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Old 08-01-2011, 10:05 PM   #1
Original Man
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Default BMW vehicles: Expensive to maintain?

Ive heard for most of my life but some BMW owners have told me different. Its the reason I didn't get a 525i as my first car. What do you say?
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: BMW vehicles: Expensive to maintain?

if you are use to a honda/toyota then yeah-- it is higher costs of operating. unlike a jap car where you run it until it breaks, germans you need to perform preventive maintenance.

cant comment on a domestic car and owning costs. never owned one or worked on one aside form drag cars.
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:14 PM   #3
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Default Re: BMW vehicles: Expensive to maintain?

yes and no it's like anything else with neglect the higher cost of parts will kill you maintain it and it's relative iu personally know someone with a 92 325i with 415k miles
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:16 PM   #4
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Default Re: BMW vehicles: Expensive to maintain?

I'm Not sure about the states but over here you can get most of the service/ancillery parts made by pattern parts makers, yeah they will cost a bit more than a ford, but its not THAT much more over here, My dads just bought a 2002 X5 3.0d sport, he's picking it up friday, that will probably be pricey if it goes wrong
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:19 PM   #5
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Default Re: BMW vehicles: Expensive to maintain?

I've owned several German, all of them older Audi's. I also moonlight at a Euro Specialty Repair Shop. Perhaps obviously, I do my own work.

Some of the parts can be more expensive than your popular domestic. They are definitely expensive to have someone else maintain. However, if you are willing to buy the shop manual, buy a few special tools, and do the work yourself they are wonderful vehicles with passionate enthusiast groups to help you along.

I personally would love a 5-series if it was practical for me this far north for year-round transportation!
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:23 PM   #6
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Default Re: BMW vehicles: Expensive to maintain?

Yes .. tools and parts for BMW's are definitely more expensive. On German cars, it seems like the electronics trigger the check engine light more often ..
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:58 PM   #7
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Default Re: BMW vehicles: Expensive to maintain?

The new one include free maintenance for 4 years. So if you buy an 08 it will have been dealer serviced and still have free maine. for another year. This includes brakes btw. You can also buy an extended maine. contract where you get the dealer services for a package (economical) rate. MB and Audi both offer similar programs. On my S4 I paid 800 and am covered for 2 more services. MB and Audi don't cover brakes though.
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:11 PM   #8
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Default Re: BMW vehicles: Expensive to maintain?

If you take it to a shop for all repairs, it is very expensive. If you do your own repairs and do some shopping to find a good parts source, they can be as cheap to repair as any car. Had a 525 for a short time; found a parts supplier in Dallas with good prices. Was not impressed with the car and traded. Parts for German cars are not always more expensive than Toyota. A water pump for Toyota Landcruiser was more than double the cost of a pump for a 300 series Mercedes; I had the pleasure of replacing both within a month time.
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:14 PM   #9
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Default Re: BMW vehicles: Expensive to maintain?

My response is a yes and no as well. The question to get one or not when someone asks me is to ask them are you going to do all the work yourself? From my experience the parts themselves are marginally more expensive or basically the same as a domestic part depends on the part. The problem comes in when you are paying BMW $125+ an hour to work on it compared to $60-80 per hour for a domestic that almost any shop will feel comfortable with (so you can avoid the dealer with a domestic).

My current 328i has 190,000+ and is going as strong as ever, but with those miles I have also been through quite a few repairs. I find them to be reasonable. What kills me is to look through the old receipts from former owners (I have all the records) and see the labor costs as well as the 'genuine BMW' parts costs. If you are comfortable shopping rockauto or local for parts and can do all your own matinence I love 'em. With that said I can't imagine myself driving anything else for a daily driver than a 3 series for a very long time to come. There simply is nothing else I can buy cheaply that gets anywhere close to the fun factor of a 3.

And yes they can be quirky so you can expect more problems than a Camry, but the important parts, engine, tranny, drivetrain are built to last.
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:15 PM   #10
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Default Re: BMW vehicles: Expensive to maintain?

I think it was cheaper in europe for the simple fact they had actual bosch dealers there, and bosch has some very affordable prices.

In germany i owned a 320i. One day it died going up a hill. Alternator died. I was able remove the 2 screws holding the brush/voltage regulator in, and pop it out within 30 seconds. It was completely worn away. My coworker told me the pipece I had came from what they called a "lichtmachine" aka "light machine" aka generator aka alternator. I priced out a reman from chain parts store at about $375. A "new" one (complete alternator) was about $500. A trip to bosch, revealed the part was $20 and would be in, in 2 days. Slapped it in, jumped the battery and away it went. Removing the alternaotr would have been a nightmare task in a driveway/parking lot, so "rebuilding" it was much cheaper/easier, even though it wasn't a proper rebuild.

The fuel pump later died, it was a 10 minute job mounted under the seat.

Think a lot of people may over estimate the fear of repair, and lots of shops may prey on that. Translation? If you can handle some repairs yourself, it might not be so bad. BMWs lose value horribly quick due to 80k mile fears, so I would never buy a new one unless I trade in on a regular basis.

Friend is a BMW mechanic here in houston. Asked him how much he has invested in tools? He estimates in the last 12 years he has spent probably $8k including box. Compare that to some of these other guys on this board claiming 5x that much over a similar period of time.
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:24 PM   #11
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Default Re: BMW vehicles: Expensive to maintain?

Don't have a BMW, but wife's clk430 parts are a little more, though not much than typical american stuff...UNLESS you get them from the dealer. Last time I went to the dealer, it was $6 per AC o-ring! But the stuff you can get from Napa, autohauz, or used online are about 30-50% higher than common domestic. Not a real deal breaker. I do dread the day if it ever come where something so complicated goes that I can not fix it. Let's hope that day never comes.
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:40 PM   #12
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Default Re: BMW vehicles: Expensive to maintain?

Are the older ones more "maintainence intensive" than the newer ones? What I mean is a mandatory engine tear down every 100,000 miles type of thing as opposed to our American fix when it breaks philosophy?
I love bimmers but I've read a couple too many magazine articles about someone buying an early 80's model with around 80k on it and $7000 worth of suspension parts and repairs later it's a real sweet ride.
I don't mind doing basic maintenance but the major engine and suspension work (if what I said is true) is the deal breaker for me.
I really hope I'm wrong on this one.
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:55 PM   #13
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Default Re: BMW vehicles: Expensive to maintain?

Heres my .02... Keep in mind that Ive had every job known to man in the automotive industry. Ive worked at hole in the wall shops all the way up to a high end BMW dealer.

After working for a BMW dealer I will NEVER own one.. EVER!! All these guys talk about "free maintainance".. yeah.... its free alright they just jack up the lease price of the car compared to a "everyday car." (everyday car=honda/toyota). We can talk about OEM parts vs. aftermarket and how some parts are the SAME EXACT PART expect BMW stamped there logo on it and raised the price. Anyone in the business knows that a good amount of time OEM parts are better than aftermarket. Ive worked at a lot of different dealers and always watched what the techs drove. At a dodge dealer BARELY anybody drove a dodge! Keep in mind that when you work at a dealer you usually get parts at 10 to 20% over cost. Next dealer I worked at was a Subaru dealer. A good amount of guys drove Subaru but didnt exactly like the product. After that was Toyota. ALMOST everybody drove a Toyota there! Then there was BMW.... The only guys that drove BMW's were the guys that made good money there. BMW's are NOT made to be held onto for the long haul. Lease them and when the lease is up OFF THEM! Some german cars NEED SYNTHETIC OIL! I know theres gonna be some guys out there that claim that oil is oil bla bla bla. Yeah right... ask them how much time they spent under the hood of car and how much their boss praises them for saving the company a fortune on "xyz" for the fiscal year. It'll all make sense real fast. One of my best friends is a hugh BMW fan.. he's gone there a ton of them but at the end of the day he can afford it. He likes them a lot but at the end of the day he can't afford to hold onto the same one year after year. Its just cheaper to drive it for "x" amount of years and then off it! fast! Basic things like oil filters would cost me around 8 bucks! And thats for the "lower" end BMW's. If you're replacing front pads on a BMW theres a good chance it will need rotors. BMW's LOVE BRAKE ROTORS! You cannot cut them! The brake pads eat them up like there is no tomorrow. For all the cheap asses out there I wouldnt be going to Jiffy Lube or a place like that for oil changes.. BMW uses aluminum oil pans so if you get a hack from Jiffy Lube working on your car theres a good chance he'll overtighen the drain plug and destroy the threads! Been there before.. done that.. tryed retapping the hole ect ect. At the end of the day in my experiences it needs a new pan. BMW loves using low profile tires on their cars so if you're gonna buy or lease one I must STRESS to buy tire insurance! My dealer offered it and I cant tell you how many tires we sold there! It was obsence! I'd get orders of 30 to 40 tires a day! Blow outs/tires getting shredded was a everyday thing! I had one guy with a BMW Alpina come in twice in a couple weeks because of a blow out! If you dont know what a Alpina is google it. Sure that guy was thrilled about having a brand spanking new Alpina come in with blow outs...

If you got extra money lying around be my guest! Personally I love BMW's! Nice lines, the manual trans are to die for, fast ect ect. My pockets aren't even close to afford something like that.

Dan
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Old 08-01-2011, 11:57 PM   #14
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Default Re: BMW vehicles: Expensive to maintain?

Quote:
Originally Posted by David W View Post
Are the older ones more "maintainence intensive" than the newer ones? What I mean is a mandatory engine tear down every 100,000 miles type of thing as opposed to our American fix when it breaks philosophy?
I love bimmers but I've read a couple too many magazine articles about someone buying an early 80's model with around 80k on it and $7000 worth of suspension parts and repairs later it's a real sweet ride.
I don't mind doing basic maintenance but the major engine and suspension work (if what I said is true) is the deal breaker for me.
I really hope I'm wrong on this one.
BMW's love suspension work! Tires, ball joints, inner outter tire rods... alignments. You gonna pay!!!
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:08 AM   #15
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Default Re: BMW vehicles: Expensive to maintain?

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Originally Posted by diesel research View Post
Friend is a BMW mechanic here in houston. Asked him how much he has invested in tools? He estimates in the last 12 years he has spent probably $8k including box. Compare that to some of these other guys on this board claiming 5x that much over a similar period of time.
You have to realize that since he's at a BMW dealer he only need tools to work on BMW's. Ive spent a lot more than 8K on tools but thats because I've worked on anything an everything. At the BMW dealer I worked at guys would cry that they had I'm guessing anywhere between 3 to 5K in tools. My heart breaks for them... My dealer supplied a quality box and a shit load of speciality tools with a shop that had central air. Rough life... Those guys didnt want to spend a dime on tools. I think the guys that were starting out changing oil were making $13 an hour. Im sure around by me guys at jiffy lube sweating their nut sacks off in this heat are making $8 working out of their own tool box that they paid for. Now german cars are a lot tougher to work on then other cars but no one is pointing a gun to their head to work on stuff like that... theres a ton of other car makers out there.

Dan
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Old 08-02-2011, 12:51 AM   #16
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Default Re: BMW vehicles: Expensive to maintain?

Hang on, slow down.

$8 filters? Big deal.
Tire blow outs? BMW doesn't manufacture tires, nor do they drive.
Synthetic oil? Check around your other dealers, I am sure you can find numerous that require it.
# Acura
# Aston Martin
# BMW
# Bentley
# Chevrolet
# Mercedes
# Mitsubishi
# Nissan
# Peugeot
# Porsche
# Saab

^All of the above produce atleast some cars which require synthetic oils. Might even save money if you are performing lab analysis.

"realize he is at a BMW dealer"? And that is different from the many other members working strictly at one dealer, how? Want to ask what spidergearsman has sunk into his chevrolet career? Let's just say the number is mind blowing.

aluminum oil pans? You can find several others with them.

rotors? Well that is subjective, guess individual members can make their own decisions. I definitely never have mine cut, nor do I intend to. If that's your thing, you might not want one a car that requires no cutting.

As for lube techs making $13, I am not shocked and appalled. Hell the dodgeboys on lube rack make $14.50 and a few clear 4digit weekly. Oh well.

Finally, who the hell takes their car or even pushmower to JiffyLube?! I'm sure some do, there is sometimes a car in the bay, but I'm hoping us more inclined garage-guys don't?
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I'd have to say the suspension comment holds more validity. So does dealer parts comment.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:04 AM   #17
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Default Re: BMW vehicles: Expensive to maintain?

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Originally Posted by diesel research View Post
Hang on, slow down.

$8 filters? Big deal.

Last I checked a I could spend a lot less on oil filters for run of the mill cars....

Tire blow outs? BMW doesn't manufacture tires, nor do they drive.

The title states BMW vehicles expensive to maintain...getting tires for a BMW is not cheap compared to a run of the mill car. tires=maintainance

Synthetic oil? Check around your other dealers, I am sure you can find numerous that require it.

# Acura
# Aston Martin
# BMW
# Bentley
# Chevrolet
# Mercedes
# Mitsubishi
# Nissan
# Peugeot
# Porsche
# Saab

Im sure all these car companys have cars that take Synthetic oil. Last I checked synthetic oil was more expensive than regular oil.

^All of the above produce atleast some cars which require synthetic oils. Might even save money if you are performing lab analysis.

"realize he is at a BMW dealer"? And that is different from the many other members working strictly at one dealer, how? Want to ask what spidergearsman has sunk into his chevrolet career? Let's just say the number is mind blowing.

I get the impression Spidergearsman has modded a lot of hot rods plus spent a lot of time at the drag strip racing cars. Take stuff like that out and the amount you spend on tools goes down by a lot. I cant tell you how much money I could have saved by NOT being interested in modding cars. On a side note... with all due respect to spidergearsman I think I have a good amount MORE invested in tools than he does. If he or anyone else actually gets this far in my post he probably makes more money than I'll ever see in a lifetime. And before you or anyone jumps on my shit about having a ton of money rapped up in tools I did it because I love fixing things. Its the ONLY thing I splurg on in life

aluminum oil pans? You can find several others with them.

Im sure you can... all the cheaper quality cars I know dont have aluminum oil pans.

rotors? Well that is subjective, guess individual members can make their own decisions. I definitely never have mine cut, nor do I intend to. If that's your thing, you might not want one a car that requires no cutting.

As for lube techs making $13, I am not shocked and appalled. Hell the dodgeboys on lube rack make $14.50 and a few clear 4digit weekly. Oh well.

Finally, who the hell takes their car or even pushmower to JiffyLube?! I'm sure some do, there is sometimes a car in the bay, but I'm hoping us more inclined garage-guys don't?

Who takes their car to JiffyLube??? How many threads do we have here on garage journal about guys crying that JiffyLube, Discount tire, ect ect screwed their car up. We may not have many but I think you know they do come up semi periodically.

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I'd have to say the suspension comment holds more validity. So does dealer parts comment.
Sorry.. I stand by in what I said....

Dan

Last edited by metalhead212121; 08-02-2011 at 02:10 AM.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:23 AM   #18
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Default Re: BMW vehicles: Expensive to maintain?

Yes you could buy a filter for less than $8 for a run of the mill vehicle. Of course, I'm not going to let $4 get in between car buying decisions. Even over the course of 20 oil changes. $80 in filters? pffft, I'll squabble over more important things.

Synthetic costs more. That is certainly the case. Then again, with it lasting longer, things start to get closer to equal. If it was all about cost per quart, you would be running golden state or wolfhead, but you don't. For obvious reasons.

As far as cost of tires over course of operation, maybe that is true if the BMW design is causing premature wear. I used to do copious burnouts in my mustang. Does tire wear have anything to do with that car? I also ran over a nail. I also curb checked a tire. Some cars eat tires. Those are valid concerns. Irregular wear is usually the story.

As far as jiffylube, you may very well have a point. That's unfortunate. Then again, the stopry usually involves some ford or gm compact junk.

As far as SGM, he likes small/big block chevys. Everyone knows you can do a thorough tear down with a flat tip, a 7/16, 1/2 and 9/16 I know that is a understatement, but point is, go survey some domestic dealer guys here and find out what the dealer tool collection has cost.


I have no intentions on ever (in foreseeable future) buying any new or close to new BMW product, and am not some fanboy blindly defending the brand. Then again, I do want to bring some fair and balance to the discussion.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:31 AM   #19
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Default Re: BMW vehicles: Expensive to maintain?

thinking about if I can have the chance to CLEAR 1,000 bucks a week take home for working the lube rack in TX I'll come off disability right now. Maybe its different in TX but I couldnt justify paying someone $14.50 an hour to work on a lube rack unless it was a high end car. Im one of those guys that doesnt think it takes a lot of brains to change oil but at the same time Ive seen a lot of guys over tighen the drain plug... overfill the oil.. put the wrong weight of oil in a car.. ect ect.

With all due respect... if theres a job out there in TX where I have the chance to clear what I consider "good money" doing what I consider basically "mindless" work sign me up. Thats provided if I have to get invloved with pulling engines, installing trans, installing diffs, cv joints ect ect I can say "I dont consider that lube rack work" give it to somebody else. I know that sounds like a dick thing to do but if I was close to clearing a 1,000 bucks a week why should I kill myself doing "heavier" jobs? Ive already had 2 back surgeries and lost a shitload of pay because of it. That kinda money may not be obscene to some people because they have a wife and kids to support but my ultimate arguement is you don't get involved with the automotive industry to make money.... you do it because you WANT to be a part of it...

Sorry to get off topic.... rant over.
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Old 08-02-2011, 02:37 AM   #20
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lol at your comment about wolfhead oil... one time I had someone give me a quart of it to put in their car. It was 20w50 oil.. I swore when I poured it into the engine was 5w30 just by the way it poured! After I saw that... no f'ing way would wolfhead oil ever see a dime of my money.
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