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BMW 7-Series Maintenance and Repair



  • Is it true that original manufacturer's warranty on 2001-2003 (does anyone know exact years) was extended due to quality issues? If so what is the total warranty?
  • For the 2002-2003 7 Series, you get a FULL 6 year, 100K mile warranty, bumper to bumper. This does not include maintenance items (that's a separate item). That is the main reason I bought my 745i - Benz, Audi and Lexus does not offer that kind of warranty on the flagship models. Although there were computer issues with the 745i and 745Li, if updates were made, there should not be any more issues with the car. I've had my car for a year and a half - I wouldn't trade it for anything!!!
  • I have a 2001 740iL and it's been the worse car I've owned. I purchased the car with 19K miles and before the 100K warranty was up, I had the following problems that were covered under warranty:

    1. radiator replaced
    2. 4 days after replacing radiator, the car was towed again to the shop to replace the supply reservoir (or something).
    3. power steering hose replaced
    4. regulator on rear door window replaced
    5. rear door shade replaced
    6. glove box handle fixed (could not get in glove box)
    7. when it rained, it leaked overhead in the rear door area, they replaced tubing that drains the water
    8. replaced device that displays text in the dash, some of the dots were missing in text and some times you could not read what was displayed

    (Now this list of 8 things is just what I remember without referencing the maintenance records. I am more than positive I have missed several things.)

    Although not under warranty, I've replaced rotors every time I've replaced brakes. They say it's normal for BMW.

    As of Feb 2007, I have 109K miles on the car, it's no longer under warranty and at 109K miles, the transmission went out. The message came up "Trans. Fail Safe Prog." It happened one week, had it checked out and they said the computer showed that I needed to replace the brake sensor light and the thermostat. So I did, at a cost of $800. Then a week later, the message returns and the car jerks all the way home. The transmission was gone, and to replace it costs $6,000. The dealer gave me a 10% discount, so I paid $5,400 out of pocket to replace the transmission. And the glove box would not open again, I replaced the handle at a cost of $400. I had to get rear brakes and rotors at a cost of $650. And then they tell me that the "return hose for the power steering" is leaking and needs replacing. I said, I replaced that hose. They looked thru the records and I replaced the "supply hose", not the "return hose" and the power steering has 3 hoses. All of this occurred in Feb 2007. I guess it will be soon when the 3rd power steering hose is leaking.

    Previously I owned 2 Honda Accords. I got 180K miles on one and 220K miles on another. Neither required a new transmission or half of the problems I've had with BMW. I've had it with BMW. I test drove a Lexus this weekend. I was not as impressed with handling and how lightweight the car seemed, but they are reliable. BMW needs to get it right! It's almost hysterically funny how often this car has been towed from my garage to the dealer. I know my neighbors are scratching their heads, because I'm surely scratching mine. But each time I seem to convince myself that once this is done then I won't have any problems for a while, boy have I been wrong. I have to get rid of the car - in a few months I hope.

    To say the least I'm very disappointed in the quality of the car considering it's cost. From your list, I've had 2 of those things to happen, it seems we have similar problems.
  • did you find what was causing the 'check engine' light to come on? I have the same problem.
  • Now that I have read your list I realized that I only listed problems that happened in the last 4 months for which I had to pay out of pocket. During the certified warranty period I had to fix the following:
    1. Computer that controls steering
    2. Some fuse (the engine stopped running in the middle of highway and would not start)
    3. Oxygen sensor for the service engine soon light
    4. Glove compartment locking mechanism
    5. Radiator cover on the hood. The thing just fell off.
    6. Fuel door lock

    Keep in mind that right now I only have 61,000 miles on that car.

    You may want to consider finding a good independent shop since what your dealer charges seems very high.

    I like how BMW car drives but the only way I am going to get one is under a full warranty and get rid of it before it ends. 2003 745s look interesting due to warranty extension. See above.
  • I am aware of the exteded warranty on the 2002 and 2003; however, I hear that they have lots of problems with those cars. As you might imagine, I have developed a rapport with my service advisor at the dealer and get a lot of information that way. He told me to stay away from those years for the 7 series. Stories I've heard include "driving at night all the lights go out in the car" and "the car won't start" and he told me that they have had the 2002-2003 models in the shop for a week trying to update the software. BMW stop calling owners of the 2003 7 series for the service survey, because they know the survey will be bad.

    But guess what happened to me later the same day I replied to your email. I left work, drove one block to the gas station, fill the car with gas, got back in the car and the car would not start. It was the alternator and battery. So now that's been replaced. I'm hoping that with all things I've replaced this car will now last another 100K miles so I can recoup my money by getting more mileage out of the car.

    You are correct, I need a good independent shop and I know of a reputable one. I actually called them to get a quote for the transmission. They were $900 cheaper, which is a lot, but there were several reasons I went with the dealer.

    1. they gave me a free loaner (rental) car,if I had used the independent source, I would have had to pay for car rental
    2. they could do it faster
    3. I feel I have more recourse with them if something goes wrong

    But I will consider using the other source for other things.
  • Unfortunately, I've had the same experience.
    I had to replace two window regulators and have a third that is on it's way out.
    My power steering hose has been replaced.
    My radiator was replaced (under warranty at least).
    My front calipers stuck and had to be replaced.
    My front seat lumbar support had to be fixed.
    How much did it cost you to get the NAV computer fixed?
    My NAV/radio resets itself all the time. In the colder weather it seems to work, but it hardly works at all in the heat.

    Not the image of quality I was hoping for by buying a luxury BMW. Like I said, it drives wonderfully, but I can't believe how many problems I have had!
  • The Nav drive/computer (the black box in your trunk where DVD drive goes) is $1300-1500 for a rebuilt unit at NY area dealers. Check eBay and online stores for better deals.
  • I have a 93' 740 il. I was wondering if the 740 il trannys were compatible with the 750 il? If not what would be the most inexspenssive way to go about fixing or replacing the tranny? :sick:
  • Actually the dealer was at the beginning. The MkII computer that is the E38's are suseptable to voltage and thats the ususal start. Note all audio, Nav, TV etc goes through the NAV unit. If there is a problem with the Nav unit it takes about 2 min to cycle through and say I have a problem and the whole thing shuts down . Thats why when you hit the on off swith again it stars again for about 2 min. How do I know this -I was also a victim. I fixed my systen 2 ways first I upgraded to the MK IV ($750) and it was easy to install but the disc is $200 extra. I also repaired my MKII and have run it flawlessly for 1 month. I think Ill stick with the Mk Iv but I would part with the MK II
  • newme101newme101 Posts: 1
    I find myself in your situation. I too have a 93 740i with trans problems. I've been getting price quotes that are pretty expensive. Have you had any luck? Please let me know.
  • gnat42gnat42 Posts: 2
    I bought an 86 L7 about a year ago, lots of miles, but it ran and looks great. A couple of weeks ago it poured rain here and I came out to find a foot deep puddle around the car. Like an idiot I started it up to get home and the car would barely move. I don't know if I sucked water in through the exhaust or what. I've ran it almost completely out of gas, added fuel additive twice, and it does run better. It starts with no problems, and while in park, it revs and sounds fine. However, when I'm in gear it doesn't want to go. It's sluggish to move and will eventually go but sometimes I have to have it floored to get to 35 mph. Sometimes when it's floored there is no reaction just a slow pick up of speed. Any ideas??
  • gnat42gnat42 Posts: 2
    My glove box got jammed somehow.
    Any ideas on how to open it without breaking it?
  • cabecabe Posts: 3
    I am a newbie here so excuse me if i sound ignorant.
    I am looking at purchasing a 99 740iL with 88K on it. It has the 18" M rims. i am planning on asking a gas station to look at it real good and look at everything, as well as drive it. inside the vehicle, it looks pretty good. slight cracking in the center console and the trays aren't in the best shape... but they will be fixing the cup holder. i dont see any substantial oil on the undercarriage.
    what should i look for in a addition to what the mechanic tells me? they are asking $13,800.
    oh, and i asked the dealer about the recalls and they didnt know, or haven't told me yet.
    thanks very much
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    That's a little pricey, not too bad if it's really sharp but really it should retail for around $11,500--$12,000.

    If I were you, I'd make SURE every gadget switch, AC, window, light etc. worked perfectly. I'd spend time just playing with everything and carefully noting how they operate.

    My main concern with this car would be a) electrical glitches, b) service records c) CARFAX report and d) checking the control arm bushings in the front end, especially with 18" tires, which tend to stress the suspension.

    Good luck in your's a great ride....

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  • cabecabe Posts: 3
    thank you very muc for responding.
    I will definitly check all the gadgets like you say. with regards to your main concerns, i have checked the carfax and its clean. although, there is a 2 year gap in its records of anything (it was leased by the original owner and then went from a dealer to another dealer)other then that it looks all good.
    how do i find out the service records?
    will a regular mechanic shop be able to identify electrical glitches, or do i need to take it to a BMW dealer?
    same question for the CA bushings but i imagine a regular mechanic shop can do that.
    as far as the engine and drivetrain, is there anything i should look for? will a regular mechanic shop be able to identify issues, or is that a bmw dealer thing to look at?
    again, thanks very much for the response.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    I think going to a BMW dealer for a pre-sale inspection is an okay idea, althought they will try to sell you every part in the which case you can use the argument I always use "Oh yeah, SHOW me the defect". If the bushing isn't torn and wobbly, and the shock doesn't leak all over your hand, and you can't see the oil leak, and the muffler really doesn't have a hole in it that you can see, then blow them off...but if you see real leaks, real holes, and very loose bushings or worn brake pads or deeply scored brake rotors, then you have to negotiate on the price or prepare to have those things fixed.

    Of course if your independent shop is a BMW specialist, they would be fine for the pre-sale.

    As for electrical glitches, you can do this yourself seems to me. Look for inoperative functions, like windows, mirrors, AC, heat, radio, antenna...and also for any warning lights. Test drive it and keep an eye on that dashboard, especially in strong sunlight. All the test lights should come on when you start and then go out.

    If you spend $150 only to find out there's a serious issue with the car, that's money well spent even if you don't buy it.

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  • cabecabe Posts: 3
    thank you very much Sir.
    greatly appreciated.
    turns out it is at a bmw dealer right now that the dealer i am looking at buying it from took it to. so i called that bmw dealer and asked them about it and they gave it a thumbs up and saif for $189 they will do a used car inspection on it and check everything on it soup to nuts. So, assuming the dealer that is selling it is ok with that, and the bmw dealer says its ok, i am going to go for it (and hope he comes down on the price like you mentioned).

    thanks again
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    I think a BMW will choose profit over the dread of ticking off another dealer---LOL!

    Good move, this will give you some peace of mind. Make sure you have them explain everything and especially to PRIORITIZE these items, should you decide to buy the car.

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  • I have (wife's car) a 2001 E38 with the sport handling package and 72K on it. It is a fast car that handles pretty well for a big car but the cost of keeping these cars on the road is exorbitant. I have had to fix lots of parts on this car well before it even hit 70 thousand miles. The engines and brakes are the best things about it; the gadgets and the plastic trim parts are the worst. The gadgets are very expensive to fix and not very rhobust. If you don't mind driving a luxury car that has 70% of everything working then go for it else, be prepared to know your repair center on a personal basis. I would not get an old one. Buy a 2001 if you like that body style. Look for low mileage and by all means, make sure everything works. If you don't know what you are looking at, take someone who does. Good luck.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    I'm curious...did you have trouble with the front and rear control arm bushing? Did you have the door trim (between front and rear door, on the "B" pillar, constantly detach? Did you have the brake warning light go on a lot, and constantly have to replace rear brake light bulbs?

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  • I am considering purchasing one of the last E38s. I can find a few across the country with under 50k on the odo, and many with under 60k for around $20-22k. I need it for an occasional driver to take clients to dinner, to play golf, and for a couple long haul trips a year. All told, I doubt I will put more than 6k on it a year, and it will be in service for about 4 years. Does anyone have suggestions on specific issues to look for or things to avoid? I appreciate any feedback.
  • eric312eric312 Posts: 71
    These cars usually have issues with electronics/computers. Make sure to check all of them out.
  • I'm looking at purchasing an 07 750. Just got out of a Lexus LS430. Love the reliability but not real excited about the aesthetics. I keep hearing and reading about reliability problems with the 750. It's a great drive, but is it worth dealing with the mechanical and electrical problems. Anyone out there with an 07 that can comment, I'd appreciate it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Well it's got a great warranty, so if I were in your shoes that's what I'd weigh against some almost certain glitches....which may not be too serious but which will be inconvenient. I guess it depends on your level of patience should something happen--and also how well trained your dealer staff is. Will you get a loaner. Do they have a tech who had specific 750 training?

    It's certainly a much better driving car than a Lexus and a lot faster, so it's tempting if you are an enthusiastic driver.

    Ah, the old dilemma---do I marry the librarian or the flemenco dancer? :P

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  • I have a 2001 740iL. It is fully loaded,handling package, SEDC, massaging seats etc. It currently has 72K on it and was purchased w/ 58K on it. The car drives great, has great looks and is fairly fast but in my opinion is a P.O.S. as far as electronics and gadget reliability goes and would not recommend buying one of these with any amount of miles on it. The list of broken gadgets on my particular car is very long. It is not a COPO car, nor was it in any accidents, In fact it was very clean when I bought it. I'd rate it an 8.5 if 10 is perfect. What has gone wrong starting at less than 60K miles:
    pixles in instrument cluster, radiator, leaky sun roof, 5 pieces of plastic trim with broken fastener features, leaky power steering lines, broken gas door solenoid, broken driver door window regulator, broken SEDC module, intermittent LCD display failure in center console, broken wire controlling 12VDC to driver side view mirror, power driver seat, memory seat and telescoping steering wheel and that is about all I can think of now, There may be a few I forgot. Anyway, steer clear unless you like dealing with broken stuff every other month. I'd get a Lexus. They are getting better looking and they are leaps and bounds more reliable than a BMW ever will be. Just my 2 cents from a current E38 owner.
  • I agree. 740s are great cars but reliability is very bad.

    I got my 2001 740i when it had 25,000 miles on it and it was certified by a BMW dealership.

    It has 62,000 on it now and my NAV broke twice. I had to replace radiator, instrument cluster, window regulator, power steering hoses twice and a few other things.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 57,595
    Did the interior panels that cover the pillar between the front and rear doors fall off? NAV problems seem chronic. Did you ever have a problem with the "brake light" warning on the dash going off and bulbs burning out a lot back there?

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  • If you look at the patterns here there seems to be many similarities
    Most of the cars are 2000,2001 E38 are relatively low milage cars. I suspect that there is chemical issue in the radiator and power steering area (I have had mine replaced as well). The Nav is also a problem and replaced mine I believe that Nav unit is suseptable to Heat because the area that the Nav unit is enclosed in get realitvely warm and there is no venting. The Nav device controls all audio function. The LCD in the dash are have elastomeric connections and is common for the time.
    So there are some very common problems that can be seen and they seem to repeat.
  • What kind of NAV problems are you having?
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