Are BMWs Expensive to Maintain?

Three brand new BMW vehicles parked in a row.

When searching for a new or used vehicle, there are several factors to consider apart from the initial price. Annual maintenance costs, potential repair bills, and other unexpected breakdowns can all play a significant factor in the true cost of owning any vehicle.

For luxury brands such as Tesla, Audi, or Porsche, these costs can often be higher than a standard NissanChevy, or Ford. However, one luxury brand, in particular, is known for having some of the most popular vehicles on the road today — BMW. 

Just like you should with any car, truck, or SUV, it’s essential to learn about the actual cost of owning a BMW and if they are expensive to maintain. 

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How Expensive Is It to Maintain a BMW?

Since 1916, this German automaker has become one of the most well-recognized vehicle brands worldwide. Because of this widespread popularity, everyone from everyday drivers, celebrities, and even the world’s most famous spy have all enjoyed the various high-end, luxury vehicles offered by BMW. In fact, the U.S. saw 243,613 BMWs sold between January 1 and October 1, 2021, alone! 

In total, BMW offers up to 16 different styles of vehicles, ranging from the X1 series to the high-performing BMW M series. However, as BMWs are luxury vehicles, they will be more expensive to maintain and repair than other makes and models. BMW owners can expect to pay upwards of $1,000 to $1,700 for overall maintenance and repairs each year. 

While there are many BMW styles to choose from, some of the most popular include:

BMW X5

A black BMW X5.

While one of the most popular models, the BMW X5 is also perhaps the most problematic. The BMW X5 has had several issues, such as the vehicle stalling while driving, which can set owners back around $7,000 to fix. Some other of the most common issues with the X5 include water leaking into the car’s interior, which can cost owners up to $10,000, or an overheated engine that can cost up to $2,200 to repair. Along with these potential issues, X5 owners can expect to pay upwards of $1,116 in annual maintenance and general repairs.

The 2011 model year of the X5 is also the most troublesome, with the 4WD style having 21 complaints filed on CarComplaints.com. The 2011 X5 also had 14 recalls, including 2 in January 2020 regarding both the driver and passenger airbags exploding.

Other common repairs that an X5 may face include:

  • A/C Evaporator Replacement: $2,038 – $2,668
  • Transmission Leak Inspection: $55 – $69
  • Fuel Tank Replacement: $2,020 – $2,197
  • Clutch Replacement: $1,872 – $2,203

BMW X3

A silver BMW X3.

Another well-known and popular model is the BMW X3, having sold a leading 53,993 vehicles from January 2021 to October 2021. And, similar to the X5, X3 owners can expect to pay $1,034 in annual maintenance and repairs. However, despite being a little cheaper to maintain than the X5, the BMW X3 is also prone to issues, such as a broken timing chain guide, spontaneous acceleration, and a faulty sunroof. Each of these various repairs can cost on average $6,200, $10,700, and $4,000, respectively.

Recent owners of a 2020 x3 should also be wary, as there have been 12 recalls issued on the vehicle. Specifically, the two most recent recalls occurred in August and February of 2021 regarding a loss of braking assist, as well as a malfunction in the rearview camera image. The 2013 X3 is also a model year prone to issues, with 32 engine complaints filed on CarComplaints.com and 5 known recalls. However, the most recent recall was in August of 2017 regarding an incorrectly welded driver airbag inflator.

Other common repairs that an X3 may face include:

  • Battery Cable Replacement: $1,048 – $1,223
  • Fuel Pump Replacement: $1,452 – $1,526
  • Air Pump Replacement: $501 – $776
  • Clutch Master Cylinder Replacement: $291 – $319

BMW i3

A white BMW i3.

As an all-electric vehicle, the BMW i3 is an excellent option for those looking for a more environmentally friendly vehicle. But, as with any electric or hybrid vehicle, the i3 will require slightly different maintenance compared to more standard BMWs and will cost owners an average of $1,173 per year. 

Despite the need for more specific maintenance, the i3 happens to be one of BMW’s most reliable vehicles, with the most reported problem with the 2017 BMW i3 being an issue regarding the adaptive cruise control not working correctly. There are also reported electrical malfunctions as well. However, there have not been enough reported issues to bring back an average repair cost. Recalls have also hit the i3, however, the most recent being in 2019 for the 2019 model year regarding a sudden power shutdown that could result in a crash.

Other common repairs that an X3 may face include:

  • Head Gasket Replacement: $1,954 – $2,406
  • Blower Motor Replacement: $528 – $580
  • Timing Chain Tensioner Replacement: $1,573 – $1,961
  • Clutch Master Cylinder Replacement: $291 – $319

The BMW Recommended Maintenance Plan

Following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule is vital to keep any car, truck, or SUV healthy and avoid expensive repairs. 

For BMW owner’s, your recommended maintenance schedule includes the following service intervals:

  •       Every 10,000 Miles or 2 Years

This is considered the first necessary service on your BMW and should occur at least every 2 years or 10,000 miles. During this interval, you should look to check your engine oil, oil filter, tire pressure (PSI), windshield wipers, wiper fluid, and engine coolant. It’s also vital to check BMW’s brakes, as well as all rubber belts and hoses every 10,000 to 15,000 miles after this first milestone.

Save on essential maintenance and protect yourself from unexpected breakdowns with an EnduranceAdvantage™ vehicle protection plan. Each EnduranceAdvantage package comes with industry-leading breakdown protection and up to $3,500 in regular maintenance benefits. That means you can have essential services such oil and filter changes and more are included at no additional cost.

  •         Every 30,000 Miles

Following your BMW’s first 10,000 miles is the first major service interval at 30,000 miles. This milestone inspection should include a more thorough check of your vehicle. Specifically, you should look at verifying the engine temperature, cleaning the brake pad contact points, checking the brake disc surfaces, and inspecting the front control arm and bushing. 

Alignment checks and tire rotations should also take place to help provide even wear to tires’ tread. An engine diagnostic exam is also recommended to help determine if any issues are occurring underneath the hood. You should also look to replace the vehicle’s essential fluids at this time, including coolant and engine oil changes, as well as every 15,000 miles after. 

  •         Every 60,000 Miles

As BMW’s second major service milestone, you should look to check several vital components you’ve reached the 60,000 mark. These include checking the parking brake lining and examining flexible boots for leaks. BMW owners should also inspect their vehicle for rust according to the rust prevention warranty at this milestone, as well as replacing spark plugs and changing the vehicle’s air filters

BMW Maintenance Costs

For BMWs, as with any other car, truck, or SUV, it’s essential to factor in the costs for common maintenance when considering the total cost of ownership. One way to help you determine the likelihood of potential issues is by looking vehicle’s overall reliability rating. If a vehicle has a lower score, the higher the chance of experiencing potential breakdowns and needing repairs. RepairPal gives BMW an overall reliability rating of just 2.5 out of 5.0, ranking 30th out of 32 major car brands. 

However, according to a J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study, BMW ranked as the eighth most dependable car manufacturer in the U.S. in 2020. This ranking placed BMW above other luxury brands like Cadillac, Audi, Mercedes-Benz, Jaguar, and Chrysler. We recommend checking the specific BMW model you own or are looking to purchase with conflicting scores such as these to see the common repairs and maintenance issues they might face.

Along with these varying reliability ratings, BMW does come in as the most expensive brand to maintain. In fact, BMW owners can expect to pay an average of $17,800 over 10 years of ownership. This places BMW at over $4,900 more than the next most expensive brand, Mercedes-Benz. 

Protect Your BMW with Endurance

Avoid paying for unexpected breakdowns and stay up-to-date on your BMW’s maintenance needs with the help of EnduranceAdvantage.  Each EnduranceAdvantage auto protection plan includes coverage for your car’s major components and also comes with up to $3,500 in routine services. That oil and filter changes, tire rotations, alignment checks, diagnostic exams, and more are included in your vehicle protection package. You can also receive special, one-time services such as wiper blade replacements, brake pad/shoe replacements, and other services for even more coverage and savings.

Endurance customers can even receive 1 year of Elite Benefits for FREE with the purchase of any protection plan. That means you can rest easy knowing Endurance has you covered with extra perks like tire repairs/replacements, 24/7 roadside assistance, key fob replacement, and more.

Request a free quote or call 866.918.1438 to learn more about any Endurance protection plan. Our Learning Center also offers resources for car owners, with articles on helpful topics such as vehicle make/model comparisons, expert auto tips, how-to’s, and more.

A Vehicle Service Contract (VSC) is often referred to as an “auto warranty” or an “extended car warranty,” but it is not a warranty. A VSC does, however, provide repair coverage for your vehicle after the manufacturer’s car warranty expires. A VSC is a contract between you and a VSC provider or administrator that states what is a covered repair and what is not. Not all vehicles qualify for coverage; Endurance does not offer VSCs in California.