How long does the BMW 3 series last? You may be asking yourself this question due to several scenarios. Firstly, you may be thinking of investing in one and want to see whether you will be able to enjoy it for a long time.
Secondly, you may be thinking of buying one that’s used and want to know how many more miles you can expect to get out of it. If any of these scenarios describes you, then you are in the right place.
Introduced to BMW’s compact executive line over 4 decades ago the 3 series boasts some very good looking options. It has been on the market long enough to have been tried and tested multiple times
How Long Do BMW 3 Series Last?
In short, If handled well and driven in moderate conditions, kept to its maintenance schedule, and serviced as frequently as is necessary, you can expect to go between 200 000 – 250 000 miles. At a yearly average of about 12 500 miles, this is 15 to 20 years of use.
To gain a better understanding of the 3 series and how long you can expect to keep yours, we need to take a look at the history of the 3 series and how it has morphed to what we have available on our roads today.
Brief History of the BMW 3 Series & Durability
The first generation of the 3 series was introduced in 1975. It has gone through the following generations:
- The first generation’s E21 in 1975 which succeeded the 2 series.
- The second generation’s E30 in 1982. This introduced convertibles and all-wheel drives. The E30 platform was the one on which the first M3 was built. The same platform inspired the BMW Z1 roadster.
- Third generation’s E36, BMW expanded this line’s body options. It included the hatchback on top of the others. The E36 was also the first in the series to offer a 6-speed manual transmission, a 5- speed automatic transmission and a four-cylinder diesel engine.
- The fourth generation E46 which came with a bunch of electronic s including Sat-Nav, EBD and rain-sensing wipers.
- The fifth generation E90s which introduced the run-flat tires meaning they had no need for spares.
- The 3-series F30s came around in the sixth generation and with them came the Gran-Tourismo. It was also the 3 series that had turbocharged engines for the whole generation. In 2016, a plug- in hybrid drivetrain was put into the 330e model.
- The 7th generation came out in 2018 in the G20/G21, which has a whole host of impressive new high-tech additions. Based on the Cluster Architecture (CLAR) platform, it also has a multi-link rear suspension and a hydraulic damping system, which absorbs impacts better.
Not forgetting the much-celebrated production from BMW’s performance factory M. The M3 is the 3- series’ most impressive showing and one that can boast wins in Motorsports and still look and feel like a luxury car.
The fact that you can still find some second and third-generation 3-series vehicles in the street speaks volumes about their durability. You wouldn’t keep a model for this long if it wasn’t reliable. Having said that, no car is perfect. We will now look at some issues that you can expect from the 3 series.
Common Issues Affecting the BMW 3 Series
It is obvious with any BMW overheating will become a problem for you at some point. If the car does start to overheat, you best not continue driving and have it towed.
This issue could be a result of a leaking coolant or a faulty water pump. BMW’s valve cover gasket wears down by the time you get to about 70 000 miles so much so that it can start to leak causing the smell of burning oil.
At 75 000 miles, if your steering vibrates as you are braking there is a problem with your thrush arm bushing. These rubber components are important to your suspension system and need looking into should this start occurring.
Maintaining Your BMW 3 Series
The 3-series is a quite reliable BMW line. It has its misfires but overall it is a long-lasting vehicle. To make sure it can keep for longer so to speak, you need to stay on top of any service the car might need.
Make sure to take the car into the shop every time the check engine light comes on. Having the cars oil changed at least once a year and having the wheels rotated twice a year are key.
The battery for a BMW lasts about 3-5 years after which a replacement is necessary. The same goes for the tires as well. As your car gets up to 100k miles, using a synthetic high-performance oil specifically for older does serve your engine. It also ensures you’ll use the car for longer.
Final Thoughts Bmw 3 Series Reliability
Having considered all of the above, the BMW 3-series is arguably the most reliable BMW out there, at least of the few that can be with you for over 16 years. As a preowned, you would get your value’s worth.
Just make sure to avoid the 2007 3 series and keep a good maintenance record and there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy your BMW 3 series for at least 200,000 to 250,000 miles.