In Reply to: Here's a sample repair cost posted by Drew'91 M3 on October 26, 2001 at 11:42:02:
A few thoughts:
These cars are expensive b/c they are built around an expensive motor, are often used fairly hard and are just old cars at this point in time. The usual stuff wears out, but the foundation is really solid, assuming that you can get a non-rusty, un-bent tub with a decent engine.
This board and the SIG are a great source of info as others have pointed out. Use the knowledge out there to save you money, e.g. on parts prices. You don't have to pay $250 for plug wires or a cap/rotor if you know where to shop, and you can do a fair amount of maintenance yourself.
While I used to have time to do my own repair work on simple items an my cars, I don't have the time any longer between work & family to do my own maintenance. Therefore, I use a reputable and certified local BMW mechanic to perform my routine maintenance.
Here's a summary of a recent maintenance service that cost $1,250 including the labor (not at dealer rates) and used genuine BMW parts:
- new fan clutch (~$250 b/c M3 part)
- new alternator bushings
- new drive belts
- new spark plugs
- new spark plug wires (~$275 b/c M3 part)
- new distributor cap & rotor (~$250 b/c M3 part)
- oil change & oil filter
- state emissions inspection sticker
Note that all of the above items are just simple "wear and tear" items that need to be replaced either due to age or mileage.
I agree with Stan's comments about buying cheap cars that need alot of $$$ and work or buying better kept cars and paying a premium. Once you've done the cheapo route and got burned you'll never buy a sub-par vehicle again. While it means couging up a chunk of change on the front end, in the long run you're likely to be much better off.
Other than the repairs outlined above, in a little over 1 year, I've also put new intake gaskets, converted the A/C to R-134A, and replaced the brake rotors and pads for another $1,300 in repairs. So, M3's really aren't cheap particularly if you don't do some of the repair work yourself.
Oh, by the way, my 1991 M3 with 51k miles is for sale. It has complete service records, documented ownership history, no paintwork/accidents, no track time and is for sale for $17,500 if you're interested. It's a very clean and unmolested example of an E30 M3 which is becoming so hard to find these days. I'm in need of a bigger 4 door car that is more practical for daily use with a family.
Let me know if you're interested.
Besides chain tensioner, heater valve nonsense, control arms - what are common failure items on M3's?
I've tried to do my homework - digging through the archives and such. Seems like a lot of people have a vague warning of "expensive!" when prospective buyers are asking around.
But on a well maintained car with reciepts, and the items I listed above recently done, what else should I look for?
What /is/ so expensive, anyway? Valve adjustment? I'm just trying to get details here. I don't mind a car that requires some interaction (having owned, in the last few years, a '76 and '74 2002, a '70 and '68 1600-2, a '74 3.0s, and an '82 320i) but I'm trying to determine just what fails and why it costs so much. It IS, after all, a (as I understand it) relatively simple 4 cylinder, albeit extremely hot.
Thanks a lot.