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BMW X3 Reliability

hb3749hb3749 Posts: 2
Consumer Reports lists the BMW X3 on their "Do not recommend "
list, even though it gives the car pretty high marks almost everywhere else.
They refer to their subscriber reliability ratings as the reason - but nowhere on their website can I find specifics.
Can anyone enlighten me on this? We drove the car and loved it but were taken aback by the negatives on reliability.
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Comments

  • anon3anon3 Posts: 147
    Consumer Reports strikes again. I put very little faith in their reliability recommendations on any vehicle that is less than 3 years old. They don't publish the criteria/formula that they use to arrive at the "not recommended" reliability rating and there are glaring flaws in their rating methodology. For example, one annual car edition designated the 2002 X5 as "not recommended". On another page in that very same magazine, they stated that they had "insufficient data" to rate the 2002 X5's reliability. That is very poor analysis methodology.

    My family drove a 2004 X3 for 18 months. It never went back to the dealer for repair. It was completely trouble free. Granted that was still a relatively new vehicle, but 18 months trouble free is a good sign. Similarly, my personal experience completely contradicts Consumer Reports' rating of the X5. We've had 5 X5's. All but the very first one (BMW's very first SUV model) have been completely trouble free.

    If you're looking at a brand new X3, the warranty covers everything - even wiper blades - and you can get a free loaner while your car is in service. So your risk is very low for the first 50,000 miles.

    Also note that a car can have an average of less than 2 problems per vehicle and still receive a below average rating. New vehicles are so reliable that even a single problem on average will ding their ratings.
  • I am looking at getting a new 4x4, and really want an x3. Love the looks and everything. However my budget only allows me to get an X3 with 80k to 90k miles on it. How reliable are these SUVs? I read in the forums and everyone talks about up to 100K miles.

    Are they not reliable from 100K -200K. Also, I heard the engines go out after 155K.

    Many cars now days go beyond 200K. Are the German cars less reliable over the long haul?

    Are there warranties that cover until 200K? Would they be worth it?

    Any responses would be appreciated!
    Thanks,
    Mark
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 14,490
    Long term durability depends on the maintenance the truck has received from mile 001. The inline six in the X can last over 200K; aside from normal maintenance about all you may have to replace will be the valve cover gasket and the water pump. Have any used BMW inspected by a qualified BMW tech. My wife drives a 2004 X3 2.5 with over 92K on it and it has been totally reliable. We plan to keep it past 150K.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    There are relatively few X3's that are beyond 100K if most cars do around 10-15K miles per year. If you are maxing out your budget just to buy the car, will you be able to cover a few thousand in repair bills should they come your way?

    From a purely financial perspective, you are better off buying a less expensive car with fewer miles and then pocketing the money for future repairs. Maybe not as much fun on the road but better for a good night's sleep.
  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    edited February 2010
    As far as that goes, if the car doesn't break, has pieces that break replaced, has easy highway miles, etc. etc. it can last to 200K.

    What car built today has an engine that, if kept in good shape, can't do that? That is simply meaningless. The very high mileage BMWs I have seen belong to people working at dealerships or independent shops or have been held together with lots of work put into them.

    BMWs are EXPENSIVE to maintain because when something breaks it is easily a $1K bill out of warranty. Just call your friendly neighborhood dealer and see what it costs to replace the brakes.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 14,490
    edited February 2010
    Maintenance and repair costs on my wife's X3 are averaging 3 cents per mile. My 15 year old 3 Series has over 120K miles on the clock and the maintenance/repair costs average @5 cents per mile.
    The key is finding a good dealer or indie BMW tech that offers a BMW CCA discount.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    I know a BMW that averaged $1/mile on repairs and that is not at the dealership but with a good independent garage.

    1, 2 or 3 or even 20 individual experiences do not make any difference to the future bank account of someone looking for a reliable car. NONE of the European car manufacturers have more than an 'ok' rating on reliability over their entire line.

    If someone is stretching their finances just to purchase a car, the best car to buy is an inexpensive car with a warranty. Budget is the significant factor here, not rolling the dice on a car that costs $1K every time the hood is popped.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 14,490
    edited February 2010
    I know a BMW that averaged $1/mile on repairs and that is not at the dealership but with a good independent garage.

    Really. Let's have a little more detail: Model? Age? Mileage? Specific repairs? Name of shop?

    1, 2 or 3 or even 20 individual experiences do not make any difference to the future bank account of someone looking for a reliable car. NONE of the European car manufacturers have more than an 'ok' rating on reliability over their entire line.

    How many BMWs have you owned? Years and models? Where did you get your empirical data from?

    Budget is the significant factor here, not rolling the dice on a car that costs $1K every time the hood is popped.

    You sure like to throw that phrase around a lot, but you never back it up with any facts.
    And by the way, how many miles do you have on your X3? Have you hit 2000 miles yet?
    In any case, forum participants can evaluate the number and content of your earlier posts as well as those I've made and determine for themselves who has the greatest credibility.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    You have no statistically meaningful data so why are you demanding it of others? All you have are a couple of data points.

    I don't know anyone who has ever owned a BMW who considers them to be highly reliable and inexpensive to maintain. Do you really own one? I'm beginning to think that your car is simply on paper.

    The X3 is bouncing around the road providing heart-thumping moments when it simply fails to respond to its accelerator and mild whiplash when it decides that it should simply slow itself to a crawl before the driver actually hits the brakes....that is often 20 feet from the stop sign or intersection. I would only suggest an X3 to someone who feels that driving has become too entirely predictable and should, instead, be quite difficult.

    I would never suggest a BMW to anyone who is going to stretch to simply buy the car and would lose sleep over a big repair bill.
  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    Oh yes, I'm still waiting for yet another s/w fix - yeah, right - for the transmission.

    This is so absurd in such an expensive car that the entire situation is almost funny...and then you get that rock hard loss of power and it is just ridiculous.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    I know a BMW that averaged $1/mile on repairs and that is not at the dealership but with a good independent garage.

    That would be called an outlier. And it would seem to me that anyone having problems of such extent and frequency would long ago have prevailed in court recovering costs and receiving punitive damages for mental anguish. ;)

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    I don't know what it costs to keep the X3 but I have heard that brakes alone are $1600 and the battery is $300 while the oil change (dealer) is $160 although they are very infrequent.

    That pano roof - replace the whole cassette if it breaks is $3K. Luckily I won't have to find out for a few years with the 4/4 maintenance/warranty. I have heard that it is more reliable than the average BMW plus my usage is pretty low so I am hoping for decent luck this time around.

    :shades:
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 14,490
    edited February 2010
    You have no statistically meaningful data so why are you demanding it of others? All you have are a couple of data points.

    You have provided no statistics or data points to back up your "$1 per mile" and "pop the hood, pay $1K" assertions.

    I don't know anyone who has ever owned a BMW who considers them to be highly reliable and inexpensive to maintain. Do you really own one? I'm beginning to think that your car is simply on paper.

    You've got me there. I don't own one- I currently own three. Here-in chronological order-is my BMW ownership history:
    1973 Bavaria 3.0
    1972 Bavaria 3.0
    1987 535is
    1988 M6
    1995 318ti Club Sport(still own)
    1998 318tiA
    1997 528iA
    2004 X3 2.5(still own)
    1975 2002A(still own)
    Pictures of the Club Sport and 2002 can be found on my Carspace page.

    The X3 is bouncing around the road providing heart-thumping moments when it simply fails to respond to its accelerator and mild whiplash when it decides that it should simply slow itself to a crawl before the driver actually hits the brakes....that is often 20 feet from the stop sign or intersection. I would only suggest an X3 to someone who feels that driving has become too entirely predictable and should, instead, be quite difficult.

    So you haven't hit 2000 miles. 1500? 1000?

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 14,490
    I don't know what it costs to keep the X3, but I have heard

    Exactly. So you rely on hearsay.

    brakes alone are $1600

    The cost of four rotors, pads, and sensors ranges from $560(OEM equivalents) to $830(BMW OEM)- so call it $750 to $1,000 installed. Note that an X3 typically requires pads/rotors every 60,000 miles at most.

    battery is $300

    The actual price range is $165(Interstate MTP-H6)-$250(BMW OEM). The battery in my 2004 X3 2.5 is going strong at six years/92,000 miles.

    while the oil change (dealer) is $160 although they are very infrequent

    My dealer(Swope BMW, Louisville KY) performed the latest oil service on the X3 and I had a coolant flush performed at the same time. The total bill was $150. Note that I change the oil myself midway between dealer visits, which amounts to around $55- and that additional cost is included in my 3 cents per mile calculation.

    That pano roof - replace the whole cassette if it breaks is[sic] $3K.

    You are half right, so you get partial credit. The cassette does cost $3,000, but the primary problem(leaks/rattles) involves cars built prior to 10/05 and was fixed when an upgraded cassette superseded the original part(see: BMW SI B 54 06 06). BMW also offers a $300 repair kit which includes most every part on the cassette that could break. A good dealer will be able to properly diagnose and correct any of those issues.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    Do you really own this car?

    There are numerous reports of the X3's pano roof leaking water. In fact, there seem to be an inordinately large number of people complaining about water in general in the X3 from clogged roof drains to leaking doors leading to large amounts of water soaking the floors.

    How often do new cars develop water leaks? This is quite a screwball problem. Water causes lots of damage in cars from the electronics to mold and rust. It is interesting that the pano roof is now optional instead of standard.

    As I stated before, the high mileage BMWs all seem to belong to people who are mechanics or have one available for DIY work. If you can do your own work and have access to equipment then you too can have a BMW with 300K miles. That has nothing to do with the actual cost of ownership and roll of the dice when buying one of these cars.

    "Otherwise the average oil service costs about $220 while the Inspection I service runs about $550 and the Inspection II is around $1200. Brake pads and rotors are around $600 per axle."

    Tires seem to run about $1800 for the set although I suspect you can go cheaper or more expensive if you like. If your heated seat goes defective that is $1000. I have heard that the headlight set is $1600 to replace. Dealer labor rates appear to vary widely but range from $90-$140/hr.

    No one who thinks anything through would buy any BMW (or Mercedes, Audi, etc.) because it is an inexpensive car to keep and maintain.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 14,490
    edited February 2010
    Do you really own this car?

    I think that I should ask you that question, considering the ridiculous and unsubstantiated repair figures that you quote.

    "Otherwise the average oil service costs about $220 while the Inspection I service runs about $550 and the Inspection II is around $1200. Brake pads and rotors are around $600 per axle."

    Yeah, right. My last Inspection II at Swope BMW cost $424- and that number included a brake fluid flush and refinishing a curbed front wheel. "$600 per axle"? Swope charged $982 for pads and rotors on all four wheels.

    Tires seem to run about $1800

    Throwing out an even more preposterous number won't salvage your serious credibility problem. You are so far off the mark that it's laughable. The OEM 17" tires cost from $169 each(Pirelli Scorpion STR) to $195 each(Michelin Pilot HX MXM4). Me, I went with Pirelli PZero Nero M+S at $129- $620 installed(including shipping).

    I have heard that the headlight set is $1600 to replace.

    Hearsay yet again. Try $1000 for the most expensive adaptive unit. And just exactly why would you need to replace a headlight set? You might need to replace a Xenon bulb($212) or the ballast($105)- but most likely not until 125,000-150,000 miles at the earliest.

    No one who thinks anything through would buy any BMW (or Mercedes, Audi, etc.) because it is an inexpensive car to keep and maintain.

    I've never said that BMW are the cheapest cars to own, but they are nowhere near as expensive to run as the delusional figures that you like to quote. As I've noted before, I have a 1995 3 Series with over 121,000 miles and its maintenance/repair costs average 5 cents per mile, and that number is 2.8 cents per mile for my 92,000 mile X3.

    Look, everyone here knows that you have the knives out for BMW because your dealer can't hear/feel/reproduce the transmission or suspension(have you ever decided which is at fault?) issues that you claim your X3 has. And you've posted similar diatribes on this and other BMW forums. If I hated a car as much as you do I'd sell the thing and move on with my life- and I wouldn't spend all my time on numerous automotive web sites attempting to poison the manufacturer's pond.
    But that's just me.

    In any event, I think this back and forth has gone on long enough. As I've said, I think other participants can read this topic and readily determine whose statements possess the most credibility.
    Enjoy your X3.
    Or not.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    Oh goodness gracious, your unabashed and utterly unconvincing cheerleading for BMW is quite amusing.

    50,000 miles are free of repairs. I have no idea if you also received free maintenance as well. Instead of making BMW look better, your posts only make me want to dig deeper.

    You aren't doing BMW any favors here. Why don't you ask Toyota how much money they saved by ignoring customer complaints for years. Yep, they dodged THAT bullet.
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    Can we focus a little more on (real) reliability issues and a lot less on each other? In fact, we insist on it.

    tidester, host
    SUVs and Smart Shopper
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 14,490
    edited February 2010
    2004 X3 2.5- 92,000 miles
    Serviced exclusively at Swope BMW, Louisville(excluding tires/mounting/balancing and additional 7,500 mile DIY oil changes)
    Warranty Repairs: Passenger Seat SRS sensor
    Non-Warranty Repairs: None
    Maintenance costs for 42,000 miles(since end of free maintenance): 4.8 cents per mile(including four wheel brake service, four new tires, and three additional DIY oil changes)

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    Well at least you remembered that the first 50,000 miles were free.

    IIRC the passenger seat sensor was a recall. It appears that the seat heater option may have a similar problem. The problem appears to be that of people actually getting in and out of said seats and messing up the wires or connectors or something...who knows. Do you have the optional seat heaters and, if so, are they still working?

    DIY doesn't count as 99% of people are never going to DIY anything more than washing their car and not even that these days.

    As I have said repeatedly, it is the roll of the dice and one or two data points do not a significant picture make. When the dice come up badly the repair costs are very high. That is the way the car industry works. You pay mucho for your car up front and you know that your repair costs and maintenance costs are going to be HIGHER.

    It is irresponsible financially to pay up to your maximum budget for a pricey used car somehow expecting the additional 'quality' to mean lower repair costs. Not everyone has a good, responsible, honest independent mechanic in their area and then they are at the mercy of the massive mark ups of the dealership.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    edited February 2010
    We have a True Cost to Own tool that's based on more than a couple of data points.

    Unless my math is wrong, the maintenance and repair costs for a 2010 X3 will run you .06 cents a mile over 5 years/75,000 miles. .067 if you drag the decimal points out a bit.

    That's a bit more than the .058 I come up with for a '10 Lexus RX 350 (link), but a good bit less than the .086 the MB GLK will run you. (link)

    Edmunds also offers reliability ratings on most new cars, at least through the 2006 model year. The X3 isn't stellar there (but better than the Mercedes):

    BMW X3 Reliability
  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    People seem to think that the X3 is more reliable than the average BMW. I am knocking on its little tin head everyday hoping that it will be above average instead of like this one below. Since the AT is already problematic, I am also hoping that it isn't like the no-reverse situation that has cropped up in other models (older, higher miles than most X3s so far) is reportedly $3K-$7K to fix.

    I still don't understand what it is about water inside the cabin though. It seems to occur on some X5's as well. Why do clogged drains in the roof cause water to drain into the cabin? Just how common is this in other cars? I remember originally hearing about it in an Audi with the water running down the side of the interior and rusting out the seat bolts.

    "Yeah, the quote did make me smile though. I remembered helping 06BMWX3 helping out finding lowest price for these springs on this very forum and the price was in range of 140-200 from various resources. Dealer quoted me almost thrice, but thankfully CPO covers it.

    Having said that, in past (almost) 2 years that I have owned this car if I didn't have warranty I would have spent close to 7-8 k on maintenance, assuming I get it done from dealer. I had sunroof cassette go bad (3.5k), driver side seat leatherette cracking (1k), brake pads + rotor replaced (~1k), passenger seat replaced under recall, low gear holding program applied to car (150), and now the coil springs (1.5k). Except the brakes all other things point to poor quality in either material or engineering. "
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 14,490
    edited February 2010
    Well at least you remembered that the first 50,000 miles were free.

    I never said the first 50,000 miles weren't free. I just broke it down further to show that the per mile expense wasn't bad no matter whether you factor in the first 50,000 miles or not.

    Do you have the optional seat heaters and, if so, are they still working?

    Four of my BMWs have been equipped with heated seats and I've never experienced a problem.

    DIY doesn't count as 99% of people are never going to DIY anything more than washing their car and not even that these days.

    Work on reading for comprehension; my DIY changes were in addition to the factory servicing requirements. The @$50 spent on each of those changes actually increases the cents per mile calculation.

    As I have said repeatedly, it is the roll of the dice and one or two data points do not a significant picture make. When the dice come up badly the repair costs are very high. That is the way the car industry works.

    Yes, you do keep saying that. And each time you you fail to present any statistical data to support your statements.

    It is irresponsible financially to pay up to your maximum budget for a pricey used car somehow expecting the additional 'quality' to mean lower repair costs.

    I've never said that someone on a tight budget should try to own any car without leaving enough money in reserve to pay for repairs. All I've done is refute the unsubstantiated and preposterous claims and cost numbers that have been tossed around.

    Not everyone has a good, responsible, honest independent mechanic in their area and then they are at the mercy of the massive mark ups of the dealership.

    Do you mean the massive mark ups that you quoted based on hearsay? That are approximately three times the amount that I've paid at my dealer?

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 14,490
    edited February 2010
    People seem to think that the X3 is more reliable than the average BMW. I am knocking on its little tin head everyday hoping that it will be above average instead of like this one below.

    You should be fine; what are you averaging now, 1000 miles per year? Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't one of the BMW forums you frequent create a separate topic thread just for you to house your litany of complaints?

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    Most X3's have less than 100K miles on them but the litany of complaints is VERY robust.

    - Pano roof leaking pouring water inside the cabin of the car - what?
    - Door seals leaking doing the same - what?
    - transmission problems - that is its own universe it has become such an issue:
    --hard engine braking/downshifting
    --failure to accelerate
    --rocky, bumpy, hesitating shifting
    --holding onto gears while going uphill
    - heated seats burning people - what?
    - coil spring breaking off their pigtails - what?
    - bumpy, rocky, swaying, uncomfortable ride
    - HVAC system instantly fogging the windows

    Some of us pay attention and keep track of the actual issues and do not presume that a single data point means anything.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 14,490
    edited February 2010
    As I've said, people can read our respective posts and judge for themselves as to which ones are credible and which are preposterous.
    For the last time, enjoy your X3.
    Let us know when yours reaches 1500 miles.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    Me: Naming very specific issues that many others have commented on and can easily be found by googling them.

    Not me: forgets about the free maintenance and warranty.

    Very specifically, the X3 when it behaves itself it is lots of fun to drive. It has a tight turning radius, it has plenty of power, it has great brakes. The manual mode is interesting especially as it doesn't let you do anything too stupid. It has plenty of interior room yet it fits easily into a small parking space.

    Now imagine how good it could have been if BMW had made some reasonable changes: kept the original AT, upgraded the instruments, did something with the pano roof that didn't include leaking, fixed the heated seat situation when they fixed the passenger side airbag situation (I think they are the same problem but I am not sure), made the suspension reasonable, etc.

    It coulda, woulda owned this segment as the most popular 'luxury' SUV is the Lexus and there isn't a junior version of that car.
  • woodywwwoodyww Posts: 1,819
    edited April 2010
    Would pp2009pp tell us his efforts at his bmw dealer getting them to resolve the problems? But in all these months, I've never heard one post in the dozens or hundreds of posts bashing X3's by him detailing the efforts to get his X3 fixed, if any.......

    And if it's truly a Lemon, well there are Lemon Laws. And if there really are problems, people here could give you advice, if you asked. Or you could could sell this Horrible vehicle.

    Problem solving, or ending, now there's a concept..... but why do I think that's not the point?
  • pp2009pppp2009pp Posts: 228
    The car has a few thousand miles on it and it has been back at the dealership too many times with no resolution. It isn't enough to trigger the state's lemon laws (yet) but is enough to cause a WTH moment when it bounces down the street or stops abruptly for no known reason.

    I have come to the conclusion that it is what it is and BMW cannot or does not want to fix it. Maybe the new bodystyle from the stateside plant will fix it...or not. It could also make things worse.

    Have you actually tried to LL a vehicle? It has to be in the shop for a designated number of days and/or have serious safety problems. Just because someone builds a bad car does not make it a lemon in the eyes of the law.

    As long as I own this car it will have these problems because they are not getting fixed.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,457
    edited May 2010
    The lemon law is ridiculously weak here in Idaho. But it's not an exclusive remedy here - instead of suing under the lemon law, you can just sue under a breach of warranty claim. It still "helps" to have the car in the shop a number of times but the safety issues probably aren't as big a factor.

    It might be hard to find an attorney willing to take the case though because your damages may not be high enough to make it worth pursuing. But lots of bar associations offer cheap or free initial consultations if you decide to look into it.
  • edwardsfedwardsf Posts: 190
    edited May 2010
    Also, the owner could sue the dealer/manufacturer in small claims court (up to $7500 in CA) and report them to the BBB. But these angry posts don't seem to be about issue resolution. They also don't seem to reflect statistically significant repair problems and thus are not helping me, a potential X3 buyer. CR does indeed rate the X3 as having more problems than average but as the host mentions, not any worse than the other German manufacturers and better than many models. German cars are more fun to drive and there is a cost to it.

    Also, there are indeed lemons in the world, which PP apparently has. But iIt might be a better use of PP's time to use all this anger to advocate on child welfare or oil spill issues than battle people on how bad his dealer is. Uh oh... maybe I am next..
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 14,490
    Uh oh... maybe I am next.

    I'm thinking you are correct... :P

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • Roadrunner, you seem to be very knowledgeable about BMWs. In February, I purchased a 2007 X3. It is my first German car, first BMW. I was really concerned before purchasing it reading all of PP's comments, but my husband and I decided to go with it anyway. I do see now the extreme difference in handling and riding between Japanese cars and the BMW. I absolutely love the handling, braking, and everything but the rough ride. I am still "afraid" of the maintenance costs though -- especially looking at the end of the warranty period. I currently have 38,000 miles on it and I drive approximately 25,000 miles per year. My husband is very mechanically inclined and we have not paid for a brake job on any car in 25 years. However, I have been told by others that he will not be able to change the brakes on this BMW. Is that true? Does it require specialized tools or BMW maintenance knowledge to do so? We got a great deal on the X3, and I am considering trading it for a Japanese car just to get out of it to avoid the frightening maintenance costs. Am I over-reacting? Thanks for your honest input.
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 14,490
    edited July 2010
    I am still "afraid" of the maintenance costs though -- especially looking at the end of the warranty period.

    See post #3318 in the "BMW X3" topic for an update on the maintenance requirements of my wife's 2004 X3. It currently has over 96,000 miles on it and maintenance costs are still averaging @5 cents per mile- and that number included two sets of Pirelli PZero Nero All Season tires. The only warranty repair has been a passenger seat airbag sensor. We haven't needed to use the CPO warranty at all.

    However, I have been told by others that he will not be able to change the brakes on this BMW. Is that true?

    Whoever you talked to is woefully ignorant about BMWs. Much of the misinformation about BMWs is generated by individuals who haven't even sat in a BMW- never mind driving or servicing one. The brake system on an X3 is utterly conventional. Changing pads and rotors shouldn't take much over one hour- if that long. Here is just one DIY tutorial. A set of pads and rotors for all four wheels from Zeckhausen Racing will cost less than $500. In any event, you probably won't need a brake job before 60,000 miles. I'd also recommend joining the BMW Car Club of America; you'll get an excellent monthly magazine and many dealers and shops give club members discounts of up to 25% on parts and/or labor.

    I am considering trading it for a Japanese car just to get out of it to avoid the frightening maintenance costs. Am I over-reacting?

    If you have a good dealer and/or an independent BMW shop that you trust I'd say that you have little to worry about. However, I would service the car a bit more frequently than BMW recommends. In particular, I would change the oil midway between the services that the cars service information system calls for, using a BMW filter and Mobil 1 0W-40 oil. I'd change the automatic transmission fluid and transfer case fluid at 50,000 to 55,000 miles. And I'd change the coolant(using only BMW brand coolant) every three years.
    And if you have any other questions, don't hesitate to ask!

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • The dealer?

    No, I lay the problems with this car at the foot of the manufacturer. The dealer can only do so much with what they are given to sell and service.
  • Good deal? Give me your thoughts

    18k
    - 60 K service completed.
    - New Tires
    - SMOG check done .
    - Registration paid for until June 2012.
    pics here
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/sets/72157627123943462/
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 14,490
    I think that it's worth between $15k-$17k; $18k could get you a 2006. As always, I'd want to have it inspected by a qualified BMW tech.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • My 2004 X3 started falling apart at 80K - I should have traded it in. I am now at 100K and the sunroof mysteriously fell to pieces and costs $2000 to repair. So my recommendation is to enjoy it for a 3 year lease (it was great in early years) but trade in before 50K miles. Also, do not order the panorama moonroof. BMW corporate would not assist with repairing it. My next car will not be a BMW because of BMW poor corporate response.
  • Please Google "statistically significant sample" Your sample size -- 1 -- is not a statistically-representative sample of the "population" thousands of of X3s sold during the model year of your X3 which, by the way, you failed to identify.

    In addition, "started falling apart" is a meaningless statement.

    Also, does, "I am now at 100K and the sunroof mysteriously fell to pieces" mean the glass shattered?
  • Good morning everybody and thank you for reading my new topic. It's my first post on this forum and I am glad I could find it as I often have to buy or sell vehicules and this place will definitely help me to make a logical choice.

    Let's make it simple. I am the father of 3 kids, married and I love to travel. When I say travel, I say that I am planning at least one road trip per year. Well, I've been looking at the BMW X5 2002 and the BMW X3 2004. I previously owned a Mercedes 250 and a Ford fiesta and loved both. However, for the family needs, an SUV would be great. I've been seriously watching this truck until I received a cold shower reading the reviews. For a few, it was a fairytale. For others, it was a nightmare. Many people reported major breakdown after only 50K Kilo, which is absolutely abnormal for a high class vehicule (My first car was a Kia Rio and I never paid a buck until 150K Kilo).

    The questionning I have brings me here. I would like you, BMW owners, to tell me your experience about this truck. What was the mileage when the first major breakdown happened? how long last the front/rear brakes? How long last a set of tires? How much it costed you to fix your vehicule? Maintenance fees?

    I read that it's an amazing vehicule to drive. However, I want a german car for it's reliability. If this vehicule is more likely to break, what would you buy instead of that one? I really don't want to get stuck with a car that I need to send to the dealer every 10K kilo and this is why I would be glad if you share about your experience with your BMW X3 and X5.

    Thank you very much for your kind help
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 14,490
    The questionning I have brings me here. I would like you, BMW owners, to tell me your experience about this truck. What was the mileage when the first major breakdown happened? how long last the front/rear brakes? How long last a set of tires? How much it costed you to fix your vehicule? Maintenance fees?

    Sorry for the late reply, I've been busy and haven't checked in as much as I should. I can tell you my experience with our 2004 X3 2.5.

    Let me first say that the dealer or repair shop will have a major impact on your ownership experience; my dealer has been excellent. Now to your questions:

    First major breakdown: At 136,800 miles the transfer case failed. Some fail earlier, some later, some not at all. At 148,000 miles the coolant expansion tank cracked, but most owners replace the expansion tank, radiator, thermostat, and water pump around 100,000 miles- although I waited until 156,000 miles(note that I also replaced the vapor separator system at the same mileage)

    Brake lifespan: The first set of front and rear pads and rotors were replaced at 60,000 miles. The second set lasted somewhat longer- the rear pads lasted 71,600 miles(the rotors were still good) while the front pads/rotors went 83,700 miles. Note that brake and tire life are extremely dependent on driving conditions and driving style.

    One major problem can be the huge sunroof- it is VERY expensive when it breaks. I advise leaving it shut and not using it.

    Finally, the overall reliability is directly influenced by how well the car has been maintained. The more service records you can examine the better. Finally, any car you consider should be inspected by a shop that is familiar with BMWs and their common problems.

    Let me know if I can help further!

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • I want to start off by saying I love the design both inside and out of this car BMW X 3 picked up where jeep Cherokee left off and took it a step further in my opinion. I had a straight six cylinder engine in an old jeep Cherokee that I owned and sorry to say did not service well and I sold it still running with 210k miles on it. I love the power of my x3 and the pano roof is awesome.

    Now let me start with my experience. I bought my 2006 bmw x3 with 66245miles on it two weeks ago. It currently has 66962miles on it. Ifirst had an issue because on my 200 mile drive from the dealership that I bought my x3 from my check engine light came on. The next day the brake light went out. So I took the car into the dealership and $400 dollars later I have a new hose for exhaust recirculation up by the left side of the engine and a lower radiator hose and new fluid. I was quoted $500 additional cost for expansion tank, host radiator hose, thermostat and flush as preventative maintenance. Also noted was an oil pan gasket leak, rear differential leak, and dip stick o ring leak and I was quoted $2500 for that repair. The day after driving home from dealership car started squeeking and so I popped the hook and am starting to notice a small Frey in the ac belt. I called the dealership and was quoted $865 for the main belt, the ac belt, ac tensioner and new hydrolic tensioner apparently updated old mechanical tensioner and that was just the price of parts and did not include idler pulley. I washed my car yesterday and noticed that the front drivers side headlight seems to have a little fog and moisture in it. HELP!!!! Is this normal because I owned a Hyundai elantra that I drove for the past three years and was a 2003 with 103k miles on it when I bought it three years ago. And yes I put a ton of highway miles on it but I only put about $4500 into tires, brakes and other maintenance and valve cover gasket was the second most expensive malfunction on it. Is this what I have to expect from this car x3? I can't afford to dump another $3400 into this car so what should I do? Should I just try to sell it and cut my losses, try to DIY with some of it and ignore the oil leakes, or just start searching all around a good Indy? I live near Daytona beach Florida so if anyone knows any good Indy shops I would appreciate the help. Also any DIY for me keep it mind I don't have a garage and not a clue about bmws. Also I only have adecent socket set. To end this post I just want to say that the car still drives like. A Sherman tank and I love the steering and breaking that is so controlled. In my Hyundai the steering felt like steering a big rig with how loose it was but the tight steering in the x3 is pretty amazing. Also the breaking and the acceleration and quick shifting is unlike many cars I've driven.
  • Also I did a vehicle history report and no accidents or flood damage on this vehicle. I did notice though that the battery has been replaced twice and the ac compressor and evaporator were changed twice. I have also noticed some interior issues that don't make sense. The cheaper pleather plastic whatever the seats are don't seem to wear well. Really by that I mean the drivers seat is cracked on the top and on the side about 6' each. The center sunglass holder I presume? Above the radio doesn't pop up. Also on the vehicle history report it was noted that the center cupholder was replaced but the replaced cupholder in there is currently semi broken and the gloss has worn off on that particular plastic on the center consol area. The wheels seem to scratch easily as I have noted scratches all over the wheel wells. Not a huge deal but annoying for such low mileage. And yes anything under 150k miles in this day and age with the technology is to be expected from all cars. The interior is expected to be semi worn but could have put anything else there and it woulfnt look so cheap and faded already. I hope the newer models changed this. I will say though that I love that the interior is basically all laminate bc it makes it easy to clean. I also love the trunk pull down cover as it's nice to be able to keep my golf clubs hidden not to mention the privacy glass. I have also noticed the car paint seems to be holding up very well and most of the trim seems to be well intact despite some of the issues ive read about from other owners experiencing leaks. No rust seems to have formed anywhere underneath but that is to be expected for Florida car. Also I think from what I've read working on this car can be a pita but underneath the hood just looks clean compaired the other cars as far as the design and the fact that it seems to stay clean in there. Also the key is pretty cool but touch start might be cooler and I'm sure was available at that time. I wish that a better radio and an mp3 port were on this car and I think a factory standard GPS is to be expected from a luxury car but I'm the one who bought one without. But no mp3 usb port in this year just seems cheap. They make up for it elseware I'm sure but I feel that such a great vehicle could be the best if not for some tweaking. Anyway I would recommend this car based on look and. feel but I would so far not recommend this car for cost of ownership because repairs seem to be to much too soon for such a young car
  • escargotescargot Posts: 1

    I've been thinking about making the X3 my next SUV, and all of these comments have been frank, honest and very helpful.
    I currently have a Honda CR-V, and believe in retiring my vehicles only when they hit the 15-year mark or are totaled (unfortunately, that's what happened to the last two vehicles I owned). I'd like the X3 to last me 15 years as well, but it sounds like I'm lucky if I'd get 10 years out of it.

  • I just purchased a 2008 X3 with 77K miles. I love the way the car handles and the spacious design of the interior. I originally test drove a Ford Escape and it was incredibly claustrophobic to me, the complete opposite of this car. I plan to do regular maintenance and oil changes more frequent than suggested. Hoping for my future 77K miles to be happy ones.

  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 14,490

    @‌spinyourwheels

    Welcome! My son's 2004 X3 has 165k miles on it and still runs like new. In your case I would suggest changing brake fluid every two years, the BMW coolant at least every 3-4 years and the automatic transmission fluid and transfer case oil every 55-70k miles. Follow the factory service schedule on everything else.

    I've been driving and playing with BMWs since 1983 so I'd be happy to try and answer any questions you may have.

    Mine: 1995 318ti Club Sport; 2014 M235i; 2009 Cooper Clubman; 1999 Wrangler; 1996 Speed Triple Challenge Cup Replica Wife's: 2015 X1 xDrive28i Son's: 2009 328i

  • Greetings: thanks to everyone for all of the useful tips above. I'm married with no children, but my husband and I are looking for something with a bit more stability in bad (snowy) weather and more cargo room than our VW Jetta. We've both owned Audis in the past (his an A4 and mine an A4 1.8T Quattro) and have been considering purchasing an X3 because of the styling, space, and AWD. It would be our first BMW.

    So, my questions: Are the repair costs for an X3 comparable with the Volkswagen and the Audi? We are planning to buy used; what should we look for, aside from the obvious Carfax reports and service records? Maybe lastly, how many miles are TOO many miles on a used X3 to give us some longevity? For instance, we looked recently at a well-maintained and accident-free 2004 X3 2.5 with 113,000 miles. We have a good mechanic who specializes in imports, and my husband can do some DIY-- could this vehicle last us five or more years given attentive maintenance? We typically put between 12,000 and 15,000 miles a year on our vehicles. Thanks for any information!
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 185,009
    rwillobee said:

    Greetings: thanks to everyone for all of the useful tips above. I'm married with no children, but my husband and I are looking for something with a bit more stability in bad (snowy) weather and more cargo room than our VW Jetta. We've both owned Audis in the past (his an A4 and mine an A4 1.8T Quattro) and have been considering purchasing an X3 because of the styling, space, and AWD. It would be our first BMW.

    So, my questions: Are the repair costs for an X3 comparable with the Volkswagen and the Audi? We are planning to buy used; what should we look for, aside from the obvious Carfax reports and service records? Maybe lastly, how many miles are TOO many miles on a used X3 to give us some longevity? For instance, we looked recently at a well-maintained and accident-free 2004 X3 2.5 with 113,000 miles. We have a good mechanic who specializes in imports, and my husband can do some DIY-- could this vehicle last us five or more years given attentive maintenance? We typically put between 12,000 and 15,000 miles a year on our vehicles. Thanks for any information!


    The previous model X3 (2004-2010) would be comparable to an Audi or VW, in terms of maintenance cost. Maybe a little better than the Audi, and definitely more reliable. Parts prices are reasonable, as well.

    If I wanted 5 years and 70K miles out of one, I would look for something below 100K miles.. More like 70K-80K.. Also, the newer the better. A lot of interior and exterior trim, window regulators, anything plastic, starts deteriorating after 10 years. Good maintenance records are a big plus.

    The 2.5 engine was only put in the X3 the first couple of years (maybe only 2004?), and while it's a good engine (same as in the E46 325i), it's a little underpowered for a car as heavy as an X3 (184 HP).

    I'd stick with the 3.0 engine in the '04-'06 models. 225 HP is much more enjoyable. Starting in '07, they got the 3.0si engine, which has 255 horsepower and is wonderful, but they also got the 6-speed automatic, which isn't as wonderful. A lot of programming issues with those. But, you'll know if you test drive a goofy one.

    If your mechanic is well-versed in BMWs, that would be helpful. As in any older car, the automatic transmission is the biggest worry. It's the one thing that can really cost a lot of money, if it needs repair.

    Did you get a good deal? Be sure to come back and share!

    Edmunds Moderator

  • Thanks, kyfdx! That's useful information. I was really hoping to find a 3.0 engine, and I appreciate the tip on the 6-speed automatic.
  • OK, a weird question on another X3 I found online: aren't the seat-belts supposed to match the interior color? I'm looking at a beige interior with black belts. ???
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