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BMW 3-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 27,671
    Don't feel bad.. and don't blame it on being female..

    Actually, your experience is more the rule, than the exception.. There is a reason that BMWs got their reputation for being expensive to maintain.. It's a dealer network that charges astronomical prices for dubious repairs..

    You shouldn't have to have an intimate knowledge of the mechanical workings of your car, to avoid being ripped off by the service department.. But, in many cases, that's exactly what you need..

    Good job seeking out an independent..

    visiting host

    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,413
    Even good indy shops aren't that easy to find for BMW. They can be just as treacherous.

    After years of searching, I've only found two really great BMW shops in the Bay Area, one in San Rafael and one in Santa Cruz. I'm sure there are more. Some have good "reputations" but they are very ego-driven and snooty, another trait I don't care for in an BMW indy shop.

    One of my favorite indy BMW shops is run by a lunatic. If you catch him on a good day, he is BRILLIANT with these cars, but if he's on a bender, don't go near the place. LOL!


  • hgeyerhgeyer Posts: 188
    Hello everyone,

    Does anyone know offhand the size of the caliper brake line bleed valve? I have an E46 2002 330i. I'd like to drive to the hardware store without having to remove/replace the wheel to check. If I recall from the last time I did it, its either a 7mm or 9mm fit (I ended up using a box wrench that time). What I do remember is that it isn't one of the sizes that comes in the trunk mounted tool kit.

  • skj109skj109 Posts: 8
    I have a 2006 330i with sports package. Does anyone know where I can get the maintenance schedule online for this car? Thanks for the help.
  • davidd3davidd3 Posts: 582
    I have the same car (2006 330i), but without sports package. I do not believe that there is a written maintenance schedule for this car. It is computerized and somewhat customized for each car taking into account the driving that is done on the car. When something needs to be done, the on-board computer lets you know, counting down the miles to the next service.
  • I purchased a 2004 325i, 12,500mi. in July 07. The car belonged to an elderly man that passed away. He only drove around town, store, doctors, etc. I have had the SES light come on 7 times in 5 months. Due to my varying work location, I've had 2 different dealers address this problem. 1st time, dealer said it was a coil misfire - replaced the coil, then it was the coolant light, replaced the water pump, then SES light again, 2nd Dealer said it was bcuz my 'fuel light' came on [WHAT!!!????], so I drove away - 2 weeks later I'm back there and they say it's the same coil misfire in cylinder 1 again - they replaced it. I pick-up my car and when I start it, the radiator light comes on - but then immediately went off - so I didn't think too much of it. Of course it's come on again over the weekend, went off, but now the SES light is on again. I took the car to an independant, Dinan in Mtn. View, CA - they stated a misfire in cylinder 1 has been logged 7 times in that car. Did I buy a lemon? I sure do LUV IT - LUV IT. The warranty expires in Mar.08, and, I can't keep taking this thing in every other month. HELP!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 44,413
    Well a misfire error code could be caused by at least....oh.....7 or 8 different things, of which a coil is only one....I mean it's a GOOD GUESS but it could be something like:

    Ignition system
    * Fuel injectors
    * Fuel pressure
    * Running out of fuel
    * EVAP canister purge valve
    * Evaporative emission system
    * Low compression
    * Base engine problems
    * Controle Module damaged

    Was this error code P0301?


  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,295
    Does anyone know where I can get the maintenance schedule online for this car?

    Here's a brief overview. On your E90 some services are determined by time, some by mileage, and some by the on-board Service Interval(SI) system(which calculates service based on driving conditions).
    The time based services are: Brake Fluid(every 2 years) and Coolant(every 3 years)
    The mileage based services are: Spark Plugs, ATF, and Oxygen Sensors(every 100K miles for all three).
    The SI system has 3 levels of service: Oil Service, Inspection I, and Inspection II. An Oil Service is called for at @15K intervals(or every year, whichever comes first). It is just an oil change.
    The Inspection I rolls up at @30K; it is an oil change, a cabin air filter change, and a comprehensive inspection of the car.
    Inspection II occurs around 60K and is essentiall an Inspection I + an engine air filter change.

    If you are planning on flipping the car in a couple of years I'd just follow the BMW schedule. However if you're going to hang on to it for a while I'd advise changing the transmission fluid(slushbox OR manual) every 60K at least. Ditto for the final drive oil. If you take your 330i to the track I'd reduce those mileage intervals by 50%. I change the engine oil at 7.5K intervals due to the fact that my 3er sees the track every so often and my wife's X3 chews up its oil in less than 9K miles(based on used oil analysis). Some people go 15K without any problem but I'm not one of them.

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

  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,238
    Thanks, 'burner. I bookmarked this for future reference -- it's an excellent concise summary of what really matters.
  • THANKS so much for the info. I have a service appt. on Wednesday [tomorrow] and I'll be sure to find out what the "code" is. I will also look back on prior service papers and see if the dealer, or the independant I went to, noted that. This brings to mind that I need to start tracking codes. I am also going to make a note of what you've listed here and present it to the dealer to "check" all of the above. THANKS again and I'll let you know.
  • bslatebslate Posts: 14
    Hi all,

    I have a 1994 318ic that needs a new (used) engine :sick: . I am searching around for someone local to do this and one of the options that has been presented is to put an older (1988) straight 6 engine in to replace my 4cyl. I am fine with this but I am wondering if there are any negative points or concerns that I should be aware of. Will this cause issues with the existing tranny/electronics etc? I love the idea of replacing the engine with something a little more powerful - and it would be more cost effective too, especially since this is a second car. Thanks-
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,295
    I am fine with this but I am wondering if there are any negative points or concerns that I should be aware of. Will this cause issues with the existing tranny/electronics etc?

    The 4 to 6 is a pretty common swap, and it's not that difficult either. However, I would NOT use a 1988 vintage engine, as that will prove to be a much more complicated project. You want an engine from a 1992 or later 325i or 525i. In addition, you really need to find a good BMW shop to do the work as they will be aware of what needs to be done so that you don't have any problems later on.

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

  • So I don't have the code # yet. However, the dealership did say the problem was the same again, misfire on cylinder 1. They chose to keep my car overnight as the service guy stated he 'happened' to think of something. He said his thought is that I might be losing coolant and the coolant could be leaking such that it's causing the mis-fire. I don't understand the specifics. I'm also concerned that the service adviser sounded as though he was the one to instruct the service techs to evaluate the coolant/cylinder issue. One would think the 'service tech' could have determined that sooner than 4pm, when the car was there at 6:55am. MY THOUGHT is that when they replaced the coil 1 week ago [when they diagnosed the misfire in cylinder 1] they didn't tighten something or install something correctly BECAUSE when I picked the car up and started the car, the coolant indicator came on, and then went off within 30 seconds, or so. During the weekend, same thing happened.
  • So now the latest is they called to get my permission for 1 of the techs to drive my car home. They will take some sort of portable tester with them such that if the SES light comes on there are immediate tests that can be performed. They have verified fuel injectors, pressure, put a scope in the cylinder holes, validated compression - they cannot determine the problem. There is something called a 'robo' repair ticket filed with BMW and a response can take up to 72 hours - that's where they're at with it. So there's the potential my car sits at the dealers this weekend. :mad:
  • Hey guys. Just picked up a 2006 330xi for my cross country drive. I know BMW says I should use premium, but I am about to drive 4000 miles and wanted to know if I really have to use premium or if regular is sufficient.

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    If you use Regular it'll cost you more than if you use Premium. Why? Simple, to keep your engine from blowing up, the engine control system will retard the valve and ignition timing so far that your fuel economy will drop, and drop by more than enough to make Regular gasoline cost more per mile than Premium.

    Like it or not, you have a car with a high compression engine, and to get both the best power and best economy out of it, you need to feed it properly.

    Best Regards,
  • chile96chile96 Posts: 330
    I wanted to give some praise to a BMW dealership - Permian Basin BMW way out in West TX. Wife's '03 325ia suddenly lost power steering after the month before replacing the belts - don't know if that has anything to do with it. Car's warranty ended March '07 so it had been out of warranty for more than 9mos and has 41K on the clock. We have followed all the scheduled maintenance at BMW dealers and even the last belt repair was paid in full by us ~$700.

    Anyways, after learning the cost and possibility of the rack being affected totalling $3000, I called BMWNA and spoke to Darci who was very receptive. I just told her the facts and informed her that we were actually looking to purchase a new vehicle (550 vs 535) in the next month. After a day, they agreed to pay for half the repair of $1400 (if it was just the power steering pump). I was ready to pay my half but thought it wouldn't hurt to ask so I politely asked her if there was anything BMW could chip in since I was told this partial payment was being comped by the dealer themselves. She said to give her a couple of days and see what she could do. We were on vacation in Hawaii so I had all time in the world but just wanted to see what she could come up with. Two days later, right before we're about to leave Hawaii, she informed me that BMWNA decided to do a 100% goodwill repair after speaking to the local rep. I took it as someone basically just gave me $700 so I was happy.

    I asked her what made the difference and she said she and the local rep could see we had been faithful customers of BMW dealers(albeit different dealers as we had JUST moved to West TX three days prior and had no business with this dealership before). She suggested to the rep that we would continue to be faithful customers to this dealer although I think she was being very modest.

    This has definitely kept me in the BMW family ;)
  • bemerbemer Posts: 20
    Put access key into a slot and press "start" button without touching clutch or brake pedal (in case of AT). If you depress the clutch or press brakes (AT), the car will start. We don't want that, so just press "start" button and stay away from clutch or brake.
  • Ok guys...

    I want to "hard-wire" my iPod in my E46. Any suggestions? Comments?

    I've heard that the sound quality is better than using the devices that you plug in the cigarette lighter/fm radio station.

  • Hoodoomusic,


    I ordered from a little black box with a few wires--on my 2002 330ci with Harmon Kardon system, it hooks up to the unused wires for the cd changer in car's trunk....i then ran wires under back seat and along interior trim and placed it under my driver's seat...the connector to ipod is right next to my emergency brake,,,i like this for easier access to ipod than in glove compartment.....
    IT IS INCREDIBLE!!!! Can control Ipod from steering wheel to a certain extent--SOUND IS AWESOME!!!!

    I do notice a VERY slight clicking like sound betwn songs--but i dont hear it when songs are playing....cost $ 190 WITH shipping...received it in 3 days!!!!

    Let me know how you make out??

    Good luck!
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