Apr 102013
Fern Green 1999 BMW M3

14 years young

My 1999 BMW M3 turns 14 this month. I’ve owned the car for almost 10 years, having bought it with less than 16,000 miles. The first birthday story back in 2008 still says it all on how I feel about the car.

It’s been a busy year keeping the car in top shape. That’s because I made the decision about two years ago to focus on preventative maintenance to keep the car in optimal condition for the long-term. So in the past 12 months I’ve refreshed the cooling system (a known E36 weak point), replaced the rear shocks and gave the car a DIY tune-up.

This past weekend I did an oil change, a very basic task but still satisfying to do yourself. While the car was up in the air I also rotated the tires front to back. The Yokohama S Drives I have on the car are directional, meaning I can’t swap¬† them side to side.

After that, I used an orbiter to buff out the scratches left over from the large dent someone left on the right rear last month. Paintless dent repair took care of the dent, and the polish got rid of about 90 percent of the scratches.

After 14 years my M3 has less than 59,000 miles on it. It’s still a more entertaining drive than 98 percent of the cars on the road today, and makes me smile every time I get behind the wheel. When the new M3 comes out next year, my car will be superseded by three generations of bigger, heavier and more computerized BMW models.

BMW doesn’t make cars like this anymore, and I’m happy to invest some time and money to keep the car in pristine shape. If you can research procedures and follow basic instructions you can really reduce the expense. And for me DIYing some of the work adds greatly to the ownership experience, especially in this age of disposable consumer goods.



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