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Nice guy eddie
 
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Best way to research a particular car online:

I've found that when someone asks about a particular car or truck model here, what you get back are mostly anecdotal stories about someone that someone knew who had one, (or 10 model years older), and it really sucked.

Of course, that is the nature of the beast since people don't talk about how great their car or refrigerator is unless you specifically ask about it. Bad news travels like wildfire but also gets distorted in the old "game of telephone" phenomena.

Is there a way to find aggregated data about, say, how many people w 2012-2015 BMW 5-series cars had serious mechanical or electrical problems? Besides Consumer Reports, does anyone else do it?

I'm trying to rationalize the purchase of something like the above because they are dirt cheap compared to new and offer amazing style/performance/technology. The only deal-killer would be outrageous service and repair costs. I find that when I ask here, I get one or maybe two actual owner/users and a half dozen stories about someone's sister's brother's dog trainer's hairdresser who had one and it exploded.

Ok, I exaggerated a little there but you all know what I mean. Do I need to be the guinea pig and buy one of these heaps to add to the data collation?

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Old 04-06-2018, 07:10 PM
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I found this recently when shopping for a winter SUV for the MS - I think you can insert any make/model:

https://www.carcomplaints.com/Acura/MDX/
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Old 04-06-2018, 07:27 PM
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LWJ LWJ is offline
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Newish? I like the IIHS safety reports. Lots of info there.
Old 04-06-2018, 09:12 PM
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Nice guy eddie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LWJ View Post
Newish? I like the IIHS safety reports. Lots of info there.
Safety reports are definitely important but all of the cars Im looking at are among the safest in the world. Im more concerned w major repair issues.
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Denis
"It was either Voltaire or Charlie Sheen who said, 'We are born alone. We live alone. We die alone. And anything in between that can give us the illusion that we're not, we cling to.'" -
-- Gabriel byrne
Old 04-06-2018, 09:31 PM
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When I'm researching something I get on the forums for the exact model. Then I tend to paint a picture of it along the lines of "Why do so many Audis have electrical problems" or "Why do VW Golfs blow up the gearboxes."

You can also go to the dealer and ask to talk with the service manager, and ask him what sort of problems to expect with...
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Old 04-06-2018, 10:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speeder View Post
Safety reports are definitely important but all of the cars I’m looking at are among the safest in the world. I’m more concerned w major repair issues.
Probably best just to do a targeted search across the internets.

For the car you mentioned you can search under its internal designation, which for that generation of 5-sereies is "F10". Probably better if you can narrow it down to exactly which model you are considering as well (535i vs. 550i, etc.). Then you can also search for issues relating to the specific engine (N63 for the 550 and N55 for the 535, etc.). Just combine that info with search terms/phrases like "F10 maintenance issues", "N63 common problems", etc.
The bulk of the info out there will probably come from the various Bimmer forums and the YouTubes. Good luck.
Old 04-06-2018, 11:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speeder View Post
I've found that when someone asks about a particular car or truck model here, what you get back are mostly anecdotal stories about someone that someone knew who had one, (or 10 model years older), and it really sucked.

.....
You're one of the TRUE car guys here Speeder, and know yer stuff. I reckon I can dismiss all that bs you've posted about cars you've never owmed now...hmmm

You know anything about a 917 or a ********?

I keed ya man
Old 04-07-2018, 01:31 AM
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I tend to find the most experienced technicians at area dealerships and ask them what they see. Not only can they relay their direct experience, but they're always aware of factory tech bulletins and other things like that. I have also spoken to regional service managers for the car manufacturers, but it's a little harder to track those guys down.

I'm never found any sort of comprehensive service information on the Internet.
Old 04-07-2018, 04:25 AM
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Car forums for that model are generally the way to go. If it is an older model and there is a club, they often can even tell you specifics about a particular vin. However, be wary of info on a general forum that happens to have a section about the make you are interested in buying vs. a forum dedicated to that make. For example, on Expedition Portal (a fantastic site for overlanding and outdoor adventure) there is a Land Rover forum that is some what helpful, but there are Land Rover forums like Defender Source that specialize in a specific model (in this example Series and Defenders) that will drill right into the good, the bad, and the ugly of that model. Regardless of how you proceed, take all advice on the internet as input and use it to do your own research as often the advice is worth what you paid for it.
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Old 04-07-2018, 04:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by speeder View Post
how many people w 2012-2015 BMW 5-series cars had serious mechanical or electrical problems?
Worried about the timing chain guide boogeyman on the F30 ?
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Old 04-07-2018, 06:18 AM
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Google... Yes, I only get the horror stories, but hey, at least it tells me what to look out for. Lots of reading though.
Old 04-07-2018, 08:28 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LakeCleElum View Post
I found this recently when shopping for a winter SUV for the MS - I think you can insert any make/model:

https://www.carcomplaints.com/Acura/MDX/
Thanks for posting this site. I clicked on the link because I have a 2003 Acura MDX. Guess what problem I have. Transmission! It is in fact the second transmission. Anyway, it's soon to be for sale.
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Old 04-07-2018, 08:49 AM
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Nice guy eddie
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by javadog View Post
I tend to find the most experienced technicians at area dealerships and ask them what they see. Not only can they relay their direct experience, but they're always aware of factory tech bulletins and other things like that. I have also spoken to regional service managers for the car manufacturers, but it's a little harder to track those guys down.

I'm never found any sort of comprehensive service information on the Internet.
Thats good advice and I was thinking the same but short of driving around to dealers and finding a friendly service writer who has actually been on the job for years, I need a shortcut. The guys at the dealer are absolutely the ones who know, though, you are correct.

A couple of times lately, I needed to speak to a shop foreman or master tech at a VW dealer and had no luck on the phone. All I needed was the latest recommendation on a manual transmission oil fill level. It has changed since the car was new. The service writer put me on hold and walked in the shop, asked a tech who knew a lot less than me and came back w the wrong info. When I asked if he was sure, told him I did not think it was correct, he asked again and got a different answer. If Id been satisfied w his first answer, Id have been fked.

Im rambling but in past years, Ive met and been helped by shop foreman, techs and writers at dealers.
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Denis
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Old 04-07-2018, 11:06 AM
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Service writers fill in the blanks on pieces of paper or on computer screens, they are not very technical. Service managers are more paper pushers than technical. That's why I say, if you want the answer you've got to ask a technician. If you want a right answer, you have to ask a technician with 20 or 30 years experience. I always ask my questions in person, too, as opposed to over the phone.

That may not be helpful if you don't have those relationships already in place, but they are worth cultivating if you plan to own a particular brand of vehicle for a long period of time. The three technicians that I use the most often, I have had relationships with for 30 years or more.

Failing that, your second best bet might be rummaging through Internet forums, if you can find any that are worth a ****.
Old 04-07-2018, 12:26 PM
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MRM MRM is offline
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Does JD Powers report statistics like that in a format that is available to the public?

The best way I've come up with to research older model cars is to simply Google reviews for that make and model. I'll search for that year and the years after it because the reviewers are always more candid about criticizing a previous year's model when they report on the updates and upgrades of the new model.

As for BMWs of that era, I can give you one data point. I bought my 2011 535 as a CPO in 2014 partly as a reaction to my loved/hated Audi RS6 breaking down so often and so expensively. 2011 was the first year for the body style and the first year they went to a single turbo instead of the previous twin turbo. I'm now 4 years into the car and have a little over 110,000 on it. Other than the dings and rash that comes with parking ramps and daily driving frost-heaved roads, it looks and works like new. I'm going to keep driving it because it is worth almost nothing and is still as good as a new car to me.

It has never had a mechanical breakdown. I can hardly remember anything it needed other than maintenance and wear items with two exceptions. First, the alloy rims are high performance to a fault. They bend it the slightest unevenness in the road and crack if you just pass a pothole. They are expensive and infuriating to replace. Finally I got smart and bought a set of aftermarket rims from Tire Rack for barely more than the cost of replacing one BMW OEM rim. That's by far my biggest complaint. The only other thing that went wrong has something to do with the gas tank vent. It malfunctioned and triggered the check engine light. The dealership said it's about a $750 job to replace the vents and reset the CEL, but that there's no reason to spend the money because the only consequence of the malfunction is that the CEL is on. So for now I am driving with a lit check engine light. It's a little disconcerting, but it does not have any effect on the car. If I cared, I'd take it to a local independent shop instead of the dealer and get it fixed for half the BMW quote.

From talking to others in the local BMW car club, the 2010 and later BMWs are quite reliable. I think they're underrated because they supposedly have less soul or character. That apparently means they have become more comfortable and reliable. Mine's sporty enough to do driver training with the BMWCCA and hold its own. Sure, it's meant to be a highway grand touring sedan with a pretense of sport rather than a sports car that can be driven on long trips, but that's why it fits me.

For what it's worth, Dinan has an absolute beast turbo upgrade available for the 2010 and earlier 535 (with the twin turbos) at an incredibly low cost. After my car was out of warranty I looked into after market tuning and salivated over the specs of the previous model's options and cost. So maybe you can look into a well maintained by cosmetically challenged 2010 or older 3 series or 5 series, drop the Dinan tune into it, and you'll have an inexpensive high performance Q Ship.
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Last edited by MRM; 04-08-2018 at 10:02 AM..
Old 04-08-2018, 09:58 AM
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Forums are really your best bet. Even the non car people will join a forum when they have problems. Sure you'll get a long list of problems, but at least you know what to expect. BMWs are easy because there are so many forums for them.
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Old 04-08-2018, 10:06 AM
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Forums are good, but it is useful to keep in mind that they can overrepresent problems. A model-specialist forum is sort of this closed ecosystem of knowledge about the car that knows every single problem that might occur on the car, how, and why. It is great for letting you know what all possible issues are, but it is easy to get the impression that a given problem is more statistically significant than it really is.

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Old 04-09-2018, 11:28 AM
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