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  #1  
Old 03-21-2007, 12:16 PM
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KrisL KrisL is offline
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Top 10 things you need to know before buying a new or used BMW

Here are the top 10 things that anyone considering a new or used BMW should know. I'm going to make this a sticky - feel free to add on to it!
  1. Most newer BMWs require synthetic oil and premium fuel. Do not give your car less than it requires.
  2. Contrary to popular belief, parts and labor on BMWs is not more than the competition; however, BMWs are not as reliable as Japanese cars and they do require more maintenance.
  3. If your car is out of warranty, find yourself a competent independent mechanic. Their labor rates tend to be about half that of dealers. http://www.bimrs.org/ lists such shops.
  4. Buy a Bentley repair manual for you car. Even if you don't work on your car yourself, it's good to be an informed consumer (example: if your check engine light illuminates, Autozone will plug into your car for free and give you the car's trouble code. You can cross-reference it in the Bentley manual to see what's wrong).
  5. Historically, manual transmissions are more reliable that automatic or steptronic transmissions.
  6. BMWs have great brakes - this is due in part to the rather soft pads and rotors they use. Don't expect them to last more than 30-50k miles. The rotors generally wear at the same rate as the pads so 'machining' the rotors OR replacing pads without rotors is not recommended. There is a 'brake pad low' warning light that is triggered by a wear sensor that will illuminate on your dash when you are due for new brakes. It looks like this: . When you replace your brakes, you also need to replace the wear sensors ($10-20 each). There's one on the front left wheel and one on the rear right wheel. Parts for all 4 rotors, pads, and sensors are generally $200-500 and labor is about the same.
  7. The 'sport package' available on most BMWs is usually considered a necessary option by enthusiasts. It usually includes better (bolstered) seats, stiffer suspension (better handling), as well as larger wheels and tires. One caveat: It also comes with summer only tires that are NOT suitable for ANY slushy/snowy/icy conditions. If you live in an area that gets snow, it's highly recommended that you buy a second set of wheels with dedicated snow tires.
  8. It's fairly common for OEM tires to only last 10-20k miles. Price out replacements on www.TireRack.com to prevent being shocked: It can cost $600-1500 for replacement rubber. Also remember that tires are the #1 performance mod available to you! There's a significant difference between cheap all-season tires and good summer-only tires. Ask any questions in the Tires, Wheels, and Brakes forum.
  9. BMW engines are tuned very well from the factory. It's very difficult to get more than a few horsepower out of intakes, exhausts, chips, headers, etc. (the newer the car, the more true this is)....unless, of course, you're talking about the N54 twin-turbo (335i, 535i, etc), in which case, completely disregard what I just said!
  10. The BMW Car Club of America (BMW CCA) is a great organization- membership ($48/yr) entitles you to a free subscription to the monthly magazine Roundel, discounts on parts at most BMW dealers, high performance driving schools/car control clinics/autocrosses, local gatherings/rallys/dinners, as well as a $500-1500 discount on your next new or CPO BMW (you must be a member for at least a year prior to purchase - and this transaction is completely independent of the dealer - you receive a rebate check after purchasing the car for at your dealer-negotiated price). Join here and if you found this post useful, use me as your referrer (Kris Linquist #170334)
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  #2  
Old 04-09-2007, 08:02 AM
DJmuggs DJmuggs is offline
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same here ...
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  #3  
Old 04-13-2007, 07:25 PM
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PollyBoston PollyBoston is offline
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very interesting about the synetic oil... I noticed BMW sells their own oil under accessories... does anyone only use that exclusively?
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  #4  
Old 04-13-2007, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by PollyBoston View Post
very interesting about the synetic oil... I noticed BMW sells their own oil under accessories... does anyone only use that exclusively?
If the dealer is convenient to where I am, I'll buy that. Otherwise I use Castrol 0w30 European Formula, only available at autozone, that meets BMW's Long Life oil certification.
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Old 05-12-2008, 06:45 AM
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What oil does BMW use and recommend?

Quote:
Originally Posted by KrisL View Post
If the dealer is convenient to where I am, I'll buy that. Otherwise I use Castrol 0w30 European Formula, only available at autozone, that meets BMW's Long Life oil certification.
Mercedes now uses Mobil 1 0W-40 European synthetic. It has some supposed "European" quality that Mercedes (and Porsche, as I understand it) now use in the factory. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel I just bought it by the case of six to top things off. It was hard to find so I bought it at the dealership where I'm sure I paid a few dollars more than I'd ordinarily need to.
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  #6  
Old 05-12-2008, 07:28 PM
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AndrewZ AndrewZ is offline
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Originally Posted by mistercindy View Post
What oil does BMW use and recommend?


Mercedes now uses Mobil 1 0W-40 European synthetic. It has some supposed "European" quality that Mercedes (and Porsche, as I understand it) now use in the factory. Rather than trying to reinvent the wheel I just bought it by the case of six to top things off. It was hard to find so I bought it at the dealership where I'm sure I paid a few dollars more than I'd ordinarily need to.
Read the Wiki for E46's
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  #7  
Old 06-19-2007, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by PollyBoston View Post
very interesting about the synetic oil... I noticed BMW sells their own oil under accessories... does anyone only use that exclusively?
You dont always have to use BMW brand oil, they recommend Castrol fully sythetic, but it has to be fully synthetic and the manual will tell you what kind is suitable for grade
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  #8  
Old 01-08-2008, 06:56 PM
Starab Starab is offline
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You dont always have to use BMW brand oil, they recommend Castrol fully sythetic, but it has to be fully synthetic and the manual will tell you what kind is suitable for grade
Called bmwusa, said castrol, Mobil, and Valvoline are recommended
Mobil now has Mobil-1 extended performance synthetic oil (15000 Miles) and extended performance filter
Valvoline is only one to have synthetic High Mileage oil for cars over 75000 mils.
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  #9  
Old 02-02-2008, 03:45 PM
jesimmons jesimmons is offline
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Originally Posted by BMWREP View Post
You dont always have to use BMW brand oil, they recommend Castrol fully sythetic, but it has to be fully synthetic and the manual will tell you what kind is suitable for grade
I keep reading in various forums that the BMW oil is not truly Synthetic. And I've also read that the BMW oil starts to break down as it approaches the 15K mile change interval.

I have used nothing but Mobil 1 in my last 3 cars and intend to do the same in my new BMW, as well as change oil at 7500 mi - which is what I've been doing for years in my cars. The Mobil 1 0W-40 Synthetic is rated both BMW Long Life-01 and ACEA A3 which BMW specifies.

I found this to be particularly enlightening: http://forums.bimmerforums.com/forum...d.php?t=265292
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  #10  
Old 08-10-2014, 04:37 PM
KeithDTN06525xi KeithDTN06525xi is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PollyBoston View Post
very interesting about the synetic oil... I noticed BMW sells their own oil under accessories... does anyone only use that exclusively?
BMW's synthetic oil is essentially Castrol Edge. I've always used synthetic oil in my cars even before I bought BMWs. Synthetic oils last longer, and the viscosity does not break down, plus they can handle hotter temperatures. I am a firm believer if you use good oil in your engine, and change it every 8,000 miles your engine will last longer. Also you only have to change your oil every 8-10,000 miles. I change mine every 8,000 miles, so the costs comes out the same if you used regular oil since you must change regular oil every 4-5,000 miles depending on your driving conditions. Mobile 1, and Castrol Edge are the best with BMW recommending using Castrol Edge (use to be syntec) So if you use Castrol Edge found at most local auto parts stores you are using the same as the BMW brand. I like to shop at AutoZone since they run specials all the time on their oil. You can buy a 5 quart container of Castrol Edge for only $34.99, of course you have to purchase 2 extra quarts since most BMWs take 7 quarts. It's a lot cheaper to buy oil in the 5 quart container vs. buying synthetic oil by the bottle.
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Last edited by KeithDTN06525xi; 08-10-2014 at 04:41 PM.
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  #11  
Old 04-21-2007, 02:17 PM
115sonic 115sonic is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DJmuggs View Post
same here ...
Great going, DJ.

I am also saving my money. I recently located a large plastic water jug that goes on top of a water fountain.

I just calculated that if I put 25 cents in that jug every week, I will pay for my M6 in about 90,000 years.

I can't wait.
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  #12  
Old 05-25-2007, 08:17 PM
craigrhyne craigrhyne is offline
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Originally Posted by 115sonic View Post
Great going, DJ.

I am also saving my money. I recently located a large plastic water jug that goes on top of a water fountain.

I just calculated that if I put 25 cents in that jug every week, I will pay for my M6 in about 90,000 years.

I can't wait.
That would be one expensive M6!! $1,080,000!!!!
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  #13  
Old 06-05-2007, 06:13 AM
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Dave 330i Dave 330i is offline
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Something's wrong with my brakes. My car has nearly 70K miles, and the wear indicator has not illuminated yet.
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  #14  
Old 01-09-2013, 08:39 PM
ProRail ProRail is offline
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Something's wrong with my brakes. My car has nearly 70K miles, and the wear indicator has not illuminated yet.
Congratulations. You're probably a very good "strategic" driver, looking ahead and anticipating slow-downs. I generally get about 60-70K out of my brakes, but I think that's rare among BMW (or most other) drivers, from what I've seen on the roads (brake lights every few seconds, even in fairly steady 60-70 mph commuter traffic)
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  #15  
Old 04-19-2008, 10:46 AM
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SC4ME SC4ME is offline
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That would be one expensive M6!! $1,080,000!!!!
I think he took inflation into account.
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  #16  
Old 06-19-2007, 11:29 PM
Malibubimmer Malibubimmer is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 115sonic View Post
Great going, DJ.

I am also saving my money. I recently located a large plastic water jug that goes on top of a water fountain.

I just calculated that if I put 25 cents in that jug every week, I will pay for my M6 in about 90,000 years.

I can't wait.
I am 90061 years old and was just able to buy my M6.
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  #17  
Old 04-22-2007, 01:41 PM
junw junw is offline
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Coolant temperature gauge and oil dipstick

I am considering getting a 328i. The car has no engine temperature gauge and oil dipstick. Is this a serious issue?
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  #18  
Old 04-22-2007, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by junw View Post
I am considering getting a 328i. The car has no engine temperature gauge and oil dipstick. Is this a serious issue?
Well, they're both just electronic. Coolant temp is actually electronic on most cars these days - it's simply displayed with a typical gauge needle. You can go into the menu on the 328i and see the oil level. I suppose the sensor could fail, but the car will likely throw a code to let you know.
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Old 09-29-2007, 08:39 AM
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I am considering getting a 328i. The car has no engine temperature gauge and oil dipstick. Is this a serious issue?
I certainly think it is. Serious enough to cancel my order for an '08 coupe! Dipsticks always tell the truth. Not only can you check your oil level with a dipstick, but you can also visually check it's condition. I want a new BMW, but I'm not ready to encourage some bastard beancounter in Munich.
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  #20  
Old 10-21-2007, 02:22 PM
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Another thing to make sure of especially with a cpo vehicle is to make sure that if it was an EU registered vehicle that it is registered with BMWNA. Well that is if you plan on using it in North America. If you are purchasing your vehicle overseas and shipping it to North America make sure that the vehicle has been re registered as a BMWNA vehicle. Otherwise your BMW center may not be able to find your warranty information.
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  #21  
Old 10-27-2007, 03:46 AM
shadow 2 shadow 2 is offline
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Originally Posted by woozhp View Post
I certainly think it is. Serious enough to cancel my order for an '08 coupe! Dipsticks always tell the truth. Not only can you check your oil level with a dipstick, but you can also visually check it's condition. I want a new BMW, but I'm not ready to encourage some bastard beancounter in Munich.
Geez. Get a Kia, I'm sure its got the dipstick you must have.
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  #22  
Old 12-08-2007, 07:28 PM
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Originally Posted by woozhp View Post
I certainly think it is. Serious enough to cancel my order for an '08 coupe! Dipsticks always tell the truth. Not only can you check your oil level with a dipstick, but you can also visually check it's condition. I want a new BMW, but I'm not ready to encourage some bastard beancounter in Munich.
You must be old school. If the current day Aircrafts thought like you we would have planes taking 3 hrs to get from LA to San Fran.

This is the modern age. Get used to Electronics.
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  #23  
Old 12-26-2007, 08:29 AM
beemer540ia beemer540ia is offline
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Dont Forget to tell new BMW shoppers that your BMW can catch fire!

I recently experienced my BMW 540i catching on fire due to a faulty or should I say defective electro mecanical thermostat which has caused a fire and now damaged about $4,000.00 in repairs. Neither BMW or my insurance company will pay for any of this damage and BMW knows of this problem happening on other BMW's and last week I was called by the US DOT (Department of Transportation) who is investigating this incident and others like it.

Let's be honest folks, we need to tell everyone out there looking to buy a BMW to air on caution. We need to get BMW to fix this poor design so it will stop burning our BMW's and future buyers. I have been told this has occured on other BMW's but BMW seems to be passing the buck on the buyer (me and others) to pay for all the damages caused by this faulty part.

I am hoping BMW takes notice and reads this so that I can get my car fixed. It was on fire Dec 11th and been sitting in the back of a BMW dealer ever since.
Ken
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  #24  
Old 12-26-2007, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beemer540ia View Post
I recently experienced my BMW 540i catching on fire due to a faulty or should I say defective electro mecanical thermostat which has caused a fire and now damaged about $4,000.00 in repairs. Neither BMW or my insurance company will pay for any of this damage and BMW knows of this problem happening on other BMW's and last week I was called by the US DOT (Department of Transportation) who is investigating this incident and others like it.

Let's be honest folks, we need to tell everyone out there looking to buy a BMW to air on caution. We need to get BMW to fix this poor design so it will stop burning our BMW's and future buyers. I have been told this has occured on other BMW's but BMW seems to be passing the buck on the buyer (me and others) to pay for all the damages caused by this faulty part.

I am hoping BMW takes notice and reads this so that I can get my car fixed. It was on fire Dec 11th and been sitting in the back of a BMW dealer ever since.
Ken
Any car can catch fire.

It's a bummer that your car caught fire, but I have not seen any pattern of others here on the forum reporting the same. Sounds like an isolated and very rare incident.
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  #25  
Old 10-23-2008, 02:57 AM
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Thanks a lot for the forum and i must say its an enlightening one,i have been a BMW enthusiast ever since i was a kid and i can still recall all the grooves on our neighbors' 2002. great car it was. His son is now 35 years of age and the car still runs! mine is an old 520 model (quite my level financially)but i hope to get an upgrade soon.will be in touch.

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