BMWs are expensive to maintain. There is a stigma behind buying used BMWs because they break easily and cost a lot to service. Then why do people keep buying them? If you are asking this question, you probably haven’t driven a BMW before. BMWs feel amazing behind the wheel. They promise you driving pleasure and that’s what you get.
Who is the BMW for?
BMWs are a good mixture of luxury and speed, of comfort and safety. Most BMW drivers do not change their car unless they are upgrading their BMW to the next model, regardless of how much it costs them to maintain it.
Of course, BMWs can be a good fit for one person and not right for another. Do you like speed? Are you looking for an unforgettable experience that is something more than just driving? If you are, you may have found your car.
Despite being costly and fairly more unreliable than other brands, BMWs are fast and feel like you’re driving a beast. BMW has become a synonym for power and that is what the brand is capitalizing on.
Driving a BMW might just be addictive. Although it comes with marginal reliability, a BMW brings fun and performance as no other brand does and you cannot really put a price tag on experience. In 2020, the BMW 3 Series was ranked as the most loved car in the UK, by AutoTrader.
Many surveys show that most consumers buy BMW as a status symbol first, and for the power it brings as a secondary reason. A BMW is not just a means for transport, so if you are just looking for a car to commute to work, a BMW probably isn’t for you.
Technically speaking, are BMWs worth the money?
Brand new BMWs
BMWs are definitely one of the most overpriced and costly to maintain vehicles out there. For far less money you could get models that bring you twice the features and comfort. The brand sells its vehicles on a rather larger profit margin compared to other manufacturers. The sole exception is Porsche.
On the other hand, BMW relies on a beastly engine, suspension, handling, and a just perfect driving position. Behind the wheel, you feel ready to race.
Experienced drivers often report how they get the feel of a BMW much quicker than the feel of other cars. Moreover, they also state that they feel in full control of the vehicle much more than other brands.
Parts and service are very expensive, so pleasure comes at a price. Most BMWs are driven until they reach 120,000 to 200,000 miles. Of course, that requires a good amount of servicing and proper maintenance.
Second-hand BMWs have a bad reputation of constantly breaking and costing too much to repair. This is not the case with all cars. If you pre-pay a mechanic to come with you in order to inspect the vehicle you are purchasing, you might actually get a great deal.
Pre-owned BMWs come at a very discounted price and can still offer you the same level of satisfaction and adrenaline a new BMW can. Yes, there is a risk of being left on the road with the need to be towed, but that greatly depends the condition of your used car and where you bought it from.
Some owners have reported having to pay more for repairs than for the actual purchase of their pre-owned BMW. The bad reputation of constantly breaking is exaggerated, of course, but it does exist for a reason.
The best used BMW models
If you are looking for driving pleasure at a discounted rate, look into good reliable BMW models, and buy from a trusted seller with the help of a mechanic that can evaluate the condition of the vehicle. The most reliable BMW models to buy second-hand are:
- The 2006-2011 BMW 3 Series
- The 2010-2016 BMW 5 Series
- The 1996-2006 BMW 3 Series – This model has hands down the most bulletproof engine.
Aside from choosing the right model, aim to purchase a car that has around 80,000 miles or fewer. Also, on a general note when purchasing an old vehicle, look for a car that has been driven more on the highway than in the city, since 10,000 miles in the city wear a vehicle down at the same pace as 25,000 miles outside of the city and on the highway.
FAQs about maintaining your BMW
Should I buy a used BMW with more than 100,000 miles?
Try to avoid purchasing used BMWs with a mileage of more than 80,000 miles. Used BMWs often offer quite a good value to their second and third owners, but if they have been driven aggressively for more than 80,000 miles, they tend to need a lot of attention and servicing.
How many miles can a BMW be driven?
If a BMW is properly maintained, serviced, and not driven overly aggressively, it can last all the way up to 300,000 miles. There are some models that can even last 400,000 miles, like the E30 BMW with M20B27 engine, which many have labeled to be bulletproof. Nowadays, most new BMWs run anywhere between 80,000 and 120,000 miles.
Are Audis cheaper to maintain than most BMWs?
Brand new Audis cost on average around $12,000 to be maintained for the first 10 years of ownership. Whereas BMWs average around $18,000 for the first 10 years which is 50% more. There are few cars that cost as much as a BMW to be maintained, including Volvos, Cadillacs, and Mercedes.
What are the most common issues that BMW drivers encounter?
In BMWs, what breaks the most often is the engine cooling system, which might cause the motor to heat. This is usually the most expensive repair you’ll need, but other minor inconveniences, such as oil leaks and steering wheel vibrations, are also fairly common. If you see an oil leak under your BMW, make sure to visit a mechanic as soon as possible, as the damage to the engine might be serious.