I've driven many different cars over the years, but I was surprisingly let down by the repeated malfunctions of my 2005 BMW 325l.
What Happened to Quality German Engineering?
I really hate to write this, especially after I’ve accomplished one of my goals: to own a BMW. But I am so disappointed in it, so it is time to bitch about it.
I really am not a vain person. I'm not into status symbols just for the sake of looking like something I’m not. I don’t know fashion and I don’t go to all the hip clubs. But I do appreciate quality, and when I am blessed to be able to buy nice things for myself, then I feel I should have them. My Beemer has been one of those things.
The History of My 2005 BMW 325l
I was frugal and bought it used just about two years ago. It’s a 2005 325I. Although I’ve discovered how ridiculously different people react or treat you when you drive up in even the most basic BMW, I wanted it simply because I thought the Germans made a superior vehicle—more value for the buck.
Plus, I’ve had a fascination with all things German for quite some time. German was my college major for a couple years, back when I thought of being a UN interpreter. I have (or had) family living in Germany, and I have backpacked through the cities there. I thought I would live there one day. I heard angels sing when I stood in the Olympic Village and gazed upon the four cylindrical pillars of BMW Headquarters in Munich.
In the short time we’ve been together, however, I’ve had numerous complications with my little car and am now terribly disenchanted with what I always thought was stellar “German engineering.” In my own defense, I am NOT rough on my cars, I take care of my stuff, and I have a 12-year-old custom Harley that's in pristine condition.
Here are just the major items I can remember about my 325l, in no particular order.
- A/C goes out. In Georgia. In Summer! Thank God it happened while still under the initial warranty. This was just the beginning.
- Sunroof breaks for no obvious reason—with no warning. I open it one day and hear a horribly loud pop. Dealer says that because it’s all one piece built inside the roof, it cannot be fixed without a minimum $1800 repair.
- Bad fuel pump. Drive to work one day at 9 am. Attempt to leave for lunch. Car almost cranks, then dies. A few helpful friends and a AAA tow truck later, I am about $800 poorer, because it had a bad fuel pump.
- Passenger window has issues. One day out of the blue, the front passenger window gets stuck in the down position (of course). Goes back up slowly, sometimes not at all. Have to pull it up by hand.
- Battery dies. It costs about $180 to replace, because it’s in a funny place and requires some special kind of charging or prep work. Why does a 3- to 4-year-old factory battery die?
- Oil leak after oil change. OK, this one may not be the car’s fault, as it seems to have been a slack oil changer that didn’t replace the oil ring. But since I’m not so sure . . .
- Driver side window has issues. About six months after the passenger window malfunctions, the driver’s side joins in the fun. You can hear/feel a click of some kind. They both need new regulators.
- Yesterday, “central locking system” button doesn’t work. Neither does the hazard button next to it. I checked all three fuses and they’re fine. WTF?! UPDATE: Not exactly sure how to explain what it is still, but apparently a little latch that is activated when you push the lock/hazard buttons is broken. My husband jerry-rigged it with tape, but that's only temporary. So now the little button casing just sits outside of its cubbyhole, and I use it that way. And why don't the doors lock when you begin to drive anyway? Even my old Fords did that!
- Gloomy day and the dirty windshield reminded me that the windshield washer fluid stopped spraying about nine months ago. I have to clean the window by hand. That's fine when I’m at home, but on the road, not so much.
- Express down feature on windows only works when it feels like it, yet it works going up (when the front windows actually go up). Maybe this is related to items 4 and 7.
- From the very beginning, the alarm doesn't sound when you lock the car. You just hear a "thunk."
- September 2010. The gas door lever breaks. So the gas door just flops around without locking.
- November 2010. The front driver-side window button breaks off.
- November/December 2010. A coolant leak develops. It needs to be refilled about every two weeks.
These things can be expected in an older vehicle. But come on, this car is barely five years old! And only three years old when I got it! And it’s German!! I now have new appreciation for every Ford product I ever owned or leased. I miss you Escort, Probe, Mercury Cougar, Mountaineer and yes, I even miss you, Taurus.
Yes, I know the warning that cars like Mercedes and BMW can cost a lot to maintain, but we’re not talking regular maintenance here. I was rear-ended on the 285 a few weeks ago, and the guy at the shop asked me how I liked the car. I subconsciously hesitated in my response, and he called me on it. He then told me his boss had the same car and had multiple complaints, including the sunroof and electronic glitches that required him to enter from the passenger side. I’ve heard a few other tales as well.
So, I am somewhat comforted to know that I am not alone with my BMW troubles and disappointment. Buy American, Japanese, Swedish. Hell, buy Chinese. But DO NOT BUY BMW! OK, buy "the ultimate driving machine" if you like, but don't say you weren't warned.
UPDATE: I'm sad and happy to report I got rid of this P.O.S. in February 2011. I wish everyone else with Beemer woes good luck getting rid of theirs. I'm fortunate to not have to get a new car right now. And while I'm not totally turned off by Germany, I'm definitely not going back to Bavaria.
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
Bert on August 24, 2020:
I have a 05 Mercedes c320 165000 miles oil change the oil change without adding oil and it's a great little car has some problems water pump alternator but it's a nice car
Looking for a Toyota on August 19, 2019:
I have a BMW 328i 2011 and it’s a piece of shit. It breaks every other month and the “BMW” dealer jerks bitch about the oil leaking for a year but never fix it when they try..I have to put oil in the car whenever I drive over 40 miles. This “luxury” car is junk I definitely don’t recommend BMW cars at all. Now all these stupid electronic features make the cars even worst. You’re better off with a Honda or Toyota.
CTGuy on January 22, 2019:
I purchased a new X5 It was great for the first year then the oil leaks started ruined my garage floor. Local dealer was not able to fix the leak. I had to add like a quart every two weeks. They told me and I quote BMWs leak. Heater blower died in middle of winter on ski trip. I purchased the X5 thinking it would be more dependable then the Range Rover I traded in for the BMW. I now own a JEEP Grand Cherokee and I am very happy with it. Very comfortable and reliable. Now when I see a Bimmer or RR I think back to all the tow and garage bills and the big oil stain and I appreciate my JEEP even more.
Notafan on December 22, 2018:
I purchased a 2018 X3 Xdrive 30i in February 2018 and within a month the lane departure sensor started to turn on and off while I was driving. When I took it for maintaince I was told it was working right because there was no error codes. I even should them pictures and videos of me driving at different speed with it turning on and off. I had it in 8 different times for the same problem. They told that the sun caused it to turn off, the rain caused the problem, it did not see the lines, there was a thumb print in front of the camera, the camera was miss aligned, it needed to be reprogrammed, when they reprogrammed the system they used the wrong block so they had to do it again, and they needed to replace the camera. I told them the last one was not going to happen I was done with the car and they needed to replace the car. They told either they replace the ca,era or I had to buy a new car. I ended buying another X3 because they said BMW said that is they only way I could replace the car. I had it a week and BMW called me and told me they could not do anything to help but they would send me $726.00 for my troubles. I told them t send it that me and a week later I went to Audi to see what they could do. They was able to get me out of the new X3 and now I have a Audi A5 S line Coupe with having to go deeper in debt. BMW should had did that but I am glad for car companies like Audi who understands customer service.
onions on September 22, 2015:
I've always loved the look of bmw, that's why I bought my 2002 bmw 330ci. But i must say if you can't work on cars, don't buy one used and out of warranty. For example, I see a couple of posts that said they paid 800 dollars for a fuel pump replacement and another $800 for a water pump replacement. I Bought my water pump with the metal impeller, from ebay for $30.00 and put it on myself so I saved $770.00 and its only four screws that hold it in. Changed it in 30 minutes. As for the fuel pump, I ordered that online from RockAuto for $100 put that in myself as well, saved $700 just pop out the bottom of the back seat (the part you sit on) and it's only a few bolts as well and screwing off a retaining ring. Very Simple To Do And Like A 30 Minute job. Bought a radiator for $150 by calling 1-800-radiators and they deliver it to your door in 2 hours or the next day if you call near the end of business hours. Installed that myself saved about $750. Bought expansion tank for $75 from auto parts wholesale store, easy install. Bought new ceramic (no brake dust) brake pads for front and back and brake wear sensors for the front and rear as well as new rotors all the way around, (4 in total) online from RockAuto, came to about $330.00 for the parts and installed myself. I probably saved about $1,500 at the least had I went to a shop. Learned however to do these jobs by watching bmw diy videos on youtube. My point is if you plan to buy a used bmw, you need to be mechanically inclined or be ready to pay pay pay because issues will arise with these cars. Especially when they're aging. I plan on going back to Japanese because I think they age better. More durable and reliable.
Julian on April 19, 2015:
I own a 2008 550i and i disagree. You don't know anything about cars. Yes my car is not perfect but most of the repairs i can do it myself. How reliable is this car and i love it. Remember nothing or nobody is perfect in this life.
bmw user on February 11, 2015:
Ohh and forgot to add:
11.) Fuel pump went out as well. Came to work everything ok - going home cant start car... went in for inspection - dead fuel pump - replace cost $800 .. So for the $38,000 i paid for the car, I am not up to $15,000 in repair costs.. The car is going in the garbage right after winter ends..
Jay on October 10, 2014:
My BMW has started misbehaving after service. The engine just dies when the fuel pin is between 1/4 and E.That means I must be above 1/4 all the time in this recession. The mechanics I have visted have no proper explanation to me other than asking to part away with my cash for parts that aint cutting it.Am done!
James on September 13, 2014:
It's interesting to read comments from American owners of newer BMW's. It's common knowledge that maintenance can get sticky and you have to buy wisely and be prepared for a few glitches. Such is the way with over-engineered modern cars at this level. I also wonder what a difference it makes buying an American market car, since the reputation in their home market is pretty solid from what I've seen.
I have to confess. I don't drive a modern BMW. I drive a '73 2002. It's a bit rough around the edges but it's a 41 year old unrestored car. I've also been driving it daily for the past few years, with very few issues indeed - the occasional ignition problems and one or two drivetrain woes, but all are easy and cheap to correct. I should also mention I drive the car pretty hard sometimes, and still it keeps on pulling. The story is largely the same for cars built into the 80's, the M10 and M20 line of engines really are bullet proof. I will gladly keep my 02 indefin if you don't know anything about BMW's, maybe you shouldn't buy one. You guys and your reliability problems are laughable, real enthusiasts buy real BMW's that aren't filled with frivolous luxuries that weigh the car down and detract from the driving experience. Try a well sorted classic to get the full picture of the marque. Otherwise stick to Jap cars.
Rob on August 28, 2014:
If you have a battery or electrical problem, just pull out the wiring bundle from the trunk or hatch. The wires probably touched each other and shorted. Just reattach them color by color and your trouble will end.
I agree. They look and drive great, but you cant beat the reliability of a Lexus!
Spletni Delavec on August 22, 2014:
I am sory to read about your problems. I own 2001 330 xd touring for 8 years now and must say I am very satisfied. Only few minor problems besides regular service.
Beemersucks on July 03, 2014:
I bought mine brand new. The thing is horrible. They suck in money non stop. If a drop of water falls and slide wrongly it will wreck something. So very disappointed with my car never again! As somebody else wrote the quality is just a myth. I have never have so much trouble with a car, they are worst than crystal. You can't look at them edgewise because something will need fixing. The brand just sucks big time. Too bad I didn't do research before I decided on buying one. I just trusted the reputation of quality. It's just that reputation, they simply fall short of it. Mine is a cross over X1 first time in Canada two years ago. I wanted a smaller reliable car hahahaha just a myth. Because of me a friend bought one as well only hers is X3 ooohhh a host of different problems.
Mike on May 19, 2014:
New 750LI, many problems - first Pirelli tires are not cold weather tires. After much complaining BMW / dealer agreed to replace the tires with a reputable tire. Car runs smooth. Next, brakes were bad. After many services visits someone finally found rotors bad. Brakes now work correctly. Next, dealer has the car for almost 2 weeks tryiung to correct engine misfiring. Cannot solve the problem. Dealer contacted BMW tech expert. No sense of urgency and the problem continues. Would never recommend Pirelli tires anywhere the temp is 50 degrees or less and never buy another 750.
Lee on May 16, 2014:
I hate my car. My 2008 x5 has been nothing but trouble! 1 week after buying it, I found myself driving down the highway with my car alarm going off! There have been too many issues to list here but currently I have been dealing with a brake squeal that is as loud as a transit bus that needs new brakes! The car has been brought in 6 times since November 2013 and they cannot fix it. And the noise only started after I had the brake pads replaced as part of normal maintenance. My service advisor tells me that this is normal but it is not normal to have people turn to stare every time you come to a stop! Never again!
danniej99 on May 13, 2014:
My 2 day old 2014 BMW 328i died in the middle of an intersection yesterday. Apparently it needs a new fuel pump. It's 2 days old! Looks like I'm in for quite a ride over the rest of this lease. At least it's under warranty. Already looking forward to buying a 2017 Toyota.
dakidd4 on April 23, 2014:
Defective fuel tank and module with only 66K on a 2008 328xi. The worse, shutting off on me while on the highway (regular highway speeds). Not a good feeling to have when car was repaired for an "excessive fuel amount" diagnosis 2x within a 2 week period and told ready for the road (a third time). Come to find out: fuel pressure issue was valid and a fuel tank and module was needed. ($3100 repair) // Chances of me every feeling "safe" with a BMW again, slight to none...for did not expect something of this magnitude to take place with "low" miles.
VK on April 09, 2014:
Bought a brand new BMW 2014; 328D..had the worst experience ever. There was a sudden acceleration when parking in a cul de sac. It zoomed like a race car and hit a tree. Very scary, looks like there was a computer malfunction in the car.
bob on March 13, 2014:
I have a 2007 X5...
Bad water pump $1800
Replaced the battery $350 had to register it through BMW
Never again will I buy another one.
This is my second BMW and I am done..
Also never buy anything from autohause peoria il..they dont stand behind you..
Im buying a American made next.
Damo on February 18, 2014:
Don't buy a bmw unless you are prepared to fix everything yourself. I've found them to be excellent and designed well. Parts are cheap, which is surprising since mechanics charge a fortune to fix them.
The popping sound in the Windows is the wire in your regulator, which has come loose or broken. $40+2hrs trying to figure out how to take it out lol.
Stuck sunroof... just hold the button for 30 secs to recalibrate it. The mechanics will tell you it's broken, but it's not.
Sign up to e90forum. You'll learn a lot.
JW on February 08, 2014:
Forgot to mention the front end went out also which cost a few hundred to fix. The lower control arm bushings and other misc. parts.
JW on February 08, 2014:
I had almost the exact same problems with my 325i with a few more problems. It still doesn't even have 80,000 miles on it and it leaks oil all over the drive way. Here are some other issues I've encountered:
- coolant overflow leaked and had to be replaced
-windshield water pump when out
- hazard lights & door lock broke
- electric control arm on driver side window broke
- fuel pump went out
- SES light goes off and they tell me the computer needs reflashed
- Power steering fluid leaked all over driveway because some plug magically stripped out
I had a cavalier prior to this and put 130,000 miles on it without replacing anything and it didn't leak or use any oil. I as well will never buy another BMW. I have a family to worry about and can't rely on junk. Our other car is a jeep grand cherokee and it has 120,000 miles on it and drives like it did the day we bought it. Say what you want to about jeep, but ours has been more than reliable.
TJ on January 23, 2014:
I bought a 2008 528i about 7 months ago with 68000 miles on it. Drove like a dream ALL SUMMER. Loved my car! Then the Winter came. First I ad a check engine light. Took it to the mechanic and i had to buy a new emissions pump. $560. Then 2 weeks later my car would not start every 2- 3 days. I would have to Jump it all the time. Thought it was the battery. found out it was the altenator... $910 dollars...so now you would think it was fine right...nope! car still dies and now it vibrates when idle. Driving home the other night i hear a loud boom the check light comes on and car starts shaking! Try to take it in the next day but guess what...car does not stop! I HATE THIS CAR!
Annonymous on January 09, 2014:
I own 2003 x5 4.4l. In the last two years I spent over 6K on parts alone. I do fix my self and labour would have been another $4K. If you start to have issue in suspension parts, it is a money pit. I agree with others BMW is for people who have no issue with money. Unless you are a DIYer do not buy BMW. Go with Japanses. BMW quality is a myth. But when every this is good handling and performace is excellent
eric macleod on November 26, 2013:
every problem you have with your car I have with mine I have had it for two years 04 325i I have already paid more money to fix the stupid thing then its worth not to mention the 2200$ clutch and o2 sensors the window thing is normal for these gay ass bmws my back window rolls down and up when u rest you hand on it. my keyless don't work at all and my key doesn't lock or unlock the vehicle so my car has to stay unlocked. not to mention my wipers don't work all. DON`T BUY BMW THEY ARE PIECES OF SHIT FOR THE MONEY YOU PAY. QUALITY MY ASS ,YOUR BETTER BUYING A 90S GARBAGE RUSTED HONDA THAN THIS. NOTE TO ALLLLLLLLLLL
Sroor9001 on November 21, 2013:
I own this car bmw 520i model 2002 I love this car I paid 5000$ repair on car I bought it @ 5000$ but it become new
Run like a charm amazing
I love it run it for about 1 year
With no more issues
Michelle on November 09, 2013:
I bought a 325i brand new. As soon as the warranty/free maintenance was up, it's been one thing after another. Just from August to October alone, I've spent $1,000 and it's still adding. I'm actually looking into selling it to Carmax. I can't take any more of the financial burden.
Michelle on August 27, 2013:
WOW I am stunned with these comments I just a 2002 325 BMW and thought I had made a great investment because EVERYONE SAID foreign cars are the best. I know that it is over ten years old but LOOKS BRAND NEW INSIDE AND OUT. However on my way to work a light came on and I'm not even sure what it means I haven't even tagged THE DAM THING YET!!!
Jayne on August 08, 2013:
I have a 2006 X5 that has had battery problems. Just 4 months after a new battery was installed the battery died. Took it to BMW. They recharged it and put on a diagnostic machine over night to see if there was a drain. Nothing was found. Now a year later the same thing. I can not let my car sit for more than 2 days or less if it is cold weather without driving it. It is so annoying that I can NOT depend on my car to start. No one else I know has had any battery problems with their cars sitting for weeks not being driven even if the weather is cold; of course none of them have a BMW. I guess that says it all.
Ted on June 15, 2013:
Hey Brian, just go here to repair your GM5 module.
Brian on June 02, 2013:
I've owned this 1999 BMW 323i, automatic, 4 door for 2 years. I've had nothing but trouble with it. Major leaks fixed, cooling fan replaced, 2nd cooling fan replaced, starter, waterpump, air intake system replaced, thermastat, 2 batteries, brake pads, radiator fixed, overheating problems fixed, batteries for my one remote, reprograming problems, had everyhing working perfectly, now I can't start it, checked the fuses, reprogramed the key, sometimes the trunk and doors opened, then not, got to the point where my wife and I couldn't get out of the car, because it wouldn't unlock. Crawled through the windows, now I learn I might have to get a new module 5 high for $$$$$. Is there anything BMW did right with their engineering? Without the computer working right, this thing is a death trap. And it's fickle. Works, then it doesn't work. I just started it 2 weeks ago, now I can't. Seriously, I'm not joking, what is the best way to blow this thing up and have it sing happy, happy, thoughts in the scrap yard forever? I am at my wits end! Driving time after each repair is about 20 miles or 20 minutes, whichever comes first. Thanks in advance.
john h on May 17, 2013:
This website seems to be fairly right. I own a 2004 325xi and have had to replace both front drive shafts, the driver's side window is weak. Sunroof and wipers failed. Oil filter housing leaks, Only $1200 so far to fix but am wondering if I should get rid of it. Only has 70,000 miles on it. I will not buy another one but am not sure if I can afford the loss.
North West on February 09, 2013:
I have had my 2001 X5 since 2002. Believe it or not I have not had any issues other than brakes and burnt out bulbs. Recently the service engine soon light has come on along with the brake and ABS light. It seems to run fine, however every time I step on the brake the ABS system kicks in. At times after coming to a stop for an extended period (anything over a minute) it seems as if the traction control is on and boggs down for a few seconds, this is all on dry pavement.
Tech has replaced plugs and all coil packs he said there was a misfire code for #6 he had the car for 5 days said he drove it and was good to go. I did not get a mile from his shop today and brought it back due the the same this happen, he said now there is a code for the camshaft sensor 2nd bank.
Does this sound right would the cam sensor cause this problem?
ats4zc on October 29, 2012:
Buying new isn't necessarily any better. I leased a 2011 335xi msrp was 53k. Beautiful car, but just one problem after the next. The fun to drive aspect fades quickly and then you realize you made a mistake. Fuel pump went out, headlights failure, trunk latch broken, etc. Afraid worst is still yet to come. I just replaced my first set of tires at 24k miles. The dealer told me my car would not align properly, and that I would have to pay to replace suspension parts bc it was driver abuse and not warrantied.( So people know this is a year old car with only 24k miles, and has been very well taken car of) So I am stuck replacing suspension parts on my year old car that is still under warranty. I asked them to keep the old part for me. It looks brand new, but they said it can be bent so slightly that it is not visible to the human eye. Now my whole car is shaking and drives terribly. In the shop right now, and they are likely going to replace the transmission. I'm praying they do not try to blame this again on driver abuse. I have owned 6 vehicles and never had a worse experience. Just awful, Bad enough that the cars are not built well, but even worse that BMW won't stand behind their products. Never again!
MaryPat on October 10, 2012:
I own a 2003 BMW 325I since new and HATE IT! Car has cost me over $10,000 in repairs and still has issues.
Replaced all 4 power window regulators
Tail light harness assembly - twice
Air conditioning issues
blower fan issues
central locking switch
driver electric door lock mechanism
Major front end work
numous batteries, brakes jobs
ETC. This car only has 85,000 miles on it and was under 50,000 mile warrenty. The above has all happened since and I cannot wait to get RID of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Jay on May 17, 2012:
I really hate my bmw 2002 325i, oil change cost more then $125 to change, i regreat owning one.
steve on May 05, 2012:
German cars in general are VASTLY overated, BMWs are the worst by far, the quality is terrible...
Todd on April 12, 2012:
I've had 3 BMWs; bought all 3 NEW and all 3 were a DISASTER.
Definitely purchased by people who like how they look yet know nothing about cars.
Mike on March 05, 2012:
I have owned many cars; new and used and the used were always clean and low mileage vehicles. I've owned American, Japanese, German, Swedish and British. By large the German and British cars were so severe in problems and, their frequency of problems was unbelievable. The American and Japanese cars were inexpensive to run, insure and easy as cake to maintain. My 2004 Ford Crown Victoria just covered 282,634 miles and runs like a top. The Ford never needed anything except oil changes, tires, coolant flushes and a spark plug change. And it runs and drives like the day I bought it new. My 1996 Nissan Maxima has 166,700 and its been as solid as my Crown Vic, except the Nissan's sunroof has some corrosion bubbling around the edge. The two worst cars I ever had the misfortune of owning were a 1992 Jaguar (caught fire due to an electrical short and a total loss) and a 1993 BMW 528 (engine block cracked at 63,000 miles, dealer wanted $5,000 to replace, another non BMW mechanic wanted $3,300 to replace the motor). I've learned some valuable lessons in life, one being: STAY FAR, FAR AWAY FROM THE EURO-CARS!!!!
Brian on March 03, 2012:
I understand the frustration of everyone on this board; I'm certainly in the minority. I've owned two E46 3 series (323ci and M3) and currently have an E39 530i with 97000 miles. They've all been mostly trouble-free and an absolute joy to drive. I think the trick is to buy them new enough that the previous owner doesn't have time to neglect it, then read the forums for your BMW model religiously and be prepared for the expected failures. A good independent mechanic goes a very long way to reducing maintenance costs (I've been to the dealer a whole 2 times in 10 years of BMW ownership), and they appreciate the business, as opposed to making you beg for service.
That said, it's unlikely that I'll buy another one, primarily because the electronic gadgetry can easily leave you stranded and the competition is sooooo much better these days. Finally- if you get a manual transmission, you're much less likely to have drivetrain issues- BMW automatics are terribly unreliable and very expensive to replace.
It's a high maintenance car, to be sure, but they're soulful. Like the bad girlfriend, logic says, "dump it," but I can't bring myself to do it:)
Wang on September 29, 2011:
I have several friends own BMW, all of them sold because so many problems.
Friend Michael C. had 328 for 6 months. Gear light won't properly. When he switch to D, P and N are on. Audio had problem (only sound left side of speakers).
Friend Roger L had a brand new 2008 M3. 2 cylinders decided to shut off on highway. He had to call AAA to tow his car back to deanship.
Friend Eddie C Had a 2007 M3. Passenger side door won't open after 3 months of purchase. Driver side windows can't roll down.
Friend Kevin C. had a 330, bought it brand new. Sunroof won't open, driver side window won't open after 1 year. Weather strip falls.
Friend Mike C had a Z4. Convertible side bar broke in 2 piece after 4 months of purchase.
All of them were mad about the service and quality. They will not buy BMW anymore
Mental Ink (author) from Metro Atlanta on August 03, 2011:
Spencer & JoinTheClub, your experiences prove that newer and CPO aren't necessarily better. Welcome to an unhappy club.
JoinTheClub on July 23, 2011:
I purchased my new 2009 1 series expecting quality and superior workmanship after turning on American made crap. I too was sadly disappointed. This will be my last BMW even though I planned on buying a 1 series M in 2013. I have only 12,000 miles on this one it and my list of problems shouldn't exist on a $40+k BMW. I'm already planning on selling it 6 months before the warranty runs out so whoever buys this POS can get everything fixed that I don't have time to deal with. One thing I won't do is give it bad reviews for companies like Consumer Reports, Kelly Blue Book, or Edmunds. It's ppl like me that keep the ratings high because I'm not going to shoot myself in the foot.
My X5 2007 Sucks on July 13, 2011:
thefundu from India on May 03, 2011:
Hmmm Bob, You might be right. These can be the tactics of big companies to make money. After sales service is a more profitable sector of any auto industry.
Bob on May 02, 2011:
BMW dealers make a profit from these breakdowns, the independent shops don't know how to repair these junk either. BMW is for the rich who can lease them and never have to own them.
Dandra on April 26, 2011:
@thefundu - Audi is rising but only in suburbia I've observed, not in the cities where BMW reigns.
@ Metal Ink: Sorry to hear about your car! It sounds like it had a fault to start with. You have to sell it now before the new 3-series comes...or else it'll depreciate like anything.
RJC on April 25, 2011:
I have come to the conclusion that German cars are heavily engineered - but not well engineered. Kudos to the PR firms that sell the German engineering factor as a gift from heaven. My 2002 VW AWD Passat has been in the shop more times that I have visited my dentist. I cannot wait to trade it in for a Japanese car. If the dealer tries to low ball me for its trade in value, I will not argue. Just take it off my hands.
thefundu from India on April 23, 2011:
That is why it is diminishing and Audi is rising. No doubt Audi is building great cars, but BMW is getting back by its own careless working..
Dave on January 02, 2011:
I have a 2006 BMW 325i and while it looks great it is by far the worst car i have ever owned. While under warranty, I had to have the steering spindle replaced due to play in it. I also had an oil leak as described in another post as soon as it went out of warranty. BMW did repair it after I raised holy hell. I had to replace my brake pads and rotors as soon as the car went out of warranty (BMW would not replace under warranty) I had to replace the battery a couple of months ago. I also had to replace the water pump 3 months ago ($1,300) using a non BMW mechanic. Now the power steering is out, which I assume is the pump. Also,I just delt with the door lock issue and hope the replacement fuse will cure.
I cannot wait to get rid of this car and will never buy one again. Give me a Japanese car any day! By the way, I bought this car new, have done all of the required maintenance. I have about 70K miles on it, but a majority of them are highway miles.
X5-2010_Owner on December 31, 2010:
I bought a new 2010 X5 in 2010. The All Wheel Drive system dies while on vacation 1100 miles from home. I waited at the local BMW Dealer for them to reprogram the cars computers for 5 hours and the reprograming crashed. The dealer rep stated that "this happens... frequently" and said that they will try again over night. The second attempt was successful; however, the problem was not the program but a computer module. Guess what....that part is only available from Germany and two weeks away!
I have to drive home to return to work with a faulty car. The Dealers response was for me to drive the car home without ABS, Anti-Swerve Control, and the Parking Break controls.
It is so great to spend nearly $70,000 for a car that was built in the USA, sold in the USA, and the repair parts are kept in Germany!
Mental Ink (author) from Metro Atlanta on December 31, 2010:
@ Bruce and ROT; I suppose everything was made better "back in the day." And I have also heard similar complaints about the Merceds these days; I still had hope for the VW.
My BMW is welcoming the New Year with a new anti-freeze leak. I shutter to think what that could be. But as it stands right now, the car needs at LEAST $4k in work (sunroof, windows, 120k mi maintenance). There's no way I can recoup this IF I even tried to fix it. I wish I could take off the new set of tires and brakes I just put on and dump it in a ditch!
I daydream about selling it to someone who'll pay off the loan and be willing to do the work; could still be a pretty good deal if they have the know-how but I know this is a long shot so I'm just stuck!
Right On Time from Australia on December 30, 2010:
Yes that's not a nice car and best of luck with selling it:) The newer generation of BMWs need to be bought brand new - end of story. Used = pain. I love the older generations which were less complex than the cars of today.
Big Bruce on December 30, 2010:
As bad as the reported experiences y'all have been talking about with BMW's, back in the late 60's to early 70's their 1600 and 2002 models were well-enough designed and manufactured that BMW drivers were a bit non-conformist, but entirely loyal to the brand.
Believe it or not, today, ALL German cars have suffered greatly in the quality ratings assigned by J.D. Power and Consumer Reports. From the mighty Mercedes, to the FAR inferior Audis and VW's as of the last decade or so, Germany cannot seem to put out a decent, dependable, durable automobile.
Why is it that I cannot find even ONE decent Audi Fox or 100 from 1969-1980 on Craigslist or ebay? There are many dozens same vintage Ford Pintos, AMC Gremlins and Chevy Vegas advertised, for God's sake! Remember how we were taught to consider the Pinto the worst thing on wheels? What a vicious lie to those who bought a used Audi Fox!
I naively purchased a 71 Audi 100LS in May 1975, getting rid of a mint condition 73 Datsun 510, to appease my J.A.P. fiancé, (now ex-wife) and her inflated need for fictional status.
I finally caved into common-sense in December 1975 after having spent close to $2,500.00 in repairs to this ULTIMATE LEMON. The final straw, (even after all the mechanical repairs) after being rear-ended, (which destroyed the rear bumper) we bought a new rear bumper at the nearby Audi dealer. My wife, whose muscle-tone was below ZERO, was able to carry the new bumper out to our car, holding it in ONE HAND!!
When we went to bolt the bumper on, we found that it mounted strictly to body panels - NOWHERE was there any bumper-to-frame connection whatever! On Yeah - VW/Audi were REAL big into safety in those days!
To this day, 35 years later, that vintage of Audi still goes down as one of the worst ABORTIONS ever excreted on the driving public - even Fiat's were superior by comparison!
Mental Ink (author) from Metro Atlanta on December 24, 2010:
@Michael, I'm sure not EVERY BMW is crap, I hope you get lucky. But there are so many people I talk to in person that have issues as well. We've all been duped by good marketing!
Michael on December 24, 2010:
Oh GREAT!!! Now I find this page!!! I just bought a 2008 545i for my wife and I love it ..... so far. Unfortunately she does too so I don't get to drive it much. I have noticed I smell oil whenever it is warm, like when someone does a sloppy job of changing it and spills it all over the engine. Supposedly a BMW dealership had just serviced it when I bought it and we have the service records showing just that. We have had it only 1 week and the smell is diminishing. I hope the car doesn't end up being a junker like the one below....
My brother has a Mercedes-Benz that just went out of warranty and has had one problem after another.... two catalytic converters (car has 2), console switch (windows, locks, etc), 3 or 4 other things like water pump(?), alternator(?), etc. has spent over 7,000 dollars in repairs in less than a year.
Mental Ink (author) from Metro Atlanta on December 21, 2010:
@ BMW SOLD, congrats on selling. I'm about to try and sell mine; let's hope they don't find this page ;-)
BMW SOLD on December 21, 2010:
I sold my 2000 BMW 323i for under $4000. I just feel relieved. The car gave me too many problems over the timespan that I was its owner. I ended up doing the math and maintenance alone has cost me 2000$ on average over a 7 yr period. Horrible, horrible reliability. Everything that can break, will break in a bimmer.
regret to be bmw owner on December 02, 2010:
BMW is wayyyy over rated, their service sucks, gives u a feeling that no one cares about ur stupid car after they sell it to u, and battery is really a big issue. My car was driven 12k in the past year and bmw told me i did not drive enough to keep the battery running..I kno i didn't drive that much, but how much do i have to drive? Don't buy bmw..not worth ur money or ur time spend at the repair shop complaining about how lame bmw is...
lemon on November 10, 2010:
i have a bmw 325 sport wagon and its the worst car ever. I cant wait to get other car (japanese). I have spend over $3500 in 2 years. BMW its over rated
Robert M on November 04, 2010:
BMW 2006 325i Valve cover bolts are defective
If you own a 2006 325i and your valve cover is leaking oil and causing your engine compartment to smoke you likely have defective valve cover bolts.
In 2006 BMW changed the composition of materials which include a magnesium cover secured by aluminum bolts. Aluminum bolts do not have the proper thermal properties required to withstand the torque, expansion and contraction required to properly secure the valve cover.
The aluminum bolts break and oil leaks onto the engine block causing the engine to smoke and lose pressure.
BMW is aware of the defect. BMW fixed it less than a year later by going back to the steel bolts in the 2007 models and greater.
Certified BMW mechanics are aware of the problem because it is a common factory DEFECT. Unfortunately this problem commonly occurs just out of warranty. It’s not a cheap fix and BMW won’t acknowledge the problem.
Personal experience: This is my third and final BMW. BMW does not care about customer loyalty. This is clearly a factory engineering defect.
If you are experiencing this problem you should contact:
BMW of North America, Inc. Corporate Office
300 Chestnut Ridge Rd.
Woodcliff Lake, NJ 07675
Toll free: 1-800-831-1117 (BMW Customer Service Center)
Bill on October 02, 2010:
BMW's so called quality image is nothing but "smoke and mirrors". I've worked in their US plant for 13 years and their lack of quality amazes me. The batteries have always been an issue from day one. The problem is BMW owns the battery manufacturer and won't change to a better battery. Most times they fail the battery test before we can ship them from the plant. Now that we have Hall 52 building the X3 it will lack in quality as well! Good Luck!
G35er on September 20, 2010:
Yeah, I looked at BMW and Audi before getting the Infiniti G. Never looked back. Issues to date: ZERO.
www.badmotorworks.com on August 16, 2010:
You're by no means alone, mine was a brand new BMW motorcycle with crooked handlebars, ticking engine and it leans to the right. BMW and their qualified technicians have lied to me time and time again... I dedicated a website to them www.badmotorworks.com
Mental Ink (author) from Metro Atlanta on July 22, 2010:
@ Always Greener - I guess I can find solace in having a BMW lemon.
@ California Lemon Law. California is much further along in consumer protection than the fine state of Georgia. I've wondered about the lemon law here; might be worth checking into.
Always Greener on July 21, 2010:
You've probably bought a car that wasn't serviced fully, every time. These are cars that seem attractive when the price is cheaper, but become a nightmare for the second owner. Also, BMW electronics (i.e. windows) can be suspect on older cars (yes, even 5 years old). That's why I bought a BM with little to no electronics on it, it's an older model.
Some people blame the brand, that's their view. But, really, it is a matter of being really vigilant when buying the car unfortunately. It sounds like you've bought a real lemon - and there is no lemon like a BMW lemon!
California Lemon Law on June 10, 2010:
Interesting article about the BMW Fuel Pump and Fuel System defects found here:
Some symptoms of the fuel pump defect are as follows:
The vehicle hesitates when starting (engine not getting fuel properly)
• The vehicle loses power while driving
• The check engine light comes on
• The vehicle goes to limp mode
It's disappointing to buy a car that's defective. There are laws that are lemon laws that protect consumers in most states in the U.S.