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Wanted: BMW repair cost horror stories...

post #1 of 157
Thread Starter 
Someone warned of driving a BMW off-warranty like it was akin to running naked through a prison. I have heard of $7000 transmission jobs, etc. Any other anecdotes of repairs and their cost? People are tempted by a $12,000 2001 BMW with 80k miles, but have no idea what they could be in for.... What can they expect, in terms of costs? (Specific cases, please)
post #2 of 157
Which model? In general, don't get an automatic transmission if you can help it. If you must, get one that has had regular tranny fluid changes every 30K miles from the beginning, but it can still go bad (as can any auto) and usually the only recourse is to exchange the transmission, which is expensive. Also, avoid cars with more than 6 cylinders, and M engines if you want to keep maintenance costs down. VANOS replacement in an E39 M5 will run around $14K to $18K. --Andre
post #3 of 157
Most of the regular maintenance is comparable to most European luxury or high end cars (Audi, Porsche, MB). Figure $300 - $600 per year for the 15k or 20k service, maybe double that every few years for the "major" service intervals.

Transmissions, suspension bits, and power train components wear out on BMWs just like any other car. With anything over 60,000 and less than 120,000, assume that a car will either have the wear and tear pieces already fixed or else the new buyer should budget for it. Those costs are what they are - expensive. It is a must to get the records from the PO or just assume you will be on the hook.

I think the theory is that if you are choosing to buy a car that is higher on the expense curve (with the prestige factor) greater than a Hyundai, you ought to pay more to maintain it. When they work well, of course, they are awesome. My favorite car still is the 740i Sport that I traded in a while back. Any time something broke, it was costly, but that was mostly forgotten when you drove it.
post #4 of 157
If you're worrying about how much it costs to maintain an old car, buy something new that will cost nothing to run, like a Genesis Coupe. In my opinion, older cars are best left for hobbyists with excess discretionary income. I don't find a 2001 BMW tempting in the least unless it is something like a E39 M5. In the last five years, I have paid $0 for any car I've owned besides the cost of owning it and gas.
post #5 of 157
I have a 1997 528i and have spent almost nothing on it except for brakes, oil, etc. I am getting ready to replace the clutch and at $2000. It will be my largest expense on the car. The key with BMWs is either a good independent mechanic or doing the wrenching yourself.
post #6 of 157
I have owned five, all of which were either initially out of warranty or the warranty expired within two years of my buying it. The oldest was 21 years old. I have had no repair horror stories on any of them although I have had to replace all kinds of stuff on them. Their engines and manual transmissions will last well past 200k miles if proper fluid change intervals are observed. All the other systems on those cars, especially suspension and cooling, will degrade over time and require replacement. The same is true for most other kinds of cars although most people just drive on worn-out suspension in other cars rather than replacing them. Doing that in a BMW would essentially defeat the point of owning one. As maxnharry said, either doing the repair work yourself or having a good independent mechanic that you trust is essential.

At the end of the day, owning a newer car is almost never less expensive than owning an older car with repair expenses factored in. For some reason, people look at periodic maintenance costs of $700 differently than a monthly car payment that's $400/month higher for a new car.
post #7 of 157
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post #8 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by dah328 View Post
At the end of the day, owning a newer car is almost never less expensive than owning an older car with repair expenses factored in. For some reason, people look at periodic maintenance costs of $700 differently than a monthly car payment that's $400/month higher for a new car.
Yes, because the $400+/mo in payment when sold is usually worth significantly more than the already depreciated car that you have sunk further money in by maintaining. Purchase price + depreciation + maintenance - trade/resale = TCO
post #9 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by username79 View Post
Yes, because the $400+/mo in payment when sold is usually worth significantly more than the already depreciated car that you have sunk further money in by maintaining.

Purchase price + depreciation + maintenance - trade/resale = TCO

+1
post #10 of 157
same question, but: -AMG horror stories? particularly the 5.5 s/c'ed cars. -996 3.6L horror stories? I've heard them about the 3.4L's but how about 3.4's?
post #11 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by username79 View Post
Yes, because the $400+/mo in payment when sold is usually worth significantly more than the already depreciated car that you have sunk further money in by maintaining.

Purchase price + depreciation + maintenance - trade/resale = TCO
I'm not sure if you're agreeing with me or disagreeing with me. And your formula above double counts depreciation because that is already reflected in the trade/resale factor. Most of my BMWs that I sold ended up going for almost the same price I paid for them so my cost of ownership on them was simply maintenance costs (and the cost of carrying the purchase price over several years if you want to get all technical about it).
post #12 of 157
Cars do not know they have depreciated when it comes to repair bills. Horror stories are everywhere with every brand of car. Drive what you like and can afford.
post #13 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by impolyt_one View Post
same question, but:

-AMG horror stories? particularly the 5.5 s/c'ed cars.
-996 3.6L horror stories? I've heard them about the 3.4L's but how about 3.4's?

5.5l motors are legit bulletproof. Unless they have been messed with via various tuning methods.
post #14 of 157
I just came back from my mechanic, and they had a recent AMG E-class there with a scored cylinder from a piston ring coming off. Total freak accident --- cost to fix is around $20K. A new engine is $30K + 30 hours.

--Andre
post #15 of 157
Quote:
Originally Posted by A Y View Post
I just came back from my mechanic, and they had a recent AMG E-class there with a scored cylinder from a piston ring coming off. Total freak accident --- cost to fix is around $20K. A new engine is $30K + 30 hours.

--Andre
Recent enough to be still under warranty?
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