BMW maintenance costs are much higher than the industry average.
BMW owners should budget between $750 and $1,200 per year for routine maintenance.
Extended car warranties can help lower out-of-pocket BMW maintenance and repair costs.
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BMW builds high-performance vehicles with luxury at their core. However, drivers should anticipate a high BMW maintenance cost for annual upkeep. If you’re considering buying a new or used BMW, it’s important to know how much to budget for repairs and maintenance.
In this article, we’ll cover the average annual maintenance costs for BMWs and how to keep yours running in peak condition. We’ll also discuss what you can do to lower overall ownership costs, such as purchasing an extended auto warranty. We’ve reviewed the best extended car warranty providers on the market – considering industry reputation, coverage options, and cost – and will recommend a few leading providers.
According to RepairPal, BMW owners pay, on average, about $968 per year for maintenance and repairs. Compared to the industry average of $652, BMWs are expensive vehicles to maintain. BMW’s upkeep costs are comparable to other German luxury brands like Audi ($987 per year) and Mercedes-Benz ($908 per year).
BMW ownership costs vary depending on the vehicle. BMW’s high-performance M line and SUVs cost more to maintain than its standard commuter line. The BMW 3 Series is one of the most affordable models to maintain, which is one reason why it’s also one of the most popular.
Here’s a comparison of maintenance costs between a few BMW models using data from RepairPal:
Average Annual BMW Maintenance Cost
You’ll be happy to know some BMWs come with a free maintenance period. Model year 2015 and 2016 cars receive four years or 50,000 miles of maintenance under BMW Ultimate Service. Models from 2017 or later come with three years or 36,000 miles of maintenance under BMW Ultimate Care. If you’re curious about the difference between the two plans, BMW Ultimate Service covers more maintenance and wear-and-tear items than BMW Ultimate Care.
Free maintenance plans can initially lower ownership costs, but you’ll have to be prepared to cover maintenance and repair bills after the coverage expires.
What Determines BMW Maintenance Costs?
BMW maintenance costs vary depending on the needed routine services and unexpected repairs. BMWs require oil changes every 10,000 miles, fuel filter changes every 60,000 miles, and spark plug replacements every 90,000 miles. In general, you’ll alternate between affordable and expensive maintenance at each service interval. Below is a sample maintenance schedule for a BMW 3 Series, according to BMW of Annapolis.
BMW Maintenance Needed
Every 10,000 miles
Change engine oil and oil filter, check tire pressure, and inspect various systems
Every 30,000 miles
Inspect exhaust system and check various components, like the power steering, fuel connections, and transmission leak
Every 60,000 miles
Replace fuel filter, hydraulic fluids, and service fuel injectors
At 90,000 miles
Replace timing belt and hoses, replace spark plugs, rotate or replace brake rotors, and clean fuel components
Drivers should note service schedules differ based on the vehicle. For example, models like the M4, M5, and M8 need new spark plugs every 30,000 miles. You can consult your owner’s manual or the BMW website to get additional details on your car. As a backup to annual schedules, BMW vehicles also come with a monitoring system that alerts drivers to maintenance services as they’re needed.
RepairPal ranks BMW in 30th place out of 32 car brands for its expensive and frequent maintenance costs. BMW drivers visit the repair shop twice as often as the industry average. They also have a higher chance of encountering a severe repair.
According to RepairPal, BMW owners report the following problems most often:
Leaking engine oil
Window regulator fails
Blower motor resistor fails
Can a Car Warranty Lower Your BMW Maintenance Cost?
If you find coverage at the right price, an extended car warranty can help lower BMW ownership costs over time, particularly as the car ages. An extended warranty pays for mechanical breakdowns after your factory warranty expires, meaning you’re only responsible for a deductible and a one-time or monthly payment to pay for the contract. But some extended warranty companies offer maintenance plans too.
Given luxury vehicles’ expensive specialty components, a single BMW repair can cost thousands of dollars. An extended warranty can cover a variety of repairs and reduce the likelihood you’ll pay for a repair outright.
BMW Extended Warranty
BMW’s factory warranty lasts four years or 50,000 miles, whichever comes first. After this coverage ends, the BMW extended warranty can extend up to seven years or 100,000 miles. The manufacturer offers a few coverage plan options, but the extended warranty is only accepted at dealerships. You’ll also need to purchase the extended warranty before the original warranty expires.
Beyond its warranty options, BMW allows drivers to purchase extended maintenance plans. These can cover maintenance items up to seven years or 125,000 miles. Like the extended warranties, BMW maintenance plans are only valid at the dealership. Due to this limitation, it can be more expensive in the long run than going to an independent mechanic for service.
Extended Warranty From a Third-Party Provider
If you want more flexibility or more affordable coverage, it’s a good idea to consider third-party providers. Leading third-party extended warranties are accepted at any licensed repair shop nationwide, meaning you can choose your own mechanic. This not only offers additional facility choice, but it also means you can save money if you have to replace a non-covered part in conjunction with a covered repair.
Highly rated providers offer five or six coverage options that can last up to 200,000 or 250,000 miles, depending on the company. And unlike BMW’s extended warranty, you can purchase a third-party plan long after the factory warranty expires.
Top Recommendations for Extended Car Warranties
The best way to find a good deal on an extended auto warranty is to compare coverage from different providers. While hundreds of providers are available, a few reputable extended car warranty companies rise to the top. These include Endurance, CARCHEX, and CarShield. Get a free quote from each to see how much you would pay for coverage.
Top Extended Warranty Companies
We reviewed the best extended auto warranty providers, and here are our top picks.
Endurance is a consistent provider with a solid industry reputation, and we named it the best provider overall after researching many companies. Endurance has been in business for over 10 years, and it tends to offer more affordable coverage than other companies. The provider has six coverage options, including EnduranceAdvantageTM, which combines maintenance services and repairs. Learn more in our Endurance warranty review.
CARCHEX: Best for Older Vehicles
If you own an older BMW, it may be best to get an extended warranty quote from CARCHEX. This company offers five plans with term lengths up to 250,000 miles, making it an ideal choice for seasoned cars. CARCHEX has been in business for over 20 years, and it is endorsed by car industry leaders like Kelley Blue Book, Edmunds.com, and CARFAX. Check out our full CARCHEX review for more information.
CarShield: Best Prices
If you want the most affordable extended warranty plan, CarShield is our top pick. After comparing quotes from multiple providers, we found CarShield offered some of the lowest prices overall. CarShield has six plans, which range from powertrain warranty coverage to exclusionary bumper-to-bumper warranty coverage. Find out more in our in-depth CarShield review.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is the BMW maintenance plan worth it?
The BMW maintenance plan usually costs more than maintenance from independent repair shops. If you drive an average amount of miles (15,000 miles per year or less), then it might not be worth it. However, if you put a lot of miles on your car, the maintenance plan can provide more value.
What is the cheapest BMW to maintain?
The 3 Series is generally the cheapest BMW to maintain in the manufacturer’s current lineup, and drivers pay about $748 per year to do so. Some vintage models are also cheap to maintain, like the BMW E28.
How much is the average oil change for a BMW?
According to RepairPal, the average oil change on a BMW 328i can cost between $183 and $205. You can think of this range as your base service cost.