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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 07-26-2010, 09:49 PM   #41
amonrob
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: toronto
Posts: 2
My Ride: 2004 325xi
i don't know what to do when i see/hear statements about german cars or the 325 in particular being "unreliable" other than LOL. maybe most of the people that bother to post are those relatively few that got the problem child car. unless that is the case i just don't know what to make of it. not only have my previous cars been comparatively much less reliable, my 325, imo has been spectacularly reliable. i don't personally know anyone that has ever owned a bmw and been unhappy with it.

my 2004 325xi has 145k km on it. all original equipment with the exceptions of thermostat i had to change a couple years back and a front passenger headlight assembly which started going out intermittently (after i left the road and plowed into a snowbank one winter). in all this time the car has NEVER failed to start or left me stranded in any way whatsoever. i can not say that about any other car i have driven in the 20yrs i have been licensed to drive and i have owned this one far longer than the others.

the radio control buttons on the steering wheel stopped working when the car was about 5yrs old. it was still under warranty but since i didn't give a damn about the buttons i never bothered taking it in. i live in a remote area and figured it just wasn't worth the hassle of driving 2hrs to the nearest dealership since the buttons on the actual radio do the same job and work perfectly. other than this one small nuisance the car still performs and drives as it did when i got it.

by no stretch of the imagination could you say i baby this car. i drive like a bastard - i am about to give it it's 4rth set of tires(including the originals) and i use my tires regardless of how bad they start to look until they are so worn out that i can feel it while driving. i drive on roads so rough that a couple years ago i tore the plastic guard off the bottom of the engine bay (never bothered to replace that either). in winter i routinely drive it through snow so deep that it comes over the front of hood and i am literally plowing through it. i have to stop periodically to unclog the grill of snow so the engine can get air and not overheat. this is why i wanted the xdrive btw. the car has been on the road for over 6.5 years. except for those 2 things i mentioned i have never taken it to the dealership. i used to do almost all my own autowork (there was so much of it, i couldn't afford not to) but this car really hasn't needed any. in all this time i had costco change the oil a few times (manual says every 25k km. that's friggin awesome! i love synthetic.) and about 6months ago i also changed the antifreeze and rear differential fluid because the guy at the quicklube was a good salesman. i probably shouldn't have bothered. i've also changed the air filter and a couple little marker lamps that burnt out. NO other maintenance NO other repairs. i am about to change the factory brake pads and rotors for the first time. (145k km and i've burned through 3 sets of tires).

in my experience this is unprecedented reliability and durability. prior to this bimmer i owned 3 brands of north american cars (NEVER EVER AGAIN), japanese and korean. whether used, slightly used or new i went through them like bubblegum just like everyone else i know(with plenty trips to the mechanic along the way). the only car i ever owned prior to this that i was satisfied with was my 2001 daewoo lanos which i bought new and put 120k on before trading it to a kid that worked for me for 3 weeks pay. in 3yrs that thing needed way more more repairs etc than my 325 has in twice that time but heck it only cost 10k brand new.

now that i've taken the time to tell you my experience i might as well tell you why i got the car in the first place. a friend of mine's parents bought a new 1987 325 when we were in high school. his parents weren't the type to buy expensive things to show off their wealth. they made more than twice as much money as my parents yet lived in the same middle class neighborhood. in fact when i first met him in 1981 his parents had 2 1978 monte carlos just like mine did (tell me that's not weird) and every few years they traded one car in for something newer and the parent that didn't commute as far kept driving the older car. until they got the 325. after that they only exchanged their second car every now and then. i always liked that car because it drove like a dream and had power. you could start off at a red light in 2nd gear instead of 1st and no one would notice. not a chug or anything even on an uphill incline. the way it felt to be in that car even as a passenger made every other car i had been in seem like they just weren't put together right (which of course they weren't). anyways that's why i always wanted a 325 to begin with but what really made me decide to spend several times what i ever had on a car before and actually buy one was this: not long after i got my daewoo i went for a drive in my friend's parents' 325. it still looked, drove and felt better than my car in every way that i could tell even though it was 15 yrs old and mine was 1. they had one other new car (an suv) and all four of their boys had newish cars. they kept that 325 even though they could easily afford to replace it because it was STILL WORKED JUST LIKE BRAND NEW.

i was in my hometown last year and all those other cars of theirs had been replaced but his mom still drives that 325 even though it's over 20yrs old. (1987!!) i didn't drive it myself but it still looked mint and i'm damn sure that if it wasn't still driving like new she would just buy a new car, probably another 325.. not reliable?? LOL.

i joined this site because i'm looking for a post about changing pads/rotors hopefully with photos.
i learned a lot about fixing cars from helping my dad when i was a kid (keeping our crappy gms and fords on the road was a part time job) and i had to change the front pads on my daewoo every 40k km but it's been a long damn time since i've done it. also i've worked on many a car in my 36yrs but never one with 4wheel disc or awd so i would totally prefer to have some sort of guide before i start taking things apart.
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Old 07-26-2010, 09:53 PM   #42
N89
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Location: United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amonrob View Post
i don't know what to do when i see/hear statements about german cars or the 325 in particular being "unreliable" other than LOL. maybe most of the people that bother to post are those relatively few that got the problem child car. unless that is the case i just don't know what to make of it. not only have my previous cars been comparatively much less reliable, my 325, imo has been spectacularly reliable. i don't personally know anyone that has ever owned a bmw and been unhappy with it.

my 2004 325xi has 145k km on it. all original equipment with the exceptions of thermostat i had to change a couple years back and a front passenger headlight assembly which started going out intermittently (after i left the road and plowed into a snowbank one winter). in all this time the car has NEVER failed to start or left me stranded in any way whatsoever. i can not say that about any other car i have driven in the 20yrs i have been licensed to drive and i have owned this one far longer than the others.

the radio control buttons on the steering wheel stopped working when the car was about 5yrs old. it was still under warranty but since i didn't give a damn about the buttons i never bothered taking it in. i live in a remote area and figured it just wasn't worth the hassle of driving 2hrs to the nearest dealership since the buttons on the actual radio do the same job and work perfectly. other than this one small nuisance the car still performs and drives as it did when i got it.

by no stretch of the imagination could you say i baby this car. i drive like a bastard - i am about to give it it's 4rth set of tires(including the originals) and i use my tires regardless of how bad they start to look until they are so worn out that i can feel it while driving. i drive on roads so rough that a couple years ago i tore the plastic guard off the bottom of the engine bay (never bothered to replace that either). in winter i routinely drive it through snow so deep that it comes over the front of hood and i am literally plowing through it. i have to stop periodically to unclog the grill of snow so the engine can get air and not overheat. this is why i wanted the xdrive btw. the car has been on the road for over 6.5 years. except for those 2 things i mentioned i have never taken it to the dealership. i used to do almost all my own autowork (there was so much of it, i couldn't afford not to) but this car really hasn't needed any. in all this time i had costco change the oil a few times (manual says every 25k km. that's friggin awesome! i love synthetic.) and about 6months ago i also changed the antifreeze and rear differential fluid because the guy at the quicklube was a good salesman. i probably shouldn't have bothered. i've also changed the air filter and a couple little marker lamps that burnt out. NO other maintenance NO other repairs. i am about to change the factory brake pads and rotors for the first time. (145k km and i've burned through 3 sets of tires).

in my experience this is unprecedented reliability and durability. prior to this bimmer i owned 3 brands of north american cars (NEVER EVER AGAIN), japanese and korean. whether used, slightly used or new i went through them like bubblegum just like everyone else i know(with plenty trips to the mechanic along the way). the only car i ever owned prior to this that i was satisfied with was my 2001 daewoo lanos which i bought new and put 120k on before trading it to a kid that worked for me for 3 weeks pay. in 3yrs that thing needed way more more repairs etc than my 325 has in twice that time but heck it only cost 10k brand new.

now that i've taken the time to tell you my experience i might as well tell you why i got the car in the first place. a friend of mine's parents bought a new 1987 325 when we were in high school. his parents weren't the type to buy expensive things to show off their wealth. they made more than twice as much money as my parents yet lived in the same middle class neighborhood. in fact when i first met him in 1981 his parents had 2 1978 monte carlos just like mine did (tell me that's not weird) and every few years they traded one car in for something newer and the parent that didn't commute as far kept driving the older car. until they got the 325. after that they only exchanged their second car every now and then. i always liked that car because it drove like a dream and had power. you could start off at a red light in 2nd gear instead of 1st and no one would notice. not a chug or anything even on an uphill incline. the way it felt to be in that car even as a passenger made every other car i had been in seem like they just weren't put together right (which of course they weren't). anyways that's why i always wanted a 325 to begin with but what really made me decide to spend several times what i ever had on a car before and actually buy one was this: not long after i got my daewoo i went for a drive in my friend's parents' 325. it still looked, drove and felt better than my car in every way that i could tell even though it was 15 yrs old and mine was 1. they had one other new car (an suv) and all four of their boys had newish cars. they kept that 325 even though they could easily afford to replace it because it was STILL WORKED JUST LIKE BRAND NEW.

i was in my hometown last year and all those other cars of theirs had been replaced but his mom still drives that 325 even though it's over 20yrs old. (1987!!) i didn't drive it myself but it still looked mint and i'm damn sure that if it wasn't still driving like new she would just buy a new car, probably another 325.. not reliable?? LOL.

i joined this site because i'm looking for a post about changing pads/rotors hopefully with photos.
i learned a lot about fixing cars from helping my dad when i was a kid (keeping our crappy gms and fords on the road was a part time job) and i had to change the front pads on my daewoo every 40k km but it's been a long damn time since i've done it. also i've worked on many a car in my 36yrs but never one with 4wheel disc or awd so i would totally prefer to have some sort of guide before i start taking things apart.
I said LOL too when I realized this discussion was 5 years old, just kidding.
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Old 07-26-2010, 09:59 PM   #43
iansanderson
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Northeast Ohio
Posts: 2,778
My Ride: 2001 330CiC
consumer reports does use actual consumer reports. they send out an annual survey that you fill out the car(s) you own and your experience with repairs within your tenure. A black dot will be published if the percentage of repairs to owners exceeds a certain amount. In the E46's case, it represents quite a few owners, which is why it has a black dot. let's be honest, it is safe to say that 99.9% of owners on here will experience some issue with the cooling system.
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Cheat Sheet:

GT1/ISIS/MoDiC = Factory authorized diagnostic system used by BMW dealerships across the world.

NCS Expert = BMW Factory R&D programming tool available on the internet (not intended for the public and not available to the dealership network)

OEM = Genuine BMW part only available from a franchised BMW dealership.

DME = Engine Management Computer
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Old 07-26-2010, 10:04 PM   #44
N89
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Quote:
Originally Posted by iansanderson View Post
consumer reports does use actual consumer reports. they send out an annual survey that you fill out the car(s) you own and your experience with repairs within your tenure. A black dot will be published if the percentage of repairs to owners exceeds a certain amount. In the E46's case, it represents quite a few owners, which is why it has a black dot. let's be honest, it is safe to say that 99.9% of owners on here will experience some issue with the cooling system.
That, and I think most (or the average) BMW owners (along with Mercedes, Porsche, Lexus, etc.) just take their cars to the dealership and pay for any repairs that are recommended to them. Most people won't even do an oil change and go to the dealer for everything. So even if things don't need to be replaced, they do it because the dealer said so and that not only makes the owner think it's expensive to own but that parts fail all the time.
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Old 07-26-2010, 10:24 PM   #45
the_curry_man
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My Ride: 2001 330i 5spd ZSP!!
last time i check CR said they DONT reccomend the iphone 4 to anyone....CR is full of bs
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Old 07-26-2010, 10:30 PM   #46
amonrob
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Join Date: Jun 2010
Location: toronto
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My Ride: 2004 325xi
Quote:
Originally Posted by nopcbs View Post
German car reliability is basically on par with or worse than the US manufacturers
"German car reliability is basically on par with or worse than the US manufacturers"

this is the most absurd thing i have ever read.. and i have the INTERNET.

a quick recap for those that don't want to read my novel length post above:
2004 325xi

maintenance done: oil&filter changes, 1 air filter change, 2 marker lamps and a couple other fluid changes, 2 sets of tire changes with one presently needed. 1 brake job needed but not yet done.

defects: steering wheel radio control buttons, one thermostat.

repairs due to accident: one headlight assembly

and all this "unreliableness" after:

145k km (about 90k miles i think)
6.5yrs+ of driving
gravel roads (and i use the term roads very loosely indeed)
winter driving that would simply be impossible without awd or 4wd.
(calmly sailing past openmouthed people waiting their turn to be winched out of a snowbank is one thing but i pray that you all one day know the unparalleled joy of dragging a neighbor's truck out of the ditch with the bumper hook on your ...what the locals refer to as a city slicker's puddlejumper)

Last edited by amonrob; 07-26-2010 at 10:35 PM. Reason: quote didnt seem to work. i'm new here.
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