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Old 04-07-2013, 11:25 AM
 
159 posts, read 646,130 times
Reputation: 181

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I have an 2008 328i. It's just hit the 5 year mark, but only has about 30k miles (I drive sparingly). Because of my infrequent driving, I didn't bother getting an extended warranty.

So far car has been solidly reliable, and maintenance/ repairs have been covered by BMW under the warranty.

Of course, I have heard horror stories about the cost of maintenance/ repairs for BMWs. My initial plan was to keep this car for a while (either 100k miles or 10 years, whatever happens first) and then sell it.

But now I'm wondering if it might be better off to trade it in for a newer car now and avoid those maintenance costs (I'd get a generic car this time, something like an Accord or Mazda6).

Can current/previous owners of 3-series BMWs chime in and give me an idea of how much regular maintenance (oil changes and such) can cost, and then also give me an idea of extreme worst case scenarios (transmission failure/ major engine issues) and how much those would cost?

I would appreciate responses from those that have owned 3-series before, and no general comments on "BMWs are expensive" and the like.
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:31 AM
 
Location: anywhere but Seattle
1,082 posts, read 2,560,539 times
Reputation: 999
Find an independent BMW specialist.
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Old 04-07-2013, 11:50 AM
 
1,976 posts, read 6,852,517 times
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People who drive the 3 series, do it for the driving experience. Test drive a Mazda 6 or any other car you like the styling and see if you notice the difference, if not, I say move on.

Nowadays, cars last to 200K, making it to 30K miles without any repairs does not mean much. There are BMW owners who love their cars, but also spend some time on it, be it down time when the car is at the independent mechanic, or they fix it themselves.

It might be a good idea to visit some BMW specific forums and see what problems your particular model is prone to. This was you can be a bit pro-active about repairs and maintenance.
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Old 04-07-2013, 12:30 PM
 
Location: Prosper
6,255 posts, read 17,088,213 times
Reputation: 9501
I had an E36 328i for a few years. I bought it used, with 42k on it. By the time I had ~65k on it, I had to replace the shocks and struts all around, the thermostat housing had cracked, and the headliner needed to be reglued, and it never stayed up permanently again after regluing it a few times. That being said, I live in TX and where I was working at the time had no covered parking, so it got HOT every damn day, and that takes a toll on plastic parts and glue.

I'd get another E36 someday if the price was right, it was a fun car.
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Old 04-07-2013, 12:35 PM
 
162 posts, read 381,182 times
Reputation: 142
Quote:
Originally Posted by thechoson View Post
I have an 2008 328i. It's just hit the 5 year mark, but only has about 30k miles (I drive sparingly). Because of my infrequent driving, I didn't bother getting an extended warranty.

So far car has been solidly reliable, and maintenance/ repairs have been covered by BMW under the warranty.

Of course, I have heard horror stories about the cost of maintenance/ repairs for BMWs. My initial plan was to keep this car for a while (either 100k miles or 10 years, whatever happens first) and then sell it.

But now I'm wondering if it might be better off to trade it in for a newer car now and avoid those maintenance costs (I'd get a generic car this time, something like an Accord or Mazda6).

Can current/previous owners of 3-series BMWs chime in and give me an idea of how much regular maintenance (oil changes and such) can cost, and then also give me an idea of extreme worst case scenarios (transmission failure/ major engine issues) and how much those would cost?

I would appreciate responses from those that have owned 3-series before, and no general comments on "BMWs are expensive" and the like.
We just got rid of our 2003 BMW 325i automatic with 146,000 miles on it. My mom didn't do a
Great job of taking care of it but it still ran like a champ. Never broke down or had major issues
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Old 04-07-2013, 12:46 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,915 posts, read 31,385,275 times
Reputation: 7137
Definitely stay away from the dealer, but I would find the passionate BMW mechanic, who may not be less expensive, but does not merely replace parts because they don't know what's wrong with the car. With only 30k miles, you should not have too many issues yet, but I would factor ~$200 for a regular service, and ~$500+ for a major service. Brakes could run ~$700+/axle with sensor, rotor, and pad replacement. Tires can run ~$1500, etc. Where the major issue tends to come into play with BMW is when the car is out of warranty, and one has to pay for the maintenance, such that some will skip some maintenance or use a quick lube place as opposed to the dealer or a specialist, where the service provider will replace pads on the brakes, for example, but not the sensor and rotor, so the job is not to BMW spec and can result in faster pad wear, etc.

Why an Accord or Mazda 6 from a BMW 3-series if you want to replace? That's quite a different driving dynamic. I would suggest looking at an Acura TSX or a Lexus IS because they tend to be a bit less generic than the Mazda 6, and are smaller/sportier than the Accord. They would be more in line with a BMW with a better reliability track record. You could get a decent CPO example and would likely come out ahead, given the warranty that is offered, and the reliability of the Acura and Lexus.

Find out what you can get in trade on the BMW and see if it is worthwhile to trade out now and get something newer, perhaps an Acura or Lexus, versus the depreciation hit and maintenance costs that you will have to absorb with the BMW. You will need at least one set of tires, one set of brakes, and several services, so maybe about ~$1k+ a year given that you drive so little to keep it for another 5 years and 30k or so. Extreme worst case, you will spend ~$10-$15k if you have catastrophic failures of major systems in the engine, transmission, etc. However, your era 328 is actually pretty reliable, overall, so as long as you keep up with service requirements, I do not foresee an engine or transmission replacement being required, given your ownership pattern.
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Old 04-07-2013, 12:47 PM
 
8,402 posts, read 24,215,373 times
Reputation: 6822
Quote:
Originally Posted by 00molavi View Post
SOME people who drive the 3 series, do it for the driving experience. Test drive a Mazda 6 or any other car you like the styling and see if you notice the difference, if not, I say move on.

Nowadays, cars last to 200K, making it to 30K miles without any repairs does not mean much. There are BMW owners who love their cars, but also spend some time on it, be it down time when the car is at the independent mechanic, or they fix it themselves.

It might be a good idea to visit some BMW specific forums and see what problems your particular model is prone to. This was you can be a bit pro-active about repairs and maintenance.
I corrected your post.

I personally know a dozen people who have owned or leased a 3 series that couldn't tell you anything about the car except that they "like it". They putter around every day, never pushing the car to more than 20% of what it's capable of. They could be driving just about anything and have the same opinion of it.

That being said, maybe OP did buy for the right reason, and needs to see if another vehicle suits his needs. And the money should be considered. Spending for a different vehicle when the 328 may never have a major issue doesn't make sense.
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:15 PM
 
17,263 posts, read 21,998,333 times
Reputation: 29571
That car will run fine and not break the bank. The 328 is a fine car with not a lot of technology.

On the independent shop vs. the "stealership" argument:

I had an E36 M3 that was eating rear tires and developed a weird "hop" after easing up after hard launches. It also developed a strong gas smell when left in the garage. Car had less than 60K miles and was trouble free up until that point. Independent guy was great, used him on a few other cars so no reason to doubt his "needs bushings/gas tank replaced" estimate ($1700+). I took it to the dealership for a 2nd opinion.......needed an alignment (rear was overcranked) and a fuel sender/sensor was cracked. Total at dealer was about $275.

Turns out the independent guy was good, but after a divorce and other issues he decided it would be easier to fabricate some expensive work rather than waiting for parts to fail. The cracked gas tank is what caught my attention (never heard of a plastic tank failing and still have never changed one). He also stated the tank was to be paid for up front, non returnable due to fuel contamination (seemed fishy). Needless to say I went back to tell him what the dealer found/repair costs and he tried to salvage it by saying he would have figured that out once he got into the repair (yeah right).

Moral of the story, sometimes the "stealership" isn't always bad.
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Old 04-07-2013, 02:55 PM
 
159 posts, read 646,130 times
Reputation: 181
Thanks, some terrific responses. I do live in an area with a TON of BMWs, so a benefit is that there are lots of dealerships AND lots of independent mechanics. So when it comes time, I can call around for quotes, do my homework, etc and find a good mechanic.

I'm not too concerned about the 200-300 dollar regular maintenance item I may have to do 2-3 times a year if need be. I AM concerned about some premature transmission failure that may cost me $7000.
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Old 04-07-2013, 03:24 PM
 
8,402 posts, read 24,215,373 times
Reputation: 6822
Quote:
Originally Posted by thechoson View Post
Thanks, some terrific responses. I do live in an area with a TON of BMWs, so a benefit is that there are lots of dealerships AND lots of independent mechanics. So when it comes time, I can call around for quotes, do my homework, etc and find a good mechanic.

I'm not too concerned about the 200-300 dollar regular maintenance item I may have to do 2-3 times a year if need be. I AM concerned about some premature transmission failure that may cost me $7000.
It just occurred to me that maybe you should find a couple mechanics now. We all know that cars don't fail on our schedule!
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