bmw reliability/maintenance?

pat455pat455 Member Posts: 603
edited March 2014 in BMW
Welcome to Town Hall.

You will probably find more BMW owners hanging out in some of our other conferences, rather than here in Maintenance and Repair. We have not had a whole lot of discussion here about issues with any BMW - perhaps that is a good sign (!), I don't really know.

If you haven't already, I suggest you use the Topic Search feature on the left side of this page for 3 Series and look for an active topic in the conference that seems most appropriate.

Note that a search for "3 Series" will return topics with both "3 Series" and "3-Series" in the title, but a search for "3-Series" will not find topics that contain "3 Series" -- got all of that? ;->

Good luck and again, welcome.

Community Leader/Maintenance & Repair Conference


  • rikmarikma Member Posts: 2
    I posted a message about my experience with a new 1999 BMW 323i about a week ago. If you haven't seen it, the car's transmission broke down twice in a year. The first time, the whole transmission had to be completely replaced. The second time, the car suddenly jumped from Park into Reverse. Then it got stuck in gear S2.
    I think the car is a lemon, but BMW and the dealership essentially say I'm stuck with the car. BMW again??? NEVER.
  • jshujshu Member Posts: 9
    I currently own a 1999 BMW 328i that was put into service in February of 1999. I drive 40k to 50k miles a year so long term maint costs are very important to me.

    Right now I have almost 70k miles on my 328i. The first 36k miles of service/maint were covered under warranty so it was free. After the free maint expired the only things I've had to do is regular oil changes (approx every 15k to 18k miles at $35 each if I do it myself or $70 at the dealer).

    at 65k I had an inspection II service (major tune-up type service) it cost me $400 which included new spark plugs (not necessary till 100k miles but I had it done anyways) without the plugs it was $300. I also had the front brake pads and rotors replaced (worn out) which cost me $300. for a total of $600.
    This past week it needed a new thermostat (known issue on cars built before 4/2000) which cost me $170.

    Over all it has been the cheapest car (in terms of maint) I've owned.
    Other car's I've owned in the past includes toyotas and hondas which required $400 tune-ups at 50k intervals (vs 60k for BMW at approx same price) and domestic cars like GM, ford and chryslers which required the same tune-up plus something major always goes wrong every 30k miles.
    (i.e. need new transmission every 30k miles on chryslers, need new wheel bearings & transmission & power rack&pinion steering on GMs and new engines on fords).

    If you do 17k a year then your first 2 years of maint is free. After that you would be looking at approx $250 a year in maint. ($70 year one oil change, $400 year two inspection etc)
  • brucec35brucec35 Member Posts: 246
    My bmw experience so far:

    '97 540i purchased 4/2000 for $30,900 w/ 100K ext warranty that transferred from previous owner. Car had 66,000 miles.

    1. Level I service, rear brake job, rebalance tires, $700

    2. defective rear electric window, defective thermostat, continuing tire balance problem(turns out 17" cross spoke alloy rim is slightly bent), coolant level float gauge is stuck in down position, valve cover gaskets oozing oil slightly, check engine light comes on(related to emissions on BMW's) Repaired under warranty for $50 deductible.

    3. Check engine light came on again under hard acceleration two days later. Will have to go BACK to the same shop. Various buttons on climate/radio stick a little, but no big deal. Chrome trim around windows is somewhat tarnished, perhaps due to prior lack of wax. Might be able to polish it out, but I have to wait till I have time.

    Overall, very reasonable in terms of out-of-pocket costs, but ONLY because we have a good warranty. The actual guts of the car work fine, it's just the little things that BMW can't seem to get right. The EASY things, actually.

    We will probably sell it before the warranty expires at 100K miles. But we bought it cheap, so it'll work out ok. I just like having a car I can take on trips and not fret about what's gonna happen.
  • giantwhalegiantwhale Member Posts: 1
    I purchased my '00 323IS in Nov 99, I have 26K miles on it as of Oct of this year. I have not had any trouble with it. The dealer has been very helpful in scheduled maintenance, 15k oil change.
    I am looking forward to many miles with this car.
  • chorobechorobe Member Posts: 5
    I bought this car in May 2000 and it has been very reliable. Of course at the time it was BMW's flagship so it used top rung parts compared to the lower cost 3 series. I don't go to BMW dealers to get service done because I know it would cost me an arm and a leg but I did find a great independent shop that only does BMW. So far, the oil changes have cost about $55 which is not bad for a 5L V-12. I had my rear shock mounts replaced for something like $150. Don't get me wrong, BMW parts are very expensive. One repair that I want to do is on the sunroof but guess what? The motor for the sunroof alone is about $600 so I'll sit on it until later. Since I owned the car, it never left me stranded nor has anything major been broken.
  • mike_542mike_542 Member Posts: 128
    Over three years ago, I purchased a BMW 528i. Currently, my operating costs not including gas is zero dollars. Thats because of free maintanance and no unscheduled stops. Currently, I am extremely happy with my maintanance of my Bimmer and I would definately buy another cost free BMW!
  • mike_542mike_542 Member Posts: 128
    To be honest with you, no car company is perfect. Their are quite a few BMW lemon horror stories, but all car compaines have them. Overall, I find BMWs to be extraordinary automobiles, but try to buy them a year after they have been completely redesigned. This way, there will be less "just-noticed" recalls or factory "prototype" models.
  • adpincadpinc Member Posts: 4
    I bought a '99 323i this past March with the sport package that was a dealer promo vehicle. It had 14k miles when I bought it, and it included the 100k mile warrantee. In July, the thermostat went, which is apparently a known problem, and the after-fan would not stop running. It killed the battery. This was a free repair for me since it is under warantee, but other '99 owners who are bordering their end-of-warantee period should get this checked.
  • adpincadpinc Member Posts: 4
    I really enjoy the HK stereo system in my 323i, but the AM reception really stinks. Has anyone else had a problem like this? Is there a fix? Or am I stuck with this?
  • heavens2betsyheavens2betsy Member Posts: 1
    I have 2000 528i (bought new). I have had it less than a year and I have put about 19,000 miles on it. I had to take it in to get the thermostat fixed. I have just been informed that I need a full brake job.... $490.00, I was also told that my back tires were worn and I needed new ones. I thought a BMW was supposed to be a "high end" car. This is my first "luxury" car and I had higher expectations!!! Any advice?
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