I just bought 330, it has 89,000 miles and i have no maintenance records, what should i be watching for? This is my first BMW, I LOVE THIS CAR!


Asked by Feb 29, 2012 at 12:44 PM about the 2003 BMW 3 Series 330Ci

Question type: Maintenance & Repair

Basically what are the common problems
this car has at or around 100,000 miles. I
want to start replacing thing before they go
out, but I need a starting point.

22 Answers


Belt, oil must be change. a lot of people wait until the 7,000 miles or 10,000 to change the oil I am not sure howmany miles your car need to change oil. but Some owners of MB or BMW they change it from every 2,000 miles to every 5,000 miles. if your vehicule have a lot of miles I recommend you to do that. maybe do it your self or find a good authorize dealer to do it for less if that is your situation. Clutch, spark plug. etc. the best shot is do a full maintenaince will cost you a lot of money but will save you more money long term.

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.

Thank you so much, I will take her in and have them go through her. Then she is off to Dinan

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
Paul Matthews

Always good to start with a FULL maintainence service, that should show any further upcoming problems. Common wear and tear items include suspension joints and mounting bushes, corroded exhaust system (can be expensive), corroded brake metal pipes (rears especially as they are fitted before the fuel tank is fitted and so difficult to replace), and also see that the brake fluid is changed at the same time as the service provided the pipes are O.k. I know about the metal brake pipes as I had to replace them on my own E36 Coupe.!!

9 out of 9 people think this is helpful.

Thank you very much

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

The big issues are tires and brakes. Brakes can be quite expensive but for obvious reasons something you wan to maintain. I'd suggest using synthetic oil and changing it every 10k miles.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

This is my fear, I have no idea if it was on syn before me. Will I hurt the motor switching now? The car looks perfect, I hope they did the right thing! But you just never know! Thank you for your help!

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

i think you can swtich to synthetic - but check with your mechanic. as you probably know, synthetic last longer and is better for the engine. Find a good local BMW mechanic - avoid the dealership - too expensive.

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Thank you, I am glad I found a community that loves their car as much as I love mine!

3 out of 3 people think this is helpful.
Steven Hershkowitz

The biggest issue with BMW's is the timing belt or timing chain (depending on model). BMW recommends replacement at 90k. I went to 107k with my '01 530. The downside is if it goes before you replace it, you're in for big bucks to repair the damage to the engine. Also gaskets should be replaced on the oil pan and manifold - older bimmers tend to leak oil because of this.

11 out of 11 people think this is helpful.

That is a good idea, I am thinking of putting new shocks and bushings on the front end and a timing chain and complete gasket replacement would give me piece of mind. Thank you for your help....

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.
James Chadek

I obtained a 2003 330Cic with 80,301. It needed the gaskets, brakes,Torque converter immediately. Alignment is at the end of the spec so I may be trading in 10,000 miles or less. Looks great and drives nice. It was at a Ford dealer and 8,000 less than the certified same model at the BMW dealer. I am still 4 grand lower but it was a hassle.

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

've owned several E46 BMW's over the years and have always followed this maintenance schedule using an independent BMW shop. I've never encounteed any "major" problems and have run my cars well over 200K miles. I purchase mine used with around 60-70K miles. I absolutely love thses cars for their balanced driving dynamics, superb fit fihish and safety & economy. Change oil every 6K miles. Change Brake Fluid every two years. Change Differential Fluid every 30K miles. Change Radiator Coolatnt every 50K miles. Replace the following every 30K miles: Water Pump, Thermostat, Thermostat Housing, AC Belt, Alternator Belt, and Idler Pulley. With Manual Transmission, change Gearbox Fluid every 2 years.Replace Radiator and Expansion Tank at 90K. Repalce Timing Chain Tensioner at 100K miles. Major problem areas are: Cooling system - The cooling system will eventually fail catastrophically due to a disintegrating water pump bearing. When this occurs all coolant is lost within seconds and the engine will overheat instantly (remember, these cars have only a total of ~2 gallons of coolant). A much better water pump than the stock/OEM unit is available from EMP Steward, but it's pricey ($200) compared to stock ($70). Other items on the cooling system that should be considered maintenance items since they will likely/eventually fail are the plastic/electric thermostat and the coolant reservoir. Therefore, preventative cooling system maintenance replacing these items every 60k to 80k miles is strongly advised. If an engine is allowed to seriously overheat the repair costs can reach several thousand dollars because of warped cylinder heads. Front control arm bushings - tend to fail after 40-60k miles. You can replace them with Powerflex bushings from Bimmerworld for $149 (pre-pressed into new carriers). HVAC - Many E46 models have erratic HVAC fan speed condition wherein the instrument panel display indicates a set constant fan speed, yet the fan changes speed on a 1hz rate (constantly up and down), or fails to come on at all. This is almost always results from failure of defective original Final Stage Resistors (FSR) whose design provided insufficient heat sink surface area. The improved design FSR's can be purchased for ~$60 to $80 from a wide variety of vendors; installation threads abound.

78 out of 78 people think this is helpful.
Best Answer

Thank you for being so thorough, I love my car. I will be changing each and everyone of the parts listed above. I also found out my question regard oil consumption. Everyone says it is normal for my I6, thank you again so much for your very detailed response. I have an major inspection due in 7,000 miles I will be replacing all those parts at that time. Haha unless my baby makes me do it earlier.

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Hey James. You're welcome. Good luck & enjoy the ride. Your bimmer looks sweet. I'm noticing the wheels—does it have the Performance Package?

1 out of 1 people think this is helpful.

Does anyone know how to fix a broke timing belt on a BMW 325i?

17 out of 17 people think this is helpful.
Rico Rich

i plan on purchasing a 2001 Bimmer with 14000 plus miles could u guys tell me if im gonna get myself into maintenance issues or i guess it all depends on how it was takin care of in the past maybe anyone!

7 out of 7 people think this is helpful.

Anyone with a e46 have problems with 2nd gear grinding? Thanks


@Bemeup If I wanted to implement your maintenance schedule, it will be pretty simple for things like, replace radiator and expansion tank at 90K miles. But how do I go about implementing the maintenance schedule on the various aspects such as, change "X" every 30K miles? During the course of the life of a car like mine that has 76,500 miles, "X" should have been changed twice already and halfway to needing to be replaced again. However, that is not always the case... perhaps the previous owner was behind on replacing "X" the second time and just recently replaced "X" 10K miles ago. In that case, it wouldn't need replacement. How do you work around that obstacle? Thank you!

2 out of 2 people think this is helpful.

Also, how much money should I expect to allocate toward maintenance per year for a 2006 BMW 330xi? Again, thanks in advance!

9 out of 9 people think this is helpful.

I just bought a BMW 2000 338i It is my first BMW. It has 90,000 Miles. Up to 65k it was well maintained at the dealership. Since then the only records I have on it for the last 35k miles is it had expansion tank and radiator replaced with coolant and AC fixed. Now after I bought it for $5,500. Just had it 2 weeks and the fuel pump went out. The used car dealership said they would help me get parts at their cost and have a BMW tech mechanic work on it at. Good price . Quoted $260 parts pump filter and gasket $120 labor I decided to take it to the BMW DEALERSHIP to have an evaluation Done on it because I hear clunks . Cost $150 but now I know I should of done this before I buy a car...ha! Well I new it but the car was so pretty and it drove nice. Well now I found out it needs a lot of repairs. Front arm control bushings, thermostat,2 drive belts,oil filter housing gasket, oil pan gasket, alignment. Rear shocks, rear differential mounts, brake pressure sensors.... So my question is?? Should I keep the car and repair these things if I get a fair price for the small used car dealership. (Of course BMW dealership wanted $8,4440 to repair all . I'm hoping for 1/4 the price somewhere else like the place I bought it or an Indy shop. Humm?? I guess my reasoning is I got the car At a good to fair price and if I put $2,000 into it I will be ok for awhile except for maybe fluid changes. Tires and breaks are really good and it is in very good condition exterior and interior well taken care of And well maintained with a lot of money spent on maintenance cand repairs up to 65,000 miles. Looks like the owner who had it the last 35k. Miles just fixed what broke and didn't keep up with maintenance and up coming repairs BUT sold it instead . My questions are : Is it wise decision to fix the car and keep it? I plan to drive it every day and I don't have that much income. What else can go wrong now? Ahha I will change timing chain at 100k I love the Beamup guys post. Very informative. I'm hesitant to keep it because the BMW DEALERSHIP assist. Service manager said he would buy a Japanese car that I can afford better and wont have so many thi ya go wrong on it. He said I am taking a gamble and there will always be things going wrong and it will always be going to the shop. I appreciated his sincerity and honesty of his opinion but WOW it's so negative! I love this car And isn't any car with 90k miles going to cost me money if I want to run it to 200k miles. He said more things will go wrong with a BMW and at a higher price. Yikes! What do I do? HELP!! Any advice I would appreciate. THANKS SO MUCH!

5 out of 5 people think this is helpful.

Bought my 2000 325i with 75000 other that the reverse going on it have had no problems. The 2000 I am told used a GM trans for some reason. Drives great and handles like a race car, You need to stay away from the dealers though they start at 175 dollars an hour


Hi! I am thinking about buying a 2002 BMW 330ci convertible with 72k miles. Having checked its service history, it shows 5 BMW official garage services which seems to be right in terms of mileage. Potential issue no. 1 - They only changed oil in 3 of them: basically every 26k miles. Is that a big issue? Potential issue no. 2 - It has only been serviced once since July'09, so one service over the last 5 years where they have covered 20k miles Potential issue no. 3 - kept invoices show that they have changed tyres, brake pads and front brake discs (this year), but I believe they have not changed: clutch, suspension joints, mounting bushes, gasket, water pump, radiator coolant, thermostat, AC belt among others. Does this mean that I will have to replace them in the short- future? If so, how much approximately would that cost? This car has always been my dream car (well, after the BMW E-46 M3) but I want to make sure that I am buying the right car. Also, the car dealer is 200 miles away from my house, so what actions would you take in order to get a greater peace of mind? Finding an official BMW dealer to check it for me? Call a special company such as AA for them to check it in the car dealer? Any other thoughts? I really appreciate your help! Cheers, G

4 out of 4 people think this is helpful.

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