Some cars always stick out in your mind: your favorite car, your dream car, your first car, but for me, it’s the worst car that we ever owned. Don’t get me wrong, I loved this car with my whole heart, but man did it do me dirty. The BMW 328i is notoriously riddled with problems and issues regardless of generation. In fact, I hated our first BMW 328i so much that I just HAD to buy another one. Does that make sense to you? No. Well, it didn’t to me either, but here I am.
My Abusive Ex of a Car
You read that right. When I describe our E92 BMW 328i – meaning it was a 2009 coupe generation – I can only describe it in one way. The car is like being in an abusive relationship; high-highs, low-lows. Overall, I think in my heart I did love the BMW 328i, and that’s why I ended up with another one. When it ran well, it was one of my favorite cars we’ve ever owned, but those moments were rare and it seemed to be riddled with more headaches and problems then I could ever imagine.
So I guess I should start by saying that this car wasn’t purchased as a project car. It was my fiance’s car that he intended on using as a daily driver, and at some point in time I just happened to be driving it more often while he was more partial to the Dodge Viper that sat in our driveway – you know, the one that I didn’t blow up.
A Comprehensive List of The Downward Spiral
If you’ve ever owned a BMW, you know that when one thing goes wrong, it typically leads to more problems. That seemed to be the case for us and whether or not some of the problems are related, it definitely felt like this car was out to ruin my entire life.
When it all started, I don’t really remember. Owning the car turned into a blur of bad memories of late-night repairs in the garage, on the side of the road or in parking lots wrapped in a shroud of constant stress and gambling on what would go wrong next.
The differential was first. My fiance was driving the car to our friend’s wedding – or maybe it was the rehearsal, whatever, not the point – and somewhere along the beautiful river-side road that is US1, he took a turn and the differential decided it was it’s time to go. We had it towed back to the house and ordered a new differential. Differentials are heavy, and that’s an important thing to note because while we were replacing the differential the second worst part of this story comes about.
Now, I have had a lot of unpleasant things happen to me while working on a car, including having oil and grease dumped onto my face and into my mouth, or even having a high-pressure fuel rail split and shoot gasoline directly into my eyes, but being underneath a car infested with those giant huntsman spiders when you have relatively no room to move and are helping someone who is holding a heavy object up while you torque down bolts is terrifying. I’m no arachnophobe, but I can’t imagine anyone who would love that experience.
But Wait, There’s More
So the differential went out. Big woop. But wait, there’s more. Not long after the differential went out I was driving to the gym and noticed the engine bay was producing more smoke than usual. By a lot. The car wasn’t running hot and it wasn’t dumping enough smoke for me to think it was a blown head gasket, and after rolling my window down to try and inhale the smoke (I apologize for my chemistry professors who taught me better than this), I realized it was coolant.
I pulled into the Walgreen parking lot to inspect and discovered that the cheap rubber hose that BMW uses – that is known to break – did in fact break, and was dumping coolant out all willy-nilly. The best part is that the E92 is also known for it’s cheap, delicate plastic. So after a trip to the auto part store, we returned to replace the hose. The hose which, regardless of our attempt to delicate remove it, was attached to a – you guessed – cheap plastic housing that connected to the radiator. This, of course, shattered into pieces and meant we had to now replace the entire radiator, which we did right there in the parking lot.
The End Was Near
At this point, we were over the abuse we had received from this car, and even though it was hard, we decided it was time to let it go. We listed the BMW 328i and the day that the new buyer came to pick it up, I was driving it home, and got one last little nail in the coffin- or rather, the tire. Now, I know it is not at all the fault of the car that I got a nail in the tire, but at this point, it wasn’t really helping. The nail, of course, wasn’t through the tread, but completely through the sidewall of the tire and would require a complete replacement.
We knew the car was prone to problems and sold it to a very nice couple with the agreement that if they had any major problems in the next few weeks we would take care of it – after all, we didn’t want them to go through what we had. A few weeks passed and the BMW was back in our garage with an oil leak, one of the most stereotypical BMW problems there ever was, and after one final repair (replacing the valve cover gasket) the BMW was done breaking and would be out of our lives forever…
Until I bought another one.