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1990-2000 BMW 3 Series (E36) Cars: 5 Tips to Deeply Reduce Repair Costs

Posted by Alexandra Martin-Banzer
July 12, 2014 at 1:12 pm

From the 318i to the M3, the E36 BMW is loved by many enthusiasts. It’s a style that has transcended the generations. With most of the cars from that era coming up on being 20 or more years old, it is make it or break it time for the engine and drivetrain. These German cars will keep on going well past 200,000 miles, but not without essential maintenance along the way. Here are five tips that will help you reduce repair costs and deepen your love for your BMW without shortening your pockets.

1990-2000 BMW 3 Series (E36) Cars: 5 Tips to Deeply Reduce Repair Costs

1) Regular Maintenance

While consistently checking your oil, changing out the fluids, and other types of general maintenance may seem obvious, owners forget how essential these little tasks are. Your E36 engine is an orchestra, performing a grand piece whenever it turns over. If all the fluids and filters aren’t attended to properly, something bad is sure to happen. The outcome of this – costly and inconvenient breakdowns.

2) DIY

German cars have the reputation for costing an arm and a leg for repairs. Instead of taking your car to a mechanic, work on it yourself and drastically reduce repair costs. A good place to start when looking for DIY repair manuals is The Motor Bookstore.  Working on your pride and joy at first may seem frightening, however the chances of you causing permanent damage are very low. There are two promised outcomes when doing your own maintenance on your BMW: more money in your bank account and the feeling of accomplishment after taking a few steps back.

3) Outsourcing Parts Purchases

A sure way to rack up your repair costs is to go straight to a BMW dealer for parts. The beauty of the web is that purchasing your own parts has become cheaper and safer. With a little Internet sleuthing, you will be able to find a website with good reviews in no time that will help you reduce repair costs. A majority of BMW forums recommend They offer discount rates and are known for their customer service.

4) Knowing Before Going

If that clunking isn’t going away and you want to bring in a professional, read up on your E36. A proactive BMW owner who has knowledge about the steps, challenges and details of a specific repair will be able to potentially reduce repair costs by reducing the risk of a mechanic taking advantage of them.

5) Immerse Yourself

The cherry on top of reducing your repair costs is to join the world of BMW completely. This means becoming a member of your local BMW club or joining a popular forum such as and Becoming a part of the culture allows you to talk with other enthusiast about tricks and tips to save money on repairs.

BMW love is a unique love. As owners, and I am one as well, we talk constantly about the reliability of the cars thanks to their German background. This relationship is tested though every time we hear an odd noise or notice that the performance is off. These signs can mean expensive repairs are upon you. The quick easy tips we discussed above allow for Bimmer owners to continue motoring on, and doing the things necessary to avoid high repair costs.


Alexandra Martin-Banzer is a content writer at and a freelance writer. Known as a car girl, she is a true automotive enthusiast of both classics and new.

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