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The “75k Mile List” E90-93 3 Series (2005-2012, including M) Edition

The 2005+ 3-Series is heavier, more powerful and has more technology than previous generations. In general, they are as reliable as their predecessors, but they do have some common issues.

Suspension and Shocks

Unlike some of the older 3-Series cars, the suspension systems have, so far, only shown issues with the Thrust Arm Bushings. Shocks are still a wear item and should be considered marginal by 60k.

Most folks who have been driving their cars since new hardly notice the deterioration as it is gradual. Thrust arm bushing failure will typically reveal itself as a shimmy under braking and possibly a low-speed knock if you get on and off the throttle quickly.

Shock failure symptoms include the following:

  • Diving under braking and acceleration.
  • Excessive lean and suspension compression during cornering.
  • Bouncy and uncomfortable ride.
  • Shocks and struts may visibly leak shock oil.

EDGE generally recommends replacing the factory units with quality shocks from Koni or Bilstein when replacement is necessary. During shock replacement, is a great time to install lowering springs or freshen up other areas of the suspension. You will be amazed at the difference a good set of shocks can make in both comfort and performance!

Oil Leaks

The six-cylinder cars are still prone to leaking valve cover gaskets. They leak externally, but also leak internally and can fill the spark plug holes with oil. This can damage coil packs. Other messy leaks can include the oil filter stand gasket, oil cooler gasket, and oil vapor separator hoses.

Of particular concern are the transmission pan and sealing sleeve. The pans tend to warp over time and the only sure way to fix the leak is to replace the pan. BMW does not call for or recommend transmission fluid changes, this may prove problematic in the long term, but the transmissions seem to last well over 100k miles.

Cooling System

In the E9x, BMW cooling systems are their Achilles Heel. For some unfortunate reason, BMW chose to use plastic in MANY critical areas. The plastic will heat cycle out and become brittle. This, coupled with normal vibration is a recipe for disaster.

Common failure points include the expansion tank (cracks at the seams), thermostat failure (these are electronic, so it will cause check engine light), water pump failure (electric water pumps will quickly cause an overheat), radiator leaks at the end tanks, and any of the quick disconnect hoses.

The Turbocharged (335) cars are VERY prone to overheating, especially when driving at the track. Between the intercooler, oil cooler, and radiator there is too great an airflow requirement for the car design to deliver. For this unfortunate reason, the 335 (and its 135/535 cousins) can overheat far more easily than previous BMWs which causes a myriad of issues: limp mode, power loss, excessive wear.


The V8 M3s have a few issues of note:

  • Some cars have had (or will have) their differentials replaced for noise and knocking sounds. 
  • The rod bearings may need replacing at about 70K. This is not really a failure as it is expected wear for such a high output motor.
  • Other than that, no major failures have crossed our paths.


BMW service indicator-recommended 15k mile service intervals are causing internal engine wear. BMW has a Technical Service Bulletin indicating that dirty engine oil causes cam ledges to become worn down and causes oil to get through. This will cause, poor running, excessive engine noise and will eventually throw a check engine light.

Because of these issues, we are recommending that customers perform regular oil changes at 7-8k miles max. BMW knows that the engines will last 100k even with this advanced wear, but that gets your car out of warranty and therefore it’s not an issue for them. We know that you want your car to last, so a little extra maintenance will go a long way!

In addition to the extended intervals causing cam ledge wear, the VANOS solenoids are becoming clogged with oil sludge and debris causing rough running and check engine lights. We have been able to successfully remove these solenoids and clean them without additional repairs being needed.

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