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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I am in the market for a new 330i, but my parents are saying BMWs are very expensive to fix and maintain. They are telling me I should go for a Japanese car like the Lexus IS350 since they hardly have any problems. Are bimmers really that hard to maintain? For those of you that have owned e46s, have you had any problems with it? I really want the e90, but am not sure of the reliability.
 

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Nerd
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People here in the US just got their e90s last week so there's little to no data there.

Well, on one hand the BMW will come with a 4 year warranty and free maintenance during that period. After that it will likely be more costly than a Lexus. It's a car that you will have the occaisional problem but most of us here enjoy them enough to put up with it. It's also a car that should be taken care of... if you are diligent about your scheduled maintenance it will help a bunch.

Oh and remember that when you come to boards like these, only the ones having problems will be ranting. Nobody writes in to say their car is fine this week.

BTW: welcome.
 

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Rest in peace, Coach
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Your parents are wrong.

Japanese cars are significantly more expensive to take care of, especially if you plan on keeping them for over 5 years.

For example, just for the heck of it I priced out rotors and pads for my BMW:

Front rotors: $50 ea
Rear rotors: $45 ea
Pads: $80 for front AND rear.

All OEM parts.

Let's take OEM prices for, say, the Nissan 350z. Just for the heck of it. Not the track model, the one with the tiny brakes:

Front rotors: $125 ea
Rear rotors: $95 ea
Pads: $100 front and rear.

Total cost for a BMW brake job? $270 for parts. Total cost for a Nissan brake job? $540.

Now, let's talk oil changes. First 4 years, oil changes are free on the BMW. Let's assume a 5,000 mile drain interval for the Lexus, and 2 changes per year. That's 8 changes in 4 years. Let's also assume that it takes 5 quarts of oil (synthetic) each change. At $4.00 per bottle with discounts from Pepboiz, that's $20 for the oil, $10 for the oil filter. $30 per oil change. $250 over the span of the first 4 years. And let's just assume you're not comfortable with changing oil on a BMW every 15,000 miles, and you'd like to also change oil twice a year. Since BMW offers 1 free oil change per year, in 4 years you would have done 4 oil changes. At 7 quarts, BMW synthetic is $3.50 per bottle for a total of $24.50 plus $5 for BMW filter. $29.50 per change for a total of $120 for the 4 years of ownership.

And if ANYTHING should fail during that period, it's covered by warranty. :dunno: I fail to see how owning a BMW can be any more expensive than owning anything Japanese.
 

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takes the long way home..
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On avg, TCO of a BMW is higher than most Japanese cars.

It really depends on
- what climate you live in
- how 'hard' you drive the car
- how many miles per yr
- preventative maint.
- how long you keep the car
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
hmm never knew that OEM BMW parts were cheaper than Japanese parts, I always thought it was the other way around. Is it true that Euro cars are harder to fix and that they have less parts availible? And also, is it really recommended to change your oil at 15000 miles? I always thought it was 3000- 5000 miles.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I live in the bay area with occasional fog and rain. I don't drive my car that hard, but do redline it once in a while. Drive about 12000 miles a year. And I if i do get this car, i plan to keep it for a long time (over 5 years)
 

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Rest in peace, Coach
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ace008 said:
hmm never knew that OEM BMW parts were cheaper than Japanese parts, I always thought it was the other way around. Is it true that Euro cars are harder to fix and that they have less parts availible? And also, is it really recommended to change your oil at 15000 miles? I always thought it was 3000- 5000 miles.
Something new you learn everyday, eh?

Euro cars are also significantly easier to fix than their Japanese counterparts, although experts in BMWs and Mercedeses are harder to come by than expert mechanics in Japanse cars. Take a look at how a Japanese car's engine bay is laid out vs. BMWs. On a BMW inline 6, there's plenty of space on either side to work in. But the Japanese cars with their short hood and economical package of the engine compartment, and most likely using a V-6 or V-8 config on the larger displacement, makes it 10X harder to work on than an inline 6.
 

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hockey-holic
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ace008 said:
I live in the bay area with occasional fog and rain. I don't drive my car that hard, but do redline it once in a while. Drive about 12000 miles a year. And I if i do get this car, i plan to keep it for a long time (over 5 years)
Sounds exactly like me. I'm in the south bay and looking for a solid 10 years of service. I have a 2001 E46 and my only "occasional" problem is the window regulators breaking. I've had to replace them twice so far (one under warranty, one not). Easy DIY. Otherwise, no other problems (knock on wood).

So far, I've done my own oil changes, coolant change (a bit messy), brake pad replacement and the misc parts swaps (trim, wheels, changer). I'm no Hack, but I'm happy with how easy the maintenance items have been so far. The BMW community has been great with the support and available information that I know that if I have any questions, I can find my answer among the boards.

My next task will probably consist of brake fluid change, rotor replacement and if I get antsy, a shock/spring/suspension upgrade. I think my shocks are on their way out.

Yo Hack, where are you getting those prices on the rotors? I haven't done an extensive search (Yahoo, A9) but the best I can find so far is about $60 per rotor.
 

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exBMWannabe said:
Sounds exactly like me. I'm in the south bay and looking for a solid 10 years of service. I have a 2001 E46 and my only "occasional" problem is the window regulators breaking. I've had to replace them twice so far (one under warranty, one not). Easy DIY. Otherwise, no other problems (knock on wood).

So far, I've done my own oil changes, coolant change (a bit messy), brake pad replacement and the misc parts swaps (trim, wheels, changer). I'm no Hack, but I'm happy with how easy the maintenance items have been so far. The BMW community has been great with the support and available information that I know that if I have any questions, I can find my answer among the boards.

My next task will probably consist of brake fluid change, rotor replacement and if I get antsy, a shock/spring/suspension upgrade. I think my shocks are on their way out.

Yo Hack, where are you getting those prices on the rotors? I haven't done an extensive search (Yahoo, A9) but the best I can find so far is about $60 per rotor.
Hey Bob!

:wave:

How many miles have you got on that car??

You might check with Travis at BMW SB for Internet Specials on OEM parts
btw...
 

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Rest in peace, Coach
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exBMWannabe said:
Yo Hack, where are you getting those prices on the rotors? I haven't done an extensive search (Yahoo, A9) but the best I can find so far is about $60 per rotor.
Nick Alexander used to sell to BMWCCA members at something like 15-20% over invoice. Those are the prices I got. Pacific BMW sells them for a little bit more PLUS shipping and tax.
 

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:p

I bought my car last week and its been running great this week!
 

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ace008 said:
I am in the market for a new 330i, but my parents are saying BMWs are very expensive to fix and maintain. They are telling me I should go for a Japanese car like the Lexus IS350 since they hardly have any problems. Are bimmers really that hard to maintain? For those of you that have owned e46s, have you had any problems with it? I really want the e90, but am not sure of the reliability.
My suggestion is to go to Edmunds.com and check out their true cost of ownership. The Lexus maintenance will bring the IS350 up to the 330i.

It's not that BMW's are hard to maintain. They just have a few more problems per 100 vehicles than Lexus. I wouldn't let that be the only factor affecting my purchase decision.
 

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Rest in peace, Coach
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adrian's bmw said:
My suggestion is to go to Edmunds.com and check out their true cost of ownership. The Lexus maintenance will bring the IS350 up to the 330i.

It's not that BMW's are hard to maintain. They just have a few more problems per 100 vehicles than Lexus. I wouldn't let that be the only factor affecting my purchase decision.
And again, while you're under warranty those costs are absorbed by BMW. Once you're out of warranty, a Lexus is just likely as a BMW to have the same type of problems that comes with an aged car. At that point, no matter how good the Lexus customer service is, you are sh*t out of luck and must pay out of your own pocket anyway.
 

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ace008 said:
I am in the market for a new 330i, but my parents are saying BMWs are very expensive to fix and maintain. They are telling me I should go for a Japanese car like the Lexus IS350 since they hardly have any problems. Are bimmers really that hard to maintain? For those of you that have owned e46s, have you had any problems with it? I really want the e90, but am not sure of the reliability.
Having a new car warranty takes away the sting of paying for repairs, what it doesn`t do, is eliminate the aggravation of having your car "in the shop". Multiple visits to track intermittent electrical gremlins will raise your blood pressure REGARDLESS of who`s paying for it. J.D. Power surveys from new car owners show that fewest problems in initial quality occur in asian brands, U.S. models rank second and euro`s last.
 

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99flhr said:
... J.D. Power surveys from new car owners show that fewest problems in initial quality occur in asian brands, U.S. models rank second and euro`s last.
...yeah, probably this was caused by Merc's problems with quality and reliability :angel: .
 

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99flhr said:
Having a new car warranty takes away the sting of paying for repairs, what it doesn`t do, is eliminate the aggravation of having your car "in the shop". Multiple visits to track intermittent electrical gremlins will raise your blood pressure REGARDLESS of who`s paying for it. J.D. Power surveys from new car owners show that fewest problems in initial quality occur in asian brands, U.S. models rank second and euro`s last.
This is a good point. And, when a Lexus does have issues under warranty, you're more likely to have better customer service from a Lexus dealer, not a BMW dealer.

Still, I agree with the points that the Hack made about cost of ownership and ease of maintinag a BMW after warranty.

Even with the likely worse initial quality of BMW compared to a Lexus, you're still only talking a few extra problems.
 

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I'm surprised, but so far nobody has chimed in with "the first year of a new model is risky with BMW". If you hear this take it with a grain of salt. When the previous 3 (gotta get used to saying that) came out there were some initial problems, but is it really something that's going to drive you crazy? Probably not.

But you're comparing the e90 to the IS350 so either way it will be a new model.

Also, when you buy a car that has a following like most BMWs, you'll find a vast amount of info on how to fix things, upgrade things, etc. People like these cars so they like to talk about them and share their experiences. There are numerous how-to sites on the e46 and I'm sure in time for the e90 as well.

Cheers.
 

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I will agree, the bmw parts are MUCH cheaper then Honda or Toyota, since I have all three and do all work myself, I know first hand. No one believes me, but they all dont know squat about car maintenance. Yes, Japanese they are more expensive parts, BUT, BMWs require more frequent work. My honda and toyota kinda just chill and just need oil/filters and the occasional brake changes in most cases, while the bmw will every once and awhile require a part swapped out. TCO is in favor of the japanese hands down. I just recently dishout out $80 for OEM filters on my accord V6: cabin/air box filter/oil filters. I almost fainted i paid that much for filters on that car. Dont even get me started on the driver side 2003 accord wiper, 26inch wipers (odd ball size apparently) are not easy to find at local auto stores.
 

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taking care of 2 e46s for the past 5 years, i always notice that parts get replaced most of the time as opposed to being repaired, like parts for japanese cars.

but bmws are great driver's cars; when it's good it's really good but when things go south, they go waay south...in my experience.
 
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