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BMW 3-Series Maintenance and Repair

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Comments

  • try someone from the corporate office
  • You can buy a scanner and read the codes to see where the problem is.

    Most common reasons for a BMW is typically:
    1. Oxygen sensor failure
    2. Vacuum leak
  • dan12dan12 Posts: 114
    I'm hoping for some advice...

    I have a 2007 335i with 80K miles. It's had its share of problems over the years, but luckily most of them have been covered by the warranty. My extended warranty runs out at the end of the year and I'm seriously considering selling the car now. I still love how it drives and I would keep the car another 6 years but I am very concerned about repair costs. If I'm going to pay $$$ for maintaining it, I might as well use that money for a new car. Am I overly worried? Or should I sell it before it gets to 100K?
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,214
    well, if you are that worried about it, I'm afraid it wouldn't be a very pleasant ownership experience. Every hiccup or noise is going to send you into a paranoid spiral.

    Additionally, if you have to rely on a BMW dealership for maintenance and repairs, then, yeah, I'd suggest moving on with another car.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    If the car has a problematic history, I'd punch out after warranty.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 13,459
    Can you go into a little detail about "share of problems?"

    Did your fuel pump fail & your engine went into "limp mode" while driving 90 mph in the left lane of a busy highway?

    Or are we talking defective power seats & faulty window regulators?

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2017 Pilot Touring AWD, 2019 Tacoma TRD Sport 4WD

  • dan12dan12 Posts: 114
    Close. The fuel pump failed at midnight in the middle of nowhere while driving home from a long trip. I was still about 6 hours away. Luckily I was able to limp home despite the "engine malfunction" lights in the dash. (I called BMW assist and they assured me it was ok to continue driving.)

    The engine also overheated and left me stranded while driving to work. I had to get the car towed to the dealership.

    The turbos had some other issues.. I'm no mechanic, so I can't really go into the details. But the mechanic at the dealership maxed out my extended warranty to fix whatever was wrong and then advised me to come back again so he could do more work. I did that and now the car runs ok, but it's kinda hard not be concerned.

    I do have a local mechanic who I can use and he is much, much cheaper than the dealer. He specializes in BMW's and he advised me to sell my car and not touch any turbo engines from BMW for a while.
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 13,459
    I think you've got your answer my friend. Sell or trade now.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2017 Pilot Touring AWD, 2019 Tacoma TRD Sport 4WD

  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 2,043
    with a 2009 335i. Mine hasn't had very many problems (it was delivered with an oil leak, which the dealer fixed, and I have had some false alarms with the malfunction light) but it only has 25K miles on it. Any wise advice for me when I get closer to the end of the warrantee?

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv. (RIP 2001 Jaguar XK8 cnv and 1985 MB 380SE [the best of the lot])

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,214
    Honestly, there isn't a whole lot to be worried about (that we know of yet). The fuel pump is covered for something like 100k miles now, I believe (maybe 120k? I forget). Same goes for the turbo wastegate problem (I'm not even sure either of these apply to your '09, though). That only leaves coils and vanos sensors as far as common failures go. Both of which are very easy to do yourself if so inclined.

    Anyhoo, as you start getting close to the end of your warranty, I'd be looking into getting the walnut blasting service of the valves done on BMW's dime. Not all service advisors will do this under warranty, but if you have a good relationship with yours, it is quite possible. The other is that the spark plugs are technically due just before 50k miles. Doesn't sound like you'll be coming near that in your 4-years free service, though.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • bhill2bhill2 Posts: 2,043
    Thanks for your response. The fuel pump has already been replaced under a recall, so I don't think it is an issue. The wastegate issue I will look into. I got the extended warrantee (I know it's not a good gamble but modern cars scare the hell out of me, what with the tendency for malfunctioning turn indicators to require replacing a $1000 module), so I have 7 years for spark plugs and such.

    2009 BMW 335i, 2003 Corvette cnv. (RIP 2001 Jaguar XK8 cnv and 1985 MB 380SE [the best of the lot])

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,214
    edited April 2013
    you got the extended warranty, but what about the maintenance plan? That's where the spark plugs would come from. They are a normal replacement item around 45k miles. But its not a big deal.

    With the extended warranty, at least the valve cleanings should be covered.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    One an buy a lot of spark plugs for the cost of the extended maintenance plan. IMO, unless you're into putting tons of miles on our car, the maintenance plan doesn't get you much.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,214
    Agreed. I wouldn't want to be forced to follow their maintenance schedule anyway.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • dan12dan12 Posts: 114
    I didn't get the maintenance plan on my 335i which would have basically amounted to me pre-paying all the maintenance. But I did get the extended warranty and I'm very glad I did. It definitely paid off in my case, although statistically speaking it's generally not worth it.
  • tlw6tlw6 Posts: 15
    We have a 2004 325i. The last time when I drove it, the engine stalled on the road. Towed it to a mechanic (not a bmw expert). He replaced the coils, but which didn’t do any good. Then towed it to a bmw mechanic, who showed me low engine compression -- readings of 40 and 50 on a couple of the cylinders. He told me later that a couple of the valves were not closing, so, the cylinder head has to be replaced as there is no point to repair in a piecemeal fashion. The cost would be about $2500. The addition repair needed include the timing chain guides.

    The car has only 125k miles. So it wasn’t driven harshly, but we did overlooked a couple of maintenance items, like spark plugs were not replaced until about 110k miles and the air filter was replaced late too.

    Any advice for me for the diagnosis of cylinder head replacement? Thanks in advance.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Was it running fine prior to stalling? What led guy #1 to think it was ignition? Not competent? If running good, what would all of a sudden cause the valves to not close? Was the oil level good? Lack of upper end lube could cause the valves to bind. In an interference engine, severe damage could occur if a timing belt were to break and the valves collided with a piston. Baaaaad news. Not consistent with ignition or coils. Opposite issue. I would want to know why he thinks the valves aren't closing. A compression test would show this. ALL cylinders? If just one or two, it could still run. I guess I would get another opinion and maybe look for a good shop that deals with foreign/European cars. There are good ones out there that won't rip you like a dealer. Ask around. For $2500, I would certainly get a couple more estimates. Hard to do when the car won't run, but describe the problem to them and see what you hear.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 130,860
    If I read it correctly, the 2nd guy they took it to, is a BMW mechanic..

    If he says it needs a new head, it probably does... (plus, he did a compression check)

    Now, do you want to pay $2500 to fix a $7K car? Seems like you almost have to...

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

    Edmunds Moderator

  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,214
    I dunno. Are you sure you are relaying the info right? "Not closing" and "40 and 50" psi on a couple of cylinders are very very different. That would be NO compression vs LOW compression.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • tlw6tlw6 Posts: 15
    The first guy was incompetent. That was why I towed the car to the second shop, which deals with European cars. I am not very familiar with these issues, but saw him pulling a spark plug (closest to the radiator) out, hooked up his pressure gauge, showed me the readings of about 40 or 50, and said that the min. to get spark should be ~75. He did this for the next 2 cylinders, with similar readings. I assumed that he knew what he was doing and that must be the compression test. Is it?

    But I don’t know whether the first guy had anything to do with these “low pressure.” This first guy wasn’t able to start the car, I believe, during the stay of the car in his shop. He also changed the thermostat b/c it was one of the shown codes.

    Once in a while in its history, this car felt like the engine was slow and kind of struggling when first started. On average, it would also stall once every several months, but we could always restart it. But, for this last time, I just felt that the engine got slower and slower on the road and eventually stalled and would not start again.

    In terms of the oil level, the low oil warning light always came up when the car first started, even right after an oil change. But the light always went away after we drove for 100 ft or so. The first mechanic (who I use for other family cars, Japanese) said that it should be an oil sensor issue and don’t worry about it. So I took his word for it. But now I begin to wonder whether the oil pressure has been low now that you asked about it. We do change oil regularly.

    I just dug up my scribbly notes about what the second guy said after I left my car with him. He said that Valves #3 – #6 were not closing and the head gasket was blown. I will ask him what you asked “why he thinks the valves aren't closing” tomorrow. He also said to change the timing chain guides.

    Any further inside with these additional descriptions? Really appreciate your opinions.
  • tlw6tlw6 Posts: 15
    thanks for the reply, and it just showed my ignorance in these issues.

    to try to clarify what I said, when the car was towed to the (second) mechanic, he checked the pressures on 2 (or 3) cylinders that are closest to the radiator and 40 or 50 psi were shown on the meter. I don't know how the cylinders are numbered. I would hope that those are #1 and #2.

    when I called him after a few days, he said that "valves 3 – 6 are not closing." I don't know which are considered "#3" thru "#6." If #6 is closest to the radiator, then what he told me over the phone were not consistent with what I saw on his pressure gauge.

    How are the valves numbered? thanks in advance again.
  • chewy2chewy2 Posts: 19
    Might be best to find a shop that specializes in BMW. This might mean going to a dealer. If you live anywhere near Silver Spring, MD, try the namesake dealer - BMW of Silver Spring.
  • qbrozenqbrozen Posts: 26,214
    I can only think maybe he means they aren't seating properly. But, honestly, that's just an assumption based on a compression test. A bad head gasket or worn piston rings will also give low readings.

    '10 Equinox LS; '08 Charger R/T Daytona; '67 Coronet R/T; '14 Town&Country Limited; '18 BMW X2. 49-car history and counting!

  • fourthbmwfourthbmw Posts: 9
    edited August 2013
    My 2013 335i has very black soot at the exhaust tail pipes. The dealer service said its OK. They said if anything was wrong there would be indicators and codes for review. However they couldn't explain what is causing it. It doesn't look good to me and some of my friends noticed it and said it has a rich mixture and can damage the engine or catalytic converter.

    I called BMW North America and I was told they only help with car features or personal issues and that I should go back to the dealer and have them check it out again. CATCH-22.

    Is there anyone who can verify ond/or explain what causes this black soot. Do I need to go to the dealer and check all the 335 exhaust pipes to see what colors the exhaust is, than if they are different than mine I am back to where I started. I am concerned because I am planning a drive to Colorado to see my son and do some sight seeing. (see America trip).
  • I have a 2013 320i with a strange problem. This has happened 3 times so I have finally discovered the pattern but not the cause: our church parking lot is under some major power lines. You can actually hear them buzzing when you walk under them. When I park in a certain place in the lot the elevation puts my car within 50 feet or so of the lines and when I start the car the radio will have lost all of its station presets. After a restart or 2 they will return. Is something not shielded properly or is it just the proximity to the lines? Anybody else ever have a problem like this?
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    I'm thinking it's haunted. May have to perform an exorcism. Seriously, you may be onto something, although it doesn't seem like that should do it if everything is properly grounded and shielded. I would think that RF would be more likely to affect it.
  • I had that problem and was told it was the ignition reduction shield and my radio went useless.
  • srs_49srs_49 Posts: 1,394
    It's very difficult to shield against 60 Hz interference in the scenario that was described - parked under or near a high voltage transmission line.

    In that situation the primary method of interference is magnetic coupling. To effectively shield against a 60 Hz magnetic filed you need a thick steel (greater than 0.1 inch) enclosure. Typical automotive sheet metal, .080 inches thick (guessing here), would only reduce the magnetic field strength by 90%.
  • xeyexeye Posts: 168
    I discovered some odd behavior this past weekend apparently caused by the Engine Start/Stop function in my 2013 335i xDrive. After a walk using my Droid Razr to listen to Pandora One via satellite using earbuds, I returned to my car and pressed the Engine Start/Stop button without the clutch depressed to go into Ready mode so the time display would illuminate. I did this while Pandora was still playing.

    When I pressed the button again to go to Off mode, Pandora instantly stopped playback! It was as if I had pushed the Pause button on the smartphone. I was able to repeat this behavior three times consistently. There was no wired connection between the smartphone and the car. The Bluetooth connection would probably have been established, though.

    What gives? Why would the Engine Start/Stop function be putting out a signal that would be picked up by the Droid Razr and interpreted by Pandora? Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon? I have been on Bluetooth calls when shutting down the engine with no interruption to the call.

    xeye
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 13,459
    hey there xeye! Good to see yourself still hanging around. Tasman Green/Oyster 2011 335xi, right?

    Once you enter the car and turn it on (start button only, no clutch) the phone automatically pairs itself with the car. When you turn the car off, the pandora turns off too.

    The car knows when you are on the phone and that you might want to continue your conversation outside the car.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2017 Pilot Touring AWD, 2019 Tacoma TRD Sport 4WD

  • I stop using Pandora on my PC, as it screwed it up and I think that it's affecting your Droid somehow. Do you have a GSM or CDMA signal?
  • xeyexeye Posts: 168
    Thanks for the feedback, all.

    I am, indeed, still around, but I am now in a 2013 Black Sapphire Metallic 335i xDrive Sport w/Leather Dakota Black/Red highlight. I went to the dealer in early May this year just to 'look around', and wound up driving out a few days later in the new ride. If you spot one of these with MA license 'STLTH', that might be me. The only items I miss are the H/K stereo and the parking sensors as I did not custom-order this one. About the only package this one doesn't have is the M 'lipstick'. The really REALLY nice thing is that I didn't have to wait, agonize and track the RORO all the way across the ocean for 8 weeks!

    Someone got a sweet Tasmin Green/Oyster CPO with about 30,000 miles!

    My wife traded in her 2008 328xi for a 2013 Fiat 500 Abarth, also great fun to drive. On start-up, it sounds like two Harleys strapped together! Our neighbors love us. Her license plate is 'LUIGEE'.

    I am very impressed by how BMW tweaked the car between the '11 and the '13. I was a little skeptical when they came out with the 3 lines, but someone put a lot of thought into the ergonomics of the newer version. Flipping the switch between Comfort and Sport with pressure on the GO pedal never ceases to bring on a big grin!

    On Monday, I will be taking the car in for service as I think I've lost half of the horn sound. It sounds more life a Nissan Versa than a BMW. It's embarrassing to honk the horn!

    Good to chat again. I will try to post a pic soon.

    xeye
  • nyccarguynyccarguy Stamford, CTPosts: 13,459
    Nice ride! I'm sure your car is lightning fast.

    I am currently leasing a 2011 328xiA & love it. I've got a total of 30 months/50K miles to enjoy it. It goes back 9/22/2014. I have driven a new 328xi (base model, loaner car) and didn't particularly care for it. It sure was a lot faster than my Titanium Silver/Black 2011, but severely lacked the steering feedback & "buttoned down" handling I crave. I got my car in March of 2012 as a leftover with a subsidized lease & lots of cash incentives. The current body style is going to be out of my price range when my lease is up.

    2001 Prelude Type SH, 2017 Pilot Touring AWD, 2019 Tacoma TRD Sport 4WD

  • I wanted to replace my broken trunk lid for my e46 2001 station wagon trying to search also for how to video but so far nothing. maybe this forum can help me out. just purchace 1 online and their not cheap about $80 ouch! any help or advise will b much appreciated.
  • I am looking purchase a 2010 BMW 328i convertible with 47,032 miles. My real hesitation is the maintenance cost. What should I expect to spend every year. How often are non scheduled parts needing repair? Any advise as I look for a convertible?
  • tlw6tlw6 Posts: 15
    i was told once that the average maintenance cost is like $1500/year for bmw.
  • 5539655396 Posts: 529
    Unless you cheat and find a good and reasonable repair shop. That is the ONLY reason I went back to European after owning a Saab and Audi many years ago. And, I bought used, contrary to the norm of bailing out before the warranty ends. The certicication just ended on our 08 528i w/50k and I'm waiting for my first and last expensive surprise. Also have a Z3 which is a much better fit for my comfort zone. Not so complicated. I don't need headlights that go up and down plus side to side. Just something more to go wrong and enhance dealer profit.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    I think that estimate is about right for an out of warranty German car in good condition. Of course, that $1500 a year estimate has to be averaged out over a few years. Some years you're luckier than others. Also, this estimate does not include catastrophic failures, only maintenance and "expendables" that all cars need.

    Also, many owners find ways to cut costs--either by using a good independent repair shop, and also joining the BMW club (https://www.bmwcca.org/index) and taking advantage of member discounts as well as excellent repair and maintenance tips found in the DIY forums.

    Of course, you will find BMW owners here at Edmunds who are very helpful and easier to access than joining a club.
  • kyfdxkyfdx Posts: 130,860
    My dealer runs an oil change special for $79 on my model, most of the time.. So, I try to take it in every 6 months... then, they come back with a list of what the car needs... and, I take that to my independent (all makes) and they save me about 30% over the dealer's quote..

    My dealer is very good.. My car was CPO, so they worked on it until it was 6 years old... they don't up-sell... so, if they say you need it, you need it, and my independent mechanic confirms it.. The dealer has so much more experience with my model car than a general independent could have, so it's nice having them scope out the problems. My independent is a very good, as well, so no issues having them do the work I request...

    It works for me.. I'd say about $150-$200 per month for repair and maintenance... on average...

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

    Edmunds Moderator

  • My new 328i sedan trunk tail light lens continually pops out. Besides being pissed about this quality control issue on an expensive new car, the dealer has been unable to solve the problem. The dealer says they use an adhesive to secure the lens. I cannot see any adhesive on the repair. I have heard that this is an issue on the 2012-2103 F30s. Has anyone had this issue and what was done to fix the problem?
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    I spend a fair amount of time on a couple of BMW-specific forums, but this is the fire case I've seen anything like your issue.

    I'm thinking you may have a dealer issue moreso than a BMW issue. I don't think BMW did anything radically different in the taillight lens dept. on the F30 than the E90 model.
  • I have a 2007 335i hard top convertible, 109K miles. The battery light was coming on so I took it to a local mechanic who does BMW service. He has good yelp reviews and I just moved here. He replaced the battery and "registered" it. As I drove off the lot I hear a noise I thought was an airplane overhead. 6 blocks later I realized it was my car and turned around. Before I got back the water light came on (temp was fine). When he opened the hood the auxiliary fan was blowing. He hooked up the diagnostic scanner and it gave a water pump indicator as well as several other indicators. After a long discussion he admitted the battery didn't need to be replaced but since that's what I asked for that's what he did. He agreed to put the old battery back in and try to figure out what's going on.

    I can't find anything on-line about what might be going on, but common sense, a decent knowledge of cars, and putting together some things he said is hinting at a couple of things. Could he have registered the battery wrong? Could he have used the wrong battery (there are 2 potential batteries for this model and I don't believe they are interchangeable)? Could either of these 2 things either be causing a false reading on the scan, or have messed up the electrical system? Has anyone had a situation where the battery was replaced and the electric water pump blew as a result? Any other ideas?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Sonoma, CaliforniaPosts: 64,490
    i don't see a connection unless he blew a fuse somehow during installation. The 'wrong' battery would relate to size, not voltage. Or, if the car ran without sufficient coolant, it could damage the pump; or if the car's cooling system is not filled according to BMW procedure, that could damage the pump.

    A battery light would not necessarily warrant a battery replacement, so really, in hindsight, the car should have been scanned first, and codes extracted, and then the charging system checked, before anything else was done.

    hard to say what happened given the info you provided.
  • busirisbusiris Posts: 3,490
    I agree with MrShift. 12 volt car batteries are all the same voltage, and since registering the battery is done to tell the car's charging system the optimum charging characteristics, its doubtful a new battery by itself caused any issue.

    Frankly, I'd be a bit skeptical about any mechanic that would simply replace a battery without doing a load test first, if for no other reason than to prove the battery was bad rather than a fault in the charging system.

    So, personally, I'd have doubts in this shop's competency level, based upon your comments.

    As for your problem's cause, its difficult to say from the info provided. BMW water pumps seem to have a higher failure rate after around 75-80K miles, and many owners replace them around that benchmark mileage as a preventive measure.
  • 2020M340i2020M340i Posts: 3
    Has there been any record of code issues with the new 2020 M340? I purchased a M340i last week and it has been held thus far due to code issues that they couldn't figure out. Now my dealership is getting someone from main headquarters to resolve the problem. Should I be worried and back off this deal? They were kind enough to not take the money yet until they fix the problem. Am afraid this car I purchase could be a lemon. If I sign all paperwork can I still back out of this deal
  • roadburnerroadburner Posts: 12,282
    Find out EXACTLY what the coding issue is. I worked at a BMW dealer and that was a far from common issue. We called in people from Woodcliff Lake sometimes on newer cars where the service information had not caught up with the cars.

    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

  • BMWFan99BMWFan99 Posts: 1
    '04 325ci model owner, 105K miles. Around the 100K mark, started to have some unusual, uneven acceleration problems, of the engine "lurching" at 40mph and then at 60mph. It's a song at 80mph+. On decel at city speeds, and letting go of the gas, I hear a low buzzing sound for 1-2 seconds, typically after riding down a hill. Dealer says they cannot replicate or diagnose. Any ideas?

    Separately, popped the glass passenger side mirror while crossing a narrow bridge (this age model doesn't have a remote folding button). Ordered an after market part for about $60. Can I manually place it back on and click the backing, or pay a dealer/ auto shop?
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