I just hit the 3-year mark of ownership on my BMW E92 M3. I recently put out a video on some of the quirks of owning one — but to really celebrate the 3-year mark, I thought it would be a good time to outline what it’s been like to daily drive the car, and to reveal all of the bumps (and fun) along the way.
My choice to pick my M3 has been well documented. I previously owned a fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro for a little more than two years, and I wanted something more. I originally wanted to jump to a newer Camaro, because it had just been released back in 2016, but I always wanted a M3 — especially “the one with the V8.”
I purchased the car “the Doug way,” through CarMax — and, of course, with a warranty that saved my butt financially.
After my positive warranty experience, I didn’t write much about how my car was going. I occasionally posted some content about the light modifications I did to it — like adding a Borla ATAK exhaust, a M Performance alcantara steering wheel and a few carbon fiber bits, but I wanted to go deep and provide insight to what it has been like for the last three years.
The daily drivability of this car cannot be praised enough, in my personal opinion. Since February 2016, I’ve driven the car all year round, through all the seasons — including snow, and yes, that sadly means the salt that comes with it. In the warmer months, I run the 19-in black wheels from the GTS wrapped in Michelin Pilot Super Sport tires — and in the cold/snowy months I run a stock set of 19-in wheels wrapped in Bridgestone Blizzak tires.
I feel like I’m not your normal “M” car owner, in the sense that I personally try to attempt to do things with my car you wouldn’t expect a M3 owner to do. Want your doggy to ride shotgun? Need to collect a set of wheels? Ship a large box? Purchase a hose wheel? Transport a very large bean bag chair? You can do all of that with this car. Need proof?
The car is how I get to work, and it also doubles as my weekend warrior. If you live in Northern Maryland, you can spy it at your local cars & coffee. Driving it long distances isn’t a concern, as I’ve driven the car from my southern Pennsylvania home to Ocean City, Maryland — and as far as north as New York. It takes me everywhere I need to go.
Nerding out on Numbers
From the day I bought the car until February 1, 2019, I’ve driven a total of 25,398 miles. I average 8,508 miles a year — and to break that down, it comes out to about 729 miles a month. Admittedly, between the months of November to April, the average can be far lower at around 400 miles. The big difference is car events to drive to in the warm months. In the winter, while I daily my car, I don’t actively seek driving in sub-30 degree weather.
Mileage is mileage, but everyone wonders about the cost to run the car — the maintenance and upkeep. Of course, the first thing anyone is going to tell you is that it’s expensive to maintain an E92 M3 and to keep one on the road. Of course, ownership can vary from car to car, but here’s how it’s been for me.
To start, oil changes on this car are a little pricey. There are kits you can buy from tuner shops online — but still, you’re looking at around $100 in just oil. I’ve done five oil changes during my ownership. BMW’s service intervals are apparently every 15,000 miles — and early on, I completely ignored that, and I changed it around every 3500 miles. Now I choose to stretch it to around every 7,000 miles.
Regarding some other service item costs during my ownership, with all of the labor done by me:
I flushed the brake fluid with Stop Tech Racing STR 600, which ran me $68.
I needed to replace my battery when I could tell it was not holding a charge on my CTEK charger. I chose a comparable battery, a Duralast Platinum AGM battery for $200.
I’ve replaced the engine air filter and the cabin air filter, and I replaced a missing leaf collector which ran me $104.
I was fortunate that, in diagnosing my car during its warranty issue, the shop replaced all of my spark plugs — so I haven’t changed them since.
Although my 8,500 miles a year isn’t especially high compared to some, I do daily drive my car on a work commute — a 40-minute back road country drive with only a few stop lights and a few stop signs. This low stopping route has apparently saved my brake rotors and pads, as they still have plenty of life left.
Adding up all these costs and a few other oddball costs like windshield wipers and a Blackstone Oil analysis, my M3 has only cost me $1,436 in maintenance in three years — though that price will jump soon give or take $1000 when I buy new tires this April.
Of course, maintenance only tells some of the story — and the good ol’ warranty that saved me over $6,000 in repairs only has around 15,000 miles, or two years, left on it. Based on my mileage, those two could be achieved around the same time — so in roughly two years I will be driving around in an E92 BMW M3 without a warranty. Is that what I want? Well, it’s a question that has been going through my mind from the first day of ownership — especially after the warranty issue. But, with these remaining two years of warranty, I plan on using the car for more content.
If you want to get a sneak peak to some potential content about my car be sure to follow me on Instagram and check out my “M3 Chronicles” on YouTube, which is a video dump of anything with the car — sometimes small clips, sometimes bigger videos. For now, I hope that provided some insight into daily driven E92 BMW M3 ownership.