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General BMW
Use this forum to talk about general BMW news/stories and to chat with fellow enthusiasts about the direction that BMW is going in for their cars and/or motorcycles!

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  #1  
Old 03-21-2007, 11:16 AM
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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, 07:02 AM
DJmuggs DJmuggs is offline
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same here ...
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  #3  
Old 04-13-2007, 06:25 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, 06:43 PM
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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?
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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  #5  
Old 04-21-2007, 01:17 PM
115sonic 115sonic is offline
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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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  #6  
Old 04-22-2007, 12:41 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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  #7  
Old 04-22-2007, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
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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  #8  
Old 05-06-2007, 10:07 AM
335inVA 335inVA is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KrisL View Post
[*]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).
Nice list KrisL, but I would modify item #9 to read: "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, in which case, completely disregard what I just said!
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  #9  
Old 05-09-2007, 03:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 335inVA View Post
Nice list KrisL, but I would modify item #9 to read: "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, in which case, completely disregard what I just said!
Fixed!
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  #10  
Old 05-18-2007, 10:45 PM
jasonhummer jasonhummer is offline
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Sorry KrisL for being so naive I am still relatively new to all this BMW talk, your comment on #9 so are you saying there is room to upgrade in the N54 twin turbo??
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  #11  
Old 05-19-2007, 05:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonhummer View Post
Sorry KrisL for being so naive I am still relatively new to all this BMW talk, your comment on #9 so are you saying there is room to upgrade in the N54 twin turbo??


Yes - Vishnu makes a kit called the PROcede. It consists of only a chip and an exhaust, but yields significant horsepower gains (50-75!!).
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  #12  
Old 05-25-2007, 06:28 PM
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KrisL, does that void the warranty? Also, how does that affect gas mileage?
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  #13  
Old 05-25-2007, 07:17 PM
craigrhyne craigrhyne 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.
That would be one expensive M6!! $1,080,000!!!!
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  #14  
Old 06-05-2007, 05:13 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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  #15  
Old 06-19-2007, 10:12 PM
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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?
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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  #16  
Old 06-19-2007, 10:29 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 07-11-2007, 06:10 AM
Alang12 Alang12 is offline
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Exclamation Doors on new 3 Series very vulnerable to dents

While the deisgn of the new 3 Series in beautiful, the new design is very vulnerable to parking lot dings. This is espcially true due to the raised cornice metal cornice that runs the length of the vehicle. Unlike the 2005 and older models, there is no guard strip to prevent door dings and the cornice takes full impact of a parking lot door ding. I recently has $800 worth of damage done to the drivers door in a parking lot. What I recommend is a product called Door Defenders. I found these on the net. They are long, tubular cushions that attach magnetically to the car and protect the doors. I bought a pair and intend to use them to prevent another such mishap. You can find them on the Internet.
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  #18  
Old 08-27-2007, 06:00 AM
JBsC5 JBsC5 is offline
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Originally Posted by Alang12 View Post
While the deisgn of the new 3 Series in beautiful, the new design is very vulnerable to parking lot dings. This is espcially true due to the raised cornice metal cornice that runs the length of the vehicle. Unlike the 2005 and older models, there is no guard strip to prevent door dings and the cornice takes full impact of a parking lot door ding. I recently has $800 worth of damage done to the drivers door in a parking lot. What I recommend is a product called Door Defenders. I found these on the net. They are long, tubular cushions that attach magnetically to the car and protect the doors. I bought a pair and intend to use them to prevent another such mishap. You can find them on the Internet.

Thanks.. I have been looking at the very beautiful 335ix coupe and was somewhat concerned at its vunerability.

I'll look into the door defender product.

Great information on many aspects of BMW ownership at this site.

JB
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  #19  
Old 08-27-2007, 06:26 AM
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KrisL, great info, thank you.
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  #20  
Old 09-02-2007, 10:49 PM
ClayW ClayW is offline
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Im 17 years old and i just bought my first BMW, and i HATE it!dont get me wrong, the car is great, its that bmw addiction ive had ever since i got it is what makes me mad.lol.I LOVE EM!

anyways, i have a couple of Q's so heres the deal.
i just bought an 83' 320i for $800 off of my buddies dad.its a manual.the inside is in PERFECT condition, the outside has a few rust spots but nothing a little bondo and new paint job cant fix . and it has about 130,000 on it.BUT! the first owner was a little old lady who put on about 90% of the miles and garage kept it.the second and third owner bought it to restore but it ended up just sitting there.

so now that i have it, being the 17 yr old i am with big dreams and little income, i wanna know if its worth droping money into.i looked everything up, and from new rims and lowering springs to a decked out inside it will be around 2000 bucks.i know its a stupid question but, is it worth it?
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  #21  
Old 09-03-2007, 07:28 AM
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KrisL KrisL is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ClayW View Post
is it worth it?
First of all, cars themselves are never "worth it" - they're depreciating assets. Not only that, but mods usually decrease resale before they increase it. Will you get $800 of enjoyment out of it in its current state?

Do you think you'd get $2800 of enjoyment out of the car in the modded state? ...or perhaps you'd get more enjoyment out of a newer (87+) 325i (a BMW that could be purchased for around $2800)...

Just some things to think about..

Any car I personally bought for $800 I'd just drive it until it didn't drive any more .
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  #22  
Old 09-27-2007, 11:51 AM
johnny420 johnny420 is offline
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I don't know if is the right place for this, but bullet point number two above has me thinking. I'm currently considering a 2008 328i. At this time, I'd rather buy than lease, both because my payments would be much lower (I'd be putting down a substantial down payment) and because I've always purchased cars. The car I'm looking at will have 6 MT, SP, leather and Xenon lights, and that's it.

Is buying a BMW outright a bad idea? Are they really that unreliable?

The fact is I love this car and have coveted Bimmers for years, but a $4-500 lease pymnt is more than I want to take on at this point.

Any input would greatly appreciated.
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  #23  
Old 09-27-2007, 12:57 PM
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crowz crowz is online now
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I think its how you treat them more than anything. Mine is pushing 250k miles and is a great car still and very dependable.
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  #24  
Old 09-29-2007, 07:39 AM
woozhp woozhp is offline
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Quote:
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?
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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  #25  
Old 09-29-2007, 05:27 PM
Young K Young K is offline
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Great Post!
I'm new to the forum. I feel like I made a HUGE mistake. I just ordered a 328i - montago/saddle bag/step/premium/cold weather and in an effort to save a few dollars, I opted out of the sport package. I know it is only a G, but I didn't want to have to get a second set of tires and swap them out every season.

Did I just 'F' the car up before I even got it?
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