BMW – How are they for concerns, repairs, maintenance?
Talking BMW with Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive, Vancouver’s award winning auto repair and maintenance shop in Marpole, voted 13 times Vancouver’s best auto repair shop by it’s customers!
Mark: Morning, it’s Mark from Top Local Lead Generation. We’re here with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive and we’re going to talk about BMW’s. How’re you doing today Bernie?
Bernie: Really well, really well.
Mark: So BMW has developed a real reputation as a desirable car, very high tech vehicles, the kind of car that says “You’ve got it made”. So are they all that they’re cracked up to be?
Bernie: Well, they’re certainly well built cars and you know, whether or not they’re actually the ultimate driving machine as they once claimed in their advertising is to be debatable. But like many German cars in the high end scale, they’re well built and awesome to drive, but they are not without their issues.
Mark: So what kind of issues are you seeing with BMW’s?
Bernie: Well, some items that come to mind and these are mostly when the cars age a little bit are the water pumps leak, thermostats fail, some models, especially those with the V8 engines develop some expensive oil and coolant leaks. They usually happen when the engine gets little older, you probably wouldn’t see anything like that until the car is eight or ten years old.
I think BMW’s 6 cylinder engines are awesome. They’re definitely the best option if you want a reasonably trouble free car. It’s amazing the engine, the 6 cylinder BMW, they make them in every size from a 2 litre up to about 3.2 litre. If you look at the engine under the hood it looks like the same thing but they’ve just enlarged or contract the engine, put different accessories on. You know it’s a smart idea from a manufacturer point of view but it’s also great as they’ve had time to perfect it and make it work really well. I mean, over all, they’re really reliable engines. But like all complex machines, especially German cars, they’re kind of finicky-things like check engine lights goes off a lot for various things
Mark: So what other repetitive concerns do you see with BMW’s?
Bernie: Well one big one that we see, and this is usually on the 6 cylinder engine is the crankcase breather valves fail and when these valves wear out,, it can cause a number of issues like check engine light being on, sometimes you’ll start the car and a big cloud of blue smoke will blow out the back, or the car tends to burn oil; which is kind of serious but fortunately, it’s not a very difficult thing to fix. I mean it does cost a bit of money, but it’s not the complete engine which is a really good thing. We repair these frequently on BMW models, on the 6 cylinder engines. The brakes also wear fairly quickly on many models, especially the sport utility vehicles and like all German vehicles, when the pads wear, the rotors wear out too, they are very hard on rotors for some reason. But in all fairness, it’s not really any more than any other equivalent German car like a Mercedes or Volkswagen would be.
Mark: So how did BMW get to build such amazing cars, didn’t they start as a motorcycle company?
Bernie: I was doing a little research on this, they actually started off as an aircraft company in 1917, but they were forced out of the industry after the First World War and then they started making motorcycles and then they started making cars. But during World War II they got back into aircraft engines. They made some pretty amazing engines during that time, but after WWII they got back into cars and motorcycles again. It’s quite amazing how the company has evolved when you look at some of the cars and motorcycles they used to make. I’m always amazed when certain companies like Bombardier which started with snow mobiles and now they make world class commuters airplanes and trains but it’s funny how they evolved, but BMW has kind of done the same thing, they started with motorcycles and now they make some of the most amazing cars on the planet. If you’ve never seen a BMW Isetta, it’s worth looking at. It’s a hilarious looking car, it has the door of the car in the front and you climb in and there’s two seats, I’m not sure if it’s a three or four wheeled car. But the two back wheels are very close together and has an air cooled motorcycle type engine. It’s quite hilarious to look at. It’s hard to imagine that they would of built the kind of cars that they do now from that. When you look at the WWII aircraft engines, you can see where their precision of manufacturing came in and quality came in. It’s not surprising that they build the kind of cars that they do now a days.
Mark: So, I’ve heard that BMW’s don’t require service very often, can you tell us more about this?
Bernie: Well, BMW, like a lot of European manufacturers, pride themselves on infrequent service intervals and I think, in a way, environmentally it’s a good thing, the less often you have to change your oil is wasted and in need to be remanufactured and disposed of. It’s also a great selling feature for the salesman or woman, they can explain to their potential buyer, “oh you know this car is great because it doesn’t need any service, you’ll rarely have to come in for service and that’s one of the great features. There’s also electronic reminders for when the service is due. It me, it’s a somewhat an engineering coup that they’ve been able to do this. If you’re leasing a car for a short period of time, maybe 3-4 years, it’s a great sales feature because you don’t need to service very often and the can probably throw in some free maintenance or low cost maintenance, really the car is not going to need much. I mean, theses long service intervals, while there’s a lot of engineering that goes into them, I really think that it’s not best to stretch it out to that long, long term interval. Most BMW’s is 24,000 for oil changes, to me, that is way too long. By the time the oil hits 24,000km’s it’s really toxic. I don’t know how good the lubrication quality is. I know there’s a lot of engineering that goes into that, they wouldn’t suggest it if there wasn’t at least some sound basis for it, but I think that if you want to keep the car for longer term I wouldn’t go more than 15-18,000km before changing the oil. You know, the other thing too that happens of course, is when you’re leaving your vehicle for that long a period of time, you’re not getting inspections done, it’s great when a car is new, but as a car gets older, every 10-15,000km’s, you should really have the car hoisted and looked at, things will wear and you don’t want to be in an unsafe position.
One of the things that is amazing about BMW, a lot of newer BMW’s is that they have reminders for service, like they’ll tell you when your brake pads need to be replaced and these aren’t just wear sensors, but they’re actually computers, I don’t know how they figure it out yet to be honest. But they seem pretty accurate. With tire pressure monitors and that kind of thing you can almost trust the system for a while. But when the car gets older, like 8-10 years old and older, you will want to have it inspected on a routine basis.
Mark: Any final thoughts on BMW?
Bernie: You know, over all they’re great cars, they’re quite reliable, but being a fancy European car, you will usually spend more money than you would on an American or Japanese car but that’s not always true. BMW has a variety of models of cars, they’ve got sedans, convertibles, sport utility, some quite racy cars. They’re pretty amazing so if that car appeals to you, I’d say go for it. It’s a great car, but you will generally spend more money on maintenance and repairs than you would on a well built Japanese car. It’s interesting, sometimes even though they are more expensive, as I’ve said before, sometimes European cars can be cheaper to fix.
If you’re looking for a great shop to service your BMW, we can absolutely be that shop for you. So that’s all I have to say about BMW today.
Mark: Thanks Bernie. So we’ve been talking with Mr. Bernie Pawlik of Pawlik Automotive, they’ve been voted 13 times Vancouver’s Best Auto Repair shop by their customers, which is a pretty amazing record. If you need any kind of service on your car or truck these guys to go see. Thanks Bernie
Bernie: Thanks Mark, we’ll talk again soon.