And the holes are hidden under the covers so the next buyer won't even know they are there unless you pointed it out.
Honestly, IMHO, there were 4 types of car owners that I saw:
1) Total cheap bastard that wouldnt put a single cent into a damn thing, regardless if it caught fire, flipped over, killed their family, and blew up at the same time (~15% of total customers)
2) Average Joe that would somewhat maintain vehicle but would immediately balk at any repair that their magic 8-ball didnt forecast years in the future. ~25% repair approval rate at best. (~70% of total customers)
3) More interested enthusiast that understood BMW was a luxury brand and appreciated certain aspects of the entire process. Most approved all repairs, but overall an intelligent person. Mostly forum-minded/enthusiast people here. (10% of total customers)
4) Pure enthusiast BMW fan-boy/girl/thing/it that would be annoyed if you didnt assume everything should be repaired without bothering them because they would obviously do it. Easy to maintain vehicles, usually in stunning condition with low mileage and detailed on a regular basis. (5% of total)
From my experience, most car loungerz fall in category #2 with a VERY small percentage in #3.
The idea of dropping my car off for a problem and not having it repaired is silly. Why the hell would I waste my time bringing it there otherwise.
I left BMW after being a tech for nearly a decade and a half. From my experience, the first generation of any new model always had teething issues (as is typical with nearly every manufacturer), yet the customers for BMW always seem more vocal about said issues. The drivetrains for most all of the models were overall pretty good, with smaller issues that were usually caught with regular service visits (leaking coolant from intercoolers, running issues from ignition coil or fuel injector failure, MAP/MAF sensors, etc). Due to the large number of modules located everywhere, most of the time a software update would help rectify problems. Sometimes a module would a fail, cause an issue that was obvious (aka adaptive headlamp) and would then force other modules to be updated with the same software level so as to communicate correctly.
From what I saw:
-Silly, easy issues from 0-30k miles (must set proper maintenance schedule and stick with it)
-If its going to happen, most serious problems from 30k-75k
-Difficult to predict issues from 75k+ on
Every time I would read about someone posting their problems online, they usually fell in category #2 of my previous post. It was usually a known issue, had they left their vehicle at the dealer for long enough to fix the thing completely, but they would rather inflate whatever situation happened and get a non-professional diagnosis thru the webz.
-Drivetrains pretty good with rare occurrence of mechanical failures like bearings/belts/pulleys and more prevalent issues such as sensors, fluid leaks, and software adaptations
-Body built supremely well. Water leaks rare, usually able to be repaired with simple gasket replacement. Rattles/noises can be common due to so many trim items/panels
-Suspensions are great. Brake backing plates known to catch rocks and create rattles, but that is common on a couple manufacturers.
-Electronics are OK at best. Most, if not all BMWs made after 2010 will inevitably have electronic/modules issues and their severity is directly related to your luck.
That being said, I will never own at BMW made after the E90 (current DD) because they pump so many electronics and subsystems into them. Also, BMW states "lifetime" as 100k miles... most components would be lucky to make that mark (bushings, seals, gaskets, sensors, clutches, coolers, etc)
Last edited by phaedrus711; 12-20-2019 at 06:14 PM.
Thanks for the info, seems to be what I more or less expected coming from my prior E46 and E92. The portion I bolded at the bottom has always been a BMW measuring stick, but in my experience I think 75K is a more realistic expectation.
When you say electronic/module issues, can you give any specific examples? Are we talking issues like the E90 cooling system which necessitated removing the entire dashboard for one silly faulty component? or are we talking DME failure out of no where? somewhere in between?
Did you ever come across problems with the adaptive suspension?
Module as in electronic module, not like "cooling module". Instrument clusters are difficult since they help multiple BUS-systems communicate, and their price is reflected accordingly ($1500+). Seat modules, A/C (IHKA) modules, DSC units, radio/amplifiers, fuel pump modules (EKPS), and sunroof/roof modules (FZD). Cheapest of any of those is probably $400 before labor.
I'd say 30% of BMW repairs do require an excessive amount of parts removed to get to whatever youre after. Thats just a German engineering BS thing. When I worked at Porsche, it was the same deal if not worse. If youre clever, you can get around most repair instructions and save 30-40% time with some well-placed tools.
Adaptive suspension = adaptive swaybars and adjustable shock dampening = swaybars can leak (75K+ miles), main pump can die (electromechanical/hydraulic with control module, so must be programmed after you replace/bleed hydraulics), shocks are OK but when fail are pricey... some hall sensors here and there on the control arms.
Obviously take my words with a grain of salt... but... I've owned BMWs ranging from an E30, to E46, to an i3, to an X3, to an E90. I've worked on nearly every model BMW made from late 70s to 2018ish. Factory trained with every certification (one of 3 high voltage guys at the dealer that I worked at). That being said, I will keep my E90 glued together as long as possible and then switch to something else when I've had enough.
How many cars have failing modules, you mention seat modules, instrument clusters. How often are these things failing? Seems pretty rare. As a tech you're surrounded with nothing but problem cars cause that's your job, but think about the the thousands that are problem free. Wondering if you have a bit of a biased view on the entire situation.
But again, each dealer only sees local cars.
While I agree with that point, even if you were to get a "stripper" optioned car, that really only reduces the total amount of modules by 20% or so. I cant remember exactly every module on the F80, but I'd venture a guess in the mid 30s or 40s. Fully optioned might be mid 50s.
And while the obvious statement is there (less options = less potential for those subsystems to fail)... my previous posts were regarding non-option modules (footwell modules, roof function center, light control, headlamp controls, DSC unit, radio, instrument cluster, etc).
And yes, I only saw the problem cars so I would be biased in my viewpoint of total production cars. One interesting fact: of the 30+ techs that worked at the dealer, only 2 or 3 owned/drove BMWs. And you could easily afford a nicely optioned model if you worked hard (everyone was worked to the bone by management all day, every day).
The F22 has been perfect, but that car is an '18 so I would hope so.
But on the other hand, when I had my GTI, plenty of tech's there were driving modded Jettas and such and wearing VW hats and t-shirts around. And in the Porsche garage, the techs have super clean 944s and such, so maybe there's something to that.
Go read the F80 section of Bimmerpost. You'll find all the weird **** that goes wrong on there. One of the goals when they were making this car was to rehab the image of M cars having **** reliability. I didn't even hesitate to buy mine at the end of warranty. I can also afford to fix any of the weird **** that does happen to break.
I avoid BMW forums specifically because its like trying to put out a raging fire with a squirt gun. Too many "WELL MY CAR DID THIS SO WHY IS THIS ONE LIKE THAT!!" posts/users that it simply isnt worth the effort.
I briefly worked at Porsche as a tech and certainly agree the clientele is totally different. Much more enthusiast-driven and reasonable people. BMW's image has changed a lot in the past decade with the innumerable models as well as the plethora of owners buying them used to get that "luxury feel". Most of those are some of the worst people, simply because they are maxed out on their budget for the vehicle itself and have nothing left to maintain. Just because the $55k vehicle depreciated to $30k, doesnt mean the repairs have done the same.
Your second point is a good one. If you buy an expensive car, you should be prepared for expensive repairs. It's funny that people who spend 70k-ish on a car expect it to have a same running costs a camry. It's just not how it works. So yeah, if I own my car long enough to want to replace the rod bearings, then it will get done. The money won't be a huge issue.
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One of the big takeaways that people are missing is what phaedrus said:
The F80s are so packed full of electronics that you're going to see some big problems down the road. The cars are far too new to see those sorts of failures and if they do, then it just means that they are big POS.
I don't really see how you can avoid this issue as cars get more electronics seemingly every generation. But the manufacturer's parts specification makes a big difference in quality. Just look at Mercedes W211 '03-06 vs. '07-09. The facelift cars are much more reliable as they changed the component specification to improve quality. You see the same thing today in the big difference in reliability rankings between VW and Audi- they really started to diverge around 2004.
Separately, for FWIW, most of the service advisors at my local dealership are in Ms of one gen or another. No idea what the techs drive though and I agree that their choices carry more weight.