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BMW 5-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    designman... The 2-door, 2-seat roadster Porsche Boxster, with limited utility, does NOT compare with the 4-door, 5-seat sedan 5 Series, with backseat and full trunk.

    Now add a full trunk and backseat to the Boxster and we can talk. Oops, that was the (unlamented?) 928! And which one has survived the test of time? The M5!!!

    The Z4 competes with the Boxster. The Z8 with the 911. Porsche has no car comparable to the 5 Series or M5.
  • warthogwarthog Posts: 216
    in his post acknowledged that the 5 and Boxster are different animals with different missions. His point was simply that for pure driving pleasure ("the ultimate driving machine?"), the Boxster trumps the 5. Does anyone disagree with that limited assertion?
  • vizviz Posts: 58
    Thanks for your postings.
    My car does not have SP. It has contitouring Contact tires (Made in Germany). I live in northeast ohio; snows around 4 inches max. Last year my 1998 model met with an accident during winter; it started to wobble and brakes were of no use. Still confused as to why it happened.
      For a 3 year lease I am still not able to decide whether I should buy the rims. Rims are expensive and what should I do with them when I return my car after 3 years.
       Are the contitouring tires any good in winter ?
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    warthog... The comparison is still Z4 to Boxster. And if you like roadsters, the smart buyer saves a fortune by buying a Miata or an S2000.

    Of course, there is always a penalty to be had with a sedan. Backseat and trunk add weight. That is why you can't compare a full-size sedan to a roadster.

    The M5 is a most awesome sedan.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I too am on a three year lease with my 530i (although with the look of the new E60 5-Series, I will probably buy my car next year at lease end), and I bought the entire tire and wheel package. My rational was that I would just about break even in cost when comparing buying the more expensive 235/45-R17 winter tires for my SP equipped 530i rims. That said, since you have the narrower rims, you will be able to save over $50 a tire, meaning that buying the full package will cost you about $200 more over the three years when compared to just buying the tires and having them remounted and rebalanced twice a year.

    The only thing not considered in the above equation is that when you give your 530i back, you will have a nice wheel and tire package that you can sell on RoadFly or EBAY. A quick check on EBAY shows used wheel and tire package for BMWs running between $400 and $750 depending on the tire/wheel/car mix. Compare that to ads for just used snow tires for $50 for all four tires.

    From where I sit, any way you look at it, buying the wheels is the more cost effective way to go.

    Best Regards,
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    "And if you like roadsters, the smart buyer saves a fortune by buying a Miata or an S2000."

    You win Riez. I'm trading in my Boxster and 530 today for a Miata and Corolla. What's more, I'm hoping this decision keeps me in contention for the Nobel Prize for Economics.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    designman... You wrote, "Leftover 03 Boxster Ss are now going for roughly $43K to $48K... The $42K I paid for my leftover 02 has more than I need or want... With regard to the sport package on the 530. After driving over a week now with the S, my 530 w/o SP feels like a DeVille and I know SP would have made no difference. Furthermore, one of the best car decisions I ever made in my life was not buying the M5 I was considering last month."

    All I did was point out that comparing a 530i to a Boxster is NOT a fair comparison. The Z4 is. And it was all the less fair given that it doesn't even have the Sport Pkg. There is a huge world of difference between 530i non-Sport and 530i Sport. Nor is it fair to compare the M5, though it isn't fair to compare the M5 to your 530i. Your 530i non-Sport pales in comparison to the M5. If you can't understand all this, then I concur, sticking to economics would be appropriate.

    And keep in mind that it was warthog who wrote, "His point was simply that for pure driving pleasure ("the ultimate driving machine?"), the Boxster trumps the 5." First, notice he doesn't mention the M5, which is the "ultimate" sedan. Second, for pure driving pleasure, one can't beat the simplicity and value of either the Miata or S2000. These are two cars that do much better compete with the Boxster and Z4. I'd take the S2000 over the other three today but look forward to the upcoming supercharged Miata. Affordable, reliable, simple, pure driving pleasure?
  • rfkflrfkfl Posts: 2
    Have 2 questions. (1) The passenger seat headrest does not go up/down. I took the back of the seat off and the motor works but I think the cable is not working properly. The thing I cannot figure out is how to disconnect the cable. Any ideas? (2) When I push the button for the seat to lean back, only one side goes, the other seems to be “stuck”. Again, any ideas?
  • warthogwarthog Posts: 216
    My reference to the BMW slogan was a bit of sarcasm attempting to emphasize designman's point that a BMW 3, 5, M or whatever, is not truly the "ultimate driving machine," however good they are at what they set out to do. The true ultimate driving machine, currently I suppose, is something like the Enzo. We all know the 5 vs. Boxster kind of comparison is invalid. You don't need to tell us again. But maybe you need to re-read designman's original post and consider what he actually said.
  • warthogwarthog Posts: 216
    What designman said was this:

    "I am well aware of the satisfaction BMW owners get from our sport sedans and how they fill the all-around family/business needs, but if anyone is really into the thrill of driving there is only one answer... sports car."
  • jav27jav27 Posts: 7
    Perhaps someone out there can recommend a good set of snow tires as this evening I could not make it up the hill to my house and had to turn my 2003 525i around and take an alternate route with a smaller incline.

    Or should I have purchased a 325xi?
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Get Bridgestone Blizzaks or Michelin Arctic Alpins. The Blizzaks are better on ice but the Arctics are much better in the dry and wet. I bought four Arctics from Tire Rack along with a set of steel wheels. I also ordered some BMW E39 Wheel covers. It's an easy 45 minute job to swap them.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    warthog... You cite designman's comment that "if anyone is really into the thrill of driving there is only one answer... sports car." Don't agree. Sure our motorcyclist friends would argue that a 2-wheeler is the only way to go. And a plethora of serious driving machines can give you a ton of legitimate thrills: serious sport sedans like M5, small roadster like Miata, pocket rockets like the Subaru WRX/STi, etc. You don't have to have a "sports car" to enjoy the thrill of driving. A 530i 5-speed manual with Sport Pkg will provide plenty of driving thrill.

    How much does the Enzo cost? But I'm not sure a Ferrari is the ultimate driving machine. Ever notice how many low mile used Ferrari there are out there? The drivers don't seem to put much driving time in them. What thrill is there in owning something you hardly drive? They are more like the ultimate spectator machines. (Not to mention reliability concerns.)
  • I own 03 E39 530 SP and a while ago I was also deciding about the purchase of winter wheels. Thanks to this forum and first snow in Boston I quickly realized that the original tires ARE NOT for winter driving. Although I have driven RWD cars all my life (with the exception of my previous Honda Accord EX) I could not say I was safe on the road. I purchased a set of tires Michelin PA2 and wheels thru tirerack. The tires are excellent and I would recommend them to anyone. The whole package came to about $1000. I was able to mount them myself in 30 minutes using the original tools.
  • jav27jav27 Posts: 7
    Thanks Gentlemen. I'll check out the site. So, the advise is keep the 525 and change the tires.
  • vizviz Posts: 58
    Thanks you all for sharing your opinion. I am finally convinced I need winter tires for my 2003 530i. Now please help me choose a tire ; I have 2 options ( I would prefer smooth ride on dry road)
    Dunlop winter sport M2 : Performance Winter

    Michelin Arctic-Alpin : Studless Ice and Snow

    Which one is better for north east ohio; It does snow here but it not severe - But you never know :-(

    I am also getting fox sport wheels.

    Is there a way to get $0 shipping from ?
    Please advise.

  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    Due to the fact that the Michelin Arctic-Alpin tires are generally acknowledged as being one of the best (if not the best) winter tire in non-winter conditions (ie. dry and wet roads), I would suggest them. My guess is that like here in New Hampshire, the majority of your winter driving will not be on snow and ice.

    Best Regards,
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    I second Shipo's advice.
  • The same thing happened the Roundel on my '01 530i as to chesdin2. One morning the paint was gone and it was bright silver with little black left. Wife said it was from leaving it out in the cold overnight instead of the garage, but I assured her that it is colder in Germany than NJ.
  • jbf5jbf5 Posts: 32
    We had some posts a few weeks back on mounting wheels with the BMW tool set. If you look at the installation instructions on Tirerack's website, you'll see that they recommend using a torque wrench (and tightening in a star pattern). The risk you take with using the tire iron alone is apparently that you get unbalanced tension on the lug nuts and warp the brake rotors. That has to be expensive to repair.

    Sears has torque wrenches up to the task for around $70. You'll also need a 17mm socket, and, depending on your wheels, a socket extension to keep the wrench from scraping against the wheel as you torque.
  • manybmwsmanybmws Posts: 347
    Get the Michelins PA2s. I have run PAs for 4 winters without any issues. And running them today on the interstate at 95 they were great, just reaffirming their dry weather performance. And I run Michelin Pilot Sport A/S the rest of the year so I have a high performance tire to compare them to.
  • glakerglaker Posts: 49
    I usually find myself in awe of Shipos responses to issues on this board (he seems to be a wise man), but when I read his response to Viz about the Michelin winter tires, I chuckled. The key to his response was the Michelins are the best winter tires in non winter conditions - but why would one buy winter tires to begin with except for winter conditions. If you've ever tried to drive home through an unexpected blowing snow storm (like we get in upstate NY), you don't want to do it on non or "quasi" winter tires. You need something with a good knobby tread pattern. So, IMO if you're gonna drive in winter conditions, get something to handle the dark days when you get caught in the storm - so you can get home in one piece. On the other hand, if you're lucky enough that your BMW is just used for taking a ride in nice weather or you never encounter serious storms, then Shipo's advice is right on.
  • shiposhipo Posts: 9,152
    I think maybe I failed to fully explain the attributes of the Michelin Arctic-Alpin tire. For starters, they are GREAT snow tires, and that is exactly why I bought them. I live in New Hampshire, and last year we had 114" of snow in our town (which by the way is very hilly and has roads that wind over hill and dale), and there was not one single day where my car was out of commission. My point was that while the Blizzak tires may well be marginally better in deep snow, the difference is just not that significant. On the other hand, once the roads have been cleared, the Arctic-Alpins have a substantial advantage in the noise and ride department.

    Another point I want to make is that having a knobby tread pattern does not a snow tire make, if it did, my Michelin Pilot Primacy’s would be a decent snow tire, and trust me, snow tires they ain’t. What makes a great snow tire is the rubber compound and all of the fine little cuts made in the tread pattern that can grip the snow. Like all of the best winter tires, the Arctic-Alpin’s have said slices, in this case, six slices per linear inch of tread.

    I hope this helps clear up any confusion I may have caused by my previous post. ;-)

    Best Regards,
  • div2div2 Posts: 2,580
    Your explanation made perfect sense the first time. A lot of "experts" don't understand that the multicell tread compound that makes the Blizzak so effective on ice is completely gone by the time the tire is half worn. Several of my friends have noted that the Alpins are excellent on ice/snow and-even better-they have wet/dry performance that equals or betters many all-season tires. Besides, anyone who lacks the ability to drive an Alpin shod 5er in the wintry stuff should be taking public transit anyway.
  • designmandesignman Posts: 2,129
    Riez, people understand economics better than you think. That’s why none of the gentleman around here vilified your purchase when you went from 540 to IS300, unlike what you have done with my Boxster S purchase. I’ll spar with you as much as you’d like on this, but if you really want a workout maybe you should take your logic over to the Porsche threads.

    I like the cars you mentioned—Miata, S2000—I even considered buying them. Bottom line: they aren’t Porsches, and as well-read as you seem to be on automotive subjects, if you don’t realize this then you’re not as erudite as I had thought. It’s that simple. The only knock on the Boxster is price, an issue that I got past, as do most financially responsible owners of luxury cars.

    With regard to the M5 comparison. I like this stealth bomber and seriously considered buying it. Bottom line: I wanted handling and open air more than I did power. On the switchbacks the M5 will roll off the mountain a lot sooner than the Boxster, Miata and S2000... saved myself 15 grand also. BTW, I saved 58 grand by not buying a C4S... pretty frugal I think.

    Yes you CAN compare different types of cars when you are considering buying them. What's more, you're crazy if you don't. But go ahead, let’s see how much dust you can find in the pepper shaker now.
  • I own a brand new set of Michelin Pilot Alpin2 and I've been extremely happy with them. I have driven them in deep snow, slush, ice and dry roads and these tires didn't disappoint me. Very capable tires. Strongly recommend to anyone.
  • riezriez Posts: 2,361
    designman... Pace your erudition, I cannot agree with some of your basic premises. A most basic one, inter alia, appears to be that you can legitimately compare a Porsche Boxster to an M5. Would be interesting to see how many potenial buyers, who actually buy one or the other, cross shopped these two cars. Besides the significant price differential (depending upon options might be anywhere from $10-25,000) and the utility factor (the 4-door sedan's interior space for 4 adults and a decent trunk), there are other cars that appear far more likely to be cross shopped: Z4, S2000, Miata, etc. There is just too basic a difference between a sleek 2-door, 2-seat roadster and a 4-door, 4-seat sedan.

    If you want to compare Boxsters to BMW sedans, maybe the M3? They share two doors and 6-cyl. engines.

    If you want to compare a Porsche to the M5, then maybe the 928 or Cayenne?

    And if you haven't noticed, I'm NOT in awe of marques. I don't live in constant need or desire of having to have the right marque. I had no trouble going from BMW to Lexus. I want a fun car to drive that is affordable and reliable.

    I love many marques: BMW, Lexus, Infiniti, Jaguar, Porsche, Ferrari, Aston Martin, etc. Some have more cachet than others and some have been around a lot longer than others. But Porsche are too expensive, too impractical, and too unreliable for my tastes, today; however, wait till my 2 kids (13 and 11) grow up and leave home. I'll finally get a roadster. And will be looking at Miata, S2000, Z4, and Boxster.
  • Where else but this forum can you read someone using "inter alia" on a discussion Board? Love it.

    Over on BMW tips, you're more likely to see "F--- you" than inter alia.

    Thanks, Riez (good comments, too).
  • I got a set of Bridgestone Blizack tires for my 03 530. These tires are great in the snow. I took it to the UP of Michigan last winter and it snowed over a foot and my car was solid and stable on the road where most SUVs were sliding off the road. I however live in Southern Ohio, where it hardly snows. The dry traction leaves something to be desired. I peel out almost everytime i start to move no matter how careful i am in accelerating. they're a little noisy too, but i hear that's common with snow tires.
  • vizviz Posts: 58
    Thanks a lot for the discussion. Unfortunately Michelin Artic is out of stock on tirerack. Now my choice boils down to Dunlop Winter sport M2 and other tires like Blizzak LM 22($128). Local dealer is offering goodyear ultra grip for $109. Blizzak WS50 is only $92 on tirerack but I am not sure how it would be. By the way the shipping charges are around $65. I am not sure whether tirerack is giving me the best deal.
        Please help; I am totally confused.
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