Common problems with BMW 316i

BMW 316i

The BMW 316i is a stylish and reliable midsize car. It also performs outstandingly and it is very innovative. However, the BMW 316i comes with multiple issues. But what are the common problems with BMW 316i?

Common problems with the BMW 316i are engine overheating, suspension problems, oil leaks, and gearbox issues. Furthermore, other users have reported experiencing coolant leaks, air conditioning problems, failing electrical parts, and a burning smell in the cabin.

What are the common problems with BMW 316i?

Engine overheating

One of the most common problems with the BMW 316i is the engine overheating. This issue is rampant in the E30 model, which was made between 1982 and 1991. This problem is normally caused by a malfunctioning thermostat, a failing head gasket, low coolant levels, a damaged radiator, and a broken water pump.

Aside from the above issues, engine overheating in the BMW 316i can also be caused by a worn-out timing belt or a faulty fan clutch. To fix this issue, you should always ensure that the engine has the right coolant level and quality. On top of that, you should check the parts that we’ve mentioned and fix them if they are damaged or faulty.

Oil leaks

Another common problem with the BMW 316i is oil leakage. This issue is also common in the BMW E30 model, made between 1990 and 1998. Some of the parts of the car that users reported experiencing oil leaks are the transmission, engine, and differential.

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Nonetheless, it is the valve cover gasket that many users report to have oil leaks. When the valve cover gasket wears out, it can cause oil leakage. Some of the signs of oil leakage are a decrease in engine performance and a burning oil smell.

To fix this issue, you will have to replace or repair the damaged or worn-out part, such as the valve cover gasket.

Suspension problems

Suspension problems are common in the 1998 to 2005 BMW 316i models. Many owners have reported experiencing issues such as worn-out ball joints, worn-out control arm bushings, and broken sway bar links. These problems can lead to uneven tire wear and clunking noises when going over bumps.

To fix suspension problems, you will have to fix the underlying problems.

Coolant leaks

Like other BMW 3-series models, the BMW 316i also features lots of plastic parts that wear out quickly. This includes parts of the cooling system, which may wear out and leak coolant. That’s why it is vital to inspect all your plastic fittings, reservoirs, and clips.

If you want to fix this issue, you should check the worn-out or damaged parts of the cooling system and replace them.

Failing electrical parts

The BMW 316i relies heavily on its electrical system to work perfectly. And since the electrical system in this car is highly advanced, many things can malfunction and lead to failing electrical parts. Some of the common electrical problems in this car are issues with the engine management system, faulty electrical accessories, and problems connected to the battery or alternator.

To fix electrical issues, you need to identify the underlying problem, such as a dead battery, blown fuse, or even faulty wiring, and fix it. 

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Fuel injection problems

Another common problem that BMW 316i users have reported about is fuel injection issues. This issue is common in the 1982 to 1991 model years. Fuel injection issues in this car are normally caused by a faulty oxygen sensor, clogged fuel injectors, a damaged mass air flow sensor, or a malfunctioning fuel pump.

Some of the signs of failing fuel injectors are engine stalling, engine misfiring, poor fuel efficiency, or poor acceleration. To fix this issue, you will have a professional BMW mechanic inspect and replace the bad parts. 

Rust issues

Even though not so common, rust is another problem that BMW 316i users should be prepared to deal with. Some of the things that cause rust on this car are moisture, road salt, and other environmental elements. Rust is common around lower door sills, the underside of the car, rear window frames, and on-the-wheel arches.

Ensure to treat rust in time to avoid structural damage and costly repair.


Is the BMW 316i reliable?

Yes, the BMW 316i is a very reliable car. Besides, the BMW 3-Series is the most reliable BMW series in the market. The BMW 316i is a very reliable car because it registers few problems than most of its rivals. However, like most BMWs, the cost of acquiring spare parts is considerably higher than most of its competitors.

How long does the BMW 316i last?

With proper care and maintenance, the BMW 316i can last for more than 200,000 miles. In some cases, users or owners of this car have clocked more than 250,000 miles. This means that this car can last up to 15 years with good care and maintenance. On top of that, proper driving habits should be exercised.

Is the BMW 3-Series more fuel efficient than the BMW 2-Series?

Yes, the BMW 3-series is more fuel efficient than the BMW 2-series. This is because it provides up to 36 highway mpg, while the BMW 2-series provides up to 34 highway mpg. In addition, while the BMW 3-series provides up to 26 city mpg, the BMW 2-series provides up to 24 city mpg.

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What is the most reliable BMW 3-Series model year?

The BMW 3-series is one of the most reliable BMWs and midsize luxury cars on the market. Nonetheless, the most reliable BMW 3-series model year is the 2006 model year. This car has registered the fewest issues in the BMW 3-series history. It is also one of the most reliable BMW model years ever.

Is it expensive to maintain the BMW 316i?

Yes, maintaining the BMW 316i is pretty expensive. This is because the cost of parts and services are reasonably expensive. On average, the BMW 316i costs around $773 to maintain annually. However, when you compare this car to its rivals, you will find that it is way costlier. Most luxury midsize cars cost about $739 to maintain annually.


All in all, the BMW 316i is one of the best-performing and innovative midsize luxury cars on the market. But as expected, it also comes with multiple issues as discussed above. Nevertheless, with proper care and maintenance, this car can last for more than 250k miles.

However, users should be ready to spend more than average to maintain and run this car.

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Edwin Odipo

Why do you love writing about cars? Cars make our lives easy. You can visit your distant friend, relative or even rush to the grocery store a few miles from your home with a lot of ease. Imagine how life was before the invention of cars?? To me, cars are a blessing that made life more convenient.

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