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BMW 3-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    You sure sold me; Not only am I green with envy, but I'm putting my 3er and 5er up for sale TODAY- Daewoo Nirvana here I come!!!
  • My first post was addressed to Mr. bmwna and the second was an answer to kdshapiro. Period. Sorry I do not have time to responds to all these jewels! End of story (whatever that means?).

    PS. Our Nubira is probably a better car than Camry I had!
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 66,843
    How is that re-sale/depreciation thing working out for you? Of course, if it is the perfect car, you'll never need to sell it.


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  • kyfdx

    You must be referring to Nubira. It is my wife's car and so far she/we drove less than 3000 miles a year. At this rate we will be keeping the Daewoo until it rots and the wheels fall off(!) I would not call it perfect, but it a good basic transportation and had been reliable so far.
  • dunworthdunworth Posts: 338
    In our family, we have a 2003 328ci bought new from a dealer here in Toronto in the fall of 2002. The car now has about 60,000 km on it.

    It has had numerous reliability issues most serious of which includes periodic stalling and then it will not re-start. The local dealer has replaced several ignition coils but the car remains unreliable. This is not my car but my brother's who is a physician and needs to have reliable transportation.

    He has been forced to drive a rented car (usually Cavalier, Sunfire et al) and IMHO this is not what a C$50,000 car should be like. Judging from this board BMW and reliability are not two things that go together anymore. My neighbour has owned several of the previous 5 series cars and driven then between 300,000 and 500,000 each. I guess the good old Bimmers of old are no more.

    My question is, are things getting any better? My brother is young and will likely buy 10-20 more new cars during his driving lifetime and BMW is his favourite to drive. But if they are all this unreliable should we be looking elsewhere?
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    "At this rate we will be keeping the Daewoo until it rots and the wheels fall off"
    I guess that means he'll have to find a replacement by Labor Day...
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 66,843
    On the positive side... it is costing him nothing in depreciation.. It is worth the same now, as it will be when the wheels rot and fall off.. About $2.00



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  • Wow such intelligence! I give up. Really. This is the final end of story.

    PS. I am expecting the wheels fall off may be in 2026 since I am still driving my 1988 Accord.

    This is the real final end of story. But you may continue jeweling as much as you are able to.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Ummm, I don't think there was such a thing as a 328ci in 2003, even in Canada. That said, in my experience the latest generation of BMWs seem to be even more reliable than at any time in their illustrious past. Do they put out a bad one from time to time? Yes. Of course so does everybody else. Do they also get a bad batch of components from suppliers from time to time? Yes again, and that applies to their competitors as well. If your local dealership in unwilling/unable to correct whatever ills your brother's car is suffering from, I suggest that you try a different dealership. Unfortunately, BMW does not have full control of the competencies (or lack thereof) of the franchise dealership base. :-(

    Best Regards,
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Good points. The dealer can enhance or destroy the ownership experience. In my case the BMW dealer found and corrected minor problems under warranty while my car was receiving free scheduled maintenance. One time-without asking- the dealer replaced a "damaged" center cap on my left front wheel. In reality the damage was a hole in the cap that I had drilled in order to mount the wheel speed sensor of a TimeWise 798 rally computer.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    Dealer experience. The "incident" that cemented my relationship with my dealer was the no-questions asked replacement of one of the alloy wheels. One of my wheels had some strange markings on it, which to me looked like a cross between manufacturing defect and some type of self-inflicted damage.

    I made an appointment and brought the car in for the service manager to see. The service manager and I had a quick (3 minute) conversation about it, in which I was very low key. He just said to the service advisor to keep this customer happy order a new rim. Did I feel taken care of? Absolutely.
  • Dunworth

    I have a stalling problem, too. But mine is more benign than the one you describe. Once in a while, usually in the morning, when starting the car the starter stops turning before engine starts. I have to turn off the ignition and try again, and the car starts.

    Let me give you my experience on what had been done about this. First I described the problem to the dealer and asked them to look at it. They got back to me and told me that they could not find any codes stored and there was nothing they could do. Well, I did not think any codes would be stored anyway. Then I asked the "factory engineer" to check it. He thought it was something to do with fuel pressure regulator and replaced the regulator. I still have the problem. It comes and goes. Sometimes 2-3 times a day, sometimes nothing for 2 months. I think it has something to do with the computer/security system on this car but you cannot argue with the guy who fixes these cars everyday.

    Your dealer was probably doing guess work when he replaced those ignition coils. I have seen dealers do similar things in the past when they were not really sure what the problem was. When only few cars have the problem (both your and my cases) it is usually not easy for a dealer to find the remedy.

    There are probably "factory engineers" in your area, too. You may ask your dealer that you want the factory engineer to look at the problem if he has not done so yet. But of course there is no guarantee that he will come up with the solution as in my case.

    I think in my case the replacement of the computer/immobiliser system would probably solve the problem. However, BMW is not going do it if only few cars having the problem and there is no publicity issue.

    I like how my BMW drives on the highway (in the city, it is a clunking machine, in the stop and go traffic), however, my next car is not going to be a BMW. My 1988 Accord has 213,000 miles on it and still drives fine. I think my next car is going to be an Acura (TSX maybe) or a Mazda RX-8 if they fix the problems that I hear this car is having.
  • shipo: You are absolutely correct. It was a typo, my brother's silver coupe is a 2003 325ci not a 328ci.

    Actually, dealer service on the car has been good. The dealership is very patient, but the fact still remains that the car is horribly unreliable.

    silvernubira: Thanks for sharing your experiences. My brother is not happy with his car as his problem always seems to happen on the highway, and he travels to the north part of our province often for work. However he still loves the car when it is working well and is not ready to give on the BMW brand, yet.

    And for all the guys flaming our friend with the Daewoo, just because it is cheap does not make it a horrible car. My 1994 Hyundai Excel, arguably one of the least loved cars in recent memory, was bought new as a first car for my wife at a cost of C$6995 new plus tax. It was extremely reliable though not much fun to drive. Four years later I traded it in with 58,000 km for C$4800 plus tax. Now that's value!
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    "And for all the guys flaming our friend with the Daewoo, just because it is cheap does not make it a horrible car."
    I agree; a Daewoo isn't horrible because it is cheap-it's horrible because it is a Daewoo.
  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    ...let's drop the personal sniping and off topic (re: Daewoo) comments.

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  • Karen_SKaren_S Posts: 5,095
    I'll give you a pass as it looks like we were posting at the same time...but that's the last one in my hall monitor pack.

    Edmunds Manager UGC Click on my screen name to send a personal message. Need help navigating? Check out Getting Started in Edmunds Forums.
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  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 66,843
    thanks for the pass... I deleted..



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  • Any problems using 87 octane fuel in our 1999 BMW 323i sedan?

    It is my wife's car and she is a safe and SLOW driver. There is absolutely no noise under acceleration. One BMW dealer service manager indicated that there is no problem using 87 octane, in fact it burns "cleaner" than premium fuel with octane boosting additives.

    Just curious...thanks!

  • I'm sure you will get many opinions on the 'premuim or regular" fuel debate. I've never used anything but premium in my 2000 323i. I also have a 2003 4Runner in which premium fuel is recommended, but I usually use regular. The main reason I use regular is that with the Toyota, the manual says to use premium for "improved performance." With BMW the manual simply recommends premium fuel.

    I really don't think I would damage my BMW with regular fuel, but I'll continue to use premium. I often think I'm just programmed to use premium in an 'upscale' BMW while a 'Toyota' should be fine on regular.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    The only things that you will encounter are a reduction in power under full throttle and reduced gas mileage. In both cases, the reasons for the reductions are the same, ignition timing. Our engines have what is known as an On Board Computer (OBC), and its job is to use ignition timing to keep the engine operating at the very edge, which provides the best acceleration under full throttle and the best economy while cruising without overdoing it and making the engine very unhappy. By introducing a fuel that is more volatile (lower octane), then OBC needs to retard the timing to keep the mechanicals from getting too hot (detonation and pre-ignition). The result, less performance.

    As for regular fuel burning cleaner, that is just an old wife’s tale that is completely untrue, assuming of course that your engine is designed for premium fuel. If your engine was designed for low octane fuel and you use premium anyway, then yes, extra deposits will collect in your engine due to the lower volatility of the premium fuel. It has nothing to do with the additives. The simple truth is that if your engine is burning all of the fuel introduced into the cylinders, there will be few if any combustion chamber deposits left behind.

    In the end, my advice is to do both your car and your wallet a favor and feed your car premium fuel.

    Best Regards,
  • I have 2000 323Ci. I am having same problem. Dealer told me that, I need new transmission
    What did you do with your problem?
  • i have 04 325i automatic. replaced tranny last winter at 1000 miles due to deadzone of 20 sec when placed in drive. I have now 4500 miles.
    I have noticed that when i stop at the light and car is in 'D', The car starts in 2nd gear instead of 1st.
    The way I checked was to put it in manual when the car was stopped, and showed 'M 2'. I do not get that pep when starting at the green light. So I discovered that it always start in 2nd gear.
    Is that a problem? or how the car is programmed?
    I get really lousy gas mileage driving in city as well, about 14. I think that is connected with my auto tranny shifting at 2nd gear?
    I talked to dealer service writer. he has no idea if car should start in 1st or 2nd when in automatic mode!!.
    Not happy with this car. Any suggestions PLEASE.
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    In automatic mode the tranny should start in 2. This is the most conservative mode of driving. You won't start to get optimal gas mileage until about 10,000 miles. If you want more zip, use sport mode, the tranny will start in 1st.

    I average about 24 in my day to day commute, which is about 10 miles local street driving and 10 miles highway. On the highway going a steady speed with a light foot* between 65-80 I average between 32-34.

    *light foot - avoid full throttle for every pass.
  • thanks for your response.
    why would they design to start in 2nd? I thought it would be conservative to start in 1st. because in 2nd you dont go that far with same amount of gas?
    i envy your mpg. best i have got in city is 15 and cruising hwy driving 26.
    is your 04 automatic 325i?
    would you recommend to change oil before their recommnded 15000 miles? does not make sense to me.
    since they pay for oil change, they may be cutting corners by changing at 15000 miles intervals. your thoughts please.
    anyway I appricate your input. thanks
  • kdshapirokdshapiro Posts: 5,751
    I have a 2002 330i. I believe in following the manufacturers recommended maintainence schedule. Thus I had a 15K service, 30K service. No in-between oil changes.

    But I'd like to say you should do what you feel comfortable with. More oil changes won't hurt the car, only your wallet.
  • geneegenee Posts: 170
    My 2002 325i was stalling and idling rough on first starts in the morning. I complained to my service rep and he told me to burn regular. I asked for how many tanks ... He said, "Burn regular." There had been several complaints about this problem and the factory (regional) reps were called to the site and THEIR recommendation was to switch to regular. Since the switch no stalls and that wonderfully smooth idle has returned. I see no loss in power and very little change in mpg.
  • jajjaj Posts: 55
    On my new '04 325xi I've noticed that on any road with the slightest crown to it, the car will not hold a straight line if I let go of the wheel and will veer in the direction of the slant. Is this to be expected or might it be indicative of an alignment problem?
  • cartalkcartalk Posts: 146
    I have just noticed about 30+ thick, mustard yellow droplets on the garage floor coming from a 2 week old 330i. I intend on notifying the dealer and making a service appoinment, but have no idea what this stuff might be. Any ideas?
  • cartalk,

    That MAY be cosmoline. That is the yellowish gunk they spray on the engine and undercarriage to protect the car during transport from overseas. It protects the car from sea salt, etc. If so it may be heating up and dripping. They are suppose to remove it all during prep at the service center at the port of entry but they never get all of it.
  • paulepaule Posts: 382
    Drifting to the side that the crown drops off on is not an indication of an alignment problem. Try this: take your car to a flat parking lot and drive the same "path" 4-5 times. Chances are you will drift right one time and drift left the next or not drift at all. If you consistently see a drift to one side in a parking lot for 4-5 trips over the same path then I would have it checked. Otherwise, it's probably fine.
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