IS THE E36 A GOOD DAILY DRIVER? (or a terrible mistake)

IS THE E36 A GOOD DAILY DRIVER? (or a terrible mistake)

what’s up guys welcome to the channel
thanks for clicking on the video and I hope that you all are having a good day
if you’re not put a big smile on your face because today we’re all driving the
m3 and anytime that I get to drive an 36 it’s a good day so as you can tell
from the title of today’s video we’re gonna be talking about the e36 and if
it’s a good daily driver or not now there’s a bunch of things that you need
to take into consideration a couple big things and we’re going to dive into
those things and see if we can’t come to conclusion on if I would recommend daily
driving in the 36 now for those of you who have been subscribers to the channel
for a while you know that I don’t daily drive my e36 m3 I bought it with low
miles it now has 78,000 miles it’s a 1999 and I kind of want to keep the
miles low but but I still have a lot of fun with the car as you guys know that
being said although I don’t daily drive my e36 I have owned it for two years and
I feel like that’s given me a pretty good idea about what this car is all
about and the setbacks and the positives to daily driving a car like this
so if the e36 is either going to be your only car or it’s going to be the car
that you’re relying on for your daily transportation and you have a second one
of the big things that you do need to take into consideration is if the car is
going to be reliable now with BMWs that kind of seems to be a
little bit of a controversial subject I did a whole video on the things that I
think you need to do to an e36 or even an e46 or e30 to make that car
pretty much bulletproof and reliable for three hundred fifty thousand miles or
more if you haven’t seen that video go ahead and click this card up here and
watch that and then come back to this video because it will help you
understand a lot more about reliability simply put these cars the engines
themselves the whole drivetrain engines transmissions differential all that
stuff is really bulletproof the problem is it’s the stuff around that can go
wrong especially on an older car now that’s just not going to be e36
specific any older car is gonna have things like vacuum lines bushings and
mounts get old and wear out and they’re gonna need to be replaced
all that stuff aside though there’s a key few things that you do need to
replace and once you do as long as you take care of those few maintenance items
the car’s not going to give you any problems so if you’re looking into
buying an e36 what you need to do is make sure that you’re buying the car
from someone who has taken really good care of it and replaced things when they
needed to be replaced otherwise you’re gonna have years of neglected problems
that you’re buying into that are gonna end up costing you possibly as much as
the car itself if you bought a cheaper e36 that’s two or three thousand dollars
but if you find one from somebody who’s a car enthusiast who’s taken really good
care of them and has replaced those little things when they needed to get
done and been really faithful with the maintenance you’re gonna have a
bulletproof car and as long as you take care of the stuff that I mentioned in
that video you’re not gonna have any problems and the reliability is gonna be
good I don’t know if you guys can hear the
little snow pelting the window right now but it’s snowing right now so we have to
make this kind of quick so I can get home before the snow gets too heavy and
even if you buy a really good example if the car has ten miles and it’s as old as
these things are still gonna go wrong things get old and wear out and so every
once in a while you may have to replace things
lucky for me I personally have not really had any big breakdowns in the car
has been extremely reliable especially because I beat on this thing so hard man I love driving this car I’ve met
multiple people on my ownership of having an e36 that have theirs with over
250 300 350 thousand miles on the original block and the original
transmission in my ownership experience I’ve never been stranded once or had the
car leave me broken down on the side of the road and it’s because I took care of
all the common problems that you need to take care of to make this car
bulletproof so we have that first thing aside reliability now on to the second
big thing that I think you need to consider when you’re talking about a
daily driver that second thing is is the car practical so as far as practicality
goes the e36 is a great option for that one of the reasons is you can get the
car in so many body styles you can get a coupe like I have which still has back
seats or you can get a sedan which has four doors so just extremely practical
or if you like to have the top down in the Sun in your face you can buy a
convertible too and if you’re not in the United States you can even buy one
that’s a wagon and it’s probably the most practical out of all the e36’s
that you can get this little corner right here oh my gosh that was really slick in the
snow oh we good so along with the practicality of having different body
styles I feel like you need to consider comforts and all the creature comforts
that come along with a car the cool thing about an e36 is if you get the
right models and you get the right options you can pretty much have this
car come equipped with everything that most modern cars would have besides
things like a backup camera or something for instance you can get an available
moonroof you can get dual automatic climate control you can get heated seats
and in the winter package that you can get in these e36’s I’ve talked about it
in the video you can watch here you can even get them with heated door locks and
heated windshield wiper nozzles so that those won’t freeze up in wet snowy
winter weather they also come with onboard computers that can tell you your
average fuel consumption as well as a little dial up here that can tell your
instant fuel economy you can have it tell you how many miles until empty and
just a bunch of other things like that that you find on modern cars e36’s can
even have automatic down and up windows which is pretty cool now I know all
those things are just small creature comforts and a lot of people looking for
e36’s just don’t really care about that but when you’re talking about daily
driving it really does make an impact on how practical and how comfortable the
car is when you’re in it every single day if you’re gonna compare it to a more
modern car like it say a Subaru BRZ or a Toyota 86 you’re really not
missing out on any of the creature comforts and that makes e36’s
especially a good daily driver and now on to the last and possibly one
of the most important things that I think you need to think about when
you’re looking into a daily driver and that is is the car fun because anyone
can buy something like a Toyota Corolla that’s going to give you reliability and
practicality but it’s super boring to drive and you’re not going to be happy
or excited to hop into that car and drive it every day the cool thing about
e36’s is they’re rear wheel drive they have really fun chassis that
are ultra communicative and they just have that fun factor that most cars are
missing it’s already getting kind of slick you
can leave the car stock and have a really good time or if you want to get
into a few little mods to enhance some things you can do that too and make the
car just that much more custom to the way that you want it to drive and that
much more fun whether you have a 318 a 325 a 328 or an m3 like mine you can get
in the car every single day and have it put a smile on your face so that when
you get to work or when you get to school you not only did it reliable and
practical but you also had a lot of fun on your a to be driving and you know
maybe that’s why a lot of people fall in love with e36 is and buy more than one
or when they sell one end up just upgrading for another one it seems like
people who own e36’s end up being cult followers and really get into
the cars and maybe that’s one of the big reasons all right there’s one corner up
here it’s kind of slick on the road but I’m gonna see if I can pull a little bit
of a drift on it we’ll try not to spin out man it is like butter on these roads
right now anyways guys I hope that if you’re looking into buying an e36 this
whole conversations that we had today helped you kind of realize what what
kind of e36 you needed to look for and even if the car would be a good fit for
you as a daily driver I personally have considered buying on another e36 as a
second one like a 328 or something that I can daily drive because this car is
just so much fun that I hate only driving it on the weekends I wish that I
could drive it a lot more so if that tells you anything about what my opinion
is on daily driving as long as you buy the right one man these are great daily
drivers and I would really recommend it to anybody so if you guys enjoyed our conversation
today make sure to give the video a big thumbs up and show some support and if
you’re not subscribe to the channel and you want to see more hit that subscribe
button and the notification bell next to it so that you guys don’t miss an
episode if you’ve been watching for the last couple episodes you know
that we’ve got some pretty cool stuff coming up that I am really excited to
dive into thanks so much for your support guys and I will see you in the
next one let’s see if we can get some drifting it on this roundabout up here oh gosh it’s so slick holy cow I better
get going 596 by the III

About the Author: Michael Flood


  1. Nice vid as always👊🏻, but you forgot the hatchback version (compact). Have a e36 station myself, and its hell a fun. And i am looking for coupe now

  2. I daily drive my 323ti, 260tkm (160k miles) when i got it, after 3 years now up to 306tkm (190k miles). No big issues, never left me on the road, basic maintance, oils, lambda sensors etc nothing major has gone wrong. Next summer i will do a cooling overhaul and plan to drive it for atleast 4 years thru my university studies.

    I had a Renault Megane before this for a little over a year, had soooooo much more problems and had to sink sooooo much money to keep it running versus my bmw.

  3. What's up the only one u can make it daily drive if its 318i 4 cylinder that's fine I have 2 e36 one 325i 1995 with 109k an the second is 318i 1993 with 200k an still running fine I love these car …

  4. I've had my 99' M3 as a daily for about 6 years now. It has only left me stranded twice, once was a battery the other was the radiator. The cooling system is the achilles heel of these cars, I upgraded to an over the top cooling system. Never selling this car, it rules the mountain roads.

  5. I don't know why people talk about bmw and vw being unreliable.
    They have small problems that you need to take care of, but they will literally outlive you if you do those little cheap stuff.
    They're the kinda cars that will give you small problems once in a while (still less often than a lot of other brands, really don't know why people hate on german car's reliability when they're more reliable than 80% of other cars) but you will never have a real engine failure. And I'd rather have that than a car that won't give you problems but that will have really worn out bearings and piston rings and low compression at 170k miles.

  6. I had e36 Touring with M52b28 swap, fully track ready
    I was dailying it
    But I sold it because rust and too much thing needed to be replaced for years inspection and I needed to get something more daily capeable so now I own 98' BMW e46 sedan
    Great video and fun

  7. We dailied out first BMW in 1998 for 8 years. It was an E36 328is, got it brand new and we owned it (my mother and i) till 2006 and clocked 378,000 kms. We replaced the ABS pump once, and the transmission (we launched it incorrectly and it was our fault). We replaced the usual things such as arms, tie rods, shocks, springs etc over the years. The only time it screwed us/left us stranded was the waterpump exploding at around 140,000 kms, it took the fan, fan clutch and the hood insulation with it. That said, everything is solid as you said as long as you maintain it. I just picked up an E30 325i as my "new" daily and track car, it has a solid base (obviously some wear and tear here) but cheap parts. Any car can be a good daily, IF you keep on top of maintenance.

  8. I daily drive my e36 m3, and it works for me! It has all of the creature comforts that I'd ever need, and it makes every commute a blast! It sure wakes me up in the morning before work haha

  9. Great video man I think you covered just about everything. Also congrats on hitting 15k subs ! Im trying to catch up lol

  10. I bought a BMW e36 320i 1994, and I was in love with it, had no problem with the gearbox, motor or anything, but when u get under it, you will see alot of rust.. :/ Hopefully one day I get to fix it and take care of it like you should with a E36 😀

    Love your videoes btw, keep going! (Sorry bad english)

  11. I daily an E36 M3 in the mountains of NC. Kirkey racing seats, back half roll bar and all. Only car I own. Does everything I need it to do. Late model cars are numb and boring. E36 M3 is… not. 😜

  12. Love my 1998 328i 5spd sedan 263k miles and counting love that beast. Fixing her up little by little. Btw does anyone know how to fix the right turn signal out mine got water in it and idk what to do replaces the bulb!

  13. i just got my 95 M3 with a 98 m3 engine swap for a steal. It's an auto but looking forward to your 6 speed manual swap videos so i can get an idea of how much it will cost and how much time i would need to do the same on mine. Love the videos!

  14. I daily drove my E36 M cabrio last summer when I was inbetween daily drivers. Most fun car Ive ever owned, but not the best daily since the back seats and trunk are small. Biggest problem for me was leaving in parking lots and at the airport as I was afraid someone was going to scratch or ding it.

  15. i daily'd my first E36, a 328i sedan, for two years, 100 mile commute 5 days out of the week and it never left me stranded. Recently got into a E36 M3 coupe and I am convinced that E36's are the best cars I've owned so far.

  16. I agree with Gavin 101% here! Only one thing that i think should have been told is – Don't buy e36 as your first car, ever. Because 1) them 36's are fast as hell, trust me. For example my 320i with 328's camshafts and a mod or two besides that was wrapping 100km/h on 8 seconds. Todays 330 (325 stroked) rounds it at 5,8 – 6sec. now 2) metal construction is not very good on e36s, actually it's pretty bad. It bends like paper. So for any new driver – be extremely careful. These cars are fast af but keep in your head you have almost no protection without suficient rollbar inside. and my favourite 3) once you get into the BMW e36 community, there's no backing up! When you just find all the mods and possibilities, oh my… if you're like me or Gavin for instance, you'll spend at least 70% of your free time either looking on DIYs or buying car parts 😅 oh and maybe as thing number 4) you have to know at least thing or two about mechanics if you wanna own e36. As Gavin said, there will be parts that need changing. And if you don't know some basics, shops will usually rip you off and you miss half the fun.
    e36 is enthusiast's car on main level. It can serve really good as daily but keep in mind that even if it's sedan, it's still mostly sport car.

    As for reliability and durability – my slightly powered 320i had 334,000 when i took the engine out. Broke on me just once – bad alternator. Once! And I took the engine out just to put stronger one, it still runs as new.
    Now in regards to comfort – honestly it's not the best car, seats are old, no (seat) heating and all that crap. So you can't really compare it to M2 or M4 or these sick plastic things on four wheels you can buy nowadays, but nonetheless enjoyment you get out of this car is through the roof and more than make up for that.
    Only downside is fuel economy, if you live in Europe (and you can even register it because of Euro2 tier)… You have to ready your wallet for the fuel. It's expensive here but hey you live only once right!

    Top quality video Gavin, and i'm so happy to see you actually having some fun with mister M on the streets 🤗catching them curves ey 🤩 Cheers!

  17. Daily an E36 m3 auto. As much as I wish it was manual I live in the city and can be stuck in traffic for hours at a time. Good Suspension is a must, good brakes are a must

  18. My first and still is a 318ti, 13 years strong! In that time ive purchased a 328ic, m3ic, 328sedan(sold) and two rare super cheap 318ti project cars. Its a full house.

  19. My first car is an e36. Has overheating issues like the rest of em. I’ll what’s wrong but atleast I can drive it a little

  20. Hey Gavin, great video as always. – Question – Did your M3 come with that computer? and how can I find one? Mine has fewer buttons and I'd like to upgrade it. Cheers

  21. ive had my 325i as a daily for 6 years radiator blew up and i replaced the whole cooling system one day besides that not much issues just normal maintenance probably faster then a gt86 to not to mention sounds better straight 6> flat 4

  22. Ive bought an 95 325is & ive been daily driving since August .. not one issue. Ive reinforced my whole rear end & put a new clutch & thats all ive done for her to run good

  23. I dont daily but i sure do give it a go on the weekends. Not sure if you've mentioned previously but what tires are u running on?

  24. You guys in the U.S got lucky with the M52 engine E36's, everyone else got the aluminium block M52 aka the butterblock… I'd strongly suggest you look at 325i E36's over the 328i if you're outside the U.S and Manual over Auto. and don't touch a 4 cylinder one for the love of god if you want reliability…
    My current 1991 325i Manual E36 Sedan (U.S missed out on 1991 models) is awesome to drive and a super reliable daily and my previous 1993 325i Manual Coupe was also awesome but didn't quite handle corners as well as my current 4 door sedan does. Also worth noting I live in Australia so the usual E36 wear and tear on trim pieces can be a nuisance because it happens twice as fast here. Mechanically they are awesome and incredibly easy to work on, cosmetically they can be a bit iffy especially if they see the sun a lot but regardless they are a great car and extremely fun. If you get a proper one with a 141kw+ 6 cylinder it will be easily comparable to the Toyota GT86.
    In fact my 1991 325i is quicker with stock engine parts and handles better with the coilovers I have installed than an 86 with a catback and stock suspension, for the price of the E36 325i and coilovers you get more car and more performance in comparison to the GT86 in my opinion haha

  25. I've owned my 97 m3/4/5 since 2011 and its the most reliable car I've owned. Bought it with 150K+ and drove it for 5yrs in the San Francisco bay area 60+ miles daily not including the extra curricular drives on weekends. My 2006 330i had more issues with electronics and tranny than my e36. Just like most cars the cost of maint. is "pay-to-play". But if you do all the needed before it becomes an issue, it will never leave you stranded. My e36 currently sits @ 240K and no major work needed besides a clutch needed soon from "wear-and-terror". She sits more these days now, but will never sell it.

  26. I don't know why but I recently started to love E36 sedans whit fern green and tan interior. Still loving the estroil blue coupes with white interior though.

  27. I daily drove mine.. but city fuel economy just wasn't there for me. So now I daily my civic, and honestly its fun too

  28. They are bulletproof as long as you maintain them correctly and take care of them. Most muricans are just too dumb to do so …

  29. I'm in South Africa, I own a 95 m3, this is the "euro spec"
    Is it a good daily driver, well it depends what you compare it to. It's a very mechanical car and that's what makes a good "driver's car". Comparing it to something newer, the clutch is a bit hard, gearshifts are notchy, etc.

    It's a great car to drive fast but not so great for sitting in traffic, plus the fuel comsumption sucks. Car is pretty reliable, the only major issue was front subframe that I reinforced as mine was torn on both sides where the engine mounts go onto.

  30. Whats a good first car that i can actually find man, i'm having so much trouble finding any cars in the same state

  31. you are correct. My 318 puts a smile on my face every time i drive it.. just regular drive and i like it. And i like your videos, like the toning or video profile you are using

  32. Great video I love having my e36 m3 as my daily driver. But it sucks I haven't got to drive her for more than 30mins in the past 4 months. But the motor is almost done being rebuilt and I'll be driving her again.

  33. Use to drive my s52 328is everyday clutch kicking and abusing it for two years straight. Broke a trans bought a trans got four more years of hard abuse out of it lol

  34. the e36 has easily become one of my favorite cars, I’m gonna start driving soon and I’d like it to be my first car would you recommend it?

  35. Awesome vid!! I now (past 3 months), daily drive my '93 328i. Have it for 3 years now. almost 37k kilometers on it. Best cars ever!!

  36. 1999 323ic e36 240k miles, Iv put about $6k into it, a few upgrades, the rest maintenance. Got it for $1000. But don’t get the convertible. Sooo many microswitches, sensors, motors, cables that go bad ALOT. So then if you need rear shocks, like me, you can’t replace those without fixing the top on my case because the locking motor gears were stripped out. But besides that yes great car, engine is sooo good even with high mileage. But do plan to rebuild it so I can supercharge it. Complete bolt on kit you can get.

  37. Great video once again, for me my e36 m3 was a huge mistake! Let me tell you, Always been a bmw fan my whole life. Finally it was time to get my first car. My mother had a e34 525i she bought since new a kept it (the car was a 93 so it’s 4 years older than me) so the car wasn’t running . Few months after I turned 18 and finally saved up enough by myself (luckily) to buy the car . I always called the m3 my dream car (mainly because an m3 seemed so far out of reach as a kid growing up) so I bought a aesthetically beautiful arctic silver one with 160,000 miles. Luckily before we got rid of the e34 I knew to take out the m50 mani :). Being 18 with my first car it felt great and I loved driving it. Sadly my fun lasted 3 and a half weeks. Turns out my motor blew from “oil starvation” the inlet cam was scored it’s been uphill from there. I’ve spent $1,500 before the mechanic decided to tell me the head was done. So now it sits in my driveway. It’s been 3 years since. I got a B5 2.8 to daily hoping it’s be reliable. Wrong. I’m 22 now , Soon I’ll hopefully find an affordable S52 to put in there so I can resume posting the content our chassis deserves! Could never part ways with it!

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