2012 BMW X3 Long Term Road Test - Maintenance

2012 BMW X3 Long Term Road Test

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2012 BMW X3: Tire Wear

January 8, 2013

2012 BMW X3

After more than 22,000 miles, the X3's tires — front and rear — have plenty of life remaining. There's ample rubber standing proud of the wear indicators. And the fact that we tested this SUV seems lost on these tires despite their very reasonable grip.

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2012 BMW X3: Tire Pressure Warning

December 17, 2012

2012 BMW X3

I got a TPMS warning on the X3 last weekend. Turns out, all the tires were about five psi low — no tire was a stand out. A few minutes with the air compressor and a tire gauge turned the light off.

Josh Jacquot, Senior editor @ about 21,000 miles

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2012 BMW X3: 20,000 Miles Behind Us

November 30, 2012

Milestone Banner.jpg x3_20k_1600.jpg

We are in month ten of our 12-month test and the odometer of our 2012 BMW X3 just reached 20,000 miles. That was fast.

So far we've spent nothing to maintain the X3. BMW's free scheduled maintenance plan covered these routine expenses. It's seen the dealer for an oil change, new oil filter, washer fluid top-off and, at one visit, a quart of coolant. Aside from the one-time low coolant warning, it's been standard stuff.

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 20,000 miles

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2012 BMW X3: Another Warning

July 10, 2012


So, a day after topping off the washer fluid, our BMW X3 sent us this message.

We made a quick trip to the local BMW dealer in Santa Monica, where they added a quart of coolant. Our receipt says this was due to normal evaporation. They also checked the pressure in the tires while the X3 was there.

And because of the 4-year/50,000-mile Full Maintenance Program, there was no charge.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 BMW X3: Checking the Oil

April 19, 2012


This past Monday I checked the X3's engine oil level. Took just a few seconds from the comfort of the BMW's driver's seat. A click here and a click there with the vehicle's iDrive dial and the SUV's computer told me the "Engine oil level OK".

Then I checked our records. To date we have added zero oil to the BMW's turbocharged 3.0-liter inline six. Not a drop in nearly 7,000 miles of driving.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Cheif @ 6,812 miles

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2012 BMW X3: Before the Oil Change

August 14, 2012


Our long-term 2012 BMW X3 didn't come due for its first oil change until about the 14,500-mile mark, but during my big road trip, it did ask for a quart of oil.

The request for a top-up came at 11,771 miles (conveniently, during a fuel stop), and since we were less than halfway into the trip, it only made sense to comply.

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2012 BMW X3: First Service Lesson

August 10, 2012


(Photo by John DiPietro)

Following Erin's 3,000-mile road trip, our 2012 BMW X3 was due for its first service. Our first option was a phone call to Long Beach BMW. It went something like this:

Us: We would like to schedule a service appointment.

Them: Ok, my first available appointment is Monday.

Us: Monday? That is 4 days from now. I just need an oil change.

Them: (Pause) The first available appointment is Monday, sorry.

Us: No thanks. We'll go to another dealership. Bye.

Our next option was Santa Monica BMW. In the past we've alternated between it and Long Beach, depending upon which was most convenient at the time. Historically, we preferred to avoid Santa Monica due to mediocre service. But it was worth a shot. We drove straight over without calling to take our chances...

We pulled into the serivce drive at Santa Monica BMW and were greeted by an advisor. He was courteous and processed our paperwork quickly. "I should be able to have it back to you later this afternoon," he told us. Instead, the car was ready hours before we expected it. In all, our X3 was parked in their garage about 90 minutes. Not too bad without an appointment. It has certainly taken longer in the past.

Over the average year we go through about 100 service visits on long-term vehicles. That means by now I've been involved in well over a thousand of these encounters. For a long time I supported the idea that it was always best to call for an appointment. But over the past year or so I'm more and more inclined to just show up. Just get there early.

As a walk-in I've never been turned away. And as long as the advisor knows you're waiting for the car, they will typically find a way to process your vehicle in a reasonable amount of time. If the car requires extensive work, it is still a good idea to talk it out with an advisor first, and plan the visit. But this experience may have taught us a lesson. The next time we need only an oil change or tire rotation, we're going to try showing up unannounced.

Total Cost: None

Total Days out of Service: None

Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 14,540 miles

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2012 BMW X3: Oh No, a Red Exclamation Point

July 09, 2012


Seems like such a serious warning for the washer fluid level.

Mike said I should go to BMW service and have them do it because their washer fluid smells so good and service is free. But I had some already, so I used that. The washer fluid I used is mostly water mixed with 1% eco-friendly plant-based cleaning agents. It is not for climates below 32 degrees F.

You wouldn't think that choice of windshield fluid would be a big deal. But in California, where the air is brown, windshield fluid used to be a contributor to smog. The older formulas produced ozone when heated up. The new CA-approved fluids are earth friendly unless you need the type designed for freezing temperatures.

BMW's washing system cleans not only the windshield but the headlight covers and pulls liquid from the same reservoir. It was easy to access and fill up. The spout is small and shallow so I used a funnel to make it easier and more precise. It is hard to see how full the tank is getting though. It runs along the side of the car and is not all that visible. The manual says it holds about 5 quarts. I only had 3 so that is what I put in.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 10,573 miles

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2012 BMW X3: 7,000 Miles To Go

April 23, 2012


As you can see, according to our X3's iDrive system, the BMW is in good health. The computer also tells us that the crossover will need an oil change after another 7,000 miles of driving or in December of 2013, whichever comes first.

Considering we've already driven the X3 7,000 miles in just three months, we'll probably be changing its oil sometime this summer.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 6,986 miles

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