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BMW 3-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • sirdarby1sirdarby1 Posts: 36

    What do you mean by this?

    "However, after 100K miles a change could theoretically be a bad thing(tm."
  • Thanks again for the informative and fast reply. Its funny, but I never learned how to drive a stick! I am born and raised in Times Square, hence the moniker "hellskithcen". In any case, I presently have a 1999 Subaru with 44,000 miles on it, and will give this to my brother who has a 1996 Saturn with 40,000. As you can see, we barely but on 4000 a year! There is a fellow who advertises in the NY Times that he is independent and worked on BMW racers. A new Impreza wagon runs betweeen 17 and 24,ooo depending on the model, and of course, has 4 wheel drive. But if the price is right, the panache of owning a BMW, which admittedly I've never driven, is hard to overcome. What type of expenses would be out of the ordinary as compared with a different make or a newer car? I'm 52 so the insurance shouldn't be too bad. Thanks again.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 48,747
    I've never owned an E46 BMW ('92-'99).. but, they don't have a reputation as being the most trouble-free model... But, if you are driving only 6K/year, then you'll just need to see your mechanic for regular maintenance semi-annually..

    You should be able to keep the car pretty nice for a long time...

    I'll wait for some other owners to chime in.. I just don't have enough experience with this model.. I wouldn't mind having one, though...



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  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    What i mean is that sometimes, with AT's if they are really old, gunk/crud can be clogging up the seals, making the thing still work. Sometimes, new detergent fluid can cause it to fail faster.

    However, if BMW is now saying to change the fluid at 100K, i'd feel a lot safer. Plus, it's not me potentially giving you advice that may damage your car. ;) (Probably not, of course. Assumedly they know how to not destroy their own cars. ).
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    As kyfdx noted, I have a 95,000 mile 1995 318ti Club Sport which I have owned since new. Non scheduled maintenance has consisted of:
    1 Set of front pads
    1 Set of new belts(replaced as a precaution)
    1 Timing chain tensioner(ditto)
    2 Idler pulleys
    3 Sets of Z Rated tires(average life 31,000 miles)
    As previously mentioned, find a good indie shop and follow the BMW service recommendations to the letter. If it were me, I'd use Mobil 1 0w-40, ATF, and gear oil, Castrol LMA Brake Fluid, and BMW Coolant. That car should make it to 150,000 miles with no problems. I'd take that '93 over any sub $25K new car.
  • bimbalasbimbalas Posts: 5
    I'm thinking of purchasing a 1998 BMW 328iS coupe,6cyl,4speed automatic overdrive and with 150000 miles ..for 6000-6500$(Kelly Blue Book value 8200$) it a normal deal considering high milage of the car..what things I should look at before buying it?What major problems this car can have because of it's high milage?What are the weaknesses of this model?
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    The key to the successful purchase of any high mileage BMW is to have it thoroughly checked out by a QUALIFIED BMW technician. I'd also want to take a look at the vehicle service history. Was the oil changed regularly? Was the DOT 4 brake fluid changed every two years? Coolant every three(using only BMW Coolant)? Was the ATF changed at least once? What does the compression test look like? Do you have a good BMW indie shop lined up to handle any repairs and maintenance? The M52 motor should easily go over 200K miles with regular maintenance, but I would expect the slushbox to go belly-up within the next 50K-75K miles. Therefore, I would adjust the price accordingly. If the car does check out I wouldn't hesitate to buy it-for around $4500. That said, I enjoy performing the maintenance and minor repairs myself. If you are going to have go to the dealer for every little glitch then I'd advise that you give the car a pass.
  • sirdarby1sirdarby1 Posts: 36
    Thanks again dhanley:

    I guess I'm still a bit nervous now that my 100k
    warranty is over. That thing really covered a lot and I had my mechanic check the car over thoroughly when I had a few miles left. I was
    blessed to get a new AC compressor.

    I'm gonna rest easy but I do agree that an indie mechanic would be best because the dealer is very expensive.
  • jntownesjntownes Posts: 1
    I am also having trouble adjusting to the driver's seat in this vehicle. The seat appears in a crooked position so that I end up on one side of the seat instead of directly in the center. Also, there is a support bar in the middle of the seat that exacerbates the uncomfortableness. While the lumbar support can be moved up and down and increased and decreased in intensity, this support bar is permanent and rather intense at its designated position. Combined with crooked position of the seat, I find that the middle, right portion of my back is constantly pressured while I drive. I have found that significantly reclining the seat aleviates this pressure, but this removes almost all the upper support for the seat to the point that it is unsafe.
  • gansettgansett Posts: 2
    I have read many concerns about 330 engines stalling and related matters. I want to share my experiences.

    My 04 330 convertible would rough idle and stall even when the engine was warm. Two dealers tried in vein for over a year to resolve the matter. Finally, the car was "bought back" by BMWNA through my dealer (who is wonderful!) South Bay BMW, Hermosa Bch, CA, and I was given a new 05 330 convertible ZHP.
    Unfortunately, this car rough idles a bit more than it should but fortunately it does not stall.

    My understand is that to make the engine performance strong and fuel economy high as possible the car runs extremely lean thus opening the door for stalling and rough idling.
  • gansettgansett Posts: 2
    On occasion my driver's side window does not drop properly when existing the car on my 330 convertible and when you close the door it nearly breaks the window which is now slightly above the roof.

    I have had this problem on both a 04 and 05 convertible, but despite repair it continues to malfunction. Anyone else with this problem? (The problem is most accute when using the all-up botton after raising the convertible top. More than 50% of the time the window malfunctions when exiting the car.
  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    I understand completely--i was nervous when i passed the end of my 100K warranty. That was a year ago and everything has been ok ( knock on wood ).

    I have an indie mechanic who I trust, and it may be awhile until i succumb to the allure of a new euro delivered 330.

    Remember, it us unlikely car repairs will ever be close to car payments.

  • dhanleydhanley Posts: 1,531
    The BMW engine is a smooth idler and should nevet stall.

    I have to blip the throttle on mine once in awhile to be sure it's running at idle--it's smooth but has never stalled.

    Maybe the zhp has a lumpy cam?

  • bmaxwbmaxw Posts: 2
    I have a 92 325i and the other day,while checking the coolant,I didn't screw the coolant reservoir tank cap on right. I took my car for a ride and notice to late,most of the coolant was coming out. I poured the wrong color coolant in the reserve tank later that day before taking her out for a spin, in about 20 minutes or so she started overheating. Could this problem be because of wrong coolant? Could having the wrong coolant for just a few minutes cause radiator or headgasket damage?
  • Hi, folks. Brought a brand-spanking new 330i with the Steptronic automatic transmission home this afternoon, some fifteen highway miles from the dealer. Ran fine, loved the drive. Parked the car five minutes, went to restart and drive off, transmission would not shift out of first gear, tranny warning light came on. Shut down and called roadside assistance, car now being towed back to the dealer. Not happy.

    Anyone else run into this? Obviously under warranty, but should I suffer thru, or just let the dealer keep the car and cancel the purchase?
    Thanks for your input.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 48,747
    Most BMW transmission problems can be cured with a software update... I wouldn't sweat it..

    On another note, I'm not sure how you plan to "cancel the purchase". Once it goes over the curb, it is yours..



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  • lilybitlilybit Posts: 1
    i have a 2002 325xi wagon. in a little over a year i've had 4 flat tires and 4 bent rims. after the first 2 i changed to a higher profile tire. i've now had 2 more since then. i'm now hearing that this is a common problem with bmw's because of the low profile. i drove a Chrysler and an MB on the same roads for years and never had this problem. i'm considering getting rid of the car. someone is suggesting that i replace the rims with steel rims. anyone want to weigh in? Btw, i live in the northeast. avoiding potholes is not an option.
  • Thanks for the response. By the time the tow truck arrived (and I'll give the BMW assist folks high marks for courteous) the transmission worked perfectly, shifting normally, warning light off again. No clue what happened, dealer/service said they'd never seen the problem before. Running fine today thru heavy rain and melting snow. Great car.

    Not an auspicious start, however...

    The particular car was shipped in from a dealer in another state. Never test drove it, and I'm sure my dealer and I could have come to an arrangement, had it come to that.

    Thanks again for your help!
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 48,747
    I bought our '03, used.. with 7600 miles on a Saturday.. My wife drove it to work for the first time on a Monday... Went to lunch, and it wouldn't start, then went into limp mode, and flashed the SES light..

    We also had a great experience with the flatbed (responded in 30 minutes).. They replaced the camshaft position sensor, and it was ready the next day... Over a year later, no further problems..

    So, here is hoping it was just a glitch..

    Good luck,


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  • mjday1972mjday1972 Posts: 76
    My wife and I picked up a brand new 325i tonight. My wife drove it off the lot and went out to meet some friends for dinner. As she is pulling away, the car will not accelerate even though she had the pedal pushed all the way down. She also stated that the EML light was on.

    She returned to the dealership and they told her that a sensor behind the gas pedal for 1st and 2nd gear were not working properly. The dealership was extremely apologetic, and they gave her a loaner and told her they would fix it right away and drive the car to her if need be.

    Has anyone experienced this before? Should I be concerned with the long term reliability here?


  • dl7265dl7265 Posts: 1,381
    Spring 1999 my 323i at a red light began spewing out steam and smoke. Quite traumatic with 900 miles on the clock. I immediately called my salesperson. It was flat bed to the Dealer and they determined the AC compressor clutch was faulty.Anways my salesperson felt so bad he gave me his 528i to drive for a month while the part was being delivered from Germany. After that 39,000 trouble free miles. Maybe early problems on a E46 can be a good sign :)

    Don't panic yet.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 48,747
    Depends on what you mean by long-term... ;-)

    Seriously, BMWs have more problems with the sensors that are supposed to detect the problems, than with the actual problems themselves.. When the sensor goes bad, it shuts down the system it is designed to protect..

    I certainly wouldn't extrapolate a long-term problem off something that happens right after delivery..

    I consider those minor problems.. I guess, because they are in warranty. I do worry about what replacing a sensor will cost out of warranty..



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  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 48,747
    My wife took a rock in the windshield last night.. It has to be replaced..


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  • mjday1972mjday1972 Posts: 76
    Sorry about the windshield, that's not fun to deal with.

    I just picked up my car, they said it was a bad accelerator pedal and that the problem originated from the factory. Car drives great now, which is what I expected. I'm sure the rest of my experience will be great.

  • algebraalgebra Posts: 7
    Sorry guys. This is not exactly responsive to this message, but it's the only way I know how to post a message at this point.

    My question concerns Zenons; whether to get or not to get. I'm getting totally mixed messages on this question. I don't live in the ;country where they might be more useful, but i'M AN older gentleman, and the extra visibility of the zenons would b e useful. On the other hand I'm getting some reactions that the Zenons are easily and expensively stolen even during day=time hours. On the other hand, some people are telling me that the Zenons on the BMW are not easily taken, in particular the 3 series, and I do park in a grage at night. I spend a lot of time in Manhattan's commcercial district during the day, etc. Anyway, I think you get the "message." Any contribution to my resolution of this dilema will be greatly appreciated. I am considering two cars, one with, and one without the zenons. Thanks.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I cannot say that I've ever heard of any BMW having its Xenon headlights stolen. That's not to say it cannot happen, I've just never heard of it. Both of my BMWs have had Xenons, and both have spent a considerable amount of time in Midtown (usually parked at 56th and 7th), and I have never had any indication that there might be a problem.

    Regarding their usefulness, while my eyes are starting to finally succumb to age (I'm nearing 50 and I'm just starting to use reading glasses for REALLY tiny things), I have always had excellent night vision and even I can appreciate the difference in the lighting provided by Xenon headlights. The only thing that I might caution you about is their abrupt cut-off (ie. if your car is pointed at a wall or some trees or a snow bank, there is a very sharp delineation between what is lit up and what is not). Said abrupt cut-off takes a little getting used to as there will be times when tooling around your neighborhood when you will see a torso-less pair of human legs walking down the side of the road or when you are too close to a road sign at night and just the bottom is visible.

    For my part, get the Xenons, and if the extremely rare event of having them get stolen occurs, let your insurance company worry about it. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • I just bought an '05 convertible and the dealer was trying to sell me the wind guard for $445. Is this worth it? Does it really work? I'd appreciate if anyone who has experience with this thing can offer some advice. Thanks in advance!
  • sirdarby1sirdarby1 Posts: 36
    Don't just let any windshield repair do it for you. My ins. company recommended one for me a few mos. ago and they did a super sloppy job. I should have paid the xtra $ beyond my comprehensive and let BMW dealer do the work.

    This company did the work in my wife's parking lot at work and it looks like he did it with his eyes closed. How can you get putty on the door?
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 48,747
    Thanks.. My dealer doesn't do glass.. I'm going to their recommended shop, and they are using factory parts.... They seemed pretty knowledgeable about BMWS when I called..

    Also, had the car in for another problem yesterday, and my service advisor assured me that this glass shop does great work, and they recommend them for all of their glass work..

    I blame it on my wife.... lol


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  • 03bmw33003bmw330 Posts: 2
    I recently purchased a 2003 CPO 330i and the BMW propeller applique came off the hood medallion. Is this a common problem? Can it be easily replaced?
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