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BMW 3-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    If you are going to follow the SI schedule I would run the M1 0W-40; FWIW, German Castrol, BMW Castrol and M1 0W-40 are the only readily available oils that meet the BMW LL-01 "Longlife" specs. I've run M1 15W-50, BMW 5W-30 Synthetic, and Rotella T 5W-40 synthetic in my wife's 528iA, but note that my SI indicator usually calls for at @9000 mile intervals. I suspect that the M1 0W-40 is the best choice-and I plan to switch the 5er over to it at the next Inspection.
  • Yesterday I noticed on my 2002 330I that my passenger front signal bulb was out. Then a few hours later it was fine and it worked. Last night the red notice in the dash display came back on again and it is not working. Has anyone else had this happen? It seems to me that there might be a short vs. the bulb being bad. Thanks.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    My current 530i is the only German car that I have ever had (going back to the late 1970s) that has not had a taillight or turn signal lamp failure. In every case, the ones that have failed have started as an intermittent failure. I might be mistaken in this, however, if memory serves, the maker of every bulb I have replaced has been Philips. I suspect that if you simply replace the bulb yourself, or have your dealer do it under warranty, the problem will prove to be a $.50 bulb.

    Best Regards
  • foggydewfoggydew Posts: 2
    I have a 2003 330xi, 6 speed manual, which has stalled/bucked several times in low gears, particularly 1st. The car also rough started a couple of times.

    Took it back to the dealer a few months ago, they said they couldn’t replicate it, told me no-one else was having a similar problem (I wonder!!!), so it wasn’t fixed. Brought it back today and they acknowledged what I was saying, apparently BMW have come out with a fix - problem with ignition coils (similar to the Audi A4 problem, except the coils don’t burn out). They replaced all the ignition coils. Hopefully it will solve my problem and perhaps help others on this board too.

  • Shipo,

    Thanks. I am going to go buy a 21 watt bulb tomorrow and swap it out.
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Buy a quality bulb such as a Sylvania Osram. Pick up a tube of bulb grease while you are at it. The bulb failure rate on my wife's 528i was significantly reduced when I started using quality bulbs. OTOH, my 1995 Club Sport has only required one bulb replacement over 85K miles. Hmmmmm...
  • mitchs3mitchs3 Posts: 64
    Also just had my ignition coils replaced this week in my 02 330i due to rough starts and uneven acceleration. How common is this problem? My service advisor diagnosed this over the phone and implied this is becoming a frequent problem.
  • Stopped by the nearby dealership yesterday to buy a replacement bulb since AutoZone, Advance Auto and Napa did not have a 21 watt bulb that my 330I needed. Go figure. When I spoke to the parts guy he recommended that I also buy a bulb socket replacer. He said in his experience the contacts of the socket many times will go before the bulb. I swaped them out today and it appears everything works fine. Knock-on-wood. Thanks again for your assistance.
  • Hey folks. Been here on and off before buying a pre-owned 2000 323ci.

    This winter, the front windows would lock (that last half-inch upward travel right after closing the door) intermittently. Now that it's warmer, the "window lock" operates 100%.

    Does anyone know if this is a design feature for freezing temps or if it's an electrical glitch ?

    Appreciate any thoughts...
  • mark_mmark_m Posts: 8
    Thanks for the information. I scheduled service for today on Sunday afternoon after reading your post. Today I went in to Kelly BMW a little late for my appointment (about 1/2 hour) and was promptly given a loaner and assurance that the problem would be taken care of.

    I received a call a few hours later and my SA reported they replaced the igniter and control unit. I had been in for service before and had the LSZ (light control module) reprogrammed.

    While it is somewhat disheartening that I have been in for two unscheduled maintenance visits to the dealer (1800 miles - LSZ, and 8500 miles Xenon.) I have been most impressed with the quality of service offered by Kelly BMW.

    Sleepy, thanks again for the info, it was helpful to know that you had a happy ending to your story.

  • asleepyasleepy Posts: 70

    Glad your dealer took care of it and thanks for the info (now I have an idea what was done to my Xenons). I had to take the car back 3 times within the first 5000 miles (once, it had to be towed). I have 9300 miles now and it has behaved (knock on wood). I still love driving it and would seriously consider another BMW. Like you, I find that the attitude and the service I get from the dealer service department to me very important. It is bad enough to have to take the car back for repairs so early after taking delivery; what would have been worse was to deal with a non-caring service department.

    Glad I could help.

    - A.
  • brdgplyrbrdgplyr Posts: 5
    i have posted message about 2 weeks ago. I need some advise please.
    when car is cold, there is about 2 to 3 sec slippage in transmission after put it in D. BMW says there is problem with certain transm. They say we will replace it with remanufactured one. I noticed that problem within 10 days. now has 1700 miles.
    Should I get it replaced? has anyone done this?
    2nd problem: i realized that when i stop at light, car does not roll, normally you have to keep the brakes on to keep cars from rolling. This one does not roll at all. I do not have to put foot on brake at light. This car seems to lock up as if placed it in Park. Almost feels like brakes are sticking. dealer says no. they are fine. I also get poor mileage in city . only about 13 to 14. maybe this is lemon?
    is this problem connected to transmission slip?
    any suggestions please. Need help before I go to dealer again. Thanks.
  • jasondjasond Posts: 28
    to brdgplyr: I had the transmission slip on a 2003 330 xi. After some thought, I decided to have the transmission replaced with a remanufactured transmission. This apparently has all new functioning components and is therefore new apart from the external aluminum case. The replacement went well. I had to leave the car at the dealer for about 1.5 days. The transmission slip has therefore been corrected. I feel that I did the correct thing since the slip was annoying. I have not experienced the other problem that you describe. I think that you will need to get your transmission replaced unless the slip does not bother you. I also get poor mileage in the city, but I am not too concerned about it. Regards, Jason
  • I bought my new 2004 325xiT wagon in December, before I began seeing posts about the Steptronic "slipping" problems. Each morning, as I would back out of my steep driveway onto an even steeper hill I would have to climb, after shifting from reverse into drive, my car would roll backwards for several seconds while I tried to compensate by stepping further down on the accelerator pedal. It reminded me of when I first learned to drive a manual shift car and hadn't quite mastered the clutch and gas pedal on a hill. Needless to say, it really was a safety issue - I didn't want to roll into a vehicle that might be coming up the hill. This issue would only happen on the first start of the day (in cold New England). I knew that something was wrong and hoped that the dealership could recreate the problem - you know that fear of a service manager or technician saying there is nothing wrong with the car. I was relieved to begin seeing posts from other owners who were experiencing the same difficulties, so I knew my car wasn't unique in this. I made copies of the posts here, including information about the TSB, and brought them into the BMW dealership. The service manager said that he didn't need to see the paperwork that I presented, since they were aware of the problem. This is my first BMW and I was nervous about changing brands and getting used to a new service department, etc...I am glad to say that the dealership was wonderful to work with. They ordered the replacement transmission (remanufactured with new parts) that day and within 2 weeks and only a day and a half without the car (I had a free loaner), I had my car back. The next frigid CT morning, as I backed out of the driveway, I held my breath - I shifted from reverse to drive and NO rolling back!! Plus, in regular driving, the car seemed to operate more smoothly.

    For anyone who's thinking about not replacing the transmission, I briefly thought about living with the problem as I, too, didn't like the idea of having to replace the transmission on a new car. However, I wouldn't feel right selling it or trading it in down the road with this issue unresolved and letting someone "inherit" the problem and possibly have an accident.

    Re: the post by brdgplyr, I have also experienced the same thing. Occasionally, when backing up on level areas, if I take my foot off of the accelerator, the car does stop, almost as if the parking brake is on. Give it a little gas, it moves - take your foot off of the gas, it stops and does feel, as described in brdgplyr's post,as if it's "locked". This was pre and post transmission replacement. I had mentioned it to the service manager before the replacement transmission who thought I should wait and see if the replacement transmission would solve the problem. If anyone has any insight, please share. Other than that and not-so-great gas mileage, the car's a pleasure to drive.
  • wusterwuster Posts: 153
    Hi All,

    I'm thinking about buying a 1999 328i auto with the new body style that has about 57,000 miles.

    I am wondering if anyone can tell me if there is any particular trouble areas with this model (i.e. acuras/hondas have problems with premature water pump and automatic transmission failures, the early audi a4 has problems with front suspension issues, etc)

    Also, the car is due for a 60k service and I would like to know a) what is involved in a 60k service for bmw and b) the big question...about how much is it gonna cost.

    I'm looking to drive this thing for at least 100k and would like to know if it is going to last.

    I would appreciate any info you can provide.

  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    the 1999 E46 was the first year of the E46. Take that for what it's worth. Some people here have had some issues with them, but others, like Shipo only had to deal with a couple of burnt out bulbs.

    If you can look up TSB information, look for TSB's for that year and look to see if the particular car you want to buy has had any of them performed.

  • sunilbsunilb Posts: 407
    Anyone have any suggestions on what to have the dealership checkout/inspect/replace as I near the expiration of my 4yr/50K mile warranty on a '01 330i?

    So far, everything's been great and I haven't had any problems.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    My dealership has no problem with me using Mobil-1 0W-40, just as long as I use a factory BMW filter that is.

    Best Regards,
  • I love my new 330i except for one thing...I keep opening the trunk accidentially using the trunk release button on the key. I often have to stop to get out of the car to close my trunk. Is there a way to delay the trunk release so that you have to push and hold down the button for a second to activate the trunk (like on the Lexus)? Thanks in advance.
  • jasondjasond Posts: 28
    Newbuyer30: I too had this problem when I first got my car. I soon learned, however, that it is easier to avoid pressing the trunk release on the key than to have to stop and get out to close the trunk. So it is something one just learns to avoid doing. I don't know whether BMW provides the same key mechanism that Lexus does.
  • scottlpscottlp Posts: 21
    I am about to take posession of a new 330xi. I'll be checking out the car thoroughly at the dealer before I take posession of it, and of course I'd like to make sure it does not have this problem. Is all I need to do just start a cold car and see if it engages drive quickly, or if there is a pause?

    Thanks for your time.

  • jasondjasond Posts: 28
    I very much doubt that transmission slip will be a problem on newer BMW 330xis. BMW is very aware of this problem and clearly would wish, I think, to avoid the cost of replacing transmissions. I had my transmission replaced recently on a 2003 330xi with very satisfactory results. The problem seems to occur (in affected cars) only after standing all night at a low temperature. Certainly, you will detect it easily by putting the vehicle into reverse to get out of the parking place. In an affected vehicle, when you shift to drive, the car will pause 2-3 seconds and may even lurch if you place your foot on the accelerator. Good luck, Jason
  • kohinahikohinahi Posts: 103
    Strange that the trunk would release while the key is in the ignition. Even with the new Honda Accord integrated remote-key, you cannot open the trunk or lock the doors when the key is in the ignition.
    But with the inability of locking the car with the key in the ignition, there is a security risk when you need to warm up your car during the winter days.

    BTW...I'm on this forum just researching the 325.
  • ksomanksoman Posts: 593
    Has anyone had this problem? the top refuses to go up. I realized my driver side quarter rear window won't wind down and if that happens, the top refuses to move. Happens intermittently...

  • cat244cat244 Posts: 5
    Hey folks! I'm a recent proud owner of a 325CI, and have had the car for a full week, and can say it's true love. However, just a couple of days ago while I was parked with the engine on, I noticed a very high-pitched constant whining noise. I turned off the fan, closed all vents, opened all the vents, and the sound was still there. Now I hear the sound all the time, even when I'm driving. I was at the dealership to install an alarm system, and asked the service advisor to listen to the sound. After listening, he told me it was completely normal, and that it's the valvetronic engine. This is my first BMW, so I wonder is this normal? The sound isn't overbearing, and you really have to concentrate to hear it, but I just want to know if this something I need to worry about. Please help!
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Lucky you! BMW must have sold you one of their experimental prototypes by mistake, as you have the only Valvetronic six cylinder in the US! <sarcasm off>
    The only North American Valvetronic engines are the 4.4 V8 and the 6.0 V12. Tell your service advisor to think up a more creative lie next time.
  • bmw323isbmw323is Posts: 410
    My car also makes that type of noise at times, except I can only hear it outside. It seems to come from the rear end. I can't remember how it was explained, but I do remember many folks saying that is something BMW's do. Your noise may be that or it could be something else.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    That is typically attributed to an electronic in-tank fuel pump.

    Best Regards,
  • cat244cat244 Posts: 5
    Hey...Well, shows how much I know! But thanks for everyone's input, I guess the noise was just such a change from my quiet Accord!

    I can't believe that service advisor was such an idiot, hey, I guess I was pretty dumb to believe him. It's just not easy being a girl, and trying to understand such a complicated car! That's why I'm glad to have found you guys!
  • erickplerickpl Posts: 2,735
    You are doing the right thing by learning about your car. A well-informed customer will force them to be honest. Take it back and have them look at it again. But don't take their BS as gospel.

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