Are BMWs Expensive to Maintain?

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Yes, BMWs are incredibly expensive to maintain. In fact, they are largely considered the most expensive car brand to maintain out of any, with repairs costing an average of $5,000 more than Mercedes cars and $12,000 more than Toyota over a 10-year period.

While they are engineered to be dependable, high-quality, and high-performance, any required regular maintenance is going to cost the owner hundreds.

According to a report by Repair Pal, an average BMW owner would have to take their car to a mechanic about 0.9 times a year for regular maintenance. This costs the owner and average annual cost of $968 for minor repairs and regular maintenance on a BMW car.

If it needs any sort of repairs, stretch your wallet. Parts are sourced from overseas and can cost more than double what other car parts would be. Unfortunately, the repair bill can cost thousands of dollars if a breakdown occurs.

While some models are more reliable than others, newer models are more uniform due to shared electronics and platforms.

Why Are BMWs Expensive to Maintain?

So why are BMWs so expensive to maintain? There are multiple factors:

1. Requires Synthetic Motor Oil

Most BMW engines use synthetic motor oil, which can be quite a bit more expensive than conventional oil.

Some models require up to seven quarts of this type of oil which costs more than the average American commuter car which only requires around 4.5 quarts of oil.

Of course, there are benefits to synthetic motor oil like its resistance to high pressures and heat as well as less sludge buildup. This also ensures that it can endure longer trips between oil changes.

2. Complex Engineering

BMW is a German brand known for its highly innovative and complex designs. Some mechanics and buyers even believe that the company over-engineers.

One of the most common examples of this is the BMW 850i. Through multiplexed networks, the company was able to reduce the number of wires needed in the car's workings. This feature can also help make the vehicle more intelligent.

Though there are many advantages to this complex engineering, it means a higher price tag when it comes to replacing components.

The type of technology used in the car also affects the vehicle's electrical system, which means everything is just a bit more complicated and thus, you guessed it, more expensive.

3. Top-Grade Parts

BMW replacement parts are typically more expensive. Most of these are made by high-end companies such as Bilstein and Bosch.

High-performance models, such as the M5, are also more costly to maintain. These cars feature upgraded brakes, performance tires, and special sports suspensions.

4. High-Mileage Repairs

After reaching 100,000 miles, it's not surprising that BMW owners in the US frequently encounter mechanical problems. One of these is oil leaks, which can require the replacement of seals and gaskets.

One of the most common issues with the company's VANOS system is that it can go bad. Although this variable valve timing system can help boost engine performance, it can also cause problems.

Other common electrical problems in high-mileage BMW models include faulty A/C systems and malfunctioning windshield wipers.

5. Owner Neglect

Owner neglect is one of the most common reasons why vehicle repair costs can go up.

For instance, owners must regularly make sure that their cars are well-maintained. Doing so can help prevent costly repairs later on.

How to Reduce BMW Maintenance Costs

One of the most effective ways to reduce vehicle maintenance costs is to regularly service your car. Doing so can help identify problems and prevent costly repairs later on.

When you buy a new BMW from the dealer, it comes with a three-year manufacturer's warranty and a complimentary maintenance program known as BMW Ultimate Care.

This package is valid for new vehicles (2017 and newer) and includes scheduled services such as the first spark-plug replacement.

Through its various plans, BMW can help its customers keep their cars running smoothly. They can also help them budget for their vehicle's maintenance.

Despite the high cost of ownership, BMW cars are still considered reliable. Experts claim that the company's vehicles are not prone to breaking down more often than other brands.

They're known for their refined and high-performance cars equipped with the latest technology and safety features.

What Are the Cheapest BMW Cars to Maintain?

BMW cars are known to be expensive to maintain but some BMW models don't require regular maintenance or extensive repairs. They include:

1. BMW M5

Depending on the model and mileage, the cost of maintaining and repairing a BMW M5 is around $1,173 annually. It's slightly more expensive than the X3.

Over ten years, the likelihood that the M5 will require major repairs is about 40.39 percent, which is lower than other cars but still higher than the majority.

2. BMW Z4

One of the cheapest BMW models to maintain is the Z4. Its annual maintenance cost is $895 but it requires oil changes the most.

The Z4 has a score of 2.19, which is significantly higher than the average of 1.3 for BMW cars. Its severity score of 16 percent is also significantly higher than the industry average.

3. BMW 3 Series

According to, the BMW 3 Series is the third-least expensive to maintain. It has an average cost of around $688 in the first year and about $3,439 after ten years.

The BMW 3 Series has a 40.39 percent likelihood of requiring major repairs over ten years.

It's considered underperforming compared to other cars, but the E90 325i and the BMW 3 Series 328i are reliable options.

4. BMW X1

BMW XI is a relatively inexpensive vehicle to maintain. According to Repairpal, the X1 Series costs $915 annually to maintain. Consumer Reports gave it a 4.5/5 reliability rating.

The likelihood of a major fault developing during the vehicle's lifespan is 0.02 percent.

The most dependable years for this model are 2013 to 2015.