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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Those types of issues were along the same ones I had on my 3 Nissan vehicles. Niggling little issues that drove one crazy. FWIW, the dead battery issue can happen in any vehicle. BMW does not have the market on batteries that last forever. I've had batteries last as little as a year and as long as 5 years. The life of a battery depends on a multitude of factors. The power steering, thermostat, window regulator, and ventilation fan limit switch are not indicative of good quality materials. The fan belt can take a beating based on rpms and weather and should be replaced minimum every three years anyway.
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    Checkout for battery links. People have found replacement for about $90.00. FWIW, the original BMW battery goes for about $70 in Germany. I am wondering what makes them so special to be so expensive in the states.
  • jay108jay108 Posts: 52
    Just be glad you are covered by warranty. The only way I would consider BMW ownership is new, buy or lease or maybe a factory certified car.

    My BMW wasn't covered by warranty so I had to pay for all sorts of stuff out of pocket.

    -flashers- we have strict speed limits in this country, just because you like to speed doesn't mean we have to give you the right of way.
  • jay108jay108 Posts: 52
    I can't quote the source, but I read that BMW has the highest profit per car sold of all manufacturers.
    This means they build the cheapest car and sell it for the most money. Hats off to BMW marketing.
  • bigorange30bigorange30 Posts: 1,091
    Oh, that's funny. If I travel the speed limit on most interstates, I will get run over. I routinely see people passing me like I'm sitting still while I am doing the speed limit +5 mph even with a policeman in the opposing set of traffic.
  • dave330idave330i Posts: 893
    I guess I wasn't clear. What I was wondering was number of participants at your autox. We usually have about 40 cars broken down to 4 run groups. Everyone gets 6 runs, with each run lasting about 60 sec. Even with such a small group & short runs, it still takes all day.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Check his profile-he drives a GEO, for Pete's sake! He's probably never even SAT in a BMW, unless he got free tickets to the local New Car Show...
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    jay108 - can you back up your assertion that BMWs are made of cheap materials? What is the definition of cheap? The 3/5 series has been lauded for making the best of high quality materials. BMWs' fake wood trim is certainly not any faker than Infinitis'. And I don't need the weight and expense of a fully decked out interior in my 3-er. And the rest of the interior is quite good looking compared to other "cheaper" looking brands. In the mechanical dept I just heard a Nissan advertisment about bringing your car in every 3,000 miles. BMWs service interval is 15,000 miles. A 15,000 mile service interval is not indicative of "cheap" componentry.
    In most of the country it is against the law to drive in the left hand lane, even if you are going over the speed limit. The left lane is supposed to be used for passing only. The "left lane Richard" should be tarred, feathered and ticketed.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 66,586
    If you want the trolls to go away, you have to ignore them.


    Prices Paid, Lease Questions, SUVs

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    trolls - most trolls are looking for information as they usually are subobtimally informed.
  • bmwgurubmwguru Posts: 51
    The original battery in Europe is produced by Varta which is owned by the Quandt family. The Quandt family also owns BMW. Replacement batteries in the States are produced by Deta-Douglas and they set a higher price.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    This issue has repeatedly come up in Roundel (BMW CCA) and Bimmer magazines. The OEM batteries that come with BMWs tend to last quite well. But once they go, the BMW replacement batteries don't seem to last worth a darn. Often conk out after 2 years. Believe the above two sources often recommend not replacing battery with dealer replacement but going thru an alternative 3rd party source. For some reason I'm thinking both have recommended Interstate Batteries as replacements, though there might be others with good reputation, too.
  • vkwheelsvkwheels Posts: 218
    Good point about less frequent oil changes being less impact on enviro! My first one will be within 2-3 wks. I'm debating whether I should drive all the way up to the best dealer or take it to the most convenient one. It's just an oil change, but if someone is careless, other things could suffer. Will probably make the drive. It's not really the drive, but traffic might be nasty.
  • vkwheelsvkwheels Posts: 218
    Have y'all heard about this? IMO is a hoax. It seems of 150 cases almost all involved women (?) and most were wearing rubber-soled shoes. Hmmmmm.....

    The Shell Oil Company recently issued a warning after 3 incidents in which mobile phones (cell phones)ignited fumes during fueling operations.
    In the first case, the phone was placed on the car's trunk lid during fueling; it rang and the ensuing fire destroyed the car and the gasoline pump. In the second, an individual suffered severe burns to the face while answering a call when fumes ignited during refueling. And in the third, an individual suffered burns to the thigh and groin as fumes ignited when the phone, which
    was in their pocket, rang while they were fueling
    their car.

    Mobile phones can ignite fuel or fumes. Mobile phones that light up when switched on or when they ring release enough energy to provide a spark for ignition. Mobile phones should not be used in filling stations, or when fueling lawn mowers, boat, etc. Mobile phones should not be used, or should be turned off, around other materials that generate flammable or explosive fumes or dust, i.e., solvents, chemicals, gases, grain dust, etc. Another safety warning you should know about concerns static electricity. Below is an email from Pat Cabiling, who works at Chevron Texaco's Richmond Refinery.

    1) Turn off engine.
    2) Don't smoke.
    3) Don't use your cell phone - leave it inside the vehicle or turn it off.
    4) Don't reenter your vehicle during fueling.
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    Looks like someone actually is keeping a record:

    You can also search for things like this on
  • vkwheelsvkwheels Posts: 218
    An e-mail is circulating that did not originate from PEI or API.
    Remarks regarding cellular phones, victim gender and footwear are inaccurate. Only refueling fires that appear to be started by static electrical discharge are detailed in our report. It does not pertain to cellular telephones. In fact PEI has never been able to document a single refueling incident caused by a cell phone.
  • bmwgurubmwguru Posts: 51
    Interstate does make a good battery. However, they don't make batteries for all the current BMW's. And always make sure, if you buy a non-BMW battery, that you get one that is properly vented. A lot of replacement batteries are not and can cause some serious problems.
  • bmwgurubmwguru Posts: 51
    Bmw does not use a fake wood in its' cars. Having worked in a dealership, I had nothing but fits trying to match the correct type of wood in these cars, given that there may be 3-5 different wood types used.
  • dill6dill6 Posts: 120
    how does RWD with traction and stability control perform in serious snow-packed road conditions? This is WITH good dedicated winter tires on, like Blizzaks. And I'm talking about totally snow packed - not a little slush on a city street, and not dead-flat either, but hilly terrain.

    Anyone have any experience with this?
  • mxpro738mxpro738 Posts: 59
    Actually, Porsche holds the distinction of having the industry's highest operating profits as a percentage of sales. They are at 13%, whereas BMW is #2 at 8%.

    - As per the Feb. 17th issue of FORTUNE magazine.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I live in New Hampshire, and trust me, it ain't flat here. This last winter saw road conditions that ranged from dry to hard packed snow/ice to slush to heavy powder. Through it all, I was amazed at how well my car drove with the Michelin Arctic-Alpins installed. I was literally able to reel in 4WD trucks and SUVs on the hilly/winding roads around here with an easy 5-15 mph cushion. The flip side is that with the OEM Michelin Pilot-Primacy tires, the car was all but worthless, as in barely able to get up (as in up-hill) my driveway. More astounding still (IMHO) was that I rarely saw the traction control light come on, even when I was trying. In a sense, that was the only drawback of the winter tires, I couldn't get the back end to hang out like I could with the summer tires.

    Best Regards,
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    My experience is similar to Shipo's; I've fitted Artic Alpins to a 3er and a 5er and both cars handled snow covered roads with zero drama.
  • mg330cimg330ci Posts: 162
    Reading Road and Track (May issue) I noticed (and probably you too) a picture of the new BMW Accord (I mean 3 series) during snow driving testing.

    Al I can say is………………………………nothing. I am very disappointed by the uninspiring look of the future 3 series. Even the new Accord appears more stylish.

    To make things worst, I believe in the same page is a photograph of a future Chrysler Cross(something, sorry can’t remember) convertible and the BMW style headlights in this non-BMW vehicle are more faithful to current BMW models than what the future 3 series shows in the photo!
  • "In most of the country it is against the law to drive in the left hand lane, even if you are going over the speed limit. The left lane is supposed to be used for passing only. The "left lane Richard" should be tarred, feathered and ticketed."

    "Speed Patrols", aka left lane drivers going the speed limit, feel compelled to control traffic as they see fit. IMO, if you drive in the fast lane, either lead, follow, or get out of the way.
  • enforcerenforcer Posts: 40
    how are you supposed to indicate that you want to pass some idiot who is driving under the speed limit in the fast lane (as was often the case on my recent drive up I-5 from LA last weekend)?

    tailgate? i don't think so. flashing lights is probably one of the more safe/polite means of communicating, as opposed to whipping by in the "slow lane" on a 2 lane freeway.

    fyi, i never listen to npr, their reporting is biased and mostly misinformed.
  • leenelsonmdleenelsonmd Posts: 208
    Drive to the dealer that you like. The drive is fun anyway and you should always go with your gut when it comes to letting someone mess with your car.

    FWIW: After my oil change, my next scheduled Inspection according to the OBC was 15, 550 miles -- I think that is incredible. Of course with the way I drive it will be probably about 11k miles.

    FWIW: If you drive slow in the fast lane in Houston, someone will run you over or "pop a cap in you".

    FWIW: In Great Britain, the traffic on the Ms is great. The right hand lane is exclusively for passing and it is great to see people pass and move over repeatedly -- like playing leap frog. The flow is great and everyone keeps their cool. Unfortunately we are not as civilized.
  • hippo168hippo168 Posts: 115
    In Massachusetts' highways - I95, I93 - it seems like people have totally forgotten that the left lanes are for passing.

    On a 4-lane highway, I'm seeing more cars (probably 70%) on the left two lanes, going at speed limit or slower, while those on the right two are going faster.

    Worse yet, during rush hour, it is actually the right most lane that has become the express lane. Yeah, it is true.

    Maybe people confused "New England" with "England", and decide to travel on the left. : )
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    I thought the SUV's had the higher profit margins for 'ordinary' vehicles other than high end cars like Porsches.

    I read a while back that Ford made close to 5 digit profit on each of its bigger SUV's like Explorer, Expedition, and Excursion.

    Excuseme? :)

  • ryokenryoken Posts: 291
    I believe they're refering to profit margin across the entire fleet of vehicles. Ford also sells a lot of Focuses that don't make that much to bring their average down, for instance. For BMW or Porsche, nearly every car is a high dollar car with a big markup.
  • joes230joes230 Posts: 94
    In Germany driver training is vastly superior to the US, and drivers there know to keep right. Consequently the fatality rate on German autobahn is lower than US freeways, despite having unlimited speed limits on sections.

    It's a common and accepted protocol in Germany *and* the US to "flash to pass". This is so common many cars have a "flash to pass" function in the headlights: pull turn signal stalk back to momentarily flash. Many US cars have this feature. The inexpensive US-made Ford Focus (which Tom and Ray Magliozzi absolutely loved) has flash to pass headlights. If you flash to pass, you're simply using a feature US manufacturers purposely provide.

    The US auto manufacturers describe them as "flash to pass" headlights. E.g, Saturn corp's official web site so describes them:

    Re what US drivers think about signaling the request to pass by flashing headlights, 68% view it this way, according to this on line poll. About 23% view it as an act of aggression (Tom and Ray obviously in this category):

    Obviously the poor US driver training results in the 23% who misunderstand this. In Germany and other places where driver training is better, likely 99% understand it properly. This is just one example. US drivers are likely negatively impacted in many other areas as well by the poor driver training.

    However the fact that 23% in the US may not understand the purpose of this function (which their own car likely has) might indicate it's wise to be pragmatic and think twice before you flash US drivers, about 1 in 4 of whom may misinterpret it due to ignorance.

    It's unfortunate Tom and Ray Magliozzi didn't take advantage of their position to better educate their listening public.
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