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Maintaining a BMW 320d amidst multiple road trips & drives

Maintenance of a car is as important as driving hard and enjoying road trips.

BHPian Dr.AD recently shared this with other enthusiasts.

My last update in this thread was in December. It has been three months since then and I somehow lost track of updating this thread. So decided to catch up on the backlog, and update the thread with events since December.

In January, I did a few long drives in my Thar 4x4, and used my 320d only for a few short drives, like this impromptu drive to Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary.

Again in February, I did a few short drives, and then one long drive across Karnataka with a few fellow BHPian friends.

Although there is a separate travelogue of this drive (link given above), sharing a few pictures from that drive here just for the sake of completeness of this thread.

Our convoy posing next to the quintessential Hampi structures:

Drive to JLR King's Sanctuary:

Another drive I did recently in 320d was a solo drive to JLR King's Sanctuary. I did two safaris there through Nagarhole Tiger Reserve. Unfortunately, I did not see anything special in the safaris, but had a good time enjoying the rides through dry summer forests anyway. Roads from Bangalore to JLR King's Sanctuary are very good now, and in the 320d, it was a very quick drive.

Entering JLR King's Sanctuary

I just casually checked in our Bangalore Bhpians' 4x4 group if this was one of us. And indeed it was. Turned out this Thar was of BHPian @turboNath. He and his father were there, and it was awesome to meet them and have dinner with them. Both @turboNath and his father are extremely nice people, both travel a lot and have tons of travel stories to share. It was a great experience to meet them and exchange road trip stories with them. Their enthusiasm and passion for road trips were inspirational, to say the least!

Coming to my jungle safaris there, as I mentioned above, I did not see anything special. But sharing a few photos I could manage to click there in our safaris through Nagarhole Tiger Reserve.

Maintenance Updates:

Timely maintenance of the car is as important as driving hard and enjoying road trips. A few maintenance updates since the last report:

  1. High Security Number Plate (HSRP): Ordered my HSRP online and got it installed by the BMW dealer. Overall process was very smooth and streamlined.
  2. Front Brake Pads replaced: When I was about to drive to the service centre to get my HSRP installed, the CBS notification popped up in iDrive that I needed new front brake pads at 1900km. Once the brake pad life comes under 2000km, then it can decrease further very rapidly (it is a nonlinear drop in brake pad life). Further, I had two long drives planned for the following two weekends. Therefore, I decided not to wait for those 1900km, and not to jeopardize my two planned long drives. I asked my Service Advisor to replace the brake pads the same day when I went for HSRP, and I replaced the brake pads 1900km in advance of the CBS indicated life. That ensured peace of mind for the following long drives and also saved me one more trip to the service centre soon.
  3. EGR Cooler Recall: During the same visit to the service centre, my Service Advisor told me my VIN is under another round of recalls for EGR Cooler replacement. Luckily, they had the part in stock and the EGR Cooler in my car was replaced under this recall, free of cost to me. This was the second time my car's EGR Cooler was replaced under this long recall campaign running for many years now. Overall, my car's EGR system has been inspected thrice under this recall so far, and twice the part was replaced as mandated in the recall policy. Related thread and discussions.
  4. Unsolved Issue (under watch) - Delayed engine start on hot starts: As the car's odometer is now touching 95,000 km (in fact, I just recently crossed 95,000km), I do expect a few issues and niggles to pop out, and I am prepared to take care of those. The first "age-related" issue that has surfaced in the last few drives is this: When I drive the car for a few hours in one go (say 3-4 hours) and then switch off the engine, and then for some reason try to start the engine immediately again (say within next 5 minutes or so), the engine does not start in the first crank. There is a noticeable delayed start, as if the battery was dead. The engine does start after a couple of cranking attempts. This is only observed when these two conditions are met: 1. The car is run for a few hours together, AND 2. I try to restart the car very soon (within a 5-minute break) after shutting it down (basically a hot start). Battery issues are ruled out since the car starts absolutely fine on cold starts. In fact, my car is often parked for a week (during the work week) or sometimes two weeks (when I take my Thar for a weekend trip), and even after two weeks, the car starts absolutely fine in the first crank. Thus, the battery is fine. Also, my SA told me that when the battery voltage drops, I will get a notification on iDrive to replace the battery (this I have seen on other F30s too). So the battery is fine for now. In fact, even on those hot starts, when the car struggles to start immediately, if I let it cool down for 30 minutes, the car starts again absolutely fine. So it is not a battery issue. Further, the engine temperature is all normal. Thus it is not an engine overheating issue either. It is some mystical "hot start delay" issue. Incidentally, it is reported by many users in the international Bimmerpost forum, and globally it is a somewhat common issue in F30 320d. The most common solution is to replace the starter motor. This is often a problem with starter motors with age. However, my Service Advisor checked everything and told me my starter motor was fine too. In summary, he could not find anything wrong and asked me to watch out if I get any other errors on iDrive soon before deciding on what to replace. So for now, I am living with this problem and watching out for some other symptoms or errors.
  5. Excellent service by Kun BMW: All the above were done at my usual service centre, Kun BMW (earlier Navnit BMW, now taken over by Kun), and as always, I had an excellent service experience there. I am very happy with their service and support and continue to have a great relationship with my Service Advisor and the service centre in general.

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