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BMW 3-Series 2005 and earlier



  • white6white6 Posts: 588
    The November 2003 Car and Driver had the long-term wrap-up of their 2002 Toyota Camry. In 40,000 miles they spent $750 on manufacturer-recommended routine maintenance, including a $479 30,000 mile service that included new oil and coolant, air and A/C filters and automatic transmission fluid. $0 on repair. No new tires were required. While compared to a BMW it may or may not be less expensive in the long run, but it doesn't really sound that cheap to me. A lot more than just an occasional oil change.
  • andergtrandergtr Posts: 101
    if you are looking at the 40,000-mile mark, the BMW is going to win every time, because maintenance is included in the price of the car. that's fine if you turn your cars pretty quickly or lease them.

    if you hold onto them for the long haul like me, the japanese cars seem to be significantly cheaper. in my situation, i can put 40K miles on the car within the first 18 months, so i realize that i am in a different position than the guy who can stick within the mileage caps on a lease.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I have a friend who puts 40,000 miles on the car in a very short timeframe and he goes American all the way.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 66,563
    4 year/50K mile free service didn't start until 2003. The 2001 has 3 year/36k mile free service, and is likely up on that car, depending on the in-service date.



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  • vkwheelsvkwheels Posts: 218
    Wouldn't the local tire/brake shop have an attitude about installing tires you bought somewhere else (Tire Rack)? The local place has always given me good service in the past.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 66,563
    of local shops that will install their tires.



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  • bartalk2bartalk2 Posts: 326
    Thanks for the tips for the Homelink installation on the 3 Series. It should be included! It is on a $26,000 Accord.
  • gordonwdgordonwd Posts: 337
    OK, color selection is highly subjective, but I'm just looking for basic pro/con opinions. I went by the local dealers recently to check out color combos since it's always best to see them on an actual car in natural light, but every one of the 3's on their lots was either black, white, silver, or gray. Geez!

    My current car (A4) is a dark metallic red, which looks great when clean and polished, but of course it shows dirt and scratches easily. My last two cars have been shades of red, and my last new blue car was my '72 Datsun 510 (the BMW-killer of its day!), so maybe blue would be a nice choice this time.

    But I'm going back and forth between Steel Blue and Mystic Blue. I've seen a couple of Steel Blue cars on a lot in another city, but I haven't seen a 3 in Mystic. BMW also uses this color on their K1200GT motorcycle, and I like it as an m/c color, but don't know how it looks on a car.

    Any owners of these colors have any pro/con comments? Would you choose it again? Please, no comments on the order of "color X is ugly...", which only starts flame wars :-).
  • oil changes......BMW no cost up to 50,000 miles. After that, 3 oil services will take the car up to 100,000 @ about $60 per oil service. That's $180 for oil services.
     On a Toyota it would be, say every 5,000 miles, say 20 oil services @ $30 a pop, equals $600 dollars.

     Plus, all that time. I hate waiting.
    That leaves a $420 difference to spend on miscelaneous repairs for the 'bimmer to get to the same # as the Toyota.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 66,563
    Yup.. That BMW will be a lot cheaper to maintain over 100K than that Toyota. Just ask anybody. Thats how BMW's got their reputation as being inexpensive to maintain, don't you know?

    Now, back to reality......


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  • andergtrandergtr Posts: 101
    the scheduled maintenance portion of my BMW at 45K miles was $300 alone. the other $1100 was the pads, rotors, and tires.

    i don't know anyone who has gotten out of the dealer for anything less than $150 each time, and that is for an oil change and resetting some indicator lights.

    how do you get $60 per oil change on a BMW?
  • andergtrandergtr Posts: 101
    BMW's are hardly inexpensive to maintain if you are keeping the car beyond the warranty period. the guys who say they are inexpensive are the guys who lease them and who sell them before the warranty is up.

    well, if scheduled maintenance is included up to 50K miles and you dump the car before then, of course it's cheap to maintain. but for the group of us who keep the car for 100K miles or more, it's not a cheap car to maintain.

    now...that doesn't mean we don't love our cars. i love my BMW and had a blast driving it to work at 90 mph this morning--i start work at 5 a.m., so there is no traffic at that time, even in los angeles! but i'm fully prepared to cough up significant money to keep driving this thing.
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    gordon, my wife has a 3 convertible in mystic blue with dark blue top. Personally, i still prefer the oriental blue, but its not my car and i've to say, the car stands on its own like nobody else. There has not been one day gone by that people will not double glance at it... it is a TOTAL chick magnet... However, I should say, I've seen one mystic blue 3 coupe and it doesnt look as effective as 3 cabrio, but that's my presonal judgement. I have not seen a mystic blue sedan.

    Despite my excessive travel, i make time to detail her car every 2nd weekend on my own because the color shows dirt FAST...

    Personally I'd still go with the color because everybody is buying white, silver (or variants of gray and blue) and black and i'm not a big fan of red...

  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    did you mean cough up money for tickets for speeding?

    :-) Just kidding

  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    andergtr - the 30K and 45K service for my Japanese vehicles were estimated in the range $300-$450. You know what, I never payed that as I skipped most of the non-essential items. When my BMW is beyond the free maintenance period I will skip the non-essentials as well. My Jeep probably was the cheapest vehicle ever to own as over the course of three years I payed for two oil changes, one alignment, one rotate and balance.

    My one Japanese vehicle (Toyota) that I stuck it out with, 2 radiators, 2 alternators, batteries, water pump, power steering pump, master cylinder, 2 brake jobs, shocks, 2 sets of tires, multiple alignments etc. I have no delusions the BMW will be cheaper, but it can't be more expensive....
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 66,563
    I've seen this on a 2003.. It really doesn't look that different from the topaz blue to me. And I know you didn't ask for this, but I personally really like the steel blue. It is the only blue I would consider...



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  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 11,386
    Some really hot broad (I mean attractive young woman) has a Mystic Blue M3 Coupe that I see fly by me every week or so on the westside highway during my commute home. It is a great color for the coupe, especially with the new LED rear lights.

    Truth be told I've only seen the Steel Blue on 325i sedans and 325Ci coupes (w/o SP). Personally I like it much better on the 325i than the Coupe.

    My vote is for Mystic Blue!

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2011 Pilot EX-L 4WD, 2015 Infiniti G37x Q40 AWD

  • eve123eve123 Posts: 12
    I love that color. I saw it on the 2004 M3 with black interior and it looks real sharp...real elegant. I think it's fairly new color ...about 6 months old in the 3 series.
  • brave1heartbrave1heart Posts: 2,698
    My car was due for Inspection II at 56K miles, so I called the dealer. They all quoted $350-390. I called an independent and they quoted $475. I asked why the difference and do they do anything extra? They said they replace the spark plugs. I said they are platinum and should be good for 100K according to BMWNA. They said they've never had a customer say they didn't want the spark plugs. At that point I realized that the vast majority of customers have no idea and do not care to know about car maintenance, so they just pay for whatever the dealer/independent tells them to. I compared Inspection I and Inspection II's items covered in BMWNA's Owners' Circle - the only difference that came up between the two is an air filter. I don't need one anyhow since I already have a cold air intake with a K&N filter. The difference in pricing between Insp. I and II was $150 or so. That is one very expensive air filter!! We got together with some of the guys from the autoX events and did an oil change with a MityVac fluid extractor (product code: MIT7201). Total cost: $30 for synthetic oil and filter. I went ahead and ordered an oil extractor for myself: $60 shipped. BMWs are wonderful cars and I'll always choose one over a typical Japanese fridge, I mean car... But I won't contribute to the $350 per oil change racket that BMW dealers are running. Next time a dealer/independent sees my beloved 325i, it will be for spark plugs at 100K miles. I am sure I'll have to buy tires and brake pads again but with 15 track/autoX days a year, that's a tiny price to pay. And no, I don't expect any problems with the car even with all the hard driving that it is subjected to.
  • If you are going to own a BMW, best way to do it is to lease it or own it until the free maintenance runs out. Then get another one with free maintenance. If you are driving anywhere near normal mileage that is the way to go.

    If you are driving more but not cab driver miles, then consider Japanese.
    Scheduled maintenance on Japanese cars is generally like a “suggestion”. The dealers try to schedule crap like ball bearing rotation but if you look in the manuals, you can probably get by with fluid changes, brakes and rotors, timing belt to 100k. Not much more beyond that, maybe an alternator, CV joint. However, after 200k, the aluminum block engines might start to wear.

    IF you are driving cab driver miles, like if you want to keep a car past 350-400K then the only way to go is Caprice Classic or some other cab car. But you will pay through the nose for maintenance.
  • is my color and I love it!
  • andergtrandergtr Posts: 101
    i have a 2002 model, which means scheduled maintenance is only included to 36K miles. the first maintenance i paid for at 45K miles was $1400. i'm pretty sure that i'm not going to get anywhere near $1400 TOTAL even if you add up all the maintenance work on my toyota.
  • andergtrandergtr Posts: 101
    i've had four japanese cars and my BMW. the japanese cars were an '89 acura integra, an '87 acura legend, a '01 acura CL type S, and a '93 toyota corolla. the BMW i have is a 2002 325ci.

    in my experience--and the half-dozen or so japanese cars my family has had over the years, plus my brother's '95 325i--the BMW's are just more expensive to maintain if you are keeping the cars to 100K or 150K miles. the bimmers just require more maintenance and upkeep--which is not surprising, because you are dealing with a performance vehicle, not merely a passenger car, which is how i view a camry, you know?

    again, if you just keep the cars until, say, 50K miles, your experience is gonna be very different than mine. as i said before, i average 35K miles a year, so i'm probably in a different situation than the average driver who leases his/her car.

    in addition, i'd say that i'm probably tougher on my cars than the average guy or housewife. put it this way...i used to make the 360-mile trip from LA to san jose in under four hours every time, be it the BMW or the acuras.
  • What is so special about BMW oil, it is a super secret blend? When the warranty is up could you put Mobil 1 synthetic in? I am thinking about purchasing a 325ci from a friend with 15,000 miles. I figure I would ease into the BMW experience, see how it goes and then purchase a new 330 in a few years. I am getting the 325 for 25k, it is a 2001. Thanks for the help.
  • If memory serves, BMW oil is merely Castrol Syntec, which is one of the few true synthetic oils. And, believe me, buying the Castrol Syntec from Wal Mart is far less expensive that buying the BMW oil from the dealer. Just make sure you buy the right weight -- I believe it is 5W30.

    And, IMHO, I hope that the 325i that you are looking at is fully loaded -- $25k seems a bit high to me, even if the car only has 15k miles.
  • jb_shinjb_shin Posts: 357
    It is made by Castrol, and I believe it does use slightly (very) different formulation. I seem to recall that Syntech is also one of those that is not a true syntethic.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    "BMW oil is merely Castrol Syntec, which is one of the few true synthetic oils. And, believe me, buying the Castrol Syntec from Wal Mart is far less expensive that buying the BMW oil from the dealer."
    Sorry, wrong on both counts. The oil is very different from the garden variety Syntec; the BMW Synthetic meets the stringent ACEA standards. Recently some "Made In Germany" 5W-30 Syntec has appeared in some stores and that oil may be very similar to the BMW Synthetic, but at this time no one knows for sure.
    As for cost, BMW Synthetic is one of the least expensive synthetics on the market-and it's an even better value when the CCA discount is applied.
  • Doesn't the oil fill cap have Castrol stamped on it?
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