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BMW 3-Series (E90 E92) Forum > E90 / E92 / E93 3-series Technical Forums > Mechanical Maintenance: Break-in / Oil & Fluids / Servicing / Warranty > BMW 3 Series Maintenance and Reliability?



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      05-12-2005, 01:12 AM   #23
Armen52
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So essentially you don't need to worry about the cost of the maintenance itself on the BMW until after 4yrs/50000 miles. You do have to consider that if you end up like my cousin's 2003 330Ci and you have to go back to the dealer something like 15 times at this point then there is a cost to the time and effort.

In terms of reliability factoring into the buyin decision, I also considered this before deciding BMW. Here is how I looked at it...

Overall reliability figures from JD Power and others suggest that Lexus has some of the highest, if not the highest, vehicle satisfaction and reliability ratings. Those studies also show that overall BMW cars have slightly lower but still pretty good numbers in those areas. Here is a link to the most recent long-term dependability study by JD Power.

So then I figured, its possible to get a bad car from either company, like one that has more problems than the average car from them. These numbers essentially tell you what the chance of that happening is, and for a BMW its just a bit higher than Lexus.

However the quality difference is not nearly as much as MB or Audi for example. So to me, the tradeoff was worth it. I get a car I get giddy thinking about (the 330) versus buying an excellent car that doesn't stir my emotions at all, such as the TL or G35.

That said, I still have my fingers crossed that BMW will do better than average with this E90 and that I will get one I don't need to worry about at all except every 15,000 miles for oil (and tires probably).

140 treadware rating on the 330 sport tires, yeesh!
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      05-12-2005, 03:10 AM   #24
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One component of a car that will make or break a motor is the timing chain/belt. All BMWs have a timing chain versus a belt that MANY manufacturers are still using. I am pretty sure the Acura TSX has a T-belt. What's my point? A timing chain can last the lifetime of a motor, whereas a timing belt will need to be changed at 70000 miles.
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      05-12-2005, 10:45 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltron1011
One component of a car that will make or break a motor is the timing chain/belt. All BMWs have a timing chain versus a belt that MANY manufacturers are still using. I am pretty sure the Acura TSX has a T-belt. What's my point? A timing chain can last the lifetime of a motor, whereas a timing belt will need to be changed at 70000 miles.
Timing belts in most modern cars are spec'd for 100,000 miles. At that point, expect $500-$1000 to replace the belt and tensioner and perhaps the water pump. Amortized over 100,000 miles, it's not that expensive.

Whether the car has a belt or chain is not something I really look at in making a purchase decision. I may not even own the car by the time it's replaced.
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      05-13-2005, 02:47 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally Posted by segfault

Whether the car has a belt or chain is not something I really look at in making a purchase decision. I may not even own the car by the time it's replaced.
Except when you are driving at night on the freeway between San Diego and Las Vegas, and your '100,000' mile belt breaks at 30,000 miles, totally destroying the motor. Then what will you do? It happened to me... Granted, it will be fixed under warranty, but it is still a pain in the ars to go through. Trust me, you want your car to have a T-chain.
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      05-13-2005, 04:03 AM   #27
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I think you really can't make the decision until you actually test drive the IS and get some reviews.

For me, I was chosing between G35 & the bimmer, being that of all the reviews and direct comparisons I've read indicates G35 is its toughest competitor, and in some cases beating out the BMW. I have to tell you though, driving a G35 6spd with supposedly 298hp does not even come close to the way you will feeling driving the bmw. The car looks and feel more refined. The driving is smoother, and it actually even feels more powerful.

The G35 has a nice rawness to it, but it just feels more closer to a sports car then a luxury sports sedan. I would imagine with Toyota's usual focus, the IS, although will be powerful, will feel more like a luxury sedan, and less sport. And Toyota is not really known for their handling. I would probably guess G35 and IS350 would be tough competitors but each being at the opposite end of the sport/luxury scale, while bmw will be the perfect mix of both.

Now you might say that of course most people on this board might be biased toward's the bimmer. I have to say this, I was more of a Nissan/Japanese import fan. Although somewhat disappointed during the test drive, I was pretty much set on buying the G35 due to the lower price, faster delivery time (I'm without a car right now), and from certain viewpoints, better styling.

I really didn't expect much going into the test drive of the BMW, and I did it just to settle my curiosity. 30 seconds after I got behind the wheel of the 330i, I've already changed my mind... and now I have a 330i on order.
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      05-13-2005, 04:34 AM   #28
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I have to agree timzerofive. I drove the G35 and its a helluva RWD car. Gusty engine. I could not stand the dramatic boost levels in the steering at lowers speeds though. On the other hand the BMW just feels like its made out of one piece of metal, everything is so "together" and the handling and feedback so pure. Nothing feels out of place in the chassis.
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      05-13-2005, 06:21 PM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by voltron1011
Except when you are driving at night on the freeway between San Diego and Las Vegas, and your '100,000' mile belt breaks at 30,000 miles, totally destroying the motor. Then what will you do? It happened to me... Granted, it will be fixed under warranty, but it is still a pain in the ars to go through. Trust me, you want your car to have a T-chain.
Timing chains can fail as well--typically, the guides or tensioners fail... I am somewhat familiar with the Volkswagen TDI engines, which use a belt, and the consensus on the late models with the 100k belt is that it will last that long unless you have a lot of aftermarket mods which place additional stress on it.
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      05-15-2005, 04:49 AM   #30
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I currently have a 2001 E46 coupe and have had many problems with it. Seems like many people who replied to this post have not had many problems with their E46's(or just won't admit to it) but there are a LOT of people who do...just go to the E46fanatics website. I've personally had these problems...cracked control arm bushings, broken sunroof clips, falling door seals, subs rattling rear deck and light bulbs going out too quickly. A majority of the mentioned, seem to be a common problem in the E46's. They are covered for free under warranty for 4/50k, but it can still be a pain consuming a lot of your time. Don't forget when the warranty runs out, parts are extremely expensive and so is labor, if you can't do it yourself. However, BMW's are "the ultimate driving machine" and a Lexus doesn't even compare as far as driving capabilities. Looks like Lexus is stepping up their game with the IS350, but I highly doubt it will match the E90, except maybe for acceleration. If you are worried about maintenance but want a BMW, maybe you should consider a 3/4 year lease. Hope that helps.
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      05-15-2005, 05:01 AM   #31
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Also I heard the reliability has become worse in the new 7 and 5 series. I don't know if this is going to be continuing with the 3, but hopefully not since it is BMW's most important car. And hopefully BMW took care of the E46 problems in the E90(of course some new ones will probably develop). Give people time to drive their cars and hopefully you'll get answers about the reliability of the E90.
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      05-15-2005, 05:52 AM   #32
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are inline 6 engines more reliable than V6?

also, why is the BMW powertrain warranty only 4 years? most cars are 5 years



New Car Limited Warranty 4 years or 80,000 km

Limited Emission Control Warranty Component 4 years or 80,000 km

Specific Control Devices 8 years or 130,000 km

Limited Rust Perforation Warranty 12 years / Unlimited kms

Roadside Assistance Service 4 years / Unlimited kms

No-charge Scheduled Maintenance 3 years or 60,000km
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      05-15-2005, 12:25 PM   #33
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weiweiwei,
I am not sure why the powertrain warranty is "only" four years, but I don't think it needs to be longer than that. Most people will hit the mileage limit before the four years are up anyway. Also, with European cars, the engines in the mainstream models are typically durable, it's the electrics, suspension (control arms), and stuff like window regulator clips that end up needing frequent repair. Window regulators were a huge problem on the E46 and the Volkswagen Jetta, Golf, and Beetle. After several yeasr, Volkswagen finally designed a metal clip to replace the plastic ones. I'm not sure what BMW has done to correct the problem on the E46--one post I read said that the replacement part number was the same as the original.
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      05-19-2005, 02:13 AM   #34
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The 2005 JD Power results reported in today's Autoweek story show BMW has jumped from 12th highest initial quality in 2004 to 3rd highest in 2005. Scroll to bottom of story to see actual rankings:

http://www.autoweek.com/news.cms?newsId=102414
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      05-19-2005, 03:14 AM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weiweiwei
also, why is the BMW powertrain warranty only 4 years? most cars are 5 years
Here is something to think about:
Here in Europe (Germany) we only get a 2 year warranty on the car, even if we are Americans driving American spec'd BMWs. If we move back to the US (BMW ships our car for us :rocks: ), we get the remainder of the US 4 year warranty, but the counter starts the first day you buy the car. So if I end up staying here for more than 2 years, I'll be paying for stuff on my own. We even have to pay for scheduled maintainance (oil changes, etc). The only cool thing is we as Americans can bring in our own synthetic oil (bought on base) for oil changes. Germans typically spend over 300 Euros for just an oil change. Synthetic oil costs over 25 Euros per quart. Does that change my mind about buying the E90? Hell NO!!!!

I had a friend who had a 530d with over 100,000 kms on it when the turbo crapped out. Even though it wasn't under warranty, BMW covered the repair. Why? Because they stand behind their products, and they knew that a turbo should not have done that.



JUST FOOD FOR THOUGHT....
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      05-19-2005, 04:44 AM   #36
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[quote=segfault]
Also, with European cars, the engines in the mainstream models are typically durable, it's the electrics, suspension (control arms), and stuff like window regulator clips that end up needing frequent repair. QUOTE]

hmm..say that to a Porsche 996 or 986 owner. 1/10 will probably tell you that they've had a rear main seal leak. I've had two leaks, and a porous block on the same engine. Not fun, but at 9K mi, they gave me a new engine. I have two coworkers in a 986. One on his third engine, and the other has one RMS leak.

It might be to general to say all European engines are typically durable.

Besides, I plan on commuting in my E90 with 100 miles a weekday. I'll eat through my standard warranties in less than 2 years, and 100K in 4 years.

I do want to mention one thing about the IS300. My friend received a letter 2 years into owning a first year IS. As a customer satisfaction action, Lexus sent a letter to every owner. Free of charge, Lexus will swap 5 new tires for any owner dis-satisifed with the OEM Goodyears supplied with their car. I think he got Dunlop SP 9000s. I think the story was that owners were complaining about the sidewalls being too narrow, and allowing for too much crub rash; or it had to do with dissatisfaction in tire wear.
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      05-19-2005, 05:17 AM   #37
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If you think about it, BMW, MB, Porsche, Audi, etc. are designed for sustained high speed driving on the autobahn. Well, we don't really get the chance to drive it as fast as it is intended (at least in the US) and hence, less wear on the engine/drive train. So theoretically, these cars should last a lot longer when driven on US roads.

my 2 cents.
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      05-19-2005, 05:43 AM   #38
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Well, me having had 3 E46s and my father 2 E46s I can say this:

100% no problems whatsoever in 6 years with the 5 cars and a lot of kilometers.
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      05-19-2005, 09:22 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by r111
hmm..say that to a Porsche 996 or 986 owner. 1/10 will probably tell you that they've had a rear main seal leak.
I qualified what I said with "mainstream models," which would not include any Porsche.
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      06-19-2005, 01:50 AM   #40
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Check out the SAFTY Ratings on any cars! One site is the National Highway
Safty Institute for crash tests! BMW is rated one of the BEST...
You could but a less expensive car ... it it doesn't do well in an accident.. is it worth saving a little extra $$$'s if you or a loved one is DEAD? How much is a life worth? Take my word.. I lost 2 loved ones in one car accident... they
didn't want to pay the extra price for a BMW! They had a Large Buick!!
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      06-19-2005, 01:13 PM   #41
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toyota problems

i have bmw's and toyotas, of the two makes, the bmw is much more reliable, bmw's only goes for regular routine maintenance, safety features very low on toyotas, check also the crumple zones on the two makes, remember the safety of the occupants are of utmost importance in a collision, especially in high speeds.
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      07-18-2005, 12:49 PM   #42
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Had my BMW E46 for 4.5 years now and have never had any problems with it. Only taken in for the regular servicing. Build quality is sound.
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      08-10-2005, 09:26 PM   #43
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Look i had previously a 2000 Pontiac Grand Prix GT and had no problems at all except with the thermosat, which I changed myself ($10-$15). Now I have a E90, for about two months now, and I have not a single problem. Now my friend has an 03 Accord, supposly one of the most reliable cars, and he had to change his brakes after two months. His car was certified pre-owned from a lease but the dealer gave him no credit towards new brakes. So my advice to you is go with what car you want because you like it not cause of the reliability report. Cause its true, if you treat a car well, it will do the same to you.
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      08-12-2005, 01:55 AM   #44
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I've a Honda guys for the last 12 years and love it since I got almost no problems with them. I got into a car accident in May and my Honda was total lost. I planned to get a new Acura TL and test drove one. It felt very good since all features were familiar to me. Then I test drove the Lexus ES 330 and Infinity G35...and they were also excellent. Only the way home, I passed by the BMW dealer. I was just curious to check it out. The sale man offered me a test drive on 330i, E90. After a couple of turns on the curves, I got on the freeway and pushed it to 85mph. I got back to the dealer, made my deposit and forgot about the Acura, Lexus and Infinity. Try it yourself and you'll know what I'm saying.
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