Are BMWs Reliable? A Reliability Guide

Is BMW Reliable

There’s much hype surrounding the BMW brand. They are popular yet expensive, and this can make you rethink owning them.

Nobody will want to spend money on a car that wouldn’t last up to 10 years. BMWs are one of the most sought-after car brands. They represent the appeal of power, performance, and sporty outlook. But are BMWs reliable?

Unfortunately, BMWs are not as reliable as one would expect. BMWs are fairly reliable cars, with a reliability rating that is slightly above average. 

We cannot dispute the fact that BMWs are great interpretations of luxury and style, but if you have made up your mind to own a BMW, you should get ready to handle the high maintenance cost and the exorbitant price of replacement parts.

Whether you are looking at purchasing your first car or adding a new ride to your collection, here’s an extensive review of BMW’s reliability and all you need to know about these cars.

Are BMWs Reliable?

BMW cars are fairly reliable. We cannot classify BMWs as less reliable cars.

It’s just that their reliability ratings are below what you will expect from an expensive luxury, with such popularity attached to its name. This also includes the fact that everything about BMWs is expensive.

From purchase, maintenance, repairs, and replacement, you will spend more than you budgeted to ensure your BMW car is always on the road.

According to JD Power 2021 US Vehicle dependability survey, BMW is ranked 10th out of 32 car brands. On consumer reports, BMW cars have exceeded the average reliability rating since 2007.

On the other hand, RepairPal gives BMW a reliability rating of 2.5 out of 5.0, taking the 30th position out of 32 car brands. Ratings are too poor for a German Car!

A BMW owner has a 15% chance of visiting the mechanic for severe damages, a 0.9 chance of regular repairs, and a $968 average annual repair and maintenance cost.

But, if BMWs are not super reliable, why are they so popular? BMWs focus more on appealing to users than satisfying users. The goal shifts from optimizing the cars to cutting costs to providing technology and comfort that appeals to every driver’s needs.

The need to produce luxury cars loaded with high-performing engines, impressive handling, and driving abilities has kept BMWs in the spotlight. Performance and style are the only reasons why BMWs are still so popular.

You must understand that the reliability of BMWs varies across different models and production years, and it won’t be fair to generalize the performance of all BMWs.

Here are four major reliable specs/advantages of owning a BMW:

1. Luxury

Luxury is one of the major reasons why many people go for BMWs. The feeling that comes with driving a premium car, that sexy appeal and sporty look, is something that BMW has consistently delivered over the years.

BMW puts in supreme craftsmanship to ensure that each car design speaks comfort and style. From the exterior to interior designs and performance, there is something about BMW cars that makes you want to show them off. Moreover, BMWs are one of the best luxury car brands.

2. Safety

BMWs are extremely safe cars. BMW cars are well-built and reinforced to assure drivers of their safety. These cars are made of multiphase steel body shell components, with enough reinforcements to keep you safe in the event of collisions and impact.

BMW also has an improved safety technology known as the BMW active driving assistant to keep you safe.

These BMW safety systems include:

  • Hill start assist
  • Road sign recognition
  • Emergency brake as guide
  • Steering and lane guidance assist
  • Cruise control
  • Distance control
  • Speed limit assist
  • Lane-change warning & lane-change assist
  • Parking assist

The BMW safety technology also includes a frontal collision warning system with city collision mitigation. BMW’s safety systems have enabled most models to earn 5-star ratings, and top safety picks across IIHS and NHTSA safety ratings.

3. Performance and Handling

There’s something special about BMW’s performance; you enjoy the peak speed and engine boost. Whether cruising with the BMW V-6 or V-8 engines, BMW is exceptional in Performance and Handling.

The suspension systems are tailored to handle bumps, upgraded fuel pumps to deliver the right amount of fuel for combustion, cold air intakes, specialized exhaust systems, great steering systems, and amazing brakes; every single part is tailored to achieve high performance.

This includes the optimizations of aerodynamics and ergonomics to reduce frictional effects and drags. The amount of steering, handling, stability, and performance you will attain from BMW cars will vary across different models, but the high standards are always the same.

4. Comfort

BMW cars are very comfortable and built to impress the hell out of users. This includes the use of convenient leather seats, navigation systems, and amazing infotainment. The comfortability of BMW cars varies across models and trim levels.

Durability and Fuel-efficiency are not reliable features to describe BMWs. Most BMW users do not buy these cars because they want them to last for eternity. They want the joy that comes with driving a high-performance luxury car.

This does not mean that BMWs are not durable, but merging durability, fuel efficiency, and reliability is not included in the BMW package.

Why are BMWs Considered Unreliable?

  1. Frequent visits to mechanic shops.
  2. Old Model BMW cars are made of cheap engine parts that break down easily.
  3. Higher chance of encountering a severe problem.
  4. Car starts misbehaving after 80,000 to 120,000 miles.


  • Safe
  • Sporty and user appeal
  • Wide Variety
  • High-Performance
  • Control, balance, and stability
  • Improved handling and comfort


  • Expensive
  • High maintenance, repair, and ownership cost
  • Older models are crappy

Do BMWs have many problems?

Yes. BMWs have many problems. This is due to their unreliability, average/cheap parts, frequent visits to repair shops, and a higher chance of encountering severe damage.

While it is true that a US News 2017 data/survey indicated that BMW models have an average count of 138 problems per 100 cars, we cannot conclude that BMWs break down a lot.

How frequently your BMW car breaks down depends on how well you maintain them. More importantly, you must understand that used BMW cars will give you more headaches than you can imagine.

Here are some of the Common problems of BMW:

  • Engine issues
  • Failure in the steering system
  • Oil leaks
  • Electrical failures
  • Fuel system failure
  • Faulty transmission and cooling system

At What Mileage Do BMWs Start Having Problems?

A vast majority of BMWs start having problems after they’ve reached or exceeded 80,000 to 120,000 miles. Sometimes, your BMW will break down when they reach these miles. Some drivers believe 80,000 to 120,000 miles are too high for a BMW.

However, we’ve seen BMWs that lasted up to 200,000 miles. It all boils down to proper maintenance and driving conditions.


BMWs are not as reliable as expected, but they are not the most unreliable car brand on the market. They perform exceptionally in some areas, with some models pulling positive reviews across different categories.

They are not another money hole to drain your income, but you should be prepared to spend much on maintenance and repair.

Frequently Asked Questions

Are BMWs long-lasting cars?

No. BMWs are not considered long-lasting cars. Most BMWs can last up to 200,000 or 250,000 miles, with an average lifespan of 10 years.

Is BMW a good second-hand car?

No. BMWs are not good second-hand cars. If you want to buy a second-hand car that will last longer, with little or no repairs, then BMWs are not for you. Second-hand/used BMW cars will need frequent repairs, and you have a high cost of replacing parts.