Is it Difficult to Maintain a BMW?

  • By: Sean Cooper
  • Date: September 13, 2022
BMW M8 Competition Convertible

BMW is arguably the most sought-after car brand globally. To many, BMWs are a symbol of luxury and status. Others love these German-made high-end cars for their unrivaled dynamic performance, reliability, and sporty handling. These vehicles guarantee pure driving pleasure for the owner. The handling and driving are a breeze, whether you are negotiating those tight corners, gliding along the motorway, or braking. You’ll almost instantly fall in love with responsive steering, safety features, and stability. But is it difficult to maintain a BMW?

If you are a car owner, then you are probably aware that maintaining a car is a lot like taking care of your own health. Just like your body requires proper nutrition and a decent amount of exercise to live a healthy and extended life, so your BMW needs routine maintenance.

Your car features numerous different systems that function holistically to allow it to operate optimally. Each of these systems is made up of multiple sub-parts that may fail if not adequately serviced and maintained.

A significant number of car owners tend to put off auto maintenance because it’s time-consuming, inconvenient, costly, and potentially stressful.

Whether you are on a tight budget and tempted to delay an appointment with your mechanic, or your schedule compels you to skip your routine maintenance, know that poor vehicle maintenance can have drastic consequences. In case you didn’t know, auto accidents caused by poorly maintained cars account for a collective cost of more than $2 billion annually.

And even if you are fortunate enough to avoid an accident, skipping maintenance or doing it cheaply can not only impact your BMW’s performance but can also take years off its lifespan!

So, are BMWs tough to work on yourself?

While BMW manufactures highly desirable cars, style and luxury don’t actually guarantee their dependability. Compared to other car brands, BMWs require more vigilance when it comes to maintenance. What’s more, they tend to cost more to fix and maintain, due to their complexity.

Because they are relatively expensive to run, it is quite understandable to want to save money by doing your own car repairs and maintenance. However, if your car is a BMW, you have no option but to hire a qualified auto technician to service, repair, and maintain it on your behalf.

This is because BMWs are difficult to work on. Unless you are a well-trained car technician equipped with the right knowledge and tools necessary for the job, you should never try any complex BMW repairs yourself.

Are all BMW cars difficult to maintain?

While BMWs are not the most straightforward cars to work on, it’s worth noting that not all BMW generations are designed the same. In this regard, older models are relatively easy to repair or maintain because they were not fitted with as numerous bells and whistles as their newer model counterparts. With the older models, it’s easier to diagnose issues and access the parts that need fixing.

If you have a newer model of BMW such as the F30 3 Series, then you are going to need more highly advanced vehicle maintenance and diagnostic tools than you would initially expect. Such models are fitted with more high-end features and gadgets.

And the more complex tech a BMW has, the more chance there is that it will experience problems, and the harder it gets to maintain or diagnose and repair the vehicle.

Electronic features can be an incredible thing when it comes to luxury and comfort. After all, everyone raves about lane departure warning systems, automatic braking, adaptive mode, and the iDrive system, among others. But guess what, all these high-end and luxurious features will eventually wear out and become a huge pain to maintain or repair.

This is the primary reason why the latest BMW models are simply not worth your energy, time, and effort to try and repair or maintain. Don’t get me wrong! I am not saying that older BMW models are straightforward to work on.

I am simply saying that older models have fewer complex features and this makes it possible to handle them on your own without having to take them to your local’s mechanic’s shop!

Can any mechanic work on a BMW?

Any auto technician can work on a BMW. However, it’s best to hire a mechanic who boasts the relevant experience working on them, has the necessary equipment for the job, and also knows the complexities of BMWs.

It’s imperative to note that BMWs are specialist cars, so extensive training is mandatory to understand the complexities of every single model. It can be quite frustrating for a technician who hasn’t undergone this training to work on a BMW.

Let’s also not forget about the fact that BMW as a brand is always at the forefront of technology and design. This implies that each BMW generation is fitted with the latest gadgets and mechanics must stay on top of the latest developments to keep up with any maintenance or repair issues.

Which BMW model is the easiest to maintain and repair?

As already explained earlier, the older the BMW, the easier it is to maintain. In this regard, the E30 3 Series is widely considered the easiest mass-produced BMW to maintain due to its simplicity.

What you always need to remember is that when these cars are brand-new they are expensive luxury cars with high price tickets. That’s why luxury vehicles can be tempting to buy as they age when the used purchase price drops dramatically.

Unfortunately, a vehicle that’s expensive to purchase is almost always expensive to maintain, and BMWs are no exception. If you want to know more about why luxury cars are cheap to buy when they get old I’ve written about it in this article.

Are BMWs costly to maintain?

Not all BMWs are designed the same. Some BMW models are nightmares to maintain or repair and will cost you a significant amount of sums before your time is through with them. On the other hand, others are a dream, with very little maintenance required, especially older BMWs.

What are the common problems with BMWs?

As already explained, older BMWs, typically those produced in the 90s and perhaps early 2000s, are relatively easy to maintain largely because they didn’t feature complex mechanical and electrical components. The latest BMWs are incredibly high-tech, housing numerous computerized systems, electrical components as well as state-of-the-art engineering. These high-tech systems can be not only prone to breakdowns but can also be expensive to maintain, particularly once your warranty expires. Below are some common faults all BMWs are likely to experience:

  • Oil leakage: Oil leakage is one of the major issues commonly experienced by BMW vehicles. This issue occurs when the oil filter gasket prematurely wears out. Oil leakage issues are not only a hard nut to crack, but can be costly as well.
  • Electrical problems: Electrical issues are pretty common among BMW cars. Electrical windows may fail to function properly, remaining open and impacting both your comfort and safety. What’s more, there may be issues with the door locks, restraint system as well as pressure monitoring systems, among others.
  • Compromised coolant units: The work of your vehicle’s coolant system is to ensure the engine doesn’t overheat. Unfortunately, the coolant systems of some BMWs can be prone to problems, especially after hitting the 80,000-mile mark!
  • Corrosion by alloy wheels: BMWs are popular thanks to their stylish branded alloy wheels. However, it’s worth noting that these alloy tires can be susceptible to corrosion. Corroded alloy wheels are not only unsightly, but can equally impact both the safety and performance of your car.

The Bottom line:

Maintaining BMW vehicles is both hard and expensive because they are luxury, premium cars with specialty parts and technology. They are high-end cars designed for driving enthusiasts, not just regular cars to get you from point A to point B!

If you are a DIY fanatic, you will find it quite tough to work on these technologically advanced cars unless you are a qualified auto technician. Simply put, scheduled maintenance as well as large-scale BMW repairs should only be conducted by qualified mechanics who boast the relevant experience working with BMWs!

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