How reliable are BMW X3s?

Mark: Hi it’s Mark from Top Local, we’re here with Bernie Pawlik and we’re talking cars. How’re you doing Bernie?

Bernie: Doing very well.

Mark: So we’ll get right to it, how reliable are BMW X3’s?

Bernie: Well, they’re pretty reliable vehicles but there are a few issues that these vehicles have that are worth noting.

Mark: A number of things, what are they?

Bernie: Well, a lot of it is around the engine, the engine area of the vehicle I’d say are probably the largest areas of concern. So as the vehicles get on with age and we’re talking up around 100,000 kilometre range, oil leaks will develop, valve cover gaskets are common, sometimes the oil pan will leak perhaps a little further perhaps on in the life of the vehicle, the oil filter adapter housing will leak, there are seals there, so this are the kind of common areas of leakage. Also performance issues, ignition coil failures are pretty common on these vehicles, so the engine will misfire, the check engine light will come on. That’s sort of a common symptom of that. There are also a lot of plastic parts in these vehicles, the radiators, the cooling system, thermostat housing, these kinds of things, there will be failures in these items too. So the plastic will crack and need to be replaced. So those are kind of the areas, oh and one other thing too, that over time the crankcase breather valve will fail and that can cause the check engine light to come on. It can also cause the engine to use a lot of oil, blow blue smoke, so there’s a number of things that can happen around that area too. So that’s a pretty common failure. This vehicle is basically, it’s a BMW 3 Series but converted into a SUV that’s called, it’s the crossover category so it’s kind of an enlarged 3 Series. So you have the same types of engines and same drivetrain, they’re an all wheel drive vehicle. So a lot of the problems that are experienced in the 3 Series vehicle, you’ll get in the X3.

Mark: So that seems like a lot and you’ve only touched on the engine. What else can go wrong with this vehicle?

Bernie: Well, so let’s go to the drivetrains, the transmission, differentials, transfer case. Generally these are all really reliable. We’ve run into a few transfer case issues but these are usually with real high mile vehicles, you know way over the 200,000 kilometre mark. So generally, the drivetrain in the vehicle is quite reliable. Never seen a transmission problem with one, not to say they don’t exist, but they’re generally very reliable. So the drivetrain is good.

Mark: How about brakes, steering, suspension?

Bernie: Again those areas of the vehicle are good. We’ve had a couple with ABS issues, like the ABS modules gone bad, we’ve had one with several wheel speed sensors which is not uncommon to any vehicle. Brakes last to the 50 to 70,000 kilometre range so they’re, it’s about average for a vehicle like this and you always have to change the pads and rotors, it’s the way European cars wear. But yeah, generally I mean that’s sort of normal brake life for a vehicle like this. And the suspension, not a lot of issues, they’re pretty good. Again if you get into the really high mileage area, 2 to 300,000 kilometres, things, like struts will start to wear out, but other than that, they’re really reliable.

Mark: How about electronics?

Bernie: You know, there are a few issues with electronics, little fiddly things and I can’t think of any specific thing off the top of my head, but generally things like windows, most of the power things work well but I know that owners of these vehicles will experience some problems with certain electronic items but generally they’re quite reliable in that area.

Mark: Any last thoughts on the BMW X3?

Bernie: I mean overall, it’s a pretty good vehicle. You will spend more money maintaining this vehicle than you will on some comparable items, say like a Japanese equivalent and you know, there’s a number of American vehicles, there’s Jeeps in this category too, but the BMW’s of course, are a much classier, nicer vehicle, so you get more for your dollar. You pay more, you get more but you know, there is more maintenance that will be required on this vehicle than you would on a lot of other brands.

Mark: So there you go, if you’ve got an X3 and you’re looking for reliability, performance and ongoing use of your vehicle, the guys to see in Vancouver are Pawlik Automotive. You should check them out at 604-327-7112 or their website Thanks Bernie

Bernie: Thanks Mark