How to Inspect a USED BMW

A lot of people have been asking me in the comments what to check when buying a BMW. Of course, it’s different depending on the car, model, age, mileage and price, but here is my overview. If you are looking for specific issues on BMW Z4 or the 5 series, check out the links in the description. In this article I will go over the common items you want to check or do before purchasing a used BMW.

Of course, these don’t have to be a deal breaker, but they will give you negotiating power and allow you to make an educated decision on your purchase; not to mention, show the seller you know what you are talking about.

Leave your recommendations on what you check before buying a BMW in the comments below so that we can have an awesome, community-built resource for everyone.

Before Driving the car

Service Record:

  • Before you even see or drive the car, ask for an entire service record, from beginning to the end. At the very least the car should have had oil changes every 5-8k miles. The rest depends on mileage. Ask the owner to tell you more about his or her ownership over the years and why they are selling the car. This will let you gauge how well the car has been cared for.
  • You also want to see if the car was in an accident and what kind of damage was done to the car. If it was in an accident, ask who repaired it and if you can see photos of the damage before the fix. It’s also important to know how long ago the repair was done. I’d feel a lot more comfortable seeing 20-30k miles of usages after the accident, since obviously the car has been driving since. Accidents are not deal breakers and can actually be a great deal if properly taken care of.
  • I also recommend getting a CarFax as it will confirm or deny what the seller is telling you and you will also see the maintenance records that all previous owners have done. Personally, I don’t care how many owners the car has had, but you will be able to see that information here as well.

Car Overview:

  • If everything checks out, next you’d want to do a quick overview of the car. This may be obvious, but a lot of people skip this step and miss simple things like balding tires, cracked glass or lights and much more.
  • Check the interior, it should have appropriate wear for the mileage. If the seats have heavy wear but the car only has 50k miles, something doesn’t add up or the car has been beat on hard. Check to make sure all of the electronics such as iDrive, backup camera, sunroof etc are working correctly.
  • If it has run-flats, check the wheels for cracks, and if it’s an X-Drive, back up and crank the wheel either direction, if it makes noise, the front drive shafts are most likely going out. While you have the wheels turned all the way, check the CV joints at the same time. If the car has air ride suspension, check for leaking air bags. The easiest way to tell is if the car is leaning when parked.
  • If you are looking at a high mileage manual car, take it to have the clutch looked at. You can’t feel a SAC (self-adjusting clutch) going bad until the death-rattle right before it gives out.
  • By the time you are ready to buy one, you should have driven a few similar cars to get a feel for it and how it should be driving and responding to input from the driver. The engine should be running strong and transmission shifting without hesitation.
  • Ask the seller if you could drive the car cold and after covering the basics, take it on a drive and get on the highway. Then check for diagnostic codes with a good BMW Scanner, to be sure they didn’t just clear any codes before you arrived. There shouldn’t be any lights on the dash and no major codes.

Under the Hood

  • Before you take it on a drive, thought, take a look under the hood to see the condition of the car, does it look like someone has been taking care of this car? You can tell how much the person cares about their car by seeing if the fluids are topped off and are the correct-clear color, are there a bunch of leaves and grime everywhere? This is also a good time to notice if there is any poor workmanship. If you can see simple things done incorrectly, how many more are there that you cannot see?
  1. Now let’s look at some more specific items under the hood. BMWs are famous for their oil leaks, so it’s a good idea to check for signs of oil leaks or spotting on aluminum parts, this would indicate that someone may have wiped off the oil recently. Also, don’t bother checking under the car as you won’t see much, BMWs have a plastic cover under the engine.
    1. The most common oil leaks on a BMW engines occur around the oil filter housing gasket and the valve cover gasket. Depending on the engine, it can be very easy to spot (Show n20) like on the 4 cylinders as it’s right up top or a little harder on the V8s (show N63).
    1. If you spot an oil leak, try to see if it’s an active leak or is it covered in dust and stuff is built up on it. An oil leak is not necessarily a sign of poor maintenance unless the leak has been there for a significant period of time and never fixed.
    1. Check to ensure the oil pan gasket is not leaking, this one may be a little harder, but you can lower your phone into the engine bay to take a closer look. Valve cover and oil filter leaks are DIY friendly if you are mechanically inclined, but the oil pan gasket is a lot more difficult without a good set of tools.
    1. Lastly, check the oil itself, most BMWs don’t have a dip stick, but you can open the oil fill hole and make sure there is no water, coolant or milky residue mixed with oil.
  2. Next we want to check the coolant system. The bottle should be filled to the correct level and be the right BLUE color. You also want to check all the coolant hoses that you see for leaks and any signs of coolant.
  3. At the same time, look for any broken vacuum lines and anything new or that looks out of the ordinary, like a repaired line that wasn’t replaced, it may need to be replaced in the future.
  4. If the engine mounts are visible, take a close look to make sure there are no cracks.
  5. Lastly, look for potential front end damaged, is it missing any air ducting or plastic pieces? Have the bolts been taken off for the front support and is there any overspray? Are the stickers missing or have paint on them? Other than the obvious crumbled metal, these are all good indicators that work has been done to the front end.

Vehicle Specific Checks:

As I’ve mentioned in the beginning of the video, you have to do research on the specific vehicle and find the common failure points and problems to expect. I have done the research for the vehicles I own, so check those out if you’re interested.

As an example: The N20 engine on the Z4 has timing chain issues, so check if that work has been done or the chain has been checked.  And speaking of the convertible, check that the roof functions properly. There should be no squeaks or rattles when in operation.     

If we take a look at the 5 series, you have to check if the CCP (customer care package) is done on pre-2014 models. It’s a major service that fixed many issues on early cars. Also, has the car had the timing chain, valve seals or engine replaced? These jobs are not uncommon on these cars and this information is very good to know before you see the car, that way you can see if it was already repaired or something to budget for.

Get Professional inspection done:

  • The last check you can do before taking it for a ride is to get on the ground and look underneath for signs of damage. Once you’re satisfied, take it to a Euro Indy shop for a professional pre-purchase inspection. Even after checking everything I have mentioned, it’ll be the best $100-$150 you’ll spend when buying a used BMW. Short of doing a compression test you’ll want to know every little thing about every system in the car and professional mechanic can do that for you. If there are too many negatives, move on or calculate into the price. Unless you are willing to do some work yourself, the cost of repairs could easily dwarf the cheap price of the vehicle. Sometimes its best to spend a couple hundred dollars and have either peace of mind or save yourself from unexpected thousands.

And lastly, don’t forget that you are buying a BMW, check your wallet and credit card balances. Make sure there’s enough there for repairs and maintenance.

How to remove SDARS Antenna on BMW Z4 E89

Remove warning triangle (1).
Release screws underneath.
Lift out expanding rivets (2).
US version only:
Pass emergency release (3) through rear lid trim (4).
Remove rear lid trim (4).

Unscrew nuts (1).
Unfasten plug connection (2) and disconnect.


Raise and unclip additional brake light (1)
Remove additional brake light (1).

Release nut (1) on underside of rear lid.
Unfasten aerial plug (2) and disconnect.

Lever SDARS aerial (1) upwards out of rear lid.

Ancel BM700 BMW Scanner Review

Today we are taking a look at a code reader/scanner and diagnostics tool specifically designed for BMWs. If you’ve ever tried scanning your BMW with a regular scanner and all you got was general codes that don’t really help much, this is a scanner for you. Not only can it show you BMW specific codes, it can also diagnose, all your car’s modules (Engine, ABS, Transmission, SAS, SRS, TPMS etc), test your old and EVEN register your new battery, reset adaptation, perform special DME engine functions such as injector compensation coding, reset your fuel pump and much, much more.

5 Reasons to buy a FIAT 500 Abarth

A few weeks ago, I made a video on all the problems to expect on a FIAT 500 and people thought I didn’t like the car. Even though every time I hit full boost, I worry the motor might grenade, the plastic parts are made of paper Mache and sometimes people merge INTO me on a highway, making sure I’m paying attention on my drive, I still take out this car as much as my BMW Z4. So, in this article I wanted to talk about the reasons why you SHOULD consider getting a Fiat 500 Abarth just like this one. I know this car isn’t for everyone but hear me out and you might change your mind.  Let’s get started.

Looks

This car will make you smile every time you drive it and for me a big factor of that is how it looks. It’s a stylish, timeless and funky design in a small and some even would call ‘cute’ package. The Abarth version takes ‘the cute’ and turns it into a mean little hatchback that no one expects to fit 4 grown people into.  This car is just a little bit different with the retro design, fun exterior colors and good choice of rims referencing to the original, classic Fiat 500.

Driving Experience

You will love how easy it is to find a parking space and how you easily park anywhere you want, not to mention the way you can squeeze through gaps you wouldn’t even consider in other cars.

This go-cart of a car is incredible fun to take on a spirited drive and if you can find a twisty road, it’s as much of a blast to drive as any other sports car. You can almost show the big cars that they may not be as fast as they think, especially through the corners. This definitely isn’t a car you would nod off while driving home on a late night as you will be grinning from the sound of building boost, the exhaust note and the turbo whistles. Every time you put it in sport mode and gun it, the boost kicks in and you start to hear the burbles, whines, pops and bangs even from your stock exhaust. The exhaust is intoxicating, and you feel like it’s ‘egging’ you on every single time you drive it. It just spurs you on!

Thanks to its power to weight ratio, the little engine with its peppy turbo makes it a blast to drive even in the city traffic or suburban roads

Handling

It’s not the fastest car I’ve owned, but definitely one of the most fun around corners and probably won’t get you in too much trouble. The way it handles corners, reminds me a lot of the Mini Cooper S, but even more tossable around corners. The light weight allows you to throw it around and it will go in the direction you point. It handles tight corners well, hugging the road and giving you a sensation of an expensive sports car at an affordable price. Basically, they all are such a fun driving experience. No one expects a fiat to get up and go around where I live. People assume because it’s a small car, it can’t go fast or be much fun, but they are proven wrong time and time again!

Uniqueness

These little cars make you start grinning as soon as you get in them, not only because of the looks, the driving experience and handling, but also by how unique they are on the road.

I love that hardly anyone outside of car-world-people really know what it is. It is a unique car in US with a very original and unique personality that even gets looks and thumbs up at gas stations. Surprisingly, I have had conversation about the car with curious people inquiring about the Abarth and most believe it to be modified in some way.

It’s a miniscule car with big attitude, that doesn’t look like every other car on the road and with not too many around, always gets a second look. You’ll want to drive it and drive it hard. That 5-speed manual, turbo engine, options for sporty bright colors and a cabrio top make it a unique, iconic and a globally fun package.

It’s loud, ridiculous, unusual, and just silly fun. I honestly just can’t think of many modern cars that would do this in the price range. It makes me smile every time it growls like an angry puppy with the slightest attempt at acceleration.

I’d have to say that because the body lines/ appearance is unique probably the biggest reason.

Value

The value this car provides is hard to beat. You can fit 4 people or weeks’ worth of groceries if you lower the seats and I’ve even managed to put a lawnmower in the back in a hunch. So, you get maximum utility in a small car that’s relatively inexpensive to maintain and more importantly, inexpensive to modify! I have seen some amazing pictures on Facebook groups of people going all out as well as doing light mods with plenty of instructional videos. Most of which seem fairly easy to do at home. Fuel economy is also very good, even on the Abarth version of the car, you can easily get 30mpg driving it daily and around 20mpg when you really push it.

A lot of people would argue that it’s the most fun car you can find on a tight budget.

The last thing I wanted to mention is that it actually has some cool and fun features that you may not expect, like hill assist. In fact, I have a video on the cool features you can check out by clicking on the corner card.

BMW 550i Free Exhaust Mod

In the video below I will be testing whether it is worth opening the exhaust valves on a BMW 550i with an n63 engine.

On BMW engines such as the N20, N54, N55 and many others people have been doing what is known as the GOLF Tee exhaust mod. That’s when you stick a golf tee into the vacuum line that goes to the exhaust valve.  Unfortunately, on this and a few other cars, that would not work as the valve is CLOSE and NOT open by default. It only opens when the car is in high revs or high-power demand.

I wanted to experiment and see if keeping them open at all times would the exhaust note better. So, I used some metal zipties I had laying around and ziptied the valves open.

Let’s see if it made any difference and if it’s worth the trouble.

In my opinion, it gave slightly throatier sound on idle and around 3000 RPM. I would totally recommend it as a cheap and easy mod to make you exhaust sound just little better. Of course, this isn’t anything like installing proper sport exhaust, but something is better than nothing. I also wanted to mention that I drove the car for a few miles and no codes or other issues came up. Let me know what you think, could you hear a difference via the camera mic? Leave your comment below and don’t forget to like the video and subscribe to the channel.

BMW Features You Didn’t Know You Wanted – BMW 550i F10

Today we will be discussing features you didn’t know you wanted on your next BMW. Of course, there are many more features on newer cars, but if you are buying a used BMW 5 series like this one, these are some of the features to look out for. I was not aware of half of these items when I bought the car 3 years ago and for my next big, long distance BMW I will be looking to have most if not all as it makes the car so much more special. I will only talk about features that my car actually has and I can show you. Let’s get to it.

  1. The first feature that has now become common on most cars is comfort access. Not only does it allow you to open the doors and start the car, you don’t even have to take out the key in order to open the trunk. You can simply wave your foot under the car and put your groceries or other big items in. Just like this:
  2. It’s also really nice to have folding back seats, I can actually use this car for carrying stuff and fit larger objects without an issue. I was surprised that many cars don’t do this or don’t offer 60/40 split.
  3. A little bonus while we are here in the back, did you know that you can’t actually lock your key in trunk. Good thinking on BMW’s part!
  4. The next feature that makes this car feel very luxuries to me is the soft close doors. Who knew you didn’t have to slam the doors! I’ve only seen this feature on a few very, very expensive cars, so it’s definitely nice to have on a mid level BMW.
  5. Next is the Sport+ Mode, it turns DTC (Traction Control) off about half off, but still keeps you on the road when the things get hairy. It also allows you do launch control. Of course, you can turn all safety features off by pressing this button, but then you better know what you are doing. This also goes nicely with the sport displays. I don’t use this often, but when I do, I have a great time!
  6. This car also has HUD – (Heads up display) which allows you to see phone calls, music, your speed and navigation. Very useful on long trips and allows you know your speed at all times.
  7. Next is AutoPark or Auto-Hold feature. I love this for when I’m driving in the city and there is a lot of lights and stop and go traffic. The car will hold the brake for you while you are stopped, you can then simply touch the gas pedal and the car will start moving. Also here is a cool little trick the gear shifter does: “Show how it goes into park as soon as you press P even when it’s in sport mode*
  8. This next item is present on pretty much any BMW and I miss it every time I drive a different car. When you put the mirror select button to the driver’s side and the passenger side mirror will tilt down when reversing. If you have it selecting the passenger side, it won’t tilt when reversing. I also like that all windows are a one touch up and down. Most other cars will only do the driver side as a one touch.
  9. Next we have the 18-way adjustable heated seats that have profiles mapped to the key, so two people can have their preferred settings without manually re-adjusting each time they get in. The car also has a heated steering wheel. It may not be useful on a hot day like today, but it’s amazing in the winter. 
  10. And the last item I like is having a personal little glove box on the left of the steering wheel. Perfect for sunglasses, protection or whatever else you’d like to put in there.

I also did a pole on some groups to see what others can’t live without on their F10 cars and here is what people mentioned. Some of the options that stood out to me were the cooling seats, my car only has heated seats. The adaptive suspension so that you can have sporty and comfortable ride and maybe the 360-degree camera system. I will be looking for these options as well when I shop for my next big luxury BMW.

5 Reasons to Buy a BMW Z4 E89

Today I’m going to talk about 5 Reasons Why You need to pick up a BMW Z4 e89 right now!

  • I’ll start by talking a little bit about the driving experience
    • If you truly enjoy driving and a car to you is more than an appliance. You’ll enjoy driving a Z4 every time. You are fully engaged in the driving experience whenever you are behind the wheel of this car. You get the wind and the sun, the unique sounding inline 6 or even the 4 banger, a manual gear box and a sporty, yet comfortable handling car all in one. With its sporty ride, a fantastic feel of the road and a cool breeze blowing through your hair, it’s hard to say no. This is not a hardcore sports car, more of a Grand Tourer that can act sporty when you ask it to.
    • The engines put into these Z4s were mainly the N52/N54 which were incredibly strong/award-winning engines with adequate power and a beautiful sound out of the in-line 6. The N20 engine is not as robust, but the later models are not a bad choice.
    • Not to mention, the N54 Engines are easily tunable to over 400 HP and even more torque which equates to more speed and even more dynamic driving experience.
  • The next reason for me is the looks
    • One of the main reasons to get this car is because of the unique BMW design.  She’s a timeless beauty that seems to get better with age and always puts a smile on your face. Whether the top is up or down, you’ll love the shape and aggressive but sleek design. It looks great as a coupe, and even better as a roadster. To me, it’s the only convertible car that looks just as sexy as coupe as it does as a convertible.
    • The exterior design also seems to be aging very well, most people don’t believe it’s a 12 year old design. With that long hood, It has the looks of a (future) classic and allows you to sit all the way back almost on the rear wheels.
    • The Z4 will put a smile on your face every time you get in and drive it, even if it’s for a simple reason that every time you park, you’ll turn your head to look back and glance at the unique shape. It’s art on wheels with long, sexy and voluptuous curves. Never seizes to amaze me how much of a head-turner this car really is.
    • The interior is exclusive, refined with those rounded knobs and integrated leather. It definitely takes inspiration from the Z8. It may look a little dated now; especially, with the old looking radio, but at least it’s not like many current BMWs that look the same on the inside.
    • Fun fact: This is the first and I believe only BMW to ever be designed by a team of women designers
  • The Next reason is Exclusivity
    • BMW E89 doesn’t look like the rest of the cars, it is not a common sight; especially in the Midwest where I live. Which makes this car very unique and exclusive. Not only is it distinctive from other makes, it’s even unique in the BMW family as this is the only hard top roadster that BMW has made in recent history. This makes it a very special and exclusive looking BMW on the road.
    • I’ve always loved cars with long hoods like the Mercedes GTS or the Dodge Viper, so being able to afford a car with this exclusive feature was a great feeling and just added to the classy, sexy and aggressive look that the car projects.
    • And if you think about it, it’s also excusive because you can only take one other person with you, which will make your lady friend feel very special!
  • Next, let’s talk about the value and cost of ownership
    • I believe these cars will be appreciating in value soon. People are starting to realize what a cool car this is and good examples are now being kept in garages. To be clear, not every Z4 will go up in value. As an example, my Z4 has lots of miles, a replacement engine and doesn’t have all of the fancy options or the top spec engine, but they still sell for more than the KBB value.
    • These cars also tend to have better specs and technology compared to other roadsters in this price range. 
  • Now let’s take a look at the cost of ownership and how it compares to other cars like this
    • For being such a unique and fun car to drive, it surprisingly is not crazy expensive to run and maintain. The N52 and later N54 engines are some of the more reliable BMW engines. The n20 engine is a bit of a troublemaker, but parts aren’t expensive. To learn which models are best, check out my videos on BMW Z4 Problems to Expect.
    • You also get lots of technology, especially on the higher trims that you wouldn’t get in the less expensive cars like the MX-5, which makes this car more suited for a luxury daily driver or a fun weekend cruiser.
    • Not to mention it’s cheaper than a Porsche Boxster.
  • Speaking of the Boxster, let’s compare how the two cars stack up
    • I have noticed a lot of people comparing the Z4 with the Boxster. While I do not deny that a Boxster is a great car, I do think the Z4 represents a better car for the money.
    • It’s less expensive
    • It has a hardtop and it’s arguably a more reliable and easier to work on car. The engine and many other mechanical parts fit from many other BMWs, like the 3 series, which are plentiful.
    • It’s also rare compared to the Boxster and even cars like the SLKs and MX-5’s. You see those on the road all the time.
    • Not to mention it’s one of the few roadsters that fits a person over 6 foot tall. My taller friend couldn’t get into the SLK or Boxster but just fits in this car.
    • Of course, if we take a look at a Porsche 718 Boxster,  it most likely is a superior machine in every ways, but when it comes to looks; especially, with the roof up and down, and looking at the price, it’s a very hard sell at being twice as expensive.

In conclusion, It’s just an amazing car, a great combination between Sportiness and Luxury. Enough modern features and tech giving you the best of both worlds, a beautiful convertible and a sexy coupe.  If you can afford the 35s or 35is then definitely go for those models for the great sounding, silky smooth straight six engine. If you cannot, the smaller engines are still a great buy as you will love looking at it, driving it, and love how you look in it.

5 Ways to Keep Your BMW Reliable

BMW is one of the most sought-after premium brands in the world. Blending power and performance with sporty appeal, BMW are sophisticated, classy, and pretty much everything you would want in a car. BMW, as well as their fellow German brands, put all their focus on performance. This can come at a cost to reliability.

If you are a BMW owner, tell us how you keep your BMW reliable down below in the comments.

  1. Do your research (Either before you buy or even after you have bought the car already)
    • Research common failures and be ready to deal with those and do the repair before it’s too late once you have the car.
    • Don’t buy or let your car become neglected    
    • Make an informed decision – get pre-purchase inspection, best way to have a reliable car when buying used is to buy a well taken care of car.
    • Realize that BMWs cost more to maintain, so if you are looking for one, include that in your budget. If you couldn’t afford maintenance on a new BMW and can’t work on your own cars, BMW may not be the best choice.
  2. Keep it stock
    • If you want your BMW to stay reliable skip the performance mods and concentrate on suspension, brakes and visual modifications. Squeezing more power out of an engine will decrease it’s like in most cases.
    • I’d also suggest disabling auto start/stop, especially on the early versions of the feature.
  3. Follow maintenance schedules for items as suggested in your service manual.
    • Excluding oil changes, change every 5k miles.
    • Hardtop roof must be maintained if you have one
    • Buy quality parts, not super cheap knock offs (point to sensor video).
  4. Preventative maintenance is key. When certain parts have ran past their expected life, change them proactively.
    • New OEM spark plugs, coils, air filters – let your engine breathe
    • Thermostat, oil filter housing, valve cover, charge pipe
    • Change gaskets as soon as you start seeing any kind of leak
    • Especially check for leaks around Oil Filter Gasket and Valve Cover Gasket.
    • Once you start seeing a leak or two in your cooling system, replace plastic parts of the cooling system.
    • Timing chain on certain engine if you’re well over 100k miles
    • Wash your car at a touchless carwash if you live in an area where they salt roads
    • Apply leather conditioner every 3 months
    • Lubricate the rubber parts so that they don’t crack and let water in over time.
  5. Learn how to work on your own car if you have the space.
    • Don’t go for crazy power unless you know what you are doing and can fix issues it may cause
    • Mechanic’s tools don’t have to be expensive, check out this video on the tools I use
    • Get a good BMW scanner
  • Drive it… often. Never let any car sit and become a garage queen
    • Don’t store it over winter unless it’s on a trickle charger
    • If the car sits, put it on a trickle charger, most modern BMWs use some power while sitting and will drain your battery putting unnecessary stress on your battery and alternator.
    • Most fluids also have a life time even if you aren’t using it. So, it is wise to drive car every so often and not let it sit.
    • Enjoy your car, don’t let it sit and ‘keep the value’ by not putting any miles on it. It’s not worth it.

Mechanical parts on BMWs are usually very high quality and will last a long time (other than certain engine specific issues like N20 timing chains that affect some engines); however, electronics and the use of plastic parts can cause issues down the road. These small things cause big problems for owners that don’t want to spend a lot of time at the dealer. So, that is something consider and another reason why most people stay away from high end BMWs on the used market.

BMW F10 5 Series Problems to Expect

In the video above we will be discussing some of the more common problems you can expect with your BMW F10 5 series car. The BMW F10 was sold from 2011 all the way up to 2017. So, as you can imagine the issues have changed over the years. New ones came up and older ones have been resolved by the BMW. 

To start with, I have had my BMW 550i xDrive for 2.5 years and I’ve done all of the maintenance and took care of the car myself. My BMW F10 was CPO car from a BMW dealer and I’ve had zero issues for the year I had the CPO. After the warranty expired, I have replaced the ignition coils and spark plugs, engine oil, engine filters and that’s it.

I will be concentrating on the US spec cars as these are the ones I know about.

Right of the bet, we can split the cars into pre-LCI (model years before 2014) and LCI cars (model years from 2014 on). I would absolutely recommend getting the LCI cars as you get more features and most of the models have also fixed a lot of the issues in the previous version of the car.

The car has a great built quality, there are no rattles and the car really held up well even after 5 years.

All cars have run flat tires, so rim damage or deformation is not uncommon. Cars across the board have also had some issues with water getting into the trunk, back up camera and sensors not working well in the cold and other common BMW problems you can expect.

528i (N52B30 2010-2011)

  • Very reliable cars, but getting old now.
  • Oil and coolant leaks are the most common culprit when it comes to these engines and can cause engines to overheat.

528i (N20B20 2012–2016)

535i (N55B30 2011–2017 in US)

  • Early cars aren’t recommended (2011) due to having too many of the issues
  • BMW 535s with N55 engine is probably the most reliable car out of the 3 models we are discussing today. BMW are know for making decent straight 6 engines and this one is a good engine.
  • Known issues on early cars:
    • Increased battery drain issue
    • Fuel Pump
    • Leaking oil filter gasket
    • Belt Tensioner going bad
    • Turbos have issues, people have had them replaced under warranty
    • Oil Filter Housing and valve cover gaskets
    • Coil packs
    • Fuel Injectors

550i (N63B44 2009–2013)

  • Excessive oil consumption, although more so in the pre-LCI
  • Ignition coils and spark plugs around 60K miles
  • Valve Stem Seal Job – my friend has had this done on this 40k mile N63TU engine right before his warrant ran out and it was an engine out job. If done outside of warrant this could cost around $5000.
  • Timing Chains are also a common on all years to a lesser extent and is obviously more prone on  higher mileage cars
  • Known issues on pre-LCI cars:
    • High Pressure Fuel Injectors
    • Hot-Film Air Mass Sensors
    • Engine Vacuum Pump
    • Fuel System Low Pressure Sensor
    • Fresh Air Intake Turbo Seals
    • Crankcase Ventilation Lines
    • Timing chain
    • Fuel Pump
  • N63 Customer Care Package
    • The highlights are:
      • Check the timing chain for stretch; replace if necessary
      • Check the following items and replace if necessary: 
        • fuel injectors
        • mass air flow sensors
        • crankcase vent lines
        • battery
        • engine vacuum pump
        • low pressure fuel sensor
      • Change the oil service interval to 12 months/10,000 miles
    • This has helped many vehicles and many owners reported way fewer issues after this CCP. 
    • Most dealers and private shops recommend even smaller (5-7k) mile oil change interval.
  • If you go for a 550, it pretty much has to be a 2014 model or newer. The original N63 engine had a lot of problem. In 14, BMW switched to the N63TU for the 550.

LCI 550i (N63B44O1 (N63TU) 2014–2017)

  • BMW has improved the engine a lot with this update as well as increased the power to close to 450 HP from 400. Very solid performance. 
  • Parking Camera and Sensors issues are somewhat common.
  • Oil Pump Gasket leaks happen on higher mileage vehicles.

In conclusion, I would recommend getting the BMW 535i or BMW 550i that is 2014 or newer as you will have plenty of power and decent reliability for this type of car. 

Is BMW Z4 the best daily driver?

If you are anything like me and like cars, you can’t make yourself drive a boring, slow car to work every single day without loosing your mind. This puts a lot of pressure on what to get as a daily driver and I think I have found the perfect one! Without spending a fortune, you can have a very cool and practical looking 2 door car as your daily driver!

Your daily driver doesn’t have to be a dreadful driving experience and you should enjoy some power and excitement every time you drive. Let me show you WHY the BMW Z4 works so well as a daily driver!

Since most commuters drive all on their own, you don’t need more than two seats. One for you and one for your laptop or a briefcase, it’s perfect.

BMW Z4 is low, feels fast even in traffic but you must be able to get in and out as it’s not as easy as it looks since the seating position is quite low.

Another great reason to get a BMW Z4 as a daily driver is that you get to practice your manual driving every time you are in traffic and the use those skills to go on the track and do some spirited driving there.

It can fit a suitcase and plenty of groceries as well as you and your passenger very comfortably, It’s an enthusiast car, so it’s only practical for a sports car. You can’t expect to go on a Costco trip and bring back a month worth of groceries, but it works well for most everything else.

Another reason BMW Z4 is a great daily driver is because it’s economical. Even though this is a sports car, you can get around 22mpg in the city and 34mpg on the highway but you still get around 240 HP to play with each time you drive.

It’s also very versatile, when it is nice and warm outside, you get to use the car as an awesome convertible cruiser and just enjoy the sun and great weather. Once it gets cold outside, you you gotta do is swap to some winter or all season tires and you have a very competent sports coupe to drive around.

If you worry about the ride quality for you daily driver, BMW Z4 offers a decent enough ride on OEM tires and even more so on non run flat tires. So if you want the best comfort, going with a good regular tire on the 17 inch wheels will do wonders. Now, if you are like me and enjoy the look of the car just as much as the ride quality, you can go with 19 inch low profile sticky tires for the summer and enjoy every minute of driving. With the regular tire and traction control off, you can also have lots of fun in the winter by sliding (controllably and safely) around corners.

What I also love about having a BMW Z4 as a daily driver is that you start taking less direct way home to enjoy your drive even more! You want to go on the smaller roads, not take the highway and just enjoy your time with the car every time possible.

As a perk of having only two seats and not a lot of cabin space, the interior the cabin warms very quickly as there isn’t much space to heat up

Last and probably most important for a lot of people, the BMW Z4 is as reliable as any BMW 128, BMW 228, BMW 328, BMW 428 or BMW 528 as they have the same engine and if you pay any attention on the roads you can see how many people actually drive those cars on the daily bases.