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Thread: BMW 5-Series reliability

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Michigan
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    2003 Protege5

    BMW 5-Series reliability

    In late 2005 TrueDelta started conducting vehicle reliability research. We're reporting absolute stats like "repair trips per year" that make the differences between cars much clearer. We update results four times a year, to closely track cars as they age.

    Many owners have signed up in recent months--over 300 now for the 5-Series. But to provide precise results for all years from 1995 on more are needed.

    Participants simply report repairs the month after they occur on a one-page survey. When there are no repairs, they simply report an approximate odometer reading four times a year, at the end of each quarter.

    To encourage participation, panel members will receive full access to the results for free.

    For the details, and to sign up to help out:

    Auto reliability research
    Last edited by mkaresh; 02-24-2009 at 03:39 PM.
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Grand Rapids, Michigan
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    38
    My Cars
    1988 BMW 535i
    you probably want rather new cars, huh?
    Chris
    1988 535i

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Michigan
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    2003 Protege5
    Not new, but newer. (I see you have a 1988.) Currently I plan to go back ten model years.

    A number of people have asked me to collect data on even older cars. The problem, I'm assuming, is that the older cars get the more reliability becomes a function of how the car was maintained and driven rather than the initial engineering.

    But since this is an assumption--no actual data--I'm going to see how the data on the 1998s and 1999s look. If these data seem reasonably valid I might go back a few more years. 1988 isn't likely, though.
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  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    B-More
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    03 530i Sport; 01 ML-320, 94 Legend (Slammed)
    Do you have criteria that much be meet in order to participate? That is, miles per year, I6 or v8 etc. I no staticians, but I quite sure driving habits will making the data less than useful.
    1st Bimmer and certainly not my last !

  5. #5
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    Nov 2005
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    2003 Protege5
    No criteria of that sort. I collect odometer readings quarterly, so it'll be possible to track reliability by mileage as well as time.

    Frankly, most of the problems I see have little to do with driviing habits. I do intend to eventually break down results by powertrain, but this will require a very large sample because engine problems are very rare in the first 100,000 miles with just about any car.
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  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Michigan
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    2003 Protege5
    Latest results recently posted here for other models:

    TrueDelta Vehicle Reliability Survey results

    With enough participants, I'll be able to include the 5er in future results. Currently 82 owners are signed up for all model years, including 10 2003s.
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  7. #7
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    Now 112 signed up.

    I'm going to start collecting data on the 2008 this month, since ten owners have already signed up and its early in the model year. Will need more participants to provide results, but I'm going to forecast that they'll come.

    Many other years remain about halfway to the minimum. The situation is similar with the E-Class, except they don't have a new turbo six to get buyers all excited about the 2008

    For more information, and to sign up to help out:

    Vehicle reliability research
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  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Honolulu, HI
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    43
    My Cars
    Undecided - E92 M3?
    mkaresh, nice project, btw. I've always been a fan of bimmers but have been a little leery of the reliability issues, though. At least BMWs don't have the issues that Benzes have. I've always been curious to know exactly what kind of problems Bimmers do have. One of my friends, a former owner, says that it's a hit-or-miss with owning a reliable/trouble-prone BMW.

    Perhaps you should talk to my orthodontist. He leased his new '07 550i last August and for the first 3 months he's had it, 2 of them were spent at the BMW dealer. He had electrical and iDrive issues. One of them involved his swiveling headlamps. Since he lives up a hill, he noticed that one of the headlamps wouldn't swivel back straight. Needless to say, coming from Lexus, he was pretty peeved to be paying for a 550i lease and being stuck with an el-cheapo, albeit BMW-paid, Enterprise Ford minivan.

    Doubt he's on the forums, though.

  9. #9
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    Sep 2007
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    Carrollton. Tx
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    2
    My Cars
    2001 Mustang Bullit

    looking for som info on 525 1994

    Thinking about buying one.
    My only concern is the miles on it. It has 180,000. What type of engine life can I expect?
    Last edited by lynn1; 09-11-2007 at 07:33 PM.

  10. #10
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    Nov 2005
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    Michigan
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    2003 Protege5
    At that mileage, I suspect a lot will depend on how well the engine was maintained and whether it did a lot of short trips or lots of highway miles.

    As mentioned earlier, data collection has started on the 2008, but I'll need more participants before a result can be posted.
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  11. #11
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Michigan
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    2003 Protege5
    The latest results ended up including 73 models, including a few years of the 3.

    Total number of 5-Series owners signed up to help out now 141, but need more for all model years.

    Auto reliability research -- need more 5ers!
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  12. #12
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    San Francisco, CA
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    616
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    1995 BMW E34 525i
    hmm so i just enroll at panel enrollment right?


    1998 BMW e36 M3
    2000 Subaru Impreza 2.5rs Journal

  13. #13
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    Nov 2005
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    Michigan
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    2003 Protege5
    Thanks for asking.

    Yes. I make it a little harder than it has to be because I want people to know what they're signing up for. So I always link to the page that describes the research, and there are three links to the enrollment form on that page (top, bottom, box at top right).
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  14. #14
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    Jul 2007
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    New York
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    M
    i think theyr pretty reliable...

  15. #15
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    Michigan
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    2003 Protege5
    Posted that result. About average, which is good for a complex luxury car.

    Updated result for the 2008 in May.

    Other model years aren't yet included in the survey. Many are about 2/3 of the way to the minimum. Need more participants.

    For the details, and to help get your model year included:

    Vehicle reliability research
    www.truedelta.com
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  16. #16
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    Nov 2005
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    Michigan
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    2003 Protege5
    There will an updated result for the 2008 later this week.

    For other recent years, we're 2/3 to 3/4 of the way to the minimum for all of them.

    Help get your year included in future results:

    Vehicle reliability research
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  17. #17
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    Nov 2005
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    Michigan
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    2003 Protege5
    Posted that result. After removing a duplicate vehicle, we ended up a single response short of the minimum, so the result is asterisked.

    Even so, it appears that the repair rate for the 2008 5er is better than the average, maybe even much better. I have noted that BMWs often do well in their first year, though, then require an average number of repairs in later years.

    For the full set of results, and sign up to help (if you haven't already):

    TrueDelta Vehicle Reliability Survey results
    www.truedelta.com
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  18. #18
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Houston
    Posts
    40
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    '02 BMW 525i
    so when you say in the shop do you also include prevention work?

    for example... one of the first things i did when i bought my car was changing out the drive belts and will be working on the cooling system later this month.

    in my short time as owner my car hasn't broken down or needed to go to the shop.... But I am working so that it never has to.

    would something like this count for the survey?

  19. #19
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    Nov 2005
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    Michigan
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    2003 Protege5
    Belts are considered a wear item and are not reportable as repairs.

    Preventative maintenance is generally excluded.

    The main survey measures repair trips, when something has broken and needs fixing.
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  20. #20
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    Now 270 5-Series owners signed up--we've come quite a long way.

    The current counts--with 25 the minimum sample size:
    2009: 2
    2008: 46
    2007: 20
    2006: 21
    2005: 23
    2004: 23
    2003: 25
    2002: 19
    2001: 20
    2000: < 18
    1999: < 18
    1998: 21

    So nearly every recent model year is close to the minimum. Next February we could have results for all of these if owners keep signing up like they have been.

    Vehicle reliability research
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  21. #21
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    Nov 2005
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    2003 Protege5
    We have updated results, and with 33 repair trips per 100 cars per year the 2008 BMW 5-Series remains better than average.

    A big thanks to everyone who has been helping. We'll have further updates in May, August, and November. Additional participants needed, especially for earlier model years and the 2009. Two or three more years should make it into the May results, but it's going to be tight.

    We now have a separate results page for each model that includes the results for competitors. The page for the 5er:

    BMW 5-Series reliability comparisons
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  22. #22
    Join Date
    May 2003
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    Zoo Yawk
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    tank
    wow, so many 2008
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  23. #23
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    Nov 2005
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    2003 Protege5
    In a few weeks we'll start previewing the next set of results to participants. More needed to cover all model years from 1995 on:

    Car reliability research
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  24. #24
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    Nov 2005
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    Michigan
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    2003 Protege5
    Except for the 2008, we've had barely enough responses to provide partial results for two or three earlier model years. If you've signed up but haven't responded to the suvey yet, please do.

    And if you haven't signed up yet, your participation would certainly be helpful.

    Car reliability research
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  25. #25
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    LA, CA USA
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    91 535i; 00 323it
    Quote Originally Posted by mkaresh View Post
    At that mileage, I suspect a lot will depend on how well the engine was maintained and whether it did a lot of short trips or lots of highway miles..
    One also wonders if the sort of people to particpate in polls are the sort who either take care of their cars or not; or if they're more likely or less likely to have had good experiences with their cars. Do they run the extremes, and thus are they more likely to want to have their say?
    E34 Mods: OEM Coin Holder / Cup-Holder / Rubber Mats / Seat Covers / Warning Triangle / Sachs-Boge 750il bushings / Windscreen reflective sunshade / OEM Euro-spec Hella lamps to be installed soon.

    Looking for OEM 15 or 16" basketweaves & cassette holder.

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