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BMW 3-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • I got the adaptive headlamps fixed last Friday. The service person said that this was unusual but understandable. The driver side headlamp apparently has to make more small motions than the passenger side . :confuse:

    I dont understand why that is the case. But, anyway, they installed a new headlamp unit and it is working fine now. I am trying to figure out if it better to use the automatic setting on the headlamp or not! I asked the service mgr the same question, and he said that leaving it in auto mode is better and this should not happen again.

  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,456
    The driver's side lamp won't swivel as far to the left as the right side lamp, to avoid shining into the eyes of oncoming traffic on curves...

    If you don't leave it in automatic, then it won't swivel.. they are fixed forward..


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  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    "If you don't leave it in automatic, then it won't swivel.. they are fixed forward."

    Well now, ain't that annoying. As I understand it, Xenon headlight assemblies have a lifespan that is calculated more by on/off cycles than hours of operation. With that in mind, I always kept my Xenons off of the "Automatic" setting as they had a tendency to turn on and off all too often (i.e. shady street, tunnel, overpass...). Hmmm, I suppose that means that I could simply switch them to "A" when I want them on.

    Best Regards,
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,456
    Of course, when you switch them to "A", you are turning them off and back on...

    I never use the auto setting... I don't seem to achieve any real-world advantages from the swiveling... and since our DRLs are activated, I don't have any need for the automatic part, either..

    When I need the lights, I turn them on.... When I stop, I turn them off.. just like the last 33 years... :)

    (my wife loves the auto setting... go figure)


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  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 70,456
    As Mr.Shiftright advised me, one time..

    "My front end seems to have a shimmy, and when I go over a bump, I hear a clunk."

    That will get them to check the front control arms and bushings...


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  • My car is going in tomorrow for a checkup because my warranty is about to expire. I'm at 47500 right now. Is there anything I should ask them to look into. I know they are going to do a whole "used" car inspection. (Brakes, suspension, fluids, etc...) But, I was wondering if there is anything special I should ask. They already told me they are doing a oil change. Thanks in advance.
  • I just got a 98 318i and noticed that when first starting out in the morning a noise, sort of a rumble, comes from around the right front. I actually sounds like something is rubbing the tire. As you go along the sound becomes less noticeable and eventually becomes only a hum. This hum is present only when you tweek the steering to the left while driving. If you slightly turn to the right it goes away completely. The hum continues even when the transmission is out of gear. The car tracks very straight and steady. Was thinking maybe RF wheel bearing, but what do I know? I am puzzled. Can anyone offer some help?
    Thanks for your time.
  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    Heed kyfdx's advice! Control arms are an expensive repair at the dealership. They replace the tie-rod and control arm as an assembly. I had one start "acting up" at around 49,500 miles and had to drive my wife's van for about a week to be sure I kept the milage under 50K so it would be covered.
  • I just got word that they did the front and rear brakes, but nothing else required attention. Perhaps at around 49000 I'll go in and tell them the "shimmy" story. I had those replaced on my 2000 323i, so yeah, I know they are expensive.
  • rhmassrhmass Posts: 263
    I posted earlier a few days ago that I took my 2002 325xi wagon in last Thursday for routine service (covered by my extended maintenance contract). I was told that both my rear shocks leaking and needed replacement and the cv boots leaking as well (not covered). When the service advisor told me that they only had one shock in stock and proposed to put one in and ordered the other, I started questioning his honesty and didn't authorize the repair. I brought up the fact shocks should be replaced by pair. He gave me some weak excuse such as to save me time for the next visit. The routine service performed included oil/filter change and front brake pad/rotor replacement (included). I didn't use the car until yesterday and felt the brake didn't seem to stop the car as quickly. I thought that might be due to the need for the new front brakes to "break in". Otherwise the car ran well. Then this morning when I started the car, the lights came on: brake, ABS, EML, service engine soon, and the symbol for stability control malfunction. I called the dealer and talked to the same advisor who previously had wanted to replace one shock at a time to tell him the issue. I thought there might be problem stemming from replacing the brake or flushing the brake fluid. He insisted there wouldn't be any connection between those those indicators which are controlled by computer modules and had nothing to do with the mechanical works of the brakes.
    I am bring the car in tomorrow and frankly with my recent experience, I had no confidence in this new dealership (they just bought out the old one). Particularly I have concern with its honesty. Can anyone of you come up with some hypotheses of this problem? The car is only at 45000 miles and have been always serviced by the dealership before. I have only driven 45 miles since the services performed. TIA.
  • dterriedterrie Posts: 7
    This is my first post. I own a 2007 328i Coupe (love it). Way back, owned 1980 528i. The car is for son.

    I've test-driven a 2000 323ci at a small used-car dealership. It has 97K miles. Steptronic, Sport and Premium, etc. Very clean inside and out. Tires in good shape. Engine smooth and responsive - compared better than expected. Tested alignment highway taking hands off wheel and car tracked straight. Handling on a fast run around highway exit ramp seemed good. However, going over a patch of rough pavement, the bumps felt harsher than I expected. I've checked enough forum posts to be aware of subframe issues, especially with coupes. The salesman says he does not have ownership / maintenance history on the car.

    He wants $13K. The KBB is $15,140.

    Should I pursue purchasing this car, if it checks out OK in an inspection?
    Is there a way to find out the car's history through the VIN?
    If I can't discover it's history, and the subframe, etc. checks out ok, are there still enough unknowns to make purchasing an extended warranty a good idea (not normally a fan of these)?

    In short, am I taking a big maintenance risk here, or should I be ok, if car checks out?
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I gotta tell ya, based upon the huge hue and cry regarding reverse gear failures in the E46 Steptronic 323i (et al.) models, there is absolutely no way I would drive one of those cars with only two pedals under the dash.

    Were I in your shoes I'd either be looking for a car with a 5-Speed or a 328i/328ci.

    Best Regards,
  • cobra10cobra10 Posts: 3
    hi i have bmw 2002 325i and i get the sensor but i dont not were is it
  • dterriedterrie Posts: 7

    Thanks for responding. The dealer is offering a visual and a laser-based inspection of the subframe at least. As for the manual option, my son only knows automatic. My old 1980 528i was a manual and it sure was blast so drop it into 3rd at 60 and floor it on the highway - woohoo as they say.

    So the 328 did not have the reverse gear failure problem? Any feeling as to how likely this failure is on a car w 97K that's been checked out by a mechanic - any signs he might spot that are a 'tell' for this? Or am I just rolling the dice? Would this make buying an extended maintenance contract a must?

    Again, thanks.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    As I understand it, the 1999 and 2000 328i has a different automatic transmission than the 323i models, and as such, the vast majority of automatic transmission problems seem to be isolated to the cars with the smaller engine. Like I said before, there is absolutely no way I'd have a 323i with an automatic transmission.

    Were I in your shoes, I'd be teaching my son how to drive a stick or looking for either a 2000 328ci or a 2001 (or later) 325ci (I've not heard of any significant level of problems with either of these).

    Best Regards,
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,633
    Were I in your shoes, I'd be teaching my son how to drive a stick

    My thirteen year old son will learn to drive my Wrangler stick this summer.
    Either that or I'll disown him.

    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
    My (now) fourteen year old son learned the three-pedal dance last summer when he was thirteen. I'm thinking that's a great age to teach the left foot how to do something useful. ;)

    Best Regards,
  • gbrostekgbrostek Posts: 9
    You MUST find out if teh automatic transmission has ben replaced yet
    If no, you are within a year of a $5000 or more problem
    Reverse WILL fail on that car, and mine failed at 102,000 miles.

    Good Luck

  • kirkrkirkr Posts: 17
    I am getting to the end of the warranty period on my 2006 325xi and, like Shipo, I don't believe in extended warranties. You rarely get your money's worth. I am having it picked up (my dealer does this for free since I live 100 miles away) and having the control arms and bushings checked. Is there anything else I should have them look at while it is in the shop?

    Thanks for any help.

  • widriver2widriver2 Posts: 36

    My 2002 BMW 325CI has not started 5 different times in the last three months. In three of those cases the car started 10 to 15 minutes later. Once it would not start for 2 days. After the second incident, I took it to the dealer and they could not find anything wrong with the vehicle, nor was there a code indicating a problem. Unfortunately it has happened a few times since. The power seems to work as radio and lights come on. When we we raised the front hood, the engine seemed to make a hiss when we tried to start it, but did not start to turn over at all.

    My car has 53,000 miles and I live in the upper midwest.

    Any ideas?
  • zico97zico97 Posts: 6
    Help! I purchased a 2006 BMW 330i and today I encountered a "Remote Control Not In Ignition" message on the navigation screen. The ke will not go in (just kicks it out), however, If I hold it in the car will start. I am very careful about removing the key properly (push in and then pull out). This is the first I have encountered this problem.

    Is this a computer issue, does it need to be reset :confuse: ???

    Thanks for your help in advance.
  • circlewcirclew Posts: 8,622
    You are still under warranty, I believe...either it needs to be reset or the sensor is bad.

    Take it to your local BMW dealer.

  • zico97zico97 Posts: 6
    Yes. Still under warranty. I will take it in to a BMW dealer...

    Thank you,

  • zico97zico97 Posts: 6
    widriver2, any response to your issue? I would be very curious to see what the possible issue was...


  • koimankoiman Posts: 12
    Does the compound need to be specifically for brakes, I have anti seize compound that specifies many uses including spline and clutch assemblies says its non hardening, non oxidizing , non corrosive non evaporative, no vibration, no loosening. Name of compound is Balkamp.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,633
    I'd get the stuff specifically designed for brakes, if only because of the high temperatures the brake components see.

    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

  • sunilbsunilb Posts: 407
    Just a guess, but maybe it's the battery...?
  • cooljc74cooljc74 Posts: 23
    When my LG phone was paired with the bluetooth, "Net Search" comes up.
    And it doesn't work when a call is made using bluetooth. FYI my LG phone worked fine before "Net Search" came up. On the screen, everything appears fine when it's compared with my other phone which is paired up.
    I tried to delete my LG and re-pair and "Net Serach" doesn't go away.

    Any thoughts?
    Reset bluetooth software? then how to reset? I haven't found add info in the manual either.

  • kominskykominsky Posts: 850
    2001 330Ci w/135K miles...

    My service engine soon light came on. I took the car to Autozone to have the code read. It came back with a lean condition in bank #2. The guy there told me that this code usually means one or more O2 sensors need replacing. Since BMW calls for O2 sensors to be replaced at 100K miles and mine are still the originals, I have no problem replacing them all and have already ordered them from However, the printout from AutoZone also lists MAF sensor as a possibility.

    Looking through the Bentley manual, there are codes specific for O2 sensors. My questions are:

    If the problem is really with the O2 sensors, why wouldn't the more specific code have come up?

    Would BMW shop's OBDII reader give a more specific code than a generic reader from AutoZone?

    Is there any other way to pinpoint exactly what the problem is when faced with a fairly vague reading?

    Again, based on the milage of the car and the lack of $$ put into fixing things so far, I have no issue shelling out the gappy to fix whatever, but on the flip side, I have no desire to spend my money unnecessarily either.

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 10,633
    The indie shop where I take my Jeep has a Snap On code reader and it couldn't trap the code that was throwing a CEL in my Mazdaspeed. If I were you I'd get a second opinion from a dealer or a good BMW indie shop. That said, if you are planning to hold on to the car for a while it sure wouldn't hurt to change out the O2 sensors.

    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

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