Most car enthusiasts aren’t rich folk. Most car enthusiasts
have rather small budgets, even fans of expensive brands like
BMW. There’s really no issue with that, as there are many
superb classic BMWs for sale in classifieds. However, the
problem with buying older cars is that they can be unreliable.
BMW’s are actually pretty solid, especially the parts that
matter, such as engines and gearboxes. But, still, old cars
have issues, there’s no two ways about it. Fixing them can
be annoying, especially for young, inexperienced enthusiasts.
So which BMW part or repair job has frustrated you the most
during you time with the brand?
When I first bought my
E36 328i, I was an idiot. I didn’t know anything about
anything (some might argue that that’s still true) and messed
up a lot. Fortunately, the kind gentleman I bought my car from
took incredible care of it. It was in beautiful condition and
in perfect running order. In fact, the only thing wrong with it
at the time of me buying it was that its driver-side power door
lock didn’t work. But it worked just fine manually, so all was
good. But when a punk 17/18 year old owns it, things go south
Over the years, I spent many days, nights and weekends trying
to fix certain parts of my old car. Many nights were spent
scouring forums for answers to my problems, things I just
didn’t know. However, the one thing that annoyed me most, by
far and away, was the entire coolant system. From the radiator
to the water pump to the fan clutch to the heater core,
everything that had to do with either coolant or cooling the
engine made my blood boil. I had to replace the radiator twice,
went through three fan clutches, two fans and two water pumps.
Admittedly, I did 240,000 miles, so that’s actually not that
bad. The worst part of it all though was bleeding the air
out of the system.
Then there’s the heater core. While not too expensive and not
actually that difficult to actually replace, getting to the
heater core in an E36 is more maddening than anything I’ve ever
done. It’s almost as if BMW designed the heater core first and
the rest of the car around it, as it’s behind the dashboard
with what feels like days worth of work just to get to it. Ugh,
I’m have shell shock just thinking about it. Oh, and one time
my coolant overflow bottle exploded, dumping its entire
contents onto the ground. This left me completely stranded. On
the Garden State Parkway. In a blizzard. At night. For about
Aside from that, though, my E36 was actually pretty reliable as
it lasted me almost 10 years and the aforementioned 240,000
miles before finally dying on me. So what is the most annoying
repair/part/job on a BMW that you’ve experienced?