I like BMWs but I want an automatic. I know how to drive a 5-spd but others will drive the car that do not. That is an old car. I know that automatic transmission is going to die.

But, I've always wanted to work on cars, just not all cars. I need motivation. I want to work on my car, one that I want to fix. I'm not trying to do it for a living.

I've seen the other beginner, which is a good car to start on, but this is specific to BMW E30.

2 Answers 2


Simple answer - no more or less than other cars of their era (late 80s - early 90s).

That was the age when cars started to get more complicated and electrical, so they are harder to fix than the previous generation, but much easier than a newer car with loads of electrics. The engine is all fairly accessible (especially if you get a 4-cylinder 316 or 318) and the structure all fairly traditional.

The biggest issue with them tends to be rust. Obviously this will depend on the climate where you live, but in the UK most of them have disappeared in the last few years as the cost of structural repairs has exceeded their value.

Don't try working on the gearbox yourself as a beginner, they are generally an expert topic - but there should be plenty of secondhand ones around if it does fail.


I'm in the same boat. I bought a 1990 320i convertible to learn fixing old cars while still having relatively reliable but not too complicated technology. (and living in Germany lots of spare parts and people who can help you out when you get stuck)

So far the biggest work I did was to change the timing belt on the engine (6-cyl). It was my first time, took a lot of time but it was fun and very doable. Next item is changing the brake discs and pads.

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