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BMW 5-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    If you have to err, err on the conservative side. You will NEVER go wrong over-maintaining your car. What is the worst case with over maintenance? You spent an extra 1% of the total lifetime costs on preventative maintenance??? Big deal. Don't think the extra oil, oil filters, air filters, etc. will break the bank when you spent $30-60,000 on the car to begin with.

    And if you sell to a private party and have all your receipts, bet you can recover some of the extra costs. Who wouldn't want to buy a used car that has been taken care of very, very well and has the documentation to prove it?

    Differential and transmission (esp. manual) fluid do need to be changed. There is no such thing as "lifetime" oil!

    robopop... You might check with another BMW dealer. Check with an independent garage that services BMWs. At 52,000 miles the car is out of the b-to-b warranty and BMW, unlike Lexus or Infiniti, does not offer an extended powertrain warranty.
  • manybmwsmanybmws Posts: 347
    I thought Sirius for the E60 was months away?
  • muddogmuddog Posts: 26
    It took awhile to get the "kits" in, but BMW Center in San Antonio has them, and now so does my 545i. It's cool, but I'd like to know more about how to customize it for me.

  • tuckpanatuckpana Posts: 20
    I have a 2003 525i. Front wheels are pitted up pretty bad. Does anyone know a way to get the brake dust out of the pits? Thanks
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    The car battery on my 2000 528i is needing to be replaced. When I talked to my BMW service advisor, he indicated I will need to replace it with another BMW battery, which costs about $250 installed.

    Aren't there other aftermarket batteries I can use that will do a suitable job? Does anybody here have any experience with replacing batteries in the newer BMWs? (E39, E46, etc)
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    cotmc... Don't believe the dealer! There are replacement batteries.

    You should read all the battery-related comments in Roundel (BMW CCA) and Bimmer magazines the past couple years. According to them, BMW's replacment batteries are expensive and short-lived. Believe they recommend Interstate Batteries. Unlike the OEM batteries, which tend to last 4-6 years, the dealer replacement ones have high failure rates in 2-3 years.
  • cassidymcassidym Posts: 108
    Muddog, do you have Nav?

    Also, what other options do you have with your 545i? My 1986 325eS had a near death experience this week and, although I've got it back on the road with a new water pump, the mechanic found so much else wrong that I can no longer put this off. I am trying to hold out till the 05's come out in hopes they will have solved most of the new model blues by then. What's you experience been?
  • mdstatmdstat Posts: 7
    I mistakenly put few gallons of 89 octanes on my
    525-01 . ( Yes, some idiot before me , swap hoses at the pump).

    Now the reader on my dash , mark only 5.9MPG and would not change from there. The car if giving me the normal MPG that Im use to.

    Any word of advise???
  • cotmccotmc Posts: 1,081
    Riez: Thanks for confirming my suspicions!

    I have also heard good things about Interstate batteries, but I ended up buying a Duralast battery from my local Auto Zone store this morning. (I'll be selling the car in a few months, anyway.) Even though the battery is tucked deep behind the rear wheel well, it was a fairly easy process to replace it. The toughest part was lifting it out. That is one big, heavy battery! In fact, my replacement battery is rated at 1000 Amps!
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    cotmc... Make sure your battery is appropriate for a BMW. There are some venting issues. Not all batteries of the right size really are appropriate.
  • wchrisawchrisa Posts: 1
    No answer, but my 545i was not factory prepped for Satellite Radio and the dealer is telling it can NOT be installed in an integrated fashion after the fact other than through a radio signal to the AM/FM (like a rental car). Does anyone know the facts on this? I really want it, but don't want the screw up the iDrive. HELP!!
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    This issue may have been fully covered, but a here are my 2-cents worth on tires:

    BMW's, since the beginning of time, on the sport packages have a angle to the tire (forget the exact term) that can easily be seen by looking at the rear. This is great for handling, but bad for tire wear. With the rim size and tire clearance setup on the sport packages you are typically limited to the Z-rated tires that are extremely soft - resulting in 25k miles (8000 miles IS a problem). I ran into this on my wifes Volvo 850 turbo. I was able to go to a +1 tire size and get a all-season Michelin tire that goes 50k miles (she does not need the handling).
    Further, these Z tires can not be switched left-to-right (uni-directional) and in some cases the rear tires are a different size from the fronts.
    I checked out the tire options before ordering my 545i and from what I can tell you are stuck with a Z rated tire - not sure I would want to change anyways, I am buying this car for it's handling.
    I did find that the Michelin A/S has a higher treadwear rating than the factory Dunlops. Also a recommendation from my local tire dealer is that they are putting alot of Yokahama's on the Bimmers. They are a good value ($/mile)- they have a higher treadwear rating than the factory tires and the price is substantially lower than the Michelins. The wet and dry road friction ratings seem to be decent. A buddy of mine has just installed them on his 540i and seems to be happy.
    So, bottom line is the BMW sport package is designed for handling even though most of us are comuting in it, and the price you pay is tire replacement.
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    I could not agree with you more - reiz.
    When it comes to engine and transmission, I cut the recommended maintenance in 1/2. Probably overkill, but I keep a vehicle 10 years. Case-in-point: my 90 blazer had 200k miles, towed a boat for 20% of it's life and still had a solid transmission (except for torque converter change at 198) and did not burn oil - and that was an American vehcile - completely different class than my Bimmer.
    The cold start and driving style (start/stop, hills...) also has alot to do with it.
  • cassidymcassidym Posts: 108
    jas, I'm also contemplating a 545I (probably wait till the 2005's are available) and am worried about the tires as well. Like you say, I'm buying the car for its handling but will use it mostly for commuting (50 miles a day in Northern Virginia). The weather gets just sloppy enough here in Winter to make driving a car with this sort of power and performance tires a concern. Plus I have no room to store a separate set of wheels and tires.

    Do you know how the Michelin A/S does in the snow?

    One of the rationales I'm using to talk myself into this purchase is this: If you get the Z rated tires but do buy a separate set of wheels and winter tire and run those from Nov to April, you are actually extending the life of the Z-rated tires since you only be on them half the year. Okay, it's not rock solid reasoning but it is helping me talk myself into a six-speed 545.

    What options do you plan on getting?
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    cassidym... You can afford a $60,000 545i but can't afford to store a set of tires?

    If you get a 545i6, in your area you should be driving summer tires in spring-summer-fall and dedicated snow tires in winter. Don't skimp on mediocre all-season tires. (If you go down the skimping road, why buy a 545i6? Will you skimp on gasoline, oil, fluids, etc.? Don't try to save a few bucks this way. If you need to do that, then buy a less expensive car. Say a 330i.)
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    cassidym, fortunately I now live on the left coast, so snow is not an issue and when it is I take the Yukon. My brother-in-law in WI does the two sets of tires on his Lexus. The problem is finding low profile all-weather tires. In his case, his winter tires have a smaller rim size. I agree with your justification of the investment in the winter tires extend the life of your summer ones. I am not really crazy about down grading the look of the car for winter though.

    I have not fully researched the tires, but I wanted to get a good idea of what I was in for before I purchased - after the dealer said the stock tires last about 20-25k.

    The Pilot Sport A/S is an all weather tire and available in the 245/40 & 275/35 18's (which are on the 545 sport package). This would solve your winter/summer problem without having a second set of tires.

    I was interested in them since they have a treadwear of 400 instead of 200 or so for the factory Dunlops or 220 for the Pilot Sport. You do knock down 1 point on the handling but they are better in wet conditions and are more quiet. Since I am not driving on a race track, it seems to be a pretty good tradeoff between increased life and traction in the elements with minimal change in handling. And, with everybody talking about noisy tires, I am thinking this may be the route I go for replacement.

    I am not sure if this tire is a 'run-flat' like the factory, but I am willing to live with the risk.

    I am not sure about the Yokohama's. The ones I had looked at where not an all-weather tire, but they had a treadlife of 280 which is better than the sport michelins or dunlops. It is possible that there are other tire options out there.

    If I was in your shoes, I would try the Pilot A/S and not worry about switching tires/rims every 6 months. Besides, I think the 545 sport rims are the best in the series, but that is just personal opinion.

    FYI - I have a set of SUV michelin pilot sport M/S on my Yukon and although it is not nearly as aggressive of a pattern as my old 4x4 tires (BF Goodrich A/T), I was extremely impressed with the traction. You can also 'sipe' the tires which DOES void the tire warranty, but is supposed to help with snow. I would talk to someone at Discount tires (Americas tire company in CA). Don't let the name fool you, I have gotten some really good info from these guys. I am not sure about the adverse affects of 'siping' on a performace tire that does not run flat on the pavement but they could probably tell you. I think if you couple this tire with your traction control system, you will be fine.

    If you do not get your questions answered, they have a facility right next to my office and I would be happy to do some further research if needed, as I will have to do this eventually.

    I was going to wait for the 2005's but since they will probably not be delivered until November (545's) I went ahead with a 2004 order. I am not getting Navigation or satelite, so 2005 was not a big concern as I think these are the only upgrades you will see. Besides, I liked the current rims and I did not want to run the risk of them changing.

    Since I have been seriously looking at them since January, the waiting is killing me. August 15th is the date.

    Good Luck.
  • jasjas Posts: 115
    FYI - riez has a very good point about mediocre All Season tires. You don't want to wreck a car by saving a few bucks.

    Just from experience, and granted my SUV tires where on a different vehicle, when I go to the snow, it is to the mountains with steep hills/turns and traffic and it snows in feet, not inches. I think I had better traction in all aspects from my high-end michelins than a very, very aggresive A/T tire. I did sipe these tires and I have no idea how much impact this actually had.

    I also do not know how much you loose in handling with the All-Season version. According to michelins ratings, it is only 1 point (out of 10) lower.

    You can go to the michelin website and get all the detailed specs. Don't type in your car, just search on tires. For some reason, michelin will not say they have a tire for your car, which may have something to do with the run-flat feature.

    I know I should boycott French products, but when it comes to tires, they have some of the best.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    - Road salt, ice, winter grime, etc. are hard on alloy wheels. Buying a cheap set of steel wheels is a better deal than ruining a good set of alloy wheels.

    - Taller, narrower tires actually work best in snow. So downgrading a size is best. And they are less expensive. Never upgrade (Plus Size) winter tires!

    - Don't think anyone needs a WINTER speed rating in excess of 130 miles. So H-rating fine. If anyone out there is driving over 130 mph in winter, may God have mercy on you and the other drivers around you. (Can't say I think anyone should drive more than 90 or 100, tops, in winter. Rock, sand and other winter road debris can really do a number on your windows!!!) Save any high speed driving for the right seasons. You have the rest of the year to put the car thru its paces. Winter is all about getting through without ending up in a ditch or being rear ended by someone else.

    Dedicated winter tires are best in their season. Dedicated summer tires are best the other three seasons. Treat yourself and your car right. Buy and drive the right tires year round.
  • manybmwsmanybmws Posts: 347
    Pilot Sport A/S is what I use other than winter time on 17" BMW wheels. Great tire - ride, handling, longevity, quietness - all with very good handling. In fact I recommended them to a family member with a new 545i on BMW 18" wheels, and it is great also.

    Work unbelievably well in the rain. I have tried them in light snow but was not overwhelmed. I use Michelin Pilot Alpins on BMW 16" wheels in the winter. I have not had any winter problems in 5 years driving two different E39s - one with DSC and one without.
  • cassidymcassidym Posts: 108
    Thanks everyone for the excellent advice. Based on your inputs, I plan on getting a separate set of 16 or 17 inch rims and putting a set of Michelin Pilot Alpines on for the Winter. I live in Northern Virginia where we don't get lots of snow (some years virtually none) but we do get enough slop that, combined with my daily 50-mile round trip around the dreaded Beltway, having the proper tires is damn important.

    New subject: anyone got any idea what changes the 5-Series will get? Someone mentioned Nav and Satellite radio. I assume this is not an upgrade to these options but merely the fix that will avoid the interference that now prevents the two from operating together.
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