So I’ve owned my car for just over a year now and when I bought it, it was already on 105,000 miles. Now after a year it’s coming up to 117,000. Reliability obviously springs to mind, but should it?
Factoring in consumables, repairs and upgrades how much has my car cost me for a years ownership and should you be put off buying a 100,00 mile plus car?
I’ve personally never been put off by any cars mileage as service history is far more important. I’d much rather have a car with 100,000 miles on it that has been used as a motorway cruiser and serviced properly than a 30,000 mile car of the same year that’s just been used for pootling around town and not serviced properly.
My car has the 3.0 N52 block which is renowned for being very reliable but some of the other bits around it could potentially go wrong.
Starting off with the consumables, these are things you have to replace, so tyres, brakes, discs and petrol.
So far then I’ve had 4 new tyres (technically 5 but we’ll come on to that), I went for the super sticky Michelin Pilot Sport 4 and have those all round at a cost of about £140 per corner so £560 for a set.
I’ve also replaced the front discs for £135 and pads for about £50.
Fuel economy isn’t actually all that bad for a 3 litre, general driving it’s usually somewhere between 24 and 27mpg and on a long run I’ll be closer to 40 providing I have a gentle right foot. A full tank and a long run should see me close to 400 miles.
Maintenance costs, so things I didn’t particularly expect I would be changing. The rear shock absorbers started to leak and although they didn’t desperately need replacing I didn’t want to take the risk as the MOT was due. I went for standard Bilsteins at a cost of £189. Note that my Dad is a mechanic and I’m fairly handy with a spanner so I’m saving a lot on labour costs by doing it myself (himself).
I could have saved a lot of money doing an oil change myself, but it has a full service history and I intended to keep it that way so that was £127 for the oil, filters and a full health diagnosis. At the same time I got them to change my brake fluid at a cost of £60.
The most labouring job that was done would be when my DISA valves started playing up. There’s two of these that sit underneath the intake manifold and regulate the airflow into the cylinders, quite a common BMW fault that occurs usually after 70,000 miles. A few hours work to take the manifold off and replace. Cost £165.
Around Christmas time I had a crack in my windscreen that was too big to repair but that wasn’t a big deal really £90 to autoglass and was replaced in a few hours.
My latest maintenance issue has been my vanos solenoids which is very common to get blocked up, you can either go down the route of getting them cleaned out and saving some money but I decided on some new OEM ones from BMW which was a much bigger outlay than I was expecting. For 2 solenoids it set me back around £220. I also made the stupid decision to buy some from ebay before that for £40, unsurprisingly they didn’t work.
I currently have what I think is a cracked PCV valve but I haven’t fully diagnosed it yet, I’m unsure what the cost would be either. I’m also not sure whether to really count it as a problem though as I have a feeling it is a self inflicted damage from tinkering with something else.
I could go down the route of getting my valvetronic changed as it’s slightly lazy but as it stands it’s not affecting anything so I’m not worried about it.
Now for the fun part, the upgrades.
The first thing I usually do is sort out any cosmetic parts that I wasn’t quite happy with, this one was no different except I’d barely got the car home before I was on eBay ordering parts.
I saw that the paint had started to peel on the wing mirror covers and didn’t really like that they were body coloured. I managed to find a pair of black ones for about £20 a side. I didn’t realise how little these items cropped up for sale as my friend has had a 123d for about 2 years and still not found any for sale, gutted.
I also went for some new grilles with the M style double slat and all black, I didn’t like the chrome surrounds at all and the all black gives a far more aggressive look. That only cost about £30.
The most important part for me to change first though was the interior trim because it had this nasty “wood” finish so that went and now have just the standard silver metallic look plastic, a bit tatty but just needs a bit of a clean. That was £60.
In my eyes the yellow daytime running lights had to go, I was quite lucky with the spec on my car because it had the angel eyes fitted so it only cost about £30 to replace the bulbs for LEDs rather than the few £100 to get a whole new unit.
The naturally aspirated 3.0 straight six sounds incredible but felt like it was lacking a bit of character from the exhaust. And by character I mean boyish pops and crackles. the type that would have my dad who’s in his 50s giggling like he’s 10. I dropped it off to EMP performance and let them work their magic with a custom built stainless steel cat back exhaust and middle silencer delete. The car has been completely transformed with perfect tone and plenty of pops on the overrun, the most important part too, is it doesn’t drone on the motorway which is what steered me away from doing a decat. All together the exhaust cost me just under £600, so far the biggest outlay since buying it.
I got some new wheels from RTEC in St.Albans, I had wanted to get new wheels. But, on this instance I was forced to as one of my wheels cracked and caused me to completely disintegrate a tyre. Not to mention that tyre had been fitted that day, because obviously that would happen. (Refer back to the 4 new pilot sports) £600 for the Fox racing MS007s, £150 for a new Pilot Sport 4 and £150 for the recovery from the M25 at 1am after my blowout. Not a cheap month.
At the same time as getting the exhaust I got a remap too because the 125i comes severely detuned despite having the exact same engine as the 130i hatchback. I guess BMW didn’t want the hatchback to be ignored. An easy enough map from EMP and is now pushing close to 270bhp perfectly quick enough for a B road blast. I’m not entirely sure how much I paid for the map as I had the exhaust done too, but I think it was roughly £300.
I have plenty more upgrades in the pipeline such as a gloss black rear diffuser, front splitter and Bilstein B14 coilovers. I’m also contemplating a 1M style front bumper mainly for the looks but also my current one has a lot of stone chips.
A small gloss black lip spoiler would be a welcomed addition to making everything look that little bit more aggressive.
Overall I couldn’t be happier with my car considering that I only paid £6500. Whenever I think of potentially replacing it all I can think of is my current car, I think providing nothing goes seriously wrong then it could stay with me for a long long time. The total costs for a years ownership with upgrades and repair was roughly £3200. But I certainly wouldn’t expect to spend that much in the year coming as I don’t have many plans for big upgrades and fingers crossed the maintenance is mostly sorted for now. Certainly an expensive year but I wouldn’t say it’s terrible considering I’d have spent much more in terms of depreciation on a newer car.
So should you be put off from a 100,000 mile motor? Certainly not, make sure the previous owners have looked after it and make sure you do the same. The most important part is to accept anything that comes your way and enjoy every single mile of your glorious lump of metal. Who knows how much longer we’ll be able to do it.