Some people think that the meaning of BMW is ‘best motor in the world.’ That says many things about its storied reputation. But what about its ownership costs? Are BMWs expensive to maintain? You will know essential things about BMW maintenance costs in this article.
BMW’s maintenance cost after the warranty’s expiration is much more than the cost of maintaining other vehicles, whether it’s luxury or not. Over ten years, the typical maintenance cost is around $12,000 more than a Toyota and $5,000 more than a Mercedes-Benz.
The actual maintenance cost depends on the year model, trim level, and vehicle mileage. For BMWs of the lower trim levels, their maintenance costs are cheaper than BMWs of the most luxurious trims.
Read on to learn more about the maintenance cost of BMWs and the different factors that determine the maintenance cost of these vehicles.
Are BMWs Expensive to Maintain?
The simple answer to this question is yes. If you will compare BMWs with other cars in their class, the cost of maintaining them is much more than the other brands. For instance, BMW’s maintenance is around $12,000 more than a Toyota and about $5,000 more than a Mercedes-Benz.
Maintenance Cost Depends on BMW’s Model Year and Trim Level
There are many models and trim levels of BMWs. So, the actual BMW’s maintenance cost will depend on its model year and trim level. Overall, however, whatever the trim, the cost of maintaining a BMW is higher than other similarly classed vehicle brands.
Expect to Pay Between $150 to $400 for Every Preventive Maintenance Service (PMS)
So, if you own a BMW, you can expect to spend between $150 and $400 for every Preventive Maintenance Service (PMS) you will get every 10,000 miles. If you go for a major service, prepare anywhere between $1,000 and $3,000 on top of the PMS fee.
Are the BMW Parts Expensive to Maintain?
On an annual basis, you can spend from $1,000 to $1,700 for repairs and maintenance. These figures are higher than most vehicle brands’ maintenance and repair costs. Over ten years, you can expect to spend around $17,800 in maintenance costs for your BMW.
BMW vs Mercedez-Benz vs Toyota Maintenance Cost
In this arena, BMW takes first place. A close second is Mercedes-Benz, with its average 10-year maintenance cost of around $12,900. Toyota is very far from BMW in terms of its 10-year maintenance cost. It only takes about $5,000 to maintain a Toyota car for ten years.
High Maintenance Cost Is Not Unusual for German-made Cars
This very high cost of maintenance is not unusual for German-made cars. Maintaining an Audi is also very costly. It also racks up a 10-year maintenance cost of about $12,400. The primary reason for this is that these German-made vehicles are made of expensive parts.
Why Does It Cost a Lot to Maintain a BMW
Maintaining other cars is not even close when considering the BMW’s maintenance cost. This vehicle brand will always hold the first place when it comes to the cost of maintaining the vehicle.
Made of Durable High-end Quality Parts
BMWs are made of high-end quality parts that are very durable. These parts are made to exact precision with labor and machine costs that are costly. But they also break down, and when they do, their replacement parts will also cost a lot of money.
Not Immune to Chronic Problems
Surprisingly, these very maintenance-expensive BMWs are not immune to chronic problems. For instance, some car reviewers believe that BMWs are four times more likely to have starting problems than regular cars. BMW is the seventh among car brands that have this issue.
How Much Is BMW Maintenance Cost?
Like every car brand, BMWs are available in different models, sizes, features, trims, etc. That means the cost of maintaining them will also be different from each other.
BMWs are issued in different series. The most popular BMWs belong to the 3 series. But along the way, other BMW series also became popular among car buyers.
To give you an idea of how much the maintenance costs of BMW vehicles are, here is a table that enumerates the average costs of each specific maintenance service done to a BMW 328i as our sample vehicle:
|Spark Plug||$144 to $295|
|Oil change||$149 to $174|
|Engine Filter||$88 to $116|
|Turbocharger assembly replacement||$2,328 to $2,481|
|Windshield wiper motor replacement||$612 to $679|
|Wheel hub assembly replacement||$235 to $595|
Remember that going to a dealer for a change oil service will allow the BMW mechanics to do a complete engine check. This can add to your total cost. So, if you want to save on maintenance costs, do some simple maintenance work at home.
But if you choose to do it this way, be sure that you are very handy in your car mechanic skills. If you have any doubts, check with a professional mechanic before doing it. But if your BMW car is still under warranty, it is safer not to touch it yet.
How to Save Money on Your BMW Maintenance
BMW Ultimate Care
While BMW’s maintenance fees are high, you might be surprised that they still offer a free maintenance service to some BMW vehicle owners. This free maintenance service is called BMW Ultimate Care.
Available to Original BMW Owners of 2015 to 2016 BMW Models
This free maintenance service is available to original BMW owners of BMW vehicles of 2015 to the 2016 year models. The free service lasts for four years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first.
Services Covered by Free BMW Ultimate Care
For BMW models starting in 2017 and later, the free service lasts for three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. This free BMW Ultimate Care covers the following services:
- Spark plugs
- Engine oil
- Engine air filter
- Engine filter
- Vehicle check
- Brake fluid
- Fuel filter (diesel only)
- Cabin microfilter
- Remote control and key battery
Designed to Prevent Issues
This Ultimate Care plan is designed to keep your BMW going without any issue pretty much up to the third service of the vehicle. The maintenance schedule of BMW is based on an interval of 10,000 miles.
At any rate, BMWs have sensors that will let you know, at every point, if there’s some part of the vehicle that needs fixing or replacing. So, if you drive your BMW 3 series very hard and use the turbo often, expect to get more parts to repair when you go in for a maintenance service.
How Much Does It Cost to Maintain Specific BMW Models
You will spend around $950 to maintain your BMW every year. If you compare it to the national average annual maintenance costs of other vehicle brands, this is hundreds of dollars more. It makes sense since BMWs are luxury cars.
The cost of maintaining a specific BMW model will be different from the other models and other trims because they have various engines, features, etc.
Summary of Maintenance Costs of BMW Models
With that said, here is a table that shows the maintenance costs of specific model ranges of BMW vehicles:
|BMW Model||Annual Maintenance Cost||Frequency of Repair||Reliability|
|BMW 3 Series||$748 (average)||Every 10,000 miles (average)||2.5/5 (average)|
|BMW X5||$1,166 (average)||0.5 times per year (average)||2.5/5 (average)|
|BMW X1||$1,769 (average)||0.7 times per year (average)||2/5 (average)|
You might be interested to know that the national average for vehicle annual maintenance cost is only $650. As I mentioned before, each BMW model is different regarding maintenance costs.
Some have higher maintenance costs, while others have lower prices. You can expect that the annual maintenance cost of whatever BMW model you own will be $200 higher than the national average.
The table below will show you some more data about the annual maintenance costs of BMW-specific models. These vehicles are all 2019 models:
|BMW Model||Annual Maintenance Cost|
|230i 2 Series||$6,518|
|330i 3 Series||$7,486|
|430i 4 Series||$6,559|
|540i 5 Series||$7,196|
|650i 6 Series||$10,592|
|740i 7 Series||$7,437|
Most Expensive Annual Maintenance
These are data lifted from Edmunds.com along with the BMW cost of ownership. The BMW series that cost the most in annual maintenance is the premium luxury BMW 6 and BMW 7. In contrast, the cheapest BMW to maintain in terms of annual maintenance cost is the BMW 2 series.
Again, are BMWs expensive to maintain? After the warranty’s expiration, BMW’s maintenance cost is more expensive than other brands. BMW’s maintenance cost is $5,000 more than Mercedez-Benz and $12,000 more than Toyota.
How Often Should You Perform BMW Preventive Maintenance
While made of exacting technology and high-quality materials, BMWs will still benefit from regular preventive maintenance. The normal PM will give you a BMW with better performance and higher assessed value at the time when you already want to sell it.
How Often Should You Go for Preventive Maintenance and the Average Cost: Summary
Here is another table that will show you how often you should go for preventive maintenance and how much it will cost you:
|Maintenance Service||Frequency in Miles||Average Cost|
|Oil change and tire rotation||Every 7,500 miles||$147 to $169|
|Air filter replacement||Every 30,000 miles||$107 to $140|
|Brake fluid flush and refill||Every 45,000 miles||$70 to $140|
|Transmission fluid change, coolant flush, and refill||Every 60,000 miles||$238 to $268|
|Spark plugs replacement, timing belt replacement||Every 105,000 miles||$1,200|
Type of BMW Maintenance and Cost
Here are the details of what car mechanics of BMW do on each type of maintenance service that they will provide, their reasons for it, along with their respective costs:
1. Tire Replacement
This maintenance service is usually required after driving your BMW for at least 5,000 miles up to 7,500 miles. By this time, your tires are already worn out. You could be hydroplaning with these tires on wet road surfaces.
Your tires have to be replaced. The cost of this service ranges between $135 and $175. If you know how to do it and have the right tools, you can do it yourself. And you will save that amount of money.
2. Oil Change
You are advised to go for an oil change every 5,000 to 7,500 miles of driving your BMW. The cost for this service ranges from $135 to $175. This service will remove excess dirt built up inside your engine. You can also do this if you have the right tools and time.
3. Brake Fluid
Your car needs fresh brake fluid if your brakes are already spongy and your BMW’s braking performance is going bad. You will be asked to pay from $210 to $224 for this service. This is not a DIY job. It requires a trained mechanic to do this pm task.
Paint discoloration and paint peeling affect the appearance of your BMW. When your BMW starts to show these signs of old age, you need to have it repainted. Are old BMWs expensive to maintain? The cost of this job is around $2,000.
Keeping your paint in good condition will prevent rust from eating the metal. It will also improve your car’s resale value. A good car painting job requires special tools and equipment, a skilled workforce, and a well-ventilated place. So, this is not a DIY job.
5. Cover Gasket
When you notice signs of oil leaks in your engine or the smell of burning oil, it could indicate a cover gasket going bad. The cost to replace a bad cover gasket can run from $576 to $707.
Engine performance will be reduced if engine oil is leaking from the engine. So you need to fix this oil leak. This is a difficult job, so a qualified mechanic is the best person to do it.
6. Windshield Replacement
If the windshield of your BMW sports a crack from one end to the other, or if the crack goes halfway through the glass, or even if the crack is just longer than your hand, you need to replace it.
This service will cost you from $100 to $400, depending on the extent of the damage. This job is for a professional mechanic/installer and not a DIYer.
7. Engine Replacement
Then the engine is the heart of your BMW. If its engine block is already worn out, damaged, or cracked, it can’t do its job anymore. It needs a replacement. And that will cost you somewhere between $5,000 and $7,000.
Factors that Determine a BMW’s Maintenance Cost
The cost of maintaining a BMW depends on the routine services it needs and its unexpected repairs. You need to change the engine oil of your BMW every 10,000 miles. Its fuel filter should also be replaced every 60,000 miles.
And for every 90,000 miles, you need to change its spark plugs. Overall, you will find that your maintenance costs will alternately be higher and then lower.
Here is a table that will show you a typical maintenance schedule usually followed by BMW for its BMW 3 series vehicles:
|Required Maintenance||Service Intervals|
|Change oil and oil filters, inspect different systems, and check tire pressure.||Every 10,000 miles|
|Check exhaust system and various components such as fuel connections, power steering, and transmission leak.||Every 30,000 miles|
|Change fuel filter, hydraulic fluids, and service all fuel injectors||Every 60,000 miles|
|Change hoses and timing belts, spark plugs, clean fuel components, and change or rotate brake rotors.||Every 90,000 miles|
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some of the answers to the frequently asked questions about BMW’s maintenance cost that will help you understand why it’s more expensive than other car brands:
Why Does It Cost Too Much to Maintain a BMW?
The first reason why BMWs cost so much to maintain is that they are made in Germany. Another reason is that these vehicles are made with the latest technology and are fitted with specialty parts.
A third reason is that they are made for driving and car enthusiasts. In short, they are not your ordinary cars.
Is It Really Expensive to Maintain a BMW?
Yes, it is. If you compare the BMW’s maintenance cost to an average car, you will find that its maintenance cost is more than $200, the cost of maintaining a standard car.
To give you an example, maintaining a BMW per year is $12,000 more than the cost of maintaining a Toyota Camry. A BMW’s maintenance cost is also more costly than a Mercedes-Benz, by about $5,000.
Is a BMW Maintenance Plan Worth It?
Generally, the maintenance program of BMW is higher than the cost of the maintenance services of independent car service shops.
If your driving does not reach 15,000 miles per year, it might not be worth it. But if you are clocking in more miles than these, BMW’s maintenance plan will give you more value.
How Can I Know the Cost of Maintaining My BMW?
You will be able to determine the services your BMW needs and the costs by going through the CBS Condition-based Service (CBS) system, which monitors the condition of critical parts that wear out in your BMW vehicle.
Also, you can determine it by computing the average BMW expenses for those specific maintenance services. You will spend about $900 or more every year for maintenance and repairs combined to give you a concrete figure.
Conclusion: Are BMWs Expensive to Maintain?
BMWs are indeed expensive to maintain. After the expiration of its warranty period, the BMW’s maintenance cost is much more than other vehicles, whether it is luxury or not.
The typical maintenance cost of a BMW is about $5,000 more than a Mercedes-Benz and around $12,000 more than a Toyota.
Generally, you will find that the cost of maintaining a BMW vehicle is $200 more than the maintenance costs of regular cars.