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E60 / E61 (2004 - 2010)
BMW 5-Series E60 Sedan was first seen in the Unites States in the fall of 2003 with a 2004 Model Year designation. The E61 wagon followed shortly there after. The E60/E61 5 series is now available as a 528i, 528xi, 535i, 535xi, 550i and a 535xi sports wagon! -- View the E60 Wiki

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Old 01-28-2011, 03:39 AM
HeavyFoot12 HeavyFoot12 is offline
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Location: Dallas
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: '04 545
Keep or Trade, please give me your vote!

Bought CPO '04 545 in '06 for ~$40, first BMW, have loved it. Now understand why everyone says greatest car in the world to drive, but only if still under warranty. Spent $3k last year with dealer doing valve covers, water pump, instrument cluster, etc. 94k miles on it, currently have a oil leak, took to indy for the first time, have been impressed with him. Quoting me $2.2k for upper timing chain gasket, vacuum pump, oil pressure sensor/switch, alternator bracket gasket. Also not involved in the leak, but also in the quote, new radiator expansion tank - floating gauge is broken, have to replace whole thing. Seems relatively reasonable - agree? Asked indy what else we should replace now for maintenance since close to 100k miles, he suggested spark plugs, said around $300, but that's it.

Feeling like it is going to cost me $2.5k a year to keep this beast running right. Also, the tranny jumps if you really step on it, causes tranny malfunction error to come on. If you pull over, recycle the key, error goes away. Only really does it when you are going from 20 mph to 50ish, like when on a highway entrance ramp. It has done it probably 20 times in total, told dealer while still under warranty, they said nothing wrong. If you drive it like a ford, you never get the error.

Today, probably worth $15k, could maybe find CPO '08-'09 550 for ~$40k, haven't looked much yet, so net get a newer one for $25k.

Fix it and drive on OR strap on the new payment with no repair bills or headaches?

Please share your wise wisdom. Many thanks!
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Old 01-28-2011, 05:28 AM
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dwlink dwlink is offline
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Location: St. Louis
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 2,604
Mein Auto: 435i Gran Coupe
Entering the same region as you with my '04 530. I was a little luckier this past year only having to replace the valve cover gasket and mechatronics servo sleeve on the tranny as unexpected repair items. Brakes are due soon, but that will be a DIY - already have all the parts except the wear sensors.

Unless sh*t really hits the fan with your car, its always going to cost less to maintain a used car than it is to make monthly payment on a newer car. Perhaps a tranny replacement at $8k would offset a years worth of payments on a newer car, but that's pretty extreme compared to other maintenance items.

I was told to do an overhaul on my cooling system just in case (I have 83k miles on mine), but haven't decided if I'm going to do that yet. Right now my plan is to keep it about another year and purchase a lightly used 335/550 in the spring of next year. My only hesitation with replacing a 530 with a 550 is that the only big difference would be the increase in power. Yes, the LCI improvements are nice, but the two cars just aren't THAT different overall - thus considering the 335 also (which is another can of worms with the turbos and HPFP).

It is nice to not have monthly car payments, but then again its also nice to have piece of mind knowing that if something breaks I can just take it in and not have to worry about paying a cent.

If you are someone who likes to have fixed monthly expenses and has a bit extra to spend; I would go buy a newer or CPO car. On the other hand, if you don't mind the variable expenses associated with repairing a car or are trying to save up, then keep the 545. You might considering leasing, which will cost you the least out of pocket (especially with your trade in), but you'll never see any of that cash back unless you purchase the car at the end of the lease - in which case you likely would have been better off doing a flat out purchase from the beginning.

What are you thinking of replacing the 545 with if you decide to get something new? Anything else besides a 550?

2015 BMW 435i GC MSport (ED Sept 29, 2014)
2004 BMW 530i (retired)

Last edited by dwlink; 01-28-2011 at 05:32 AM.
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Old 01-28-2011, 07:19 AM
HeavyFoot12 HeavyFoot12 is offline
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Location: Dallas
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: '04 545
Agree dwlinnk, a new tanny is the fear - thanks for the reply. Kind of open to anything CPO - 550, 750, maybe X5. At the time back in '06 that same $40K would have bought me a new Acura RL, may consider it again. Driving them back to back, no comparison, but looking back all that performance has come with a price. Like they always say - got to pay to play.

I am hoping to get some replies from other 100K-miler 5 series owners to hear of their experiece on annual maintenance cost. It will probably need to rear tires this summer (another $600).

I am really on the fence on this one.
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Old 01-28-2011, 08:23 AM
steveo90290 steveo90290 is offline
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Location: Topanga, CA
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 454
Mein Auto: '11 X5d & '07 328xi wagon
I'm in almost the same boat. My CPO runs out in june Since you have the first year e60, I would assume you may have one of the higher mileage cars on this board. I'm not sure who we would look to for more mileage. I hope others chime in here if they are driving high milage V8 e60s. I am considering a 335d as my replacement car, but it is not as plush a the 545.
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Old 01-28-2011, 12:08 PM
HeavyFoot12 HeavyFoot12 is offline
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Location: Dallas
Join Date: Mar 2010
Posts: 4
Mein Auto: '04 545
Yes SteveO, hope others weigh in as well. Also was hoping for a few pros/techs might add an opinion to the average maintanence cost of owning a 100K E60.
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Old 01-28-2011, 01:18 PM
TRS550 TRS550 is offline
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Location: Ohio
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 1,353
Mein Auto: 2007 550i
My Indy mechanic who specializes in BMW says plan on spending $2500-$3K/yr on a high milage 5'er. Now that is to properly maintain one and to perform preventive stuff as well. Fluid changes all the way around, replace the coolant system at 100K. Then at 120-150 or so, redo the suspension, etc......

These cars are not cheap to maintain. But they are way cheaper than a new car.
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Old 01-28-2011, 01:58 PM
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hairball hairball is offline
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Location: Houston, TX
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Mein Auto: 2014 X3 35x
$208 per month is still cheaper than a car note.
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