Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used BMW X3 4x4?
BMW has been known to be tardy when it comes to updating the X3’s sat-nav, so see if you can find out if and when it was last done.
Also bear in mind that although most versions of the X3 have four-wheel drive, it is not an off-roader in the same way as a Land Rover. If you need a car that can also cope with journeys off the beaten track, look elsewhere.
Other than that it’s a case of carefully assessing the car’s general condition, looking for damaged panels or kerbed wheels, insisting on evidence of servicing and using the online MoT history check to verify the mileage hasn’t been tampered with.
All X3s use timing chains rather than belts. On early examples of the 20d this includes BMW’s N47 engine which has been known to suffer timing chain problems when used in other BMWs. For peace of mind, it might be worth tracking down a facelift car with the later unit, known as the B47.
What are the most common problems with a used BMW X3 4x4?
The rear spoiler fitted to some cars made between 14 July 2017 and 22 February 2018 could fall off. The early sign of this is that you might hear additional wind noise when it starts to come loose. Speak to a BMW dealer to find out further information, because they'll need to fit improved fixings to solve this issue.
Restricted fuel supply
A problem in the fuel tank of examples made from 16 August 2016 and 21 January 2018 could lead to restrictions in the fuel supply and cause the engine to stall. If your car is affected by this, it will need to have the fuel system inspected by a dealer in order for repairs to be carried out.
The rear Isofix restraints on cars constructed between 1 August 2010 and 15 April 2016 could work loose over time. A BMW dealer will be able to tell you if your car is subject to this recall and book the car in for repairs. To prevent this from happening again, additional reinforcements will need to be welded to the mounting points.
Front passenger airbag
A small number of X3s built before 2013 could have a problem with the front passenger airbag not deploying correctly in a collision, so contact your BMW dealer to find out if your car is affected by this.
Power steering failure
An electrical issue with the power steering system could cause it to fail on X3s built between 19 September 2011 and 8 December 2015. The driver may notice heavier steering than usual if it does fail. Affected examples will need to have a new power steering system fitted to fix the fault.
There have been three recalls for leaking EGR coolers and apply to various models built between 5 August 2010 and 24 October 2017. With such a broad timescale, contact your dealer for further information, because you'll need to have the vehicle inspected if it is suspected to be one of those affected.
Is a used BMW X3 4x4 reliable?
With an ageing fleet of examples, this generation of X3 is slipping down the reliability rankings and only managed a lowly 17th place finish out of a class of 23 large SUVs. The news doesn't get any better because BMW as a brand came in a disappointing 21st place out of 31 manufacturers.
If you would like to see the full reliability list, head to the What Car? Reliability Survey pages for more information.
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