Newer BMWs tend to break down more than older models due to new innovative technologies and electronics that are added each year. Older BMWs, ranging from 1995 to 2006 are generally known for being very reliable and equipped with bulletproof engines. On the other hand, newer models experience issues with electronics such as headlight failure, dead batteries and fuel pump issues.
What are the most common problems BMWs have?
More often than not you hear that BMWs break down easily and that they are somewhat more unreliable than other car brands. One of the main reasons for this is because most BMW owners are very vocal about their car problems due to the costly repairs. A BMW is more costly to repair and service than the average car because both parts are labor are both more expensive.
So, what are the most common issues that BMW owners experience and have reported?
Automatic headlight failure
Some new BMW models experience the automatic headlights staying on, even when you try to shut them off. This can lead to the battery dropping dead. This has been resolved with some models, but generally, BMW’s hybrid vehicles experience it more than others.
Alloy wheel corrosion
Despite being stylish, the looks of your beautiful BMW wheels can actually be ruined by corrosion. Be careful when you notice corrosion happening on your vehicle since it might also affect the tires and the brakes in rare cases.
Faulty electronics and parts
Electric windows are the main components that often break on BMW cars. If you experience such in your BMW, the first thing you should check is your car’s fuse box, as it often is the culprit in these situations.
Faulty oil filter gasket, leading to oil spills
This issue has been around for quite some time with BMW. Since the caps around the engine are made from plastic, they tend to crack with time under the pressure applied by the engine’s heat. The caps should be replaced every 60,000 miles, unless you enjoy seeing a pool of oil under your car.
Failing coolant system
Every car coolant system eventually fails between 80,000 and 120,000 miles. There have been some BMW owners reporting it happening much sooner. BMWs are also notorious for having very sensitive and demanding coolant systems. Always use an antifreeze brand that has been approved and recommended by BMW when changing the liquids in your car.
Faulty heater core
The heater core and the cooling system are very closely related and the models that experience issues with one of these, often unsurprisingly also suffer from issues with the other. If you have a failing heater core, immediately go to a mechanic and check if the coolant system isn’t also damaged.
Door handle issues
Many owners of the BMW X5 SUV have reported that the wear and tear on the door handles is more quickly accumulated than one would generally expect. The reported issue is that the door handles would lift as they should, but not actually open the door. These occurrences are linked with newer models, and the faulty electronics mentioned earlier.
Electronic windows refusing to close
Of course, this doesn’t happen on most BMWs, but there are some models prone to being left out in the rain with an open window. These issues are also linked with newer electronics that often prove unreliable.
Dead car battery
This has happened even to the best cars out there. Owners of older BMWs have often reported dead batteries. These, at least, are very easy to replace or jump-start if needed and do not cost a fortune. If you are replacing your car battery at home, make sure to check whether it wasn’t your car’s alternator that was malfunctioning instead, because you might end up ruining another car battery.
Fuel pump issues
Even the most luxurious of BMW models have probably had a fuel pump replacement if driven over 70,000 miles. If your vehicle’s fuel pump malfunctions, you will experience a general loss of acceleration, engine stuttering at higher speeds and revs, and in the end, it could even result in engine failure.
Is it worth it purchasing a BMW?
These are the most common BMW failures, but at the end of the day, BMW is a car that has been designed to be driven aggressively and to bring enormous driving pleasure to its owner. With every vehicle, there are a few bumps on the road. Most of the non-electronic faults and failures listed in this article can be prevented with proper maintenance and scheduled servicing of your vehicle.
What are the most reliable used BMW models that you can buy?
Depending on whether you are looking for a luxury sedan or a crossover SUV, your choice might lie between the 2006 to 2011 BMW 3 Series and the 2006 to 2010 BMW X3. These are older choices but have made a name for themselves as some of the most reliable BMW models. In addition, all vehicles from the 3 Series from 1996 to 2006 are labeled as having almost indestructible engines.
How long can you drive a BMW before it breaks down?
Most BMW models do not experience major drivetrain component issues or breakdowns before reaching the 60,000-mile mark. There are even some older BMW models that users have reported reaching more than 250,000 miles with. Of course, all of that depends on whether you have properly maintained and service your vehicle throughout the course of its life.
How expensive are BMW repairs and servicing?
Generally, maintaining and owning a BMW costs relatively more than owning an average car. For example, ownership costs of a BMW for a period of 10 years are estimated to be anywhere between $15,000 and $19,000. General drivetrain component replacements vary between $700 and $3,000, depending on your location and how big the issue with the engine is. Labor starts at around $120 per hour in most states.