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BMW X3 Reliability

hb3749hb3749 Posts: 2
Consumer Reports lists the BMW X3 on their "Do not recommend "
list, even though it gives the car pretty high marks almost everywhere else.
They refer to their subscriber reliability ratings as the reason - but nowhere on their website can I find specifics.
Can anyone enlighten me on this? We drove the car and loved it but were taken aback by the negatives on reliability.
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Comments

  • anon3anon3 Posts: 147
    Consumer Reports strikes again. I put very little faith in their reliability recommendations on any vehicle that is less than 3 years old. They don't publish the criteria/formula that they use to arrive at the "not recommended" reliability rating and there are glaring flaws in their rating methodology. For example, one annual car edition designated the 2002 X5 as "not recommended". On another page in that very same magazine, they stated that they had "insufficient data" to rate the 2002 X5's reliability. That is very poor analysis methodology.

    My family drove a 2004 X3 for 18 months. It never went back to the dealer for repair. It was completely trouble free. Granted that was still a relatively new vehicle, but 18 months trouble free is a good sign. Similarly, my personal experience completely contradicts Consumer Reports' rating of the X5. We've had 5 X5's. All but the very first one (BMW's very first SUV model) have been completely trouble free.

    If you're looking at a brand new X3, the warranty covers everything - even wiper blades - and you can get a free loaner while your car is in service. So your risk is very low for the first 50,000 miles.

    Also note that a car can have an average of less than 2 problems per vehicle and still receive a below average rating. New vehicles are so reliable that even a single problem on average will ding their ratings.
  • I am looking at getting a new 4x4, and really want an x3. Love the looks and everything. However my budget only allows me to get an X3 with 80k to 90k miles on it. How reliable are these SUVs? I read in the forums and everyone talks about up to 100K miles.

    Are they not reliable from 100K -200K. Also, I heard the engines go out after 155K.

    Many cars now days go beyond 200K. Are the German cars less reliable over the long haul?

    Are there warranties that cover until 200K? Would they be worth it?

    Any responses would be appreciated!
    Thanks,
    Mark
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,861
    Long term durability depends on the maintenance the truck has received from mile 001. The inline six in the X can last over 200K; aside from normal maintenance about all you may have to replace will be the valve cover gasket and the water pump. Have any used BMW inspected by a qualified BMW tech. My wife drives a 2004 X3 2.5 with over 92K on it and it has been totally reliable. We plan to keep it past 150K.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport 1975 2002A 2007 Mazdaspeed 3 1999 Wrangler 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2009 328i Son's: 2004 X3 2.5

  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    There are relatively few X3's that are beyond 100K if most cars do around 10-15K miles per year. If you are maxing out your budget just to buy the car, will you be able to cover a few thousand in repair bills should they come your way?

    From a purely financial perspective, you are better off buying a less expensive car with fewer miles and then pocketing the money for future repairs. Maybe not as much fun on the road but better for a good night's sleep.
  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    edited February 2010
    As far as that goes, if the car doesn't break, has pieces that break replaced, has easy highway miles, etc. etc. it can last to 200K.

    What car built today has an engine that, if kept in good shape, can't do that? That is simply meaningless. The very high mileage BMWs I have seen belong to people working at dealerships or independent shops or have been held together with lots of work put into them.

    BMWs are EXPENSIVE to maintain because when something breaks it is easily a $1K bill out of warranty. Just call your friendly neighborhood dealer and see what it costs to replace the brakes.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,861
    edited February 2010
    Maintenance and repair costs on my wife's X3 are averaging 3 cents per mile. My 15 year old 3 Series has over 120K miles on the clock and the maintenance/repair costs average @5 cents per mile.
    The key is finding a good dealer or indie BMW tech that offers a BMW CCA discount.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport 1975 2002A 2007 Mazdaspeed 3 1999 Wrangler 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2009 328i Son's: 2004 X3 2.5

  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    I know a BMW that averaged $1/mile on repairs and that is not at the dealership but with a good independent garage.

    1, 2 or 3 or even 20 individual experiences do not make any difference to the future bank account of someone looking for a reliable car. NONE of the European car manufacturers have more than an 'ok' rating on reliability over their entire line.

    If someone is stretching their finances just to purchase a car, the best car to buy is an inexpensive car with a warranty. Budget is the significant factor here, not rolling the dice on a car that costs $1K every time the hood is popped.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,861
    edited February 2010
    I know a BMW that averaged $1/mile on repairs and that is not at the dealership but with a good independent garage.

    Really. Let's have a little more detail: Model? Age? Mileage? Specific repairs? Name of shop?

    1, 2 or 3 or even 20 individual experiences do not make any difference to the future bank account of someone looking for a reliable car. NONE of the European car manufacturers have more than an 'ok' rating on reliability over their entire line.

    How many BMWs have you owned? Years and models? Where did you get your empirical data from?

    Budget is the significant factor here, not rolling the dice on a car that costs $1K every time the hood is popped.

    You sure like to throw that phrase around a lot, but you never back it up with any facts.
    And by the way, how many miles do you have on your X3? Have you hit 2000 miles yet?
    In any case, forum participants can evaluate the number and content of your earlier posts as well as those I've made and determine for themselves who has the greatest credibility.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport 1975 2002A 2007 Mazdaspeed 3 1999 Wrangler 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2009 328i Son's: 2004 X3 2.5

  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    You have no statistically meaningful data so why are you demanding it of others? All you have are a couple of data points.

    I don't know anyone who has ever owned a BMW who considers them to be highly reliable and inexpensive to maintain. Do you really own one? I'm beginning to think that your car is simply on paper.

    The X3 is bouncing around the road providing heart-thumping moments when it simply fails to respond to its accelerator and mild whiplash when it decides that it should simply slow itself to a crawl before the driver actually hits the brakes....that is often 20 feet from the stop sign or intersection. I would only suggest an X3 to someone who feels that driving has become too entirely predictable and should, instead, be quite difficult.

    I would never suggest a BMW to anyone who is going to stretch to simply buy the car and would lose sleep over a big repair bill.
  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    Oh yes, I'm still waiting for yet another s/w fix - yeah, right - for the transmission.

    This is so absurd in such an expensive car that the entire situation is almost funny...and then you get that rock hard loss of power and it is just ridiculous.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,109
    I know a BMW that averaged $1/mile on repairs and that is not at the dealership but with a good independent garage.

    That would be called an outlier. And it would seem to me that anyone having problems of such extent and frequency would long ago have prevailed in court recovering costs and receiving punitive damages for mental anguish. ;)

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    I don't know what it costs to keep the X3 but I have heard that brakes alone are $1600 and the battery is $300 while the oil change (dealer) is $160 although they are very infrequent.

    That pano roof - replace the whole cassette if it breaks is $3K. Luckily I won't have to find out for a few years with the 4/4 maintenance/warranty. I have heard that it is more reliable than the average BMW plus my usage is pretty low so I am hoping for decent luck this time around.

    :shades:
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,861
    edited February 2010
    You have no statistically meaningful data so why are you demanding it of others? All you have are a couple of data points.

    You have provided no statistics or data points to back up your "$1 per mile" and "pop the hood, pay $1K" assertions.

    I don't know anyone who has ever owned a BMW who considers them to be highly reliable and inexpensive to maintain. Do you really own one? I'm beginning to think that your car is simply on paper.

    You've got me there. I don't own one- I currently own three. Here-in chronological order-is my BMW ownership history:
    1973 Bavaria 3.0
    1972 Bavaria 3.0
    1987 535is
    1988 M6
    1995 318ti Club Sport(still own)
    1998 318tiA
    1997 528iA
    2004 X3 2.5(still own)
    1975 2002A(still own)
    Pictures of the Club Sport and 2002 can be found on my Carspace page.

    The X3 is bouncing around the road providing heart-thumping moments when it simply fails to respond to its accelerator and mild whiplash when it decides that it should simply slow itself to a crawl before the driver actually hits the brakes....that is often 20 feet from the stop sign or intersection. I would only suggest an X3 to someone who feels that driving has become too entirely predictable and should, instead, be quite difficult.

    So you haven't hit 2000 miles. 1500? 1000?

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport 1975 2002A 2007 Mazdaspeed 3 1999 Wrangler 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2009 328i Son's: 2004 X3 2.5

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,861
    I don't know what it costs to keep the X3, but I have heard

    Exactly. So you rely on hearsay.

    brakes alone are $1600

    The cost of four rotors, pads, and sensors ranges from $560(OEM equivalents) to $830(BMW OEM)- so call it $750 to $1,000 installed. Note that an X3 typically requires pads/rotors every 60,000 miles at most.

    battery is $300

    The actual price range is $165(Interstate MTP-H6)-$250(BMW OEM). The battery in my 2004 X3 2.5 is going strong at six years/92,000 miles.

    while the oil change (dealer) is $160 although they are very infrequent

    My dealer(Swope BMW, Louisville KY) performed the latest oil service on the X3 and I had a coolant flush performed at the same time. The total bill was $150. Note that I change the oil myself midway between dealer visits, which amounts to around $55- and that additional cost is included in my 3 cents per mile calculation.

    That pano roof - replace the whole cassette if it breaks is[sic] $3K.

    You are half right, so you get partial credit. The cassette does cost $3,000, but the primary problem(leaks/rattles) involves cars built prior to 10/05 and was fixed when an upgraded cassette superseded the original part(see: BMW SI B 54 06 06). BMW also offers a $300 repair kit which includes most every part on the cassette that could break. A good dealer will be able to properly diagnose and correct any of those issues.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport 1975 2002A 2007 Mazdaspeed 3 1999 Wrangler 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2009 328i Son's: 2004 X3 2.5

  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    Do you really own this car?

    There are numerous reports of the X3's pano roof leaking water. In fact, there seem to be an inordinately large number of people complaining about water in general in the X3 from clogged roof drains to leaking doors leading to large amounts of water soaking the floors.

    How often do new cars develop water leaks? This is quite a screwball problem. Water causes lots of damage in cars from the electronics to mold and rust. It is interesting that the pano roof is now optional instead of standard.

    As I stated before, the high mileage BMWs all seem to belong to people who are mechanics or have one available for DIY work. If you can do your own work and have access to equipment then you too can have a BMW with 300K miles. That has nothing to do with the actual cost of ownership and roll of the dice when buying one of these cars.

    "Otherwise the average oil service costs about $220 while the Inspection I service runs about $550 and the Inspection II is around $1200. Brake pads and rotors are around $600 per axle."

    Tires seem to run about $1800 for the set although I suspect you can go cheaper or more expensive if you like. If your heated seat goes defective that is $1000. I have heard that the headlight set is $1600 to replace. Dealer labor rates appear to vary widely but range from $90-$140/hr.

    No one who thinks anything through would buy any BMW (or Mercedes, Audi, etc.) because it is an inexpensive car to keep and maintain.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,861
    edited February 2010
    Do you really own this car?

    I think that I should ask you that question, considering the ridiculous and unsubstantiated repair figures that you quote.

    "Otherwise the average oil service costs about $220 while the Inspection I service runs about $550 and the Inspection II is around $1200. Brake pads and rotors are around $600 per axle."

    Yeah, right. My last Inspection II at Swope BMW cost $424- and that number included a brake fluid flush and refinishing a curbed front wheel. "$600 per axle"? Swope charged $982 for pads and rotors on all four wheels.

    Tires seem to run about $1800

    Throwing out an even more preposterous number won't salvage your serious credibility problem. You are so far off the mark that it's laughable. The OEM 17" tires cost from $169 each(Pirelli Scorpion STR) to $195 each(Michelin Pilot HX MXM4). Me, I went with Pirelli PZero Nero M+S at $129- $620 installed(including shipping).

    I have heard that the headlight set is $1600 to replace.

    Hearsay yet again. Try $1000 for the most expensive adaptive unit. And just exactly why would you need to replace a headlight set? You might need to replace a Xenon bulb($212) or the ballast($105)- but most likely not until 125,000-150,000 miles at the earliest.

    No one who thinks anything through would buy any BMW (or Mercedes, Audi, etc.) because it is an inexpensive car to keep and maintain.

    I've never said that BMW are the cheapest cars to own, but they are nowhere near as expensive to run as the delusional figures that you like to quote. As I've noted before, I have a 1995 3 Series with over 121,000 miles and its maintenance/repair costs average 5 cents per mile, and that number is 2.8 cents per mile for my 92,000 mile X3.

    Look, everyone here knows that you have the knives out for BMW because your dealer can't hear/feel/reproduce the transmission or suspension(have you ever decided which is at fault?) issues that you claim your X3 has. And you've posted similar diatribes on this and other BMW forums. If I hated a car as much as you do I'd sell the thing and move on with my life- and I wouldn't spend all my time on numerous automotive web sites attempting to poison the manufacturer's pond.
    But that's just me.

    In any event, I think this back and forth has gone on long enough. As I've said, I think other participants can read this topic and readily determine whose statements possess the most credibility.
    Enjoy your X3.
    Or not.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport 1975 2002A 2007 Mazdaspeed 3 1999 Wrangler 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2009 328i Son's: 2004 X3 2.5

  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    Oh goodness gracious, your unabashed and utterly unconvincing cheerleading for BMW is quite amusing.

    50,000 miles are free of repairs. I have no idea if you also received free maintenance as well. Instead of making BMW look better, your posts only make me want to dig deeper.

    You aren't doing BMW any favors here. Why don't you ask Toyota how much money they saved by ignoring customer complaints for years. Yep, they dodged THAT bullet.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,109
    Can we focus a little more on (real) reliability issues and a lot less on each other? In fact, we insist on it.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,861
    edited February 2010
    2004 X3 2.5- 92,000 miles
    Serviced exclusively at Swope BMW, Louisville(excluding tires/mounting/balancing and additional 7,500 mile DIY oil changes)
    Warranty Repairs: Passenger Seat SRS sensor
    Non-Warranty Repairs: None
    Maintenance costs for 42,000 miles(since end of free maintenance): 4.8 cents per mile(including four wheel brake service, four new tires, and three additional DIY oil changes)

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport 1975 2002A 2007 Mazdaspeed 3 1999 Wrangler 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2009 328i Son's: 2004 X3 2.5

  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    Well at least you remembered that the first 50,000 miles were free.

    IIRC the passenger seat sensor was a recall. It appears that the seat heater option may have a similar problem. The problem appears to be that of people actually getting in and out of said seats and messing up the wires or connectors or something...who knows. Do you have the optional seat heaters and, if so, are they still working?

    DIY doesn't count as 99% of people are never going to DIY anything more than washing their car and not even that these days.

    As I have said repeatedly, it is the roll of the dice and one or two data points do not a significant picture make. When the dice come up badly the repair costs are very high. That is the way the car industry works. You pay mucho for your car up front and you know that your repair costs and maintenance costs are going to be HIGHER.

    It is irresponsible financially to pay up to your maximum budget for a pricey used car somehow expecting the additional 'quality' to mean lower repair costs. Not everyone has a good, responsible, honest independent mechanic in their area and then they are at the mercy of the massive mark ups of the dealership.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,943
    edited February 2010
    We have a True Cost to Own tool that's based on more than a couple of data points.

    Unless my math is wrong, the maintenance and repair costs for a 2010 X3 will run you .06 cents a mile over 5 years/75,000 miles. .067 if you drag the decimal points out a bit.

    That's a bit more than the .058 I come up with for a '10 Lexus RX 350 (link), but a good bit less than the .086 the MB GLK will run you. (link)

    Edmunds also offers reliability ratings on most new cars, at least through the 2006 model year. The X3 isn't stellar there (but better than the Mercedes):

    BMW X3 Reliability

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    People seem to think that the X3 is more reliable than the average BMW. I am knocking on its little tin head everyday hoping that it will be above average instead of like this one below. Since the AT is already problematic, I am also hoping that it isn't like the no-reverse situation that has cropped up in other models (older, higher miles than most X3s so far) is reportedly $3K-$7K to fix.

    I still don't understand what it is about water inside the cabin though. It seems to occur on some X5's as well. Why do clogged drains in the roof cause water to drain into the cabin? Just how common is this in other cars? I remember originally hearing about it in an Audi with the water running down the side of the interior and rusting out the seat bolts.

    "Yeah, the quote did make me smile though. I remembered helping 06BMWX3 helping out finding lowest price for these springs on this very forum and the price was in range of 140-200 from various resources. Dealer quoted me almost thrice, but thankfully CPO covers it.

    Having said that, in past (almost) 2 years that I have owned this car if I didn't have warranty I would have spent close to 7-8 k on maintenance, assuming I get it done from dealer. I had sunroof cassette go bad (3.5k), driver side seat leatherette cracking (1k), brake pads + rotor replaced (~1k), passenger seat replaced under recall, low gear holding program applied to car (150), and now the coil springs (1.5k). Except the brakes all other things point to poor quality in either material or engineering. "
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,861
    edited February 2010
    Well at least you remembered that the first 50,000 miles were free.

    I never said the first 50,000 miles weren't free. I just broke it down further to show that the per mile expense wasn't bad no matter whether you factor in the first 50,000 miles or not.

    Do you have the optional seat heaters and, if so, are they still working?

    Four of my BMWs have been equipped with heated seats and I've never experienced a problem.

    DIY doesn't count as 99% of people are never going to DIY anything more than washing their car and not even that these days.

    Work on reading for comprehension; my DIY changes were in addition to the factory servicing requirements. The @$50 spent on each of those changes actually increases the cents per mile calculation.

    As I have said repeatedly, it is the roll of the dice and one or two data points do not a significant picture make. When the dice come up badly the repair costs are very high. That is the way the car industry works.

    Yes, you do keep saying that. And each time you you fail to present any statistical data to support your statements.

    It is irresponsible financially to pay up to your maximum budget for a pricey used car somehow expecting the additional 'quality' to mean lower repair costs.

    I've never said that someone on a tight budget should try to own any car without leaving enough money in reserve to pay for repairs. All I've done is refute the unsubstantiated and preposterous claims and cost numbers that have been tossed around.

    Not everyone has a good, responsible, honest independent mechanic in their area and then they are at the mercy of the massive mark ups of the dealership.

    Do you mean the massive mark ups that you quoted based on hearsay? That are approximately three times the amount that I've paid at my dealer?

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport 1975 2002A 2007 Mazdaspeed 3 1999 Wrangler 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2009 328i Son's: 2004 X3 2.5

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,861
    edited February 2010
    People seem to think that the X3 is more reliable than the average BMW. I am knocking on its little tin head everyday hoping that it will be above average instead of like this one below.

    You should be fine; what are you averaging now, 1000 miles per year? Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't one of the BMW forums you frequent create a separate topic thread just for you to house your litany of complaints?

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport 1975 2002A 2007 Mazdaspeed 3 1999 Wrangler 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2009 328i Son's: 2004 X3 2.5

  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    Most X3's have less than 100K miles on them but the litany of complaints is VERY robust.

    - Pano roof leaking pouring water inside the cabin of the car - what?
    - Door seals leaking doing the same - what?
    - transmission problems - that is its own universe it has become such an issue:
    --hard engine braking/downshifting
    --failure to accelerate
    --rocky, bumpy, hesitating shifting
    --holding onto gears while going uphill
    - heated seats burning people - what?
    - coil spring breaking off their pigtails - what?
    - bumpy, rocky, swaying, uncomfortable ride
    - HVAC system instantly fogging the windows

    Some of us pay attention and keep track of the actual issues and do not presume that a single data point means anything.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 6,861
    edited March 2010
    As I've said, people can read our respective posts and judge for themselves as to which ones are credible and which are preposterous.
    For the last time, enjoy your X3.
    Let us know when yours reaches 1500 miles.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport 1975 2002A 2007 Mazdaspeed 3 1999 Wrangler 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2009 328i Son's: 2004 X3 2.5

  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    Me: Naming very specific issues that many others have commented on and can easily be found by googling them.

    Not me: forgets about the free maintenance and warranty.

    Very specifically, the X3 when it behaves itself it is lots of fun to drive. It has a tight turning radius, it has plenty of power, it has great brakes. The manual mode is interesting especially as it doesn't let you do anything too stupid. It has plenty of interior room yet it fits easily into a small parking space.

    Now imagine how good it could have been if BMW had made some reasonable changes: kept the original AT, upgraded the instruments, did something with the pano roof that didn't include leaking, fixed the heated seat situation when they fixed the passenger side airbag situation (I think they are the same problem but I am not sure), made the suspension reasonable, etc.

    It coulda, woulda owned this segment as the most popular 'luxury' SUV is the Lexus and there isn't a junior version of that car.
  • woodywwwoodyww Posts: 1,797
    edited April 2010
    Would pp2009pp tell us his efforts at his bmw dealer getting them to resolve the problems? But in all these months, I've never heard one post in the dozens or hundreds of posts bashing X3's by him detailing the efforts to get his X3 fixed, if any.......

    And if it's truly a Lemon, well there are Lemon Laws. And if there really are problems, people here could give you advice, if you asked. Or you could could sell this Horrible vehicle.

    Problem solving, or ending, now there's a concept..... but why do I think that's not the point?
  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    The car has a few thousand miles on it and it has been back at the dealership too many times with no resolution. It isn't enough to trigger the state's lemon laws (yet) but is enough to cause a WTH moment when it bounces down the street or stops abruptly for no known reason.

    I have come to the conclusion that it is what it is and BMW cannot or does not want to fix it. Maybe the new bodystyle from the stateside plant will fix it...or not. It could also make things worse.

    Have you actually tried to LL a vehicle? It has to be in the shop for a designated number of days and/or have serious safety problems. Just because someone builds a bad car does not make it a lemon in the eyes of the law.

    As long as I own this car it will have these problems because they are not getting fixed.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 41,943
    edited May 2010
    The lemon law is ridiculously weak here in Idaho. But it's not an exclusive remedy here - instead of suing under the lemon law, you can just sue under a breach of warranty claim. It still "helps" to have the car in the shop a number of times but the safety issues probably aren't as big a factor.

    It might be hard to find an attorney willing to take the case though because your damages may not be high enough to make it worth pursuing. But lots of bar associations offer cheap or free initial consultations if you decide to look into it.

    Moderator
    Minivan fan. Feel free to message or email me - stever@edmunds.com.

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