failure of my car's transmission and their "drop dead" response to my request to please make matters right, is the last straw.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 7,411
    A BMW with a manual transmission? If you've ever read ROUNDEL (BMWCCA's monthy magazine) or seen any of div2's postings, you'd see that BMW slushboxes regularly fail between 80 & 120K miles.

    2001 Honda Prelude Type SH/ 2011 BMW 328xi / 2011 Honda Pilot EX-L w/ Navigation

  • My friend's 2001 325 automatic has about 54xxx miles. Recently, the car has problem while accelerating. When the gas was hit, the car will accelerate and the RPM will go up, but after it hits 2500 rpm, it will drop back to 2000 rpm and go back up to 2500 rpm and drop back to 2000 rpm. Now the transmission DID NOT upshift at all. So the car is very jerky. If you keep flooring it hard, it'll eventually break the 2500 rpm mark and go all the way up to 6k rpm. This happens 60% of the time, and it happens at every gear we tried (it's a steptronic with manual shifting).

    There are no error code and BMW dealer can't tell exactly what happened.

    Need help and appreciate if someone can give some feedback.
  • What happened with my car is that the battery died completely without warning. This was really my fault as I know better than to think they will last 4 years, but at any rate I got no battery light. Had it towed to the dealership where they replaced it. When I drove it out of there, though, the battery light flickered on and off. Took it back to the dealership and they said the battery having been drained completely trashed the alternator.

    Despite the fact that the car has 60,000 miles on it and I have no extended warranty, they gave me a new alternator free (quite possibly because there had been no battery light when it originally failed). At any rate, I have had no problems with any BMW dealership I have taken my car to, and I have used three separate ones. I thought under the circumstances it was generous of them to replace the alternator without even charging me labor.

    Your car is a 2000 with 121k miles, so it doesn't really surprise me that BMW is being balky at fixing the transmission. I would like to think it would last longer than that; but let's face it, BMWs, while great cars, are probably no more reliable once they get up in mileage like that than any other brand.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    but at any rate I got no battery light

    Your BMW doesn't have a "battery light". The light that you are refering to only illuminates when the charging system malfunctions.

    they gave me a new alternator free

    BMW dealers often provide no-cost goodwill repairs to loyal customers.

    Your car is a 2000 with 121k miles, so it doesn't really surprise me that BMW is being balky at fixing the transmission.

    I can't think of of a single manufacturer that would pay for repairs on a car that was @2 years and 71,000 miles out of warranty. Furthermore, I'll bet that the ATF was NEVER changed. My 1997 E39 is cruising along in the hands of its third owner and the automatic transmission operates as new. Of course, I did change the ATF at 100K- as Munich recommends.
  • ftrohaftroha Posts: 21
    My 2000 BMW 323i has 64,000 miles on it, not 121,000 miles as you say. (Are you thinking kilometers perhaps?) My car has been meticulously maintained. A little research on the Internet quickly revealed that my make/model/year has a transmission defect, consisting of failure to go in reverse. I learned about the defect through the National Transportation and Safety Board web site as well as others. Unfortunately, BMW does not want to own up to the defect, and I am pursuing an equitable resolution with the help of an attorney.
  • ftrohaftroha Posts: 21
    In my earlier reply to you, I neglected to provide the following link to many complaints about my make/model/year's transmission failing to go into reverse despite relatively low miles (64,000) and excellent maintenance. The complaints you'll see are of course just the tip of the iceberg. There are many more on other sites and no doubt many, many more that have gone unreported via the Internet. If you'd care to copy and paste the following web address into your browser, I think you'll find it interesting reading. Apparently taking excellent care of a BMW cannot compensate for careless engineering on BMW's part. (They are not "the ultimate" when it comes to performance and reliability -- though they were in the early 90's.) As for the despicable dealership from which I bought my Certified Pre-Owned BMW -- enough already said in my first post.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Whatever... :shades:
  • I live in minneapolis, i bought a used 2003 325i, is going to the dealership the only option for service? Or should i buy into the predatory extended warranty service providers.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    is going to the dealership the only option for service?

    No. A good independent BMW tech will be able to service your E46 with no problem. If you are a BMW CCA member I would contact some of the local chapter members and see who they use/recommend. That said, I've found my local dealer's service pricing to be very competitive for many procedures. I certainly would not advise buying any extended warranty other than the one(s) offered by BMW NA; the third party warranties are really just glorified insurance policies- and all too often it proves very hard to recover any reimbursement from the insurer.
    In any event, the E46 has proven to be a very durable model. Change the engine oil every 7500 miles, the gearbox and final drive oil every 50000, coolant(BMW Coolant ONLY) every three years, and brake fluid(DOT4) every two years. I'd be surprised if your maintenance costs exceed $600/year-they will be even less if you can perform the simple procedures such as oil changes and brake pads/rotors.
  • I recently got into an accident with my bmw 330 2006. Anyone has recommendation on BMW certified body shop in southern cal.?

  • Thank you, very helpful suggestions.
  • sunilbsunilb Posts: 407
    I've been reading of other owner's having their battery die after 3-5 years... is there any way to know when the battery might die and/or when a good time to replace it is?

  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    is there any way to know when the battery might die and/or when a good time to replace it is?

    The OEM batteries almost always fail due to a lack of maintenance. The electrolyte level needs to be checked at least every six months and topped up with distilled water as needed. I followed that regimen with my Club Sport and my E39 and their batteries lasted ten years. In fact, the battery in the Club Sport never actually failed; I simply replaced it so I wouldn't be left stranded somewhere when/if it finally died.
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