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General E46 Forum
This is the place to get answers, opinions and everything you need related to your E46 (sedan, coupe, convertible and wagon) BMW!

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Old 05-31-2005, 04:05 PM   #1
Scottmandu
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Consumer Reports - Reliability Report..WTF?

I have an '04 325ci (22K miles)with steptronic and numerous other factory "add-ons". Yesterday I was looking at the new issue of Consumer Reports Annual Used Car Reviews and saw that for overall reliability for the '04 3-Series received a "Black X". I had to go back to the Table of Contents to see what that was because I have never seen it before and came to find out that it is the worst mark any vehicle can get!

I am extremely worried about the so-called "lifetime transmission fluid" and don't want dump endless amounts of money into a 325ci. What type of transmission and other major complications have you all encountered with your 3-series?
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Old 05-31-2005, 04:34 PM   #2
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I haven't heard about anything bad happening to any '04 models. A while back, i recalled a post about one person who put 82,000 miles on a 2004 325i in about 1.5 years. So i wouldn't worry too much. he doesn't seem to have any problems. as long as the car is maintained properly and your modifications don't exceed the engine & transmission limitations, you shouldn't have any problems. hope this helps.
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Old 05-31-2005, 08:03 PM   #3
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Those consumer reports are pathetic and I wouldn't pay any attention to them. So many of them are saying that the reliablity of these new German cars are bad, but everyone I know (at least 10 german cars, vw, audi, merc, bmw) and none of them have had any problems. My friends 325i has 130k miles and he says that he has never had any problems. Don't worry about it, just take care of you car and you will be fine. It is a BMW .
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Old 05-31-2005, 08:42 PM   #4
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It's a good idea to try to torque everything to the right specification. You avoid loose bolts scenarios like these. Today I just discovered that one of the spark plugs in my E30 was loose because I hand tightened them with the tool in the trunk toolbox. I thought I knew how much the proper tightening torque would be by hand because of my extensive torque'ing experience and was lazy. I guess I was wrong.

Good luck and read the instructions many times, and keep them handy.
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Old 05-31-2005, 09:59 PM   #5
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Do a search for tranny problems on this web board, and you will find quite a few examples.

My buddy has a 03' (not a 04') 330 Convertible and his steptronic was replaced at 25,000 miles. From what his service advisor told him, quite a few newer model automatics had already been replaced before his car.

Iím not sure which models have them, but BMW has used both ZF and GM built automatics. Iíve always known GM to have bullet proof trannys, but not sure which ones are more prone to having problems in E46s.
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Old 05-31-2005, 11:34 PM   #6
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My 04 step was doing the cold start slip like others reported. At first, BMW either replaced the tranny itself or the clutch pack to solve the problem. Later on, they came up with a software fix that fixed it. I just had mine done along with the first free oil change. They also fixed the loose hose at the base of the steering column. No problem now. I'm sure Consumer Reports would be broken-hearted to learn that my dealer, SA, and car are excellent. Don't pay ANY attention to CU. They just sent me a phony "invoice" that looked very official. I'm guessing that old folks or busy folks might have been fooled by this sleazy ploy. I let my subscription lapse some time ago intentionally which they are fully aware of. This from an "impartial non-profit organization dedicated to integrity for consumers". Unbelievable. I think I'll contact the U.S. attorney's office to see what they think of this.
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Old 06-01-2005, 12:15 AM   #7
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Guys, face the reality. ALL german cars do lousy in terms of reliability. Don't be bitter because it's true. Whether it be electrical or mechanical, the Japanese trounce them in terms of reliability. Consumer report is #1 in terms of reliability, Intellichoice and the others haven't been around as long and half their information seems illegitimate.

http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=43904
http://www.cnn.com/aol/story/2005/0...urvey.reut.html

BMW scores midpack for the Germans. Nothing new.

**EDIT** One thing with these so-called "reliability" reports measure reliability from little personal maintenence. If you keep up/stay ahead of mileage checks and do your own oil filter/changes....I see no reason why you wouldn't be able to keep a German car running in top condition. I mean, how do Rustangs manage to last as long as they do? Enthusiasts take care of their cars, and they last longer.

Last edited by Rush4theYehO; 06-01-2005 at 12:21 AM.
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Old 06-01-2005, 12:41 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rush4theYehO
Guys, face the reality. ALL german cars do lousy in terms of reliability. Don't be bitter because it's true. Whether it be electrical or mechanical, the Japanese trounce them in terms of reliability. Consumer report is #1 in terms of reliability, Intellichoice and the others haven't been around as long and half their information seems illegitimate.

http://releases.usnewswire.com/GetRelease.asp?id=43904
http://www.cnn.com/aol/story/2005/0...urvey.reut.html

BMW scores midpack for the Germans. Nothing new.

**EDIT** One thing with these so-called "reliability" reports measure reliability from little personal maintenence. If you keep up/stay ahead of mileage checks and do your own oil filter/changes....I see no reason why you wouldn't be able to keep a German car running in top condition. I mean, how do Rustangs manage to last as long as they do? Enthusiasts take care of their cars, and they last longer.
I've read about the German cars doing worse than some Japanese cars in several written articles for the past year or so, this basically old news. The E46 was last recommended the first couple years it came out and then it went down hill from there, same with 7 series. Reliability was the issue. Consumer Reports isnít junk my any means! Hello, Consumer Reports is based on CONSUMERS and not what the magazine thinks. How does that not hold any weight to some of you? And from what I read here, it only follows how their reliability has been slipping. I know my car has had far less issues than a lot of 04'ers here.
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Old 06-01-2005, 08:01 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottmandu
I have an '04 325ci (22K miles)with steptronic and numerous other factory "add-ons". Yesterday I was looking at the new issue of Consumer Reports Annual Used Car Reviews and saw that for overall reliability for the '04 3-Series received a "Black X". I had to go back to the Table of Contents to see what that was because I have never seen it before and came to find out that it is the worst mark any vehicle can get!

I am extremely worried about the so-called "lifetime transmission fluid" and don't want dump endless amounts of money into a 325ci. What type of transmission and other major complications have you all encountered with your 3-series?


Do you guys really believe everything that Consumer Reports...reports?
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Old 06-01-2005, 08:21 AM   #10
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You couldn't be more wrong if you tried...

1) Consumer Reports has NOTHING to do with consumers. It is a association of testing labs.
2) In my opinion they have no idea what they are doing.

As an example: I was a Product Manager back in the 80's for Sanyo. We made both Sanyo and Fisher VCR's at the time. They were the same exact product. Just a different badge went on them at the end of the assembly line.

Consumer Reports ran a big feature on VCR's one month and the Sanyo VCR's ranked at the top and the Fisher VCR's were at the bottom. Exact same product - one brand 'the best' the other brand 'the worst'.

Never had much respect for them after that.

And, as far as the comments about German cars being the worst in reliability compared to Japanese and others???

Lets keep things in perspective,

German cars are very good in reliability. ALL cars these days are very good in terms of reliability these days. The Japanese are just better.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad323i
I've read about the German cars doing worse than some Japanese cars in several written articles for the past year or so, this basically old news. The E46 was last recommended the first couple years it came out and then it went down hill from there, same with 7 series. Reliability was the issue. Consumer Reports isnít junk my any means! Hello, Consumer Reports is based on CONSUMERS and not what the magazine thinks. How does that not hold any weight to some of you?undefined And from what I read here, it only follows how their reliability has been slipping. I know my car has had far less issues than a lot of 04'ers here.
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Old 06-01-2005, 08:27 AM   #11
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The first year that the e46 got anything less than a good reliability rating from CR was 2001, and that can be directly linked to the 2001 m3 and all the significant issues that those cars had.

Also they do their rankings based on "repairs/complaints per thousand cars" or something like that. Therefore everytime you take your car in with HK rattles that counts against the reliability score.

Of course some things are legitimate concerns with the e46, like the coil packs. Had mine replaced twice now, and hopefully not again for a long time.
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Old 06-01-2005, 08:40 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsjean
1) Consumer Reports has NOTHING to do with consumers. It is a association of testing labs.
2) In my opinion they have no idea what they are doing.

As an example: I was a Product Manager back in the 80's for Sanyo. We made both Sanyo and Fisher VCR's at the time. They were the same exact product. Just a different badge went on them at the end of the assembly line.

Consumer Reports ran a big feature on VCR's one month and the Sanyo VCR's ranked at the top and the Fisher VCR's were at the bottom. Exact same product - one brand 'the best' the other brand 'the worst'.

Never had much respect for them after that.

And, as far as the comments about German cars being the worst in reliability compared to Japanese and others???

Lets keep things in perspective,

German cars are very good in reliability. ALL cars these days are very good in terms of reliability these days. The Japanese are just better.
Unfortunately, the majority of people are uninformed, so they take these sorts of reports very seriously.
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Old 06-01-2005, 09:57 AM   #13
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My daily revved to red line, frequently tracked, modified with mediocrity, BUT well maintained, oil changed at every 5000km's has not been giving me any problems at all except the odd squeek and rattle that i can fix myself. I was misfiring once but, that was due to a faulty plug.. Very reliable for me so far!

Not including my cross state trips of around maybe 2000km's in 3 - 4 days in sweltering desert heat?

Forget about lifetime transmission fluid. Thats designed to protect BMW until your warranty expires. By lifetime, i think they mean until your warranty expires so when thats thru, have it changed.

The ZF boxes, IMHO should be slightly better or last longer than the GM ones but hey, GM makes great boxes too. Esp. since the ones on our cars are manufactured in Europe.
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Old 06-01-2005, 08:51 PM   #14
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READ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

stop making axcusses for our cars.
everyone knows they are not the most reliable. my brand new 04 zhp has tons of things wrong with it.
whats that loud sound comming from the rear when reversing? its normal they say... normal my a555.
why does the car stall? its just the software..bla,bla bla.
3 window regulators in 1 year??????????wtf...
why do my windows rattle?
and much more etc...etc...etc... i know all cars have problems but lets
not kid our selfs and claim bmw's are riliable.....
thank GOD i leased it so later i can give them back my headache...

Last edited by bm2u; 06-01-2005 at 08:55 PM.
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Old 06-01-2005, 09:01 PM   #15
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J.D. Power and Associates
J.D. Power and Associates 2005 Initial Quality StudySM (IQS), released 18 May 2005. Details. Tally of problems reported per 100 new vehicles. BMW improves significantly from the 2004 IQS! Excerpt:

Lexus 81
Jaguar 88
BMW 95
Cadillac 104
Mercedes-Benz 104
Audi 106
Infiniti 109
Acura 116
Industry Average 118
Chrysler 121
Porsche 147
Volkswagen 147

J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Initial Quality StudySM (IQS), released 28 April 2004. Details. Tally of problems reported per 100 new vehicles. Excerpt:

Lexus 87
Cadillac 93
Jaguar 98
Infiniti 104
Mercedes-Benz 106
Audi 109
BMW 109
Acura 117
Industry Average 119
Chrysler 120
Porsche 159
Volkswagen 164

J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS), released 29 June 2004. Details. Tally of problems reported per 100 vehicles from the 2001 model year. Excerpt:

Lexus 162
Infiniti 189
Cadillac 196
Acura 212
Porsche 240
BMW 262
Industry Average 269
Chrysler 285
Audi 295
Jaguar 310
Mercedes-Benz 327
Volkswagen 386

J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout StudySM (APEAL), released 14 October 2004. Details. Rank of nameplates based on a 1,000-point scale from a survey of new-vehicle owners within 90 days of purchase. Excerpt:

Lexus 910
Porsche 903
Cadillac 902
BMW 900
Jaguar 897
Infiniti 896
Mercedes-Benz 895
Acura 892
Audi 887
Volkswagen 857
Chrysler 852
Industry Average 852

J.D. Power and Associates 2005 Press Releases.
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Old 06-02-2005, 11:45 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rsjean
J.D. Power and Associates
J.D. Power and Associates 2005 Initial Quality StudySM (IQS), released 18 May 2005. Details. Tally of problems reported per 100 new vehicles. BMW improves significantly from the 2004 IQS! Excerpt:

Lexus 81
Jaguar 88
BMW 95
Cadillac 104
Mercedes-Benz 104
Audi 106
Infiniti 109
Acura 116
Industry Average 118
Chrysler 121
Porsche 147
Volkswagen 147

J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Initial Quality StudySM (IQS), released 28 April 2004. Details. Tally of problems reported per 100 new vehicles. Excerpt:

Lexus 87
Cadillac 93
Jaguar 98
Infiniti 104
Mercedes-Benz 106
Audi 109
BMW 109
Acura 117
Industry Average 119
Chrysler 120
Porsche 159
Volkswagen 164

J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Vehicle Dependability StudySM (VDS), released 29 June 2004. Details. Tally of problems reported per 100 vehicles from the 2001 model year. Excerpt:

Lexus 162
Infiniti 189
Cadillac 196
Acura 212
Porsche 240
BMW 262
Industry Average 269
Chrysler 285
Audi 295
Jaguar 310
Mercedes-Benz 327
Volkswagen 386

J.D. Power and Associates 2004 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout StudySM (APEAL), released 14 October 2004. Details. Rank of nameplates based on a 1,000-point scale from a survey of new-vehicle owners within 90 days of purchase. Excerpt:

Lexus 910
Porsche 903
Cadillac 902
BMW 900
Jaguar 897
Infiniti 896
Mercedes-Benz 895
Acura 892
Audi 887
Volkswagen 857
Chrysler 852
Industry Average 852

J.D. Power and Associates 2005 Press Releases.

Notice how the first two are simply INITIAL reports. That doesn't mean it's going to hold up. Heck a caddy and MB are on the list and a Jag. The third one holds a bit more weight, as it's a Dependability test. Look who's missing?? The fourth one doesn't hold much days neither, it's only 90 days. Most people hold their cars for more than 90 days.
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Old 06-02-2005, 11:58 PM   #17
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Yeah, don't spend too much time worrying about what Consumer Reports says. Their tests are not based on actual consumer reports.
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Old 06-03-2005, 02:18 AM   #18
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Ok, so no consumer reports. Who can we trust? Just because they don't see eye to eye with us, doesn't necessarily mean that they're BS.

Same goes for liberals.
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Old 06-03-2005, 08:16 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bm2u
READ!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

stop making axcusses for our cars.
everyone knows they are not the most reliable. my brand new 04 zhp has tons of things wrong with it.
whats that loud sound comming from the rear when reversing? its normal they say... normal my a555.
why does the car stall? its just the software..bla,bla bla.
3 window regulators in 1 year??????????wtf...
why do my windows rattle?
and much more etc...etc...etc... i know all cars have problems but lets
not kid our selfs and claim bmw's are riliable.....
thank GOD i leased it so later i can give them back my headache...

uh....ok.


I am on my 3rd E46...never had those problems that you have mentioned
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Old 06-03-2005, 08:35 AM   #20
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My car has 6k miles on it. It has stalled a couple of times and I think it is developing a window rattle in the passenger door. I hate rattles. I have had an awful lot of cars all manual trannys and never had this strange stall problem. I haven't figured out how to prevent it as it seems to be pretty unpredictable so far.

I think the car handles great, gets very good fuel economy and is pretty quiet at high speeds. Also, having a 6sp is a plus, but I do have concerns about all the problems I read about on here. My dad is a Maxima guy. Is on his 4th and they never need anything. He drives them for 150K miles and then trades them in. He changes oil and brakes and that is it. If I were to make a guess, I don't think BMWs are very reliable cars really. I shouldn't have to deal with a stall situation on my 2004 car with such few miles on it.

Curt
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