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BMW 3-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • Also, are you using a different gas cap than the BMW factory issue one? It could keep it from closing properly.
  • grantchstrgrantchstr Posts: 371
    The car is 24,000 miles old - mint and original. The gas door closes onto a catch which is enveloped with a small rubber cap so its not possible to see whether anything is bent without ripping off the rubber cap. There is nothing wrong or distorted with the hinges to the gas door either. It was working one day and then popped the next.
    The catch does appear to be a cheap-and-nasty design - I have never had this kind of problem in any other cars I have owned or still own - ever. Including MG, Singer le Mans, Austin Healey, Lotus Elan, Mini, Jensen, Volvo, Landcruiser........
  • sunilbsunilb Posts: 407
    My expansion tank had a crack in it, so I had the shop (independent) replace it, and they added coolant as well.

    I noticed that the coolant is green in color... but have heard that BMW coolant is blue. Is this any cause for concern?
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,198
    At the very least I'd want to find out what coolant they used. I only use BMW coolant, and so do most independent shops. In your case it probably won't hurt anything, but I wouldn't want to run a "hybrid" mix for more than a year or so.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • r74gr74g Posts: 6
    I was driving home the other day from work and I had the air on, I got a bit of a funny odor, and noticed that the air wasn't as cold.

    The next day same thing and it came with a bit of a humming noise, almost laborious sound.

    Now, I still hear the noise, but no cold air comes out. Any thoughts as to what it may be? I sort of think the ac needs to be recharged or the motor is about to go?
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,198
    Any thoughts as to what it may be?

    I'm assuming that the interior blower fan is running normally, correct? It could be several things, but I suspect that the compressor may be shot. I'd take it to a good independent BMW tech, otherwise you will just be guessing at a fix.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • r74gr74g Posts: 6
    yep, the air comes out, just not cold and it has a bit of an odd smell to it. not strong, just odd.

    I called the guy by my house, he has been around 20 years, didnt really want to take it to the dealer.

  • I'm new here so forgive me if I am posting in the wrong area. I have an older 325i convertible (1990)and had problems with the windshield washer. It had sludge in the tank and when I cleaned it out with my garden hose there was a small float type device that came floating to the top of the reservoir. I have no idea where it came from or how to put it back. I filled the reservoir with fresh fluid and it works fine but the low washer level light stays on now. Any help with this is most appreciated.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright CaliforniaPosts: 57,375
    I think that is supposed to attach to the reservoir cap, and probably came loose. You should be able to buy a replacement, or better yet, just disconnect the wires that go to the cap.

    Try a wrecking yard, you might get lucky.

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  • I own a 1991 318i auto sedan. I recently had the transmission rebuilt and since then have noticed that on occasion the car will not change down a gear until it reaches 70 km/hr. My mechanic and subsequent garages have tried to read the on board computer that stores the instructions for gear changes, without success.
    Has anyone experienced this problem before. I dont know much about the onboard computer but believe it quite costly to replace. Can this somehow be overridden in order to resolve this issue?
  • mexboy157mexboy157 Posts: 1
    Hi I think I am having the same problem as you!! I had my oil changed but the Non-BMW dealership did not know how to reset the change oil/service engine light so can you explain to me how you did it please and thank you !!!!!

    my email=
  • mikefomikefo Posts: 2
    Our 1995 BMW 318 just had its oil changed and I had the coolant replaced at the independent shop. Now the car overheats, a clanging noise can be heard, and the power steering/power brakes don't function. HELP.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Did they forget to put oil in it?
  • mikefomikefo Posts: 2
    Nope, the dipstick shows a regular reading.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,608
    They did something to the belt system, IMO.

  • I have a 1999 328i sedan. When running the A/C the driver side blows cool and the passenger side blows warm air. Have had some water leaking into the interior and believe that the A/C drain is plugged up. Could this be the cause of this problem?
  • karitonkariton Posts: 2
    Hi, I am a newbie in this forum.

    My wife has a bmw325 which is nearing the warranty of 50,000miles. We want to extend the BMW sponsored warranty and free maintenance up to 100,000. The dealer quoted $2,500 and $1,500 respectively. In addition, the these are warranties by company associated to BMW and not by the actual BMW company. They said that there is no available warranty by BMW. Is this a good deal or do I have to look for another dealer in a different city? There is only one BMW dealer in our metro area.Thanks.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,608
    You could save the $1,500 if you do your own maintenance but I would get the 100,000 mile warranty if I were in your place. I have seen the cost somewhere on the BMW forum a lot lower, however, in the sub-$2K range, I believe.

    I can tell you that I purchased a bumper-bumper warranty (4 yr additional/70K Total miles) on my wife's GMC 1 month before the 3 yr/36 ran out for $1,900. Last May, 18 months since, the A/C evaporator failed - $870 Cost (I paid $66 for Freon/coolant). So, almost half the cost of extended warranty with one part failure.

  • eruceruc Posts: 1
    I just bought a new 07 328i coupe last month. The milage is horrible, around 16, well below advertised 21 local 30 highway. I know it's still in break in period, but this still sounds very low. Wonder what's the number from other 328 owners.
    Also I noticed that the engine warms up very slowly. It's about 5 miles drive from my home to work, half local, half highway. And the oil temperature gauge doesn't reach the half point until I've arrived at work already. And it cools off slowly as well, the hood feels hot even a couple hours after use. I used to have a Honda Civic and it warms up just within a couple minutes after a cold start.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,198
    I just bought a new 07 328i coupe last month. The mileage is horrible, around 16, well below advertised 21 local 30 highway.

    I wouldn't expect to get much over 20 mpg- assuming that the majority of your driving consists of your 5 mile work commute.

    Also I noticed that the engine warms up very slowly. It's about 5 miles drive from my home to work, half local, half highway. And the oil temperature gauge doesn't reach the half point until I've arrived at work already.

    That's completely normal; oil temperature always lags behind water temperature. In your case I'm actually surprised that it warms up so quickly.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport / 2014 M235i / 1999 Wrangler / 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2016 i3 REX/2009 Cooper Clubman Son's: 2009 328i

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Your mileage is most likely due to the fact that your engine isn't being given time to warm up before you shut it down. Like it or not, you have to drive these things a bit before they're fully warm, especially the oil. Think about it this way, your Civic was a tiny little one point something engine with roughly three and a half quarts of oil in the pan. The three liter engine in your 328i has twice the oil capacity of the civic, and it does take a while to get all of that oil warm.

    Best Regards,
  • robl1robl1 Posts: 25
    2003 330xi - Left Xenon headlamp went out about 1 month ago and headlamp warning went on from the dashboard. Turn car off and the next morning start up the car and warning light is off and headlamp is fine. This has now happened 3 more times including today. Is this the igniter, electrical or is the headlamp about to die?
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    I had the same symptoms with my '01 a few years ago. It didn't last as long... I think I had a total of 2 or 3 iterations over about a week before it totally died. It was the ignitor in my case.
  • robl1robl1 Posts: 25
    Well its at the dealer now so we'll see what they say.
  • I have a 2003 325i sedan with an intermittant A/C problem. The A/C blows cold and randomly it seems like the compressor stops (I suspect) and than warm air comes out for about 30 seconds and than the cold air comes back. I read a clip on the web (see link) that describes it being a bad a/c compressor outside temperature sensor. Come to think of it I do remember hitting road debris which tore up the right side wheel well cover near the fog lamp which I had to replace. There was a loose wire connector which (at the time I didn't know what it was). Now I beleive it's the outside temperature sensor linked to the compressor.

    I need an expert opinion on whether I'm going the right direction with replacing the outside temperature sensor and if so is there a diagram with the proper installation. It seems like since the air is cold-warm-cold again possibly the compressor kicking on/off. I had my mechanic test for freon levels and that checked out ok along with the compressor.

    Below is exact problem:
  • guxpertguxpert Posts: 1
    I own a '94 325i with 52k miles. The power windows are supposed to open slightly when the door handle is pulled and go back up when the door is closed. Recently, this feature has not been working. Is there something I can do to remedy this or do I need to take for repair?
  • grantchstrgrantchstr Posts: 371
    I have a 2005 325xi with 25,000 on the clock, no serious heavy driving.
    At what mileage range can one usually expect the pads/rotors to be replaced? On a BMW would just pads be changed and the rotors be still OK? (I also have a Volvo S60 where rotors are changed at the same time as the pads).

  • I hate to be a pessimist, but keep track of how much time the car has been in the shop. :lemon:

    This engine ticking/lifter issue seems to be getting out of control. After replacing our faulty lifters, our car still ticks intermittently. I've been keeping track of this on other forums, and it appears they are re-designing a new cylinder for the 3 series engines, since replacing the lifters does not permanently fix the problem.
    You can read more about this at the following link- there is a whole thread dedicated to the issue:
  • My wife's '03 325xi sedan has only 30K miles on it (she doesn't drive much). The mechanic at the inspection station said she needed ball joints.

    Seems to me they shouldn't wear out so fast.

    Anyone aware of ball joint problems on the 325xi sedan? Any knowledge of recalls, repair bulletins, etc for this?

    Thanks --
  • All depends on how many miles up put on the car a year and how many times you use your brakes or how hard you use them. On my '96 Dodge Stratus, I only put 2,400 miles a year on the car and only replace the front brake pads once every 2 years, only for safety inspection purposes, only. And the old pads that were removed still had plenty of life left. BMWs have 4 way disc brakes not like the disc brake in front; drum brakes in rear combo braking system like most cars built mid-1990s. That's why I only have to replace 2 sets of brake pads at a total of 20.00 or 40.00.
    Drum brakes aren't subjected to additional wear since they reduce front brake wear by only slowing down the rear portion of the car and aid the front brakes, which take the full force of the car to stop.
    To answer your question, I believe the rotors will still be good when you change just the pads, unless you've been using the car to do alot of burnouts. Since you have a BMW with 4 sets of disc brakes, its good measure to replace ALL pads simultaneously at a total of 80.00. Consult with your BMW dealer or your owner's manual for recommended brake pad replacement intervals or brake pad thickness prior to full replacement when it may not be necessary. But you don't want to excessively wear the pads down because then they'll cut into the rotors and then you'd have to replace ALL brake pads and ALL 4 rotors at an additional estimated 75.00 and more for a rotor making the grand total $380.00 for an abused braking system. And, I didn't even include the brake wear sensor that will be needed to be replaced once activated. Keep in mind, if that electronic wear sensor is tripped, that sensor will keep the dash indicator lit until you replace ALL worn down brake sensors, even though the brakes were properly serviced. Domestics have just a strip of metal that makes a squealing sound indicating worn brake linings and that sound will go away once the pads are changed and no brake sensor will need to be replaced, making my brake job FAR cheaper than your's, but consider what we drive.
    I'm not sure if your car is covered under a service warranty, but I think the mounting bolts holding your calipers on are standard metric, not some BMW issue bolts since they know other garages may have to replace the brakes 10 years later when the car's off warranty. That means you can replace the brake pads yourself, but remember to block the rear wheels when jacking that car up or you'll find out like I did when my '87 BMW 528e started to roll backwards. Look at videos on detailing brake pad servicing and changing.

    On a side note, while servicing the brakes, examine all brake lines going to each wheel the brake lines under the car going to the rear, and the rear lines. Also check under the hood all coolant lines, brake lines, power steering lines, all hoses and electrical wiring. Use a lubricant recommended by BMW to lubricate electrical wire sheathing or covering, fluid hoses, and any fittings to ensure a good seal to those fittings. Hand clean the engine bay with a damp rag and a non-reactive, mild solution approved by BMW.
    Look for oxidizing, oil deposits or sludge, damaged hoses or worn out hoses, bad electrical connections, leaking reservoirs, fluid leaking from engine, etc. Make a note of it during vehicle routine maintenance to get the car more rapid but less costly preventive maintenance for your car.
    Keeping a clean, well-maintained and properly lubricated engine bay is not only one simple cheap solution to reduce excessive wear and tear, but also helps keep the vehicle's value up because it's clean and the engine bay has been routinely maintenanced, ensuring that most if not ALL accessories still work when you go to sell the car.
    10 years later, if this car is a dirty, rust-box that has non-working accessories caused by electrical faults, engine overheating due to poorly sealing coolant lines, power steering problems due to fluid leaks and seals that haven't been properly maintained or replaced severely reduces its value and will only cost you more money in the end.
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