2015 BMW 328 - must switch brands now


Drove my 328xi for a little over 25,000 miles after I purchased it at 50,000miles. My serpentine belt snapped and shredded as I was driving home. Then a tap noise started from the engine. I asked BMW what I should do and they tried to charge me 15,000 for an new engine. The car isn’t even worth all of that. Super disappointed because BMW has always been my favorite car make. Sadly might have to change to a different brand now.

That sounds (no pun intended) like a situation where the engine has been run dangerously now on oil. How often do you personally check the engine’s oil level?

Doesn’t the 328xi have no dipstick?
If that’s the case, it means the level is checked from the dashboard, and a warning light comes on if the level is down a quart.

is it inline-6 engine?
Most likely: YES.

If it is such, these engines are known for quite peculiar defect:

  • if serpentine belt gets shredded…
  • the shards roll around the harmonic balancer and damage the front crankshaft seal
  • the parts of that seal are pushed inside …
  • and they are sucked into the oil pickup tube
  • now, the repairs are usually to replace the seal and belt, but rubber shreds are still there
  • these shreds starve the engine of oil
  • eventually it gets mechanically damaged

That could certainly be true. I am not familiar with the electronic features of BMWs.

That being said, my Outback has a dashboard warning light that comes on if the oil level falls by one quart, but it has never illuminated (except when the ignition switch is first turned) because the engine also has a dipstick, and I make sure that the oil level never falls more than 1/2 qt below the “full” mark.

That 328xi is a turbo 4.

the trouble I described is definitely present in pre-2010 328xi with inline-6

I do not know if turbo-4 shares the same problem

for what it’s worth, Volvo is also known for the similar issue

it’s better not to let your belt worn to the point of breakage on any car, but it’s quite fatal for europeans it seems

I bet it does, I think they share a lot of the same design.


for your entertainment:

skipping to finals: as you increase RPMs, your oil pressure DROPS :frowning:

easy to check for metal shavings on the filter and not even to get your hands dirty… love this design piece!

You bought a used car with 50k miles and drove it for 25k miles before the serpentine belt snapped. My assumption is that not once pre-purchase or during the 25k miles you drove it did you inspect or have inspected the belt for problems. Those are not lifetime parts with an infinite shelf life.

You did not state as much, but my assumption right or wrong is that you continued to drive the car with a tapping noise. That leads me to ask the question was the engine very low or near out of motor oil?

At this point I think you are misplacing the blame.


Not knowing OPs maintenance habits, we can only speculate whether it’s a lemon or just neglected.


Is that why some people seem to have all the lemons and others have none?


Once again, we’ve proven the point it’s not wise to buy a used european luxury brand car . . .


In almost all cases though a snapped serpentine belt is preventable. So is driving the car with a snapped belt. Or with the oil pressure light on. Or with a leaking auto transmission that starts slipping.

It’s been mentioned on this board a number of times in the past that someone should not have a maintenance service done at a dealer “because it’s a ripoff and all they do is check things”. (paraphrased)
That’s exactly right. They do check things like belts, tires, suspension/steering components, brakes, and so on. The purpose is to try and prevent surprises; such as a serpentine belt breaking.


Simple trick with European cars, trade them in at three years or 36,000 miles, which ever comes first.

what specifically did they say why the engine needs to be replaced? Belts snap all the time, but seldom cause secondary damage.

research how it goes for relatively new Volvos and BMWs and you will be surprised

for Volvo, the shreds of the serpentine belt damage the timing belt plastic cover, shredding timing belt and killing the engine

for BMW, as I’ve recently learned, it ends up damaging the front seal and dumping rubber into the oil pickup tube, once again killing engine

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Is there not a screen inside the oil pickup tube on this engine? Is it not possible to remove the oil pan, remove the oil pickup tube, and either back-wash it to remove any debris on the screen, or simply replace the oil pickup tube with a new one?

If the engine is shut off before engine damage occurs. Many people can’t be inconvenienced by warning lights, dropping gauges or knocking sounds.