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From digest.v7.n1369 Tue Mar 24 14:13:34 1998
From: "J. M. Gammon" <>
Date: Mon, 23 Mar 1998 15:25:48 -0800
Subject: Re: <E36>3 Series Reliability?

N. Camden Kneeland

>>>>>In the Edmund's rating system, the '94 3 series received a reliabilty
rating of 7.7 and the 95 an 8.9! See: and

Why is there such a dramatic difference in the reliability ratings? I've been told that no major mechanical changes were made in the E36 from MY 94 to 95. Could the introduction of the ti and M3 have that much of a positive effect on reliability; and if so, why? Note that the rating is for the entire 3 series.<<<<<

I can't speak for '94 vs '95 but I can speak for '94 vs '96. My first E36 was a '94 320i (Canadian spec which my mechanic told me was basically made to conform to Scandinavian regulations and admitted via some kind of bilateral agreement). My current car is a '96 328i. Here's the problems list for each car:

'94: failed alternator at 14,000 km, clutch shudder, wonky driver's seat, ill-fitting glove box and center dash vent, creaky doors, blown fuse left rear taillight, HVAC dash lights failed but could be brought back with a solid "thunk" to the side of the center dash section.

'96: failed ABS sensor, broken hood release cable. The latter could be my fault: it was frozen shut in the winter after a car wash followed by plummeting temperatures. I attempted to open it to add washer fluid and I forced the mechanism. Eventually it failed. Oh, and eventually the clutch pedal developed a squeak and was fixed with a squirt of lube by the mechanic during an oil change.

That's it. The '96 is far better made, no question about it. Of course, we aren't dealing with statistically representative samples here, just personal anecdotal experience.

Mike Gammon
'96 328i

Are there any other internet sources with reliability ratings for the E36 models?

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