I’ve already written several articles on BMWBLOG and someone of you might have noticed by now that I own an E36 BMW. I talk about it a lot, much to everyone’s dismay, I’d imagine. I can’t help it, I love my car. She’s old, tired and has a million (237,xxx) miles but she has never stopped kicking, despite all of the hardship she’s been through. But that’s not why I’m here, talking to you kind folk. I’m talking about BMW reliability.
I’ve read quite a few articles and heard many people claim that BMWs are unreliable, undependable cars just because they’re German. This is an unfair assessment from people who’ve owned too many Volkswagens. BMWs are not unreliable. In fact, BMW straight-six engines are some of the strongest, longest lasting engines out there. They’re practically bulletproof.
Now despite my profound love for my car, I have no misconceptions about it. The E36 is not among the best of BMWs. But the old girl has been through quite a lot; insane NJ snowstorms, driven through two hurricanes, been hit my other cars while parked, and has been driven by a hooligan (Me) for the past seven years and still runs beautifully. Sure only one of the four doors is fully functional (lock, window and handle) and the traction control no longer works, but the lovely M52, straight-six still runs as smooth as the day it was built.
All it takes to keep BMWs running well is maintenance. That may seem like a simple concept, but it’s something that is overlooked far too often. By maintenance, I mean oil changes, gasket replacement and overall just keeping up with any issues that may arise. Again, this may sound simple but it’s amazing how many people claim BMWs are unreliable because a valve cover gasket goes bad.
BMWs, like all German cars, require meticulous taking care of because they’re built with a meticulous attention to detail. So to have a car made with the kind of engineering, or over-engineering, that BMWs are made with, then you’re going to have to keep up with it. BMWs aren’t unreliable, they only require a specific amount of attention that only a true car enthusiast can provide. Will they be as carefree, maintenance-wise, as a Toyota? No, but that’s the point. BMWs need to be taken care of, but they’re worth it.