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BMW 3-Series Maintenance and Repair

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  • Im looking to buy a used BMW(first car) but i have concerns about the reliability, life and cost of maintanence and repairs. Im looking at the following(all have clean autocheck):

    2000 BMW 328i - 95k miles
    2001 BMW 325i - 134k miles
    1999 BMW 328i - 140k miles

    looking at between 7k to 9.5k for these.im a college student in Orlando, Fl.
    and i will atleast on a vehicle another 3 years/30miles.

    1). At this mileage is it even a wise idea to buy one of these?
    2). when do the major things get replaced by on average in the 3 series? In other words, is buying the BMW around 95 - 100k better than one at 133. From what i have read, most problems that need costly replacements happen around 95 - 110k. So is better to go with something with more miles?
    3). im willing to pay premium fuel, and do maintainence, but i dont have money for repairs or replacements of major parts. at this mileage/age what issues should i look out for? if i take it to a good mechanic and have them check it out, will he be able to accurately tell me when the different parts are gonna need to be replaced/die or will it happen randomly.
    4) i heard that the transmission gets shot up on these cars at 100k. how do i check , to see the car im gonna buy doesnt have that happen.
    3) is it better to actually buy a 1997 or 1994 at half the price at around 160k, knowing that probably all major things would have been replaced hence the car will atleast give life for another 25k/3years? are the 3 series <1999 more reliable.

    I have talked to BMW owners. and i always get mixed answers. all love their cars, but some have no issues and others have problems all the times. How do i make sure that i buy a car that is in the former group. Anyhelp will be greatly appreciated... I have tried my best to read and get educated. but i feel that i need someones real ADVICE! :)
  • lehrer1lehrer1 Posts: 54
    I have 06 325i BMW bought in the middle of 2005. How many years the battery should last? I have only 4000 miles.
    Best regards, Lehrer
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I'd say that you're about due for a new battery. That said, if you pull the caps off of the cells and top them off with distilled water, you might be able to milk a little more time out of it.

    Best regards,
    Shipo
  • I don't think a high miles 3 series is a good choice for anyone on a budget. If you have access to funds whenever you need them, or you can do a lot of your own repair work, that's another story. But if being blind-sided now and then in the course of the next few years by $1,000 --$1,500 repair bills in addition to the usual maintenance will really hit you in the gut, then I'd either shy away from these types of high mileage cars or try to finance one still in warranty or under extended warranty. These mileages are right at the point where cooling system and suspension issues and electrical glitches abound on these cars.

    It sounds like your desire exceeds your finances at this point, which is okay, as you can get yourself the car of your dreams once you're making a good living.

    I see your point about buying a beater BMW for cheap as an alternative, but this is also risky and you don't get any status points.

    So I'd say unless you can spend $150 a month on average over three years to keep a high miles BMW in tip-top shape, then don't do it.
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    I just replaced the original battery in my 140K mile '01 330Ci about a month ago. My car batteries usually last a long time... I think it's because living where I live, and working where I work, a short drive for me is about 5 miles and my normal daily commute is 40+ miles each way. My battery is constantly being fully charged.

    Based on your mileage, it sounds like the opposite is true for you... short or infrequent drives. I would do as Shipo states if you can de-cap your battery (are they sealed?). Might not hurt to throw it on a charger also to see if it still takes a charge.
  • lehrer1lehrer1 Posts: 54
    Thank you, Shipo.
    I went today to the bmw service for oil change and asked them to check my battery. They said that the battery is OK. I finished my 3d year in BMW and had no problems, but RFT was a bad decision. RFT is OK for densly populated western Europe but what about US South-West?
    Best regards, Lehrer
  • lehrer1lehrer1 Posts: 54
    Thank you for your message, Kominsky.
    Your battery life is impressive.
    Best regards, Lehrer
  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaPosts: 1,078
    I'm thinking about helping out my 16 yr old niece with her first car. She just turned 16 and was able to get her license on the first try (very happy). My brother and SIL are divorced so they split the time with her. I told them about a car my coworker has and is thinking about selling. She has a 1992 BMW 318i 5spd sedan. car has about 150k on it and only has 3 issues (which I don't think are biggies). #1 - A/C needs either recharged or new motor, #2 - Rear DS window does not work, only clicks, & #3 - Power moon roof does not work. I'm thinking the 2 windows also might only be motors. Other than that the car runs unbelievable. It's Hunter Green with Beige Leather. My co-worker only wants $1200 because of the 3 issues. Does this sound like a good deal for a 1st car for a 16 yr old.

    Odie
    Odie's Carspace

    P.S. - My SIL think my niece should have an AT instead.
  • Yeah those are big issues and $$$ to fix. That's why the car is cheap. I don't see how a 16 year old can afford to drive and maintain this car unless the parents are ready to dig deep for stuff. If the kid is really hot for it, he/she can live without the sun roof and the AC and just fix the window, that would save a lot of money. If the AC compressor is bad, it may have seized and contaminated the entire system and this could cost well over $1000 to repair. If the sunroof cable system is screwed up, you have to replace that and drop the entire headliner as well, not so cheap a repair. A window motor and repair shouldn't be more than a couple hundred dollars.

    I'd say worst case scenario to fix all three items about $2,000 bucks. Best case scenario with all the luck in the world $750.

    Also there normal high-miles BMW maintenance to consider...unless the teenager is doing DIY a lot and is motivated to seek out bargain parts, (as some folks on this board do so successfully) you have to figure $100/$150 a month to keep this car safe and reliable. You could spend less but you'll just be deferring the inevitable.

    If the parents think a BMW is a good car for the kid, then I'd pick a lower miles 325--I think it's a much better car.

    Visiting Host
  • odie6lodie6l Hershey, PaPosts: 1,078
    Thanks Shifty,
    I was talking with my brother and he thinks the 5 spd is okay, but is concerned with it being RWD. Him and I would be the one to fix all the window issues so those are not a biggy. we are just going to keep looking at other vehicles also. my niece does have $3500 saved up, but that is also to cover insurance and all the little things. She followed my example and has been putting $$$ away since she turned 13 to get ready for a car.

    Odie
    Odie's Carspace
  • You could end up being married to this car if she has to depend on you to save her from large repair bills---think about THAT! :P

    BMW people keep telling me to give the old 318s another chance and I go drive one yet again, and I keep coming up with the same conclusion--this was not one of BMWs better efforts.

    I think a young woman in that somewhat fledging financial state needs a Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic.
  • paulepaule Posts: 382
    Hey guys, been awhile since I've been on here. The wife's '05 325xi is coming up on it's 4 year birthday hence the warranty will be up in a couple of weeks. I'm wondering what the opinion of the board is on whether I should look at paying for an extended warranty. I have not researched prices yet so I'm being lazy by asking first.
    Important notes:
    1.) Dealer is 3 1/2 hours away (yes, I live in a beautiful part of the country but no close BMW dealers). Needless to say it's a big pain to get down there to have it fixed.
    2.) I am mechanically literate. I have gone as far as changing a head gasket on an inline 6 Grand Cherokee but I have no experience working on BMWs (other than swapping out snow tires twice a year).
    3.) I could probably find a decent independent dealer in town.
    4.) I typically would have to take a day off of work to get the car down to a BMW dealer.
    5.) The car has had a few minor issues (squeaking belts - replaced under warranty; noisy HVAC fan blower - replaced under warranty; front brakes at 30,000 - rear still good at 35,000; torn front axle CV joint boot at 30,000 - replaced under warranty; rearview mirror cover came off and would not stay on - replaced under warranty). Really minor issues but the BMW dealer has come up stellar with fixing these under warranty.
    6.) Wife drives less than 10,000 miles per year. Car is babied pretty much.
    7.) I see a lot of snow. Run Blizzaks during the winter.
    8.) I plan on servicing the car myself (oil changes, brakes, etc.).

    Any known big problems on the '05's? My thought is that it is the last year of that style and most if not all of the bugs have been worked out.
    Thanks in advance!
    Paul
  • cdnpinheadcdnpinhead Forest Lakes, AZPosts: 3,210
    Where do you go for service? Grand Junction? Albuquerque?
  • would love to hear anyones opinion/experience:

    I purchased a brand new 2008 3.28i approx. 3 weeks ago. A week after the purchase, I started hearing constant/annoying rattle somewhere around ac fan unit or the radio. It is getting more annoying everyday and really dissapointing when you buy a brand new beamer with 10 miles on it.

    My question is: how likely is it that the dealer can fix it w/out making it worse? If they can't fix is, is there anything that I can do?

    Thanks all for your time!
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,029
    The E46 3ers tend to be very reliable if maintained properly. I wouldn't bother with an extended warranty, and I'm putting my money where my mouth is by considering a 2003 330xi for a work beater... :surprise:

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

  • paulepaule Posts: 382
    Where do you go for service? Grand Junction? Albuquerque?

    Albuquerque. Sandia BMW who I have been very happy with in regards to their service department. I bought the car in Phoenix due to a much better price.
  • paulepaule Posts: 382
    I had a squeak in the HVAC blower which I knew was the bearing. I mentioned it to my dealer thinking they would blow me off but they repaced the blower fan assembly and it has been perfectly quiet ever since.
    I would bring it up to the dealer.
  • Hey guys i really need some advice on what to do about the trim in my car.
    I have an 06 330i, its got the dark wood and im not a fan of that with the grey. I wanted to switch it out with the aluminum trim, and ive seen a couple of forum sites where they give u pics and diy directions etc, but do you think this is a good idea? Or will it just create rattles i dont want to mess up the car. Would the dealer do a better job than i would, or do you know roughly how much it would cost to have that installed? (I know the trim itself is around 600-700 dollars)
    i dont know how to handle swapping it out
    Thanks so much for your help!
  • hpowdershpowders Posts: 4,269
    Hello.

    I took delivery of a 328i today. When I unlock the door(s), I notice a high-pitched noise coming from somewhere under the hood. When I get into the vehicle and shut the door, I cannot hear it. When I go back outside the car, I hear it. The engine is off the whole time. When I lock the door)s), the noise goes away after about 30 seconds and I hear a gentle "click." Could this be coming from the engine immobilizer or alarm system?

    Anybody else experience this? One guy I talked to suggested it could be the fuel injectors, but the engine is "off" when I hear it.

    Grateful for any input. Thank you!
  • Does the 2000 323i engine have a 150,000 factory warranty like I've read about for the 2001 model?
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